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A VENETIAN STORY.
BY THE AUTHOR OF
"THE PILOT,” “THE BORDERERS," "THE
Cooper, James Fenimore
Giustizia in palazzo,
AND ILLUSTRATED WITH A NEW PREFACE, NOTES, ETC.
BY THE AUTHOR.
RICHARD BENTLEY, NEW BURLINGTON STREET;
AND BELL & BRADFUTE, EDINBURGH.
813 C78b 1851
PRESENT EDITION IN “THE STANDARD NOVELS."
THE BRAVO was projected during a short residence in Venice, in the spring of 1830. Those great political events which have since effected so much in Europe, and which are probably destined to produce so many more changes, were still in embryo; nothing being apparent but those eternal principles whose tendency is ever towards truth. The work was written chiefly at Paris, where opportunity was not wanting to illustrate the subject by observing the manner in which the specious and designing trifled with the just hopes of the mass; abusing their confidence and perverting the fruits of popular energy to the purposes of the mercenary and selfish. It is scarcely necessary after this to add that the drift of the book is political. Its objects are to demonstrate the manner in which men get entangled in the meshes of mystifications, when even the best intentioned become the subjects of circumstances; and to expose the irresponsible nature of an aristocratical form
of government, wherein the odium of the basest acts is made to rest on a soulless corporation, which, to repeat an idea of the work itself, has neither the advantage of being tempered by the personal qualities of the chief of the state, as sometimes happens in a despotism, nor that of being subject to the human impulses of the majority, as is the case in a democracy.
The idea of "The Bravo" was obtained from a set of state maxims that prevailed in Venice, and which were exposed by the archives of that ruthless government falling into the hands of the French, at the conquest of the republic during the wars of the great revolution. Revolting as the result of the tale will appear to all upright minds, it is believed there is no exaggeration of either the theory or the practice of Venice, in its incidents.
The preface of the original edition stated that it was not the author's object to illustrate manners, except as they were connected with principles. The introduction of historical characters and events has been purposely avoided; all that has been attempted in this way being no more than to preserve sufficient of the local features of the city to aid the verisimilitude of the picture. As the moral of the work is to be drawn from its incidents, the reader is left to his own intelligence to make the application.
The work was originally printed in one country while the author was in another, and a few material typographical mistakes have been the consequence.
The sense was impaired occasionally by the punctuation, and there were a few sentences whose meaning was destroyed. All these faults, so far as they have attracted the author's attention, have been amended in this edition, and it is hoped the book will be found better worth the reader's trouble than it was formerly.
London, October, 1839.