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THE spirit of adventure which has increased in proportion with the advancement of commerce, and of which it is perhaps a parent, has contributed much within the last hundred years, in expanding the human mind, and extending the bonds which formerly attached a society only, round the whole universe and to each individual of the human species.
To the aspiring genius of a Columbus wc owe our national existence. It is to him the civilized world must bow with reverence, when the gold and filver of the New World, together with the immense sources of improvement in natural history, and other sciences, are laid open to their acquisition by this discovery. It is to him that commerce owes its second and more vigorous birth, and the art of
navigation that perfection to which it has now arrived; through this art the remotest nations are united in knowledge, manners, and property, more intimately than the inhabitants of two provinces of one nation were in the fifteenth century.
Under what immense obligations are the sciences laid by the republics of Genoa and Venice, who gave to mankind the discoverer of America and the commerce of the Indies. Portugal and Spain partake of the glory which belongs to those mighty enterprizes, in being the nations which opened the bosom of the New Indies, and intrepidly forced a new passage to the Old, round the boisterous cape of Africa. England, in her gallant Raleigh, Holland, in her scientific Dampier, and France in a crowd of enterprising navigators, have had the honour of carrying the sailing art to its present state of excellence.
Happy had it been for the Aborigines of the New World, and of many uncivilized
nations of the Old, had philanthro y followed where science daringlý trod, or had the principles of a humane philosophy kept pace with the intrepidity of heroic adventure.
But it seems to be the destiny of mankind to arrive at perfection in the sciences by the low progression of ages only, and that it is given to the present period to obtain by experience the desired principles of known ledge, when men are yet incapable of duly estimating their value, or delay till it is amon tus raciou couvert lásd-vou pior-1 and immediate use.
Useful lessons are however taught by that species of experience which is derived from the history of nations and individuals. For the travels of men, who have visited remote countries and people, whether actuated by the spirit of curiosity, or gain, have signally contributed to the edification of the world at large, and to the interest of the philosopher, the merchant, and the lover of adventure.
It is not presumed, however, that in the present work, such great advantages we have already been derived from the writings of distinguished travellers, should be extended in an eminent degree ; far from it; its claims are but the humble share of medier ocrity ; the object and course of travel, which it describes, is not susceptible of extraordinary novelty, nor of scientific research; fome degree of both, however, we may venture to promise. . Besides, the circumhances under whick the-yoyage was taliani and particularly the condition of total blindness to which the Author was reduced at the conclusion of it, may readily be considered as a preventative to the general perfection which the work would probably poffefs, if dictated under more favourable and happy circumstances.
The liberal minded citizens of America, to whom this work is dedicated, will freely make the few allowances expected in this part of its character. They, we are con