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If I were to assert that these Travels were not intended to see the light; that I give them to the public with regret, and as it were in spite of myself, I should tell the truth and probably nobody would believe me.
My tour was not undertaken with the intention of writing it; I had a very different design, and this design I have accomplished in the Martyrs.* I went in quest of images and nothing more I could not behold Sparta, Athens, Jeru. salem, without making some reflections. Those reflections could not be introduce ed into the subject of an epopee; they were left in the journal which I kept of my tour, and it is these that I now submit to the public.
I must, therefore, request the reader to consider this work rather as memoirs of a year of my life, than as a book of travels. I pretend not to tread in the steps of a Chardin, a Tavernier, a Chandler, a Mungo Park, a Humboldt: or to be thoroughly acquainted with people, through whose country I have merely passed. A moment is sufficient for a landscape-painter to sketch a tree, to take a view to draw a ruin ; but whole years are too short for the study of men and manners, and for the profound investigation of the arts and sciences.
I am, nevertheless, fully aware of the respect that is due to the public, and it would be wrong to imagine that I am here nshering into the world a work that has cost me no pains, no researches, no labour; it will be seen, on the contrary, that I have scrupulously fulfilled my duties as a writer. Had I done nothing but determine the site of Lacedæmon, discover a new tomb at Mycense, and ascer. tain the situation of the ports of Carthage, still I should deserve the gratitude of travellers.
In a work of this nature I have often been obliged to pass from the most serious reflections to the most familiar circumstances: now indulging my reveries among the ruins of Greece, now returning to the cares incident to the traveller, my style has necessarily followed the train of my ideas and the change in my situation. Ali readers, therefore, will not be pleased with the same passages; some will seek my sentiments only, while others will prefer my adventures : these will feel themselves obliged to me for the positive information I have communicated respecting a great number of objects; those again will be tired of the observations on the arts, the study of monuments, and the bistorical digressions, For the rest, it is the man much inore than the author, that will be discovered throughout ; I am continually speaking of myself, and I spoke, as I thought, in security, for I had no intention of publishing these Memoirs. But as I have nothing in my heart that I am ashamed to display to all the world, I have made no retrenchments from my original notes. The object which I have in riew will be accomplished if the reader perceives a perfect sincerity froin the beginning of the work to the end. A traveller is a kind of a historian, it is his duty to give a faithful account of what he has seen or heart ; he should invent nothing, but then he must omit nothing; and whatever may be his private opinions, he should never suffer them to bias him to such a degree as to suppress or to distort the truth.
* Les Martyrs, ou le 7'riomphe de la Religion Chretienne, in 3 vols. 8ro published by the author about two years ago.
TAE volume here submitted to the public, is the last performance of a man, whose works, though less known in this country than they deserve to be, have gained at home a greater share both of applause and animadversion than those of perhaps any living writer. His Atala, or the Amours of Two Savages in the Desert, and a short extract from his great work Genie du Christianisme, which appeared under the title of a Demonstration of the Existence of God, are the only part of his writings that has hitherto been laid before the English reader, Les Martyrs, ou le Triomphe de la Religion Chretienne, which may be consi, dered as his master-piece, yet remains wholly unknown here ; though repeated editions of cach of these performances evince the celebrity which they have acquired in France.
It was the latter that furnished occasion for the present Tour. When we behold an author, for the sake of a close adherence to truth and nature, quitting his native land, and exposing himself in once classic, but now barbarous countries, to every species of fatigue, hardship and danger, at the expense of his fortune and his health, merely that he may give a faithful portraiture of the scenes which he has chosen for a work of fiction ; it is impossible to withhold our admiration of the ardour and enthusiasm which alone could suggest the idea of such an enterprise, and communicate the fortitude and energy requisite for its accomplishment.
