Endeavoured To Give A Faithful Picture Of What I Saw And Heard, Avoiding
The Beaten Track As Much As Possible, And Dwelling Principally On Those
Things In Which I Knew That My Friends Were Most Interested.
Previously to visiting the United States, I had read most of the American
travels which had been published; yet
From experience I can say that even
those who read most on the Americans know little of them, from the
disposition which leads travellers to seize and dwell upon the ludicrous
points which continually present themselves.
We know that there is a vast continent across the Atlantic, first
discovered by a Genoese sailing under the Spanish flag, and that for many
years past it has swallowed up thousands of the hardiest of our
population. Although our feelings are not particularly fraternal, we give
the people inhabiting this continent the national cognomen of "Brother
Jonathan," while we name individuals "Yankees." We know that they are
famous for smoking, spitting, "gouging," and bowie-knives - for monster
hotels, steamboat explosions, railway collisions, and repudiated debts. It
is believed also that this nation is renowned for keeping three millions
of Africans in slavery - for wooden nutmegs, paper money, and "fillibuster"
expeditions - for carrying out nationally and individually the maxim
"That they may take who have the power,
And they may keep who can."
I went to the States with that amount of prejudice which seems the
birthright of every English person, but I found that, under the knowledge
of the Americans which can be attained by a traveller mixing in society in
every grade, these prejudices gradually melted away.
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