Travels of Four Years and a Half in the United States of America: During 1798, 1799, 1800, 1801, and 1802

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T. Ostell, 1803 - United States - 454 pages
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John Davis was a tutor, a novelist, poet a traveler and above all things a literary man. Very much a man of his time he frequently inserts Latin quotes into his text and makes frequent references to various personages in Greek mythology. Many modern readers will not understand these references unless they know Latin and are well versed in Greek Mythology. I found the book to be very read able and well written. I live close to or have visited many of the places he travel through, which, makes the book all the more interesting to me. He provides a glimpse of what the planter class was like, both, good and bad. He likewise provides a view into the lives of the enslaved. He worked as a tutor to provide most of his living. At one time he worked for Mr. Drayton who owned Drayton Manor on the Ashley River outside of Charleston South Carolina. You can visit Drayton Manor tour the building and see the magnificent gardens. He also inserts several poems he wrote into the book. His poetry is quite good. I think this work would be of interest to anyone wanting to learn about what life was like in American at the end of the 18th century. The Latin and references to Greek Mythology may hold some back but I think this book is worth 5 stars.  


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Page 294 - There runs not a drop of my blood in the veins of any living creature. This called on me for revenge. I have sought it. I have killed many: I have fully glutted my vengeance: for my country 1 rejoice at the beams of peace.
Page 181 - I believe this, on the contrary, the strongest government on earth. I believe it...
Page 179 - All too will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable ; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate would be oppression.
Page 216 - THE BODY of BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, Printer, (like the cover of an old book, its contents torn out, and stript of its lettering and gilding) lies here food for worms ; yet the work itself shall not be lost, for it will (as he believed) appear once more in a new and more beautiful edition, corrected and amended by THE AUTHOR.
Page 179 - During the contest of opinion through which we have passed, the animation of discussions and of exertions has sometimes worn an aspect which might impose on strangers unused to think freely, and to speak and to write what they think; but this being now decided by the voice of the nation, announced according to the rules of the constitution all will of course arrange themselves under the will of the law, and unite in common efforts for the common good.
Page 180 - But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists.
Page 179 - Let us then, fellow-citizens, unite with one heart and one mind; let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty, and even life itself, are but dreary things. And let us reflect that, having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions.
Page 181 - I know, indeed, that some honest men fear that a republican government cannot be strong, that this government is not strong enough. But would the honest patriot, in the full tide of successful experiment, abandon a government which has so far kept us free and firm, on the theoretic and visionary fear that this government, the world's best hope, may by possibility want energy to preserve itself? I trust not. I believe this, on the contrary, the strongest government on earth.
Page 212 - And when Abraham saw that the man blessed not God, he said unto him, " Wherefore dost thou not worship the most high God, Creator of heaven and earth...
Page 213 - The old man told him that he worshipped the fire only, and acknowledged no other god. At which answer Abraham grew so zealously angry that he thrust the old man out of his tent, and exposed him to all the evils of the night and an unguarded condition. When the old man was gone, God called to Abraham, and asked him where the stranger was. He replied, 'I thrust him away because he did not worship thee.

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