Diary in America: With Remarks on Its Institutions

Diary in America: With Remarks on Its Institutions

Diary in America: With Remarks on Its Institutions

Diary in America: With Remarks on Its Institutions

Excerpt

According to Samuel Johnson, the traveller "ought to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are." In the nineteenth century the European traveller to the New World found that much that he had read and imagined did not exist in actuality. Only one thing was certain: that the American republic with its democratic principles was certainly vastly different from the European monarchies with their aristocratic traditions.

On the third of April 1837 Frederick Marryat boarded the Quebec at Portsmouth, England and set sail for New York. To his British contemporaries, Marryat was a popular author of novels and tales of the sea. His books were also widely read--generally in pirated editions --in the United States, and he was heralded on his arrival as a public figure.

Frederick Marryat was almost the beau-ideal Englishman of his time, a combination of such diverse traits as obstinacy, generosity, courage, sensitivity, snobbery, and frankness. He was a rigid Tory who saw in the Reform Bill of 1832 the end of "all that was aristocratical and elegant," but he was not so overwhelmed by his conservatism as to be incapable of protesting against a tradition which he . . .

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