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PREF A C E.

So much has been written within these few

year's respecting North America, that it may not be unnecessary, in introducing the succeeding pages to the reader's notice, to state the grounds on which the author ventures to solicit for them a favourable

reception.

In the numerous works which have been published, both on the United States and Canada, comparatively little has been said as to the moral condition of the inhabitants, their literary and religious characteristics ;-on these, certainly the most important features in the American character, the writer is persuaded that much misapprehension prevails in his native country, and he would gladly be instrumental in removing a part of it. He does not indeed pretend to have given any of these subjects a systematic discussion; but they have been steadily kept in view as particularly deserving of attention, and he hopes that he has succeeded in bringing together a good deal of information, on matters of permanent interest and importance, without altogether excluding topics of a lighter kind, on which a traveller is generally permitted to be somewhat loquacious.

It may be asked, why so long an interval has been allowed to elapse, between the date of the travels and the period of their publication? He can only reply that the resolution to publish, was formed and abandoned oftener than once ;

and after the composition was begun, various interruptions occurred to retard its progress.

He is persuaded, however, that the work has suffered nothing from this delay; on the contrary, that however defective it may now be, it would have been still more so, had the compilation been completed any considerable time sooner.

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The interesting author of the Diary of an Invalid,' remarks, that “no one but he who has tried the experiment, knows how difficult it is to be accurate; —a book of travels must always be more or less a volume of inaccuracies.” Perfectly assured, from his own experience, of the truth of these positions; the author bespeaks the indulgence of the reader, both to the materials of his book, and to its execution. On matters of opinion, he must expect that many will think him in error; on those of fact and observation, he trusts, that, although he may have sometimes gone wrong, he will not in general be found unworthy of confidence.

UNIVERSITY PRESS, Glasgow,

October 25th, 1823.

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