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MARGARET FULLER OSSOLI,
AND ART,” ETC.
EDITED BY HER BROTHER,
ARTHUR B. FULLER.
18 5 6.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by
ARTHUR B. FULLER, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
THERE are at least three classes of persons who travel in our own land and abroad. The first and largest in number consists of those who, “having eyes, see not, and ears, hear not,” anything which is profitable to be remembered. Crossing lake and ocean, passing over the broad prairies of the New World or the classic fields of the Old, though they look on the virgin soil sown thickly with flowers by the hand of God, or on scenes memorable in man's history, they gaze heedlessly, and when they return home can but tell us what they ate and drank, and where slept,
no more; for this and matters of like import are all for which they have cared in their wanderings.
Those composing the second class travel more intelligently. They visit scrupulously all places which are noted either as the homes of literature, the abodes.of Art, or made classic by the pens of ancient genius. Accurately do they mark the distance of one famed city from another, the size and general appearance of each; they see as many as possible of celebrated pictures and works of art, and mark carefully dimensions, age, and all details concerning them. Men, too, whom the world regards as great men, whether because of wisdom, potsy, warlike
achievements, or of wealth and station, they seek to take by the hand and in some degree to know; at least to note their appearance, demeanor, and mode of life. Writers belonging to this class of travellers are not to be undervalued ; returning home, they can give much useful information, and tell much which all wish to hear and know, though, as their narratives are chiefly circumstantial, and every year circumstances change, such recitals lessen constantly in value.
But there is a third class of those who journey, who see indeed the outward, and observe it well. They, too, seek localities where Art and Genius dwell, or have painted on canvas or sculptured in marble their memorials; they become acquainted with the people, both famed and obscure, of the lands which they visit and in which for a time they abide; their hearts throb as they stand on places where great deeds have been done, with whose dust perhaps is mingled the sacred ashes of men who fell in the warfare for truth and freedom, - a warfare begun early in the worid's history, and not yet ended. But they do much more than this. There is, though in a different sense from what ancient Pagans fancied, a genius or guardian spirit of each scene, each stream and lake and country, and this spirit is ever speaking, but in a tone which only the attent ear of the noble and gifted can hear, and in a language which such minds and hearts only can understand. With vision which needs no miracle to make it prophetic, they see the destinies which nations are all-unconsciously shaping for themselves, and note the deep meaning of passing events which only make others wonder. Beneath the mask of mere externals, their eyes discern the character of those whom they meet, and, refusing to accept popular judgment in
place of truth, they see often the real relation which men bear to their rące and age, and observe the facts by which to determine whether such men are great only because of circumstances, or by the irresistible power of their own minds. When such narrate their journeyings, we have what is valuable not for a few years only, but, because of its philosophic and suggestive spirit, what must always be useful.
The reader of the following pages, it is believed, will decide that Margaret Fuller deserves to rank with the latter class of travellers, while not neglectful of those details which it is well to learn and remember.
Twelve years ago she journeyed, in company with several friends, on the Lakes, and through some of the Western States. Returning, she published a volume describing this journey, which seems worthy of republication. It seems so because it rather gives an idea of Western scenery and character, than enters into guidebook statements which would be all erroneous now.
Beside this, it is much a record of thoughts as well as things, and those thoughts have lost none of their sig. nificance now.
It gives us also knowledge of Indian character, and impressions respecting that much injured and fast vanishing race, which justice to them makes it desirable should be remembered. The friends of Madame Ossoli will be glad to make permanent this additional proof of her sympathy with all the oppressed, no matter whether that oppression find embodiment in the Indian or the African, the American or the European.
The second part of the present volume gives my sister's impressions and observations during her European journey and residence in Italy. This is done through letters, which originally appeared in the New York Tribune,