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Tue series of works, of which the present publication forms the commencement, owes its origin to the now sufficiently well-known suggestion with respect to “Literature for the Rail,” which was put forth in the columns of the Times newspaper on the 9th of August last. In cheerfully responding to the earnest personal appeal made in the course of that remarkable essay, the publisher of this volume has gladly availed himself of the permission accorded by the proprietors of the leading journal to republish articles that have appeared in their columns, and of the opportunity thus afforded him of securing for his “ Railway Readings” a volume of contributions whose literary merits and moral tone are so well calculated to assist in the important national object advocated by the great organ of public opinion.

Railway readers and others will not be sorry to

permangflection from the admirable essays which have appeared at intervals in the Times. It has long been a subject of general regret that literary productions of the highest order, and referring to matters of lasting interest, should be doomed, through the peculiar medium of their publication, to an ephemeral existence; and the acknowledged frequency with which such compositions have been extracted from the paper for preservation in the reader's common-place book, affords the best possible proof of a wide-spread desire to possess the interesting and instructive records which it is the object of the present volume to perpetuate.

The Essays* have been selected solely with a view to their value and interest, and without regard to the time at which they appeared in the journal. The date of publication is affixed to each article; and only the slightest variations have been made from the original text where alteration has been absolutely required by the transfer of language from the newspaper to the book.


September, 1851.

These Essays were written for the most part by the late Samuel Phillips,

wbo died on 14th October, 1854, and are reprinted by permission.

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