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ment, with very little alteration; having only
had to translate the extended remarks, that were
added in preparing it for the press,—which has
been done with considerable license, and with
out confining myself very strictly to the letter of
the French original.
I am perfectly aware of the double danger to which a foreigner, offering an account of England, written in the English language, exposes himself. Any apology on the subject, would, I know, be vain and useless; and, having stated my motives, I throw myself on the indulgence of the public: No man is: expected to write perfectly a foreign language petihaps, indeed, he loses the finer tact:of his owns as he acquires the familiar use
of another, and is perfect in neither.
Such wonderful changes have taken place since
this Journal was written, that a considerable part
of the views and opinions it records are now com
pletely out of date. Yet an account of things as they were at the zenith of that
enslaved the world, may still possess some in
terest; and serve to shew what resources, and
how much life and strength remained in that in
sulated corner of Europe, to which the conqueror
was seeking a ford, from the shores of the Baltic
to those of Spain and Portugal.
THE Writer of this Journal 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, from the beginning, a journal of what he did and saw, faithfully and plainly recorded. Such a journal is like gathering fruit in a basket. If you attempt it only with your hands, 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 Stael, 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.