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American Scenes, and Christian Slavery A Recent Tour of Four Thousand Miles in the United States   By:

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During his recent sojourn in the United States, the Author did not conceive the intention of writing a book on the subject. All he contemplated was the publication of a few letters in a London Journal on which he had been accustomed to rely for intelligence from Europe when residing in Berbice. So much he was disposed to attempt for several reasons.

Having entered the States by their most Southern port that of New Orleans, and finding himself at once in the midst of Slavery, he had opportunities of observing that system not often enjoyed by a British "Abolitionist." As the Pastor, also, of a large congregation, of whom a great number were but a few years ago held in cruel bondage, he would naturally look upon the treatment of the same race in America with keener eyes and feelings more acute than if he had not stood in that relation.

Identified, too, with those persons who represent the principles of the old Puritans and Nonconformists in England, he would survey the growth and spread of those principles in their new soil and climate with a more than common interest. New England, especially, on whose sods the foot prints of the Pilgrims had been impressed, and on whose rocks their early altars had been reared, would be to him hallowed ground.

Travelling, leisurely, as he did, at his own expense, northward from New Orleans to Boston, and westward as far as Utica, making a tour of more than four thousand miles, sometimes known and sometimes unknown, just as inclination prompted, representing no public body, bound to no party, a "Deputation sent by himself," he was completely free and independent in thought and action, and enjoyed advantages for observation which do not often meet.

It was natural that he should wish to tell his friends in Great Britain, and in the West Indies, what he had seen and heard. To denounce what is evil and to commend what is good is at all times gratifying; in doing which, he sought to describe the men and the manners of America just as they appeared to him.

Several letters, containing the narrative of a few days spent in New Orleans, appeared in the Patriot . Their favourable reception by the readers of that journal led to the preparation of the present volume, in which the letters referred to, having undergone a careful revision, re appear, followed by nearly thirty others descriptive of the Author's tour.

Our Transatlantic friends are morbidly sensitive as to the strictures of strangers. They hate the whole tribe of Travellers and Tourists, Roamers and Ramblers, Peepers and Proclaimers, and affect to ridicule the idea of men who merely pass through the country, presuming to give opinions on things which it is alleged so cursory a view cannot qualify them fully to understand. Our cousins have, doubtless, had occasional provocations from the detested race in question; but their feeling on this point amounts to a national weakness. It is always worth knowing how we appear to the eyes of others, and what impression the first sight of us is apt to produce; and this knowledge none can communicate but the stranger, the tourist, the passer by. What faults and failings soever we may have in England, and their "name is legion," by all means let them be unsparingly exposed by every foreign tourist that treads upon our soil. Let us be satirized, ridiculed, laughed at, caricatured, anything, so that we may be shamed out of all that is absurd and vicious in our habits and customs. In the present instance our Western kinsmen are described by one, if they will believe his own testimony, of the most candid and truthful of travellers, one who has viewed them and all their institutions, except one , with the most friendly eye, and who deeply regrets that so much of what is lovely and of good report should be marred and blotted by so much of what is disgraceful to a great and enlightened people... Continue reading book >>

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