Preface to the Journals of Dr. James Henry Windibank, PhD

These journals, I have no shame to admit, began solely as the undertaking of a well intentioned and curious, if perhaps a bit supercilious, naturalist. The result, as you will no doubt slowly deduce from the words upon the pages of the very volume you hold between your hands, was much more than that. My journeys to the west were undertaken as act of philanthropy towards our destitute American brethren. Though the country is large and full of semi-interesting birds and beasts, no Englishman has had the patience to study these animals. Though it is true that America has researchers of her own, not one of these men of science has a Royally bestowed title or lordship, and as such their very methods of data collection, analysis, and writing must fall under heavy scrutiny before being considered so much as not outright lies. Thus, feeling sympathy for these poor Americans (having a soft spot for their vulgar culture), I realized that it was my responsibility, nay, my DUTY to spend a year twixt the shores of our daughter nation and to ultimately perform the extensive undertaking of cataloging every animal that lives upon her back.

However, what resulted was much greater than that indeed. As you will no doubt glean from the pages you will shortly be perusing, my undertaking became as much a study of Americans themselves as it was the beasts with whom they co-exist.

I believe my butler put it best when, after laboriously reading the completed first draft of this volume said to me: "My Lord sir, these Americans, they're just like me!" Indeed they are Reginald, indeed they are.

May 3rd, 1849
Northamptonshire, England