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JUSTICE IN THE BY-WAYS. A TALE OF LIFE.
BY F. COLBURN ADAMS,
AUTHOR OF "OUR WORLD," ETC., ETC., ETC.
"A rebellion or an invasion alarms, And puts the people upon its defence; But a corruption of principles Works its ruin more slowly perhaps, But more surely."
NEW YORK: LONDON:
PREFACES, like long sermons to fashionable congregations, are distasteful to most readers, and in no very high favor with us. A deep interest in the welfare of South Carolina, and the high esteem in which we held the better, and more sensible class of her citizens, prompted us to sit down in Charleston, some four years ago (as a few of our friends are aware), and write this history. The malady of her chivalry had then broken out, and such was its virulence that very serious consequences were apprehended. We had done something, and were unwise enough to think we could do more, to stay its spread. We say unwise, inasmuch as we see, and regret that we do see, the malady breaking out anew, in a more virulent type-one which threatens dire consequences to this glorious Union, and bids fair soon to see the Insane Hospital of South Carolina crammed with her mad-politicians.
Our purpose, the reader will not fail to discover, was a high moral one. He must overlook the means we have called to our aid in some instances, remember that the spirit of the work is in harmony with a just sense of duty to a people among whom we have long resided, and whose follies deserve our pity, perhaps, rather than our condemnation. To remain blind to their own follies, is the sin of weak States; and we venture nothing when we say that it would be difficult to find a people more dragged down by their own ignorance than are the South Carolinians. And yet, strange as it may seem, no people are more energetic in laying claim to a high intellectual standard. For a stranger to level his shafts against the very evils they themselves most deprecate, is to consign himself an exile worthy only of that domestic garment
Tar and feathers. in which all who think and write too freely, are clothed and sent away.
And though the sentiments we have put forth in this work may not be in fashion with our Southern friends, they will give us credit for at least one thing-picturing in truthful colors the errors that, by their own confessions, are sapping the very foundations of their society. Our aim is to suggest reforms, and in carrying it out we have consulted no popular prejudice, enlarged upon no enormities to please the lover of tragedy, regarded neither beauty nor the art of novel making, nor created suffering heroines to excite an outpouring of sorrow and tears. The incidents of our story, which at best is but a mere thread, are founded in facts; and these facts we have so modified as to make them acceptable to the reader, while shielding ourself from the charge of exaggeration. And, too, we are conscious that our humble influence, heretofore exerted, has contributed to the benefit of a certain class in Charleston, and trust that in this instance it may have a wider field.
Three years and upwards, then, has the MS. of this work laid in the hands of a Philadelphia publisher, who was kind enough to say more good things of it than it deserved, and only (as he said, and what publishers say no one ever thinks of doubting) regretted that fear of offending his Southern customers, who were exceedingly stiff in some places, and tender in others, prevented him publishing it. Thankful for the very flattering but undeserved reception two works from our pen (both written at a subsequent period) met, in England as well as this country, we resolved a few weeks ago to drag the MS. from the obscurity in which it had so long remained, and having resigned it to the rude hands of our printer, let it pass to the public. But there seemed another difficulty in the way: the time, every one said, and every one ought to know, was a hazardous one for works of a light character. Splash & Dash, my old publishers, (noble fellows), had no less than three Presidents on their shoulders, and could not be expected to take up anything "light" for several months. Brick, of the very respectable but somewhat slow firm of Brick & Brother, a firm that had singular scruples about publishing a work not thickly sprinkled with the author's knowledge of French, had one candidate by the neck, and had made a large bet that he could carry him into the "White House" with a rush, while the junior partner was deeply immersed in the study of Greek. Puff, of the firm of Puff & Bluff, a house that had recently moved into the city to teach the art of blowing books into the market, was foaming over with his two Presidential candidates, and thought the public could not be got to read a book without at least one candidate in it. It was not prudent to give the reading world more than a book of travels or so, said Munch, of the house of Munch & Muddle, until the candidates for the White House were got nicely out of the way. Indeed, there were good reasons for being alarmed, seeing that the publishing world had given up literature, and, following the example set by the New York Corporation, taken itself very generally to the trade of President-making. Wilkins, whose publications were so highly respectable that they invariably remained on his shelves, and had in more than one instance become so weighty that they had dragged the house down, thought the pretty feet of some few of the female characters in this volume a little too much exposed to suit the delicate sensibilities of his fair readers. Applejack, than whose taste none could be more exquisite, and who only wanted to feel a manuscript to tell whether it would do to publish it, made it a point, he said, not to publish novels with characters in them that would drink to excess. As for the very fast firm of Blowers & Windspin, celebrated for flooding the country with cheap books of a very tragic character, why, it had work enough on hand for the present. Blowers was blessed with a wife of a literary turn of mind, which was very convenient, inasmuch as all the novels with which the house astonished the world were submitted to her, and what she could not read she was sure to pass a favorable judgment upon. The house had in press four highly worked up novels of Mrs. Blowers' own, Mr. Blowers said,--all written in the very short space of six weeks. She was a remarkable woman, and extraordinary clever at novels, Blowers concluded with an air of magnificent self-satisfaction. These works, having been written by steam, Mr. Windspin, the unior partner, was expected to put into the market with a very large amount of high pressure.
Our friends in South Carolina, we knew, would be anxious to see what we had written of them in this volume, and we have made and shall continue to make it a point to gratify them: hence our haste in this instance. Conscious, too, that life is the great schoolmaster, and that public taste is neither to be regulated by a few, nor kept at any one point, we caught up a publisher with only one candidate for the "White House" on his shoulders, and with his assistance, now respectfully submit this our humble effort.
NEW YORK, Sept., 1856.
CHAPTER I.--Tom Swiggs' Seventh Introduction on board of the Brig Standfast,
CHAPTER II.--Madame Flamingo-Her Distinguished Patrons, and her very respectable House,
CHAPTER III.--In which the Reader is presented with a Varied Picture,
CHAPTER IV.--A few Reflections on the Cure of Vice,
CHAPTER V.--In which Mr. Snivel, commonly called the Accommodation Man, is introduced, and what takes place between him and Mrs. Swiggs.
CHAPTER VI.--Containing Sundry Matters appertaining to this History,
CHAPTER VII.--In which is seen a Commingling of Citizens,
CHAPTER VIII.--What takes place between George Mullholland and Mr. Snivel,
CHAPTER IX.--In which a Gleam of Light is shed on the History of Anna Bonard,
CHAPTER X.--A Continuation of George Mullholland's History,
CHAPTER XI.--In which the Reader is introduced to Mr. Absalom McArthur,
CHAPTER XII.--In which are Matters the Reader may have anticipated,
CHAPTER XIII.--Mrs. Swiggs comes to the Rescue of the House of the Foreign Missions,
CHAPTER XIV.--Mr. McArthur makes a Discovery,
CHAPTER XV.--What Madame Flamingo wants to be,
CHAPTER XVI.--In which Tom Swiggs gains his Liberty, and what befalls him,
CHAPTER XVII.--In which there is an Interesting Meeting,
CHAPTER XVIII.--Anna Bonard seeks an Interview with the Antiquary,
CHAPTER XIX.--A Secret Interview,
CHAPTER XX.--Lady Swiggs encounters Difficulties on her Arrival in New York,
CHAPTER XXI.--Mr. Snivel pursues his Search for the Vote-Cribber,
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