Although I have hitherto forborne all preface or dedication on exhibiting my small ware to the public, concluding that the less I said about the matter the better, and from having some scruples about tacking any lady's or gentleman's name to bantlings from which I had withheld my own; yet, in the present case, do I consider myself bound, in a like spirit of honesty, to provide this book with a few words descriptive of its quality, lest my Readers, being disappointed, may charge me with having deluded them under false "Impressions."
I seek, then, to describe America as I saw it,—a mighty country, in the enjoyment of youth and health, and possessing ample room and time for the growth, which a few escapades incident to inexperience and high blood may retard, but cannot prevent. Heaven has written its destinies in the gigantic dimensions allotted to it, and it is not in the power of earth to change the record.
I seek to describe its people as I saw them,—clear-headed, energetic, frank, and hospitable; a community suited to, and labouring for, their country's advancement, rather than for their own present comfort. This is and will be their lot for probably another generation.
To those, then, who seek scandalous innuendos against, or imaginary conversations with, the fair, the brave, and the wise amongst the daughters and sons of America, I say, Read not at all; since herein, though something of mankind, there is little of any man, woman, or child, of the thousands with whom I have reciprocated hospitality and held kind communion.