"I had often stood on the banks of the Concord, watching the lapse of the current, an emblem of all progress, following the same law with the system, with time, and all that is made ... and at last I resolved to launch myself on its bosom and float whither it would bear me."
"Rivers must have been the guides which conducted the footsteps of the first travelers. They are the constant lure, when they flow by our doors, to distant enterprise and adventure; and, by a natural impulse, the dwellers on their banks will at length accompany their currents to the lowlands of the globe, or explore at their invitation the interior of continents."
"When I was very young and the urge to be someplace was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity would cure this itch. When years described me as mature, the remedy prescribed was middle age. In middle age I was assured that greater age would calm my fever and now that I am fifty-eight perhaps senility will do the job. Nothing has worked.... In other words, I don't improve, in further words, once a bum always a bum. I fear the disease is incurable."
"Every nation ... have their refinements and grossiertes.... There is a balance ... of good and bad every where; and nothing but the knowing it is so can emancipate one half of the world from the prepossessions which it holds against the other--that [was] the advantage of travel ... it taught us mutual toleration; and mutual toleration ... taught us mutual love."
"Conversation is a traffick; and if you enter into it, without some stock of knowledge, to ballance the account perpetually betwixt you,--the trade drops at once: and this is the reason ... why travellers have so little [good] conversation with natives,--owing to their [the natives'] suspicion ... that there is nothing to be extracted from the conversation ... worth the trouble of their bad language."
"For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move; to feel the needs and hitches of our life more nearly; to come down off this feather-bed of civilisation, and find the globe granite underfoot and strewn with cutting flints."
"The personal touch between the people and the man to whom they temporarily delegated power of course conduces to a better understanding between them. Moreover, I ought not to omit to mention as a useful result of my journeying that I am to visit a great many expositions and fairs, and that the curiosity to see the President will certainly increase the box receipts and tend to rescue many commendable enterprises from financial disaster."