Attempts to delineate local character are always liable to misconstruction; for, the more truthful the sketch, the greater is the number of persons, to whom resemblance may be discovered; and thus, while in fact only describing the characteristics of a class, authors are frequently subjected, very unjustly, to the imputation of having invaded the privacy of individuals. Particularly is this so, when the class is idealized, and an imaginary type is taken, as the representative of the species.
l still have run The blessed streams of human sympathy; And, though I know this ever hath been done, The why and wherefore, I could never see!"
In a work which professes to trace, even indistinctly, the reclamation of a country from a state of barbarism, some notice of that from which it was reclaimed is, of course, necessary; and an attempt to distinguish the successive periods, each by its representative character, determines the logic of such notice. Were we as well acquainted with the gradations of Indian advancement--for such unquestionably, there were--as we are with those of the civilized man, we should be able to distinguish eras and periods, so as to represent them, each by its separate ideal. But civilization and barbarism are comparative terms; and, though it is difficult, perhaps impossible, precisely to fix the point at which one ceases and the other begins, yet, within that limit, we must consider barbarism as one period. Of this period, in our plan,