Such, as we are informed by M. de Chateaubriand himself, was the sole motive for these Travels, the journal of which, though not originally intended for publication, will, unless I am mistaken, excite a considerable degree of interest in various classes of readers. The scholar and the man of science will ac, company his steps, with feelings of mingled pleasure and pain, through some of the most renowned regions of antiquity ; the Christian will follow him with devo, tion in his pilgrimage to the scenes hallowed by the presence and the miracles of the Divine Founder of his religion ; the artist will find studies ready sketched to his hand; and the general reader will be delighted with the variety of information, the adventures, and the reflections alternately sublime and pathetic with which this volume is interspersed; while a tinge of melancholy which pervades all the works of this writer, a grandson of the illustrious M. de Malesherbes, and which may doubtless be ascribed to the domestic calamities that his early life was des. tined to experience from a sanguinary revolution, will assuredly not diminish the interest arising from the perusal.
With respect to the translation I shall merely observe, that I believe it will be found as free from imperfections as the very short time allowed for its execu, tion will admit. A tolerable copious Index, which is not in the original, will, it is hoped, prove an acceptable addition."
I SHALL divide this Introduction into two Memoirs ; in the first I shall take up the history of Sparta and Athens, at about the age of Augustus, and bring it down to the present time. In the second I shall inquire into the authenticity of the religious traditions relative to Jerusalem. • Spon, Wheeler, Fanelli, Chandler, and Leroi have it is true, treated of the fortunes of Greece in the middle ages; but the picture drawn by those writers is far from being a finished one. They have contented themselves with general facts, and not taken the trouble to dispel the confusion which pervades the history of the Byzantine empire: they were moreover ignorant of the existence of some Travels in the Levant. While I avail myself of their labours, I shall endeavor to supply their omissions.
As to the history of Jerusalem it is involved in no obscurity in the barbarous ages. We never lose sight of the holy city. But when the pilgrims tell you : “We repaired to the tomb of Jesus Christ; we entered the grotto where the Redeemer of the world sweated blood, &c." an incredulous reader might imagine that the pilgrims were misled by uncertain traditions. Now this is the point which I purpose to discuss in the second memoir of this Introduction.
I now proceed to the history of Sparta and Athens.
When the Romans began to make their appearance
in the East, Athens declared itself their enemy, and B. C. 87. Sparta followed their fortunes. Sylla burned the Plut. in Syl. Piræus and Munychia ; he plundered the city of CeAppian.
crops, and made such a slaughter of its citizens, that, as Plutarch informs us, their blood filled the whole
Ceramicus, and ran out at the doors. B. C. 87. In the civil wars of Rome, the Athenians espoused
the cause of Pompey, which they looked upon as the cause of Liberty: the Lacedæmonians adhered to Cæ
sar, who was too generous to revenge himself on B. C. 47. Athens. Sparta, faithful to the memory of Cæsar, fought Cæs. de Bell. civil. Dion.
at the battle of Philippi against Brutus, who had promappian. Plut. ised the pillage of Lacedæmon to his soldiers in case in Vit. Brut. B. C. 44. they were victorious. The Athenians erected statues B. C. 41.
to Brutus, attached themselves to Anthony, and were Plut. in Ant. B. C. 21. punished by Augustus. Four years before the death of Vill, Pat.
that prince they revolted against him. A. D. 10. Athens was free during the reign of Tiberius. Sparta Suet. in Aug. pleaded at Rome,and lost a petty cause against the MesTit. Liv. An. senians, formerly its slaves. The contested point was 4.
the possession of the temple of Diana Limnatis, that very Diana whose festival was the occasion of the Mes
senian wars. De Sit. Orb. If we suppose Strabo to have lived during the reign 1. 9.
of Tiberius, the description of Sparta and Athens by that geographer, must refer to the time of which we
are now speaking. A. D. 18. When Germanicus visited Athens, out of respect to Tacit. Ann. ils former glory, he divested himself of the insignia of
power, and was preceded only by a single lictor. A. D. 56. Pomponius Mela wrote about the time of the empeDe. Sit. Orb. ror Claudius. He merely mentions Athens in his 1. 2.
description of the coast of Attica. A. D. 67. Nero visited Greece, but he went neither to Athens Xiphil. in
por to Lacedæmom.