« PreviousContinue »
significant. That day is past. But, if injurious impressions were made by one insignificant character, it is possible that contrary impressions may be produced by another. It was a little mouse, according to Æsop, that gnawed the net which entangled the lion, and set the forest monarch free. The mouse would have missed a fine opportunity, had it at the moment refused to gnaw. It possessed industry and influence, and used them. Every one is possessed of some degree of influence; if it be met by energy, and leisure to put it forth, it must not lie inactive, though it be but small.
The unpretending traces of what fell under everyday experience, here offered to the public, come from one who visited America with cordial feeling and ardent expectation, and was not disappointed. Of course, many subjects, such as literature and politics, run in parallel lines with such as are treated here. But they have been plentifully delineated by others, and this affords a plea for their entire omission, which the incompetence of the writer willingly embraces, while religious and social habits fall naturally within the range of her remark.
The diversities between America and Great Britain
are only sufficient to add the raciness of novelty to the observer's enjoyment. America is the country in which to form rapid and cordial acquaintances, and from which to carry friendships against whose continuance even the last enemy has no power. Character comes forth naturally there, and is therefore piquant and charming. Heart flows out fearlessly, and is therefore ardent.
A nation so prosperous does not need, or condescend to wish for, adulation. It is far above flattery
- but it demands justice, and in several cases has failed to obtain it from English tourists.
The light pages which follow design to be just, candid, and kind—not “hinting a fault, and hesitating a dislike," but admiring and blaming with equal simplicity
Every one admits that the present condition of things on the earth is not what it ought to be, either as it respects nations or individuals. None of my readers would say they are perfect, or that their country is perfect. We are, or ought to be, trying to improve. If I have, in some one or two painful instances, been obliged to allude to that which is evil, and ought to be changed, I say no more than
what millions of the citizens of the “ freest country in the world” think. If my small meed of approbation were of any value, it would be reduced to worthlessness by the absence of sincerity, in reference to circumstances which I must mourn over or disapprove. Let me be true or nothing..
The time is on the wing which will reduce all nations, with all their various governments, into one vast monarchy. Whatever we are under now, whether a despotism, a monarchy, or a republic, then those who have accepted the covenant of peace will find themselves under the gracious dominion of Him on whose head are many crowns. His throne is the holy hill of Zion. Under His government there are neither bond nor free, for all are His willing subjects -freemen whom His truth hath made free. Those who are given to Him out of the world will all be subjects in the KINGDOM THAT ENDURETH FOR EVER.
EDINBURGH, February 1852.