Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1835–1860
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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. VI–VIII: Literature of the Republic, Part III., 1835–1860
 
The Patriot Traveller in Foreign Lands
By Robert Charles Winthrop (1809–1894)
 
[Born in Boston, Mass., 1809. Died there, 1894. From a Speech at the Union Ratification Meeting, Boston, 25 September, 1860.—Addresses and Speeches on Various Occasions. 1852–86.]

IT is, without all question, my friends, one of the best influences of a sojourn in foreign lands, upon a heart which is not insensible to the influences of patriotism, that one forgets for a time, or remembers only with disgust and loathing, the contentions and controversies which so often alienate and embitter us at home. There is no room on that little map of his country which every patriot bears abroad with him, photographed on his heart,—there is no room on that magical miniature map for territorial divisions or sectional boundaries. Large enough to reflect and reproduce the image and outlines of the whole Union, it repels all impression of the petty topographical features which belong to science and the schools. Still more does it repel the miserable seams and scratches by which sectional politicians have sought to illustrate their odious distinctions and comparisons. And so, the patriot traveller in foreign lands, with that chart impressed in lines of light and love on his memory, looks back on his country only as a whole. He learns to love it more than ever as a whole. He accustoms himself to think kindly of it, and to speak kindly of it, as a whole; and he comes home ready to defend it as a whole, alike from the invasion of hostile armies or the assaults of slanderous pens and tongues. He grasps the hand of an American abroad as the hand of a brother, without stopping to inquire whether he hails from Massachusetts or from South Carolina, from Maine or Louisiana, from Vermont or Virginia. It is enough that his passport bears the same broad seal, the same national emblem, with his own. And every time his own passport is inspected, every time he enters a new dominion or crosses a new frontier, every time he is delayed at a custom-house, or questioned by a policeman, or challenged by a sentinel,—every time he is perplexed by a new language, or puzzled by a new variety of coinage or currency,—he thanks his God with fresh fervency, that through all the length and breadth of that land beyond the swelling floods, which he is privileged and proud to call his own land, there is a common language, a common currency, a common Constitution, common laws and liberties, a common inheritance of glory from the past, and, if it be only true to itself, a common destiny of glory for the future!
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