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American Notes for General Circulation by Charles Dickens

PREFACE TO THE FIRST CHEAP EDITION OF "AMERICAN NOTES"

IT is nearly eight years since this book was first published. I
present itunalteredin the Cheap Edition; and such of my
opinions as it expressesare quite unaltered too.

My readers have opportunities of judging for themselves whether the
influences and tendencies which I distrust in Americahave any
existence not in my imagination. They can examine for themselves
whether there has been anything in the public career of that
country during these past eight yearsor whether there is anything
in its present positionat home or abroadwhich suggests that
those influences and tendencies really do exist. As they find the
factthey will judge me. If they discern any evidences of wronggoing
in any direction that I have indicatedthey will acknowledge
that I had reason in what I wrote. If they discern no such thing
they will consider me altogether mistaken.

PrejudicedI never have been otherwise than in favour of the
United States. No visitor can ever have set foot on those shores
with a stronger faith in the Republic than I hadwhen I landed in
America.

I purposely abstain from extending these observations to any
length. I have nothing to defendor to explain away. The truth
is the truth; and neither childish absurditiesnor unscrupulous
contradictionscan make it otherwise. The earth would still move
round the sunthough the whole Catholic Church said No.

I have many friends in Americaand feel a grateful interest in the
country. To represent me as viewing it with ill-natureanimosity
or partisanshipis merely to do a very foolish thingwhich is
always a very easy one; and which I have disregarded for eight
yearsand could disregard for eighty more.

LONDONJUNE 221850.

PREFACE TO THE "CHARLES DICKENS" EDITION OF "AMERICAN NOTES"

MY readers have opportunities of judging for themselves whether the
influences and tendencies which I distrusted in Americahadat
that timeany existence but in my imagination. They can examine
for themselves whether there has been anything in the public career
of that country sinceat home or abroadwhich suggests that those
influences and tendencies really did exist. As they find the fact


they will judge me. If they discern any evidences of wrong-going
in any direction that I have indicatedthey will acknowledge that
I had reason in what I wrote. If they discern no such indications
they will consider me altogether mistaken - but not wilfully.

PrejudicedI am notand never have beenotherwise than in favour
of the United States. I have many friends in AmericaI feel a
grateful interest in the countryI hope and believe it will
successfully work out a problem of the highest importance to the
whole human race. To represent me as viewing AMERICA with illnature
coldnessor animosityis merely to do a very foolish
thing: which is always a very easy one.

CHAPTER I - GOING AWAY

I SHALL never forget the one-fourth serious and three-fourths
comical astonishmentwith whichon the morning of the third of
January eighteen-hundred-and-forty-twoI opened the door ofand
put my head intoa 'state-room' on board the Britannia steampacket
twelve hundred tons burthen per registerbound for Halifax
and Bostonand carrying Her Majesty's mails.

That this state-room had been specially engaged for 'Charles
DickensEsquireand Lady' was rendered sufficiently clear even
to my scared intellect by a very small manuscriptannouncing the
factwhich was pinned on a very flat quiltcovering a very thin
mattressspread like a surgical plaster on a most inaccessible
shelf. But that this was the state-room concerning which Charles
DickensEsquireand Ladyhad held daily and nightly conferences
for at least four months preceding: that this could by any
possibility be that small snug chamber of the imaginationwhich
Charles DickensEsquirewith the spirit of prophecy strong upon
himhad always foretold would contain at least one little sofa
and which his ladywith a modest yet most magnificent sense of its
limited dimensionshad from the first opined would not hold more
than two enormous portmanteaus in some odd corner out of sight
(portmanteaus which could now no more be got in at the doornot to
say stowed awaythan a giraffe could be persuaded or forced into a
flower-pot): that this utterly impracticablethoroughly hopeless
and profoundly preposterous boxhad the remotest reference toor
connection withthose chaste and prettynot to say gorgeous
little bowerssketched by a masterly handin the highly varnished
lithographic plan hanging up in the agent's counting-house in the
city of London: that this room of statein shortcould be
anything but a pleasant fiction and cheerful jest of the captain's
invented and put in practice for the better relish and enjoyment of
the real state-room presently to be disclosed:- these were truths
which I really could notfor the momentbring my mind at all to
bear upon or comprehend. And I sat down upon a kind of horsehair
slabor perchof which there were two within; and lookedwithout
any expression of countenance whateverat some friends who had
come on board with usand who were crushing their faces into all
manner of shapes by endeavouring to squeeze them through the small
doorway.

We had experienced a pretty smart shock before coming belowwhich
but that we were the most sanguine people livingmight have
prepared us for the worst. The imaginative artist to whom I have
already made allusionhas depicted in the same great worka
chamber of almost interminable perspectivefurnishedas Mr.


Robins would sayin a style of more than Eastern splendourand
filled (but not inconveniently so) with groups of ladies and
gentlemenin the very highest state of enjoyment and vivacity.
Before descending into the bowels of the shipwe had passed from
the deck into a long narrow apartmentnot unlike a gigantic hearse
with windows in the sides; having at the upper end a melancholy
stoveat which three or four chilly stewards were warming their
hands; while on either sideextending down its whole dreary
lengthwas a longlong tableover each of which a rackfixed to
the low roofand stuck full of drinking-glasses and cruet-stands
hinted dismally at rolling seas and heavy weather. I had not at
that time seen the ideal presentment of this chamber which has
since gratified me so muchbut I observed that one of our friends
who had made the arrangements for our voyageturned pale on
enteringretreated on the friend behind him.smote his forehead
involuntarilyand said below his breath'Impossible! it cannot
be!' or words to that effect. He recovered himself however by a
great effortand after a preparatory cough or twocriedwith a
ghastly smile which is still before melooking at the same time
round the walls'Ha! the breakfast-roomsteward - eh?' We all
foresaw what the answer must be: we knew the agony he suffered.
He had often spoken of THE SALOON; had taken in and lived upon the
pictorial idea; had usually given us to understandat homethat
to form a just conception of itit would be necessary to multiply
the size and furniture of an ordinary drawing-room by sevenand
then fall short of the reality. When the man in reply avowed the
truth; the bluntremorselessnaked truth; 'This is the saloon
sir' - he actually reeled beneath the blow.

In persons who were so soon to partand interpose between their
else daily communication the formidable barrier of many thousand
miles of stormy spaceand who were for that reason anxious to cast
no other cloudnot even the passing shadow of a moment's
disappointment or discomfitureupon the short interval of happy
companionship that yet remained to them - in persons so situated
the natural transition from these first surprises was obviously
into peals of hearty laughterand I can report that Ifor one
being still seated upon the slab or perch before mentionedroared
outright until the vessel rang again. Thusin less than two
minutes after coming upon it for the first timewe all by common
consent agreed that this state-room was the pleasantest and most
facetious and capital contrivance possible; and that to have had it
one inch largerwould have been quite a disagreeable and
deplorable state of things. And with this; and with showing how-
by very nearly closing the doorand twining in and out like
serpentsand by counting the little washing slab as standing-room

-we could manage to insinuate four people into itall at one
time; and entreating each other to observe how very airy it was (in
dock)and how there was a beautiful port-hole which could be kept
open all day (weather permitting)and how there was quite a large
bull's-eye just over the looking-glass which would render shaving a
perfectly easy and delightful process (when the ship didn't roll
too much); we arrivedat lastat the unanimous conclusion that it
was rather spacious than otherwise: though I do verily believe
thatdeducting the two berthsone above the otherthan which
nothing smaller for sleeping in was ever made except coffinsit
was no bigger than one of those hackney cabriolets which have the
door behindand shoot their fares outlike sacks of coalsupon
the pavement.
Having settled this point to the perfect satisfaction of all
partiesconcerned and unconcernedwe sat down round the fire in
the ladies' cabin - just to try the effect. It was rather dark
certainly; but somebody said'of course it would be lightat


sea' a proposition to which we all assented; echoing 'of course
of course;' though it would be exceedingly difficult to say why we
thought so. I remembertoowhen we had discovered and exhausted
another topic of consolation in the circumstance of this ladies'
cabin adjoining our state-roomand the consequently immense
feasibility of sitting there at all times and seasonsand had
fallen into a momentary silenceleaning our faces on our hands and
looking at the fireone of our party saidwith the solemn air of
a man who had made a discovery'What a relish mulled claret will
have down here!' which appeared to strike us all most forcibly; as
though there were something spicy and high-flavoured in cabins
which essentially improved that compositionand rendered it quite
incapable of perfection anywhere else.

There was a stewardesstooactively engaged in producing clean
sheets and table-cloths from the very entrails of the sofasand
from unexpected lockersof such artful mechanismthat it made
one's head ache to see them opened one after anotherand rendered
it quite a distracting circumstance to follow her proceedingsand
to find that every nook and corner and individual piece of
furniture was something else besides what it pretended to beand
was a mere trap and deception and place of secret stowagewhose
ostensible purpose was its least useful one.

God bless that stewardess for her piously fraudulent account of
January voyages! God bless her for her clear recollection of the
companion passage of last yearwhen nobody was illand everybody
dancing from morning to nightand it was 'a run' of twelve days
and a piece of the purest frolicand delightand jollity! All
happiness be with her for her bright face and her pleasant Scotch
tonguewhich had sounds of old Home in it for my fellow-traveller;
and for her predictions of fair winds and fine weather (all wrong
or I shouldn't be half so fond of her); and for the ten thousand
small fragments of genuine womanly tactby whichwithout piecing
them elaborately togetherand patching them up into shape and form
and case and pointed applicationshe nevertheless did plainly show
that all young mothers on one side of the Atlantic were near and
close at hand to their little children left upon the other; and
that what seemed to the uninitiated a serious journeywasto
those who were in the secreta mere frolicto be sung about and
whistled at! Light be her heartand gay her merry eyesfor
years!

The state-room had grown pretty fast; but by this time it had
expanded into something quite bulkyand almost boasted a baywindow
to view the sea from. So we went upon deck again in high
spirits; and thereeverything was in such a state of bustle and
active preparationthat the blood quickened its paceand whirled
through one's veins on that clear frosty morning with involuntary
mirthfulness. For every gallant ship was riding slowly up and
downand every little boat was splashing noisily in the water; and
knots of people stood upon the wharfgazing with a kind of 'dread
delight' on the far-famed fast American steamer; and one party of
men were 'taking in the milk' orin other wordsgetting the cow
on board; and another were filling the icehouses to the very throat
with fresh provisions; with butchers'-meat and garden-stuffpale
sucking-pigscalves' heads in scoresbeefvealand porkand
poultry out of all proportion; and others were coiling ropes and
busy with oakum yarns; and others were lowering heavy packages into
the hold; and the purser's head was barely visible as it loomed in
a stateof exquisite perplexity from the midst of a vast pile of
passengers' luggage; and there seemed to be nothing going on
anywhereor uppermost in the mind of anybodybut preparations for
this mighty voyage. Thiswith the bright cold sunthe bracing


airthe crisply-curling waterthe thin white crust of morning ice
upon the decks which crackled with a sharp and cheerful sound
beneath the lightest treadwas irresistible. And whenagain upon
the shorewe turned and saw from the vessel's mast her name
signalled in flags of joyous coloursand fluttering by their side
the beautiful American banner with its stars and stripes- the
long three thousand miles and moreandlonger stillthe six
whole months of absenceso dwindled and fadedthat the ship had
gone out and come home againand it was broad spring already in
the Coburg Dock at Liverpool.

I have not inquired among my medical acquaintancewhether Turtle
and cold Punchwith HockChampagneand Claretand all the
slight et cetera usually included in an unlimited order for a good
dinner - especially when it is left to the liberal construction of
my faultless friendMr. Radleyof the Adelphi Hotel - are
peculiarly calculated to suffer a sea-change; or whether a plain
mutton-chopand a glass or two of sherrywould be less likely of
conversion into foreign and disconcerting material. My own opinion
isthat whether one is discreet or indiscreet in these
particularson the eve of a sea-voyageis a matter of little
consequence; and thatto use a common phrase'it comes to very
much the same thing in the end.' Be this as it mayI know that
the dinner of that day was undeniably perfect; that it comprehended
all these itemsand a great many more; and that we all did ample
justice to it. And I know toothatbating a certain tacit
avoidance of any allusion to to-morrow; such as may be supposed to
prevail between delicate-minded turnkeysand a sensitive prisoner
who is to be hanged next morning; we got on very wellandall
things consideredwere merry enough.

When the morning - THE morning - cameand we met at breakfastit
was curious to see how eager we all were to prevent a moment's
pause in the conversationand how astoundingly gay everybody was:
the forced spirits of each member of the little party having as
much likeness to his natural mirthas hot-house peas at five
guineas the quartresemble in flavour the growth of the dewsand
airand rain of Heaven. But as one o'clockthe hour for going
aboarddrew nearthis volubility dwindled away by little and
littledespite the most persevering efforts to the contraryuntil
at lastthe matter being now quite desperatewe threw off all
disguise; openly speculated upon where we should be this time tomorrow
this time next dayand so forth; and entrusted a vast
number of messages to those who intended returning to town that
nightwhich were to be delivered at home and elsewhere without
failwithin the very shortest possible space of time after the
arrival of the railway train at Euston Square. And commissions and
remembrances do so crowd upon one at such a timethat we were
still busied with this employment when we found ourselves fusedas
it wereinto a dense conglomeration of passengers and passengers'
friends and passengers' luggageall jumbled together on the deck
of a small steamboatand panting and snorting off to the packet
which had worked out of dock yesterday afternoon and was now lying
at her moorings in the river.

And there she is! all eyes are turned to where she liesdimly
discernible through the gathering fog of the early winter
afternoon; every finger is pointed in the same direction; and
murmurs of interest and admiration - as 'How beautiful she looks!'
'How trim she is!' - are heard on every side. Even the lazy
gentleman with his hat on one side and his hands in his pockets
who has dispensed so much consolation by inquiring with a yawn of
another gentleman whether he is 'going across' - as if it were a
ferry - even he condescends to look that wayand nod his headas


who should say'No mistake about THAT:' and not even the sage Lord
Burleigh in his nodincluded half so much as this lazy gentleman
of might who has made the passage (as everybody on board has found
out already; it's impossible to say how) thirteen times without a
single accident! There is another passenger very much wrapped-up
who has been frowned down by the restand morally trampled upon
and crushedfor presuming to inquire with a timid interest how
long it is since the poor President went down. He is standing
close to the lazy gentlemanand says with a faint smile that he
believes She is a very strong Ship; to which the lazy gentleman
looking first in his questioner's eye and then very hard in the
wind'sanswers unexpectedly and ominouslythat She need be. Upon
this the lazy gentleman instantly falls very low in the popular
estimationand the passengerswith looks of defiancewhisper to
each other that he is an assand an impostorand clearly don't
know anything at all about it.

But we are made fast alongside the packetwhose huge red funnel is
smoking bravelygiving rich promise of serious intentions.
Packing-casesportmanteauscarpet-bagsand boxesare already
passed from hand to handand hauled on board with breathless
rapidity. The officerssmartly dressedare at the gangway
handing the passengers up the sideand hurrying the men. In five
minutes' timethe little steamer is utterly desertedand the
packet is beset and over-run by its late freightwho instantly
pervade the whole shipand are to be met with by the dozen in
every nook and corner: swarming down below with their own baggage
and stumbling over other people's; disposing themselves comfortably
in wrong cabinsand creating a most horrible confusion by having
to turn out again; madly bent upon opening locked doorsand on
forcing a passage into all kinds of out-of-the-way places where
there is no thoroughfare; sending wild stewardswith elfin hair
to and fro upon the breezy decks on unintelligible errands
impossible of execution: and in shortcreating the most
extraordinary and bewildering tumult. In the midst of all this
the lazy gentlemanwho seems to have no luggage of any kind - not
so much as a friendeven - lounges up and down the hurricane deck
coolly puffing a cigar; andas this unconcerned demeanour again
exalts him in the opinion of those who have leisure to observe his
proceedingsevery time he looks up at the mastsor down at the
decksor over the sidethey look there tooas wondering whether
he sees anything wrong anywhereand hoping thatin case he
shouldhe will have the goodness to mention it.

What have we here? The captain's boat! and yonder the captain
himself. Nowby all our hopes and wishesthe very man he ought
to be! A well-madetight-builtdapper little fellow; with a
ruddy facewhich is a letter of invitation to shake him by both
hands at once; and with a clearblue honest eyethat it does one
good to see one's sparkling image in. 'Ring the bell!' 'Ding
dingding!' the very bell is in a hurry. 'Now for the shore -
who's for the shore?' - 'These gentlemenI am sorry to say.' They
are awayand never saidGood b'ye. Ah now they wave it from the
little boat. 'Good b'ye! Good b'ye!' Three cheers from them;
three more from us; three more from them: and they are gone.

To and froto and froto and fro again a hundred times! This
waiting for the latest mail-bags is worse than all. If we could
have gone off in the midst of that last burstwe should have
started triumphantly: but to lie heretwo hours and more in the
damp fogneither staying at home nor going abroadis letting one
gradually down into the very depths of dulness and low spirits. A
speck in the mistat last! That's something. It is the boat we
wait for! That's more to the purpose. The captain appears on the


paddle-box with his speaking trumpet; the officers take their
stations; all hands are on the alert; the flagging hopes of the
passengers revive; the cooks pause in their savoury workand look
out with faces full of interest. The boat comes alongside; the
bags are dragged in anyhowand flung down for the moment anywhere.
Three cheers more: and as the first one rings upon our earsthe
vessel throbs like a strong giant that has just received the breath
of life; the two great wheels turn fiercely round for the first
time; and the noble shipwith wind and tide asternbreaks proudly
through the lashed and roaming water.

CHAPTER II - THE PASSAGE OUT

WE all dined together that day; and a rather formidable party we
were: no fewer than eighty-six strong. The vessel being pretty
deep in the waterwith all her coals on board and so many
passengersand the weather being calm and quietthere was but
little motion; so that before the dinner was half overeven those
passengers who were most distrustful of themselves plucked up
amazingly; and those who in the morning had returned to the
universal question'Are you a good sailor?' a very decided
negativenow either parried the inquiry with the evasive reply
'Oh! I suppose I'm no worse than anybody else;' orreckless of all
moral obligationsanswered boldly 'Yes:' and with some irritation
tooas though they would add'I should like to know what you see
in MEsirparticularlyto justify suspicion!'

Notwithstanding this high tone of courage and confidenceI could
not but observe that very few remained long over their wine; and
that everybody had an unusual love of the open air; and that the
favourite and most coveted seats were invariably those nearest to
the door. The tea-tabletoowas by no means as well attended as
the dinner-table; and there was less whist-playing than might have
been expected. Stillwith the exception of one ladywho had
retired with some precipitation at dinner-timeimmediately after
being assisted to the finest cut of a very yellow boiled leg of
mutton with very green capersthere were no invalids as yet; and
walkingand smokingand drinking of brandy-and-water (but always
in the open air)went on with unabated spirituntil eleven
o'clock or thereaboutswhen 'turning in' - no sailor of seven
hours' experience talks of going to bed - became the order of the
night. The perpetual tramp of boot-heels on the decks gave place
to a heavy silenceand the whole human freight was stowed away
belowexcepting a very few stragglerslike myselfwho were
probablylike meafraid to go there.

To one unaccustomed to such scenesthis is a very striking time on
shipboard. Afterwardsand when its novelty had long worn offit
never ceased to have a peculiar interest and charm for me. The
gloom through which the great black mass holds its direct and
certain course; the rushing waterplainly heardbut dimly seen;
the broadwhiteglistening trackthat follows in the vessel's
wake; the men on the look-out forwardwho would be scarcely
visible against the dark skybut for their blotting out some score
of glistening stars; the helmsman at the wheelwith the
illuminated card before himshininga speck of light amidst the
darknesslike something sentient and of Divine intelligence; the
melancholy sighing of the wind through blockand ropeand chain;
the gleaming forth of light from every crevicenookand tiny
piece of glass about the decksas though the ship were filled with


fire in hidingready to burst through any outletwild with its
resistless power of death and ruin. At firsttooand even when
the hourand all the objects it exaltshave come to be familiar
it is difficultalone and thoughtfulto hold them to their proper
shapes and forms. They change with the wandering fancy; assume the
semblance of things left far away; put on the well-remembered
aspect of favourite places dearly loved; and even people them with
shadows. Streetshousesrooms; figures so like their usual
occupantsthat they have startled me by their realitywhich far
exceededas it seemed to meall power of mine to conjure up the
absent; havemany and many a timeat such an hourgrown suddenly
out of objects with whose real lookand useand purposeI was as
well acquainted as with my own two hands.

My own two handsand feet likewisebeing very coldhoweveron
this particular occasionI crept below at midnight. It was not
exactly comfortable below. It was decidedly close; and it was
impossible to be unconscious of the presence of that extraordinary
compound of strange smellswhich is to be found nowhere but on
board shipand which is such a subtle perfume that it seems to
enter at every pore of the skinand whisper of the hold. Two
passengers' wives (one of them my own) lay already in silent
agonies on the sofa; and one lady's maid (MY lady's) was a mere
bundle on the floorexecrating her destinyand pounding her curlpapers
among the stray boxes. Everything sloped the wrong way:
which in itself was an aggravation scarcely to be borne. I had
left the door opena moment beforein the bosom of a gentle
declivityandwhen I turned to shut itit was on the summit of a
lofty eminence. Now every plank and timber creakedas if the ship
were made of wicker-work; and now crackledlike an enormous fire
of the driest possible twigs. There was nothing for it but bed; so
I went to bed.

It was pretty much the same for the next two dayswith a tolerably
fair wind and dry weather. I read in bed (but to this hour I don't
know what) a good deal; and reeled on deck a little; drank cold
brandy-and-water with an unspeakable disgustand ate hard biscuit
perseveringly: not illbut going to be.

It is the third morning. I am awakened out of my sleep by a dismal
shriek from my wifewho demands to know whether there's any
danger. I rouse myselfand look out of bed. The water-jug is
plunging and leaping like a lively dolphin; all the smaller
articles are afloatexcept my shoeswhich are stranded on a
carpet-baghigh and drylike a couple of coal-barges. Suddenly I
see them spring into the airand behold the looking-glasswhich
is nailed to the wallsticking fast upon the ceiling. At the same
time the door entirely disappearsand a new one is opened in the
floor. Then I begin to comprehend that the state-room is standing
on its head.

Before it is possible to make any arrangement at all compatible
with this novel state of thingsthe ship rights. Before one can
say 'Thank Heaven!' she wrongs again. Before one can cry she IS
wrongshe seems to have started forwardand to be a creature
actually running of its own accordwith broken knees and failing
legsthrough every variety of hole and pitfalland stumbling
constantly. Before one can so much as wondershe takes a high
leap into the air. Before she has well done thatshe takes a deep
dive into the water. Before she has gained the surfaceshe throws
a summerset. The instant she is on her legsshe rushes backward.
And so she goes on staggeringheavingwrestlingleapingdiving
jumpingpitchingthrobbingrollingand rocking: and going
through all these movementssometimes by turnsand sometimes


altogether: until one feels disposed to roar for mercy.

A steward passes. 'Steward!' 'Sir?' 'What IS the matter? what DO
you call this?' 'Rather a heavy sea onsirand a head-wind.'

A head-wind! Imagine a human face upon the vessel's prowwith
fifteen thousand Samsons in one bent upon driving her backand
hitting her exactly between the eyes whenever she attempts to
advance an inch. Imagine the ship herselfwith every pulse and
artery of her huge body swollen and bursting under this
maltreatmentsworn to go on or die. Imagine the wind howlingthe
sea roaringthe rain beating: all in furious array against her.
Picture the sky both dark and wildand the cloudsin fearful
sympathy with the wavesmaking another ocean in the air. Add to
all thisthe clattering on deck and down below; the tread of
hurried feet; the loud hoarse shouts of seamen; the gurgling in and
out of water through the scuppers; withevery now and thenthe
striking of a heavy sea upon the planks abovewith the deepdead
heavy sound of thunder heard within a vault; - and there is the
head-wind of that January morning.

I say nothing of what may be called the domestic noises of the
ship: such as the breaking of glass and crockerythe tumbling
down of stewardsthe gambolsoverheadof loose casks and truant
dozens of bottled porterand the very remarkable and far from
exhilarating sounds raised in their various state-rooms by the
seventy passengers who were too ill to get up to breakfast. I say
nothing of them: for although I lay listening to this concert for
three or four daysI don't think I heard it for more than a
quarter of a minuteat the expiration of which termI lay down
againexcessively sea-sick.

Not sea-sickbe it understoodin the ordinary acceptation of the
term: I wish I had been: but in a form which I have never seen or
heard describedthough I have no doubt it is very common. I lay
thereall the day longquite coolly and contentedly; with no
sense of wearinesswith no desire to get upor get betteror
take the air; with no curiosityor careor regretof any sort or
degreesaving that I think I can rememberin this universal
indifferencehaving a kind of lazy joy - of fiendish delightif
anything so lethargic can be dignified with the title - in the fact
of my wife being too ill to talk to me. If I may be allowed to
illustrate my state of mind by such an exampleI should say that I
was exactly in the condition of the elder Mr. Willetafter the
incursion of the rioters into his bar at Chigwell. Nothing would
have surprised me. Ifin the momentary illumination of any ray of
intelligence that may have come upon me in the way of thoughts of
Homea goblin postmanwith a scarlet coat and bellhad come into
that little kennel before mebroad awake in broad dayand
apologising for being damp through walking in the seahad handed
me a letter directed to myselfin familiar charactersI am
certain I should not have felt one atom of astonishment: I should
have been perfectly satisfied. If Neptune himself had walked in
with a toasted shark on his tridentI should have looked upon the
event as one of the very commonest everyday occurrences.

Once - once - I found myself on deck. I don't know how I got
thereor what possessed me to go therebut there I was; and
completely dressed toowith a huge pea-coat onand a pair of
boots such as no weak man in his senses could ever have got into.
I found myself standingwhen a gleam of consciousness came upon
meholding on to something. I don't know what. I think it was
the boatswain: or it may have been the pump: or possibly the cow.
I can't say how long I had been there; whether a day or a minute.


I recollect trying to think about something (about anything in the
whole wide worldI was not particular) without the smallest
effect. I could not even make out which was the seaand which the
skyfor the horizon seemed drunkand was flying wildly about in
all directions. Even in that incapable statehoweverI
recognised the lazy gentleman standing before me: nautically clad
in a suit of shaggy bluewith an oilskin hat. But I was too
imbecilealthough I knew it to be heto separate him from his
dress; and tried to call himI rememberPILOT. After another
interval of total unconsciousnessI found he had goneand
recognised another figure in its place. It seemed to wave and
fluctuate before me as though I saw it reflected in an unsteady
looking-glass; but I knew it for the captain; and such was the
cheerful influence of his facethat I tried to smile: yeseven
then I tried to smile. I saw by his gestures that he addressed me;
but it was a long time before I could make out that he remonstrated
against my standing up to my knees in water - as I was; of course I
don't know why. I tried to thank himbut couldn't. I could only
point to my boots - or wherever I supposed my boots to be - and say
in a plaintive voice'Cork soles:' at the same time endeavouring
I am toldto sit down in the pool. Finding that I was quite
insensibleand for the time a maniache humanely conducted me
below.

There I remained until I got better: sufferingwhenever I was
recommended to eat anythingan amount of anguish only second to
that which is said to be endured by the apparently drownedin the
process of restoration to life. One gentleman on board had a
letter of introduction to me from a mutual friend in London. He
sent it below with his cardon the morning of the head-wind; and I
was long troubled with the idea that he might be upand welland
a hundred times a day expecting me to call upon him in the saloon.
I imagined him one of those cast-iron images - I will not call them
men - who askwith red facesand lusty voiceswhat sea-sickness
meansand whether it really is as bad as it is represented to be.
This was very torturing indeed; and I don't think I ever felt such
perfect gratification and gratitude of heartas I did when I heard
from the ship's doctor that he had been obliged to put a large
mustard poultice on this very gentleman's stomach. I date my
recovery from the receipt of that intelligence.

It was materially assisted thoughI have no doubtby a heavy gale
of windwhich came slowly up at sunsetwhen we were about ten
days outand raged with gradually increasing fury until morning
saving that it lulled for an hour a little before midnight. There
was something in the unnatural repose of that hourand in the
after gathering of the stormso inconceivably awful and
tremendousthat its bursting into full violence was almost a
relief.

The labouring of the ship in the troubled sea on this night I shall
never forget. 'Will it ever be worse than this?' was a question I
had often heard askedwhen everything was sliding and bumping
aboutand when it certainly did seem difficult to comprehend the
possibility of anything afloat being more disturbedwithout
toppling over and going down. But what the agitation of a steamvessel
ison a bad winter's night in the wild Atlanticit is
impossible for the most vivid imagination to conceive. To say that
she is flung down on her side in the waveswith her masts dipping
into themand thatspringing up againshe rolls over on the
other sideuntil a heavy sea strikes her with the noise of a
hundred great gunsand hurls her back - that she stopsand
staggersand shiversas though stunnedand thenwith a violent
throbbing at her heartdarts onward like a monster goaded into


madnessto be beaten downand batteredand crushedand leaped
on by the angry sea - that thunderlightninghailand rainand
windare all in fierce contention for the mastery - that every
plank has its groanevery nail its shriekand every drop of water
in the great ocean its howling voice - is nothing. To say that all
is grandand all appalling and horrible in the last degreeis
nothing. Words cannot express it. Thoughts cannot convey it.
Only a dream can call it up againin all its furyrageand
passion.

And yetin the very midst of these terrorsI was placed in a
situation so exquisitely ridiculousthat even then I had as strong
a sense of its absurdity as I have nowand could no more help
laughing than I can at any other comical incidenthappening under
circumstances the most favourable to its enjoyment. About midnight
we shipped a seawhich forced its way through the skylightsburst
open the doors aboveand came raging and roaring down into the
ladies' cabinto the unspeakable consternation of my wife and a
little Scotch lady - whoby the wayhad previously sent a message
to the captain by the stewardessrequesting himwith her
complimentsto have a steel conductor immediately attached to the
top of every mastand to the chimneyin order that the ship might
not be struck by lightning. They and the handmaid before
mentionedbeing in such ecstasies of fear that I scarcely knew
what to do with themI naturally bethought myself of some
restorative or comfortable cordial; and nothing better occurring to
meat the momentthan hot brandy-and-waterI procured a tumbler
full without delay. It being impossible to stand or sit without
holding onthey were all heaped together in one corner of a long
sofa - a fixture extending entirely across the cabin - where they
clung to each other in momentary expectation of being drowned.
When I approached this place with my specificand was about to
administer it with many consolatory expressions to the nearest
suffererwhat was my dismay to see them all roll slowly down to
the other end! And when I staggered to that endand held out the
glass once morehow immensely baffled were my good intentions by
the ship giving another lurchand their all rolling back again! I
suppose I dodged them up and down this sofa for at least a quarter
of an hourwithout reaching them once; and by the time I did catch
themthe brandy-and-water was diminishedby constant spillingto
a teaspoonful. To complete the groupit is necessary to recognise
in this disconcerted dodgeran individual very pale from seasickness
who had shaved his beard and brushed his hairlastat
Liverpool: and whose only article of dress (linen not included)
were a pair of dreadnought trousers; a blue jacketformerly
admired upon the Thames at Richmond; no stockings; and one slipper.

Of the outrageous antics performed by that ship next morning; which
made bed a practical jokeand getting upby any process short of
falling outan impossibility; I say nothing. But anything like
the utter dreariness and desolation that met my eyes when I
literally 'tumbled up' on deck at noonI never saw. Ocean and sky
were all of one dullheavyuniformlead colour. There was no
extent of prospect even over the dreary waste that lay around us
for the sea ran highand the horizon encompassed us like a large
black hoop. Viewed from the airor some tall bluff on shoreit
would have been imposing and stupendousno doubt; but seen from
the wet and rolling decksit only impressed one giddily and
painfully. In the gale of last night the life-boat had been
crushed by one blow of the sea like a walnut-shell; and there it
hung dangling in the air: a mere faggot of crazy boards. The
planking of the paddle-boxes had been torn sheer away. The wheels
were exposed and bare; and they whirled and dashed their spray
about the decks at random. Chimneywhite with crusted salt;


topmasts struck; storm-sails set; rigging all knottedtangled
wetand drooping: a gloomier picture it would be hard to look
upon.

I was now comfortably established by courtesy in the ladies' cabin
wherebesides ourselvesthere were only four other passengers.
Firstthe little Scotch lady before mentionedon her way to join
her husband at New Yorkwho had settled there three years before.
Secondly and thirdlyan honest young Yorkshiremanconnected with
some American house; domiciled in that same cityand carrying
thither his beautiful young wife to whom he had been married but a
fortnightand who was the fairest specimen of a comely English
country girl I have ever seen. Fourthyfifthlyand lastly
another couple: newly married tooif one might judge from the
endearments they frequently interchanged: of whom I know no more
than that they were rather a mysteriousrun-away kind of couple;
that the lady had great personal attractions also; and that the
gentleman carried more guns with him than Robinson Crusoewore a
shooting-coatand had two great dogs on board. On further
considerationI remember that he tried hot roast pig and bottled
ale as a cure for sea-sickness; and that he took these remedies
(usually in bed) day after daywith astonishing perseverance. I
may addfor the information of the curiousthat they decidedly
failed.

The weather continuing obstinately and almost unprecedentedly bad
we usually straggled into this cabinmore or less faint and
miserableabout an hour before noonand lay down on the sofas to
recover; during which intervalthe captain would look in to
communicate the state of the windthe moral certainty of its
changing to-morrow (the weather is always going to improve tomorrow
at sea)the vessel's rate of sailingand so forth.
Observations there were none to tell us offor there was no sun to
take them by. But a description of one day will serve for all the
rest. Here it is.

The captain being gonewe compose ourselves to readif the place
be light enough; and if notwe doze and talk alternately. At one
a bell ringsand the stewardess comes down with a steaming dish of
baked potatoesand another of roasted apples; and plates of pig's
facecold hamsalt beef; or perhaps a smoking mess of rare hot
collops. We fall to upon these dainties; eat as much as we can (we
have great appetites now); and are as long as possible about it.
If the fire will burn (it WILL sometimes) we are pretty cheerful.
If it won'twe all remark to each other that it's very coldrub
our handscover ourselves with coats and cloaksand lie down
again to dozetalkand read (provided as aforesaid)until
dinner-time. At fiveanother bell ringsand the stewardess
reappears with another dish of potatoes - boiled this time - and
store of hot meat of various kinds: not forgetting the roast pig
to be taken medicinally. We sit down at table again (rather more
cheerfully than before); prolong the meal with a rather mouldy
dessert of applesgrapesand oranges; and drink our wine and
brandy-and-water. The bottles and glasses are still upon the
tableand the oranges and so forth are rolling about according to
their fancy and the ship's waywhen the doctor comes downby
special nightly invitationto join our evening rubber:
immediately on whose arrival we make a party at whistand as it is
a rough night and the cards will not lie on the clothwe put the
tricks in our pockets as we take them. At whist we remain with
exemplary gravity (deducting a short time for tea and toast) until
eleven o'clockor thereabouts; when the captain comes down again
in a sou'-wester hat tied under his chinand a pilot-coat: making
the ground wet where he stands. By this time the card-playing is


overand the bottles and glasses are again upon the table; and
after an hour's pleasant conversation about the shipthe
passengersand things in generalthe captain (who never goes to
bedand is never out of humour) turns up his coat collar for the
deck again; shakes hands all round; and goes laughing out into the
weather as merrily as to a birthday party.

As to daily newsthere is no dearth of that commodity. This
passenger is reported to have lost fourteen pounds at Vingt-et-un
in the saloon yesterday; and that passenger drinks his bottle of
champagne every dayand how he does it (being only a clerk)
nobody knows. The head engineer has distinctly said that there
never was such times - meaning weather - and four good hands are
illand have given indead beat. Several berths are full of
waterand all the cabins are leaky. The ship's cooksecretly
swigging damaged whiskeyhas been found drunk; and has been played
upon by the fire-engine until quite sober. All the stewards have
fallen down-stairs at various dinner-timesand go about with
plasters in various places. The baker is illand so is the
pastry-cook. A new manhorribly indisposedhas been required to
fill the place of the latter officer; and has been propped and
jammed up with empty casks in a little house upon deckand
commanded to roll out pie-crustwhich he protests (being highly
bilious) it is death to him to look at. News! A dozen murders on
shore would lack the interest of these slight incidents at sea.

Divided between our rubber and such topics as thesewe were
running (as we thought) into Halifax Harbouron the fifteenth
nightwith little wind and a bright moon - indeedwe had made the
Light at its outer entranceand put the pilot in charge - when
suddenly the ship struck upon a bank of mud. An immediate rush on
deck took place of course; the sides were crowded in an instant;
and for a few minutes we were in as lively a state of confusion as
the greatest lover of disorder would desire to see. The
passengersand gunsand water-casksand other heavy matters
being all huddled together afthoweverto lighten her in the
headshe was soon got off; and after some driving on towards an
uncomfortable line of objects (whose vicinity had been announced
very early in the disaster by a loud cry of 'Breakers a-head!') and
much backing of paddlesand heaving of the lead into a constantly
decreasing depth of waterwe dropped anchor in a strange
outlandish-looking nook which nobody on board could recognise
although there was land all about usand so close that we could
plainly see the waving branches of the trees.

It was strange enoughin the silence of midnightand the dead
stillness that seemed to be created by the sudden and unexpected
stoppage of the engine which had been clanking and blasting in our
ears incessantly for so many daysto watch the look of blank
astonishment expressed in every face: beginning with the officers
tracing it through all the passengersand descending to the very
stokers and furnacemenwho emerged from belowone by oneand
clustered together in a smoky group about the hatchway of the
engine-roomcomparing notes in whispers. After throwing up a few
rockets and firing signal guns in the hope of being hailed from the
landor at least of seeing a light - but without any other sight
or sound presenting itself - it was determined to send a boat on
shore. It was amusing to observe how very kind some of the
passengers werein volunteering to go ashore in this same boat:
for the general goodof course: not by any means because they
thought the ship in an unsafe positionor contemplated the
possibility of her heeling over in case the tide were running out.
Nor was it less amusing to remark how desperately unpopular the
poor pilot became in one short minute. He had had his passage out


from Liverpooland during the whole voyage had been quite a
notorious characteras a teller of anecdotes and cracker of jokes.
Yet here were the very men who had laughed the loudest at his
jestsnow flourishing their fists in his faceloading him with
imprecationsand defying him to his teeth as a villain!

The boat soon shoved offwith a lantern and sundry blue lights on
board; and in less than an hour returned; the officer in command
bringing with him a tolerably tall young treewhich he had plucked
up by the rootsto satisfy certain distrustful passengers whose
minds misgave them that they were to be imposed upon and
shipwreckedand who would on no other terms believe that he had
been ashoreor had done anything but fraudulently row a little way
into the mistspecially to deceive them and compass their deaths.
Our captain had foreseen from the first that we must be in a place
called the Eastern passage; and so we were. It was about the last
place in the world in which we had any business or reason to be
but a sudden fogand some error on the pilot's partwere the
cause. We were surrounded by banksand rocksand shoals of all
kindsbut had happily driftedit seemedupon the only safe speck
that was to be found thereabouts. Eased by this reportand by the
assurance that the tide was past the ebbwe turned in at three
o'clock in the morning.

I was dressing about half-past nine next daywhen the noise above
hurried me on deck. When I had left it overnightit was dark
foggyand dampand there were bleak hills all round us. Nowwe
were gliding down a smoothbroad streamat the rate of eleven
miles an hour: our colours flying gaily; our crew rigged out in
their smartest clothes; our officers in uniform again; the sun
shining as on a brilliant April day in England; the land stretched
out on either sidestreaked with light patches of snow; white
wooden houses; people at their doors; telegraphs working; flags
hoisted; wharfs appearing; ships; quays crowded with people;
distant noises; shouts; men and boys running down steep places
towards the pier: all more bright and gay and fresh to our unused
eyes than words can paint them. We came to a wharfpaved with
uplifted faces; got alongsideand were made fastafter some
shouting and straining of cables; darteda score of us along the
gangwayalmost as soon as it was thrust out to meet usand before
it had reached the ship - and leaped upon the firm glad earth
again!

I suppose this Halifax would have appeared an Elysiumthough it
had been a curiosity of ugly dulness. But I carried away with me a
most pleasant impression of the town and its inhabitantsand have
preserved it to this hour. Nor was it without regret that I came
homewithout having found an opportunity of returning thitherand
once more shaking hands with the friends I made that day.

It happened to be the opening of the Legislative Council and
General Assemblyat which ceremonial the forms observed on the
commencement of a new Session of Parliament in England were so
closely copiedand so gravely presented on a small scalethat it
was like looking at Westminster through the wrong end of a
telescope. The governoras her Majesty's representative
delivered what may be called the Speech from the Throne. He said
what he had to say manfully and well. The military band outside
the building struck up "God save the Queen" with great vigour
before his Excellency had quite finished; the people shouted; the
in's rubbed their hands; the out's shook their heads; the
Government party said there never was such a good speech; the
Opposition declared there never was such a bad one; the Speaker and
members of the House of Assembly withdrew from the bar to say a


great deal among themselves and do a little: andin short
everything went onand promised to go onjust as it does at home
upon the like occasions.

The town is built on the side of a hillthe highest point being
commanded by a strong fortressnot yet quite finished. Several
streets of good breadth and appearance extend from its summit to
the water-sideand are intersected by cross streets running
parallel with the river. The houses are chiefly of wood. The
market is abundantly supplied; and provisions are exceedingly
cheap. The weather being unusually mild at that time for the
season of the yearthere was no sleighing: but there were plenty
of those vehicles in yards and by-placesand some of themfrom
the gorgeous quality of their decorationsmight have 'gone on'
without alteration as triumphal cars in a melodrama at Astley's.
The day was uncommonly fine; the air bracing and healthful; the
whole aspect of the town cheerfulthrivingand industrious.

We lay there seven hoursto deliver and exchange the mails. At
lengthhaving collected all our bags and all our passengers
(including two or three choice spiritswhohaving indulged too
freely in oysters and champagnewere found lying insensible on
their backs in unfrequented streets)the engines were again put in
motionand we stood off for Boston.

Encountering squally weather again in the Bay of Fundywe tumbled
and rolled about as usual all that night and all next day. On the
next afternoonthat is to sayon Saturdaythe twenty-second of
Januaryan American pilot-boat came alongsideand soon afterwards
the Britannia steam-packetfrom Liverpooleighteen days outwas
telegraphed at Boston.

The indescribable interest with which I strained my eyesas the
first patches of American soil peeped like molehills from the green
seaand followed themas they swelledby slow and almost
imperceptible degreesinto a continuous line of coastcan hardly
be exaggerated. A sharp keen wind blew dead against us; a hard
frost prevailed on shore; and the cold was most severe. Yet the
air was so intensely clearand dryand brightthat the
temperature was not only endurablebut delicious.

How I remained on deckstaring about meuntil we came alongside
the dockand howthough I had had as many eyes as ArgusI should
have had them all wide openand all employed on new objects - are
topics which I will not prolong this chapter to discuss. Neither
will I more than hint at my foreigner-like mistake in supposing
that a party of most active personswho scrambled on board at the
peril of their lives as we approached the wharfwere newsmen
answering to that industrious class at home; whereasdespite the
leathern wallets of news slung about the necks of someand the
broad sheets in the hands of allthey were Editorswho boarded
ships in person (as one gentleman in a worsted comforter informed
me)'because they liked the excitement of it.' Suffice it in this
place to saythat one of these invaderswith a ready courtesy for
which I thank him here most gratefullywent on before to order
rooms at the hotel; and that when I followedas I soon didI
found myself rolling through the long passages with an involuntary
imitation of the gait of Mr. T. P. Cookein a new nautical
melodrama.

'Dinnerif you please' said I to the waiter.

'When?' said the waiter.


'As quick as possible' said I.

'Right away?' said the waiter.

After a moment's hesitationI answered 'No' at hazard.

'NOT right away?' cried the waiterwith an amount of surprise that
made me start.

I looked at him doubtfullyand returned'No; I would rather have
it in this private room. I like it very much.'

At thisI really thought the waiter must have gone out of his
mind: as I believe he would have donebut for the interposition
of another manwho whispered in his ear'Directly.'

'Well! and that's a fact!' said the waiterlooking helplessly at
me: 'Right away.'

I saw now that 'Right away' and 'Directly' were one and the same
thing. So I reversed my previous answerand sat down to dinner in
ten minutes afterwards; and a capital dinner it was.

The hotel (a very excellent one) is called the Tremont House. It
has more galleriescolonnadespiazzasand passages than I can
rememberor the reader would believe.

CHAPTER III - BOSTON

IN all the public establishments of Americathe utmost courtesy
prevails. Most of our Departments are susceptible of considerable
improvement in this respectbut the Custom-house above all others
would do well to take example from the United States and render
itself somewhat less odious and offensive to foreigners. The
servile rapacity of the French officials is sufficiently
contemptible; but there is a surly boorish incivility about our
menalike disgusting to all persons who fall into their handsand
discreditable to the nation that keeps such ill-conditioned curs
snarling about its gates.

When I landed in AmericaI could not help being strongly impressed
with the contrast their Custom-house presentedand the attention
politeness and good humour with which its officers discharged their
duty.

As we did not land at Bostonin consequence of some detention at
the wharfuntil after darkI received my first impressions of the
city in walking down to the Custom-house on the morning after our
arrivalwhich was Sunday. I am afraid to sayby the wayhow
many offers of pews and seats in church for that morning were made
to usby formal note of invitationbefore we had half finished
our first dinner in Americabut if I may be allowed to make a
moderate guesswithout going into nicer calculationI should say
that at least as many sittings were proffered usas would have
accommodated a score or two of grown-up families. The number of
creeds and forms of religion to which the pleasure of our company
was requestedwas in very fair proportion.

Not being ablein the absence of any change of clothesto go to
church that daywe were compelled to decline these kindnessesone


and all; and I was reluctantly obliged to forego the delight of
hearing Dr. Channingwho happened to preach that morning for the
first time in a very long interval. I mention the name of this
distinguished and accomplished man (with whom I soon afterwards had
the pleasure of becoming personally acquainted)that I may have
the gratification of recording my humble tribute of admiration and
respect for his high abilities and character; and for the bold
philanthropy with which he has ever opposed himself to that most
hideous blot and foul disgrace - Slavery.

To return to Boston. When I got into the streets upon this Sunday
morningthe air was so clearthe houses were so bright and gay:
the signboards were painted in such gaudy colours; the gilded
letters were so very golden; the bricks were so very redthe stone
was so very whitethe blinds and area railings were so very green
the knobs and plates upon the street doors so marvellously bright
and twinkling; and all so slight and unsubstantial in appearance -
that every thoroughfare in the city looked exactly like a scene in
a pantomime. It rarely happens in the business streets that a
tradesmanif I may venture to call anybody a tradesmanwhere
everybody is a merchantresides above his store; so that many
occupations are often carried on in one houseand the whole front
is covered with boards and inscriptions. As I walked alongI kept
glancing up at these boardsconfidently expecting to see a few of
them change into something; and I never turned a corner suddenly
without looking out for the clown and pantaloonwhoI had no
doubtwere hiding in a doorway or behind some pillar close at
hand. As to Harlequin and ColumbineI discovered immediately that
they lodged (they are always looking after lodgings in a pantomime)
at a very small clockmaker's one story highnear the hotel; which
in addition to various symbols and devicesalmost covering the
whole fronthad a great dial hanging out - to be jumped through
of course.

The suburbs areif possibleeven more unsubstantial-looking than
the city. The white wooden houses (so white that it makes one wink
to look at them)with their green jalousie blindsare so
sprinkled and dropped about in all directionswithout seeming to
have any root at all in the ground; and the small churches and
chapels are so primand brightand highly varnished; that I
almost believed the whole affair could be taken up piecemeal like a
child's toyand crammed into a little box.

The city is a beautiful oneand cannot failI should imagineto
impress all strangers very favourably. The private dwelling-houses
arefor the most partlarge and elegant; the shops extremely
good; and the public buildings handsome. The State House is built
upon the summit of a hillwhich rises gradually at firstand
afterwards by a steep ascentalmost from the water's edge. In
front is a green enclosurecalled the Common. The site is
beautiful: and from the top there is a charming panoramic view of
the whole town and neighbourhood. In addition to a variety of
commodious officesit contains two handsome chambers; in one the
House of Representatives of the State hold their meetings: in the
otherthe Senate. Such proceedings as I saw herewere conducted
with perfect gravity and decorum; and were certainly calculated to
inspire attention and respect.

There is no doubt that much of the intellectual refinement and
superiority of Bostonis referable to the quiet influence of the
University of Cambridgewhich is within three or four miles of the
city. The resident professors at that university are gentlemen of
learning and varied attainments; and arewithout one exception
that I can call to mindmen who would shed a grace uponand do


honour toany society in the civilised world. Many of the
resident gentry in Boston and its neighbourhoodand I think I am
not mistaken in addinga large majority of those who are attached
to the liberal professions therehave been educated at this same
school. Whatever the defects of American universities may bethey
disseminate no prejudices; rear no bigots; dig up the buried ashes
of no old superstitions; never interpose between the people and
their improvement; exclude no man because of his religious
opinions; above allin their whole course of study and
instructionrecognise a worldand a broad one toolying beyond
the college walls.

It was a source of inexpressible pleasure to me to observe the
almost imperceptiblebut not less certain effectwrought by this
institution among the small community of Boston; and to note at
every turn the humanising tastes and desires it has engendered; the
affectionate friendships to which it has given rise; the amount of
vanity and prejudice it has dispelled. The golden calf they
worship at Boston is a pigmy compared with the giant effigies set
up in other parts of that vast counting-house which lies beyond the
Atlantic; and the almighty dollar sinks into something
comparatively insignificantamidst a whole Pantheon of better
gods.

Above allI sincerely believe that the public institutions and
charities of this capital of Massachusetts are as nearly perfect
as the most considerate wisdombenevolenceand humanitycan make
them. I never in my life was more affected by the contemplation of
happinessunder circumstances of privation and bereavementthan
in my visits to these establishments.

It is a great and pleasant feature of all such institutions in
Americathat they are either supported by the State or assisted by
the State; or (in the event of their not needing its helping hand)
that they act in concert with itand are emphatically the
people's. I cannot but thinkwith a view to the principle and its
tendency to elevate or depress the character of the industrious
classesthat a Public Charity is immeasurably better than a
Private Foundationno matter how munificently the latter may be
endowed. In our own countrywhere it has notuntil within these
later daysbeen a very popular fashion with governments to display
any extraordinary regard for the great mass of the people or to
recognise their existence as improvable creaturesprivate
charitiesunexampled in the history of the earthhave arisento
do an incalculable amount of good among the destitute and
afflicted. But the government of the countryhaving neither act
nor part in themis not in the receipt of any portion of the
gratitude they inspire; andoffering very little shelter or relief
beyond that which is to be found in the workhouse and the jailhas
comenot unnaturallyto be looked upon by the poor rather as a
stern masterquick to correct and punishthan a kind protector
merciful and vigilant in their hour of need.

The maxim that out of evil cometh goodis strongly illustrated by
these establishments at home; as the records of the Prerogative
Office in Doctors' Commons can abundantly prove. Some immensely
rich old gentleman or ladysurrounded by needy relativesmakes
upon a low averagea will a-week. The old gentleman or lady
never very remarkable in the best of times for good temperis full
of aches and pains from head to foot; full of fancies and caprices;
full of spleendistrustsuspicionand dislike. To cancel old
willsand invent new onesis at last the sole business of such a
testator's existence; and relations and friends (some of whom have
been bred up distinctly to inherit a large share of the property


and have beenfrom their cradlesspecially disqualified from
devoting themselves to any useful pursuiton that account) are so
often and so unexpectedly and summarily cut offand reinstated
and cut off againthat the whole familydown to the remotest
cousinis kept in a perpetual fever. At length it becomes plain
that the old lady or gentleman has not long to live; and the
plainer this becomesthe more clearly the old lady or gentleman
perceives that everybody is in a conspiracy against their poor old
dying relative; wherefore the old lady or gentleman makes another
last will - positively the last this time - conceals the same in a
china teapotand expires next day. Then it turns outthat the
whole of the real and personal estate is divided between half-adozen
charities; and that the dead and gone testator has in pure
spite helped to do a great deal of goodat the cost of an immense
amount of evil passion and misery.

The Perkins Institution and Massachusetts Asylum for the Blindat
Bostonis superintended by a body of trustees who make an annual
report to the corporation. The indigent blind of that state are
admitted gratuitously. Those from the adjoining state of
Connecticutor from the states of MaineVermontor New
Hampshireare admitted by a warrant from the state to which they
respectively belong; orfailing thatmust find security among
their friendsfor the payment of about twenty pounds English for
their first year's board and instructionand ten for the second.
'After the first year' say the trustees'an account current will
be opened with each pupil; he will be charged with the actual cost
of his boardwhich will not exceed two dollars per week;' a trifle
more than eight shillings English; 'and he will be credited with
the amount paid for him by the stateor by his friends; also with
his earnings over and above the cost of the stock which he uses; so
that all his earnings over one dollar per week will be his own. By
the third year it will be known whether his earnings will more than
pay the actual cost of his board; if they shouldhe will have it
at his option to remain and receive his earningsor not. Those
who prove unable to earn their own livelihood will not be retained;
as it is not desirable to convert the establishment into an almshouse
or to retain any but working bees in the hive. Those who by
physical or mental imbecility are disqualified from workare
thereby disqualified from being members of an industrious
community; and they can be better provided for in establishments
fitted for the infirm.'

I went to see this place one very fine winter morning: an Italian
sky aboveand the air so clear and bright on every sidethat even
my eyeswhich are none of the bestcould follow the minute lines
and scraps of tracery in distant buildings. Like most other public
institutions in Americaof the same classit stands a mile or two
without the townin a cheerful healthy spot; and is an airy
spacioushandsome edifice. It is built upon a heightcommanding
the harbour. When I paused for a moment at the doorand marked
how fresh and free the whole scene was - what sparkling bubbles
glanced upon the wavesand welled up every moment to the surface
as though the world belowlike that abovewere radiant with the
bright dayand gushing over in its fulness of light: when I gazed
from sail to sail away upon a ship at seaa tiny speck of shining
whitethe only cloud upon the stilldeepdistant blue - and
turningsaw a blind boy with his sightless face addressed that
wayas though he too had some sense within him of the glorious
distance: I felt a kind of sorrow that the place should be so very
lightand a strange wish that for his sake it were darker. It was
but momentaryof courseand a mere fancybut I felt it keenly
for all that.


The children were at their daily tasks in different roomsexcept a
few who were already dismissedand were at play. Hereas in many
institutionsno uniform is worn; and I was very glad of itfor
two reasons. Firstlybecause I am sure that nothing but senseless
custom and want of thought would reconcile us to the liveries and
badges we are so fond of at home. Secondlybecause the absence of
these things presents each child to the visitor in his or her own
proper characterwith its individuality unimpaired; not lost in a
dulluglymonotonous repetition of the same unmeaning garb:
which is really an important consideration. The wisdom of
encouraging a little harmless pride in personal appearance even
among the blindor the whimsical absurdity of considering charity
and leather breeches inseparable companionsas we dorequires no
comment.

Good ordercleanlinessand comfortpervaded every corner of the
building. The various classeswho were gathered round their
teachersanswered the questions put to them with readiness and
intelligenceand in a spirit of cheerful contest for precedence
which pleased me very much. Those who were at playwere gleesome
and noisy as other children. More spiritual and affectionate
friendships appeared to exist among themthan would be found among
other young persons suffering under no deprivation; but this I
expected and was prepared to find. It is a part of the great
scheme of Heaven's merciful consideration for the afflicted.

In a portion of the buildingset apart for that purposeare workshops
for blind persons whose education is finishedand who have
acquired a tradebut who cannot pursue it in an ordinary
manufactory because of their deprivation. Several people were at
work here; making brushesmattressesand so forth; and the
cheerfulnessindustryand good order discernible in every other
part of the buildingextended to this department also.

On the ringing of a bellthe pupils all repairedwithout any
guide or leaderto a spacious music-hallwhere they took their
seats in an orchestra erected for that purposeand listened with
manifest delight to a voluntary on the organplayed by one of
themselves. At its conclusionthe performera boy of nineteen or
twentygave place to a girl; and to her accompaniment they all
sang a hymnand afterwards a sort of chorus. It was very sad to
look upon and hear themhappy though their condition
unquestionably was; and I saw that one blind girlwho (being for
the time deprived of the use of her limbsby illness) sat close
beside me with her face towards themwept silently the while she
listened.

It is strange to watch the faces of the blindand see how free
they are from all concealment of what is passing in their thoughts;
observing whicha man with eyes may blush to contemplate the mask
he wears. Allowing for one shade of anxious expression which is
never absent from their countenancesand the like of which we may
readily detect in our own faces if we try to feel our way in the
darkevery ideaas it rises within themis expressed with the
lightning's speed and nature's truth. If the company at a routor
drawing-room at courtcould only for one time be as unconscious of
the eyes upon them as blind men and women arewhat secrets would
come outand what a worker of hypocrisy this sightthe loss of
which we so much pitywould appear to be!

The thought occurred to me as I sat down in another roombefore a
girlblinddeafand dumb; destitute of smell; and nearly so of
taste: before a fair young creature with every human facultyand
hopeand power of goodness and affectioninclosed within her


delicate frameand but one outward sense - the sense of touch.
There she wasbefore me; built upas it werein a marble cell
impervious to any ray of lightor particle of sound; with her poor
white hand peeping through a chink in the wallbeckoning to some
good man for helpthat an Immortal soul might be awakened.

