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THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY

19056GB

ASTOR, LENOX AND
TILDEN FOUNDATIONS

1942

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i jf;, W HÉN a late ingenious Physician discovered the elastic fluid, which he termed "his: Gas of Paradise, and which he hoped to render a cheap substitute for inebriating liquors, he 'claimed the honors due to the inventor of a new pleasure.' vir h o m nie www.pro ! I

to -1; # How far mankind would have bene

fited, by the introduction of a fresh mode of intoxication, I leave to the reflection of those sages, whose duty it would have become to appreciate its value,

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as an additional source of revenue to the state. But when I consider the delight with which stories of apparitions are received by persons of all ages, and of the most various kinds of knowledge and ability, I cannot help feeling some degree of complacency, in offering to

the makers and readers of such stories, í a view of the subject, which may ex: tend their enjoyment far beyond its for- mer limits. It has given me pain to see - the most fearful and ghastly commence-ments of a tale of horror reduced to mere common events, at the winding up

of the book. I have looked, also, with - much compassiori, on the pitiful instruments of sliding pannels, træp-doors, i-backstairs, war-work figures, smugglers, urobbers, coiners, and other vulgar machinery, which authors of tender consciences have

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