Abbildungen der Seite

ing a few words in behalf of an adopted work, that has had none of the advantages of paternal care.

The Author is far away, in the lands of which these volumes treat; but every page will tell that his heart is still at home. The name of England, her prosperity, her character for honor and righteous dealing, are dearer to the lonely traveller than his own. Here, in the calm shelter of our English homes, this lover-like feeling may seem dormant; there is nothing to strike the fire from the flint: but, in other lands, among the jealous strictures of rival nations, the feeling is ever predominant: let it be pardoned to the Author, if it should seem too prominent. His nationality has at least never betrayed him into an ungenerous remark upon Americans; he acknowledges their virtues, he rejoices in their prosperity, he confesses their power; but he fearlessly laughs at their foibles, and denounces their crimes.

One word more, and the Editor leaves Hochelaga to be judged on its own merits. This work-whatever else it may be-is work: it contains no hastily-written, crude impressions, but the deeply-tested convictions of an earnestly-inquiring mind. The first few chapters may not seem to argue this; but in books, as in conversations, our national habits of reserve seem to exercise their influence: on first introduction to the reader, a light and general tone will generally be found in English works, that only deepens into earnestness and confidence as we proceed; we create, or hope to create, sympathies, and on these we lean more confidently as we trust that they increase.

The Editor would fain be permitted one word of apology for the office he has undertaken. He is far from presuming on the kind reception he has gratefully experienced from the public, by supposing that his name would be a recommenda

tion to these volumes. But it seemed essential that an anonymous work, so full of assertions and statements, should have some name, however humble, to be responsible for their tone and truth. That responsibility the Editor undertook for his friend with confidence, before he had perused his pages; he now maintains it with pride.

In a word—as an humble friend may be the means of introducing an eminent stranger to society, the Editor takes the liberty of presenting to the public a work far worthier than his own.

105, Piccadilly, London, July, 1846.

E. W.


I SHALL not here enter into a list of apologetic reasons for publishing the following pages. Although I feel very strongly the necessity of laying them before my own mind, there is not the slightest use in presenting them to the reader. That I have published, is the only thing which can possibly concern him, and that probably in the minutest degree.

No one ever yet toiled through a dull work in consideration of the appeals or entreaties of an unknown author. It suffices that the book is there; if it be liked, no apologies are due-if not, a volume of them would not make it more entertaining and instructive.

The visits to North America—the subject of this book— extended over somewhat less than two years. I have adopted the form of a continuous journey, to give a sort of regularity to very disjointed matter. Several of the places mentioned, I have visited on various occasions; at a few, chiefly in Canada, I remained stationary for some time.

For this magnificent country I retain a feeling of regard and interest inferior only to that for England. I pray that I may not live to see the time, when another flag replaces the Red Cross of St. George upon the citadel of Quebec.

Some ten years ago, in a season of mutual misunderstanding, there were not a few in England and in Canada who wished to sever the connecting tie. Since then, a generous but deter

mined policy, on the one hand, and a wholesome re-action on the other, have produced a salutary change; all are now too much alive to their real interests to entertain the thought. To make the probabilities of separation even a subject of discussion, is attended with much mischief: it unsettles men's minds, renders Englishmen chary of investing their capital in Canada, and encourages the ambitious views of our annexing neighbors. It is vain to think of it: the British Government have expended of late years, very large sums in improving the communications, and strengthening the military defences of the country. They have announced their determination to incur the hazards of war before sacrificing their claim to a remote dependency of this magnificent province. Rather than surrender the North American portion of her empire, England will risk her existence as a nation. A vast majority of her subjects in this country* are ready to stand by her to the last.

It is my earnest wish to assist, as far as my feeble voice can be heard, in giving our English people at home a more intimate knowledge of our "England in the New World ;" of its climate and capabilities; of the condition of its inhabitants; of their social habits and amusements. Numbers of books have been already written on this country;* mine is not to supply any want, but simply as one more-as further testimony to the interest of the subject.

With regard to the United States, I have done my utmost to attain a correct view of their general progress and the state of their people. Many of my observations may, perhaps, be distasteful to an American reader; but this is a penalty which every stranger who ventures an honest opinion must incur. I heard a very intelligent, well-informed man, connected

* Canada.-ED.

with a periodical of considerable reputation at New York, assert that all English writers are bought up by the Aristocracy, and, therefore, that they speak disparagingly of America and her institutions. If my friend should ever happen to peruse these volumes, he will scarcely accuse the Aristocracy of having invested much capital in suborning me.

I was astonished at the general prosperity of the Americans, their industry and skill, the vast resources of their country, and their advance in all the useful arts of life. In most, if not all, of these, they stand first among the nations of the earth. I will not say they inspired me with affection or admiration, but they did inspire me with wonder. Their Institutions appear excellently well adapted to their situation and character at present, in many essential respects; but I consider them to be inapplicable and odious to other countries, or even to the probable future condition of their own.

They possess many great virtues, but not generally those which attract. Their well-directed reason may be far better than mere generous impulse; but it does not touch the heart. Whatever esteem the traveller may entertain, he will scarcely bear away with him much warmth of feeling towards them as a people.

On many subjects I have obtained information from other works, which it would be tedious to enumerate here. Some American publications on Oregon have been of much assistance to me; but I chiefly speak from what I learned from people who had been resident in the country.

I am now a great distance from England. This manuscript is committed to a kind and gifted friend, who will direct its publication. For your sake and mine, kind reader, would that a portion of that friend's genius could be infused into its pages!

« ZurückWeiter »