Long before I looked upon herthe help had come. Her face was
radiant with intelligence and pleasure. Her hairbraided by her
own handswas bound about a headwhose intellectual capacity and
development were beautifully expressed in its graceful outlineand
its broad open brow; her dressarranged by herselfwas a pattern
of neatness and simplicity; the work she had knittedlay beside
her; her writing-book was on the desk she leaned upon. - From the
mournful ruin of such bereavementthere had slowly risen up this
gentletenderguilelessgrateful-hearted being.

Like other inmates of that houseshe had a green ribbon bound
round her eyelids. A doll she had dressed lay near upon the
ground. I took it upand saw that she had made a green fillet
such as she wore herselfand fastened it about its mimic eyes.

She was seated in a little enclosuremade by school-desks and
formswriting her daily journal. But soon finishing this pursuit
she engaged in an animated conversation with a teacher who sat
beside her. This was a favourite mistress with the poor pupil. If
she could see the face of her fair instructressshe would not love
her lessI am sure.

I have extracted a few disjointed fragments of her historyfrom an
accountwritten by that one man who has made her what she is. It
is a very beautiful and touching narrative; and I wish I could
present it entire.

Her name is Laura Bridgman. 'She was born in HanoverNew
Hampshireon the twenty-first of December1829. She is described
as having been a very sprightly and pretty infantwith bright blue
eyes. She washoweverso puny and feeble until she was a year
and a half oldthat her parents hardly hoped to rear her. She was
subject to severe fitswhich seemed to rack her frame almost
beyond her power of endurance: and life was held by the feeblest
tenure: but when a year and a half oldshe seemed to rally; the
dangerous symptoms subsided; and at twenty months oldshe was
perfectly well.

'Then her mental powershitherto stinted in their growthrapidly
developed themselves; and during the four months of health which
she enjoyedshe appears (making due allowance for a fond mother's
account) to have displayed a considerable degree of intelligence.

'But suddenly she sickened again; her disease raged with great
violence during five weekswhen her eyes and ears were inflamed
suppuratedand their contents were discharged. But though sight
and hearing were gone for everthe poor child's sufferings were
not ended. The fever raged during seven weeks; for five months she
was kept in bed in a darkened room; it was a year before she could
walk unsupportedand two years before she could sit up all day.
It was now observed that her sense of smell was almost entirely
destroyed; andconsequentlythat her taste was much blunted.

'It was not until four years of age that the poor child's bodily
health seemed restoredand she was able to enter upon her
apprenticeship of life and the world.

'But what a situation was hers! The darkness and the silence of


the tomb were around her: no mother's smile called forth her
answering smileno father's voice taught her to imitate his
sounds:- theybrothers and sisterswere but forms of matter which
resisted her touchbut which differed not from the furniture of
the housesave in warmthand in the power of locomotion; and not
even in these respects from the dog and the cat.

'But the immortal spirit which had been implanted within her could
not dienor be maimed nor mutilated; and though most of its
avenues of communication with the world were cut offit began to
manifest itself through the others. As soon as she could walkshe
began to explore the roomand then the house; she became familiar
with the formdensityweightand heatof every article she
could lay her hands upon. She followed her motherand felt her
hands and armsas she was occupied about the house; and her
disposition to imitateled her to repeat everything herself. She
even learned to sew a littleand to knit.'

The reader will scarcely need to be toldhoweverthat the
opportunities of communicating with herwere veryvery limited;
and that the moral effects of her wretched state soon began to
appear. Those who cannot be enlightened by reasoncan only be
controlled by force; and thiscoupled with her great privations
must soon have reduced her to a worse condition than that of the
beasts that perishbut for timely and unhoped-for aid.

'At this timeI was so fortunate as to hear of the childand
immediately hastened to Hanover to see her. I found her with a
well-formed figure; a strongly-markednervous-sanguine
temperament; a large and beautifully-shaped head; and the whole
system in healthy action. The parents were easily induced to
consent to her coming to Bostonand on the 4th of October1837
they brought her to the Institution.

'For a whileshe was much bewildered; and after waiting about two
weeksuntil she became acquainted with her new localityand
somewhat familiar with the inmatesthe attempt was made to give
her knowledge of arbitrary signsby which she could interchange
thoughts with others.

'There was one of two ways to be adopted: either to go on to build
up a language of signs on the basis of the natural language which
she had already commenced herselfor to teach her the purely
arbitrary language in common use: that isto give her a sign for
every individual thingor to give her a knowledge of letters by
combination of which she might express her idea of the existence
and the mode and condition of existenceof any thing. The former
would have been easybut very ineffectual; the latter seemed very
difficultbutif accomplishedvery effectual. I determined
therefore to try the latter.

'The first experiments were made by taking articles in common use
such as knivesforksspoonskeys&c.and pasting upon them
labels with their names printed in raised letters. These she felt
very carefullyand soonof coursedistinguished that the crooked
lines SPOONdiffered as much from the crooked lines KEYas the
spoon differed from the key in form.

'Then small detached labelswith the same words printed upon them
were put into her hands; and she soon observed that they were
similar to the ones pasted on the articles.' She showed her
perception of this similarity by laying the label KEY upon the key
and the label SPOON upon the spoon. She was encouraged here by the
natural sign of approbationpatting on the head.


'The same process was then repeated with all the articles which she
could handle; and she very easily learned to place the proper
labels upon them. It was evidenthoweverthat the only
intellectual exercise was that of imitation and memory. She
recollected that the label BOOK was placed upon a bookand she
repeated the process first from imitationnext from memorywith
only the motive of love of approbationbut apparently without the
intellectual perception of any relation between the things.

'After a whileinstead of labelsthe individual letters were
given to her on detached bits of paper: they were arranged side by
side so as to spell BOOKKEY&c.; then they were mixed up in a
heap and a sign was made for her to arrange them herself so as to
express the words BOOKKEY&c.; and she did so.

'Hithertothe process had been mechanicaland the success about
as great as teaching a very knowing dog a variety of tricks. The
poor child had sat in mute amazementand patiently imitated
everything her teacher did; but now the truth began to flash upon
her: her intellect began to work: she perceived that here was a
way by which she could herself make up a sign of anything that was
in her own mindand show it to another mind; and at once her
countenance lighted up with a human expression: it was no longer a
dogor parrot: it was an immortal spiriteagerly seizing upon a
new link of union with other spirits! I could almost fix upon the
moment when this truth dawned upon her mindand spread its light
to her countenance; I saw that the great obstacle was overcome; and
that henceforward nothing but patient and perseveringbut plain
and straightforwardefforts were to be used.

'The result thus faris quickly relatedand easily conceived; but
not so was the process; for many weeks of apparently unprofitable
labour were passed before it was effected.

'When it was said above that a sign was madeit was intended to
saythat the action was performed by her teachershe feeling his
handsand then imitating the motion.

'The next step was to procure a set of metal typeswith the
different letters of the alphabet cast upon their ends; also a
boardin which were square holesinto which holes she could set
the types; so that the letters on their ends could alone be felt
above the surface.

'Thenon any article being handed to herfor instancea pencil
or a watchshe would select the component lettersand arrange
them on her boardand read them with apparent pleasure.

'She was exercised for several weeks in this wayuntil her
vocabulary became extensive; and then the important step was taken
of teaching her how to represent the different letters by the
position of her fingersinstead of the cumbrous apparatus of the
board and types. She accomplished this speedily and easilyfor
her intellect had begun to work in aid of her teacherand her
progress was rapid.

'This was the periodabout three months after she had commenced
that the first report of her case was madein which it was stated
that "she has just learned the manual alphabetas used by the deaf
mutesand it is a subject of delight and wonder to see how
rapidlycorrectlyand eagerlyshe goes on with her labours. Her
teacher gives her a new objectfor instancea pencilfirst lets
her examine itand get an idea of its usethen teaches her how to


spell it by making the signs for the letters with her own fingers:
the child grasps her handand feels her fingersas the different
letters are formed; she turns her head a little on one side like a
person listening closely; her lips are apart; she seems scarcely to
breathe; and her countenanceat first anxiousgradually changes
to a smileas she comprehends the lesson. She then holds up her
tiny fingersand spells the word in the manual alphabet; nextshe
takes her types and arranges her letters; and lastto make sure
that she is rightshe takes the whole of the types composing the
wordand places them upon or in contact with the pencilor
whatever the object may be."

'The whole of the succeeding year was passed in gratifying her
eager inquiries for the names of every object which she could
possibly handle; in exercising her in the use of the manual
alphabet; in extending in every possible way her knowledge of the
physical relations of things; and in proper care of her health.

'At the end of the year a report of her case was madefrom which
the following is an extract.

'"It has been ascertained beyond the possibility of doubtthat she
cannot see a ray of lightcannot hear the least soundand never
exercises her sense of smellif she have any. Thus her mind
dwells in darkness and stillnessas profound as that of a closed
tomb at midnight. Of beautiful sightsand sweet soundsand
pleasant odoursshe has no conception; neverthelessshe seems as
happy and playful as a bird or a lamb; and the employment of her
intellectual facultiesor the acquirement of a new ideagives her
a vivid pleasurewhich is plainly marked in her expressive
features. She never seems to repinebut has all the buoyancy and
gaiety of childhood. She is fond of fun and frolicand when
playing with the rest of the childrenher shrill laugh sounds
loudest of the group.

'"When left aloneshe seems very happy if she have her knitting or
sewingand will busy herself for hours; if she have no occupation
she evidently amuses herself by imaginary dialoguesor by
recalling past impressions; she counts with her fingersor spells
out names of things which she has recently learnedin the manual
alphabet of the deaf mutes. In this lonely self-communion she
seems to reasonreflectand argue; if she spell a word wrong with
the fingers of her right handshe instantly strikes it with her
leftas her teacher doesin sign of disapprobation; if right
then she pats herself upon the headand looks pleased. She
sometimes purposely spells a word wrong with the left handlooks
roguish for a moment and laughsand then with the right hand
strikes the leftas if to correct it.

'"During the year she has attained great dexterity in the use of
the manual alphabet of the deaf mutes; and she spells out the words
and sentences which she knowsso fast and so deftlythat only
those accustomed to this language can follow with the eye the rapid
motions of her fingers.

'"But wonderful as is the rapidity with which she writes her
thoughts upon the airstill more so is the ease and accuracy with
which she reads the words thus written by another; grasping their
hands in hersand following every movement of their fingersas
letter after letter conveys their meaning to her mind. It is in
this way that she converses with her blind playmatesand nothing
can more forcibly show the power of mind in forcing matter to its
purpose than a meeting between them. For if great talent and skill
are necessary for two pantomimes to paint their thoughts and


feelings by the movements of the bodyand the expression of the
countenancehow much greater the difficulty when darkness shrouds
them bothand the one can hear no sound.

'"When Laura is walking through a passage-waywith her hands
spread before hershe knows instantly every one she meetsand
passes them with a sign of recognition: but if it be a girl of her
own ageand especially if it be one of her favouritesthere is
instantly a bright smile of recognitiona twining of armsa
grasping of handsand a swift telegraphing upon the tiny fingers;
whose rapid evolutions convey the thoughts and feelings from the
outposts of one mind to those of the other. There are questions
and answersexchanges of joy or sorrowthere are kissings and
partingsjust as between little children with all their senses."

'During this yearand six months after she had left homeher
mother came to visit herand the scene of their meeting was an
interesting one.

'The mother stood some timegazing with overflowing eyes upon her
unfortunate childwhoall unconscious of her presencewas
playing about the room. Presently Laura ran against herand at
once began feeling her handsexamining her dressand trying to
find out if she knew her; but not succeeding in thisshe turned
away as from a strangerand the poor woman could not conceal the
pang she feltat finding that her beloved child did not know her.

'She then gave Laura a string of beads which she used to wear at
homewhich were recognised by the child at oncewhowith much
joyput them around her neckand sought me eagerly to say she
understood the string was from her home.

'The mother now sought to caress herbut poor Laura repelled her
preferring to be with her acquaintances.

'Another article from home was now given herand she began to look
much interested; she examined the stranger much closerand gave me
to understand that she knew she came from Hanover; she even endured
her caressesbut would leave her with indifference at the
slightest signal. The distress of the mother was now painful to
behold; foralthough she had feared that she should not be
recognisedthe painful reality of being treated with cold
indifference by a darling childwas too much for woman's nature to
bear.

'After a whileon the mother taking hold of her againa vague
idea seemed to flit across Laura's mindthat this could not be a
stranger; she therefore felt her hands very eagerlywhile her
countenance assumed an expression of intense interest; she became
very pale; and then suddenly red; hope seemed struggling with doubt
and anxietyand never were contending emotions more strongly
painted upon the human face: at this moment of painful
uncertaintythe mother drew her close to her sideand kissed her
fondlywhen at once the truth flashed upon the childand all
mistrust and anxiety disappeared from her faceas with an
expression of exceeding joy she eagerly nestled to the bosom of her
parentand yielded herself to her fond embraces.

'After thisthe beads were all unheeded; the playthings which were
offered to her were utterly disregarded; her playmatesfor whom
but a moment before she gladly left the strangernow vainly strove
to pull her from her mother; and though she yielded her usual
instantaneous obedience to my signal to follow meit was evidently
with painful reluctance. She clung close to meas if bewildered


and fearful; and whenafter a momentI took her to her mother
she sprang to her armsand clung to her with eager joy.

'The subsequent parting between themshowed alike the affection
the intelligenceand the resolution of the child.

'Laura accompanied her mother to the doorclinging close to her
all the wayuntil they arrived at the thresholdwhere she paused
and felt aroundto ascertain who was near her. Perceiving the
matronof whom she is very fondshe grasped her with one hand
holding on convulsively to her mother with the other; and thus she
stood for a moment: then she dropped her mother's hand; put her
handkerchief to her eyes; and turning roundclung sobbing to the
matron; while her mother departedwith emotions as deep as those
of her child.

* * * * * *

'It has been remarked in former reportsthat she can distinguish
different degrees of intellect in othersand that she soon
regardedalmost with contempta new-comerwhenafter a few
daysshe discovered her weakness of mind. This unamiable part of
her character has been more strongly developed during the past
year.

'She chooses for her friends and companionsthose children who are
intelligentand can talk best with her; and she evidently dislikes
to be with those who are deficient in intellectunlessindeed
she can make them serve her purposeswhich she is evidently
inclined to do. She takes advantage of themand makes them wait
upon herin a manner that she knows she could not exact of others;
and in various ways shows her Saxon blood.

'She is fond of having other children noticed and caressed by the
teachersand those whom she respects; but this must not be carried
too faror she becomes jealous. She wants to have her share
whichif not the lion'sis the greater part; and if she does not
get itshe saysMY MOTHER WILL LOVE ME.

'Her tendency to imitation is so strongthat it leads her to
actions which must be entirely incomprehensible to herand which
can give her no other pleasure than the gratification of an
internal faculty. She has been known to sit for half an hour
holding a book before her sightless eyesand moving her lipsas
she has observed seeing people do when reading.

'She one day pretended that her doll was sick; and went through all
the motions of tending itand giving it medicine; she then put it
carefully to bedand placed a bottle of hot water to its feet
laughing all the time most heartily. When I came homeshe
insisted upon my going to see itand feel its pulse; and when I
told her to put a blister on its backshe seemed to enjoy it
amazinglyand almost screamed with delight.

'Her social feelingsand her affectionsare very strong; and when
she is sitting at workor at her studiesby the side of one of
her little friendsshe will break off from her task every few
momentsto hug and kiss them with an earnestness and warmth that
is touching to behold.

'When left aloneshe occupies and apparently amuses herselfand
seems quite contented; and so strong seems to be the natural
tendency of thought to put on the garb of languagethat she often
soliloquizes in the FINGER LANGUAGEslow and tedious as it is.


But it is only when alonethat she is quiet: for if she becomes
sensible of the presence of any one near hershe is restless until
she can sit close beside themhold their handand converse with
them by signs.

'In her intellectual character it is pleasing to observe an
insatiable thirst for knowledgeand a quick perception of the
relations of things. In her moral characterit is beautiful to
behold her continual gladnessher keen enjoyment of existenceher
expansive loveher unhesitating confidenceher sympathy with
sufferingher conscientiousnesstruthfulnessand hopefulness.'

Such are a few fragments from the simple but most interesting and
instructive history of Laura Bridgman. The name of her great
benefactor and friendwho writes itis Dr. Howe. There are not
many personsI hope and believewhoafter reading these
passagescan ever hear that name with indifference.

A further account has been published by Dr. Howesince the report
from which I have just quoted. It describes her rapid mental
growth and improvement during twelve months moreand brings her
little history down to the end of last year. It is very
remarkablethat as we dream in wordsand carry on imaginary
conversationsin which we speak both for ourselves and for the
shadows who appear to us in those visions of the nightso she
having no wordsuses her finger alphabet in her sleep. And it has
been ascertained that when her slumber is brokenand is much
disturbed by dreamsshe expresses her thoughts in an irregular and
confused manner on her fingers: just as we should murmur and
mutter them indistinctlyin the like circumstances.

I turned over the leaves of her Diaryand found it written in a
fair legible square handand expressed in terms which were quite
intelligible without any explanation. On my saying that I should
like to see her write againthe teacher who sat beside herbade
herin their languagesign her name upon a slip of papertwice
or thrice. In doing soI observed that she kept her left hand
always touchingand following upher rightin whichof course
she held the pen. No line was indicated by any contrivancebut
she wrote straight and freely.

She haduntil nowbeen quite unconscious of the presence of
visitors; buthaving her hand placed in that of the gentleman who
accompanied meshe immediately expressed his name upon her
teacher's palm. Indeed her sense of touch is now so exquisite
that having been acquainted with a person onceshe can recognise
him or her after almost any interval. This gentleman had been in
her companyI believebut very seldomand certainly had not seen
her for many months. My hand she rejected at onceas she does
that of any man who is a stranger to her. But she retained my
wife's with evident pleasurekissed herand examed her dress with
a girl's curiosity and interest.

She was merry and cheerfuland showed much innocent playfulness in
her intercourse with her teacher. Her delight on recognising a
favourite playfellow and companion - herself a blind girl - who
silentlyand with an equal enjoyment of the coming surprisetook
a seat beside herwas beautiful to witness. It elicited from her
at firstas other slight circumstances did twice or thrice during
my visitan uncouth noise which was rather painful to hear. But
of her teacher touching her lipsshe immediately desistedand
embraced her laughingly and affectionately.

I had previously been into another chamberwhere a number of blind


boys were swingingand climbingand engaged in various sports.
They all clamouredas we enteredto the assistant-masterwho
accompanied us'Look at meMr. Hart! PleaseMr. Hartlook at
me!' evincingI thoughteven in thisan anxiety peculiar to
their conditionthat their little feats of agility should be SEEN.
Among them was a small laughing fellowwho stood aloof
entertaining himself with a gymnastic exercise for bringing the
arms and chest into play; which he enjoyed mightily; especially
whenin thrusting out his right armhe brought it into contact
with another boy. Like Laura Bridgmanthis young child was deaf
and dumband blind.

Dr. Howe's account of this pupil's first instruction is so very
strikingand so intimately connected with Laura herselfthat I
cannot refrain from a short extract. I may premise that the poor
boy's name is Oliver Caswell; that he is thirteen years of age; and
that he was in full possession of all his facultiesuntil three
years and four months old. He was then attacked by scarlet fever;
in four weeks became deaf; in a few weeks moreblind; in six
monthsdumb. He showed his anxious sense of this last
deprivationby often feeling the lips of other persons when they
were talkingand then putting his hand upon his ownas if to
assure himself that he had them in the right position.

'His thirst for knowledge' says Dr. Howe'proclaimed itself as
soon as he entered the houseby his eager examination of
everything he could feel or smell in his new location. For
instancetreading upon the register of a furnacehe instantly
stooped downand began to feel itand soon discovered the way in
which the upper plate moved upon the lower one; but this was not
enough for himso lying down upon his facehe applied his tongue
first to onethen to the otherand seemed to discover that they
were of different kinds of metal.

'His signs were expressive: and the strictly natural language
laughingcryingsighingkissingembracing&c.was perfect.

'Some of the analogical signs which (guided by his faculty of
imitation) he had contrivedwere comprehensible; such as the
waving motion of his hand for the motion of a boatthe circular
one for a wheel&c.

'The first object was to break up the use of these signs and to
substitute for them the use of purely arbitrary ones.

'Profiting by the experience I had gained in the other casesI
omitted several steps of the process before employedand commenced
at once with the finger language. Takingthereforeseveral
articles having short namessuch as keycupmug&c.and with
Laura for an auxiliaryI sat downand taking his handplaced it
upon one of themand then with my ownmade the letters KEY. He
felt my hands eagerly with both of hisand on my repeating the
processhe evidently tried to imitate the motions of my fingers.
In a few minutes he contrived to feel the motions of my fingers
with one handand holding out the other he tried to imitate them
laughing most heartily when he succeeded. Laura was byinterested
even to agitation; and the two presented a singular sight: her
face was flushed and anxiousand her fingers twining in among ours
so closely as to follow every motionbut so slightly as not to
embarrass them; while Oliver stood attentivehis head a little
asidehis face turned uphis left hand grasping mineand his
right held out: at every motion of my fingers his countenance
betokened keen attention; there was an expression of anxiety as he
tried to imitate the motions; then a smile came stealing out as he


thought he could do soand spread into a joyous laugh the moment
he succeededand felt me pat his headand Laura clap him heartily
upon the backand jump up and down in her joy.

'He learned more than a half-dozen letters in half an hourand
seemed delighted with his successat least in gaining approbation.
His attention then began to flagand I commenced playing with him.
It was evident that in all this he had merely been imitating the
motions of my fingersand placing his hand upon the keycup&c.
as part of the processwithout any perception of the relation
between the sign and the object.

'When he was tired with play I took him back to the tableand he
was quite ready to begin again his process of imitation. He soon
learned to make the letters for KEYPENPIN; and by having the
object repeatedly placed in his handhe at last perceived the
relation I wished to establish between them. This was evident
becausewhen I made the letters PINor PENor CUPhe would
select the article.

'The perception of this relation was not accompanied by that
radiant flash of intelligenceand that glow of joywhich marked
the delightful moment when Laura first perceived it. I then placed
all the articles on the tableand going away a little distance
with the childrenplaced Oliver's fingers in the positions to
spell KEYon which Laura went and brought the article: the little
fellow seemed much amused by thisand looked very attentive and
smiling. I then caused him to make the letters BREADand in an
instant Laura went and brought him a piece: he smelled at it; put
it to his lips; cocked up his head with a most knowing look; seemed
to reflect a moment; and then laughed outrightas much as to say
Aha! I understand now how something may be made out of this.

'It was now clear that he had the capacity and inclination to
learnthat he was a proper subject for instructionand needed
only persevering attention. I therefore put him in the hands of an
intelligent teachernothing doubting of his rapid progress.'

Well may this gentleman call that a delightful momentin which
some distant promise of her present state first gleamed upon the
darkened mind of Laura Bridgman. Throughout his lifethe
recollection of that moment will be to him a source of pure
unfading happiness; nor will it shine less brightly on the evening
of his days of Noble Usefulness.

The affection which exists between these two - the master and the
pupil - is as far removed from all ordinary care and regardas the
circumstances in which it has had its growthare apart from the
common occurrences of life. He is occupied nowin devising means
of imparting to herhigher knowledge; and of conveying to her some
adequate idea of the Great Creator of that universe in whichdark
and silent and scentless though it be to hershe has such deep
delight and glad enjoyment.

Ye who have eyes and see notand have ears and hear not; ye who
are as the hypocrites of sad countenancesand disfigure your faces
that ye may seem unto men to fast; learn healthy cheerfulnessand
mild contentmentfrom the deafand dumband blind! Self-elected
saints with gloomy browsthis sightlessearlessvoiceless child
may teach you lessons you will do well to follow. Let that poor
hand of hers lie gently on your hearts; for there may be something
in its healing touch akin to that of the Great Master whose
precepts you misconstruewhose lessons you pervertof whose
charity and sympathy with all the worldnot one among you in his


daily practice knows as much as many of the worst among those
fallen sinnersto whom you are liberal in nothing but the
preachment of perdition!

As I rose to quit the rooma pretty little child of one of the
attendants came running in to greet its father. For the momenta
child with eyesamong the sightless crowdimpressed me almost as
painfully as the blind boy in the porch had donetwo hours ago.
Ah! how much brighter and more deeply blueglowing and rich though
it had been beforewas the scene withoutcontrasting with the
darkness of so many youthful lives within!

* * * * * *

At SOUTH BOSTONas it is calledin a situation excellently
adapted for the purposeseveral charitable institutions are
clustered together. One of theseis the State Hospital for the
insane; admirably conducted on those enlightened principles of
conciliation and kindnesswhich twenty years ago would have been
worse than hereticaland which have been acted upon with so much
success in our own pauper Asylum at Hanwell. 'Evince a desire to
show some confidenceand repose some trusteven in mad people'
said the resident physicianas we walked along the gallerieshis
patients flocking round us unrestrained. Of those who deny or
doubt the wisdom of this maxim after witnessing its effectsif
there be such people still aliveI can only say that I hope I may
never be summoned as a Juryman on a Commission of Lunacy whereof
they are the subjects; for I should certainly find them out of
their senseson such evidence alone.

Each ward in this institution is shaped like a long gallery or
hallwith the dormitories of the patients opening from it on
either hand. Here they workreadplay at skittlesand other
games; and when the weather does not admit of their taking exercise
out of doorspass the day together. In one of these rooms
seatedcalmlyand quite as a matter of courseamong a throng of
mad-womenblack and whitewere the physician's wife and another
ladywith a couple of children. These ladies were graceful and
handsome; and it was not difficult to perceive at a glance that
even their presence therehad a highly beneficial influence on the
patients who were grouped about them.

Leaning her head against the chimney-piecewith a great assumption
of dignity and refinement of mannersat an elderly femalein as
many scraps of finery as Madge Wildfire herself. Her head in
particular was so strewn with scraps of gauze and cotton and bits
of paperand had so many queer odds and ends stuck all about it
that it looked like a bird's-nest. She was radiant with imaginary
jewels; wore a rich pair of undoubted gold spectacles; and
gracefully dropped upon her lapas we approacheda very old
greasy newspaperin which I dare say she had been reading an
account of her own presentation at some Foreign Court.

I have been thus particular in describing herbecause she will
serve to exemplify the physician's manner of acquiring and
retaining the confidence of his patients.

'This' he said aloudtaking me by the handand advancing to the
fantastic figure with great politeness - not raising her suspicions
by the slightest look or whisperor any kind of asideto me:
'This lady is the hostess of this mansionsir. It belongs to her.
Nobody else has anything whatever to do with it. It is a large
establishmentas you seeand requires a great number of
attendants. She livesyou observein the very first style. She


is kind enough to receive my visitsand to permit my wife and
family to reside here; for which it is hardly necessary to saywe
are much indebted to her. She is exceedingly courteousyou
perceive' on this hint she bowed condescendingly'and will permit
me to have the pleasure of introducing you: a gentleman from
EnglandMa'am: newly arrived from Englandafter a very
tempestuous passage: Mr. Dickens- the lady of the house!'

We exchanged the most dignified salutations with profound gravity
and respectand so went on. The rest of the madwomen seemed to
understand the joke perfectly (not only in this casebut in all
the othersexcept their own)and be highly amused by it. The
nature of their several kinds of insanity was made known to me in
the same wayand we left each of them in high good humour. Not
only is a thorough confidence establishedby those meansbetween
the physician and patientin respect of the nature and extent of
their hallucinationsbut it is easy to understand that
opportunities are afforded for seizing any moment of reasonto
startle them by placing their own delusion before them in its most
incongruous and ridiculous light.

Every patient in this asylum sits down to dinner every day with a
knife and fork; and in the midst of them sits the gentlemanwhose
manner of dealing with his chargesI have just described. At
every mealmoral influence alone restrains the more violent among
them from cutting the throats of the rest; but the effect of that
influence is reduced to an absolute certaintyand is foundeven
as a means of restraintto say nothing of it as a means of curea
hundred times more efficacious than all the strait-waistcoats
fettersand handcuffsthat ignoranceprejudiceand cruelty have
manufactured since the creation of the world.

In the labour departmentevery patient is as freely trusted with
the tools of his trade as if he were a sane man. In the garden
and on the farmthey work with spadesrakesand hoes. For
amusementthey walkrunfishpaintreadand ride out to take
the air in carriages provided for the purpose. They have among
themselves a sewing society to make clothes for the poorwhich
holds meetingspasses resolutionsnever comes to fisty-cuffs or
bowie-knives as sane assemblies have been known to do elsewhere;
and conducts all its proceedings with the greatest decorum. The
irritabilitywhich would otherwise be expended on their own flesh
clothesand furnitureis dissipated in these pursuits. They are
cheerfultranquiland healthy.

Once a week they have a ballin which the Doctor and his family
with all the nurses and attendantstake an active part. Dances
and marches are performed alternatelyto the enlivening strains of
a piano; and now and then some gentleman or lady (whose proficiency
has been previously ascertained) obliges the company with a song:
nor does it ever degenerateat a tender crisisinto a screech or
howl; whereinI must confessI should have thought the danger
lay. At an early hour they all meet together for these festive
purposes; at eight o'clock refreshments are served; and at nine
they separate.

Immense politeness and good breeding are observed throughout. They
all take their tone from the Doctor; and he moves a very
Chesterfield among the company. Like other assembliesthese
entertainments afford a fruitful topic of conversation among the
ladies for some days; and the gentlemen are so anxious to shine on
these occasionsthat they have been sometimes found 'practising
their steps' in privateto cut a more distinguished figure in the
dance.


It is obvious that one great feature of this systemis the
inculcation and encouragementeven among such unhappy personsof
a decent self-respect. Something of the same spirit pervades all
the Institutions at South Boston.

There is the House of Industry. In that branch of itwhich is
devoted to the reception of old or otherwise helpless paupers
these words are painted on the walls: 'WORTHY OF NOTICE. SELFGOVERNMENT
QUIETUDEAND PEACEARE BLESSINGS.' It is not assumed
and taken for granted that being there they must be evil-disposed
and wicked peoplebefore whose vicious eyes it is necessary to
flourish threats and harsh restraints. They are met at the very
threshold with this mild appeal. All within-doors is very plain
and simpleas it ought to bebut arranged with a view to peace
and comfort. It costs no more than any other plan of arrangement
but it speaks an amount of consideration for those who are reduced
to seek a shelter therewhich puts them at once upon their
gratitude and good behaviour. Instead of being parcelled out in
greatlongrambling wardswhere a certain amount of weazen life
may mopeand pineand shiverall day longthe building is
divided into separate roomseach with its share of light and air.
In thesethe better kind of paupers live. They have a motive for
exertion and becoming pridein the desire to make these little
chambers comfortable and decent.

I do not remember one but it was clean and neatand had its plant
or two upon the window-sillor row of crockery upon the shelfor
small display of coloured prints upon the whitewashed wallor
perhapsits wooden clock behind the door.

The orphans and young children are in an adjoining building
separate from thisbut a part of the same Institution. Some are
such little creaturesthat the stairs are of Lilliputian
measurementfitted to their tiny strides. The same consideration
for their years and weakness is expressed in their very seats
which are perfect curiositiesand look like articles of furniture
for a pauper doll's-house. I can imagine the glee of our Poor Law
Commissioners at the notion of these seats having arms and backs;
but small spines being of older date than their occupation of the
Board-room at Somerset HouseI thought even this provision very
merciful and kind.

Here againI was greatly pleased with the inscriptions on the
wallwhich were scraps of plain moralityeasily remembered and
understood: such as 'Love one another' - 'God remembers the
smallest creature in his creation:' and straightforward advice of
that nature. The books and tasks of these smallest of scholars
were adaptedin the same judicious mannerto their childish
powers. When we had examined these lessonsfour morsels of girls
(of whom one was blind) sang a little songabout the merry month
of Maywhich I thought (being extremely dismal) would have suited
an English November better. That donewe went to see their
sleeping-rooms on the floor abovein which the arrangements were
no less excellent and gentle than those we had seen below. And
after observing that the teachers were of a class and character
well suited to the spirit of the placeI took leave of the infants
with a lighter heart than ever I have taken leave of pauper infants
yet.

Connected with the House of Industrythere is also an Hospital
which was in the best orderand hadI am glad to saymany beds
unoccupied. It had one faulthoweverwhich is common to all
American interiors: the presence of the eternalaccursed


suffocatingred-hot demon of a stovewhose breath would blight
the purest air under Heaven.

There are two establishments for boys in this same neighbourhood.
One is called the Boylston schooland is an asylum for neglected
and indigent boys who have committed no crimebut who in the
ordinary course of things would very soon be purged of that
distinction if they were not taken from the hungry streets and sent
here. The other is a House of Reformation for Juvenile Offenders.
They are both under the same roofbut the two classes of boys
never come in contact.

The Boylston boysas may be readily supposedhave very much the
advantage of the others in point of personal appearance. They were
in their school-room when I came upon themand answered correctly
without booksuch questions as where was England; how far was it;
what was its population; its capital city; its form of government;
and so forth. They sang a song tooabout a farmer sowing his
seed: with corresponding action at such parts as ''tis thus he
sows' 'he turns him round' 'he claps his hands;' which gave it
greater interest for themand accustomed them to act togetherin
an orderly manner. They appeared exceedingly well-taughtand not
better taught than fed; for a more chubby-looking full-waistcoated
set of boysI never saw.

The juvenile offenders had not such pleasant faces by a great deal
and in this establishment there were many boys of colour. I saw
them first at their work (basket-makingand the manufacture of
palm-leaf hats)afterwards in their schoolwhere they sang a
chorus in praise of Liberty: an oddandone would thinkrather
aggravatingtheme for prisoners. These boys are divided into four
classeseach denoted by a numeralworn on a badge upon the arm.
On the arrival of a new-comerhe is put into the fourth or lowest
classand leftby good behaviourto work his way up into the
first. The design and object of this Institution is to reclaim the
youthful criminal by firm but kind and judicious treatment; to make
his prison a place of purification and improvementnot of
demoralisation and corruption; to impress upon him that there is
but one pathand that one sober industrywhich can ever lead him
to happiness; to teach him how it may be troddenif his footsteps
have never yet been led that way; and to lure him back to it if
they have strayed: in a wordto snatch him from destructionand
restore him to society a penitent and useful member. The
importance of such an establishmentin every point of viewand
with reference to every consideration of humanity and social
policyrequires no comment.

One other establishment closes the catalogue. It is the House of
Correction for the Statein which silence is strictly maintained
but where the prisoners have the comfort and mental relief of
seeing each otherand of working together. This is the improved
system of Prison Discipline which we have imported into England
and which has been in successful operation among us for some years
past.

Americaas a new and not over-populated countryhas in all her
prisonsthe one great advantageof being enabled to find useful
and profitable work for the inmates; whereaswith usthe
prejudice against prison labour is naturally very strongand
almost insurmountablewhen honest men who have not offended
against the laws are frequently doomed to seek employment in vain.
Even in the United Statesthe principle of bringing convict labour
and free labour into a competition which must obviously be to the
disadvantage of the latterhas already found many opponentswhose


number is not likely to diminish with access of years.

For this very reason thoughour best prisons would seem at the
first glance to be better conducted than those of America. The
treadmill is conducted with little or no noise; five hundred men
may pick oakum in the same roomwithout a sound; and both kinds of
labour admit of such keen and vigilant superintendenceas will
render even a word of personal communication amongst the prisoners
almost impossible. On the other handthe noise of the loomthe
forgethe carpenter's hammeror the stonemason's sawgreatly
favour those opportunities of intercourse - hurried and brief no
doubtbut opportunities still - which these several kinds of work
by rendering it necessary for men to be employed very near to each
otherand often side by sidewithout any barrier or partition
between themin their very nature present. A visitortoo
requires to reason and reflect a littlebefore the sight of a
number of men engaged in ordinary laboursuch as he is accustomed
to out of doorswill impress him half as strongly as the
contemplation of the same persons in the same place and garb would
if they were occupied in some taskmarked and degraded everywhere
as belonging only to felons in jails. In an American state prison
or house of correctionI found it difficult at first to persuade
myself that I was really in a jail: a place of ignominious
punishment and endurance. And to this hour I very much question
whether the humane boast that it is not like onehas its root in
the true wisdom or philosophy of the matter.

I hope I may not be misunderstood on this subjectfor it is one in
which I take a strong and deep interest. I incline as little to
the sickly feeling which makes every canting lie or maudlin speech
of a notorious criminal a subject of newspaper report and general
sympathyas I do to those good old customs of the good old times
which made Englandeven so recently as in the reign of the Third
King Georgein respect of her criminal code and her prison
regulationsone of the most bloody-minded and barbarous countries
on the earth. If I thought it would do any good to the rising
generationI would cheerfully give my consent to the disinterment
of the bones of any genteel highwayman (the more genteelthe more
cheerfully)and to their exposurepiecemealon any sign-post
gateor gibbetthat might be deemed a good elevation for the
purpose. My reason is as well convinced that these gentry were as
utterly worthless and debauched villainsas it is that the laws
and jails hardened them in their evil coursesor that their
wonderful escapes were effected by the prison-turnkeys whoin
those admirable dayshad always been felons themselvesand were
to the lasttheir bosom-friends and pot-companions. At the same
time I knowas all men do or shouldthat the subject of Prison
Discipline is one of the highest importance to any community; and
that in her sweeping reform and bright example to other countries
on this headAmerica has shown great wisdomgreat benevolence
and exalted policy. In contrasting her system with that which we
have modelled upon itI merely seek to show that with all its
drawbacksours has some advantages of its own.

The House of Correction which has led to these remarksis not
walledlike other prisonsbut is palisaded round about with tall
rough stakessomething after the manner of an enclosure for
keeping elephants inas we see it represented in Eastern prints
and pictures. The prisoners wear a parti-coloured dress; and those
who are sentenced to hard labourwork at nail-makingor stonecutting.
When I was therethe latter class of labourers were
employed upon the stone for a new custom-house in course of
erection at Boston. They appeared to shape it skilfully and with
expeditionthough there were very few among them (if any) who had


not acquired the art within the prison gates.

The womenall in one large roomwere employed in making light
clothingfor New Orleans and the Southern States. They did their
work in silence like the men; and like them were over-looked by the
person contracting for their labouror by some agent of his
appointment. In addition to thisthey are every moment liable to
be visited by the prison officers appointed for that purpose.

The arrangements for cookingwashing of clothesand so forthare
much upon the plan of those I have seen at home. Their mode of
bestowing the prisoners at night (which is of general adoption)
differs from oursand is both simple and effective. In the centre
of a lofty arealighted by windows in the four wallsare five
tiers of cellsone above the other; each tier having before it a
light iron galleryattainable by stairs of the same construction
and material: excepting the lower onewhich is on the ground.
Behind theseback to back with them and facing the opposite wall
are five corresponding rows of cellsaccessible by similar means:
so that supposing the prisoners locked up in their cellsan
officer stationed on the groundwith his back to the wallhas
half their number under his eye at once; the remaining half being
equally under the observation of another officer on the opposite
side; and all in one great apartment. Unless this watch be
corrupted or sleeping on his postit is impossible for a man to
escape; for even in the event of his forcing the iron door of his
cell without noise (which is exceedingly improbable)the moment he
appears outsideand steps into that one of the five galleries on
which it is situatedhe must be plainly and fully visible to the
officer below. Each of these cells holds a small truckle bedin
which one prisoner sleeps; never more. It is smallof course; and
the door being not solidbut gratedand without blind or curtain
the prisoner within is at all times exposed to the observation and
inspection of any guard who may pass along that tier at any hour or
minute of the night. Every daythe prisoners receive their
dinnersinglythrough a trap in the kitchen wall; and each man
carries his to his sleeping cell to eat itwhere he is locked up
alonefor that purposeone hour. The whole of this arrangement
struck me as being admirable; and I hope that the next new prison
we erect in England may be built on this plan.

I was given to understand that in this prison no swords or firearms
or even cudgelsare kept; nor is it probable thatso long
as its present excellent management continuesany weapon
offensive or defensivewill ever be required within its bounds.

Such are the Institutions at South Boston! In all of themthe
unfortunate or degenerate citizens of the State are carefully
instructed in their duties both to God and man; are surrounded by
all reasonable means of comfort and happiness that their condition
will admit of; are appealed toas members of the great human
familyhowever afflictedindigentor fallen; are ruled by the
strong Heartand not by the strong (though immeasurably weaker)
Hand. I have described them at some length; firstlybecause their
worth demanded it; and secondlybecause I mean to take them for a
modeland to content myself with saying of others we may come to
whose design and purpose are the samethat in this or that respect
they practically failor differ.

I wish by this account of themimperfect in its executionbut in
its just intentionhonestI could hope to convey to my readers
one-hundredth part of the gratificationthe sights I have
describedafforded me.


* * * * * *

To an Englishmanaccustomed to the paraphernalia of Westminster
Hallan American Court of Law is as odd a sight asI supposean
English Court of Law would be to an American. Except in the
Supreme Court at Washington (where the judges wear a plain black
robe)there is no such thing as a wig or gown connected with the
administration of justice. The gentlemen of the bar being
barristers and attorneys too (for there is no division of those
functions as in England) are no more removed from their clients
than attorneys in our Court for the Relief of Insolvent Debtors
arefrom theirs. The jury are quite at homeand make themselves
as comfortable as circumstances will permit. The witness is so
little elevated aboveor put aloof fromthe crowd in the court
that a stranger entering during a pause in the proceedings would
find it difficult to pick him out from the rest. And if it chanced
to be a criminal trialhis eyesin nine cases out of tenwould
wander to the dock in search of the prisonerin vain; for that
gentleman would most likely be lounging among the most
distinguished ornaments of the legal professionwhispering
suggestions in his counsel's earor making a toothpick out of an
old quill with his penknife.

I could not but notice these differenceswhen I visited the courts
at Boston. I was much surprised at firsttooto observe that the
counsel who interrogated the witness under examination at the time
did so SITTING. But seeing that he was also occupied in writing
down the answersand remembering that he was alone and had no
'junior' I quickly consoled myself with the reflection that law
was not quite so expensive an article hereas at home; and that
the absence of sundry formalities which we regard as indispensable
had doubtless a very favourable influence upon the bill of costs.

In every Courtample and commodious provision is made for the
accommodation of the citizens. This is the case all through
America. In every Public Institutionthe right of the people to
attendand to have an interest in the proceedingsis most fully
and distinctly recognised. There are no grim door-keepers to dole
out their tardy civility by the sixpenny-worth; nor is thereI
sincerely believeany insolence of office of any kind. Nothing
national is exhibited for money; and no public officer is a
showman. We have begun of late years to imitate this good example.
I hope we shall continue to do so; and that in the fulness of time
even deans and chapters may be converted.

In the civil court an action was tryingfor damages sustained in
some accident upon a railway. The witnesses had been examinedand
counsel was addressing the jury. The learned gentleman (like a few
of his English brethren) was desperately long-windedand had a
remarkable capacity of saying the same thing over and over again.
His great theme was 'Warren the ENGINE driver' whom he pressed
into the service of every sentence he uttered. I listened to him
for about a quarter of an hour; andcoming out of court at the
expiration of that timewithout the faintest ray of enlightenment
as to the merits of the casefelt as if I were at home again.

In the prisoner's cellwaiting to be examined by the magistrate on
a charge of theftwas a boy. This ladinstead of being committed
to a common jailwould be sent to the asylum at South Bostonand
there taught a trade; and in the course of time he would be bound
apprentice to some respectable master. Thushis detection in this
offenceinstead of being the prelude to a life of infamy and a
miserable deathwould leadthere was a reasonable hopeto his
being reclaimed from viceand becoming a worthy member of society.


I am by no means a wholesale admirer of our legal solemnitiesmany
of which impress me as being exceedingly ludicrous. Strange as it
may seem toothere is undoubtedly a degree of protection in the
wig and gown - a dismissal of individual responsibility in dressing
for the part - which encourages that insolent bearing and language
and that gross perversion of the office of a pleader for The Truth
so frequent in our courts of law. StillI cannot help doubting
whether Americain her desire to shake off the absurdities and
abuses of the old systemmay not have gone too far into the
opposite extreme; and whether it is not desirableespecially in
the small community of a city like thiswhere each man knows the
otherto surround the administration of justice with some
artificial barriers against the 'Hail fellowwell met' deportment
of everyday life. All the aid it can have in the very high
character and ability of the Benchnot only here but elsewhereit
hasand well deserves to have; but it may need something more:
not to impress the thoughtful and the well-informedbut the
ignorant and heedless; a class which includes some prisoners and
many witnesses. These institutions were establishedno doubt
upon the principle that those who had so large a share in making
the lawswould certainly respect them. But experience has proved
this hope to be fallacious; for no men know better than the judges
of Americathat on the occasion of any great popular excitement
the law is powerlessand cannotfor the timeassert its own
supremacy.

The tone of society in Boston is one of perfect politeness
courtesyand good breeding. The ladies are unquestionably very
beautiful - in face: but there I am compelled to stop. Their
education is much as with us; neither better nor worse. I had
heard some very marvellous stories in this respect; but not
believing themwas not disappointed. Blue ladies there arein
Boston; but like philosophers of that colour and sex in most other
latitudesthey rather desire to be thought superior than to be so.
Evangelical ladies there arelikewisewhose attachment to the
forms of religionand horror of theatrical entertainmentsare
most exemplary. Ladies who have a passion for attending lectures
are to be found among all classes and all conditions. In the kind
of provincial life which prevails in cities such as thisthe
Pulpit has great influence. The peculiar province of the Pulpit in
New England (always excepting the Unitarian Ministry) would appear
to be the denouncement of all innocent and rational amusements.
The churchthe chapeland the lecture-roomare the only means of
excitement excepted; and to the churchthe chapeland the
lecture-roomthe ladies resort in crowds.

Wherever religion is resorted toas a strong drinkand as an
escape from the dull monotonous round of homethose of its
ministers who pepper the highest will be the surest to please.
They who strew the Eternal Path with the greatest amount of
brimstoneand who most ruthlessly tread down the flowers and
leaves that grow by the waysidewill be voted the most righteous;
and they who enlarge with the greatest pertinacity on the
difficulty of getting into heavenwill be considered by all true
believers certain of going there: though it would be hard to say
by what process of reasoning this conclusion is arrived at. It is
so at homeand it is so abroad. With regard to the other means of
excitementthe Lectureit has at least the merit of being always
new. One lecture treads so quickly on the heels of anotherthat
none are remembered; and the course of this month may be safely
repeated nextwith its charm of novelty unbrokenand its interest
unabated.


The fruits of the earth have their growth in corruption. Out of
the rottenness of these thingsthere has sprung up in Boston a
sect of philosophers known as Transcendentalists. On inquiring
what this appellation might be supposed to signifyI was given to
understand that whatever was unintelligible would be certainly
transcendental. Not deriving much comfort from this elucidationI
pursued the inquiry still furtherand found that the
Transcendentalists are followers of my friend Mr. Carlyleor I
should rather sayof a follower of hisMr. Ralph Waldo Emerson.
This gentleman has written a volume of Essaysin whichamong much
that is dreamy and fanciful (if he will pardon me for saying so)
there is much more that is true and manlyhonest and bold.
Transcendentalism has its occasional vagaries (what school has
not?)but it has good healthful qualities in spite of them; not
least among the number a hearty disgust of Cantand an aptitude to
detect her in all the million varieties of her everlasting
wardrobe. And therefore if I were a BostonianI think I would be
a Transcendentalist.

The only preacher I heard in Boston was Mr. Taylorwho addresses
himself peculiarly to seamenand who was once a mariner himself.
I found his chapel down among the shippingin one of the narrow
oldwater-side streetswith a gay blue flag waving freely from
its roof. In the gallery opposite to the pulpit were a little
choir of male and female singersa violoncelloand a violin. The
preacher already sat in the pulpitwhich was raised on pillars
and ornamented behind him with painted drapery of a lively and
somewhat theatrical appearance. He looked a weather-beaten hardfeatured
manof about six or eight and fifty; with deep lines
graven as it were into his facedark hairand a sternkeen eye.
Yet the general character of his countenance was pleasant and
agreeable. The service commenced with a hymnto which succeeded
an extemporary prayer. It had the fault of frequent repetition
incidental to all such prayers; but it was plain and comprehensive
in its doctrinesand breathed a tone of general sympathy and
charitywhich is not so commonly a characteristic of this form of
address to the Deity as it might be. That done he opened his
discoursetaking for his text a passage from the Song of Solomon
laid upon the desk before the commencement of the service by some
unknown member of the congregation: 'Who is this coming up from
the wildernessleaning on the arm of her beloved!'

He handled his text in all kinds of waysand twisted it into all
manner of shapes; but always ingeniouslyand with a rude
eloquencewell adapted to the comprehension of his hearers.
Indeed if I be not mistakenhe studied their sympathies and
understandings much more than the display of his own powers. His
imagery was all drawn from the seaand from the incidents of a
seaman's life; and was often remarkably good. He spoke to them of
'that glorious manLord Nelson' and of Collingwood; and drew
nothing inas the saying isby the head and shouldersbut
brought it to bear upon his purposenaturallyand with a sharp
mind to its effect. Sometimeswhen much excited with his subject
he had an odd way - compounded of John Bunyanand Balfour of
Burley - of taking his great quarto Bible under his arm and pacing
up and down the pulpit with it; looking steadily downmeantime
into the midst of the congregation. Thuswhen he applied his text
to the first assemblage of his hearersand pictured the wonder of
the church at their presumption in forming a congregation among
themselveshe stopped short with his Bible under his arm in the
manner I have describedand pursued his discourse after this
manner:

'Who are these - who are they - who are these fellows? where do


they come from? Where are they going to? - Come from! What's the
answer?' - leaning out of the pulpitand pointing downward with
his right hand: 'From below!' - starting back againand looking
at the sailors before him: 'From belowmy brethren. From under
the hatches of sinbattened down above you by the evil one.
That's where you came from!' - a walk up and down the pulpit: 'and
where are you going' - stopping abruptly: 'where are you going?
Aloft!' - very softlyand pointing upward: 'Aloft!' - louder:
'aloft!' - louder still: 'That's where you are going - with a fair
wind- all taut and trimsteering direct for Heaven in its glory
where there are no storms or foul weatherand where the wicked
cease from troublingand the weary are at rest.' - Another walk:
'That's where you're going tomy friends. That's it. That's the
place. That's the port. That's the haven. It's a blessed harbour

-still water therein all changes of the winds and tides; no
driving ashore upon the rocksor slipping your cables and running
out to seathere: Peace - Peace - Peace - all peace!' - Another
walkand patting the Bible under his left arm: 'What! These
fellows are coming from the wildernessare they? Yes. From the
drearyblighted wilderness of Iniquitywhose only crop is Death.
But do they lean upon anything - do they lean upon nothingthese
poor seamen?' - Three raps upon the Bible: 'Oh yes. - Yes. - They
lean upon the arm of their Beloved' - three more raps: 'upon the
arm of their Beloved' - three moreand a walk: 'Pilotguidingstar
and compassall in oneto all hands - here it is' - three
more: 'Here it is. They can do their seaman's duty manfullyand
be easy in their minds in the utmost peril and dangerwith this' -
two more: 'They can comeeven these poor fellows can comefrom
the wilderness leaning on the arm of their Belovedand go up - up
-up!' - raising his hand higherand higherat every repetition
of the wordso that he stood with it at last stretched above his
headregarding them in a strangerapt mannerand pressing the
book triumphantly to his breastuntil he gradually subsided into
some other portion of his discourse.
I have cited thisrather as an instance of the preacher's
eccentricities than his meritsthough taken in connection with his
look and mannerand the character of his audienceeven this was
striking. It is possiblehoweverthat my favourable impression
of him may have been greatly influenced and strengthenedfirstly
by his impressing upon his hearers that the true observance of
religion was not inconsistent with a cheerful deportment and an
exact discharge of the duties of their stationwhichindeedit
scrupulously required of them; and secondlyby his cautioning them
not to set up any monopoly in Paradise and its mercies. I never
heard these two points so wisely touched (if indeed I have ever
heard them touched at all)by any preacher of that kind before.

Having passed the time I spent in Bostonin making myself
acquainted with these thingsin settling the course I should take
in my future travelsand in mixing constantly with its societyI
am not aware that I have any occasion to prolong this chapter.
Such of its social customs as I have not mentionedhowevermay be
told in a very few words.

The usual dinner-hour is two o'clock. A dinner party takes place
at five; and at an evening partythey seldom sup later than
eleven; so that it goes hard but one gets homeeven from a rout
by midnight. I never could find out any difference between a party
at Boston and a party in Londonsaving that at the former place
all assemblies are held at more rational hours; that the
conversation may possibly be a little louder and more cheerful; and
a guest is usually expected to ascend to the very top of the house
to take his cloak off; that he is certain to seeat every dinner


an unusual amount of poultry on the table; and at every supperat
least two mighty bowls of hot stewed oystersin any one of which a
half-grown Duke of Clarence might be smothered easily.

There are two theatres in Bostonof good size and construction
but sadly in want of patronage. The few ladies who resort to them
sitas of rightin the front rows of the boxes.

The bar is a large room with a stone floorand there people stand
and smokeand lounge aboutall the evening: dropping in and out
as the humour takes them. There too the stranger is initiated into
the mysteries of Gin-slingCock-tailSangareeMint Julep
Sherry-cobblerTimber Doodleand other rare drinks. The house is
full of boardersboth married and singlemany of whom sleep upon
the premisesand contract by the week for their board and lodging:
the charge for which diminishes as they go nearer the sky to roost.
A public table is laid in a very handsome hall for breakfastand
for dinnerand for supper. The party sitting down together to
these meals will vary in number from one to two hundred: sometimes
more. The advent of each of these epochs in the day is proclaimed
by an awful gongwhich shakes the very window-frames as it
reverberates through the houseand horribly disturbs nervous
foreigners. There is an ordinary for ladiesand an ordinary for
gentlemen.

In our private room the cloth could notfor any earthly
considerationhave been laid for dinner without a huge glass dish
of cranberries in the middle of the table; and breakfast would have
been no breakfast unless the principal dish were a deformed beefsteak
with a great flat bone in the centreswimming in hot butter
and sprinkled with the very blackest of all possible pepper. Our
bedroom was spacious and airybut (like every bedroom on this side
of the Atlantic) very bare of furniturehaving no curtains to the
French bedstead or to the window. It had one unusual luxury
howeverin the shape of a wardrobe of painted woodsomething
smaller than an English watch-box; or if this comparison should be
insufficient to convey a just idea of its dimensionsthey may be
estimated from the fact of my having lived for fourteen days and
nights in the firm belief that it was a shower-bath.

CHAPTER IV - AN AMERICAN RAILROAD. LOWELL AND ITS FACTORY SYSTEM

BEFORE leaving BostonI devoted one day to an excursion to Lowell.
I assign a separate chapter to this visit; not because I am about
to describe it at any great lengthbut because I remember it as a
thing by itselfand am desirous that my readers should do the
same.

I made acquaintance with an American railroadon this occasion
for the first time. As these works are pretty much alike all
through the Statestheir general characteristics are easily
described.

There are no first and second class carriages as with us; but there
is a gentleman's car and a ladies' car: the main distinction
between which is that in the firsteverybody smokes; and in the
secondnobody does. As a black man never travels with a white
onethere is also a negro car; which is a greatblundering
clumsy chestsuch as Gulliver put to sea infrom the kingdom of
Brobdingnag. There is a great deal of joltinga great deal of


noisea great deal of wallnot much windowa locomotive engine
a shriekand a bell.

The cars are like shabby omnibusesbut larger: holding thirty
fortyfiftypeople. The seatsinstead of stretching from end to
endare placed crosswise. Each seat holds two persons. There is
a long row of them on each side of the caravana narrow passage up
the middleand a door at both ends. In the centre of the carriage
there is usually a stovefed with charcoal or anthracite coal;
which is for the most part red-hot. It is insufferably close; and
you see the hot air fluttering between yourself and any other
object you may happen to look atlike the ghost of smoke.

In the ladies' carthere are a great many gentlemen who have
ladies with them. There are also a great many ladies who have
nobody with them: for any lady may travel alonefrom one end of
the United States to the otherand be certain of the most
courteous and considerate treatment everywhere. The conductor or
check-takeror guardor whatever he may bewears no uniform. He
walks up and down the carand in and out of itas his fancy
dictates; leans against the door with his hands in his pockets and
stares at youif you chance to be a stranger; or enters into
conversation with the passengers about him. A great many
newspapers are pulled outand a few of them are read. Everybody
talks to youor to anybody else who hits his fancy. If you are an
Englishmanhe expects that that railroad is pretty much like an
English railroad. If you say 'No' he says 'Yes?'
(interrogatively)and asks in what respect they differ. You
enumerate the heads of differenceone by oneand he says 'Yes?'
(still interrogatively) to each. Then he guesses that you don't
travel faster in England; and on your replying that you dosays
'Yes?' again (still interrogatively)and it is quite evident
don't believe it. After a long pause he remarkspartly to you
and partly to the knob on the top of his stickthat 'Yankees are
reckoned to be considerable of a go-ahead people too;' upon which
YOU say 'Yes' and then HE says 'Yes' again (affirmatively this
time); and upon your looking out of windowtells you that behind
that hilland some three miles from the next stationthere is a
clever town in a smart lo-ca-tionwhere he expects you have
concluded to stop. Your answer in the negative naturally leads to
more questions in reference to your intended route (always
pronounced rout); and wherever you are goingyou invariably learn
that you can't get there without immense difficulty and dangerand
that all the great sights are somewhere else.

If a lady take a fancy to any male passenger's seatthe gentleman
who accompanies her gives him notice of the factand he
immediately vacates it with great politeness. Politics are much
discussedso are banksso is cotton. Quiet people avoid the
question of the Presidencyfor there will be a new election in
three years and a halfand party feeling runs very high: the
great constitutional feature of this institution beingthat
directly the acrimony of the last election is overthe acrimony of
the next one begins; which is an unspeakable comfort to all strong
politicians and true lovers of their country: that is to sayto
ninety-nine men and boys out of every ninety-nine and a quarter.

