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Quodlibet by John Pendleton Kennedy

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ANNALS OF QUODLIBET.

EDITED BY

THE AUTHOR OF "SWALLOW BARN," ETC. ETC.

QUODLIBET:

CONTAINING

SOME ANNALS THEREOF,

WITH AN

AUTHENTIC ACCOUNT OF THE ORIGIN AND GROWTH OF THE BOROUGH, AND THE SAYINGS AND DOINGS OF SUNDRY OF THE TOWNSPEOPLE; INTERSPERSED WITH SKETCHES OF THE MOST REMARKABLE AND DISTINGUISHED CHARACTERS OF THAT PLACE AND ITS VICINITY.

BY SOLOMON SECONDTHOUGHTS, SCHOOLMASTER,

FROM ORIGINAL MSS. INDITED BY HIM, AND NOW MADE PUBLIC AT THE REQUEST AND UNDER THE PATRONAGE OF THE GREAT NEW-LIGHT DEMOCRATIC CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF QUODLIBET.

Maxima de nihilo nascitur historia.--PROPERTIUS.

SECOND EDITION.

PHILADELPHIA: J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO., 1860.

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1860, by J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO.,

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

A WORD FROM THE AUTHOR.

These annals were first published in 1840. They reappear after an interval of twenty years. In that interval the old questions which inflamed the zeal and sharpened the wit of parties have totally disappeared from the political field: the parties themselves have fermented into new compounds, and lost all cognizable identity. Old warriors, who dealt mortal blows on each other's sconce, have sunk to sleep in the same truckle bed, and have waked up in mutual surprise to find themselves in each other's arms, with a new flag above them, and new and unaccustomed voices giving the word of command.

The youth who have grown up to manhood in the mean time, and have come to be conspicuous in the conduct of public affairs, compose a distinct generation, as unconscious of the events, the interests, and sentiments of twenty years ago as of those of remote antiquity. These not only reject the traditions and teachings of the past, but repudiate and ignore the whole scheme of social and political opinion of the men who have gone before them, disdaining to adopt their maxims of government, their policy, their forbearance, their toleration, or their affections. They inaugurate a new era of new principles, new purposes, new powers, new morals, and, alas! of new hatreds.

May it not serve a good turn toward arresting this torrent of innovation, to present to the leisure meditation of those who are embarking upon its stream, a few memorials of a bygone day, quite as distinguished as the present for the intensity of its political ardors and the absurdity of its excesses, but, fortunately, more harmless and amiable in its temper? Is it not worth while to attempt, by these playful sketches of the past, to lure the angry combatants into a smile, and, by showing them the grotesque retribution which history inflicts upon distempered parties after a few decades of oblivion, to beguile them into some consideration of the predicament in which they may leave their own renown? May not all sober-minded lovers of their country contemplate with some profit the _morale_ of a picture--even as light and extravagant as this--which represents the engrossments of parties who fancied that the destinies of a great nation hung upon the plots and counterplots of their busy ferment,--which engrossments, with all their concomitant gravities and glorifications, twenty years have shriveled into the dimensions of a pleasant farce--a little stage imbroglio of comic conceits and fussy nothings?


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