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THE following Narratives were written chiefly by a society of clergymen in Dumfries-shire, in imitation of those excellent productions, the Moral Tales of Mrs. Hannah More. The intention of the authors was to adapt this captivating mode of instruction to the religious sentiments, as well as to the manners and habits, of the intelligent peasantry in this northern division of the United Kingdom; and particularly, by exciting a local interest in the publication, to render

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it subservient to the moral and spiritual improvement of their own parishioners.

The History of Maitland Smith was the first written, and was given to the public in 1807, with the double view of opening the way for the reception of this work, and of raising a sum to assist in supporting the unhappy family of the criminal, whose life it faithfully records. The rapid sale of that little narrative having encouraged the friends of the measure to proceed in their projected undertaking, a society was a few months afterwards formed with this view, by some of the ministers of the Established Church in Dumfries-shire. The members met at each other's houses in rotation, on the first Monday of every month, and critically examined the Tract in

tended next for publication. The institution of this little association, the editor will always consider as among the happiest incidents of his life. The intercourse to which it gave rise, whilst it cemented the friendship of the members, united to the pursuit of a benevolent object, a kind of enjoyment, which gives the highest relish to the charities of social life.

The Cottage Fireside, a beautiful narrative, from the classic pen of the Rev. Henry Duncan, D.D., author of the "Sacred Philosophy of the Seasons," &c., was originally published in this series; but as it has already appeared in the Cabinet Library, of which this volume now forms a part, it is here omitted.

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