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Title: Impressions of America - During the years 1833, 1834 and 1835. In Two Volumes, Volume I.
Author: Power, Tyrone, 1795-1841
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Dorset Street, Fleet Street.

Drawn & Etched by A. Hervieu]


DURING THE YEARS 1833, 1834, AND 1835.




Publisher in Ordinary to His Majesty.




Most persons have a Patron, from whose power and influence they have
derived support, and of whose favour they feel proud.

I cannot claim to be of the few who are above this adventitious sort of
aid, self-raised and self-sustained; on the contrary, I have a Patron,
the only one I ever sought, but whose favour has well repaid my pains of

The Patron I allude to is yourself, my Public, much courted, much
abused, and commonly accused of either being coldly neglectful or
capriciously forgetful of all sorts of merit. To me, at least, you have
proved most kind, and hitherto most constant.

Yes, my Public, throughout my humble career, I have at all times of
doubt or despondency invariably turned to you, and never have I been
coldly regarded. I have leaned heavily upon you, yet have never found
your aid withdrawn.

As an Actor, when managers have appeared indifferent, or critics unkind,
and my hopes have sunk within me, I have turned to your cheering
plaudits, and found in them support for the present and encouragement
for the future.

As an Author, this appeal is founded solely upon my desire, not only to
amuse, but to make you better acquainted with an important part and
parcel of yourself, to which, although widely sundered, you are
naturally and morally allied, and of which, as emanating from yourself,
and in no way degenerate, you ought to feel very proud.

If happily I succeed in effecting this--if I dissipate one common
error, eradicate one vulgar prejudice, or kindle one kindly feeling
between you and the people of whom I write, I shall feel that, by so
doing, I have at length made you some return for the high favour with
which you have repaid my efforts to please you.

In presenting this offering to you, I am aware, at this the ninth hour,
that it abounds in errors; and I would furnish a copious list of errata
from each sheet, if I thought you would find patience to compare them.
But you also know how my time has been employed since my return to you.
Whilst you have nightly laughed with me at the playhouse, I have nightly
had the devil[1] waiting for a contribution at home, and he is an imp
importunate and insatiable. To soothe him, I have worked whilst you have

I do not tell this to deprecate the censure my crude publication merits,
but only to excuse the impertinence of dedicating it to you.
Nevertheless, being the best commodity I have to lay at your feet, I beg
you to accept it, with the very sincere declaration that I am, my only
Patron and gentle Public,

                           Your devoted,
                                  Humble servant,
                                           TYRONE POWER.

_Bolton Street, May Fair,_
  _Dec. 23rd, 1835._


[1] _i.e._ Printer's devil!


Although I have hitherto forborne all preface or dedication on
exhibiting my small ware to the public, concluding that the less I said
about the matter the better, and from having some scruples about tacking
any lady's or gentleman's name to bantlings from which I had withheld my
own; yet, in the present case, do I consider myself bound, in a like
spirit of honesty, to provide this book with a few words descriptive of
its quality, lest my Readers, being disappointed, may charge me with
having deluded them under false "Impressions."

I seek, then, to describe America as I saw it,--a mighty country, in the
enjoyment of youth and health, and possessing ample room and time for
the growth, which a few escapades incident to inexperience and high
blood may retard, but cannot prevent. Heaven has written its destinies
in the gigantic dimensions allotted to it, and it is not in the power of
earth to change the record.

I seek to describe its people as I saw them,--clear-headed, energetic,
frank, and hospitable; a community suited to, and labouring for, their
country's advancement, rather than for their own present comfort. This
is and will be their lot for probably another generation.

To those, then, who seek scandalous innuendos against, or imaginary
conversations with, the fair, the brave, and the wise amongst the
daughters and sons of America, I say, Read not at all; since herein,
though something of mankind, there is little of any man, woman, or
child, of the thousands with whom I have reciprocated hospitality and
held kind communion.

On the other hand, it can be objected that I set out by giving
evidences of a partiality which may cause my judgment to be questioned.

Frankly do I avow this fault, and in my justification have but to add,
that the person who, for two years, could be in constant intercourse
with a people, to the increase of his fortune, the improvement of his
health, and the enlargement of all that is good in his mind, yet feel no
partiality in their favour, I pity for coldness more than envy for

But whilst I am by nature incapable of repaying kindness by aspersion, I
feel that I am no less above the meanness of attempting a return in that
base coin--flattery; that which I saw I say, and as _I_ saw it. I blame
none of my predecessors for their general views, but claim the right of
differing from them wherever I think fit; and if my account of things
most on the surface even, should sometimes appear opposite to theirs, I
would not, by this, desire to impeach their veracity, since the changes
working in society are as rapid, though not quite so apparent, as those
operating on the face of these vast countries, whose probable destinies
do in truth render almost ridiculous the opinions and speculations of
even the sagest of the pigmies that have bustled over their varied




EUROPE                                                    1
The Eve of Sailing                                     _ib._
Sailing Day                                               4
The Europe Packet                                         7
The Europe continued.--Change of Affairs.                21
Journal at Sea                                           28
Land, ho!                                                34
Port                                                     39
NEW YORK                                                 47
First Impressions of the City                          _ib._
A Bivouac                                                49
Cato's!                                                  58
Theatre                                                  60
PHILADELPHIA                                             74
The Theatres.--Walnut and Chestnut.                      87
JOURNEY TO BOSTON                                        90
The East River.--Hurl-Gate.--The Sound.--Point
  Judith.--Newport Harbour.--Providence.               _ib._
BOSTON                                                  101
State Prison                                            114
Tremont Hotel                                           117
The Tremont Theatre                                     123
JOURNAL                                                 127
BALTIMORE                                               135
Baltimore.--Journal continued.                          140
The Temperance House                                    145
Journal                                                 153
Journal continued.--New Year's Day in New York.         166
The Dutch and Irish Colonies of Pennsylvania.           181
THE STEAM-BOAT                                          188
  River.--North Point.--Bay of Chesapeake.--Baltimore. _ib._
WASHINGTON                                              200
Theatre, Washington                                     210
Pierce's Garden                                         215
The Garden, Poetical and Political                      221
The Falls of the Potomac                                225
Impressions of Washington Society, public and private   240
Impressions of Alexandria.--A blank day.                246
The Fancy Ball                                          252
LIONS OF WASHINGTON                                     260
The Indian Cabinet.--House of Legislature.--Senate.--
  Ladies.--Senators.--President.                       _ib._
BOSTON                                                  284
Journey across the Alleghany Mountains.--Pittsburg.    _ib._
PITTSBURG                                               309
THE HUDSON                                              341
ALBANY                                                  347
TRENTON FALLS                                           369
BUFFALO                                                 386
NIAGARA                                                 391
ERIE CANAL                                              412
Packet-boat.--Heat.--Cedar Swamp, Long Swamp,
and Musquito Swamp.--Utica.                            _ib._
LITTLE FALLS                                            420
  Catskill.--Hyde Park.--Lynn.                         _ib._




     In youth's wild days, it cannot but be pleasant
     This idle roaming round and round the world,
     With wildfire spirits and heart disengaged.
                                         _Anster's Faustus._

When one first contemplates a voyage of many thousand miles, attended
with long absence, loss of old associates, together with all the charms
of home, country, and friends, often too lightly estimated whilst
possessed, but always sorely missed when no longer within call; one is
yet, and this through no lack of sensibility, apt to regard the
sacrifice about to be made to duty as sufficiently light, and, with the
aid of manhood and a little philosophy, easy of endurance. The very
task, which a resolution of this grave nature necessarily imposes, of
making as little of the matter as possible to those dear ones who yield
up their fears, and subdue their strong affections, in obedience to your
judgment, serves for a time the double purpose of hoodwinking oneself as
well as blinding those on whom we seek to practise this kind imposition.
Next comes the bustle of getting ready, assisted and cheered by the
redoubled attentions of all who love, or feel an interest in one's
fortunes. Amidst the excitement, then, of these various feelings, the
deep-seated throb of natural apprehension, or home regret, if even felt,
struggling for expression, is checked or smothered in the loud note of
preparation. The day of departure is fixed at length, it is true; but
then it is not yet come: even when contemplating its near approach, one
feels wondrous firm and most stoically resolved: at last, however, come
it does; and now our chief friend Philosophy, like many other friends,
is found most weak when most needed. In vain do we invoke his approved
maxims, hitherto so glibly dealt out to silence all gainsayers; yet now,
they are either found inapt or are forgotten wholly, until, after a
paltry show of defence, braggart Philosophy fairly takes to his heels,
and leaves us abandoned to the will of old mother Nature. Now, indeed,
arrives the tug; and I, for my part, pity the man who, however savagely
resolute, does not feel and own her power. The adieus of those one loves
are, at best,--that is, for the shortest absence,--sufficiently
unpleasant; but when there lie years, and, to the eye of affection,
dangers, in the way of the next meeting, as the old Scotch ballad has
it, "O but it is sair to part!" I should, I confess, were I free to
choose, prefer the ignominy of cowardly flight, to the greatest triumph
firmness ever yet achieved, and be constrained to hear and respond to
that last long "good-b'ye!"

As I honestly own that, for various good reasons, I set out with the
intention of keeping such a close record of my feelings and doings as my
errant habits might permit, with the premeditated design also of giving
them to that public which from the beginning had decided that I should
do so, I concluded there was nothing like an early start; and finding
these thoughts preface, or rather commence, my journal, so do I give
them like precedence here.


     Liverpool, Tuesday, July 16th, 1833.

I am not usually very particular about dates; but, as there is an odd
coincidence connected with the 16th, I desire to note it. On this day,
then, about 3 P.M. I was rumbled from Bold-street down to St. George's
Dock, accompanied by a few friends, who were resolute to extend their
kindness to the latest limit time and tide, those unyielding agents,
might allow.

Arrived at the ship's side, I found a number of my own poor countrymen,
_agricultural speculators_, filling up a leisure moment before seeking
harvest, in seeing "Who in the world was going to America, all that
way," with which country there are now few of the humbler class of Irish
but have some intimate associations. Disposing amongst _the boys_ the
few shillings I had left in my pocket, I jumped on board the packet-ship
Europe, without cross or coin, saving only a couple of luck-pennies, the
one an American gold eagle, the present of an amiable gentlewoman; the
other a crooked sixpence, suspended by a crimson ribbon, the offering of
a fair "maid of the inn," given to me on the very eve of sailing-day
with many kind wishes, all of which have been realized.

The wind had been all the morning, and was still, away from the
south-west; that is, right into the harbour; and I had heard many doubts
expressed whether or not we should sail at all before night tide; doubts
which, I am almost ashamed to confess, did not offend my ears so very
much, considering my avowed impatience to be gone; nay, I do further
admit having observed carelessly that I would as soon we did not sail
until night tide, though wherefore I should thus have sought to keep
chords on the stretch already too painfully braced, I leave to the wise
to resolve.

Once on board, however, doubt was at an end; since the task of warping
out from the tier was already commenced, and the noisy steamer might be
heard bellowing and fuming, impatient of delay, from where she awaited
us without the pier. We were moored inside several other ships; and the
dock being quite full of craft, to the unpractised eye there appeared no
possibility of winning a passage without doing or sustaining damage.
However, what with warps and checks, careful and well-timed hauling, and
ready backing, the gallant-looking Europe was quickly and safely handed
over to the turbid waters of the Mersey without suffering a rub on her
bright sides.

The steamer now took us in tow, and in a few minutes the busy docks and
crowded pier-heads had passed away. Our companion vessels at parting
were three only--a large private Indiaman, (the Albion,) a smaller ship
for the coast of Africa, and a little gaily-painted Irish schooner
called the Shamrock. These, it appeared, were dependent upon their own
resources, and were soon left behind contending hardily with a strong
beating wind; whilst the Europe, with yards pointed and sails closely
furled, steadily and swiftly followed in the wake of the George the
Fourth, looking like a noble giant led captive by some sooty dwarf. The
Black Rock was soon gained, Crosby and its pretty cottages showed dimly
distant; the mountains of Wales opened grandly forth before us; and,
after one last long look, I dived to my state-room, partly to busy
myself with seeing all my traps arranged and set in trim for sea, and
partly to be alone.


     "This goodly ship our palace is,
     Our heritage the sea."

It will doubtless appear to many who shall win their way thus far into
this book, a work of impertinent supererogation to describe at large an
American packet-ship, together with the mode of living on board a
regular _Liner_, considering that there are some three or four of these
departing every week from Liverpool, London, and Havre, and at this same
point I can fancy some hot fellow, who has performed his twentieth trip,
here toss by my unoffending volume, with "Devil take the chap! does he
think he knows about all this better than _us_?"

But, hold hard, my fiery friend, whilst I remind your worship that there
are some thousands of the lieges out of the countless numbers who will
be our readers, who, insular though they be, and well used to ships,
have yet no conception of these wonders of the water; that is, provided
the "Europe" is to be taken as a true sample of the service she belongs
to: not to mention that what was new and notable to me, who have
voyaged much, can hardly fail to interest some gentlemen "who live at
home at ease."

Let, then, the reader who knows what a "between-decks" is, step below
with me, and there picture to himself a room forty feet long, not taking
in the deep transom, by sixteen in breadth, having on either hand a
range of inclosed state-rooms about eight feet square, each with its own
door and window, of bird's-eye maple curiously inlaid with variously
grained wood, polished as glass. The upper part of the door and the
whole of the side window are latticed; so that on both being closed, the
occupant is hidden, yet the air admitted freely.

Each of these state-rooms is furnished with a washhand stand, containing
a double service, a chest of drawers, with handles of cut glass, a shelf
or two for books, &c. and a brace of berths or bed-places of ample
dimensions, well appointed with mattress and linen, white as ever lassie
lifted off the sunny side of a brae, at whose foot brawled the burn to
which her labour owed its freshness.

Now, although each room is fitted up for two insides, you may
nevertheless conserve your individuality,--the which I recommend,--at
the cost of an additional half-fare, or, in all, about fifty-five pounds

Being here installed, then, _solus_, you will be roused from your sound
night's sleep in the morning at eight bells, or eight o'clock A.M., by
the tinkling of a shrewish-sounding hand-bell, which says, as plainly as
ever the chimes of Bow hailed Whittington lord mayor of London, "Arise,
and shave, and make your toilet, and prepare to come forth; for the cow
is milking, and the kettle is screeching, and the hot rolls beginning to
get over-brown."

Upon this welcome summons, if you are not sea-sick, which Heaven forbid!
or insensible to the goods here by the gods provided for you, you will
bounce or creep out of your crib, according as the waves and your
agility may determine; and popping your head out of window, loudly bawl
"Thomas!" or plain "Tom!" or "Steward!" according to the terms of
friendship and familiarity on which you may stand with this dignitary,
who, by the way, has a vote on board worth canvassing for;--I say bawl
out, because, firstly, your mincing and Clarendon-like lisp of "Waiter!"
would not be heard by one used to listen to the rush of the tempest and
the shriek of the scourged Atlantic; also, for that your stirring call
may remind some wretched skulker of a circumstance which he is miserably
dozing out of remembrance, viz. that breakfast is under weigh. "Yes,
sir!" is the prompt response from the larboard corner of the cabin,
where the steward and his gang are installed with all their appointment
of glass and crockery ranged neatly within reach. Your next call will
be, "Bring me a bottle of Saratoga water"--a chalybeate, cool and brisk
on the palate as soda water, a commendable morning draught, and such a
trumpet to appetite!--well, having swallowed of this, your pint or so,
dress, mount the deck, and inquire "how she heads," and what she has
done during the long hours of night whilst you lay sleeping like a
sea-bird in your wave-borne nest.

You next take a look over the weather quarter, sweep the horizon
knowingly with your best eye, and after, walk forward towards the galley
or kitchen, pricking your ears at certain sputtering and hissing sounds,
the which, backed up by sundry savoury sniffs caught under the tack of
the main-sail, give you foretaste of broiled ham, spitch-cock, eggs,
frizzled bacon, and mutton cutlets.

One by one your messmates tumble up the companion, or cabin-stair; some
hungry and blooming as sound stomachs and clear consciences can make
them, others showing a _leetle_ blue and bilious-like; but each and all
resolute to essay the onslaught, which the train of polished covers,
making rapid transit from the caboose down the steward's hatchway,
proclaim about to begin.

Tinkle, tinkle, ting! again sounds the steward's bell; and, without any
pauses of ceremony, down dive the _convives_, turning _en qûe_ the foot
of the stair, some to windward, others to leeward, but all facing right
aft--a double game of "follow my leader."

"Oh! 'tis a goodly sight to see," the show which here presents
itself;--covers of all sizes glisten under the flickering rays of the
morning sun, stealing in through the open deck-light, and dancing about
to the heave of the ship over a well-laid cloth flanked by ready plates
and the weapons of attack.

The signal is made, the covers drawn; and, appetite or no appetite, here
is temptation for all. If the incipient voyager will benefit by my
experience, as he might well have done by my example had we been happy
enough to have possessed his amiable society on board the Europe, he
will develope his main battle against the mutton chops _au naturel_;
then gossip over a slice of broiled _Virginy_ ham, with an egg or twain,
whilst his souchong is getting pleasantly cool; then, having emptied his
cup, flirt with a couple of delicate morsels raised from the thin part
of a salted shad-fish, the which shad, for richness and flavour is

To his second cup he will dedicate the upper crust of a well-baked roll
with cold butter; and, after having duly paused a while, choose between
Cognac and Schiedam for a _chasse_. If he will yet walk with me, I say
unhesitatingly, try Schiedam, in the absence, reverently be it spoken,
of Isla or Innishowen.

Now, my pupil, if this breakfast would, which it could not fail to do,
raise the bastard appetite of your close-curtained, feather-bedded
coal-smoked, snivelling in-dweller of the city, judge of the influence
it must exercise over a child of ocean, who inhales the breath of heaven
freshly as generated beneath the blue sky that vaults his watery world,
pure, uncorrupted, untainted by touch of anything more earthly.

Why, man, it is worth a life of ordinary vegetation to be stirred but
for once by the sensations, such a morning as I draw from, in such a
place, create; and to those who sagely shake the head and doubt, if any
such cavillers there be, I say, "Pay your just debts; make your tenants
easy, that their prayers may be in your sails; forgive your enemies,
kiss your wife, draw up and add in her favour a codicil to your
testament; and your duties being thus fulfilled, with a clean heart,
backed by forty-eight clean shirts, go and try; and if you 'fall not' of
my advice before you again embrace your mother country, curse Fortune
for a perverse wench, and set your humble servant down for false

Leaving you now, my pupil, to write, to read, to practise shooting with
ball at a bottle swinging from some outstanding spar, or to follow
whatever pursuit most engages your fancy, for the space of some four
hours, we will just name an intermediate and somewhat tempting meal,
ycleped luncheon, chiefly indeed for the purpose of advising you to
eschew it as you value unimpaired digestion, and would appreciate a
four o'clock dinner. If, however, you are obstinately self-willed, and
choose to obey a villanous unappeasable appetite, in place of following
my wholesome advice, I pray you, at least, not to sit down knife in
hand, as I have noted "some shameless creatures do;" but lift a piece of
pilot biscuit, request some kind soul to shave the under side of the
corned round for you, then desiring the steward to follow with a tumbler
of Guiness's porter, fly the place and seek the deck.

Shuffle-board, chess, and backgammon, with exercise and pleasant
converse, will while away the intervening hours so quickly, that, if you
do not keep a bright look-out, you will be surprised by the dinner-bell
before you think of your toilet, which, if a luxury to you on shore,
will be thrice welcome at sea, besides being a pleasant way of disposing
of twenty minutes; not to mention the ladies, who, at all times sensibly
alive to any neglect in us, become doubly so here, where there is so
much to remind them that they are not ruling in their own pretty
drawing-rooms, though, as the old song has it,

     "Queens they be
     On the boundless sea,"

as indeed they are, and ought to be, everywhere.

_Mem._--Do not trust your appetite to forewarn you of approaching
dinner, since I have been more than once deceived by over-confidence in
that quarter: truth is, you have the cry of "wolf" from that insatiable
look-out so early and so often, that you learn after a time to treat the
call as impertinent and troublesome, and so strive to cut it until the
cutting moment really and unexpectedly comes upon you.

I have been so elaborate upon the head of breakfast, which meal, I
freely confess to be my foible, that I feel as though any description of
dinner would now come comparatively weak; besides, to speak verily, one
might, with time and prudent choice, get as good a dinner, perhaps,
a-shore in favoured countries: but for a breakfast, pho! the thing is
beyond reach, away from the stores of a well-regulated Yankee packet. I
challenge Europe, including Scotland, with all her _Finnanhaddies_,
_herrin's_, cakes, and preserves, to back her.

Suffice it then to say, that here is a dinner of three courses, with
pastry and various _confitures_ which would not shame Gunter; and, for
_boisson_, sherry, madeira, hock, and claret, with port for those who
indulge in strong potations, and three or four times a week well-iced

A variety of dried fruits compose the dessert, since, although they
sometimes raise small salad, I feel bound to admit that they have not
yet attained to the comfort of a pinery on board: nor, let me add, did I
see finger-glasses in use; and how persons get on who have never dined
without them, I cannot guess, this not being my case, since luckily,
even in England, I had sometimes roughed it in very good society without
these necessaries. Once seated to dinner, there you remain, and imbibe
until discretion bids you hold your hand, for other check have you none,
cellar and servants remaining at your disposal.

After a walk on deck, and a cup of tea or coffee, you form your party
for whist or some round game, or join the ladies in their _boudoir_,
which I ought to have mentioned before as leading out of the great room
forward, being a pretty square apartment, fitted up with sofas, mirrors,
loo-table, and other little elegancies which ladies love to look upon
and be surrounded by. _Entre nous_, between the lights this snuggery
affords tolerable convenience for a little flirtation, if you are lucky
enough to get one up;--this broken off, you play your play, and at the
conclusion of your rubber of whist, or _parti d'ecarté_, you prepare for
bed,--early hours forming here one of those sanitary laws which the wise
feel little inclined to impinge.

Now I am quite well aware that on the head of night-caps every biped has
his own fancy, and most of the genus I also know to be infernally
pig-pated on this seemingly simple point; such incurables I abandon, to
supper, porter, night-mare, and all the other nameless horrors that
rouse them to avenge an ill-used stomach; but to the willing ear and
ductile mind I whisper again, "try mine." _Imprimis_--one cigar, one
tumbler of weak Hollands' grog, better named swizzle, all to be disposed
of in pleasant company during some half-hour's walk on deck; when, if
you should sometimes, as I hope you often may, fall in with a soft downy
south-west breeze, a clear deep-blue sky over head, gemmed full with
little stars, and fringed about, down into the watery round, by a broad
border of jet-black cloud, against which each curling wave appears to
break, and the goodly ship seems as though delving through a lake of
quick-silver--when the track of the swift porpoises show like long
furrows of dazzling flame, and over the whirling eddies of the keel's
deep wake is seen to hover a strange unearthly light,--a thin bluish,
devilish, vaporous haze, which, in the silent watch of night, maketh the
lonely gazer's flesh to creep, and conjures through the brain every wild
legend whispered of the "vasty deep," fascinating the eyes, and holding
them with spell-like power, until--until what?--why, until a sharp
twitch on the lip from the fire of the close-burned cigar we recommended
awakens you to a due sense of such a "lame and most impotent

Jump off the spare spar on which you have been perched whilst gazing so
dreamily over the ship's quarter, give the last half of your grog to the
old lad at the wheel, peep in on the compass, find she heads about
west-north-west, and, well satisfied, descend the stair. The steward
lights the waxen taper which fixes on a branch before your glass; when,
having performed such ceremonies as you delight in, thank God and sleep:
and thus ends the chapter of a day.

And, gentle pupil, if you would learn yet more especially to enjoy all
this, which I have for your benefit somewhat _lengthily_ detailed, give
directions to the steward to rouse you at deck-washing; that is, about
six A.M.; put on drawers and jacket of fine cotton, and, sunshine or
cloud, calm or squall, run on deck, leave your _robe de chambre_ in the
round-house, and slide down into the lee gangway, where, according to
previous contract, you see a grim-looking seven-foot seaman--pick out
the tallest--waiting for you with a couple of buckets of sea-water, one
held ready in his claw, with a half-grin upon his puckered phiz as he
inwardly blesses the simplicity of the landsman who turns out of his
hammock in the morning-watch to be soused like the captain's turtle in
cold salt water; and i' faith! startlingly cold it gets when on the
Banks, even in July, especially if within the influence of an ice-berg
or twain: think not, however, of this, the infliction is light in
comparison with the after enjoyment.

Being seated in the lee-scuppers, give the word; up goes the bucket, and
wush! down pours the deluge on your oil-capped crown. "Hah!" you cry
involuntarily, for the flesh will quiver, &c. You then compress your
lips a little closer, whilst Jack's giggle expands into a broad grin,
and in a steadier stream descends the second shower; which, having
abided to the last drop, away you scurry along the wet deck, that is,
always provided you avoid a fall or two by the way, into the
round-house, on gown, and down to your little den; where a coarse towel,
and a couple of flesh-brushes smartly applied for five minutes, will
produce such a circulation throughout your inward man, that, like bold
Waterton, you feel as though you could back an alligator, take the
sea-serpent by the beard, or kick a noisy steamboat fairly out of water.

I have, since I am at confession, sometimes in very bad weather been
tempted into bed after this ablution, when such an hour's nap awaits
one! But this is a luxury Xerxes would have given a Satrapie to have
tasted, and not to be indulged in over-often, lest it lead to
effeminacy, which is as far removed from comfort as is sensuality from

I have often heard objected to these fine ships the discomfort and
difficulty attending toilet; but, for my own part, I did not discover
these. Having a state-room, and possessed of the same appliances, with
perhaps a little more trouble, a man may be as scrupulously nice as in
any other dressing-room; provided always he be not prostrated by that
unsparing nausea, sea-sickness; from the which I wish you, gentle
reader, the full exemption I enjoy, and so commend you to repose.


     "Life's like a ship in constant motion:
     Sometimes smooth, and sometimes rough."--_Song._

"Oh! the pleasures of a summer trip across the Atlantic!" Thus sung and
chorused my good friends one and all; some from experience, most from
hearsay, but ever in unison.

"You'll have quite a party of pleasure," says one. "The only thing to be
dreaded will be the _ennui_ arising out of long calms, gentle breezes,
eternal sunshine by day and moonlight by night," says another.

One would have fancied, according to their account, that sun and moon
alternated like buckets in a well, one up, the other down, with the
exception that both were to be always at full.

So constant, however, were these remarks about heat, and sun, and summer
air, that I packed up every article of clothing heavier than duck or
cachmere; nay, had not some worthy matter-of-fact soul let slip a stray
hint about ice and sleighing parties in December, I verily believe,
hating as I do all superfluous baggage, I should have left my greatcoats
to the moth and fog of Old England.

But whew! from such _airs_ the Lord preserve me!--whilst at the tail of
our honest, grimy, grumbling steamer, cutting through the Mersey or
along the coast of Wales, we were, I admit, tolerably sunned and warm
enough, though not even here bedazzled or over-heated; but on the second
morning out, what a change!

