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To the Young Men's AssocIATION, of the city of Albany, the following pages are respectfully dedicated, in testimony of the author's high estimation of the laudable spirit of improvement, in which they have undertaken their very useful and important literary enterprise.
That the association may be constantly guided by the sacred truth, that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom:" That it may ever continue to improve in the extent and value of its sources of literature and science; and that it may become one among the principal causes of elevating the character of the city of Albany, for genius, learning and piety; is the ardent prayer of its unaffected, though inefficient friend and well wisher.
THE AUTHOR, Albany, July 15, 1837.
The history of this little volume-for every thing must have its history, from the cedar of Lebanon to the shrub of the valley-is simply as follows.
A few weeks ago, the author sent an article to a daily press against the Theatre. The article was published. In a day or two after there appeared, from the same press, an answer. To this the author thought it his duty to reply ; but on account of the press of matter in a daily paper, the reply was not published. The author, however, did not feel disposed to give up the point, or rather controversy, without having at least one more blow at the stage. He accordingly took up his quill and wrote the principal part of this little book-(having written the third and fourth Lessons on former occasions)-in which he has levelled a blow at several other public nuisances besides the Theatre : And with this brief history of the origin of the work, he sends it forth on the wings of faith, as Noah sent his dove, to see how many resting places it can find, upon which it
may stand as a beacon, to warn the young and inexperienced against temptations which every where beset them, and to which, alas ! they are too apt to yield, and to be ruined.
Albany, July 15, 1837.
" The Theatre was from the very first,
Angels and holy men, trembling retire." POLLOK. In the old European empires, from the days of ancient Greece and Rome, down to this day, it has been the policy of their governments to keep the people in ignorance: And why? Because if enlightened, in the true sense of the term, and on a broad scale, the reign of those tyrannical and despotic governments would cease; and the people would resort to self-government, as a rational consequence of their liberation from the chains and fetters of ignorance. But how have the tyrants of Europe succeeded in keeping the people in ignorance? I answer, in