Imágenes de páginas

PREFACE HAVING employed four years and a half in travelling through the Southern States of North America, I was about to return home content with regulating imagination by reality, when the accidental perusal of those Travellers who had journeyed over the same ground, determined me to become a publisher. Of these some want taste, and others literature; some incapable of observation, count with profound gravity the number of miles from place to place; and others, intent only upon feeding, supply a bill of fare. A family likeness prevails through the whole. Their humour bears no proportion to their morbid drowsiness. We are seldom relieved from the langour of indifference, or the satiety of disgust; but in toiling through volumes of diffusive mediocrity, the reader commonly terminates his career by falling asleep with the writer.

In comparing this Volume with the volumes of my predecessors, the reader will find himself exempt from various persecutions.

1. I make no mention of my dinner, whether it was fish or flesh, boiled or roasted, hot or cold.

2. I never complain of my bed, nor fill the imagination of the reader with mosquitoes, fleas, bugs, and other nocturnal pests.

3. I make no drawings of old castles, old churches, old pent-houses, and old walls, which, undeserving of repair, have been abandoned by their possessors. Let them be sacred to the Welch Tourist, the Scotch Tourist, and id genus omne.

4. In treating common subjects, I do not accumulate magnificent epithets, and lose myself in figures.

That this Volume will regale curiosity while man continues to be influenced by his senses and affections, I have very little doubt. It will be recurred to with equal interest on the banks of the Thames, and those of the Ohio. There is no man who is not pleased in being told by another what he thought of the world, and what the world thought of him. This kind of biography, when characterized by simplicity and truth, has more charms for the multitude than a pompous history of the intrigues of courts, the negotiations of statesmen, and the devastation of armies.

The Memoirs of Franklin the printer, come more home to my feelings than the History of Sir Robert Walpole's Administration. I behold the concluding page of the one with the same eye of sorrow, that the Traveller in the woods of America casts upon the sun's departing ray; but the other is task-reading, and, in perusing it, I consult more the taste of the public, than my own disposition. Yet even Franklin studied his ease in with-holding his Memoirs from the world till he was beyond the reach of its censure; and I know no writers of eminence who have ventured to encounter the malice of ridicule by the publication of their own biography, but Wakefield whose loss the sons of learning are yet deploring, and Kotzebue who is still holding the mirror up to nature.

There are some who would conceal the situation to which my exigencies reduced me in America; but I should blush to be guilty of such ridiculous pride; and let the insolence of those who scorn an honest calling be repressed by remembering, that the time is not very remote when all conditions will be levelled; when the celebrated and obscure, the powerful and weak, shall all sink alike into one common grave.

Though my mode of life has not been favourable to the cultivation of an elegant style, yet in what relates to the structure of my sentences, I shall not fear competition with those who have reposed from their youth under the shade of Academic bowers. He who can have recourse to the critical prefaces of Dryden, the voluble periods of Addison, the nervous sentences of Johnson, and the felicitous antitheses of Goldsmith, may spare himself the trouble of seeking that purity and decoration of language in a College, which may be found in his closet.*

In the progress of my work it will be discovered that I have not joined myself to that frantic crew of Deists, who would prostrate every institution, human or divine; and, though I dedicate my book to a republican, it is not the magistrate but the man, whom I address. I am no republican! No federalist! I have learned to estimate rightly the value of the British Constitution; and I think no system of government so perfect as that of King, Lords, and Commons.

A word more before I conclude. Should the critic de

* While contemporary writers were wandering in imagination with Ulysses and Æneas, and growing giddy with the violence of poetical tempests, I was performing a sailor's duty in a ship of nine hundred tons, and encountering the gales of the promontory of Africa.

I have visited many places in the eastern section of the globe. I have been twice in India. I am familiar with St. Helena, and Batavia, and Johanna, and Bombay, and Tillicherry, and Goa, and Cochin, and Anjengo. I was four months at Canton; and I have toiled up the Table Mountain at the Cape of Good Hope.

Let me be forgiven this impulse à me faire valoir. It is what every small Traveller does. Behold the Welch Tourist! He crosses the New Ferry, enters the ale-house on its bordercalls for pen and ink-lugs out his enormous common-place book-awes the family into silence by the profound wisdom of his looks—and solemnly sits down to fill a solemn chapter with the tempests that harassed him in navigating the SEVERN!!!

tect the vanity that not infrequently swells my periods, let him be assured that he cannot be more sensible of it than I. When a man becomes the historiographer of his own actions, he can scarcely avoid this error without degenerating into the opposite one of affected diffidence. I have often caught myself making my own panegyric; the fact is indisputable; yet it is still better to be vain than dull.


[Retained as in original Edition.]

Page 30-32, dele the Elegy, because neither gods, nor men, nor the stall of the bookseller, can tolerate mediocrity in poetry:

P. 67, for irrevalent r. irrelative. P. 73, for stagnant r. turbid. P. 114, for banks r. bank. P. 116, dele who. P. 204, for Centryphon r. Trypho. P. 208, for libere r. bibere. P. 257, for midnight r. balmy. P. 308, for Ominia r. Omnia.



HAVING formed the resolution of visiting the United States, I repaired, December 15, 1797, from Salisbury to Bristol, with a view of embarking on board a Snow of two hundred tons, which lay at the Quay, and was bound to New-York. The Captain had purposed to sail the 20th of the same month, but it was not before January 7th of the new year, that the vessel moved from the wharf, when the spring-tide enabled her to proceed down the river.

For my passage, which was in the steerage, I had paid seven guineas to the merchants who chartered the vessel, and my mess, which was with two young gentlemen of my acquaintance, cost me only three pounds more. But, with this money, besides provisions, we purchased a stove, which, during the voyage, was a treasure to us. It not only fortified us against the cold, but we cooked our victuals upon it; and the drawer which was designed to hold the ashes, made an admirable oven.

« AnteriorContinuar »