I came on deck just before six A.M. to take my shower-bath; the wind was
about west by south, blowing a brisk gale, the ship under double-reefed
topsails, with top-gallant sails set over them, making all smoke
again--on one hand lay the Isle of Rathlin, with the north coast of
Ireland, bleak and bare; on the other, the Mull of Kyntyre, with a tide
of its own rushing by like a mill-race, and over it the cloudy crest of
Isla, looming through the flitting vapours, cold, dark, and
hard-visaged, as though no drop of whisky had ever been brewed therein.
One could not recognise the misty monster, thus grimly shadowed forth,
to be the parent of that glorious sunny spirit.

We had full time afforded to become well acquainted with the changing
aspects of these and the other localities hereabouts, for we had to
battle it with their ally the wind, and with their waters, for full
sixty hours; and although we at length fought our course seaward, it was
to feel that such another victory would be anything but serviceable to
the gallant ship.

Oh that infernal Rathlin! I shall not soon forget it; it is a spot I
always held in ill odour ever since Miss Porter's "Scottish Chiefs"
taught my unsophisticated youth to weep over the wrongs of Wallace
wight. Now, although I abominate the place more, I have learned to
compassionate her ill-starred hero less, since to have been carried
southward through "merrie England" from such a place of exile, albeit
the journey ended in hanging, was yet a deliverance especially to be
rejoiced in.

We had a near view of the natives too, one day, trying to catch us in a
whale-boat, whilst we were hugging the land sculking from the strength
of the tide of flood: but, thank Heaven! they missed taking us as we
went about on the opposite tack, the which I shall ever consider a
providential escape, although at the time, a heedless confidence in our
numbers led Captain Maxwell to throw them the end of a rope. They failed
to lay hold on it, however, and away we dashed by them like a whirlwind;
whilst the disappointed men gesticulating fiercely, with their red
"fell o' hair" blowing to the four corners of the earth, and their wild
eyes and ogre mouths agape, yelled forth a volley of strange sounds,
soon drowned by the louder roar of these summer waves. This was happily
the only danger we incurred from the natives; we saw no more of them,[2]
and right glad were all-hands when the last glimpse of the Hebrides, or
Western Isles, as they are called in their charts, faded away in their

After this date one heavy blow succeeded another until the first of
August, with seldom sun enough to afford an observation: yet it mattered
not; like sea-birds we "rode and slept," for the excellence of the boat,
and the way in which she was handled, was evident enough to inspire even
the nervousness of inexperience with confidence; and the efficiency of
our domestic arrangements bade defiance to the anger of the
elements;--uninfluenced by their frowns as by their smiles, on went the
work, and meal succeeded meal with faultless regularity.

On the second of August we passed within the immediate atmosphere of a
huge iceberg. We had for some time previous been enveloped in fog, which
suddenly lifting, showed us this isle of ice, and two other smaller

The main island, by which we were most attracted, lay about a quarter of
a mile to leeward, of dazzling whiteness, and picturesque of form,
having at one end a lofty cone-shaped mountain, and at the other an
angular bold mound, crowned by what we decided to be an extensive Gothic
fortalice or castle, not unworthy the Ice-king himself if bent on a
summer trip round the gulf stream: between these promontories lay a deep
valley thickly tenanted by tribes of the white gull.

Three sides of Castle-hill were regularly scarped, the fourth
communicated by a neatly kept slope with the valley, and along this
radiated a number of well-trodden paths, all uniting at the castle gate,
at once giving evidence of considerable population, and great
hospitality on the part of the worthy castellan.

The position of these islands was unusual, and their appearance
occasioned a little surprise, although the fall of the thermometer, and
the change in the temperature of the water, had led Captain Maxwell,
some hours before we met them, to decide upon their vicinity.

On the banks of Newfoundland they are common at this season of the year,
and form, indeed, the danger most to be dreaded of the voyage; since, if
the weather should prove thick, and the ice swim deep, scarce showing
above the surface, as is commonly the case, a ship going quickly through
the water may strike before any measures can be taken to avoid the

A fine packet, the Liverpool, but nine days out, on her first trip was
totally lost on one of these in the summer of 1822; and this very year
our captain coasted to the southward for seventy miles along the edge of
a field of ice, in which he had previously been locked-up for fifty
hours, till released by a lucky shift of wind. On this occasion he had
one on board whose experience among ice had been well tested, and was
about to be yet again tried; for Lieutenant Back was here on his
perilous adventure in quest of the long lost Captain Ross and his crew.

For the succeeding sixteen or seventeen days of our voyage the weather
was generally fine. Upon the western edge of the Banks we had a few
days' calm, which taking advantage of, I turned my morning shower-bath
into a plunge from the bowsprit, and had a delicious swim round the
ship. The passengers, however, got wind of my fun, and in obedience to
the kindly meant remonstrances of one or two of them, I forbore a
pleasure which never occurred to me to be perilous, for I have practised
it in many parts of the ocean, always taking care that there was no way
upon the ship.

We had no casualties except amongst the pigs, sheep, and poultry; and as
yet no great loss of spars, indeed in all our blows, we only sprung a
main-topsail yard, carried away a fore-topmast, and made a few
stu'n-sail booms,--for the latter, we had very little use, not having
the wind abaft the beam over five days, all counted, out of a passage of
thirty-five; and how it was accomplished in the time under the
circumstances, is yet to me a matter of some wonderment.


[2] To homeward-bound ships these visits of the _Rathlineans_, often
prove sufficiently welcome, as they generally provide themselves with a
cargo of ancient, fish-like milk, and fine potatoes. The Europe having
an excellent dairy and a poultry-yard of her own, stood in no need of
their supplies.


This is usually a very monotonous task to the journalist, and can hardly
fail of soon becoming tiresome to the reader, since a voyage away from
the land affords but little to record; still, as it is my intention
occasionally to refer to this current report of my _Impressions_ and
every-day-doings, I may as well transcribe literally a page or two
illustrative of every-day life in this, our "Europe."

_July 31st._--Sixteen days out this afternoon; during which time, with
but forty-four hours that we could fairly lay our course, the good ship
has knocked off forty degrees of westing, a prodigious slant under the
circumstances. The last two days up to meridian, we have run ten degrees
of longitude and two of latitude.

_Thursday, August 1st._--Going about seven knots, heading west by north;
all well and mighty agreeable. Rifle-shooting and backgammon the great
antagonists of time before dinner--whist after. Various wagers are daily
made against time, as to the length of our passage, as well as for or
against certain ships that preceded or were to follow us. Most persons
have named some date for our arrival at New York, and backed it for more
or less; finding that these days were selected more in accordance with
the desires of the betters than their judgment, I selected an outsider,
and took the longest date named for my day, August 20th. The odds
fluctuate daily in the market, according to the view the knowing ones
take of the weather: these bets form a subject of interest and banter
which daily rises in importance.

_Wednesday, 7th._--About meridian carried away our main-topsail yard,
whilst two hands were employed rigging in the studding-sail boom; one
fell into the top, and the other caught hold of the rigging, receiving
much fright but small damage. Had they fallen on the deck or over-board,
why their chance would have been exceeding small. There surely is "a
sweet little cherub that sits up aloft," &c. or these careless rogues
could not escape so often scot-free.

To-day we have a rattling north-easter with sunshine: and the sea, which
yesterday was wild, dreary, and dark, is now beaming and light as a
beauty at a birth-day ball; and as radiant, for it sparkles in diamonds
of its own.

All hands in high spirits, the ship the favourite for odds; Time gone
back sadly; the 13th inst. named for very long odds; I offered eight to
one against it, and was taken up at a word. Made two or three entries in
my book after dinner; against the 20th, my day; take all that offers,
but have made a _leetle_ hedge on the 18th by way of a break-water.

_Saturday, 9th._--A very heavy gale from north-west, a rare occurrence
at this season; it stuck to us for fifty hours, hauling gradually round
to the south'ard. No business done to-day; 'change deserted; not a
time-bargain to be had for love or money; most of the bulls in bed.

_Tuesday, 13th._--One of the most lovely days possible: all the morning
we have been observing a large ship right a-head, on which we draw
rapidly, though a stern chase is proverbially a long chase. The alley
all alive, books and pencils in great demand: odds offered freely that
this ship is the Tallahassie, Captain Glover, which sailed from
Liverpool on the morning of the day we left; but owing to our taking the
north channel, whilst she pursued the south, had thus gotten a decided
pull upon us, besides being a very fine ship. Consultations frequent, as
we neared, between the mate and the backers of the Tallahassie,
adjournments to the top-gallant forecastle constant; every spy-glass in

We drew near; the odds rose in favour of this being the ship in
question--she was a large ship, square-built and long, so was
Tallahassie--she was flush deck, so was Tallahassie--had stump-royal
masts, and a storm-house abaft, so had Tallahassie, hurrah! Nearer we
came, less ardour amongst the backers of Tal.--nearer still, they are
all silent; the alley is deserted for the forecastle--a straggler now
comes aft, with a sneaking offer of a hedge: no takers.

One of the opposite side's scouts next comes aft. "This can't be the
Tallahassie--this ship has no copper, Tallahassie had; she has a white
line over her bright side, Tallahassie had not--her top-rail is white,
and the yards tipped with the same colour, the Tallahassie's were
black.--In short, it could not be the Tallahassie, as any one with half
an eye might have seen from the first, and might see now."

The latter part of the proposition was already demonstrated, for we were
by this time right a-beam; the former might have been disputed,
although it certainly was not the Tallahassie.

Trifles like this were all-sufficient occupation for the day, and served
as subjects of conversation after. On this occasion we had for nearly
the first time a complete muster of our crew, the exceeding fineness of
the day brought out even our sick, and there they lounged about in the
sun, like weary birds plumeing their ruffled feathers.

_Sunday, 18th._--Wind north-west; weather fine. We are now within one
hundred and sixty miles of our port. Betting-market a little anxious,
but a good deal of business doing in a quiet way; my odds looking well,
but to-morrow, the 19th, by far the favourite, Captain Maxwell himself
indeed, considering it a hollow thing. Got a notion in my head, however,
in favour of my day, and accordingly took the odds; resolute to abide by
the 20th, and either "mak' a spune or spoil a horn."

All hands well and in motion; the crew busily employed getting the
sea-service off the rigging, and setting it all up in holiday order. The
mate is peering about jealously on all sides, eyeing his ship as a
mother would a beauty dressing for her first drawing-room, and to the
full as anxious about her appearance.

_Monday, 19th._--In the middle watch had a heavy squall, and carried
away our foretop-gallant mast. At nine o'clock, A.M. made the American
shore off Jersey, to the southward of Barney Gat. Wind light, no
betting, but anxious speculations on the probability of our getting
within Sandy Hook this day. Tuesday a hollow thing, feel "cock
sure:"--about noon, wind died away; and, right enough, it was not until

_Tuesday, August 20th_, that at three o'clock, A.M. I was called on deck
to look upon the Hook lights, and count my wagers won. I received the
omen as a good one, and so it proved.


I had often, and with much pleasure, heard intelligent Americans
describe the restless anxiety with which they approached the shores of
Britain; the almost painful degree of excitement created by the various
associations crowding on the imagination, and jostling each other for
supremacy, as they looked for the first time on their father-land.

The veneration with which they pictured her ivy-clad towers, and the
throb with which they caught the names of places long familiar to memory
and hallowed by historical events, to all of which they felt their claim
inherited from their ancestors, whether from Thames, or Tweed, or

To all of this I have, I say, listened with great pleasure, and with a
full sympathy in feelings at once natural and generous, yet can I hardly
admit them to possess more force, or their nature to be more exciting,
or richer in the material whence Fancy frames her chequered web, than
the recollections awakened in a well-stored imagination by a near
approach to the shores of America. Although differing widely, these are
to every philosophic mind, especially to a subject of Britain, at least
equally stirring.

When it is first remembered, that on all the long line of coast
extending from the St. Lawrence to the Gulf of Mexico there was not, in
the beginning of the sixteenth century, one European family settled, or
a Christian voice that woke the forest with the name of God,--not a
civilized man from Canada to Florida, who placed his foot upon the soil
to call it home. Yet now, within this immense range may be reckoned the
mightiest States of the Union; and over its wide circumference are
scattered great cities, towns aspiring to be cities, and villages fast
growing into busy towns--possessing a population which for wealth hardly
need yield to the oldest countries of Europe, and in the general
diffusion of intelligence and education offering indeed to most of these
an example worthy of their imitation.

When it is called to mind that the waters of her vast line of coast, now
daily ploughed by thousands of busy prows, were at this same not very
distant day as desert as her swamps and as unfurrowed, except where the
canoe of the scared Indian left its light track behind, when driven from
the shelter of some near river:--silent and shadowless, except when the
sail of the adventurous explorer flitted slowly over the waves, as he
steered his doubtful course filled with the many wonders seen and
fancied by his watchful, credulous crew,--some band of daring spirits
tempted hither in search of gold, or wild adventure, perhaps to perish
suddenly by the arrow of the savage, or slowly to wither beneath the
influence of the climate--God! what wonderful changes have been wrought
here, and what a living marvel is this land! Changes, which it has
required the labour of ages to accomplish elsewhere, have here been
effected by the energy of a few busy generations, whose toil was begun
and carried on amid want, and sickness, and a struggle against ignorance
and neglect without, as well as a war of extermination within; a war
which may be said to exist even to this day, for yet is the ever-growing
frontier from time to time awakened by the night whoop of the savage and
the answering shot of the hardy pioneer.

Then come the recollections connected with the war of the
Revolution,--the noble declaration of independence, for truly noble it
was: no dark compact of a crew of ruffian conspirators, but a generous
bond that their aggrieved country should be freed, given by a band of
citizen gentlemen, husbands, fathers, and brothers, to the fulfilment of
the which they pledged unto each other their lives, their fortunes, and
their sacred honour; and having placed their hands to this bold deed,
they gave it to their people and the world.

Their bond is cancelled, and they are dismissed beyond the hearing of
praise or censure; yet shall these, the names of their country's
fathers, be read and blessed by ages yet to come, and shall stand for
ever, each a synonyme for patriot honour.

Washington, and the long wars he conducted through defeat and disaster
to such a glorious end for his country, together with that large list of
famous names connected with those and later events formed no mean
subject for reverie, and these were the fancies conjured through my
brain by a near approach to the shores of America. I confess I
contemplated her triumphs with a participation in her glory where
England was not a party, with no other feeling than regret when she
was,--with regret that the hands of brothers should ever have been
opposed in deadly enmity.

I give back in love of country to no man, and to no foe under heaven
would I yield up one jot due to Britain's well-won supremacy, but to the
United States we may surely spare without envy the leaf she so hardily
plucked from our thick laurels. The glory of having given her birth,
language, and laws, she cannot rob us of; this will endure until her
mountains crumble: and all else she has acquired at the expense of
Britain, Britain can well spare, and still stand foremost on the roll of


On the morning of Tuesday, August 20th, I was roused, according to a
request I had left to that effect with Captain Maxwell, to look on the
Hook Lights, the entrance to the outer bay and harbour of New York. It
was three o'clock in the morning, a fresh yet bland breeze was just
giving motion to the smooth sea, and above, the firmament showed thickly
studded with heaven's lights; but the dazzling pharos of the Hook, to my
mind, were brighter at this hour than the best twinklers on the floor of
heaven,--so welcome were they.

While waiting on deck, a couple of sky-rockets were discharged from the
storm-house by way of signal for a pilot. The effect of the sudden blaze
was fine; and the rush of each fiery messenger on its upward mission, as
it burst away from the Europe's deck, seemed a glad sound of welcome,
for it spoke of safe arrival, and consequent freedom from our present
thrall; for, however pleasant a ship may be, and however poetical our
notions about the "deep sea," after having been in the one and on the
other for five or six weeks, there are few bipeds who do not hail the
shore as a type of recovered liberty, and, however barren it may be,
right joyfully embrace it.

About 7 A.M.--for here it appears pilots do not hurry themselves--we
made out a couple of schooner-rigged boats standing right for us, which
were at first taken for pilots, but proved to be news-boats. Several
such are, as it appears, kept in commission by the New York journals,
and the struggle for early intelligence between the rivals occasions a
display of considerable adventure not unattended with risk, since these
news-boats are out in all weathers, and from a great distance often
bring to the city a ship's letters, &c. many days before she makes her
own appearance.

The news-collectors were welcomed civilly by our captain, bagged their
papers, made out a list of the passengers, and in a few moments were
again on the wing for shore, looking right into the wind, and with
smooth water and a light breeze, they drew rapidly away from the heavier
ship. I must observe that our Mercury's correctness was by no means
commensurate with his activity; for such ingenious changes did this
worthy contrive in the names of the passengers, that the mothers of some
would have failed to have discovered the arrival of their sons, except
upon instinct.

At length, after long watching, a couple of pilot-schooners were
discovered standing out from under the high land, and in due time their
boats boarded us nearly together; and hence arose a dispute as to whose
particular prey the good Europe was to be considered.

Each Pilot was voluble, and accused the other of violating the laws made
and provided in such cases for their better government: who was wrong in
this case it was difficult to say, but I very clearly made out that both
parties had cheated on former occasions, were willing to cheat in this,
and resolute to continue a like commendable practice in all others that
might offer, as far as in them lay. What arrant rogues are we in all
climes and under whatever rule, quoth I, internally, as I listened to
these wordy disputants; for, to do messieurs the pilots justice, the
matter was conducted in a manner more worthy the courts, better argued,
and in language less offensively figurative, than similar disputes at
which it has been my chance to assist between angry members of our own

At length the elder pilot left the deck, and returned to his attendant
yawl, in evident dudgeon and disgust; when the junior, being hailed by
his comrades in the schooner on the opposite quarter, was advised to
give up the Europe, since they had made out a second ship quite as large
in the offing.

Whether this information, or a latent sense of justice prevailed, it is
hard to say; but on the tidings our man hailed his irate senior--who was
borne away amidst deeply-muttered vows of vengeance--desired him to
return, and told him he would give up the ship. Thereon, back rowed our
ancient mariner; and after a few explanatory sentences, mutually offered
as salvos to their hurt honour, the rivals parted, to all outward
seeming as good friends as ever.

Which had right I know not, but one of them had fish, and we of the
Europe had no cause to mourn the departure of that one, since, having
gained his deck, he sent us back a basket of newly-taken porgies, and
various other fishes with unpoetical names but of marvellous sweetness,
and sumptuous was our _déjeuner_ in consequence of this unlooked-for

Henceforward, all between-decks presented a scene of bustle and
preparation; the most sluggish natures amongst us appeared now inspired,
whilst on all sides were heard good-humoured congratulations and glad
anticipations. I confess, although a very experienced voyager, I felt a
little touch of softness striving to sneak into and coil about my heart,
as the words,--home--friends, with other household sounds, fell thick
upon my hearing; for, all our passengers being American, I stood alone
here on this day of happy greeting, a stranger amongst strangers.

Let me add, that this was the last day on which I felt so during my long
sojourn in the hospitable land; and even on this I possessed buoyancy
enough of spirit to keep down these selfish reflections, and, I thank
Heaven, sympathy enough to rejoice in the gladness of my comrades.

I did not lack amusement, either after the first hurry was past; an
intelligent friend or two busied themselves pointing out to me the
various localities in detail, with whose general character Carey's
excellent atlas had already made me tolerably conversant.

The day was clear and cloudless; and when to this advantage is added a
light head wind, which compelled us to work our way inward, no harbour
could be approached under auspices more favourable, or better calculated
to afford a complete and varying view of its beauties.

Just as we had opened the Narrows, the entrance to the inner bay so
called, the wind grew so unpromising that a party of us decided to
engage the pilot vessel to take us as far as Staten Island, which they
"calculated" they could reach before the departure of the steamer for
New York.

Bidding adieu to the Europe, away we dashed in the little witch of a
pilot, a craft of some eighty tons' burthen, but, viewed from a short
distance, not looking more than half that size, so snug was her build,
as well as from the absence of every kind of hamper; her shrouds were
without ratlins, and her deck without even the protection of a
rough-tree--a nakedness I should by no means like in bad weather. The
afterpart, however, or stern-sheets, is sunk about four feet; and as the
bowsprit is a mere stump, and the sheets of both foresail and jib lead
aft, all the work may be done here when under snug sail.

The necessity, during our trip in the schooner, of working up between
the shores of Long and Staten Islands, was a chance that added to the
charm of our approach.

Standing into the Narrows, under the guns of a formidable fort, the
pretty-looking village of Staten, where quarantine is performed, first
presented itself: the smoke of the steamer assured us she had not yet
departed, and two or three tacks brought us within signaling distance,
just as she broke away from the shore: our desire was readily
understood, and, slightly changing her course, she soon after received
us in addition to her already crowded freight.

I found the upper deck of the Bolivar, the name of our steamer,
uncommonly hot, but it afforded a good place from which to view the
harbour and city as they were now rapidly unfolded: here, therefore, I
planted myself, all eyes; and certainly have rarely been better repaid
for a broiling.

As we neared the Battery, we were afforded a passing glance up the East
and North Rivers,--the great waters which give wealth to Manhattan, and
jealously clip her beauty about, in equal participation. The _coup
d'oeil_ thus taken is very imposing, and at once awakens the stranger
to a sense of the commercial importance of the _entrepôt_ whose walls he
perceives shaded by such a forest of lofty masts.



On landing at the Battery, our first visit was to an office of the
customs here; and, instead of the dogged, sulky, bribe-demanding scowl,
too commonly encountered from our own low-class officials, who seem to
consider the custom-house as a means rather of annoyance to the lieges
than a protection to trade, we were met by civility, respect, and prompt
despatch. The luggage we had brought with us on shore was not subjected
to the least examination, and we went on our way highly pleased. First
impressions give their colour to succeeding matters; and surely those
derived from my encounter with the officials of a service at best
annoying, were much in favour of the land.

On entering the quiet Bowling Green, where many of the houses have
coloured fronts, and all gaily painted jalousies, with trees shadowing
the _stoups_, I was reminded of Cape Town: but the impression was
momentary; a few yards on, and the long line of Broadway, with its
crowded side walks, showy shops, and numerous hotels, at once transports
you back to Europe; and, were it not for the sprinkling of black faces
with which the mass is chequered, one might swear oneself in Paris on
some portion of the Boulevards not altogether familiar to the eye, but
offering most of the points needful to prove identity, from the monkey
and hurdy-gurdy of the Savoyard, the _blouse_ of the carman and
_Conducteur_, to the swagger of the citizen-soldier, and the mincing
step and "_tournure charmante_" of the _belles_. The fronts of the
_cafés_ and hotels, too, as you pass along, you perceive to be covered
by chairs occupied by similar loungers to those on the Boulevards.

Such were my impressions whilst moving on a hot day from the Battery to
the City Hotel, and so give I them place here; since I have often, after
a long residence in a place, found myself referring back to these first
glimpses, when desirous to present it at once fresh and comprehensive to
the eye of the stranger, and for such these sketches are chiefly


The day after my arrival, I was both interested and amused by
accidentally falling on the bivouac of a Swiss family of emigrants.

I had risen early for the purpose of bathing, and was making my way to
the fort through the grounds of the Battery as the rising sun was just
adding new light and life to the most beautiful of harbours, when I came
suddenly upon the barriers of a little encampment perfectly Teutonic in
its arrangement; it was, however, no surprisal to the hive within, for
their morning operations had already begun.

Within a circular rampart, formed out of various articles of household
gear,--three or four antique-looking spinning-wheels, a pair of churns,
a few clumsy chairs, a large chest, together with a couple of small
heavy waggons not yet placed upon the wheels,--were a few as lively
recruits as any land desirous of population could wish to welcome.

The party consisted, first, of a right venerable-looking old man, the
patriarch of the tribe, as he told me, seventy-four years old; six men,
his sons and grandsons; seven lively boys, his great-grandchildren, and
about an equal number of girls, the patriarch's wife, nearly as aged as
himself, but with a shrill piercing voice and the activity of a girl of
nineteen, with four other women, the wives of the ancient's sons.

At the moment I came upon them the whole camp was rousing into full
activity. The grandmother, assisted by a couple of her young women,
found ample occupation in first catching and next washing the junior
branches of the colonists: these appeared already aware of their being
in a country where every individual thinks for himself, or at least
thinks he does, which comes to the same thing, for they stoutly
resisted, to the last extremity, the soapless saline ablutions profusely
administered by their great grandam.

Meantime a couple of the more staid of the youngsters, who had been
passed outside the lines, were busied beneath the trees collecting
fallen sticks, leaves, &c. for keeping up the fire already lighted and
presided over by one of the females, whose task it evidently was to
prepare breakfast.

A couple of the men yet slept soundly; another pair were composedly
leaning against a waggon smoking their pipes; whilst a third, the
youngest of the grown men, and evidently the _beau-garçon_ of the party,
was busied about the completion of a careful toilet before six square
inches of looking-glass, held up to him by a young lass, rather
good-looking, who, kneeling before this Adonis in evident admiration,
most patiently abided the completion of his equipment previous to
commencing her own.

My course was at once arrested by a scene so new and unexpected; and I
stood for a long time contemplating the repose of this little group,
camping here in the midst of a busy population on the banks of the
Hudson, in the same manner and after the same fashion their ancestors
are described to have followed by the Rhone and the Danube in the time
of Cæsar.

There was an air of confident security about the whole arrangement, that
spoke equally in favour of the hardy simplicity of these strangers and
the courtesy and honesty of their adopted country; for I know no
European capital wherein such a group could have sat them down and
passed a summer night, unhoused and unwatched, without receiving
annoyance, if not suffering loss.

I learned that the family had been landed late on the preceding
afternoon from a French ship; so that, not being able, as is the wont of
this people, to depart for their destination immediately, they had in
the most prompt and orderly manner pitched their tents here for the
night, and were now preparing for their march into the wilderness.

This sight, striking in itself, was no less illustrative of the country
and the time: these arrivals are of daily occurrence here during the
season; every one of the northern nations of Europe is contributing her
quota out of the most enterprising of her children to swell the numbers,
and give additional pith and vigour to the population, of this land of

About three hours after this first rencounter, whilst seated in our
parlour at breakfast, I pointed out to my friend P---- the whole family
passing the city hotel _en route_.

They had now gotten one of their clumsy waggons mounted, and rudely
harnessed to a stout-looking horse, and on this vehicle was piled all
their worldly store. The males, pipe in hand and marching four abreast,
strode boldly on before; next came the waggon, surrounded and followed
by the women and children: the heads of one or two of the youngest of
these, by the bye, might just be seen poking out from the lumber amongst
which they were ensconced upon the car.

I observed that the old dame now carried in her hand a wicker-cage,
containing a little captive of the goldfinch tribe, some home-bred
favourite, whose simple notes will often call up the memory of
father-land, when this family of humble adventurers shall be located,
happily I trust, on some wild stream of the far west, for thither were
they bound, and, with the appliances I have sketched, were cheerfully
setting forth to perform a journey of some two thousand miles. These,
however, are the sort of persons who may look most to benefit by such a
change; after a few to them trifling privations, and an industrious
struggle, they have the certain satisfaction of beholding their
offspring surrounded by comfort, and their means yearly increasing. They
presently exchange want for plenty, and cease to look upon the coming
time with fear or doubt for even their children's children; since
generations must rise and pass away before enterprise and honest
industry will feel any lack of elbow-room here.

The weather was awfully hot during the last week of this month; and
great was my delight, on entering the parlour of a morning, to look upon
the butter luxuriating beneath a large wedge of clear ice: only for the
cutting up, I should have gloried in being a _Pat_ of butter myself.
This article of ice is presented here in a purity of form, and is withal
so plentiful, that it almost makes amends for the dog-days.