Except when a branch road joins the main onethere is seldom more
than one track of rails; so that the road is very narrowand the
viewwhere there is a deep cuttingby no means extensive. When
there is notthe character of the scenery is always the same.
Mile after mile of stunted trees: some hewn down by the axesome
blown down by the windsome half fallen and resting on their
neighboursmany mere logs half hidden in the swampothers


mouldered away to spongy chips. The very soil of the earth is made
up of minute fragments such as these; each pool of stagnant water
has its crust of vegetable rottenness; on every side there are the
boughsand trunksand stumps of treesin every possible stage of
decaydecompositionand neglect. Now you emerge for a few brief
minutes on an open countryglittering with some bright lake or
poolbroad as many an English riverbut so small here that it
scarcely has a name; now catch hasty glimpses of a distant town
with its clean white houses and their cool piazzasits prim New
England church and school-house; when whir-r-r-r! almost before you
have seen themcomes the same dark screen: the stunted treesthe
stumpsthe logsthe stagnant water - all so like the last that
you seem to have been transported back again by magic.

The train calls at stations in the woodswhere the wild
impossibility of anybody having the smallest reason to get outis
only to be equalled by the apparently desperate hopelessness of
there being anybody to get in. It rushes across the turnpike road
where there is no gateno policemanno signal: nothing but a
rough wooden archon which is painted 'WHEN THE BELL RINGSLOOK
OUT FOR THE LOCOMOTIVE.' On it whirls headlongdives through the
woods againemerges in the lightclatters over frail arches
rumbles upon the heavy groundshoots beneath a wooden bridge which
intercepts the light for a second like a winksuddenly awakens all
the slumbering echoes in the main street of a large townand
dashes on haphazardpell-mellneck-or-nothingdown the middle of
the road. There - with mechanics working at their tradesand
people leaning from their doors and windowsand boys flying kites
and playing marblesand men smokingand women talkingand
children crawlingand pigs burrowingand unaccustomed horses
plunging and rearingclose to the very rails - there - ononon

-tears the mad dragon of an engine with its train of cars;
scattering in all directions a shower of burning sparks from its
wood fire; screechinghissingyellingpanting; until at last the
thirsty monster stops beneath a covered way to drinkthe people
cluster roundand you have time to breathe again.
I was met at the station at Lowell by a gentleman intimately
connected with the management of the factories there; and gladly
putting myself under his guidancedrove off at once to that
quarter of the town in which the worksthe object of my visit
were situated. Although only just of age - for if my recollection
serve meit has been a manufacturing town barely one-and-twenty
years - Lowell is a largepopulousthriving place. Those
indications of its youth which first attract the eyegive it a
quaintness and oddity of character whichto a visitor from the old
countryis amusing enough. It was a very dirty winter's dayand
nothing in the whole town looked old to meexcept the mudwhich
in some parts was almost knee-deepand might have been deposited
thereon the subsiding of the waters after the Deluge. In one
placethere was a new wooden churchwhichhaving no steepleand
being yet unpaintedlooked like an enormous packing-case without
any direction upon it. In another there was a large hotelwhose
walls and colonnades were so crispand thinand slightthat it
had exactly the appearance of being built with cards. I was
careful not to draw my breath as we passedand trembled when I saw
a workman come out upon the rooflest with one thoughtless stamp
of his foot he should crush the structure beneath himand bring it
rattling down. The very river that moves the machinery in the
mills (for they are all worked by water power)seems to acquire a
new character from the fresh buildings of bright red brick and
painted wood among which it takes its course; and to be as lightheaded
thoughtlessand brisk a young riverin its murmurings and
tumblingsas one would desire to see. One would swear that every


'Bakery' 'Grocery' and 'Bookbindery' and other kind of store
took its shutters down for the first timeand started in business
yesterday. The golden pestles and mortars fixed as signs upon the
sun-blind frames outside the Druggists'appear to have been just
turned out of the United States' Mint; and when I saw a baby of
some week or ten days old in a woman's arms at a street cornerI
found myself unconsciously wondering where it came from: never
supposing for an instant that it could have been born in such a
young town as that.

There are several factories in Lowelleach of which belongs to
what we should term a Company of Proprietorsbut what they call in
America a Corporation. I went over several of these; such as a
woollen factorya carpet factoryand a cotton factory: examined
them in every part; and saw them in their ordinary working aspect
with no preparation of any kindor departure from their ordinary
everyday proceedings. I may add that I am well acquainted with our
manufacturing towns in Englandand have visited many mills in
Manchester and elsewhere in the same manner.

I happened to arrive at the first factory just as the dinner hour
was overand the girls were returning to their work; indeed the
stairs of the mill were thronged with them as I ascended. They
were all well dressedbut not to my thinking above their
condition; for I like to see the humbler classes of society careful
of their dress and appearanceand evenif they pleasedecorated
with such little trinkets as come within the compass of their
means. Supposing it confined within reasonable limitsI would
always encourage this kind of prideas a worthy element of selfrespect
in any person I employed; and should no more be deterred
from doing sobecause some wretched female referred her fall to a
love of dressthan I would allow my construction of the real
intent and meaning of the Sabbath to be influenced by any warning
to the well-disposedfounded on his backslidings on that
particular daywhich might emanate from the rather doubtful
authority of a murderer in Newgate.

These girlsas I have saidwere all well dressed: and that
phrase necessarily includes extreme cleanliness. They had
serviceable bonnetsgood warm cloaksand shawls; and were not
above clogs and pattens. Moreoverthere were places in the mill
in which they could deposit these things without injury; and there
were conveniences for washing. They were healthy in appearance
many of them remarkably soand had the manners and deportment of
young women: not of degraded brutes of burden. If I had seen in
one of those mills (but I did notthough I looked for something of
this kind with a sharp eye)the most lispingmincingaffected
and ridiculous young creature that my imagination could suggestI
should have thought of the carelessmopingslatternlydegraded
dull reverse (I HAVE seen that)and should have been still well
pleased to look upon her.

The rooms in which they workedwere as well ordered as themselves.
In the windows of somethere were green plantswhich were trained
to shade the glass; in allthere was as much fresh air
cleanlinessand comfortas the nature of the occupation would
possibly admit of. Out of so large a number of femalesmany of
whom were only then just verging upon womanhoodit may be
reasonably supposed that some were delicate and fragile in
appearance: no doubt there were. But I solemnly declarethat
from all the crowd I saw in the different factories that dayI
cannot recall or separate one young face that gave me a painful
impression; not one young girl whomassuming it to be a matter of
necessity that she should gain her daily bread by the labour of her


handsI would have removed from those works if I had had the
power.

They reside in various boarding-houses near at hand. The owners of
the mills are particularly careful to allow no persons to enter
upon the possession of these houseswhose characters have not
undergone the most searching and thorough inquiry. Any complaint
that is made against themby the boardersor by any one elseis
fully investigated; and if good ground of complaint be shown to
exist against themthey are removedand their occupation is
handed over to some more deserving person. There are a few
children employed in these factoriesbut not many. The laws of
the State forbid their working more than nine months in the year
and require that they be educated during the other three. For this
purpose there are schools in Lowell; and there are churches and
chapels of various persuasionsin which the young women may
observe that form of worship in which they have been educated.

At some distance from the factoriesand on the highest and
pleasantest ground in the neighbourhoodstands their hospitalor
boarding-house for the sick: it is the best house in those parts
and was built by an eminent merchant for his own residence. Like
that institution at Bostonwhich I have before describedit is
not parcelled out into wardsbut is divided into convenient
chamberseach of which has all the comforts of a very comfortable
home. The principal medical attendant resides under the same roof;
and were the patients members of his own familythey could not be
better cared foror attended with greater gentleness and
consideration. The weekly charge in this establishment for each
female patient is three dollarsor twelve shillings English; but
no girl employed by any of the corporations is ever excluded for
want of the means of payment. That they do not very often want the
meansmay be gathered from the factthat in July1841no fewer
than nine hundred and seventy-eight of these girls were depositors
in the Lowell Savings Bank: the amount of whose joint savings was
estimated at one hundred thousand dollarsor twenty thousand
English pounds.

I am now going to state three factswhich will startle a large
class of readers on this side of the Atlanticvery much.

Firstlythere is a joint-stock piano in a great many of the
boarding-houses. Secondlynearly all these young ladies subscribe
to circulating libraries. Thirdlythey have got up among
themselves a periodical called THE LOWELL OFFERING'A repository
of original articleswritten exclusively by females actively
employed in the mills' - which is duly printedpublishedand
sold; and whereof I brought away from Lowell four hundred good
solid pageswhich I have read from beginning to end.

The large class of readersstartled by these factswill exclaim
with one voice'How very preposterous!' On my deferentially
inquiring whythey will answer'These things are above their
station.' In reply to that objectionI would beg to ask what
their station is.

It is their station to work. And they DO work. They labour in
these millsupon an averagetwelve hours a daywhich is
unquestionably workand pretty tight work too. Perhaps it is
above their station to indulge in such amusementson any terms.
Are we quite sure that we in England have not formed our ideas of
the 'station' of working peoplefrom accustoming ourselves to the
contemplation of that class as they areand not as they might be?
I think that if we examine our own feelingswe shall find that the


pianosand the circulating librariesand even the Lowell
Offeringstartle us by their noveltyand not by their bearing
upon any abstract question of right or wrong.

For myselfI know no station in whichthe occupation of to-day
cheerfully done and the occupation of to-morrow cheerfully looked
toany one of these pursuits is not most humanising and laudable.
I know no station which is rendered more endurable to the person in
itor more safe to the person out of itby having ignorance for
its associate. I know no station which has a right to monopolise
the means of mutual instructionimprovementand rational
entertainment; or which has ever continued to be a station very
longafter seeking to do so.

Of the merits of the Lowell Offering as a literary productionI
will only observeputting entirely out of sight the fact of the
articles having been written by these girls after the arduous
labours of the daythat it will compare advantageously with a
great many English Annuals. It is pleasant to find that many of
its Tales are of the Mills and of those who work in them; that they
inculcate habits of self-denial and contentmentand teach good
doctrines of enlarged benevolence. A strong feeling for the
beauties of natureas displayed in the solitudes the writers have
left at homebreathes through its pages like wholesome village
air; and though a circulating library is a favourable school for
the study of such topicsit has very scant allusion to fine
clothesfine marriagesfine housesor fine life. Some persons
might object to the papers being signed occasionally with rather
fine namesbut this is an American fashion. One of the provinces
of the state legislature of Massachusetts is to alter ugly names
into pretty onesas the children improve upon the tastes of their
parents. These changes costing little or nothingscores of Mary
Annes are solemnly converted into Bevelinas every session.

It is said that on the occasion of a visit from General Jackson or
General Harrison to this town (I forget whichbut it is not to the
purpose)he walked through three miles and a half of these young
ladies all dressed out with parasols and silk stockings. But as I
am not aware that any worse consequence ensuedthan a sudden
looking-up of all the parasols and silk stockings in the market;
and perhaps the bankruptcy of some speculative New Englander who
bought them all up at any pricein expectation of a demand that
never came; I set no great store by the circumstance.

In this brief account of Lowelland inadequate expression of the
gratification it yielded meand cannot fail to afford to any
foreigner to whom the condition of such people at home is a subject
of interest and anxious speculationI have carefully abstained
from drawing a comparison between these factories and those of our
own land. Many of the circumstances whose strong influence has
been at work for years in our manufacturing towns have not arisen
here; and there is no manufacturing population in Lowellso to
speak: for these girls (often the daughters of small farmers) come
from other Statesremain a few years in the millsand then go
home for good.

The contrast would be a strong onefor it would be between the
Good and Evilthe living light and deepest shadow. I abstain from
itbecause I deem it just to do so. But I only the more earnestly
adjure all those whose eyes may rest on these pagesto pause and
reflect upon the difference between this town and those great
haunts of desperate misery: to call to mindif they can in the
midst of party strife and squabblethe efforts that must be made
to purge them of their suffering and danger: and lastand


foremostto remember how the precious Time is rushing by.

I returned at night by the same railroad and in the same kind of
car. One of the passengers being exceedingly anxious to expound at
great length to my companion (not to meof course) the true
principles on which books of travel in America should be written by
EnglishmenI feigned to fall asleep. But glancing all the way out
at window from the corners of my eyesI found abundance of
entertainment for the rest of the ride in watching the effects of
the wood firewhich had been invisible in the morning but were now
brought out in full relief by the darkness: for we were travelling
in a whirlwind of bright sparkswhich showered about us like a
storm of fiery snow.

CHAPTER V - WORCESTER. THE CONNECTICUT RIVER. HARTFORD. NEW
HAVEN. TO NEW YORK

LEAVING Boston on the afternoon of Saturday the fifth of February
we proceeded by another railroad to Worcester: a pretty New
England townwhere we had arranged to remain under the hospitable
roof of the Governor of the Stateuntil Monday morning.

These towns and cities of New England (many of which would be
villages in Old England)are as favourable specimens of rural
Americaas their people are of rural Americans. The well-trimmed
lawns and green meadows of home are not there; and the grass
compared with our ornamental plots and pasturesis rankand
roughand wild: but delicate slopes of landgently-swelling
hillswooded valleysand slender streamsabound. Every little
colony of houses has its church and school-house peeping from among
the white roofs and shady trees; every house is the whitest of the
white; every Venetian blind the greenest of the green; every fine
day's sky the bluest of the blue. A sharp dry wind and a slight
frost had so hardened the roads when we alighted at Worcesterthat
their furrowed tracks were like ridges of granite. There was the
usual aspect of newness on every objectof course. All the
buildings looked as if they had been built and painted that
morningand could be taken down on Monday with very little
trouble. In the keen evening airevery sharp outline looked a
hundred times sharper than ever. The clean cardboard colonnades
had no more perspective than a Chinese bridge on a tea-cupand
appeared equally well calculated for use. The razor-like edges of
the detached cottages seemed to cut the very wind as it whistled
against themand to send it smarting on its way with a shriller
cry than before. Those slightly-built wooden dwellings behind
which the sun was setting with a brilliant lustrecould be so
looked through and throughthat the idea of any inhabitant being
able to hide himself from the public gazeor to have any secrets
from the public eyewas not entertainable for a moment. Even
where a blazing fire shone through the uncurtained windows of some
distant houseit had the air of being newly lightedand of
lacking warmth; and instead of awakening thoughts of a snug
chamberbright with faces that first saw the light round that same
hearthand ruddy with warm hangingsit came upon one suggestive
of the smell of new mortar and damp walls.

So I thoughtat leastthat evening. Next morning when the sun
was shining brightlyand the clear church bells were ringingand
sedate people in their best clothes enlivened the pathway near at
hand and dotted the distant thread of roadthere was a pleasant


Sabbath peacefulness on everythingwhich it was good to feel. It
would have been the better for an old church; better still for some
old graves; but as it wasa wholesome repose and tranquillity
pervaded the scenewhich after the restless ocean and the hurried
cityhad a doubly grateful influence on the spirits.

We went on next morningstill by railroadto Springfield. From
that place to Hartfordwhither we were boundis a distance of
only five-and-twenty milesbut at that time of the year the roads
were so bad that the journey would probably have occupied ten or
twelve hours. Fortunatelyhoweverthe winter having been
unusually mildthe Connecticut River was 'open' orin other
wordsnot frozen. The captain of a small steamboat was going to
make his first trip for the season that day (the second February
tripI believewithin the memory of man)and only waited for us
to go on board. Accordinglywe went on boardwith as little
delay as might be. He was as good as his wordand started
directly.

It certainly was not called a small steamboat without reason. I
omitted to ask the questionbut I should think it must have been
of about half a pony power. Mr. Paapthe celebrated Dwarfmight
have lived and died happily in the cabinwhich was fitted with
common sash-windows like an ordinary dwelling-house. These windows
had bright-red curtainstoohung on slack strings across the
lower panes; so that it looked like the parlour of a Lilliputian
public-housewhich had got afloat in a flood or some other water
accidentand was drifting nobody knew where. But even in this
chamber there was a rocking-chair. It would be impossible to get
on anywherein Americawithout a rocking-chair. I am afraid to
tell how many feet short this vessel wasor how many feet narrow:
to apply the words length and width to such measurement would be a
contradiction in terms. But I may state that we all kept the
middle of the decklest the boat should unexpectedly tip over; and
that the machineryby some surprising process of condensation
worked between it and the keel: the whole forming a warm sandwich
about three feet thick.

It rained all day as I once thought it never did rain anywherebut
in the Highlands of Scotland. The river was full of floating
blocks of icewhich were constantly crunching and cracking under
us; and the depth of waterin the course we took to avoid the
larger massescarried down the middle of the river by the current
did not exceed a few inches. Neverthelesswe moved onward
dexterously; and being well wrapped upbade defiance to the
weatherand enjoyed the journey. The Connecticut River is a fine
stream; and the banks in summer-time areI have no doubt
beautiful; at all eventsI was told so by a young lady in the
cabin; and she should be a judge of beautyif the possession of a
quality include the appreciation of itfor a more beautiful
creature I never looked upon.

After two hours and a half of this odd travelling (including a
stoppage at a small townwhere we were saluted by a gun
considerably bigger than our own chimney)we reached Hartfordand
straightway repaired to an extremely comfortable hotel: exceptas
usualin the article of bedroomswhichin almost every place we
visitedwere very conducive to early rising.

We tarried herefour days. The town is beautifully situated in a
basin of green hills; the soil is richwell-woodedand carefully
improved. It is the seat of the local legislature of Connecticut
which sage body enactedin bygone timesthe renowned code of
'Blue Laws' in virtue whereofamong other enlightened provisions


any citizen who could be proved to have kissed his wife on Sunday
was punishableI believewith the stocks. Too much of the old
Puritan spirit exists in these parts to the present hour; but its
influence has not tendedthat I knowto make the people less hard
in their bargainsor more equal in their dealings. As I never
heard of its working that effect anywhere elseI infer that it
never willhere. IndeedI am accustomedwith reference to great
professions and severe facesto judge of the goods of the other
world pretty much as I judge of the goods of this; and whenever I
see a dealer in such commodities with too great a display of them
in his windowI doubt the quality of the article within.

In Hartford stands the famous oak in which the charter of King
Charles was hidden. It is now inclosed in a gentleman's garden.
In the State House is the charter itself. I found the courts of
law herejust the same as at Boston; the public institutions
almost as good. The Insane Asylum is admirably conductedand so
is the Institution for the Deaf and Dumb.

I very much questioned within myselfas I walked through the
Insane Asylumwhether I should have known the attendants from the
patientsbut for the few words which passed between the former
and the Doctorin reference to the persons under their charge. Of
course I limit this remark merely to their looks; for the
conversation of the mad people was mad enough.

There was one littleprim old ladyof very smiling and goodhumoured
appearancewho came sidling up to me from the end of a
long passageand with a curtsey of inexpressible condescension
propounded this unaccountable inquiry:

'Does Pontefract still flourishsirupon the soil of England?'

'He doesma'am' I rejoined.

'When you last saw himsirhe was - '

'Wellma'am' said I'extremely well. He begged me to present
his compliments. I never saw him looking better.'

At thisthe old lady was very much delighted. After glancing at
me for a momentas if to be quite sure that I was serious in my
respectful airshe sidled back some paces; sidled forward again;
made a sudden skip (at which I precipitately retreated a step or
two); and said:

'I am an antediluviansir.'

I thought the best thing to say wasthat I had suspected as much
from the first. Therefore I said so.

'It is an extremely proud and pleasant thingsirto be an
antediluvian' said the old lady.

'I should think it wasma'am' I rejoined.

The old lady kissed her handgave another skipsmirked and sidled
down the gallery in a most extraordinary mannerand ambled
gracefully into her own bed-chamber.

In another part of the buildingthere was a male patient in bed;
very much flushed and heated.

'Well' said hestarting upand pulling off his night-cap: 'It's


all settled at last. I have arranged it with Queen Victoria.'

'Arranged what?' asked the Doctor.

'Whythat business' passing his hand wearily across his forehead
'about the siege of New York.'

'Oh!' said Ilike a man suddenly enlightened. For he looked at me
for an answer.

'Yes. Every house without a signal will be fired upon by the
British troops. No harm will be done to the others. No harm at
all. Those that want to be safemust hoist flags. That's all
they'll have to do. They must hoist flags.'

Even while he was speaking he seemedI thoughtto have some faint
idea that his talk was incoherent. Directly he had said these
wordshe lay down again; gave a kind of a groan; and covered his
hot head with the blankets.

There was another: a young manwhose madness was love and music.
After playing on the accordion a march he had composedhe was very
anxious that I should walk into his chamberwhich I immediately
did.

By way of being very knowingand humouring him to the top of his
bentI went to the windowwhich commanded a beautiful prospect
and remarkedwith an address upon which I greatly plumed myself:

'What a delicious country you have about these lodgings of yours!'

'Poh!' said hemoving his fingers carelessly over the notes of his
instrument: 'WELL ENOUGH FOR SUCH AN INSTITUTION AS THIS!'

I don't think I was ever so taken aback in all my life.

'I come here just for a whim' he said coolly. 'That's all.'

'Oh! That's all!' said I.

'Yes. That's all. The Doctor's a smart man. He quite enters into
it. It's a joke of mine. I like it for a time. You needn't
mention itbut I think I shall go out next Tuesday!'

I assured him that I would consider our interview perfectly
confidential; and rejoined the Doctor. As we were passing through
a gallery on our way outa well-dressed ladyof quiet and
composed mannerscame upand proffering a slip of paper and a
penbegged that I would oblige her with an autographI complied
and we parted.

'I think I remember having had a few interviews like thatwith
ladies out of doors. I hope SHE is not mad?'

'Yes.'

'On what subject? Autographs?'

'No. She hears voices in the air.'

'Well!' thought I'it would be well if we could shut up a few
false prophets of these later timeswho have professed to do the
same; and I should like to try the experiment on a Mormonist or two
to begin with.'


In this placethere is the best jail for untried offenders in the
world. There is also a very well-ordered State prisonarranged
upon the same plan as that at Bostonexcept that herethere is
always a sentry on the wall with a loaded gun. It contained at
that time about two hundred prisoners. A spot was shown me in the
sleeping wardwhere a watchman was murdered some years since in
the dead of nightin a desperate attempt to escapemade by a
prisoner who had broken from his cell. A womantoowas pointed
out to mewhofor the murder of her husbandhad been a close
prisoner for sixteen years.

'Do you think' I asked of my conductor'that after so very long
an imprisonmentshe has any thought or hope of ever regaining her
liberty?'

'Oh dear yes' he answered. 'To be sure she has.'

'She has no chance of obtaining itI suppose?'

'WellI don't know:' whichby-the-byeis a national answer.
'Her friends mistrust her.'

'What have THEY to do with it?' I naturally inquired.

'Wellthey won't petition.'

'But if they didthey couldn't get her outI suppose?'

'Wellnot the first timeperhapsnor yet the secondbut tiring
and wearying for a few years might do it.'

'Does that ever do it?'

'Why yesthat'll do it sometimes. Political friends'll do it
sometimes. It's pretty often doneone way or another.'

I shall always entertain a very pleasant and grateful recollection
of Hartford. It is a lovely placeand I had many friends there
whom I can never remember with indifference. We left it with no
little regret on the evening of Friday the 11thand travelled that
night by railroad to New Haven. Upon the waythe guard and I were
formally introduced to each other (as we usually were on such
occasions)and exchanged a variety of small-talk. We reached New
Haven at about eight o'clockafter a journey of three hoursand
put up for the night at the best inn.

New Havenknown also as the City of Elmsis a fine town. Many of
its streets (as its ALIAS sufficiently imports) are planted with
rows of grand old elm-trees; and the same natural ornaments
surround Yale Collegean establishment of considerable eminence
and reputation. The various departments of this Institution are
erected in a kind of park or common in the middle of the town
where they are dimly visible among the shadowing trees. The effect
is very like that of an old cathedral yard in England; and when
their branches are in full leafmust be extremely picturesque.
Even in the winter timethese groups of well-grown trees
clustering among the busy streets and houses of a thriving city
have a very quaint appearance: seeming to bring about a kind of
compromise between town and country; as if each had met the other
half-wayand shaken hands upon it; which is at once novel and
pleasant.

After a night's restwe rose earlyand in good time went down to


the wharfand on board the packet New York FOR New York. This was
the first American steamboat of any size that I had seen; and
certainly to an English eye it was infinitely less like a steamboat
than a huge floating bath. I could hardly persuade myselfindeed
but that the bathing establishment off Westminster Bridgewhich I
left a babyhad suddenly grown to an enormous size; run away from
home; and set up in foreign parts as a steamer. Being in America
toowhich our vagabonds do so particularly favourit seemed the
more probable.

The great difference in appearance between these packets and ours
isthat there is so much of them out of the water: the main-deck
being enclosed on all sidesand filled with casks and goodslike
any second or third floor in a stack of warehouses; and the
promenade or hurricane-deck being a-top of that again. A part of
the machinery is always above this deck; where the connecting-rod
in a strong and lofty frameis seen working away like an iron topsawyer.
There is seldom any mast or tackle: nothing aloft but two
tall black chimneys. The man at the helm is shut up in a little
house in the fore part of the boat (the wheel being connected with
the rudder by iron chainsworking the whole length of the deck);
and the passengersunless the weather be very fine indeedusually
congregate below. Directly you have left the wharfall the life
and stirand bustle of a packet cease. You wonder for a long time
how she goes onfor there seems to be nobody in charge of her; and
when another of these dull machines comes splashing byyou feel
quite indignant with itas a sullen cumbrousungraceful
unshiplike leviathan: quite forgetting that the vessel you are on
board ofis its very counterpart.

There is always a clerk's office on the lower deckwhere you pay
your fare; a ladies' cabin; baggage and stowage rooms; engineer's
room; and in short a great variety of perplexities which render the
discovery of the gentlemen's cabina matter of some difficulty.
It often occupies the whole length of the boat (as it did in this
case)and has three or four tiers of berths on each side. When I
first descended into the cabin of the New Yorkit lookedin my
unaccustomed eyesabout as long as the Burlington Arcade.

The Sound which has to be crossed on this passageis not always a
very safe or pleasant navigationand has been the scene of some
unfortunate accidents. It was a wet morningand very mistyand
we soon lost sight of land. The day was calmhoweverand
brightened towards noon. After exhausting (with good help from a
friend) the larderand the stock of bottled beerI lay down to
sleep; being very much tired with the fatigues of yesterday. But I
woke from my nap in time to hurry upand see Hell Gatethe Hog's
Backthe Frying Panand other notorious localitiesattractive to
all readers of famous Diedrich Knickerbocker's History. We were
now in a narrow channelwith sloping banks on either side
besprinkled with pleasant villasand made refreshing to the sight
by turf and trees. Soon we shot in quick successionpast a lighthouse;
a madhouse (how the lunatics flung up their caps and roared
in sympathy with the headlong engine and the driving tide!); a
jail; and other buildings: and so emerged into a noble baywhose
waters sparkled in the now cloudless sunshine like Nature's eyes
turned up to Heaven.

Then there lay stretched out before usto the rightconfused
heaps of buildingswith here and there a spire or steeplelooking
down upon the herd below; and here and thereagaina cloud of
lazy smoke; and in the foreground a forest of ships' mastscheery
with flapping sails and waving flags. Crossing from among them to
the opposite shorewere steam ferry-boats laden with people


coacheshorseswaggonsbasketsboxes: crossed and recrossed by
other ferry-boats: all travelling to and fro: and never idle.
Stately among these restless Insectswere two or three large
shipsmoving with slow majestic paceas creatures of a prouder
kinddisdainful of their puny journeysand making for the broad
sea. Beyondwere shining heightsand islands in the glancing
riverand a distance scarcely less blue and bright than the sky it
seemed to meet. The city's hum and buzzthe clinking of capstans
the ringing of bellsthe barking of dogsthe clattering of
wheelstingled in the listening ear. All of which life and stir
coming across the stirring watercaught new life and animation
from its free companionship; andsympathising with its buoyant
spiritsglistened as it seemed in sport upon its surfaceand
hemmed the vessel roundand plashed the water high about her
sidesandfloating her gallantly into the dockflew off again to
welcome other comersand speed before them to the busy port.

CHAPTER VI - NEW YORK

THE beautiful metropolis of America is by no means so clean a city
as Bostonbut many of its streets have the same characteristics;
except that the houses are not quite so fresh-colouredthe signboards
are not quite so gaudythe gilded letters not quite so
goldenthe bricks not quite so redthe stone not quite so white
the blinds and area railings not quite so greenthe knobs and
plates upon the street doors not quite so bright and twinkling.
There are many by-streetsalmost as neutral in clean coloursand
positive in dirty onesas by-streets in London; and there is one
quartercommonly called the Five Pointswhichin respect of
filth and wretchednessmay be safely backed against Seven Dials
or any other part of famed St. Giles's.

The great promenade and thoroughfareas most people knowis
Broadway; a wide and bustling streetwhichfrom the Battery
Gardens to its opposite termination in a country roadmay be four
miles long. Shall we sit down in an upper floor of the Carlton
House Hotel (situated in the best part of this main artery of New
York)and when we are tired of looking down upon the life below
sally forth arm-in-armand mingle with the stream?

Warm weather! The sun strikes upon our heads at this open window
as though its rays were concentrated through a burning-glass; but
the day is in its zenithand the season an unusual one. Was there
ever such a sunny street as this Broadway! The pavement stones are
polished with the tread of feet until they shine again; the red
bricks of the houses might be yet in the dryhot kilns; and the
roofs of those omnibuses look as thoughif water were poured on
themthey would hiss and smokeand smell like half-quenched
fires. No stint of omnibuses here! Half-a-dozen have gone by
within as many minutes. Plenty of hackney cabs and coaches too;
gigsphaetonslarge-wheeled tilburiesand private carriages -
rather of a clumsy makeand not very different from the public
vehiclesbut built for the heavy roads beyond the city pavement.
Negro coachmen and white; in straw hatsblack hatswhite hats
glazed capsfur caps; in coats of drabblackbrowngreenblue
nankeenstriped jean and linen; and therein that one instance
(look while it passesor it will be too late)in suits of livery.
Some southern republican thatwho puts his blacks in uniformand
swells with Sultan pomp and power. Yonderwhere that phaeton with


the well-clipped pair of grays has stopped - standing at their
heads now - is a Yorkshire groomwho has not been very long in
these partsand looks sorrowfully round for a companion pair of
top-bootswhich he may traverse the city half a year without
meeting. Heaven save the ladieshow they dress! We have seen
more colours in these ten minutesthan we should have seen
elsewherein as many days. What various parasols! what rainbow
silks and satins! what pinking of thin stockingsand pinching of
thin shoesand fluttering of ribbons and silk tasselsand display
of rich cloaks with gaudy hoods and linings! The young gentlemen
are fondyou seeof turning down their shirt-collars and
cultivating their whiskersespecially under the chin; but they
cannot approach the ladies in their dress or bearingbeingto say
the truthhumanity of quite another sort. Byrons of the desk and
counterpass onand let us see what kind of men those are behind
ye: those two labourers in holiday clothesof whom one carries in
his hand a crumpled scrap of paper from which he tries to spell out
a hard namewhile the other looks about for it on all the doors
and windows.

Irishmen both! You might know themif they were maskedby their
long-tailed blue coats and bright buttonsand their drab trousers
which they wear like men well used to working dresseswho are easy
in no others. It would be hard to keep your model republics going
without the countrymen and countrywomen of those two labourers.
For who else would digand delveand drudgeand do domestic
workand make canals and roadsand execute great lines of
Internal Improvement! Irishmen bothand sorely puzzled tooto
find out what they seek. Let us go downand help themfor the
love of homeand that spirit of liberty which admits of honest
service to honest menand honest work for honest breadno matter
what it be.

That's well! We have got at the right address at lastthough it
is written in strange characters trulyand might have been
scrawled with the blunt handle of the spade the writer better knows
the use ofthan a pen. Their way lies yonderbut what business
takes them there? They carry savings: to hoard up? No. They are
brothersthose men. One crossed the sea aloneand working very
hard for one half yearand living hardersaved funds enough to
bring the other out. That donethey worked together side by side
contentedly sharing hard labour and hard living for another term
and then their sisters cameand then another brotherand lastly
their old mother. And what now? Whythe poor old crone is
restless in a strange landand yearns to lay her bonesshe says
among her people in the old graveyard at home: and so they go to
pay her passage back: and God help her and themand every simple
heartand all who turn to the Jerusalem of their younger daysand
have an altar-fire upon the cold hearth of their fathers.

This narrow thoroughfarebaking and blistering in the sunis Wall
Street: the Stock Exchange and Lombard Street of New York. Many a
rapid fortune has been made in this streetand many a no less
rapid ruin. Some of these very merchants whom you see hanging
about here nowhave locked up money in their strong-boxeslike
the man in the Arabian Nightsand opening them againhave found
but withered leaves. Belowhere by the water-sidewhere the
bowsprits of ships stretch across the footwayand almost thrust
themselves into the windowslie the noble American vessels which
having made their Packet Service the finest in the world. They
have brought hither the foreigners who abound in all the streets:
notperhapsthat there are more herethan in other commercial
cities; but elsewherethey have particular hauntsand you must
find them out; herethey pervade the town.


We must cross Broadway again; gaining some refreshment from the
heatin the sight of the great blocks of clean ice which are being
carried into shops and bar-rooms; and the pine-apples and watermelons
profusely displayed for sale. Fine streets of spacious
houses hereyou see! - Wall Street has furnished and dismantled
many of them very often - and here a deep green leafy square. Be
sure that is a hospitable house with inmates to be affectionately
remembered alwayswhere they have the open door and pretty show of
plants withinand where the child with laughing eyes is peeping
out of window at the little dog below. You wonder what may be the
use of this tall flagstaff in the by-streetwith something like
Liberty's head-dress on its top: so do I. But there is a passion
for tall flagstaffs hereaboutand you may see its twin brother in
five minutesif you have a mind.

Again across Broadwayand so - passing from the many-coloured
crowd and glittering shops - into another long main streetthe
Bowery. A railroad yonderseewhere two stout horses trot along
drawing a score or two of people and a great wooden arkwith ease.
The stores are poorer here; the passengers less gay. Clothes
ready-madeand meat ready-cookedare to be bought in these parts;
and the lively whirl of carriages is exchanged for the deep rumble
of carts and waggons. These signs which are so plentifulin shape
like river buoysor small balloonshoisted by cords to polesand
dangling thereannounceas you may see by looking up'OYSTERS IN
EVERY STYLE.' They tempt the hungry most at nightfor then dull
candles glimmering insideilluminate these dainty wordsand make
the mouths of idlers wateras they read and linger.

What is this dismal-fronted pile of bastard Egyptianlike an
enchanter's palace in a melodrama! - a famous prisoncalled The
Tombs. Shall we go in?

So. A longnarrowlofty buildingstove-heated as usualwith
four galleriesone above the othergoing round itand
communicating by stairs. Between the two sides of each gallery
and in its centrea bridgefor the greater convenience of
crossing. On each of these bridges sits a man: dozing or reading
or talking to an idle companion. On each tierare two opposite
rows of small iron doors. They look like furnace-doorsbut are
cold and blackas though the fires within had all gone out. Some
two or three are openand womenwith drooping heads bent down
are talking to the inmates. The whole is lighted by a skylight
but it is fast closed; and from the roof there danglelimp and
droopingtwo useless windsails.

A man with keys appearsto show us round. A good-looking fellow
andin his waycivil and obliging.

'Are those black doors the cells?'

'Yes.'

'Are they all full?'

'Wellthey're pretty nigh fulland that's a factand no two ways
about it.'

'Those at the bottom are unwholesomesurely?'

'Whywe DO only put coloured people in 'em. That's the truth.'

'When do the prisoners take exercise?'


'Wellthey do without it pretty much.'

'Do they never walk in the yard?'

'Considerable seldom.'

'SometimesI suppose?'

'Wellit's rare they do. They keep pretty bright without it.'

'But suppose a man were here for a twelvemonth. I know this is
only a prison for criminals who are charged with grave offences
while they are awaiting their trialor under remandbut the law
here affords criminals many means of delay. What with motions for
new trialsand in arrest of judgmentand what nota prisoner
might be here for twelve monthsI take itmight he not?'

'WellI guess he might.'

'Do you mean to say that in all that time he would never come out
at that little iron doorfor exercise?'

'He might walk someperhaps - not much.'

'Will you open one of the doors?'

'Allif you like.'

The fastenings jar and rattleand one of the doors turns slowly on
its hinges. Let us look in. A small bare cellinto which the
light enters through a high chink in the wall. There is a rude
means of washinga tableand a bedstead. Upon the lattersits a
man of sixty; reading. He looks up for a moment; gives an
impatient dogged shake; and fixes his eyes upon his book again. As
we withdraw our headsthe door closes on himand is fastened as
before. This man has murdered his wifeand will probably be
hanged.

'How long has he been here?'

'A month.'

'When will he be tried?'

'Next term.'

'When is that?'

'Next month.'

'In Englandif a man be under sentence of deatheven he has air
and exercise at certain periods of the day.'

'Possible?'

With what stupendous and untranslatable coolness he says thisand
how loungingly he leads on to the women's side: makingas he
goesa kind of iron castanet of the key and the stair-rail!

Each cell door on this side has a square aperture in it. Some of
the women peep anxiously through it at the sound of footsteps;
others shrink away in shame. - For what offence can that lonely
childof ten or twelve years oldbe shut up here? Oh! that boy?


He is the son of the prisoner we saw just now; is a witness against
his father; and is detained here for safe keepinguntil the trial;
that's all.

But it is a dreadful place for the child to pass the long days and
nights in. This is rather hard treatment for a young witnessis
it not? - What says our conductor?

'Wellit an't a very rowdy lifeand THAT'S a fact!'

Again he clinks his metal castanetand leads us leisurely away. I
have a question to ask him as we go.

'Praywhy do they call this place The Tombs?'

'Wellit's the cant name.'

'I know it is. Why?'

'Some suicides happened herewhen it was first built. I expect it
come about from that.'

'I saw just nowthat that man's clothes were scattered about the
floor of his cell. Don't you oblige the prisoners to be orderly
and put such things away?'

'Where should they put 'em?'

'Not on the ground surely. What do you say to hanging them up?'

He stops and looks round to emphasise his answer:

'WhyI say that's just it. When they had hooks they WOULD hang
themselvesso they're taken out of every celland there's only
the marks left where they used to be!'

The prison-yard in which he pauses nowhas been the scene of
terrible performances. Into this narrowgrave-like placemen are
brought out to die. The wretched creature stands beneath the
gibbet on the ground; the rope about his neck; and when the sign is
givena weight at its other end comes running downand swings him
up into the air - a corpse.

The law requires that there be present at this dismal spectacle
the judgethe juryand citizens to the amount of twenty-five.
From the community it is hidden. To the dissolute and badthe
thing remains a frightful mystery. Between the criminal and them
the prison-wall is interposed as a thick gloomy veil. It is the
curtain to his bed of deathhis winding-sheetand grave. From
him it shuts out lifeand all the motives to unrepenting hardihood
in that last hourwhich its mere sight and presence is often allsufficient
to sustain. There are no bold eyes to make him bold; no
ruffians to uphold a ruffian's name before. All beyond the
pitiless stone wallis unknown space.

Let us go forth again into the cheerful streets.

Once more in Broadway! Here are the same ladies in bright colours
walking to and froin pairs and singly; yonder the very same light
blue parasol which passed and repassed the hotel-window twenty
times while we were sitting there. We are going to cross here.
Take care of the pigs. Two portly sows are trotting up behind this
carriageand a select party of half-a-dozen gentlemen hogs have
just now turned the corner.


Here is a solitary swine lounging homeward by himself. He has only
one ear; having parted with the other to vagrant-dogs in the course
of his city rambles. But he gets on very well without it; and
leads a rovinggentlemanlyvagabond kind of lifesomewhat
answering to that of our club-men at home. He leaves his lodgings
every morning at a certain hourthrows himself upon the towngets
through his day in some manner quite satisfactory to himselfand
regularly appears at the door of his own house again at nightlike
the mysterious master of Gil Blas. He is a free-and-easy
carelessindifferent kind of pighaving a very large acquaintance
among other pigs of the same characterwhom he rather knows by
sight than conversationas he seldom troubles himself to stop and
exchange civilitiesbut goes grunting down the kennelturning up
the news and small-talk of the city in the shape of cabbage-stalks
and offaland bearing no tails but his own: which is a very short
onefor his old enemiesthe dogshave been at that tooand have
left him hardly enough to swear by. He is in every respect a
republican piggoing wherever he pleasesand mingling with the
best societyon an equalif not superior footingfor every one
makes way when he appearsand the haughtiest give him the wallif
he prefer it. He is a great philosopherand seldom movedunless
by the dogs before mentioned. Sometimesindeedyou may see his
small eye twinkling on a slaughtered friendwhose carcase
garnishes a butcher's door-postbut he grunts out 'Such is life:
all flesh is pork!' buries his nose in the mire againand waddles
down the gutter: comforting himself with the reflection that there
is one snout the less to anticipate stray cabbage-stalksat any
rate.

They are the city scavengersthese pigs. Ugly brutes they are;
havingfor the most partscanty brown backslike the lids of old
horsehair trunks: spotted with unwholesome black blotches. They
have longgaunt legstooand such peaked snoutsthat if one of
them could be persuaded to sit for his profilenobody would
recognise it for a pig's likeness. They are never attended upon
or fedor drivenor caughtbut are thrown upon their own
resources in early lifeand become preternaturally knowing in
consequence. Every pig knows where he livesmuch better than
anybody could tell him. At this hourjust as evening is closing
inyou will see them roaming towards bed by scoreseating their
way to the last. Occasionallysome youth among them who has overeaten
himselfor has been worried by dogstrots shrinkingly
homewardlike a prodigal son: but this is a rare case: perfect
self-possession and self-relianceand immovable composurebeing
their foremost attributes.

The streets and shops are lighted now; and as the eye travels down
the long thoroughfaredotted with bright jets of gasit is
reminded of Oxford Streetor Piccadilly. Here and there a flight
of broad stone cellar-steps appearsand a painted lamp directs you
to the Bowling Saloonor Ten-Pin alley; Ten-Pins being a game of
mingled chance and skillinvented when the legislature passed an
act forbidding Nine-Pins. At other downward flights of stepsare
other lampsmarking the whereabouts of oyster-cellars - pleasant
retreatssay I: not only by reason of their wonderful cookery of
oysterspretty nigh as large as cheese-plates (or for thy dear
sakeheartiest of Greek Professors!)but because of all kinds of
caters of fishor fleshor fowlin these latitudesthe
swallowers of oysters alone are not gregarious; but subduing
themselvesas it wereto the nature of what they work inand
copying the coyness of the thing they eatdo sit apart in
curtained boxesand consort by twosnot by two hundreds.


But how quiet the streets are! Are there no itinerant bands; no
wind or stringed instruments? Nonot one. By dayare there no
PunchesFantocciniDancing-dogsJugglersConjurers
Orchestrinasor even Barrel-organs? Nonot one. YesI remember
one. One barrel-organ and a dancing-monkey - sportive by nature
but fast fading into a dulllumpish monkeyof the Utilitarian
school. Beyond thatnothing lively; nonot so much as a white
mouse in a twirling cage.

Are there no amusements? Yes. There is a lecture-room across the
wayfrom which that glare of light proceedsand there may be
evening service for the ladies thrice a weekor oftener. For the
young gentlementhere is the counting-housethe storethe barroom:
the latteras you may see through these windowspretty
full. Hark! to the clinking sound of hammers breaking lumps of
iceand to the cool gurgling of the pounded bitsasin the
process of mixingthey are poured from glass to glass! No
amusements? What are these suckers of cigars and swallowers of
strong drinkswhose hats and legs we see in every possible variety
of twistdoingbut amusing themselves? What are the fifty
newspaperswhich those precocious urchins are bawling down the
streetand which are kept filed withinwhat are they but
amusements? Not vapidwaterish amusementsbut good strong stuff;
dealing in round abuse and blackguard names; pulling off the roofs
of private housesas the Halting Devil did in Spain; pimping and
pandering for all degrees of vicious tasteand gorging with coined
lies the most voracious maw; imputing to every man in public life
the coarsest and the vilest motives; scaring away from the stabbed
and prostrate body-politicevery Samaritan of clear conscience and
good deeds; and setting onwith yell and whistle and the clapping
of foul handsthe vilest vermin and worst birds of prey. - No
amusements!

Let us go on again; and passing this wilderness of an hotel with
stores about its baselike some Continental theatreor the London
Opera House shorn of its colonnadeplunge into the Five Points.
But it is needfulfirstthat we take as our escort these two
heads of the policewhom you would know for sharp and well-trained
officers if you met them in the Great Desert. So true it isthat
certain pursuitswherever carried onwill stamp men with the same
character. These two might have been begottenbornand bredin
Bow Street.

We have seen no beggars in the streets by night or day; but of
other kinds of strollersplenty. Povertywretchednessand vice
are rife enough where we are going now.

This is the place: these narrow waysdiverging to the right and
leftand reeking everywhere with dirt and filth. Such lives as
are led herebear the same fruits here as elsewhere. The coarse
and bloated faces at the doorshave counterparts at homeand all
the wide world over. Debauchery has made the very houses
prematurely old. See how the rotten beams are tumbling downand
how the patched and broken windows seem to scowl dimlylike eyes
that have been hurt in drunken frays. Many of those pigs live
here. Do they ever wonder why their masters walk upright in lieu
of going on all-fours? and why they talk instead of grunting?

So farnearly every house is a low tavern; and on the bar-room
wallsare coloured prints of Washingtonand Queen Victoria of
Englandand the American Eagle. Among the pigeon-holes that hold
the bottlesare pieces of plate-glass and coloured paperfor
there isin some sorta taste for decorationeven here. And as
seamen frequent these hauntsthere are maritime pictures by the


dozen: of partings between sailors and their lady-lovesportraits
of Williamof the balladand his Black-Eyed Susan; of Will Watch
the Bold Smuggler; of Paul Jones the Pirateand the like: on
which the painted eyes of Queen Victoriaand of Washington to
bootrest in as strange companionshipas on most of the scenes
that are enacted in their wondering presence.

What place is thisto which the squalid street conducts us? A
kind of square of leprous housessome of which are attainable only
by crazy wooden stairs without. What lies beyond this tottering
flight of stepsthat creak beneath our tread? - a miserable room
lighted by one dim candleand destitute of all comfortsave that
which may be hidden in a wretched bed. Beside itsits a man: his
elbows on his knees: his forehead hidden in his hands. 'What ails
that man?' asks the foremost officer. 'Fever' he sullenly
replieswithout looking up. Conceive the fancies of a feverish
brainin such a place as this!

Ascend these pitch-dark stairsheedful of a false footing on the
trembling boardsand grope your way with me into this wolfish den
where neither ray of light nor breath of airappears to come. A
negro ladstartled from his sleep by the officer's voice - he
knows it well - but comforted by his assurance that he has not come
on businessofficiously bestirs himself to light a candle. The
match flickers for a momentand shows great mounds of dusty rags
upon the ground; then dies away and leaves a denser darkness than
beforeif there can be degrees in such extremes. He stumbles down
the stairs and presently comes backshading a flaring taper with
his hand. Then the mounds of rags are seen to be astirand rise
slowly upand the floor is covered with heaps of negro women
waking from their sleep: their white teeth chatteringand their
bright eyes glistening and winking on all sides with surprise and
fearlike the countless repetition of one astonished African face
in some strange mirror.

Mount up these other stairs with no less caution (there are traps
and pitfalls herefor those who are not so well escorted as
ourselves) into the housetop; where the bare beams and rafters meet
overheadand calm night looks down through the crevices in the
roof. Open the door of one of these cramped hutches full of
sleeping negroes. Pah! They have a charcoal fire within; there is
a smell of singeing clothesor fleshso close they gather round
the brazier; and vapours issue forth that blind and suffocate.
From every corneras you glance about you in these dark retreats
some figure crawls half-awakenedas if the judgment-hour were near
at handand every obscene grave were giving up its dead. Where
dogs would howl to liewomenand menand boys slink off to
sleepforcing the dislodged rats to move away in quest of better
lodgings.

Here too are lanes and alleyspaved with mud knee-deep
underground chamberswhere they dance and game; the walls bedecked
with rough designs of shipsand fortsand flagsand American
eagles out of number: ruined housesopen to the streetwhence
through wide gaps in the wallsother ruins loom upon the eyeas
though the world of vice and misery had nothing else to show:
hideous tenements which take their name from robbery and murder:
all that is loathsomedroopingand decayed is here.

Our leader has his hand upon the latch of 'Almack's' and calls to
us from the bottom of the steps; for the assembly-room of the Five
Point fashionables is approached by a descent. Shall we go in? It
is but a moment.


Heyday! the landlady of Almack's thrives! A buxom fat mulatto
womanwith sparkling eyeswhose head is daintily ornamented with
a handkerchief of many colours. Nor is the landlord much behind
her in his finerybeing attired in a smart blue jacketlike a
ship's stewardwith a thick gold ring upon his little fingerand
round his neck a gleaming golden watch-guard. How glad he is to
see us! What will we please to call for? A dance? It shall be
done directlysir: 'a regular break-down.'

The corpulent black fiddlerand his friend who plays the
tambourinestamp upon the boarding of the small raised orchestra
in which they sitand play a lively measure. Five or six couple
come upon the floormarshalled by a lively young negrowho is the
wit of the assemblyand the greatest dancer known. He never
leaves off making queer facesand is the delight of all the rest
who grin from ear to ear incessantly. Among the dancers are two
young mulatto girlswith largeblackdrooping eyesand headgear
after the fashion of the hostesswho are as shyor feign to
beas though they never danced beforeand so look down before the
visitorsthat their partners can see nothing but the long fringed
lashes.

But the dance commences. Every gentleman sets as long as he likes
to the opposite ladyand the opposite lady to himand all are so
long about it that the sport begins to languishwhen suddenly the
lively hero dashes in to the rescue. Instantly the fiddler grins
and goes at it tooth and nail; there is new energy in the
tambourine; new laughter in the dancers; new smiles in the
landlady; new confidence in the landlord; new brightness in the
very candles.

Single shuffledouble shufflecut and cross-cut; snapping his
fingersrolling his eyesturning in his kneespresenting the
backs of his legs in frontspinning about on his toes and heels
like nothing but the man's fingers on the tambourine; dancing with
two left legstwo right legstwo wooden legstwo wire legstwo
spring legs - all sorts of legs and no legs - what is this to him?
And in what walk of lifeor dance of lifedoes man ever get such
stimulating applause as thunders about himwhenhaving danced his
partner off her feetand himself toohe finishes by leaping
gloriously on the bar-counterand calling for something to drink
with the chuckle of a million of counterfeit Jim Crowsin one
inimitable sound!

The aireven in these distempered partsis fresh after the
stifling atmosphere of the houses; and nowas we emerge into a
broader streetit blows upon us with a purer breathand the stars
look bright again. Here are The Tombs once more. The city watchhouse
is a part of the building. It follows naturally on the
sights we have just left. Let us see thatand then to bed.

What! do you thrust your common offenders against the police
discipline of the towninto such holes as these? Do men and
womenagainst whom no crime is provedlie here all night in
perfect darknesssurrounded by the noisome vapours which encircle
that flagging lamp you light us withand breathing this filthy and
offensive stench! Whysuch indecent and disgusting dungeons as
these cellswould bring disgrace upon the most despotic empire in
the world! Look at themman - youwho see them every nightand
keep the keys. Do you see what they are? Do you know how drains
are made below the streetsand wherein these human sewers differ
except in being always stagnant?

Wellhe don't know. He has had five-and-twenty young women locked


up in this very cell at one timeand you'd hardly realise what
handsome faces there were among 'em.

In God's name! shut the door upon the wretched creature who is in
it nowand put its screen before a placequite unsurpassed in all
the viceneglectand devilryof the worst old town in Europe.

Are people really left all nightuntriedin those black sties? -
Every night. The watch is set at seven in the evening. The
magistrate opens his court at five in the morning. That is the
earliest hour at which the first prisoner can be released; and if
an officer appear against himhe is not taken out till nine
o'clock or ten. - But if any one among them die in the intervalas
one man didnot long ago? Then he is half-eaten by the rats in an
hour's time; as that man was; and there an end.

What is this intolerable tolling of great bellsand crashing of
wheelsand shouting in the distance? A fire. And what that deep
red light in the opposite direction? Another fire. And what these
charred and blackened walls we stand before? A dwelling where a
fire has been. It was more than hintedin an official reportnot
long agothat some of these conflagrations were not wholly
accidentaland that speculation and enterprise found a field of
exertioneven in flames: but be this as it maythere was a fire
last nightthere are two to-nightand you may lay an even wager
there will be at least oneto-morrow. Socarrying that with us
for our comfortlet us sayGood nightand climb up-stairs to
bed.

* * * * * *

One dayduring my stay in New YorkI paid a visit to the
different public institutions on Long Islandor Rhode Island: I
forget which. One of them is a Lunatic Asylum. The building is
handsome; and is remarkable for a spacious and elegant staircase.
The whole structure is not yet finishedbut it is already one of
considerable size and extentand is capable of accommodating a
very large number of patients.

I cannot say that I derived much comfort from the inspection of
this charity. The different wards might have been cleaner and
better ordered; I saw nothing of that salutary system which had
impressed me so favourably elsewhere; and everything had a
lounginglistlessmadhouse airwhich was very painful. The
moping idiotcowering down with long dishevelled hair; the
gibbering maniacwith his hideous laugh and pointed finger; the
vacant eyethe fierce wild facethe gloomy picking of the hands
and lipsand munching of the nails: there they were allwithout
disguisein naked ugliness and horror. In the dining-rooma
baredulldreary placewith nothing for the eye to rest on but
the empty wallsa woman was locked up alone. She was bentthey
told meon committing suicide. If anything could have
strengthened her in her resolutionit would certainly have been
the insupportable monotony of such an existence.

The terrible crowd with which these halls and galleries were
filledso shocked methat I abridged my stay within the shortest
limitsand declined to see that portion of the building in which
the refractory and violent were under closer restraint. I have no
doubt that the gentleman who presided over this establishment at
the time I write ofwas competent to manage itand had done all
in his power to promote its usefulness: but will it be believed
that the miserable strife of Party feeling is carried even into
this sad refuge of afflicted and degraded humanity? Will it be


believed that the eyes which are to watch over and control the
wanderings of minds on which the most dreadful visitation to which
our nature is exposed has fallenmust wear the glasses of some
wretched side in Politics? Will it be believed that the governor
of such a house as thisis appointedand deposedand changed
perpetuallyas Parties fluctuate and varyand as their despicable
weathercocks are blown this way or that? A hundred times in every
weeksome new most paltry exhibition of that narrow-minded and
injurious Party Spiritwhich is the Simoom of Americasickening
and blighting everything of wholesome life within its reachwas
forced upon my notice; but I never turned my back upon it with
feelings of such deep disgust and measureless contemptas when I
crossed the threshold of this madhouse.

At a short distance from this building is another called the Alms
Housethat is to saythe workhouse of New York. This is a large
Institution also: lodgingI believewhen I was therenearly a
thousand poor. It was badly ventilatedand badly lighted; was not
too clean; - and impressed meon the wholevery uncomfortably.
But it must be remembered that New Yorkas a great emporium of
commerceand as a place of general resortnot only from all parts
of the Statesbut from most parts of the worldhas always a large
pauper population to provide for; and laboursthereforeunder
peculiar difficulties in this respect. Nor must it be forgotten
that New York is a large townand that in all large towns a vast
amount of good and evil is intermixed and jumbled up together.

In the same neighbourhood is the Farmwhere young orphans are
nursed and bred. I did not see itbut I believe it is well
conducted; and I can the more easily credit itfrom knowing how
mindful they usually arein Americaof that beautiful passage in
the Litany which remembers all sick persons and young children.

I was taken to these Institutions by waterin a boat belonging to
the Island jailand rowed by a crew of prisonerswho were dressed
in a striped uniform of black and buffin which they looked like
faded tigers. They took meby the same conveyanceto the jail
itself.

It is an old prisonand quite a pioneer establishmenton the plan
I have already described. I was glad to hear thisfor it is
unquestionably a very indifferent one. The most is madehowever
of the means it possessesand it is as well regulated as such a
place can be.

The women work in covered shedserected for that purpose. If I
remember rightthere are no shops for the menbut be that as it
maythe greater part of them labour in certain stone-quarries near
at hand. The day being very wet indeedthis labour was suspended
and the prisoners were in their cells. Imagine these cellssome
two or three hundred in numberand in every one a man locked up;
this one at his door for airwith his hands thrust through the
grate; this one in bed (in the middle of the dayremember); and
this one flung down in a heap upon the groundwith his head
against the barslike a wild beast. Make the rain pour down
outsidein torrents. Put the everlasting stove in the midst; hot
and suffocatingand vaporousas a witch's cauldron. Add a
collection of gentle odourssuch as would arise from a thousand
mildewed umbrellaswet throughand a thousand buck-basketsfull
of half-washed linen - and there is the prisonas it was that day.

The prison for the State at Sing Sing ison the other handa
model jail. Thatand AuburnareI believethe largest and best
examples of the silent system.


In another part of the cityis the Refuge for the Destitute: an
Institution whose object is to reclaim youthful offendersmale and
femaleblack and whitewithout distinction; to teach them useful
tradesapprentice them to respectable mastersand make them
worthy members of society. Its designit will be seenis similar
to that at Boston; and it is a no less meritorious and admirable
establishment. A suspicion crossed my mind during my inspection of
this noble charitywhether the superintendent had quite sufficient
knowledge of the world and worldly characters; and whether he did
not commit a great mistake in treating some young girlswho were
to all intents and purposesby their years and their past lives
womenas though they were little children; which certainly had a
ludicrous effect in my eyesandor I am much mistakenin theirs
also. As the Institutionhoweveris always under a vigilant
examination of a body of gentlemen of great intelligence and
experienceit cannot fail to be well conducted; and whether I am
right or wrong in this slight particularis unimportant to its
deserts and characterwhich it would be difficult to estimate too
highly.

