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INTRODUCTION.

The magnificent Railway System of Great Britain is now nearly perfected. Ireland has still much to accomplish. In spite of many local obstacles and individual losses, our country is now covered with a network of roads such as the world has never before seen. The transit to the most distant and once most inaccessible places is rapid and cheap beyond all comparison. Not only is the Metropolis brought into the most intimate connexion with the Provinces, but every great industrial district has its own Capital, from which centre railway. lines radiate to the remotest extremities. Of the wondrous commercial changes which have been produced by Railways, of which we cannot yet estimate the full amount, we need not here to speak. They have opened our Islands to the PLEASURE Tourist; and the work of civilisation which they are thus accomplishing is not amongst the least remarkable of their consequences.

The Railways of these kingdoms lead not now to marts of commerce alone. They take us amongst mountains and lakes, the margins of the broad sea, and the banks of the smiling rivers. One of the greatest writers of our own day, John Wilson, tells us in his beautiful lines in a “Highland Glen :"

“Yea! long as Nature's humblest child
Hath kept her temple undefiled

By sinful sacrifice,
Earth's fairest scenes are all his own-
He is a monarch, and his throne

Is built amongst the skies."

It is for the humblest children of Nature that we especially rejoice, when "Earth's fairest scenes are for the first time opened to their view, by the marvellous inventions of our own age. To the Genius of Science, the Genius of the Steamboat and the Railway, we may say, in the words of Joanna Baillie :

“ Thou hast to those in populous city pent
Glimpses of wild and beauteons Nature lent-
A bright remembrance ne'er to be destroy'd.”

2

All the great Works of Art which our country contains have thus been laid open to the humblest observer. He may meditate in the time-hallowed aisles of our cathedrals

upon the piety of a past age ; or amidst the smoke and din of our factories upon the activity of the present time. He may rise early in the morning, and return late at night with an accumulation of knowledge of the best kind-that of actual observation-which very few of the last generation ever dreamt of acquiring in a lifetime. The Excursion Train is one of our best public instructors. It is also one of the cheapest. At a rate for second and third-class passengers, varying from twenty miles to fifty-five miles for a shilling, or from a little above a halfpenny to less than a farthing a mile, hundreds of thousands of travellers from London, during 1850, have been carried into the heart of our most beautiful inland Scenery-to our Watering-places--to our Ports—to our Universities—to our great Seats of Manufactures and Commerce. Upon the same principle, Excursion Trains from the Provinces have duly brought visitors to London. Nor is this all. From all the great manufacturing and commercial towns, Excursion Trains are constantly bearing the active and intelligent artisans, with their families, to some interesting locality, for a happy and rational holiday. The amount of pleasure and information thus derived, and of prejudice thus removed, cannot be estimated at too high a rate.

In 1851 this wonderful system will probably be carried out to an extent of which we can scarcely form an adequate conception. To provide the Excursionist in every direction through “The Land we Live in ” with a cheap and intelligent Guide-Book, ILLUSTRATED WITH ELABORATE Wood-Cuts, will be the object of

“KNIGHT'S EXCURSION-TRAIN COMPANION.”

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