Our breakfasts were excellent--fish, fruit in abundance, chickens,
omelette, &c. with good coffee, and the best black tea I ever drank. The
parlour was a very large well-furnished room, level with and fronting on
the busiest part of Broadway; and a more amusing stand than one of the
windows, for a stranger, it would be difficult to select. The whole busy
population, I should imagine, passed in review here once, at least, in
six hours; together with samples of all the nondescript vehicles city or
country rejoices in.

To one worthy I owe many a hearty laugh,--who knows but I may have
repaid the good soul in kind?--I hope I have, for my gratitude is his.
Let the reader imagine a long street, very crowded, and about noon
shadeless, with the thermometer at 98° in the sun. In the very middle
of this broiling thoroughfare, fancy a low carriage on four wheels,
ycleped a Jersey waggon, having a seat with a high back hung by straps
athwart-ships; over this seat a buffalo robe of vast dimensions, the
thick fur outside and a red lining within, falling in heavy folds to the
waggon floor; upon this buffalo skin, seated right in the centre, with
knees and elbows spread as far apart as possible, a huge mass of
humanity clothed in a dark jacket of home-spun cloth, with vest and
trousers of blue cotton; his pumpkin-like head covered by a broad-leafed
straw hat, a Dutch pipe on his lip, and before him a hard-mouthed
awkward little horse pulled about by both hands, now right, now left,
but rarely going out of a walk. Above a high shirt-collar his full-blown
cheeks might be seen, as he sucked in the hot air and rejected it again
like a blowing porpoise: cravat he had none, because he had no neck to
tie it about; but in lieu of this article he carried, knotted over his
broad shoulders, a little red handkerchief. Daily did I ask myself for a
whole week "Will it walk again?" and, so surely as the shadeless hour of
noon arrived, did my Dutch fire-king arrive with it, steering his waggon
through the sweltering mass with a composure--coolness I could not call
it--most enviable.

I would have given anything to have known him and his history; but
though I had opportunities of pointing him out to my friends
occasionally, no one knew him. Son of a thousand burgomasters, may your
shadow never grow less! for I owe to you the beguilement of many a hot
hour: but I fear me my friend must be "larding six feet of lean earth,"
somewhere in the vicinity of Manhattan, since for the last year I have,
on every day that the sun shone intensely with the glass over 90°,
watched in vain for his coming.

In the cool of the afternoon, if there chance to be any cool, it is a
common custom for the young men of all classes to drive or ride some
five or six miles along the north avenue,--an excellent road leading to
the pretty village of Harlaem; and on this line, about sunset, the
amateur of horse-flesh may see done, the fastest pace in the trotting
world; double-horse waggons of the neatest and lightest construction,
gig, sulky, and saddle, all are alike borne along by trotters or pacers
at a speed varying from the pair that are doing their mile in three
minutes, to the sulky or saddle nag flying at the rate of a mile in two
minutes, thirty seconds.

The first time I was whirled along this road at the heels of one of the
crack goers of the city, amidst clouds of dust through which the rushing
of other vehicles might be dimly made out, and startled by the wild
cries used by the rival drivers, at once to encourage their horses and
prove the impossibility of scaring them into breaking up, I thought it
one of the most exciting things I had ever met; and on getting down at
Cato's, involuntarily found myself drawing a long breath.


And what is Cato's? and who is Cato? Shade of Rome's patriot and sage,
anger not! for Cato is a great man, foremost amongst cullers of mint,
whether for _julep_ or _hail-storm_; second to no man as a compounder of
_cock-tail_, and such a hand at a _gin-sling_!

Cato is a gentleman of colour who presides at a little tavern, named
after its proprietor, lying just off the dust of the road between two
sharp hills, and situated some four miles from New York--a good
breathing distance for a fast burst--and here consequently most men halt
to give their horses breath, and wash the dust out of their own throats
with some one of Cato's many excellent compounds. The convenience of the
place is enhanced by the manner of its master, who for courtesy and
_bienséance_ might serve as a model to most of his young friends. His
society indeed is of the very best, including all the first sporting
youths of the city; and his liquors are equal to his breeding.

Cato will give a few select friends breakfast too on a hot morning, if
it be especially ordered; and, certes, a woodcock and toast as served up
by him on these occasions is a thing not to be forgotten. It was my
fortune, under the auspices of my friend, Mr. M'L--d, an especial
favourite of "mine host," to pay several visits to Cato's, and to come
away at each with added respect for the great man, and increased regard
for his excellent entertainment.


     _Great heat--doubts, dubitations, and début._

I do not intend to bore my readers with a series of play-bills, or a
journal of my theatrical career; but I feel that on this head there may
be some little curiosity, and that it would on my part be an affectation
to eschew the subject, as well as an injustice to my American comrades
of the buskin, to whom I owe some kind mention, since it was my lot to
add considerably to their labours. I will therefore just notice my
appearance in each city as it occurred, and that as briefly as may be
consistent; when any fun turns up, I promise the reader the benefit of
it. I shall also give my impressions of the various audiences I
encountered; because I think there is no place where the characteristics
of a people are more clearly shown than at a theatre, where all mix upon
a footing more purely democratic than in any other whatever, and each
man having a right to evince his taste after his own fashion, opinion
becomes the only conservation of propriety.

To my first night at New York, then, I looked with much anxiety, and
not without reason. I had, contrary to the advice of many friends, given
up a large income, the continuance of which the increasing favour of the
public gave me reasonable promise of. I had vacated my seat and quitted
my country on no other engagement than one for twelve nights at New
York, the profits of which were wholly dependent upon my success, as
were my engagements in other cities dependent upon my reception in this.

One kind soul assured me that every drama I possessed had been already
anticipated; another, that they had no taste for Irish character, or
that accustomed, as they had long been, to associate with the
representative of my poor countrymen a ruffian with a black eye, and
straw in his shoes, the public taste was too vitiated to relish a quiet
portrait of nature undebased.

This was flattering, but not pleasant: the only man whose views appeared
sanguine was Mr. P----, who had been my companion on the voyage, and
whose cheering reply to all doubters was, "I tell you, sir, it must do."

The theatre was announced to be re-opened on the 28th of August, with
the "Irish Ambassador" and "Teddy the Tiler." The day was one of the
hottest we had known, and towards night it became oppressively close.

No strange actor of the least note could open in New York, to anything
short of a full house; it seems to be a hospitable principle to give the
aspirant for fame a cordial welcome and a fair hearing; let it not be
considered egotistical, therefore, when I say that the house was
crowded; from pit to roof rose tier on tier one dark unbroken mass; I do
not think there were twenty females in the dress circle; all men, and
enduring, I should imagine, the heat of the black hole at Calcutta. I at
the time regretted the absence of the ladies, when, had I been less
selfish, I should have rejoiced at it.

The moment came when "Sir Patrick" was announced; and amidst greetings
as hearty as ever I received in my life, I made my first bow to the Park
audience. I saw no coats off, no heels up, no legs over boxes--these
times have passed away; a more cheerful, or apparently a more English
audience, I would not desire to act before.

I was called for at the end of the play, and thanked the house for its
welcome. If the performance had not gone off with that electric and
constant laughter and applause to which I had grown accustomed at home,
I had received positive assurance that my new clients were intelligent
and very attentive, and I therefore no longer entertained fears for the

Not so, however, one or two of my friends, whose anxiety and kind wishes
it would have been hard indeed for any measure of applause to have
satisfied: amidst the congratulations they brought me were therefore
mixed up little cautionary drawbacks.

"It was capital," said one; "but you must not be so quiet: give them
more bustle."

"In some other piece," replied I; "here it is not in the bond."

"You must paint a little broader, my dear fellow," says
another:--"you're too natural for them; they don't feel it."

"If it's natural they must feel it," said I, adding, "each of my
characters are, according to my ability, painted from nature; they are
individual abstractions with which _I_ have nothing to do; the colouring
is a part of each, and I can't change it as I change my audience:--'tis
only for me to present the picture as it is; for them to like or dislike

For the six following evenings the houses, though not great, were equal
and good; each night I found my audience understanding me better, and
felt that I was grappling them closer to me. The arrival of Mrs. and Mr.
Wood earlier than the manager counted upon, created a difficulty; to
obviate which I waived my claim to six of my nights, as my acting must
have kept them idle.

A day or two before my departure for Philadelphia, I witnessed the first
appearance of this lady and her husband. Her reception was enthusiastic,
but Malibran had left impressions it was difficult to compete with; and,
although her brilliant talent was on all hands admitted, I am not sure
whether her husband's manly style of singing a ballad was not to the
full as much considered as her execution of the most brilliant sçena.

The Park Theatre is, as well as I could judge, about the size of the old
Lyceum, of the horse-shoe form; has three tiers of boxes; is handsome,
and in all respects as well appointed as any theatre out of London.

The orchestra is at present excellent, and under the direction of a
very clever man--Penson, formerly leader at Dublin. The company I found
for my purpose a very fair one, my pieces requiring little save
correctness from most of those concerned, except where old men, like
"Aspen," "Frederick II." &c. occur, and all such parts found an
excellent representative in an American actor, called Placide. Descended
of a long line of talented players, he possesses a natural talent I have
rarely seen surpassed, together with a chastity and simplicity of style
that would do credit to the best school of comedy; yet he has never been
away from his own country. I trust the model may not be lost on those
who have to follow him.

There is a representative of old women here, too, a native, Mrs.
Wheatley, an inartificial charming actress, with a perfect conception of
all she does, and a humorous _espièglerie_ of manner that is admirable.
This lady has a daughter, a girl of fourteen, one of the cleverest
mimics I ever saw: she would imitate Miss Fanny Kemble throughout a
whole character, or think, talk, and walk, like her in private,--all
with a slight dash of caricature, but in a spirit of truth and acute
observation worthy of the inimitable Matthews himself.

With these exceptions, the company is, I think, made up of English
actors, many of whom have held respectable situations in the London

I had heard a good deal of the disorder of the American stage, and the
intractability of American actors; with this specimen I had therefore
every reason to be pleased. I am rather a hard drill, too; but I also
know how painful is the task of studying and practising long parts for
the star of the day, to be thrust out by some fresh stuff got up for his
successor: I am aware of this, and therefore strive to make the pill
less bitter by doing my "spiriting gently," where I see a desire to be
attentive on the part of my friends.

As I may not have occasion to revert to New York theatrically again, let
me here say that, after repeated renewal of my engagements during two
years, my last were amongst the greatest I made in this city: how, after
this, the American public can be called cold or fickle, I at least have
no means of judging.

After a stay of three weeks in New York, rendered as agreeable as fine
weather, kind friends, warm welcome, and success could make it, I took
my departure for Philadelphia by the Camden and Amboy line of steam-boat
and rail-road. Punctual to the minute advertised, we left the wharf;
and, although the day was cold for the season, I was charmed with our
trip across the harbour towards Raritan Creek.

From about half-way over this channel, which separates Staten Island
from the city, I should say, after some experience, the best general
view of New York and its most prominent environs may be obtained.

Behind you rise the heights of Brooklyn, undulating along your left to
the passage of the Narrows, through which you catch a glimmer of the sea
beyond; close on your right lies the picturesque-looking old city of
Jersey; and immediately beyond, the village of Hoboken, famous for
turtle and pistol-matches: its neighbourhood to the Elysian fields
renders it a singularly lucky site for the fire-eaters, since, if shot,
they have no Charon to pay; the turtle-eaters here find, no doubt, equal
facilities. Far to the north, the dark promontory of the Palisadoes
beetles broadly forth, marking the course of the Hudson.

In the middle distance lies the city, looking as though it floated deep
upon the bosom of the ready waters that encompass it about. It is
happier in its place of rest than most Dutch towns, and well merited the
name of New Amsterdam, given it by its founders. The ground it covers
was at one time divided into hill and dale; but with eyes wide open to
business, and close sealed against taste, the conscript fathers of our
infant Rome shaved smooth every ant-hill that rose in their path, and to
their inheritors have bequeathed a love of their trim lines of beauty,
for they are proceeding on the levelling system with a worthy
pains-taking that will in due time render the whole island as flat as a

The passage up the Raritan or Amboy Creek, between Staten Island and the
main, is uninteresting enough; the channel reminding one very much of
the left bank of the Thames about Erith,--swampy levels, with flat
barges, and river-side public houses. The village of Perth Amboy is the
first attractive object; it is built upon the face of a hill rising
gently from the water, and is well shaded, looking healthy, fresh, and
neat. Here the steamer stops for a minute to land or receive passengers,
and then makes for Amboy landing, about a couple of miles distant. Here
we left our boat, and were immediately transferred to the cars of the
new railroad connecting the Raritan with the Delaware, and pursued our
way to Bordentown, through a dreary, barren-looking country, whose only
attractions were occasional orchards of a most fruitful kind, if one
might judge by the plenteous gathering already in progress. In many
places were piled up little mountains of apples, destined chiefly for
the cider press.

The loco-motives not being in condition to do duty, the horses occupied
as yet their legitimate station, going at the rate of about eight miles
per hour.

Near the entrance to Bordentown, the present mansion of the ex-king of
Spain was pointed out: it does not appear to be very happily located,
but commands, I understand, an extensive view of the broad Delaware, and
affords room enough to bustle in, even for one whose domain was once

Here we once more embarked; and hence to Philadelphia the Delaware is a
broad placid stream, with low banks of alternate wood and meadow, having
sprinkled along them numbers of well-built houses of all sizes, from
the shingle cottage to the imposing-looking mansion with its lofty
portico of painted pine.

The boat touches on its way at two very charming-looking villages,
Bristol and Burlington, situated at opposite angles of a fine bend of
the river. On the quay of the latter I noticed, as we halted, a group of
fairy-looking lassies watching for the landing of some friend; and their
animated expression, delicate proportions, and graceful _tournure_, did
much to bespeak favour for the girls of Pennsylvania.

It was night before we gained the Quaker city, and exceeding dark
withal; so that the long dotted lines of lights, regularly intersecting
each other until lost in distance, had the effect of a general
illumination, whilst it gave evidence of a widely-spread and populous

We drove to Mr. Head's hotel, the Mansion House, where we were welcomed
by the worthy host in person; although he had not bed-rooms for us that
night, for we were three in company. We were, however, soon furnished
with a most excellent supper; and after, two of us got, not "three
chairs and a bolster," but a couple of camp bedsteads with good
mattresses, and sheets white as snow. Our senior companion, Mr. P----,
was provided with a bed-chamber; and what could the heart of weary
traveller wish for more?

On the morrow I also was installed in a capital chamber; and if those
incarnate demons the musquitoes would have made peace with me, I should
have scorned comparisons with the Nabob of the Carnatic. But, oh!
immortal gods, how they did hum and bom, and bite and buzz! and how I
did fume, and slap, and snatch, and swear, partly in fear, and partly
through sheer vexation of spirit, at having no means of vengeance
against a foe whose audacity was open and outrageous, whose trumpets
were for ever sounding a charge, yet who were withal, as impassable as

I would rather hear the roar of lions about my resting-place than the
vicious hum of these infernal wee beasts; and I may be allowed to
decide, having listened to both: the latter never failed to keep me
wakeful through fair fright; but when well worn with fatigue, after a
shiver and a start or two, I have slept sound, in safe company, although
the crunch and roar of the nobler _varmint_ sounded near enough to make
our terrified horses press to the watch-fire with breathings thick and
loud,--a neighbourhood anything but agreeable, but, I swear, infinitely
preferable to an incursion of hungry musquitoes.

The next morning, Sept. 12th, rose early, took a hot bath, and dressed
for a hot day; but the day was resolute not to be hot: a north-east wind
had set in after breakfast, and down went the thermometer from
seventy-nine to forty-five. "Zooks, what a tumble!" as Mister Poll says:
all the time too the sky was cloudless, and the sun shining most
treacherously. I wasn't to be done, however; so, after an hour, jumped
again into my broad-cloth for comfort.

During my first week here I occupied private apartments,--which may be
had at every hotel, by the way,--and being in company with a friend, we
had our meals at our own hours, all of which were excellent and well
served, with wines most unexceptionable. My friend leaving me, however,
I took the advice of my good host, Mr. Head, and, quitting my sulky
solitude, joined the public table,--a change I had every reason to be
satisfied with, since, however, unpleasant the bustle occasioned by a
hundred or a hundred and fifty persons dining _ensemble_, no such
objection can apply here, where the guests rarely exceed twenty-five or
thirty, including from time to time men of the first rank and
intelligence in the States. This dinner-table indeed is as well
appointed in every way as any gentleman could desire; the attendants
numerous and well ordered; the service, including every luxury the
season can furnish, is of three courses; and the cloth is never drawn
under an hour. I am thus particular, because, as much has been said of
the badness of hotels in America, it is but fair to give place to a
notice of those which are good; and so essentially good a _table d'hote_
as that of the Mansion House at Philadelphia, whether for variety,
cooking, wine, or all these things combined, I never yet met in any
country of Europe.


I pity the man who, on a fine morning, can walk through the shady and
clean streets of Philadelphia and cry, "all is barren!" In my eyes, it
appeared, even at first sight,--and no place improves more upon
acquaintance,--one of the most attractive-looking towns I had ever

Coming immediately out of the noise, bustle, and variety of Broadway,
its general aspect appears quiet, almost _triste_; but the cleanliness,
the neatness, the air of comfort, propriety, and health, that reigns on
all sides, bespeaks immediate favour.

The progress of improvement, and enlargement too, are sufficiently
evident, for at either extremity of the city, the fall of hammer and
chisel give unceasing note of preparation. The circle designed and
marked out as the limit of its future greatness by the sanguine mind of
its sagacious founder has long since been overleaped; the wide Delaware
on one side, and on the other the Schuylkill, seem incapable of bounding
the ambitious city. Already does Market-street rest upon these two
points, which cannot be less than three miles apart.

Touching Market-street I ought to know something, since, on two
occasions, I got out of my bed to visit it at four A.M. I am curious in
looking upon these interesting _entrepôts_ whence we cull the dainties
of a well-furnished larder, and a view over this was truly worth the
pains; for in no place have I ever seen more lavish display of the good
things most esteemed by this eating generation, nor could any market
offer them to the amateur in form more tempting. Neatness and care were
evident in the perfect arrangement of the poultry, vegetables, fruit,
butter, &c.; and the display of well-fed beef, with the artist-like way
in which it was dressed, might have excited our Giblets' spleen even in
the Christmas week.

Poultry of all kinds here is equal to that of any country, and the
butter almost as good as the best Irish, which I think the sweetest in
the world. The market, at the early time I mentioned, offered a busy and
amusing scene, and I passed away a couple of hours here very much to my
satisfaction, besides cheating those souls of d----d critics, the
musquitoes, out of a breakfast; for each day, about the first light, I
used to be awakened by their assembling for a little _déjeuner dânsant_,
whereat I was victim.

One of the pleasantest visits a man can pay in Philadelphia on a hot
day, is to the water-works at Fair-mount, on the Schuylkill: the very
name is refreshing with the mercury at 96° in the shade; and, if there
be a breeze in Pennsylvania, you will find it here. No city can be
better supplied with water than this; and I never looked upon the pure
liquid, welling through the pipes and deluging the thirsty streets,
without a feeling of gratitude to these water-works, and of respect for
the pride with which the Philadelphians regard their spirited public
labour. They have evinced much taste, too, in the quiet, simple
disposition of the ground and reservoirs connected with the machinery;
the trees and plants are well selected for the situation, and will soon
add to the natural beauty of this very fine reach of the river.

Mounting the east bank of the stream, from this to the village of
Manayunk, you have a very pretty ride; and crossing the bridge at the
"Falls of the Schuylkill,"--falls no longer, thanks to the dam at
Fair-mount,--the way back winds along by, or hangs above, the canal and
river, here marching side by side; offering, in about four miles, as
charming a succession of river views as painter or poet could desire. It
is a lovely ramble by all lights, and I have viewed it by all,--in the
blaze of noon, and by the sober grey of summer twilight; I have ridden
beneath its wooded heights, and through its overhanging masses of rare
foliage, in the alternate bright cold light and deep shade of a
cloudless moon; and again, when tree, and field, and flower were yet
fresh and humid with the heavy dew, and sparkling in the glow of early

At the period of my first visit, the huge piers of a new bridge,
projected by the Columbian Railroad Company, were just appearing in
different degrees above the gentle river's surface. The smoke of the
workmen's fires rising from the wood above, and the numerous attendant
barges moored beneath the tall cliff from which the road was to be
thrown, added no little to the effect. I have since seen this viaduct
completed, and have been whirled over it in the train of a locomotive;
and, although it is a fine work, I cannot but think every lover of the
picturesque will mourn the violation of the solitude so lately to be
found here.

I could not refrain from picturing to myself the light canoes of the
Delaware Indians as at no very remote period they lay rocking beneath
the shelter of that very bluff where now were moored a fleet of
deep-laden barges: indeed these ideas were constantly forcing
themselves, as it were, into my mind as I wandered over the changeful
face of this singular land, where the fresh print of the moccasin is
followed by the tread of the engineer and his attendants, and the light
trail of the red man is effaced by the road of iron: hardly have the
echoes ceased to repeat through the woods the Indian's hunter-cry before
this is followed by the angry rush of the ponderous steam-engine, urged
forward! still forward! by the restless pursuer of his fated race.

Wander whither you will,--take any direction, the most frequented or the
most secluded,--at every and at all points do these lines of railway
intercept your path. Each state, north, south, and west, is eagerly
thrusting forth these iron arms, to knit, as it were, in a straiter
embrace her neighbours; and I have not a doubt but, in a very short
time, a man may journey from the St. Lawrence to the gulf of Mexico
coastwise with as much facility as he now does from Boston to
Washington, a distance of four hundred and fifty miles, which may be at
this day performed within forty hours, out of which you pass a night in
New York.

But to leave anticipations and imaginings,--which, by the way, is a
forbearance hard of practice in a region where all things are on the
whirl of speculative change, and where practical results outrun the
projections of even the most visionary theorist,--and return to make
such rapid survey of this interesting city as may be ventured on during
a first visit of some twenty days. I feel, indeed, that but little can
be really known in so short a time of a place containing two hundred and
twenty thousand souls, and having in a rapid state of advancement
various alterations and improvements, including nearly five thousand new
buildings all immediately required: although there are persons gifted
with such power of intuition, that, as I learn from their own showing,
they are enabled in half the period to decide upon the condition of the
whole state of Pennsylvania; to discover the wants of its capital, the
defects of its institutions, the value of its commerce, the drift of its
policy; to gauge its morals, become intimate with its society, and make
out a correct estimate of its relative condition and prospects compared
with the other great divisions of the Union, surveyed, I presume, with
equal rapidity, judged with equal candour, and estimated with equal

Each in his degree: and so, in my way, good reader, I will endeavour to
give you some notion of this capital of old Penn's Sylvania; but if your
own imagination come not to the help of my outline, I fear, after all my
painstaking, your notion of the subject will be only a faintish one.

Philadelphia is built upon a peninsula formed by two rivers, the
Delaware and the Schuylkill, having a long graduated rise from each, the
highest point being about the centre of the city. It is laid out in
squares, and the streets run in parallel lines of two and three miles in
length, retaining the same names throughout, only divided by
Market-street into north, and south: with the exception of this dividing
street, those running east and west are named after trees, flowers, and
fruits,--as chestnut, walnut, peach, &c.; and those parallel with the
rivers, first, Front-street, or that facing the water; next,
Second-street, third, fourth, fifth, &c. distinguished as, divided by
Market-street, into South-second, North-second, &c.; a simplicity of
arrangement which is unique, and renders the stranger's course an
exceeding easy one: all he has to do is, first, to run down the latitude
of his street by any of the great avenues, and, having fairly struck it,
steer north or south, as may be, till he hits upon the friendly number.

The side-walks throughout are broad and well-ordered, neatly paved with
brick, and generally bordered by rows of healthful trees of different
kinds, affording in hot weather a most welcome shade, and giving to the
houses an air of freshness and repose rarely to be met with in a
populous city.

The dwellings are chiefly of brick, of a good colour, very neatly
pointed; and nothing can be more tasteful than their fitting-up
externally. The windows are furnished with latticed shutters; these,
when not closed, fold back on either hand against the wall, and being
painted green, and kept with much care and freshness, would invest
humbler dwellings with an attractive air, especially in the eyes of an
Englishman, accustomed to the dingy aspect of our city residences, which
look as though the owners had resolved on making them as forbidding as
possible without, in order to enhance the excelling comforts within.

Now the houses of Philadelphia are as clean and neat in all the detail
of the exterior, as they are well-ordered and admirably furnished. The
mountings of the rails and doors are either of polished silver plating
or brass, and kept as bright as care can make them. The solid hall-door,
in hot weather, is superseded by one of green lattice-work, similar to
the window-shutters, which answers the purpose of keeping out every
intrusive stranger, except the air,--air being at such seasons, as most
strangers are at all times, especially welcome to Philadelphia, which is
about the hottest place I know of in the autumn; the halls are commonly
flagged with fine white marble, are spacious, lofty, and well fitted-up.

The houses average three stories, but in the best streets, those of the
first class are run up to five, and even six, and are of great depth:
indeed, I should say, the inhabitants of this city generally enjoy
greater space in their lodgings than is afforded to those of any other
large capital. Where population increases rapidly rents are necessarily
high; and a good house in Philadelphia costs about as much, independent
of taxation, as a dwelling of the same class in London.

Besides the great market, which gives its name to the dividing line of
the city, and runs through its whole breadth, there are several others,
less extensive perhaps, but all alike under cover, well adapted to the
purpose, and boasting a due proportion of the abundance of good things,
which, profusely displayed on all sides, give ready evidence of the
agricultural wealth of the neighbourhood.

Numbers of the best market-farmers for vegetables, poultry, butter, &c.
are Germans, who, although most earnest in enriching the country by
their labour, yet cling with strange tenacity to the customs and
language of "Fader-land." Their costume and manner yet continues as
distinct and recognizable as was the appearance of their progenitors on
landing here some eighty years back, for the colony from which they are
chiefly derived had existence about the middle of the eighteenth
century; and many of these men, yet speaking no word of English, are of
the third generation. They have German magistrates, an interpreter in
courts when they act as jurors, German newspapers, &c.; and are the
stoutest, if not the promptest, asserters of democracy.

They are usually found a little in arrear on the subject of all passing
events; and at election times, or on occasions of extraordinary stir,
when a man is striving to render them _au courant_ with late
occurrences, they will now and then interrupt their informant with, "Bud
why de teufel doesn't Vashington come down to de Nord and bud it all to

The public buildings are here of a more ambitious style of architecture
than any of the other cities can boast, and some of them are built in
exceeding good taste; but the one which had most interest in my eyes was
the old State-house, wherein the "Declaration of Independence" was
signed. The Senate-chamber is, I fancy, little changed since that
period; and contained, when I was last within it, models for various
public works: amongst others, several for a heroic statue of Washington,
about to be erected, somewhat late in the day to be sure, by the city;
others for the new college, now building, according to the will of the
late S. Girard, and intended to assist in perpetuating his name and
wealth to all posterity.

Such appears to have been the great object of the will of this worthy
citizen, and there is every prospect of its fully answering the purpose,
since it has already set the whole community by the ears, and promises
to prove as prolific of evils as the strong box of Miss Pandora, without
having even Hope at the bottom.

