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THE 'BODY OF THE NATION' BUT the basin of the Mississippi is the BODY OF THE NATION. All the other parts are but members, important in themselves, yet more important in their relations to this. Exclusive of the Lake basin and of 300,000 square miles in Texas and New Mexico, which in many aspects form a part of it, this basin contains about 1,250,000 square miles. In extent it is the second great valley of the world, being exceeded only by... more...

CHAPTER I A WINTER MIDNIGHT BEFORE THE GREAT SPHINX A night wondrously clear and of a colour unknown to our climate; a place of dreamlike aspect, fraught with mystery. The moon of a bright silver, which dazzles by its shining, illumines a world which surely is no longer ours; for it resembles in nothing what may be seen in other lands. A world in which everything is suffused with rosy color beneath the stars of midnight, and where granite... more...

PREFACE Said a friend of mine to me some months ago: “Well now, why don’t you write a sensible book?  I should like to see you make people think.” “Do you believe it can be done, then?” I asked. “Well, try,” he replied. Accordingly, I have tried.  This is a sensible book.  I want you to understand that.  This is a book to improve your mind.  In this book I tell you all about... more...

My Dearest Mother, I suppose we are both addressing our letters to you, which might at first appear an unequal distribution of our favours, but as I know they will be read aloud to the assembled breakfast table, it is a small matter who opens the envelope. To begin with, I should explain that I am writing in the saloon of the S.S. "Montreal," Sunday evening, August 30th (I believe), and it is due to the constructural defects thereof that my... more...

The following pages have been written at the request of many old friends, some of them co-workers in the cause of permanent British rule over the larger part of the Great Northern Continent of America. In 1851 I visited Canada and the United States as a mere tourist, in search of health. In 1861 I went there on an anxious mission of business; and for some years afterwards I frequently crossed the Atlantic, not only during the great Civil War... more...


After a ramble in this very desultory manner, which the reader has, no doubt, now become accustomed to, I returned to Toronto, having first observed that the harvest looked very ill on the Niagara frontier; that the peaches had entirely failed, and that the grass was destroyed by a long drought; that the Indian corn was sickly, and the potatoes very bad. Cherries alone seemed plentiful; the caterpillars had destroyed the apples—nay, to such... more...

Emigrants and Immigration. Very surprising it seems to assert that the Mother Country knows very little about the finest colony which she possesses—and that an enlightened people emigrate from sober, speculative England, sedate and calculating Scotland, and trusting, unreflective Ireland, absolutely and wholly ignorant of the total change of life to which they must necessarily submit in their adopted home. I recollect an old story,... more...

CHAPTER I THE MARKET-PLACE AND BELFRY—EARLY HISTORY OF BRUGES Every visitor to 'the quaint old Flemish city' goes first to the Market-Place. On Saturday mornings the wide space beneath the mighty Belfry is full of stalls, with white canvas awnings, and heaped up with a curious assortment of goods. Clothing of every description, sabots and leathern shoes and boots, huge earthenware jars, pots and pans, kettles, cups and saucers, baskets,... more...

CHAPTER I.THE KERGUELEN ISLANDS No doubt the following narrative will be received: with entire incredulity, but I think it well that the public should be put in possession of the facts narrated in “An Antarctic Mystery.” The public is free to believe them or not, at its good pleasure. No more appropriate scene for the wonderful and terrible adventures which I am about to relate could be imagined than the Desolation Islands, so called,... more...

Letter 1. Astor House, New York, April 1, 1851. Dear Charley:— I have just arrived at this place, and have found my companions on hand, all ready for the commencement of the long-anticipated voyage. We regret the circumstances which render it your duty to remain, and we all feel very sorry for the disappointment of your wishes and our hopes. You will, however, feel happy in the thought that you are clearly in the path of duty; and you... more...