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Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1848,
BY THOMAS DURFEE,
PROVIDENCE: PRINTED BY JOSEPH KNOWLES.
At a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Rhode Island Historical Society, holden shortly after the decease of Chief Justice Durfee, the following resolution was adopted:
Resolved. That we deem it highly important that the works of the lamented Chief Justice Durfee should be published, believing their publication would be as serviceable to our State, especially in reference to its Aboriginal History, as it would be honorable to his memory: and we would earnestly recommend to the members of this Society, and to the friends of sound learning at large in the State, to aid the undertaking by their individual subscriptions, in case the family of the deceased should consent to the publication.
In accordance with this resolution, expressing, it is believed, the feelings of a large number of the citizens of the State, the present publication was undertaken, and, after many unavoidable delays, is now offered to the Public. It contains all the writings of Judge Durfee, which it was thought advisable to preserve; many, which he himself had never thought of publishing. Some immature productions of his youth, and others, purely political, have been purposely omitted; the first, because they are chiefly valuable as indications of his early pursuits,
the second, because it is the misfortune of such writings to share the ephemeral interest of the subjects to which they relate.
Except the Whatcheer and his published addresses, these writings are without the benefit of the author's final revision, and therefore contain, perhaps, many imperfections which would, otherwise, have been removed. The doctrines of the Panidea, he was still illustrating, still testing by applications to history, still elucidating and confirming, at the time of his death ; and could he have been spared, he would, doubtless, have done much to redeem them from the reproach of being pure metaphysical abstractions, by showing their bearing upon actual life. But, notwithstanding these disadvantages, and its deficiency in general interest, to omit it in any edition of his works, would be to withdraw the central light from which many of his most popular productions have borrowed their chiefest splendor.
In conclusion, the Editor has only to crave for himself the indulgence of the public, for an imperfect discharge of the trust which he, perhaps, too hastily accepted, pleading his youth and inexperience in palliation; and to thank them for this opportunity of contributing his mite to a worthy monument of one, whom the instincts of nature have taught him to love and revere as a Parent, and for whom a familiar acquaintance has enabled him to cherish unmingled honor and admiration as a Man.