This man, who has been so much eulogized dead, seems, as well as I could
glean amongst his contemporaries, to have been anything but estimable in
his living character. He is universally described as having been tricky,
overreaching, and litigious in his dealings as a merchant; an unfeeling
relation, an exacting, ungrateful, and forgetful master; and a selfish,
cold-hearted man: unoccupied with any generous sympathy, public or
private, throughout a long life, devoted to one purpose with sleepless
energy, and to one purpose only--making and hoarding money; which,
living, he contrived, as far as in him lay, to render as little
beneficial to any as possible, and, dying, disposed of to his own
personal glorification, but to the vexation of the community, amongst
which he appeared to have lived unhonoured, and certainly died

I am aware that "de mortuis nil nisi bonum" has usually been applied to
cases similar to the above; "nil nisi _justem_" I think a sounder
reading where a man is held up as a public example, and deem that the
selection of a church or a college for a monument should not be
permitted to shield the base from animadversion, or call for honours to
the worthless.


So called were the houses at which I first acted here, situated in the
two fine streets bearing the same names.

The Walnut is a summer theatre, and the least fashionable; and here it
was my fortune to make my _début_ to the Philadelphians with good
success: a French company occupied at the same time the Chestnut, where,
after a seven nights' engagement at the other house, I succeeded them;
the proprietors being the same at both.

These houses are large, handsome buildings, marble-fronted, having ample
and well-arranged vomitories; and are not stuck into some obscure alley,
as most of our theatres are, but standing in the finest streets of the
city, and every way easy of approach: within, they are fitted up
plainly, but conveniently, and very cleanly and well kept. I prefer the
Chestnut, as smaller, and having a pit--as I think all pits ought to
be--nearly on a level with the front of the stage, instead of being sunk
deep below, looking, when filled, like a huge dark pool, covered with
upturned faces.

A crowded audience here presents as large a proportion of pretty,
attractive women as are anywhere to be seen; and the male part is
singularly respectable and attentive. Here again I must protest against
the charge of insensibility being laid at their doors; that is, as far
as my own feeling and experience goes.

If by applause, a constant clapping of palms or hammering of sticks is
only meant, interspersed with cries of "Bravo!" I admit they are
deficient; but if an evident anxiety to lose no word or look of the
artist, an evident abstraction from everything but the scene, with
demonstrations of admiration discriminating and well applied, may be
accepted as sufficient marks of approval, then has the actor no cause of

With the tragedian, who strains after what in stage parlance are called
_points_, and calculates on being interrupted by loud clapping before
the sense of the sentence be complete, or else wants breath to finish
it, a Philadelphian audience might prove a slippery dependence, since
they come evidently to hear the author as well as see the actor, and are
"attentive, that they may hear."

For myself, the unreserved laughter in which they indulged I found
abundant applause, and in well-filled houses the best assurance that
they were pleased. The company here was a very good one, and the pieces
as well gotten up as anywhere in the States.

I paid frequent visits to this charming city, and shall have occasion
again to refer to it. My first impressions are here set down, and
favourable as these were, a more intimate knowledge only served to
confirm them.



On Saturday morning, at 7 A.M. Sept. 28th, quitted Philadelphia; arrived
in New York at 2 P.M.; and transferring my baggage from the steamer on
the North River to the one about to depart for Providence, and whose
wharf lay upon the East River, I had a couple of hours' leisure, which I
employed in writing home, for the packet of the 1st of October; and at
five o'clock P.M. left the city, in the noblest steam-vessel I had yet

The view of Brooklyn, the Navy Yard, and this part of the harbour, is
very attractive from the point of departure; and the numerous little
steamers, actively plying to and fro at the various ferries, give an
unceasing air of bustle to the scene. I was greatly charmed by our sail
up this passage into the Sound dividing Long Island from the continent,
which it flanks and protects for a distance of one hundred miles.

The banks on either side do not vary a great deal in elevation, but are
of a slightly undulating character, beautifully wooded, and sprinkled
with the attractive-looking villas of the country. Mr. Cooper's graphic
description of Hurl-gate, in his novel of the "Red Rover," led me to
look out for it with an interest which the reality did not repay,
although the tide was in a favourable state. I confess, however, I think
that my imagination rather outran discretion than that the whirlpool
lacked grandeur: that it was not to be encountered without some peril we
had very good evidence; for, on a rocky islet to the southward of the
worst part of the fall, a large schooner lay hove up on her beam-ends,
with all her spars aloft and her sails half furled, as she had been
abandoned by her crew. Our pilot informed me that the accident had
occurred the day previous, and was by no means a rare example, the
downward passage at the last of the ebb requiring great care and

Our powerful engines forced the vessel through the dark eddies,
apparently without difficulty; and in a little while this long
looked-for wonder was forgotten.

I remained on deck until after midnight; for there was a bright moon and
a calm clear sky, and the Sound was sprinkled with craft of all kinds.

I must not omit to notice supper, or tea,--for it was both, and an
excellent meal it was,--served about eight o'clock upon two parallel
tables, which ran the whole length of the cabin, at least one hundred
and eighty feet; and to which sat down about one hundred persons of all
ranks,--the richest merchants, the most eminent statesmen, and the
humblest mechanic who chose to pay for a cabin fare, as most of these
persons who travel do. I was seated with an exceeding lady-like and
well-bred woman on my left hand, and on my right sat a man who, although
decently dressed, was evidently a working operative of the humblest
class; yet was there nothing in either his manner or appearance to annoy
the most refined female: he asked for what he wanted respectfully,
performed any little attention he could courteously, and evinced better
breeding and less selfishness than I have witnessed at some public
dinners at home, where the admission of such a person would have been
deemed derogatory.

I do not mean by this description to infer that a crowded table of this
kind is as agreeable as a party whose habits, education, and sympathies,
being on a level, render intercourse a matter of mutual pleasure: what I
would show is, that in this mingling of classes, which is inevitable in
travelling here, there is nothing to disgust or debase man or woman,
however exclusive; for it would really be impossible to feed a like
multitude, of any rank or country, with slighter breaches of decency or
decorum, or throw persons so wholly dissimilar together with less
personal inconvenience either to one class or another.

I had been accustomed to see this set down as one of the chief nuisances
of travelling in this country, and the consequences greatly exaggerated:
things must have improved rapidly; since, as far as I have hitherto
gone, I protest I prefer the steam-boat arrangements here to our own,
and would back them to be considered less objectionable by any candid
traveller who had fairly tested both.

During the night it blew fresh, and the vessel pitched a little, the
consequence of which movement was evident in the desertion of the upper
deck in the morning. I had noticed it, the evening previous, occupied by
sundry little groups reading or chatting, and with more than one couple
of merry promenaders: I now made its circuit, meeting with but one
adventurer, a lively-looking old gentleman, of whom I inquired where all
our passengers were vanished to.

"Most of them in bed yet," said the old gentleman, "or keeping out of
the way in one hole or another. If there's any wind or sea, you always
find the deck pretty clear till we get round Point Judith. Once let us
get to the other side that hill yonder, and you'll see the swarm begin
to muster pretty smart."

I had often heard "Point Judith" mentioned by the New-Yorkers, as the
Cockney voyager talks of Sea-reach, or the buoy at the Nore; and here it
was close under our lee,--a long, low point of land, with a lighthouse
upon it.

We soon after opened the entrance to the fine harbour of Newport, and,
as my informant predicted, the deck gradually recovered its population:
some came up because they felt, and others because they were told, we
had passed Point Judith.

It was about seven o'clock A.M. that we ran alongside the wharf at
Newport to land passengers. The appearance of the town, rising boldly
from the water's edge, was imposing enough; but trade, judging from the
deserted state of the wharves, is now inconsiderable, although formerly
of much importance.

After a delay of a quarter of an hour, we once more got under weigh; and
one of the chief advantages of a steamer is the ease and facility with
which this important movement is effected: nowhere is the management of
these immense bodies, in my thinking, so perfect: the commanding
position of the wheel, clear of all obstruction, and under the hand of
the pilot, whose finger also directs the machinery below, through the
medium of a few well-arranged bells,--the absence of all bawling and
shouting, and the being independent of transmitted directions, gives
these craft facilities which make their movements appear like

This system I found prevailing all through the States; and, as far as
possible, it would be well to adopt it here. The arrangement of the
wheel, or steering apparatus, if I remember rightly, was fully and
technically described by Captain Hall. I do not know whether it has in
any case been adopted; but if it were enforced upon our crowded rivers,
there would, I feel assured, be fewer accidents.

The fogs of the Sound, in this passage,--a highway as much travelled as
the Clyde,--and indeed on all the great American rivers, are only to be
paralleled by a London specimen about Christmas, in addition to the
former being more frequent; yet accidents arising from running foul are
of very rare occurrence, although the desire to drive along is yet
stronger than with ourselves.

The river up to Providence is of a breadth and character to command the
voyager's attention, but offers little in detail to repay him for it.
With the exception of the time devoted to breakfast, which a supply of
newly-caught fish, taken on board at Newport, rendered a positive treat
to me, I paced the upper deck, according to my custom, until we arrived
at Providence, a very thriving place, seated on a commanding ridge, and
already having, as viewed from the river, an air and aspect quite

Here we found a line of coaches drawn up upon the wharf, awaiting our
arrival. I had already secured a ticket for the Mail Pilot: and in a
few minutes the luggage was packed on; the passengers, four in number,
were packed in; and away we went, rolling and pitching, at the heels of
as likely a team of four dark bays as I would wish to sit behind. At our
first halt, I left the inside to the occupation of my companions,--a
handsome girl, with, "I guess," her lover, and a rough specimen of a
Western hunter or trader, who had already dubbed my younger companion
Captain and myself Major, and invited us both to "liquor with him." I
declined, but _the Captain_, to his evident satisfaction, frankly
accepted his offer; and whilst I mounted the box, and the horses were
changing, they entered the house together.

This is a courtesy the traveller to the South will find constantly
proffered to him by a class of honest souls, whose good-fellowship
sometimes exceeds their discretion; and I had been told it was not at
all times possible to decline the offer without risking insult. I
discovered by experience this to be one of the numerous imaginary
grievances conjured up to affright the innocent. In this, as in all
other points, I have never departed from my own habits; and although
often in remote parts of the Union strongly urged "to liquor," have
always found my declaration that it was a custom which disagreed with
me, an excuse admitted without hesitation or ill-humour.

In this, my first experiment, indeed, I had to deal with the most
punctilious specimen I ever afterwards encountered; for when, some two
hours after I had declined his request, I called for a glass of
lemonade, my friend popped his head out of the coach-window, calling out
with a most beseeching air--

"Well but, Major, I say; stop till I get out: you'll drink _that_ with
me any how, won't you?"

He was in the bar-room at my heels in a twinkling, and I need hardly say
we emptied our glasses together very cordially, although their contents
would, I fancy, in my friend's opinion, have assimilated best in a mixed
state; for, giving his _sling_ a knowing twist as I swallowed my
excellent lemonade, he observed:

"Now that's a liquor I never could bring myself to try nohow, though I'm
sometimes rather speculatin' in drink, when I'm travellin' or out on a
frolic. Poorish stuff, I calculate: but _you_ hav'nt got the dyspepsy,
have you, Major?"

I assured my friend that I was perfectly free from dyspepsia, and that
it was because I desired to continue so that I avoided any stronger
drink before dinner.

We were now summoned to our places, my companion declaring--

"It is past my logic how lemon and water can prevent dyspepsy better
than brandy and water;" adding, with a look half comic, half serious--

"But I suppose everybody will go for the Temperance-ticket soon, and I
shall be forced to clear out of all my spirits; for I never can drink by
myself, if I'm forced to take to the milk and water line for company."

Our road was a tolerably good one as roads go here, and the horses
excellent. We arrived in Boston about half-past three, having performed
forty miles in five hours, all stoppages included; and the whole
distance from Philadelphia, being three hundred and twenty miles, in
thirty-two hours and a half, including about three hours passed in New
York. Quick as this travelling is, they contemplate, when the railroad
to Providence shall be opened, by the aid of that and an improved
steam-boat, to deduct eight or nine hours from the time between this
and New York.

Alighting at the Tremont hotel, I found dinner over, as on Sunday they
accommodate the hour of dining to the time of church service: I was,
however, quickly provided with a good meal, which a keen breeze, a long
ride, and a long fast enabled me to do good justice to. In the
afternoon, _malgré_ a cutting east wind, which was anything but
agreeable after the hot weather I had been living in, I took a long walk
about the town, accompanied by an old friend of mine and a
constitutional grumbler, who yet joined with me in declaring that a
first impression of Boston could hardly fail pleasing any man who could
be pleased by a near view of a city, well and substantially built, as it
is undoubtedly nobly situated.


The approach to Boston, either by sea or land, gives to it an extremely
bold and picturesque character. It is spread over a series of lofty
heights, nearly insulated, and is surrounded by a marshy level running
from the highlands on the main, to which the city is united by a very
narrow isthmus to the southward.

The lofty dome of its State-house, and the numerous spires and towers of
its churches, rising between two and three hundred feet above the
surrounding level of either land or sea, combine to produce a _coup
d'oeil_ more imposing than is presented by either New York or

The streets of the city generally are narrow and irregular, following
the windings of the lofty hills over which it is spread, and having more
the air of an old English county-town than any place I have yet seen in
the country.

Its wharfs are spacious and well constructed, and it is not without
surprise that one views the evidently rapid growth of these best
evidences of prosperous commerce. I observed in my walks lines of
substantial granite-built warehouses and quays, newly redeemed from the
water: all were in occupation; tiers of vessels of every kind thronged
them; and the inner harbour was thick with masts.

The most modern quarter of the city lies to the west, surrounding the
park, or common, as it is termed,--an ancient reserve of some sixty
acres, the property of the citizens, beautifully situated and tastefully
laid out. It is bordered on the lower side by a mall of
venerable-looking elms; has a pretty pond of water under a rising ground
near its centre, the remains of an English fort; and open to the front
is the Charles River.

On three sides, this common is flanked by very fine streets, having
houses of the largest class, well built, and kept with a right English
spirit as far as regards the scrupulous cleanliness of the entrances,
areas, and windows. The English are a window-cleaning race, and nowhere
have I observed this habit so closely inherited as here. Overlooking
this common, too, is the State-house; and, on a line with it, the
mansion of its patriot founder, Mr. Hancock, a venerable stone-built
edifice, raised upon a terrace withdrawn a few yards from the line of
the present street. The generous character of its first owner has made
this house an object of great interest, and it is to be hoped the
citizens will look carefully to its preservation as a worthy fellow to
Fanieul Hall, for by no one was the "cradle of Liberty"[3] more
carefully tended than by the owner of "Hancock House."

Here, as in the other great cities of the Union, upon a close survey, I
found the prevailing impression on my mind to be surprise at the
apparent rapidity of increase made manifest in the great number of
buildings either just completed or in progress. If the possession of
inexhaustible supplies of the finest granite, marble, and all other
material, be accompanied with taste and spirit in their use, the future
buildings of this city will have an air of grandeur and stability
superior to those of any other in the States.

To reach the surrounding country in any direction from the peninsula
the city occupies, one of its great bridges must be crossed. Of these
there are six, besides the Western Avenue as it is called, a dam of vast
extent; and they form the peculiarities of this place, to a stranger,
most curious, and, in truth, most pleasing. By day, they form agreeable
walks or rides, offering a variety of charming views; and, if crossed on
a dark night, when their interminable lines of lamps are beheld
radiating, as it were, from one centre, and multiplied by reflection on
the surrounding waters, the effect is perfectly magical. The stars show
dimly in comparison: and casting your eyes downward, it appears as
though you beheld another and a brighter sky glittering beneath your

The great dam rises about five feet above the tide, is provided with
enormous flood-gates, and in length is something over a mile and a half.
The length of the other bridges varies from two thousand five hundred to
one thousand four hundred feet.

Crossing at any one of these points, you gain the open heights upon the
main. Here you are first struck by the aspect of the soil, everywhere
having huge masses of dark rock protruded above its surface. The
country is said to be poor: of this I cannot judge, but I know it to be
beautiful. It is everywhere undulating, and often broken in the wildest
and most tropical manner. Like the interior of Herefordshire, it is cut
up in all directions by rural lanes, bordered by stone walls and high
hedges, and dotted thickly with handsome houses, whose verandahs of
bright green, and whitened walls, show well amidst the luxuriant foliage
by which they are commonly surrounded.

About five miles from the city are a couple of delightful pieces of
water, called Jamaica and Fresh-ponds; each bordered by wood, lawn, and
meadow, naturally disposed in the most attractive manner. At the
last-named pond,--which sounds unworthily on my ear when applied to a
piece of water covering a surface of two hundred and fifty acres,--I
passed an afternoon during the period of my first visit here.

We sailed about, exploring every harbour of the little sea, caught our
fish for dinner, and by the hotel were furnished with a well-broiled
chicken and a good glass of champagne, with ice worthy of being
dissolved in such liquor. I fell premeditatedly in love with the place;
and D----, who was on the look-out for a location, and something hard
to please withal, had already selected a site for building: but, alas!
even Paradise, before the mission of St. Patrick, had serpents; and the
delightful copses and rich meadows of Fresh-pond are, it appears, the
haunts especially favoured by the incarnation of all Egyptian plagues,

During the winter this is a great resort of the lovers of _bandy_ and
_skating_; and from this ample reservoir is taken that transparent ice
which gladdens the eyes and cools the throat of the dust-dried traveller
throughout this part of the State. Nor is its grateful service confined
to these limits; for cargoes of it are, during the spring, regularly
shipped to the Havannah, New Orleans, Mobile, &c.; and,--for where will
enterprise find limits?--this very season has a shipment of three
hundred tons of the congealed waters of this pond of Massachusetts been
consigned to Calcutta. Ice floating on the Ganges! How old Gunga will
shiver and shake his ears when the first crystal offering is dropped on
his hot bosom!

Wild as the idea may at first appear of keeping such a commodity for a
voyage of probably a hundred days in such latitudes, I am informed the
speculator is assured, that with an ordinary run, enough of his cargo
may be landed to pay a good freight.[4]

Near to this pond lies another favourite spot of mine, "Mount Auburn;" a
tract of woodland, bordering on Charles River, appropriated and
consecrated as a cemetery, on the plan of "Pere la Chaise," but having
natural attributes for such a purpose infinitely superior. It is covered
by a thick growth of the finest forest-trees, of singular variety; and
presents a surface, now gently undulating in hill and dale, now broken
into deep ravines, or towered over by bold rocky elevations; and,
intersecting the whole space from north to south, runs a natural
terrace, having a surface so well and evenly levelled that one almost
doubts its being other than the work of art.

It takes its name from a lofty eminence, which, rising high over the
surrounding level, commands as fine a view as any spot in the vicinity.
Winding and well-kept avenues intersect the ground in all directions,
giving it an appearance of much greater extent than it in reality
possesses, and rendering the most secluded spot easy of access to those
who desire to

     "Choose their ground,
     And take their rest."

The ostentatious mausoleum may be placed by a broad carriage avenue,
where its hollow walls will reverberate to every passing triumph of the
tomb; the quiet and the lowly can build their humbler dwelling in some
secluded nook, bordered by a narrow path the foot of affection alone
will seek to tread, and where no heavier sound will ever echo!

The perpetual right of sepulture may be purchased of the company whose
property the place is; and already a number of monuments, in marble and
granite, betoken the favour with which this place of "everlasting rest"
is viewed. Most of these monuments are of a simple, unassuming
character, and some of them gracefully appropriate.

A wooden fence encircles the cemetery, and a lofty gateway leads into
it, of Egyptian fashion, but of the like American material, which, it is
to be presumed, will speedily be superseded by suitable erections of
the fine dark granite found here in abundance.

This spot, if presided over by anything like taste, must become, in a
very few years, one of the places one might reasonably make a pilgrimage
to look upon; so lavish has Nature been in its adornment, and so
admirably are its accessories fitted to its present purpose.

Boston and its neighbourhood possess, in the eyes of a British subject,
a number of sites of singular historical interest.

On Hancock's Wharf that tea-party was held which cost Britain ten
millions of gold, and reft from the empire one quarter of the globe. The
lines of the American army at Cambridge are still to be readily traced
throughout their whole extent; the forts at the extremities, north and
south, are yet perfect in form as when designed by the engineer.

Across the peninsula, to the west of the isthmus, may be traced the
British lines and the broad deep fosse which, filled by the tide,
insulated the city these were projected to defend: their remains testify
to the care and labour bestowed upon their completion.

Bunker's Hill and the Breeds, where the first determined stand was made
against the British army, is commanded from the steeples and many
house-tops of the city.

If the defenders of these miserable lines knew that they were observed
by their kindred on this day, they took, at least, especial care that
the lookers-on should have no cause to blush for their lack of manhood.
Under cover of a hastily thrown-up breastwork, of which no trace
remains, did those hardy yeomen abide and repulse several assaults of a
regular and well-officered force; nor was it until their last charge of
ammunition was delivered that they turned from the defences their
courage alone had made good. The result proved how few charges of theirs
were flung away; these men knew the value of their ammunition, they were
excellent shots, and the word was constantly passed amongst them to
"take sure aim."

On Bunker's Hill a national monument is in progress, which, when
completed, will form an obelisk of fine granite, according to the
published plan, thirty feet square at the base, two hundred and twenty
feet high, and fifteen feet square at the summit. After considerable
progress had been made in this most durable memorial, the funds ran out
and the work stood still; however, the reproach of its remaining
unfinished is now likely to be speedily removed, for during this last
year, I believe, the necessary sum has been raised, and the national
monument of Massachusetts put _en train_ for completion.

Below this celebrated hill lies one of the most complete and extensive
navy-yards in the States. At the period of my visit its dry dock was
occupied by a pet ship of the American navy, "the Constitution," or, as
this fine frigate is familiarly called, "Old Ironsides." She was
stripped down to her kelson outside and in, for the purpose of
undergoing a repair that will make her, to all intents, a new ship.

She is what would now be called a small frigate, but one of the
prettiest models possible as high as the bends; above, she tumbles in a
little too much to please the eye. Nor did her gun-deck appear to me
particularly roomy for her burthen.

She was logged nearly eleven feet during the whole of the period she was
last afloat, yet is said to have sailed faster than anything she met;
this defect the builders have now remedied, and expect that, on a
straight keel, she will prove the fastest ship afloat.

I also went on board a seventy-four, employed as a receiving ship; "a
whapper! of her size," low between decks, but with a floor like a barn,
and the greatest beam I ever saw in a two-decker. Here were also on the
stocks a three and a two decker, both to be rated as seventy-fours; the
latter a model of beauty.

From the roof of the house covering this ship I enjoyed the finest
panoramic view imaginable. Boston, its long bridges, and the great dam
connecting the blue hills of the main with the peninsulas of Boston, and
that on which the populous village of Charleston stands, all lay beneath
the eye on the land side; whilst looking seaward, the inner and outer
harbours, together with their numerous islands, stretched away far
beyond the ken; and, were these islands only wooded, no harbour in the
world would excel this in beauty: at present, though grand, from its
great extent it looks bleak and naked, so completely have the islands
and the surrounding heights been denuded of wood.

I like this view better than either the one from the dome of the
State-house or that from the summit of Mount Auburn: a few glances from
this point affords one a good practical notion both of the city and the
populous environs, which may be said to form a part of it, besides being
in itself a varied and beautiful picture, viewed, as I first saw it, on
the afternoon of a calm clear day.


[3] Fanieul Hall, so called, the old Town Hall,--a spot dedicated by the
Bostonians to the recollections of their country's first struggle for
independence, and greatly venerated.

[4] This calculation was more than realised, the loss not exceeding
one-fourth on the whole cargo shipped. The grateful epicures of Calcutta
made an offering of a splendid cup to the merchant, in return for his
spirited speculation, which I believe he has this year (1835) repeated.


Whilst here, I visited the state-prison, the first I had seen where the
Auburn system is pursued; that is, solitary night-cells, silence, and
labour in gangs. The building itself is a fine one, having nearly four
hundred cells, enclosed within external walls, round which run galleries
that command a view of the interior of every cell without disturbing or
annoying the confined; the whole covered by a common roof of the
strongest kind, lighted and ventilated in the best manner.

The merits of this plan will be fairly set forth long before this trifle
meets the public eye, a commission being now in progress throughout
these States for the purpose of relieving England from the stigma of
having no means of employment in her prisons less brutalizing than the

I here saw about two hundred convicts actively employed at various
trades, preparing granite for building, doing smiths' work, making
shoes, brushes, &c.; all very clean, but certainly not looking very

A single overseer went the rounds of each building or department, and
kept the hive in motion, without a word spoken, unless in reference to
the task in hand. Whilst passing through the masons' shed, I noticed two
persons make inquiries of the superintendent: their questions were to
the point, given in few words, but with an air perfectly free and
unrestrained, and were replied to in the like manner.

Upon the value of this system as a preventive of crime, according to my
view of human nature, I may be allowed to express a doubt, as well as of
its applicability to the condition of Great Britain; but viewing it in
the abstract, without such reference, I confess no philanthropic object
ever struck me as so completely illustrative of the principles of true
benevolence. This was, in fact, returning good for evil, in the most
Christian sense of the word; "chastening as a father chasteneth." It
would appear that a convict must be unnaturally hardened not to quit
this abode a better man. Let him arrive here, however outcast, vile,
ignorant, knowing no honest calling, broken in health and savage in
spirit, here he will find teachers, masters, physicians, all provided
for him by the community whose laws he has violated. His spirit is
soothed, his health is recruited, his ignorance enlightened: he is made
master of a sufficient calling; and, when restored to society, is able
to contrast the value of the meal earned by the honest sweat of his brow
with the bitter fruit of idleness and crime.

Such is the result contemplated by the benevolent promoters of the
prison system of this country, which everywhere has societies of
voluntary philanthropists who watch over and study to improve it. One is
ashamed, after this, to avow a doubt of its success in practice, since
it almost amounts to an admission that man is indeed the brute our
European legislators appear to think him.

The subject is, at least, one that demands from England a rigid inquiry,
when we call to mind what a den of debasement, what a sink of soul and
body, a prison yet is amongst the most civilized and humane people in
the world.


My last, though not least, lion of Boston is the "Tremont House," which
being, in my opinion, the very best of the best class of large hotels in
the Union, I shall select as a specimen.

With externals I have little to do, although the architecture of this
fine building might well claim a particular description: its frontage is
nearly two hundred feet, with two wings about one hundred each in depth:
it is three stories high in front above the basement, and the wings are
each of four stories: the number of rooms, its proprietor informed me,
amount to two hundred, independent of kitchens, cellars, and other
offices: it contains hot and cold baths, and is, in fact, wanting in
nothing essential to the character of a well-contrived hotel.

The curious part of the affair, however, to a European, and more
especially to an Englishman, is the internal arrangement of such a huge
institution, the machinery by which it is so well and so quietly

Let the reader reflect, that here are two public tables daily, one for
men resident in the house, together with many gentlemen of the city, who
regularly dine here; the other for ladies, or families who have not
private apartments: of the latter there are a dozen, consisting of two
or more chambers attached to each parlour; these are seldom unoccupied,
and have also to be provided for: add to all this an occasional dinner
or supper to large public parties, and he will then be enabled to
appreciate the difficulties and do justice to the system which works as
I shall presently describe.

