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"O That my words were now written! O that they were printed in a book,” was the language of Job; and the same petition has, in substance, gone forth from many an author when looking forward to those months or years of anxiety and toil in which he was to exert himself, --- in vain it might be, -- to write that by which he would fain please alike the public and himself. “My desire is that mine adversary had written a book," said the good old patriarch quoted above. “My desire is, that mine adversary had a book to write," was the version given to this passage by a learned divine who was familiar with the toils and perplexities of authorship. A most malicious and unchristian prayer for one to utter in behalf even of his bitterest foe, were thriftless care and labor the author's only portion. True it may be, and doubtless is, that
“None but an author knows an author's cares ;” and yet is it also true, that these cares are often sweetened by a thousand pleasant and vivid recollections of the past. He may, perchance, recall many bright and sunny hours spent among the hallowed relics of the old world, or in roaming through the primeval
forests of Africa, or in gazing upon the lofty mountains of the southern portion of our own continent; or, more than all, in communion with the mighty deep in its ever-varying forms of grandeur and of beauty, overhung as it often is with skies of such gorgeous magnificence as to leave far in the back ground the most splendid creations of the painter and the poet. When a writer, in the quiet retirement of his closet, reviews such recollections, blended as they may be with the memory of scenes of social pleasure, imminent peril, and hair-breadth escapes by land and sea, he may have something of the feelings ascribed by the poet to his hero, when, roused by martial music, he again lived in the past, and
“ Thrice he fought his battles o'er,
And thrice he slew the slain.” The causes to which the following work owes its origin, and the leading objects before the mind when writing it, may be stated thus. A long and deeply cherished desire to visit foreign lands led the author, at the close of his professional education, to mature a plan for devoting two or three years to minutely examining the most interesting portions of the old world.
By being familiar with the more prevalent languages of southern Europe, he hoped to gain access to the latest and most accurate sources of information, in the way of social intercourse and of books, respecting the countries he should visit ; — their recent history, manners, and customs; religious rites and usages, institutions of education and benevolence, and other matters of interest.
His connexion with the Navy of the United States was accidental, and arose from the fact, that the privilege of a passage to the Mediterranean, in a man-ofwar of the larger class, had been granted him by the Secretary of the Navy, and, as there was no Chaplain on board, he yielded to inducements offered him to discharge the duties of the office during most of the succeeding cruise of two years and a half.
As the ship was at times, for weeks or months together, in ports adjacent to the most interesting portions of Southern Europe, every desirable facility was furnished for frequent excursions inland, as also for residing in families where the various languages of that region were spoken in their purity. An official connexion with our Navy opens to those who enjoy it, access not only to libraries and other public institutions, but also to the houses of persons of intelligence and rank, and to assemblies of the higher circles of society; advantages of which common travellers cannot often avail themselves, riding as they frequently do, posthaste through foreign lands, and leaving them wellnigh as ignorant of their language, social habits, and public institutions, as when they entered them.
As the author was relieved from his professional duties for the period of six months by the transfer of a Chaplain from another ship to that in which he sailed, he was thus enabled to cross Spain and Portugal in different directions at his leisure ; to reside for a time in the capitals, and to visit the most important cities of these two kingdoms, resorting to almost every possible means of conveyance, becoming familiar with the habits and modes of life of the various classes of society, learning from original sources the disclosures resulting from the then recent suppression of the convents, and other matters of interest connected with the Catholic faith, — now travelling with smugglers through wild and unfrequented paths, and then in the stately Diligence, rolling along the royal highway, - one day roaming through princely palaces, and the next a captive to lawless robbers. Thus cut off from all who spoke his own language, and domesticated among those of other tongues, he met with many singular incidents, and enjoyed peculiar facilities for acquiring interesting and useful information. How far these opportunities have been improved, the reader can judge.
Brief historical sketches of places visited have sometimes been given, that the reader might occupy as nearly as possible the same ground with the author, as to a knowledge of those facts which gave the highest interest to regions rich in recollections of the
Specific dates and the use of the present tense have, to some extent, been retained in narrating events, because the earlier portions of the work were written as letters, and their form could not be changed without a sacrifice of directness and interest in manner and style.
The main apology for such attempts at poetry as the following work contains, is found in the fact, that frequently the first record made by the author, of exciting scenes and incidents, was in verse. These descriptions have been inserted with a view to variety
rather than with the hope of thus acquiring literary fame, or of adding any thing to the interest of the narrative.
Much labor has been bestowed upon this work, with a view, on the one hand, to interest the general reader by a lively and graphic description of objects of curiosity and taste, and striking incidents by land and sea, and, on the other, to embody a large amount of information, not accessible to those familiar only with our own language, and fitted to be useful and instructive to men of education and intelligence.
Peculiar prominence has been given to the present state of Catholic Europe, and the recent religious revolution in Spain and Portugal, resulting in the suppression of convents and other important changes, as casting new light on the results of the Romish faith in those lands where it has reigned with undisputed sway. One motive for this has been the singular ignorance and apathy which prevail in the United States, with regard to the essential and inherent superstition, bigotry, and idolatry of the Papal religion, its hostility to general education, to freedom of thought and action, and to civil and religious liberty in every form. Still due credit is given for such institutions of education and benevolence as exist in Catholic countries, some of which are worthy of high commendation.
As the author spent some time on the western coast of Africa, visiting both the settlements of the colored colonists from the United States, and the villages of the native tribes, much labor has been devoted to preparing an account of the natural resources of Central