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anxious for the welfare of the masses, upon whose well-being rests the permanent greatness and prosperity of all classes in all nations.
He is no hired book-maker: he did not go to the United States to write a work, and, when he got there, to run through the country at a railroad rate, noting down some supposed peculiarities of dialect and manners, all of which, or nearly all of which, exist in one or other of the counties of Great Britain; and, on his return home, lay his book before the public, at the same time proving to the well-informed that he was as ignorant of the true state of that nation as when he first embarked upon his “travels.”
Mr. Brothers was long resident in the United States, and for some years was an active politician-not for place or distinction, for he did not seek either; but because he thought that their system of government, notwithstanding the palpable defects which, in carrying it out, frequently exhibited themselves, was the only one upon which the general liberty and well-being of the people of all nations could be secured. He, however, found out his mistake, as, by the way, almost every other well-informed Englishman who has settled in that country has done; and, for the sake of good government in general, he has laid the result of his experience before the world.
Mr. Brothers's book is, emphatically speaking, a book of facts. It was not his object to present himself before the world in the regular, conventional style of modern writers; and hence the absence in his work of that formality of arrangement, &c., which constitutes the only merit, if merit it can be called, of too many authors.
If there ever were a country in which, from its great natural resources, the fertility and almost immeasurable extent of its lands, poverty ought to be unknown to the labouring popula. tion, that country is the United States of North America. Yet, in this very country, the poverty and misery of these classes as the author has shown from indisputable authorities--are as great as, indeed, greater than in the densely-populated European nations. If, indeed, he had not shown this if he had only proved
that the republics of North America, commonly called the United States, were not better governed than the kingdoms of Europe, he would have proved sufficient for his purpose, namely, the folly of the working classes of this country in seeking to better their condition by organic changes in the government, and by assimilating it to that of our descendants on the other side of the Atlantic. Nor is this folly confined alone to the working classes : it might be easily proved, if it were necessary, that wealthy Whigs, ay, and even wealthy
Tories too, encourage, either directly or indirectly, the people of this country to approve of and to admire the government of the United States of North America—a government, if government it can be called, the principles of which, if brought into action in this country, would, in a very few years, deprive them of all their hereditary distinctions, and render their estates the common prey of relentless usurers, unprincipled speculators, and demagogue politicians.
We will not, however, in this Preface, anticipate the contents of the work itself ; a work which, we have no hesitation in saying, contains more facts—indisputable facts-exhibitory of the fallacy of what is called “self-government” than has ever been published.
Before concluding these prefatory remarks, we ought, perhaps, to apologize for a few errors which have crept into a part of the work, in consequence of the illness of the editor, and of the author's unavoidable absence. They are not, however, of much importance, with the exception of one relative to banking profits, which will be found corrected in the errata.
N.B. Copies of the work referred to in the Author's letter “ On the Cruelty of the Discipline of the State Prisons of Pennsylvania” are deposited in the British Museum, and in the principal libraries of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester, and Liverpool.