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HAD there been any book in our language on the subject of the following Letters, they never should have seen the light. The Author wrote them for the amusement of his friends, and as an assistance to his memory; and if it will in any degree apologize for their imperfections, he can with truth declare that they never were intended for publication : nor indeed was that idea suggested to him, till long after they were written. One principal motive he will own, was the desire of giving to the world, and perhaps of transmitting to posterity, a monument of his friendship with the gentleman to whom they are addressed.
When Mr. Foster's translation of Baron Riedesel's book first appeared, these Letters were already in the press, and the
Author apprehended an anticipation of his subject; however, on perusal he had the satisfaction to find, that the two works did not much interfere.
In transcribing them for the press, he found it necessary both to retrench and to amplify ; by which the ease of the epistolary style has probably suffered, and some of the letters have been extended much beyond their original length.
He now presents them to the Public with the greatest diffidence; hoping that some allowance will be made for the
very inconvenient circumstances, little favourable to order or precision, in which many of them were written : but he would not venture to new-model them; apprehending that what they might gain in form and expression, they would probably lose in ease and simplicity; and well knowing that the original impressions are much better described at the moment they are felt, than from the most exact recollection.
THE FIRST VOLUME.
Sicilian banditti.--A famous diver.-Charybdis.
Feast of the Vara.-Singular phenomenon.
Journey to Jaci-Mount Ætna-Piedmonte-Small
volcanoes.—Torrent of boiling water.-Great ches-
Prince of Biscaris_His museum.-Convent of Be-
nedictines. ---Lava run over the walls of Catania.
Journey up Mount Ætna.—Three regions of the
mountain.-Common progress of an eruption.-