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Title: An Englishman's Travels in America - His Observations of Life and Manners in the Free and Slave States
Author: Benwell, John
Language: English
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AN ENGLISHMAN'S TRAVELS IN AMERICA:


His Observations Of Life and Manners in the Free and Slave States.


1857


BY J. BENWELL.



PREFACE.

Personal narrative and adventure has, of late years, become so
interesting a subject in the mind of the British public, that the author
feels he is not called upon to apologize for the production of the
following pages.

It was his almost unremitting practice, during the four years he resided
on the North American continent, to keep a record of what he considered
of interest around him; not with a view to publishing the matter thus
collected, for this was far from his thoughts at the time, but through a
long contracted habit of dotting down transpiring events, for the
future amusement, combined, perhaps, with instruction, of himself and
friends. It therefore became necessary, to fit it for publication, to
collate the accumulated memoranda, and select such portions only as
might be supposed to prove interesting to the general reader. In doing
this he has been careful to preserve the phraseology as much as
possible, with a view to give, as far as he could, something like a
literal transcript of the sentiments that gave rise to the original
minutes, and avoid undue addition or interpolation.

It was the wish and intention of the writer, before leaving England, to
extend his travels by visiting some of the islands in the Caribbean Sea,
a course which he regrets not having been able to follow, from
unforeseen circumstances, which are partially related in the following
pages. He laments this the more, as it would have added considerably to
the interest of the work, and enabled him to enlarge upon that fertile
subject, the relative position at the time of the negro race in those
islands, and the demoralized condition of their fellow-countrymen, under
the iniquitous system of slavery, as authorized by statute law, in the
southern states of America. As it was, he was enabled to travel through
the most populous parts of the states of New York and Ohio, proceeding,
_viâ_ Cincinnati, to the Missouri country; after a brief stay at St.
Louis, taking the direct southern route down the Missouri and
Mississippi rivers, to New Orleans in Louisiana, passing Natchez on the
way. The whole tour comprising upwards of three thousand miles.

From New Orleans he crossed an arm of the Gulf of Mexico to the
Floridas, and after remaining in that territory for a considerable time,
and taking part under a sense of duty in a campaign (more to scatter
than annihilate), against the Seminole and Cherokee tribes of Indians,
who, in conjunction with numberless fugitive slaves, from the districts
a hundred miles round, were devastating the settlements, and
indiscriminately butchering the inhabitants, he returned to Tallahassee,
taking stage at that town to Macon in the state of Georgia, and from
thence by the Greensborough Railway to Charleston in South Carolina,
sailing after rather a prolonged stay, from that port to England.

Some of the incidents related in the following pages will be found to
bear upon, and tend forcibly to corroborate, the miseries so patiently
endured by the African race, in a vaunted land of freedom and
enlightenment, whose inhabitants assert, with ridiculous tenacity, that
their government and laws are based upon the principle, "That all men in
the sight of God are equal," and the wrongs of whose victims have of
late been so touchingly and truthfully illustrated by that eminent
philanthropist, Mrs. Stowe, to the eternal shame of the upholders of the
system, and the fearful incubus of guilt and culpability that will
render for ever infamous, if the policy is persisted in, the nationality
of America.

Well may the benevolent Doctor Percival in his day have said, when
writing on the iniquitous system of slave holding and traffic, that
"Life and liberty with the powers of enjoyment dependent on them are the
common and inalienable gifts of bounteous heaven. To seize them by force
is rapine; to exchange for them the wares of Manchester or Birminghan is
improbity, for it is to barter without reciprocal gain, to give the
stones of the brook for the gold of Ophir."



THE ENGLISHMAN IN AMERICA.



CHAPTER I.

  "Adieu, adieu! my native shore
    Fades o'er the waters blue,
  The night-winds sigh, the breakers roar,
    And shrieks the wild sea-mew.
  Yon sun that sets upon the sea
    We follow in his flight;
  Farewell awhile to him and thee,
    My native Land--Good night!"--BYRON.


Late in the fall of the year 18--, I embarked on board the ship _Cosmo_,
bound from the port of Bristol to that of New York. The season was
unpropitious, the lingering effects of the autumnal equinox rendering it
more than probable that the passage would be tempestuous. The result
soon proved the correctness of this surmise, for soon after the vessel
departed from Kingroad, and before she got clear of the English coast,
we experienced boisterous weather, which was followed by a succession
of gales, that rendered our situation perilous. But a partial
destruction of the rigging, the loss of some sheep on the deck of the
vessel, and a slight indication of leakage, which was soon remedied by
the carpenter of the ship and his assistants, were happily the only
detrimental consequences arising from the weather.

Our progress on the whole was satisfactory, although, when we arrived
between 48 and 52 degrees north latitude, we narrowly escaped coming in
contact with an enormous iceberg, two of which were descried at daybreak
by the "look-out," floundering majestically a little on the ship's
larboard quarter, not far distant, the alarm being raised by an uproar
on deck that filled my mind with dire apprehension, the lee bulwarks of
the vessel were in five minutes thronged with half-naked passengers, who
had been roused unexpectedly from their slumbers, staring in terror at
the frigid masses which we momentarily feared would overwhelm the ship.
The helm being put up, we were soon out of the threatened danger of a
collision, which would have consigned us to a grave in the wide wide
waters, without the remotest chance of escape. This consideration was,
to all on board, a matter of deep thankfulness to the mighty Author of
such stupendous wonders, who had so miraculously preserved our lives.
Had the adventure occurred in the night, our destruction must have been
inevitable, as the ship was sailing under heavy canvas, within a single
point of the wake of one of the icebergs, which was drifting before a
stiff breeze.

Although this encounter proved harmless, we shortly after had another to
dread of a fearful nature. The number of fishing-boats off the coast of
Newfoundland, makes the navigation perilous at almost any time to
vessels approaching too near the banks, and after night-fall, the vessel
going at the rate of ten knots an hour with a smacking breeze, we passed
many of these at anchor, or rather, I suppose, riding on the waves; they
displayed lights, or serious consequences might have ensued. Some of the
skiffs were so near to us, that as I leaned over the ship's
quarter-rail, dreading, and every moment expecting, that we should run
one down, I could distinctly hear the crews hailing us to shorten sail
and keep off. By adopting this course our vessel cleared the danger, and
after slightly touching the banks, which caused the vessel to heel, and
created a momentary panic on board amongst the passengers, she was
steered more out to sea, and by the following morning nothing was to be
seen but a boundless waste of waters, extending as far as the eye could
reach.

After these temporary alarms, with the exception of baffling winds,
which impeded the progress of the ship, and lengthened the duration of
our confinement ten days or a fortnight, our voyage was prosperous,
little occurring to break the monotony of confinement on ship-board that
is experienced in sea-passages in general; the only excitement being a
fracas between the captain and cook, owing to complaints made by the
middle-cabin and steerage passengers, which nearly ended fatally to the
former, who would have been stabbed to a certainty, but for a by-stander
wresting the knife from the hand of the enraged subordinate, who had
been supplied too liberally with spirits by the passengers; a
predominating evil on board all emigrant ships, from the drawback of
duty allowed on spirits shipped as stores, and which are retailed on the
voyage to the passengers. The culprit was confined below during the
remainder of the voyage, and when we arrived at New York presented a
pitiable sight, having been rigidly debarred by the captain's orders of
many of the commonest necessaries, I believe, the whole time. Here he
was released and discharged from the ship, glad enough to escape further
punishment, "prosecution" having been, since the occurrence, held _in
terrorem_ over him.

It was late in the afternoon of an intensely cold day, which caused the
spray to congeal as it dashed against the bulwarks and cordage of the
vessel, that we descried with great pleasure looming indistinctly in the
distance, the shores of Sandy Hook, a desolate-looking island, near the
coast of New Jersey, about seven miles south of Long Island Sound. This
the captain informed me was formerly a peninsula, but the isthmus was
broken through by the sea in 1767, the year after the declaration of
American independence, an occurrence which was at the time deemed
ominous of the severance of the colonies from the mother country, and
which proved in reality to be the precursor of that event.

The sight of _terra firma_, though at a distance and but gloomy in
aspect, put all on board in buoyant spirits; but these were but
transitory, our enthusiasm being soon damped by a dense fog, resembling
those the Londoners are so accustomed to see in the winter, and which in
an incredibly short space of time, in this instance, obscured everything
around. Our proximity to the shore rendered the circumstance hazardous
to us, and it appeared necessary that the vessel's head should be again
put seaward; but this the captain was evidently anxious to avoid, as it
involved the risk of protracting the voyage. A general rummage for
ammunition was therefore ordered, and a supply of this necessary having
been obtained, the ship's carronade was after considerable delay put in
order, and minute guns were fired. After discharging some thirty rounds
or more, we were relieved from the state of anxiety we were in by a
pilot hailing the ship, and in a minute after he was on deck issuing
orders with great pertinacity.

It is impossible for any one unaccustomed to sea voyages to form a just
conception of the relief afforded by the presence of that important
functionary, a pilot. Perhaps a captain's greatest anxiety is, when his
vessel, having braved a thousand perils on the deep, is about to enter
on the termination of its voyage. On the broad expanse of ocean, or, in
nautical phrase, with plenty of sea-room, if his bark is in good
condition, he fears little or nothing, but when his vessel approaches
its goal, visions of disaster arise before him, and he becomes anxious,
thoughtful, and taciturn.

The pilot informed us that he had kept our vessel in chase for a
considerable time, and had burnt a number of newspapers on the deck of
his cutter to attract attention, but all his efforts proved unavailing,
when just as he was about to abandon the pursuit, he descried and hailed
the ship. This being the first specimen of an American whom many of the
passengers had seen in his native climate, their curiosity was aroused,
and they crowded round him, regarding every word and movement with the
greatest attention and interest. The pilot was evidently displeased with
being made "a lion" of, and gave vent to his feelings rather freely,
while there was a curl of hauteur on his lip, that indicated a species
of contempt for the company he was in. This disposition did not convey a
very favourable idea of his countrymen, and was, to say the least of it,
an ill-judged display before strangers; coming, however, as it did, from
an illiterate man, belonging, as I knew from previous inquiry, to rather
an exceptional class of individuals in America, I did not suffer my mind
to be biassed, although I could see that many of the passengers were not
disposed to view the matter in the same light. He was a brusque and
uncouth man, of swaggering gait, about forty years of age, above the
middle stature, and soon let the captain and crew know, by his
authoritative manner and volubility of tongue, that he was chief in
command on the occasion. No one seemed, however, to dispute this, for
the passengers looked on him as a sort of divinity sent to their rescue;
the ship's hands were implicitly obedient, and the captain very soon
after his arrival retired into the cabin, glad to be relieved from a
heavy responsibility.

The following morning, the haze having cleared off, we could again see
the Jersey shore. The sea in every direction was now darkened with
millions of black gulls, wild ducks, and other aquatic birds; we shot
many of these from the ship's deck, but were, much to our mortification,
obliged to see them drift away, the pilot, seconded by our austere
captain, strenuously objecting to a boat being lowered; this was very
discouraging, as such a change in our diet would, after a rather
prolonged voyage, have been acceptable.

A favourable breeze soon carried our good ship to the quarantine ground,
where we dropped anchor, in no little anxiety lest we should be
detained. The medical officers from the college, or rather sanatory
establishment, on shore, almost immediately came on board. All hands
were mustered on deck, and ranged like soldiers on parade ground by
these important functionaries, who, I may remark by the way, appeared
like our pilot to be possessed of considerable notions of power and
authority. After taking a rather cursory inspection they left the
vessel, and we, to our great joy (a case of small pox having occurred
during the passage), were allowed to proceed towards New York, which we
did under easy sail, the breeze rendering a steam-tug unnecessary.

The scenery as we passed up the river was calculated to give a good
impression of the country, the zest being, however, without doubt,
greatly heightened by the monotonous dreariness of a tempestuous voyage.
The highlands and valleys, as we sailed up, had a verdant woody
appearance, and were interspersed with rural and chateau scenery; herds
of cattle remarkable for length of horn, and snow-white sheep, were
grazing placidly in the lowlands. The country, as far as I could judge,
seemed in a high state of culture, and the farms, to use an expression
of the celebrated Washington Irving's, when describing, I think, a
farm-yard view in England, appeared "redolent of pigs, poultry, and
sundry other good things appertaining to rural life."

On arriving at the approach to the entrance or mouth of the river
Hudson, which is formed by an arm of the estuary, we turned the
promontory, leaving Jersey on the left, the battery as we entered the
harbour being in the foreground. The guns-bristled from this fortress
with menacing aspect, and the sentinels, in light blue uniforms and
Kosciusko caps, silently paced the ramparts with automatic regularity.
This fortification, though formidable in appearance, and certainly in a
commanding position, I was subsequently informed is little more than a
mimic fort; this arises from the want of attention paid to defences of
the kind in America, the little existing chance of invasion, perhaps,
causing the indifference to the subject. If, however, the spirit of
aggressive conquest shown by the federal government, of late years, of
which the invasion of Mexico is a fair specimen, should continue to
develop itself, it is not difficult to foresee that it will be necessary
policy to pay greater attention to the subject, and to keep in a more
effective state the seaboard defences of the country, as well as their
army, which is at present miserably deficient. This has heretofore been
so far neglected, as regards the marine, that not long before I arrived
the commander of a French ship of war was much chagrined, on firing a
salute as he passed the battery at New York, to find that his courtesy
was not returned in the customary way. He complained of the omission as
either a mark of disrespect to himself, or an insult to his nation, when
it came out in explanation that the garrison was in such a defective
state that there were not the appliances at hand to observe this
national etiquette.

The city of New York is built almost close to the water's edge, with a
broad levee or wharf running round a great portion of it. Its general
appearance gives to a stranger an impression of its extent and
importance. It has been aptly and accurately described as a dense pack
of buildings, comprising every imaginable variety, and of all known
orders of modernized architecture. The tide flows close up to the
wharves which run outside of the city, and differs so little in height
at ebb or flow, that vessels of the largest class ride, I believe, at
all times as safely as in the West India docks in London, or the
imperial docks of Liverpool. Here was assembled an incalculable number
of vessels of all sizes and all nations, forming a beautiful and
picturesque view of commercial enterprise and grandeur, perhaps outvying
every other port in the world, not excepting Liverpool itself.

As our vessel could not at once be accommodated with a berth, owing to
the crowded state of the harbour, she was moored in the middle of the
stream, and being anxious to go on shore, I availed myself of the
captain's offer to take me to the landing-place in his gig. We went on
shore in an alcove, at the foot of Wall-street, and I experienced the
most delightful sensation on once more setting foot on _terra firma_,
after our dreary voyage. The day, notwithstanding it was now October,
was intensely hot (although a severe frost for two or three days before
gave indications of approaching winter), and the streets being
unmacadamized, had that arid look we read of in accounts of the plains
of Arabia, the dust being quite deep, and exceeding in quantity anything
of the kind I had ever seen in European cities: clouds of it
impregnated the air, and rendered respiration and sight difficult.

Hundreds of rudely-constructed drays were passing to and fro, heavily
laden with merchandize, many of them drawn by mules, and the remainder
by very light horses of Arabian build; the heavy English dray horse was
nowhere to be seen, the breed as I afterwards learned not being
cultivated, from a dislike to its ponderousness.

The lower part of Wall-street presented a busy mart-like appearance,
every description of goods being piled heterogeneously before the
warehouse-doors of their respective owners in the open thoroughfare,
which is at this part very wide. Auctioneers were here busily engaged in
the disposal of their merchandise, which comprised every variety of
produce and manufacture, home and foreign, from a yard of
linsey-woolsey, "hum spun" as they termed it, to a bale of Manchester
long cloth, or their own Sea-Island cotton. The auctioneer in America is
a curious specimen of the biped creation. He is usually a swaggering,
consequential sort of fellow, and drives away at his calling with
wondrous impudence and pertinacity, dispensing, all the while he is
selling, the most fulsome flattery or the grossest abuse on those who
stand around. One of these loquacious animals was holding forth to a
crowd, just below the _Courier and Inquirer_ newspaper office, where
the street widens, as a preliminary introduction to the sale of a
quantity of linen goods that had been damaged at a recent fire in the
neighbourhood. I could not help admiring the man's tact. Fixing his eyes
on an individual in a white dress, with an enormous Leghorn hat on his
head, who was apparently eagerly listening, while smoking a cigar, to
the harangue, he suddenly exclaimed, "There now is Senator Huff, from
the State of Missouri, he heerd of this vendue a thousand mile up river,
and wall knows I'm about to offer somethin woth having; look at him, he
could buy up the fust five hunderd folks hed cum across anywhar in this
city, and what's more, he's a true patriot, made o' the right kinder
stuff, I guess."

He followed up the eulogium at great length, and after liberally
dispensing "soft soap" on the listeners, declared the auction had
commenced. I stood by for some minutes, gazing around and watching the
operations, and was not long in discovering that Senator Huff kept
running up the articles by pretended bids, and was evidently in league
with him, in fact a confederate. This auctioneer was the very emblem of
buffoonery and blackguardism; the rapidity with which he repeated the
sums, supposed by the bystanders to be bid, the curt yet extravagant
praise bestowed on his wares, and his insulting and unsparing remarks if
a comment were made on the goods he offered, or if the company did not
respond in bidding, stamped him as one of the baser sort of vulgarians.

Sales of this description were going on in every direction, and the
street rang with the stentorian voices of the sellers. Many of these
were mock auctions, as an observer of any intelligence would detect, and
as I ascertained beyond doubt almost directly after leaving this man's
stand; for, stepping into an open store close at hand, of which there
are ranges on either side of the street, a sale of jewellery and watches
was going on. A case of jewellery, containing, among other things, a
gold watch and chain, apparently of exquisite workmanship, was put up
just as I entered, and was started at six cents per article. Bid after
bid succeeded, until, at last, the lot was knocked down to a southern
gentleman present at fifty cents per item. On making the purchase, he
naturally wished to know how many articles the box contained. This
information, on the plea that it would delay the sale, was withheld. The
auctioneer, however, insisted on the payment of a deposit of fifty
dollars, in compliance with the published conditions of the sale, which
sum, after a demur on the part of the purchaser, was paid. I could see,
however, that he was now sensible he had been duped, and I afterwards
learnt that some forty or fifty articles, of almost every fancy
description, many of them worthless, such as pins, knives, tweezers, and
a variety of other knick-knacks, were artfully concealed from view, by
means of a false bottom to the case; this being lifted up revealed the
truth. The man was greatly enraged on finding he had been cheated, but
was treated with the most audacious coolness, and after some altercation
left the store, as he said, to seek redress elsewhere, but I have no
doubt he went off with the intention of losing his deposit.

This occurrence put me on my guard, and made me very wary of buying
articles at such auctions during my stay in New York, although the
apparent beauty and cheapness of many of the articles I saw offered,
especially of French manufacture, were sufficient to decoy the most
wary, and I did not wonder at people being victimized at such places.
Emigrants are the chief sufferers, I was told, by such transactions,
from their want of caution, and ignorance of the arts of the
accomplished deceivers who conduct them.

Proceeding up Wall-street in the direction of Broadway, I reached that
portion of it frequented by stock and real-estate brokers. Here crowds
of gentlemanly-looking men, dressed mostly in black, and of busy mien,
crowded the thoroughfare with scrip in hand. Each appeared intensely
absorbed in business, and as I gazed on the assemblage, I could
discover unmistakable symptoms of great excitement and mental anxiety,
the proportion of rueful countenances being much greater than is usually
seen in similar places of resort in England; a sudden depression in the
market at the time might, however, account for much of this, although it
is well known that brokers and speculators on the American continent
engage in the pursuit with the avidity of professed gamblers.

Hundreds of Negroes were hurrying to and fro through the streets, these
were chiefly labourers, decently dressed, and employed either as draymen
or porters. They looked happier than labourers in England; and, being
bathed in a profuse perspiration from the heat of the weather, their
faces shone almost like black satin or patent leather.

After a few days' rest at my boarding-house, to which I was recommended
by a touter, and which was in Canal-street, and was kept by a "cute"
Down-easter, or native of the New England States, with whom I engaged
for bed and board for eight dollars per week, I sallied forth to make my
intended observations, preparatory to leaving for the west. Everything
wore a novel aspect. The number of foreigners seen in the thoroughfares,
the tawdry flimsily-built carriages, which strangely contrast with the
more substantial ones seen in England, and the dresses of the people,
all seemed strange to me. The habiliments of one or two in particular
rivetted my attention. The first was a Kentuckian, who was dressed in a
suit of grey home-spun cloth, and wore on his head a fantastical cap,
formed of a racoon-skin, beautifully striped, the ears projecting just
above his forehead on each side, while the forefeet of the animal,
decorated with red cloth, formed the ear-laps, and the tail depended
over his back like a quieu, producing a ludicrous effect. His appearance
as he passed along attracted little notice, such vagaries being common
in America. My attention was also arrested by a person who was arrayed
in a hunting suit of buck-skin, curiously wrought with strips of dyed
porcupine-quill, and who wore an otter-skin cap and Indian moccasins.
There, is, however, little novelty in this costume, which I frequently
saw afterwards. Caps of the description I have mentioned are commonly
worn in the interior. I subsequently donned one myself, and found it an
admirable adjunct to easy travelling.

During my stay at New York, I found the heat almost overpowering, the
Indian summer (as the period between autumn and winter is there termed)
having set in. An umbrella was quite a necessary appendage at times, to
avoid its effects, which are often fatal to Europeans at the time of the
summer solstice.

In perambulating the city of New York, its appearance is prepossessing
to a visitor; the streets are well laid out, and are wide and regular,
the houses being for the most part of the better class. The white or red
paint (the latter predominates), and the green and white jalousie,
venetian, and siesta blinds, giving a picturesqueness to the scene.
Handsome mats lie outside the doors of many of the better description of
houses.

Broadway is the principal place of attraction in New York, but it has so
often been described by visitors, that it is a work of supererogation to
comment much upon it here; as, however, every tourist can see and
describe differently the same objects, I must not pass it in silence,
especially as it ranks in the view of the New Yorkers, something as
Bond-street and Regent-street do in the metropolis of England. It is,
however, far inferior to these; it is not one, but a continuous line of
streets, and, including Canal-street, extends about three miles in
length. The Haarlem Railway comes down a considerable portion of the
upper part, the rails being laid in the centre of the street The lower
end of Broadway merges into the Battery Park, which is situated at the
water's edge. In Broadway are to be seen magnificent hotels, theatres,
magazines-de-mode, and all the etceteras of a fashionable mart, not
omitting to mention crowds of elegantly dressed ladies and exquisitely
attired gentlemen, including many of colour; the latter appearing in the
extreme of the fashion, with a redundancy of jewellery which,
contrasting with their sable colour, produces to the eye of a stranger
an unseemly effect. The shops and stores are fitted up in the Parisian
style, appear well attended by customers, and are crowded with the
choicest description of goods.

Astor's Hotel, built by the so-called millionaire of that name, is a
large but rather heavy-looking pile of building, and forms a conspicuous
object in the park. Here many of the élite from the provinces sojourn on
visiting the city. The accommodations are stated to be of the first
order, and, from a cursory inspection, I should imagine this to be true,
the only drawback being the enormous prices charged, exceeding, I was
told, the ordinary run of first-class houses of that description.
Noticing from the opposite side of the street that the entrance was much
crowded, curiosity led me to cross over and ascend the steps and listen
to what was going on, supposing it some political demonstration; in
this, however, I was mistaken, for I found that the cause of the
commotion was the recent arrival and presence of the celebrated
statesman and lawyer, Daniel Webster, _en route_ to Washington, whither
he was called by Congressional duties. I pressed forward to shake hands
with this great expounder of American laws, as he is called by the
citizens, who seemed, by the way, on the occasion I refer to, to regard
him as a sort of divinity. I could not, however, succeed in getting near
enough to accomplish my object, although I strove hard for it. It was
quite amusing to see the anxiety shown by some of those present to
effect the same purpose. The senator kept shaking hands with all around,
repeating over and over again, "Glad to see you, citizens, glad to see
you." Amongst others, a gentlemanly-dressed negro with a gold-headed
cane pressed forward and held out his hand. There was, however, no
chance for him in the throng, for he was rudely pushed back, and I heard
several angry exclamations of disapprobation from the crowd, at the
liberty he had taken, one individual in particular crying out, "Kick
that nigger off, what has he to do here." These exclamations caught the
ear of the negro gentleman, and he shrunk back in an instant, as if
electrified. Mr. Webster was a yeoman-like looking person, of rather a
muscular-build, and at one time of life was, no doubt, as I have heard,
possessed of great physical powers; he had a heavy and rather downcast
turn of features, which were not improved by a pair of enormous black
eyebrows; there was, however, an expression in his physiognomy that
indicated deep thought, and a degree of intelligence above the
mediocrity. In addition to this, there was also a pleasing urbanity in
his manner that was certainly contrary to what might have been expected
from his personal appearance and known burly character in business. He
gradually retreated up the steps towards the interior of the hotel, the
excessive attentions paid by the crowd appearing troublesome to him. He
was closely followed, however, by his admirers, whose boisterous
behaviour savoured much more of enthusiasm than deference or politeness.
I had heard that the Americans profess never to do things by halves, and
so set this instance down as a proof of their propensity to "go the
whole hog," as they are wont to term their extremes and eccentricities.

The Town-hall, situate at the base of the Park, which is a triangular
piece of land, well laid out and neatly kept, is a light edifice of some
taste and architectural merit, its chief attraction being the white
marble of which it is constructed, and which is brought from the
quarries at Sing-Sing, some miles up the river Hudson. The effect,
however, is not good; its exposure to the elements having given it a
blurred or chalky appearance. It is surmounted by a small but elevated
cupola, constructed of wood, which some time ago, I was informed by a
citizen, caught fire at a pyrotechnic exhibition, and endangered the
whole edifice, since which, displays of fire-works have been prohibited
in the Park by the civic authorities. At the entrance there is a
spacious vestibule, but this, as well as the interior, though elegant in
its simplicity of style, is meagre of ornament. Proceeding to the
interior, I reached the criminal court, where a squalid-looking prisoner
was undergoing trial for murder. The judges and officers of the court
were almost entirely without insignia of office, and the counsel
employed, I thought, evinced much tact in their proceedings, especially
in the cross-examination of witnesses, although they manifested great
acerbity of feeling towards each other, and their acrimonious remarks
would not, I imagine, have been allowed to pass without remonstrance in
an English court of justice. I was told by a by-stander, with whom I
entered into conversation, that if found guilty, the prisoner would be
conducted to an underground apartment used for the purpose, and
privately executed, the law of the State of New York, from motives that
ought to be appreciated in England, prohibiting public executions. It is
also customary there to allow criminals more time than in England, to
prepare for the awful change they are doomed to undergo.

I was informed by a friend that there are some very astute lawyers in
America, and I subsequently had opportunities to test the accuracy of
the remark. Their code, however, differs materially from the English,
although professing to be based upon its principles; and has the
preeminent advantage of being pretty free from the intricacies and
incongruities that so often tend to defeat justice in the
mother-country, and render proceedings at law so expensive and
perplexing. The slave laws (called the "_codenoir_"), adapted for the
Southern States, must, however, be excepted, for it is notorious, that
to subserve the ends of interested parties, they have been framed so as
to present what may with propriety be termed a concatenation of
entanglement and injustice to the slave subjects; the very wording of
many of these enactments, carrying unmistakable evidence of their being
concocted for the almost sole protection of the slave-owners.

Adjoining the Town-hall, or separated only by an avenue, is a heavy,
monastic-looking building, used as a bridewell, and called the City
Penitentiary. Having remained a considerable time in the hall where the
trial was going on, the agonized state of the prisoner and sickening
details of the murder caused a disinclination for the present to
continue my perambulations, so I stepped into the Café de
l'Independence, in Broadway, and called for a port-wine sangaree,
endeavouring, while I sipped it, smoked a cigar, and read the _Courier
and Inquirer_, to forget the scene I had just witnessed. Leaving soon
after, I pursued my way down Broadway, passing Peel's Museum and the
Astor House, to the Battery Marine Promenade. This is a delightful spot,
the finest in point of situation (although not in extent) of the kind I
ever saw, the Esplanade at Charleston in South Carolina, of which I
shall have by-and-by to speak more particularly, being excepted.

Ladies and gentlemen were promenading up and down, under the umbrageous
foliage of the lofty trees which skirt the Battery Park, and which were
as yet unscathed by the recent frosts, forming a delightful retreat from
the scorching rays of an American sun. The sea view from this point,
with the adjacent scenery, is interesting and attractive; the broad
expanse of ocean in the distance, the highlands looming in the
perspective, the numerous aquatic birds skimming the surface of the
estuary, and the picturesque fort and woody shores of New Jersey, all
tending to diversify the scene and add to its natural beauty. I
afterwards visited this place over and over again, and every succeeding
visit added to my admiration and enhanced its attractions. To the left
lies, in panoramic grandeur, the harbour, literally teeming with ships
of all sizes and all nations; while, on the right, the entrance of the
majestic Hudson or north river, with crowds of magnificent steamers,
traders to Troy, Albany, and the West, forms a prominent feature in that
direction. The passing and repassing of steamers and other vessels of
home-traffic, and the more exciting arrival of ships from foreign parts,
give a zest to the scene which must be witnessed to be fully
appreciated.

A day or two after, having obtained, through a friend, leave of
admission, I crossed over to Brooklyn, and visited the Navy-yard. The
docks of this establishment contained, at this time, many specimens of
American naval architecture of choice description; amongst the rest, a
frigate and several other ships of war lying in ordinary. Everything
appeared to indicate good management and efficiency, as far as a
landsman could judge. This was very discernible on board the vessels we
were allowed to inspect, where the utmost order and cleanliness
prevailed. The officers, I thought, seemed to exact great deference from
the men, and their martinet bearing ill accorded with a republican
service, being decidedly more marked than on board British ships of war
which I had visited at Deptford, Chatham, and elsewhere in England.
Probably a stricter discipline may be found necessary, on account of the
equality that exists in America, which might operate to render those
under command more difficult of control, if such independence were
allowed to be manifested.

I found that the army and navy, in America, are chiefly manned by
English, Dutch and Irish, not a few Poles being in the ranks of the
former: these are impelled, through lack of employment, and the
additional inducement of a tolerably liberal pay, to join the service.
The Americans themselves are too sensible of the inconveniences
attending public services, as well as too acute, to follow such
occupations in time of peace, though when danger has threatened, they
have always shown themselves at the instant service of the State, and as
citizen soldiers are not, perhaps, to be equalled in any other country.

