Imagens da página

formation respecting that part of the world to which they relate, as is usually found in productions on similar subjects, I should certainly, never have been induced to offer them to the acceptance of the public.

To those who may be disposed to apply to my style the severity of criticism, I would beg leave to observe, that, if I had even felt a disposition to become a candidate for literary fame, my numerous avocations would have precluded the possibility of bestowing such a portion of time on these pages, as every literary man knows to be indispensable to the accomplishment of such an object. Compelled, as I have been, to employ almost every hour of my life in avocations, - which, though less congenial to me than those of literature, are necessarily of greater importance, I have had little leisure either for partaking of those intellectual banquets which are provided in rich profusion by other writers, or of attempting to prepare for my own readers a more homely repast. Much, I think, will not be expected from me, when I acknowledge, that almost every sentence contained in these volumes was composed by the light of the midnight lamp, with a mind sometimes unhinged, and often enervated, from having been employed during the day in duties of paramount consideration. During a resi

[ocr errors]

dence of nearly six years in America, I cannot now call to recollection a single day which I had an opportunity of devoting exclusively either to pleasure or to study: And these circumstances, united with the fact that the greater part of this work was written before the author had attained his twenty-third year, will constitute a sufficient apology for the defects which it contains.

In the succeeding INTRODUCTION, I have adverted to my native country, and to the motives for leaving it by which I and my friends were influenced : The reader will there find, that I am an Irishman ; and if, in the indulgence of a strong attachment to the land of my birth, I exhibit some of that warmth of feeling and expression by which all my countrymen are distinguished, I hope to be pardoned for such unstudied and incidental displays of nationality.

I know only of another circumstance to which I may be expected to allude in the form of brief apology; and that is, to the recital of some Trans-atlantic conversations which occurred in my presence, and which I considered to be highly characteristic of American morals. These details, however, it will be perceived, have been given with as studious'a regard to decency, as the high claims of my duty to the Public would allow. I could not reconcile it to my

judgment, to suffer any man to rise up from the perusal of this publication, without obtaining from it accurate intelligence concerning the state of society in Upper Canada : And, though a decided friend to the speedy colonization of that fertile and extensive tract of the New World, I raise my warning voice against the undue expectations which an emigrant may cherish respecting “ the artless simplicity, the innocent lives, and the unsophisticated manners” of American settlers, among whom he intends to take up his future abode. To tell such an individual, “ that he is about to be introduced “ to an earthly Paradise, in which persons of “ both sexes are celebrated for their chaste con

verse and exemplary virtues,”—would be most egregiously to mislead. But when I offer him a few practical illustrations of Canadian morality, and shew him the proximate causes of the grossness of manners and of the semi-barbarism, which are much too prevalent, I guard the proposed settler against all misapprehensions on this subject, in a more effectual manner than by general remarks and distant cautions.

In communicating to the world the result of my

observations on the Canadas, I have, according to modern usage, adopted the epistolary form, on account of the facilities which it affords to such a writer as myself in the free expression of his opinions; and chiefly because, under the familiar designation of a CORRESPONDENT, I am enabled to introduce numerous remarks that might appear too trivial, when delivered in the imposing formality of didactic composition. The extracts from the Journal, which I wrote during my excursion through the United States, I have presented to my readers in a consecutive and abridged narrative, that it might be complete by itself.

I lie under no necessity to assure those who know my connections in life, as well as my principles, that my sentiments on several of the subjects discussed in these volumes, have been as maturely formed, as they are honestly and fearlessly declared; and that many of them are at variance with those of some persons whom I highly respect. But how erroneous soever these friends


deem certain views and conceptions which I entertain and have here published, it is a duty I owe to all other persons to affirm, that in no single instance have I enlisted wilful misrepresentation or personal obloquy in support of my positions ; but have stated facts and reasoned upon them in a manner, which, I hope, the most scrupulous of my readers will consider to be at once fair and conscientious.

E. A. T.

« AnteriorContinuar »