THIS book will be found to be truly what its name denotes, "Sunny Memories." If the criticism be made that every thing is given couleur de rose, the answer is, Why not? They are the impressions, as they arose, of a most agreeable visit. How could they be otherwise? If there be characters and scenes that seem drawn with too bright a pencil, the reader will consider that, after all, there are many worse sins than a disposition to think and speak ...
THIS book will be found to be truly what its name denotes, "Sunny Memories."
If the criticism be made that every thing is given couleur de rose, the answer is, Why not? They are the impressions, as they arose, of a most agreeable visit. How could they be otherwise?
If there be characters and scenes that seem drawn with too bright a pencil, the reader will consider that, after all, there are many worse sins than a disposition to think and speak well of one's neighbors. To admire and to love may now and then be tolerated, as a variety, as well as to carp and criticize. America and England have heretofore abounded towards each other in illiberal criticisms. There is not an unfavorable aspect of things in the old world which has not become perfectly familiar to us; and a little of the other side may have a useful influence.
The writer has been decided to issue these letters principally, however, by the persevering and deliberate attempts, in certain quarters, to misrepresent the circumstances which, are here given. So long as these misrepresentations affected only those who were predetermined to believe unfavorably, they were not regarded. But as they have had some influence, in certain cases, upon really excellent and honest people, it is desirable that the truth should be plainly told.
The object of publishing these letters is, therefore, to give to those who are true-hearted and honest the same agreeable picture of life and manners which met the writer's own, eyes. She had in view a wide circle of friends throughout her own country, between whose hearts and her own there has been an acquaintance and sympathy of years, and who, loving excellence, and feeling the reality of it in themselves, are sincerely pleased to have their sphere of hopefulness and charity enlarged. For such this is written; and if those who are not such begin to read, let them treat the book as a letter not addressed to them, which, having opened by mistake, they close and pass to the true owner.
The English reader is requested to bear in mind that the book has not been prepared in reference to an English but an American public, and to make due allowance for that fact. It would have placed the writer far more at ease had there been no prospect of publication in England. As this, however, was unavoidable, in some form, the writer has chosen to issue it there under her own sanction.
There is one acknowledgment which the author feels happy to make, and that is, to those publishers in England, Scotland, France, and Germany who have shown a liberality beyond the requirements of legal obligation. The author hopes that the day is not far distant when America will reciprocate the liberality of other nations by granting to foreign authors those rights which her own receive from them.
The Journal which appears in the continental tour is from the pen of the Rev. C. Beecher. The Letters were, for the most part, compiled from what was written at the time and on the spot. Some few were entirely written after the author's return.
It is an affecting thought that several of the persons who appear in these letters as among the living, have now passed to the great future. The Earl of Warwick, Lord Cockburn, Judge Talfourd, and Dr. Wardlaw are no more among the ways of men. Thus, while we read, while we write, the shadowy procession is passing; the good are being gathered into life, and heaven enriched by the garnered treasures of earth.