From the Navy-yard I proceeded to Hoboken; this is a place of great
resort in fine weather, and is situate nearly opposite the city of New
York, or rather the eastern part of it. Here I found assembled a large
company of pleasure-seekers in holiday attire, some lounging under the
trees, others in groups at pic-nic, and not a small proportion of the
gentlemen regaling themselves at the refreshment stalls or temporary
cafés, erected on the grounds, on mint juleps and iced sangarees. The
grounds are interspersed with park, woodland, and forest scenery, and
are kept in admirable order, the managers studying to maintain the
appearance of original nature, and to impress on the mind of the
visitor, that he is ruralizing, far from city life, amongst primeval
forest shades; the contiguous scenery is not, however, calculated to
carry out the idea. It is quite the custom for American husbands to
leave their families for the day, and enjoy relaxation in their own way,
a practice that I apprehend would not be sanctioned by our English
ladies, any more than it would be resorted to by English gentlemen, from
motives of kindly and very proper feeling. Here, in a retired spot, is
the duelling ground, which has attained no little notoriety in that
latitude, as the spot where many a knotty point has been quietly solved
by the aid of a pair of pistols or Colt's rifles; although, for the
credit of the citizens of New York and its neighbourhood, it must be
recorded that they are not so ready to fly to this disgraceful
alternative as their ensanguined brethren in the Southern or Slave
States.

My stay in New York being limited by previous arrangements, I was
anxious to get back to the city, although a day might well be taken up
in ruralizing, and exploring the Arcadian beauties of Hoboken, the
favourite resort of the citizens of New York. So, after a pretty general
though cursory survey of its attractions, I recrossed, as I had come, in
a ferry propelled by steam. The construction of this boat, a whole fleet
of which description were busily plying to and fro, being unique, and
unlike any I had seen before, I must not pass it over without remark. In
principle it consisted of two barge-like vessels placed side by side, a
platform being laid on the top, for the engine, passengers, and
steersman; the latter, as in all American steam-vessels, of whatever
size, being perched in an elevated round-house on deck. The stem and
stern of this vessel were alike, the necessity of turning being thus
altogether obviated, as in some of the steam-boats on the Thames.

A practice prevails amongst newspaper publishers in America, which is, I
believe, only resorted to in England in cases of public emergency or
unusual excitement, and that but seldom; I mean that of posting on large
placards the latest arrival of news, home or foreign: thus, whenever you
return home after a sojourn in the city, the eager inquiry is sure to
be, "Any news up town?" This custom keeps up a lively interest in
passing events, and disseminates amongst the citizens at large, the
current news of the day, and if it has no other beneficial effects,
prevents rumours, that commonly circulate in times of public excitement
to the detriment often of many individuals in crowded communities. I
noticed the walls of New York thickly posted with placards chiefly of an
inflammatory political character. Many of these breathed agrarian
principles, that would in Europe have been inadmissible, and would,
without doubt, have led to the immediate arrest and imprisonment of the
authors. Here, however, they are but little noticed by the populace, and
not at all, I believe, by the authorities. Cheap newspapers are pushed
into the face of the passer-by, at the corner of every principal
thoroughfare, the prices varying from two to six cents. These, as may be
supposed, contain, together with the current news, every description of
scandal and trash imaginable, their personality being highly offensive,
injurious, and reprehensible. Thus the freedom of the press is abused in
every part of America, and this powerful engine of "good or ill"
converted from a benefit (as it is if managed with propriety) into a
public nuisance.

One peculiarity, exceedingly annoying to an Englishman, which is
observable even in good society in New York and elsewhere in America, is
a prying curiosity as to the affairs of those with whom they converse.
Their habits at table also often fill one with disgust, and the want of
good-breeding I witnessed on more than one occasion would have been
resented in England. This is the more remarkable, as the Americans
entertain high notions of refinement, and yet, paradoxical as it may
appear, seem to glory in their contempt of good manners. I do not,
however, include the ladies in this remark; on the contrary, I must
unequivocally assert, that I always observed in them, not only in New
York, but in every other part of the North American continent which I
visited, the greatest disposition to cover the misdoings of the opposite
sex, and a great degree of cultivation and politeness; although they are
perfectly freezing in their manners before formal introduction, I do not
doubt that there are many among them of great refinement and powers of
intellect, their personal appearance being also consonant with their
known amiability.

The bustle and drive in the trading quarters of the city is very great.
The merchants and their assistants have a hurried manner of doing
business, discernible in a moment to a stranger, which is much to be
deprecated, and too often leads, as I afterwards found, to disastrous
results. Business with these men is in general quite a "go-a-head" sort
of affair, and not being accompanied with method, in many cases leads to
an embarrassed state of circumstances. Thus it frequently happens, that
on investigation, the assets of a merchant who has stopped payment and
is a supposed bankrupt, realize more than enough to pay the creditors,
and the party finds to his agreeable surprise, that his position is not
so bad after all.

The churches and other places of public worship in New York have a
temporary appearance, the steeples of the former being, when I visited
the city, chiefly of painted-wood. This, I believe, is partly the reason
why bells are not used, although a friend in whose presence I noticed
this, stated that contempt for so English a custom had much to do with
their disuse. If so, the prejudice is not confined to New York alone,
for I was not cheered by the inspiriting sound of a peal in any other
part of the Union I visited, although I think I have heard they are in
use in Philadelphia and some of the eastern cities.

The time I had allotted to remain in New York having expired, and being
anxious to proceed on my route before the close of navigation, I
reluctantly bade adieu to my kind friends in that city, and made
preparations to pursue my way to the more western part of the Union,
hoping to reach the Mississippi country before the season when the
rivers and canals leading to it would be locked up in ice.



CHAPTER II.

  "See how yon flaming herald treads
    The ridged and rolling waves,
  As, crashing o'er their crested heads,
    She bows her surly slaves;
  With foam before and fire behind,
    She rends the clinging sea,
  That flies before the roaring wind,
    Beneath her hissing lea."
                 HOLMES--_The Steam Boat_.


My first stage, in proceeding to the interior of the country, was to
Albany, 160 miles north of New York. To effect this, I took passage, on
board a splendidly-equipped steamer, called the _Narraganset_, and
esteemed at the time the swiftest boat on the Hudson River. I must
confess I was rather timid when I did so, for the reckless manner in
which the crack boats are run, in order to maintain their character for
celerity, is proverbial, and, as may be supposed, is little consonant
with safe travelling. The almost constant recurrence of steam-boat
explosions and consequent sacrifice of life, reports of which are daily
to be seen in the newspapers, weighed somewhat heavily on my mind, and
the latent fear was not lessened by seeing four barrels of pitch rolled
on board, the very moment I set foot on the deck of the _Narraganset_. I
had to console myself, however, as I best could under the circumstances,
and trust to Providence; but had it not been for the payment of my fare,
which had previously been arranged, and its inevitable loss if I stopped
behind, I believe I should have declined the passage, from my horror of
a race. Although, before the boat got under weigh, my lurking fears of
explosion were great, they were much enhanced just after starting, in
consequence of an opposition boat being loosed from her moorings at the
same minute that our vessel got clear of the levee. This accounted for
the barrels of pitch I had seen on deck, the heads of which were knocked
out just as we entered the Hudson, and a portion of the contents thrown
with the fuel into the roaring furnaces; this powerful generator of
caloric of course gave increased rapidity to the motion of the engines,
and in a couple of hours we left our opponent far behind.

It is remarkable that, although the Americans, as a people, travel
more, perhaps, than any other nation, so little attention is paid by
them to safety in transit. It is openly avowed that nothing is more
common than steam-boat explosions and steam disasters of various kinds
throughout this vast continent; and where boats are constructed to carry
1000 or 1200 passengers, as is usual on the American rivers, the loss of
life, in case of accident, is fearful to contemplate. I am aware that
the subject has been discussed in Congress, and that the question of
remedial measures has occupied the attention of the Executive during
several successive Presidentships; but still the evil remains, and the
public mind in America is almost daily agitated by disasters of this
nature. As long as the rampant spirit of competition and desire to
outvie their fellows, which prevails amongst a large class of Americans,
is tacitly, if not openly, encouraged by the governing powers, such a
state of things must exist, and will probably increase; but it is a
positive disgrace to a country possessing great natural attractions,
and, on this account, visited by many foreigners, that they should by
this system be exposed to daily peril of their lives. The acts of
Congress lately promulgated, although apparently stringent, are
virtually a dead letter, in consequence of the facilities for evasion,
and the ingenuity of the offenders. The effort to outrun a rival is
attended by an insane excitement, too often participated in by the
passengers, who forget for the time that they are in a similar situation
to a man sitting on a barrel of gunpowder within a few feet of a raging
furnace. I frequently found myself in such a position, in consequence of
this dangerous propensity, and the remedy suggested to my mind, and
which I recommend to others, was never to take a passage, on American
waters, in a first-class steam-boat, as the principle acted upon is to
maintain the character of a first-rater at all hazards, regardless of
the life or limbs of the helpless passengers.

The _Narraganset_, like most of the large river steamers, was
constructed with three decks, and fitted up in sumptuous style. One
large saloon, with a portion partitioned off for the ladies, serving as
a cabin and dining apartment. There is no professed distinction of class
in the passengers on board steam-boats in America. I found, however,
that the higher grades, doubtless from the same causes that operate in
other parts of the world, kept aloof from those beneath them.

The scene from the upper or hurricane deck (as it is called) was very
attractive. Flowing, as the river Hudson does, through a fine
mountainous country, the magnificent scenery on the banks strikes the
observer with feelings allied to awe. The stream being broad and
tortuous, beetling crags, high mountains and bluffs, and dense forests,
burst suddenly and unexpectedly into view; fearful precipices abound
here and there, amidst luxuriant groves and uncouth pine barrens,
forming altogether a diversity that gives the whole the character of a
stupendous panorama.

Before we were out of the tide, which for miles flows up the river, our
vessel grounded three times, but after puffing and straining for a
considerable time, she got off without damage and pursued her onward
course. Most of my fellow-voyagers were disposed to be distant and
taciturn, and so I enjoyed the grandeurs of the scene in solitary
musings, to which the steamers, sloops under sail, and other vessels
proceeding up and down the river, gave a pleasant enlivenment. The
promenade deck, crowded with lady passengers and beautiful children,
under a gay awning, added to the cheerfulness of the surrounding aspect,
and the fineness of the weather, but for the fear of collapsing boilers,
would have made the trip one of great enjoyment.

Another drawback I had nearly forgotten, and as it serves to illustrate
steam-boat and indeed all other travelling inconveniences in America, I
must not pass it over; I refer to the vulgarity of the men passengers,
who, in default of better occupation, chew tobacco incessantly, and, to
the great annoyance of those who do not practise the vandalism, eject
the impregnated saliva over everything under foot. The deck of the
vessel was much defaced by the noxious stains; and even in converse with
ladies the unmannerly fellows expectorated without sense of decency. The
ladies, however, seemed not to regard it, and one bright-eyed houri I
saw looking into the face of a long sallow-visaged young man, who had
the juice oozing out at each angle of his mouth with disgusting effect,
so that enunciation was difficult.

Some miles up the Hudson, on a high piece of table-land, amidst romantic
scenery, stands in prominent relief the military college of West Point.
It commands an extensive view, and, was, I believe, an important outpost
during the late war. The young graduates were exercising in parties on
the parade ground under officers, and appeared dressed in dark jackets
with silver-coloured buttons, and light blue trowsers. We saw the
targets used by the graduates in artillery, who practise on the river
banks; at least, it was so stated by a fellow-passenger, who either was,
or pretended to be, acquainted with all the affairs of that college.

Beneath the summit of a high bluff, covered with wood, contiguous to
the college, I observed a monument or obelisk, which I ascertained to
have been erected to the memory of Kosciusko, a Polish patriot, who took
a prominent part in the annihilation of British rule in America. It had
a very picturesque effect, and was regarded with feelings of veneration
by many of the American passengers, one of whom paid a tribute to the
departed hero, which he wound up by observing with nasal emphasis and
lugubrious countenance, "If twarnt for that ere man, wher'd we be, I
waunt to know; not here I guess." This sentiment, although I could
scarcely see the point of it myself, elicited half-a-dozen "do tells"
and "I waunt to knows" from those around; expressions which, foolish as
they sound to English ears, are in common use in the northern and
eastern states, when an individual acquiesces in, or is anxious to know
more about, what is stated.

As the scenery on the Hudson, although picturesque and highly romantic,
savours somewhat of sameness, I shall forbear any further description of
it. No one visiting America should omit, if possible, a passage to
Albany, in order to enjoy, perhaps, the finest natural scenery in the
world.

The individual who delivered the eulogium I have noted on Kosciusko,
stated, that at the time of the war, an immense chain cable was thrown
across the river at West Point, to prevent the British vessels
proceeding to the interior, and this they in vain tried to destroy by
firing chain or bar shots.

After a favourable passage, we at length reached Albany, which is an
extensive city, and the depôt for produce, especially wheat, brought
_viâ_ the Erie Canal from the interior; being, in fact, the storehouse
of the trade to and from the interior States of the Union, west, as well
as from Canada and the Lakes. It is finely situated on the west bank of
the Hudson; many of its inhabitants are descended from the first
colonists, especially the adventurous and persevering Dutch, who, like
the Scotch, cling with tenacity to the spot they fix upon, and quickly
accumulate property. This city is continually growing in importance,
from the vast number of small capitalists who flock there and settle;
and it will eventually, no doubt, vie with New York itself in wealth and
importance. As I determined to make no stay here, but to proceed up the
Erie Canal to Buffalo, I did not see much of this place, and must
therefore omit any lengthened description of it. From what I did see, it
appeared a densely-populated, well-built city, laid out with much
regularity, and boasting of many substantial buildings, several of the
edifices being constructed of white marble.

Having secured a passage on board a canal packet about to start, I at
once embarked, and in a few hours after was running up the Erie Canal
at the rate of six miles an hour, the boat being towed by four light
horses of high mettle. The trappings of these animals were of a novel
description, bells being appended to various parts of the harness, and
streamers, or plumes of white hair and gaudy ribbons, floating in the
air from the bridle of each. A postilion, in a suit of grey, with an
otter-skin cap, rode on the rearmost or saddle horse, and his
_nonchalance_ and perfect command of his team were surprising. This boat
was some sixty yards in length, and constructed only for passengers and
their luggage. The interior formed a long saloon in miniature, fitted up
with lounges, and tastefully decorated; a promenade on the deck or top
furnishing a good place for exercise. At night our saloon was converted
into a general dormitory, a portion being partitioned off for the
ladies, by ranges of shelves being suspended from the sides, on which
were laid the mattresses, &c. Owing to the number of locks and stoppages
at the miserable towns and villages on the canal banks, our passage to
Buffalo took several days; and the country being flat and uninteresting,
although divided into farms, which in general appeared to be in a state
of tolerable cultivation, I was not a little relieved when we began to
approach the city.

The formation of the Erie Canal was one of those grand internal
improvements frequently to be met with in that country, and which have
contributed to its general prosperity in no small degree. The projector
of this vast undertaking, De Witt Clinton, is justly esteemed by
American citizens, who regard him as a public benefactor, and his name
ranks with the founders of their independence. The canal runs, for a
considerable distance before it reaches Buffalo, parallel with the lake,
but separated from it by a sort of artificial sea-wall. As we merged
into the vicinity of this magnificent inland sea, the sun was shining
brightly, and gave it the appearance of molten silver. As far as the eye
could reach, a wide expanse of water presented itself, and the distant
shores of Canada gave beauty to the scene. At Black-rock we could
distinguish the sites of the British fortifications, from which in the
last war red-hot cannon-balls were ejected, to the dismay of the
terrified Americans, and the destruction of many of their houses.

Buffalo is a flourishing city on the border of Lake Erie, and about
twenty miles south of the Falls of Niagara. It is within the boundary of
the state of New York, and has of late years greatly increased in
extent, wealth, and population. The old town, quite an inconsiderable
place, on the site of which the present city has risen, phoenix-like,
was burnt to the ground during the late war, by some British officers,
who made a sortie from the Canada shores; which circumstance, having
been handed down from father to son, still rankles in the bosoms of many
of the older inhabitants, who do not fail to state their belief that
retributive justice will eventually be administered by the entire
subjugation of Canada. During my rather prolonged stay in Buffalo, I had
frequent opportunities of discovering that the most rancorous feelings
exist on the subject; and in proof of this it may be remembered by the
reader that the Canadian insurgents were assisted at the late
insurrection by supplies of stores from this city. These were conveyed
to Navy Island by the steamer _Caroline_, which was subsequently seized,
and sent over the Falls of Niagara by the British troops, a number of
the crew being cruelly massacred.

From inquiries made of parties well informed on the subject, both in
Canada and the United States, I am convinced that the public act of Sir
John Colborne, before quitting the governorship of the province, in
1835, viz., the allotment or appropriation of 346,252 acres of the soil,
as a clergy reserve, and the institution of the fifty-seven rectories,
was the chief predisposing cause of the insurrection. By this Act a
certain portion of land in every township was set apart for the
maintenance of "a Protestant clergy," under which ambiguous term, the
clergy of the Church of England have always claimed the sole enjoyment
of the funds arising from the sale of such portions of land. This is
looked upon by dissenters of all denominations as a direct infringement
of the original intention of the Act, which they maintain was for the
purpose of aiding the Protestant cause at large against the innovations
of the Roman Catholic Church. Much ill-will and sectarian prejudice are
the natural consequence; in fact, the Act is a perfect apple of discord
throughout the Canadas, and has engendered more animosity and resentment
than any one legislative act, sanctioned by the Home Government, since
the acquisition (if so it can he called) of the country. It is an
indelible disgrace to England, that such a manifestly bigoted and
narrow-minded policy should have been allowed to continue so long; and I
am fully persuaded that this enactment, which, there is little doubt,
originated in sectarianism, perpetuates a degree of rancorous feeling in
the minds of people there, that is sufficient to account for the
disaffection and tendency to rebellion that ever and anon displays
itself; and that to remove this blister, and allow the application of
these funds to all creeds alike, would be to restore peace, and convert
doubtfully-affected communities to allegiance. If there is one
consideration that ought to weigh in the minds of the British as a
people, to endeavour to rivet the affections of the Canadians, more than
another, and prevent the ultimate cession of that country to the
Americans, it is, that the dependency affords now the only asylum for
those persecuted outcasts of humanity, the slaves of the United States.
Canada, the land of freedom, is associated in their minds with
paradisaical thoughts of happiness--and many a heart-stricken creature
in the Southern States of America, as I had many opportunities of
ascertaining, toils on in content, with "Canada" in view, as the
ultimatum of his hopes and the land of his redemption.

The population of Buffalo is fluctuating, owing to the vast number of
emigrants who are constantly arriving, _en route_ to Ohio, Michigan, and
the far West. It averages in population, about ten thousand. The city is
not of great extent, and consists in chief of one principal
thoroughfare, called Maine-street, which is wide, the lower part
terminating at the water's edge, along which spacious stores are erected
for the reception of wheat and goods in transit. The harbour is formed
by an arm of Lake Erie uniting with Buffalo river. Here are always
congregated a large fleet of steamers, many of them of leviathan
dimensions, which are employed in running to and from Detroit, in
Michigan, and the intermediate ports, as well as in the Upper Lake
trade. Being quite a depôt, Buffalo bids fair, ere the lapse of many
years, to be the grand emporium of the West. The public buildings do not
deserve much notice; the Eagle Theatre, a joint-stock concern, being the
only building of much interest. There are, however, several spacious
hotels, and two or three banks, that boast some architectural merit,
although much, I believe, cannot be said as to their stability. The
lateral streets are rather obscure, and, not being regularly built upon,
give the city an unfinished look. These are, however, dotted here and
there with chateaux, having good gardens well arranged. The Niagara
Railway station is situated to the left of Maine-street, about half-way
up that premier thoroughfare.

At night the distant moan of the Niagara falls was audible, and this,
together with what I had heard and read, made me very anxious to visit
the spot. Accordingly, one splendid morning I started by train for the
purpose. For some miles before we reached Niagara, we constantly heard
the roar of the rushing waters, and were thus prepared for the
stupendous scene that burst upon the view, as we alighted at the doors
of that _ne plus ultra_ of modern hostelries, the Pavilion Hotel.

My powers of description will fall short of conveying to the mind of
the reader the awful grandeur of this cataract, so often commented upon
by travellers. The first impression felt by me was, that the whole
substratum on which I stood, which seemed to tremble, was about to be
swept away by the vast inundation. It was not the height of the falls,
but the immense body of water, which comprehends, with constant
accumulations from the tributaries on the way, the overflowings of Lakes
Erie, Superior, Michigan, and Huron. The astonishing effect of such a
body of water, dashed abruptly over a precipice of 150 perpendicular
feet, may be conceived; such is the momentum of this immense volume of
fluid, that, when it strikes the rocky bed at the base of the cataract,
it rebounds in a thick cloud of vapour--and when the sun's rays
intercept it, as was the case when I arrived there, a beautiful rainbow
of vivid colours encircles the area of the chasm, and, together with the
natural curiosities and situation of the entire scene, presents to the
amazed beholder, the effect of a highly-executed picture in a frame of
sun-light, although far surpassing the productions of human skill, which
may well be said, in comparison, to sink into utter insignificance.

A large company of visitors were assembled at the time of my arrival,
probably from all parts of the world--so that I found it impossible to
get a bed, unless I penetrated into the interior with a view to obtain
accommodation at some farm-house, or crossed to the Canada side; but,
feeling too tired, after the day's excitement, to pursue either such
course, I took an evening train and returned to Buffalo the same day,
where I arrived at 9 P.M.

About three miles from Buffalo is an Indian village, called Tonawanda. I
frequently saw parties of the inhabitants, who resort to the city to
dispose of their wares and produce. Some of the warriors were fine
athletic fellows, of great stature, the lowest I saw being over six feet
in height. They were clothed in tanned buck-skin, curiously fringed and
ornamented with porcupine-quills richly dyed; their squaws (wives) being
enveloped in fine Canadian blue broad cloth, their favourite costume;
the crimson or other gaudy-coloured selvedge forming a conspicuous
ornament.

Like all the aborigines of America, they cling with tenacity to primeval
habits and customs, resisting every attempt made by the white
population, to make or persuade them to conform to civilized life. The
ill-usage they have been subjected to by the Americans, may, however,
account for this in a great measure. They were described to me by one of
the residents as a dissipated set of fellows, who squandered all they
got in "fire-water," as they term ardent spirits, and when inebriated
are so quarrelsome that it is dangerous in the highest degree to
irritate them.

Not very long after I arrived, a circumstance occurred that threatened
most fearful consequences. The Indians whom I have before referred to
were in the frequent habit, when they came to the city, to dispose of
their produce (for many of them followed husbandry) of getting so tipsy,
that there was continual danger of bloodshed; their natural animosity on
such occasions being roused with fearful vehemence, so that the
authorities were compelled to adopt some steps to remedy the evil. It
was no uncommon occurrence to see an Indian waggon by the road-side,
with its pair of horses _sans_ driver, who might have been found either
drunk or quarreling at the other end of the city. And although the
horses were always impounded, and a fine inflicted, still the nuisance
continued without abatement, in fact, was rather on the increase. The
new Mayor, being a man more alive than his predecessor to this evil,
caused a regulation to be passed by the Civic Council, that any Indian
found so far the worse for liquor in the streets of Buffalo as to be
incapable of taking care of himself, should be punished by being made to
work on the high roads for a short period, with an iron ball and chain
attached to his leg. When this law was promulgated, there was a strong
impression that the Indians would show resistance. This was soon found
to be a correct view of the case, for not a week had elapsed before two
warriors were brought before the Mayor, and sentenced to ten days'
probation at road-mending, in pursuance of the decree. They had,
however, only been at work two days in the upper part of Maine-street,
in charge of two constables, when a large body of their fraternity,
armed _cap-a-pié,_ entered the city, and, with horrid yells and
brandished tomahawks, rescued the culprits, knocked off their chains,
and carried them in triumph to the Indian village, amidst fearful
threats of fire and blood. As this attack was unexpected, no resistance
was offered; and although there was much discussion afterwards, about
the laws being vindicated and an example being made, the matter, from
motives, no doubt, of public safety, was allowed to drop, and for the
future the red men had it all their own way, although there were
certainly signs of amendment, and the evil decreased to a very great
extent. The Indian maxim being, "Firm in friendship but ruthless in
war," there is little doubt that the course pursued on this occasion by
the city authorities, was the best under such circumstances.

Lake Erie is a fine piece of water, being 265 miles long, from Buffalo
to Detroit, the two extreme ends, and averaging about 60 miles broad. At
its north-east end it communicates with Lake Ontario and the Canadian
shores, by the gut or strait of Niagara. Towards the west end are
numerous islands and banks, which are furnished with light-houses for
the guidance of the mariner. Its waters wash the foot of Maine-street
(Buffalo) where they meet the river from which that city takes its name.
It is frequently visited by furious gales, which play havoc with the
steamers, many of which are annually wrecked.

While I remained in Buffalo, I took several excursions to the towns that
skirt this beautiful inland sea. On one of these occasions, the steamer
was driven by stress of weather to take shelter in the small harbour of
Huron, some distance up the lake; this we reached with much difficulty,
the violence of the sea threatening every moment the total destruction
of the vessel. As we entered the harbour, the air rang with a shout of
welcome from the inhabitants of the place, who had been watching our
perilous progress in great anxiety, and were assembled at the end of the
little pier. Here we remained for two days and nights, the wind blowing
all that time with the fury of a hurricane; the lake, during the storm,
presenting the appearance of the sea in a stiff north-wester, the
white-crested waves rising in violent commotion to a fearful height.

Huron is but a small and uninteresting place, situate in a most
unwholesome locality, lying opposite to a murky swamp, whose poisonous
vapours spread disease and death around. It is the highway to Sandusky
city, an inland border town, rendered famous for the obstinacy with
which the inhabitants and a body of U.S. Infantry defended a fort there
against the attacks of the British troops in 1812. Having ascertained
the captain's intention not to sail until the day following, and it
being described as a very attractive spot, I hired a horse, and, after a
seven miles' ride through a country dotted with farm houses, which had a
desolate look, and the lands appertaining to which were subdivided by
zigzag log fences (hedges being unknown in the back settlements), I
reached the so-called city, which is built in nearly the form of a
parallelogram, the area of greensward having a pretty effect. Here are
some good hotels, and a seminary or college for young ladies, which is
much patronized by the better classes of the northern and eastern
states, especially New York. I looked in vain for the Fort, which has,
since the war, been demolished; but the landlord of the hotel at which
I afterwards dined, took me to its site, and related several incidents
that occurred in connection with the fortress, and the struggle between
the belligerent parties at the time. As, however, I considered these
somewhat apocryphal, from several of his relations failing to hang
together, and his decided bias against the Britishers, as he called the
English, I shall not trouble the reader with the details. After viewing
the place and its suburbs to my satisfaction, and after an excellent
dinner of green maize and venison, I rode back to the steamer.

It was towards evening when I arrived; and, as I approached Huron, by
the banks of the creek that divides the swamp I have mentioned, and
which was unusually swollen, I noticed a canoe that had broken loose
from its moorings, drifting down the current; a moment afterwards the
owner arrived in breathless haste, to endeavour to save it from
destruction; his exertions were, however, useless, and, finding there
was no alternative, he hailed the bystanders, and offered the reward of
a dollar to any one who would swim to and paddle the canoe on shore;
this offer was eagerly caught at by a tall man, of great muscular power,
who was amongst the crowd, and who at once threw off his coat and
plunged into the stream. This was very rapid, and, after a few moments
battling with the turbid current, he was overpowered; uttering a loud
cry for assistance, which I shall never forget and which rang in my ears
like a death knell, he disappeared from the view of the spectators, and,
being probably entangled in the trees and debris that were floating down
the torrent, he did not rise again. A loud wail arose from the terrified
assemblage, who were unable to render the poor fellow any assistance,
and who ran about in frantic excitement. The canoe was lost, being
carried at a rapid rate into the open lake, where it capsized, and sunk
immediately. After dragging for the body for upwards of an hour, it was
fished up from under some logs of timber moored some distance below
where the catastrophe occurred. The body being landed and placed on the
bank, a loud altercation ensued as to the means to be used to attempt
resuscitation--a vain hope--but still persisted in by those assembled.
Some wanted to roll it on a barrel, others to suspend it by the heels,
that the water might be voided. At length a doctor arrived, and, after
some inquiry, pronounced effort useless, from the time the body had been
under water. This at once damped the ardour of the crowd, although it
did not discourage a female, who had taken a prominent part in the
operations, and who, with that true womanly tenderness and solicitude
which do honour to her sex, and which are nowhere more conspicuous than
in America, insisted upon the corpse being taken to a neighbouring
house, where, like a ministering angel, she persevered in her efforts
for a considerable time, although of course without effect.

The banks of Lake Erie, in the vicinity of Huron, are thickly studded
with small trees and coppice wood. This scenery, being interspersed with
open natural meadow-land, gives it a park-like aspect, and several spots
would, graced with a mansion, have formed an estate any nobleman in
Europe might have been proud of, the shores of Canada, looming in the
hazy distance, giving a fine effect to the scene.

The noise and disagreeable odour arising from the bull-frogs and other
reptiles that infest the swamp opposite the village at night, filled the
air, and rendered it impossible for me to sleep. As I lay restless on my
bed, I suddenly heard a gun fired, and, starting up in some alarm, I
hastily put on my clothes and descended to the bar of the hotel. Here
several of the inmates were assembled, and were preparing to cross the
creek with lanterns, to explore the swamp, cries of distress having been
distinctly heard, as of some benighted traveller who had lost his way.
After listening intently, and firing several rifles to guide the
wanderer or apprize him that assistance was at hand, the party crossed
the creek in a canoe, and moved along the skirts of the morass,
hallooing loudly all the time; the cries, however, heard only at
intervals at the commencement, became gradually indistinct, and at last
ceased altogether. After an ineffectual search for an hour or more, the
party again turned towards Huron, strongly impressed with the belief,
that the unfortunate being had sunk with his horse in the soft bed of
the swamp, which is some miles in extent, and had perished miserably.
The day following, I visited the nearest point from which the cries were
heard, but I could discern no sign of the sufferer, nor could I even
trace footmarks; this, however, is not remarkable, as they would
speedily be obliterated by the many reptiles nurtured in the morass. It
was afterwards questioned, whether the supposed wanderer was only a
catamount, a species of jaguar that emits doleful cries at night.