In addition to these establishmentsthere are in New York
excellent hospitals and schoolsliterary institutions and
libraries; an admirable fire department (as indeed it should be
having constant practice)and charities of every sort and kind.
In the suburbs there is a spacious cemetery: unfinished yetbut
every day improving. The saddest tomb I saw there was 'The
Strangers' Grave. Dedicated to the different hotels in this city.'

There are three principal theatres. Two of themthe Park and the
Boweryare largeelegantand handsome buildingsand areI
grieve to write itgenerally deserted. The thirdthe Olympicis
a tiny show-box for vaudevilles and burlesques. It is singularly
well conducted by Mr. Mitchella comic actor of great quiet humour
and originalitywho is well remembered and esteemed by London
playgoers. I am happy to report of this deserving gentlemanthat
his benches are usually well filledand that his theatre rings
with merriment every night. I had almost forgotten a small summer
theatrecalled Niblo'swith gardens and open air amusements
attached; but I believe it is not exempt from the general
depression under which Theatrical Propertyor what is humorously
called by that nameunfortunately labours.

The country round New York is surpassingly and exquisitely
picturesque. The climateas I have already intimatedis somewhat
of the warmest. What it would bewithout the sea breezes which
come from its beautiful Bay in the evening timeI will not throw
myself or my readers into a fever by inquiring.

The tone of the best society in this cityis like that of Boston;
here and thereit may bewith a greater infusion of the
mercantile spiritbut generally polished and refinedand always
most hospitable. The houses and tables are elegant; the hours
later and more rakish; and there isperhapsa greater spirit of
contention in reference to appearancesand the display of wealth
and costly living. The ladies are singularly beautiful.

Before I left New York I made arrangements for securing a passage
home in the George Washington packet shipwhich was advertised to
sail in June: that being the month in which I had determinedif
prevented by no accident in the course of my ramblingsto leave
America.

I never thought that going back to Englandreturning to all who


are dear to meand to pursuits that have insensibly grown to be a
part of my natureI could have felt so much sorrow as I endured
when I parted at laston board this shipwith the friends who had
accompanied me from this city. I never thought the name of any
placeso far away and so lately knowncould ever associate itself
in my mind with the crowd of affectionate remembrances that now
cluster about it. There are those in this city who would brighten
to methe darkest winter-day that ever glimmered and went out in
Lapland; and before whose presence even Home grew dimwhen they
and I exchanged that painful word which mingles with our every
thought and deed; which haunts our cradle-heads in infancyand
closes up the vista of our lives in age.

CHAPTER VII - PHILADELPHIAAND ITS SOLITARY PRISON

THE journey from New York to Philadelphiais made by railroadand
two ferries; and usually occupies between five and six hours. It
was a fine evening when we were passengers in the train: and
watching the bright sunset from a little window near the door by
which we satmy attention was attracted to a remarkable appearance
issuing from the windows of the gentleman's car immediately in
front of uswhich I supposed for some time was occasioned by a
number of industrious persons insideripping open feather-beds
and giving the feathers to the wind. At length it occurred to me
that they were only spittingwhich was indeed the case; though how
any number of passengers which it was possible for that car to
containcould have maintained such a playful and incessant shower
of expectorationI am still at a loss to understand:
notwithstanding the experience in all salivatory phenomena which I
afterwards acquired.

I made acquaintanceon this journeywith a mild and modest young
quakerwho opened the discourse by informing mein a grave
whisperthat his grandfather was the inventor of cold-drawn castor
oil. I mention the circumstance herethinking it probable that
this is the first occasion on which the valuable medicine in
question was ever used as a conversational aperient.

We reached the citylate that night. Looking out of my chamberwindow
before going to bedI sawon the opposite side of the
waya handsome building of white marblewhich had a mournful
ghost-like aspectdreary to behold. I attributed this to the
sombre influence of the nightand on rising in the morning looked
out againexpecting to see its steps and portico thronged with
groups of people passing in and out. The door was still tight
shuthowever; the same cold cheerless air prevailed: and the
building looked as if the marble statue of Don Guzman could alone
have any business to transact within its gloomy walls. I hastened
to inquire its name and purposeand then my surprise vanished. It
was the Tomb of many fortunes; the Great Catacomb of investment;
the memorable United States Bank.

The stoppage of this bankwith all its ruinous consequenceshad
cast (as I was told on every side) a gloom on Philadelphiaunder
the depressing effect of which it yet laboured. It certainly did
seem rather dull and out of spirits.

It is a handsome citybut distractingly regular. After walking
about it for an hour or twoI felt that I would have given the


world for a crooked street. The collar of my coat appeared to
stiffenand the brim of my bat to expandbeneath its quakery
influence. My hair shrunk into a sleek short cropmy hands folded
themselves upon my breast of their own calm accordand thoughts of
taking lodgings in Mark Lane over against the Market Placeand of
making a large fortune by speculations in corncame over me
involuntarily.

Philadelphia is most bountifully provided with fresh waterwhich
is showered and jerked aboutand turned onand poured off
everywhere. The Waterworkswhich are on a height near the city
are no less ornamental than usefulbeing tastefully laid out as a
public gardenand kept in the best and neatest order. The river
is dammed at this pointand forced by its own power into certain
high tanks or reservoirswhence the whole cityto the top stories
of the housesis supplied at a very trifling expense.

There are various public institutions. Among them a most excellent
Hospital - a quaker establishmentbut not sectarian in the great
benefits it confers; a quietquaint old Librarynamed after
Franklin; a handsome Exchange and Post Office; and so forth. In
connection with the quaker Hospitalthere is a picture by West
which is exhibited for the benefit of the funds of the institution.
The subject isour Saviour healing the sickand it isperhaps
as favourable a specimen of the master as can be seen anywhere.
Whether this be high or low praisedepends upon the reader's
taste.

In the same roomthere is a very characteristic and life-like
portrait by Mr. Sullya distinguished American artist.

My stay in Philadelphia was very shortbut what I saw of its
societyI greatly liked. Treating of its general characteristics
I should be disposed to say that it is more provincial than Boston
or New Yorkand that there is afloat in the fair cityan
assumption of taste and criticismsavouring rather of those
genteel discussions upon the same themesin connection with
Shakspeare and the Musical Glassesof which we read in the Vicar
of Wakefield. Near the cityis a most splendid unfinished marble
structure for the Girard Collegefounded by a deceased gentleman
of that name and of enormous wealthwhichif completed according
to the original designwill be perhaps the richest edifice of
modern times. But the bequest is involved in legal disputesand
pending them the work has stopped; so that like many other great
undertakings in Americaeven this is rather going to be done one
of these daysthan doing now.

In the outskirtsstands a great prisoncalled the Eastern
Penitentiary: conducted on a plan peculiar to the state of
Pennsylvania. The system hereis rigidstrictand hopeless
solitary confinement. I believe itin its effectsto be cruel
and wrong.

In its intentionI am well convinced that it is kindhumaneand
meant for reformation; but I am persuaded that those who devised
this system of Prison Disciplineand those benevolent gentlemen
who carry it into executiondo not know what it is that they are
doing. I believe that very few men are capable of estimating the
immense amount of torture and agony which this dreadful punishment
prolonged for yearsinflicts upon the sufferers; and in guessing
at it myselfand in reasoning from what I have seen written upon
their facesand what to my certain knowledge they feel withinI
am only the more convinced that there is a depth of terrible
endurance in it which none but the sufferers themselves can fathom


and which no man has a right to inflict upon his fellow-creature.
I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the
brainto be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body: and
because its ghastly signs and tokens are not so palpable to the eye
and sense of touch as scars upon the flesh; because its wounds are
not upon the surfaceand it extorts few cries that human ears can
hear; therefore I the more denounce itas a secret punishment
which slumbering humanity is not roused up to stay. I hesitated
oncedebating with myselfwhetherif I had the power of saying
'Yes' or 'No' I would allow it to be tried in certain caseswhere
the terms of imprisonment were short; but nowI solemnly declare
that with no rewards or honours could I walk a happy man beneath
the open sky by dayor lie me down upon my bed at nightwith the
consciousness that one human creaturefor any length of timeno
matter whatlay suffering this unknown punishment in his silent
celland I the causeor I consenting to it in the least degree.

I was accompanied to this prison by two gentlemen officially
connected with its managementand passed the day in going from
cell to celland talking with the inmates. Every facility was
afforded methat the utmost courtesy could suggest. Nothing was
concealed or hidden from my viewand every piece of information
that I soughtwas openly and frankly given. The perfect order of
the building cannot be praised too highlyand of the excellent
motives of all who are immediately concerned in the administration
of the systemthere can be no kind of question.

Between the body of the prison and the outer wallthere is a
spacious garden. Entering itby a wicket in the massive gatewe
pursued the path before us to its other terminationand passed
into a large chamberfrom which seven long passages radiate. On
either side of eachis a longlong row of low cell doorswith a
certain number over every one. Abovea gallery of cells like
those belowexcept that they have no narrow yard attached (as
those in the ground tier have)and are somewhat smaller. The
possession of two of theseis supposed to compensate for the
absence of so much air and exercise as can be had in the dull strip
attached to each of the othersin an hour's time every day; and
therefore every prisoner in this upper story has two cells
adjoining and communicating witheach other.

Standing at the central pointand looking down these dreary
passagesthe dull repose and quiet that prevailsis awful.
Occasionallythere is a drowsy sound from some lone weaver's
shuttleor shoemaker's lastbut it is stifled by the thick walls
and heavy dungeon-doorand only serves to make the general
stillness more profound. Over the head and face of every prisoner
who comes into this melancholy housea black hood is drawn; and in
this dark shroudan emblem of the curtain dropped between him and
the living worldhe is led to the cell from which he never again
comes forthuntil his whole term of imprisonment has expired. He
never hears of wife and children; home or friends; the life or
death of any single creature. He sees the prison-officersbut
with that exception he never looks upon a human countenanceor
hears a human voice. He is a man buried alive; to be dug out in
the slow round of years; and in the mean time dead to everything
but torturing anxieties and horrible despair.

His nameand crimeand term of sufferingare unknowneven to
the officer who delivers him his daily food. There is a number
over his cell-doorand in a book of which the governor of the
prison has one copyand the moral instructor another: this is the
index of his history. Beyond these pages the prison has no record
of his existence: and though he live to be in the same cell ten


weary yearshe has no means of knowingdown to the very last
hourin which part of the building it is situated; what kind of
men there are about him; whether in the long winter nights there
are living people nearor he is in some lonely corner of the great
jailwith wallsand passagesand iron doors between him and the
nearest sharer in its solitary horrors.

Every cell has double doors: the outer one of sturdy oakthe
other of grated ironwherein there is a trap through which his
food is handed. He has a Bibleand a slate and pencilandunder
certain restrictionshas sometimes other booksprovided for the
purposeand pen and ink and paper. His razorplateand canand
basinhang upon the wallor shine upon the little shelf. Fresh
water is laid on in every celland he can draw it at his pleasure.
During the dayhis bedstead turns up against the walland leaves
more space for him to work in. His loomor benchor wheelis
there; and there he labourssleeps and wakesand counts the
seasons as they changeand grows old.

The first man I sawwas seated at his loomat work. He had been
there six yearsand was to remainI thinkthree more. He had
been convicted as a receiver of stolen goodsbut even after his
long imprisonmentdenied his guiltand said he had been hardly
dealt by. It was his second offence.

He stopped his work when we went intook off his spectaclesand
answered freely to everything that was said to himbut always with
a strange kind of pause firstand in a lowthoughtful voice. He
wore a paper hat of his own makingand was pleased to have it
noticed and commanded. He had very ingeniously manufactured a sort
of Dutch clock from some disregarded odds and ends; and his
vinegar-bottle served for the pendulum. Seeing me interested in
this contrivancehe looked up at it with a great deal of pride
and said that he had been thinking of improving itand that he
hoped the hammer and a little piece of broken glass beside it
'would play music before long.' He had extracted some colours from
the yarn with which he workedand painted a few poor figures on
the wall. Oneof a femaleover the doorhe called 'The Lady of
the Lake.'

He smiled as I looked at these contrivances to while away the time;
but when I looked from them to himI saw that his lip trembled
and could have counted the beating of his heart. I forget how it
came aboutbut some allusion was made to his having a wife. He
shook his head at the wordturned asideand covered his face with
his hands.

'But you are resigned now!' said one of the gentlemen after a short
pauseduring which he had resumed his former manner. He answered
with a sigh that seemed quite reckless in its hopelessness'Oh
yesoh yes! I am resigned to it.' 'And are a better manyou
think?' 'WellI hope so: I'm sure I hope I may be.' 'And time
goes pretty quickly?' 'Time is very long gentlemenwithin these
four walls!'

He gazed about him - Heaven only knows how wearily! - as he said
these words; and in the act of doing sofell into a strange stare
as if he had forgotten something. A moment afterwards he sighed
heavilyput on his spectaclesand went about his work again.

In another cellthere was a Germansentenced to five years'
imprisonment for larcenytwo of which had just expired. With
colours procured in the same mannerhe had painted every inch of
the walls and ceiling quite beautifully. He had laid out the few


feet of groundbehindwith exquisite neatnessand had made a
little bed in the centrethat lookedby-the-byelike a grave.
The taste and ingenuity he had displayed in everything were most
extraordinary; and yet a more dejectedheart-brokenwretched
creatureit would be difficult to imagine. I never saw such a
picture of forlorn affliction and distress of mind. My heart bled
for him; and when the tears ran down his cheeksand he took one of
the visitors asideto askwith his trembling hands nervously
clutching at his coat to detain himwhether there was no hope of
his dismal sentence being commutedthe spectacle was really too
painful to witness. I never saw or heard of any kind of misery
that impressed me more than the wretchedness of this man.

In a third cellwas a tallstrong blacka burglarworking at
his proper trade of making screws and the like. His time was
nearly out. He was not only a very dexterous thiefbut was
notorious for his boldness and hardihoodand for the number of his
previous convictions. He entertained us with a long account of his
achievementswhich he narrated with such infinite relishthat he
actually seemed to lick his lips as he told us racy anecdotes of
stolen plateand of old ladies whom he had watched as they sat at
windows in silver spectacles (he had plainly had an eye to their
metal even from the other side of the street) and had afterwards
robbed. This fellowupon the slightest encouragementwould have
mingled with his professional recollections the most detestable
cant; but I am very much mistaken if he could have surpassed the
unmitigated hypocrisy with which he declared that he blessed the
day on which he came into that prisonand that he never would
commit another robbery as long as he lived.

There was one man who was allowedas an indulgenceto keep
rabbits. His room having rather a close smell in consequencethey
called to him at the door to come out into the passage. He
complied of courseand stood shading his haggard face in the
unwonted sunlight of the great windowlooking as wan and unearthly
as if he had been summoned from the grave. He had a white rabbit
in his breast; and when the little creaturegetting down upon the
groundstole back into the celland hebeing dismissedcrept
timidly after itI thought it would have been very hard to say in
what respect the man was the nobler animal of the two.

There was an English thiefwho had been there but a few days out
of seven years: a villainouslow-browedthin-lipped fellowwith
a white face; who had as yet no relish for visitorsand whobut
for the additional penaltywould have gladly stabbed me with his
shoemaker's knife. There was another German who had entered the
jail but yesterdayand who started from his bed when we looked in
and pleadedin his broken Englishvery hard for work. There was
a poetwho after doing two days' work in every four-and-twenty
hoursone for himself and one for the prisonwrote verses about
ships (he was by trade a mariner)and 'the maddening wine-cup'
and his friends at home. There were very many of them. Some
reddened at the sight of visitorsand some turned very pale. Some
two or three had prisoner nurses with themfor they were very
sick; and onea fat old negro whose leg had been taken off within
the jailhad for his attendant a classical scholar and an
accomplished surgeonhimself a prisoner likewise. Sitting upon
the stairsengaged in some slight workwas a pretty coloured boy.
'Is there no refuge for young criminals in Philadelphiathen?'
said I. 'Yesbut only for white children.' Noble aristocracy in
crime

There was a sailor who had been there upwards of eleven yearsand
who in a few months' time would be free. Eleven years of solitary


confinement!

'I am very glad to hear your time is nearly out.' What does he
say? Nothing. Why does he stare at his handsand pick the flesh
upon his fingersand raise his eyes for an instantevery now and
thento those bare walls which have seen his head turn grey? It
is a way he has sometimes.

Does he never look men in the faceand does he always pluck at
those hands of hisas though he were bent on parting skin and
bone? It is his humour: nothing more.

It is his humour tooto say that he does not look forward to going
out; that he is not glad the time is drawing near; that he did look
forward to it oncebut that was very long ago; that he has lost
all care for everything. It is his humour to be a helpless
crushedand broken man. AndHeaven be his witness that he has
his humour thoroughly gratified!

There were three young women in adjoining cellsall convicted at
the same time of a conspiracy to rob their prosecutor. In the
silence and solitude of their lives they had grown to be quite
beautiful. Their looks were very sadand might have moved the
sternest visitor to tearsbut not to that kind of sorrow which the
contemplation of the men awakens. One was a young girl; not
twentyas I recollect; whose snow-white room was hung with the
work of some former prisonerand upon whose downcast face the sun
in all its splendour shone down through the high chink in the wall
where one narrow strip of bright blue sky was visible. She was
very penitent and quiet; had come to be resignedshe said (and I
believe her); and had a mind at peace. 'In a wordyou are happy
here?' said one of my companions. She struggled - she did struggle
very hard - to answerYes; but raising her eyesand meeting that
glimpse of freedom overheadshe burst into tearsand said'She
tried to be; she uttered no complaint; but it was natural that she
should sometimes long to go out of that one cell: she could not
help THAT' she sobbedpoor thing!

I went from cell to cell that day; and every face I sawor word I
heardor incident I notedis present to my mind in all its
painfulness. But let me pass them byfor onemore pleasant
glance of a prison on the same plan which I afterwards saw at
Pittsburg.

When I had gone over thatin the same mannerI asked the governor
if he had any person in his charge who was shortly going out. He
had onehe saidwhose time was up next day; but he had only been
a prisoner two years.

Two years! I looked back through two years of my own life - out of
jailprosperoushappysurrounded by blessingscomfortsgood
fortune - and thought how wide a gap it wasand how long those two
years passed in solitary captivity would have been. I have the
face of this manwho was going to be released next daybefore me
now. It is almost more memorable in its happiness than the other
faces in their misery. How easy and how natural it was for him to
say that the system was a good one; and that the time went 'pretty
quick - considering;' and that when a man once felt that he had
offended the lawand must satisfy it'he got alongsomehow:' and
so forth!

'What did he call you back to say to youin that strange flutter?'
I asked of my conductorwhen he had locked the door and joined me
in the passage.


'Oh! That he was afraid the soles of his boots were not fit for
walkingas they were a good deal worn when he came in; and that he
would thank me very much to have them mendedready.'

Those boots had been taken off his feetand put away with the rest
of his clothestwo years before!

I took that opportunity of inquiring how they conducted themselves
immediately before going out; adding that I presumed they trembled
very much.

'Wellit's not so much a trembling' was the answer - 'though they
do quiver - as a complete derangement of the nervous system. They
can't sign their names to the book; sometimes can't even hold the
pen; look about 'em without appearing to know whyor where they
are; and sometimes get up and sit down againtwenty times in a
minute. This is when they're in the officewhere they are taken
with the hood onas they were brought in. When they get outside
the gatethey stopand look first one way and then the other; not
knowing which to take. Sometimes they stagger as if they were
drunkand sometimes are forced to lean against the fencethey're
so bad:- but they clear off in course of time.'

As I walked among these solitary cellsand looked at the faces of
the men within themI tried to picture to myself the thoughts and
feelings natural to their condition. I imagined the hood just
taken offand the scene of their captivity disclosed to them in
all its dismal monotony.

At firstthe man is stunned. His confinement is a hideous vision;
and his old life a reality. He throws himself upon his bedand
lies there abandoned to despair. By degrees the insupportable
solitude and barrenness of the place rouses him from this stupor
and when the trap in his grated door is openedhe humbly begs and
prays for work. 'Give me some work to door I shall go raving
mad!'

He has it; and by fits and starts applies himself to labour; but
every now and then there comes upon him a burning sense of the
years that must be wasted in that stone coffinand an agony so
piercing in the recollection of those who are hidden from his view
and knowledgethat he starts from his seatand striding up and
down the narrow room with both hands clasped on his uplifted head
hears spirits tempting him to beat his brains out on the wall.

Again he falls upon his bedand lies theremoaning. Suddenly he
starts upwondering whether any other man is near; whether there
is another cell like that on either side of him: and listens
keenly.

There is no soundbut other prisoners may be near for all that.
He remembers to have heard oncewhen he little thought of coming
here himselfthat the cells were so constructed that the prisoners
could not hear each otherthough the officers could hear them.

Where is the nearest man - upon the rightor on the left? or is
there one in both directions? Where is he sitting now - with his
face to the light? or is he walking to and fro? How is he dressed?
Has he been here long? Is he much worn away? Is he very white and
spectre-like? Does HE think of his neighbour too?

Scarcely venturing to breatheand listening while he thinkshe
conjures up a figure with his back towards himand imagines it


moving about in this next cell. He has no idea of the facebut he
is certain of the dark form of a stooping man. In the cell upon
the other sidehe puts another figurewhose face is hidden from
him also. Day after dayand often when he wakes up in the middle
of the nighthe thinks of these two men until he is almost
distracted. He never changes them. There they are always as he
first imagined them - an old man on the right; a younger man upon
the left - whose hidden features torture him to deathand have a
mystery that makes him tremble.

The weary days pass on with solemn pacelike mourners at a
funeral; and slowly he begins to feel that the white walls of the
cell have something dreadful in them: that their colour is
horrible: that their smooth surface chills his blood: that there
is one hateful corner which torments him. Every morning when he
wakeshe hides his head beneath the coverletand shudders to see
the ghastly ceiling looking down upon him. The blessed light of
day itself peeps inan ugly phantom facethrough the unchangeable
crevice which is his prison window.

By slow but sure degreesthe terrors of that hateful corner swell
until they beset him at all times; invade his restmake his dreams
hideousand his nights dreadful. At firsthe took a strange
dislike to it; feeling as though it gave birth in his brain to
something of corresponding shapewhich ought not to be thereand
racked his head with pains. Then he began to fear itthen to
dream of itand of men whispering its name and pointing to it.
Then he could not bear to look at itnor yet to turn his back upon
it. Nowit is every night the lurking-place of a ghost: a
shadow:- a silent somethinghorrible to seebut whether birdor
beastor muffled human shapehe cannot tell.

When he is in his cell by dayhe fears the little yard without.
When he is in the yardhe dreads to re-enter the cell. When night
comesthere stands the phantom in the corner. If he have the
courage to stand in its placeand drive it out (he had once:
being desperate)it broods upon his bed. In the twilightand
always at the same houra voice calls to him by name; as the
darkness thickenshis Loom begins to live; and even thathis
comfortis a hideous figurewatching him till daybreak.

Againby slow degreesthese horrible fancies depart from him one
by one: returning sometimesunexpectedlybut at longer
intervalsand in less alarming shapes. He has talked upon
religious matters with the gentleman who visits himand has read
his Bibleand has written a prayer upon his slateand hung it up
as a kind of protectionand an assurance of Heavenly
companionship. He dreams nowsometimesof his children or his
wifebut is sure that they are deador have deserted him. He is
easily moved to tears; is gentlesubmissiveand broken-spirited.
Occasionallythe old agony comes back: a very little thing will
revive it; even a familiar soundor the scent of summer flowers in
the air; but it does not last longnow: for the world without
has come to be the visionand this solitary lifethe sad reality.

If his term of imprisonment be short - I mean comparativelyfor
short it cannot be - the last half year is almost worse than all;
for then he thinks the prison will take fire and he be burnt in the
ruinsor that he is doomed to die within the wallsor that he
will be detained on some false charge and sentenced for another
term: or that somethingno matter whatmust happen to prevent
his going at large. And this is naturaland impossible to be
reasoned againstbecauseafter his long separation from human
lifeand his great sufferingany event will appear to him more


probable in the contemplationthan the being restored to liberty
and his fellow-creatures.

If his period of confinement have been very longthe prospect of
release bewilders and confuses him. His broken heart may flutter
for a momentwhen he thinks of the world outsideand what it
might have been to him in all those lonely yearsbut that is all.
The cell-door has been closed too long on all its hopes and cares.
Better to have hanged him in the beginning than bring him to this
passand send him forth to mingle with his kindwho are his kind
no more.

On the haggard face of every man among these prisonersthe same
expression sat. I know not what to liken it to. It had something
of that strained attention which we see upon the faces of the blind
and deafmingled with a kind of horroras though they had all
been secretly terrified. In every little chamber that I entered
and at every grate through which I lookedI seemed to see the same
appalling countenance. It lives in my memorywith the fascination
of a remarkable picture. Parade before my eyesa hundred men
with one among them newly released from this solitary suffering
and I would point him out.

The faces of the womenas I have saidit humanises and refines.
Whether this be because of their better naturewhich is elicited
in solitudeor because of their being gentler creaturesof
greater patience and longer sufferingI do not know; but so it is.
That the punishment is neverthelessto my thinkingfully as cruel
and as wrong in their caseas in that of the menI need scarcely
add.

My firm conviction is thatindependent of the mental anguish it
occasions - an anguish so acute and so tremendousthat all
imagination of it must fall far short of the reality - it wears the
mind into a morbid statewhich renders it unfit for the rough
contact and busy action of the world. It is my fixed opinion that
those who have undergone this punishmentMUST pass into society
again morally unhealthy and diseased. There are many instances on
recordof men who have chosenor have been condemnedto lives of
perfect solitudebut I scarcely remember oneeven among sages of
strong and vigorous intellectwhere its effect has not become
apparentin some disordered train of thoughtor some gloomy
hallucination. What monstrous phantomsbred of despondency and
doubtand born and reared in solitudehave stalked upon the
earthmaking creation uglyand darkening the face of Heaven!

Suicides are rare among these prisoners: are almostindeed
unknown. But no argument in favour of the systemcan reasonably
be deduced from this circumstancealthough it is very often urged.
All men who have made diseases of the mind their studyknow
perfectly well that such extreme depression and despair as will
change the whole characterand beat down all its powers of
elasticity and self-resistancemay be at work within a manand
yet stop short of self-destruction. This is a common case.

That it makes the senses dulland by degrees impairs the bodily
facultiesI am quite sure. I remarked to those who were with me
in this very establishment at Philadelphiathat the criminals who
had been there longwere deaf. Theywho were in the habit of
seeing these men constantlywere perfectly amazed at the idea
which they regarded as groundless and fanciful. And yet the very
first prisoner to whom they appealed - one of their own selection
confirmed my impression (which was unknown to him) instantlyand
saidwith a genuine air it was impossible to doubtthat he


couldn't think how it happenedbut he WAS growing very dull of
hearing.

That it is a singularly unequal punishmentand affects the worst
man leastthere is no doubt. In its superior efficiency as a
means of reformationcompared with that other code of regulations
which allows the prisoners to work in company without communicating
togetherI have not the smallest faith. All the instances of
reformation that were mentioned to mewere of a kind that might
have been - and I have no doubt whateverin my own mindwould
have been - equally well brought about by the Silent System. With
regard to such men as the negro burglar and the English thiefeven
the most enthusiastic have scarcely any hope of their conversion.

It seems to me that the objection that nothing wholesome or good
has ever had its growth in such unnatural solitudeand that even a
dog or any of the more intelligent among beastswould pineand
mopeand rust awaybeneath its influencewould be in itself a
sufficient argument against this system. But when we recollectin
additionhow very cruel and severe it isand that a solitary life
is always liable to peculiar and distinct objections of a most
deplorable naturewhich have arisen hereand call to mind
moreoverthat the choice is not between this systemand a bad or
ill-considered onebut between it and another which has worked
welland isin its whole design and practiceexcellent; there is
surely more than sufficient reason for abandoning a mode of
punishment attended by so little hope or promiseand fraught
beyond disputewith such a host of evils.

As a relief to its contemplationI will close this chapter with a
curious story arising out of the same themewhich was related to
meon the occasion of this visitby some of the gentlemen
concerned.

At one of the periodical meetings of the inspectors of this prison
a working man of Philadelphia presented himself before the Board
and earnestly requested to be placed in solitary confinement. On
being asked what motive could possibly prompt him to make this
strange demandhe answered that he had an irresistible propensity
to get drunk; that he was constantly indulging itto his great
misery and ruin; that he had no power of resistance; that he wished
to be put beyond the reach of temptation; and that he could think
of no better way than this. It was pointed out to himin reply
that the prison was for criminals who had been tried and sentenced
by the lawand could not be made available for any such fanciful
purposes; he was exhorted to abstain from intoxicating drinksas
he surely might if he would; and received other very good advice
with which he retiredexceedingly dissatisfied with the result of
his application.

He came againand againand againand was so very earnest and
importunatethat at last they took counsel togetherand said'He
will certainly qualify himself for admissionif we reject him any
more. Let us shut him up. He will soon be glad to go awayand
then we shall get rid of him.' So they made him sign a statement
which would prevent his ever sustaining an action for false
imprisonmentto the effect that his incarceration was voluntary
and of his own seeking; they requested him to take notice that the
officer in attendance had orders to release him at any hour of the
day or nightwhen he might knock upon his door for that purpose;
but desired him to understandthat once going outhe would not be
admitted any more. These conditions agreed uponand he still
remaining in the same mindhe was conducted to the prisonand
shut up in one of the cells.


In this cellthe manwho had not the firmness to leave a glass of
liquor standing untasted on a table before him - in this cellin
solitary confinementand working every day at his trade of
shoemakingthis man remained nearly two years. His health
beginning to fail at the expiration of that timethe surgeon
recommended that he should work occasionally in the garden; and as
he liked the notion very muchhe went about this new occupation
with great cheerfulness.

He was digging hereone summer dayvery industriouslywhen the
wicket in the outer gate chanced to be left open: showingbeyond
the well-remembered dusty road and sunburnt fields. The way was as
free to him as to any man livingbut he no sooner raised his head
and caught sight of itall shining in the lightthanwith the
involuntary instinct of a prisonerhe cast away his spade
scampered off as fast as his legs would carry himand never once
looked back.

CHAPTER VIII - WASHINGTON. THE LEGISLATURE. AND THE PRESIDENT'S
HOUSE

WE left Philadelphia by steamboatat six o'clock one very cold
morningand turned our faces towards Washington.

In the course of this day's journeyas on subsequent occasionswe
encountered some Englishmen (small farmersperhapsor country
publicans at home) who were settled in Americaand were travelling
on their own affairs. Of all grades and kinds of men that jostle
one in the public conveyances of the Statesthese are often the
most intolerable and the most insufferable companions. United to
every disagreeable characteristic that the worst kind of American
travellers possessthese countrymen of ours display an amount of
insolent conceit and cool assumption of superiorityquite
monstrous to behold. In the coarse familiarity of their approach
and the effrontery of their inquisitiveness (which they are in
great haste to assertas if they panted to revenge themselves upon
the decent old restraints of home)they surpass any native
specimens that came within my range of observation: and I often
grew so patriotic when I saw and heard themthat I would
cheerfully have submitted to a reasonable fineif I could have
given any other country in the whole worldthe honour of claiming
them for its children.

As Washington may be called the head-quarters of tobacco-tinctured
salivathe time is come when I must confesswithout any disguise
that the prevalence of those two odious practices of chewing and
expectorating began about this time to be anything but agreeable
and soon became most offensive and sickening. In all the public
places of Americathis filthy custom is recognised. In the courts
of lawthe judge has his spittoonthe crier histhe witness his
and the prisoner his; while the jurymen and spectators are provided
foras so many men who in the course of nature must desire to spit
incessantly. In the hospitalsthe students of medicine are
requestedby notices upon the wallto eject their tobacco juice
into the boxes provided for that purposeand not to discolour the
stairs. In public buildingsvisitors are imploredthrough the
same agencyto squirt the essence of their quidsor 'plugs' as I
have heard them called by gentlemen learned in this kind of
sweetmeatinto the national spittoonsand not about the bases of


the marble columns. But in some partsthis custom is inseparably
mixed up with every meal and morning calland with all the
transactions of social life. The strangerwho follows in the
track I took myselfwill find it in its full bloom and glory
luxuriant in all its alarming recklessnessat Washington. And let
him not persuade himself (as I once didto my shame) that previous
tourists have exaggerated its extent. The thing itself is an
exaggeration of nastinesswhich cannot be outdone.

On board this steamboatthere were two young gentlemenwith
shirt-collars reversed as usualand armed with very big walkingsticks;
who planted two seats in the middle of the deckat a
distance of some four paces apart; took out their tobacco-boxes;
and sat down opposite each otherto chew. In less than a quarter
of an hour's timethese hopeful youths had shed about them on the
clean boardsa copious shower of yellow rain; clearingby that
meansa kind of magic circlewithin whose limits no intruders
dared to comeand which they never failed to refresh and rerefresh
before a spot was dry. This being before breakfastrather
disposed meI confessto nausea; but looking attentively at one
of the expectoratorsI plainly saw that he was young in chewing
and felt inwardly uneasyhimself. A glow of delight came over me
at this discovery; and as I marked his face turn paler and paler
and saw the ball of tobacco in his left cheekquiver with his
suppressed agonywhile yet he spatand chewedand spat againin
emulation of his older friendI could have fallen on his neck and
implored him to go on for hours.

We all sat down to a comfortable breakfast in the cabin below
where there was no more hurry or confusion than at such a meal in
Englandand where there was certainly greater politeness exhibited
than at most of our stage-coach banquets. At about nine o'clock we
arrived at the railroad stationand went on by the cars. At noon
we turned out againto cross a wide river in another steamboat;
landed at a continuation of the railroad on the opposite shore; and
went on by other cars; in whichin the course of the next hour or
sowe crossed by wooden bridgeseach a mile in lengthtwo
creekscalled respectively Great and Little Gunpowder. The water
in both was blackened with flights of canvas-backed duckswhich
are most delicious eatingand abound hereabouts at that season of
the year.

These bridges are of woodhave no parapetand are only just wide
enough for the passage of the trains; whichin the event of the
smallest accidentwound inevitably be plunged into the river.
They are startling contrivancesand are most agreeable when
passed.

We stopped to dine at Baltimoreand being now in Marylandwere
waited onfor the first timeby slaves. The sensation of
exacting any service from human creatures who are bought and sold
and beingfor the timea party as it were to their conditionis
not an enviable one. The institution existsperhapsin its least
repulsive and most mitigated form in such a town as this; but it IS
slavery; and though I waswith respect to itan innocent manits
presence filled me with a sense of shame and self-reproach.

After dinnerwe went down to the railroad againand took our
seats in the cars for Washington. Being rather earlythose men
and boys who happened to have nothing particular to doand were
curious in foreignerscame (according to custom) round the
carriage in which I sat; let down all the windows; thrust in their
heads and shoulders; hooked themselves on convenientlyby their
elbows; and fell to comparing notes on the subject of my personal


appearancewith as much indifference as if I were a stuffed
figure. I never gained so much uncompromising information with
reference to my own nose and eyesand various impressions wrought
by my mouth and chin on different mindsand how my head looks when
it is viewed from behindas on these occasions. Some gentlemen
were only satisfied by exercising their sense of touch; and the
boys (who are surprisingly precocious in America) were seldom
satisfiedeven by thatbut would return to the charge over and
over again. Many a budding president has walked into my room with
his cap on his head and his hands in his pocketsand stared at me
for two whole hours: occasionally refreshing himself with a tweak
of his noseor a draught from the water-jug; or by walking to the
windows and inviting other boys in the street belowto come up and
do likewise: crying'Here he is!' 'Come on!' 'Bring all your
brothers!' with other hospitable entreaties of that nature.

We reached Washington at about half-past six that eveningand had
upon the way a beautiful view of the Capitolwhich is a fine
building of the Corinthian orderplaced upon a noble and
commanding eminence. Arrived at the hotel; I saw no more of the
place that night; being very tiredand glad to get to bed.

Breakfast over next morningI walk about the streets for an hour
or twoandcoming homethrow up the window in the front and
backand look out. Here is Washingtonfresh in my mind and under
my eye.

Take the worst parts of the City Road and Pentonvilleor the
straggling outskirts of Pariswhere the houses are smallest
preserving all their odditiesbut especially the small shops and
dwellingsoccupied in Pentonville (but not in Washington) by
furniture-brokerskeepers of poor eating-housesand fanciers of
birds. Burn the whole down; build it up again in wood and plaster;
widen it a little; throw in part of St. John's Wood; put green
blinds outside all the private houseswith a red curtain and a
white one in every window; plough up all the roads; plant a great
deal of coarse turf in every place where it ought NOT to be; erect
three handsome buildings in stone and marbleanywherebut the
more entirely out of everybody's way the better; call one the Post
Office; one the Patent Officeand one the Treasury; make it
scorching hot in the morningand freezing cold in the afternoon
with an occasional tornado of wind and dust; leave a brick-field
without the bricksin all central places where a street may
naturally be expected: and that's Washington.

The hotel in which we liveis a long row of small houses fronting
on the streetand opening at the back upon a common yardin which
hangs a great triangle. Whenever a servant is wantedsomebody
beats on this triangle from one stroke up to sevenaccording to
the number of the house in which his presence is required; and as
all the servants are always being wantedand none of them ever
comethis enlivening engine is in full performance the whole day
through. Clothes are drying in the same yard; female slaveswith
cotton handkerchiefs twisted round their heads are running to and
fro on the hotel business; black waiters cross and recross with
dishes in their hands; two great dogs are playing upon a mound of
loose bricks in the centre of the little square; a pig is turning
up his stomach to the sunand grunting 'that's comfortable!'; and
neither the mennor the womennor the dogsnor the pignor any
created creaturetakes the smallest notice of the trianglewhich
is tingling madly all the time.

I walk to the front windowand look across the road upon a long
straggling row of housesone story highterminatingnearly


oppositebut a little to the leftin a melancholy piece of waste
ground with frowzy grasswhich looks like a small piece of country
that has taken to drinkingand has quite lost itself. Standing
anyhow and all wrongupon this open spacelike something meteoric
that has fallen down from the moonis an oddlop-sidedone-eyed
kind of wooden buildingthat looks like a churchwith a flag-
staff as long as itself sticking out of a steeple something larger
than a tea-chest. Under the window is a small stand of coaches
whose slave-drivers are sunning themselves on the steps of our
doorand talking idly together. The three most obtrusive houses
near at hand are the three meanest. On one - a shopwhich never
has anything in the windowand never has the door open - is
painted in large characters'THE CITY LUNCH.' At anotherwhich
looks like a backway to somewhere elsebut is an independent
building in itselfoysters are procurable in every style. At the
thirdwhich is a veryvery little tailor's shoppants are fixed
to order; or in other wordspantaloons are made to measure. And
that is our street in Washington.

It is sometimes called the City of Magnificent Distancesbut it
might with greater propriety be termed the City of Magnificent
Intentions; for it is only on taking a bird's-eye view of it from
the top of the Capitolthat one can at all comprehend the vast
designs of its projectoran aspiring Frenchman. Spacious avenues
that begin in nothingand lead nowhere; streetsmile-longthat
only want housesroads and inhabitants; public buildings that need
but a public to be complete; and ornaments of great thoroughfares
which only lack great thoroughfares to ornament - are its leading
features. One might fancy the season overand most of the houses
gone out of town for ever with their masters. To the admirers of
cities it is a Barmecide Feast: a pleasant field for the
imagination to rove in; a monument raised to a deceased project
with not even a legible inscription to record its departed
greatness.

Such as it isit is likely to remain. It was originally chosen
for the seat of Governmentas a means of averting the conflicting
jealousies and interests of the different States; and very
probablytooas being remote from mobs: a consideration not to
be slightedeven in America. It has no trade or commerce of its
own: having little or no population beyond the President and his
establishment; the members of the legislature who reside there
during the session; the Government clerks and officers employed in
the various departments; the keepers of the hotels and boardinghouses;
and the tradesmen who supply their tables. It is very
unhealthy. Few people would live in WashingtonI take itwho
were not obliged to reside there; and the tides of emigration and
speculationthose rapid and regardless currentsare little likely
to flow at any time towards such dull and sluggish water.

The principal features of the Capitolareof coursethe two
houses of Assembly. But there isbesidesin the centre of the
buildinga fine rotundaninety-six feet in diameterand ninetysix
highwhose circular wall is divided into compartments
ornamented by historical pictures. Four of these have for their
subjects prominent events in the revolutionary struggle. They were
painted by Colonel Trumbullhimself a member of Washington's staff
at the time of their occurrence; from which circumstance they
derive a peculiar interest of their own. In this same hall Mr.
Greenough's large statue of Washington has been lately placed. It
has great merits of coursebut it struck me as being rather
strained and violent for its subject. I could wishhoweverto
have seen it in a better light than it can ever be viewed inwhere
it stands.


There is a very pleasant and commodious library in the Capitol; and
from a balcony in frontthe bird's-eye viewof which I have just
spokenmay be hadtogether with a beautiful prospect of the
adjacent country. In one of the ornamented portions of the
buildingthere is a figure of Justice; whereunto the Guide Book
says'the artist at first contemplated giving more of nuditybut
he was warned that the public sentiment in this country would not
admit of itand in his caution he has goneperhapsinto the
opposite extreme.' Poor Justice! she has been made to wear much
stranger garments in America than those she pines inin the
Capitol. Let us hope that she has changed her dress-maker since
they were fashionedand that the public sentiment of the country
did not cut out the clothes she hides her lovely figure injust
now.

The House of Representatives is a beautiful and spacious hallof
semicircular shapesupported by handsome pillars. One part of the
gallery is appropriated to the ladiesand there they sit in front
rowsand come inand go outas at a play or concert. The chair
is canopiedand raised considerably above the floor of the House;
and every member has an easy chair and a writing desk to himself:
which is denounced by some people out of doors as a most
unfortunate and injudicious arrangementtending to long sittings
and prosaic speeches. It is an elegant chamber to look atbut a
singularly bad one for all purposes of hearing. The Senatewhich
is smalleris free from this objectionand is exceedingly well
adapted to the uses for which it is designed. The sittingsI need
hardly addtake place in the day; and the parliamentary forms are
modelled on those of the old country.

I was sometimes askedin my progress through other placeswhether
I had not been very much impressed by the HEADS of the lawmakers at
Washington; meaning not their chiefs and leadersbut literally
their individual and personal headswhereon their hair grewand
whereby the phrenological character of each legislator was
expressed: and I almost as often struck my questioner dumb with
indignant consternation by answering 'Nothat I didn't remember
being at all overcome.' As I mustat whatever hazardrepeat the
avowal hereI will follow it up by relating my impressions on this
subject in as few words as possible.

In the first place - it may be from some imperfect development of
my organ of veneration - I do not remember having ever fainted
awayor having even been moved to tears of joyful prideat sight
of any legislative body. I have borne the House of Commons like a
manand have yielded to no weaknessbut slumberin the House of
Lords. I have seen elections for borough and countyand have
never been impelled (no matter which party won) to damage my hat by
throwing it up into the air in triumphor to crack my voice by
shouting forth any reference to our Glorious Constitutionto the
noble purity of our independent votersorthe unimpeachable
integrity of our independent members. Having withstood such strong
attacks upon my fortitudeit is possible that I may be of a cold
and insensible temperamentamounting to icinessin such matters;
and therefore my impressions of the live pillars of the Capitol at
Washington must be received with such grains of allowance as this
free confession may seem to demand.

Did I see in this public body an assemblage of menbound together
in the sacred names of Liberty and Freedomand so asserting the
chaste dignity of those twin goddessesin all their discussions
as to exalt at once the Eternal Principles to which their names are
givenand their own character and the character of their


countrymenin the admiring eyes of the whole world?

It was but a weeksince an agedgrey-haired mana lasting honour
to the land that gave him birthwho has done good service to his
countryas his forefathers didand who will be remembered scores
upon scores of years after the worms bred in its corruptionare
but so many grains of dust - it was but a weeksince this old man
had stood for days upon his trial before this very bodycharged
with having dared to assert the infamy of that trafficwhich has
for its accursed merchandise men and womenand their unborn
children. Yes. And publicly exhibited in the same city all the
while; gildedframed and glazed hung up for general admiration;
shown to strangers not with shamebut pride; its face not turned
towards the wallitself not taken down and burned; is the
Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America
which solemnly declares that All Men are created Equal; and are
endowed by their Creator with the Inalienable Rights of Life
Libertyand the Pursuit of Happiness!

It was not a monthsince this same body had sat calmly byand
heard a manone of themselveswith oaths which beggars in their
drink rejectthreaten to cut another's throat from ear to ear.
There he satamong them; not crushed by the general feeling of the
assemblybut as good a man as any.

There was but a week to comeand another of that bodyfor doing
his duty to those who sent him there; for claiming in a Republic
the Liberty and Freedom of expressing their sentimentsand making
known their prayer; would be triedfound guiltyand have strong
censure passed upon him by the rest. His was a grave offence
indeed; for years beforehe had risen up and said'A gang of male
and female slaves for salewarranted to breed like cattlelinked
to each other by iron fettersare passing now along the open
street beneath the windows of your Temple of Equality! Look!' But
there are many kinds of hunters engaged in the Pursuit of
Happinessand they go variously armed. It is the Inalienable
Right of some among themto take the field after THEIR Happiness
equipped with cat and cartwhipstocksand iron collarand to
shout their view halloa! (always in praise of Liberty) to the music
of clanking chains and bloody stripes.

Where sat the many legislators of coarse threats; of words and
blows such as coalheavers deal upon each otherwhen they forget
their breeding? On every side. Every session had its anecdotes of
that kindand the actors were all there.

Did I recognise in this assemblya body of menwhoapplying
themselves in a new world to correct some of the falsehoods and
vices of the oldpurified the avenues to Public Lifepaved the
dirty ways to Place and Powerdebated and made laws for the Common
Goodand had no party but their Country?

I saw in themthe wheels that move the meanest perversion of
virtuous Political Machinery that the worst tools ever wrought.
Despicable trickery at elections; under-handed tamperings with
public officers; cowardly attacks upon opponentswith scurrilous
newspapers for shieldsand hired pens for daggers; shameful
trucklings to mercenary knaveswhose claim to be consideredis
that every day and week they sow new crops of ruin with their venal
typeswhich are the dragon's teeth of yorein everything but
sharpness; aidings and abettings of every bad inclination in the
popular mindand artful suppressions of all its good influences:
such things as theseand in a wordDishonest Faction in its most
depraved and most unblushing formstared out from every corner of


the crowded hall.

Did I see among themthe intelligence and refinement: the true
honestpatriotic heart of America? Here and therewere drops of
its blood and lifebut they scarcely coloured the stream of
desperate adventurers which sets that way for profit and for pay.
It is the game of these menand of their profligate organsto
make the strife of politics so fierce and brutaland so
destructive of all self-respect in worthy menthat sensitive and
delicate-minded persons shall be kept aloofand theyand such as
theybe left to battle out their selfish views unchecked. And
thus this lowest of all scrambling fights goes onand they who in
other countries wouldfrom their intelligence and stationmost
aspire to make the lawsdo here recoil the farthest from that
degradation.

That there areamong the representatives of the people in both
Housesand among all partiessome men of high character and great
abilitiesI need not say. The foremost among those politicians
who are known in Europehave been already describedand I see no
reason to depart from the rule I have laid down for my guidanceof
abstaining from all mention of individuals. It will be sufficient
to addthat to the most favourable accounts that have been written
of themI more than fully and most heartily subscribe; and that
personal intercourse and free communication have bred within me
not the result predicted in the very doubtful proverbbut
increased admiration and respect. They are striking men to look
athard to deceiveprompt to actlions in energyCrichtons in
varied accomplishmentsIndians in fire of eye and gesture
Americans in strong and generous impulse; and they as well
represent the honour and wisdom of their country at homeas the
distinguished gentleman who is now its Minister at the British
Court sustains its highest character abroad.

I visited both houses nearly every dayduring my stay in
Washington. On my initiatory visit to the House of
Representativesthey divided against a decision of the chair; but
the chair won. The second time I wentthe member who was
speakingbeing interrupted by a laughmimicked itas one child
would in quarrelling with anotherand added'that he would make
honourable gentlemen oppositesing out a little more on the other
side of their mouths presently.' But interruptions are rare; the
speaker being usually heard in silence. There are more quarrels
than with usand more threatenings than gentlemen are accustomed
to exchange in any civilised society of which we have record: but
farm-yard imitations have not as yet been imported from the
Parliament of the United Kingdom. The feature in oratory which
appears to be the most practisedand most relishedis the
constant repetition of the same idea or shadow of an idea in fresh
words; and the inquiry out of doors is not'What did he say?' but
'How long did he speak?' Thesehoweverare but enlargements of a
principle which prevails elsewhere.

The Senate is a dignified and decorous bodyand its proceedings
are conducted with much gravity and order. Both houses are
handsomely carpeted; but the state to which these carpets are
reduced by the universal disregard of the spittoon with which every
honourable member is accommodatedand the extraordinary
improvements on the pattern which are squirted and dabbled upon it
in every directiondo not admit of being described. I will merely
observethat I strongly recommend all strangers not to look at the
floor; and if they happen to drop anythingthough it be their
pursenot to pick it up with an ungloved hand on any account.


It is somewhat remarkable tooat firstto say the leastto see
so many honourable members with swelled faces; and it is scarcely
less remarkable to discover that this appearance is caused by the
quantity of tobacco they contrive to stow within the hollow of the
cheek. It is strange enough tooto see an honourable gentleman
leaning back in his tilted chair with his legs on the desk before
himshaping a convenient 'plug' with his penknifeand when it is
quite ready for useshooting the old one from his mouthas from a
pop-gunand clapping the new one in its place.

I was surprised to observe that even steady old chewers of great
experienceare not always good marksmenwhich has rather inclined
me to doubt that general proficiency with the rifleof which we
have heard so much in England. Several gentlemen called upon me
whoin the course of conversationfrequently missed the spittoon
at five paces; and one (but he was certainly short-sighted) mistook
the closed sash for the open windowat three. On another
occasionwhen I dined outand was sitting with two ladies and
some gentlemen round a fire before dinnerone of the company fell
short of the fireplacesix distinct times. I am disposed to
thinkhoweverthat this was occasioned by his not aiming at that
object; as there was a white marble hearth before the fenderwhich
was more convenientand may have suited his purpose better.

The Patent Office at Washingtonfurnishes an extraordinary example
of American enterprise and ingenuity; for the immense number of
models it contains are the accumulated inventions of only five
years; the whole of the previous collection having been destroyed
by fire. The elegant structure in which they are arranged is one
of design rather than executionfor there is but one side erected
out of fourthough the works are stopped. The Post Office is a
very compact and very beautiful building. In one of the
departmentsamong a collection of rare and curious articlesare
deposited the presents which have been made from time to time to
the American ambassadors at foreign courts by the various
potentates to whom they were the accredited agents of the Republic;
gifts which by the law they are not permitted to retain. I confess
that I looked upon this as a very painful exhibitionand one by no
means flattering to the national standard of honesty and honour.
That can scarcely be a high state of moral feeling which imagines a
gentleman of repute and stationlikely to be corruptedin the
discharge of his dutyby the present of a snuff-boxor a richlymounted
swordor an Eastern shawl; and surely the Nation who
reposes confidence in her appointed servantsis likely to be
better servedthan she who makes them the subject of such very
mean and paltry suspicions.

At George Townin the suburbsthere is a Jesuit College;
delightfully situatedandso far as I had an opportunity of
seeingwell managed. Many persons who are not members of the
Romish Churchavail themselvesI believeof these institutions
and of the advantageous opportunities they afford for the education
of their children. The heights of this neighbourhoodabove the
Potomac Riverare very picturesque: and are freeI should
conceivefrom some of the insalubrities of Washington. The air
at that elevationwas quite cool and refreshingwhen in the city
it was burning hot.

The President's mansion is more like an English club-houseboth
within and withoutthan any other kind of establishment with which
I can compare it. The ornamental ground about it has been laid out
in garden walks; they are prettyand agreeable to the eye; though
they have that uncomfortable air of having been made yesterday
which is far from favourable to the display of such beauties.


My first visit to this house was on the morning after my arrival
when I was carried thither by an official gentlemanwho was so
kind as to charge himself with my presentation to the President.

We entered a large halland having twice or thrice rung a bell
which nobody answeredwalked without further ceremony through the
rooms on the ground flooras divers other gentlemen (mostly with
their hats onand their hands in their pockets) were doing very
leisurely. Some of these had ladies with themto whom they were
showing the premises; others were lounging on the chairs and sofas;
othersin a perfect state of exhaustion from listlessnesswere
yawning drearily. The greater portion of this assemblage were
rather asserting their supremacy than doing anything elseas they
had no particular business therethat anybody knew of. A few were
closely eyeing the movablesas if to make quite sure that the
President (who was far from popular) had not made away with any of
the furnitureor sold the fixtures for his private benefit.

After glancing at these loungers; who were scattered over a pretty
drawing-roomopening upon a terrace which commanded a beautiful
prospect of the river and the adjacent country; and who were
saunteringtooabout a larger state-room called the Eastern
Drawing-room; we went up-stairs into another chamberwhere were
certain visitorswaiting for audiences. At sight of my conductor
a black in plain clothes and yellow slippers who was gliding
noiselessly aboutand whispering messages in the ears of the more
impatientmade a sign of recognitionand glided off to announce
him.

We had previously looked into another chamber fitted all round with
a greatbarewooden desk or counterwhereon lay files of
newspapersto which sundry gentlemen were referring. But there
were no such means of beguiling the time in this apartmentwhich
was as unpromising and tiresome as any waiting-room in one of our
public establishmentsor any physician's dining-room during his
hours of consultation at home.

There were some fifteen or twenty persons in the room. Onea
tallwirymuscular old manfrom the west; sunburnt and swarthy;
with a brown white hat on his kneesand a giant umbrella resting
between his legs; who sat bolt upright in his chairfrowning
steadily at the carpetand twitching the hard lines about his
mouthas if he had made up his mind 'to fix' the President on what
he had to sayand wouldn't bate him a grain. Anothera Kentucky
farmersix-feet-six in heightwith his hat onand his hands
under his coat-tailswho leaned against the wall and kicked the
floor with his heelas though he had Time's head under his shoe
and were literally 'killing' him. A thirdan oval-facedbiliouslooking
manwith sleek black hair cropped closeand whiskers and
beard shaved down to blue dotswho sucked the head of a thick
stickand from time to time took it out of his mouthto see how
it was getting on. A fourth did nothing but whistle. A fifth did
nothing but spit. And indeed all these gentlemen were so very
persevering and energetic in this latter particularand bestowed
their favours so abundantly upon the carpetthat I take it for
granted the Presidential housemaids have high wagesorto speak
more genteellyan ample amount of 'compensation:' which is the
American word for salaryin the case of all public servants.

We had not waited in this room many minutesbefore the black
messenger returnedand conducted us into another of smaller
dimensionswhereat a business-like table covered with papers
sat the President himself. He looked somewhat worn and anxious


and well he might; being at war with everybody - but the expression
of his face was mild and pleasantand his manner was remarkably
unaffectedgentlemanlyand agreeable. I thought that in his
whole carriage and demeanourhe became his station singularly
well.

Being advised that the sensible etiquette of the republican court
admitted of a travellerlike myselfdecliningwithout any
improprietyan invitation to dinnerwhich did not reach me until
I had concluded my arrangements for leaving Washington some days
before that to which it referredI only returned to this house
once. It was on the occasion of one of those general assemblies
which are held on certain nightsbetween the hours of nine and
twelve o'clockand are calledrather oddlyLevees.

I wentwith my wifeat about ten. There was a pretty dense crowd
of carriages and people in the court-yardand so far as I could
make outthere were no very clear regulations for the taking up or
setting down of company. There were certainly no policemen to
soothe startled horseseither by sawing at their bridles or
flourishing truncheons in their eyes; and I am ready to make oath
that no inoffensive persons were knocked violently on the heador
poked acutely in their backs or stomachs; or brought to a
standstill by any such gentle meansand then taken into custody
for not moving on. But there was no confusion or disorder. Our
carriage reached the porch in its turnwithout any blustering
swearingshoutingbackingor other disturbance: and we
dismounted with as much ease and comfort as though we had been
escorted by the whole Metropolitan Force from A to Z inclusive.

The suite of rooms on the ground-floor were lighted upand a
military band was playing in the hall. In the smaller drawingroom
the centre of a circle of companywere the President and his
daughter-in-lawwho acted as the lady of the mansion; and a very
interestinggracefuland accomplished lady too. One gentleman
who stood among this groupappeared to take upon himself the
functions of a master of the ceremonies. I saw no other officers
or attendantsand none were needed.

The great drawing-roomwhich I have already mentionedand the
other chambers on the ground-floorwere crowded to excess. The
company was notin our sense of the termselectfor it
comprehended persons of very many grades and classes; nor was there
any great display of costly attire: indeedsome of the costumes
may have beenfor aught I knowgrotesque enough. But the decorum
and propriety of behaviour which prevailedwere unbroken by any
rude or disagreeable incident; and every maneven among the
miscellaneous crowd in the hall who were admitted without any
orders or tickets to look onappeared to feel that he was a part
of the Institutionand was responsible for its preserving a
becoming characterand appearing to the best advantage.

That these visitorstoowhatever their stationwere not without
some refinement of taste and appreciation of intellectual gifts
and gratitude to those men whoby the peaceful exercise of great
abilitiesshed new charms and associations upon the homes of their
countrymenand elevate their character in other landswas most
earnestly testified by their reception of Washington Irvingmy
dear friendwho had recently been appointed Minister at the court
of Spainand who was among them that nightin his new character
for the first and last time before going abroad. I sincerely
believe that in all the madness of American politicsfew public
men would have been so earnestlydevotedlyand affectionately
caressedas this most charming writer: and I have seldom


respected a public assembly morethan I did this eager throng
when I saw them turning with one mind from noisy orators and
officers of stateand flocking with a generous and honest impulse
round the man of quiet pursuits: proud in his promotion as
reflecting back upon their country: and grateful to him with their
whole hearts for the store of graceful fancies he had poured out
among them. Long may he dispense such treasures with unsparing
hand; and long may they remember him as worthily!