At half-past seven A.M. the crash of a gong rattles through the remotest
galleries, to rouse the sleepers: this you may hear or not, just as you
choose; but sound it does, and loudly. Again, at eight, it proclaims
breakfast on the public tables: as I never made my appearance at this
meal, I cannot be expected to tell how it may be attended. The lover of
a late _déjeûner_ may either order his servant to provide one in his own
room, or at any hour, up to noon, direct it to be served in the common
hall: it will, in either case, consist of whatever he may desire that is
in the house.

At three o'clock, dinner is served in a well-proportioned, well-lighted
room, seventy feet long by thirty-one wide, occupied by two parallel
tables, perfectly appointed, and provided with every delicacy of the
season, well dressed and in great abundance,--the French cooking the
best in the country,--this _par parenthèse_. Meantime, the attendance is
very sufficient for a man not in a "devouring rage," and the wines of
every kind really unexceptionable to any reasonable _gourmet_.

At this same hour, let it be borne in mind, the same play is playing in
what is called the ladies' dining-room, where they sit surrounded by
their husbands, fathers, brothers, or lovers, as may be; and surely
having no meaner table-service. As for the possessors of an apartment,
these persons order dinner for as many as they please, at what hour they
please, and in what style they please, the which is duly provided in
their respective parlours.

In the public rooms tea is served at six, and supper at nine o'clock; it
being yet a marvel to me, first, how all these elaborate meals are so
admirably got up, and next, how the plague these good people find
appetite to come to time with a regularity no less surprising.

It was a constant subject of no little amusement to me to observe a few
of the knowing hands hanging about, as feeding-time drew near, their
ears on the prick and their eyes on the door, which is thrown open at
the first bellow of the gong.

As to the indecent pushing and driving, so amusingly described by some
travellers, I never saw a symptom of it in any hotel I visited
throughout the country: on the contrary, the absence of extraordinary
bustle and confusion, where such numbers have to be provided for, is not
the least striking part of the affair; and only to be accounted for by
supposing that the habit of living thus together, and being in some sort
accountable to one another, renders individuals more considerate and
courteous than they can afford to be when congregated to feed amongst

I confess that, at first, a dinner of a hundred, or a hundred and fifty
persons, on a hot day, alarmed me; but, the strangeness got over, I
rather liked this mode of living, and, as a stranger in a new country,
would certainly prefer it to the solitary mum-chance dinner of a

By eleven o'clock at night the hive is hushed, and the house as quiet as
any well-ordered citizen's proper dwelling. The servants in this
establishment were all Irish lads; and a civiller or better-conducted
set of boys, as far as the guests were concerned, I never saw, or would
desire to be waited on by. The bar was also well conducted, under the
care of an obliging and very active person; and the proprietor, Mr.
Boydon, or his father, constantly on the spot, both most active in all
matters conducive to the ease and comfort of the visitors.

This city abounds in charitable institutions, and nowhere have more
princely contributions been made for philanthropic purposes,--witness
the recent gift of Colonel Perkins of a mansion, valued at thirty
thousand dollars, as a permanent asylum for the blind; one of those
institutions most interesting in themselves, and which confer dignity
and honour upon the age and upon human nature.

The Bostonians are said to be proud of their literary character, and
boast a number of societies whose object it is to justify their claim to
this honourable distinction. The only one I can speak of from personal
observation is the Athenæum, an excellently-supplied reading-room;
having attached to it a library of thirty thousand volumes, a valuable
collection of coins and medals, a gallery for the exhibition of
pictures, and lecture-rooms well furnished with the necessary apparatus
for philosophical and practical illustration.

This institution is provided for by subscription: the principal portion
of the mansion it occupies being the free gift of the same open hand
which so munificently endowed the asylum for the blind.

The private literary society here is said to be very superior to that of
any other city of the States, and by no means small. Of society so
called I nothing know, never having had the honour of being admitted of
the community, or indeed having made any attempts upon their proper
realm beyond an occasional rude foray on the border, uncontinued, and
consequently little noted.

Private intercourse is gay and agreeable, and less restrained by the
exclusive pretension to dress and fashion which prevails in society both
at New York and Philadelphia; whilst, if attractive women are less
numerous here than in those cities, beauty is by no means rare; indeed
Boston boasts of one family whose personal attractions might serve to
sustain the pretensions of a larger population.


In the same street, and immediately opposite the great hotel, is the
Tremont Theatre, certainly the most elegant exterior in the country, and
with a very well-proportioned, but not well-arranged _salle_, or
audience part.

I commenced here on Monday the 30th of September, three days after
closing at Philadelphia, to a well-filled house, composed, however,
chiefly of men, as on my _début_ at New York. My welcome was cordial and
kind in the extreme; but the audience, although attentive, appeared
exceedingly cold. On a first night I did not heed this much, especially
as report assured me they were very well pleased; but throughout the
week this coldness appeared to me to increase rather than diminish, and
so much was I affected by it, that, notwithstanding the houses were very
good, I, on the last day of my first engagement of six nights, declined
positively to renew it, as was the custom in such cases, and as, in
fact, the manager and myself had contemplated: on this night, however,
the aspect of affairs brightened up amazingly; the house was crowded; a
brilliant show of ladies graced the boxes; the performances were a
repetition of two pieces which had been previously acted, and from first
to last the mirth was electric; the good people appeared, by common
consent, to abandon themselves to the fun of the scene, and laughed _à
gorge deployée_. At the fall of the curtain, after, in obedience to the
call of the house, I had made my bow, the manager announced my
re-engagement; and from this night forth I never met a merrier or a
pleasanter audience.

It was quite in accordance with the character ascribed to the
New-Englanders that they should coolly and thoroughly examine and
understand the novelty presented for their judgment, and that, being
satisfied and pleased, they should no longer set limits to the
demonstration of their feelings.

In matters of graver import they have always evinced the like deliberate
judgment and apparent coldness of bearing; but beneath this prudential
outward veil they have feelings capable of the highest degree of
excitement and the most enduring enthusiasm.

I do not agree with those who describe the Yankee as a naturally
cold-blooded, selfish being. From both the creed and the sumptuary
regulations of the rigid moral censors from whom they sprung, they have
inherited the practice of a close self-observance and a strict attention
to conventional form, which gives a frigid restraint to their air that
nevertheless does not sink far beneath the surface.

A densely-populated and ungrateful soil has kept alive and quickened
their natural gifts of intelligence and enterprise, whilst the shifts
poverty imposes upon young adventure may possibly at times have impelled
prudence to degenerate into cunning. But look at their history as a
community; they have been found ever ready to make the most generous
sacrifices for the commonwealth. In their domestic relations they are
proverbial as the kindest husbands and most indulgent fathers; whilst as
friends they are found to be, if reasonably wary, at least steadfast,
and to be relied on to the uttermost of their professions.

I can readily understand a stranger, having any share of sensibility,
not liking a people whose observances are so peculiar and so decidedly
marked; but I do think it impossible for an impartial person to spend
any time in the country, or have any close intercourse with the
community, without learning to respect and admire them, _malgré_ their
calculating prudence, and the many prejudices inseparable from a system
of education even to this day sufficiently narrow and sectarian.

As far as my personal experience is worthy of consideration, I must
declare that some of the kindest, gentlest, and most hospitable friends
I had, and, I trust I may add, have, in the Union, were natives of
New-England, or, as they say here, "real Yankee, born and raised within
sight of the State-house of Bosting."


_Oct. 20th, New York._--Began my second engagement here,--the weather
divine. Procured a very good hack at Tattersal's, and daily "skir the
country round." The environs of this city possess more variety of
scenery than one would suppose from a cursory glance at the country,
which appears tame and unbroken. The river views are most attractive to

Rode to the race-course on Long Island, this being the period of the
"Fall Meeting," as it is termed. The assemblage thin on the first
day--Appointments of the negro jockeys more picturesque than
race-like,--ill-fitted jackets, trousers dirty, and loose, or
stocking-net pantaloons ditto, but tight, with Wellingtons over or
under, according to the taste of the rider; or shoes without stockings,
or stockings without shoes, as weight may be required or rejected. They
sit well forward on to the withers of the horses; do not seem over
steady in their saddles, but cling like monkeys, their whole
sleight-of-hand appears to consist of a dead pull; and their mode of
running, with their time for lying back or making play, seems to be
entirely governed by their masters, who, on a mile-course, they must
frequently pass in heats, and who appear ever on the alert to direct

After the running, which was indifferent, went to see "Paul Pry," a
trotting-horse of Mr. M'Leod's, now in training to do a match of
eighteen miles in the hour.[5] With the exception of a few scratches on
one of his legs, he looked in slapping order; a powerful grey horse,
just sixteen hands, with a fine countenance, and appearing to be nearly,
if not quite, thorough-bred.

_Second day._--Witnessed a good race, which a little mare, called
Trifle, won in two four-mile heats. She had, on a former occasion, run
four heats, or twenty miles, over the central course at Baltimore, and
was beaten by one of her present competitors, a fine mare called Black
Maria. Trifle is very little, but powerfully put together, and
exceedingly handsome; her only drawback being a pair of mulish-looking
ears. She has uncommon speed, and is one of the steadiest and smoothest
gallopers I ever saw go over turf.

I, at the start, took a great fancy to the little pet, and backed her
even against the other two horses for a dozen of gloves with my friend
Mr. C----n. By the close of the second heat our bet had increased
ninefold,--Next morning received a box containing nine dozen of French
gloves. It will be my duty henceforth to back Trifle.

_October 29th._--The city yet crowded with strangers; every hotel full.

Find out that I am No. 1. in this enormous house; the first time I ever
could boast such an honour, and now am by no means certain that it is
worth the labour it imposes, since it leads me a dance to the third
story: however, it is an excellent room, very large, and removed from
the bustle below; the sound of the dustman-like bell, which calls the
house to meals, barely reaches my ear. I often catch myself parodying
poor Maturin's lines, which I have applied to this unpoetical grievance,
and concluded most impotently--

     ----"Bell echoes bell,
     Meal follows meal,
     Till the ear aches for the last welcome summons
     That tolls an end to the day's cookery."

At this time there cannot be far short of one hundred and fifty persons
dining daily in the public room: did I desire to dine at it, however,
the hospitality of my friends I find would render this impracticable.

_November 3rd._--Dined at Harlaem, a pretty village eight miles from the
city, but daily drawing closer to it. Here a certain Mrs. Bradshaw fries
chickens in a _sauce tartarre_, to the which could pen of mine do
justice, "I guess" I know folk "our side" the water who would be
stealing across to Harlaem some fine day to dine. We had tarapins too,
of whose excellence most unfortunates in Europe, happily for their poor
wives and innocent children, are ignorant.

On our way home halted at Cato's, and discussed the comparative merits
of hail-storm and julep, demonstrating our arguments by the practical
experiments of this distinguished spirituous professor.

The day deliciously genial, and the night like a fine harvest-moon at
home. Of a verity this American autumn, or fall, as they call it, is a
most delicate season.

_Friday, 8th._--Up with the lark, and, accompanied by Captain D----n,
got on board the steamer for Philadelphia, _viâ_ Amboy.

The morning was clear, with a warm sun just tempered by a breeze balmy
and soft: the packet was crowded, and our passage across the harbour a
pleasure to remember. We were soon, however, to have all the happy
recollections of this journey miserably blotted out by one of the most
fearful accidents I ever beheld.

At Amboy we took the railroad; and every one was delighted to find that
the locomotives were now in operation, anticipating a quick and pleasant
ride to Bordentown. For a time all went well: various surmises were made
as to our rate; some calculated it at twenty miles in the hour; D----n
and the Belgian minister, Baron de B----r, were disputing the point,
watch in hand, when an alarm was given from the rear: our attention was
quickly arrested by loud cries to "stop the engine," coming from the
windows of every carriage in the train.

On the halt being accomplished, the carriages were deserted in a moment;
for it was discovered that one of those in the rear had been overturned
in consequence of the axle breaking,--its occupants' fate as yet

I was soon on the spot, and what a scene was here to witness! Out of
twenty-four persons only one had escaped unhurt. One man was dead,
another dying, and five others had fractures, more or less serious; a
couple of ladies (sisters) dreadfully wounded; the children of one of
them, two little girls, with broken limbs.

Never were sufferers more patient; one of them was a surgeon, a fine
young fellow, who immediately set about doing the best his skill could
accomplish for those most desperately hurt. D----n and I volunteered as
his assistants; and with such splints as the shattered panels of the
carriage supplied, the fractured limbs were bound up.

It was a melancholy task; but this gallant fellow stuck to it until he
saw such of his patients as it was possible to remove disposed of in one
of the baggage-cars, emptied for this purpose. I had, in the course of
his task, frequently observed him pause, as though either faint, or
finding some difficulty in the act of stooping, which was constantly
required; but it was not until he had seen the last of his
fellow-sufferers disposed of to his best ability that he examined his
own condition, when it was discovered that two of his ribs were broken.

It was full three hours before the wounded could be removed from the
sandy bank on which they had been stretched; and it was an afflicting
thing to see them lying here, bloody and disfigured, exposed to the
glare of a hot sun, without the possibility of procuring them shelter;
for we were some miles from the nearest village when the accident

The ex-president, Mr. Quincy Adams, was in the carriage immediately
attached to the one overturned: by his direction an inquest was held
upon the deceased before we departed; and, this being concluded, the
train once more moved forward, but with a character mournfully altered
since our first departure.

We found the steam-boat yet in waiting at Bordentown; and, bearing with
us those of the wounded who could proceed so far, we reached
Philadelphia at a late hour in the afternoon, with such a freight as I
trust may never again visit its wharves.

_Saturday._--Called to inquire after such of our wounded
fellow-passengers as we could trace. The lady so severely hurt
pronounced out of all danger; and her dear baby still living, with hopes
of saving it. A man with numerous fractures, who had been left behind,
report says, is relieved by death from all farther suffering.

This is the first serious accident that has occurred upon this line,
which appears to be most carefully conducted; one of the active
proprietors or more--the Messrs. Stevens, men of great prudence and
practical skill--being constantly upon the road, and personally
supervising every department connected with both boats and railway.

_Sunday, 10th._--At six A.M. departed for Baltimore, _viâ_ the Delaware
and Newcastle railroad: the day was cloudless, and as warm as it is in
England in June. I often, on these bright days, think of my good folk in
Kent,--clouds and fog without, and sea-coal fire within: no bad
substitute for a sun, by the way, after all; especially after one has
had a sniff of the anthracite coal used in the close stoves here, an
atmosphere which dread of freezing only could reconcile me to.


[5] Which he shortly after won with ease, and was backed on the ground
to perform nineteen, and twenty. No takers.


The day upon which I first approached this city would have given a charm
even to desolation. It was on the tenth of November; the air elastic,
but bland as on a fine June morning at home; the temperature was about
the same too, but attended with a clearness of atmosphere in all
quarters that seldom falls out within our islands.

The passage down the Elk river is quite beautiful: the shores on either
hand are bold and undulating; the country finely wooded; the banks
indented by numerous bays and inlets, whose jutting capes so intersect
each other that in several reaches the voyager is, as it were,
completely land-locked, and might imagine himself coasting about some
pretty lake.

We neared the well-closed harbour amidst a fleet of some hundred and
fifty sail, of all sizes and of every variety of rig, from the simple
two-sailed heavy sloop to that perfection of naval architecture, the
Clipper schooner of Baltimore, with her long tapering masts raking over
her taffrail, and her symmetrical hull fairly leaping out of water, as
though she moved from wave to wave by a succession of graceful bounds
rather than held her course by cleaving a pathway through them, as did
her more cumbrous fellows.

The eye was charmed and the heart elevated by these unequivocal
evidences of thriving commerce sweeping towards the city; which rises
gradually, as it spreads over the face of the irregular hill it
occupies. Several domes of considerable magnitude, a tall column or two,
with various towers and spires, rendered conspicuous from the nature of
the site, invest it with an air of much importance, and have gained for
it the title of the City of Monuments.

The main street, like that of Boston, has very much the look of an
English county-town; and the air of the shops is wholly English. I
wandered about here guided by curiosity and caprice,--the only cicerone
I ever desire,--and saw most things worthy note. I attended service at
the cathedral, where I heard mass admirably performed, for in this
choir are several voices of a very high order.

The interior of the church is good; the altar most worthily fitted up;
and the general effect would be imposing were it not marred by the
introduction of regular lines of exceedingly comfortable but most
uncatholic-looking pews, with the which, I confess, I felt so vexed,
that I could have found in my heart, Heaven pardon me! to have wished
them fairly floating in the bay, only for the delicate creatures who sat
within them, on whose transparent brows and soft dark eyes it was
impossible to look and breathe a wish or harbour a thought of evil.

I next mounted the Washington column, as it is called, and beheld a
sunset from its top that would have well recompensed a poet or painter
for a journey over "the broa-a-d At-álantic," as poor Incledon used to
emphasize it.

This is a noble column and splendidly put together, of workmanship and
material calculated to endure,--lasting, unimpeachable by time or
change, as is the fame of the patriot to whose virtues it is well
inscribed; but the statue itself is bad, ineffective, and in no
situation or distance I could discover at all like the great original,
whose personal characteristics were nevertheless striking, and well
adapted for the artist.

The inverted bee-hive too, which is overturned on the head of the
capital, for the purpose, as it were, of hoisting the figure a little
higher, is in bad taste, and detracts from the plainness of the column,
which, if divested of both bee-hive and figure, would be an object
worthy to commemorate the citizen Washington, in whose character
simplicity gave lustre to the grandeur with which it was happily
blended; softening and chastening it, and making him, even in the
sternest times, more loved than feared.

I rode hard for a few hours to the north and west of the city,
accompanied by a Scotch friend; in the course of which ride we dived
down some wooded glens, and crossed some rock-strewn brooks, that called
to his memory the brawling waters of his own rugged land,--so
constantly, at all times and in all places, is the wanderer's mind
prepared to veer homeward.

I have sometimes smiled at the total absence of similarity between the
distant original and the subject that has served to challenge
comparison. In this case, however, there was, in my mind, good ground
enough for the recollection: at one spot, in particular, we broke from
a thickly-wooded hill side that we had for some time been blindly
threading, and found ourselves just over a clear pebbled stream, skirted
on the opposite bank by a fair fresh meadow, itself bounded again by a
wooded height yet more stony and steep than that by which we sought to
descend: on our right, in an angle of the meadow, stood a farmhouse,
roughly built of grey-stone and lime, surrounded by numerous offices;
and, lower down the brook, a mill of similar character.

After a long look upon this pretty sequestered spot, we descended to the
bed of the stream, and found a railroad already skirting its course.

Passing the mill by a bridle-path, we here saw the bed of our little
brook, fallen far beneath, tossing, raging, and whirling its way amongst
great masses, and tumbling over the rocky ledges dividing smooth beds of
close black gneiss. Yet a little lower, we struck a road leading over a
bridge, by which we re-crossed the now important current; and hence the
upward view was as glen-like, gloomy, and wild as Scottish imagination
could desire.



_Monday, 11th._--Find other Richmonds in the field, the Kembles being
announced also, for to-night, at the Holiday Theatre, under the
management of Mr. De Camp: I occupying "Front Street," with what is
termed the regular Baltimore company. My front will prove in the rear, I

This _untoward_ meeting was purely accidental; a thing not desired or
premeditated by either party: my interest and inclination making it
desirable that I should give these attractive objects to the rest of the
world, what sailors term, "a wide berth." Shame that I should say so,
and a lady concerned too!

_The Front Street._--A huge theatre, nearly as large as Covent-Garden.
At night, I found there was indeed ample space "and verge enough." My
clients, however, were uproariously merry, and made up for half an
audience by bestowing upon the performance a double allowance of

_Tuesday, 12th_--At 'em again!--"the Holiday" against "the Front!" I
have discovered that the _people_ are with _us_; "the Holiday" being
considered the aristocratic house, and "the Front," being, indeed, the
work of an opposition composed of the sturdy democracy of the good city.

The manager says that last night our side was taken by surprise, but
that now our forces are afoot. The worst of my case is, that I am
compelled, _mal-gré bon-gré_, to laugh at my "beggarly account of empty
boxes:" my tragic rivals may, at least, have the satisfaction of
lowering upon their empty pit. But the _people_ are for us, consequently
the right is with us; _ergo_, we must prevail.

_Eight o'clock_ P.M.--A narrower selvage round the vast area of our
_parterre_. "Front Street" for ever!

_Wednesday, 12th._--I, this night at least, had the satisfaction of
seeing my antagonists; for in the side-box I spied Messrs. Kemble and De
Camp laughing to my teeth. I would have forgiven this, and joined with
the wags, had my forces been assembled; but the musters on our side I
find are not yet quite complete.

_Tuesday, 18th._--The struggle continued until yesterday without either
party being able to claim an absolute victory; nor is it for me now to
record a triumph, since I left the allies yet camping on the field,
whilst on their part they must at least admit that I marched off with
all the honours of war.

This day returned to Philadelphia--weather yet unbroken. Reached Mr.
Head's in time to come in with the dinner.

_Wednesday, Nov. 20th._--Took a long walk round the city; the weather
fine. About midday Chestnut-street assumed quite a lively and very
attractive appearance, for it was filled with shopping-parties of
well-dressed women, and presented a sprinkling of carriages neatly
appointed and exceedingly well horsed.

Satisfied that I am correct in my judgment, when I assert that this
population has the happiness to possess an unusual share of handsome
girls. They walk with a freer air and more elastic step than their fair
rivals of New York; have clear brunette complexions, and eyes of great

The theatre very full, and the dress-boxes containing a large
proportion of ladies.

_21st._--On horseback early; crossed the Schuylkill, over the Manayunk
bridge, and back by the right bank of the river. The piers of a viaduct,
about to be thrown from the opposite heights by the Lancaster Rail-road
Company, already much elevated since my first visit here in September.
Highly beneficial to the community, no doubt; but destructive of the
repose and seclusion of this charming scene. The sweetest spots, and
such as one would most desire to conserve, seem to be always the places
peculiarly selected for these useful but most unpicturesque invasions.

_23rd._--Visited the dock-yard in company with Lieutenant I----d. A
three-decker, classed according to law as a seventy-four, almost ready
to be sent off the stocks--a noble ship. A frigate is housed close by
her, but looks a mere toy when one views it immediately after having
contemplated the proportions of the Pennsylvania. This dockyard is
smaller, and in appearance inferior every way to that of Boston.

_27th._--Having exhausted all the rides in the immediate neighbourhood,
I this day determined upon widening my circle; so went, accompanied by
K----r, about fifteen miles up the Delaware by the Bristol road.

On the way-side we halted to look upon a mansion, made memorable for
ever by one of those wild atrocities, the details of which indeed
appear, upon review, fitter for the pages of romance than for a journal
of every-day life, yet too striking to be heard and forgotten, or passed
by without comment. I must only premise, that the affair I am about to
describe is of recent occurrence, and strictly true in all its horrible


Within these three years the house in question was inhabited by its
builder, a respectable citizen, together with his wife, a woman of much
intelligence, and possessed of considerable beauty, though no longer
young. They had for many years kept a creditable academy; but had, a
short time before the commencement of this relation, retired with ample
means from the exercise of their honourable profession, built this
house, and with an only child, a handsome girl of sixteen, here dwelt,
as far as their neighbours could judge, contented and happy. It is
certain that they were well considered and respected by all who knew
anything of them.

One afternoon, whilst the master was busied in his garden before the
house, a passing wayfarer halted by his fence, and besought some
refreshment. The accent of the stranger was foreign, and his aspect and
whole appearance, although haggard and miserably needy, still bore
evidence of better days, as his address did of gentle condition.

After a moment's questioning, Mr. C---- asked the hungered and weary
traveller to enter his house; and, with the hospitable promptitude of
country life, a comfortable meal was set before him.

Before another hour had elapsed, so strongly did the stranger's story of
himself interest the kind nature of his host, this act of common charity
was succeeded by an invitation to him to remain for a few days as the
guest of the house, which was thankfully accepted.

Senhor Mina, for this was the guest's name, was, as he said, a political
exile, and having strong claims of a pecuniary kind upon the American
government, he was on his way to the capital to prosecute them; when,
through a total failure of his resources, he became exposed to the
misery and want from which this providential chance had so happily
rescued him. His appearance at this point arose from his inability to
pay his fare on board the steam-boat; where some altercation taking
place between him and the captain, who charged him with a design to
cheat, it ended in his being summarily set ashore to make the best of
his way to the end of his journey.

The senhor was a scholar, was intelligent, and, what was better,
interesting, having visited many lands, and encountered many of the
adventurous perils of war and travel. He was here a penniless soldier in
"the land of the brave"--a friendless exile for liberty in the "home of
the free." He talked well; and by his enthusiastic discourses in favour
of equality and independence,--topics which possess a charm for most
American ears,--he quickly gained an interest in the best feelings of
his honest host. He sang as all Spaniards sing, and touched the guitar
as only Spaniards can; and with this artillery won yet more suddenly the
love of his host's frail wife.

Time passed rapidly in a little circle so happily constituted to banish
tedium: nor was business wanting to occupy a due share, for the senhor
despatched many letters; and, having established a correspondence with
the foreign-office, the necessity for his own presence at the seat of
government next became manifest. This was no sooner made known to Mr.
C---- than ample means were placed at Senhor Mina's disposal; when, with
the best wishes of the whole family, he took a short farewell of

The absence of the interesting stranger was signalized by a change in
the habits and condition of this household as sudden as that which had
attended his first introduction to it. Mrs. C---- grew gradually
fretful, restless, and anxious; which might well be, for her husband was
on a sudden laid up with sickness, and their only child studiously
shunned their society, locking herself within her chamber, or moping
about the grounds she had so lately bounded over in the buoyancy of
health and happy youth.

The sequel was not long in arriving: the sick man daily grew worse and
weaker; and his wife, as was perfectly natural, daily grew more wretched
and impatient. She was assiduous to a jealous degree in the performance
of her duties and close attendance on her husband's bed; she mixed his
medicines, prepared his food and such diluents as were considered best
calculated to allay the fever that for ever burned him up. With his hand
within her's, she watched his last agonies, which were protracted and
extreme; and received from his lips grateful acknowledgments of her
unwearied kindness, and his dying blessing.

So far all went unsuspectedly and well: for one month the widow lived
unseen and retired, as became a sorrowing woman; but about the end of
that period, to the great surprise of the neighbourhood, she was made
again a bride by the grateful stranger, Senhor Mina.

And now it was that men began to shake their heads and find their
tongues; comments upon the shameless precipitancy of this wedding were
everywhere heard, mixed up with strange surmises, and suspicions too
horrible to remain long suppressed.

Curious inquiries were next made amongst the domestics, and one servant
girl quickly called to mind having noticed a sediment in the remains of
a basin of soup prepared by her mistress for the sick man, which having
been thrown to the poultry, together with some of the rice, these had
all since withered and died; nay, a hardy hog even, whose portion had
been small, with difficulty weathered an attack of sickness which had
quickly followed.

A legal inquiry was next demanded by the roused public, upon which such
strong evidence appeared as to render the exhumation of the body
necessary: the contents of the stomach were yet in a condition to admit
of chemical analyzation, and the exhibition of a large portion of
arsenic was by these means proven past doubt.

The unconscious senhor--with whom, during this part of the process, they
had prevented the miserable woman holding any communication--was
meantime busily prosecuting his affairs, whatever they were, amidst the
gaieties of Washington. One night, upon his return from a public ball,
he was arrested by an officer who had just reached his quarters with a
criminal warrant, taken back to the scene of his ingratitude, and,
together with the partner of his crime, put upon trial for the murder of
his benefactor.