The storm having abated, I soon after returned on board, and in due
course reached Buffalo, where I had the pleasure of meeting with an old
acquaintance, from whom I had long been separated, and who had delayed
his intended voyage up the lake, to await my return. A large proportion
of the population of Buffalo are people of colour, and one quarter of
the town is almost exclusively inhabited by them; many of these, I
regret to add, are living in a state of degradation pitiable to behold,
apparently without the least endeavour being made by their white
fellow-citizens to improve their condition. Some of these coloured
people keep eating-houses, for the accommodation of those of their own
complexion, but the greater number are employed as stokers and
steam-boat hands. A few of these men, despite the prejudice that exists
(and it is nowhere in the Union more marked than in Buffalo), rise above
the common level, and by that probity of character and untiring energy,
which I believe to be inherent in the race, become men of substance.

One instance of this deserves especial notice, as the subject of it had,
entirely by the good qualities mentioned, amassed a fortune, and had
married a woman of English birth. I was introduced to this individual
some time after my arrival in Buffalo, and his singularly correct views
and uprightness of character made me partial to his company. His wife
was a notable, well-informed, good-looking woman, about forty years of
age. Irrespective of colour, I certainly admired her discrimination in
the choice of a partner, although she was looked down upon by the wives
of the white citizens, and, in common with her husband, was almost
entirely shunned by them. There may, perhaps, have been a higher
consideration than that of a good settlement to cause an English woman
in this instance to marry a dark mulatto; but I was always of opinion,
and she confirmed this by hints dropped casually, that the consideration
of a fortune had more to do with the alliance than love. This gentleman
kept a good house, and had many servants. His wife being fond of
amusements, he hired a box for her use at the Eagle Theatre, which she
always attended alone, the etiquette of the white citizens not
permitting his attendance with her. He appeared almost always in a
desponding mood, a tendency arising entirely from the insulting
demeanour used towards him by the citizens; and he frequently talked of
removing to Canada, or the far West, to avoid the treatment he was
subjected to at the hands of a pack of young scoundrels, who took every
opportunity to annoy and treat him with indignity for marrying a white
woman. The consequence was, that neither he nor his wife scarcely ever
ventured out. If they did so, it was never in company, and usually after
dark. I was politely offered the use of their box at the theatre during
my stay, and on one occasion availed myself of the offer. But I never
ventured again--the box was evidently marked, and during the performance
I was subjected to the most disgusting remarks and behaviour from the
audience. Indeed, this was carried so far, that I retired long before
the curtain dropped. So intent were his fellow-citizens on annoying
this inoffensive man, that soon after he was mobbed in Maine-street by
the young desperadoes I have referred to, who, from their determined
opposition to intermixed marriages, were known in the place as
"anti-amalgamists." On this occasion poor P---- nearly lost his life,
and, but for running, would, no doubt, have done so; as it was, he was
much burnt about the head and neck, the ruffians in the scuffle having
set fire to his frock-coat, which was of linen.

It is rather remarkable that, at St. Louis, on the Missouri, some ten
months afterwards, I met this very man, he having purchased some
government land in a remote part of that state. Our meeting was quite
accidental, for I crossed the street and accosted him as he was hurrying
along. In the course of our interview he pressed me earnestly to go up
the country with him; but this I declined from motives of prudence, the
route lying through a slave-holding state, where a white and coloured
man travelling on terms of equality, would be sure to excite suspicion.
He had a small bundle of papers under his arm, and on my remarking he
appeared intent on business, he stated they were his free papers, and
that not ten minutes before he had been challenged to produce them; but
this, he said, would not have prevented his arrest and detention in the
city gaol until the authorities of Buffalo had been written to under
suspicion of his being a fugitive, had he not taken the precaution,
before he left that city, to obtain from the mayor a certificate of his
intention to proceed to the Missouri country, and the object of his
visit. He told me that if he liked his purchase, he should build a house
on it, and cultivate the land as a farm, as his continued residence in
Buffalo, after the disposition to annoy him shown by the citizens,
rendered his stay there out of the question. I afterwards dined with him
at his "hotel," which was an obscure tavern in an unfrequented part of
the city, in and about which I saw several coloured people. I afterwards
ascertained that this was what is there derisively termed a "nigger
boarding-house," and that the keepers of superior hotels would not think
of accommodating a coloured person even for a night. From subsequent
experience in such matters, I have no doubt that this version was a true
one.

The hotels and cafés in the Slave States are all frequented by slave
owners and dealers; these would not think of putting up at quarters
where "coloured folks" were entertained. This distinction is so marked,
that no negro would attempt to apply for refreshment at the bar of such
places, as the inevitable consequence of such a liberty would be
refusal, if not summary ejectment. It is therefore the custom, in all
southern towns and cities, for the negro population to resort to places
kept expressly for the accommodation of coloured people. These are not
always kept by men of their own complexion, but often by white men, who,
having become friendly with them, have lost caste with the whites, and
are in fact discarded by them.

In the harbour of Buffalo, I saw two brigs, that during the war in 1812
had been captured by the Americans, and sunk somewhere up the lake on
the American side. These had recently been raised by means of apparatus
invented by an ingenious American. They were strong, substantially-built
brigs, of about 250 tons burden each. I was surprised to find what a
preserving effect the lake water had upon the timber, the wood being
almost black in colour, and so hard that it was difficult to make an
impression upon it even with an axe. These vessels had been sold to a
shipping company, and were at the time employed, I think, in the Chicago
or Upper Lake trade.

I had frequently heard of the number of rattle and other snakes to be
met with on the banks of the lake, but these have been nearly
exterminated by the settlers. During my stay in the suburbs I only found
a few water-snakes, basking in the sun amongst the wilderness of
aquatic plants that cover the surface of the water in the creeks.

The superstitious dread of inhaling the east wind blowing from the mouth
of the lake, is now exploded, and is considered in the light of a
by-gone tale; although, for three-quarters of a century, it was
considered baneful even to the healthy. Consumptive patients are,
however, soon carried off, the biting blasts from the Canadian shores
proving very fatal in pulmonary complaints, and the winters being very
severe.

A plentiful supply of excellent fish of various sorts, is procured from
the lake. These are salted in barrels, and find a ready market in the
northern and eastern states.

My abode in the city of Buffalo extended over the greater part of a
year, and during this period I had frequent opportunities of witnessing
that tendency to overreach that has, perhaps, with some justice, been
called a disposition in the generality of Americans to defraud. I do not
mean to stygmatize any particular class of men in this imputation, but I
must record my decided conviction, arising from transactions with them,
that business with the mass of citizens there is not that upright system
that obtains with such successful results in the mother country, amongst
those engaged in commercial relations. Perhaps it would be but fair to
make some excuse for men of this class, in a country whose heterogeneous
population, and consequent exposure to competition, renders it a
struggle to obtain a livelihood. It is notorious that thousands of men
in America are obliged, as it were, to succumb to this influence or
become paupers, and are thus driven out of the paths of strict rectitude
and honesty of purpose, and compelled to resort to all sorts of
chicanery to enable them to make two ends meet. In no instance is this
more observable than in the "selling" propensities of the Americans.
"For sale" seems to be the national motto, and would form an admirable
addendum to the inscription displayed on the coins, "_E pluribus unum_."
Everything a man possesses is voluntarily subjected to the law of
interchange. The farmer, the land speculator, and the keeper of the
meanest grocery or barber's stall, are alike open to "a trade," that is,
an exchange of commodities, in the hope or prospect of some profit,
honestly or dishonestly, being attached to the transaction. This induces
a loose, gambling propensity, which, indulged in to excess, often leads
to ruin and involvement, and, if absolute beggary is deferred, causes
numerous victims to be perpetually floundering in debt, difficulty, and
disgrace.



CHAPTER III.

  "Then blame mo not that I should seek, although I know not thee,
  To waken in thy heart its chords of holiest sympathy,
  It is for woman's bleeding heart, for woman's humbled form,
  O'er which the reeking lash is swung, with life's red current warm."
                                               E M CHANDLER


On a fine morning in June, I took my departure from Buffalo, in the lake
steamer _Governor Porter_, for the port of Cleveland in the state of
Ohio. The sun was shining on the silvery bosom of the lake, which in a
dead calm gave it a refulgent glassy appearance. We had not, however,
been two hours at sea before the clouds began to collect, and a heavy
gale came on with rapidity. This continued to increase until the day
following, during which the vessel had passed Cleveland, the place of
my destination, and was driving before a furious north-wester towards
Detroit, at the head of the lake. The captain stated that all his
endeavours to make the landing-place at Cleveland had been unavailing,
but if those passengers whom he had engaged to land there would proceed
with him on the voyage to his destination, he would land them on his
return, which he said would probably be in three or four days. As this
offer necessarily included board, the three passengers, who were in the
same predicament as myself, after a short consultation agreed to accept
it; and as time was not an object to me, I did not demur, for I much
wished to have a view of the country in that direction. Had either of us
dissented, the captain would, probably, have landed us at the next port,
a result that would have involved the expense and inconvenience of a
thirty miles' ride, or thereabouts, to Cleveland, in a rough stage, over
rougher roads.

The weather moderated towards sunset, and we had a very favourable
passage to the head of the lake, and entering Detroit harbour, which
lies at the foot of the town, I soon after landed, and took a stroll
into it. It is not a very populous place, the inhabitants being, I
should say, under 4000. The houses are in general, heavy dirty-looking
buildings, though the streets are tolerably wide, and built with
regularity. It is, I believe, peopled principally by French and Dutch,
who appeared to be in low circumstances, and who follow the usual town
occupations.

This town, which is essentially Gaelic in appearance, is situated on the
west side of the strait, between Lakes St. Clare and Erie, and is within
sight of Malden in Canada, with the shores of which province a constant
trade or communication is kept up by steam. Here is situated an
extensive government agency for the sale of land in Michigan; whither,
at the time, vast numbers of new settlers were daily proceeding in
search of homes and happiness. I saw many of these on their way, and as
they toiled to their new homes, they looked haggard, forlorn, and
abject; and I thought I could distinguish in almost all, especially the
women, an aspect of grief that indicated they were exiles, who had left
behind all that tended to make life joyous and happy, to seek a
precarious existence in an unknown wilderness. As the town afforded few
attractions, the only place of amusement being a temporary theatrical
exhibition, I was not a little rejoiced when the vessel again started
down the lake, which she did with every advantage of favourable weather.
In due course we reached Cleveland, and, as I was anxious to proceed
onwards, I took but a cursory view of the place, which is, like
Detroit, situated on a somewhat rising ground. It appeared a thriving
town, and the hotels were in general superbly fitted up.

As I was strolling towards the canal to take my passage to the Ohio
river, a little incident occurred, which, as it illustrates a very old
adage, I will not omit. Passing some low-built houses near the canal, my
attention was arrested by the screams of a female, who uttered loud
cries for assistance.

Hastening to the door of the house from which the alarm proceeded, I
lifted the latch in great trepidation, when I saw a man just about to
strike a woman (who proved to be his wife) with an uplifted chair. The
fellow was vociferating loudly, and appeared in a towering passion. My
first impulse was to cry out "Drop it!" when, lo! as if I had, like
Katerfelto, the by-gone professor of legerdemain, cried "Presto," the
scene changed, and both man and woman, who were Americans of the lower
class, commenced bullying me in right earnest. I made my retreat with
some difficulty, as they seemed, both of them, inclined to serve me
roughly for my well-intentioned, though, perhaps, mistimed interference.
As I made my escape, however, I intimated, pretty loudly, that I should
at once apply to a magistrate on the subject, a threat, by-the-bye, that
was little regarded, and only increased the showers of abuse levelled
at me. As my appealing to a magistrate would be of little avail in the
case of a family jar, and would certainly have entailed inconvenience
and delay, I did not carry my threat into execution, wondering, at the
same time, at my temerity in interfering in a quarrel between man and
wife, which I now practically learnt, for the first time in my life, was
to incur the unmitigated anger of both, and to learn how true it is that

  "Those who in quarrels interpose,
  Must oft expect a bloody nose."

I visited the portion of the town appropriated by the Mormons as a
residence. Here, in the midst of their dwellings, they had erected a
temple for worship, which, on their emigrating west, their arch-leader,
Smith, prophesied would, by the interposition of heaven, be destroyed by
fire. The prophecy was verified as to the fact, but heaven had, it
appeared, little to do with it; for it was ascertained to be the work of
an incendiary of their sect, who was detected and brought to condign
punishment.

I was afterwards informed by an American gentleman, to whom I had a
letter of introduction, and who had been a great sufferer by these
impostors, that some time before the great body of Mormons migrated to
the interior, they started a bank. Having managed to put a vast number
of their notes in circulation, for which they received produce, they
closed the doors, and left the public to be losers by their nefarious
schemes. I had the misfortune myself, in my ignorance, to take from a
dishonest store-keeper a ten-dollar bill of this spurious currency, and
did not detect the imposture until I offered it to the captain of the
boat I had engaged a passage in to _La Belle Rivière_, as the Ohio is
called. I must mention, however, that I took it previously to the
interview with the gentleman I have adverted to, and actually, without
knowing it, had the note in my pocket-book when he mentioned the default
of these pseudo bankers. I paid ten dollars for a useful lesson.

The passengers from Cleveland formed a motley group; for, irrespective
of French, Dutch, Americans, and Canadians, we had on board eight or ten
families of the Mormon sect, following in the wake of their leaders,
Smith and Rigdon, to their new settlement in the far west. These people
were very reserved, and seemed inclined to keep aloof from their
fellow-passengers. This, however, may be accounted for by the prejudice
so justly existing at the time against them, as a body, from the causes
I have already mentioned; in fact, the indignation of the people could
hardly be kept in check by the authorities, and lynching was resorted
to on more than one occasion. The men were clothed in drab broad-cloth,
and wore large white hats; their garb altogether resembling that of the
more respectable Society of Friends, in America. The resemblance,
however, ceases with the dress, for, if reports speak true, and they are
many-tongued, they are very exceptionable in their morality and general
principles, amongst other peculiarities, polygamy being allowed, for the
avowed purpose of extending and perpetuating the sect.

Our progress was pretty rapid, though it lay through an uninteresting
country, in many parts uncultivated and barren-looking. Massillon is a
very flourishing town, with some good stores and two or three hotels. As
the captain was obliged to make a short stay here, I went into the town
and, stepping into an hotel to procure a cigar, I found a company
engaged in earnest conversation, interrupted at intervals by loud
laughter. On inquiry, I was told that the landlord had that morning been
played a Yankee trick by a travelling pedlar, who had stopped the
previous night at his house. It appeared that the same man had some
months before practised on the landlord; but, either supposing the
matter blown over and forgotten, or, what is more likely, with a view to
put another of his arts into exercise, he again put up at the same
house. The proprietor, however, at once recognized the pedlar, and
after taxing him with the cheat he had practised on the former occasion,
wound up his lecture by stating, in true American style, that if he
again succeeded in cheating him he would forego the amount of his tavern
expenses. The man exclaimed, "Done," and at once it appeared set his
wits to work to obtain the object. A few hours after the conversation,
the fellow brought in from his waggon some boxes of fancy goods, and
endeavoured to induce the landlady to purchase. This, however, no doubt
prompted by her husband, she resolutely refused, and he had them removed
to his room upstairs, as is customary. After breakfast, the following
morning, he called the landlady aside and said he forgot the day before
to show her a fancy quilt of superior workmanship, and if she would only
look at it he would be satisfied, as it was one of great beauty. She
consented to this, and the man at once went to his waggon, which was now
at the door, he being about to start, and brought in a box which
contained, amongst numerous other articles, the quilt he had been
eulogizing. The landlady was much taken with its appearance, and after
some little persuasion consented to become the purchaser. Accordingly,
the bargain was concluded, and the balance between his tavern bill and
the article in question was handed over at the hotel bar to the pedlar,
who at once started from the house, the landlord on his doing so
jocosely remarking on the conversation of the previous day, in reply to
which the wily pedlar observed, that "he guessed it was all right." Soon
after the man left, the landlady called her spouse to the inner room,
and showing him her bargain, said she had been induced to buy the quilt,
because it was an exact match for the one in the large room up-stairs.
This led to a female help (as servants are there called), being
despatched to the room to fetch and compare the original with that newly
purchased. The girl speedily returned in the greatest consternation,
saying it had vanished. The truth now became apparent; the artful pedlar
had actually sold the landlady her own quilt!

This ludicrous circumstance led to the confusion I had noticed when I
arrived; the man had gone they knew not whither, and had it been
possible to overtake him, I question whether he would have been pursued,
the cleverness of the trick being highly applauded by the company, and
the landlord feeling, perhaps, ashamed of being outwitted a second time,
after himself giving the challenge. The ingenuity of American pedlars in
cozening their countrymen, has long been proverbial, and in general,
people are wary of them; they have, however, I suppose by long
practice, become such adepts at roguery, that however alive to their
propensities, folks are daily victimized by such men. It was nothing new
to hear a roguish action applauded, but on this occasion the company
were vociferous in his praise, and declared they would certainly
patronize him when he came that way again, for he deserved
encouragement.

After strolling through the town, which presented little worth
recording, I again returned to the boat, which proceeded on its way. I
had frequently heard and read of those vast flocks of wild pigeons which
periodically pursue their flight to milder latitudes: and, as the boat
was now approaching the centre of the state of Ohio, where myriads of
these birds were seen the year before, I anxiously watched the horizon
for their appearance. For several days, however, I was doomed to
disappointment, and gave it up in despair; but a day or two after, when
in the vicinity of the Tuscarawas river, it being about noon, the
helmsman suddenly called out, "A field of pigeons." This announcement
called all hands to the promenade deck of the packet. Looking in the
direction indicated, a heavy black cloud appeared in the far horizon;
this seemed to extend from right to left, and was so dense that the
novices amongst us at once pronounced it, either a mistake or a hoax.
The helmsman declared that it was neither, and that we should soon be
convinced of it. The cloud seemed now gradually and visibly to spread;
in truth, the whole firmament in that direction was totally obscured. By
this time a general rummage had commenced in the boat for fire-arms; the
captain hailed the driver on the towing path, who pulled up, and the
boat was moored by the canal side. We now landed, intending to replenish
the larder of the vessel with what, to most of the passengers, was a
rare treat. On the left bank of the canal, and on the banks of the
river, which here ran parallel with it, was a forest of gigantic trees;
and, as the birds were evidently making in that direction, it was
decided that all those who wished to take part in the expected sport,
should proceed, and wait their passing this spot, in the hope that some
would settle on the branches of the trees. Accordingly, after crossing
the river by a rude bridge, which was very nearly half a quarter of a
mile in length, we reached the intended spot after wading up to our
knees in a swamp or turbary, and getting miserably bemauled by the
briars and cane vines. We had not to wait long; the birds, wearied by a
long flight, were evidently attracted by the favourable resting-place,
and in less than a quarter of an hour, the air was darkened with the
hosts hovering over our heads; the sound of their wings defies
description, those of my readers who remember the peculiar noise made by
a single pigeon in its flight, may form a faint idea by multiplying the
sound a million times. It in fact filled the air, and produced a
startling effect. Thousands of the birds alighted on the trees, the
branches of which snapped and crackled fearfully under the
superincumbent load; those of our party who were armed, continued to
fire and load as fast as they possibly could. They brought hundreds to
the ground, but still, through weariness, perhaps, the rest kept their
station on the branches, and did not appear to heed the attack
much--shifting their position or only flying off for a moment and then
again alighting. By this time many of the settlers from the surrounding
districts had arrived to share in the quarry. Thousands of birds were
brought to the ground; in fact, every discharge of the guns and rifles
brought down showers to our feet; and the noise seemed to resemble our
being engaged in action with a foe; without, however, the dire effects
of such a rencontre to ourselves. After bagging our game, of which we
secured nearly two hundred brace, we returned to the boat, leaving the
rest of the sport to those who chose to continue it. We had enough, and,
for the remainder of the passage, were completely surfeited with pigeon
fare, administered by the boat's cook in all sorts of outlandish forms.
In our progress onward through the state, we saw many carcases of these
birds outside the villages, such numbers having been destroyed, that the
inhabitants could not consume them, and they were accordingly thrown out
as refuse. These birds were in good condition, and were excellent
eating.

As the packet was likely to be detained for some hours at Zoar, a
settlement about two miles beyond Bolivar, owing to a dispute between
the captain and some officers connected with the canal, I availed myself
of the opportunity, on the invitation of a very gentlemanly
fellow-passenger from Connecticut, to visit a farm a few miles in the
interior, where resided a celebrated character, named Adam Poe, surnamed
by the inhabitants, the "Indian-killer," who had acquired the summit of
a backwoods-man's fame, by some forty years ago shooting "Black-foot," a
formidable Indian marauder, who, for a long period, spread consternation
and alarm among the early settlers. As this exploit (whether justified
by the circumstances and times or not, I cannot pretend to say) was one
that restored security among the settlers, and dispersed a body of
Indians, who destroyed every white inhabitant they encountered, and laid
waste their farms, it is no wonder that Adam Poe was regarded as a great
man. On arriving at the farm-house, which was one of the better
description in that region, we were kindly welcomed by the son of the
hero I have mentioned, who bore the father's patronymic, and after the
usual hospitality, were ushered into an adjoining apartment, and
introduced to the object of our visit. He was sitting in an armchair by
the side of his wife, who, like himself, was far advanced in years,
their united ages numbering 173. The old man, who was so feeble as to be
unable to rise when we entered, saluted us with the usual "Glad to see
you, strangers," his spouse at the same time advancing towards us to
shake hands. He was evidently used to such intrusions; for, after
inquiry where we came from and whither bound, he began, in a tremulous
voice, which, from his extreme age, was scarcely intelligible, to
narrate his early adventures. It was absolutely shocking, as he became
more animated by the subject, to hear the coolness with which the
veteran related some of his bloody combats; so much so, indeed, that I
and my companion at once cut short his narration, being horrified at the
turpitude of the aged sinner, who, although gasping for breath, and
evidently on the verge of the unseen world, talked of his deeds of
violence with an ardour that befitted a better cause.

The old man dwelt at great length on his hair-breadth escapes and deeds
of prowess; but the destruction of the implacable "Black-foot," was the
absorbing subject. This chief, it appeared, had, with a small party,
been hovering round Poe's farm for several nights, and the inmates were
in great terror of a midnight attack; the principal aim of the chief,
being, it is supposed to despatch a man, whose activity had rendered him
particularly obnoxious to his tribe, and whose bravery was acknowledged
by the settlers far and near.

After several nights passed in anxiety, every little circumstance, any
unusual noise, the baying of a dog, a disturbance in the hog-pens,
exciting the greatest apprehension, Poe determined on stealthily
watching the enemy under covert of a hillock or embankment on the farm.
He accordingly sallied out with his Indian rifle, in the haze of the
evening, taking with him a supply of _aqua vitae,_ as he facetiously
said, to keep up his "dander." After watching a considerable time, every
now and then applying his ear to the ground to listen for approaching
footsteps (a plan invariably followed by Indians themselves), he
ascertained that an Indian was in the vicinity; again intently
listening, he soon satisfied himself that the alarm he had experienced
was occasioned by one individual only. Instantly on the _qui-vive,_ he
first cocked his rifle, and, just as he descried the Indian's head
above the embankment he pulled with unerring aim the fatal trigger, when
with an agonizing howl, the Indian toppled backwards down the
embankment, and all was silent. Poe now sprang forward, and with his
knife severed the "war scalp" from the head of the savage, and after
securing his knife and rifle, returned to his home in high glee to
announce the horrid achievement. It was, however, deemed unsafe to
venture out again that night, for fear of other Indians of Black-foot's
band, who it was well known were in the neighbourhood.

In the morning Poe sallied out to the place of reconnoitre with some of
the inmates of the farm. Here they found, stretched on the ground,
weltering in gore, the vanquished warrior, who was now, for the first
time, from a plume he wore, and some other peculiarity in his
equipments, identified as the veritable "Sachem," who had for months
kept that settlement in a state of alarm. Poe was soon complimented by
the settlers around, and from that day forward became a celebrated
character.

I was subsequently told on board the canal packet, that the Indian
referred to, was not the notorious chief of that name, but a second-rate
warrior, who, having headed a band of marauders, ***med the soubriquet.
How far this may be the fact, I cannot determine. I, however,
frequently heard Poe's name mentioned as a brave defender of the
hearths and homes of the early settlers in the remote districts of Ohio.

I could perceive that his son's wife (a matronly dame of about sixty),
was adverse to such interviews, as, to use her expression, "they brought
the old man back to this world again, when he should be pondering on the
next," and that she was grieved at the recital of them; indeed, she
several times checked his expressions, when they bordered, as they not
unfrequently did, on impiety. She acted rightly, for there was evidently
much more of the soldier than the Christian about the old man, and
before we left I expressed a hope that such visits would be discouraged,
a suggestion that was received in a kindly spirit.

After inspecting the farm, which was well stocked, and appeared to be
cultivated in the most approved modern style, and was well fenced with
the usual rails, we started on our return to Zoar, where the packet had
halted. On our way thither, we passed through a hamlet of primitive
appearance, consisting of some half-dozen houses built of logs, at one
end of which was a rudely-constructed meeting-house, belonging to the
sect of Whitfieldite Methodists. The congregation was assembled, and the
horses and vehicles belonging to those who resided at a distance, were
tethered and my companion passed, the occupants were chanting a hymn
previous to the discourse, which it appeared was a valedictory one, the
minister being about to leave this for a more extensive field of
pastoral labour. Having time to spare, and such an assembly on a
week-day attracting our attention, from its rarity, we stepped in, and
remained during the whole of the service, arriving at Zoar a few minutes
before the boat started.

As we passed through a densely-wooded district between Bolivar and
Chillicothe, I observed that for many miles the trees were denuded of
every green leaf, from the devastating effects of millions of locusts,
which periodically visit the western states of the Union, to the dismay
of the settlers. The trees in many places were at the time covered with
these destructive insects. I went on shore and procured several, with
the intention of preserving them. They were beautiful creatures, about
ten times the size of an ordinary field grasshopper, and, except that
their hind legs were longer in proportion to their size, the exact shape
of that harmless little insect. Their colours are brilliant green,
slate, and flamingo red, beautifully lined and variegated. The humming
noise produced by these insects is very disagreeable, and fills the
surrounding air with murmurs, while the wilderness look of the scene of
their depredations has a depressing effect on the mind of the
traveller. Their visits are much dreaded, as they are followed by the
total destruction of foliage in the district, and in many instances, the
young saplings die in consequence of their attacks.

After a pleasant passage of four or five days, the packet arrived at the
river junction; and taking passage at once in a steamer which was
waiting its arrival in the Ohio river, I was soon rapidly on my way to
that fairy city of the west, Cincinnati. This is the largest city in the
state of Ohio, and is the capital of Hamilton county. Fort Washington, a
defence of some renown during the war, is two miles above, and opposite
to the mouth of the Licking river. The broad bosom of the Ohio was here
covered with steam-boats, employed in the Virginia, Missouri, and New
Orleans trade. The wharves are commodious, and a broad inclined plane,
from the city to the water's edge, gives the former a fine appearance,
as it rests majestically in the background.

As I was anxious to proceed to the State of Missouri, with as little
delay as possible, I at once engaged a passage to St. Louis, and the
following morning was steaming in the direction of the falls of St.
Anthony. The passengers in this boat employed themselves nearly the
whole of the route at games of cards, _faro_ being the favourite. This
predilection for gambling, which is generally carried to great extremes
on board southern boats, was not, however, confined to the cabin, for I
noticed the crew, at every spare interval, sitting about on deck, with
packs of cards, completely absorbed in the game. The negro hands were
particularly addicted to this vice, and a gentleman who was proceeding
in the boat informed me that but a trifle of the earnings of boat-hands
in general was spared from their devotedness to this ruinous practice.
The effect of association with, and the example set by, white men given
to gambling, will account, perhaps, for the habit. This moral pestilence
is in vain prohibited by the state, and is pursued by all classes in the
south with frenzied avidity.

After twice running on shore, and meeting with sundry other stoppages
and minor mishaps, through the mismanagement of the two engineers, we
reached the city of St. Louis, to the gratification of myself and
fellow-passengers. This is a place of considerable extent, although
awkwardly built, and for the most part irregularly laid out. It is a
considerable fur depôt of the Hudson Bay Company; and there is a
recruiting station, from whence start expeditions of trappers to the
Rocky Mountains. I saw a large party of these adventurers, who were
about to start on an expedition to these remote confines. It consisted
entirely of young Frenchmen and Hollanders, who are preferred for the
service by the company. They were of slight make, and little calculated,
from their appearance, to encounter the hardships of such a life; but I
was told they soon become hardened, and return strong, athletic men. The
employment is, however, beset with danger, from the hostile dispositions
of the various tribes of Indians in the western wilds, who view their
intrusion with vindictive feelings, and seize every opportunity of
attacking and annihilating small parties, notwithstanding their
professions of friendship. Not long after my arrival, a party of
trappers arrived from the Upper Missouri in two boats, which were loaded
with buffalo and other furs. The stalwart look of these hardy
mountaineers proved the hardening effect of their mode of life. They
were brawny fellows of a ruddy brown complexion, of the true Indian hue,
and habited in skins. These men, I ascertained, had been in the
mountains for four or five years, during which time they had subsisted
entirely on Buffalo and other meat, bread not being used or cared for.
Their healthy look under such circumstances completely shook my faith in
the Brahminical vegetarian theory, and goes far, I think, to prove that
man was intended by his Maker to be a carnivorous animal.

Just before the steamer approached the city, a circumstance occurred on
board that filled me and my fellow-passengers with horror. We were
taking breakfast in the cabin, congratulating each other on the near
termination of our tedious passage, when a sudden shriek, followed by
shouts from the deck-hands of the vessel, disturbed our meal. Hastening
in great perturbation to the deck, we soon discovered the cause of the
disturbance. One of the white waiters was lying on the deck, with a
frightful gash in his side, from which the blood was fast oozing. Our
first care was to attend to the sufferer, and a surgeon being
fortunately amongst the passengers, the hemorrhage was soon abated, but
the wound was pronounced to be of a fatal character. The poor fellow,
who was a lad of about eighteen years of age, moaned piteously. Every
attention that skill and kindness could suggest was paid to him. He was
immediately carried to a state-room in the cabin, where he remained in
great agony until the vessel was moored alongside the levee, when he was
carefully removed on a litter to a hospital on shore. The perpetrator of
the savage act proved to be a negro, filling the office of assistant
cook. The passengers were very clamorous, and would, without doubt, have
hanged the culprit immediately, had it not been for the interference of
the captain, who, after a curt examination, had him pinioned and taken
below. From the version given of the affair by the negroes who witnessed
it (but which was contradicted by two white men who were on the spot), I
was inclined to think the crime was committed under feelings of great
provocation, the negro, as is commonly the case on board steam-boats,
having been for a long time browbeaten by the victim of the sad
catastrophe, and subjected to very insolent and overbearing treatment at
his hands. The culprit, who was a very sullen, stolid-looking, full-bred
negro, refused to answer the questions put to him on the subject, and
certainly manifested a careless indifference to consequences that was
not in his favour; his fierce scowl denoting great ferocity, in all
probability induced by long ill-treatment. As soon as convenience
allowed, some officers from the shore came on board and secured the
prisoner, who was conveyed by them to the city gaol, to await the
investigation of the outrage by the civic authorities and the result of
the injury committed. The victim of revenge died a few days after the
occurrence in excruciating agony. It will scarcely be believed that the
perpetrator of the deed, after a short confinement, was spirited away up
the country, no doubt at the connivance of the authorities, and sold!

