Earth is not “a hell.” The expression appears very harsh and very unjust. Earth is not a hell. Its sum of happiness is infinitely greater than its sum of misery. It contains scarcely one creature that does not, in the course of its existence, enjoy more than it suffers, that does not do a greater number of right acts than wrong. Yet the world as it is, compared with the world as a benevolent heart wishes it to be, is hell-like enough; so we may, in this sense, but in this sense alone, accept the language of the dedication. The preface informs us, that the lectures were prompted by invitations to address Popular Lyceums and Young Men's Associations, “generally those of the humbler class,” existing in country villages and rural townships. ‘They were written,’ says the author, ‘in the years from 1842 to 1848, inclusive, each in haste, to fulfil some engagement already made, for which preparation had been delayed, under the pressure of seeming necessities, to the latest moment allowable. A calling whose exactions are seldom intermitted for a day, never for a longer period, and whose requirements, already excessive, seem perpetually to expand and increase, may well excuse the distraction of thought and rapidity of composition which it renders inevitable. At no time has it seemed practicable to devote a whole day, seldom a full half day, to the production of any of the essays. Not until months after the last of them was written did the idea of collecting and printing them in this shape suggest itself, and a hurried perusal is all that has since been given them.’ The eleven published lectures of Horace Greeley which lie before me, are variously entitled; but their subject is one; his subject is ever the same; the object of his public life is single. It is the
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