* * * * * *

The term we had assigned for the duration of our stay in Washington
was now at an endand we were to begin to travel; for the railroad
distances we had traversed yetin journeying among these older
townsare on that great continent looked upon as nothing.

I had at first intended going South - to Charleston. But when I
came to consider the length of time which this journey would
occupyand the premature heat of the seasonwhich even at
Washington had been often very trying; and weighed moreoverin my
own mindthe pain of living in the constant contemplation of
slaveryagainst the more than doubtful chances of my ever seeing
itin the time I had to sparestripped of the disguises in which
it would certainly be dressedand so adding any item to the host
of facts already heaped together on the subject; I began to listen
to old whisperings which had often been present to me at home in
Englandwhen I little thought of ever being here; and to dream
again of cities growing uplike palaces in fairy talesamong the
wilds and forests of the west.

The advice I received in most quarters when I began to yield to my
desire of travelling towards that point of the compass was
according to customsufficiently cheerless: my companion being
threatened with more perilsdangersand discomfortsthan I can
remember or would catalogue if I could; but of which it will be
sufficient to remark that blowings-up in steamboats and breakingsdown
in coaches were among the least. Buthaving a western route
sketched out for me by the best and kindest authority to which I
could have resortedand putting no great faith in these
discouragementsI soon determined on my plan of action.

This was to travel southonly to Richmond in Virginia; and then to
turnand shape our course for the Far West; whither I beseech the
reader's companyin a new chapter.

CHAPTER IX - A NIGHT STEAMER ON THE POTOMAC RIVER. VIRGINIA ROAD
AND A BLACK DRIVER. RICHMOND. BALTIMORE. THE HARRISBURG MAIL
AND A GLIMPSE OF THE CITY. A CANAL BOAT

WE were to proceed in the first instance by steamboat; and as it is
usual to sleep on boardin consequence of the starting-hour being
four o'clock in the morningwe went down to where she layat that
very uncomfortable time for such expeditions when slippers are most
valuableand a familiar bedin the perspective of an hour or two
looks uncommonly pleasant.

It is ten o'clock at night: say half-past ten: moonlightwarm
and dull enough. The steamer (not unlike a child's Noah's ark in
formwith the machinery on the top of the roof) is riding lazily
up and downand bumping clumsily against the wooden pieras the


ripple of the river trifles with its unwieldy carcase. The wharf
is some distance from the city. There is nobody down here; and one
or two dull lamps upon the steamer's decks are the only signs of
life remainingwhen our coach has driven away. As soon as our
footsteps are heard upon the planksa fat negressparticularly
favoured by nature in respect of bustleemerges from some dark
stairsand marshals my wife towards the ladies' cabinto which
retreat she goesfollowed by a mighty bale of cloaks and greatcoats.
I valiantly resolve not to go to bed at allbut to walk up
and down the pier till morning.

I begin my promenade - thinking of all kinds of distant things and
personsand of nothing near - and pace up and down for half-anhour.
Then I go on board again; and getting into the light of one
of the lampslook at my watch and think it must have stopped; and
wonder what has become of the faithful secretary whom I brought
along with me from Boston. He is supping with our late landlord (a
Field Marshalat leastno doubt) in honour of our departureand
may be two hours longer. I walk againbut it gets duller and
duller: the moon goes down: next June seems farther off in the
darkand the echoes of my footsteps make me nervous. It has
turned cold too; and walking up and down without my companion in
such lonely circumstancesis but poor amusement. So I break my
staunch resolutionand think it may beperhapsas well to go to
bed.

I go on board again; open the door of the gentlemen's cabin and
walk in. Somehow or other - from its being so quietI suppose - I
have taken it into my head that there is nobody there. To my
horror and amazement it is full of sleepers in every stageshape
attitudeand variety of slumber: in the berthson the chairson
the floorson the tablesand particularly round the stovemy
detested enemy. I take another step forwardand slip on the
shining face of a black stewardwho lies rolled in a blanket on
the floor. He jumps upgrinshalf in pain and half in
hospitality; whispers my own name in my ear; and groping among the
sleepersleads me to my berth. Standing beside itI count these
slumbering passengersand get past forty. There is no use in
going furtherso I begin to undress. As the chairs are all
occupiedand there is nothing else to put my clothes onI deposit
them upon the ground: not without soiling my handsfor it is in
the same condition as the carpets in the Capitoland from the same
cause. Having but partially undressedI clamber on my shelfand
hold the curtain open for a few minutes while I look round on all
my fellow-travellers again. That doneI let it fall on themand
on the world: turn round: and go to sleep.

I wakeof coursewhen we get under weighfor there is a good
deal of noise. The day is then just breaking. Everybody wakes at
the same time. Some are self-possessed directlyand some are much
perplexed to make out where they are until they have rubbed their
eyesand leaning on one elbowlooked about them. Some yawnsome
groannearly all spitand a few get up. I am among the risers:
for it is easy to feelwithout going into the fresh airthat the
atmosphere of the cabin is vile in the last degree. I huddle on my
clothesgo down into the fore-cabinget shaved by the barberand
wash myself. The washing and dressing apparatus for the passengers
generallyconsists of two jack-towelsthree small wooden basins
a keg of water and a ladle to serve it out withsix square inches
of looking-glasstwo ditto ditto of yellow soapa comb and brush
for the headand nothing for the teeth. Everybody uses the comb
and brushexcept myself. Everybody stares to see me using my own;
and two or three gentlemen are strongly disposed to banter me on my
prejudicesbut don't. When I have made my toiletI go upon the


hurricane-deckand set in for two hours of hard walking up and
down. The sun is rising brilliantly; we are passing Mount Vernon
where Washington lies buried; the river is wide and rapid; and its
banks are beautiful. All the glory and splendour of the day are
coming onand growing brighter every minute.

At eight o'clockwe breakfast in the cabin where I passed the
nightbut the windows and doors are all thrown openand now it is
fresh enough. There is no hurry or greediness apparent in the
despatch of the meal. It is longer than a travelling breakfast
with us; more orderlyand more polite.

Soon after nine o'clock we come to Potomac Creekwhere we are to
land; and then comes the oddest part of the journey. Seven stagecoaches
are preparing to carry us on. Some of them are readysome
of them are not ready. Some of the drivers are blackssome
whites. There are four horses to each coachand all the horses
harnessed or unharnessedare there. The passengers are getting
out of the steamboatand into the coaches; the luggage is being
transferred in noisy wheelbarrows; the horses are frightenedand
impatient to start; the black drivers are chattering to them like
so many monkeys; and the white ones whooping like so many drovers:
for the main thing to be done in all kinds of hostlering hereis
to make as much noise as possible. The coaches are something like
the French coachesbut not nearly so good. In lieu of springs
they are hung on bands of the strongest leather. There is very
little choice or difference between them; and they may be likened
to the car portion of the swings at an English fairroofedput
upon axle-trees and wheelsand curtained with painted canvas.
They are covered with mud from the roof to the wheel-tireand have
never been cleaned since they were first built.

The tickets we have received on board the steamboat are marked No.
1so we belong to coach No. 1. I throw my coat on the boxand
hoist my wife and her maid into the inside. It has only one step
and that being about a yard from the groundis usually approached
by a chair: when there is no chairladies trust in Providence.
The coach holds nine insidehaving a seat across from door to
doorwhere we in England put our legs: so that there is only one
feat more difficult in the performance than getting inand that
isgetting out again. There is only one outside passengerand he
sits upon the box. As I am that oneI climb up; and while they
are strapping the luggage on the roofand heaping it into a kind
of tray behindhave a good opportunity of looking at the driver.

He is a negro - very black indeed. He is dressed in a coarse
pepper-and-salt suit excessively patched and darned (particularly
at the knees)grey stockingsenormous unblacked high-low shoes
and very short trousers. He has two odd gloves: one of particoloured
worstedand one of leather. He has a very short whip
broken in the middle and bandaged up with string. And yet he wears
a low-crownedbroad-brimmedblack hat: faintly shadowing forth a
kind of insane imitation of an English coachman! But somebody in
authority cries 'Go ahead!' as I am making these observations. The
mail takes the lead in a four-horse waggonand all the coaches
follow in procession: headed by No. 1.

By the waywhenever an Englishman would cry 'All right!' an
American cries 'Go ahead!' which is somewhat expressive of the
national character of the two countries.

The first half-mile of the road is over bridges made of loose
planks laid across two parallel poleswhich tilt up as the wheels
roll over them; and IN the river. The river has a clayey bottom


and is full of holesso that half a horse is constantly
disappearing unexpectedlyand can't be found again for some time.

But we get past even thisand come to the road itselfwhich is a
series of alternate swamps and gravel-pits. A tremendous place is
close before usthe black driver rolls his eyesscrews his mouth
up very roundand looks straight between the two leadersas if he
were saying to himself'We have done this often beforebut NOW I
think we shall have a crash.' He takes a rein in each hand; jerks
and pulls at both; and dances on the splashboard with both feet
(keeping his seatof course) like the late lamented Ducrow on two
of his fiery coursers. We come to the spotsink down in the mire
nearly to the coach windowstilt on one side at an angle of fortyfive
degreesand stick there. The insides scream dismally; the
coach stops; the horses flounder; all the other six coaches stop;
and their four-and-twenty horses flounder likewise: but merely for
companyand in sympathy with ours. Then the following
circumstances occur.

BLACK DRIVER (to the horses). 'Hi!'

Nothing happens. Insides scream again.

BLACK DRIVER (to the horses). 'Ho!'

Horses plungeand splash the black driver.

GENTLEMAN INSIDE (looking out). 'Whywhat on airth


Gentleman receives a variety of splashes and draws his head in
againwithout finishing his question or waiting for an answer.

BLACK DRIVER (still to the horses). 'Jiddy! Jiddy!'

Horses pull violentlydrag the coach out of the holeand draw it
up a bank; so steepthat the black driver's legs fly up into the
airand he goes back among the luggage on the roof. But he
immediately recovers himselfand cries (still to the horses)

'Pill!'

No effect. On the contrarythe coach begins to roll back upon No.
2which rolls back upon No. 3which rolls back upon No. 4and so
onuntil No. 7 is heard to curse and swearnearly a quarter of a
mile behind.

BLACK DRIVER (louder than before). 'Pill!'

Horses make another struggle to get up the bankand again the
coach rolls backward.

BLACK DRIVER (louder than before). 'Pe-e-e-ill!'

Horses make a desperate struggle.

BLACK DRIVER (recovering spirits). 'HiJiddyJiddyPill!'

Horses make another effort.

BLACK DRIVER (with great vigour). 'Ally Loo! Hi. JiddyJiddy.
Pill. Ally Loo!'

Horses almost do it.


BLACK DRIVER (with his eyes starting out of his head). 'Leeden.
Leedere. Hi. JiddyJiddy. Pill. Ally Loo. Lee-e-e-e-e!'

They run up the bankand go down again on the other side at a
fearful pace. It is impossible to stop themand at the bottom
there is a deep hollowfull of water. The coach rolls
frightfully. The insides scream. The mud and water fly about us.
The black driver dances like a madman. Suddenly we are all right
by some extraordinary meansand stop to breathe.

A black friend of the black driver is sitting on a fence. The
black driver recognises him by twirling his head round and round
like a harlequinrolling his eyesshrugging his shouldersand
grinning from ear to ear. He stops shortturns to meand says:

'We shall get you through salike a fiddleand hope a please you
when we get you through sa. Old 'ooman at home sa:' chuckling very
much. 'Outside gentleman sahe often remember old 'ooman at home
sa' grinning again.

'Ay aywe'll take care of the old woman. Don't be afraid.'

The black driver grins againbut there is another holeand beyond
thatanother bankclose before us. So he stops short: cries (to
the horses again) 'Easy. Easy den. Ease. Steady. Hi. Jiddy.
Pill. Ally. Loo' but never 'Lee!' until we are reduced to the
very last extremityand are in the midst of difficulties
extrication from which appears to be all but impossible.

And so we do the ten miles or thereabouts in two hours and a half;
breaking no bonesthough bruising a great many; and in short
getting through the distance'like a fiddle.'

This singular kind of coaching terminates at Fredericksburgh
whence there is a railway to Richmond. The tract of country
through which it takes its course was once productive; but the soil
has been exhausted by the system of employing a great amount of
slave labour in forcing cropswithout strengthening the land: and
it is now little better than a sandy desert overgrown with trees.
Dreary and uninteresting as its aspect isI was glad to the heart
to find anything on which one of the curses of this horrible
institution has fallen; and had greater pleasure in contemplating
the withered groundthan the richest and most thriving cultivation
in the same place could possibly have afforded me.

In this districtas in all others where slavery sits brooding(I
have frequently heard this admittedeven by those who are its
warmest advocates:) there is an air of ruin and decay abroadwhich
is inseparable from the system. The barns and outhouses are
mouldering away; the sheds are patched and half roofless; the log
cabins (built in Virginia with external chimneys made of clay or
wood) are squalid in the last degree. There is no look of decent
comfort anywhere. The miserable stations by the railway sidethe
great wild wood-yardswhence the engine is supplied with fuel; the
negro children rolling on the ground before the cabin doorswith
dogs and pigs; the biped beasts of burden slinking past: gloom and
dejection are upon them all.

In the negro car belonging to the train in which we made this
journeywere a mother and her children who had just been
purchased; the husband and father being left behind with their old
owner. The children cried the whole wayand the mother was
misery's picture. The champion of LifeLibertyand the Pursuit
of Happinesswho had bought themrode in the same train; and


every time we stoppedgot down to see that they were safe. The
black in Sinbad's Travels with one eye in the middle of his
forehead which shone like a burning coalwas nature's aristocrat
compared with this white gentleman.

It was between six and seven o'clock in the eveningwhen we drove
to the hotel: in front of whichand on the top of the broad
flight of steps leading to the doortwo or three citizens were
balancing themselves on rocking-chairsand smoking cigars. We
found it a very large and elegant establishmentand were as well
entertained as travellers need desire to be. The climate being a
thirsty onethere was neverat any hour of the daya scarcity of
loungers in the spacious baror a cessation of the mixing of cool
liquors: but they were a merrier people hereand had musical
instruments playing to them o' nightswhich it was a treat to hear
again.

The next dayand the nextwe rode and walked about the town
which is delightfully situated on eight hillsoverhanging James
River; a sparkling streamstudded here and there with bright
islandsor brawling over broken rocks. Although it was yet but
the middle of Marchthe weather in this southern temperature was
extremely warm; the peech-trees and magnolias were in full bloom;
and the trees were green. In a low ground among the hillsis a
valley known as 'Bloody Run' from a terrible conflict with the
Indians which once occurred there. It is a good place for such a
struggleandlike every other spot I saw associated with any
legend of that wild people now so rapidly fading from the earth
interested me very much.

The city is the seat of the local parliament of Virginia; and in
its shady legislative hallssome orators were drowsily holding
forth to the hot noon day. By dint of constant repetition
howeverthese constitutional sights had very little more interest
for me than so many parochial vestries; and I was glad to exchange
this one for a lounge in a well-arranged public library of some ten
thousand volumesand a visit to a tobacco manufactorywhere the
workmen are all slaves.

I saw in this place the whole process of pickingrolling
pressingdryingpacking in casksand branding. All the tobacco
thus dealt withwas in course of manufacture for chewing; and one
would have supposed there was enough in that one storehouse to have
filled even the comprehensive jaws of America. In this formthe
weed looks like the oil-cake on which we fatten cattle; and even
without reference to its consequencesis sufficiently uninviting.

Many of the workmen appeared to be strong menand it is hardly
necessary to add that they were all labouring quietlythen. After
two o'clock in the daythey are allowed to singa certain number
at a time. The hour striking while I was theresome twenty sang a
hymn in partsand sang it by no means ill; pursuing their work
meanwhile. A bell rang as I was about to leaveand they all
poured forth into a building on the opposite side of the street to
dinner. I said several times that I should like to see them at
their meal; but as the gentleman to whom I mentioned this desire
appeared to be suddenly taken rather deafI did not pursue the
request. Of their appearance I shall have something to say
presently.

On the following dayI visited a plantation or farmof about
twelve hundred acreson the opposite bank of the river. Here
againalthough I went down with the owner of the estateto 'the
quarter' as that part of it in which the slaves live is calledI


was not invited to enter into any of their huts. All I saw of
themwasthat they were very crazywretched cabinsnear to
which groups of half-naked children basked in the sunor wallowed
on the dusty ground. But I believe that this gentleman is a
considerate and excellent masterwho inherited his fifty slaves
and is neither a buyer nor a seller of human stock; and I am sure
from my own observation and convictionthat he is a kind-hearted
worthy man.

The planter's house was an airyrustic dwellingthat brought
Defoe's description of such places strongly to my recollection.
The day was very warmbut the blinds being all closedand the
windows and doors set wide opena shady coolness rustled through
the roomswhich was exquisitely refreshing after the glare and
heat without. Before the windows was an open piazzawherein
what they call the hot weather - whatever that may be - they sling
hammocksand drink and doze luxuriously. I do not know how their
cool rejections may taste within the hammocksbuthaving
experienceI can report thatout of themthe mounds of ices and
the bowls of mint-julep and sherry-cobbler they make in these
latitudesare refreshments never to be thought of afterwardsin
summerby those who would preserve contented minds.

There are two bridges across the river: one belongs to the
railroadand the otherwhich is a very crazy affairis the
private property of some old lady in the neighbourhoodwho levies
tolls upon the townspeople. Crossing this bridgeon my way back
I saw a notice painted on the gatecautioning all persons to drive
slowly: under a penaltyif the offender were a white manof five
dollars; if a negrofifteen stripes.

The same decay and gloom that overhang the way by which it is
approachedhover above the town of Richmond. There are pretty
villas and cheerful houses in its streetsand Nature smiles upon
the country round; but jostling its handsome residenceslike
slavery itself going hand in hand with many lofty virtuesare
deplorable tenementsfences unrepairedwalls crumbling into
ruinous heaps. Hinting gloomily at things below the surface
theseand many other tokens of the same descriptionforce
themselves upon the noticeand are remembered with depressing
influencewhen livelier features are forgotten.

To those who are happily unaccustomed to themthe countenances in
the streets and labouring-placestooare shocking. All men who
know that there are laws against instructing slavesof which the
pains and penalties greatly exceed in their amount the fines
imposed on those who maim and torture themmust be prepared to
find their faces very low in the scale of intellectual expression.
But the darkness - not of skinbut mind - which meets the
stranger's eye at every turn; the brutalizing and blotting out of
all fairer characters traced by Nature's hand; immeasurably outdo
his worst belief. That travelled creation of the great satirist's
brainwho fresh from living among horsespeered from a high
casement down upon his own kind with trembling horrorwas scarcely
more repelled and daunted by the sightthan those who look upon
some of these faces for the first time must surely be.

I left the last of them behind me in the person of a wretched
drudgewhoafter running to and fro all day till midnightand
moping in his stealthy winks of sleep upon the stairs
betweenwhileswas washing the dark passages at four o'clock in the
morning; and went upon my way with a grateful heart that I was not
doomed to live where slavery wasand had never had my senses
blunted to its wrongs and horrors in a slave-rocked cradle.


It had been my intention to proceed by James River and Chesapeake
Bay to Baltimore; but one of the steamboats being absent from her
station through some accidentand the means of conveyance being
consequently rendered uncertainwe returned to Washington by the
way we had come (there were two constables on board the steamboat
in pursuit of runaway slaves)and halting there again for one
nightwent on to Baltimore next afternoon.

The most comfortable of all the hotels of which I had any
experience in the United Statesand they were not a fewis
Barnum'sin that city: where the English traveller will find
curtains to his bedfor the first and probably the last time in
America (this is a disinterested remarkfor I never use them); and
where he will be likely to have enough water for washing himself
which is not at all a common case.

This capital of the state of Maryland is a bustlingbusy town
with a great deal of traffic of various kindsand in particular of
water commerce. That portion of the town which it most favours is
none of the cleanestit is true; but the upper part is of a very
different characterand has many agreeable streets and public
buildings. The Washington Monumentwhich is a handsome pillar
with a statue on its summit; the Medical College; and the Battle
Monument in memory of an engagement with the British at North
Point; are the most conspicuous among them.

There is a very good prison in this cityand the State
Penitentiary is also among its institutions. In this latter
establishment there were two curious cases.

One was that of a young manwho had been tried for the murder of
his father. The evidence was entirely circumstantialand was very
conflicting and doubtful; nor was it possible to assign any motive
which could have tempted him to the commission of so tremendous a
crime. He had been tried twice; and on the second occasion the
jury felt so much hesitation in convicting himthat they found a
verdict of manslaughteror murder in the second degree; which it
could not possibly beas there hadbeyond all doubtbeen no
quarrel or provocationand if he were guilty at allhe was
unquestionably guilty of murder in its broadest and worst
signification.

The remarkable feature in the case wasthat if the unfortunate
deceased were not really murdered by this own son of hishe must
have been murdered by his own brother. The evidence lay in a most
remarkable mannerbetween those two. On all the suspicious
pointsthe dead man's brother was the witness: all the
explanations for the prisoner (some of them extremely plausible)
wentby construction and inferenceto inculcate him as plotting
to fix the guilt upon his nephew. It must have been one of them:
and the jury had to decide between two sets of suspicionsalmost
equally unnaturalunaccountableand strange.

The other casewas that of a man who once went to a certain
distiller's and stole a copper measure containing a quantity of
liquor. He was pursued and taken with the property in his
possessionand was sentenced to two years' imprisonment. On
coming out of the jailat the expiration of that termhe went
back to the same distiller'sand stole the same copper measure
containing the same quantity of liquor. There was not the
slightest reason to suppose that the man wished to return to
prison: indeed everythingbut the commission of the offencemade
directly against that assumption. There are only two ways of


accounting for this extraordinary proceeding. One isthat after
undergoing so much for this copper measure he conceived he had
established a sort of claim and right to it. The other thatby
dint of long thinking aboutit had become a monomania with him
and had acquired a fascination which he found it impossible to
resist; swelling from an Earthly Copper Gallon into an Ethereal
Golden Vat.

After remaining here a couple of days I bound myself to a rigid
adherence to the plan I had laid down so recentlyand resolved to
set forward on our western journey without any more delay.
Accordinglyhaving reduced the luggage within the smallest
possible compass (by sending back to New Yorkto be afterwards
forwarded to us in Canadaso much of it as was not absolutely
wanted); and having procured the necessary credentials to bankinghouses
on the way; and having moreover looked for two evenings at
the setting sunwith as well-defined an idea of the country before
us as if we had been going to travel into the very centre of that
planet; we left Baltimore by another railway at half-past eight in
the morningand reached the town of Yorksome sixty miles offby
the early dinner-time of the Hotel which was the starting-place of
the four-horse coachwherein we were to proceed to Harrisburg.

This conveyancethe box of which I was fortunate enough to secure
had come down to meet us at the railroad stationand was as muddy
and cumbersome as usual. As more passengers were waiting for us at
the inn-doorthe coachman observed under his breathin the usual
self-communicative voicelooking the while at his mouldy harness
as if it were to that he was addressing himself

'I expect we shall want THE BIG coach.'

I could not help wondering within myself what the size of this big
coach might beand how many persons it might be designed to hold;
for the vehicle which was too small for our purpose was something
larger than two English heavy night coachesand might have been
the twin-brother of a French Diligence. My speculations were
speedily set at resthoweverfor as soon as we had dinedthere
came rumbling up the streetshaking its sides like a corpulent
gianta kind of barge on wheels. After much blundering and
backingit stopped at the door: rolling heavily from side to side
when its other motion had ceasedas if it had taken cold in its
damp stableand between thatand the having been required in its
dropsical old age to move at any faster pace than a walkwere
distressed by shortness of wind.

'If here ain't the Harrisburg mail at lastand dreadful bright and
smart to look at too' cried an elderly gentleman in some
excitement'darn my mother!'

I don't know what the sensation of being darned may beor whether
a man's mother has a keener relish or disrelish of the process than
anybody else; but if the endurance of this mysterious ceremony by
the old lady in question had depended on the accuracy of her son's
vision in respect to the abstract brightness and smartness of the
Harrisburg mailshe would certainly have undergone its infliction.
Howeverthey booked twelve people inside; and the luggage
(including such trifles as a large rocking-chairand a good-sized
dining-table) being at length made fast upon the roofwe started
off in great state.

At the door of another hotelthere was another passenger to be
taken up.


'Any roomsir?' cries the new passenger to the coachman.

'Wellthere's room enough' replies the coachmanwithout getting
downor even looking at him.

'There an't no room at allsir' bawls a gentleman inside. Which
another gentleman (also inside) confirmsby predicting that the
attempt to introduce any more passengers 'won't fit nohow.'

The new passengerwithout any expression of anxietylooks into
the coachand then looks up at the coachman: 'Nowhow do you
mean to fix it?' says heafter a pause: 'for I MUST go.'

The coachman employs himself in twisting the lash of his whip into
a knotand takes no more notice of the question: clearly
signifying that it is anybody's business but hisand that the
passengers would do well to fix itamong themselves. In this
state of thingsmatters seem to be approximating to a fix of
another kindwhen another inside passenger in a cornerwho is
nearly suffocatedcries faintly'I'll get out.'

This is no matter of relief or self-congratulation to the driver
for his immovable philosophy is perfectly undisturbed by anything
that happens in the coach. Of all things in the worldthe coach
would seem to be the very last upon his mind. The exchange is
madehoweverand then the passenger who has given up his seat
makes a third upon the boxseating himself in what he calls the
middle; that iswith half his person on my legsand the other
half on the driver's.

'Go a-headcap'en' cries the colonelwho directs.

'Go-lang!' cries the cap'en to his companythe horsesand away we
go.

We took up at a rural bar-roomafter we had gone a few milesan
intoxicated gentleman who climbed upon the roof among the luggage
and subsequently slipping off without hurting himselfwas seen in
the distant perspective reeling back to the grog-shop where we had
found him. We also parted with more of our freight at different
timesso that when we came to change horsesI was again alone
outside.

The coachmen always change with the horsesand are usually as
dirty as the coach. The first was dressed like a very shabby
English baker; the second like a Russian peasant: for he wore a
loose purple camlet robewith a fur collartied round his waist
with a parti-coloured worsted sash; grey trousers; light blue
gloves: and a cap of bearskin. It had by this time come on to
rain very heavilyand there was a cold damp mist besideswhich
penetrated to the skin. I was glad to take advantage of a stoppage
and get down to stretch my legsshake the water off my great-coat
and swallow the usual anti-temperance recipe for keeping out the
cold.

When I mounted to my seat againI observed a new parcel lying on
the coach roofwhich I took to be a rather large fiddle in a brown
bag. In the course of a few mileshoweverI discovered that it
had a glazed cap at one end and a pair of muddy shoes at the other
and further observation demonstrated it to be a small boy in a
snuff-coloured coatwith his arms quite pinioned to his sidesby
deep forcing into his pockets. He wasI presumea relative or
friend of the coachman'sas he lay a-top of the luggage with his
face towards the rain; and except when a change of position brought


his shoes in contact with my hathe appeared to be asleep. At
laston some occasion of our stoppingthis thing slowly upreared
itself to the height of three feet sixand fixing its eyes on me
observed in piping accentswith a complaisant yawnhalf quenched
in an obliging air of friendly patronage'Well nowstrangerI
guess you find this a'most like an English arternoonhey?'

The scenerywhich had been tame enough at firstwasfor the last
ten or twelve milesbeautiful. Our road wound through the
pleasant valley of the Susquehanna; the riverdotted with
innumerable green islandslay upon our right; and on the lefta
steep ascentcraggy with broken rockand dark with pine trees.
The mistwreathing itself into a hundred fantastic shapesmoved
solemnly upon the water; and the gloom of evening gave to all an
air of mystery and silence which greatly enhanced its natural
interest.

We crossed this river by a wooden bridgeroofed and covered in on
all sidesand nearly a mile in length. It was profoundly dark;
perplexedwith great beamscrossing and recrossing it at every
possible angle; and through the broad chinks and crevices in the
floorthe rapid river gleamedfar down belowlike a legion of
eyes. We had no lamps; and as the horses stumbled and floundered
through this placetowards the distant speck of dying lightit
seemed interminable. I really could not at first persuade myself
as we rumbled heavily onfilling the bridge with hollow noises
and I held down my head to save it from the rafters abovebut that
I was in a painful dream; for I have often dreamed of toiling
through such placesand as often arguedeven at the time'this
cannot be reality.'

At lengthhoweverwe emerged upon the streets of Harrisburg
whose feeble lightsreflected dismally from the wet grounddid
not shine out upon a very cheerful city. We were soon established
in a snug hotelwhich though smaller and far less splendid than
many we put up atit raised above them all in my remembranceby
having for its landlord the most obligingconsiderateand
gentlemanly person I ever had to deal with.

As we were not to proceed upon our journey until the afternoonI
walked outafter breakfast the next morningto look about me; and
was duly shown a model prison on the solitary systemjust erected
and as yet without an inmate; the trunk of an old tree to which
Harristhe first settler here (afterwards buried under it)was
tied by hostile Indianswith his funeral pile about himwhen he
was saved by the timely appearance of a friendly party on the
opposite shore of the river; the local legislature (for there was
another of those bodies here againin full debate); and the other
curiosities of the town.

I was very much interested in looking over a number of treaties
made from time to time with the poor Indianssigned by the
different chiefs at the period of their ratificationand preserved
in the office of the Secretary to the Commonwealth. These
signaturestraced of course by their own handsare rough drawings
of the creatures or weapons they were called after. Thusthe
Great Turtle makes a crooked pen-and-ink outline of a great turtle;
the Buffalo sketches a buffalo; the War Hatchet sets a rough image
of that weapon for his mark. So with the Arrowthe Fishthe
Scalpthe Big Canoeand all of them.

I could not but think - as I looked at these feeble and tremulous
productions of hands which could draw the longest arrow to the head
in a stout elk-horn bowor split a bead or feather with a rifle



ball - of Crabbe's musings over the Parish Registerand the
irregular scratches made with a penby men who would plough a
lengthy furrow straight from end to end. Nor could I help
bestowing many sorrowful thoughts upon the simple warriors whose
hands and hearts were set therein all truth and honesty; and who
only learned in course of time from white men how to break their
faithand quibble out of forms and bonds. I wondertoohow many
times the credulous Big Turtleor trusting Little Hatchethad put
his mark to treaties which were falsely read to him; and had signed
awayhe knew not whatuntil it went and cast him loose upon the
new possessors of the landa savage indeed.

Our host announcedbefore our early dinnerthat some members of
the legislative body proposed to do us the honour of calling. He
had kindly yielded up to us his wife's own little parlourand when
I begged that he would show them inI saw him look with painful
apprehension at its pretty carpet; thoughbeing otherwise occupied
at the timethe cause of his uneasiness did not occur to me.

It certainly would have been more pleasant to all parties
concernedand would notI thinkhave compromised their
independence in any material degreeif some of these gentlemen had
not only yielded to the prejudice in favour of spittoonsbut had
abandoned themselvesfor the momenteven to the conventional
absurdity of pocket-handkerchiefs.

It still continued to rain heavilyand when we went down to the
Canal Boat (for that was the mode of conveyance by which we were to
proceed) after dinnerthe weather was as unpromising and
obstinately wet as one would desire to see. Nor was the sight of
this canal boatin which we were to spend three or four daysby
any means a cheerful one; as it involved some uneasy speculations
concerning the disposal of the passengers at nightand opened a
wide field of inquiry touching the other domestic arrangements of
the establishmentwhich was sufficiently disconcerting.

Howeverthere it was - a barge with a little house in itviewed
from the outside; and a caravan at a fairviewed from within: the
gentlemen being accommodatedas the spectators usually arein one
of those locomotive museums of penny wonders; and the ladies being
partitioned off by a red curtainafter the manner of the dwarfs
and giants in the same establishmentswhose private lives are
passed in rather close exclusiveness.

We sat herelooking silently at the row of little tableswhich
extended down both sides of the cabinand listening to the rain as
it dripped and pattered on the boatand plashed with a dismal
merriment in the wateruntil the arrival of the railway trainfor
whose final contribution to our stock of passengersour departure
was alone deferred. It brought a great many boxeswhich were
bumped and tossed upon the roofalmost as painfully as if they had
been deposited on one's own headwithout the intervention of a
porter's knot; and several damp gentlemenwhose clotheson their
drawing round the stovebegan to steam again. No doubt it would
have been a thought more comfortable if the driving rainwhich now
poured down more soakingly than everhad admitted of a window
being openedor if our number had been something less than thirty;
but there was scarcely time to think as muchwhen a train of three
horses was attached to the tow-ropethe boy upon the leader
smacked his whipthe rudder creaked and groaned complaininglyand
we had begun our journey.


CHAPTER X - SOME FURTHER ACCOUNT OF THE CANAL BOATITS DOMESTIC
ECONOMYAND ITS PASSENGERS. JOURNEY TO PITTSBURG ACROSS THE
ALLEGHANY MOUNTAINS. PITTSBURG

AS it continued to rain most perseveringlywe all remained below:
the damp gentlemen round the stovegradually becoming mildewed by
the action of the fire; and the dry gentlemen lying at full length
upon the seatsor slumbering uneasily with their faces on the
tablesor walking up and down the cabinwhich it was barely
possible for a man of the middle height to dowithout making bald
places on his head by scraping it against the roof. At about six
o'clockall the small tables were put together to form one long
tableand everybody sat down to teacoffeebreadbutter
salmonshadliversteakspotatoespickleshamchopsblackpuddings
and sausages.

'Will you try' said my opposite neighbourhanding me a dish of
potatoesbroken up in milk and butter'will you try some of these
fixings?'

There are few words which perform such various duties as this word
'fix.' It is the Caleb Quotem of the American vocabulary. You
call upon a gentleman in a country townand his help informs you
that he is 'fixing himself' just nowbut will be down directly:
by which you are to understand that he is dressing. You inquire
on board a steamboatof a fellow-passengerwhether breakfast will
be ready soonand he tells you he should think sofor when he was
last belowthey were 'fixing the tables:' in other wordslaying
the cloth. You beg a porter to collect your luggageand he
entreats you not to be uneasyfor he'll 'fix it presently:' and if
you complain of indispositionyou are advised to have recourse to
Doctor So-and-sowho will 'fix you' in no time.

One nightI ordered a bottle of mulled wine at an hotel where I
was stayingand waited a long time for it; at length it was put
upon the table with an apology from the landlord that he feared it
wasn't 'fixed properly.' And I recollect onceat a stage-coach
dinneroverhearing a very stern gentleman demand of a waiter who
presented him with a plate of underdone roast-beef'whether he
called THATfixing God A'mighty's vittles?'

There is no doubt that the mealat which the invitation was
tendered to me which has occasioned this digressionwas disposed
of somewhat ravenously; and that the gentlemen thrust the broadbladed
knives and the two-pronged forks further down their throats
than I ever saw the same weapons go beforeexcept in the hands of
a skilful juggler: but no man sat down until the ladies were
seated; or omitted any little act of politeness which could
contribute to their comfort. Nor did I ever onceon any occasion
anywhereduring my rambles in Americasee a woman exposed to the
slightest act of rudenessincivilityor even inattention.

By the time the meal was overthe rainwhich seemed to have worn
itself out by coming down so fastwas nearly over too; and it
became feasible to go on deck: which was a great relief
notwithstanding its being a very small deckand being rendered
still smaller by the luggagewhich was heaped together in the
middle under a tarpaulin covering; leavingon either sidea path
so narrowthat it became a science to walk to and fro without
tumbling overboard into the canal. It was somewhat embarrassing at
firsttooto have to duck nimbly every five minutes whenever the
man at the helm cried 'Bridge!' and sometimeswhen the cry was


'Low Bridge' to lie down nearly flat. But custom familiarises one
to anythingand there were so many bridges that it took a very
short time to get used to this.

As night came onand we drew in sight of the first range of hills
which are the outposts of the Alleghany Mountainsthe scenery
which had been uninteresting hithertobecame more bold and
striking. The wet ground reeked and smokedafter the heavy fall
of rainand the croaking of the frogs (whose noise in these parts
is almost incredible) sounded as though a million of fairy teams
with bells were travelling through the airand keeping pace with
us. The night was cloudy yetbut moonlight too: and when we
crossed the Susquehanna river - over which there is an
extraordinary wooden bridge with two galleriesone above the
otherso that even theretwo boat teams meetingmay pass without
confusion - it was wild and grand.

I have mentioned my having been in some uncertainty and doubtat
firstrelative to the sleeping arrangements on board this boat. I
remained in the same vague state of mind until ten o'clock or
thereaboutswhen going belowI found suspended on either side of
the cabinthree long tiers of hanging bookshelvesdesigned
apparently for volumes of the small octavo size. Looking with
greater attention at these contrivances (wondering to find such
literary preparations in such a place)I descried on each shelf a
sort of microscopic sheet and blanket; then I began dimly to
comprehend that the passengers were the libraryand that they were
to be arrangededge-wiseon these shelvestill morning.

I was assisted to this conclusion by seeing some of them gathered
round the master of the boatat one of the tablesdrawing lots
with all the anxieties and passions of gamesters depicted in their
countenances; while otherswith small pieces of cardboard in their
handswere groping among the shelves in search of numbers
corresponding with those they had drawn. As soon as any gentleman
found his numberhe took possession of it by immediately
undressing himself and crawling into bed. The rapidity with which
an agitated gambler subsided into a snoring slumbererwas one of
the most singular effects I have ever witnessed. As to the ladies
they were already abedbehind the red curtainwhich was carefully
drawn and pinned up the centre; though as every coughor sneeze
or whisperbehind this curtainwas perfectly audible before it
we had still a lively consciousness of their society.

The politeness of the person in authority had secured to me a shelf
in a nook near this red curtainin some degree removed from the
great body of sleepers: to which place I retiredwith many
acknowledgments to him for his attention. I found iton aftermeasurement
just the width of an ordinary sheet of Bath post
letter-paper; and I was at first in some uncertainty as to the best
means of getting into it. But the shelf being a bottom oneI
finally determined on lying upon the floorrolling gently in
stopping immediately I touched the mattressand remaining for the
night with that side uppermostwhatever it might be. LuckilyI
came upon my back at exactly the right moment. I was much alarmed
on looking upwardto seeby the shape of his half-yard of sacking
(which his weight had bent into an exceedingly tight bag)that
there was a very heavy gentleman above mewhom the slender cords
seemed quite incapable of holding; and I could not help reflecting
upon the grief of my wife and family in the event of his coming
down in the night. But as I could not have got up again without a
severe bodily strugglewhich might have alarmed the ladies; and as
I had nowhere to go toeven if I had; I shut my eyes upon the
dangerand remained there.


One of two remarkable circumstances is indisputably a factwith
reference to that class of society who travel in these boats.
Either they carry their restlessness to such a pitch that they
never sleep at all; or they expectorate in dreamswhich would be a
remarkable mingling of the real and ideal. All night longand
every nighton this canalthere was a perfect storm and tempest
of spitting; and once my coatbeing in the very centre of the
hurricane sustained by five gentlemen (which moved vertically
strictly carrying out Reid's Theory of the Law of Storms)I was
fain the next morning to lay it on the deckand rub it down with
fair water before it was in a condition to be worn again.

Between five and six o'clock in the morning we got upand some of
us went on deckto give them an opportunity of taking the shelves
down; while othersthe morning being very coldcrowded round the
rusty stovecherishing the newly kindled fireand filling the
grate with those voluntary contributions of which they had been so
liberal all night. The washing accommodations were primitive.
There was a tin ladle chained to the deckwith which every
gentleman who thought it necessary to cleanse himself (many were
superior to this weakness)fished the dirty water out of the
canaland poured it into a tin basinsecured in like manner.
There was also a jack-towel. Andhanging up before a little
looking-glass in the barin the immediate vicinity of the bread
and cheese and biscuitswere a public comb and hair-brush.

At eight o'clockthe shelves being taken down and put away and the
tables joined togethereverybody sat down to the teacoffee
breadbuttersalmonshadliversteakpotatoespicklesham
chopsblack-puddingsand sausagesall over again. Some were
fond of compounding this varietyand having it all on their plates
at once. As each gentleman got through his own personal amount of
teacoffeebreadbuttersalmonshadliversteakpotatoes
pickleshamchopsblack-puddingsand sausageshe rose up and
walked off. When everybody had done with everythingthe fragments
were cleared away: and one of the waiters appearing anew in the
character of a barbershaved such of the company as desired to be
shaved; while the remainder looked onor yawned over their
newspapers. Dinner was breakfast againwithout the tea and
coffee; and supper and breakfast were identical.

There was a man on board this boatwith a light fresh-coloured
faceand a pepper-and-salt suit of clotheswho was the most
inquisitive fellow that can possibly be imagined. He never spoke
otherwise than interrogatively. He was an embodied inquiry.
Sitting down or standing upstill or movingwalking the deck or
taking his mealsthere he waswith a great note of interrogation
in each eyetwo in his cocked earstwo more in his turned-up nose
and chinat least half a dozen more about the corners of his
mouthand the largest one of all in his hairwhich was brushed
pertly off his forehead in a flaxen clump. Every button in his
clothes said'Eh? What's that? Did you speak? Say that again
will you?' He was always wide awakelike the enchanted bride who
drove her husband frantic; always restless; always thirsting for
answers; perpetually seeking and never finding. There never was
such a curious man.

I wore a fur great-coat at that timeand before we were well clear
of the wharfhe questioned me concerning itand its priceand
where I bought itand whenand what fur it wasand what it
weighedand what it cost. Then he took notice of my watchand
asked me what THAT costand whether it was a French watchand
where I got itand how I got itand whether I bought it or had it


given meand how it wentand where the key-hole wasand when I
wound itevery night or every morningand whether I ever forgot
to wind it at alland if I didwhat then? Where had I been to
lastand where was I going nextand where was I going after that
and had I seen the Presidentand what did he sayand what did I
sayand what did he say when I had said that? Eh? Lor now! do
tell!

Finding that nothing would satisfy himI evaded his questions
after the first score or twoand in particular pleaded ignorance
respecting the name of the fur whereof the coat was made. I am
unable to say whether this was the reasonbut that coat fascinated
him afterwards; he usually kept close behind me as I walkedand
moved as I movedthat he might look at it the better; and he
frequently dived into narrow places after me at the risk of his
lifethat he might have the satisfaction of passing his hand up
the backand rubbing it the wrong way.

We had another odd specimen on boardof a different kind. This
was a thin-facedspare-figured man of middle age and stature
dressed in a dusty drabbish-coloured suitsuch as I never saw
before. He was perfectly quiet during the first part of the
journey: indeed I don't remember having so much as seen him until
he was brought out by circumstancesas great men often are. The
conjunction of events which made him famoushappenedbriefly
thus.

The canal extends to the foot of the mountainand thereof
courseit stops; the passengers being conveyed across it by land
carriageand taken on afterwards by another canal boatthe
counterpart of the firstwhich awaits them on the other side.
There are two canal lines of passage-boats; one is called The
Expressand one (a cheaper one) The Pioneer. The Pioneer gets
first to the mountainand waits for the Express people to come up;
both sets of passengers being conveyed across it at the same time.
We were the Express company; but when we had crossed the mountain
and had come to the second boatthe proprietors took it into their
beads to draft all the Pioneers into it likewiseso that we were
five-and-forty at leastand the accession of passengers was not at
all of that kind which improved the prospect of sleeping at night.
Our people grumbled at thisas people do in such cases; but
suffered the boat to be towed off with the whole freight aboard
nevertheless; and away we went down the canal. At homeI should
have protested lustilybut being a foreigner hereI held my
peace. Not so this passenger. He cleft a path among the people on
deck (we were nearly all on deck)and without addressing anybody
whomsoeversoliloquised as follows:

'This may suit YOUthis maybut it don't suit ME. This may be
all very well with Down Eastersand men of Boston raisingbut it
won't suit my figure nohow; and no two ways about THAT; and so I
tell you. Now! I'm from the brown forests of MississippiI am
and when the sun shines on meit does shine - a little. It don't
glimmer where I livethe sun don't. No. I'm a brown foresterI
am. I an't a Johnny Cake. There are no smooth skins where I live.
We're rough men there. Rather. If Down Easters and men of Boston
raising like thisI'm glad of itbut I'm none of that raising nor
of that breed. No. This company wants a little fixingIT does.
I'm the wrong sort of man for 'emI am. They won't like meTHEY
won't. This is piling of it upa little too mountainousthis
is.' At the end of every one of these short sentences he turned
upon his heeland walked the other way; checking himself abruptly
when he had finished another short sentenceand turning back
again.


It is impossible for me to say what terrific meaning was hidden in
the words of this brown foresterbut I know that the other
passengers looked on in a sort of admiring horrorand that
presently the boat was put back to the wharfand as many of the
Pioneers as could be coaxed or bullied into going awaywere got
rid of.

When we started againsome of the boldest spirits on boardmade
bold to say to the obvious occasion of this improvement in our
prospects'Much obliged to yousir;' whereunto the brown forester
(waving his handand still walking up and down as before)
replied'No you an't. You're none o' my raising. You may act for
yourselvesYOU may. I have pinted out the way. Down Easters and
Johnny Cakes can follow if they please. I an't a Johnny CakeI
an't. I am from the brown forests of the MississippiI am' - and
so onas before. He was unanimously voted one of the tables for
his bed at night - there is a great contest for the tables - in
consideration for his public services: and he had the warmest
corner by the stove throughout the rest of the journey. But I
never could find out that he did anything except sit there; nor did
I hear him speak again untilin the midst of the bustle and
turmoil of getting the luggage ashore in the dark at PittsburgI
stumbled over him as he sat smoking a cigar on the cabin stepsand
heard him muttering to himselfwith a short laugh of defiance'I
an't a Johnny Cake- I an't. I'm from the brown forests of the
MississippiI amdamme!' I am inclined to argue from thisthat
he had never left off saying so; but I could not make an affidavit
of that part of the storyif required to do so by my Queen and
Country.

As we have not reached Pittsburg yethoweverin the order of our
narrativeI may go on to remark that breakfast was perhaps the
least desirable meal of the dayas in addition to the many savoury
odours arising from the eatables already mentionedthere were
whiffs of ginwhiskeybrandyand rumfrom the little bar hard
byand a decided seasoning of stale tobacco. Many of the
gentlemen passengers were far from particular in respect of their
linenwhich was in some cases as yellow as the little rivulets
that had trickled from the corners of their mouths in chewingand
dried there. Nor was the atmosphere quite free from zephyr
whisperings of the thirty beds which had just been cleared away
and of which we were further and more pressingly reminded by the
occasional appearance on the table-cloth of a kind of Gamenot
mentioned in the Bill of Fare.

And yet despite these oddities - and even they hadfor me at
leasta humour of their own - there was much in this mode of
travelling which I heartily enjoyed at the timeand look back upon
with great pleasure. Even the running upbare-neckedat five
o'clock in the morningfrom the tainted cabin to the dirty deck;
scooping up the icy waterplunging one's head into itand drawing
it outall fresh and glowing with the cold; was a good thing. The
fastbrisk walk upon the towing-pathbetween that time and
breakfastwhen every vein and artery seemed to tingle with health;
the exquisite beauty of the opening daywhen light came gleaming
off from everything; the lazy motion of the boatwhen one lay idly
on the decklooking throughrather than atthe deep blue sky;
the gliding on at nightso noiselesslypast frowning hills
sullen with dark treesand sometimes angry in one redburning
spot high upwhere unseen men lay crouching round a fire; the
shining out of the bright stars undisturbed by noise of wheels or
steamor any other sound than the limpid rippling of the water as
the boat went on: all these were pure delights.


Then there were new settlements and detached log-cabins and framehouses
full of interest for strangers from an old country: cabins
with simple ovensoutsidemade of clay; and lodgings for the pigs
nearly as good as many of the human quarters; broken windows
patched with worn-out hatsold clothesold boardsfragments of
blankets and paper; and home-made dressers standing in the open air
without the doorwhereon was ranged the household storenot hard
to countof earthen jars and pots. The eye was pained to see the
stumps of great trees thickly strewn in every field of wheatand
seldom to lose the eternal swamp and dull morasswith hundreds of
rotten trunks and twisted branches steeped in its unwholesome
water. It was quite sad and oppressiveto come upon great tracts
where settlers had been burning down the treesand where their
wounded bodies lay aboutlike those of murdered creatureswhile
here and there some charred and blackened giant reared aloft two
withered armsand seemed to call down curses on his foes.
Sometimesat nightthe way wound through some lonely gorgelike
a mountain pass in Scotlandshining and coldly glittering in the
light of the moonand so closed in by high steep hills all round
that there seemed to be no egress save through the narrower path by
which we had comeuntil one rugged hill-side seemed to openand
shutting out the moonlight as we passed into its gloomy throat
wrapped our new course in shade and darkness.

We had left Harrisburg on Friday. On Sunday morning we arrived at
the foot of the mountainwhich is crossed by railroad. There are
ten inclined planes; five ascendingand five descending; the
carriages are dragged up the formerand let slowly down the
latterby means of stationary engines; the comparatively level
spaces betweenbeing traversedsometimes by horseand sometimes
by engine poweras the case demands. Occasionally the rails are
laid upon the extreme verge of a giddy precipice; and looking from
the carriage windowthe traveller gazes sheer downwithout a
stone or scrap of fence betweeninto the mountain depths below.
The journey is very carefully madehowever; only two carriages
travelling together; and while proper precautions are takenis not
to be dreaded for its dangers.

It was very pretty travelling thusat a rapid pace along the
heights of the mountain in a keen windto look down into a valley
full of light and softness; catching glimpsesthrough the treetops
of scattered cabins; children running to the doors; dogs
bursting out to barkwhom we could see without hearing: terrified
pigs scampering homewards; families sitting out in their rude
gardens; cows gazing upward with a stupid indifference; men in
their shirt-sleeves looking on at their unfinished housesplanning
out to-morrow's work; and we riding onwardhigh above themlike a
whirlwind. It was amusingtoowhen we had dinedand rattled
down a steep passhaving no other moving power than the weight of
the carriages themselvesto see the engine releasedlong after
uscome buzzing down alonelike a great insectits back of green
and gold so shining in the sunthat if it had spread a pair of
wings and soared awayno one would have had occasionas I
fanciedfor the least surprise. But it stopped short of us in a
very business-like manner when we reached the canal: andbefore
we left the wharfwent panting up this hill againwith the
passengers who had waited our arrival for the means of traversing
the road by which we had come.

On the Monday eveningfurnace fires and clanking hammers on the
banks of the canalwarned us that we approached the termination of
this part of our journey. After going through another dreamy place

-a long aqueduct across the Alleghany Riverwhich was stranger

than the bridge at Harrisburgbeing a vastlowwooden chamber
full of water - we emerged upon that ugly confusion of backs of
buildings and crazy galleries and stairswhich always abuts on
waterwhether it be riverseacanalor ditch: and were at
Pittsburg.

Pittsburg is like Birmingham in England; at least its townspeople
say so. Setting aside the streetsthe shopsthe houseswaggons
factoriespublic buildingsand populationperhaps it may be. It
certainly has a great quantity of smoke hanging about itand is
famous for its iron-works. Besides the prison to which I have
already referredthis town contains a pretty arsenal and other
institutions. It is very beautifully situated on the Alleghany
Riverover which there are two bridges; and the villas of the
wealthier citizens sprinkled about the high grounds in the
neighbourhoodare pretty enough. We lodged at a most excellent
hoteland were admirably served. As usual it was full of
boarderswas very largeand had a broad colonnade to every story
of the house.

We tarried here three days. Our next point was Cincinnati: and as
this was a steamboat journeyand western steamboats usually blow
up one or two a week in the seasonit was advisable to collect
opinions in reference to the comparative safety of the vessels
bound that waythen lying in the river. One called the Messenger
was the best recommended. She had been advertised to start
positivelyevery day for a fortnight or soand had not gone yet
nor did her captain seem to have any very fixed intention on the
subject. But this is the custom: for if the law were to bind down
a free and independent citizen to keep his word with the public
what would become of the liberty of the subject? Besidesit is in
the way of trade. And if passengers be decoyed in the way of
tradeand people be inconvenienced in the way of tradewhat man
who is a sharp tradesman himselfshall say'We must put a stop to
this?'

Impressed by the deep solemnity of the public announcementI
(being then ignorant of these usages) was for hurrying on board in
a breathless stateimmediately; but receiving private and
confidential information that the boat would certainly not start
until FridayApril the Firstwe made ourselves very comfortable
in the mean whileand went on board at noon that day.

CHAPTER XI - FROM PITTSBURG TO CINCINNATI IN A WESTERN STEAMBOAT.
CINCINNATI

THE Messenger was one among a crowd of high-pressure steamboats
clustered together by a wharf-sidewhichlooked down upon from
the rising ground that forms the landing-placeand backed by the
lofty bank on the opposite side of the riverappeared no larger
than so many floating models. She had some forty passengers on
boardexclusive of the poorer persons on the lower deck; and in
half an houror lessproceeded on her way.

We hadfor ourselvesa tiny state-room with two berths in it
opening out of the ladies' cabin. There wasundoubtedly
something satisfactory in this 'location' inasmuch as it was in
the sternand we had been a great many times very gravely
recommended to keep as far aft as possible'because the steamboats
generally blew up forward.' Nor was this an unnecessary caution


as the occurrence and circumstances of more than one such fatality
during our stay sufficiently testified. Apart from this source of
self-congratulationit was an unspeakable relief to have any
placeno matter how confinedwhere one could be alone: and as
the row of little chambers of which this was onehad each a second
glass-door besides that in the ladies' cabinwhich opened on a
narrow gallery outside the vesselwhere the other passengers
seldom cameand where one could sit in peace and gaze upon the
shifting prospectwe took possession of our new quarters with much
pleasure.

If the native packets I have already described be unlike anything
we are in the habit of seeing on waterthese western vessels are
still more foreign to all the ideas we are accustomed to entertain
of boats. I hardly know what to liken them toor how to describe
them.

In the first placethey have no mastcordagetackleriggingor
other such boat-like gear; nor have they anything in their shape at
all calculated to remind one of a boat's headstemsidesor
keel. Except that they are in the waterand display a couple of
paddle-boxesthey might be intendedfor anything that appears to
the contraryto perform some unknown servicehigh and dryupon a
mountain top. There is no visible deckeven: nothing but a long
blackugly roof covered with burnt-out feathery sparks; above
which tower two iron chimneysand a hoarse escape valveand a
glass steerage-house. Thenin order as the eye descends towards
the waterare the sidesand doorsand windows of the staterooms
jumbled as oddly together as though they formed a small
streetbuilt by the varying tastes of a dozen men: the whole is
supported on beams and pillars resting on a dirty bargebut a few
inches above the water's edge: and in the narrow space between
this upper structure and this barge's deckare the furnace fires
and machineryopen at the sides to every wind that blowsand
every storm of rain it drives along its path.

Passing one of these boats at nightand seeing the great body of
fireexposed as I have just describedthat rages and roars
beneath the frail pile of painted wood: the machinerynot warded
off or guarded in any waybut doing its work in the midst of the
crowd of idlers and emigrants and childrenwho throng the lower
deck: under the managementtooof reckless men whose
acquaintance with its mysteries may have been of six months'
standing: one feels directly that the wonder isnot that there
should be so many fatal accidentsbut that any journey should be
safely made.

Withinthere is one long narrow cabinthe whole length of the
boat; from which the state-rooms openon both sides. A small
portion of it at the stern is partitioned off for the ladies; and
the bar is at the opposite extreme. There is a long table down the
centreand at either end a stove. The washing apparatus is
forwardon the deck. It is a little better than on board the
canal boatbut not much. In all modes of travellingthe American
customswith reference to the means of personal cleanliness and
wholesome ablutionare extremely negligent and filthy; and I
strongly incline to the belief that a considerable amount of
illness is referable to this cause.

We are to be on board the Messenger three days: arriving at
Cincinnati (barring accidents) on Monday morning. There are three
meals a day. Breakfast at sevendinner at half-past twelve
supper about six. At eachthere are a great many small dishes and
plates upon the tablewith very little in them; so that although


there is every appearance of a mighty 'spread' there is seldom
really more than a joint: except for those who fancy slices of
beet-rootshreds of dried beefcomplicated entanglements of
yellow pickle; maizeIndian cornapple-sauceand pumpkin.

Some people fancy all these little dainties together (and sweet
preserves beside)by way of relish to their roast pig. They are
generally those dyspeptic ladies and gentlemen who eat unheard-of
quantities of hot corn bread (almost as good for the digestion as a
kneaded pin-cushion)for breakfastand for supper. Those who do
not observe this customand who help themselves several times
insteadusually suck their knives and forks meditativelyuntil
they have decided what to take next: then pull them out of their
mouths: put them in the dish; help themselves; and fall to work
again. At dinnerthere is nothing to drink upon the tablebut
great jugs full of cold water. Nobody says anythingat any meal
to anybody. All the passengers are very dismaland seem to have
tremendous secrets weighing on their minds. There is no
conversationno laughterno cheerfulnessno socialityexcept in
spitting; and that is done in silent fellowship round the stove
when the meal is over. Every man sits downdull and languid;
swallows his fare as if breakfastsdinnersand supperswere
necessities of nature never to be coupled with recreation or
enjoyment; and having bolted his food in a gloomy silencebolts
himselfin the same state. But for these animal observancesyou
might suppose the whole male portion of the company to be the
melancholy ghosts of departed book-keeperswho had fallen dead at
the desk: such is their weary air of business and calculation.
Undertakers on duty would be sprightly beside them; and a collation
of funeral-baked meatsin comparison with these mealswould be a
sparkling festivity.