Thus, justice is often defeated, from pecuniary considerations in the
Slave States of America, where, if a slave commits even the heinous
crime of murder, the ordinary course of the law is interfered with to
save the owner from loss. This of itself is sufficient to stamp for ever
as infamous the social cancer of slavery, and brands as ridiculous, the
boasted regard for justice, so pragmatically urged in the southern
states of the American continent.

A mile or two from St. Louis, on the Carondelet road, are situated
spacious infantry barracks, named after Jefferson, one of the former
presidents of the Union, where troops are stationed in readiness to act
against the various tribes of Indians in the Upper Missouri country, who
sometimes show a disposition to be hostile. A reserve of troops is more
particularly needful for the protection of the inhabitants; for, either
from mismanagement or an aggressive spirit, the Government is
continually embroiled with the aboriginal tribes in harassing and
expensive warfare. This state of things acts as a perpetual blister, and
has engendered a rancorous enmity between the Indians and their white
neighbours, to the great detriment of peaceful agricultural pursuits by
the latter, and the periodical perplexity of the Chancellor of the
American Exchequer; whereas, a conciliating policy would not only keep
the tribes in close friendship, but secure their services as valuable
allies in case of emergency--a point that may possibly suggest itself
eventually to the executive, if the rampant spirit of aggrandisement now
abroad continues to govern the public mind in America.

Soon after landing, I was accosted by a middle-aged gentlemanly man, on
the subject of the outrage on board the boat, and as he appeared to have
less of that swaggering air about him than most men in the south
possess, I entered freely into conversation with him, and in a very
short time our interchange of sentiments created a mutual partiality,
that led to his inviting me to pass the following evening at his house,
a result I rather wished for, as he manifested a disposition to inform
me fully on several questions I put to him relative to the state I was
now in and my future movements; moreover, he seemed somewhat attached to
the English, or rather was not strong in his prejudices against them.

I accordingly repaired to his residence at the time appointed. This was
situated in one of the lateral streets of the city leading to the
outskirts, and, although not large, was furnished with great taste and
elegance. His lady, who was, I think, from Illinois, made herself very
agreeable, her kind attentions tending to confirm the impression I
already entertained of her countrywomen; they had no children, and the
husband was engaged in some way with the Fur Company established in St.
Louis. I was entertained with great hospitality; my kind host materially
assisting me by information, &c. in my intention to pursue my route
south.

He was the son of a New Englander, or native of one of the eastern
states; his father having fought at Bunker's Hill, and otherwise taken
an active part in the struggle for independence, between the years 1776
and 1785. This made it the more extraordinary that he should treat an
Englishman with the courtesy he showed to me, especially as under such
circumstances a bias is in general handed down from father to son, which
operates prejudicially to my countrymen.

After putting a variety of questions, as to the "old country" as he
termed Great Britain, on which I readily satisfied his curiosity, he
entered into a detail of some of the stirring events relating to the
period of his father's career in arms against the British; some of these
were of a thrilling character, and strongly depicted the miseries of
war, presenting a lamentable picture of the debasing influence of
sanguinary struggles on the human mind. The barbarous mode of harassing
the British troops, by picking off stragglers, which the lower orders of
Americans pursued, in most instances for the sake of the wretched
clothing and accoutrements of the victims, the former being dyed of a
dark colour, and sold for a dollar per set (as he called the military
suit), to the American citizen-soldiers, fairly made my blood creep; one
instance in particular filled me with horror, for it was a cold-blooded
murder of the deepest dye I must, however, do the narrator the justice
to say that he viewed the atrocity in the same light as I did.

The occurrence I am about to relate, took place somewhere on the banks
of the Hudson, below West Point, where a force of British troops were
encamped or pursuing their operations under the protection of some
vessels of war lying in the stream, he mentioned the exact spot where it
occurred, but I have forgotten it. It appeared that this force was
harassed and beset by parties of citizens, who, by pursuing a guerilla
system of warfare, surprising small parties, and firing entirely in
ambush, made great havoc amongst the rank and file of the invaders,
almost every straggler falling a victim. One evening, during this state
of things, two of the citizens, whilst prowling in a coppice, within a
few miles of the camp, on the look-out, came suddenly upon an infantry
soldier, who was off his guard at the moment, and whose firelock was
resting against a tree; the foremost of the Americans darted forward and
seized the weapon, while the second captured the wretched soldier. Under
ordinary circumstances, and in more honourable hands, the man would
have been conveyed as a prisoner of war to the American camp, but
plunder being their object, this would not answer the purpose of the
miscreants, the most resolute of whom ordered the captive (who was a lad
of seventeen or eighteen), to take off his jacket. Knowing this was a
preliminary step to his being shot, he fell on his knees and implored
mercy. His captors were, however, inexorable, and he began to cry
bitterly, and besought them to spare his life; these manifestations had,
however, no effect on his deadly foes, who now threatened to fell him
with the butt end of a fusee if he did not comply: this had the effect,
and the poor captive reluctantly pulled off the jacket and threw it on
the ground; this was immediately picked up by one of the party, to avoid
its being stained with the life-blood of the victim. Withdrawing now a
few paces, one of the Americans took a deliberate aim; the young soldier
instantly turned to run, but as he wheeled round for the purpose (for
his enemies were facing him), a ball entered his left side, just under
the armpit, and springing frantically several feet into the air, he fell
dead to the ground. He was then stripped, and left on the spot.

This horrid relation I should have thought, for the credit of his
country, an American would have kept secret; but as I before observed,
he was by no means disposed to take the part of these so-called
patriots, although he stated that many atrocities were committed by the
British, some of which he related, and which were, he said, never
recorded; these, I fear, if exposed, would not much redound to their
credit with the present generation.

At first I could not understand why the soldier was ordered before being
shot to pull his jacket off; this he explained by saying, that a rent in
the garment made by the ball of a fusee, would have lessened its value;
and further, that the American soldiers were averse, from superstitious
fear at the time, to wearing any article of dress in which an enemy had
yielded his breath; notwithstanding which repugnance, the American
soldiers not long after dismissed the objection, from the extreme
scantiness of the clothing afforded them.

On my intimating the abhorrence I felt at the relation, my entertainer
informed me that it was impossible at the time to prevent such
occurrences, the annihilation of the invaders was the _primum mobile_ of
all Americans, and many citizens harassed the enemy on their own
account, the principle being the same on which European vessels bearing
letters of marque, are suffered to waylay and seize, for the purpose of
private gain, the merchant vessels belonging to the country with which
they are at war. Such atrocities, as he remarked, however horrifying in
times of peace, are of every-day occurrence between contending armies.

Amongst those I had occasion to call on at St. Louis, was a Major ----.
He had formerly been engaged in Indian warfare, and, having received a
wound from a rifle-ball, that incapacitated him for active military
duty, he was living as a retired citizen--his wife's jointure, and an
allowance from Government, allowing him to keep up a tolerably good
establishment. He was the owner of several slaves, and, amongst the
rest, a young woman who was employed as nursemaid in the family. The
first time I called at his residence, I thought him a man of superior
manners and education, and was much pleased with the visit, which was
concluded with a promise to renew it on a future day. When, however, I
repeated my visit soon after, I found him alone in his study, and his
constrained manner soon led me to perceive that something unusual
perturbed his mind. The cause was soon after explained, for, the
negress, before mentioned, coming into the room on some trifling errand,
to my surprise accosted him rather freely. Her master suddenly broke out
in a paroxysm of rage, swore at her awfully, and accused her in a
ruffianly way of being insolent to her mistress. Then, violently ringing
a bell which stood on the table, he summoned a negro lad into the room,
and at once despatched him to a neighbour's house to borrow a new
raw-hide whip, threatening all the while to flay her alive. In vain the
terrified creature pleaded innocence; he would take no excuse, and,
although I begged earnestly for him to pass over the offence, and the
poor slave fell on her knees in the greatest terror, he vowed vengeance
with dreadful imprecations. At last the whip came, and, disregarding
alike the presence of a stranger, and the entreaties of a woman, he
began the flagellation with murderous earnest. My interference only
added to his ungovernable rage. The raw-hide was new, and the major
being a strong, muscular man, every stroke told. The blood soon flowed
from the back, neck, and breasts, of the poor victim, whose cries, as
she writhed under the savage infliction, entered my soul. They, however,
made no impression on her brutal tormentor, who kept vociferating with
all his energy to keep her quiet. It was with some difficulty I stood by
and witnessed the assault, but I well know my life would be in jeopardy
if I attempted to interfere. I, however, screwed up my courage to stay,
in the hope that some sense of shame might induce the fellow to hold his
hand. This was, however, a delusive hope, for he continued to lay on
the whip until he was exhausted.

The girl was now on the floor of the room, moaning piteously, and a
stream of blood was flowing from her lacerated person, which soaked the
matting that covered the floor. Her dress was hanging in tatters, and
the blood trickling down her cheeks had a horrifying effect. As soon as
the ruffian was tired, he bid the woman get down stairs and wash
herself. The miserable creature arose with difficulty, and picking up
her apron and turban, which were in different parts of the room, she
hobbled out crying bitterly. As soon as she was gone, the major pointed
to the blood, and said, "If we did not see that sometimes, there would
be no living with the brutes;" to which I replied in terms he could not
misunderstand, and at once left the house, determined never again to
enter it--a resolution I religiously kept. I afterwards heard that this
miserable creature was pregnant at the time, a circumstance that would
have induced at least some regard to leniency in any man not utterly
debased.

Those who are acquainted with southern scenes will see nothing
extraordinary in this recital, for they are every-day occurrences, and
scarcely elicit a remark, unless the perpetrator should happen to be a
slave-holding Wesleyan or Whitfieldite, when, perhaps, he would be
called to some account--his own version of the affair being of course
admitted _in limine_. Many of the slave-holders are an incorrigibly
degraded set of men. It is by no means uncommon for them to inflict
chastisement on negresses with whom they are in habitual illicit
intercourse, and I was credibly informed that this cruelty was often
resorted to, to disabuse the mind of a deceived and injured wife who
suspects unfair treatment. This attested fact, disgraceful as it is, can
scarcely be wondered at in men who mercilessly subject defenceless women
to the lash without a spark of human feeling, or compunction of
conscience. It is little to the credit of United States senators that
they have not at least made laws to protect women from the barbarous
usage of flogging. One would imagine that men, who, perhaps, above all
others in the world, pay homage to the sex, would have established a
distinction in this respect; but I apprehend the truth to be, that they
are so far influenced by their wives, who are notoriously jealous of
their sable rivals, that they have succumbed to their sentiments and
dictation.

There are many Dutch in St. Louis, and along the levee you perceive
boarding-houses and groceries kept for their accommodation. These men
are generally great drinkers, and think as little of quaffing at a few
draughts half-a-pint of whiskey, as an Englishman would the same
quantity of malt liquor. They consume, also, vast quantities of claret.
I have frequently seen a couple of these men at a café, drink five or
bottles without betraying any ill effects. It must, however, be
remembered that claret is not so potent as the heavier wines.

A few days after my arrival, while standing in the vestibule of my
hotel, my attention was drawn to a loud altercation going on at the bar,
and as it was evident, from the manner of the parties, that some public
question was being discussed, I listened, and ascertained that an
obnoxious citizen had been seized for perpetrating a petty act of
revenge on a neighbour by damaging his horse, and was that day to be
publicly tarred, feathered, and escorted out of the city, as they said,
bag and baggage. Having ascertained the spot selected for the scene, I
determined to witness it. Accordingly, at noon, the appointed hour, I
repaired to an open spot of building-land on the Carondelet side of the
city. Here I found assembled a motley assemblage of citizens, negroes,
steamboat-hands, and the general riff-raff of the place. Although the
crowd was not so great, the meeting strongly reminded me of those scenes
of infamy and disgrace in England--public executions; the conduct of the
assembled throng on this occasion being the more decorous of the two.
Precisely at twelve, the mob made a rush towards one corner of the open
space, from which direction I saw the culprit advancing, in charge of
thirty or forty well-dressed people (the committee appointed for the
occasion being among the number). He was a stout man, and described to
me as a great bully; but now he looked completely crest-fallen. As the
party came on, he was hissed by the mob, who, however, kept at a good
distance from his guard. A man, with a large tin can of smoking pitch, a
brush of the kind used in applying the same, and a pillow of feathers
under his arm, followed immediately behind the prisoner, vociferating
loudly. Arrived at the spot, the poor wretch was placed on a stool, and
a citizen, who had taken a very prominent part in front of the
procession, and who, I was told, was the chief cause of this outrage,
stepped in front of him, and pulling out a sheet of paper, read a
lecture on the enormity of his crime, which wound up with the sentence
about to be enforced. When this was finished, the man who carried the
tar-vessel stepped up, and began, with a scissors, to cut off the
culprit's hair, which he did most effectually, flinging portions amongst
the crowd, who scrambled after them. As soon as this was finished, and
the man was stripped to the waist, the brush was dipped into the pitch,
and the upper part of his person lathered therewith. Not a word escaped
him, but the individual who had taken so prominent a part in the
punishment, kept giving directions to the operator to put it on thick.
Even his eyes and ears were not spared. As soon as this part of the
operation was complete, the bag of feathers was ripped open by a
by-stander, and the contents stuck thickly on the parts besmeared with
tar, amidst the deafening cheers of the spectators, who were by this
time in such frantic excitement that I began to fear a tragedy would
ensue, especially as many of them shouted, "Now hang the varmint! hang
him!" This proposal was eagerly seconded by the mob. This was, however,
resolutely overruled by his keepers. The appearance presented by the
victim, in this peculiarly American dress, was ludicrous in the extreme,
and _looked_ very comfortable. As soon as this part of the exhibition
was finished, a man, with a small drum, followed by the mob, with yells
and execrations drove the culprit before them at a run. The poor wretch
ran like a deer from his pursuers, who followed at his heels, shouting
frantically, until he reached the brink of the river, where a boat was
waiting to take him off. He dashed into it, and was at once rowed into
the middle of the stream, out of reach of his tormentors, who, I quite
believe, would have administered more severe lynch-law if they could
have got hold of him, for their passions were wrought up to the highest
pitch of excitement. One feature in the scene I could not help
remarking--the negroes all appeared in high glee, and many of them
actually danced with joy. I did not wonder at this, for the negroes
always seemed to exult if a white man was in disgrace; which, after all,
is no more than might be expected from a class of men tyrannized over as
the coloured people are there, and is one of the results of the
oppressive system that exacts everything that human labour can furnish,
without remuneration, and without (in by far the greater number of
instances) any approach to sympathy or grateful feeling. This alone,
without taking into consideration the outrages inflicted on the race by
their cruel oppressors, supplies a sufficient cause for such a tendency,
if every other were wanting.

Passing through the principal street the day before I left St Louis, an
assembly of men, chiefly overseers and negro dealers, who stood at the
entrance of a large store, attracted my attention. Large placards, with
a description of various lots of negroes to be submitted to public
competition, soon told me I should now be able to gratify my curiosity
by witnessing a Missouri slave-vendue. A man with a bell, which he rang
most energetically at the door, shortly after summoned the company, the
auction being about to commence. On a table inside, a negress, of a
little over middle age, was standing, vacantly gazing with grief-worn
countenance on the crowd that now thronged to the table. On the floor
stood two children, of about the ages of ten and thirteen respectively.
The auctioneer, with the customary volubility of such men in America,
began by stating, that the lots now to be offered were the remnants of a
preceding sale, which he gratuitously observed had been a most
satisfactory one, and after dilating with some energy on the good
qualities of the woman before us, whose face brightened up a little on
hearing such a flattering account of her good qualities, he earnestly
requested a bidding. The poor creature was evidently in ill-health.
After the most revolting questions had been put to her, and her person
examined by the competitors with disgraceful familiarity, she was
pronounced all but worthless, "used up," as one of the company observed,
and was, after much demur on the part of the auctioneer, knocked down
for two hundred dollars; this sum being, as he remarked, but the moiety
of what she ought to have realized. She was then roughly told to get off
the table, and take her stand near it, at a place pointed out by her
purchaser, who was a rollicking-looking, big-whiskered fellow, with an
immense Leghorn hat, the brim of which was lined with black, and having
a broad black ribbon round the crown. As the poor woman got down, she
cast a furtive glance at her children, who, although the auctioneer
certainly tried to prevent it, were sold to two individuals, neither of
whom was the purchaser of the parent. The poor woman looked about in
great despair while the bidding was going on. It was in vain I sought
one sympathizing look in that company; but how could it be expected,
when it consisted of men long inured to such heartless scenes--men whose
hearts were case-hardened by the impious traffic they were now engaged
in. I was, however, pleased to hear afterwards that the purchasers all
resided in St. Louis, and that the woman would often see her
children--poor amends it is true for a cruel separation, but more
satisfactory than such cases generally are.



CHAPTER IV.

  "Where Will-o'-the-wisps and glow-worms shine,
    In bulrush and in brake;
  Where waving mosses shroud the pine,
  And the cedar grows, and the poisonous vine
    Is spotted like the snake."--LONGFELLOW.


From St. Louis, on the Missouri river, I took passage to New Orleans, in
one of those magnificent steamers that crowd the inland waters of the
American continent, and which, sumptuously furnished as they are, have
not inaptly been termed "floating palaces." We had a prosperous passage
as far as the junction of the Ohio with the Mississippi, where the boat
struck the branches of a large tree, that had been washed into the bed
of the stream, and was there stuck fast, root downwards. This formidable
chevaux-de-frise (or snag, as it was termed by the captain) fortunately
did not do much damage to the vessel, although at first an alarm was
raised that she was sinking, and much confusion ensued. This
apprehension was, however, soon dissipated by the report of the
carpenter, whose account of the damage was so far favourable, that after
extrication by backing the vessel, and a few temporary repairs, she was
again got under headway.

The pellucid waters of the Ohio, as they enter the turbid rushing
current of the Mississippi, which is swollen by the Illinois and other
tributaries, has a remarkable effect, the clear current of the former
river refusing, for a considerable distance, to mingle with the murky
stream of the latter, and forming a visible blue channel in its
centre--a phenomenon I thought allegorical of the slave-stained
condition of the one state, and the free soil of the other, for while
Ohio is free from the curse of slavery, the banks of the Mississippi
have for centuries been deep dyed in the life's blood of the oppressed
African.

Our vessel was borne on the rushing waters with great impetuosity, the
maddening current of the Mississippi seeming to carry everything before
it. As we proceeded we constantly saw trees topple over into the river,
the banks of which are continually widening, and which in many parts has
the appearance of a lake after a storm, impregnated with debris. The
trees, thus washed into the bed of the river, sink root downwards and
make the navigation perilous, as I have before described. We met
numerous steamers coming up the stream, one of them having a freight of
Indians from Florida, removing to the western frontier, under the
surveillance of U.S. soldiery and government agents. The compulsory
removal of Indians, from one remote state to another, whenever new
territory is needed, forms a disgraceful feature in internal American
policy. Transported to new hunting grounds, the poor Indians are brought
into contact with other tribes, when feuds arise from feelings of
jealousy, and the new-comers are often annihilated in a few years. Many
tribes have thus become totally extinct, and the remainder are rapidly
becoming so. As the steamer passed us with her freight of red men they
set up a loud yell, which reverberated through the forests on the
river-shores. It sounded to me very much like defiance, and probably
was, for they execrate the white men as hereditary enemies, and feel
deeply the wrongs inflicted on their people.

All the steamers we met were more or less crowded with passengers, the
visages of many of whom bore traces of fever and ague, and who were,
doubtless, removing to a healthier climate. This insidious disease often
terminates fatally in the cities and districts skirting the swamps of
Louisiana, and, to avoid its baneful effects, the more affluent people
migrate south-west or north when the sickly season sets in. The yellow
fever is also very fatal in such situations, and annually claims numbers
of victims.

We had by this time reached that latitude where perpetual summer reigns.
The banks of the mighty Mississippi, which has for ages rolled on in
increasing grandeur, present to the eye a wilderness of sombre scenery,
indescribably wild and romantic. The bays, formed by the current, are
choked with palmetto and other trees, and teem with alligators,
water-snakes, and freshwater turtle, the former basking in the sun in
conscious security. Overhead, pelicans, paroquets, and numberless other

  "Strange bright birds on their starry wings,
  Bear the rich hues of all glorious things;"

while the gorgeous magnolia, in luxuriant bloom, and a thousand other
evergreens, on shore, vie with voluptuous aquatic flowers to bewilder
and delight the astonished traveller, accustomed hitherto only to the
more unassuming productions of the sober north. Everything here was new,
strange, and solemn. The gigantic trees, encircled by enormous vines,
and heavily shrouded in grey funereal moss, mournfully waving in the
breeze--the doleful night-cry of the death-bird and the
whip-poor-will--the distant bugle of the advancing boats--the moan of
the turbid current beneath--the silent and queenly moon above, appearing
nearer, larger, and brighter than in our cooler latitudes--the sultry
atmosphere--and most of all, perhaps, the sense of the near vicinity of
death in this infected region--oppressed my spirit with an ominous
feeling of solemnity and awe.

As we passed the plantations which here and there varied the scene,
gangs of negroes could be seen at labour--their sturdy overseers, of
ruffianly mien, prowling sulkily about, watching every motion of the
bondsmen, whip in hand; which weapon they applied with the most wanton
freedom, as if the poor sufferers were as destitute of physical
sensation, as they themselves were of moral or humane feeling. Armed
with a huge bowie-knife and pistols, these embruted creatures were very
cut-throats in appearance; and it is well known there, that their
conduct in general towards those they lord over, justifies the
appellation I have given them.

The steamer halted at intervals to take in wood, which is invariably
used, instead of coal as in England. This is piled in parrallelograms on
the banks--the logs being split longitudinally. This forms a source of
good profit, and is, in many instances, the chief maintenance of the
squalid settlers of these plague-stricken and unwholesome places. After
the measurement of the pile by the mate or captain, the deck-passengers
and boat-hands stow it away in the vicinity of the furnaces--it being
part of the terms of passage, that the lower order of passengers shall
assist in the operation. This is much disliked by the latter, and many
of the Germans of this class on board, endeavoured to escape the
laborious duty by hiding amongst the packages on deck. A general search
was, however, instituted by the officers of the vessel, just before it
stopped at a wooding-station--and the skulkers were brought out, amidst
the clamorous jeers of their fellows. The class of passengers I have
just referred to, consisted chiefly of Germans and Irish, who, although
there is no professed distinction, bargain for a deck-passage, the
charge being better suited to their means. Amongst the objects that
arrested my attention, as our vessel floated majestically down the
turbid current, were gibbets standing on the banks, depending from
several of which were short chains, doubtless required occasionally in
carrying out this kind of discipline. As the horrifying objects occurred
at intervals of a few miles, I at first imagined they were cranes used
to lower bales of cotton into the holds of vessels, and addressing a
passenger whose physiognomy prepossessed me in his favour, and who had
several times shown a disposition to impart the knowledge he possessed
concerning the objects around, he soon convinced me of my mistake,
adding, that such engines were as necessary to the proper discipline of
the negroes in that latitude as the overseer himself. He then proceeded
to detail several instances of fugitive negroes being dragged in capture
to the foot of the gallows, where, with halter-encircled necks, they
were made not only to acknowledge the error committed and expose
accessories, but "pumped dry," as he facetiously termed it, as to the
intended flight of other negroes on the estate. Sometimes, he said, it
was necessary to suspend the culprit for a moment or so, to intimidate,
but this was only in cases where the victim (he used the word rascal)
was inclined to be sullen, and refused readily to give the required
information. I inquired whether it ever occurred that actual execution
took place; to this my new acquaintance replied, "Wall, yes, where the
nigger had dar'd to strike a white man;" but that it was usual to go to
a magistrate first, in such cases. The appearance of these gibbets,
after the information I had received respecting them from my
slave-holding acquaintance, made my flesh creep as we steamed onwards,
the more so as, in many of the grounds skirting the river, where these
sombre murky-looking objects presented themselves to the gaze of the
traveller, gangs of negroes were at work, looking up complacently for a
moment as the vessel glided by. I was subsequently told by a gentleman
who had been long resident in the state of Louisiana, that no punishment
so effectually strikes with terror the negro mind, as that of hanging,
the very threat being sufficient to subdue (in general) the most
hardened offenders. This I do not wonder at, for perhaps there are few
field-hands living in the south but have, at some time or other,
witnessed the barbarities used at a negro execution, sudden death by
pistol or bowie knife being far preferable to the brutal sneers and
indignities heaped upon the victim by the cowardly assassins who
superintend such operations.

The monotony of the scenes which had for a thousand miles rendered the
passage irksome, began to break as we approached Natchez. This place
takes its name from the Natch-i-toches, or Red River, which falls into
the Mississippi, the abbreviation being a corruption of the original
Indian name, which is as above stated. The town stands on a declivity or
bluff, and is of considerable extent. I did not visit it, although the
boat halted for a considerable time, to land letter-bags and passengers.
I was informed by a fellow-passenger of gentlemanly bearing, who
resided in the vicinity, that it was a dissipated place, and gambling
the chief occupation of its inhabitants. The locality has been
remarkable for landslips, owing to the siliceous nature of the soil; I
saw traces of a fearful catastrophe of the kind which had, some time
before, buried or destroyed many of the houses and their occupants, the
enormous mass having also sunk several steam-boats and other vessels
which were moored at the foot of the bluff under the town.

After leaving Natchez, we steamed away with renewed vigour towards that
centre of slavery and dissipation, New Orleans, and were in due course
moored to the levee, which extends the whole river-length of the city,
and is about a mile in extent. The first news I heard, and which alarmed
me not a little, was that the yellow fever was at this time raging in
the city. New Orleans is just fifty-four miles from the mouth of the
Mississippi, and being built at the time of the Orleans Regency,
contains many ancient structures. Its inhabitants, even to this day, are
to a great extent either French or of Gaelic origin. It lies exceedingly
flat, which causes the locality to be unhealthy and ill-suited to
European constitutions; the soil is, however, fertile and rich; this is,
perhaps, to be accounted for by the constant irrigation it undergoes
from the overflowing of the Mississippi, which, like another Nile,
periodically submerges the country around its banks. The town is
situated on the east side of the river.

The vast quantity of shipping of all classes in the harbour is a very
striking feature in this extensive and wealthy city. The bad eminence to
which New Orleans has attained is painful to contemplate. Its wealth is
purchased by the blood and tears of thousands of slaves, who are daily
exposed like cattle in its markets; and this fact operates on the mind
of an Englishman to the prejudice of its inhabitants. I was myself
filled with disgust towards the whites, as well as pity towards the
blacks, on beholding, immediately on our arrival, a gang of forty or
fifty negroes, of both sexes, and nearly all ages, working in shackles
on the wharf. These, I was informed, were principally captured
fugitives; they looked haggard and care-worn, and as they toiled with
their barrows with uncovered heads, under a burning sun, they were
mercilessly lashed with a heavy slave-whip, by a tall, athletic negro,
who acted as overseer, and who, with refined cruelty, dispensed the
punishment alike on stout men, slender youths, and thin attenuated
females. Our arrival having attracted the notice of the gang, and
induced a momentary halt in their work, the unfeeling wretch commenced
a furious onslaught with the whip, each crack of which, followed, as it
was, by the groans or cries of the sufferer, roused the indignant
feelings of the passengers, many of whom were from the free states, and
who simultaneously raised a yell of execration which made the welkin
resound, and caused the cruel driver to stand aghast. This demonstration
drew a remonstrance from the captain, who represented to the passengers
the danger of such conduct, and concluded by observing that if it was
repeated, it would probably arouse the indignation of the citizens, who
were very bigoted. He should be sorry, he added, to be obliged to put
the vessel about again, a proceeding that might be necessary for the
safety of all on board, unless they were more cautious. Some of the
passengers seemed disposed to dispute this argument, but they were
overruled by the majority, who, better acquainted with southern usages,
prejudices, and barbarities, thought that discretion under the
circumstances would be the better part of valour. I afterwards found
that the captain's view was a strictly correct one, for so jealous are
the citizens of men entertaining hostility to the pro-slavery cause,
that spies are often sent on board newly-arrived boats, to ascertain if
missionaries are amongst the passengers. These spies, with Jesuitical
art, introduce themselves by making apparently casual inquiries on
leading topics of those they suspect, and if their end is subserved,
basely betray them, or, what is more usual, keep them under strict
surveillance, with a view to their being detected in disseminating
abolition doctrines amongst the slaves, when they are immediately made
amenable to the laws, and are fined or imprisoned.

On landing, I hired a sorry conveyance, driven by a creole and drawn by
a mule, and had my luggage taken to a house in the suburbs, where I had
been recommended to take up my residence during my stay, which, owing to
the presence of the yellow fever, that daily carried off numbers of
victims, I had determined, contrary to my original intention, should be
short.

The crowds of people on the levee, attracted by the constant arrival of
steam-boats, had a motley appearance; many of these were rough-looking
fellows, fit for any occupation, most of them being armed with bowie
knives, the silver hilts of which could often be seen peering
suspiciously from under the waistcoat, in the inner lining of which a
case or scabbard of leather is sewn for the reception of the weapon. The
vast proportion of blacks in the streets soon struck me. I should think
they were five to one of the white population. These, for the most part,
wore in wretched plight; many of them begged of the passers-by, which
practice I found afterwards to be very general, especially in the
suburbs of the city.

Amongst the passengers on our boat, was a person, apparently of the
better class, who was met at the levee by two black servants with a
carriage. I noticed particularly, that, although the negroes touched
their hats, and inquired how he was (by which I concluded he had been
absent for some time), he did not deign to answer their inquiries. From
their timidity, it was evident that he was an overbearing man, and the
imperial haughtiness manifested in giving them his orders, confirmed
this impression. This individual was one of those who condemned the
demonstration I have noticed, when the boat first approached the levee.

