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In the course of the following description some apology has been offered by the writer for his appearing before the public as an author; but as prefaces are giyen with the intention that they should be read prior to the pages by which they are succeeded, he thinks it necessary, here to make a few observations respecting the motives that influenced bim to neglect the pencil for the pen.
Though there have been published many guides to the north west of England, yet to the author of the present volumes, none that he has seen have appeared fully competent to give to the traveller that comprehensive idea of the country so imperiously demanded by its beauties. He had long wished to see the subject undertaken by some one of those literary residents, who by their good taste and frequent travel to the inmost recesses of the mountains, had become qualified to exhibit an account of these three united counties, as remarkable for its accuracy as its elegance. Formerly he had hoped to have witnessed such a production; but, afterwards, when its appearance became doubtful, he was induced to essay a short guide, and one written in the early part of the year 1814, was intended as an accompaniment to the sixty etchings, which in 1814, made their appearance, with explanations taken from that guide, and the statement now rendered, is the result of a design, when more at leisure, to improve the former guide into such a series of directions, as at once to facilitate and felicitate the progress of the tourist. Soon after it was be. gun, the writer was generously promised the assistance of several literary persons, who engaged to furnish bio. graphical sketches; these were proposed to have been interspersed throughout the work, which was commenced on that plan, but afterwards it was determined that they should be placed in an appendix, together with the botany of the line of travel, the latter wholly by Mr. J. Gough, of Kendal. The guide and the appendix were expected to have filled ore somewhat bulky role but though compression has been greatly desired á. ! assiduously courted, yet the numerous excursions and their scenic exhibitions, have unexpectedly swoln the pages into two large volumes, and greatly to the regret of the writer, who is thus, for the present, of necessity deprived of the valuable labours of his friends.
Three years ago, when the improved work was projected, and its execution determined on, a number of journies were made for the express purpose of procuring materials which have been collected, arranged, and combined, with infinite labour, at a very heavy expence, and to the great inconvenience of the author's practice as an artist. These journies were invariably accompanied by little sketches, and by descriptions of all the favourite scenes upon the roads. It is nearly nineteen years since the author settled himself in Ambleside, and during that interval he has annually spent a considerable portion of his time in out-door study, and in the consequent collection of many hundred coloured and pencil drawings, all entirely finished while the subject was before him, for he conceives that studies are lessened in value by being retouched in the house. These drawings, aided by the above sketches, extensive memorandums, and by reasonings and reflections arising out of that attention required by a painter to the various phenomena of nature, have proved on the present occasion most beneficial. The writing for these volumes was commenced towards the close of 1816, and the printing at the beginning of the following year. Though the wish of the author to serve the tourisť by pointing out the most interesting low land roads 'aud foot-pathis, and the approaches to those sublime summits and the scenery therice exhibited, all so highly and deservedly admired by the comparative few who have surveyed them; yet he has always felt: a reluctance to appear before the public otherwise than in ex
PREPACE. planation of the prints he has from time to time published, because neither his leisure, nor his practice in writing, have qualified him to perform it with that elegance of diction which renders even unvaried materials so truly fascinating. Manner appears with many to be more the object of their admiration than matter, particularly those who read less for information than amusement. Half the first volume was corrected without the aid of a copy of the manuscript, the printer and the writer living fourteen miles asunder. Duplicates to the parts sent wete afterwards used, and from that time to the end of the work, it is trusted that in the composition as the result of practice, a gradual amendment may be discovered.
In the course of the writing are many observations on the appearances of the same scene, as exhibited under the influence of different atmospheres, with other obser. vations connected with the art of painting, all whicho though not applying to the feelings of the general reader, may nevertheless, by thinking persons, be deemed neither useless nor irrelevant.
The origin, progressive improvement, and present state of the towns and villagos encircled by the moun. tains, and of the objects or their borders, have been noticed as a relief to the monotony occasioned by the description of one class of matter only., Remarks on the beauty and deformity of the country as occasioned