The guilt of both parties was established, I believe, beyond a doubt;
but some legal loophole was found by which the woman was permitted to
elude the capital punishment, and condemned to live. The ungrateful
guest was sentenced to be hanged: shortly before the time of execution
he made full confession of his having planned and instigated the
poisoning of his unsuspecting host, and died the death of an assassin.

Here is a suite of horrors, plainly and briefly set down, sufficient to
supply stuff for any murder-loving three-volume novelist; yet is there
one other, and that not least, to be added; for it appeared in the
progress of the trial, and time in the ordinary course confirmed this
evidence, that the poor child, the daughter of the murderess, had fallen
a victim to the lust of this devil, Mina.

The fate of the girl and her infant I could not rightly learn; all that
was known, indeed, being her removal to some distant part of the
continent. The mother, it was believed, yet resided within the walls her
guilt has made for ever infamous.

The house is always pointed out to the passing stranger, and was, when I
saw it, no unfit monument of its owner's crime, and the curse which so
quickly followed on it. Its fences were thrown down, its outhouses in
ruin, the paths about it overgrown with filthy weeds; and the latticed
window-shutters, once gay as green paint could make them, now dirty and
broken, were left to swing loose from every wall. Still, evidences of
its being inhabited were exhibited about the yard, where a dog and a few
fowls lay basking; and suspended from the branch of a blighted tree,
standing near the fallen entrance-gate, hung an ill-inscribed sign,
bearing the inscription "_Temperance House_" in large characters.

A singular change,--the abode of the grossest lust, and the scene of the
foulest murder, perhaps, ever combined in the full catalogue of crime,
changed into a temple to Temperance.


_Sunday, December 1st._--A little cloudy, but mild and pleasant. We have
up to this date no severe weather; and, indeed, with the exception of
now and then a day not colder than some which we experienced in
September, have had no remembrancer of the approach of frost: but I
fancy old father Winter "'bides his time," and will not spare us when
his icy wings are once loosed upon the north-east wind.

Rode to German Town, and down the ravine of the Wisihissing. A stranger,
looking over the continuous level which is presented to his view on a
first glance at the country surrounding Philadelphia, has many pleasant
surprises in store, if he be of an errant habit and much given to
exploration; since there are several ravines of singular wildness in
this vicinity, having bridle-paths connecting them with the different
roads, and a great deal of broken country, whose variety well repays the
adventurous equestrian.

This is a mode of proceeding I would counsel every traveller to follow
who desires to become well acquainted with the general character of a
country, as but little of this can be known from a hasty drive along the
common line of road. Never let the idea of being badly mounted deter a
man from this experiment; but let him send for the best hack that the
place may afford, or, what is a better plan, go and see after one.

In America, although all the nags thus procured may not prove the
smoothest goers in the world, they will uniformly be found strong and
well up to their work. Only let the stranger acquire the habit of
getting into saddle with promptitude on arriving at a strange place, and
more may be seen of its neighbourhood, and known of its condition, by
this means, in a morning foray or two, than a month of idling will

_Saturday, 14th._--Back again to Baltimore to act in Front-street the
same night.

A clear cold morning until about midday, when it became overcast, with
some rain and wind, which, just as we cleared the Elk river, was
exchanged for snow. Not an inch of our way did we see after this: the
boat was frequently stopped, and soundings carefully made; our speed
was reduced to the slowest possible pace, and every precaution taken
that prudence could suggest to the experience of our captain. Night came
on, however, and we had the pleasant prospect of passing it in the bay
of the Chesapeake, or on one of the shoals, or shores, about us, when
happily our look-out got a momentary glimpse of Fort M'Henry, which we
were about to pass to the southward. Had we done so, we must in a short
time have grounded in the Patapsco, there to rest for the coming clear
weather: as it was, a short time saw us snug in harbour, although we
could hardly see ourselves when we got there.

I was too late for Front-street, a circumstance which I did not regret,
remembering its situation and the state of the weather, but consoled
myself readily over a canvass-back duck and a tumbler of
Monongahela,--when old, equal, if mixed with hot water, even to
Innishtowen; at least I remember I thought so on this occasion.

Retired early to my room, intending to read for an hour, having observed
a cheery-looking fire in it whilst changing my wet things. It was
exceedingly cold without; the snow fell thick, and the sight of a grate
full of cinders, glowing like lumps of iron at red heat, was especially
enlivening. I sat down to read, but in a few minutes found my eyes
become strangely dim: after a vain attempt to clear them by ablution, I
resigned my book, gave way to the headache and weariness, which grew
worse every minute, and got into my bed, concluding these unpleasant
symptoms were occasioned by previous cold and exposure to the weather.

I lay down, but to rest was impossible; my temples throbbed, the veins
became swollen and tense, whilst my breathing grew short and difficult:
getting at last a little alarmed, and, indeed, fearing a fainting fit, I
rose to ring for my servant; but not finding the bell, opened my
chamber-door with the intention of seeking some assistance.

I had not proceeded many steps down the passage before I felt my illness
abate, in a manner quite as sudden and strange as its advance had been;
my sight became clear, my pulse grew regular, my breathing natural; and
after a momentary pause, almost of doubt at this rapid restoration to
health and ease, I retraced my steps to my chamber, feeling glad that I
had not communicated a false alarm in a house where two or three sudden
deaths, from what was called cholera, had already predisposed the
inmates to be nervous.

On re-entering my room, the cause of my late symptoms became manifest in
the first breath I inhaled of the atmosphere; even as it now was,
comparatively purified by a current of fresh air, the gaseous smell
continued disagreeable and distressing.

I sent for the fireman of the hotel,--that is, the person so called who
lights and looks after the hundred fires going in one of these
establishments: he was a countryman and a staunch personal friend; and,
after hearing my story and removing the anthracite coal, he pledged
himself never to burn anything but wood in my chamber for the time to

I next questioned my friend as to whether he had ever before known any
person as severely affected from the same cause. He said he had heard
gentlemen complain now and again, "But the cowld soon makes them get
used to it," said Pat; adding, that most persons left a little of the
window open if the weather permitted.

This was my first and last experiment with this coal, which is
nevertheless burned almost universally in the north, though they have
abundance of fine Nova Scotia coal, that appears little inferior to the
best Lancashire. Liverpool coal is a good deal used in New York; but the
ladies give the preference uniformly to the anthracite, which does not
yield much dust or black smoke, and consequently preserves for a longer
period both furniture and dress: it also renders a room quickly and
equally warm without requiring attendance, when once lighted, burning
constantly with a red heat, and fiercely or otherwise in proportion to
the draft, which all the stoves here permit to be regulated at will.

Nevertheless, I think all its advantages are nothing when weighed
against the injurious effect the atmosphere it generates must have upon
the health of those constantly within its influence.

It may, with great advantage, be used for hall-stoves, for heating
air-pipes, or in situations where there is a ready circulation of air;
but ought not, I think, to be continued in the drawing-rooms of families
or in the chambers of the studious.

_Sunday, 15th._--The snow lying about a foot deep in the streets, but in
places drifted to a great height: numbers of make-shift sleighs already
jingling about the town, Baltimore having precedence of the northern
cities this year in an amusement not often enjoyed here.

I had a trial of the sleigh for a couple of hours; and in company with a
fat friend was bumped over the gutters through the soft snow,--for on it
we could not be said to ride,--whilst every inequality of the streets
was made evident to our bones.

This is a species of amusement into which the Northerns enter with a
spirit of positive enthusiasm: man, woman, and child all talk of, and
look forward to, the arrival of sleighing-time as a season of the
highest festivity. In New York, I am told, the first heavy fall of snow
brings even business to a stand-still, and the whole population is seen
whirling over the streets in every description of vehicle that can be
lifted off its wheels and lodged upon runners.

The regular fancy sleighs I have frequently examined: they are
tastefully and comfortably built, and fitted up with all sorts of
furs,--skins of bear and buffalo, and various other beasts; are lined
and betasseled in a way that renders them quite beautiful; and might
defy the recognition of their nearest of kin.

_18th._--The snow has vanished wholly, and the weather is again mild as
spring: the Southerners yet lingering here upon the confines of the
north are, however, alarmed by this early demonstration of the absence
of winter so far south, and daily set off for their yet sunny abodes in
Georgia, the Carolinas, Alabama, or Louisiana.

Our excellent table is gradually thinning off; and King David's labour,
as grand carver, is daily abridged. We this day had a haunch of Virginia
venison, with fat an inch and half deep, the flavour equal to anything I
ever ate: it is the first fat venison I have seen in the country.
Canvass-back still in abundance, and not to be wearied of. This, I find,
is the true place to eat these rare birds: their case is well understood
here, and they are treated to a nicety.

_Saturday, 21st._--Back to Philadelphia, on my way to New York--will
pass this night in the City of Squares, and Sunday--the day positively
warm; observed, however, a thin flaking of ice stealing over the shaded
surface of the Elk river.

_Monday, 23rd._--Once more in New York, _viâ_ the Delaware and Raritan.
Although on Sunday it was feared that these rivers would be closed with
ice, we had only a little coating of Jack Frost to break through,
suffering no detention, and found the bay perfectly free; arriving here
about three o'clock.

_27th._--Walked to the top of Broadway, which has lost much of its
crowd, but is yet quite bustling enough to be a very lively and pleasant

Went into the Episcopalian church near the Park, the graves of
Montgomery and Emmett being the chief attraction: the monuments erected
to their memories stand outside, close upon the street. Just as I turned
out of the gate, after having read the inscription upon the monument of
the latter, I was joined by R----t, who gave me an interesting account
of the last meeting of the devoted brothers.

Thomas Emmett being at Rotterdam, after his release from Fort George, on
his way to the United States, chanced to be in waiting for his letters
at the post-office, when a man stepping from the crowd threw himself
into his arms with exclamations of glad recognition: it was his brother
Robert, just arrived from Paris, and attending here on a like errand.

"And from whence come you?" demanded Robert, the first congratulations
being past.

"Just escaped from poor Ireland," replied the senior brother; adding,
"and whither are you now bound?"

"Just escaping to poor Ireland," was the reply.

The meeting was a short one; Robert would listen to no word of
accompanying his family in their exile. He declared his only desire was
either to procure for his country even justice, and freedom from neglect
and oppression, or for himself a grave, and oblivion of her people's
sufferings and degradation.

The brothers parted here, never again to meet. Robert quickly found the
fate he courted, and sleeps beneath the soil he died for,--mistakingly
it may be, but neither unwept, unpitied, nor unsung.

The senior pursued his more prudent course, and landed with his wife and
children in this city, unknown, and having slight recommendation beyond
his misfortunes and his country; these, however, proved all-sufficient
to procure for him the sympathy and respect of the citizens from whom he
sought adoption. He rested amongst them, became one of them, and lived
to see his children standing with the best and most esteemed of the

In the fulness of his honours Thomas Addis Emmett died, and on the most
conspicuous part of Broadway stands the obelisk of marble reared in
honour of his memory, and bearing testimony to the high talent and the
many virtues of the Irish exile, the banished rebel, or the unsuccessful
patriot; for the terms are yet unhappily considered by some as
synonymous, and may be selected by each according to his political
creed. By his family and associates, however, he appears to have been
truly beloved, and by all men to have been viewed as an upright citizen
and a most able counsel; his eloquence at the bar being still the theme
of frequent enthusiastic eulogium.

This night went to a dance at the hospitable house of Mr. C----ne, the
first occasion which afforded me a view of the New York belles in
society. The party was not large, but there were several very pretty
women, and waltzing and music alternated in charming succession: there
were two ladies who sang with infinite taste and sweetness, and we kept
it up until rather a late hour for a sober country. My impression of the
New York women is, that they are frank, lively, and intelligent, with
much gentleness in their manners and address: in short, that these were
very amiable and attractive specimens of their sex and country.

_20th._--Went to look over the Opera-house, which has been built here
very suddenly by subscription. It is about the size of the Lyceum;
arranged after the French fashion, having stalls, a _parterre_, and
_balcon_ below; and above, two circles of private boxes, the property of
subscribers. Some of these are fitted up in a style of extravagance I
never saw attempted elsewhere. There has been a sort of rivalry
exercised on this head, and it has been pursued with that regardlessness
of cost which distinguishes a trading community where their _amour
propre_ is in question.

Silk velvets, damask, and gilt furniture form the material within many;
and, as the parties consult only their own taste, the colours of these
are various as their proprietors' fancies. I do not find the _ensemble_
bad, however; whilst the shape and mounting of the _salle_ are both

This effort, however creditable to the good taste of the city, is
premature, and must be doomed to more failures than one before it
permanently succeeds. A refined taste for the best kind of music is not
consequent upon the erection of an opera-house, nor is it a feeling to
be created at will. Even in the metropolis of England, with a capital so
disproportionate, and possessing such superior facilities for the
attainment of novelty, did the continuance of this refined amusement
depend solely upon the love of good music, it would quickly die, if not
be forgotten.

From time to time, a small, but efficient and really good Italian troop,
will, beyond doubt, find liberal encouragement in the great northern
cities, and also in New Orleans, provided they make a short stay in
each; but, rapidly as events progress here, I will undertake to predict
that a century must elapse before even New York can sustain a permanent
operatic establishment.



With an unclouded sky, and a sun as bright and genial as we would desire
on a May morning, the first day of January 1834 makes its bow to the New
York public; and in no place does this same day meet heartier welcome,
or witness better cheer.

On this day, from an early hour, every door in New York is open, and all
the good things possessed by the inmates paraded in lavish profusion.
The shops and banks alone are closed: Mammon for this day sees his
altars in one spot on earth deserted. Meantime every sort of vehicle is
put in requisition; and if a man owns but a single acquaintance in the
wide city, he on this day sets forth in kind heart to seek and shake him
by the hand.

On this day all family bickerings are made up; fancied or real wrongs
admitted, explained, and forgiven. The first twenty-four hours of the
new year in New York is a right _Trève de Dieu_, during which foes
cease from strife, the long divided are re-united, and friendly compacts
renewed and drawn closer: even Avarice, more wary of approach than the
hare, on this day forgets to bolt his door, or calculate the cost of
bidding welcome to his visitor.

The stranger is also made sensible of the benevolent influence of this
kindly day, if I may draw any inference from my own case. At an early
hour a gentleman of whom I had a slight knowledge entered my room,
accompanied by an elderly person I had never before seen, and who, on
being named, excused himself for adopting such a frank mode of making my
acquaintance, which he was pleased to add he much desired, and at once
requested me to fall in with the custom of the day, whose privilege he
had thus availed himself of, and accompany him on a visit to his family.

I was the last man on earth likely to decline an offer made in such a
spirit; so, entering his carriage which was in waiting, we drove to his
house in Broadway, where, after being presented to a very amiable lady,
his wife, and a pretty, gentle-looking young girl, his daughter, I
partook of a sumptuous luncheon, drank a glass of champagne, and, on
the arrival of other visitors, made my bow, well pleased with my visit.

My host now begged me to make a few calls with him, explaining, as we
drove along, the strict observances paid to this day throughout the
State, and tracing the excellent custom to the early Dutch colonists.

I paid several calls in company with my new friend, at each place met a
hearty welcome, and witnessed the same abundant preparation; but to
lunch at each was, with the best intentions possible, quite out of the
question. After a considerable round, my companion suggested that I
might possibly have some compliments to make on my own account, and so
leaving me, begged me to consider his carriage perfectly at my disposal.

This was very kind, but I at the time knew only two or three families;
and indeed, on being left to myself in solitary state, where every
carriage that whirled by was filled with merry stranger faces, my
courage oozed away. So, leaving a card or two, and making a couple of
hurried visits, I returned to my hotel, to think over the many
beneficial effects likely to grow out of such a charitable custom, and
to wish for its continued observance.

We have days enough of division in each year, and should indeed welcome
and cherish one which inculcates peace and good-will to all; a day on
which little coolnesses are explained away, past kindnesses confirmed,
and injuries consigned to oblivion.

At night, the theatre was filled to suffocation by a joyous throng,
although this portion of the season is not propitious to theatricals;
but on to-day, as though no house must be left unvisited by any of its
ordinary frequenters, the Park came in for a full participation in the
benefit of this honoured custom.

_Friday, 3rd._--The prevailing topics of the new year are the President
and his _quondam_ chum, Major Jack Downing;[6] the agitation of the
community on the Bank question becoming daily more violent, as the
limitation placed on credit embarrasses trade by narrowing its
resources. I observe, however, that, in the midst of much wordy
violence, the bulk of the people appear confident that matters will, to
use a coinage of their own, "_eventuate_ for their ultimate benefit."
Meanwhile, the government and the laws appear equally omnipotent; and
although much embarrassment is unquestionably felt in the money-market,
and all stock become unseasonably low for the sellers, yet is the
country generally admitted to be very prosperous, and perfectly able to
meet this shock without any permanent or ruinous difficulty. We shall

Went to Mrs. H----'s box at the opera,--the "Donna del Lago," for
Bordogni's benefit: a very pretty woman, very well instructed; but with
a little pipe, in which sweetness cannot make up for want of force.
Fanti, a really good actress, and, although with a veiled voice, a
capital singer, is not so much considered, I discover, as Bordogni.

The house was quite filled, the boxes rejoicing in a display of pretty
faces few _salles d'opéra_ might be admitted to rival. The prevailing
head-dress exceedingly showy and fanciful, a little too much so
perhaps:--but these are doings which, after all, change with each
season; therefore fashion can alone be arbiter. On the subject of beauty
I speak fearlessly, all men, having clear eyesight, being, upon this
point, admitted as competent witnesses. The _parterre_, too, was
occupied by a few parties of well-dressed women; but its prevailing
character, stalls included, was sombre and great-coatish,--not quite up
to the pit of the King's Theatre;--there was more applause though,
therefore I presume more enjoyment, which is the main object after all.
At the close of the performance several delicate bouquets, together with
a pretty coronal or two of choice flowers, were showered on the stage in
compliment to the fair _bénéficière_.

_Wednesday, 12th._--Winter has at length arrived in person, and his
active bridge-maker is laying for him a firm icy path across the waters.
It was reported yesterday that the passage between Staten Island and New
Jersey was no longer open, Amboy Creek being thickly frozen from Newark
Bay to the Raritan. On reaching the steamboat this morning, I found that
the report was a correct one, and that our only practicable passage lay
through the Narrows and round the south end of Staten Island. The
occasion thus presented of a winter view of the bay quite reconciled me
to this more exposed and circuitous route, as it, in truth, amply
compensated for it.

It was just seven A.M. when I reached the dock where the boat lay, to
all appearance firmly imbedded in thick ice; the river, I perceived, was
still pretty clear. Punctual as usual, the bell ceased to clang; the
paddle-wheels were vigorously applied; and in a few moments we burst our
bonds, thrusting the thick flakes of ice aside, and darting into the
clear river free from all farther impediment.

There were very few passengers, and I had the promenade deck to my
exclusive use. Although day had not long broke, the clearness and purity
of the atmosphere gave to the most distant parts of the landscape an
outline cold and distinct, and brought all objects apparently much
nearer to each other, and to the looker-on, than they had ever before
appeared. The city of Jersey, the woods of Hoboken, and the far-off
bluffs of the Palisadoes, were each seen to stand separated and alone;
not blended together into one harmonizing mass, as, through the medium
of a rich warm atmosphere, I had hitherto viewed them. The effect was
for a moment to render this scene, which frequent observation had made
familiar, quite strange to me; and at the same time to invest its now
separate portions with new and peculiar attractions.

The yet quiet city soon dropped astern; and on a good plan of its
streets one might have traced the earliest and most notable of its
sections, if not the particular houses, by the thin spiral lines of
smoke which curled distinctly high above the chimneys from which they

We held our course close along the east side of Staten Island; and as we
shot by the quarantine establishment, with its hospital and many
offices, the sun rose, without one attendant cloud, over the forest
heights of Brooklyn, burnishing, as with gold, every window and
weathercock opposed to its radiance.

The drooping boughs of the graceful willow tribes, and all the
neighbouring shrubs, which only a moment before I had shivered to look
upon, bent down, as they appeared, beneath a load of ungenial icicles,
were now, as though touched by some enchanter's wand, sparkling and
brilliant, reminding one of the diamond-growing trees of young Aladdin's

The Narrows were next passed, but the view seaward was bleak and
cheerless: the Neversink hills for the first time appearing to me worthy
such a high-sounding distinction. Not a symptom of frost was here,
although the wind had ceased to stir the waters of the bay, and to the
sun alone was left the task of opposing the advance of the ice-king.
Sol, though with diminished powers, had made a glorious rally on this
day; for not a thicket or creek within sight but rejoiced in his
cheering rays, and gladly owned his supremacy.

The smoothness of the sea enabled our boat to make rapid way; and by a
little after ten o'clock we were landed at Amboy, where we found the
train awaiting our arrival. As we left our first stage, Hights-town, an
accident occurred similar to the one I had, on my last trip southward,
seen attended by such fearful consequences. We were proceeding, luckily
at a moderate rate, when the axle of the engine-tender broke in two:
the car occupied by myself and three others led the van, yet the first
intimation we got of the break-down of our tender was our running foul
of it with a bump that fairly unshipped us all, pitching the occupiers
of the hind-seats head-on into the laps of those _vis-à-vis_ to them.
Happily, this was the worst of the present mischance: the engine was
speedily arrested, a sound axle drawn from the near car to replace the
one fractured, myself and the others belonging to the carriage thus
hauled out of the line were stowed in, as supernumeraries, elsewhere,
and, after a delay, of some forty minutes, off we bowled again.

Halting for a few moments at Bordentown, where the Delaware steamer
waits when the river is practicable, it now spread away below us in a
solid mass; and we pursued our journey by the railroad provided for such
seasons so far as it was at this time completed, that is, for some eight
or nine miles farther on. This point achieved, we discovered a group of
the clumsy-looking stage-coaches of the country, to the number of
twelve, each having a team of four horses, ready harnessed, standing
amongst the trees below.

The cold was by this time extreme; bustle was the word, therefore,
amongst all parties,--drivers, porters, and passengers; and in a quarter
of an hour the transfer was completed, the luggage packed, the people
arranged, and the caravan in motion. The place had quite a wild, lone,
forest air; and it was a curious scene to view the bustle, and hear the
noise, so uncongenial to the spot, and no less so to observe the coaches
wheeling about amongst the trees as each Jehu sought to make the best of
his way into the lane at a little distance.

Miserably uncomfortable as the driver's seat is before these machines,
I, as usual where the course was strange to me, requested leave to share
it with him. I had cast about to select a team; and was soon seated,
well rolled in broadcloth and bear-skin, behind four dark bays that
might have done credit to a better judgment.

We soon got into a very narrow lane, through which lay the first few
miles. In this the ruts, or track, as it is here called, was over a foot
deep: on either side grew trees, thick and low-branched; therefore my
companion and I had as much as we could do to avoid broken heads and
keep the track. I looked impatiently, after practising this dodging
exercise some time, for the great road which the driver told me was "a
bit further ahead;" and at last we broke from our leafy shelter into it,
but with little advantage that I could discover; for, though our heads
were in less peril, our necks, I considered, required more especial
looking after than ever. We certainly had here wider space, and a free
choice of ruts or tracks, for there were several; but not one of them
less profound than those we had hitherto ploughed through. In one or two
places, the road was deeply trenched in every direction, and the edges
of these cuts so glazed with new-formed ice that I expected my friend
who was pilot would pass the box and back out. But no such thing, faith!
he steered round all impediments as coolly as the wind that whistled
through the half-frozen reins he held.

Finding one place in the road quite impassable, he cast his eyes about
him for a moment, and chose the best part of the right bank; when,
gathering up his leaders, he first vexed them a little with the whip,
and then, putting them fairly at it, gained its summit, drove along for
a hundred yards, crashing through a thick cover of shrubs growing
breast-high, when having thus turned the impracticable bit of highway,
he coolly dropped down into it again. On looking back, I saw each team
taking in succession the line we had thus led over.

This was all performed clumsily enough, as far as appearance went, I
allow; but cleverly and confidently, though with leaders hardly within
calling distance: and four snaffle-bits, and a pig-whip, being the only
means of dictation and control possessed by the coachman. The more I see
of these queer Whips the better I like them: it assuredly is impossible
to conceive anything more uncoachmanlike than their outward man; but
they grapple with the constantly occurring difficulties of their strange
work hardily and with superior intelligence.

I have seen a pass on the high-road between Albany and New York, where a
descending driver perceiving that collision with a coming carriage was
from the slippery condition of the hill unavoidable, and also being
aware that such an event would be fatal to both parties, on the instant
turned his horses to the near bank, and dashed down into the bed of the
Mohawk, a descent of more than a hundred feet, as nearly perpendicular
as may well be. His presence of mind and courage saved both his own
passengers and those in the other vehicle, with the loss of his coach
and one of his horses only. The man was publicly thanked and rewarded,
and, I believe, yet waggons the same road.

One might almost back one of these crack hands to hunt a picked team of
their own, a cross country, with the Melton hounds, coach and all; and
if it was not for the _pace_, it would not be such a very bad bet

At Camden we quitted our vehicular mode of progressing, and took once
more to the water, or rather to the ice, since it certainly ruled over
the broad Delaware. In many places this was strong enough to sustain the
weight of our little steamer's bow, and only gave way beneath repeated
heavy blows of the iron-sheathed paddles.

After a hard fight we forced a path through all obstacles, and as the
clock struck four were alongside the Chestnut-street wharf; having,
notwithstanding the delays occasioned by our mishap and various changes,
accomplished the hundred miles in exactly ten hours.

I was expected, found a dinner prepared for five o'clock, and, going at
once to my chamber to dress, thought I had never seen the Mansion-house
look to greater advantage. A well-warmed and carpeted corridor led to my
snug little room, the window of which looking into the inner court,
afforded one of the most attractive winter prospects imaginable, in the
form of entire carcasses of several fat bucks all hanging in a comely
row, and linked together by a festooning composed of turkey, woodcock,
snipe, grouse, and ducks of several denominations. Although quartered
here for a month to come, I felt fortified against any fear of famine by
this single glance without; nor did my interior appear less inviting,
cheered as this was by a brisk fire of hickory, several logs of which
lay athwart my hearth, sustained by a couple of antique-looking brass
dogs, blazing and crackling most uproariously: this is a fire I prefer
even to one of Liverpool coal; and how it can ever be superseded by that
quiet, unsocial, unearthly-looking and smelling, anthracite, I am at a
loss to _guess_!


[6] Described as the officer commanding the Downingsville militia, a
New-Englander, and a stanch adherent of the "Gineral's, so far as 'a
decent hunk of the animal wint,' but entirely agin' the whole-hog
system." Under this perfect assumption there appeared a series of really
familiar epistles, either remonstrating with or speaking of the
"Gineral," or, as the Major latterly styled the President, "the
Govermint;" no less admirable for the political acumen they display than
for a caustic drollery, which is enforced with shrewd Yankee humour, and
in the singular phraseology current amongst 'Uncle Sam's' kindred. These
letters have been collected, and are published both in America and in
England; and although neither the purity of the politics or the dialect
of the honest Major can be fully appreciated by strangers, his intrinsic
wit and native humour will well repay the task of a perusal by all who
admire originality of thought and expression.


