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IN A SERIES OF VIEWS TAKEN ON THE SPOT.
BY ALFRED BUNN,
"THE STAGE BEFORE AND BEHIND THE CURTAIN.”
WHAT! another book upon America ? What! with Lyell, Dickens, Basil Hall, Mrs. Trollope, Mackay, Lady Stuart Wortley, Marryat, and a host of others, staring you in the face, to have the effrontery to add to their excellences, or absurdities (as a jury of readers may determine), and not satisfied with writing, venture to publish what you have written! “ Certainly, Sir,"* say we, in the concise and determined language of American response. A very few words upon our object in writing, and what we are going to write about, will suffice.
Every man with a pair of eyes in his head may see as far as his fellow; but he may take a different view of things coming within the scope of his observation. We are not bound to accept the ipse dixit of any one for a fact, when it is recollected that prejudice, ignorance, doubt, or intention, may have warped and misdirected his judgment. If we had implicitly believed onehalf of what we have read upon the subject, we should either never have visited America, or have specdily returned from it in disgust. If our aim were rather to criticize the commentary of others than to place a reliance on our own, we might possibly detect a series of misstatements, equally unjust in their fabrication, as dangerous in their tendency. There is nothing after all like judging for oneself, even if the conclusions you arrive at subject you from others to the same degree of severe condemnation you may have extended to them. We do not all see with the
* The more accepted mode of answering, nowadays, when an American means there should be no mistake, is, “ Yes, Sir-ee."