A Book of the United States
Exhibiting its Geography, Divisions, Constitution, and Government and Presenting a View of the Republic Generally, and of the Individual States
Library of Alexandria
IN presenting this volume to the American public, the introductory remarks in which we shall indulge will be few and general, as the book is one of that kind that speaks with singular plainness for itself, and seems to us to require little upon the prefatory page in the way of explanation, either with reference to its character considered collectively, or in detail. The chief object in preparing this work has been to furnish something which should be found to embrace those subjects which are of abiding interest and importance to all classes. It has been a wish to present such matters, as well as could be done in the compass allowed, as are of interest to all classes of readers, and an acquaintance with which is desirable for our own citizens especially. Directed by these intentions, it is hoped that the efforts to bring a valuable and attractive volume before the public may have proved successful; and that, viewed with reference to the subjects of which it treats, this may be called, emphatically, a book for this country, exhibiting, at one view, a picture of the Republic in its physical, political, and social conditions, so drawn and colored as to present in pleasant relief its most striking and peculiar features. Simplicity was a leading object in the preparation of the work. By such object it was natural to be guided, when it was remembered that the pages were designed for the general eye and for all classes. This quality was allowed to govern, in a great degree, both in the thought and style; and if, in any case, it may have been carried to a point beyond the fortunate one, it will be believed, we presume, that the fault, if it be such, is upon the better side. In some instances interesting historical accounts are retained and enlarged upon, from a consideration of the universally popular character which such accounts generally possess. It is not known, however, that they are referred to or dwelt upon in such a manner as to induce the charge of credulity beyond that very pardonable degree which all well disposed and good natured, and we may add, well informed, writers and readers are ever ready to meet. Frequent references are made to able and prominent writers, in connection with the several important subjects which are here introduced; and such extracts are given, as, it is thought, will best illustrate and enforce them. This course, with most readers, is an acceptable one, and in a work of this nature it is the best that can be pursued, frequently, to accomplish, within reasonable limits, the design of the undertaking. To enlarge would seem to be useless. The volume must speak for itself, and bear its recommendation within. It is hoped, with the several sketches of the Republic which it intends to present, under its different aspects, it may prove an agreeable and instructive one to the community. We had intended to have annexed a list of the writers consulted and extracted from in the course of the volume; but we believe the references in the pages will supersede the necessity of a more particular notice. It would be unjust, however, not to mention our especial obligation to the excellent View of the United States by Mr. Hinton, of which we have made the freest use throughout the volume.