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Canadian Crusoes by Catharine Parr Traill
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15_th Oct_ 1850 PREFACE

IT will be acknowledged that human sympathy irresistibly responds to any
narrative, founded on truth, which graphically describes the struggles of
isolated human beings to obtain the aliments of life. The distinctions
of pride and rank sink into nought, when the mind is engaged in the
contemplation of the inevitable consequences of the assaults of the gaunt
enemies, cold and hunger. Accidental circumstances have usually given
sufficient experience of their pangs, even to the most fortunate, to make
them own a fellow-feeling with those whom the chances of shipwreck, war,
wandering, or revolutions have cut off from home and hearth, and the
requisite supplies; not only from the thousand artificial comforts which
civilized society classes among the necessaries of life, but actually from
a sufficiency of "daily bread."

Where is the man, woman, or child who has not sympathized with the poor
seaman before the mast, Alexander Selkirk, typified by the genius of Defoe
as his inimitable Crusoe, whose name (although one by no means uncommon
in middle life in the east of England,) has become synonymous for all who
build and plant in a wilderness, "cut off from humanity's reach?" Our
insular situation has chiefly drawn the attention of the inhabitants of
Great Britain to casualties by sea, and the deprivations of individuals
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