Here are two colonies yet existing within this State,--samples of both
indeed may be found within a few miles of Philadelphia,--and these
constitute with me a never-failing source of interest and amusement.
They are composed of Dutch and Irish, often located on adjoining
townships, but keeping their borders as clearly defined as though the
wall of China were drawn between them. No two bodies exist in nature
more repellent; neither time, nor the necessities of traffic, which
daily arise amongst a growing population, can induce a repeal of their
tacit non-intercourse system, or render them even tolerant of each
other. I have understood that Pat has on occasions of high festivity
been known to extend his courtesy so far as to pay his German neighbours
a call to inquire kindly whether "any gintlemen in the place might be
inclined for a fight;" but this evidence of good-nature appears to have
been neither understood nor reciprocated, and, proof against the
blandishment, Mynheer was not even to be hammered into contact with
"dem wilder Irisher."

It is a curious matter to observe the purity with which both people have
conserved the dialect of their respective countries, and the integrity
of their manners, costume, prejudices, nay, their very air, all of which
they yet present fresh and characteristic as imported by their
ancestors, although some of them are the third in descent from the first
colonists. Differing in all other particulars, on this point of
character their similarity is striking.

Amongst the Germans I have had families pointed out to me, whose fathers
beheld the commencement of the war of Independence in Pennsylvania, yet
who are at this day as ignorant of its language, extent, policy, or
population, as was the worthy pastor of whom it is related, that, having
been requested to communicate to his flock the want of supplies which
existed in the American camp, he assured the authorities that he had
done so, as well as described to them the exact state of affairs:

"I said to dem," he repeated in English, "Get op, min broders und mine
zisters, und put dem paerd by die vagen, mit brood und corn; mit
schaap's flesh und flesh of die groote bigs, und os flesh; und alles be
brepare to go op de vay, mit oder goed mens, to sooply General
Vashinton, who was fighting die Englishe Konig vor our peoples, und der
lifes, und der liberdies, op-on dem banks of de Schuylkill, diese side
of die Vestern Indies."

In his piggery of a residence and his palace of a barn, in his waggon,
his oxen, his pipe, his person and physiognomy, the third in descent,
from the worthies exhorted as above, remains unchanged. The cases upon
which, as a juryman, he decides, he hears through the medium of an
official interpreter; he has his own journal, which serves out his
portion of politics to him in Low Dutch, and in the same language is
printed such portions of the acts of the State legislature as may in any
way relate to the section he inhabits; the only portion of the
community, indeed, which he knows, or cares to know, anything about.

My honest countrymen of the same class, I can answer for being as
slightly sophisticated as their colder neighbours: it is true, their
tattered robes have been superseded by sufficient clothing, and a bit of
good broadcloth for Sunday or Saint's day, and their protracted lenten
fare exchanged for abundance of good meat, and bread, and "tay, galore,
for the priest and the mistress;" but when politics or any stirring
cause is offered to them, their feelings are found to be as excitable,
and their temperament as fiery, as though still standing on the banks of
the Suir or the Shannon.

On all occasions of rustic holiday they may yet be readily recognised by
their slinging gait, the bit of a stick borne in the hollow of the hand,
the inimitable shape and set of the hat, the love of top-coats in the
men, and the abiding taste for red ribands and silk gowns amongst the

The inherent difference between the two people is never more strikingly
perceived than when you have occasion to make any inquiry whilst passing
through their villages. Pull up your horse by a group of little
Dutchmen, in order to learn your way or ask any information, and the
chance is they either run away, "upon instinct," or are screamed at to
come within doors by their prudent mothers; upon which cry they scatter,
like scared rabbits, for the warren, leaving you to "_Try Turner_" or
any other shop within hail.

For myself, after a slight experience, I succeeded with my friends to
admiration: the few sentences of indifferent Dutch which I yet conserved
from my education amongst the Vee boors, at the Cape, served as a
passport to their civility. Without this accomplishment, all strangers
are suspected of being Irishers; and, as such, partake of the dislike
and dread in which their more mercurial neighbours are held by this
sober-sided and close-handed generation.

On the other hand, enter an Irish village, and by any chance see the
young villains precipitated out of the common school: call to one of
these, and a dozen will be under your horse's feet in a moment; prompt
in their replies, even if ignorant of that you seek to learn; and ready
and willing to show you any place or road they know anything, or
nothing, about. I have frequently on these occasions, when asked to walk
into their cabin by the old people, on hearing their accent, and seeing
myself thus surrounded, almost doubted my being in the valley of

So little indeed does the accent of the Irish American,--who lives
exclusively amongst his own people in the country parts,--differ from
that of the settler of a year, that on occasions of closely-contested
elections this leads to imposition on one hand and vexation on the
other; and it is by no means uncommon for a man, whose father was born
in the States, to be questioned as to his right of citizenship, and
requested to bring proofs of a three years' residence.

I now passed another month in this city most agreeably, during which the
weather was never unendurably cold: sharp frosts, but not a single fall
of snow that continued over an hour or two, or lay longer on the ground.
The majority of days I find noted in my journal as frosty but fine, many
as mild, and some even are described as warm: there were few, indeed,
during which exercise on horseback might not have been pleasantly taken.
When February set in, and no snow had yet fallen, I heard much despair
evinced on the diminished chances of a good sleighing-time; and,
although an enemy to severe cold, I confess I had my own regrets at not
being permitted to assist at a sleighing frolic, of which I received on
all hands such glowing descriptions.

On the eighth of this month I looked with some anxiety for the
continuance of mild weather, as the Delaware was, happily, once more
open, and the line by way of that river and French-town resumed; a very
important event, as far as both comfort and expedition were concerned.
Indeed, a journey by land to Baltimore was an adventure by no means to
be desired; the time of travel having varied during the last month from
three to nine days, the distance being under a hundred miles. But the
waters were up, the bridges down; one road was washed away, and another
filled in with rocks, and roots of trees on their travels from the
Alleghanies to the Atlantic, which rested there, abiding the next flood,
without any fear of receiving a visit _ad interim_ from M'Adam.

All, however, went well; the steamer was advertised to sail on the
morning of the 9th: there were here several weather-bound Southerners,
who, like myself, were anxious to proceed as easily as possible to the
capital; and we congratulated each other on the prospect we had of
accomplishing this by aid of steamboat and railroad, now once more



Quitting one of these great seaports by the ordinary conveyance of
steamboat, early on a fine winter morning, is at once an amusing and
interesting event.

Hastily summoned by your servant, who, himself not over early, bustles
up to your bedside with "Just five minutes after six o'clock, sir," you
start from a slumber that has been for some time back uneasy enough,
broken up by visions of steamboats, locomotives, canvass-back ducks,
Nott's stoves, and crowded cabin-tables.

At the first shake out you jump, well aware how peremptory is the
steamer's bell above all other _belles_,--make hasty toilet, and bustle
into the hall, where a few half-burned candles yet outface the daylight;
and here you find a dozen newly-awakened miserables like yourself,
equipped for some steamer.

The waiter inquires if you would like a cup of coffee, which as a matter
of course you accept; and, hurrying after him into the next room, you
are yet in the act of blowing and sipping your Mocha, which for once you
find sufficiently hot, when a friend pops his head in to say that the
baggage-cart is off, and your latest second of time come. Remedy there
is none; a delay of one minute is fatal, since no timekeeper is so
punctual as an American steamer anywhere north of the Potomac.

Out you trudge, great-coated, muffled up in fur and shawl, to find the
street silent and untrodden, except by a straggler or twain bending
their steps hurriedly towards Chestnut. As you turn out of South-third
into this great thoroughfare you observe an immediate change; the
stragglers preceding you have mingled with the main current, and are
quickly confounded amidst a confused jumble of men, women, and children,
carts, coaches, and wheelbarrows, pressing in long columns of march down
towards the Delaware.

In the distance may be seen, curling from below, wavy pillars of dense
black smoke, intermingled with vicious-looking lines of thin whitish
vapour, which rush through and tower high over the more sluggish smoke
with a savage, hissing sound that almost drowns the bell, now tolling a
last summons.

The wharf is gained: here lie the boats side by side, one going north,
the other south: they are surrounded by a crowd,--friends making hasty
adieus; porters, of all shades of colour, hurrying to and fro, aiding,
scrambling, and squabbling, with the important air and ceaseless
loquacity everywhere characteristic of the African race.

Amidst this motley throng the unoccupied and observant man will easily
pick out many individuals of gaunt outline, a bilious aspect and a staid
sober demeanour, each carrying a small valise, a carpet-bag, a long
Boston coat or cloak, and steadily and deliberately making a straight
course for the common bourne, unaided and unaiding, self-sustained,
independent, and, each for himself alone.

At length, after a few last hasty bangs, the heavy bell clappers cease
to move; the porters quit the luggage-cars and spring nimbly ashore; the
independent gentlemen dispose of their _kits_, each after the fashion
and on the spot he "judges" most convenient; the hissing sound of
escaping steam suddenly stops, and this momentary silence is succeeded
by the quick motion of the paddle-wheels.

The vicious-looking columns of white vapour melt away; wheeling
majestically about, the huge boats steadily head towards their opposite
courses, and, in the next moment, are rushing, like unslipped
greyhounds, through the smooth waters of the Delaware.

And now occasionally arrive discoveries, at once whimsical and amusing
to all save the sufferers. A lady with her children going South, for
instance, finds out that her husband, or her carriage and horses, one or
both, have gotten by mistake aboard the New York boat, and are off back
again to the North: perhaps you get a glimpse of the miserable biped in
question, like a waterman, looking one way and going the other. Without
great care, these little accidents will occur, as I can vouch for; as
the lines depart full drive at the same instant, stopping is out of the
question; and the disunion of a day, at least, is the consequence of one
moment's delay or mistake.

Our way lies downward, and the long line of quays is dashed by like
lightning. You have just time to mark, well pleased, the early activity
of the numerous little steamers plying to and fro between Camden and the
city ferries. You cast perchance a rambling glance over those pretty
villages, above which the ruddy hue of morning is serenely spreading,
and, even as you gaze, behold them melt away in the river's haze.

The Navy-yard, with the huge wooden mansions built to shelter the
"Pennsylvania" and a neighbour frigate, glide, as it were, hastily by;
and nothing remains to break the monotony of the long level lines
skirting the river, and hardly rising above it.

Of this prospect the eye soon becomes weary, and now is the time to look
upon your fellow-passengers. You descend from the upper or promenade
deck, which, if the morning be chilly, you have most likely held in sole
occupation. On the next deck beneath, seated back to back upon long
ranges of settees, you behold the female portion of the living freight;
for, I take it for granted, this is the first direction of your regards,
and a pleasant task it often turns out to be; for, as I have already
said, and shall probably yet more strongly confirm hereafter, the
average of female beauty in America is high, and but few women are
without those always striking points, fine expressive brows and eyes,
which, shaded by a tasteful bonnet, and accompanied by a certain
coquettish air, leave little wanting to ensure the admiration of the
passing stranger.

Having lounged about here for a turn or two, you find yourself reminded
of a certain indispensable ceremony by a Stentor-lunged black, who most
perseveringly vociferates, "Gentlemen who have not yet _paid_, will
please step to the captain's office and settle their _passage_."

At your convenience you obey this gentle hint; securing at the same time
a ticket for breakfast, now becoming a very important consideration,
assailed by a good natural appetite, sharpened in the shrewd air of a
clear, cold morning. At last, ring goes the bell; and the deck, already
thinned of the more anxious, or more provident, of the party, becomes,
at that magic tinkle, a desert.

On descending the stair, you perceive two long ranges of table thickly
bestrewn with dishes containing beefsteak, ham, fish, chicken, game,
_omelettes_,--together with hot rolls, cakes, and bread of every other
form and denomination, with tea and coffee, borne about as called for;
the whole arranged with an attention to neatness and propriety quite
surprising when you consider the place, and the difficulties which are
inseparable from having to cater and cook for such a multitude.

If you are not of an active habit, or if you object to remain stewing in
the cabin for a time waiting on the event, you observe at a glance that,
ample as the tables appear, every seat is occupied. Here is no
reservation of places--possession is your only admitted right, and, were
the President himself too late, he must sit out, or be admitted of the
party on courtesy: of this, however, let me add, it never was my chance
to perceive any lack. One of the black waiters, recognising you for a
frequent passenger, is touched by your appealing glance, motions you to
follow him, advancing at the same time a stool with an insinuating air
between two goodhumoured-looking men, with "Please, make a little room
for this gentleman."

A niche is readily conceded; and, casting an eye right, left, or
straightforward, you can hardly fail to find something to your liking.
The board is soon clear of the "Rapids,"--a large family in most such
places; and now you acquire ample space to prove your prowess in.

Having breakfasted, you once more mount the upper deck and breathe the
pure air of heaven, unpolluted by that unpleasant gas which escapes from
the iron coal burnt in the cabin stoves. Such at least was my constant
habit: the natives, I observed, although accustomed to a climate whose
vicissitudes are extreme, never appear voluntarily to face the cold, but
for the most part, abide below, congregated in concentric circles, of
which a red-hot stove, filled with that to me deadly abomination,
anthracite coal, forms the centre.

Wrapping well up, I found, even in the severest season, no difficulty in
facing the open air, and have more than once paced the upper deck for a
passage of three or four hours without having my territory invaded, or
at most only for a few minutes by some adventurous spirit, who
invariably dived down after a shiver or two.

Here then, between your meals, you may promenade upon a noble deck fifty
feet long, smoking your cigar, and eyeing the flitting forest or
meadow, amidst dreamy reveries of William Penn's description of the
populous tribes of the Delaware, and that first simple treaty which
consigned to the unwarlike strangers a country and a home, a treaty
which was a deed of disinheritance to the posterity of the donors, and
of destruction to their nation, of whom, in their own land, their name
has long been the sole memorial left.

In travelling, as I did much and alone, this was always the current set
of my day-dreaming. I never could draw on fancy to the exclusion of the
Red-man; but, on the contrary, constantly detected myself re-peopling
every wood with the wild forms of the aborigines, and in each distant
skiff that darted over the broad stream picturing the fragile canoe, and
its plumed and painted occupant.

The town of Wilmington, the chief place of the little State of Delaware,
shows very attractively from the river, with which it communicates by a
navigable creek, and, together with the neighbouring springs of the
Brandywine, is in high repute for the beauty of its scenery as well as
for its general salubrity.

Arrived at Newcastle, an ancient but not very populous city,--which
nevertheless possessed an interest in my eyes, from the circumstance of
my having chosen to write about it long before I ever dreamed of seeing
it,--you quit the steamer, and, seating yourself in one of the long line
of railway cars awaiting you, are whisked over the intervening neck to
French-town,--by courtesy so called, since the _town_ is yet to be,--a
distance of sixteen miles in about fifty minutes; and are there
reshipped on the Elk river, down which you rush, at the usual rapid
rate, amidst scenery that is really charming.

At the junction of the Susquehannah, the view up the two fine rivers,
with the dividing headland, the numerous winding creeks, deep shady
coves, and spacious bays, all well wooded and backed by a range of bold
mountainous ridges, calls for unqualified admiration, and cannot be too
often seen.

The vast bay of the Chesapeake now opens gradually out before you. On
the right lie the Gunpowder and other rivers, famous as the favourite
feeding-ground of the canvass-back; and here you find amusement in
watching the innumerable flocks, or rather clouds, of every denomination
of the duck tribe, which, disturbed by the noisy steamer, rise from the
water in numbers that hide the sun.

Boats too, of a beautiful model and most _varmint_ rig, now begin to
thicken on the track, working up, close-hauled, into the eye of the
wind, or going, right before it, with the foresail guy'd out on one side
and mainsail on the other, showing an uncommon spread of canvass. Here
and there, too, the masts of tall ships rise, as more gravely they seek
their port, or win their way to the yet distant ocean, performing a
voyage before they reach the sea.

North Point is next passed by; and the fate of poor Ross is yet
occupying the mind, when the city-crowned hill begins to open on the
view, and Baltimore, with all its domes, spires, and columns, stands
forth in bold relief against the evening sky.

A bustle soon after commences on deck: the ladies draw closer their
hoods and cloaks, and the men move to and fro, warned by the sable
Mentor of the place, who paces the decks below and above with a
ceaseless cry of "Ladies and gentle-_men_ will be pleased to step
forward, and point out their bag-_gage_."

A general loading of wheelbarrows is now the order of the hour; most of
the waiters exercising the office of porters, and carrying with them
their barrows. The landing-place gained, you are hailed by many voices
ringing in a rich brogue, "Coach, your honour! Long life to ye! want a
carriage?" and eager looks and ready uplifted fingers woo you for an
assenting nod. Nowhere on this continent is the presence of Pat so
immediately recognizable as in this good catholic city, where the office
of Jarvey is nearly a monopoly amongst my poor countrymen, who appear to
have left no tittle of their good-humour, eager importunity, and
readiness of wit behind them.

Being once known, I felt at all my future landings quite at home here,
as these honest fellows were to me particularly attentive. Driving to
Barnum's hotel, the stranger may count on a hearty welcome from King
David (whom Heaven long preserve!) and from his household much civility;
and here, with capital fare, over a fire of wood,--never use anthracite
in a close room,--will find, if he has been as observant as he ought,
much to amuse and gratify him in a retrospective glance over a journey
of some hundred miles, performed with little fatigue or inconvenience,
between the chief cities of quaker Pennsylvania and catholic Maryland.


On arriving at Baltimore, I found that so woful was the condition of the
road between this city and the capital, that, although the distance is
but thirty-seven miles, and that there remained full three hours of
daylight, still no regular stage would encounter, until morning, the
perils of the road.

I thereon made an agreement with two gentlemen,--one of whom was an
excellent and learned judge, on some State business; and the other a
Philadelphia merchant, escorting his daughter, and a pretty young lady
her friend, on a visit of pleasure to Washington,--that we would
together engage an extra coach for our party; and, instead of starting
at the monstrous hour of five in the morning, set out at half-past
eight, when, with the advantage of a light load and good horses, we
might reasonably hope to reach our destination before dark.

This was done accordingly: an extra, or exclusive carriage, to hold six
inside, was contracted for with the proper authorities, and chartered to
Washington city, to start between eight and nine next morning, for the
sum of twenty-five dollars, or about six pounds sterling.

With the punctuality for which these people are distinguished throughout
the States, our carriage drove up to Barnum's door at a few minutes
after eight; and, breakfast being despatched, our party was seated
fairly, with all the luggage built up on the permanent platform which
graces the rear of these machines, within the time appointed: a very
creditable event, when it is considered there were two young ladies of
the party.

The air was mild as in May, and there being a goodly promise of
sunshine, I resigned my share of the inside to my servant Sam,--the very
pink of brown gentlemen in appearance, besides being a pattern of
good-breeding; and seeing something unusually knowing in the look of our
waggoner, mounted the box by his side, uneasy though it was; for never
was anything worse contrived for comfort than the outside of a Yankee
stage-coach,--except, perhaps, the inside of an English mail.

Mr. Tolly, whose acquaintance I now made, let me record, was the only
driver I ever met in America who took up his leather, and packed his
cattle together, with that artist-like air, the perfection of which is
only to be seen in England.

The coachmen are not here, as with us, a distinct class, distinguished
by peculiar costume, and by characteristics the result of careful
education and exclusive habits; but might be taken for porters, drovers,
or anything else indeed,--being men who have followed, and are ready
again to follow, a dozen other vocations, as circumstances might
require: they are nevertheless, generally, good drivers, and, uniformly,
sober steady fellows.

Mr. Tolly, however, one might see at a glance--despite the disadvantages
of his toggery, plant, and all his other appointments--was born to look
over four pair of lively ears; and had Fortune only dropped him in any
stable-loft between London and York, there would not have been a cooler
hand or a neater whip on the North road.

About a mile from the city we came upon the country turnpike; and of
this, as I now viewed it for the first time, any comprehensible
description is out of the question, since I am possessed of no means of
illustrating its condition to English senses;--a Cumberland fell,
ploughed up at the end of a very wet November, would be the Bath road
compared with this the only turnpike leading from one of the chief
sea-board cities to the capital of the Union.

I looked along the river of mud with despair. Mr. Tolly will pronounce
this impracticable after the night's rain, thinks I; but I was mightily
mistaken in my man: without pausing to pick or choose, he cheered his
leaders, planted his feet firmly, and charged gallantly into it.

The team was a capital one, and stuck to their dirty work like terriers.
Some of the holes we scrambled safely by would, I seriously think, have
swallowed coach and all up: the wheels were frequently buried up to the
centre; and more than once we had three of our cattle down together all
of-a-heap, but with whip and voice Mr. Tolly always managed to pick them
out and put them on their legs again; indeed, as he said, if he could
only see his leaders' heads well up, he felt "pretty certain the coach
must come through, slick as soap."

Mr. Tolly and myself very soon grew exceedingly intimate; a false
reading of his having at starting inspired him with a high opinion of my
judgment, and stirred his blood and mettle, both of which were decidedly

Whilst smoking my cigar, and holding on by his side with as unconcerned
an air as I could assume, I, in one of our pauses for breath, after a
series of unusually heavy lurches, chanced to observe, by way of
expressing my admiration, "This is a real _varmint_ team you've got hold
on, Mr. Tolly."

"How did you find that out, sir?" cries Tolly, biting off about a couple
of ounces of 'baccy.

"Why, it's not hard to tell so much, after taking a good look at them, I
guess," replied I.

"Well, that's rum any how! but, I guess, you're not far out for once,"
answers Mr. Tolly, with a knowing grin of satisfaction: "sure enough,
they are all from Varmont;[7] and I am Varmont myself as holds 'em. All
mountain boys, horses and driver--real Yankee flesh and blood; and they
can't better them, I know, neither one nor t'other, this side the

I found my _hirgo_ was thrown away, but did not attempt an explanation,
and became in a little time satisfied that this odd interpretation of my
compliment had answered an excellent purpose; for my companion became
exceedingly communicative, and most indefatigable in his exertions. More
plucky or more judicious coachmanship, or better material under leather,
I never came across in all my journeyings. About half way we bade adieu
to my Varmont friend, to my great regret.

Wearied with my rough seat, which the companionship of Mr. Tolly had
alone rendered endurable so long, I now got inside; the Philadelphia
gentleman succeeding to the vacancy on the box.

I did my best to draw my fair companions into a little chat, but found
my _vis-à-vis_--the daughter of my successor outside--most
impracticable; a monosyllable was the extent of her exertion: whilst her
companion, who was a lively, intelligent-looking girl, and very pretty
withal, was necessarily chilled by the taciturnity of her senior. I note
this as being an unusual case, since, when once properly introduced, the
ladies of America are uncommonly frank and chatty, and evince an evident
desire to please and be amiable; which is creditable to themselves, and
to strangers is both flattering and agreeable.

In the good old judge, whom I had the honour of meeting often after, I
found one of the most amusing and intelligent companions a man could
desire to rumble over a villanous road with, and for a couple of hours
we made time light, when our day's journey had well-nigh terminated in
an adventure that might have been attended with ugly consequences.

Although the road for this stage was something less bad, our driver was
not a Tolly; in avoiding some Charybdis or other, he let his leaders
slip down a bank about eight feet deep, whither, but for the good temper
and steady backing of the wheel-horses, we should have followed: as it
was, we managed to pick out our cattle, and got off with a couple of
broken traces. These being duly cobbled, away we scrambled again, I
resuming my seat on the box; the last occupant having become most
heartily sick of his elevation.

About the end of nine hours' hard driving, the high dome of the Capitol
showed near; and the city toll-gate, situated about a mile from this
magnificent building, was opened. The prospect was, notwithstanding, yet
sufficiently uncheery; a steep hill lay in front, having a road that
looked like a river of black mud meandering about one side of it--the
other side was seamed with various tracks made by the vehicles of bold
explorers, who, like ourselves, had been doubtful about facing the
regular road--the counsel of a well-mounted countryman, who reported
that he had just passed the wrecks of two coaches on the turnpike,
decided us to eschew it, and boldly try across country.

We all alighted, except the ladies; and acting as pioneers, pushed up
the hill, breasting it stoutly. It was very well we took this route;
for, having at last safely crowned it, we beheld on our right the two
coaches that left Baltimore three hours before us, hopelessly pounded in
the highway, regularly swamped within sight of port; for the Capitol was
not over three or four hundred yards from them.

The passengers were all out, most of them assisting to unharness and
unload, that, by combining both teams, they might extricate their
vehicles one at a time.

Here, within the shadow of the Capitol, I was struck with the gloomy and
unimproved condition of the surrounding country. Except our caravan, not
a living thing moved within sight--all was desert, silent, and solitary
as the prairies of Arkansas.

The great avenue once entered upon, the scene changed, and we rattled
along briskly over a well Macadamized road. The judge we set down at the
top of the Capitolinean hill, where his honourable brothers held their
head-quarters; my other companions had rooms secured at Gadsby's, where
we next halted; but to my inquiries here, I was answered, "All quite
full." They advised me, at the same time, to try _Fuller_, which I
thought waggish enough: however, after driving about a mile farther down
the avenue, I found at Mr. Fuller's hotel rooms taken for me by a
considerate friend, and had to congratulate myself now and henceforward
on being the best-lodged errant _homo_ in the capital of the United

The windows of my sitting-room, I perceived, commanded a view the whole
extent of the avenue; but, for the present, I limited my speculation to
the dinner that was soon placed before me, and which a fast of eleven
hours had rendered a particularly desirable prospect.


[7] Varmont is a State famous for its wild mountain scenery, and having
a breed of horses unequalled for hardihood, fine temper, and bottom:
they are found all over the States, and are everywhere in high esteem.

[8] The river Potomac is held to be the dividing line between the
northern and southern States.


I made my _début_ professionally in the capital upon the 12th of
February. The theatre here was a most miserable-looking place, the worst
I met with in the country, ill-situated and difficult of access; but it
was filled nightly by a very delightful audience; and nothing could be
more pleasant than to witness the perfect _abandon_ with which the
gravest of the senate laughed over the diplomacy of the "Irish
Ambassador." They found allusions and adopted sayings applicable to a
crisis when party feelings were carried to extremity. The elaborate
display of eloquence with which Sir Patrick seeks to _bother_ the
Spanish envoy was quoted as the very model of a speech for a
non-committal orator, and recommended for the study of several gentlemen
who were considered as aiming at this convenient position, very much to
their amusement.

The pieces were ill mounted, and the company unworthy the capital, with
the exception of two very pretty and very clever native actresses,
Mesdames Willis and Chapman. The latter I had the satisfaction of
seeing soon after transferred to New York, in which city she became a
monstrous favourite, both in tragedy and comedy: a very great triumph
for Mrs. Chapman--for she succeeded Miss F. Kemble in some of her best
parts, and an excellent comic actress, a Mrs. Sharpe--acting on the same
night Julia in "The Hunchback," and the Queen of Hearts in "High, Low,
Jack, and Game," with a cleverness which rarely accompanies such

I have much pleasure in offering this just tribute to a very amiable
person, who has, since my departure from the States, quitted the stage,
on which, had she been fortunately situated, she would have had very few

I wonder there are not many more native actresses, since, I am sure,
there is a great deal of latent talent in society here both for opera
and the drama: the girls, too, are generally well educated; are pretty,
have much expression, a naturally easy carriage, and great imitative
powers. The latter talent is singularly common amongst them; and I have
met, not one, but many young women, who would imitate the peculiarities
of any actress or actor just then before the public with an accuracy
and humour quite remarkable.

