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voices of the mighty public, ventured so much of my existence, as a year, for their perusal ? My answer simply is,—to afford them amusement, if not instruction! By beholding the most common-place events in a new light, we look, as it were, on a new picture,—we survey, with delight, objects, and groupings, the previous colouring and position of which we never paused to contemplate; and now linger to admire that, which we hurried by with inattention before. Life is a star which changes its magnitude with the focus of the telescope through which you view it. To the short-sighted man, it presents a circle, narrow and contracted; he cares but for to-day, and regards not to-morrow: to the more prudent it is a succession of seasons, the partaking of pleasure or pain in the duration of which depends in a great degree upon himself. To me, I admit, the desire of writing a name which posterity may regard as something worthy remembrance, has long been a ruling passion, and as this can alone be successfully done by identifying myself with the interests of mankind, by administering to their gratifica
tion, conferring amusement, or information, I have been careful to insert every thing which may lead to the end I contemplated, and carefully to exclude aught which would tend to the reverse.
If it be any merit to say, that the pages contain the immediate product of the transfer from my feelings to paper, — that, written at the very moment when the spell was on me, (if I may use such a term) they have lost nothing of the enthusiastic spirit which animates every writer when his thoughts are labouring in the throes of their mental parturition, they certainly do possess that merit.
Some of my continental sketches, may be crude and undigested: I have given the reason, and I preferred them to appear before the public, even in this imperfect state, than lose that sparkle of originality, which would be quenched by attempting an alteration.
In the Introduction of My Tour I have given reasons, I trust satisfactory ones, for adding my name to the thousand and one, who have written their travels. It may be therefore superfluous for me to allude to them here, and I shall only observe, that in the descriptions of any tourist who gives his own impressions, there must ever be found novelty The human mind receives the ideas occasioned by beholding the wondrous powers of Nature in as various lights as there are shades of character; the man who is here to-day, may be of different temperament from him who departed yesterday,-one may be a bigot in religion; the heart of the other teem with universal toleration ; and though they have published their conflicting views, the beauty of the landscape may yet be exhibited in fresh colours, and lo! from the pencil of the third, the entire starts forth in a new point of sight. The manners and customs of other people, with whom we are daily becoming more and more intimate, must always be subjects of interest; and, however superficial the account, it cannot fail to impart some information. In this, I hope I may be found instructive, if not amusing.
My impressions, doubtless, the critic will call feeble, and possibly some erroneous.
Years shall strengthen the former, and information correct
the latter ; both, I trust, may grow on
To those who favour my pages with a perusal, I can with truth say, I have done my best to impart as much pleasure from my tour, as I have myself enjoyed ; and, while on the spot, spared no pains to render my first book, and in all probability my last of this nature, worthy of being read. I say on the spot, because I was well aware of the jealous application and unremitting attention which the studies of an arduous and honourable profession claim from those who have enlisted themselves under that ermined banner, which has waved over the ranks of the many sages who have been remarkable for all that is great and glorious in the history of mankind. A jealous solicitude, which has regarded me with watchful eyes, and which, but for the precautions I had taken of completing my diary on the instant, would, most probably, have been a complete bar to this work's publicity. I now leave my Impressions in your hands; when next I address you in public, my situation shall be more capable of works of practical utility; but, for this present writing, I entreat your leniency, and conclude by saying, that be my success what it may, I have had no other object than to excite the human mind to works worthy its creation, by raising curiosity to examine objects of interest, and enliven the vacant hour by impressions inoffensive, if not commendatory.