After a day's rest at my boarding-house, I walked through the city, and
afterwards visited the calaboose, which in New Orleans is a mart for
produce, as well as a place of detention and punishment for slaves. Here
those owners who are averse to correcting their slaves in a rigorous
manner at home, send them to be flogged. The brutal way in which this is
done at the calaboose, strikes terror into the negro mind, and the
threat is often sufficient to tame the most incorrigible. Instances, I
was told, have often occurred of negroes expiring under the severity of
the discipline here; but it was remarked that the pecuniary loss
attendant on such casualties made the keepers careful not to exceed the
physical endurance of the sufferer, and that they were so well
acquainted with negro constitutions that it was a rare exception for
death to ensue. The punishment, however, almost always resulted in the
victim being invalided and unfitted for exertion for a considerable
time.

I believe New Orleans to be as vile a place as any under the sun; a
perfect Ghetto or cursed place; in fact, it is the rendezvous of
renegades of all nations, and hordes of negro traders and planters are
to be seen flocking round the hotels. These are extensive patrons of the
gambling-houses; and the faro, _rouge-et-noir,_ roulette, and other
establishments, fitted up with gorgeous saloons, are generally crowded
with them. As you pass, you may observe the frequenters of such places
in dozens, deeply engaged in play, while the teller of the establishment
sits at a table with a huge heap of Spanish doubloons or Mexican mill
dollars before him, which he adds to or takes from with the tact of a
banker's clerk, as the chances of luck may arise. Violence and Woodshed
have been indigenous to this city from time immemorial, and feuds are
instantly settled by an appeal to the bowie knife, or ever-ready
revolver. Highway robberies are very frequent, and I was told it was
more than your life was worth to be out after dark, in certain
localities, unless armed and on your guard. The police authorities are,
nevertheless, vigilant, and the magistrates severe, so that many
desperadoes are brought to justice.

The suburbs of New Orleans lie low, and the swampy soil emits a
poisonous miasma. This is, without doubt, the cause of virulent
epidemics that visit the city annually with direful effect. Thousands
fly to the northern states, to escape the contagion; but there are many
who, for want of means, are obliged to risk a continued residence at
such periods, and it is amongst those that the yellow fever, the ague,
or the flux, plays dreadful havoc. It is the custom for the small
store-keepers, as well as the more affluent merchants, to confide their
affairs at such seasons to others, and I have frequently seen
advertisements in the _New Orleans Picayune_, and other papers, offering
a gratuity to persons to undertake the charge in their absence.

The heat, although the summer was not far advanced, was excessive, and
the thousands of mosquitoes that filled the air, especially after a fall
of rain, when they seemed to burst into life in myriads spontaneously,
kept up an increasing annoyance. At night this was ten-fold, for
notwithstanding the gauze awnings, or bars, as they are called, which
completely enveloped the bedstead, to the floor of the room, they found
admittance with pertinacious audacity, and kept up a buzzing and humming
about my ears that almost entirely deprived me of rest. This unceasing
nuisance in the hot season, makes it difficult to keep one's equanimity
of temper, and has, probably, much to do with that extreme irascibility
shown by the southern inhabitants of the American continent.

The appearance and situation of hundreds of quadroon females in this
city, soon attracted my attention, and deserve notice. I saw numbers of
them not only at the bazaars or shops making purchases, but riding in
splendid carriages through the streets. So prodigal are these poor
deluded creatures of their money, that, although slaves and liable to
immediate sale at the caprice of their keepers, they have often been
known to spend in one afternoon 200 dollars in a shopping excursion.
Endowed with natural talents, they are readily instructed in every
accomplishment, requisite to constitute them charming companions. Often
as a carriage dashes by, the pedestrian is able to catch a glimpse of
some jewelled and turbaned sultana, of dazzling beauty, attended by her
maid, who does not always possess a sinecure, for the mistress is often
haughty, proud, and petulant, very hard to please, and exacts great
deference from her inferiors. Many of them live in regal splendour, and
everything that wealth and pampered luxury can bestow is theirs, as long
as their personal charms remain; but when their beauty has ceased to
gratify the passions of their masters, they are, in most instances, cast
off, and frequently die in a condition which presents the greatest
possible contrast to their former gay but not happy life.

  "Oh that they had earlier died,
  Sleeping calmly side by side,
  Where the tyrant's power is o'er,
  And the fetter galls no more."

Many of such poor outcasts are to be found scattered all over the slave
states, some employed as field hands, but in general they are selected
as domestics, their former habits of luxury and ease rendering their
constitutions too delicate for the exposure of ordinary field labour. It
is not, however, as the reader will have observed, commiseration that
saves them from that degradation. As soon as beauty begins to fade,
which in southern climes it does prematurely, the unfeeling owners of
these unfortunates succeed in ridding themselves of what is now
considered a burden, by disposing of the individual to some heartless
trader. This is done unknown to the victim, and the news, when it
reaches her, drives her almost frantic; she at once seeks her
perfidious paramour, and finds to her dismay, that he has been gone
some days on a tour to the provinces, and is, perhaps, a thousand miles
off. Tears and protestations avail her nothing, the trader is
inexorable, she belongs to him by law, and go she must; at length,
having vainly expended her entreaties, she becomes calm, and submits in
sullen apathy to her wretched fate. This is the ordinary history of such
cases.

Considering it unsafe to remain longer in this infected city, from the
reports that the fever was gaining ground, I now made preparations for
leaving New Orleans, and as I had made an engagement to manage the
affairs of a gentleman in Florida, during his absence at Washington, I
determined to proceed thither with the least possible delay. In
furtherance of this object I made inquiries for a conveyance by water to
St. Marks, giving the preference to steam. In this object I was,
however, disappointed, and was obliged to take a passage on board a
brig, about to sail for that obscure port. The vessel was towed down to
the balize or mouth of the Mississippi, in company with two others, by a
departing steamer, which had on board the mail for Bermuda and St.
George's Island. Arrived at the balize, whose banks for several miles
are overflowed by the sea, I saw a small fleet of vessels, some outward
and some inward bound. Amongst these was a United States ship of war,
of great beauty, carrying heavy guns. A boat from this vessel, in charge
of an officer, boarded us, and delivered to the captain a sealed packet,
which I understood to be a dispatch, addressed to General Taylor, the
officer in command of the troops operating against the Indians in
Florida.

The coast about the balize is low and swampy, and everywhere abounds in
rush and cane brakes which give its sea-beach a desolate appearance.
These morasses harbour thousands of alligators, whose roar had a
singular effect as it rose above the breeze. Flocks of aquatic birds
were to be seen on every side, the most numerous being the pelican, and
a bird of the cotinga species, about the size of an English throstle,
the plumage of which, being jet black and flamingo red, had a beautiful
effect in the sunshine, as they flew or settled in thousands on the
canes.

Our passage across the Gulf of Mexico was a favourable one, but when
within forty miles of our destination, the vessel struck on a hidden
sand-bank. The fog was so dense, that the captain had been mistaken in
his reckoning, and had taken a wrong course. For a considerable time we
were in great jeopardy, and every attempt to get the ship again afloat
was unavailing; and, had not the weather been moderate, there is little
doubt but that she would have been lost, and our lives placed in great
peril. After some hours' exertion, during which an anchor was lost, and
a quantity of iron thrown overboard, we had the satisfaction to find
that the vessel was adrift. This was a great relief to us, for had a
gale sprung up in the night, which was closing in, we must have taken to
the boat, and abandoned the vessel, a perilous undertaking, from which
we all felt too happy to have escaped. I was told by the captain that
the coast here abounds with hidden sand-banks of the description we had
encountered. This, perhaps, together with the poor harbour accommodation
in Florida, accounts for the small size of the vessels which generally
trade there.

The desolate look of the coast from the deck of the vessel, did not
convey to my mind a very favourable impression of the country, and the
hostile disposition of the Indians tended not a little to excite
forebodings of evil, that at one time almost induced me to abandon my
intention, and return to the north. These apprehensions were, however,
allayed by the representations of the captain of the vessel, who stated
that the Indians seldom attempted to molest armed parties, and that an
understanding with the government was daily expected, through the recent
capture of some important sachems or chiefs, under whose influence and
leadership hostilities had been carried on. This information reassured
me, and I determined to proceed, although I found afterwards that it was
almost entirely a misrepresentation, which, however, I cannot believe
was wilful, as the captain would have had me for a passenger on the
return voyage.

I soon after landed in a boat from the shore. The bay or harbour of St.
Marks is not attractive, neither is the town, which presents a desolate
appearance. The houses or stores are chiefly of wood, painted white, the
venetian blinds of the houses being green, as in most parts of the
United States. The hotel-entrances were crowded with loungers, in
snow-white clothing, large Leghorn or palmetto hats, and fancy-coloured
shirts, who smoked cigars incessantly, and generally discussed with
energy the inroads of the Indians, or other leading topics of the day.
The houses are low and irregularly built, and the appearance of the
whole place and its inhabitants, as far as I could see, wore a
forbidding aspect, and was indicative of anything but prosperity.

My next stage was to Tallahassee by railroad, through a desolate-looking
country, whose soil was sand, and whose vegetation looked stunted,
presenting little to cheer the senses, or call forth remark; in fact,
everything around told of a country whose centre is flourishing, but
whose frontiers are a wilderness. Just before we started, a
well-dressed negro, apparently a footman or butler, applied for a seat
in the carriage. He was told by the station-keeper, that there was no
conveyance for "niggers" this train, and he must wait for the following
one. He at first disputed his right to refuse him a passage in the
carriage, which roused the ire of the station-keeper, who threatened to
kick him if he was not soon off. This seemed to awe him, for he quietly
left the station, muttering, however, as he went, his intention of
reporting the circumstance to Colonel Gambole. This caused me to make
some inquiry about the colonel whose name he had mentioned, and who I
learned was his master. I was also informed that no negroes in that
district were so insolent, owing to the indulgence with which all his
hands were treated. I could see, however, that the negro had different
men to deal with here, and if he had not taken his departure, he would,
without a doubt, have been kicked or felled to the ground, on the least
further provocation--a course pursued without hesitation in cases where
a negro assumes anything like equality in the south.



CHAPTER V.

  "The fragrant birch above him hung
    Her tassels in the sky,
  And many a vernal blossom sprung,
    And nodded careless by.
  But there was weeping far away;
    And gentle eyes for him,
  With watching many an anxious day,
    Were sorrowful and dim."--BRYANT.


Florida, in which state I now found myself, is divided into East, West,
and Middle. It is a wild extent of country, about 300 miles from north
to south. The king of Spain held possession of the territory in 1810,
but it was afterwards ceded by treaty to the Federal Government. It was
discovered in 1497 by Sebastian Cabot. St. Augustine is the capital of
East, and Pensacola of West, Florida. This country is, for the most
part, a howling wilderness, and is never likely to become thickly
populated. The dreary pine-barrens and sand-hills are slightly
undulating, and are here and there thickly matted with palmetto.

In pursuance of my original design, I had now to penetrate nearly a
hundred miles into the interior; and, as the Indians and fugitive
negroes were scouring that part of the country in hostile bands, I
contemplated this part of my route with no little anxiety. I determined,
however, to proceed. The journey lay through a wild country, intersected
with streams and rivers, every one of which swarmed with alligators.
This, although not a very pleasant reflection, did not trouble me much,
as I had by this time become acquainted with the propensities of these
creatures, and knew that they were not given to attacking white men,
unless provoked or wounded, although a negro or a dog is never safe
within their reach. They are, however, repulsive-looking creatures, and
it is not easy to divest the mind of apprehension when in their
vicinity.

My destination was an inlet of the sea, called Deadman's Bay, from
whence it was my intention, after transacting some business I had
undertaken, to take passage by steamer to Cuba, intending to return to
the continent, after a limited stay there, and on some of the adjacent
islands. In this, however, I was disappointed, as I shall by-and-by
show. My plan was to travel by easy stages under escort, and encamp out
at night; so, having secured the services of six men, who were well
armed and mounted on horseback, and having furnished ourselves with a
tent and other necessaries, which were carried by individuals of the
party, we left Tallahassee, on our way inland, under a scorching sun. We
could proceed but slowly after reaching the pine-barrens, the soil of
which is loose sand, and at every step the animals we rode sank to the
fetlock, which caused them to be greatly fatigued at the close of the
day.

At night-fall, after selecting our ground adjacent to a river, we
pitched our tent, and supper was prepared. This consisted of jerked
venison (dried by a slow fire), broiled turkey, two of which we had shot
upon our way, bread, and coffee. One of our party walked round our
position as a sentinel, and was relieved every two hours; it being
necessary to keep a vigilant look out, on account of the Indian and
runaway negro marauders, who roam through these wilds in bands, and
subsist chiefly in plundering farms and small parties. A huge fire of
resinous pine branches (which are plentiful in these solitudes, and
strew the ground in all directions, blackened with fire and age) was
blazing to keep off the wolves and catamounts, whose terrific yells, in
conjunction with other beasts, prevented our sleeping. They did not,
however, venture within rifle shot. The Indians, on attacking small
parties, have a practice of imitating the cry of the wolf, and this
circumstance being known to us, tended not a little to raise our
suspicions on hearing the fearful howlings that rang through the
wilderness.

In the morning, we proceeded through barren sand-plains, skirted with
dense hammocks (jungles) and forests. We were much annoyed by mosquitoes
and sand-flies, which kept the whole party in discomfort from their
attacks. Dusky-looking deer-flies constantly alighted on our faces and
hands, and made us jump with the severity of their bites, as did also a
large fly, of brilliant mazarine blue colour, about the size of a humble
bee, the name of which I have forgotten.

In crossing one of the numerous streams, we had to wade or swim our
horses over, an incident occurred which rather alarmed me. I was on a
horse of that Arabian blood, build, and spirit, so common in
saddle-horses in America, and a little in advance of the party, when I
reached a river that intersected our track, and which we had to cross.
After allowing the animal to quench its thirst, I applied spurs and
urged it into the stream; it being averse from some cause to take the
water. The stream was, however, deeper than I anticipated, and the horse
immediately began to stumble and flounder in an alarming manner,
showing that the river bed was uneven and rocky. About half-way across
was a small island, that divided the stream, which after much difficulty
he reached; resting here about a minute, I again urged him forward, but
the animal seemed very reluctant to go. He wheeled short round, snorted
loudly as if in fear, and was evidently in unusual alarm. After some
coaxing, he, however, plunged into the water, and I expected to be able
to gain the opposite shore in advance of my companions, but just as we
were half-way between the little island and the opposite bank, which was
very steep, the horse again became restive, rearing as if dreadfully
frightened. I had the greatest difficulty to keep the saddle, which was
a high Mexican one, covered with bear-skin, and as easy to ride in as a
chair. I now began to suspect the cause of his alarm. The stream was one
of those black-looking currents that flow noiselessly along, and which
in Florida always harbour the largest-sized alligators. When I first
came to it, I remembered this, and thinking to frighten off any of these
lurkers that might be in the vicinity, I had dashed precipitately into
the stream. This practice, or shouting loudly and firing a pistol into
the water, usually succeeds. I soon found out, however, that the
presence of one of the ugly creatures was the cause of the horse's
trepidation, for, within six feet of us, I discerned a pair of eyes, set
in huge brown excrescences, fixed intently on me and my horse, with
malicious gaze. I knew they belonged to a veteran, and dreading lest its
snout might be within two feet of my leg, for the old alligators boast
enormous length of jaw, I sat tailor-wise in my saddle, and levelled my
rifle at the horrid object; the reptile had, however, observed my
movements, and disappeared beneath the surface; I instantly discharged
my piece in the direction he had taken, and certainly gave him a lesson,
for the water around me was directly after tinged with blood; he was
probably hurt severely, or he might have resented my temerity. I soon
after reached the shore in safety, where I was speedily joined by the
escort, who saw nothing of the reptile in their way across, and who,
being men bred amongst such scenes, and totally divested of fear, at
once took the water, although they had witnessed the encounter.

The cayman of South America is very ferocious, and is popularly styled
the hyena of the alligator tribe. This savage creature will instantly
attack a man or a horse, and on this account the Indians of Chili,
before wading a stream, take the precaution of using long poles, to
ascertain its presence or to drive it away. Naturalists assert that the
cayman is not found in the North American rivers, and I should imagine
this to be correct, for, although engaged in many alligator hunts, I
found from personal experience and minute inquiry that the species found
in North America is harmless if unmolested.

After a laborious ride we arrived at Fort Andrews, where we found a
military station of U.S. Infantry. We halted here for several days, I
having business requiring my attention, and ourselves and our beasts
needing to recruit our strength, before continuing our route to the Bay.
The forest scenery here almost defies description. Immense cedars, and
other lordly trees, rear their gigantic and lightning-scathed heads over
their smaller and less hardy but graceful neighbours; cactuses,
mimonias, and tropical shrubs and flowers, which at home are to be seen
only in conservatories or green-houses are here in profusion,

  "And plants, at whose name the verse feels loath,
  Fill the place with a monstrous undergrowth,
  Prickly, and pulpous, and blistering, and blue,
  Livid, and starred with a lurid hue,"

while innumerable forms of insect and reptile life, from the tiny yellow
scorpion to the murky alligator of eighteen feet in length, give a
forbidding aspect to the scene. Racoons, squirrels, wild turkeys,
pelicans, vultures, quails, doves, wild deer, opossums, chickmuncks,
white foxes, wild cats, wolves,--are ever and anon to be seen among the
high palmetto brakes, and the alligators in the bayous arid swamps,
"make night hideous" with their discordant bellowings and the vile odour
which they emit. The _tout ensemble_ of the place brings to recollection
those striking lines of Hood,

  "O'er all there hung the shadow of a fear,
  A sense of mystery the spirit daunted,
  And said, as plain as whisper in the ear,
    The place is haunted."

During my stay at Fort Andrews, a large detachment of U.S. troops
arrived, continuing a campaign against the recreant Indians and negroes.
The appearance of the men and officers was wretched in the extreme; they
had for weeks been beating through swamps and hammocks, thickly matted
with palmetto bush, which had torn their undress uniforms in tatters,
searching for an invisible enemy, who, thoroughly acquainted with the
everglades, defied every attempt at capture. The whole party looked
harassed, disappointed, and forlorn. General Taylor was with and had
command of this detachment, which was about 400 strong. As I had heard
this man vauntingly spoken of in the north, as the brave cotemporary of
Scott, I felt no little curiosity to see him. His appearance surprised
me. He was a burly, unmilitary-looking man, of most forbidding aspect,
and much more like a yeoman than a soldier. A sword, much out of place,
dangled awkwardly by his side, and was the only badge of his profession
about him, except a black leathern cap; otherwise, he was habited as a
private citizen. His small army encamped below the fort; and, as I
thought, in most un-general style, he superintended the erection of his
own marquee. He had with him several negroes, who were his body
servants; and the coarse epithets he applied to them during the
operation did not prepossess me in his favour, or, I thought, reflect
much credit on his refinement.

At nightfall cries of distress arose from the marquee, and as I
approached it I could distinctly hear one of the bondsmen earnestly
pleading for mercy. Listening for a moment, I heard this distinguished
general exclaiming vociferously, and belabouring the poor negro heavily
with a raw-hide whip; most likely venting the spleen he felt at his
non-success against the Indians, the expedition having hitherto been
unsuccessful. The poor negro had offended his master, by some trivial
act, no doubt, and in southern style he was correcting him, without much
regard, it is true, to publicity. This, in southern latitudes, is so
common, that it is thought little of; and the occurrence caused on this
occasion only a passing remark from those present. The negro was his
own, and he had a right, it was stated, to correct him, as and when he
pleased; who could dispute it? For my own part, I entertained the most
abhorrent feelings towards a man, who, without sense of shame, or decent
regard for his station, thus unblushingly published his infamy amongst
strangers, and this man a would-be patriot, too, and candidate for the
Presidential chair, which, it will be remembered, he afterwards
obtained. I was told that flogging his negroes was a favourite pastime
with this eminently-distinguished general, and that he was by no means
liked by his officers or men. His appearance bespoke his tyrannical
disposition; and this, coupled with incapacity, there is little doubt,
conduced to make it necessary for him to relinquish his command of the
army of the south, which he did not long after, being succeeded, I
believe, by General Armstead.

As I mentioned before, the force that accompanied him was in forlorn
case, reminding me strongly of Shakspere's description of Falstaff's
ragged regiment. It consisted chiefly of raw, undrilled troops, quite
unused to discipline, but, perhaps, as effective as veterans in the
service in which they were employed, the adroitness of the enemy,
accustomed to the interminable swamps, hammocks, and cane-brakes which
abound in this country, quite paralyzing the energies of the men, and
destroying that _esprit du corps_ without which no success can be
expected in an army.

Several Indian sachems or chiefs accompanied the command; these were
fine-looking fellows, but appeared exhausted from long marching through
the wilderness One of these, named Powell, particularly attracted my
notice; he was a very interesting young man, of feminine aspect, and
little resembling his stalwart companions. He had originally been
captured, but by kind treatment had been brought over to friendly views,
and was now acting as a guide. It was stated that his father was much
incensed against him, and had employed emissaries to despatch him
secretly. A few months after this campaign I heard that he was shot
while out hunting; no doubt, at the instigation of his unnatural parent,
who preferred his death to his continuing in league with white men.

Leaving Fort Andrews, I now pushed onward to Deadman's Bay. The country
we passed through was much the same as I have before described; the
journey took us the better part of two days. On the way we saw a herd of
wild cattle, which scoured the plain in consternation on espying our
party; urging on our horses, we tried to bring one down, but they
outstripped us. Some miles farther on, and near a thick hammock, about a
quarter of a mile a-head, a huge black bear stood snuffing the air; we
again put spurs to our horses to try to intercept his retreat, but he
was too quick for us, and made at his utmost speed (a sort of shambling
trot) for the coppice or jungle, which he soon entered, and disappeared
from our sight. At nightfall, a pack of ravenous wolves, headed by a
large white one, serenaded us, and came near enough to our camp-fire to
seize a small terrier belonging to one of the party. The poor animal,
unused to the dangers around, had the temerity to run out and bark at
the pack--he soon after gave one agonizing yelp, and we never saw him
again. As a reprisal, three of the party fired, and brought one of the
wolves to the ground; he was of great size, and, I should say, could
have carried away a sheep, or a good sized hog (of which they are very
fond), with ease. We could not, however, skin him--he was so infested
with fleas. In the settlements they often seize and carry off children,
but they do not molest adults.

As we proceeded, we kept a vigilant look-out for Indians, a number of
whom, we had heard at Fort Andrews, had been driven in the direction we
were travelling. We fortunately escaped molestation, but saw in several
places human bones, probably the relics of a former combat between the
United States troops, or travellers like ourselves, and Indians or
negroes. One skull I picked up had been split with a tomahawk, besides
having a bullet-hole in it about the region of the left ear. Our
situation was one of great peril, but I had made up my mind to proceed
at all hazards, despite the opposition shown by two or three of the
settlers composing my escort, who, on more than one occasion, pointed
out Indian camp-grounds of only a few days' age. At one of these we
found a quantity of Indian flour or arrowroot, part of a bridle, and the
offal of a calf; but we left the former, imagining it might be poisoned,
the latter was of no use, our only dog having been devoured by the
wolves. Passing through a dense hammock, of a quarter of a mile in
width, through which the pioneers of the American army had recently cut
a rough road, I dismounted, to take a view of these sombre shades on
either hand. The solemn stillness around seemed to me like the shadow of
death--especially so, from the peril we were in through the deadly feud
existing at the time between the Indians and white men. I penetrated for
full a quarter of a mile into this fastness in a lateral direction, and,
in doing so, suddenly startled two immense white birds of the adjutant
species, which were standing in a swamp surrounded by majestic cedar
trees. I could easily have brought one down with my rifle, but I thought
it wanton cruelty to do so. They were, I should think, quite six feet
high, and beautifully white, with a yellow tinge. The head of one,
which, I suppose, was the male bird, was surmounted by a golden crest.
They sailed quietly away over my head, not appearing much alarmed by the
intrusion.

In these primeval shades, where, perhaps, the foot of man never before
trod (for I looked in vain for such traces), are many beasts, birds, and
reptiles, which live in perfect security; for, although the Indian
dwells here, and subsists by hunting, yet the territory is so vast, and
the red men are so few in proportion, that there can be little doubt
that many places are untraversed.

Emerging on the open sand-plain somewhat unexpectedly, I caused my party
no little alarm; they instinctively grasped their rifles, imagining the
approach of a party of hostile Indians.

The constant dread of molestation causes the traveller here to be ever
on the _qui-vive_, the precaution being highly necessary, to prevent
surprise. The least movement in a coppice excites apprehension, and
fills the soul of both the resolute and the timorous with anticipations
of danger. Nor are these fears groundless, for the treacherous Indian
crawls stealthily to the attack, and, without a moment's warning, two or
three of a party may fall to the earth, pierced by rifle-balls, or
rearing horses may throw the riders, and leave them at the mercy of
these ruthless assassins.

Arriving at length at the Bay in safety, I was accommodated in the
officers' quarters of a temporary fort or stockade, erected there. The
steamer had left, so that I was compelled to remain here longer than I
had intended, awaiting the arrival of the next boat. To beguile the
time, I went for miles into the forests, looking for game, often coming
back disappointed and weary; at others rewarded by, perhaps, a racoon,
or, what I valued more, a fawn or wild turkey. There was, however,
plenty of sport on the river, and thousands of wild ducks, gannet, and
pelicans, inhabited the little islands in the vicinity, and reared their
young there; some of these islands being covered with their eggs. Large
numbers of alligators infested the streams adjacent, and their
bellowings, in concert with bull-frogs and other reptiles, often
banished sleep for nights together, although I was pretty well
accustomed to such annoyances. Snakes were often to be met with,
although harmless if unmolested; amongst these, the moccason, hoop, and
garter snakes, of which I procured several specimens, were the most
common to be met with. Rattle-snakes exist in rocky districts, but I saw
none of them here.

The steamer not arriving as I anticipated, after remaining for a
considerable time, and getting tired of so solitary a life, I determined
to retrace my steps to Tallahassee.

While remaining at this post, a party of mounted volunteers arrived from
Georgia. These men were mostly sons of farmers, who had suffered from
the unceasing attacks of the Indians on their farms, in many instances
accompanied by the butchery of some members of their families. It was
arranged that a company of U.S. Infantry, stationed at the fort, should
act in concert with these men, and scour the country for twenty miles
round, to search for Indians, traces of whom had been seen, and who, it
was very certain, were encamped not many miles off. As I felt desirous
of observing the operations of these little campaigns against so wily a
foe, I intimated to a major, my intention of accompanying the
expedition. He was pleased with the proposal, and furnished me with a
splendid rifle and other equipments, from the stores of the depôt. After
a short delay, owing to the non-arrival of some waggons that were
intended to accompany the expedition, the whole force mustered in front
of the stockade enclosure, and being furnished with ten days' provisions
for man and horse, started under command of the major aforesaid, across
the sand-plains, in order to reach a dense cedar and cypress swamp, ten
miles distant, where it was suspected the enemy was concealed. After a
tedious march through a wild country, so overgrown with saw palmetto and
underbrush, that our horses had great difficulty to get through it, we
arrived at the skirts of the swamp; here a consultation took place
between the officers present, and it was arranged that an Indian guide
whom we had with us, should go in and hold a parley with the Indians, to
induce them if possible, to surrender. The guide went into the hammock,
which extended along the edge of the swamp as far as the eye could
reach, right and left. I should have mentioned, that this man, with the
usual Indian acuteness, had discovered indubitable signs that the enemy
was in the vicinity, long before we reached the spot. After an absence
of about an hour, during which time we refreshed ourselves, and made
preparations for an expected struggle, our guide returned, bringing with
him a bow and quiver of arrows, as proofs of his interview with the
secreted Indians. The account he gave, which was interpreted by a
half-bred Indian who accompanied the expedition for the purpose, was,
that after penetrating some distance into the fastness, he came to the
encampment of the enemy, and was instantly surrounded by warriors, who
seized him, but after parleying for a considerable time, let him go,
presenting him with a bow and arrows, as a symbol of their unflinching
resolve to continue the war.

On hearing this, it was at once determined by the officer in command
that the whole force (except a guard for the horses and waggons) should
go in and surprise them. The guide shook his head at this, and, pointing
towards the swamp, said, "That is the way. I have shown it to you;
follow it if you will; I do not go." It was, however, of no use to
dally, and orders were given for all hands to follow into the swamp. For
my own part, I wished to stay behind, but was told that such a course
was attended with danger, as the Indians would most likely emerge from
another part of the hammock, and endeavour to seize the horses, and
ransack the waggons. This decided my adopting the least of the two
evils, although I fully expected we should have a battle. After
penetrating for I should think upwards of two miles, sometimes up to our
knees in miry clay, and often stopped by impassable barriers of wild
vines and other prehensile plants, which annoyed us greatly, and made me
regret a thousand times that I had courted such dangers and
inconveniences, the sound of two rifle-shots threw the whole party into
indescribable commotion. Supposing we were attacked, all hands flew as
quick as thought to the trees around, where each one, peeping from
behind the trunks which were sought as a shelter against the rifle-balls
of the expected foe, waited for a few moments in great suspense, when,
suddenly, a loud cheer from the party in advance, followed by several
rifle-shots, told us they had come upon the encampment. As the firing
ceased, I knew the Indians had fled; this seemed also the opinion of the
volunteers near me, who simultaneously left their hiding-place, and
pushed forward to the scene. On arriving at the spot, I found the
soldiers around a large Indian fire, over which was suspended a boiling
cauldron, filled with venison, the Indians having been, no doubt,
preparing a meal when disturbed by us; by the side, and not far from the
fire, was a large trough, made out of a fallen tree, in which was a
quantity of arrowroot in course of preparation. This plant grows
plentifully in this latitude, and is the principal fare of the Indians,
their squaws superintending the management of it. The remains of a fine
buck lay near, and also some moccasons, leggings, and other Indian gear.

The enemy we had so unceremoniously disturbed had, as usual, taken
flight; but we found traces of blood, and the advanced party stated that
they had fired on two warriors, who, with a woman and two children, were
on the spot when they came up.

As it was deemed quite useless to pursue them, from their being, no
doubt, well acquainted with the intricacies of the fastness, and,
therefore, sure to evade us, we regaled ourselves on the venison, of
which some refused to partake, lest it should be poisoned. It was
decided that the force should emerge from the swamp to the open plain
about a mile above the spot where we had left the waggons, by a
circuitous route; this was accordingly done, but our progress was so
difficult, that the Indians had ample opportunity to fly before us, and
we saw no further traces of them.

