[From Mona's Isle, 1844]


THE kind indulgence of the Public is humbly solicited by the Author of the following Poems,—if indeed the rude productions of his unlettered Muse may be styled as such. He is a native of the Isle of Man (alluded to in the Poems as " Mona’s Isle"), where he passed his early years as a ploughboy, and in other simple rustic occupations. At the age of twenty-two years he entered the British Navy as a common seaman, and learned of his messmates to converse in English, being scarcely able to express himself intelligibly except in his native language, the Manx. He likewise, under the same tuition, learned to read and write tolerably, and made considerable progress in arithmetic, sufficient, altogether, to enable him to undertake the duties of a Warrant-Officer, in which capacity he served for seventeen years. On entering upon the duties of the latter station, he was permitted to mingle with the young gentlemen of the Navy, many of whom being well educated in the various branches of literature and science kindly volunteered to become his instructors, and to them he is indebted for whatever literary acquirements he possesses, they being ever as willing to impart instruction as he was to receive it. Such was his course of education, beginning at the age of twenty-two years to learn the first rudiments of scholarship, and the English language, which he trusts may, in some measure, serve as an excuse for the errors of his composition.

On his return to England from his first station as a Warrant-Officer, he published a Work entitled, " A Method for Concentrating the Fire of a Broadside of a Ship of War," for which Invention he had previously received the Gold Isis Medal of the Society of Arts and Commerce. With the exception of the above honorary reward, little encouragement was given the Author to prosecute his inquiries in the mystic field of invention, and he was compelled to abandon the pursuit, but unfortunately not before he had sacrificed a considerable part of his very limited means. To wile away the tedium occasioned by the abandonment of his scientific pursuits, lie employed himself in composing some rude verses on the peaceful and happy scenes of his earlier years, having never before attempted any composition in the shape of poetry. lie never intended to bring these incipient efforts before the public, but having submitted the Manuscript for the perusal of friends residing in the Isle of Man, they not only approved of the spirit of the Poems, but strongly advised the Author to publish them. How far he may have been prudent in so doing, must be decided by the public. His training, under the severe discipline of blighted hope, prepares him for the negative ; but should Fate decree it otherwise, and if the uncultivated channel through which he has endeavoured to convey the feelings of the heart finds its way to the sympathy of his fellow-creatures, his labours will not have been entirely in vain.

He joyfully embraces this opportunity of rendering his most grateful acknowledgments to all those of his friends and patrons who have subscribed to his humble efforts, and respectfully submits the volume to the kind consideration of the Public.


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