« AnteriorContinuar »
nith of that power which had enslaved the
possess some interest; and serve to shew what resources, and how much life and strength remained in that insulated corner of Europe, to which the conqueror was seeking a ford, from the shores of the Baltic to those of Spain and Portugal.
N. B.-The Author etched himself the plates of the second edition ; although unpractised in the art, he thought the intention and spirit of his own drawings would be best understood by himself.
The Writer of this Journal has spent nearly two years in Great Britain, without any other object than that of seeing the country. He was born in France, and had resided more than twenty years in the United States of America before he made this voyage. To give the friends he had left in America the pleasure of following him upon the map,-of seeing and thinking with him,-and in order to retain some traces of new objects, the remembrance of which would otherwise soon have faded on his memory, he sent to them, from the first, a journal of what he saw and did, faithfully and plainly recorded. Such a journal is like gathering fruit in a basket. If you attempt it with your hands only when they are full, you drop what you have already, in endeavouring to get more.
The Journal was written in English, because the things and persons the traveller saw were best described in the language of the country, which is become familiar to him by long habit. It was seen in England by a few friends, who read parts of it with interest, and, for the first time in his life, the idea entered his mind of writing a book! He does not mean to throw any responsibility on his friends; none of them pressed him to publish; he did not yield to their solicitations; and he alone is answerable for the consequences, alarming as they may be. He was, indeed, encouraged by the consideration that no French travels in England had come to his knowledge deserving of notice. M. Faujas de St Fond gave all his attention to minerals; Madame Roland, Madame de Genlis, and Madame de Staël, have spoken incidentally of what they have seen in England, through the medium of their various prejudices, or for effect in works of imagination. In remoter times, the Chevalier Hamilton published only the chronique scandaleuse of a profligate court. Sully thought only of his embassy.
Their present successor did not merely traverse England ;-he lived in it without business, and was not pressed for time. His wife, who is
English, was with him; and he owes to her introduction a greater share of domestic intimacy than foreigners usually enjoy in England, or indeed in any country. His acquaintance with the language enabled him to observe with greater ease and accuracy than the generality of French tourists. In short, he might hope to do better what none had done well.
Private anecdotes have been excluded as much as possible. It is a great sacrifice; for they do not merely amuse the reader, but they initiate him into the peculiarities of national manners, and the mysteries of domestic life. They instruct without the form of instruction. You may give them to your friends ;—but it is an unpar. donable indelicacy to make a public exhibition of those who have opened their doors to you,
At the same time that personalities were struck out, the traveller was tempted to extend those occasional remarks he had introduced in his original Journal, on the constitution, the commerce, the finances, and the politics of Great Britain ; on its geology and its literature. He perceived at last that he had made essays instead of re