On reaching the waggons, we found, to our great satisfaction, that all
was safe, and as night was approaching, it was decided to encamp there,
a spring of turbid water being in the vicinity A cordon of sentinels was
accordingly placed around our resting-place, and some tents were pitched
for a portion of the party; the remainder, wrapped in blankets, sleeping
on the sand. After the whiskey had passed round, the jocular little
major in command proposed a song, and as one of the infantry soldiers
was an adept at the art, he was invited to our marquee. Although in the
very midst of danger, for we knew not how formidable in number the
Indians were, we passed a merry evening.

Soon after this affair, the party returned to the bay, and in a day or
two I started on my return to Tallahassee. About twenty miles from
Deadman's Bay, we overtook a fugitive negro, and as we came upon him
unexpectedly, when turning the edge of a hammock, he had not time to
retreat, being within rifle-range, or he would doubtless have done so.
He threw up his arms, and gave a piercing shriek (an unvariable custom
of Indians when in danger), expecting to be instantly shot. He had,
however, nothing to fear, having fallen in with friends and not foes. As
I saw he was without a rifle, I dashed forward and accosted him first.
He was soon assured, by my manner of addressing him, and begged
earnestly that we would not detain or hurt him. This I at once promised,
if he would inform us whether Indians were near. He said no, they had
left that country two suns (days) ago, taking an easterly direction, and
we might proceed to Fort Andrews in safety.

After putting several other questions to him, I inquired if the Indians
would cross our path to Tallahassee from that post. He said no, they
were far off in another direction, having gone to East Florida, eighty
miles distant. The fellow was in poor case, and begged for food, saying
he was starving. I, therefore, desired the men to supply him with some
dried venison and bread, which he ate with avidity. He refused to tell
me his master's name, but said there were hundreds of negroes fighting
with the Indians, six from the same plantation as himself. My companions
were at first intent upon securing him, but being averse to that
course, I dared them to do it; when, seeing I was fully determined on
this point, they did not insist. Pointing to the hammock, after giving
him a dram of brandy, I bid him be off, when he darted like a deer into
the thicket, and disappeared from our view, with a loud shout of
exultation.

About ten miles further on, as we passed the edge of a dense hammock, we
heard the bay of an Indian dog, and fearing the proximity of a party of
marauders, we were instantly on the alert. The dog did not, however,
come out of the wood, and we rode from the dangerous vicinity with all
dispatch. Arrived again at Fort Andrews, without any further adventure
worth recording, we found a party of volunteers about to proceed to Fort
Pleasant, in the direction we were going. After recruiting my now almost
exhausted strength by a refreshing sleep, I went down to their
encampment, by the river's edge. They had the day before encountered a
strong party of Indians, whom they repulsed with loss. Some of the party
showed me several bloody scalps of warriors they had killed. I could not
help remarking the beauty of the hair, which was raven-black, and shone
with a beautiful gloss. They had several captured Indian women with
them, and half-a-dozen children; the former were absorbed in grief, and
one in particular, whose young husband had been shot in the fray, and
whose scalp was one of those I have just mentioned, was quite
overwhelmed. The children, little conscious of the misery of their
parents, swam about and dived in the river like amphitrites; they each
carried a small bow and quiver of arrows. There is no doubt the Indians
these volunteers had fallen in with and routed, were the identical party
referred to by the negro we had met some forty-eight hours before.

I had made up my mind to stay at Fort Andrews for a time, partly to
fulfil an engagement with a friend whom I had arranged to meet here, and
to whom I shall shortly have to refer more at length, and partly to
recruit my strength, a tertian ague having seized me, which much
debilitated my frame, and made travelling very irksome. My accommodation
was indifferent, but medical assistance, which I needed most, was not
wanting, and I shall never forget the courtesy of the officers.

I employed my time chiefly in rambling the woods, when health would
permit, and had a boat lent to me, with which, in company, I several
times penetrated the tortuous river, Esteenahatchie, to the bay, some
miles distant. At night the boats were all sunk, or they would have been
stolen or destroyed by the Indians, who hovered round and committed
petty depredations at every opportunity. Below the fort, was a ruinous
mill, in a gloomy dell, through which the river wended its silent
course. This had once been tenanted, but the inhabitants were murdered
some years before by the Indians, who afterwards (as is their almost
unvarying custom), added to the atrocity by setting fire to the
building.

Sitting one day, after a lengthened ramble, in solitary meditation on my
position and the surrounding scenery, I saw a fine Indian, who appeared
greatly fatigued, emerge from the adjoining hammock, and walk to the
edge of the stream, and there, after glancing round him with eager eye
and air, he laid down his rifle, and stepping on to a tree which
debouched into the stream (lying as it had been struck down by a
tornado), he crouched down at the end of it, and commenced laving
himself with the water. His appearance was romantic, and there is no
doubt, from his dress, he was a warrior of some note, probably following
his wife, one of the squaws captured by the volunteers I have before
mentioned, and who were still at Fort Andrews, awaiting orders from
General Taylor. I could have shot him to a certainty, had I been armed,
which was not the case. Had it been so, however, I was predetermined
never, unless in self-defence, to imbrue my hands in Indian or negro
blood while in the territory, neither was I disposed to betray him, for
I deeply sympathized with the misfortunes of his race, and well knew
that an inexcusable spirit of aggrandizement on the part of the Federal
Government had in the first place roused the indignation of both negroes
and red men, and provoked hostilities. After performing his ablution,
the Indian stalked like a deer into the recesses of the forest, I having
in the mean time, as a matter of policy, moved out of danger, for he was
no doubt animated with feelings of dire revenge, and in a very different
mood from that in which I have described myself to have been at the
time.

During my visit to Deadman's Bay, I had become acquainted with a Scotch
gentleman, who was employed on the medical staff of the U.S. army, I
believe, as a supernumerary, or candidate for a commission as a surgeon.
He was a most agreeable companion, of good natural parts, fluent in
conversation, intelligent in remark, free from egotism, and well
educated, I believe, at Cambridge, in England. We soon became attached
to each other. He accompanied me in my rambles, and we were almost
inseparable companions during my stay. He was one of those beings, in
fine, who seem to be sent at times to cheer the darkened highway of
existence under gloomy circumstances; and I fondly hoped to enjoy with
him a lengthened period of virtuous intimacy, and close, unalloyed
friendship, on more propitious soil.

But the decrees of Providence are inscrutable, and "his ways," indeed,
"past finding out." This was certainly strikingly exemplified by the
catastrophe I am about to relate, which deprived me for ever of my
friend.

When at the bay, he expressed a wish to visit St. Marks, Tallahassee,
and Apalachicola, and stated his intention, as soon as his engagements
permitted, to proceed thither by steamer, if opportunity offered--or
failing this, to go overland, availing himself of some escort which
might be proceeding in that direction. As I felt desirous to have his
company, on my route to South Carolina, I arranged to halt at Fort
Andrews, as before stated, that he should join me there in a week, and
then proceed in company with me to Fort Pleasant, forty miles distant,
and thence to Tallahassee.

The time having now come at which I was expecting his arrival, I was one
morning anxiously looking out through the long vista of pine trees and
barrens, when I descried in the distance two horsemen approaching at
their greatest speed; I at first imagined them to be, as they indeed
proved, an advanced party of my friend's escort--but, on their coming
up, I could see, from the agitation they were in, and the foaming state
of their horses, which were quite white and in a dreadfully exhausted
state, that something alarming had happened.

The tale was soon told:--It appeared, that about midway between the two
settlements, or stations, a party of Indians in ambush had fired upon
the party, and my friend had been treacherously murdered. I was much
affected by this intelligence, and, after some consultation with a
gentleman there, determined to get up a pretty strong party, and proceed
to the scene of the murder, to collect the remains of my poor friend,
whose bones would otherwise be left, as I had seen others in those
regions, to bleach on the sand hills. We soon started, the party
consisting of fourteen men, well armed with rifles, bowie knives, and
pistols, accompanied by a waggon, drawn by four stout mules and driven
by a negro, to convey back the remains. The expedition was attended with
no little danger, from the proximity of a newly-discovered party of
Indians, who were committing dreadful ravages in the district--but
whether in large or small force, was uncertain; they were, probably, the
party I have before adverted to, lingering about the vicinity.

After a melancholy journey, during which we were so absorbed by our
feelings, that little was said; we reached the fatal spot, it being
pointed but by one of the party who formed my friend's escort.' It was
on the edge of a dense hammock, by the skirts of which lay some enormous
trees, which had been levelled by a recent tornado. From behind this
barricade the Indians had unexpectedly fired on the party--the attack
was so sudden, that they appeared to have been quite taken by surprise.
This was the more extraordinary, as the whole neighbourhood was of a
description likely to be chosen by the red men for an ambuscade. The
party attacked must have been in great trepidation, for, from what I
could glean, the survivors put spurs to their horses' flanks, and
galloped off to Fort Andrews, leaving my poor friend entirely at the
mercy of the enemy. The survivor, who accompanied us, stated, that they
were riding in Indian file, as is customary there; that poor H---- was
in front of him; and that, directly the Indians gave their fire, he saw
him fall backwards from his horse, at the same time raising his left
hand to his head. He could tell no more, the horse he was on having
wheeled round suddenly, and been urged on in retreat by its rider, who
was in the greatest imaginable terror. Had the party halted, and
returned the fire, for they were well armed, in all probability some of
the marauders would have been laid low, or, if the Indians were but few,
they might at least have rescued my poor friend.

We found footmarks of Indians, which we traced; by these it appeared
that they were in small force, and that when H---- fell from his horse
he recovered his feet, and ran from the enemy, in the direction of the
plain, for about two hundred yards--here it was evident he had been
overtaken, and his skull cloven with a tomahawk from behind. We soon
discovered his remains in the sand, denuded of every particle of flesh
and muscle by the vultures and the ravenous wolves. We collected the
bones with reverential care, and placed them in the waggon, for transit
to Fort Andrews.

On the bones of the little finger of the left hand was an emerald ring,
which I had often seen the murdered man wear, and which, being covered
with blood and sand at the time of the catastrophe, no doubt escaped the
attention of the villians who perpetrated the atrocious act. The left
jaw was fractured by a rifle-bullet, which knocked him off his horse
backwards, as described by one of the survivors.

In the pines opposite the place of ambush, we found several balls
imbedded, and one had lodged in the pummel of the saddle of the man who
was present, and who formed one of our party. It appeared probable that
there were not more than four or five Indians engaged in the attack; a
force which might easily have been repelled and annihilated with
ordinary courage, but formidable enough to men wanting the presence of
mind which is necessary under such circumstances.

After a fatiguing journey, for which I was at the time almost totally
unfitted by ill-health, our party reached Fort Andrews, with the mangled
remains of the victim. A short time afterwards these were committed to
the sand, a military salute being fired over the grave by some soldiers
at the garrison. On an elevated slab of wood, to the north of Fort
Andrews, may be seen a zinc plate, erected by me to the memory of my
friend, with his name, the date of his death, and an epitome of the
circumstances attending it. This memento of regard has, in all
probability, escaped the cupidity of the Indians, for I took the
precaution to have it placed as much out of sight as possible, and the
place of burial was off the beaten track.

Thus perished miserably, one whose generous openness and manly virtues
rendered him dear to all who had the privilege of his acquaintance. He
was a native of somewhere near Arbroath in Scotland, but his accent did
not betray his nativity.

In traversing the sandy deserts of West Florida, I had frequent
opportunities of tracing the devastating effects of those awful
visitations in tropical climates--hurricanes, or tornadoes; and,
notwithstanding I had the good fortune to escape the danger of being
exposed to one, I more than once prepared for the worst. One of these
was accompanied with phenomena so unusual and striking to a native of
Europe, that I must not omit some notice of it, if for no other purpose
than to convey to the mind of the reader one of the many unpleasant but
wonderful accompaniments of a residence in these latitudes, so
poetically, and indeed so truthfully, apostrophized as "the sunny
south."

It was while on a journey (accompanied by two yeomen from East Florida,
who were proceeding to join an expedition against the Indians to defend
their hearths, and by the friend whose melancholy loss I have adverted
to) from Deadman's Bay towards Tallahassee, that the occurrence I am
about to mention took place It was in the height of summer, and for
several days Fahrenheit's barometer had ranged from 84 to 90 degrees,
the temperature being occasionally even higher, by some degrees, than
this. We started soon after eight in the morning, and had ridden all day
under a scorching sun, from the effects of which we were but
ill-defended by our palm-leaf hats, for our heads were aching
intensely--my own being, in common parlance, "ready to split," not an
inapt simile, by the way, as I often experienced in the south. Towards
evening, the sultriness increased to a great degree, and respiration
became painful, from the closeness of the atmosphere. A suspicious lull
soon after succeeded, and we momentarily expected the storm to overtake
us. It was not, however, one that was to be relieved by an ordinary
discharge of thunder, lightning, and rain--deeper causes being evidently
at work. The denseness of the air was accompanied by a semi-darkness,
similar to that which prevails during an eclipse of the sun, which
luminary, on the occasion I refer to, after all day emitting a lurid
glare, was so shrouded in vapour as to be scarcely discernible, even in
outline--while a subterranean noise added to the terrors of our
situation, which strongly called to mind the accounts we read of
earthquakes and similar phenomena.

We moved slowly on, as people naturally would who were about to be
overwhelmed in a calamity that threatened their annihilation, while an
indefinable sensation of sleepiness and inertia seized the whole of the
party. Vultures and other birds of prey screamed dismally, as they
hovered round our heads in the greatest excitement, arising either from
terror or the anticipation of a rich repast, we could not tell which.
These voracious creatures, with great audacity, often descended to
within a few feet of the heads of our horses, which seemed
terror-stricken at their near approach. I took aim at one of the largest
of them with my rifle, and it fell a little to my left, with an impetus
I can only compare to the fall of a human being. Directly it touched the
ground, it vomited carrion and died. It was many feet in breadth from
tip to tip of wing, but we were too perturbed to stop and measure it.
When I discharged the rifle, the report was unusually faint, owing to
the state of the air; so much so, that my companions, who were not fifty
yards behind, scarcely heard it. The wild animals in the jungle which
skirted the road, and which, in general, skulk in silence and secresy in
their haunts, rent the air with their howlings. The very order of nature
seemed about to be reversed, while the long streamers of grey moss
swayed backwards and forwards mournfully from the trees, adding to the
solemnity of the scene. As the party slowly wended its way through the
wilderness, each individual looked round with suspicion, exchanging
furtive glances, or now and then uttering some exclamation of
alarm--their manner and bearing indicating minds ill at ease.

This dismal state of things lasted nearly an hour, after which time
nature seemed to recover herself by a sudden throe, for a brisk breeze,
which was highly refreshing to our senses, and which was attended by the
loud hollow subterranean sound I have before referred to, unexpectedly
sprang up, and swept off, as if by magic, the inertia of nature. What
made the phenomenon more extraordinary, was the total absence of thunder
or lightning. My companions shouted for joy when the hollow moan of the
embryo tempest was heard to move off to the eastward (for, as they
informed me, it told of deliverance from peril); I felt a sensation of
delight I cannot describe, and heartily responded to the noisy
demonstration of satisfaction raised by my companions.

Our horses, apparently participating in our delight, pricked up their
ears, and snorted, fairly prancing with pleasure, tired and jaded as
they were after thirty miles' travel through sand, into which they sank
at every step fetlock deep, often groaning pitifully.

I noticed that, during the impending storm, they hung down their heads
in a listless manner, and sighed heavily, a circumstance that to our
minds presaged calamity, and which, I may add, was altogether unlike the
usual indication of fatigue in animals which have travelled a great
distance. Had the tornado burst upon us, instead of passing off as it
did, it is very doubtful whether the hand that writes this would not
have been mingled with its native dust, in the arid sands of Florida;
for, as we rode on, we saw gigantic pine, cedar, and hiccory trees,
torn up by the roots, and scattered over the surrounding country, by
by-gone hurricanes, many of them hundreds of yards from the spot that
nurtured their roots--while the gnarled branches lying across our track,
scorched black-with the lightning, or from long exposure to a burning
sun, impeded our advance, and made the journey anything but pleasant.

The occurrence I have mentioned formed a topic of conversation for some
miles as we journeyed to our destination; and one of my companions
stated, that a few months before, when in the neighbourhood of
Pensacola, a hurricane came on unexpectedly, and caused great
devastation, unroofing the houses, tearing up trees, and filling the air
with branches and fragments of property. He happily escaped, although
his little estate, situated at Mardyke Enclosure, some short distance
from the town, was greatly injured, and some six or eight people were
crushed to death by the falling trees and ruins of houses.



CHAPTER VI.

        "Before us visions come
    Of slave-ships on Virginia's coast,
      Of mothers in their childless home,
    Like Rachel, sorrowing o'er the lost;
  The slave-gang scourged upon its way.
  The bloodhound and his human prey."--WHITTIER.


Florida produces oranges, peaches, plums, a species of cocoa-nut, and
musk and water-melons in abundance. The more open portions of the
country are dotted over with clumps of gnarled pines, of a very resinous
nature, white and red oak, hiccory, cedar, and cypress, and is in
general scantily clad with thin grass, fit only for deer to browse upon.
The dreary sameness of the interior of this desolate country is
distressing to the traveller; and the journey from one settlement to
another, through pine-forests, seems almost interminable.

One morning, a short time prior to my intended departure for
Tallahassee, I was roused before daybreak by a rifle-shot, which was
instantly followed by the cry of "Guard, turn out!" and much hubbub. As
this was no unusual occurrence, from the constant apprehension we were
in of an attack by the Indians on the stockade, and as it had several
times occurred before during my stay, I resolved to lie and listen
awhile before I rose. The earnest conversation and the noise of horses
soon after satisfied me it was only a friendly arrival. I, however, felt
anxious to obtain intelligence as to the success of a treaty then
pending between the United States Government and the Indians; the
favourable termination of which would not only render my return to
Tallahassee more safe, but put a stop, perhaps for ever, to those
constant scenes of blood and depredation that were by this time become
quite sickening to me. This feeling was much enhanced at the time by the
express between Fort Andrews and Deadman's Bay, being shot by a party of
the common enemy. The body of this poor fellow was never found, but
traces of blood were to be seen near the spot where he had been
attacked; and the saddle and bridle of his horse were found cut into a
thousand pieces; the probability being that he was wounded and taken
prisoner, doubtless to be tortured to death, a practice common with all
Indian tribes in time of war.

On my proceeding to a house used as officers' quarters, outside the
stockade, I found the stir had been caused by the arrival of two
companies of light-horse soldiers from St. Marks, escorting several
couples of bloodhounds, to aid the army, operating in that part of
Florida, to exterminate the Indians. These dogs were very ferocious,
and, on approaching the leashmen, who had them in charge, they opened in
full yell, and attempted to break loose. The dogs had just arrived from
Cuba with their keepers, their importation having been caused by the
supposition, that, like the Maroons in Jamaica, who, for nearly thirty
years, defied the colonists there, the Indians would be terrified into
submission. This, however, turned out to be erroneous; for, on their
first trial, the Indians killed several, and the scheme was very
properly abandoned a short time after.

Such barbarous means were very unjustifiable, although many (to use the
language of the Earl of Chatham, when deprecating a similar course in
the English House of Lords) considered that every means that God and
nature had placed in their hands, were allowable in the endeavour to
bring to a close a war that had cost the Federal Government an immense
amount of blood and treasure. I am of opinion, however, from what I
afterwards heard, that the step was not an altogether popular one in the
eastern and northern states, although it certainly was so in the
southern; it being argued in the public prints there, that as dogs had
been used in hunting down fugitive negroes from time immemorial, the
mere fact of bloodhounds being used instead of mastiffs was a peccadillo
unworthy of name.

The tobacco plant, though growing in many parts of Florida
spontaneously, like the broad-leafed dock in England, is often
cultivated in garden-ground for domestic use, some of the finer kinds
being as aromatic as those of Cuba. The soil in such places is rich;
indeed, the plant will not thrive in many parts where this is not the
case. The method of propagation, generally followed by the large
growers, is that recommended by Loudon, in his incomparable
_Encyclopedia of Agriculture,_ and is as follows:--The soil selected is
in general loamy and deep; this is well broken up before planting, and
frequently stirred to free it from the rich growth of weeds that, in
Florida in particular, choke the growth of all plants if neglected. The
seeds being small, they are lightly covered with earth, and then the
surface is pressed down with a flat instrument used for the purpose. In
two months after, the seedlings are ready to transplant, and are placed
in drills, three feet apart every way. These are frequently watered, if
there happens to be but little rain, which, in that arid climate, is
often the case for weeks together, and the plants regularly looked
over, to destroy a species of worm winch, if not removed, plays great
havoc with the young buds. When four inches high, the plants are moulded
up like potatoes in England; when they have six or seven leaves, and are
just putting out a stalk, the top is nipped off, to make the leaves
stronger and more robust. After this, the buds, which show themselves at
the joints of the leaves, are plucked, and then the plants are daily
examined, to destroy a caterpillar, of a singular form and grey in
colour, which makes its appearance at this stage, and is very
destructive to narcotic plants. When fit for cutting, which is known by
the brittleness of the leaves, the plants are cut close to the ground,
and allowed to lie some time. They are then put in farm-houses, in the
chimney-corner, to dry; or, if the crop is extensive, the plants are
hung upon lines in a drying-house, so managed that they will not touch
each other. In this state, they are left to sweat and dry. When this
takes place, the leaves are stripped off and tied in bundles; these are
put in heaps, and covered with a sort of matting, made from the
cotton-fibre or seaweed, to engender a certain heat to ripen the aroma,
care being taken lest a fermentation should occur, which injures the
value of the article; to avoid which the bundles are exposed and spread
about now and then in the open air. This operation is called
ventilating by the planters, and is continued until there is no apparent
heat in the heaps. The plant is quite ornamental, and its blossoms form
a pleasing feature in a garden of exotic productions.

After a brief stay at Fort Andrews, subsequent to the last sad offices
for my deceased friend, I left that spot on horseback for Tallahassee,
in company with four settlers. We soon reached the more populated
districts, without being molested by the Indians. Here they had
committed sad devastations; we saw many farms without occupants, the
holders having been either murdered by midnight assassins, or having
fled in alarm. Adjoining these habitations, we found line peach
orchards, teeming with fruit of the richest description, which lay in
bushels on the ground, and with which we regaled ourselves. Enclosed
maize fields overgrown with brambles, and cotton fields with the gins
and apparatus for packing the produce in bales for the market, presented
to the eye the very picture of desolation.

Owing to cross roads we were at one time completely at fault, and there
being no house in sight, I volunteered to ride off to the right and
endeavour to obtain the information we were in need of. After riding
about half-a-mile, I heard voices through a road-side coppice, which I
took to be those of field-hands at work; going farther on I dismounted,
and climbing the zigzag rail fence approached a negro at work in the
field. I inquired if he could put me on the road to Tallahassee; he
appeared much frightened at the intrusion, but stated he did not know,
but his mas'r did, at the same time pointing to the plantation-house,
situate the greater part of a mile distant; being averse to going there,
for fear of impudent interrogation, I offered him money to go with me to
the point where I had left my companions, and show us the way to the
next house; he did not even know what it was I offered him, and in
apparent amazement inquired what that was for; I explained, buy tobacco,
buy whiskey; he appeared totally ignorant of its use, and I have no
doubt he had never had money in his possession, or learned its use.
Still, he refused to leave the field, a wise precaution, as I afterwards
found, both for himself and me. The negro being resolute, there was now
no alternative but to go to the house, on arriving at which, I met with
such a reception as I had feared and anticipated. Three fierce dogs of
the mastiff breed, regularly trained to hunting fugitive negroes, rushed
out upon me. I had only a small riding whip with me, having left my
fire-arms with a friend at Fort Andrews, and much dreaded laceration.
Their noise soon brought out a ferocious, lank-visaged-looking man,
about forty years of age, who immediately called off the dogs; but
before I had time to make the inquiry that brought me there, he began in
about the following strain,

"What dye yer waunt up yar, stranger? Arter no good, I guess; you'd
better put it 'bout straight. I see'd yer torking to the hands
yonder--none o' yer 'mancipator doctrines yar."

The fellow's address "struck me all of a heap," as he would himself have
said, had he been in my situation; he spoke so fast, that I could not
edge in a word; at last I stated the cause of my intrusion, but he would
not believe a word, ordered me to quit the plantation or he would set
the dogs on me, and was getting into such an ungovernable rage, that I
thought it would be wise to follow his advice. So I slowly retreated to
the yard entrance by which I had come in. Returning to my companions at
the cross-roads, I found that, in my absence, a passer-by had given them
the wished-for information, and we pushed on to a house of call, a few
miles distant.

As the ride was a long one, we halted at this house for refreshment,
and, after baiting our horses, regaled ourselves upon some choice ham
and eggs. At the table, three little negroes, one girl and two boys,
under fourteen years of age, served as waiters. Their clothing was
supplied by nature, being solely the primitive habiliments worn in Eden
before the fall. This is quite customary in the south, where the rules
of decency are commonly set at defiance, as if the curse of Adam's
transgression applied not in this respect to the African race. The
little creatures did not seem to be in the least aware of their degraded
state; they were as agile as fawns, and their tact in administering to
the wants of the company was quite remarkable.

Just as we were about to proceed on our journey, a party of some
half-a-dozen planters or overseers of neighbouring estates, mounted on
fine mules, who had been searching for fugitive field-hands, rode up. I
could see they were greatly excited, and one of them had a negro lassoed
by the neck, one end of the rope being fastened to his high Spanish
saddle. On coming up to the entrance gate, the one most in advance
dismounted to open it; the mule, eager, perhaps, to get to a crib, or,
what is more likely, to evade a brutal kick or blow, trotted through;
this did not please its owner, who bellowed loudly to it to stop. The
mule, however, still kept on, when the ruffian, in demoniac anger, drew
from his belt a long bowie knife, and darting after the animal, hurled
it at him with all his force. The blade of the weapon, which was six or
seven inches long, entered and stuck fast in the abdomen of the agonized
creature, which, for about twenty yards, ran on furiously, with the
murderous knife in its vitals. It then fell-with a deep groan, while the
fiend who had perpetrated this wanton act of barbarity and his
companions watched its fall, and loudly exulted in it. I noticed that
there was a deep scowl of hatred on the countenance of the negro
prisoner as this drama was being enacted, and when the knife struck the
poor mule he cried out, "Oh, mas'r, mas'r!" Societies for the
suppression of cruelty to animals, are, as might be supposed, unknown in
such remote situations, nor do they exist in any of the slave States and
territories of America; so that redress in such a case was out of the
question. I therefore consoled myself that the outrage had brought its
own punishment in the loss of the mule, which was at least worth from
eighty to one hundred dollars.

Passing onwards, we reached Tallahassee by rather a circuitous route,
_viá_ Mount Pleasant. Although in an indifferent state of health, from
exposure to the poisonous miasma of the country, I, on the whole, felt
pleased with my journey, now that its dangers were over, and grateful to
the great Dispenser of all good, who had safely conducted me through
them. At Tallahassee I saw in the streets, in charge of a
ruffianly-looking fellow, two negroes, with heavy iron collars round
their necks. These were captured run-aways; the collars, which must
have weighed seven or ten pounds, had spikes projecting on either side.
One of the poor creatures had hold of the spikes as he walked along to
ease the load that pressed painfully on his shoulders.

General Murat resided at the time in this neighbourhood; he is the
brother of Jehoiachin, ex-king of Naples, and owns a large plantation,
and, I was told, upwards of two hundred negroes, who were described as
being humanely treated by him. This, however, is a very indefinite term,
where all slave-owners profess to do the same, though the poor wretches
over whom by law they impiously assume God's heritage, in ninety cases
out of every hundred, are scantily clothed, worse fed than horses or
mules, and worked to the utmost extent of human endurance, the humanity
being, in most cases, left to the tender mercies of a brutal overseer,
who exacts all he can. If the poor, tattered, squalid-looking beings I
saw in Tallahassee be a fair specimen of the "humane treatment" I have
referred to, heaven help them.

General Murat, some years ago, married an American lady, who delighted
in being called the "princess," a little piece of vanity quite in
keeping with the aristocratical prejudices of American females in the
south, who are devoted worshippers of lordly institutions and usages. I
did not see the general myself, but was told he was often to be met
lounging about the bars of the principal hotels (being quite
Americanized in this respect). He was described as a very garrulous old
gentleman, extremely fond of recounting his adventures, particularly his
escape when the allied troops entered Paris, about the year of
Bonaparte's subjugation.

After remaining a few days in Tallahassee, I took the conveyance to
Macon in Georgia, intending to pursue my route overland to Charleston in
South Carolina. In the diligence (a clumsy apology for a coach) from
Tallahassee to Macon, were several loquacious passengers. One of these
amused and disgusted us by turns; for, after giving an epitome of his
career, which was a chequered one, he related an incident that had
recently occurred on a plantation he had been visiting, and, as it
presents a novel feature in the asserted rights of slave-holders--how
profane, I will not stop to inquire--I think it worth recording. After a
recital of a drunken debauch, in which he had taken a part, described by
him as a frolic, and which had been kept up for several days, his host,
he said, anxious to show the high sense he entertained of the honour of
the visit by making almost any sacrifice (this was said with great
conceit), proposed to put a negro up with an apple on his head, in
imitation of the ordeal imposed on William Tell, the Swiss patriot,
declaring that he who divided the apple, or perforated it with a
rifle-ball, should own the slave. This proposal, the gentleman very
facetiously observed, the party jumped at, expecting some good sport;
but added, "The fellow spoilt it, for he refused to stand still,
although we 'used up' a cowhide over him for his obstinacy." The
frivolous manner in which this intended outrage was related, filled me
and my fellow-passengers with disgust. I thought it was not safe to
remark on the proceeding, for I could see he was a very strenuous
upholder of that disgraceful system of oppression, which stigmatizes and
degrades the Americans as a people, and will continue to do so, until it
is utterly abrogated, and their characters retrieved.

This would-be patrician was a pedantic, swaggering bully, who, it was
evident, entertained high notions of his importance, and owned, perhaps,
large possessions,--in a word, he was an American aristocrat, and the
description I have given is a fair one of his class in the south.
Pointing to a hill, as we entered a little settlement on our way to
Macon, he exclaimed, "See there, gentlemen, twenty years ago I toiled up
that hill without a cent in my wallet (purse), but now" he continued,
with the air of a potentate, "my niggers are the sleekest in our
country. In those days," he went on, "glass inkstands stood on the
desks of the bank I now am chief proprietor of; we have nothing but gold
ones now." The fellow's bombast lowered him in the esteem of the
passengers, who seemed indisposed to listen to him, and the latter part
of the journey he said little, being in fact regularly sent to Coventry
by us all. He afterwards amused himself much to our annoyance by
whistling airs and singing snatches of songs, which caused one of the
passengers, a lady, to leave the diligence at the next change of horses.
He was quite an adept at whistling the air of "Yankee doodle." This want
of deference to the sex, which I must say is an exception to the general
behaviour of men there and in other parts of the Union I visited, did
not fail to call forth animadversion; the remarks at one time being so
pointed, that I began to feel uneasy lest the pugnacious spirit might be
aroused in him, which leads so often in the south to serious encounters.

