American Notes
by Charles Dickens

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American Notes for General Circulation by Charles Dickens
Scanned and proofed by David Price
email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk





American Notes for General Circulation






PREFACE TO THE FIRST CHEAP EDITION OF "AMERICAN NOTES"



IT is nearly eight years since this book was first published. I
present it, unaltered, in the Cheap Edition; and such of my
opinions as it expresses, are quite unaltered too.

My readers have opportunities of judging for themselves whether the
influences and tendencies which I distrust in America, have any
existence not in my imagination. They can examine for themselves
whether there has been anything in the public career of that
country during these past eight years, or whether there is anything
in its present position, at home or abroad, which suggests that
those influences and tendencies really do exist. As they find the
fact, they will judge me. If they discern any evidences of wrong-
going in any direction that I have indicated, they will acknowledge
that I had reason in what I wrote. If they discern no such thing,
they will consider me altogether mistaken.

Prejudiced, I never have been otherwise than in favour of the
United States. No visitor can ever have set foot on those shores,
with a stronger faith in the Republic than I had, when I landed in
America.

I purposely abstain from extending these observations to any
length. I have nothing to defend, or to explain away. The truth
is the truth; and neither childish absurdities, nor unscrupulous
contradictions, can make it otherwise. The earth would still move
round the sun, though the whole Catholic Church said No.

I have many friends in America, and feel a grateful interest in the
country. To represent me as viewing it with ill-nature, animosity,
or partisanship, is merely to do a very foolish thing, which is
always a very easy one; and which I have disregarded for eight
years, and could disregard for eighty more.

LONDON, JUNE 22, 1850.




PREFACE TO THE "CHARLES DICKENS" EDITION OF "AMERICAN NOTES"



MY readers have opportunities of judging for themselves whether the
influences and tendencies which I distrusted in America, had, at
that time, any existence but in my imagination. They can examine
for themselves whether there has been anything in the public career
of that country since, at home or abroad, which suggests that those
influences and tendencies really did exist. As they find the fact,
they will judge me. If they discern any evidences of wrong-going,
in any direction that I have indicated, they will acknowledge that
I had reason in what I wrote. If they discern no such indications,
they will consider me altogether mistaken - but not wilfully.

Prejudiced, I am not, and never have been, otherwise than in favour
of the United States. I have many friends in America, I feel a
grateful interest in the country, I hope and believe it will
successfully work out a problem of the highest importance to the
whole human race. To represent me as viewing AMERICA with ill-
nature, coldness, or animosity, is merely to do a very foolish
thing: which is always a very easy one.