In undertaking the task to instruct the ordinary capitalist how to speculate in mining shares, I am well aware that it is no light and easy one, but is beset with many and formidable difficulties. I can but tackle it, however, and attempt to overcome those difficulties, leaving it to others to judge of the success that I may attain. A book of this kind is, I think, greatly needed, for though one or two have been published during a long course of years, they have been by no means exhaustive enough, nor even lucid enough to satisfy the needs of the layman and amateur investor and speculator. I hope that my little work, therefore, will supply a much-felt want, and be of real help and use to those for whom it is written. As for my qualifications for the task I have set myself, it would be prudent of me to say nothing, as the evidence or lack of evidence of them will be clearly manifest in the pages that follow. But during the many years I sat in the editorial chair of the Mining Journal I learnt a great deal, and the fruits of that knowledge and experience I now offer to the acceptance of those whom they concern, and to whom I hope they will be of some benefit.

Of course I lay no claim to infallibility. In attempting a task such as this, even the most experienced observation and the most disciplined insight and judgment may go far astray. It is possible only to do one's best. Like everyone else who has been born into this world, with his inheritance of human frailty, I have doubtless committed many errors, and I fear that, as long as life is spared to me, I shall commit many more. But there is a difference, after all, between wilful and unwitting error. The latter is, when brought to the judgment-seat of mercy, invariably pardoned, but the former partakes of a crime when others share in the injury which may be its consequence. I feel sure that no crime of that kind will be laid to my charge, whilst, at the same time, I shall strive my utmost even to avoid unwitting error. I need not enlarge here upon the scope of the work, or describe the plan of it which I have plicated and delicate. I need not add that that advice will be entirely disinterested, without questionable motives influencing me. My reputation, I think, will be a sufficient guarantee of that. I fear that that cannot be truthfully said of much of the advice that is given in a portion of the press and by certain classes of persons. If the book be of real assistance to but a tithe of those persons for whom it is written, I shall be pleased, for it will give me some proof that I have not laboured in vain.

W. W. W.

Catford, October, 1901.