Our conveyance, which more resembled a waggon than, a stage-coach,
having by this time stopped at a large hotel at Macon, I alighted with
much pleasure, for the roughness of the road, the disagreeable loquacity
of the passenger I have described, and the recklessness of the driver,
made the journey excessively unpleasant.

The negro population in Georgia is very numerous, and their constant
attempts to escape to the everglades in Florida, make unceasing
vigilance on the part of their owners necessary for the safety of their
property. In many instances where suspicion exists, they are never
allowed on any pretence, to leave the estate or residence of the owner.

At the Greensborough Railway Terminus, I noticed two negroes on their
way to Charleston. Before being allowed to take their seat in an open
carriage in the rear of the train, the clerk at the station stepped up
to them, and with an air of great effrontery demanded to see their
passes; these were instantly shown with an alacrity that plainly
indicated fear; they were then shut in a box in the rear of the train,
in which I could see no sitting accommodation. The way in which these
men were treated presented nothing new, for I had invariably noticed
that coloured people in the south, whether bond or free, were spoken to
with supercilious haughtiness, which I never once saw them openly
resent.

On arriving at the next station a trader got into the carriage. He had
with him two negro men and a boy; these were secured to each other by
hand-cuffs and a slight negro chain.

For the last forty miles of my journey, I had a very pleasant companion
in a gentleman from the state of Alabama. He was a most agreeable and
intelligent young fellow, but invalided like myself through the
poisonous miasma of the south. I entered freely into conversation with
him on general matters, in the course of which I introduced slavery in
several of its bearings. I soon discovered by his bias, that he was
decidedly in favour of "things as they are."

Being anxious to obtain some information as to the observance of the
nuptial tie amongst slaves, I touched upon that subject, when he told me
the ceremony was mostly a burlesque, and that unions were in general but
temporary, although he had known some very devoted couples. But he
proceeded to state that there was much room for reform in this respect.
"I will relate to you an instance," said he, "of the manner in which
this, as we white people consider it, solemn compact, is entered into
amongst field-hands. When a couple wish to live together as man and
wife, the male nigger mentions it to the overseer, and if there are no
impediments, they have a cabin assigned to them." He described a scene
of this kind, which I will endeavour to give verbatim. He said it
occurred on his father's estate, some years before, and that he was
standing by at the time, "although," he continued, "'tis done the same
now in most instances." A negro approached where the overseer was
standing, apparently, by his sidling manner, about to ask some favour,
when the following colloquy ensued.

_Overseer_.--Well, you black rascal, what do you stand grinning there
for?

_Negro_.--Please, mas'r, want Lucy for wife.

_Overseer_.--Wife, you scoundrel, what do you want a wife for; be off
with you, and mind your horses. (He was employed as a teamster on the
estate.)

_Negro_.--Oh, mas'r, I loves Lucy.

_Overseer_.--And she loves you, I suppose. A fine taste she must have,
indeed. Where are you going to live?

_Negro_--Got room in No. 2 cabin, if mas'r please let 'um.

_Overseer_.--Well, now listen; go along, and take her, but, you lazy
dog, if you get into any scrapes, and don't work like live coals, I'll
send her to the other estate (which was situated forty miles distant),
and flay you alive into the bargain.

The poor fellow, after thanking the overseer (not for his politeness,
certainly), darted off to communicate the joyful intelligence to his
affianced, making the welkin ring with his shouts. The gentleman who
described this scene said that it was always the custom on his father's
estate to give a gallon or two of whiskey for the attendant
merry-making.

After numerous stoppages, the train at length reached Charleston. The
journey from Greensborough had been a tedious one; besides the annoyance
of slow travelling, through the inefficient state of the line, which was
so defective that the carriages frequently left the rails, the noisome
effluvia arising from the swamps we had to pass through, which harbour
innumerable alligators and other reptiles, had the most debilitating
effect on the frame, which was increased by the extreme sultriness of
the weather After leaving my ticket at the terminus, I disposed of my
baggage by hiring a negro to carry it to my boarding-house, and slowly
wended my way into the city. A spacious public square at the end of
King-street, through which I had to pass to my _table d'hote_, presented
an animated view, the citizens being assembled to celebrate the
anniversary of the Independence conferred by Washington and his
compatriots by the solemn declaration of the 4th July, 1776. Long
tables, under gay awnings, to shield the company from the burning rays
of the sun, which at the time were intense, groaned with every luxury
the climate afforded; but the banquet was not furnished by this alone,
for Cuba and some of the neighbouring islands, it was stated, had been
ransacked for delicacies. Crowds of elegantly-dressed ladies (in general
of very sallow look and languid air) and spirit-like children, with
swarthy-looking men, many of whose visages bore evident traces of
exposure to the ill effects of the climate and of dissipation, crowded
the festive board. The negro attendants in dozens moved about with
automatic order, as is characteristic of all the race on such occasions,
for the negro is a "model waiter" at a banquet. Their snowy costumes
contrasting strongly with their black visages and the jovial scene
around. The merry peals of laughter, as some unlucky wight upset a dish,
or scattered the sauce in everybody's face within reach, indicated
lightness of heart, and merriment and conviviality seemed the order of
the day.

The imposing scene before me, after a long absence from social meetings
in civilized life, was very cheering, and, had it not been for the
inertia I felt at the time, arising from a fatiguing journey and the
tertian ague, I should have felt disposed to participate in the day's
enjoyment. Other considerations might, however, have prevented this: I
was a stranger to all around, and knew that I should be either subjected
to impertinent interrogations, or become the object of invidious
remark--this, in my debilitated state of health, I felt anxious to
avoid, as calculated to impede my restoration. My joining the assembled
party might also have involved the chance of surveillance during my
stay, which, before my departure for Europe, I intended should be rather
protracted. I may have been mistaken in this view, but, from the
character I had heard of the place, I felt justified in giving way to
the suspicion.

I was beguiled into the erroneous idea that a sense of happiness and
security reigned in the assembled multitude, a notion quite fallacious,
from attendant circumstances, as I shall directly explain. Troops were
stationed at a guard-house in the vicinity, and the sentinels paced in
front of the building, as if in preparation for, or in expectation of, a
foe, affording a great contrast to the apparent security of the
inhabitants assembled in the square. Before reaching Charleston, I had
been apprised of the state of jeopardy the citizens were in from the
possibility of a recurrence of those scenes of anarchy enacted at the
insurrection of the slaves some time before--scenes which had filled
every heart with dismay, and spread ruin and desolation on every side.
From what I could glean of that fearful drama, the slaves in the
surrounding districts, on a concerted signal from their confederates in
Charleston, made a descent upon the city, and, rendered furious by long
oppression, proceeded to fire it and massacre the inhabitants. No
language can convey an accurate idea of the consternation of the white
inhabitants, as it was described to me. The tocsin was sounded, the
citizens assembled, armed _cap-a-pié_, and after much hard fighting,
the rebellion was crushed, and large numbers of the insurgents were
slain or arrested. Then came the bloody hand of what was impiously
termed retributive justice. A court, or sort of drum-head court-martial,
not worthy to be called a trial, condemned numbers of the slaves to
death, and they were led out instantly to execution. My informant told
me that many a brave, noble-hearted fellow was sacrificed, who, under
happier circumstances, though in a cause not half so righteous, would
have been extolled as a hero, and bowed down with honours. Many a humble
hearth was made desolate, and, in the language quoted by my informant,
"as in the days of the curse that descended on the people of the
obdurate Pharaoh, every house mourned its dead." Still, there was a
strong lurking suspicion that the _emeute_ of the negroes had only been
temporarily suppressed, and awful forebodings of fire and of blood
spread a gloom on the minds of all. This was the version given to me by
a friend, of what he described as the most fearful rising amongst the
negroes ever before known in the southern states of America.

As I passed up the long range of tables, the health of the President of
the Republic was responded to by the company. The cheers were deafening,
and, what most surprised me was, that the negro waiters joined
heartily, I may say frantically, in it, and danced about like mad
creatures, waving their napkins, and shouting with energy. Some of the
elder ones, I noticed, looked mournfully on, and were evidently not in a
gay humour, seeming a prey to bitter reflections. Notwithstanding the
curse of slavery, which, like a poisonous upas, taints the very air they
breathe with the murdered remains of its victims, the white citizens of
the south are extremely sensitive of their civil and political rights,
and seem to regard the palladium of independence secured by their
progenitors as an especial benefit conferred by the Deity for their good
in particular. Actuated by this mock patriotism (for it is nothing
less), the citizens of the south omit no opportunity of demonstrating
the blessings they so undeservedly inherit, and which, if I am not
mistaken, will, ere many years elapse, be wrested from them, amidst the
terrible thunders of an oppressed and patient people, whose powers of
endurance are indeed surprising.

Leaving the square, I passed up King-street, at the top of which was my
intended boarding-house. The shops in this fashionable resort are fitted
out in good style, and the goods are of the best description. After
sunset the streets are often lined with carriages. The city lies flat,
like the surrounding country, and, owing to this, is insalubrious;
stagnant water collects in the cellars of the houses, and engenders a
poisonous vapour, which is a fertile source of those destructive
epidemics, that, combined with other causes, are annually decimating the
white population of the south of the American continent in all parts.

At the top of King-street, facing you as you advance, is a large
Protestant episcopal church. I went there to worship on the following
Sunday, but was obliged to leave the building, there being, it was
stated by the apparitor, no accommodation for strangers, a piece of
illiberality that I considered very much in keeping with the
slave-holding opinions of the worshippers who attend it. This want of
politeness I was not, however, surprised at, for it is notorious, as has
been before observed by an able writer, that, excepting the Church of
Rome, "the members of the unestablished Church of England--the
Protestant Episcopalian, are the most bigotted, sectarian, and
illiberal, in the United States of America. Being fully persuaded," to
follow the same writer, "that prelatical ordination and the three orders
are indispensable to their profession, they are, like too many of their
fellow professors in the mother country, deeply dyed with Laudean
principles, or that love of formula in religion and grasping for power
which has so conspicuously shown itself among the Oxford tractarians,
and which, it is to be feared, is gradually undermining Protestant
conformity, by gnawing at its very heart, in the colleges of Great
Britain." Vital piety, or that deep sense of religious duty that impels
men to avoid the devious paths of sin, and to live "near to God," is, I
am inclined to believe (and I regret it, as a painful truth), by no
means common in America. There are, however, many pastors who faithfully
warn their flocks of the dangers of the world, and who strenuously
advise their hearers to take warning lest they be over-captivated with
the "Song of the Syrens." These, however, I must say, are chiefly in the
free states, for I cannot regard southern ministers in any other light
than pharisaical, while they continue openly (as is their constant
practice) to support from their pulpits the institution that is the main
stay of the southern states; I mean slavery. In my intercourse with
serious individuals with whom I came in contact during my stay on the
continent of America, the doctrines of Dr. Pusey and his confederates
were often referred to; and although I believe "the Association for
restoring the ancient powers of the Clergy, and the primary rites and
usages of the Church," does not acknowledge the Protestant Episcopalians
in America (owing, perhaps, chiefly to the invidious position the
latter stand in with the state, and the little chance of their views
being universally embraced by them, but partially, no doubt, to the
evangelical principles of most of the ministers officiating in that
Church), yet the subject has excited much interest there, and the Romish
propensities of many pastors plainly indicate that inherent love of
power that invariably, and, it may be said, necessarily, developes
itself in hierarchical institutions--a propensity that ought to be
closely watched by Protestant lay congregations, as being not only
innovating and dangerous in its tendency, but calculated to foster that
superstition which is at once the fundamental principle of the faith of
the city of the seven hills, and the power of that triple-crowned
monster, Popery.

I afterwards went into a large Independent chapel in another part of the
town, where I was more courteously treated. Here was a very eloquent and
noted preacher, a Dr. Groyard, from Mobile. He was delivering a very
eloquent harangue, interspersed with touches of pro-slavery,
sentimentalism and rhetorical flourish, the former especially directed to
the negroes in the gallery, when, suddenly, a cry of "Fire! fire!" was
raised in the street. The learned Doctor stood as if electrified, and
the instant after his hearers rushed pell-mell out of the chapel,
amidst the shrieks of the females, and the consternation of the men,
caused, without doubt, by a lurking suspicion of impending evil from the
negroes which I have before referred to. On ascertaining that the alarm
was caused by a house being on fire in the vicinity, the service was
abruptly terminated.

The following day I continued my perambulations; to the left of the
episcopal church I have already mentioned, and surrounded by umbrageous
trees in a park-like enclosure, is the Town-hall. I entered this
building, where I found a bench of magistrates, the mayor of the city
being amongst them, adjudicating on the cases brought before them. These
consisted chiefly of negroes apprehended in the streets after nine
o'clock the previous night; they were in all cases, except where their
owners paid the fine, sentenced to receive from ten to twenty lashes,
which were administered at once by the city gaoler, in a yard at the
rear of a building, near which officers were in attendance for the
purpose. I must mention, in explanation, that one of the laws passed
directly after the insurrection, was to prohibit negroes, on any
pretence, to be out after nine, p.m. At that hour, the city guard, armed
with muskets and bayonets, patrolled the streets, and apprehended every
negro, male or female, they found abroad. It was a stirring scene, when
the drums beat at the guard-house in the public square I have before
described, preparatory to the rounds of the soldiers, to witness the
negroes scouring the streets in all directions, to get to their places
of abode, many of them in great trepidation, uttering ejaculations of
terror as they ran. This was an inexorable law, and punishment or fine
was sure to follow its dereliction, no excuse being available, and as
the owners seldom submitted to pay the fine, the slaves were compelled
to take the consequences, which, in the language that consigned them to
the cruel infliction, "consisted of from ten to twenty lashes, well laid
on with a raw-hide," a murderous whip, which draws blood after the first
few strokes, and is as torturing, I should imagine, as the Russian
knout, certainly proving in many instances as fatal as that odious
instrument. The crowning severity of the enactments I have referred to,
remains, however, to be told. So heinous in a negro, is the crime of
lifting his hand in opposition to a white man in South Carolina, that
the law adjudges that the offending member shall be forfeited. This is,
or was, quite as inexorable as the one I have before spoken of, and when
in Charleston, I frequently, amongst the flocks of negroes passing and
repassing, saw individuals with one hand only. Like the administration
of miscalled justice on negroes in all slave-holding states in America,
the process was summary; the offender was arrested, brought before the
bench of sitting magistrates, and on the _ex parte_[A] statement of his
accuser, condemned to mutilation, being at once marched out to the rear
of the building and the hand lopped off on a block fixed there for the
purpose. I noticed a block and axe myself in the yard of a building near
the town-hall, and on looking at them closely, saw they were stained
almost black, with what I have little hesitation in saying was human
blood. My conductor, however, tried to divert my attention from the
object, and knowing I was an Englishman, refused to enter on the
subject.

[FOOTNOTE A: The writer was assured, when in Charleston, that this was
the case in five out of every six cases.]

Another of the many cruel laws put in force after the _emeute_ of the
negroes, was to prohibit any coloured person from walking on the
pavements, and forcing all males to salute every white they met. These
distinctions, although falling into disuse, are not even yet abolished,
but still, with many others equally odious, disgrace the Carolinean
statute book. I saw several negroes from the plantation districts,
walking in the road instead of on the pavement, in accordance with this
law, touching their hats to every white passer-by; they were
consequently obliged to be continually lifting their hands to their
heads, for they passed white people at every step. Although I believe
no punishment is now enforced for the omission of this humiliating
homage to colour, the men I have referred to were doubtless afraid to
disregard the ceremony.

A partiality exists in every part of America for music; indeed, so
strongly is this developed, that in almost all the towns, and even in
some hamlets in the western states, subscription bands are kept
up--these play every evening, when the weather admits, in the centre of
the public square, the citizens the while promenading round with their
wives and families.

But, although a decided penchant prevails for music, the preference is
given by the mass to a few ordinary airs, calculated to inspire that
love of country which every reminiscence of the struggle for
independence calls forth. The favourite air is the so-called national
one of "Hail, Columbia," although this is but second to the fantastic
drollery of "Yankee Doodle;" the latter is vociferously called for at
all places of amusement, and excites in the audience, at such places of
resort, almost frantic sensations. This is the more remarkable, as it
was originally composed by an Englishman, and, as it is so intimately
connected with Americanism, I shall, perhaps, be excused for introducing
here what may be termed its history.

In the attacks made upon the French posts in America, in 1755, those
against Niagara and Frontenac were made by Governor Shirley, of
Massachusetts, and General Jackson, of New York. Their army during the
summer lay on the eastern bank of the Hudson, a little south of Albany.
Early in June, the troops of the eastern provinces began to pour in
company after company, and such an assemblage never before thronged
together on such an occasion. "It would have relaxed the gravity of an
anchorite," says the historian, "to see the descendants of the Puritans
marching through the streets of the ancient city, and taking their
stations on the left of the British army--some with long coats, and
others with no coats at all, and with colours as various as the rainbow;
some with their hair cropped like the army of Cromwell, and others with
wigs, the locks of which floated with grace round their shoulders. Their
march, their accoutrements, and the whole arrangement of the troops,
furnished matter of amusement to the British army. The music played the
airs of two centuries ago; and the _tout ensemble_, upon the whole,
exhibited a sight to the wondering strangers to which they had been
unaccustomed."

Among the club of wits that belonged to the British army, there was a
Doctor Shackburg attached to the staff, who combined with his knowledge
of surgery the skill and talent of a musician. To please the new-comers,
he composed a tune, and, with much gravity, recommended it to the
officers as one of the most celebrated airs of martial music. The joke
took, to the no small amusement of the British. Brother Jonathan
exclaimed, it was "nation fine;" and in a few days, nothing was heard in
the provincial camp but the air of "Yankee Doodle."

Little did the author, in his composition, then suppose, that an air,
made for the purpose of levity and ridicule, should be marked for such
high destinies. In twenty years from that time, the national march--now
universally recognized by the patriots--inspired the heroes of Bunker's
Hill; and, in less than thirty, Lord Cornwallis and his army marched
into the American lines to the tune of "Yankee Doodle."



CHAPTER VII.

  "Woe worth the hour when it is crime
    To plead the poor dumb bondman's cause,
  When all that makes the heart sublime,
  The glorious throbs that conquer time,
    Are traitors to our cruel laws."--LOWELL


The general appearance of the majority of the coloured people in the
streets of Charleston denoted abject fear and timidity, some of them as
I passed looking with servile dread at me (as they did at almost every
one who happened to pass), so that I could read in many of their looks a
suspicion of interference, which, commiserating their condition as I
did, was quite distressing.

It is impossible to form a correct estimate of what the perpetuators of
slavery have to expect, if once the coloured population obtain a
dominant position. The acknowledged gradual depopulation of the whites
in the slave states, through sickness, exhaustion of the land, and
consequent emigration, united with other causes, there is no doubt will
eventually result in a great preponderance of coloured people, who,
aroused by the iniquitous treatment they undergo, will rise under some
resolute leader, and redress their wrongs. I was quite struck to see in
Charleston such a disproportion of the colours, and, without
exaggerating, I can say, that almost if not quite three-fourths of those
I met in the streets were, if not actually of the negro race, tinged in
a greater or less degree with the hue.

Pursuing my perambulations, I came to the slave and general cotton place
of vendue, to the left of the General Post-office, which building is a
very substantial edifice of stone. Here a dozen or twenty auctioneers
were loudly holding forth to the assembled crowds, and cracking up their
wares in New York style. The most indescribable scene of bustle and
confusion prevailed, the whole street being covered with open bales and
boxes of goods. In one part of the street was a slave warehouse, and
advertisements were placarded outside of the particulars of the various
lots to be offered for competition, and now on view. As the privilege of
viewing in this instance was confined to those who possessed tickets, I
did not apply for one, as I knew that the wish would be attributed to
curiosity, and possibly a worse construction be put upon it, through my
being a stranger in the place.

Passing onwards through the assembled throng, I got into a more secluded
part of the city, and came upon a large burial-ground, in which many of
the monuments erected to the memory of the dead were of a very expensive
description. One in particular attracted my notice; this, on inquiry of
a gentlemanly-looking man, who, like myself, was inclined to "meditate
among the tombs," I ascertained had been erected by the relatives of a
planter, who had resided in an adjoining state, but who had several
cotton plantations within ten miles of Charleston; these he occasionally
visited, but in general confided to the care of an overseer, who lived
with his family on one of them. The season anterior to his last visit
had been a very unpropitious one, and he was much dissatisfied with the
management. To prevent a recurrence of this loss, and, under the strong
impression that the hands were not worked as they should be, he resolved
to inspect the plantations himself, and administer some wholesome
discipline in _propriâ personâ;_ for this purpose, he visited one of the
plantations, intending afterwards to proceed to the others in rotation.
It so happened that he arrived when not expected; and, finding his
overseer absent, and many of the hands not as closely engaged as he
wished, he became violently enraged. Summoning the overseer, he ordered
all hands in front of the house to witness a punishment, and causing
eight or ten of those whom he pointed out to be tied up at once and well
whipped, stood by the while in uncontrollable anger to give directions.
In the midst of the scene, and while urging greater severity, he was
seized with a fit of apoplexy, which was of such a nature, that it at
once closed his career, and he died instantaneously. Directly the man
fell, the negroes collected round him and uttered cries and
lamentations, and the poor wretch who was at the moment the victim of
his brutality, on being untied, which was immediately done, joined in
it. Notwithstanding that my companion had a decided leaning towards the
extinction of slavery, (although he started various objections to its
abolition,) I was quite inclined to believe his relation, having, when
in Florida, met with a somewhat similar instance of the devotedness of
the negro race, in an old woman who was bitterly bewailing the loss of
her deceased mistress. The latter was an English lady, but not over kind
to her, and reflected no credit on her countrywomen. The poor creature
in touching strains enlarged upon her beauty and accomplishments, but
when I questioned her as to her treatment of the negroes in general
belonging to the estates, would say little on the subject, and shook
her head; in it was plain that, like most females living in the south,
she was a pampered worldling, entirely engrossed by principles of
self-interest, and little regarding the welfare of her dependents, if
not, as I have before observed, very severe towards them. She died
prematurely, from the effects of one of those virulent fevers, that in
southern latitudes are so often fatal to the inhabitants, especially to
those who have been nurtured in Europe. Her encoffined remains were
shipped on board a vessel, to be conveyed to England for burial, in
accordance with her expressed wish. When the poor creature came to that
part of her piteous tale, when, as she called her, her "beautiful angel
of a mistress" was put in the coffin, and the estate hands were called
in to take a last view of her (a custom in vogue there sometimes), she
was overpowered with grief, and her utterance was so choked, that she
could scarcely proceed.

During my stay in Charleston, I became acquainted with a gentleman of
colour, who followed a lucrative business as a dealer of some kind, and
who had formerly been a slave. The introduction arose in rather a
singular way, it being through a proposition made to open a school for
the education of coloured children, in which I took an interest.

Great opposition was offered to the scheme by the white rulers of the
place, who declared the project illegal, the enactments passed
subsequent and prior to the insurrection stringently forbidding it, or
any attempt to impart secular knowledge to the slaves. Notwithstanding
the violent threats used to prevent it, a meeting was however convened
to be held at the house of the gentleman referred to, and which I
resolved, though not unaccompanied with danger to my person, to take an
active part in. I accordingly went to his home on the evening appointed;
this was a spacious house, furnished in sumptuous style, with extensive
premises adjoining, contiguous to the north end of the levee. I noticed
that the walls were hung with good oil paintings gorgeously framed,
principally family portraits, but the most prominent in position was
that of the unfortunate Haytian chief, Toussaint L'Ouverture, whose
cruel end, at the instigation of the vindictive Bonaparte, will for ever
reflect shame on the French name as long as a sense of justice and love
of virtue and probity exists in the bosom of mankind. Far be it from me
to trample on the name of one whom retributive justice has consigned to
the dust, but the cruelty of Napoleon towards this magnanimous prince,
and his final barbarity in consigning him to a damp dungeon in a
fastness amongst the Alps, where he perished in exile from his subjects
and family after ten months' miserable endurance of the hardships
wrongfully imposed on him, almost causes a feeling of exultation at the
downfall of a despot, who, aiming at the sovereignty of the world,
scrupled not to sacrifice virtue and good faith at the shrine of
ambition. The fate of both chiefs was similar, for both perished in
captivity--the one the victim, perhaps, of inordinate ambition, the
other of unscrupulous avarice and envious malignity. The misfortunes of
Toussaint L'Ouverture have indeed with justice been pronounced the
"history of the negro race," for, in almost every instance where
coloured men have pushed themselves above the common level, they have
incurred the envy of white men, and, in too many instances, have been
crushed by their overbearing tyranny.

The meeting was conducted with religious decorum, most, if not all, of
the coloured gentlemen present being members of the Wesleyan connection.
I was pleased with the temperate spirit in which their wrongs were
discussed; and, after drawing up the rules, forming a committee, and
arranging other necessary preliminaries, the meeting broke up.

On reaching my hotel on my return, I was at once waited upon by the
landlord, who, in certainly a respectful manner, informed me that the
interest I had the day before incautiously expressed regarding the
school, had led to my being watched to the house where the meeting was
held; and that, to avoid the unpleasantness which would result from my
continuing to take any steps in the matter, and which might ensue, he
said, from the suspicions excited, he strongly advised that I should the
next day address a letter to the editor of the principal newspaper in
the city, repudiating all connection with a movement calculated, he
said, to disturb the public mind, and, perhaps, cause disturbance. This
I refused to do, but told him I did not intend to figure prominently in
the matter, and that my stay in the city would be very limited. He then
related several instances of mob law, which had been enacted-within the
twelve months preceding, which, he said, were quite necessary to
maintain southern rights, and which he did not fail to let me know he
fully concurred in. After this hint, conveyed, I must say, in a friendly
spirit, whatever my private opinion was as to the occasion of it, I
mingled, during the remainder of my stay, very little with the
frequenters of his establishment--a policy which I considered necessary
from personal considerations; and, owing to this cautious behaviour, I
was not afterwards interfered with, though often eyed with suspicion.

The school was opened during my stay, but continued so but a short
time, the virulent conduct of the constables, supported by some of the
citizens and the civil authorities, compelling its discontinuance. This
is not to be wondered at, when it is remembered that the old statute law
of South Carolina prohibits the education of negroes, bond or free,
under a penalty of fine and imprisonment; and, although before the
recent _emeute_ it was falling into disuse, that event revived its
enforcement with ancient malignity.

The free negro gentleman, at whose house the preliminaries for opening
the school referred to were gone through, informed me, on a subsequent
occasion, that the constant vexations and annoyances he was subjected
to, owing to the prejudice in the minds of southern people regarding
colour, would compel him to relinquish his business, and proceed either
to Canada or to the free states. He deplored the alternative much, as he
had been born and bred a slave in Carolina, and, by untiring assiduity,
had saved money enough to emancipate himself and his wife; "In fact," he
added, "I feel this is my country, and leaving it will come hard." He
had a numerous family, which he maintained in great respectability, and
his business being a profitable one made him more reluctant to abandon
it and the advantages that otherwise would attend his continuance in
Charleston. He hospitably entertained me at his home, and appeared
highly gratified at meeting with a white man who felt disposed to regard
him with equality.

After dining at his house one day, he took me a ride round the suburbs
of the city, which I noticed were flat and exceedingly uninteresting. We
returned by way of the Marine Parade, which is certainly a _chef
d'oeuvre_ of its kind. This is on the south side of the city, and
commands a magnificent sea-view. It is raised far above the sea, and
laid out with carriage-drives and paths for pedestrians. Far out,
looking towards Cape Hatteras, is a fort on an island; this is always
garrisoned by a detachment of U.S. troops, and of late years has been
used as a receptacle for those daring chiefs among the Indians, who, by
their indomitable courage, have been the terror of the United States
frontier. Here that hero Oceola, chief of the Seminoles, died not long
before, in captivity, from excessive grief, caused by the treachery of
certain American officers, who, under a pretended truce, seized him and
his attendant warriors. Below us in the bay we could see the fins of
several sharks, ploughing the waves in search of prey; while the
constant sailing to and fro of Cuba fruit-boats, laden with bananas,
pawpaws, pine-apples, and every luxury that and contiguous islands
afford, enlivened the scene, which altogether was one of extraordinary
beauty.

There was a large assemblage of ladies and gentlemen promenading, and,
as I rode with my friend, I had some very furtive glances from the
crowd, which were intended, no doubt, to remind me that my keeping such
company was _infra dig_., if not open to suspicion. There was in truth
no little hazard in riding about in public with a man against whose
acquaintance I had a short time before been cautioned, and I felt my
position rather an uncomfortable one.

Had some of the young blood of Charleston been up, there is little doubt
but that I must have left the place _sans ceremonie._ Possessed of a
natural urbanity, or, what in elevated society amongst white people,
would be termed true politeness, the manner of the well-bred negro is
prepossessing. This was very remarkable in my coloured friend, who was
well informed, and possessed a refinement and intelligence I had never
before met with in any of his race. On the subject of enslavement he
would at first venture few observations, confining himself to those
inconveniences and annoyances that affected him individually; he,
however, became, after a time, more communicative.

On the whole, at first, I was not a little apprehensive that my
coloured acquaintance was under the impression that my friendship was
not sincere, although he did not say as much in his conversation; the
impression, however, soon left me, after a further intimacy. I
considered then, and do now, that the suspicion was quite excusable, the
Jesuitical practices and underhand trickery descended to by the white
population in the slave states, in order to ascertain how individuals
stand affected, are so numerous, that the coloured people are obliged to
be wary of those they either suspect, or of whom, being strangers, they
know little.

