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Glances at Europe In a Series of Letters from Great Britain, France, Italy, Switzerland, &c. During the Summer of 1851.   By: (1811-1872)

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First Page:

GLANCES AT EUROPE:

IN A

Series of Letters

FROM

GREAT BRITAIN, FRANCE, ITALY, SWITZERLAND, &c.

DURING

THE SUMMER OF 1851.

INCLUDING NOTICES OF THE

GREAT EXHIBITION, OR WORLD'S FAIR.

BY HORACE GREELEY.

NEW YORK: DEWITT & DAVENPORT, PUBLISHERS. 1851.

ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1851, by

DEWITT & DAVENPORT,

in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York.

R. Craighead, Printer and Stereotyper, 112 Fulton Street.

NO APOLOGY.

If there be any reader impelled to dip into notes of foreign travel mainly by a solicitude to perfect his knowledge of the manners and habits of good society, to which end he is anxious to learn how my Lord Shuffleton waltzes, what wine Baron Hob and nob patronizes, which tints predominate in Lady Highflyer's dress, and what is the probable color of the Duchess of Doublehose's garters, he will only waste his time by looking through this volume. Even if the species of literature he admires had not already been overdone, I have neither taste nor capacity for increasing it. It was my fortune sometimes while in Europe to "sit at good men's feasts," but I brought nothing away from them for the public, not even the names of my entertainers and their notable guests. If I had felt at liberty to sketch what struck me as the personal characteristics of some gentlemen of note or rank whom I met, especially in England, I do not doubt that the popular interest in those letters would have been materially heightened. I did not, however, deem myself authorized to do this. In a few instances, where individuals challenged observation and criticism by consenting to address public gatherings, I have spoken of the matter and manner of their speeches and indicated the impressions they made on me. Beyond this I did not feel authorized to go, even in the case of public men speaking to the public through reports for the daily press; while those whom I only met privately or in the discharge of kindred duties, as Jurors at the Exhibition, I have not felt at liberty to bring before the public at all. Having thus explained what will seem to many a lack of piquancy, in the following pages, implying a privation of social opportunities, I drop the subject.

No one can realize more fully than the writer the utter absence of literary merit in these Letters. He does not deprecate nor seek to disarm criticism; he only asks that his sketches be taken for what they profess and strive to be, and for nothing else. That they are superficial, their title proclaims; that they were hurriedly written, with no thought of style nor of enduring interest, all whom they are likely to interest or to reach must already know. A journalist traveling in foreign lands, especially those which have been once the homes of his habitual readers or at least of their ancestors, cannot well refrain from writing of what he sees and hears; his observations have a value in the eyes of those readers which will be utterly unrecognized by the colder public outside of the sympathizing circle. For the habitual readers of The Tribune especially were these Letters written, and their original purpose has already been accomplished. Here they would have rested, but for the unsolicited offer of the publishers to reproduce them in a book at their own cost and risk, and on terms ensuring a fair share of any proceeds of their sale to the writer. Such offers from publishers to authors who have no established reputation as book makers are rarely made and even more rarely refused. Therefore, Sir Critic! whose dog eared manuscript has circulated from one publisher's drawer to another until its initial pages are scarcely readable, while the ample residue retain all their pristine freshness of hue, you are welcome to your revenge! Your novel may be tedious beyond endurance; your epic a preposterous waste of once valuable foolscap; but your slashing review is sure to be widely read and enjoyed... Continue reading book >>




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