The people are all aliketoo. There is no diversity of character.
They travel about on the same errandssay and do the same things
in exactly the same mannerand follow in the same dull cheerless
round. All down the long tablethere is scarcely a man who is in
anything different from his neighbour. It is quite a relief to
havesitting oppositethat little girl of fifteen with the
loquacious chin: whoto do her justiceacts up to itand fully
identifies nature's handwritingfor of all the small chatterboxes
that ever invaded the repose of drowsy ladies' cabinshe is the
first and foremost. The beautiful girlwho sits a little beyond
her - farther down the table there - married the young man with the
dark whiskerswho sits beyond HERonly last month. They are
going to settle in the very Far Westwhere he has lived four
yearsbut where she has never been. They were both overturned in
a stage-coach the other day (a bad omen anywhere elsewhere
overturns are not so common)and his headwhich bears the marks
of a recent woundis bound up still. She was hurt tooat the
same timeand lay insensible for some days; bright as her eyes
arenow.

Further down stillsits a man who is going some miles beyond their
place of destinationto 'improve' a newly-discovered copper mine.
He carries the village - that is to be - with him: a few frame
cottagesand an apparatus for smelting the copper. He carries its
people too. They are partly American and partly Irishand herd
together on the lower deck; where they amused themselves last
evening till the night was pretty far advancedby alternately
firing off pistols and singing hymns.

Theyand the very few who have been left at table twenty minutes
riseand go away. We do so too; and passing through our little
state-roomresume our seats in the quiet gallery without.


A fine broad river alwaysbut in some parts much wider than in
others: and then there is usually a green islandcovered with
treesdividing it into two streams. Occasionallywe stop for a
few minutesmaybe to take in woodmaybe for passengersat some
small town or village (I ought to say cityevery place is a city
here); but the banks are for the most part deep solitudes
overgrown with treeswhichhereaboutsare already in leaf and
very green. For milesand milesand milesthese solitudes are
unbroken by any sign of human life or trace of human footstep; nor
is anything seen to move about them but the blue jaywhose colour
is so brightand yet so delicatethat it looks like a flying
flower. At lengthened intervals a log cabinwith its little space
of cleared land about itnestles under a rising groundand sends
its thread of blue smoke curling up into the sky. It stands in the
corner of the poor field of wheatwhich is full of great unsightly
stumpslike earthy butchers'-blocks. Sometimes the ground is only
just now cleared: the felled trees lying yet upon the soil: and
the log-house only this morning begun. As we pass this clearing
the settler leans upon his axe or hammerand looks wistfully at
the people from the world. The children creep out of the temporary
hutwhich is like a gipsy tent upon the groundand clap their
hands and shout. The dog only glances round at usand then looks
up into his master's face againas if he were rendered uneasy by
any suspension of the common businessand had nothing more to do
with pleasurers. And still there is the sameeternal foreground.
The river has washed away its banksand stately trees have fallen
down into the stream. Some have been there so longthat they are
mere drygrizzly skeletons. Some have just toppled overand
having earth yet about their rootsare bathing their green heads
in the riverand putting forth new shoots and branches. Some are
almost sliding downas you look at them. And some were drowned so
long agothat their bleached arms start out from the middle of the
currentand seem to try to grasp the boatand drag it under
water.

Through such a scene as thisthe unwieldy machine takes its
hoarsesullen way: ventingat every revolution of the paddlesa
loud high-pressure blast; enoughone would thinkto waken up the
host of Indians who lie buried in a great mound yonder: so old
that mighty oaks and other forest trees have struck their roots
into its earth; and so highthat it is a hilleven among the
hills that Nature planted round it. The very riveras though it
shared one's feelings of compassion for the extinct tribes who
lived so pleasantly herein their blessed ignorance of white
existencehundreds of years agosteals out of its way to ripple
near this mound: and there are few places where the Ohio sparkles
more brightly than in the Big Grave Creek.

All this I see as I sit in the little stern-gallery mentioned just
now. Evening slowly steals upon the landscape and changes it
before mewhen we stop to set some emigrants ashore.

Five menas many womenand a little girl. All their worldly
goods are a baga large chest and an old chair: oneoldhighbacked
rush-bottomed chair: a solitary settler in itself. They
are rowed ashore in the boatwhile the vessel stands a little off
awaiting its returnthe water being shallow. They are landed at
the foot of a high bankon the summit of which are a few log
cabinsattainable only by a long winding path. It is growing
dusk; but the sun is very redand shines in the water and on some
of the tree-topslike fire.

The men get out of the boat first; help out the women; take out the


bagthe chestthe chair; bid the rowers 'good-bye;' and shove the
boat off for them. At the first plash of the oars in the water
the oldest woman of the party sits down in the old chairclose to
the water's edgewithout speaking a word. None of the others sit
downthough the chest is large enough for many seats. They all
stand where they landedas if stricken into stone; and look after
the boat. So they remainquite still and silent: the old woman
and her old chairin the centre the bag and chest upon the shore
without anybody heeding them all eyes fixed upon the boat. It
comes alongsideis made fastthe men jump on boardthe engine is
put in motionand we go hoarsely on again. There they stand yet
without the motion of a hand. I can see them through my glass
whenin the distance and increasing darknessthey are mere specks
to the eye: lingering there still: the old woman in the old
chairand all the rest about her: not stirring in the least
degree. And thus I slowly lose them.

The night is darkand we proceed within the shadow of the wooded
bankwhich makes it darker. After gliding past the sombre maze of
boughs for a long timewe come upon an open space where the tall
trees are burning. The shape of every branch and twig is expressed
in a deep red glowand as the light wind stirs and ruffles it
they seem to vegetate in fire. It is such a sight as we read of in
legends of enchanted forests: saving that it is sad to see these
noble works wasting away so awfullyalone; and to think how many
years must come and go before the magic that created them will rear
their like upon this ground again. But the time will come; and
whenin their changed ashesthe growth of centuries unborn has
struck its rootsthe restless men of distant ages will repair to
these again unpeopled solitudes; and their fellowsin cities far
awaythat slumber nowperhapsbeneath the rolling seawill read
in language strange to any ears in being nowbut very old to them
of primeval forests where the axe was never heardand where the
jungled ground was never trodden by a human foot.

Midnight and sleep blot out these scenes and thoughts: and when
the morning shines againit gilds the house-tops of a lively city
before whose broad paved wharf the boat is moored; with other
boatsand flagsand moving wheelsand hum of men around it; as
though there were not a solitary or silent rood of ground within
the compass of a thousand miles.

Cincinnati is a beautiful city; cheerfulthrivingand animated.
I have not often seen a place that commends itself so favourably
and pleasantly to a stranger at the first glance as this does:
with its clean houses of red and whiteits well-paved roadsand
foot-ways of bright tile. Nor does it become less prepossessing on
a closer acquaintance. The streets are broad and airythe shops
extremely goodthe private residences remarkable for their
elegance and neatness. There is something of invention and fancy
in the varying styles of these latter erectionswhichafter the
dull company of the steamboatis perfectly delightfulas
conveying an assurance that there are such qualities still in
existence. The disposition to ornament these pretty villas and
render them attractiveleads to the culture of trees and flowers
and the laying out of well-kept gardensthe sight of whichto
those who walk along the streetsis inexpressibly refreshing and
agreeable. I was quite charmed with the appearance of the town
and its adjoining suburb of Mount Auburn: from which the city
lying in an amphitheatre of hillsforms a picture of remarkable
beautyand is seen to great advantage.

There happened to be a great Temperance Convention held here on the
day after our arrival; and as the order of march brought the


procession under the windows of the hotel in which we lodgedwhen
they started in the morningI had a good opportunity of seeing it.
It comprised several thousand men; the members of various
'Washington Auxiliary Temperance Societies;' and was marshalled by
officers on horsebackwho cantered briskly up and down the line
with scarves and ribbons of bright colours fluttering out behind
them gaily. There were bands of music tooand banners out of
number: and it was a freshholiday-looking concourse altogether.

I was particularly pleased to see the Irishmenwho formed a
distinct society among themselvesand mustered very strong with
their green scarves; carrying their national Harp and their
Portrait of Father Mathewhigh above the people's heads. They
looked as jolly and good-humoured as ever; andworking (here) the
hardest for their living and doing any kind of sturdy labour that
came in their waywere the most independent fellows thereI
thought.

The banners were very well paintedand flaunted down the street
famously. There was the smiting of the rockand the gushing forth
of the waters; and there was a temperate man with 'considerable of
a hatchet' (as the standard-bearer would probably have said)
aiming a deadly blow at a serpent which was apparently about to
spring upon him from the top of a barrel of spirits. But the chief
feature of this part of the show was a huge allegorical device
borne among the ship-carpenterson one side whereof the steamboat
Alcohol was represented bursting her boiler and exploding with a
great crashwhile upon the otherthe good ship Temperance sailed
away with a fair windto the heart's content of the captaincrew
and passengers.

After going round the townthe procession repaired to a certain
appointed placewhereas the printed programme set forthit
would be received by the children of the different free schools
'singing Temperance Songs.' I was prevented from getting therein
time to hear these Little Warblersor to report upon this novel
kind of vocal entertainment: novelat leastto me: but I found
in a large open spaceeach society gathered round its own banners
and listening in silent attention to its own orator. The speeches
judging from the little I could hear of themwere certainly
adapted to the occasionas having that degree of relationship to
cold water which wet blankets may claim: but the main thing was
the conduct and appearance of the audience throughout the day; and
that was admirable and full of promise.

Cincinnati is honourably famous for its free schoolsof which it
has so many that no person's child among its population canby
possibilitywant the means of educationwhich are extendedupon
an averageto four thousand pupilsannually. I was only present
in one of these establishments during the hours of instruction. In
the boys' departmentwhich was full of little urchins (varying in
their agesI should sayfrom six years old to ten or twelve)the
master offered to institute an extemporary examination of the
pupils in algebra; a proposalwhichas I was by no means
confident of my ability to detect mistakes in that scienceI
declined with some alarm. In the girls' schoolreading was
proposed; and as I felt tolerably equal to that artI expressed my
willingness to hear a class. Books were distributed accordingly
and some half-dozen girls relieved each other in reading paragraphs
from English History. But it seemed to be a dry compilation
infinitely above their powers; and when they had blundered through
three or four dreary passages concerning the Treaty of Amiensand
other thrilling topics of the same nature (obviously without
comprehending ten words)I expressed myself quite satisfied. It


is very possible that they only mounted to this exalted stave in
the Ladder of Learning for the astonishment of a visitor; and that
at other times they keep upon its lower rounds; but I should have
been much better pleased and satisfied if I had heard them
exercised in simpler lessonswhich they understood.

As in every other place I visitedthe judges here were gentlemen
of high character and attainments. I was in one of the courts for
a few minutesand found it like those to which I have already
referred. A nuisance cause was trying; there were not many
spectators; and the witnessescounseland juryformed a sort of
family circlesufficiently jocose and snug.

The society with which I mingledwas intelligentcourteousand
agreeable. The inhabitants of Cincinnati are proud of their city
as one of the most interesting in America: and with good reason:
for beautiful and thriving as it is nowand containingas it
doesa population of fifty thousand soulsbut two-and-fifty years
have passed away since the ground on which it stands (bought at
that time for a few dollars) was a wild woodand its citizens were
but a handful of dwellers in scattered log huts upon the river's
shore.

CHAPTER XII - FROM CINCINNATI TO LOUISVILLE IN ANOTHER WESTERN
STEAMBOAT; AND FROM LOUISVILLE TO ST. LOUIS IN ANOTHER. ST. LOUIS

LEAVING Cincinnati at eleven o'clock in the forenoonwe embarked
for Louisville in the Pike steamboatwhichcarrying the mails
was a packet of a much better class than that in which we had come
from Pittsburg. As this passage does not occupy more than twelve
or thirteen hourswe arranged to go ashore that night: not
coveting the distinction of sleeping in a state-roomwhen it was
possible to sleep anywhere else.

There chanced to be on board this boatin addition to the usual
dreary crowd of passengersone Pitchlynna chief of the Choctaw
tribe of Indianswho SENT IN HIS CARD to meand with whom I had
the pleasure of a long conversation.

He spoke English perfectly wellthough he had not begun to learn
the languagehe told meuntil he was a young man grown. He had
read many books; and Scott's poetry appeared to have left a strong
impression on his mind: especially the opening of The Lady of the
Lakeand the great battle scene in Marmionin whichno doubt
from the congeniality of the subjects to his own pursuits and
tasteshe had great interest and delight. He appeared to
understand correctly all he had read; and whatever fiction had
enlisted his sympathy in its beliefhad done so keenly and
earnestly. I might almost say fiercely. He was dressed in our
ordinary everyday costumewhich hung about his fine figure
looselyand with indifferent grace. On my telling him that I
regretted not to see him in his own attirehe threw up his right
armfor a momentas though he were brandishing some heavy weapon
and answeredas he let it fall againthat his race were losing
many things besides their dressand would soon be seen upon the
earth no more: but he wore it at homehe added proudly.

He told me that he had been away from his homewest of the
Mississippiseventeen months: and was now returning. He had been
chiefly at Washington on some negotiations pending between his


Tribe and the Government: which were not settled yet (he said in a
melancholy way)and he feared never would be: for what could a
few poor Indians doagainst such well-skilled men of business as
the whites? He had no love for Washington; tired of towns and
cities very soon; and longed for the Forest and the Prairie.

I asked him what he thought of Congress? He answeredwith a
smilethat it wanted dignityin an Indian's eyes.

He would very much likehe saidto see England before he died;
and spoke with much interest about the great things to be seen
there. When I told him of that chamber in the British Museum
wherein are preserved household memorials of a race that ceased to
bethousands of years agohe was very attentiveand it was not
hard to see that he had a reference in his mind to the gradual
fading away of his own people.

This led us to speak of Mr. Catlin's gallerywhich he praised
highly: observing that his own portrait was among the collection
and that all the likenesses were 'elegant.' Mr. Cooperhe said
had painted the Red Man well; and so would Ihe knewif I would
go home with him and hunt buffaloeswhich he was quite anxious I
should do. When I told him that supposing I wentI should not be
very likely to damage the buffaloes muchhe took it as a great
joke and laughed heartily.

He was a remarkably handsome man; some years past fortyI should
judge; with long black hairan aquiline nosebroad cheek-bonesa
sunburnt complexionand a very brightkeendarkand piercing
eye. There were but twenty thousand of the Choctaws lefthe said
and their number was decreasing every day. A few of his brother
chiefs had been obliged to become civilisedand to make themselves
acquainted with what the whites knewfor it was their only chance
of existence. But they were not many; and the rest were as they
always had been. He dwelt on this: and said several times that
unless they tried to assimilate themselves to their conquerors
they must be swept away before the strides of civilised society.

When we shook hands at partingI told him he must come to England
as he longed to see the land so much: that I should hope to see
him thereone day: and that I could promise him he would be well
received and kindly treated. He was evidently pleased by this
assurancethough he rejoined with a good-humoured smile and an
arch shake of his headthat the English used to be very fond of
the Red Men when they wanted their helpbut had not cared much for
themsince.

He took his leave; as stately and complete a gentleman of Nature's
makingas ever I beheld; and moved among the people in the boat
another kind of being. He sent me a lithographed portrait of
himself soon afterwards; very likethough scarcely handsome
enough; which I have carefully preserved in memory of our brief
acquaintance.

There was nothing very interesting in the scenery of this day's
journeywhich brought us at midnight to Louisville. We slept at
the Galt House; a splendid hotel; and were as handsomely lodged as
though we had been in Parisrather than hundreds of miles beyond
the Alleghanies.

The city presenting no objects of sufficient interest to detain us
on our waywe resolved to proceed next day by another steamboat
the Fultonand to join itabout noonat a suburb called
Portlandwhere it would be delayed some time in passing through a


canal.

The intervalafter breakfastwe devoted to riding through the
townwhich is regular and cheerful: the streets being laid out at
right anglesand planted with young trees. The buildings are
smoky and blackenedfrom the use of bituminous coalbut an
Englishman is well used to that appearanceand indisposed to
quarrel with it. There did not appear to be much business
stirring; and some unfinished buildings and improvements seemed to
intimate that the city had been overbuilt in the ardour of 'goinga-
head' and was suffering under the re-action consequent upon such
feverish forcing of its powers.

On our way to Portlandwe passed a 'Magistrate's office' which
amused meas looking far more like a dame school than any police
establishment: for this awful Institution was nothing but a little
lazygood-for-nothing front parlouropen to the street; wherein
two or three figures (I presume the magistrate and his myrmidons)
were basking in the sunshinethe very effigies of languor and
repose. It was a perfect picture of justice retired from business
for want of customers; her sword and scales sold off; napping
comfortably with her legs upon the table.

Hereas elsewhere in these partsthe road was perfectly alive
with pigs of all ages; lying about in every directionfast
asleep.; or grunting along in quest of hidden dainties. I had
always a sneaking kindness for these odd animalsand found a
constant source of amusementwhen all others failedin watching
their proceedings. As we were riding along this morningI
observed a little incident between two youthful pigswhich was so
very human as to be inexpressibly comical and grotesque at the
timethough I dare sayin tellingit is tame enough.

One young gentleman (a very delicate porker with several straws
sticking about his nosebetokening recent investigations in a
dung-hill) was walking deliberately onprofoundly thinkingwhen
suddenly his brotherwho was lying in a miry hole unseen by him
rose up immediately before his startled eyesghostly with damp
mud. Never was pig's whole mass of blood so turned. He started
back at least three feetgazed for a momentand then shot off as
hard as he could go: his excessively little tail vibrating with
speed and terror like a distracted pendulum. But before he had
gone very farhe began to reason with himself as to the nature of
this frightful appearance; and as he reasonedhe relaxed his speed
by gradual degrees; until at last he stoppedand faced about.
There was his brotherwith the mud upon him glazing in the sun
yet staring out of the very same holeperfectly amazed at his
proceedings! He was no sooner assured of this; and he assured
himself so carefully that one may almost say he shaded his eyes
with his hand to see the better; than he came back at a round trot
pounced upon himand summarily took off a piece of his tail; as a
caution to him to be careful what he was about for the futureand
never to play tricks with his family any more.

We found the steamboat in the canalwaiting for the slow process
of getting through the lockand went on boardwhere we shortly
afterwards had a new kind of visitor in the person of a certain
Kentucky Giant whose name is Porterand who is of the moderate
height of seven feet eight inchesin his stockings.

There never was a race of people who so completely gave the lie to
history as these giantsor whom all the chroniclers have so
cruelly libelled. Instead of roaring and ravaging about the world
constantly catering for their cannibal lardersand perpetually


going to market in an unlawful mannerthey are the meekest people
in any man's acquaintance: rather inclining to milk and vegetable
dietand bearing anything for a quiet life. So decidedly are
amiability and mildness their characteristicsthat I confess I
look upon that youth who distinguished himself by the slaughter of
these inoffensive personsas a false-hearted brigandwho
pretending to philanthropic motiveswas secretly influenced only
by the wealth stored up within their castlesand the hope of
plunder. And I lean the more to this opinion from finding that
even the historian of those exploitswith all his partiality for
his herois fain to admit that the slaughtered monsters in
question were of a very innocent and simple turn; extremely
guileless and ready of belief; lending a credulous ear to the most
improbable tales; suffering themselves to be easily entrapped into
pits; and even (as in the case of the Welsh Giant) with an excess
of the hospitable politeness of a landlordripping themselves
openrather than hint at the possibility of their guests being
versed in the vagabond arts of sleight-of-hand and hocus-pocus.

The Kentucky Giant was but another illustration of the truth of
this position. He had a weakness in the region of the kneesand a
trustfulness in his long facewhich appealed even to five-feet
nine for encouragement and support. He was only twenty-five years
oldhe saidand had grown recentlyfor it had been found
necessary to make an addition to the legs of his inexpressibles.
At fifteen he was a short boyand in those days his English father
and his Irish mother had rather snubbed himas being too small of
stature to sustain the credit of the family. He added that his
health had not been goodthough it was better now; but short
people are not wanting who whisper that he drinks too hard.

I understand he drives a hackney-coachthough how he does it
unless he stands on the footboard behindand lies along the roof
upon his chestwith his chin in the boxit would be difficult to
comprehend. He brought his gun with himas a curiosity.

Christened 'The Little Rifle' and displayed outside a shop-window
it would make the fortune of any retail business in Holborn. When
he had shown himself and talked a little whilehe withdrew with
his pocket-instrumentand went bobbing down the cabinamong men
of six feet high and upwardslike a light-house walking among
lamp-posts.

Within a few minutes afterwardswe were out of the canaland in
the Ohio river again.

The arrangements of the boat were like those of the Messengerand
the passengers were of the same order of people. We fed at the
same timeson the same kind of viandsin the same dull manner
and with the same observances. The company appeared to be
oppressed by the same tremendous concealmentsand had as little
capacity of enjoyment or light-heartedness. I never in my life did
see such listlessheavy dulness as brooded over these meals: the
very recollection of it weighs me downand makes mefor the
momentwretched. Reading and writing on my kneein our little
cabinI really dreaded the coming of the hour that summoned us to
table; and was as glad to escape from it againas if it had been a
penance or a punishment. Healthy cheerfulness and good spirits
forming a part of the banquetI could soak my crusts in the
fountain with Le Sage's strolling playerand revel in their glad
enjoyment: but sitting down with so many fellow-animals to ward
off thirst and hunger as a business; to emptyeach creaturehis
Yahoo's trough as quickly as he canand then slink sullenly away;
to have these social sacraments stripped of everything but the mere


greedy satisfaction of the natural cravings; goes so against the
grain with methat I seriously believe the recollection of these
funeral feasts will be a waking nightmare to me all my life.

There was some relief in this boattoowhich there had not been
in the otherfor the captain (a bluntgood-natured fellow) had
his handsome wife with himwho was disposed to be lively and
agreeableas were a few other lady-passengers who had their seats
about us at the same end of the table. But nothing could have made
head against the depressing influence of the general body. There
was a magnetism of dulness in them which would have beaten down the
most facetious companion that the earth ever knew. A jest would
have been a crimeand a smile would have faded into a grinning
horror. Such deadlyleaden people; such systematic plodding
wearyinsupportable heaviness; such a mass of animated indigestion
in respect of all that was genialjovialfranksocialor
hearty; neversurewas brought together elsewhere since the world
began.

Nor was the sceneryas we approached the junction of the Ohio and
Mississippi riversat all inspiriting in its influence. The trees
were stunted in their growth; the banks were low and flat; the
settlements and log cabins fewer in number: their inhabitants more
wan and wretched than any we had encountered yet. No songs of
birds were in the airno pleasant scentsno moving lights and
shadows from swift passing clouds. Hour after hourthe changeless
glare of the hotunwinking skyshone upon the same monotonous
objects. Hour after hourthe river rolled alongas wearily and
slowly as the time itself.

At lengthupon the morning of the third daywe arrived at a spot
so much more desolate than any we had yet beheldthat the
forlornest places we had passedwerein comparison with itfull
of interest. At the junction of the two riverson ground so flat
and low and marshythat at certain seasons of the year it is
inundated to the house-topslies a breeding-place of feverague
and death; vaunted in England as a mine of Golden Hopeand
speculated inon the faith of monstrous representationsto many
people's ruin. A dismal swampon which the half-built houses rot
away: cleared here and there for the space of a few yards; and
teemingthenwith rank unwholesome vegetationin whose baleful
shade the wretched wanderers who are tempted hitherdroopand
dieand lay their bones; the hateful Mississippi circling and
eddying before itand turning off upon its southern course a slimy
monster hideous to behold; a hotbed of diseasean ugly sepulchre
a grave uncheered by any gleam of promise: a place without one
single qualityin earth or air or waterto commend it: such is
this dismal Cairo.

But what words shall describe the Mississippigreat father of
riverswho (praise be to Heaven) has no young children like him!
An enormous ditchsometimes two or three miles widerunning
liquid mudsix miles an hour: its strong and frothy current
choked and obstructed everywhere by huge logs and whole forest
trees: now twining themselves together in great raftsfrom the
interstices of which a sedgylazy foam works upto float upon the
water's top; now rolling past like monstrous bodiestheir tangled
roots showing like matted hair; now glancing singly by like giant
leeches; and now writhing round and round in the vortex of some
small whirlpoollike wounded snakes. The banks lowthe trees
dwarfishthe marshes swarming with frogsthe wretched cabins few
and far aparttheir inmates hollow-cheeked and palethe weather
very hotmosquitoes penetrating into every crack and crevice of
the boatmud and slime on everything: nothing pleasant in its


aspectbut the harmless lightning which flickers every night upon
the dark horizon.

For two days we toiled up this foul streamstriking constantly
against the floating timberor stopping to avoid those more
dangerous obstaclesthe snagsor sawyerswhich are the hidden
trunks of trees that have their roots below the tide. When the
nights are very darkthe look-out stationed in the head of the
boatknows by the ripple of the water if any great impediment be
near at handand rings a bell beside himwhich is the signal for
the engine to be stopped: but always in the night this bell has
work to doand after every ringthere comes a blow which renders
it no easy matter to remain in bed.

The decline of day here was very gorgeous; tingeing the firmament
deeply with red and goldup to the very keystone of the arch above
us. As the sun went down behind the bankthe slightest blades of
grass upon it seemed to become as distinctly visible as the
arteries in the skeleton of a leaf; and whenas it slowly sank
the red and golden bars upon the water grew dimmerand dimmer yet
as if they were sinking too; and all the glowing colours of
departing day paledinch by inchbefore the sombre night; the
scene became a thousand times more lonesome and more dreary than
beforeand all its influences darkened with the sky.

We drank the muddy water of this river while we were upon it. It
is considered wholesome by the nativesand is something more
opaque than gruel. I have seen water like it at the Filter-shops
but nowhere else.

On the fourth night after leaving Louisvillewe reached St. Louis
and here I witnessed the conclusion of an incidenttrifling enough
in itselfbut very pleasant to seewhich had interested me during
the whole journey.

There was a little woman on boardwith a little baby; and both
little woman and little child were cheerfulgood-lookingbrighteyed
and fair to see. The little woman had been passing a long
time with her sick mother in New Yorkand had left her home in St.
Louisin that condition in which ladies who truly love their lords
desire to be. The baby was born in her mother's house; and she had
not seen her husband (to whom she was now returning)for twelve
months: having left him a month or two after their marriage.

Wellto be surethere never was a little woman so full of hope
and tendernessand loveand anxietyas this little woman was:
and all day long she wondered whether 'He' would be at the wharf;
and whether 'He' had got her letter; and whetherif she sent the
baby ashore by somebody else'He' would know itmeeting it in the
street: whichseeing that he had never set eyes upon it in his
lifewas not very likely in the abstractbut was probable enough
to the young mother. She was such an artless little creature; and
was in such a sunnybeaminghopeful state; and let out all this
matter clinging close about her heartso freely; that all the
other lady passengers entered into the spirit of it as much as she;
and the captain (who heard all about it from his wife) was wondrous
slyI promise you: inquiringevery time we met at tableas in
forgetfulnesswhether she expected anybody to meet her at St.
Louisand whether she would want to go ashore the night we reached
it (but he supposed she wouldn't)and cutting many other dry jokes
of that nature. There was one little weazendried-apple-faced old
womanwho took occasion to doubt the constancy of husbands in such
circumstances of bereavement; and there was another lady (with a
lap-dog) old enough to moralize on the lightness of human


affectionsand yet not so old that she could help nursing the
babynow and thenor laughing with the restwhen the little
woman called it by its father's nameand asked it all manner of
fantastic questions concerning him in the joy of her heart.

It was something of a blow to the little womanthat when we were
within twenty miles of our destinationit became clearly necessary
to put this baby to bed. But she got over it with the same good
humour; tied a handkerchief round her head; and came out into the
little gallery with the rest. Thensuch an oracle as she became
in reference to the localities! and such facetiousness as was
displayed by the married ladies! and such sympathy as was shown by
the single ones! and such peals of laughter as the little woman
herself (who would just as soon have cried) greeted every jest
with!

At lastthere were the lights of St. Louisand here was the
wharfand those were the steps: and the little woman covering her
face with her handsand laughing (or seeming to laugh) more than
everran into her own cabinand shut herself up. I have no doubt
that in the charming inconsistency of such excitementshe stopped
her earslest she should hear 'Him' asking for her: but I did not
see her do it.

Thena great crowd of people rushed on boardthough the boat was
not yet made fastbut was wandering aboutamong the other boats
to find a landing-place: and everybody looked for the husband:
and nobody saw him: whenin the midst of us all - Heaven knows
how she ever got there - there was the little woman clinging with
both arms tight round the neck of a finegood-lookingsturdy
young fellow! and in a moment afterwardsthere she was again
actually clapping her little hands for joyas she dragged him
through the small door of her small cabinto look at the baby as
he lay asleep!

We went to a large hotelcalled the Planter's House: built like
an English hospitalwith long passages and bare wallsand skylights
above the room-doors for the free circulation of air. There
were a great many boarders in it; and as many lights sparkled and
glistened from the windows down into the street belowwhen we
drove upas if it had been illuminated on some occasion of
rejoicing. It is an excellent houseand the proprietors have most
bountiful notions of providing the creature comforts. Dining alone
with my wife in our own roomone dayI counted fourteen dishes on
the table at once.

In the old French portion of the townthe thoroughfares are narrow
and crookedand some of the houses are very quaint and
picturesque: being built of woodwith tumble-down galleries
before the windowsapproachable by stairs or rather ladders from
the street. There are queer little barbers' shops and drinkinghouses
tooin this quarter; and abundance of crazy old tenements
with blinking casementssuch as may be seen in Flanders. Some of
these ancient habitationswith high garret gable-windows perking
into the roofshave a kind of French shrug about them; and being
lop-sided with ageappear to hold their heads askewbesidesas
if they were grimacing in astonishment at the American
Improvements.

It is hardly necessary to saythat these consist of wharfs and
warehousesand new buildings in all directions; and of a great
many vast plans which are still 'progressing.' Alreadyhowever
some very good housesbroad streetsand marble-fronted shops
have gone so far ahead as to be in a state of completion; and the


town bids fair in a few years to improve considerably: though it
is not likely ever to viein point of elegance or beautywith
Cincinnati.

The Roman Catholic religionintroduced here by the early French
settlersprevails extensively. Among the public institutions are
a Jesuit college; a convent for 'the Ladies of the Sacred Heart;'
and a large chapel attached to the collegewhich was in course of
erection at the time of my visitand was intended to be
consecrated on the second of December in the next year. The
architect of this buildingis one of the reverend fathers of the
schooland the works proceed under his sole direction. The organ
will be sent from Belgium.

In addition to these establishmentsthere is a Roman Catholic
cathedraldedicated to Saint Francis Xavier; and a hospital
founded by the munificence of a deceased residentwho was a member
of that church. It also sends missionaries from hence among the
Indian tribes.

The Unitarian church is representedin this remote placeas in
most other parts of Americaby a gentleman of great worth and
excellence. The poor have good reason to remember and bless it;
for it befriends themand aids the cause of rational education
without any sectarian or selfish views. It is liberal in all its
actions; of kind construction; and of wide benevolence.

There are three free-schools already erectedand in full operation
in this city. A fourth is buildingand will soon be opened.

No man ever admits the unhealthiness of the place he dwells in
(unless he is going away from it)and I shall thereforeI have no
doubtbe at issue with the inhabitants of St. Louisin
questioning the perfect salubrity of its climateand in hinting
that I think it must rather dispose to feverin the summer and
autumnal seasons. Just addingthat it is very hotlies among
great riversand has vast tracts of undrained swampy land around
itI leave the reader to form his own opinion.

As I had a great desire to see a Prairie before turning back from
the furthest point of my wanderings; and as some gentlemen of the
town hadin their hospitable considerationan equal desire to
gratify me; a day was fixedbefore my departurefor an expedition
to the Looking-Glass Prairiewhich is within thirty miles of the
town. Deeming it possible that my readers may not object to know
what kind of thing such a gipsy party may be at that distance from
homeand among what sort of objects it movesI will describe the
jaunt in another chapter.

CHAPTER XIII - A JAUNT TO THE LOOKING-GLASS PRAIRIE AND BACK

I MAY premise that the word Prairie is variously pronounced
PARAAERPAREARERPAROARER. The latter mode of pronunciation is
perhaps the most in favour.

We were fourteen in alland all young men: indeed it is a
singular though very natural feature in the society of these
distant settlementsthat it is mainly composed of adventurous
persons in the prime of lifeand has very few grey heads among it.
There were no ladies: the trip being a fatiguing one: and we were


to start at five o'clock in the morning punctually.

I was called at fourthat I might be certain of keeping nobody
waiting; and having got some bread and milk for breakfastthrew up
the window and looked down into the streetexpecting to see the
whole party busily astirand great preparations going on below.
But as everything was very quietand the street presented that
hopeless aspect with which five o'clock in the morning is familiar
elsewhereI deemed it as well to go to bed againand went
accordingly.

I woke again at seven o'clockand by that time the party had
assembledand were gathered roundone light carriagewith a very
stout axletree; one something on wheels like an amateur carrier's
cart; one double phaeton of great antiquity and unearthly
construction; one gig with a great hole in its back and a broken
head; and one rider on horseback who was to go on before. I got
into the first coach with three companions; the rest bestowed
themselves in the other vehicles; two large baskets were made fast
to the lightest; two large stone jars in wicker casestechnically
known as demi-johnswere consigned to the 'least rowdy' of the
party for safe-keeping; and the procession moved off to the
ferryboatin which it was to cross the river bodilymenhorses
carriagesand allas the manner in these parts is.

We got over the river in due courseand mustered again before a
little wooden box on wheelshove down all aslant in a morasswith
'MERCHANT TAILOR' painted in very large letters over the door.
Having settled the order of proceedingand the road to be taken
we started off once more and began to make our way through an illfavoured
Black Hollowcalledless expressivelythe American
Bottom.

The previous day had been - not to say hotfor the term is weak
and lukewarm in its power of conveying an idea of the temperature.
The town had been on fire; in a blaze. But at night it had come on
to rain in torrentsand all night long it had rained without
cessation. We had a pair of very strong horsesbut travelled at
the rate of little more than a couple of miles an hourthrough one
unbroken slough of black mud and water. It had no variety but in
depth. Now it was only half over the wheelsnow it hid the
axletreeand now the coach sank down in it almost to the windows.
The air resounded in all directions with the loud chirping of the
frogswhowith the pigs (a coarseugly breedas unwholesomelooking
as though they were the spontaneous growth of the country)
had the whole scene to themselves. Here and there we passed a log
hut: but the wretched cabins were wide apart and thinly scattered
for though the soil is very rich in this placefew people can
exist in such a deadly atmosphere. On either side of the trackif
it deserve the namewas the thick 'bush;' and everywhere was
stagnantslimyrottenfilthy water.

As it is the custom in these parts to give a horse a gallon or so
of cold water whenever he is in a foam with heatwe halted for
that purposeat a log inn in the woodfar removed from any other
residence. It consisted of one roombare-roofed and bare-walled
of coursewith a loft above. The ministering priest was a swarthy
young savagein a shirt of cotton print like bed-furnitureand a
pair of ragged trousers. There were a couple of young boystoo
nearly nakedlying idle by the well; and theyand heand THE
traveller at the innturned out to look at us.

The traveller was an old man with a grey gristly beard two inches
longa shaggy moustache of the same hueand enormous eyebrows;


which almost obscured his lazysemi-drunken glanceas he stood
regarding us with folded arms: poising himself alternately upon
his toes and heels. On being addressed by one of the partyhe
drew nearerand saidrubbing his chin (which scraped under his
horny hand like fresh gravel beneath a nailed shoe)that he was
from Delawareand had lately bought a farm 'down there' pointing
into one of the marshes where the stunted trees were thickest. He
was 'going' he addedto St. Louisto fetch his familywhom he
had left behind; but he seemed in no great hurry to bring on these
incumbrancesfor when we moved awayhe loitered back into the
cabinand was plainly bent on stopping there so long as his money
lasted. He was a great politician of courseand explained his
opinions at some length to one of our company; but I only remember
that he concluded with two sentimentsone of which wasSomebody
for ever; and the otherBlast everybody else! which is by no means
a bad abstract of the general creed in these matters.

When the horses were swollen out to about twice their natural
dimensions (there seems to be an idea herethat this kind of
inflation improves their going)we went forward againthrough mud
and mireand dampand festering heatand brake and bush
attended always by the music of the frogs and pigsuntil nearly
noonwhen we halted at a place called Belleville.

Belleville was a small collection of wooden houseshuddled
together in the very heart of the bush and swamp. Many of them had
singularly bright doors of red and yellow; for the place had been
lately visited by a travelling painter'who got along' as I was
told'by eating his way.' The criminal court was sittingand was
at that moment trying some criminals for horse-stealing: with whom
it would most likely go hard: for live stock of all kinds being
necessarily very much exposed in the woodsis held by the
community in rather higher value than human life; and for this
reasonjuries generally make a point of finding all men indicted
for cattle-stealingguiltywhether or no.

The horses belonging to the barthe judgeand witnesseswere
tied to temporary racks set up roughly in the road; by which is to
be understooda forest pathnearly knee-deep in mud and slime.

There was an hotel in this placewhichlike all hotels in
Americahad its large dining-room for the public table. It was an
oddshamblinglow-roofed out-househalf-cowshed and halfkitchen
with a coarse brown canvas table-clothand tin sconces
stuck against the wallsto hold candles at supper-time. The
horseman had gone forward to have coffee and some eatables
preparedand they were by this time nearly ready. He had ordered
'wheat-bread and chicken fixings' in preference to 'corn-bread and
common doings.' The latter kind of rejection includes only pork
and bacon. The former comprehends broiled hamsausagesveal
cutletssteaksand such other viands of that nature as may be
supposedby a tolerably wide poetical construction'to fix' a
chicken comfortably in the digestive organs of any lady or
gentleman.

On one of the door-posts at this innwas a tin platewhereon was
inscribed in characters of gold'Doctor Crocus;' and on a sheet of
paperpasted up by the side of this platewas a written
announcement that Dr. Crocus would that evening deliver a lecture
on Phrenology for the benefit of the Belleville public; at a
chargefor admissionof so much a head.

Straying up-stairsduring the preparation of the chicken fixings
I happened to pass the doctor's chamber; and as the door stood wide


openand the room was emptyI made bold to peep in.

It was a bareunfurnishedcomfortless roomwith an unframed
portrait hanging up at the head of the bed; a likenessI take it
of the Doctorfor the forehead was fully displayedand great
stress was laid by the artist upon its phrenological developments.
The bed itself was covered with an old patch-work counterpane. The
room was destitute of carpet or of curtain. There was a damp
fireplace without any stovefull of wood ashes; a chairand a
very small table; and on the last-named piece of furniture was
displayedin grand arraythe doctor's libraryconsisting of some
half-dozen greasy old books.

Nowit certainly looked about the last apartment on the whole
earth out of which any man would be likely to get anything to do
him good. But the dooras I have saidstood coaxingly openand
plainly said in conjunction with the chairthe portraitthe
tableand the books'Walk ingentlemenwalk in! Don't be ill
gentlemenwhen you may be well in no time. Doctor Crocus is here
gentlementhe celebrated Dr. Crocus! Dr. Crocus has come all this
way to cure yougentlemen. If you haven't heard of Dr. Crocus
it's your faultgentlemenwho live a little way out of the world
here: not Dr. Crocus's. Walk ingentlemenwalk in!'

In the passage belowwhen I went down-stairs againwas Dr. Crocus
himself. A crowd had flocked in from the Court Houseand a voice
from among them called out to the landlord'Colonel! introduce
Doctor Crocus.'

'Mr. Dickens' says the colonel'Doctor Crocus.'

Upon which Doctor Crocuswho is a tallfine-looking Scotchman
but rather fierce and warlike in appearance for a professor of the
peaceful art of healingbursts out of the concourse with his right
arm extendedand his chest thrown out as far as it will possibly
comeand says:

'Your countrymansir!'

Whereupon Doctor Crocus and I shake hands; and Doctor Crocus looks
as if I didn't by any means realise his expectationswhichin a
linen blouseand a great straw hatwith a green ribbonand no
glovesand my face and nose profusely ornamented with the stings
of mosquitoes and the bites of bugsit is very likely I did not.

'Long in these partssir?' says I.

'Three or four monthssir' says the Doctor.

'Do you think of soon returning to the old country?' says I.

Doctor Crocus makes no verbal answerbut gives me an imploring
lookwhich says so plainly 'Will you ask me that againa little
louderif you please?' that I repeat the question.

'Think of soon returning to the old countrysir!' repeats the
Doctor.

'To the old countrysir' I rejoin.

Doctor Crocus looks round upon the crowd to observe the effect he
producesrubs his handsand saysin a very loud voice:

'Not yet awhilesirnot yet. You won't catch me at that just


yetsir. I am a little too fond of freedom for THATsir. Ha
ha! It's not so easy for a man to tear himself from a free country
such as this issir. Haha! Nono! Haha! None of that till
one's obliged to do itsir. Nono!'

As Doctor Crocus says these latter wordshe shakes his head
knowinglyand laughs again. Many of the bystanders shake their
heads in concert with the doctorand laugh tooand look at each
other as much as to say'A pretty bright and first-rate sort of
chap is Crocus!' and unless I am very much mistakena good many
people went to the lecture that nightwho never thought about
phrenologyor about Doctor Crocus eitherin all their lives
before.

From Bellevillewe went onthrough the same desolate kind of
wasteand constantly attendedwithout the interval of a moment
by the same music; untilat three o'clock in the afternoonwe
halted once more at a village called Lebanon to inflate the horses
againand give them some corn besides: of which they stood much
in need. Pending this ceremonyI walked into the villagewhere I
met a full-sized dwelling-house coming down-hill at a round trot
drawn by a score or more of oxen.

The public-house was so very clean and good a onethat the
managers of the jaunt resolved to return to it and put up there for
the nightif possible. This course decided onand the horses
being well refreshedwe again pushed forwardand came upon the
Prairie at sunset.

It would be difficult to say whyor how - though it was possibly
from having heard and read so much about it - but the effect on me
was disappointment. Looking towards the setting sunthere lay
stretched out before my viewa vast expanse of level ground;
unbrokensave by one thin line of treeswhich scarcely amounted
to a scratch upon the great blank; until it met the glowing sky
wherein it seemed to dip: mingling with its rich coloursand
mellowing in its distant blue. There it laya tranquil sea or
lake without waterif such a simile be admissiblewith the day
going down upon it: a few birds wheeling here and there: and
solitude and silence reigning paramount around. But the grass was
not yet high; there were bare black patches on the ground; and the
few wild flowers that the eye could seewere poor and scanty.
Great as the picture wasits very flatness and extentwhich left
nothing to the imaginationtamed it down and cramped its interest.
I felt little of that sense of freedom and exhilaration which a
Scottish heath inspiresor even our English downs awaken. It was
lonely and wildbut oppressive in its barren monotony. I felt
that in traversing the PrairiesI could never abandon myself to
the sceneforgetful of all else; as I should do instinctively
were the heather underneath my feetor an iron-bound coast beyond;
but should often glance towards the distant and frequently-receding
line of the horizonand wish it gained and passed. It is not a
scene to be forgottenbut it is scarcely oneI think (at all
eventsas I saw it)to remember with much pleasureor to covet
the looking-on againin after-life.

We encamped near a solitary log-housefor the sake of its water
and dined upon the plain. The baskets contained roast fowls
buffalo's tongue (an exquisite daintyby the way)hambread
cheeseand butter; biscuitschampagnesherry; lemons and sugar
for punch; and abundance of rough ice. The meal was deliciousand
the entertainers were the soul of kindness and good humour. I have
often recalled that cheerful party to my pleasant recollection
sinceand shall not easily forgetin junketings nearer home with


friends of older datemy boon companions on the Prairie.

Returning to Lebanon that nightwe lay at the little inn at which
we had halted in the afternoon. In point of cleanliness and
comfort it would have suffered by no comparison with any English
alehouseof a homely kindin England.

Rising at five o'clock next morningI took a walk about the
village: none of the houses were strolling about to-daybut it
was early for them yetperhaps: and then amused myself by
lounging in a kind of farm-yard behind the tavernof which the
leading features werea strange jumble of rough sheds for stables;
a rude colonnadebuilt as a cool place of summer resort; a deep
well; a great earthen mound for keeping vegetables inin winter
time; and a pigeon-housewhose little apertures lookedas they do
in all pigeon-housesvery much too small for the admission of the
plump and swelling-breasted birds who were strutting about it
though they tried to get in never so hard. That interest
exhaustedI took a survey of the inn's two parlourswhich were
decorated with coloured prints of Washingtonand President
Madisonand of a white-faced young lady (much speckled by the
flies)who held up her gold neck-chain for the admiration of the
spectatorand informed all admiring comers that she was 'Just
Seventeen:' although I should have thought her older. In the best
room were two oil portraits of the kit-cat sizerepresenting the
landlord and his infant son; both looking as bold as lionsand
staring out of the canvas with an intensity that would have been
cheap at any price. They were paintedI thinkby the artist who
had touched up the Belleville doors with red and gold; for I seemed
to recognise his style immediately.

After breakfastwe started to return by a different way from that
which we had taken yesterdayand coming up at ten o'clock with an
encampment of German emigrants carrying their goods in cartswho
had made a rousing fire which they were just quittingstopped
there to refresh. And very pleasant the fire was; forhot though
it had been yesterdayit was quite cold to-dayand the wind blew
keenly. Looming in the distanceas we rode alongwas another of
the ancient Indian burial-placescalled The Monks' Mound; in
memory of a body of fanatics of the order of La Trappewho founded
a desolate convent theremany years agowhen there were no
settlers within a thousand milesand were all swept off by the
pernicious climate: in which lamentable fatalityfew rational
people will supposeperhapsthat society experienced any very
severe deprivation.

The track of to-day had the same features as the track of
yesterday. There was the swampthe bushand the perpetual chorus
of frogsthe rank unseemly growththe unwholesome steaming earth.
Here and thereand frequently toowe encountered a solitary
broken-down waggonfull of some new settler's goods. It was a
pitiful sight to see one of these vehicles deep in the mire; the
axle-tree broken; the wheel lying idly by its side; the man gone
miles awayto look for assistance; the woman seated among their
wandering household gods with a baby at her breasta picture of
forlorndejected patience; the team of oxen crouching down
mournfully in the mudand breathing forth such clouds of vapour
from their mouths and nostrilsthat all the damp mist and fog
around seemed to have come direct from them.

In due time we mustered once again before the merchant tailor's
and having done socrossed over to the city in the ferry-boat:
passingon the waya spot called Bloody Islandthe duellingground
of St. Louisand so designated in honour of the last fatal


combat fought therewhich was with pistolsbreast to breast.
Both combatants fell dead upon the ground; and possibly some
rational people may think of themas of the gloomy madmen on the
Monks' Moundthat they were no great loss to the community.

CHAPTER XIV - RETURN TO CINCINNATI. A STAGE-COACH RIDE FROM THAT
CITY TO COLUMBUSAND THENCE TO SANDUSKY. SOBY LAKE ERIETO THE
FALLS OF NIAGARA

AS I had a desire to travel through the interior of the state of
Ohioand to 'strike the lakes' as the phrase isat a small town
called Sanduskyto which that route would conduct us on our way to
Niagarawe had to return from St. Louis by the way we had come
and to retrace our former track as far as Cincinnati.

The day on which we were to take leave of St. Louis being very
fine; and the steamboatwhich was to have started I don't know how
early in the morningpostponingfor the third or fourth timeher
departure until the afternoon; we rode forward to an old French
village on the rivercalled properly Carondeletand nicknamed
Vide Pocheand arranged that the packet should call for us there.

The place consisted of a few poor cottagesand two or three
public-houses; the state of whose larders certainly seemed to
justify the second designation of the villagefor there was
nothing to eat in any of them. At lengthhoweverby going back
some half a mile or sowe found a solitary house where ham and
coffee were procurable; and there we tarried to wait the advent of
the boatwhich would come in sight from the green before the door
a long way off.

It was a neatunpretending village tavernand we took our repast
in a quaint little room with a bed in itdecorated with some old
oil paintingswhich in their time had probably done duty in a
Catholic chapel or monastery. The fare was very goodand served
with great cleanliness. The house was kept by a characteristic old
couplewith whom we had a long talkand who were perhaps a very
good sample of that kind of people in the West.

The landlord was a drytoughhard-faced old fellow (not so very
old eitherfor he was but just turned sixtyI should think)who
had been out with the militia in the last war with Englandand had
seen all kinds of service- except a battle; and he had been very
near seeing thathe added: very near. He had all his life been
restless and locomotivewith an irresistible desire for change;
and was still the son of his old self: for if he had nothing to
keep him at homehe said (slightly jerking his hat and his thumb
towards the window of the room in which the old lady satas we
stood talking in front of the house)he would clean up his musket
and be off to Texas to-morrow morning. He was one of the very many
descendants of Cain proper to this continentwho seem destined
from their birth to serve as pioneers in the great human army: who
gladly go on from year to year extending its outpostsand leaving
home after home behind them; and die at lastutterly regardless of
their graves being left thousands of miles behindby the wandering
generation who succeed.

His wife was a domesticatedkind-hearted old soulwho had come
with him'from the queen city of the world' whichit seemedwas
Philadelphia; but had no love for this Western countryand indeed


had little reason to bear it any; having seen her childrenone by
onedie here of feverin the full prime and beauty of their
youth. Her heart was soreshe saidto think of them; and to talk
on this themeeven to strangersin that blighted placeso far
from her old homeeased it somewhatand became a melancholy
pleasure.

The boat appearing towards eveningwe bade adieu to the poor old
lady and her vagrant spouseand making for the nearest landingplace
were soon on board The Messenger againin our old cabin
and steaming down the Mississippi.

If the coming up this riverslowly making head against the stream
be an irksome journeythe shooting down it with the turbid current
is almost worse; for then the boatproceeding at the rate of
twelve or fifteen miles an hourhas to force its passage through a
labyrinth of floating logswhichin the darkit is often
impossible to see beforehand or avoid. All that nightthe bell
was never silent for five minutes at a time; and after every ring
the vessel reeled againsometimes beneath a single blowsometimes
beneath a dozen dealt in quick successionthe lightest of which
seemed more than enough to beat in her frail keelas though it had
been pie-crust. Looking down upon the filthy river after darkit
seemed to be alive with monstersas these black masses rolled upon
the surfaceor came starting up againhead firstwhen the boat
in ploughing her way among a shoal of such obstructionsdrove a
few among them for the moment under water. Sometimes the engine
stopped during a long intervaland then before her and behindand
gathering close about her on all sideswere so many of these illfavoured
obstacles that she was fairly hemmed in; the centre of a
floating island; and was constrained to pause until they parted
somewhereas dark clouds will do before the windand opened by
degrees a channel out.

In good time next morninghoweverwe came again in sight of the
detestable morass called Cairo; and stopping there to take in wood
lay alongside a bargewhose starting timbers scarcely held
together. It was moored to the bankand on its side was painted
'Coffee House;' that beingI supposethe floating paradise to
which the people fly for shelter when they lose their houses for a
month or two beneath the hideous waters of the Mississippi. But
looking southward from this pointwe had the satisfaction of
seeing that intolerable river dragging its slimy length and ugly
freight abruptly off towards New Orleans; and passing a yellow line
which stretched across the currentwere again upon the clear Ohio
neverI trustto see the Mississippi moresaving in troubled
dreams and nightmares. Leaving it for the company of its sparkling
neighbourwas like the transition from pain to easeor the
awakening from a horrible vision to cheerful realities.

We arrived at Louisville on the fourth nightand gladly availed
ourselves of its excellent hotel. Next day we went on in the Ben
Franklina beautiful mail steamboatand reached Cincinnati
shortly after midnight. Being by this time nearly tired of
sleeping upon shelveswe had remained awake to go ashore
straightway; and groping a passage across the dark decks of other
boatsand among labyrinths of engine-machinery and leaking casks
of molasseswe reached the streetsknocked up the porter at the
hotel where we had stayed beforeand wereto our great joy
safely housed soon afterwards.

We rested but one day at Cincinnatiand then resumed our journey
to Sandusky. As it comprised two varieties of stage-coach
travellingwhichwith those I have already glanced atcomprehend


the main characteristics of this mode of transit in AmericaI will
take the reader as our fellow-passengerand pledge myself to
perform the distance with all possible despatch.

Our place of destination in the first instance is Columbus. It is
distant about a hundred and twenty miles from Cincinnatibut there
is a macadamised road (rare blessing!) the whole wayand the rate
of travelling upon it is six miles an hour.

We start at eight o'clock in the morningin a great mail-coach
whose huge cheeks are so very ruddy and plethoricthat it appears
to be troubled with a tendency of blood to the head. Dropsical it
certainly isfor it will hold a dozen passengers inside. But
wonderful to addit is very clean and brightbeing nearly new;
and rattles through the streets of Cincinnati gaily.

Our way lies through a beautiful countryrichly cultivatedand
luxuriant in its promise of an abundant harvest. Sometimes we pass
a field where the strong bristling stalks of Indian corn look like
a crop of walking-sticksand sometimes an enclosure where the
green wheat is springing up among a labyrinth of stumps; the
primitive worm-fence is universaland an ugly thing it is; but the
farms are neatly keptandsave for these differencesone might
be travelling just now in Kent.

We often stop to water at a roadside innwhich is always dull and
silent. The coachman dismounts and fills his bucketand holds it
to the horses' heads. There is scarcely ever any one to help him;
there are seldom any loungers standing round; and never any stablecompany
with jokes to crack. Sometimeswhen we have changed our
teamthere is a difficulty in starting againarising out of the
prevalent mode of breaking a young horse: which is to catch him
harness him against his willand put him in a stage-coach without
further notice: but we get on somehow or otherafter a great many
kicks and a violent struggle; and jog on as before again.

Occasionallywhen we stop to changesome two or three halfdrunken
loafers will come loitering out with their hands in their
pocketsor will be seen kicking their heels in rocking-chairsor
lounging on the window-sillor sitting on a rail within the
colonnade: they have not often anything to say thougheither to
us or to each otherbut sit there idly staring at the coach and
horses. The landlord of the inn is usually among themand seems
of all the partyto be the least connected with the business of
the house. Indeed he is with reference to the tavernwhat the
driver is in relation to the coach and passengers: whatever
happens in his sphere of actionhe is quite indifferentand
perfectly easy in his mind.

The frequent change of coachmen works no change or variety in the
coachman's character. He is always dirtysullenand taciturn.
If he be capable of smartness of any kindmoral or physicalhe
has a faculty of concealing it which is truly marvellous. He never
speaks to you as you sit beside him on the boxand if you speak to
himhe answers (if at all) in monosyllables. He points out
nothing on the roadand seldom looks at anything: beingto all
appearancethoroughly weary of it and of existence generally. As
to doing the honours of his coachhis businessas I have saidis
with the horses. The coach follows because it is attached to them
and goes on wheels: not because you are in it. Sometimestowards
the end of a long stagehe suddenly breaks out into a discordant
fragment of an election songbut his face never sings along with
him: it is only his voiceand not often that.


He always chews and always spitsand never encumbers himself with
a pocket-handkerchief. The consequences to the box passenger
especially when the wind blows towards himare not agreeable.

Whenever the coach stopsand you can hear the voices of the inside
passengers; or whenever any bystander addresses themor any one
among them; or they address each other; you will hear one phrase
repeated over and over and over again to the most extraordinary
extent. It is an ordinary and unpromising phrase enoughbeing
neither more nor less than 'Yessir;' but it is adapted to every
variety of circumstanceand fills up every pause in the
conversation. Thus:-

The time is one o'clock at noon. The scenea place where we are
to stay and dineon this journey. The coach drives up to the door
of an inn. The day is warmand there are several idlers lingering
about the tavernand waiting for the public dinner. Among them
is a stout gentleman in a brown hatswinging himself to and fro in
a rocking-chair on the pavement.

As the coach stopsa gentleman in a straw hat looks out of the
window:

STRAW HAT. (To the stout gentleman in the rocking-chair.) I
reckon that's Judge Jeffersonan't it?

BROWN HAT. (Still swinging; speaking very slowly; and without any
emotion whatever.) Yessir.

STRAW HAT. Warm weatherJudge.

BROWN HAT. Yessir.

STRAW HAT. There was a snap of coldlast week.

BROWN HAT. Yessir.

STRAW HAT. Yessir.

A pause. They look at each othervery seriously.

STRAW HAT. I calculate you'll have got through that case of the
corporationJudgeby this timenow?

BROWN HAT. Yessir.

STRAW HAT. How did the verdict gosir?

BROWN HAT. For the defendantsir.

STRAW HAT. (Interrogatively.) Yessir?

BROWN HAT. (Affirmatively.) Yessir.

BOTH. (Musinglyas each gazes down the street.) Yessir.

Another pause. They look at each other againstill more seriously
than before.

BROWN HAT. This coach is rather behind its time to-dayI guess.

STRAW HAT. (Doubtingly.) Yessir.

BROWN HAT. (Looking at his watch.) Yessir; nigh upon two hours.


STRAW HAT. (Raising his eyebrows in very great surprise.) Yes
sir!

BROWN HAT. (Decisivelyas he puts up his watch.) Yessir.

ALL THE OTHER INSIDE PASSENGERS. (Among themselves.) Yessir.

COACHMAN. (In a very surly tone.) No it an't.

STRAW HAT. (To the coachman.) WellI don't knowsir. We were a
pretty tall time coming that last fifteen mile. That's a fact.

The coachman making no replyand plainly declining to enter into
any controversy on a subject so far removed from his sympathies and
feelingsanother passenger says'Yessir;' and the gentleman in
the straw hat in acknowledgment of his courtesysays 'Yessir'
to himin return. The straw hat then inquires of the brown hat
whether that coach in which he (the straw hat) then sitsis not a
new one? To which the brown hat again makes answer'Yessir.'