I remember well, whilst riding with him on the occasion I have already
referred to, we drove past a white man on horseback, who (as is common
in Charleston), was correcting his negro in the street. The poor fellow
was writhing under the cruel infliction of a flagellation with a
raw-hide, and rent the air with his cries. This only increased the rage
of his master, who seemed to take delight in striking his face and ears.
I eagerly watched the scene, and, as we passed, leaned over the back of
the gig. My companion, fearing, I suppose, lest the sight might provoke
in me some exclamation, and thus get us into notice, nudged me violently
with his elbow, saying at the same time, hurriedly, "Don't heed, don't
heed." My blood was getting hot, and but for my companion, my passion
would, in all probability, have got the better of my discretion, and I
should without remedy have been involved in a dispute, if not
immediately apprehended. As we rode on, I adverted to this barefaced
exhibition of tyranny in an open thoroughfare, which, I remarked, was
sufficient proof of the iniquity of the system, in spite of the
assertions made by the southerners to the contrary. In reply to this,
all my companion remarked was, "Did you never see that done before?" My
answer was, I had seen negroes cruelly treated on estates, and
elsewhere, but that this scene was the more revolting from its being
enacted in the open highway. Seeing that he was anxious to avoid the
subject, and that the observations he had made were drawn from him by my
remarks, I remained silent, and, wrapped in deep reflections on the
outrage we had witnessed, at length reached his dwelling. The occurrence
I suppose somewhat affected my spirits, for soon after we got into the
drawing-room, no one else being present, my friend addressed me, no
doubt observing my depression, nearly as follows. "Sir, you seem to have
a tender compassion for my poor countrymen; would to God white men were
all as feeling here. The system is an accursed one, but what can we do
but bear it patiently? Every hand seems against us, and we dare not
speak for ourselves." I told him I deeply sympathised with his
oppressed countrymen, and lived in hope that before long the public mind
in America would be aroused from its apathy, and the accumulated wrongs
of the race be redressed. His only reply was, "God grant it, I hope so
too."

In Charleston there exist several charitable institutions, but these, I
believe, with only one exception, are for the benefit of poor white
people. The innate benevolence of the human heart is thus, in the midst
of dire oppression, wont to hold its sway, notwithstanding the poisonous
influences that surround. But the pro-slavery business neutralizes these
would-be benefactors, and taints all their endeavours, under the cloak
of benevolence, to remove the odium it so justly incurs. "Liberate your
slaves, and then I will talk to you about religion and charity," were
the emphatic words of an eminent northern divine in his correspondence
with the committee of a benevolent institution in the south, some years
ago, and the admonition speaks as forcibly now as it did then.

As you walk the streets of Charleston, rows of greedy vultures, with
sapient look, sit on the parapets of the houses, watching for offal.
These birds are great blessings in warm climates, and in Carolina a fine
of ten dollars is inflicted for wantonly destroying them. They appeared
to be quite conscious of their privileges, and sailed down from the
house-tops into the streets, where they stalked about, hardly caring to
move out of the way of the horses and carriages passing. They were of an
eagle-brown colour, and many of them appeared well conditioned, even to
obesity. At night scores of dogs collect in the streets, and yelp and
bark in the most annoying manner. This it is customary to remedy by a
gun being fired from a window at the midnight interlopers, when they
disperse in great terror. I should remark that this is a common nuisance
in warm latitudes. Some of these animals live in the wilds, and, like
jackals, steal into the towns at night to eke out a scanty subsistence.
At first my rest was greatly disturbed by their noisy yelpings, but I
soon became accustomed to the inconvenience, and thought little of it.

The warmth of the climate induces great lassitude and indisposition to
exertion, _alias_ indolence. I began to experience this soon after
arriving in the south. This, which in England would be called laziness,
is encouraged by the most trifling offices being performed by slaves.
The females in particular give way to this inertness, and active women
are seldom to be met with, the wives of men in affluent circumstances
being in general like pampered children, and suffering dreadfully from
_ennui_. On one occasion an English gentleman at Charleston, with whom I
became acquainted, and whose hospitality I shall never forget, when
conversing on the subject, addressed me thus: "Good, active wives are
seldom to be met with in this state, amongst the natives; I may say,
hardly ever; the females are nurtured in indolence, and in seeking what
they term a settlement, look more to the man's means than the likelihood
of living happily with him. There is no disguising it--the
considera--with them is a _sine quâ non_. Few girls would refuse a man
who possessed a goodly number of slaves, though they were sure his
affections would be shared by some of the best-looking of the females
amongst them, and his conduct towards the remainder that of a very
demon." These sentiments I very soon ascertained to be in no way
libellous. A southern wife, if she is prodigally furnished with dollars
to "go shopping," apparently considers it no drawback to her happiness
if some brilliant mulatto or quadroon woman ensnares her husband. Of
course there are exceptions, but the patriarchal usage is so engrafted
in society there, that it elicits little notice or comment. Nor, from
what I gleaned, are the ladies themselves immaculate, as may be inferred
from the occasional quadroon aspect of their progeny.

The Jews are a very numerous and influential body in Charleston, and
monopolize many of its corporate honours. They were described as very
haughty and captious; this, however, is saying no more of the stock of
Israel than is observable all over the world, hen they are in prosperous
circumstances, although, when this is not the case, perhaps none of the
human family are so abject and servile, not excepting slaves themselves.
In process of time, these people bid fair to concentrate in themselves
most of the wealth and influence of Charleston. If their perseverance
(which is here indomitable) should attain this result, they will be in
pretty much the same position there that Pharaoh occupied over their
race in Egypt in olden time, and, if reports speak true, will wield the
sceptre of authority over their captives in a somewhat similar style.
Avarice is the besetting sin of the Israelite, and here his slaves are
taxed beyond endurance. To exact the utmost from his labour is the
constant aim, and I was informed that many of the slaves belonging to
Jews were sent out, and compelled on the Saturday night to bring in a
much larger sum than it was reasonably possible the poor creatures could
earn, and if not successful, they were subjected to the most cruel
treatment.

Not long after my arrival in Charleston, I several times met a young
coloured man, who was of so prepossessing an appearance, that I felt
desirous to become acquainted with him, and, as I was at a loss to find
my way to the residence of the mayor, a good opportunity one day
offered, and I addressed him. He very courteously took me to the street
in which the house was situated, and we talked on general topics as we
went--in the course of which he stated, he was saving money for his
ransom, and in two years intended to proceed to Montreal, in Canada. I
could see, however, that the free manner in which we conversed attracted
the attention of three or four individuals as we passed them--these
would stop as if to satisfy their curiosity, some even took the trouble
to watch us out of sight; looking back, I several times saw one more
impertinent-looking than some others eyeing us intently, and once I
fancied I saw him turn as if to overtake us. This curiosity I had often
perceived before, but, as disagreeable results might follow, I
invariably made a practice to take no notice of it when in the company
of a coloured individual. A smile played upon the features of my dusky
companion, as I turned to observe the inquisitive fellows I have
referred to; perhaps I was taken for a negro-stealer, but, as I treated
my companion with equality, I was most likely set down as one of those
dangerous personages, who, through zeal in the cause of emancipation,
sometimes penetrate, into the slave districts, and are accused (with
what degree of justice I cannot tell) of infusing into the minds of the
slaves discontented notions and agrarian principles.

As I met, on the occasion I have just referred to, an individual who
knew I had felt an interest in endeavouring to establish the school for
the education of negro children, the result of which I have already
mentioned, I was apprehensive that the _contretemps_ would have exposed
me to the unpleasantness of at least being shunned afterwards as a man
entertaining principles inimical to southern interests--and, however
resolute I felt to pursue an independent course while I remained in
Charleston, I could not shake off a fear I vaguely entertained of a
public recognition by a deeply prejudiced and ignorant populace, who,
once set on, do not hesitate to proceed to disagreeable extremes. This
fear was enhanced in no little degree by the operation I had witnessed,
of the tarring and feathering process practised by enraged citizens in
the Missouri country, which I have before described.

The most degrading phrase that can be applied in the south to those
white individuals who sympathize in the wrongs inflicted on the African
race, I soon found to be, that "he associates with niggers." Thus a
kind-hearted individual at once "loses caste" among his fellow citizens
and, invidious though it certainly is, many slave-owners are deterred
by this consideration, blended with a politic regard for their own
safety, from exercising that benevolence towards their dependents which
they sincerely feel; placed, as it were, under a sort of social ban,
such men artfully conceal their sentiments from the public, and, by a
more lenient treatment of their own hands, quiet their consciences;
while, at the same time, they blunt their sense of what is honest,
upright, just, and manly. Instances have occasionally occurred where men
of correct principles have so far succumbed to this sense of duty, as to
liberate their slaves. These are, however, rare occurrences, and, when
they do happen, are usually confined to men of sterling religious
principles, who, like that great exception, the respectable class of
people called Quakers, in America, refuse, from a conviction of the
enormity of the evil, to recognize as members those who hold or traffic
in slaves.

It is through the influence of such men that the iniquities of the
system become exposed to public view, and remedies are sometimes, in
flagrant cases of cruelty, applied. The legislatures of the several
slave states, however, have given such absolute dominion, by a rigorous
code of laws, to the owner, that the greatest enormities may be
committed almost with impunity, or at least with but a remote chance of
justice having its legitimate sway.

The mass of slave-owners are interested in concealing enormities
committed by their fellows, and are backed by a venal press, which,
whether bribed or not (and there is every reason to suspect that this is
often the case), puts such a construction on _outrage_, by garbled
_reports_, as to turn the tide of sympathy from the victim to the
perpetrator. No editor, possessing the least leaven of anti-slavery
principles, would be patronized; and it not infrequently happens that
such men are mobbed and driven perforce to leave the slave, for the more
northern or free, states. Here they stand a better chance, but, in many
instances, the prejudice, it is said, follows their course, and southern
influence occasions their bankruptcy or non-success.

The practice, so common in the slave states, of the citizens
congregating at the bars of hotels or cafés in the towns and cities to
while away the time, renders attendance at such places the readiest
means of ascertaining the state of the public mind on any engrossing
subject, opinions being here freely discussed, not, however, without
bias and anger; on the contrary, the practice is most sectarian, and
frequently involves deadly feuds and personal encounters, these latter
being of every-day occurrence. Ever since I had been in the southern
states, my attention had been attracted to the swarms of well-dressed
loungers at cafés and hotels. At first, like many other travellers, I
was deluded by the notion that these idlers were men of independent
means, but my mind was soon disabused of this fallacy. I ascertained
that the greater portion of these belong to that numerous class in
America known as sporting gentlemen; in plainer terms, gamblers. Some of
these men had belonged to the higher walks of life; these were the more
"retiring few" who (probably through a sense of shame not quite
extinguished) felt rather disposed to shrink from than to attract
attention. The majority of these idlers were impudent-looking braggarts,
who, with jaunty air and coxcombical show of superiority, endeavoured to
enforce their own opinions, and to silence those of every one else.

There was also another class of frequenters at such places; this
consisted of tradesmen who pass much of their time hanging about at such
resorts, to the great detriment of their individual affairs; and,
lastly, such travellers as might be stopping in the town, who, through
_ennui_ and inveterate habit, had left their hotels, and sauntered "up
town" (as they call gadding about), to hear the news of the day.

Soon ascertaining that such places were the best, and, excepting the
public prints, the only resort to ascertain the latest intelligence, and
to collect information respecting the movements of the black
population, and the company, however exceptionable, being termed there
respectable, I adopted the plan, on several successive evenings, of
quietly smoking a cigar and listening to passing observations and
remarks. Some of these were disgusting enough; so much so, that I will
not offend my readers by repeating them. Suffice it to say, that any
individual possessing the slightest pretensions to the name of
gentleman, in any hotel I had visited in England, on indulging in the
indecorous language I heard at these places, would, by a very summary
process, have met with ejectment, without ceremony. Here, however, a
laxity of moral feeling prevails, that stifles all sense of propriety;
and scurrility, obscene language, and filthy jests, of which the
coloured population are, I suppose, per force of habit, the principal
butts, form the chief attractions of such places of resort to their
vitiated frequenters.

In the course of these visits I was present at some angry altercations;
one of these referred to the recent visit of an individual who was
termed by the disputants an "incendiary abolitionist," and who, it
appeared, had been detected in the act of distributing tracts, which had
been published at Salem, in Massachusetts, exposing the disabilities the
African race were labouring under. Extracts from one of these tracts
were read, and appeared very much to increase the violence of the
contending parties, one of whom insisted that the publication contained
nothing but what might be read by every slave in the sacred Scriptures,
and that, therefore, it could not be classed as dangerous, although he
admitted that it contained notions of "human rights" that were
calculated to imbue the mind of the "niggers" with unbecoming ideas.
These sentiments did not at all accord with those of the company, and
several expressions of doubt as to the soundness of the speaker's own
pro-slavery principles, together with the increasing excitement, caused
him to withdraw from the contest. His immediate antagonist, who was
evidently the leading man on the occasion, enlarged on the danger
attending the sufferance of such men at large in the slave states, and
proceeded, with great volubility, to quote various passages from the
Black Code to show that the Legislature had contemplated the intrusion
of such pestilent fellows, and had, in fact, given full power to remedy
the evil, if the citizens chose to exercise it; and went on to observe,
that the rights of southern people were now-a-days invaded on every
hand, and it behoved them to stand in their own defence, his advice, he
said, was, if the municipal authorities let the fellow go, to form a
committee of justice to adjudicate on the case, and if it was
considered conducive to the public weal, to administer salutary
punishment. This proposal was uproariously applauded, and four of the
citizens present, with the last speaker for chairman, were named on the
spot to watch the case. "And now," added this gentleman, "we'll have a
gin sling round for success." I heard the day following that the
individual who was the subject of the foregoing proceedings, was accused
before the mayor, who dismissed the case with a caution, advising him to
leave the city with all dispatch, to avoid disagreeable consequences.
This the man, by the aid of a constable, managed to do, that
functionary, no doubt for a consideration, taking him to the city
prison, and locking him up until nightfall, when he was assisted to
leave the place, disguised as a soldier. This, I was informed by a
friend, to whom I afterwards related it, was one of those commotions
that occur almost daily in southern towns and cities.

Such lawless frequenters of hotels, taverns, and cafés, form a kind of
social police, and scarcely a stranger visits the place without his
motives for the visit being canvassed, and his business often exposed,
much to his great annoyance and inconvenience.

So accustomed do American travellers in the south appear, to this system
of internal surveillance, that I several times noticed strangers at the
hotel or café counters openly explaining the object of their visits, and
if there is nothing to conceal, however annoying the alternative
appears, I am convinced the policy is not had, a host of suspicions
being silenced by such a course.

In my travels on the whole route from New York to Charleston, I
discovered a most unjustifiable and impertinent disposition to pry into
the business of others. If I was questioned once, I am sure I was at
least fifty times, by my fellow--travellers from time to time as to my
motive for visiting America, and my intended proceedings. I found,
however', that a certain reserve was an efficient remedy. Captain
Waterton, of South American celebrity, as an ornithologist, and who
visited North America in his travels, mentions that if you confide your
affairs and intentions when questioned, the Americans reciprocate that
confidence by relating their own. My own experience, however, did not
corroborate this view of the case, for, though loquacious in the
extreme, and gifted, so that to use a Yankee phrase, they would "talk a
dog's hind-leg off," they are in general cautious not to divulge their
secrets. To say the least of it, the habit of prying into the business
of others, is one totally unbecoming a well-ordered state of society,
which the American, speaking generally, is decidedly not. It is
extremely annoying, from the unpleasant feeling it excites, that you are
suspected if not watched (this applies forcibly to the slave districts);
and it is a habit that has arisen purely from the incongruity of society
at large on the American continent, and a want of that subdivision of
class that exists in Europe.

During my visits to the various hotels while I remained in Charleston,
for the purpose of collecting information, I was several times
interrogated in a barefaced manner by the visitors who frequent those
places, as to my politics, and especially as to my principles in regard
to the institution of slavery; now, as I was not unaware that my
intimacy with the gentleman of colour, which I have already referred to,
had got abroad, I was obliged to be extremely guarded in my replies on
such occasions. It was on one of these that I felt myself in great
hazard, for two individuals in the company were discussing with much
energy, the question of amalgamation (that is, marriage, contracted
between black and white men and women), and I was listening intently to
their altercation, when suddenly one of them, eyeing me with malicious
gaze, no doubt having noticed my attention to the colloquy, said,

"Your opinion, stranger, on this subject; I guess you understand it
torrably well, as you seem to be pretty hard on B----'s eldest
daughter." This unexpected sally rather alarmed me, for the name he
mentioned was that of my coloured friend I have before alluded to, and
whose daughter I had only met once, and that at her father's house.

I scarcely knew what to reply, but thought it best to put on a bold
face, so facing the man, I thanked him with much irony for the inuendo,
and said, it was a piece of impudence I thought very much like him from
what I had overheard.

This was said in a resolute tone, and the fellow quailed before it, his
reply being, "Now stranger, don't get angry, I saw you the other day at
B----'s house, and could not tell what to make of it, but I hope you
don't think that I was in arnest."

I replied to this, that I knew best what business I had at B----'s
house, and that his plan was to mind his own business. I then left him,
apparently highly indignant, but in fact glad to make my escape. Like
bullies all the world over, the southern ones are cowards; there is,
however, great danger here in embroiling yourself with such characters,
the pistol and bowie knife being instantly resorted to if the quarrel
becomes serious. I saw this braggart on several occasions afterwards,
but he evidently kept aloof, and was disinclined to venture in the part
of the room I occupied. I ascertained that he kept a dry goods store in
King-street, and was a boisterous fellow, often involved in quarrels.

The discussion on amalgamation, which is a very vexed one, was again
introduced on a subsequent occasion; a planter from the north of the
state having (as is sometimes the case) sold off everything he
possessed, and removed to the State of Maine, taking with him a young
quadroon woman, with the intention of making her his lawful wife, and
living there retired. After the expression of a variety of opinions as
to what this man deserved, some being of opinion that the subject ought
to be mooted in the legislature at Washington--others, that his whole
effects ought to be escheated, for the benefit of the public
treasury--and by far the greater number that he ought to be summarily
dealt with at the hands of the so-considered outraged citizens, which,
in other language, meant "lynched,"--it was stated, by a very loquacious
Yankee-looking fellow present, who made himself prominent in the
discussion, that it was the opinion of the company, that any man
marrying a woman with negro blood in her veins, should be hanged, as a
traitor to southern interests and a bad citizen. This sentiment was
loudly applauded, and, had the unfortunate subject of it been in
Charleston or near it, he would, in all probability, have been called
to account. To me it appeared remarkable, that men, who are always
boasting of the well-ordered institutions of their country (slavery
being a very important one, be it remembered), should be ever ready to
set aside all law, and, as it were, by _ex parte_ evidence alone,
inflict summary vengeance on the offender; I was, however, always of
opinion, when amongst them, that four-fifths of the men would rejoice if
all law were abrogated, and the passions of the people allowed to govern
the country, thus constituting themselves judges in their own case, and
trampling under foot every semblance of justice, equity, and common
propriety. As it is, in many parts of the Union, the judges and
magistrates are notoriously awed by the people, and the most perfidious
wretches are suffered to escape the hands of justice. A full
confirmation of this is to be found in the frequent outrages against law
and order reported in the newspapers, and which there elicit little
regard.

Walking for a stroll, a day or two after, in the vicinity of the
Marine-promenade, I saw a strange-looking cavalcade approaching. Two
armed overseers were escorting five negroes, recently captured, to the
city gaol. The poor creatures were so heavily shackled, that they could
walk but slowly, and their brutal conductors kept urging them on,
chiefly by coarse language and oaths, now and then accompanied by a
severe stroke with a slave-whip carried by one of them. The recovered
fugitives looked very dejected, and were, no doubt, brooding over the
consequences of their conduct. The elder of the party, a stout fellow of
about forty-five years old, of very sullen look, had a distinct brand on
his forehead of the initials S.T.R. I afterwards inquired what these
brand-marks signified, supposing, naturally, that they were the initials
of the name of his present or former owner. My informant, who was a
by-stander, stated that he was, no doubt, an incorrigibly bad fellow,
and that the initials S.T.R. were often used in such cases. I inquired
their signification, when, to my astonishment, he replied it might be,
"Stop the rascal," and added that private signals were in constant use
among the inland planters, as he called them, who, he said, suffered so
much by their hands running away, that it was absolutely necessary to
adopt a plan of the kind for security. He further stated, that such
incorrigibles, when caught, were never allowed to leave the plantations,
so that if they ventured abroad, they carried the warrant for their
immediate arrest with them. "But," he went on, "people are beginning to
dislike such severity, and a new code of regulations, backed by the
Legislature, is much talked of by the innovators, as we call them, to
prevent such practices." I have no doubt this man owned slaves himself.

I said I thought myself that the policy of kindness would answer better
than such severities, and it would be well if slave-holders generally
were to try it.

"Ah, stranger," he replied, "I see you don't understand things here,
down south. Don't you know that people who are over kind get imposed on?
This is specially the case with slaves; treat them well, and you'll soon
find them running off, or complaining. The only way to manage niggers is
to keep them down, then you can control them, but not else."

It has been urged a thousand times in defence of the upholders of
slavery in its various ramifications, that they are in reality, as a
body, opposed to the system, and would readily conform to any change
that would be sufficiently comprehensive to indemnify them from present
and future loss. From conversations heard in South Carolina, and other
slave districts, I am quite satisfied that this is a misrepresentation,
and that the generality of proprietors regard any change as a dangerous
innovation, and that, far from reluctantly following the occupation of
traders in flesh and blood, it is quite congenial to the vitiated tastes
of the greater portion of southern citizens, whose perverted notions of
justice and propriety are clamorously expressed on the most trivial
occasions. In whatever sphere of society amongst them you go, you find
the subject of "protecting their rights" urged with impetuosity; the
same rancorous feeling towards men of abolitionist sentiments, and the
same deprecation of the slave race. To decry the negroes in public
opinion is one of their constant rules of action, and if an individual
attempts to assert their equal rights with mankind at large, he is
considered as disaffected towards southern interests, and, if not openly
threatened, as I have before observed in this work, is unceremoniously
talked down.' It is thus often dangerous to broach the subject, and if
an individual, more daring than people generally are when in the
plague-infected latitudes of slavery, attempts to repudiate the views so
unhesitatingly expressed by the pro-slavery advocates, that the negro
race is but the connecting link between man and the brute creation, he
is looked upon with disgust, and his society contemned. This overbearing
conduct is so ingrained, that it shows itself on the most trifling
occasions, in their intercourse with their fellow-citizens.

Argumentative facts might be produced _ad infinitum_ to prove that the
legal enactments for the government of the slave states of America have
been framed so as to vest in the proprietor as much control over the
lives and persons of those they hold in servitude as any animal in the
category of plantation stock. This in my tour through that region of
moral darkness and despair, the state of Louisiana, I had numberless
opportunities of observing, which would not fail to convince the most
sceptical; and if I have passed over many of these in the foregoing
pages, it is because the incidents themselves (though proving that the
slightest approach to independent action, or opposition to the depraved
wills of their tyrannical superiors, is at once visited with
consequences that make me shudder to reflect upon) were of too trivial a
nature to interest the general reader. I will, however, copy here an
extract from a paper published in Virginia, the _Richmond Times_ for
August, 1852, which must, I think, tend to remove any doubts, if they
exist in the mind of the reader, that the conclusions I have come to
from personal observation are correct, and sufficient to prove that the
despotic Nicholas of Russia himself does not exercise more absolute
control over the lives and liberties of the degraded serfs he rules,
than the slave-appropriators of America do over their victims.

The newspaper in question is a highly popular one with the
aristocratical slave-owners of Virginia, and the editor one of those
champions of the unjust and iniquitous system who invariably meet with
extensive patronage in every part of the southern states.

"A FIELD-HAND SHOT.--A gentleman named Ball, overseer to Mr. Edward T.
Taylor, finding it necessary to chastise a field-hand, attempted to do
so in the field. The negro resisted, and made fight, and, being the
stronger of the two, gave the overseer a beating, and then betook
himself to the woods. Mr. Ball, as soon as he could do so, mounted his
horse, and, proceeding to Mr. Taylor's residence, informed him of what
had occurred. Taylor, in company with Ball, repaired to the corn-field,
to which the negro had returned, and demanded to know the cause of his
conduct. The negro replied that Ball attempted to flog him, and he would
not submit to it. Taylor said he should, and ordered him to cross his
hands, at the same time directing Ball to seize him. Ball did so, but
perceiving the negro had attempted to draw a knife, told Mr. Taylor of
it, who immediately sprang from his horse, and, drawing a pistol, shot
the negro dead at his feet."

The _Richmond Reporter_, a contemporary of the _Times_, commented on
this impious affair as follows:--"Mr. Taylor did what every man who has
the management of negroes ought to do; enforce obedience, or kill them."

It is the practice of the inhabitants of Charleston, in common, I
believe, with all owners of slaves in towns or cities in the slave
states, who have not employment sufficient for them at home, or when the
slave is a cripple, to send them out to seek their own maintenance. In
such cases the slave is compelled to give an account of what he has
earned during the week, at his owner's house, where he attends on
Saturday evenings for the purpose. A fixed sum is generally demanded, in
proportion to the average value of such labour at the time. I was
informed that it frequently happens, that the master exacts the utmost
the slave can earn, so that the miserable pittance left is scarcely
sufficient to sustain nature; this, no doubt, accounts for the haggard,
care-worn appearance of such labourers, for, with few exceptions, I
found hands thus sent out, more miserably clad and less hale than the
common run of slaves. On the other hand, if a slave is a good
handicraftsman, he is able to earn more than his master demands; such
instances are, however, rare. These are the men who, by dint of hard
work and thrifty habits, accumulate sufficient eventually to obtain
manumission. There is, in most cases, a strict eye kept on such hands,
and if the boon is attained, it is in general by stealthy means.

At my boarding-house in Charleston, I often saw negro laundresses who
called for linen; one of these in particular, I noticed, seemed to be in
habitual low spirits; on one occasion she appeared to be in unusual
distress, in consequence of one of the boarders leaving the house in her
debt. She said that her owner would certainly punish her if she did not
make up the required sum, and where to procure it she could not tell. I
was touched by her tale, and immediately opened a subscription amongst
the boarders in the house, and succeeded in collecting a trifle over the
amount she had lost; this I handed her, and she went on her way
rejoicing.

I was told by a Carolinian who lodged at this house, that the practice
of sending out slaves to earn money in the way I have described, has
been in vogue from time immemorial, and that it was such a profitable
mode of realizing by slave labour, that it was followed more extensively
in that state now than formerly.

I will conclude this part of my narration, by quoting the words of a
powerful writer on the subject of slavery as I have witnessed its
operation in America.

"Amongst the afflicting ills which the wickedness of man has established
upon earth, the greatest beyond compare is slavery. Indeed, its
consequences are so dreadful, the sins which it engenders are of such
gigantic proportions, and all its accompaniments are so loathsome and
hideous, that the minds of benevolent persons revolt from contemplating
it, as offering a spectacle of crime and cruelty, too deep for a remedy,
and too vast for sympathy. Slavery is an infinite evil, the calculations
of its murders, its rapine, its barbarities, its deeds of lust and
licentiousness, though authenticated by the most unquestionable
authorities, would produce a total of horrors too great to be believed;
and to narrate the history of these cruelties which have been
perpetrated by American slave-masters within the last five years alone,
would be to tell idle fables in the opinions of those who have not
deeply studied the tragical subject. If we take the United States of
America, where the outcry against slavery is greater than in any other
country under heaven, and where we hear more of religion and revivalism,
more of bustle and machinery of piety, a country setting itself up as a
beacon of freedom; then does slavery amongst such a people appear
transcendently wicked; a sin, which, in addition to its usual cruelty
and selfishness, is in them loaded with hypocrisy and ingratitude. With
hypocrisy, as it relates to their pretensions to liberty, and with
ingratitude, as it relates to that God who gave them to be free. This,
indeed, makes all the institutions of America, civil and religious,
little better than a solemn mockery, a tragical jest for the passers-by
of other nations, who, seeing two millions and a half of slaves held in
fetters by vaunting freemen and ostentatious patriots, wag the head at
the disgusting sight, and cry out deridingly to degraded America, 'The
worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.'"

My original intention of settling in America having been frustrated by
ill health and other causes, I embarked on board a fine barque bound for
Liverpool, where, after a favourable run of three weeks, we arrived in
safety. Nothing worth noting occurred on the passage, except a fracas
between the captain and the first mate, whom the former had discovered
to be ignorant of the art of navigation, and who had, it appeared, been
engaged in a hurry on the eve of the vessel's departure from Charleston.

One day, comparing the result of a solar observation with the mate, and
finding him out in his calculations, the captain accused him, in great
anger, of imposition, in offering his services as an efficient person to
navigate the ship. On my endeavouring to pacify him, he turned to me, in
a violent passion, and exclaimed, "This man, sir, is 400 miles out in
his reckoning--and where would you and the ship be, do you think, if I
were washed overboard!" this argument was too cogent to be combated, and
so I interfered no more. He ordered the mate to go to the forecastle,
and refused to admit him to the cabin during the remainder of the
passage. The mate was much irritated at this treatment, and, after a
violent altercation, one day rushed to his chest and brought up two
pistols, one of which he presented in the face of the captain, daring
him at the same time to utter another word. The captain, highly
incensed, instantly descended the companion-way to the cabin, and
shortly after appeared with a blunderbuss, which he proceeded to prime.
I was in a terrible state of mind at this juncture, and fully expected a
fearful tragedy; this, however, was averted by the interference of
another passenger, who stood between the parties.

A violent storm overtook us in doubling Cape Hatteras soon after we
sailed, which, besides damaging the bulwarks of the vessel, tore some of
the sails to shivers; our ship stood it, however, gallantly, and, after
that occurrence, we had favourable weather the remainder of the voyage.

I was awaked early in the morning of the twenty-first day we had been at
sea, by a cry from the man at the helm, of "Great Ormes Head," and,
hurrying on my clothes, I gained the deck. The high hills could be
indistinctly seen through the morning haze, and the sight was
accompanied with joyful feelings to all on board. This enthusiasm was
even communicated to the captain himself, who, since the affair with the
mate, had been very much disposed to be sullen and unfriendly.

I never could form a correct estimate of this man's character, but it
was very evident he wished to pass for a pious man. He was a native of
the eastern state of Massachusetts, and told me he had a family there.
As to religion, I believe he had none, though he was a Methodist by
profession. I could often hear him praying audibly in his state-room on
board, with much apparent feeling--but so little did these devotional
fits aid him in curbing his wicked temper, that, even when engaged in
this manner, he would, if anything extraordinary occurred on deck to
disturb him, rush up the companion-way, and rate and swear at the
sailors awfully.

Soon after making Ormes Head, a pilot came on board, and, with a fair
wind, we proceeded towards the river Mersey.

After my wanderings in the slave-stricken regions of the south, and my
escapes in Florida, the sight of the hospitable shores of my native
country did more, I think, to renovate my injured health, than all the
drastics of the most eminent physicians in the world; certain it is,
that, from this time, I gradually recovered, and, by the blessing of
the Great Giver of all good, have been fully restored to that greatest
of sublunary benefits--vigorous health; a consummation I at one time
almost despaired of.


FINIS.





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