Wilson Flagg (1805-1884), A Year Among the Trees; or, The Woods and By-Ways of New England
(Boston: Estes and Lauriat, 1881), p. viii:
Few men save those who from religious motives have renounced the world have lived so little in communication with it as I have. I am not a member of any society or club, of any church or institution, trade, profession, or organization. Though once a student of Harvard College, I am not a graduate; and though in my early manhood for many years a contributor to the political press, I have never been an editor nor a politician. I have lived entirely without honors, and have never rejected any. And if, possibly, I have on any occasion manifested an appreciable amount of boldness or independence in speaking my thoughts and avowing my opinions, any such eccentricity may be attributed to this circumstance; for every honor a man receives from the community is a fetter upon his freedom of speech and action. I have not been drawn into society by a taste for its amusements or its vices; I have not joined the crowd either of its saints or its sinners; I have pursued my tasks alone, except as I have read and conversed with my wife and children. She and they have been the only companions of my studies and recreations during all the prime of my life. But, perhaps from this cause alone, I have been very happy. The study of nature and my domestic avocations have yielded me a full harvest of pleasures, though it was barren of honors.