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INTRODUCTION.

It has come to be somewhat common for new writers to get their books introduced to the world by other hands. The practice is not a commendable one; certainly, at least, it requires strong justification in the character of the book, in the circumstances of the author, or in the relations of both to the public.

The present case affords such justification to an ample extent, as the reader who will follow me through a few pages, will freely admit.

I have known WILLIAM H. MILBURN from a boy; his early days were spent within a stone's throw of my father's house in Philadelphia. He was born in that city, Sept. 26, 1823. In early childhood his eyes were injured; the sight of one was lost irretrievably, and of the other, partially. From that day to this he has lived on, nearly, but not quite, blind; sometimes ablo to read, painfully and slowly indeed, but yet to read. A blessing has this small share of occasional eye-sight been to him; many a lesson of wisdom from the printed page has that little corner of a wounded eye let in to feed and stimulate the apt and quickseeing soul behind it; and now and then, a winged arrow from “the golden quivers of the sky," bas shot into that small opening of the elsewhere sightless orb always offering itself as a willing target. But of the brilliant beauty of the fair earth, trembling in its joy under the ceaseless shower of sunrays on a bright day; of the shining pageants and braveries that everyday life affords to every-day eyes; of the rich dyes that nature is ever dropping from her light-tipped fingers—the crimson, the purple, and the gold of the evening sky-the pale light of stars studding the deep azure—the violet, the purple, and the emerald of garden, and field, and meadow; of the full effluence of

That tide of glory which no rest doth know,
But ever ebb and ever flow,

-of all these he knows nothing except by recollection and by imagination.

But he has this great advantage over the born blind, or even over those who have become totally blind in after life, that he is not entirely dependent upon what others tell him about the outer world; that he did get images of it in his childhood, which still furnish the inner chambers of his soul ; and that he yet sees, now and then, at least, a little of the world's beauty—enough to stimulate his fancy and at the same time to rectify its aberrations.

And as the eye, however physically perfect, is only an instrument for the mind to use; as it remains true, now as ever, that the eye only sees in nature what it brings means of seeing; so, Mr. Milburn's little modicum of vision has availed him more, for all purposes of culture, than most men's perfect eye-sight. It is doubtless true, also, that his very defect of vision has quickened his power of attention, enlarged his faculty of observation, and strengthened his memory of things once seen. At all events, in these capacities he is very largely endowed. But, above and beyond all this, he has that richest of all possessions to any man-precious, especially, above all price, to him,

The light that never was on sea or land;
The vision and the faculty divine,

which floods, for its possessor, all things, visible and invisible, with its unceasing radiance, brighter than the sunlight. Under this inspiration his mind clothes, in its own forms of beauty, the

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