The Land of Contrasts eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 289 pages of information about The Land of Contrasts.
me from more than touching on countless topics, such as the phenomena of politics, religion, commerce, and industry, which would naturally find a place in any complete account of America.  I have also tried to avoid, so far as possible, describing well-known scenery, or in other ways going over the tracks of my predecessors.  The phenomena of the United States are so momentous in themselves that the observation of them from any new standpoint cannot be wholly destitute of value; while they change so rapidly that he would be unobservant indeed who could not find something new to chronicle.

It is important, also, to remember that the generalisations of this book apply in very few cases to the whole extent of the United States.  I shall be quite contented if any one section of the country thinks that I cannot mean it in such-and-such an assertion, provided it allows that the cap fits some other portion of the great community.  As a rule, however, it may be assumed that unqualified references to American civilisation relate to it as crystallised in such older communities as New York or Philadelphia, not to the fermenting process of life-in-the-making on the frontier.

In the comparisons between Great Britain and the United States I have tried to oppose only those classes which substantially correspond to each other.  Thus, in contrasting the Lowell manufacturer, the Hampshire squire, the Virginian planter, and the Manchester man, it must not be forgotten that the first and the last have many points of difference from the second and third which are not due to their geographical position.  Many of the instances on which my remarks are based may undoubtedly be called extreme; but even extreme cases are suggestive, if not exactly typical.  There is a breed of poultry in Japan, in which, by careful cultivation, the tail-feathers of the cock sometimes reach a length of ten or even fifteen feet.  This is not precisely typical of the gallinaceous species; but it is none the less a phenomenon which might be mentioned in a comparison with the apteryx.

Finally, I ought perhaps to say, with Mr. E.A.  Freeman, that I sometimes find it almost impossible to believe that the whole nation can be so good as the people who have been so good to me.


[1] I have some suspicion that this ought to be in quotation marks, but cannot now trace the passage.


The Land of Contrasts

When I first thought of writing about the United States at all, I soon came to the conclusion that no title could better than the above express the general impression left on my mind by my experiences in the Great Republic.  It may well be that a long list of inconsistencies might be made out for any country, just as for any individual; but so far as my knowledge goes the United States stands out as preeminently the “Land

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The Land of Contrasts from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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