William Wells Brown, the subject of this narrative, was born a slave in Lexington, Kentucky. In 1834 he escaped from a steamboat in Cincinnati and found shelter at a Quaker family. In 1849 he started a journey through Europe, of which this book tells us. Brown is also known as the author of "Clotel", the first novel written by an Afro-American.
When we consider that it is the production of a fugitive from slavery, who never in all his life passed so much as a day in a school, its claims upon our notice are manifest enough. We are glad that it has been allowed to go forth just as is was written, with its slight inaccuracies and inelegancies, the genuine product of the writer's brain. Mr. Brown's opportunities were good, and his sketches of persons and things are very lively. Many a graduate of our colleges would not make half so entertaining a volume.