STRAW HAT. I thought so. Pretty loud smell of varnishsir?

BROWN HAT. Yessir.

ALL THE OTHER INSIDE PASSENGERS. Yessir.

BROWN HAT. (To the company in general.) Yessir.

The conversational powers of the company having been by this time
pretty heavily taxedthe straw hat opens the door and gets out;
and all the rest alight also. We dine soon afterwards with the
boarders in the houseand have nothing to drink but tea and
coffee. As they are both very bad and the water is worseI ask
for brandy; but it is a Temperance Hoteland spirits are not to be
had for love or money. This preposterous forcing of unpleasant
drinks down the reluctant throats of travellers is not at all
uncommon in Americabut I never discovered that the scruples of
such wincing landlords induced them to preserve any unusually nice
balance between the quality of their fareand their scale of
charges: on the contraryI rather suspected them of diminishing
the one and exalting the otherby way of recompense for the loss
of their profit on the sale of spirituous liquors. After all
perhapsthe plainest course for persons of such tender
conscienceswould bea total abstinence from tavern-keeping.

Dinner overwe get into another vehicle which is ready at the door
(for the coach has been changed in the interval)and resume our
journey; which continues through the same kind of country until
eveningwhen we come to the town where we are to stop for tea and
supper; and having delivered the mail bags at the Post-officeride
through the usual wide streetlined with the usual stores and
houses (the drapers always having hung up at their doorby way of
signa piece of bright red cloth)to the hotel where this meal is
prepared. There being many boarders herewe sit downa large
partyand a very melancholy one as usual. But there is a buxom
hostess at the head of the tableand oppositea simple Welsh
schoolmaster with his wife and child; who came hereon a
speculation of greater promise than performanceto teach the
classics: and they are sufficient subjects of interest until the
meal is overand another coach is ready. In it we go on once
morelighted by a bright moonuntil midnight; when we stop to
change the coach againand remain for half an hour or so in a
miserable roomwith a blurred lithograph of Washington over the


smoky fire-placeand a mighty jug of cold water on the table: to
which refreshment the moody passengers do so apply themselves that
they would seem to beone and allkeen patients of Dr. Sangrado.
Among them is a very little boywho chews tobacco like a very big
one; and a droning gentlemanwho talks arithmetically and
statistically on all subjectsfrom poetry downwards; and who
always speaks in the same keywith exactly the same emphasisand
with very grave deliberation. He came outside just nowand told
me how that the uncle of a certain young lady who had been spirited
away and married by a certain captainlived in these parts; and
how this uncle was so valiant and ferocious that he shouldn't
wonder if he were to follow the said captain to England'and shoot
him down in the street wherever he found him;' in the feasibility
of which strong measure Ibeing for the moment rather prone to
contradictionfrom feeling half asleep and very tireddeclined to
acquiesce: assuring him that if the uncle did resort to itor
gratified any other little whim of the like naturehe would find
himself one morning prematurely throttled at the Old Bailey: and
that he would do well to make his will before he wentas he would
certainly want it before he had been in Britain very long.

On we goall nightand by-and-by the day begins to breakand
presently the first cheerful rays of the warm sun come slanting on
us brightly. It sheds its light upon a miserable waste of sodden
grassand dull treesand squalid hutswhose aspect is forlorn
and grievous in the last degree. A very desert in the woodwhose
growth of green is dank and noxious like that upon the top of
standing water: where poisonous fungus grows in the rare footprint
on the oozy groundand sprouts like witches' coralfrom the
crevices in the cabin wall and floor; it is a hideous thing to lie
upon the very threshold of a city. But it was purchased years ago
and as the owner cannot be discoveredthe State has been unable to
reclaim it. So there it remainsin the midst of cultivation and
improvementlike ground accursedand made obscene and rank by
some great crime.

We reached Columbus shortly before seven o'clockand stayed there
to refreshthat day and night: having excellent apartments in a
very large unfinished hotel called the Neill Housewhich were
richly fitted with the polished wood of the black walnutand
opened on a handsome portico and stone verandahlike rooms in some
Italian mansion. The town is clean and prettyand of course is
'going to be' much larger. It is the seat of the State legislature
of Ohioand lays claimin consequenceto some consideration and
importance.

There being no stage-coach next dayupon the road we wished to
takeI hired 'an extra' at a reasonable charge to carry us to
Tiffin; a small town from whence there is a railroad to Sandusky.
This extra was an ordinary four-horse stage-coachsuch as I have
describedchanging horses and driversas the stage-coach would
but was exclusively our own for the journey. To ensure our having
horses at the proper stationsand being incommoded by no
strangersthe proprietors sent an agent on the boxwho was to
accompany us the whole way through; and thus attendedand bearing
with usbesidesa hamper full of savoury cold meatsand fruit
and winewe started off again in high spiritsat half-past six
o'clock next morningvery much delighted to be by ourselvesand
disposed to enjoy even the roughest journey.

It was well for usthat we were in this humourfor the road we
went over that daywas certainly enough to have shaken tempers
that were not resolutely at Set Fairdown to some inches below
Stormy. At one time we were all flung together in a heap at the


bottom of the coachand at another we were crushing our heads
against the roof. Nowone side was down deep in the mireand we
were holding on to the other. Nowthe coach was lying on the
tails of the two wheelers; and now it was rearing up in the airin
a frantic statewith all four horses standing on the top of an
insurmountable eminencelooking coolly back at itas though they
would say 'Unharness us. It can't be done.' The drivers on these
roadswho certainly get over the ground in a manner which is quite
miraculousso twist and turn the team about in forcing a passage
corkscrew fashionthrough the bogs and swampsthat it was quite a
common circumstance on looking out of the windowto see the
coachman with the ends of a pair of reins in his handsapparently
driving nothingor playing at horsesand the leaders staring at
one unexpectedly from the back of the coachas if they had some
idea of getting up behind. A great portion of the way was over
what is called a corduroy roadwhich is made by throwing trunks of
trees into a marshand leaving them to settle there. The very
slightest of the jolts with which the ponderous carriage fell from
log to logwas enoughit seemedto have dislocated all the bones
in the human body. It would be impossible to experience a similar
set of sensationsin any other circumstancesunless perhaps in
attempting to go up to the top of St. Paul's in an omnibus. Never
never oncethat daywas the coach in any positionattitudeor
kind of motion to which we are accustomed in coaches. Never did it
make the smallest approach to one's experience of the proceedings
of any sort of vehicle that goes on wheels.

Stillit was a fine dayand the temperature was deliciousand
though we had left Summer behind us in the westand were fast
leaving Springwe were moving towards Niagara and home. We
alighted in a pleasant wood towards the middle of the daydined on
a fallen treeand leaving our best fragments with a cottagerand
our worst with the pigs (who swarm in this part of the country like
grains of sand on the sea-shoreto the great comfort of our
commissariat in Canada)we went forward againgaily.

As night came onthe track grew narrower and narroweruntil at
last it so lost itself among the treesthat the driver seemed to
find his way by instinct. We had the comfort of knowingat least
that there was no danger of his falling asleepfor every now and
then a wheel would strike against an unseen stump with such a jerk
that he was fain to hold on pretty tight and pretty quickto keep
himself upon the box. Nor was there any reason to dread the least
danger from furious drivinginasmuch as over that broken ground
the horses had enough to do to walk; as to shyingthere was no
room for that; and a herd of wild elephants could not have run away
in such a woodwith such a coach at their heels. So we stumbled
alongquite satisfied.

These stumps of trees are a curious feature in American travelling.
The varying illusions they present to the unaccustomed eye as it
grows darkare quite astonishing in their number and reality.
Nowthere is a Grecian urn erected in the centre of a lonely
field; now there is a woman weeping at a tomb; now a very
commonplace old gentleman in a white waistcoatwith a thumb thrust
into each arm-hole of his coat; now a student poring on a book; now
a crouching negro; nowa horsea doga cannonan armed man; a
hunch-back throwing off his cloak and stepping forth into the
light. They were often as entertaining to me as so many glasses in
a magic lanternand never took their shapes at my biddingbut
seemed to force themselves upon mewhether I would or no; and
strange to sayI sometimes recognised in them counterparts of
figures once familiar to me in pictures attached to childish books
forgotten long ago.


It soon became too darkhowevereven for this amusementand the
trees were so close together that their dry branches rattled
against the coach on either sideand obliged us all to keep our
heads within. It lightened toofor three whole hours; each flash
being very brightand blueand long; and as the vivid streaks
came darting in among the crowded branchesand the thunder rolled
gloomily above the tree topsone could scarcely help thinking that
there were better neighbourhoods at such a time than thick woods
afforded.

At lengthbetween ten and eleven o'clock at nighta few feeble
lights appeared in the distanceand Upper Sanduskyan Indian
villagewhere we were to stay till morninglay before us.

They were gone to bed at the log Innwhich was the only house of
entertainment in the placebut soon answered to our knockingand
got some tea for us in a sort of kitchen or common roomtapestried
with old newspaperspasted against the wall. The bed-chamber to
which my wife and I were shownwas a largelowghostly room;
with a quantity of withered branches on the hearthand two doors
without any fasteningopposite to each otherboth opening on the
black night and wild countryand so contrivedthat one of them
always blew the other open: a novelty in domestic architecture
which I do not remember to have seen beforeand which I was
somewhat disconcerted to have forced on my attention after getting
into bedas I had a considerable sum in gold for our travelling
expensesin my dressing-case. Some of the luggagehoweverpiled
against the panelssoon settled this difficultyand my sleep
would not have been very much affected that nightI believe
though it had failed to do so.

My Boston friend climbed up to bedsomewhere in the roofwhere
another guest was already snoring hugely. But being bitten beyond
his power of endurancehe turned out againand fled for shelter
to the coachwhich was airing itself in front of the house. This
was not a very politic stepas it turned out; for the pigs
scenting himand looking upon the coach as a kind of pie with some
manner of meat insidegrunted round it so hideouslythat he was
afraid to come out againand lay there shiveringtill morning.
Nor was it possible to warm himwhen he did come outby means of
a glass of brandy: for in Indian villagesthe legislaturewith a
very good and wise intentionforbids the sale of spirits by tavern
keepers. The precautionhoweveris quite inefficaciousfor the
Indians never fail to procure liquor of a worse kindat a dearer
pricefrom travelling pedlars.

It is a settlement of the Wyandot Indians who inhabit this place.
Among the company at breakfast was a mild old gentlemanwho had
been for many years employed by the United States Government in
conducting negotiations with the Indiansand who had just
concluded a treaty with these people by which they bound
themselvesin consideration of a certain annual sumto remove
next year to some land provided for themwest of the Mississippi
and a little way beyond St. Louis. He gave me a moving account of
their strong attachment to the familiar scenes of their infancy
and in particular to the burial-places of their kindred; and of
their great reluctance to leave them. He had witnessed many such
removalsand always with painthough he knew that they departed
for their own good. The question whether this tribe should go or
stayhad been discussed among them a day or two beforein a hut
erected for the purposethe logs of which still lay upon the
ground before the inn. When the speaking was donethe ayes and
noes were ranged on opposite sidesand every male adult voted in


his turn. The moment the result was knownthe minority (a large
one) cheerfully yielded to the restand withdrew all kind of
opposition.

We met some of these poor Indians afterwardsriding on shaggy
ponies. They were so like the meaner sort of gipsiesthat if I
could have seen any of them in EnglandI should have concludedas
a matter of coursethat they belonged to that wandering and
restless people.

Leaving this town directly after breakfastwe pushed forward
againover a rather worse road than yesterdayif possibleand
arrived about noon at Tiffinwhere we parted with the extra. At
two o'clock we took the railroad; the travelling on which was very
slowits construction being indifferentand the ground wet and
marshy; and arrived at Sandusky in time to dine that evening. We
put up at a comfortable little hotel on the brink of Lake Erielay
there that nightand had no choice but to wait there next day
until a steamboat bound for Buffalo appeared. The townwhich was
sluggish and uninteresting enoughwas something like the back of
an English watering-placeout of the season.

Our hostwho was very attentive and anxious to make us
comfortablewas a handsome middle-aged manwho had come to this
town from New Englandin which part of the country he was
'raised.' When I say that he constantly walked in and out of the
room with his hat on; and stopped to converse in the same free-andeasy
state; and lay down on our sofaand pulled his newspaper out
of his pocketand read it at his ease; I merely mention these
traits as characteristic of the country: not at all as being
matter of complaintor as having been disagreeable to me. I
should undoubtedly be offended by such proceedings at homebecause
there they are not the customand where they are notthey would
be impertinencies; but in Americathe only desire of a goodnatured
fellow of this kindis to treat his guests hospitably and
well; and I had no more rightand I can truly say no more
dispositionto measure his conduct by our English rule and
standardthan I had to quarrel with him for not being of the exact
stature which would qualify him for admission into the Queen's
grenadier guards. As little inclination had I to find fault with a
funny old lady who was an upper domestic in this establishmentand
whowhen she came to wait upon us at any mealsat herself down
comfortably in the most convenient chairand producing a large pin
to pick her teeth withremained performing that ceremonyand
steadfastly regarding us meanwhile with much gravity and composure
(now and then pressing us to eat a little more)until it was time
to clear away. It was enough for usthat whatever we wished done
was done with great civility and readinessand a desire to oblige
not only herebut everywhere else; and that all our wants werein
generalzealously anticipated.

We were taking an early dinner at this houseon the day after our
arrivalwhich was Sundaywhen a steamboat came in sightand
presently touched at the wharf. As she proved to be on her way to
Buffalowe hurried on board with all speedand soon left Sandusky
far behind us.

She was a large vessel of five hundred tonsand handsomely fitted
upthough with high-pressure engines; which always conveyed that
kind of feeling to mewhich I should be likely to experienceI
thinkif I had lodgings on the first-floor of a powder-mill. She
was laden with floursome casks of which commodity were stored
upon the deck. The captain coming up to have a little
conversationand to introduce a friendseated himself astride of


one of these barrelslike a Bacchus of private life; and pulling a
great clasp-knife out of his pocketbegan to 'whittle' it as he
talkedby paring thin slices off the edges. And he whittled with
such industry and hearty good willthat but for his being called
away very soonit must have disappeared bodilyand left nothing
in its place but grist and shavings.

After calling at one or two flat placeswith low dams stretching
out into the lakewhereon were stumpy lighthouseslike windmills
without sailsthe whole looking like a Dutch vignettewe came at
midnight to Clevelandwhere we lay all nightand until nine
o'clock next morning.

I entertained quite a curiosity in reference to this placefrom
having seen at Sandusky a specimen of its literature in the shape
of a newspaperwhich was very strong indeed upon the subject of
Lord Ashburton's recent arrival at Washingtonto adjust the points
in dispute between the United States Government and Great Britain:
informing its readers that as America had 'whipped' England in her
infancyand whipped her again in her youthso it was clearly
necessary that she must whip her once again in her maturity; and
pledging its credit to all True Americansthat if Mr. Webster did
his duty in the approaching negotiationsand sent the English Lord
home again in double quick timethey shouldwithin two years
sing 'Yankee Doodle in Hyde Parkand Hail Columbia in the scarlet
courts of Westminster!' I found it a pretty townand had the
satisfaction of beholding the outside of the office of the journal
from which I have just quoted. I did not enjoy the delight of
seeing the wit who indited the paragraph in questionbut I have no
doubt he is a prodigious man in his wayand held in high repute by
a select circle.

There was a gentleman on boardto whomas I unintentionally
learned through the thin partition which divided our state-room
from the cabin in which he and his wife conversed togetherI was
unwittingly the occasion of very great uneasiness. I don't know
why or whereforebut I appeared to run in his mind perpetually
and to dissatisfy him very much. First of all I heard him say:
and the most ludicrous part of the business wasthat he said it in
my very earand could not have communicated more directly with me
if he had leaned upon my shoulderand whispered me: 'Boz is on
board stillmy dear.' After a considerable pausehe added
complainingly'Boz keeps himself very close;' which was true
enoughfor I was not very welland was lying downwith a book.
I thought he had done with me after thisbut I was deceived; for a
long interval having elapsedduring which I imagine him to have
been turning restlessly from side to sideand trying to go to
sleep; he broke out againwith 'I suppose THAT Boz will be writing
a book by-and-byand putting all our names in it!' at which
imaginary consequence of being on board a boat with Bozhe
groanedand became silent.

We called at the town of Erieat eight o'clock that nightand lay
there an hour. Between five and six next morningwe arrived at
Buffalowhere we breakfasted; and being too near the Great Falls
to wait patiently anywhere elsewe set off by the trainthe same
morning at nine o'clockto Niagara.

It was a miserable day; chilly and raw; a damp mist falling; and
the trees in that northern region quite bare and wintry. Whenever
the train haltedI listened for the roar; and was constantly
straining my eyes in the direction where I knew the Falls must be
from seeing the river rolling on towards them; every moment
expecting to behold the spray. Within a few minutes of our


stoppingnot beforeI saw two great white clouds rising up slowly
and majestically from the depths of the earth. That was all. At
length we alighted: and then for the first timeI heard the
mighty rush of waterand felt the ground tremble underneath my
feet.

The bank is very steepand was slippery with rainand half-melted
ice. I hardly know how I got downbut I was soon at the bottom
and climbingwith two English officers who were crossing and had
joined meover some broken rocksdeafened by the noisehalfblinded
by the sprayand wet to the skin. We were at the foot of
the American Fall. I could see an immense torrent of water tearing
headlong down from some great heightbut had no idea of shapeor
situationor anything but vague immensity.

When we were seated in the little ferry-boatand were crossing the
swollen river immediately before both cataractsI began to feel
what it was: but I was in a manner stunnedand unable to
comprehend the vastness of the scene. It was not until I came on
Table Rockand looked - Great Heavenon what a fall of brightgreen
water! - that it came upon me in its full might and majesty.

Thenwhen I felt how near to my Creator I was standingthe first
effectand the enduring one - instant and lasting - of the
tremendous spectaclewas Peace. Peace of Mindtranquillitycalm
recollections of the Deadgreat thoughts of Eternal Rest and
Happiness: nothing of gloom or terror. Niagara was at once
stamped upon my heartan Image of Beauty; to remain there
changeless and indelibleuntil its pulses cease to beatfor ever.

Ohhow the strife and trouble of daily life receded from my view
and lessened in the distanceduring the ten memorable days we
passed on that Enchanted Ground! What voices spoke from out the
thundering water; what facesfaded from the earthlooked out upon
me from its gleaming depths; what Heavenly promise glistened in
those angels' tearsthe drops of many huesthat showered around
and twined themselves about the gorgeous arches which the changing
rainbows made!

I never stirred in all that time from the Canadian sidewhither I
had gone at first. I never crossed the river again; for I knew
there were people on the other shoreand in such a place it is
natural to shun strange company. To wander to and fro all dayand
see the cataracts from all points of view; to stand upon the edge
of the great Horse-Shoe Fallmarking the hurried water gathering
strength as it approached the vergeyet seemingtooto pause
before it shot into the gulf below; to gaze from the river's level
up at the torrent as it came streaming down; to climb the
neighbouring heights and watch it through the treesand see the
wreathing water in the rapids hurrying on to take its fearful
plunge; to linger in the shadow of the solemn rocks three miles
below; watching the river asstirred by no visible causeit
heaved and eddied and awoke the echoesbeing troubled yetfar
down beneath the surfaceby its giant leap; to have Niagara before
melighted by the sun and by the moonred in the day's decline
and grey as evening slowly fell upon it; to look upon it every day
and wake up in the night and hear its ceaseless voice: this was
enough.

I think in every quiet season nowstill do those waters roll and
leapand roar and tumbleall day long; still are the rainbows
spanning thema hundred feet below. Stillwhen the sun is on
themdo they shine and glow like molten gold. Stillwhen the day
is gloomydo they fall like snowor seem to crumble away like the


front of a great chalk cliffor roll down the rock like dense
white smoke. But always does the mighty stream appear to die as it
comes downand always from its unfathomable grave arises that
tremendous ghost of spray and mist which is never laid: which has
haunted this place with the same dread solemnity since Darkness
brooded on the deepand that first flood before the Deluge - Light

-came rushing on Creation at the word of God.
CHAPTER XV - IN CANADA; TORONTO; KINGSTON; MONTREAL; QUEBEC; ST.
JOHN'S. IN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN; LEBANON; THE SHAKER VILLAGE;
WEST POINT

I wish to abstain from instituting any comparisonor drawing any
parallel whateverbetween the social features of the United States
and those of the British Possessions in Canada. For this reasonI
shall confine myself to a very brief account of our journeyings in
the latter territory.

But before I leave NiagaraI must advert to one disgusting
circumstance which can hardly have escaped the observation of any
decent traveller who has visited the Falls.

On Table Rockthere is a cottage belonging to a Guidewhere
little relics of the place are soldand where visitors register
their names in a book kept for the purpose. On the wall of the
room in which a great many of these volumes are preservedthe
following request is posted: 'Visitors will please not copy nor
extract the remarks and poetical effusions from the registers and
albums kept here.'

But for this intimationI should have let them lie upon the tables
on which they were strewn with careful negligencelike books in a
drawing-room: being quite satisfied with the stupendous silliness
of certain stanzas with an anti-climax at the end of eachwhich
were framed and hung up on the wall. Curioushoweverafter
reading this announcementto see what kind of morsels were so
carefully preservedI turned a few leavesand found them scrawled
all over with the vilest and the filthiest ribaldry that ever human
hogs delighted in.

It is humiliating enough to know that there are among men brutes so
obscene and worthlessthat they can delight in laying their
miserable profanations upon the very steps of Nature's greatest
altar. But that these should be hoarded up for the delight of
their fellow-swineand kept in a public place where any eyes may
see themis a disgrace to the English language in which they are
written (though I hope few of these entries have been made by
Englishmen)and a reproach to the English sideon which they are
preserved.

The quarters of our soldiers at Niagaraare finely and airily
situated. Some of them are large detached houses on the plain
above the Fallswhich were originally designed for hotels; and in
the evening timewhen the women and children were leaning over the
balconies watching the men as they played at ball and other games
upon the grass before the doorthey often presented a little
picture of cheerfulness and animation which made it quite a
pleasure to pass that way.

At any garrisoned point where the line of demarcation between one


country and another is so very narrow as at Niagaradesertion from
the ranks can scarcely fail to be of frequent occurrence: and it
may be reasonably supposed that when the soldiers entertain the
wildest and maddest hopes of the fortune and independence that
await them on the other sidethe impulse to play traitorwhich
such a place suggests to dishonest mindsis not weakened. But it
very rarely happens that the men who do desertare happy or
contented afterwards; and many instances have been known in which
they have confessed their grievous disappointmentand their
earnest desire to return to their old service if they could but be
assured of pardonor lenient treatment. Many of their comrades
notwithstandingdo the likefrom time to time; and instances of
loss of life in the effort to cross the river with this objectare
far from being uncommon. Several men were drowned in the attempt
to swim acrossnot long ago; and onewho had the madness to trust
himself upon a table as a raftwas swept down to the whirlpool
where his mangled body eddied round and round some days.

I am inclined to think that the noise of the Falls is very much
exaggerated; and this will appear the more probable when the depth
of the great basin in which the water is receivedis taken into
account. At no time during our stay therewas the wind at all
high or boisterousbut we never heard themthree miles offeven
at the very quiet time of sunsetthough we often tried.

Queenstonat which place the steamboats start for Toronto (or I
should rather say at which place they callfor their wharf is at
Lewistonon the opposite shore)is situated in a delicious
valleythrough which the Niagara riverin colour a very deep
greenpursues its course. It is approached by a road that takes
its winding way among the heights by which the town is sheltered;
and seen from this point is extremely beautiful and picturesque.
On the most conspicuous of these heights stood a monument erected
by the Provincial Legislature in memory of General Brockwho was
slain in a battle with the American forcesafter having won the
victory. Some vagabondsupposed to be a fellow of the name of
Lettwho is nowor who lately wasin prison as a felonblew up
this monument two years agoand it is now a melancholy ruinwith
a long fragment of iron railing hanging dejectedly from its top
and waving to and fro like a wild ivy branch or broken vine stem.
It is of much higher importance than it may seemthat this statue
should be repaired at the public costas it ought to have been
long ago. Firstlybecause it is beneath the dignity of England to
allow a memorial raised in honour of one of her defendersto
remain in this conditionon the very spot where he died.
Secondlybecause the sight of it in its present stateand the
recollection of the unpunished outrage which brought it to this
passis not very likely to soothe down border feelings among
English subjects hereor compose their border quarrels and
dislikes.

I was standing on the wharf at this placewatching the passengers
embarking in a steamboat which preceded that whose coming we
awaitedand participating in the anxiety with which a sergeant's
wife was collecting her few goods together - keeping one distracted
eye hard upon the porterswho were hurrying them on boardand the
other on a hoopless washing-tub for whichas being the most
utterly worthless of all her movablesshe seemed to entertain
particular affection - when three or four soldiers with a recruit
came up and went on board.

The recruit was a likely young fellow enoughstrongly built and
well madebut by no means sober: indeed he had all the air of a
man who had been more or less drunk for some days. He carried a


small bundle over his shoulderslung at the end of a walkingstick
and had a short pipe in his mouth. He was as dusty and
dirty as recruits usually areand his shoes betokened that he had
travelled on foot some distancebut he was in a very jocose state
and shook hands with this soldierand clapped that one on the
backand talked and laughed continuallylike a roaring idle dog
as he was.

The soldiers rather laughed at this blade than with him: seeming
to sayas they stood straightening their canes in their handsand
looking coolly at him over their glazed stocks'Go onmy boy
while you may! you'll know better by-and-by:' when suddenly the
novicewho had been backing towards the gangway in his noisy
merrimentfell overboard before their eyesand splashed heavily
down into the river between the vessel and the dock.

I never saw such a good thing as the change that came over these
soldiers in an instant. Almost before the man was downtheir
professional mannertheir stiffness and constraintwere goneand
they were filled with the most violent energy. In less time than
is required to tell itthey had him out againfeet firstwith
the tails of his coat flapping over his eyeseverything about him
hanging the wrong wayand the water streaming off at every thread
in his threadbare dress. But the moment they set him upright and
found that he was none the worsethey were soldiers againlooking
over their glazed stocks more composedly than ever.

The half-sobered recruit glanced round for a momentas if his
first impulse were to express some gratitude for his preservation
but seeing them with this air of total unconcernand having his
wet pipe presented to him with an oath by the soldier who had been
by far the most anxious of the partyhe stuck it in his mouth
thrust his hands into his moist pocketsand without even shaking
the water off his clotheswalked on board whistling; not to say as
if nothing had happenedbut as if he had meant to do itand it
had been a perfect success.

Our steamboat came up directly this had left the wharfand soon
bore us to the mouth of the Niagara; where the stars and stripes of
America flutter on one side and the Union Jack of England on the
other: and so narrow is the space between them that the sentinels
in either fort can often hear the watchword of the other country
given. Thence we emerged on Lake Ontarioan inland sea; and by
half-past six o'clock were at Toronto.

The country round this town being very flatis bare of scenic
interest; but the town itself is full of life and motionbustle
businessand improvement. The streets are well pavedand lighted
with gas; the houses are large and good; the shops excellent. Many
of them have a display of goods in their windowssuch as may be
seen in thriving county towns in England; and there are some which
would do no discredit to the metropolis itself. There is a good
stone prison here; and there arebesidesa handsome churcha
court-housepublic officesmany commodious private residences
and a government observatory for noting and recording the magnetic
variations. In the College of Upper Canadawhich is one of the
public establishments of the citya sound education in every
department of polite learning can be hadat a very moderate
expense: the annual charge for the instruction of each pupilnot
exceeding nine pounds sterling. It has pretty good endowments in
the way of landand is a valuable and useful institution.

The first stone of a new college had been laid but a few days
beforeby the Governor General. It will be a handsomespacious


edificeapproached by a long avenuewhich is already planted and
made available as a public walk. The town is well adapted for
wholesome exercise at all seasonsfor the footways in the
thoroughfares which lie beyond the principal streetare planked
like floorsand kept in very good and clean repair.

It is a matter of deep regret that political differences should
have run high in this placeand led to most discreditable and
disgraceful results. It is not long since guns were discharged
from a window in this town at the successful candidates in an
electionand the coachman of one of them was actually shot in the
bodythough not dangerously wounded. But one man was killed on
the same occasion; and from the very window whence he received his
deaththe very flag which shielded his murderer (not only in the
commission of his crimebut from its consequences)was displayed
again on the occasion of the public ceremony performed by the
Governor Generalto which I have just adverted. Of all the
colours in the rainbowthere is but one which could be so
employed: I need not say that flag was orange.

The time of leaving Toronto for Kingston is noon. By eight o'clock
next morningthe traveller is at the end of his journeywhich is
performed by steamboat upon Lake Ontariocalling at Port Hope and
Coburgthe latter a cheerfulthriving little town. Vast
quantities of flour form the chief item in the freight of these
vessels. We had no fewer than one thousand and eighty barrels on
boardbetween Coburg and Kingston.

The latter placewhich is now the seat of government in Canadais
a very poor townrendered still poorer in the appearance of its
market-place by the ravages of a recent fire. Indeedit may be
said of Kingstonthat one half of it appears to be burnt downand
the other half not to be built up. The Government House is neither
elegant nor commodiousyet it is almost the only house of any
importance in the neighbourhood.

There is an admirable jail herewell and wisely governedand
excellently regulatedin every respect. The men were employed as
shoemakersropemakersblacksmithstailorscarpentersand
stonecutters; and in building a new prisonwhich was pretty far
advanced towards completion. The female prisoners were occupied in
needlework. Among them was a beautiful girl of twentywho had
been there nearly three years. She acted as bearer of secret
despatches for the self-styled Patriots on Navy Islandduring the
Canadian Insurrection: sometimes dressing as a girland carrying
them in her stays; sometimes attiring herself as a boyand
secreting them in the lining of her hat. In the latter character
she always rode as a boy wouldwhich was nothing to herfor she
could govern any horse that any man could rideand could drive
four-in-hand with the best whip in those parts. Setting forth on
one of her patriotic missionsshe appropriated to herself the
first horse she could lay her hands on; and this offence had
brought her where I saw her. She had quite a lovely facethough
as the reader may suppose from this sketch of her historythere
was a lurking devil in her bright eyewhich looked out pretty
sharply from between her prison bars.

There is a bomb-proof fort here of great strengthwhich occupies a
bold positionand is capabledoubtlessof doing good service;
though the town is much too close upon the frontier to be long
heldI should imaginefor its present purpose in troubled times.
There is also a small navy-yardwhere a couple of Government
steamboats were buildingand getting on vigorously.


We left Kingston for Montreal on the tenth of Mayat half-past
nine in the morningand proceeded in a steamboat down the St.
Lawrence river. The beauty of this noble stream at almost any
pointbut especially in the commencement of this journey when it
winds its way among the thousand Islandscan hardly be imagined.
The number and constant successions of these islandsall green and
richly wooded; their fluctuating sizessome so large that for half
an hour together one among them will appear as the opposite bank of
the riverand some so small that they are mere dimples on its
broad bosom; their infinite variety of shapes; and the numberless
combinations of beautiful forms which the trees growing on them
present: all form a picture fraught with uncommon interest and
pleasure.

In the afternoon we shot down some rapids where the river boiled
and bubbled strangelyand where the force and headlong violence of
the current were tremendous. At seven o'clock we reached
Dickenson's Landingwhence travellers proceed for two or three
hours by stage-coach: the navigation of the river being rendered
so dangerous and difficult in the intervalby rapidsthat
steamboats do not make the passage. The number and length of those
PORTAGESover which the roads are badand the travelling slow
render the way between the towns of Montreal and Kingstonsomewhat
tedious.

Our course lay over a wideuninclosed tract of country at a little
distance from the river-sidewhence the bright warning lights on
the dangerous parts of the St. Lawrence shone vividly. The night
was dark and rawand the way dreary enough. It was nearly ten
o'clock when we reached the wharf where the next steamboat lay; and
went on boardand to bed.

She lay there all nightand started as soon as it was day. The
morning was ushered in by a violent thunderstormand was very wet
but gradually improved and brightened up. Going on deck after
breakfastI was amazed to see floating down with the streama
most gigantic raftwith some thirty or forty wooden houses upon
itand at least as many flag-mastsso that it looked like a
nautical street. I saw many of these rafts afterwardsbut never
one so large. All the timberor 'lumber' as it is called in
Americawhich is brought down the St. Lawrenceis floated down in
this manner. When the raft reaches its place of destinationit is
broken up; the materials are sold; and the boatmen return for more.

At eight we landed againand travelled by a stage-coach for four
hours through a pleasant and well-cultivated countryperfectly
French in every respect: in the appearance of the cottages; the
airlanguageand dress of the peasantry; the sign-boards on the
shops and taverns: and the Virgin's shrinesand crossesby the
wayside. Nearly every common labourer and boythough he had no
shoes to his feetwore round his waist a sash of some bright
colour: generally red: and the womenwho were working in the
fields and gardensand doing all kinds of husbandryworeone and
allgreat flat straw hats with most capacious brims. There were
Catholic Priests and Sisters of Charity in the village streets; and
images of the Saviour at the corners of cross-roadsand in other
public places.

At noon we went on board another steamboatand reached the village
of Lachinenine miles from Montrealby three o'clock. Therewe
left the riverand went on by land.

Montreal is pleasantly situated on the margin of the St. Lawrence
and is backed by some bold heightsabout which there are charming


rides and drives. The streets are generally narrow and irregular
as in most French towns of any age; but in the more modern parts of
the citythey are wide and airy. They display a great variety of
very good shops; and both in the town and suburbs there are many
excellent private dwellings. The granite quays are remarkable for
their beautysolidityand extent.

There is a very large Catholic cathedral hererecently erected
with two tall spiresof which one is yet unfinished. In the open
space in front of this edificestands a solitarygrim-looking
square brick towerwhich has a quaint and remarkable appearance
and which the wiseacres of the place have consequently determined
to pull down immediately. The Government House is very superior to
that at Kingstonand the town is full of life and bustle. In one
of the suburbs is a plank road - not footpath - five or six miles
longand a famous road it is too. All the rides in the vicinity
were made doubly interesting by the bursting out of springwhich
is here so rapidthat it is but a day's leap from barren winter
to the blooming youth of summer.

The steamboats to Quebec perform the journey in the night; that is
to saythey leave Montreal at six in the eveningand arrive at
Quebec at six next morning. We made this excursion during our stay
in Montreal (which exceeded a fortnight)and were charmed by its
interest and beauty.

The impression made upon the visitor by this Gibraltar of America:
its giddy heights; its citadel suspendedas it werein the air;
its picturesque steep streets and frowning gateways; and the
splendid views which burst upon the eye at every turn: is at once
unique and lasting.

It is a place not to be forgotten or mixed up in the mind with
other placesor altered for a moment in the crowd of scenes a
traveller can recall. Apart from the realities of this most
picturesque citythere are associations clustering about it which
would make a desert rich in interest. The dangerous precipice
along whose rocky frontWolfe and his brave companions climbed to
glory; the Plains of Abrahamwhere he received his mortal wound;
the fortress so chivalrously defended by Montcalm; and his
soldier's gravedug for him while yet aliveby the bursting of a
shell; are not the least among themor among the gallant incidents
of history. That is a noble Monument tooand worthy of two great
nationswhich perpetuates the memory of both brave generalsand
on which their names are jointly written.

The city is rich in public institutions and in Catholic churches
and charitiesbut it is mainly in the prospect from the site of
the Old Government Houseand from the Citadelthat its surpassing
beauty lies. The exquisite expanse of countryrich in field and
forestmountain-height and waterwhich lies stretched out before
the viewwith miles of Canadian villagesglancing in long white
streakslike veins along the landscape; the motley crowd of
gablesroofsand chimney tops in the old hilly town immediately
at hand; the beautiful St. Lawrence sparkling and flashing in the
sunlight; and the tiny ships below the rock from which you gaze
whose distant rigging looks like spiders' webs against the light
while casks and barrels on their decks dwindle into toysand busy
mariners become so many puppets; all thisframed by a sunken
window in the fortress and looked at from the shadowed room within
forms one of the brightest and most enchanting pictures that the
eye can rest upon.

In the spring of the yearvast numbers of emigrants who have newly


arrived from England or from Irelandpass between Quebec and
Montreal on their way to the backwoods and new settlements of
Canada. If it be an entertaining lounge (as I very often found it)
to take a morning stroll upon the quay at Montrealand see them
grouped in hundreds on the public wharfs about their chests and
boxesit is matter of deep interest to be their fellow-passenger
on one of these steamboatsand mingling with the concoursesee
and hear them unobserved.

The vessel in which we returned from Quebec to Montreal was crowded
with themand at night they spread their beds between decks (those
who had bedsat least)and slept so close and thick about our
cabin doorthat the passage to and fro was quite blocked up. They
were nearly all English; from Gloucestershire the greater part; and
had had a long winter-passage out; but it was wonderful to see how
clean the children had been keptand how untiring in their love
and self-denial all the poor parents were.

Cant as we mayand as we shall to the end of all thingsit is
very much harder for the poor to be virtuous than it is for the
rich; and the good that is in themshines the brighter for it. In
many a noble mansion lives a manthe best of husbands and of
fatherswhose private worth in both capacities is justly lauded to
the skies. But bring him hereupon this crowded deck. Strip from
his fair young wife her silken dress and jewelsunbind her braided
hairstamp early wrinkles on her browpinch her pale cheek with
care and much privationarray her faded form in coarsely patched
attirelet there be nothing but his love to set her forth or deck
her outand you shall put it to the proof indeed. So change his
station in the worldthat he shall see in those young things who
climb about his knee: not records of his wealth and name: but
little wrestlers with him for his daily bread; so many poachers on
his scanty meal; so many units to divide his every sum of comfort
and farther to reduce its small amount. In lieu of the endearments
of childhood in its sweetest aspectheap upon him all its pains
and wantsits sicknesses and illsits fretfulnesscapriceand
querulous endurance: let its prattle benot of engaging infant
fanciesbut of coldand thirstand hunger: and if his fatherly
affection outlive all thisand he be patientwatchfultender;
careful of his children's livesand mindful always of their joys
and sorrows; then send him back to Parliamentand Pulpitand to
Quarter Sessionsand when he hears fine talk of the depravity of
those who live from hand to mouthand labour hard to do itlet
him speak upas one who knowsand tell those holders forth that
theyby parallel with such a classshould be High Angels in their
daily livesand lay but humble siege to Heaven at last.

Which of us shall say what he would beif such realitieswith
small relief or change all through his dayswere his! Looking
round upon these people: far from homehouselessindigent
wanderingweary with travel and hard living: and seeing how
patiently they nursed and tended their young children: how they
consulted ever their wants firstthen half supplied their own;
what gentle ministers of hope and faith the women were; how the men
profited by their example; and how veryvery seldom even a
moment's petulance or harsh complaint broke out among them: I felt
a stronger love and honour of my kind come glowing on my heartand
wished to God there had been many Atheists in the better part of
human nature thereto read this simple lesson in the book of Life.

* * * * * *

We left Montreal for New York againon the thirtieth of May
crossing to La Prairieon the opposite shore of the St. Lawrence


in a steamboat; we then took the railroad to St. John'swhich is
on the brink of Lake Champlain. Our last greeting in Canada was
from the English officers in the pleasant barracks at that place (a
class of gentlemen who had made every hour of our visit memorable
by their hospitality and friendship); and with 'Rule Britannia'
sounding in our earssoon left it far behind.

But Canada has heldand always will retaina foremost place in my
remembrance. Few Englishmen are prepared to find it what it is.
Advancing quietly; old differences settling downand being fast
forgotten; public feeling and private enterprise alike in a sound
and wholesome state; nothing of flush or fever in its systembut
health and vigour throbbing in its steady pulse: it is full of
hope and promise. To me - who had been accustomed to think of it
as something left behind in the strides of advancing societyas
something neglected and forgottenslumbering and wasting in its
sleep - the demand for labour and the rates of wages; the busy
quays of Montreal; the vessels taking in their cargoesand
discharging them; the amount of shipping in the different ports;
the commerceroadsand public worksall made TO LAST; the
respectability and character of the public journals; and the amount
of rational comfort and happiness which honest industry may earn:
were very great surprises. The steamboats on the lakesin their
conveniencescleanlinessand safety; in the gentlemanly character
and bearing of their captains; and in the politeness and perfect
comfort of their social regulations; are unsurpassed even by the
famous Scotch vesselsdeservedly so much esteemed at home. The
inns are usually bad; because the custom of boarding at hotels is
not so general here as in the Statesand the British officerswho
form a large portion of the society of every townlive chiefly at
the regimental messes: but in every other respectthe traveller
in Canada will find as good provision for his comfort as in any
place I know.

There is one American boat - the vessel which carried us on Lake
Champlainfrom St. John's to Whitehall - which I praise very
highlybut no more than it deserveswhen I say that it is
superior even to that in which we went from Queenston to Toronto
or to that in which we travelled from the latter place to Kingston
or I have no doubt I may add to any other in the world. This
steamboatwhich is called the Burlingtonis a perfectly exquisite
achievement of neatnesseleganceand order. The decks are
drawing-rooms; the cabins are boudoirschoicely furnished and
adorned with printspicturesand musical instruments; every nook
and corner in the vessel is a perfect curiosity of graceful comfort
and beautiful contrivance. Captain Shermanher commanderto
whose ingenuity and excellent taste these results are solely
attributablehas bravely and worthily distinguished himself on
more than one trying occasion: not least among themin having the
moral courage to carry British troopsat a time (during the
Canadian rebellion) when no other conveyance was open to them. He
and his vessel are held in universal respectboth by his own
countrymen and ours; and no man ever enjoyed the popular esteem
whoin his sphere of actionwon and wore it better than this
gentleman.

By means of this floating palace we were soon in the United States
againand called that evening at Burlington; a pretty townwhere
we lay an hour or so. We reached Whitehallwhere we were to
disembarkat six next morning; and might have done so earlierbut
that these steamboats lie by for some hours in the nightin
consequence of the lake becoming very narrow at that part of the
journeyand difficult of navigation in the dark. Its width is so
contracted at one pointindeedthat they are obliged to warp


round by means of a rope.

After breakfasting at Whitehallwe took the stage-coach for
Albany: a large and busy townwhere we arrived between five and
six o'clock that afternoon; after a very hot day's journeyfor we
were now in the height of summer again. At seven we started for
New York on board a great North River steamboatwhich was so
crowded with passengers that the upper deck was like the box lobby
of a theatre between the piecesand the lower one like Tottenham
Court Road on a Saturday night. But we slept soundly
notwithstandingand soon after five o'clock next morning reached
New York.

Tarrying hereonly that day and nightto recruit after our late
fatigueswe started off once more upon our last journey in
America. We had yet five days to spare before embarking for
Englandand I had a great desire to see 'the Shaker Village'
which is peopled by a religious sect from whom it takes its name.

To this endwe went up the North River againas far as the town
of Hudsonand there hired an extra to carry us to Lebanonthirty
miles distant: and of course another and a different Lebanon from
that village where I slept on the night of the Prairie trip.

The country through which the road meanderedwas rich and
beautiful; the weather very fine; and for many miles the Kaatskill
mountainswhere Rip Van Winkle and the ghostly Dutchmen played at
ninepins one memorable gusty afternoontowered in the blue
distancelike stately clouds. At one pointas we ascended a
steep hillathwart whose base a railroadyet constructingtook
its coursewe came upon an Irish colony. With means at hand of
building decent cabinsit was wonderful to see how clumsyrough
and wretchedits hovels were. The best were poor protection from
the weather the worst let in the wind and rain through wide
breaches in the roofs of sodden grassand in the walls of mud;
some had neither door nor window; some had nearly fallen downand
were imperfectly propped up by stakes and poles; all were ruinous
and filthy. Hideously ugly old women and very buxom young ones
pigsdogsmenchildrenbabiespotskettlesdung-hillsvile
refuserank strawand standing waterall wallowing together in
an inseparable heapcomposed the furniture of every dark and dirty
hut.

Between nine and ten o'clock at nightwe arrived at Lebanon which
is renowned for its warm bathsand for a great hotelwell
adaptedI have no doubtto the gregarious taste of those seekers
after health or pleasure who repair herebut inexpressibly
comfortless to me. We were shown into an immense apartment
lighted by two dim candlescalled the drawing-room: from which
there was a descent by a flight of stepsto another vast desert
called the dining-room: our bed-chambers were among certain long
rows of little white-washed cellswhich opened from either side of
a dreary passage; and were so like rooms in a prison that I half
expected to be locked up when I went to bedand listened
involuntarily for the turning of the key on the outside. There
need be baths somewhere in the neighbourhoodfor the other washing
arrangements were on as limited a scale as I ever saweven in
America: indeedthese bedrooms were so very bare of even such
common luxuries as chairsthat I should say they were not provided
with enough of anythingbut that I bethink myself of our having
been most bountifully bitten all night.

The house is very pleasantly situatedhoweverand we had a good
breakfast. That donewe went to visit our place of destination


which was some two miles offand the way to which was soon
indicated by a finger-postwhereon was painted'To the Shaker
Village.'

As we rode alongwe passed a party of Shakerswho were at work
upon the road; who wore the broadest of all broad-brimmed hats; and
were in all visible respects such very wooden menthat I felt
about as much sympathy for themand as much interest in themas
if they had been so many figure-heads of ships. Presently we came
to the beginning of the villageand alighting at the door of a
house where the Shaker manufactures are soldand which is the
headquarters of the eldersrequested permission to see the Shaker
worship.

Pending the conveyance of this request to some person in authority
we walked into a grim roomwhere several grim hats were hanging on
grim pegsand the time was grimly told by a grim clock which
uttered every tick with a kind of struggleas if it broke the grim
silence reluctantlyand under protest. Ranged against the wall
were six or eight stiffhigh-backed chairsand they partook so
strongly of the general grimness that one would much rather have
sat on the floor than incurred the smallest obligation to any of
them.

Presentlythere stalked into this apartmenta grim old Shaker
with eyes as hardand dulland coldas the great round metal
buttons on his coat and waistcoat; a sort of calm goblin. Being
informed of our desirehe produced a newspaper wherein the body of
elderswhereof he was a memberhad advertised but a few days
beforethat in consequence of certain unseemly interruptions which
their worship had received from strangerstheir chapel was closed
to the public for the space of one year.

As nothing was to be urged in opposition to this reasonable
arrangementwe requested leave to make some trifling purchases of
Shaker goods; which was grimly conceded. We accordingly repaired
to a store in the same house and on the opposite side of the
passagewhere the stock was presided over by something alive in a
russet casewhich the elder said was a woman; and which I suppose
WAS a womanthough I should not have suspected it.

On the opposite side of the road was their place of worship: a
coolclean edifice of woodwith large windows and green blinds:
like a spacious summer-house. As there was no getting into this
placeand nothing was to be done but walk up and downand look at
it and the other buildings in the village (which were chiefly of
woodpainted a dark red like English barnsand composed of many
stories like English factories)I have nothing to communicate to
the readerbeyond the scanty results I gleaned the while our
purchases were making

These people are called Shakers from their peculiar form of
adorationwhich consists of a danceperformed by the men and
women of all ageswho arrange themselves for that purpose in
opposite parties: the men first divesting themselves of their hats
and coatswhich they gravely hang against the wall before they
begin; and tying a ribbon round their shirt-sleevesas though they
were going to be bled. They accompany themselves with a droning
humming noiseand dance until they are quite exhausted
alternately advancing and retiring in a preposterous sort of trot.
The effect is said to be unspeakably absurd: and if I may judge
from a print of this ceremony which I have in my possession; and
which I am informed by those who have visited the chapelis
perfectly accurate; it must be infinitely grotesque.


They are governed by a womanand her rule is understood to be
absolutethough she has the assistance of a council of elders.
She livesit is saidin strict seclusionin certain rooms above
the chapeland is never shown to profane eyes. If she at all
resemble the lady who presided over the storeit is a great
charity to keep her as close as possibleand I cannot too strongly
express my perfect concurrence in this benevolent proceeding.

All the possessions and revenues of the settlement are thrown into
a common stockwhich is managed by the elders. As they have made
converts among people who were well to do in the worldand are
frugal and thriftyit is understood that this fund prospers: the
more especially as they have made large purchases of land. Nor is
this at Lebanon the only Shaker settlement: there areI thinkat
leastthree others.

They are good farmersand all their produce is eagerly purchased
and highly esteemed. 'Shaker seeds' 'Shaker herbs' and 'Shaker
distilled waters' are commonly announced for sale in the shops of
towns and cities. They are good breeders of cattleand are kind
and merciful to the brute creation. ConsequentlyShaker beasts
seldom fail to find a ready market.

They eat and drink togetherafter the Spartan modelat a great
public table. There is no union of the sexesand every Shaker
male and femaleis devoted to a life of celibacy. Rumour has been
busy upon this themebut here again I must refer to the lady of
the storeand saythat if many of the sister Shakers resemble
herI treat all such slander as bearing on its face the strongest
marks of wild improbability. But that they take as proselytes
persons so young that they cannot know their own mindsand cannot
possess much strength of resolution in this or any other respectI
can assert from my own observation of the extreme juvenility of
certain youthful Shakers whom I saw at work among the party on the
road.

They are said to be good drivers of bargainsbut to be honest and
just in their transactionsand even in horse-dealing to resist
those thievish tendencies which would seemfor some undiscovered
reasonto be almost inseparable from that branch of traffic. In
all matters they hold their own course quietlylive in their
gloomysilent commonwealthand show little desire to interfere
with other people.

This is well enoughbut nevertheless I cannotI confessincline
towards the Shakers; view them with much favouror extend towards
them any very lenient construction. I so abhorand from my soul
detest that bad spiritno matter by what class or sect it may be
entertainedwhich would strip life of its healthful gracesrob
youth of its innocent pleasurespluck from maturity and age their
pleasant ornamentsand make existence but a narrow path towards
the grave: that odious spirit whichif it could have had full
scope and sway upon the earthmust have blasted and made barren
the imaginations of the greatest menand left themin their power
of raising up enduring images before their fellow-creatures yet
unbornno better than the beasts: thatin these very broadbrimmed
hats and very sombre coats - in stiff-neckedsolemnvisaged
pietyin shortno matter what its garbwhether it have
cropped hair as in a Shaker villageor long nails as in a Hindoo
temple - I recognise the worst among the enemies of Heaven and
Earthwho turn the water at the marriage feasts of this poor
worldnot into winebut gall. And if there must be people vowed
to crush the harmless fancies and the love of innocent delights and


gaietieswhich are a part of human nature: as much a part of it
as any other love or hope that is our common portion: let them
for mestand openly revealed among the ribald and licentious; the
very idiots know that THEY are not on the Immortal roadand will
despise themand avoid them readily.

Leaving the Shaker village with a hearty dislike of the old
Shakersand a hearty pity for the young ones: tempered by the
strong probability of their running away as they grow older and
wiserwhich they not uncommonly do: we returned to Lebanonand
so to Hudsonby the way we had come upon the previous day. There
we took the steamboat down the North River towards New Yorkbut
stoppedsome four hours' journey short of itat West Pointwhere
we remained that nightand all next dayand next night too.

In this beautiful place: the fairest among the fair and lovely
Highlands of the North River: shut in by deep green heights and
ruined fortsand looking down upon the distant town of Newburgh
along a glittering path of sunlit waterwith here and there a
skiffwhose white sail often bends on some new tack as sudden
flaws of wind come down upon her from the gullies in the hills:
hemmed inbesidesall round with memories of Washingtonand
events of the revolutionary war: is the Military School of
America.

It could not stand on more appropriate groundand any ground more
beautiful can hardly be. The course of education is severebut
well devisedand manly. Through JuneJulyand Augustthe young
men encamp upon the spacious plain whereon the college stands; and
all the year their military exercises are performed theredaily.
The term of study at this institutionwhich the State requires
from all cadetsis four years; butwhether it be from the rigid
nature of the disciplineor the national impatience of restraint
or both causes combinednot more than half the number who begin
their studies hereever remain to finish them.

The number of cadets being about equal to that of the members of
Congressone is sent here from every Congressional district: its
member influencing the selection. Commissions in the service are
distributed on the same principle. The dwellings of the various
Professors are beautifully situated; and there is a most excellent
hotel for strangersthough it has the two drawbacks of being a
total abstinence house (wines and spirits being forbidden to the
students)and of serving the public meals at rather uncomfortable
hours: to witbreakfast at sevendinner at oneand supper at
sunset.

The beauty and freshness of this calm retreatin the very dawn and
greenness of summer - it was then the beginning of June - were
exquisite indeed. Leaving it upon the sixthand returning to New
Yorkto embark for England on the succeeding dayI was glad to
think that among the last memorable beauties which had glided past
usand softened in the bright perspectivewere those whose
picturestraced by no common handare fresh in most men's minds;
not easily to grow oldor fade beneath the dust of Time: the
Kaatskill MountainsSleepy Hollowand the Tappaan Zee.

CHAPTER XVI - THE PASSAGE HOME

I NEVER had so much interest beforeand very likely I shall never


have so much interest againin the state of the windas on the
long-looked-for morning of Tuesday the Seventh of June. Some
nautical authority had told me a day or two previous'anything
with west in itwill do;' so when I darted out of bed at daylight
and throwing up the windowwas saluted by a lively breeze from the
north-west which had sprung up in the nightit came upon me so
freshlyrustling with so many happy associationsthat I conceived
upon the spot a special regard for all airs blowing from that
quarter of the compasswhich I shall cherishI dare sayuntil my
own wind has breathed its last frail puffand withdrawn itself for
ever from the mortal calendar.

The pilot had not been slow to take advantage of this favourable
weatherand the ship which yesterday had been in such a crowded
dock that she might have retired from trade for good and allfor
any chance she seemed to have of going to seawas now full sixteen
miles away. A gallant sight she waswhen wefast gaining on her
in a steamboatsaw her in the distance riding at anchor: her tall
masts pointing up in graceful lines against the skyand every rope
and spar expressed in delicate and thread-like outline: gallant
toowhenwe being all aboardthe anchor came up to the sturdy
chorus 'Cheerily menoh cheerily!' and she followed proudly in the
towing steamboat's wake: but bravest and most gallant of allwhen
the tow-rope being cast adriftthe canvas fluttered from her
mastsand spreading her white wings she soared away upon her free
and solitary course.

In the after cabin we were only fifteen passengers in alland the
greater part were from Canadawhere some of us had known each
other. The night was rough and squallyso were the next two days
but they flew by quicklyand we were soon as cheerful and snug a
partywith an honestmanly-hearted captain at our headas ever
came to the resolution of being mutually agreeableon land or
water.

We breakfasted at eightlunched at twelvedined at threeand
took our tea at half-past seven. We had abundance of amusements
and dinner was not the least among them: firstlyfor its own
sake; secondlybecause of its extraordinary length: its duration
inclusive of all the long pauses between the coursesbeing seldom
less than two hours and a half; which was a subject of neverfailing
entertainment. By way of beguiling the tediousness of
these banquetsa select association was formed at the lower end of
the tablebelow the mastto whose distinguished president modesty
forbids me to make any further allusionwhichbeing a very
hilarious and jovial institutionwas (prejudice apart) in high
favour with the rest of the communityand particularly with a
black stewardwho lived for three weeks in a broad grin at the
marvellous humour of these incorporated worthies.

Thenwe had chess for those who played itwhistcribbagebooks
backgammonand shovelboard. In all weathersfair or foulcalm
or windywe were every one on deckwalking up and down in pairs
lying in the boatsleaning over the sideor chatting in a lazy
group together. We had no lack of musicfor one played the
accordionanother the violinand another (who usually began at
six o'clock A.M.) the key-bugle: the combined effect of which
instrumentswhen they all played different tunes in differents
parts of the shipat the same timeand within hearing of each
otheras they sometimes did (everybody being intensely satisfied
with his own performance)was sublimely hideous.

When all these means of entertainment faileda sail would heave in
sight: loomingperhapsthe very spirit of a shipin the misty


distanceor passing us so close that through our glasses we could
see the people on her decksand easily make out her nameand
whither she was bound. For hours together we could watch the
dolphins and porpoises as they rolled and leaped and dived around
the vessel; or those small creatures ever on the wingthe Mother
Carey's chickenswhich had borne us company from New York bayand
for a whole fortnight fluttered about the vessel's stern. For some
days we had a dead calmor very light windsduring which the crew
amused themselves with fishingand hooked an unlucky dolphinwho
expiredin all his rainbow colourson the deck: an event of such
importance in our barren calendarthat afterwards we dated from
the dolphinand made the day on which he diedan era.

Besides all thiswhen we were five or six days outthere began to
be much talk of icebergsof which wandering islands an unusual
number had been seen by the vessels that had come into New York a
day or two before we left that portand of whose dangerous
neighbourhood we were warned by the sudden coldness of the weather
and the sinking of the mercury in the barometer. While these
tokens lasteda double look-out was keptand many dismal tales
were whispered after darkof ships that had struck upon the ice
and gone down in the night; but the wind obliging us to hold a
southward coursewe saw none of themand the weather soon grew
bright and warm again.

The observation every day at noonand the subsequent working of
the vessel's coursewasas may be supposeda feature in our
lives of paramount importance; nor were there wanting (as there
never are) sagacious doubters of the captain's calculationswho
so soon as his back was turnedwouldin the absence of compasses
measure the chart with bits of stringand ends of pockethandkerchiefs
and points of snuffersand clearly prove him to be
wrong by an odd thousand miles or so. It was very edifying to see
these unbelievers shake their heads and frownand hear them hold
forth strongly upon navigation: not that they knew anything about
itbut that they always mistrusted the captain in calm weatheror
when the wind was adverse. Indeedthe mercury itself is not so
variable as this class of passengerswhom you will seewhen the
ship is going nobly through the waterquite pale with admiration
swearing that the captain beats all captains ever knownand even
hinting at subscriptions for a piece of plate; and whonext
morningwhen the breeze has lulledand all the sails hang useless
in the idle airshake their despondent heads againand saywith
screwed-up lipsthey hope that captain is a sailor - but they
shrewdly doubt him.

