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SCENES AND SKETCHES
EMBRACING DESCRIPTIONS OF
FRANCE, PORTUGAL, SPAIN, ITALY, SICILY,
SWITZERLAND, BELGIUM, AND HOLLAND,
INTERESTING NOTICES OF THEIR PRINCIPAL CITIES AND TOWNS.
CAREFULLY PREPARED FROM THE BEST AND LATEST SOURCES,
BY ROBERT SEARS.
ILLUSTRATED WITH NUMEROUS ENGRAVINGS.
PUBLISHED BY ROBERT SEARS, 128 NASSAU STREET.
J. 8. REDFIELD, CLINTON HALL.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1847,
By ROBERT SEARS, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, in and for the Southern
District of New York.
STEREOTYPED BY REDFIELD & SAVAGE,
13 Chambers Street, N. Y.
So great has been the influence of cheap novels upon the morals and welfare of our community, and so extensively have they been circulated, that within the last year, men of sense, and men of family, those who have wives, and those whose chil. dren are just coming forward on the stage of action, have risen up in their might, and boldly presented themselves against the further wholesale diffusion of books, which having no useful end or aim, and conveying no teachings of wisdom, or lessons of practical utility, serve but to pass away an idle hour; and, in many cases, to destroy a disposition for works of a more valuable character.
We bave attempted, in an humble and unobtrusive way to assist in this noble work. We have endeavored to call the attention of the American people to the diffusion of truly valuable knowledge - knowledge which can be made available in every rank and station of life. To this end have our efforts been directed. Nor is this all; still further to assist in this glorious undertaking, our books have been made attractive by pictorial embellishments, designed by the first artists, and from authentic pictures. These embellishments also serve another purpose, to humanize the mind, to render it alive to the charms of nature, and to inspire among the people a taste for the fine arts.
In this enterprise our efforts have been nobly sustained by the people, and all interested in diffusing principles of sound education. Our PICTORIAL WORKs have found their way into every village. They have been offered as premiums for excel. lence in mental attainments; and have been introduced into the libraries of sabbath and district schools. Men of genius and talent, those holding the highest official stations in the country- men who direct the masses who have placed their mark on the present age, and who will be ever remembered as among the gifted of the nineteenth century — have cheered us onward with their approbation. Sustained by the influence and patronage of those whose good opinion is ever to be appreciated, we shall go on laboring earnestly and zealqusly in the great cause, uninfluenced by those whose envy may detract from the merits of our books.
Only a few months since we issued the “ Pictorial Descriplion of Great Britain and Ireland.” The present, although a separate and distinct book, may be regarded as another of the same series. It treats of a part of the European continent, which is deeply interesting, and over which the classics of Tacitus, Horace, Cicero, and Virgil, have thrown a charm, which does not exist in the more northerly parts of Europe. We commend our new work to those who have smiled so kindly on our previous enterprises, assuring them that the present work is equal in value to its predecessors.
R. S. New YORK, May 1, 1847.
THE PARK OF BRUSSELS.
We have selected for our frontispiece a fine drawing of the beautiful park of the city of Brussels, with a view of the Representatives' Hall. The Park, as a whole, forms a very extensive and magnificent range of pleasure-grounds, adorned by rows of lofty trees, and containing several large and beauti ul lawns, ornamented with statues and fountains. Around this have been placed the most splendid edifices of the city, including the palaces, public offices, and finest private residences; and one of the most beautiful of these, the Hall of the Representatives, has been selected as the central point of our engraving.
It needs no new recapitulation of historical facts, to throw an interest around the city of Brussels. The plains of Brabant, with the dark forest of Soignies — supposed to be a remnant of that of Ardennes, immortal in Sbakspere's “As you like it”and the little villages of Quatre-Bras, St. Jean, La Belle Alliance, and Waterloo, which surround it on the south and southwest, within a few leagues, have been, since the memorable eighteenth of June, 1815, indissolubly associated with one of the greatest political and poetical crises of modern times.
Brussels still rings with its “sound of revelry by night,” and amid all changes holds its place as one of the gayest and most elegant cities of the old world. It now stands as the capital of a new kingdom, built up in the very heart of Europe, amid the jarring jealousies of the other powerful and time-beaten empires. The state of Belgium, for four centuries subjected to other powers, has achieved its independence, claimed its individual nationality, and founded a constitutional monarchy, under which religious liberty, the freedom of the press, liberty of instruction, personal liberty, and the right of petition, are guarantied to the citizen.
Without entering upon any of the speculations which this, her position, or the onward steps of the principle of freedom which have led to it, open, we are happy to have been able to furnish the present view of one of those beautiful spots in her principal city, which time and revolutions have spared to enrich the blessings which the progress of civilization has given to her people.