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Views a-foot by Taylor, Bayard, 1825-1878

Views a-foot by Taylor, Bayard, 1825-1878

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Published by: Gutenberg.org on Mar 30, 2008
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Views a-foot, by J. Bayard Taylor

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net

Title: Views a-foot
Author: J. Bayard Taylor
Release Date: March 10, 2004 [eBook #11535]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

Produced by Maria Paola Andreoni, Carlo Traverso
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.
This file was produced from images generously made available by the
Biblioth que nationale de France (BnF/Gallica) at http://gallica.bnf.fr.


"Jog on, jog on, the foot-path way,
And merrily hent the stile-a;
A merry heart goes all the day,
Your sad tires in a mile-a."

_Winter's Tale_.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1846, by
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for

the Southern District of New York.

The book which follows, requires little or no introduction. It tells its
own story, and tells it well. The interest in it, which induces the
writer of this preface to be its usher to the public, is simply that of
his having chanced to be among the first appreciators of the author's
talent--an appreciation that has since been so more than justified, that
the writer is proud to call the author of this book his friend, and
bespeak attention to the peculiar energies he has displayed in travel
and authorship. Mr. Taylor's poetical productions while he was still a
printer's apprentice, made a strong impression on the writer's mind, and
he gave them their due of praise accordingly in the newspaper of which
he was then Editor. Some correspondence ensued, and other fine pieces of
writing strengthened the admiration thus awakened, and when the young
poet-mechanic came to the city, and modestly announced the bold
determination of visiting foreign lands--with means, if they could be
got, but with reliance on manual labor if they could not--the writer,
understanding the man, and seeing how capable he was of carrying out his
manly and enthusiastic scheme, and that it would work uncorruptingly for
the improvement of his mind and character, counselled him to go. He
went--his book tells how successfully for all his purposes. He has
returned, after two years' absence, with large knowledge of the world,
of men and of manners, with a pure, invigorated and healthy mind, having
passed all this time abroad, and seen and accomplished more than most
travelers, _at the cost of only $500, and this sum earned on the road_.
This, in the writer's opinion, is a fine instance of character and
energy. The book, which records the difficulties and struggles of a
printer's apprentice achieving this, must be interesting to Americans.
The pride of the country is in its self-made men.

What Mr. Taylor is, or what he is yet to become, cannot well be touched
upon here, but that it will yet be written, and on a bright page, is, of
course, his own confident hope and the writer's confident expectation.
The book, which is the record of his progress thus far, is now cordially
commended to the public, and it will be read, perhaps, more
understandingly after a perusal of the following outline sketch of the
difficulties the author had to contend with--a letter written in reply
to a note from the writer asking for some of the particulars of his
start and progress:

_To. Mr. Willis_,--

Nearly three years ago (in the beginning of 1844) the time for
accomplishing my long cherished desire of visiting Europe, seemed to
arrive. A cousin, who had long intended going abroad, was to leave
in a few months, and although I was then surrounded by the most
unfavorable circumstances, I determined to accompany him, at
whatever hazard. I had still two years of my apprenticeship to serve
out; I was entirely without means, and my project was strongly
opposed by my friends, as something too visionary to be
practicable. A short time before, Mr. Griswold advised me to
publish a small volume of youthful effusions, a few of which had
appeared in Graham's Magazine, which he then edited; the idea struck
me, that by so doing, I might, if they should be favorably noticed,
obtain a newspaper correspondence which would enable me to make the

The volume was published; a sufficient number was sold among my
friends to defray all expenses, and it was charitably noticed by the
Philadelphia press. Some literary friends, to whom I confided my
design, promised to aid me with their influence. Trusting to this, I
made arrangements for leaving the printing-office, which I succeeded
in doing, by making a certain compensation for the remainder of my
time. I was now fully confident of success, feeling satisfied, that
a strong will would always make itself a way. After many
applications to different editors and as many disappointments, I
finally succeeded, about two weeks before our departure, in making a
partial engagement. Mr. Chandler of the United States Gazette and
Mr. Patterson of the Saturday Evening Post, paid me fifty dollars,
each, in advance for twelve letters, to be sent from Europe, with
the probability of accepting more, if these should be
satisfactory. This, with a sum which I received from Mr. Graham for
poems published in his Magazine, put me in possession of about a
hundred and forty dollars, with which I determined to start,
trusting to future remuneration for letters, or if that should fail,
to my skill as a compositor, for I supposed I could at the worst,
work my way through Europe, like the German hand werker. Thus, with
another companion, we left home, an enthusiastic and hopeful trio.

I need not trace our wanderings at length. After eight months of
suspense, during which time my small means were entirely exhausted,
I received a letter from Mr. Patterson, continuing the engagement
for the remainder of my stay, with a remittance of one hundred
dollars from himself and Mr. Graham. Other remittances, received
from time to time, enabled me to stay abroad two years, during which
I traveled on foot upwards of three thousand miles in Germany,

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