It even became an occupation in the calmto wonder when the wind
WOULD spring up in the favourable quarterwhereit was clearly
shown by all the rules and precedentsit ought to have sprung up
long ago. The first matewho whistled for it zealouslywas much
respected for his perseveranceand was regarded even by the
unbelievers as a first-rate sailor. Many gloomy looks would be
cast upward through the cabin skylights at the flapping sails while
dinner was in progress; and somegrowing bold in ruefulness
predicted that we should land about the middle of July. There are
always on board shipa Sanguine Oneand a Despondent One. The
latter character carried it hollow at this period of the voyage
and triumphed over the Sanguine One at every mealby inquiring
where he supposed the Great Western (which left New York a week
after us) was NOW: and where he supposed the 'Cunard' steam-packet
was NOW: and what he thought of sailing vesselsas compared with
steamships NOW: and so beset his life with pestilent attacks of
that kindthat he too was obliged to affect despondencyfor very
peace and quietude.


These were additions to the list of entertaining incidentsbut
there was still another source of interest. We carried in the
steerage nearly a hundred passengers: a little world of poverty:
and as we came to know individuals among them by sightfrom
looking down upon the deck where they took the air in the daytime
and cooked their foodand very often ate it toowe became curious
to know their historiesand with what expectations they had gone
out to Americaand on what errands they were going homeand what
their circumstances were. The information we got on these heads
from the carpenterwho had charge of these peoplewas often of
the strangest kind. Some of them had been in America but three
dayssome but three monthsand some had gone out in the last
voyage of that very ship in which they were now returning home.
Others had sold their clothes to raise the passage-moneyand had
hardly rags to cover them; others had no foodand lived upon the
charity of the rest: and one manit was discovered nearly at the
end of the voyagenot before - for he kept his secret closeand
did not court compassion - had had no sustenance whatever but the
bones and scraps of fat he took from the plates used in the aftercabin
dinnerwhen they were put out to be washed.

The whole system of shipping and conveying these unfortunate
personsis one that stands in need of thorough revision. If any
class deserve to be protected and assisted by the Governmentit is
that class who are banished from their native land in search of the
bare means of subsistence. All that could be done for these poor
people by the great compassion and humanity of the captain and
officers was donebut they require much more. The law is bound
at least upon the English sideto see that too many of them are
not put on board one ship: and that their accommodations are
decent: not demoralisingand profligate. It is boundtooin
common humanityto declare that no man shall be taken on board
without his stock of provisions being previously inspected by some
proper officerand pronounced moderately sufficient for his
support upon the voyage. It is bound to provideor to require
that there be provideda medical attendant; whereas in these ships
there are nonethough sickness of adultsand deaths of children
on the passageare matters of the very commonest occurrence.
Above all it is the duty of any Governmentbe it monarchy or
republicto interpose and put an end to that system by which a
firm of traders in emigrants purchase of the owners the whole
'tween-decks of a shipand send on board as many wretched people
as they can lay hold ofon any terms they can getwithout the
smallest reference to the conveniences of the steeragethe number
of berthsthe slightest separation of the sexesor anything but
their own immediate profit. Nor is even this the worst of the
vicious system: forcertain crimping agents of these houseswho
have a percentage on all the passengers they inveigleare
constantly travelling about those districts where poverty and
discontent are rifeand tempting the credulous into more misery
by holding out monstrous inducements to emigration which can never
be realised.

The history of every family we had on board was pretty much the
same. After hoarding upand borrowingand beggingand selling
everything to pay the passagethey had gone out to New York
expecting to find its streets paved with gold; and had found them
paved with very hard and very real stones. Enterprise was dull;
labourers were not wanted; jobs of work were to be gotbut the
payment was not. They were coming backeven poorer than they
went. One of them was carrying an open letter from a young English
artisanwho had been in New York a fortnightto a friend near
Manchesterwhom he strongly urged to follow him. One of the


officers brought it to me as a curiosity. 'This is the country
Jem' said the writer. 'I like America. There is no despotism
here; that's the great thing. Employment of all sorts is going abegging
and wages are capital. You have only to choose a trade
Jemand be it. I haven't made choice of one yetbut I shall
soon. AT PRESENT I HAVEN'T QUITE MADE UP MY MIND WHETHER TO BE A
CARPENTER - OR A TAILOR.'

There was yet another kind of passengerand but one morewhoin
the calm and the light windswas a constant theme of conversation
and observation among us. This was an English sailora smart
thorough-builtEnglish man-of-war's-man from his hat to his shoes
who was serving in the American navyand having got leave of
absence was on his way home to see his friends. When he presented
himself to take and pay for his passageit had been suggested to
him that being an able seaman he might as well work it and save the
moneybut this piece of advice he very indignantly rejected:
saying'He'd be damned but for once he'd go aboard shipas a
gentleman.' Accordinglythey took his moneybut he no sooner
came aboardthan he stowed his kit in the forecastlearranged to
mess with the crewand the very first time the hands were turned
upwent aloft like a catbefore anybody. And all through the
passage there he wasfirst at the bracesoutermost on the yards
perpetually lending a hand everywherebut always with a sober
dignity in his mannerand a sober grin on his facewhich plainly
said'I do it as a gentleman. For my own pleasuremind you!'

At length and at lastthe promised wind came up in right good
earnestand away we went before itwith every stitch of canvas
setslashing through the water nobly. There was a grandeur in the
motion of the splendid shipas overshadowed by her mass of sails
she rode at a furious pace upon the waveswhich filled one with an
indescribable sense of pride and exultation. As she plunged into a
foaming valleyhow I loved to see the green wavesbordered deep
with whitecome rushing on asternto buoy her upward at their
pleasureand curl about her as she stooped againbut always own
her for their haughty mistress still! Onon we flewwith
changing lights upon the waterbeing now in the blessed region of
fleecy skies; a bright sun lighting us by dayand a bright moon by
night; the vane pointing directly homewardalike the truthful
index to the favouring wind and to our cheerful hearts; until at
sunriseone fair Monday morning - the twenty-seventh of JuneI
shall not easily forget the day - there lay before usold Cape
ClearGod bless itshowingin the mist of early morninglike a
cloud: the brightest and most welcome cloudto usthat ever hid
the face of Heaven's fallen sister - Home.

Dim speck as it was in the wide prospectit made the sunrise a
more cheerful sightand gave to it that sort of human interest
which it seems to want at sea. Thereas elsewherethe return of
day is inseparable from some sense of renewed hope and gladness;
but the light shining on the dreary waste of waterand showing it
in all its vast extent of lonelinesspresents a solemn spectacle
which even nightveiling it in darkness and uncertaintydoes not
surpass. The rising of the moon is more in keeping with the
solitary ocean; and has an air of melancholy grandeurwhich in its
soft and gentle influenceseems to comfort while it saddens. I
recollect when I was a very young child having a fancy that the
reflection of the moon in water was a path to Heaventrodden by
the spirits of good people on their way to God; and this old
feeling often came over me againwhen I watched it on a tranquil
night at sea.

The wind was very light on this same Monday morningbut it was


still in the right quarterand soby slow degreeswe left Cape
Clear behindand sailed along within sight of the coast of
Ireland. And how merry we all wereand how loyal to the George
Washingtonand how full of mutual congratulationsand how
venturesome in predicting the exact hour at which we should arrive
at Liverpoolmay be easily imagined and readily understood. Also
how heartily we drank the captain's health that day at dinner; and
how restless we became about packing up: and how two or three of
the most sanguine spirits rejected the idea of going to bed at all
that night as something it was not worth while to doso near the
shorebut went neverthelessand slept soundly; and how to be so
near our journey's endwas like a pleasant dreamfrom which one
feared to wake.

The friendly breeze freshened again next dayand on we went once
more before it gallantly: descrying now and then an English ship
going homeward under shortened sailwhile wewith every inch of
canvas crowded ondashed gaily pastand left her far behind.
Towards eveningthe weather turned hazywith a drizzling rain;
and soon became so thickthat we sailedas it werein a cloud.
Still we swept onward like a phantom shipand many an eager eye
glanced up to where the Look-out on the mast kept watch for
Holyhead.

At length his long-expected cry was heardand at the same moment
there shone out from the haze and mist aheada gleaming light
which presently was goneand soon returnedand soon was gone
again. Whenever it came backthe eyes of all on boardbrightened
and sparkled like itself: and there we all stoodwatching this
revolving light upon the rock at Holyheadand praising it for its
brightness and its friendly warningand lauding itin short
above all other signal lights that ever were displayeduntil it
once more glimmered faintly in the distancefar behind us.

Thenit was time to fire a gunfor a pilot; and almost before its
smoke had cleared awaya little boat with a light at her masthead
came bearing down upon usthrough the darknessswiftly. And
presentlyour sails being backedshe ran alongside; and the
hoarse pilotwrapped and muffled in pea-coats and shawls to the
very bridge of his weather-ploughed-up nosestood bodily among us
on the deck. And I think if that pilot had wanted to borrow fifty
pounds for an indefinite period on no securitywe should have
engaged to lend it to himamong usbefore his boat had dropped
asternor (which is the same thing) before every scrap of news in
the paper he brought with him had become the common property of all
on board.

We turned in pretty late that nightand turned out pretty early
next morning. By six o'clock we clustered on the deckprepared to
go ashore; and looked upon the spiresand roofsand smokeof
Liverpool. By eight we all sat down in one of its Hotelsto eat
and drink together for the last time. And by nine we had shaken
hands all roundand broken up our social company for ever.

The countryby the railroadseemedas we rattled through it
like a luxuriant garden. The beauty of the fields (so small they
looked!)the hedge-rowsand the trees; the pretty cottagesthe
beds of flowersthe old churchyardsthe antique housesand every
well-known object; the exquisite delights of that one journey
crowding in the short compass of a summer's daythe joy of many
yearswith the winding up with Home and all that makes it dear; no
tongue can tellor pen of mine describe.


CHAPTER XVI - SLAVERY

THE upholders of slavery in America - of the atrocities of which
systemI shall not write one word for which I have not had ample
proof and warrant - may be divided into three great classes.

The firstare those more moderate and rational owners of human
cattlewho have come into the possession of them as so many coins
in their trading capitalbut who admit the frightful nature of the
Institution in the abstractand perceive the dangers to society
with which it is fraught: dangers which however distant they may
beor howsoever tardy in their coming onare as certain to fall
upon its guilty headas is the Day of Judgment.

The secondconsists of all those ownersbreedersusersbuyers
and sellers of slaveswho willuntil the bloody chapter has a
bloody endownbreedusebuyand sell them at all hazards:
who doggedly deny the horrors of the system in the teeth of such a
mass of evidence as never was brought to bear on any other subject
and to which the experience of every day contributes its immense
amount; who would at this or any other momentgladly involve
America in a warcivil or foreignprovided that it had for its
sole end and object the assertion of their right to perpetuate
slaveryand to whip and work and torture slavesunquestioned by
any human authorityand unassailed by any human power; whowhen
they speak of Freedommean the Freedom to oppress their kindand
to be savagemercilessand cruel; and of whom every man on his
own groundin republican Americais a more exactingand a
sternerand a less responsible despot than the Caliph Haroun
Alraschid in his angry robe of scarlet.

The thirdand not the least numerous or influentialis composed
of all that delicate gentility which cannot bear a superiorand
cannot brook an equal; of that class whose Republicanism means'I
will not tolerate a man above me: and of those belownone must
approach too near;' whose pridein a land where voluntary
servitude is shunned as a disgracemust be ministered to by
slaves; and whose inalienable rights can only have their growth in
negro wrongs.

It has been sometimes urged thatin the unavailing efforts which
have been made to advance the cause of Human Freedom in the
republic of America (strange cause for history to treat of!)
sufficient regard has not been had to the existence of the first
class of persons; and it has been contended that they are hardly
usedin being confounded with the second. This isno doubtthe
case; noble instances of pecuniary and personal sacrifice have
already had their growth among them; and it is much to be regretted
that the gulf between them and the advocates of emancipation should
have been widened and deepened by any means: the ratheras there
arebeyond disputeamong these slave-ownersmany kind masters
who are tender in the exercise of their unnatural power. Stillit
is to be feared that this injustice is inseparable from the state
of things with which humanity and truth are called upon to deal.
Slavery is not a whit the more endurable because some hearts are to
be found which can partially resist its hardening influences; nor
can the indignant tide of honest wrath stand stillbecause in its
onward course it overwhelms a few who are comparatively innocent
among a host of guilty.

The ground most commonly taken by these better men among the


advocates of slaveryis this: 'It is a bad system; and for myself
I would willingly get rid of itif I could; most willingly. But
it is not so badas you in England take it to be. You are
deceived by the representations of the emancipationists. The
greater part of my slaves are much attached to me. You will say
that I do not allow them to be severely treated; but I will put it
to you whether you believe that it can be a general practice to
treat them inhumanlywhen it would impair their valueand would
be obviously against the interests of their masters.'

Is it the interest of any man to stealto gameto waste his
health and mental faculties by drunkennessto lieforswear
himselfindulge hatredseek desperate revengeor do murder? No.
All these are roads to ruin. And whythendo men tread them?
Because such inclinations are among the vicious qualities of
mankind. Blot outye friends of slaveryfrom the catalogue of
human passionsbrutal lustcrueltyand the abuse of
irresponsible power (of all earthly temptations the most difficult
to be resisted)and when ye have done soand not beforewe will
inquire whether it be the interest of a master to lash and maim the
slavesover whose lives and limbs he has an absolute control!

But again: this classtogether with that last one I have named
the miserable aristocracy spawned of a false republiclift up
their voices and exclaim 'Public opinion is all-sufficient to
prevent such cruelty as you denounce.' Public opinion! Why
public opinion in the slave States IS slaveryis it not? Public
opinionin the slave Stateshas delivered the slaves overto the
gentle mercies of their masters. Public opinion has made the laws
and denied the slaves legislative protection. Public opinion has
knotted the lashheated the branding-ironloaded the rifleand
shielded the murderer. Public opinion threatens the abolitionist
with deathif he venture to the South; and drags him with a rope
about his middlein broad unblushing noonthrough the first city
in the East. Public opinion haswithin a few yearsburned a
slave alive at a slow fire in the city of St. Louis; and public
opinion has to this day maintained upon the bench that estimable
judge who charged the juryimpanelled there to try his murderers
that their most horrid deed was an act of public opinionand being
somust not be punished by the laws the public sentiment had made.
Public opinion hailed this doctrine with a howl of wild applause
and set the prisoners freeto walk the citymen of markand
influenceand stationas they had been before.

Public opinion! what class of men have an immense preponderance
over the rest of the communityin their power of representing
public opinion in the legislature? the slave-owners. They send
from their twelve States one hundred memberswhile the fourteen
free Stateswith a free population nearly doublereturn but a
hundred and forty-two. Before whom do the presidential candidates
bow down the most humblyon whom do they fawn the most fondlyand
for whose tastes do they cater the most assiduously in their
servile protestations? The slave-owners always.

Public opinion! hear the public opinion of the free Southas
expressed by its own members in the House of Representatives at
Washington. 'I have a great respect for the chair' quoth North
Carolina'I have a great respect for the chair as an officer of
the houseand a great respect for him personally; nothing but that
respect prevents me from rushing to the table and tearing that
petition which has just been presented for the abolition of slavery
in the district of Columbiato pieces.' - 'I warn the
abolitionists' says South Carolina'ignorantinfuriated
barbarians as they arethat if chance shall throw any of them into


our handshe may expect a felon's death.' - 'Let an abolitionist
come within the borders of South Carolina' cries a third; mild
Carolina's colleague; 'and if we can catch himwe will try him
and notwithstanding the interference of all the governments on
earthincluding the Federal governmentwe will HANG him.'

Public opinion has made this law. - It has declared that in
Washingtonin that city which takes its name from the father of
American libertyany justice of the peace may bind with fetters
any negro passing down the street and thrust him into jail: no
offence on the black man's part is necessary. The justice says'I
choose to think this man a runaway:' and locks him up. Public
opinion impowers the man of law when this is doneto advertise the
negro in the newspaperswarning his owner to come and claim him
or he will be sold to pay the jail fees. But supposing he is a
free blackand has no ownerit may naturally be presumed that he
is set at liberty. No: HE IS SOLD TO RECOMPENSE HIS JAILER. This
has been done againand againand again. He has no means of
proving his freedom; has no advisermessengeror assistance of
any sort or kind; no investigation into his case is madeor
inquiry instituted. Hea free manwho may have served for years
and bought his libertyis thrown into jail on no processfor no
crimeand on no pretence of crime: and is sold to pay the jail
fees. This seems incredibleeven of Americabut it is the law.

Public opinion is deferred toin such cases as the following:
which is headed in the newspapers:


'INTERESTING LAW-CASE.

'An interesting case is now on trial in the Supreme Courtarising
out of the following facts. A gentleman residing in Maryland had
allowed an aged pair of his slavessubstantial though not legal
freedom for several years. While thus livinga daughter was born
to themwho grew up in the same libertyuntil she married a free
negroand went with him to reside in Pennsylvania. They had
several childrenand lived unmolested until the original owner
diedwhen his heir attempted to regain them; but the magistrate
before whom they were broughtdecided that he had no jurisdiction
in the case. THE OWNER SEIZED THE WOMAN AND HER CHILDREN ITS THE
NIGHTAND CARRIED THEM TO MARYLAND.'

'Cash for negroes' 'cash for negroes' 'cash for negroes' is the
heading of advertisements in great capitals down the long columns
of the crowded journals. Woodcuts of a runaway negro with manacled
handscrouching beneath a bluff pursuer in top bootswhohaving
caught himgrasps him by the throatagreeably diversify the
pleasant text. The leading article protests against 'that
abominable and hellish doctrine of abolitionwhich is repugnant
alike to every law of God and nature.' The delicate mammawho
smiles her acquiescence in this sprightly writing as she reads the
paper in her cool piazzaquiets her youngest child who clings
about her skirtsby promising the boy 'a whip to beat the little
niggers with.' - But the negroeslittle and bigare protected by
public opinion.

Let us try this public opinion by another testwhich is important
in three points of view: firstas showing how desperately timid
of the public opinion slave-owners arein their delicate
descriptions of fugitive slaves in widely circulated newspapers;
secondlyas showing how perfectly contented the slaves areand
how very seldom they run away; thirdlyas exhibiting their entire


freedom from scaror blemishor any mark of cruel inflictionas
their pictures are drawnnot by lying abolitionistsbut by their
own truthful masters.

The following are a few specimens of the advertisements in the
public papers. It is only four years since the oldest among them
appeared; and others of the same nature continue to be published
every dayin shoals.

'Ran awayNegress Caroline. Had on a collar with one prong turned
down.'

'Ran awaya black womanBetsy. Had an iron bar on her right
leg.'

'Ran awaythe negro Manuel. Much marked with irons.'

'Ran awaythe negress Fanny. Had on an iron band about her neck.'

'Ran awaya negro boy about twelve years old. Had round his neck
a chain dog-collar with "De Lampert" engraved on it.'

'Ran awaythe negro Hown. Has a ring of iron on his left foot.
AlsoGriseHIS WIFEhaving a ring and chain on the left leg.'

'Ran awaya negro boy named James. Said boy was ironed when he
left me.'

'Committed to jaila man who calls his name John. He has a clog
of iron on his right foot which will weigh four or five pounds.'

'Detained at the police jailthe negro wenchMyra. Has several
marks of LASHINGand has irons on her feet.'

'Ran awaya negro woman and two children. A few days before she
went offI burnt her with a hot ironon the left side of her
face. I tried to make the letter M.'

'Ran awaya negro man named Henry; his left eye outsome scars
from a dirk on and under his left armand much scarred with the
whip.'

'One hundred dollars rewardfor a negro fellowPompey40 years
old. He is branded on the left jaw.'

'Committed to jaila negro man. Has no toes on the left foot.'

'Ran awaya negro woman named Rachel. Has lost all her toes
except the large one.'

'Ran awaySam. He was shot a short time since through the hand
and has several shots in his left arm and side.'

'Ran awaymy negro man Dennis. Said negro has been shot in the
left arm between the shoulder and elbowwhich has paralysed the
left hand.'

'Ran awaymy negro man named Simon. He has been shot badlyin
his back and right arm.'

'Ran awaya negro named Arthur. Has a considerable scar across
his breast and each armmade by a knife; loves to talk much of the
goodness of God.'


'Twenty-five dollars reward for my man Isaac. He has a scar on his
foreheadcaused by a blow; and one on his backmade by a shot
from a pistol.'

'Ran awaya negro girl called Mary. Has a small scar over her
eyea good many teeth missingthe letter A is branded on her
cheek and forehead.'

'Ran awaynegro Ben. Has a scar on his right hand; his thumb and
forefinger being injured by being shot last fall. A part of the
bone came out. He has also one or two large scars on his back and
hips.'

'Detained at the jaila mulattonamed Tom. Has a scar on the
right cheekand appears to have been burned with powder on the
face.'

'Ran awaya negro man named Ned. Three of his fingers are drawn
into the palm of his hand by a cut. Has a scar on the back of his
necknearly half rounddone by a knife.'

'Was committed to jaila negro man. Says his name is Josiah. His
back very much scarred by the whip; and branded on the thigh and
hips in three or four placesthus (J M). The rim of his right ear
has been bit or cut off.'

'Fifty dollars rewardfor my fellow Edward. He has a scar on the
corner of his mouthtwo cuts on and under his armand the letter
E on his arm.'

'Ran awaynegro boy Ellie. Has a scar on one of his arms from the
bite of a dog.'

'Ran awayfrom the plantation of James Surgettethe following
negroes: Randalhas one ear cropped; Bobhas lost one eye;
Kentucky Tomhas one jaw broken.'

'Ran awayAnthony. One of his ears cut offand his left hand cut
with an axe.'

'Fifty dollars reward for the negro Jim Blake. Has a piece cut out
of each earand the middle finger of the left hand cut off to the
second joint.'

'Ran awaya negro woman named Maria. Has a scar on one side of
her cheekby a cut. Some scars on her back.'

'Ran awaythe Mulatto wench Mary. Has a cut on the left arma
scar on the left shoulderand two upper teeth missing.'

I should sayperhapsin explanation of this latter piece of
descriptionthat among the other blessings which public opinion
secures to the negroesis the common practice of violently
punching out their teeth. To make them wear iron collars by day
and nightand to worry them with dogsare practices almost too
ordinary to deserve mention.

'Ran awaymy man Fountain. Has holes in his earsa scar on the
right side of his foreheadhas been shot in the hind part of his
legsand is marked on the back with the whip.'

'Two hundred and fifty dollars reward for my negro man Jim. He is
much marked with shot in his right thigh. The shot entered on the
outsidehalfway between the hip and knee joints.'


'Brought to jailJohn. Left ear cropt.'

'Taken upa negro man. Is very much scarred about the face and
bodyand has the left ear bit off.'

'Ran awaya black girlnamed Mary. Has a scar on her cheekand
the end of one of her toes cut off.'

'Ran awaymy Mulatto womanJudy. She has had her right arm
broke.'

'Ran awaymy negro manLevi. His left hand has been burntand I
think the end of his forefinger is off.'

'Ran awaya negro manNAMED WASHINGTON. Has lost a part of his
middle fingerand the end of his little finger.'

'Twenty-five dollars reward for my man John. The tip of his nose
is bit off.'

'Twenty-five dollars reward for the negro slaveSally. Walks AS
THOUGH crippled in the back.'

'Ran awayJoe Dennis. Has a small notch in one of his ears.'

'Ran awaynegro boyJack. Has a small crop out of his left ear.'

'Ran awaya negro mannamed Ivory. Has a small piece cut out of
the top of each ear.'

While upon the subject of earsI may observe that a distinguished
abolitionist in New York once received a negro's earwhich had
been cut off close to the headin a general post letter. It was
forwarded by the free and independent gentleman who had caused it
to be amputatedwith a polite request that he would place the
specimen in his 'collection.'

I could enlarge this catalogue with broken armsand broken legs
and gashed fleshand missing teethand lacerated backsand bites
of dogsand brands of red-hot irons innumerable: but as my
readers will be sufficiently sickened and repelled alreadyI will
turn to another branch of the subject.

These advertisementsof which a similar collection might be made
for every yearand monthand weekand day; and which are coolly
read in families as things of courseand as a part of the current
news and small-talk; will serve to show how very much the slaves
profit by public opinionand how tender it is in their behalf.
But it may be worth while to inquire how the slave-ownersand the
class of society to which great numbers of them belongdefer to
public opinion in their conductnot to their slaves but to each
other; how they are accustomed to restrain their passions; what
their bearing is among themselves; whether they are fierce or
gentle; whether their social customs be brutalsanguinaryand
violentor bear the impress of civilisation and refinement.

That we may have no partial evidence from abolitionists in this
inquiryeitherI will once more turn to their own newspapersand
I will confine myselfthis timeto a selection from paragraphs
which appeared from day to dayduring my visit to Americaand
which refer to occurrences happening while I was there. The
italics in these extractsas in the foregoingare my own.


These cases did not ALL occurit will be seenin territory
actually belonging to legalised Slave Statesthough mostand
those the very worst among them didas their counterparts
constantly do; but the position of the scenes of action in
reference to places immediately at handwhere slavery is the law;
and the strong resemblance between that class of outrages and the
rest; lead to the just presumption that the character of the
parties concerned was formed in slave districtsand brutalised by
slave customs.

'HORRIBLE TRAGEDY.

'By a slip from THE SOUTHPORT TELEGRAPHWisconsinwe learn that
the Hon. Charles C. P. ArndtMember of the Council for Brown
countywas shot dead ON THE FLOOR OF THE COUNCIL CHAMBERby James

R. VinyardMember from Grant county. THE AFFAIR grew out of a
nomination for Sheriff of Grant county. Mr. E. S. Baker was
nominated and supported by Mr. Arndt. This nomination was opposed
by Vinyardwho wanted the appointment to vest in his own brother.
In the course of debatethe deceased made some statements which
Vinyard pronounced falseand made use of violent and insulting
languagedealing largely in personalitiesto which Mr. A. made no
reply. After the adjournmentMr. A. stepped up to Vinyardand
requested him to retractwhich he refused to dorepeating the
offensive words. Mr. Arndt then made a blow at Vinyardwho
stepped back a pacedrew a pistoland shot him dead.
'The issue appears to have been provoked on the part of Vinyard
who was determined at all hazards to defeat the appointment of
Bakerand whohimself defeatedturned his ire and revenge upon
the unfortunate Arndt.'

'THE WISCONSIN TRAGEDY.

Public indignation runs high in the territory of Wisconsinin
relation to the murder of C. C. P. Arndtin the Legislative Hall
of the Territory. Meetings have been held in different counties of
Wisconsindenouncing THE PRACTICE OF SECRETLY BEARING ARMS IN THE
LEGISLATIVE CHAMBERS OF THE COUNTRY. We have seen the account of
the expulsion of James R. Vinyardthe perpetrator of the bloody
deedand are amazed to hearthatafter this expulsion by those
who saw Vinyard kill Mr. Arndt in the presence of his aged father
who was on a visit to see his sonlittle dreaming that he was to
witness his murderJUDGE DUNN HAS DISCHARGED VINYARD ON BAIL. The
Miners' Free Press speaks IN TERMS OF MERITED REBUKE at the outrage
upon the feelings of the people of Wisconsin. Vinyard was within
arm's length of Mr. Arndtwhen he took such deadly aim at him
that he never spoke. Vinyard might at pleasurebeing so near
have only wounded himbut he chose to kill him.'

'MURDER.

By a letter in a St. Louis paper of the '4thwe notice a terrible
outrage at BurlingtonIowa. A Mr. Bridgman having had a
difficulty with a citizen of the placeMr. Ross; a brother-in-law
of the latter provided himself with one of Colt's revolving
pistolsmet Mr. B. in the streetAND DISCHARGED THE CONTENTS OF
FIVE OF THE BARRELS AT HIM: EACH SHOT TAKING EFFECT. Mr. B.


though horribly woundedand dyingreturned the fireand killed
Ross on the spot.'

'TERRIBLE DEATH OF ROBERT POTTER.

'From the "Caddo Gazette of the 12th inst., we learn the
frightful death of Colonel Robert Potter. . . . He was beset in his
house by an enemy, named Rose. He sprang from his couch, seized
his gun, and, in his night-clothes, rushed from the house. For
about two hundred yards his speed seemed to defy his pursuers; but,
getting entangled in a thicket, he was captured. Rose told him
THAT HE INTENDED TO ACT A GENEROUS PART, and give him a chance for
his life. He then told Potter he might run, and he should not be
interrupted till he reached a certain distance. Potter started at
the word of command, and before a gun was fired he had reached the
lake. His first impulse was to jump in the water and dive for it,
which he did. Rose was close behind him, and formed his men on the
bank ready to shoot him as he rose. In a few seconds he came up to
breathe; and scarce had his head reached the surface of the water
when it was completely riddled with the shot of their guns, and he
sunk, to rise no more!'

'MURDER IN ARKANSAS.

'We understand THAT A SEVERE RENCONTRE CAME OFF a few days since in
the Seneca Nation, between Mr. Loose, the sub-agent of the mixed
band of the Senecas, Quapaw, and Shawnees, and Mr. James Gillespie,
of the mercantile firm of Thomas G. Allison and Co., of Maysville,
Benton, County Ark, in which the latter was slain with a bowieknife.
Some difficulty had for some time existed between the
parties. It is said that Major Gillespie brought on the attack
with a cane. A severe conflict ensued, during which two pistols
were fired by Gillespie and one by Loose. Loose then stabbed
Gillespie with one of those never-failing weapons, a bowie-knife.
The death of Major G. is much regretted, as he was a liberal-minded
and energetic man. Since the above was in type, we have learned
that Major Allison has stated to some of our citizens in town that
Mr. Loose gave the first blow. We forbear to give any particulars,
as THE MATTER WILL BE THE SUBJECT OF JUDICIAL INVESTIGATION.'

'FOUL DEED.

The steamer Thames, just from Missouri river, brought us a
handbill, offering a reward of 500 dollars, for the person who
assassinated Lilburn W. Baggs, late Governor of this State, at
Independence, on the night of the 6th inst. Governor Baggs, it is
stated in a written memorandum, was not dead, but mortally wounded.

'Since the above was written, we received a note from the clerk of
the Thames, giving the following particulars. Gov. Baggs was shot
by some villain on Friday, 6th inst., in the evening, while sitting
in a room in his own house in Independence. His son, a boy,
hearing a report, ran into the room, and found the Governor sitting
in his chair, with his jaw fallen down, and his head leaning back;
on discovering the injury done to his father, he gave the alarm.
Foot tracks were found in the garden below the window, and a pistol
picked up supposed to have been overloaded, and thrown from the
hand of the scoundrel who fired it. Three buck shots of a heavy


load, took effect; one going through his mouth, one into the brain,
and another probably in or near the brain; all going into the back
part of the neck and head. The Governor was still alive on the
morning of the 7th; but no hopes for his recovery by his friends,
and but slight hopes from his physicians.

'A man was suspected, and the Sheriff most probably has possession
of him by this time.

'The pistol was one of a pair stolen some days previous from a
baker in Independence, and the legal authorities have the
description of the other.'

'RENCONTRE.

'An unfortunate AFFAIR took place on Friday evening in Chatres
Street, in which one of our most respectable citizens received a
dangerous wound, from a poignard, in the abdomen. From the Bee
(New Orleans) of yesterday, we learn the following particulars. It
appears that an article was published in the French side of the
paper on Monday last, containing some strictures on the Artillery
Battalion for firing their guns on Sunday morning, in answer to
those from the Ontario and Woodbury, and thereby much alarm was
caused to the families of those persons who were out all night
preserving the peace of the city. Major C. Gally, Commander of the
battalion, resenting this, called at the office and demanded the
author's name; that of Mr. P. Arpin was given to him, who was
absent at the time. Some angry words then passed with one of the
proprietors, and a challenge followed; the friends of both parties
tried to arrange the affair, but failed to do so. On Friday
evening, about seven o'clock, Major Gally met Mr. P. Arpin in
Chatres Street, and accosted him. Are you Mr. Arpin?"

'"Yessir."

'"Then I have to tell you that you are a - " (applying an
appropriate epithet).

'"I shall remind you of your wordssir."

'"But I have said I would break my cane on your shoulders."

'"I know itbut I have not yet received the blow."

'At these wordsMajor Gallyhaving a cane in his handsstruck
Mr. Arpin across the faceand the latter drew a poignard from his
pocket and stabbed Major Gally in the abdomen.

'Fears are entertained that the wound will be mortal. WE
UNDERSTAND THAT MR. ARPIN HAS GIVEN SECURITY FOR HIS APPEARANCE AT
THE CRIMINAL COURT TO ANSWER THE CHARGE.'

'AFFRAY IN MISSISSIPPI.

'On the 27th ult.in an affray near CarthageLeake county
Mississippibetween James Cottingham and John Wilburnthe latter
was shot by the formerand so horribly woundedthat there was no
hope of his recovery. On the 2nd instantthere was an affray at
Carthage between A. C. Sharkey and George Goffin which the latter
was shotand thought mortally wounded. Sharkey delivered himself


up to the authoritiesBUT CHANGED HIS MIND AND ESCAPED!'

'PERSONAL ENCOUNTER.

'An encounter took place in Spartaa few days sincebetween the
barkeeper of an hoteland a man named Bury. It appears that Bury
had become somewhat noisyAND THAT THE BARKEEPERDETERMINED TO
PRESERVE ORDERHAD THREATENED TO SHOOT BURYwhereupon Bury drew a
pistol and shot the barkeeper down. He was not dead at the last
accountsbut slight hopes were entertained of his recovery.'

'DUEL.

'The clerk of the steamboat TRIBUNE informs us that another duel
was fought on Tuesday lastby Mr. Robbinsa bank officer in
Vicksburgand Mr. Fallthe editor of the Vicksburg Sentinel.
According to the arrangementthe parties had six pistols each
whichafter the word "Fire!" THEY WERE TO DISCHARGE AS FAST AS
THEY PLEASED. Fall fired two pistols without effect. Mr. Robbins'
first shot took effect in Fall's thighwho felland was unable to
continue the combat.'

'AFFRAY IN CLARKE COUNTY.

'An UNFORTUNATE AFFRAY occurred in Clarke county (MO.)near
Waterlooon Tuesday the 19th ult.which originated in settling
the partnership concerns of Messrs. M'Kane and M'Allisterwho had
been engaged in the business of distillingand resulted in the
death of the latterwho was shot down by Mr. M'Kanebecause of
his attempting to take possession of seven barrels of whiskeythe
property of M'Kanewhich had been knocked off to M'Allister at a
sheriff's sale at one dollar per barrel. M'Kane immediately fled
AND AT THE LATEST DATES HAD NOT BEEN TAKEN.

'THIS UNFORTUNATE AFFRAY caused considerable excitement in the
neighbourhoodas both the parties were men with large families
depending upon them and stood well in the community.'

I will quote but one more paragraphwhichby reason of its
monstrous absurditymay be a relief to these atrocious deeds.

'AFFAIR OF HONOUR.

'We have just heard the particulars of a meeting which took place
on Six Mile Islandon Tuesdaybetween two young bloods of our
city: Samuel ThurstonAGED FIFTEENand William HineAGED
THIRTEEN years. They were attended by young gentlemen of the same
age. The weapons used on the occasionwere a couple of Dickson's
best rifles; the distancethirty yards. They took one fire
without any damage being sustained by either partyexcept the ball
of Thurston's gun passing through the crown of Hine's hat. THROUGH
THE INTERCESSION OF THE BOARD OF HONOURthe challenge was
withdrawnand the difference amicably adjusted.'

If the reader will picture to himself the kind of Board of Honour


which amicably adjusted the difference between these two little
boyswho in any other part of the world would have been amicably
adjusted on two porters' backs and soundly flogged with birchen
rodshe will be possessedno doubtwith as strong a sense of its
ludicrous characteras that which sets me laughing whenever its
image rises up before me.

NowI appeal to every human mindimbued with the commonest of
common senseand the commonest of common humanity; to all
dispassionatereasoning creaturesof any shade of opinion; and
askwith these revolting evidences of the state of society which
exists in and about the slave districts of America before themcan
they have a doubt of the real condition of the slaveor can they
for a moment make a compromise between the institution or any of
its flagrantfearful featuresand their own just consciences?
Will they say of any tale of cruelty and horrorhowever aggravated
in degreethat it is improbablewhen they can turn to the public
printsandrunningread such signs as theselaid before them by
the men who rule the slaves: in their own acts and under their own
hands?

Do we not know that the worst deformity and ugliness of slavery are
at once the cause and the effect of the reckless license taken by
these freeborn outlaws? Do we not know that the man who has been
born and bred among its wrongs; who has seen in his childhood
husbands obliged at the word of command to flog their wives; women
indecently compelled to hold up their own garments that men might
lay the heavier stripes upon their legsdriven and harried by
brutal overseers in their time of travailand becoming mothers on
the field of toilunder the very lash itself; who has read in
youthand seen his virgin sisters readdescriptions of runaway
men and womenand their disfigured personswhich could not be
published elsewhereof so much stock upon a farmor at a show of
beasts:- do we not know that that manwhenever his wrath is
kindled upwill be a brutal savage? Do we not know that as he is
a coward in his domestic lifestalking among his shrinking men and
women slaves armed with his heavy whipso he will be a coward out
of doorsand carrying cowards' weapons hidden in his breastwill
shoot men down and stab them when he quarrels? And if our reason
did not teach us this and much beyond; if we were such idiots as to
close our eyes to that fine mode of training which rears up such
men; should we not know that they who among their equals stab and
pistol in the legislative hallsand in the counting-houseand on
the marketplaceand in all the elsewhere peaceful pursuits of
lifemust be to their dependantseven though they were free
servantsso many merciless and unrelenting tyrants?

What! shall we declaim against the ignorant peasantry of Ireland
and mince the matter when these American taskmasters are in
question? Shall we cry shame on the brutality of those who
hamstring cattle: and spare the lights of Freedom upon earth who
notch the ears of men and womencut pleasant posies in the
shrinking fleshlearn to write with pens of red-hot iron on the
human facerack their poetic fancies for liveries of mutilation
which their slaves shall wear for life and carry to the grave
breaking living limbs as did the soldiery who mocked and slew the
Saviour of the worldand set defenceless creatures up for targets!
Shall we whimper over legends of the tortures practised on each
other by the Pagan Indiansand smile upon the cruelties of
Christian men! Shall weso long as these things lastexult above
the scattered remnants of that raceand triumph in the white
enjoyment of their possessions? Ratherfor merestore the forest
and the Indian village; in lieu of stars and stripeslet some poor
feather flutter in the breeze; replace the streets and squares by


wigwams; and though the death-song of a hundred haughty warriors
fill the airit will be music to the shriek of one unhappy slave.

On one themewhich is commonly before our eyesand in respect of
which our national character is changing fastlet the plain Truth
be spokenand let us notlike dastardsbeat about the bush by
hinting at the Spaniard and the fierce Italian. When knives are
drawn by Englishmen in conflict let it be said and known: 'We owe
this change to Republican Slavery. These are the weapons of
Freedom. With sharp points and edges such as theseLiberty in
America hews and hacks her slaves; orfailing that pursuither
sons devote them to a better useand turn them on each other.'

CHAPTER XVIII - CONCLUDING REMARKS

THERE are many passages in this bookwhere I have been at some
pains to resist the temptation of troubling my readers with my own
deductions and conclusions: preferring that they should judge for
themselvesfrom such premises as I have laid before them. My only
object in the outsetwasto carry them with me faithfully
wheresoever I went: and that task I have discharged.

But I may be pardonedif on such a theme as the general character
of the American peopleand the general character of their social
systemas presented to a stranger's eyesI desire to express my
own opinions in a few wordsbefore I bring these volumes to a
close.

They areby naturefrankbravecordialhospitableand
affectionate. Cultivation and refinement seem but to enhance their
warmth of heart and ardent enthusiasm; and it is the possession of
these latter qualities in a most remarkable degreewhich renders
an educated American one of the most endearing and most generous of
friends. I never was so won uponas by this class; never yielded
up my full confidence and esteem so readily and pleasurablyas to
them; never can make againin half a yearso many friends for
whom I seem to entertain the regard of half a life.

These qualities are naturalI implicitly believeto the whole
people. That they arehoweversadly sapped and blighted in their
growth among the mass; and that there are influences at work which
endanger them still moreand give but little present promise of
their healthy restoration; is a truth that ought to be told.

It is an essential part of every national character to pique itself
mightily upon its faultsand to deduce tokens of its virtue or its
wisdom from their very exaggeration. One great blemish in the
popular mind of Americaand the prolific parent of an innumerable
brood of evilsis Universal Distrust. Yet the American citizen
plumes himself upon this spiriteven when he is sufficiently
dispassionate to perceive the ruin it works; and will often adduce
itin spite of his own reasonas an instance of the great
sagacity and acuteness of the peopleand their superior shrewdness
and independence.

'You carry' says the stranger'this jealousy and distrust into
every transaction of public life. By repelling worthy men from
your legislative assembliesit has bred up a class of candidates
for the suffragewhoin their very actdisgrace your
Institutions and your people's choice. It has rendered you so


fickleand so given to changethat your inconstancy has passed
into a proverb; for you no sooner set up an idol firmlythan you
are sure to pull it down and dash it into fragments: and this
because directly you reward a benefactoror a public servantyou
distrust himmerely because he is rewarded; and immediately apply
yourselves to find outeither that you have been too bountiful in
your acknowledgmentsor he remiss in his deserts. Any man who
attains a high place among youfrom the President downwardsmay
date his downfall from that moment; for any printed lie that any
notorious villain pensalthough it militate directly against the
character and conduct of a lifeappeals at once to your distrust
and is believed. You will strain at a gnat in the way of
trustfulness and confidencehowever fairly won and well deserved;
but you will swallow a whole caravan of camelsif they be laden
with unworthy doubts and mean suspicions. Is this wellthink you
or likely to elevate the character of the governors or the
governedamong you?'

The answer is invariably the same: 'There's freedom of opinion
hereyou know. Every man thinks for himselfand we are not to be
easily overreached. That's how our people come to be suspicious.'

Another prominent feature is the love of 'smart' dealing: which
gilds over many a swindle and gross breach of trust; many a
defalcationpublic and private; and enables many a knave to hold
his head up with the bestwho well deserves a halter; though it
has not been without its retributive operationfor this smartness
has done more in a few years to impair the public creditand to
cripple the public resourcesthan dull honestyhowever rash
could have effected in a century. The merits of a broken
speculationor a bankruptcyor of a successful scoundrelare not
gauged by its or his observance of the golden rule'Do as you
would be done by' but are considered with reference to their
smartness. I recollecton both occasions of our passing that illfated
Cairo on the Mississippiremarking on the bad effects such
gross deceits must have when they explodedin generating a want of
confidence abroadand discouraging foreign investment: but I was
given to understand that this was a very smart scheme by which a
deal of money had been made: and that its smartest feature was
that they forgot these things abroadin a very short timeand
speculated againas freely as ever. The following dialogue I have
held a hundred times: 'Is it not a very disgraceful circumstance
that such a man as So-and-so should be acquiring a large property
by the most infamous and odious meansand notwithstanding all the
crimes of which he has been guiltyshould be tolerated and abetted
by your Citizens? He is a public nuisanceis he not?' 'Yes
sir.' 'A convicted liar?' 'Yessir.' 'He has been kickedand
cuffedand caned?' 'Yessir.' 'And he is utterly dishonourable
debasedand profligate?' 'Yessir.' 'In the name of wonder
thenwhat is his merit?' 'Wellsirhe is a smart man.'

In like mannerall kinds of deficient and impolitic usages are
referred to the national love of trade; thoughoddly enoughit
would be a weighty charge against a foreigner that he regarded the
Americans as a trading people. The love of trade is assigned as a
reason for that comfortless customso very prevalent in country
townsof married persons living in hotelshaving no fireside of
their ownand seldom meeting from early morning until late at
nightbut at the hasty public meals. The love of trade is a
reason why the literature of America is to remain for ever
unprotected 'For we are a trading peopleand don't care for
poetry:' though we DOby the wayprofess to be very proud of our
poets: while healthful amusementscheerful means of recreation
and wholesome fanciesmust fade before the stern utilitarian joys


of trade.

These three characteristics are strongly presented at every turn
full in the stranger's view. Butthe foul growth of America has a
more tangled root than this; and it strikes its fibresdeep in its
licentious Press.

Schools may be erectedEastWestNorthand South; pupils be
taughtand masters rearedby scores upon scores of thousands;
colleges may thrivechurches may be crammedtemperance may be
diffusedand advancing knowledge in all other forms walk through
the land with giant strides: but while the newspaper press of
America is inor nearits present abject statehigh moral
improvement in that country is hopeless. Year by yearit must and
will go back; year by yearthe tone of public feeling must sink
lower down; year by yearthe Congress and the Senate must become
of less account before all decent men; and year by yearthe memory
of the Great Fathers of the Revolution must be outraged more and
morein the bad life of their degenerate child.

Among the herd of journals which are published in the Statesthere
are somethe reader scarcely need be toldof character and
credit. From personal intercourse with accomplished gentlemen
connected with publications of this classI have derived both
pleasure and profit. But the name of these is Fewand of the
others Legion; and the influence of the goodis powerless to
counteract the moral poison of the bad.

Among the gentry of America; among the well-informed and moderate:
in the learned professions; at the bar and on the bench: there is
as there can bebut one opinionin reference to the vicious
character of these infamous journals. It is sometimes contended -
I will not say strangelyfor it is natural to seek excuses for
such a disgrace - that their influence is not so great as a visitor
would suppose. I must be pardoned for saying that there is no
warrant for this pleaand that every fact and circumstance tends
directly to the opposite conclusion.

When any manof any grade of desert in intellect or charactercan
climb to any public distinctionno matter whatin America
without first grovelling down upon the earthand bending the knee
before this monster of depravity; when any private excellence is
safe from its attacks; when any social confidence is left unbroken
by itor any tie of social decency and honour is held in the least
regard; when any man in that free country has freedom of opinion
and presumes to think for himselfand speak for himselfwithout
humble reference to a censorship whichfor its rampant ignorance
and base dishonestyhe utterly loathes and despises in his heart;
when those who most acutely feel its infamy and the reproach it
casts upon the nationand who most denounce it to each otherdare
to set their heels uponand crush it openlyin the sight of all
men: thenI will believe that its influence is lesseningand men
are returning to their manly senses. But while that Press has its
evil eye in every houseand its black hand in every appointment in
the statefrom a president to a postman; whilewith ribald
slander for its only stock in tradeit is the standard literature
of an enormous classwho must find their reading in a newspaper
or they will not read at all; so long must its odium be upon the
country's headand so long must the evil it worksbe plainly
visible in the Republic.

To those who are accustomed to the leading English journalsor to
the respectable journals of the Continent of Europe; to those who
are accustomed to anything else in print and paper; it would be


impossiblewithout an amount of extract for which I have neither
space nor inclinationto convey an adequate idea of this frightful
engine in America. But if any man desire confirmation of my
statement on this headlet him repair to any place in this city of
Londonwhere scattered numbers of these publications are to be
found; and therelet him form his own opinion. (1)

It would be wellthere can be no doubtfor the American people as
a wholeif they loved the Real lessand the Ideal somewhat more.
It would be wellif there were greater encouragement to lightness
of heart and gaietyand a wider cultivation of what is beautiful
without being eminently and directly useful. But hereI think the
general remonstrance'we are a new country' which is so often
advanced as an excuse for defects which are quite unjustifiableas
beingof rightonly the slow growth of an old onemay be very
reasonably urged: and I yet hope to hear of there being some other
national amusement in the United Statesbesides newspaper
politics.

They certainly are not a humorous peopleand their temperament
always impressed me is being of a dull and gloomy character. In
shrewdness of remarkand a certain cast-iron quaintnessthe
Yankeesor people of New Englandunquestionably take the lead; as
they do in most other evidences of intelligence. But in travelling
aboutout of the large cities - as I have remarked in former parts
of these volumes - I was quite oppressed by the prevailing
seriousness and melancholy air of business: which was so general
and unvaryingthat at every new town I came toI seemed to meet
the very same people whom I had left behind meat the last. Such
defects as are perceptible in the national mannersseemto meto
be referablein a great degreeto this cause: which has
generated a dullsullen persistence in coarse usagesand rejected
the graces of life as undeserving of attention. There is no doubt
that Washingtonwho was always most scrupulous and exact on points
of ceremonyperceived the tendency towards this mistakeeven in
his timeand did his utmost to correct it.

I cannot hold with other writers on these subjects that the
prevalence of various forms of dissent in Americais in any way
attributable to the non-existence there of an established church:
indeedI think the temper of the peopleif it admitted of such an
Institution being founded amongst themwould lead them to desert
itas a matter of coursemerely because it WAS established. But
supposing it to existI doubt its probable efficacy in summoning
the wandering sheep to one great foldsimply because of the
immense amount of dissent which prevails at home; and because I do
not find in America any one form of religion with which we in
Europeor even in Englandare unacquainted. Dissenters resort
thither in great numbersas other people dosimply because it is
a land of resort; and great settlements of them are founded
because ground can be purchasedand towns and villages reared
where there were none of the human creation before. But even the
Shakers emigrated from England; our country is not unknown to Mr.
Joseph Smiththe apostle of Mormonismor to his benighted
disciples; I have beheld religious scenes myself in some of our
populous towns which can hardly be surpassed by an American campmeeting;
and I am not aware that any instance of superstitious
imposture on the one handand superstitious credulity on the
otherhas had its origin in the United Stateswhich we cannot
more than parallel by the precedents of Mrs. SouthcoteMary Tofts
the rabbit-breederor even Mr. Thorn of Canterbury: which latter
case arosesome time after the dark ages had passed away.

The Republican Institutions of America undoubtedly lead the people


to assert their self-respect and their equality; but a traveller is
bound to bear those Institutions in his mindand not hastily to
resent the near approach of a class of strangerswhoat home
would keep aloof. This characteristicwhen it was tinctured with
no foolish prideand stopped short of no honest servicenever
offended me; and I very seldomif everexperienced its rude or
unbecoming display. Once or twice it was comically developedas
in the following case; but this was an amusing incidentand not
the ruleor near it.

I wanted a pair of boots at a certain townfor I had none to
travel inbut those with the memorable cork soleswhich were much
too hot for the fiery decks of a steamboat. I therefore sent a
message to an artist in bootsimportingwith my complimentsthat
I should be happy to see himif he would do me the polite favour
to call. He very kindly returned for answerthat he would 'look
round' at six o'clock that evening.

I was lying on the sofawith a book and a wine-glassat about
that timewhen the door openedand a gentleman in a stiff cravat
within a year or two on either side of thirtyenteredin his hat
and gloves; walked up to the looking-glass; arranged his hair; took
off his gloves; slowly produced a measure from the uttermost depths
of his coat-pocket; and requested mein a languid toneto 'unfix'
my straps. I compliedbut looked with some curiosity at his hat
which was still upon his head. It might have been thator it
might have been the heat - but he took it off. Thenhe sat
himself down on a chair opposite to me; rested an arm on each knee;
andleaning forward very muchtook from the groundby a great
effortthe specimen of metropolitan workmanship which I had just
pulled off: whistlingpleasantlyas he did so. He turned it
over and over; surveyed it with a contempt no language can express;
and inquired if I wished him to fix me a boot like THAT? I
courteously repliedthat provided the boots were large enoughI
would leave the rest to him; that if convenient and practicableI
should not object to their bearing some resemblance to the model
then before him; but that I would be entirely guided byand would
beg to leave the whole subject tohis judgment and discretion.
'You an't particklerabout this scoop in the heelI suppose
then?' says he: 'we don't foller thathere.' I repeated my last
observation. He looked at himself in the glass again; went closer
to it to dash a grain or two of dust out of the corner of his eye;
and settled his cravat. All this timemy leg and foot were in the
air. 'Nearly readysir?' I inquired. 'Wellpretty nigh' he
said; 'keep steady.' I kept as steady as I couldboth in foot and
face; and having by this time got the dust outand found his
pencil-casehe measured meand made the necessary notes. When he
had finishedhe fell into his old attitudeand taking up the boot
againmused for some time. 'And this' he saidat last'is an
English bootis it? This is a London booteh?' 'Thatsir' I
replied'is a London boot.' He mused over it againafter the
manner of Hamlet with Yorick's skull; nodded his headas who
should say'I pity the Institutions that led to the production of
this boot!'; rose; put up his pencilnotesand paper - glancing
at himself in the glassall the time - put on his hat - drew on
his gloves very slowly; and finally walked out. When he had been
gone about a minutethe door reopenedand his hat and his head
reappeared. He looked round the roomand at the boot againwhich
was still lying on the floor; appeared thoughtful for a minute; and
then said 'Wellgood arternoon.' 'Good afternoonsir' said I:
and that was the end of the interview.

There is but one other head on which I wish to offer a remark; and
that has reference to the public health. In so vast a country


where there are thousands of millions of acres of land yet
unsettled and unclearedand on every rood of whichvegetable
decomposition is annually taking place; where there are so many
great riversand such opposite varieties of climate; there cannot
fail to be a great amount of sickness at certain seasons. But I
may venture to sayafter conversing with many members of the
medical profession in Americathat I am not singular in the
opinion that much of the disease which does prevailmight be
avoidedif a few common precautions were observed. Greater means
of personal cleanlinessare indispensable to this end; the custom
of hastily swallowing large quantities of animal foodthree times
a-dayand rushing back to sedentary pursuits after each mealmust
be changed; the gentler sex must go more wisely cladand take more
healthful exercise; and in the latter clausethe males must be
included also. Above allin public institutionsand throughout
the whole of every town and citythe system of ventilationand
drainageand removal of impurities requires to be thoroughly
revised. There is no local Legislature in America which may not
study Mr. Chadwick's excellent Report upon the Sanitary Condition
of our Labouring Classeswith immense advantage.

* * * * * *

I HAVE now arrived at the close of this book. I have little reason
to believefrom certain warnings I have had since I returned to
Englandthat it will be tenderly or favourably received by the
American people; and as I have written the Truth in relation to the
mass of those who form their judgments and express their opinions
it will be seen that I have no desire to courtby any adventitious
meansthe popular applause.

It is enough for meto knowthat what I have set down in these
pagescannot cost me a single friend on the other side of the
Atlanticwho isin anythingdeserving of the name. For the
restI put my trustimplicitlyin the spirit in which they have
been conceived and penned; and I can bide my time.

I have made no reference to my receptionnor have I suffered it to
influence me in what I have written; forin either caseI should
have offered but a sorry acknowledgmentcompared with that I bear
within my breasttowards those partial readers of my former books
across the Waterwho met me with an open handand not with one
that closed upon an iron muzzle.

THE END

POSTSCRIPT

AT a Public Dinner given to me on Saturday the 18th of April1868
in the City of New Yorkby two hundred representatives of the
Press of the United States of AmericaI made the following
observations among others:

'So much of my voice has lately been heard in the landthat I
might have been contented with troubling you no further from my
present standing-pointwere it not a duty with which I henceforth
charge myselfnot only here but on every suitable occasion
whatsoever and wheresoeverto express my high and grateful sense
of my second reception in Americaand to bear my honest testimony


to the national generosity and magnanimity. Alsoto declare how
astounded I have been by the amazing changes I have seen around me
on every side- changes moralchanges physicalchanges in the
amount of land subdued and peopledchanges in the rise of vast new
citieschanges in the growth of older cities almost out of
recognitionchanges in the graces and amenities of lifechanges
in the Presswithout whose advancement no advancement can take
place anywhere. Nor am Ibelieve meso arrogant as to suppose
that in five and twenty years there have been no changes in meand
that I had nothing to learn and no extreme impressions to correct
when I was here first. And this brings me to a point on which I
haveever since I landed in the United States last November
observed a strict silencethough sometimes tempted to break it
but in reference to which I willwith your good leavetake you
into my confidence now. Even the Pressbeing humanmay be
sometimes mistaken or misinformedand I rather think that I have
in one or two rare instances observed its information to be not
strictly accurate with reference to myself. IndeedI havenow
and againbeen more surprised by printed news that I have read of
myselfthan by any printed news that I have ever read in my
present state of existence. Thusthe vigour and perseverance with
which I have for some months past been collecting materials for
and hammering away ata new book on America has much astonished
me; seeing that all that time my declaration has been perfectly
well known to my publishers on both sides of the Atlanticthat no
consideration on earth would induce me to write one. But what I
have intendedwhat I have resolved upon (and this is the
confidence I seek to place in you) ison my return to Englandin
my own personin my own journalto bearfor the behoof of my
countrymensuch testimony to the gigantic changes in this country
as I have hinted at to-night. Alsoto record that wherever I have
beenin the smallest places equally with the largestI have been
received with unsurpassable politenessdelicacysweet temper
hospitalityconsiderationand with unsurpassable respect for the
privacy daily enforced upon me by the nature of my avocation here
and the state of my health. This testimonyso long as I liveand
so long as my descendants have any legal right in my booksI shall
cause to be republishedas an appendix to every copy of those two
books of mine in which I have referred to America. And this I will
do and cause to be donenot in mere love and thankfulnessbut
because I regard it as an act of plain justice and honour.'

I said these words with the greatest earnestness that I could lay
upon themand I repeat them in print here with equal earnestness.
So long as this book shall lastI hope that they will form a part
of itand will be fairly read as inseparable from my experiences
and impressions of America.

CHARLES DICKENS.

MAY1868.

Footnotes:

(1) NOTE TO THE ORIGINAL EDITION. - Or let him refer to an able
and perfectly truthful articlein THE FOREIGN QUARTERLY REVIEW
published in the present month of October; to which my attention
has been attractedsince these sheets have been passing through
the press. He will find some specimens thereby no means
remarkable to any man who has been in Americabut sufficiently
striking to one who has not.