A Diary in America: With Remarks on Its Institutions

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Captain Frederick Marryat (1792-1848) was a distinguished naval officer, today best remembered as a novelist (particularly of stories for children), often drawing on his own experiences. He also edited a radical journal, and wrote non-fiction, including an attack on press-gangs, which damaged his career. He spent 1837 and 1838 travelling in North America, publishing his impressions in this unstructured six-volume 'diary' in 1839. He states that the number of contradictory and often trivial accounts of American life being published made him want to see the New World for himself. He found it impossible to make generalisations, given the size of the country and the different origins of new arrivals, and did not believe America would become a nation for many years. Volume 4 discusses immigration, and American authors and journalists.