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Preface

This volume comprises the second portion of a series of travels, of which the Journey to Central Africa, already published, is the first part. I left home, intending to spend a winter in Africa, and to return during the following summer; but circumstances afterwards occurred, which prolonged my wanderings to nearly two years and a half, and led me to visit many remote and unexplored portions of the globe. To describe this journey in a single work, would embrace too many incongruous elements, to say nothing of its great length, and as it falls naturally into three parts, or episodes, of very distinct character, I have judged it best to group my experiences under three separate heads, merely indicating the links which connect them. This work includes my travels in Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, Sicily and Spain, and will be followed by a third and concluding volume, containing my adventures in India, China, the Loo-Choo Islands, and Japan. Although many of the letters, contained in this volume, describe beaten tracks of travel, I have always given my own individual impressions, and may claim for them the merit of entire sincerity. The journey from Aleppo to Constantinople, through the heart of Asia Minor, illustrates regions rarely traversed by tourists, and will, no doubt, be new to most of my readers.

My aim, throughout the work, has been to give correct pictures of Oriental life and scenery, leaving antiquarian research and speculation to abler hands. The scholar, or the man of science, may complain with reason that I have neglected valuable opportunities for adding something to the stock of human knowledge: but if a few of the many thousands, who can only travel by their firesides, should find my pages answer the purpose of a series of cosmoramic views--should in them behold with a clearer inward eye the hills of Palestine, the sun-gilded minarets of Damascus, or the lonely pine-forests of Phrygia--should feel, by turns, something of the inspiration and the indolence of the Orient--I shall have achieved all I designed, and more than I can justly hope.

New York,
October, 1854.


Bayard Taylor