I acted here seven nights on this occasion, and visited the city again
in May, when I passed three or four weeks most agreeably. I had the
pleasure, too, during this last visit, of seeing the plans for a theatre
worthy the audience, and which, I trust, has by this time been happily
erected, as the greatest part of the fund needed was readily subscribed
for; and the attempt can hardly fail amongst a people so decidedly
theatrical, and who are, besides, really in absolute want of public
amusements for the number of stray men turned loose here during the
session, many of whom are without other home than the bar-room of an
inn, or better means of keeping off _ennui_ than gin-sling or the

I shall now throw together in this place the result of my "Impressions"
as received during my separate visits.

The scenery in the neighbourhood is naturally as beautiful and varied as
woods, rocks, and rivers, in all their most charming features, can
combinedly render it. One of the finest of many noble prospects is, in
my mind, that from the heights just over George Town. From this point
the vast amphitheatre of city, valley, and river may be embraced at a
glance, or followed out in detail, as time or inclination prompts.

Following the windings of the majestic Potomac below the bridge,--which,
viewed from this elevation, looks like a couple of cables drawn across
its channel,--the town of Alexandria is clearly seen: away, on the other
side, Fort Washington may be made out; and, opposite to this, the
ever-hallowed, Mount Vernon is visible; a glimpse in itself worthy a
pilgrimage to every lover of that rare combination--virtue and true

Turning from this direction, and setting your face towards the Capitol,
you perceive extended in dotted lines, the thinly-furnished streets of
the city: viewed from here, the meagre supply of buildings in proportion
to its extent is made obvious; each separate house may be traced out;
and, in their irregular and detached appearance, all design becomes
confounded. It seemed to me as though some frolicsome fairy architect,
whilst taking a flight with a sieveful of pretty houses, had suddenly
betaken her to riddling them over this attractive site as she circled
over the valley in her airy car.

One of my most favourite rides was to a secluded spot in this
neighbourhood, of which I shall attempt some description, since I would,
in the very fulness of my heart's charity, induce all succeeding
wayfarers to visit it.


At about four miles from the city, a gardener named Pierce has taken up
his abode on the summit of a high and on all sides nearly precipitous
hill, immediately surrounded by similar elevations, but separated from
them by very deep ravines. Through one of these, encompassing two sides
of the hill, rushes a clear, active little river, such as a trout-fisher
would glory in, only that its banks in this neighbourhood are everywhere
sentinelled by trees of willow, dog-wood, laburnum, &c. whose flowery
arms entwined within each other shadow the clear water, and protect from
the lure of the angler its finny inmates.

Across this ravine lies the ordinary path by which the future stranger,
who is an amateur of Nature's painting, will seek to gain one of those
fair scenes she has lavished much care upon.

No bridge connects the little domain with the busy world, from sight or
sound of which it is isolated as absolutely as was the valley of
Rasselas; but, slowly winding down an abrupt, thickly-shaded forest
path, you at once break through this "leafy skreen" upon the ford, on
the opposite side of which, a little to the right, lies the gate leading
into the garden.

Pushing your horse boldly through the stream,--for, though noisy, the
bottom has been cleared, and is not usually over knee-deep,--you
dismount, and open the only barrier. Right above you stands a rude stone
dwelling, stern and square of outline, and in no way suited or in
keeping with the graceful trees and shrubs whose rich verdure shadow its
rough walls. Towards this you press onward and upward, until the natural
platform on which the dwelling is placed be gained; when the view of and
from this spot will well reward you for a ride through a secluded forest
country, the freshness and wildness of which have already pleased you,
especially if you are, as I happily was on most of my visits here,
accompanied by companions at once fair and intelligent.

Upon this little platform the grass is always of rare verdure for this
country. Immediately in front of the dwelling four or five forest trees
of the finest kind fling their branches athwart the entrance; and, a few
yards removed, around the foot of a venerable elm, is spread a
variegated carpet of daisies and other pretty flowers, whose colours
the Persian loom might be proud to imitate for a prince's divan.

A few garden-seats are placed here and there for the ease of visitors;
and here have I often sat whilst Mr. Pierce was arranging a bouquet,--an
art, by the way, and no mean one, in which he excels,--and looking about
on the well-sheltered spot, have thought of my poor old friend Michael
Kelly's ballad, until I have fancied him "alive again," and breathing
over the folds of his ample cravat,

     "And I said, if there's peace to be found in this world,
     A heart that is humble might look for it here!"

But there is no peace to be found in this world; so, after indulging a
few wild fancies, that come quickly in such places, I quitted this, as I
have done a hundred other like oases in life's desert, to wander again
about the busy world and jostle with the worldly:

                      "We feel pangs at parting
     From many a spot, where yet we may not loiter."

I did not bid adieu to this, however, before its tranquil and
peace-giving features were impressed for ever upon my memory.

The wooded and well-rounded hills which encircle the garden, are placed
at distances varying from half a mile to half a bow-shot right Sherwood
measure: within this range two buildings only are to be seen; one a
pretty, classic-looking dwelling, nestled under the brow of the hill to
the eastward; the other, sunk low in the extreme western distance, a
rude-looking stone-built water-mill, surrounded by all its healthful and
picturesque appointments; adding to the rustic beauty of the scene, yet
so far removed as in no way to disturb a feeling of absolute seclusion,
if such should be the desire of the possessor of this little domain,
which a moderate sum of money, laid out with good taste, might render
surpassingly beautiful.

I observed that Mr. Pierce kept a few men constantly employed; and as he
is a person of evident intelligence, neither unaware of the value of his
possession, nor deaf to the admiration of his visitors, I trust it may
become worth his while to complete by art what nature has so happily

Flowers were to be procured here at a season very far advanced, and a
high price was given for bouquets, the procuring which for ladies on the
evening of a ball or party is a common act of gallantry; consequently
there is much rivalry amongst the beaux in gleaning the rarest and most
beautiful flowers.

This is a graceful and pretty fashion, and one not likely to grow out of
use amongst women, which opens a market well worth the florist's notice.

If my voice could reach Mr. Pierce, two things I would seek to press
upon his consideration: the first should be never to suffer himself to
be persuaded to throw a bridge--above all, a wooden one--across that
prettiest of fords; the other, that he would, out of humanity to the
cattle, and out of consideration for the necks of his fair visitors,
make the drive, so called, leading through the wood into the George-town
road, just passable.

Meantime, until this be accomplished, let me caution all future
explorers against venturing the approach by that route. The one by the
race-course, and across the ford, is as good as need be; somewhat steep,
a little difficult here and there, but in no way perilous.

I might have selected spots for detail in this neighbourhood, which in
other eyes may have attractions, though different, quite as powerful;
but this, somehow or other, won strangely upon my fancy, and grew to be
my favourite resort when pursuing my accustomed rides. I paid to it many
visits alone, and in company it became associated with some of the
pleasantest hours I passed here; and thus comes it that the reader is
afforded such an opportunity as a meagre sketch can give, of becoming
acquainted with this secluded spot, once perhaps the summer bower of
some native princely Sagamore, and now the location of Mr. Pierce,
gardener and seedsman!


I one day had the honour of accompanying a lady on a drive to make some
calls in the environs, and a most agreeable drive it was. One of our
visits turned out to me quite an adventure; and procured me the
acquaintance of a character rarely encountered in these rule-of-three
days, wherein humanity is clipped and trained upon the principles of old
Dutch gardening,--no exuberances permitted, but all offshoots duly
trimmed to the conventional cut, until individuality is destroyed, and
one half of the world, like Pope's parterre, is made to reflect, as
nearly as possible, the other.

We drove for some distance through an ill-tended but naturally pretty
domain, alighting unnoticed at a house having an air of antiquity quite
refreshing; three sides of the building were encompassed by a broad
raised stoop, covered with a wide-spread veranda, whilst the walls were
thickly coated with ivy, like the tower of an English village church.

We mounted the stoop, which commanded a vast extent of valley bounded by
distant hills, only needing water to make a perfect prospect. A few
moments after we had rested here, the mistress of the place made her
approach, hoe in hand, for she had been tending her flowers in person.
Such a dear old shepherdess of a woman I have not seen for many a day,
with all the poetry and enthusiasm of nineteen, and a pastoral, simple,
unworldlike air, worthy the golden age of the flower-wreathed

She had an anecdote connected with every flower-bed;--her story of the
ivy, so abundant, quite pleased me, as being interesting in itself, and
made doubly so by her _naïve_ mode of telling it.

It appeared that the plants were originally cultivated by Mr. Roscoe, on
his place near Liverpool; that the shoots were gathered by the hands of
that amiable and illustrious man, and sent, in fulfilment of a promise
made, to Mr. Jefferson, for the adornment of Monticello.

The bearer of the plants, on arriving at Washington, could find no
immediate means of forwarding them safely into Virginia; so placed them
in the keeping of their present enthusiastic possessor, beneath whose
careful tending,--for the trust has not been reclaimed,--the gift of
friendship has flourished and increased, and will, I hope, remain fresh
as her own spirit, and fadeless as is the fame of the first donor!

Her parterre afforded quite a summary of the history and habits of the
departed great: here were stocks that had been cultivated by the hands
of George Washington, and lilies growing from bulbs dug up by those of
Thomas Jefferson, after each had cast aside the ungrateful cares of
government and resumed those simpler and happier pursuits in which both
delighted; and these flowers of theirs flourish yet in peace and beauty,
side by side, and, fragile as they look, are perhaps more durably linked
than the mighty Union over which these illustrious florists presided
with views so widely different.

The fruit-trees were thick with blossoms, and the air was absolutely
perfumed. I felt exceedingly loath to obey the summons of my fair guide
when informed that the time of departure was arrived, and have seldom
found a visit to appear so very short. The carriage being laden with the
sweet-scented spoils,--or, rather let me say, gifts of our kind hostess,
for nothing could exceed the free hand with which every shrub was rifled
for us,--we made our adieus, and set forth to return to the city by a
different road, paying a call at another cottage residence by the way.

Of these unpretending, but attractive-looking places, there are numbers
in this neighbourhood; and if ever Washington rises to the importance
fondly anticipated by its founders, no city ought to boast more charming

Here is no end of sites for country dwellings,--valley and hill, river
and rivulet, towering rocks and dark ravines abound in as wild a variety
as heart could wish; with land and living both exceedingly cheap.

I saw one of the prettiest houses possible, with nearly a hundred acres
of land, that had been purchased, a few months before, for five thousand
dollars; and, during my stay here, a first-rate house, with stabling,
&c. complete, as well situated as any in Washington, and as well built,
sold for the same sum. At present, indeed, I should say land about here
is of very little value: though admirably calculated for the residence
of an independent class of gentry, here is no temptation for the planter
or merchant; and but few in this country seek to live a life of leisure
or retirement.


On St. George's day, in company with Captain T----ll, an engineer
officer of high standing, and Mr. K----r, I set out on horseback, at an
early hour, to view the much talked of, but too rarely visited, Falls of
the Potomac.

Our way lay along the tow-path of the Chesapeake and Ohio canal, planned
to unite the Potomac river with the Ohio below Pittsburg,--one of the
greatest works yet contemplated. Its length will be three hundred and
forty miles: the locks are of stone, one hundred feet by fifteen; and
the amount of lockage designed for the whole line is three thousand two
hundred and fifteen feet. Piercing the Alleghany mountains, where the
canal attains its highest level, a tunnel is planned, four miles and
some yards in length.

For upwards of a hundred miles the line is already available; and in
this distance are reckoned forty-four locks, and several noble
aqueducts, in an ascent of a quarter of a mile.

For sixteen miles we followed this magnificent work, which as far as
one of the uninitiated may judge, presents a promise of endurance worthy
the best days of Rome: the width of the canal here varied, as my
companion informed me, from eighty to seventy feet, and the depth from
six to seven feet.

Independent of this work, in itself so interesting, the scenery is
varied and striking. Upon our right lay the canal, to whose course all
nature had been subdued,--the forest rooted up, the Potomac bestridden
by an aqueduct eighteen hundred feet in length, beds of solid gneiss
hewn out fathoms deep, valleys filled up and ramparted with granite
against the assaults of the near river; everything on this hand was
trimmed and levelled in a workmanlike manner: the labour of man was
evident throughout, and the well-trained water stood still, or moved
onward or backward, as directed by its master.

Close upon our left ran the Potomac, but so changed in character, that
the stranger, who from the Capitol had traced the mazy windings of this
mighty stream, whose deep indents and sluggish current show like a
series of lakes stretching away till lost in distance, suddenly removed
to this point, short of two miles, would hardly credit that the narrow,
noisy mountain stream beside him was the same, the very fountain and
feeder of the inland sea spreading below.

It was now dry, fine weather; no rain had fallen for some time; and the
stream, pent within narrow limits, cowered beneath the wooded heights of
the Virginia shore: but the condition of every unprotected level on our
side spoke awfully of its force, when, backed by supplies from the
mountains, it extends itself abroad, overthrowing trees and banks, and
leaving their huge ruins to mark in undoubted characters the true limit
of its sovereignty.

At this time it was in its most peaceful mood, and went on, now
expanding placidly over an even bed, and now divided before some
stubborn rock-founded islet, chafing as it were at being compelled to
yield to an obstruction it had as yet failed to overcome.

Viewed at all points, the stream conducted by Nature outfaced, in my
eyes, the neighbour work of her children; coursing onward, as it went,
defying the hand of man, and rejoicing in its rude freedom.

About the most savage part of our ride, where the path was a wide
rampart of stone without any parapet, bounded on one hand by the canal
and the overhanging rocks through which it was cut, and on the other, at
a precipitous depth of eighty feet, by the rocky bed of the river, we
were threatened with a hurricane, or other outbreak of the elements, of
the wildest kind.

It had become on a sudden unnaturally sultry: before us a cloud fell
like a huge black curtain, until resting upon the lofty bluffs between
which the river now ran, it was draped in folds down to the water; over
this curtain broke a lurid silvery sort of light, making all things
hideous; a heavy moaning sound as of wind was heard throughout the
forest; the leaves shook rattling upon the surrounding shrubs, yet no
air was perceptible even whilst going at a gallop. For a moment this
strange sound would cease wholly, and then roar forth again, as though
the pent tempest was striving close at hand for space and freedom of

Occasionally a vivid flash of lightning would stream from the impending
cloud downward upon the river; and, in momentary expectation of a
regular tornado, on we spurred to reach some shelter.

But after all, our fears were fruitless, or let me rather say our
hopes, since we agreed that a hurricane chancing here would be a
consummation singularly happy. It is certain no fitter scene could well
have been selected for such an event, and indeed this was all that was
needed to make the savage grandeur of the picture perfect.

Expectation had attained its height, when, after a few big splashes of
rain, the sombre curtain drew gradually up, the sun looked forth once
more, shining vividly, and the so lately gloomy waters below, again
laughed and sparkled as they went bounding, gladly, over their rugged

About midday we arrived at a house occupied by a person who attends one
of the many locks on the canal; and by the ready aid of this worthy and
his pretty young helpmate, our horses and ourselves were well supplied
with _vivres_, and otherwise cared for.

After we had discussed sundry rashers of ham, broiled chicken, and
new-laid eggs, we were informed by our friend the lock-keeper, who had
been examining the ford, that the frail bridge which had recently served
to cross a branch of the stream to an island from whose southern side
alone the Falls might be surveyed, was no longer in being.

What was to be done? was the whole purpose of our hard ride to be
defeated by the dislocation of a few loose planks? Our cool pioneer even
admitted that it seemed "mighty hard," and called his spouse to council;
but from her we received small hope, as she at once decided that to
cross so as to get anywhere within sight of the Falls was impossible.

We as stoutly declared our resolution to attempt fording the dividing
current, and requested our host to point out the best probable place for
this purpose.

This he at last agreed to do; adding that "he guessed, with more or less
of a ducking, we might gratify our curiosity, though he could not help
thinking it was mighty foolish."

The lady of the lock, more timid, or, as it turned out, more sage,
remonstrated in vain. In the teeth of her advice and predictions,
sufficiently alarming, we mounted our nags, and, under the good man's
guidance, descended to the ford, by a very rough path; the din of the
unseen torrent sounding in our ears.

On reaching the stream in question, we found it not over twenty yards
across, with an apparently tolerable landing on the opposite side; so
that, albeit it had a threatening sort of look, and bullied and
blustered somewhat loudly, myself and Mr. K----r decided _instanter_
upon crossing. Our companion, a very tall and heavy man, mounted on a
little thorough-bred steed none the stronger for the severe bucketting
it had already gone through, we very wisely prevailed upon to await our
return, and serve as our guide to the right landing when we should have
to re-cross.

With all that eagerness with which men rush on novelty, especially when
any obstacle is thrown in the way, we pushed forward, listening
impatiently to the distant thunder of the Falls. Like all obstacles, we
found these before us less in reality than in report, our chief
difficulty lying in the strength of the current, flowing over an unequal
bottom; but in no part was the water up to the horses' shoulders. We
kept their noses well up stream, and, after a little floundering about,
reached and mounted the sandy bank in no time, whence a short rough ride
over the thickly-wooded islet, gave the wished-for sight to our eyes in
all its gloomy grandeur; and never before do I remember having looked
upon so wildly sublime a scene.

We dismounted; and, tying our horses to a tree, descended into the vast
basin within whose rugged depths the river finds at all seasons ample
space for its fury. Opposite to our stand the face of the black rock
rose perpendicular for a hundred and fifty feet; and over its brow waved
a grove of lofty trees and graceful flowering shrubs, forming together a
plume befitting such a crest, and worthy to float above such a _mêlée_.

Along in front of our position, and only a few yards off, the river was
precipitated from a ledge of rock, three huge masses of which towered
high over it, lying athwart the line of the torrent at apparently equal
distances, as though Nature had designed to bridge this fearful caldron,
but, having raised these piers had rested, content with this evidence of
her power, and so left the work unfinished.

Through the intervals of these piers then, if they may be so
denominated, the water was impelled in three distinct columns of foam
with inconceivable impetuosity; then, after forming many vortices,
frightful to contemplate steadily, whirled boiling away beneath the
boldly jutting table-rock, which afforded us sound footing amidst a din
that of necessity made admiration dumb, since to hear your own voice or
any other person's was quite out of the question.

Oh what a pit of Acheron was here! I would have given a million a-year
to have had Martin with me, pencil in hand, looking upwards upon the
centre one of those three terrible piers. What a throne would it have
made in his hands for the arch enemy of man! How his fancy would have
imaged the lost angel forth, standing there in his might armed for
hopeless combat, shadowed grandly out amidst the silvery vapours curling
round him, whilst up through the raging whirlpools drove the countless
columns of hell in battle array; what tossing of co-mingled plumes and
waves above the thick squadrons of horse, who, with flowing manes and
fiery nostrils, would be seen breaking through and riding over the
foaming torrent, all shadowed forth in a dim reality he knows so well to
deal with, and which, in his creations, leaves the fancy, already
startled by that it can define, afraid to guess at all which yet remains
only half told!

We wandered here, from point to point, unable to express our
bewilderment and delight otherwise than by pantomimic gestures more
amusing than intelligible; and then, in consideration of the lone
condition of our excellent comrade, began to crawl and climb our way
back to the shade where we had left the horses.

The table-rocks were everywhere worn into circular basins of greater or
less dimensions; when the floods of spring and autumn subside, these
pools are left well stocked with pike, trout, and other sorts of fish;
the water was at this time exceedingly low, and a long continuance of
premature heat had shortened the allowance of the denizens of these
pools; our near neighbourhood, therefore, deprived as they were of the
means of retreat or concealment, caused a great sensation amongst them,
and much rushing, and floundering, and darting to and fro.

We joined cordially in commiserating the fate of these unlucky
_détenus_, who, as the summer advances, must, to say the least of it,
become most uncomfortably warm about the middle of the day. K----r
wasted, as I considered, much time in sentimentalizing over their
probable fate, for I found that he loitered behind by every basin which
contained a larger specimen than usual.

After a rather prolonged halt, I was preparing to _row_ my friend for
his vexatious display of philanthropy, when he came to me with his right
arm soaked up to the shoulder, grievously lamenting his having failed,
by an untimous slip, in securing a fellow of at least nine or ten
pounds' weight.

"What the devil!" exclaimed I, "is it possible that you contemplated
scrambling your way back to give this finny gentleman the freedom of the

"Not at all, my dear fellow," replied my sensitive friend; "I merely
contemplated carrying him to Washington, and giving him the freedom of
the boiler. The Baron would have rejoiced in him; he was a fish for the
Czar himself! Besides, it would have been an act of charity to the poor
devil of a fish, the consummation of whose horrid fate is alarmingly
nigh, since there is not over six inches of water on the rock, and that
already as close as may be upon ninety-four degrees. That one dip has
parboiled my right arm; I must plunge it in the first running water to
cool it."

I enjoyed a good laugh at K----'s hot-bath fishing, but did not dream of
the thorough cooling in store for my charitable piscator.

On we dashed, full of excitement and high spirits, and hit the stream
at a point very little below where we had before landed. Captain T----ll
was still on his post; and with less of precaution than we had used at
crossing, in dashed K----r some yards in advance of me, although I being
mounted on a more powerful horse, had before taken the first of the
current whilst my friend rode on my quarter, thus mutually sustaining
each other.

Whilst I was yet upon the bank, K----'s nag lost his footing, and turned
fairly head over heels in the very middle of the passage, at the
shortest possible notice. The first intimation I got of the event was
missing my man, and in his stead perceiving four bright shoes glancing
in the sun above the broken water. In a moment, however, he emerged to
day once more; and after a second dive or so, gained good bottom, losing
only a few ounces of blood from a broken nose. I led his horse safely
ashore; and the brute, though the least hurt, was by far the most
frightened, for he shook like a negro in an ague fit.

As for K----r, he bore his mishap with a _sangfroid_ and good-humour
that were admirable: the only regret I heard from him was, that Sir
Charles Vaughan's ball should come off on this night, since his
appearance was marred past present help; and indeed, notwithstanding
applications of whisky, cold water, vinegar, &c. which our friends of
the lock supplied, the nose was growing of a most unseemly size.

The lock-man expressed much regret; whilst his good lady, I fancied, was
not very sorry to have her predictions fulfilled at so cheap a rate. I
ventured to hint to my friend something about retributive justice,
alluding to his fishy longings amongst the pools; but he rejected the
application with indignation, insisting upon it that his desire to
secure that fine fish was founded in the purest charity.

We lost no time in setting out for home by a shorter route; and after a
hard, hot ride, got back to the city in good time to dress for dinner,
at which I was sorry to find my philanthropic fisherman did not make his
appearance. This was the only drawback upon the pleasure with which I
contemplated our day's work; indeed I had special cause to regret the
mishap, since it was for my gratification alone K----r was led to push
over this unlucky stream, he having before visited the Falls. However, I
do not forget his amiability upon this and many other similar
occasions, and hereby pledge myself to swim across a broader current,
either with him, or for him, on any day between this and the year of our
Lord 1850.

Early hours being the mode here, about nine o'clock drove to Sir Charles
Vaughan's, who, in honour of St. George's-day, gave a ball, to which all
the beauties in the capital were bidden. I found the guests on this
occasion less numerous than at one I had attended early in the season,
during my first visit here. The scene was already brilliant as light,
and life, and youth could make it; the music, consisting of a harp and
four other instruments, was exceedingly good; the women were
well-dressed and pretty, and danced with infinite grace and spirit.

The _tournure_ of an American girl is generally very good; she excels in
the dance, and one sees that she enjoys it with all her heart. In
England I have rarely felt moved to dance; on the other hand, in France
and America, so electric is evident unrestrained enjoyment, I have found
it sometimes difficult to repress the inclination within becoming

About midnight supper was announced; and let it not be forgotten, since
it was of an order worthy the country represented, and our excellent
minister's character for hospitality. After this the party thinned
rapidly, and by half-past one o'clock the ball-room was silent. I
lighted my cigar, and took my accustomed walk up the great avenue to the
Capitol hill, thence surveyed for a moment the silent city, and back to
my quarters at Fuller's, making a distance of full three miles; and so
concluded a busy and right pleasant four-and-twenty hours.


I attended several large assemblies at Washington, and must here, after
a second visit, and so much experience as my opportunities afforded,
enter my protest against the sweeping ridicule it has pleased some
writers to cast upon these doings here; since I saw none of those
outrageously unpresentable women, or coarsely habited and ungainly men,
so amusingly arrayed by some of my more observant predecessors. I can
only account for it by referring to the rapid changes ever taking place
here, and to which I have alluded in my introduction to these

The ordinary observances of good society are, I should say, fully
understood and fully practised at these public gatherings, and not more
of the ridiculous presented than might be observed at any similar
assemblage in England, if half so much; since here I have commonly found
that persons who have no other claims to advance save money or a seat in
the legislature, very wisely avoid _reunions_, where they could neither
look to receive nor bestow pleasure.

It is quite true that many of these members, all of whom are by rank
eligible to society, may be met with, who are more rusty of bearing than
most of those within St. Stephen's; but I will answer for this latter
assembly outfacing them in samples of rudeness, ill-breeding, and true
vulgarity: for it is a striking characteristic of the American, that, if
not conventionally polished perhaps, you will rarely find him either
rude or discourteous; whilst amongst those who, in the nature of the
government, are elevated from a comparatively obscure condition to place
and power, although refinement cannot be inserted as an addendum to the
official diploma, the aspirant usually adopts with his appointment a
quiet formal strain of ceremony, which protects himself, and can never
give offence to any.

In the absence of that ease and self-possession which can only be
acquired by long habitual intercourse with well-bred persons, this
surely is the wisest course that could be adopted, and a hundred degrees
above that fidgety, jackdaw-like assumption of _nonchalance_ with which
the ill-bred amongst ourselves seek to cover their innate vulgarity.

At all these assemblies, as elsewhere, great real attention is paid to
women; and I vow I have, in this respect, seen more ill-breeding, and
selfish rudeness, at a fashionable rout in England, than could be met
with, at any decent crush, from Natchetoches to Marble-head. Beyond
these points within the States I speak not, since without them the land
is strange to me.

No levee of the President's has occurred during my sojourn here; but I
learn that in the true spirit of democracy, the doors on these occasions
are open to every citizen without distinction of rank or costume;
consequently the assemblage at such times may be oddly compounded

As for private society in Washington, although limited, it can in no
place be conducted in a manner more agreeable, or extended to the
stranger with more unostentatious freedom. Once presented to a family,
and the house is thenceforward open to you. From twelve o'clock until
two, the inmates either visit or receive visitors: between these hours,
the question, "Are the ladies at home?" being answered in the
affirmative, you walk into the drawing-room without farther form; and,
joining the circle, or enjoying a _tête-à-tête_, as it may happen,
remain just so long as you receive or can impart amusement.

Again, after six, if you are so disposed, you sally forth to visit. If
the family you seek be at home, you find its members forming a little
group or groups, according to the number present, each after their age
and inclination; and politics, dress, or scandal are discussed: or, if
the night be serene,--and what lovely nights have I witnessed here, even
at this early season! (May)--you make a little party to the covered
stoup, or balcony, extended along the back-front of most houses; and
here a song, a romp, a waltz, or a quiet still talk, while away hours of
life, unheeded until passed, but never to be recalled without pleasure.
About eleven the guests generally depart, and by midnight the great
avenue of this city is hardly disturbed by a foot-fall; not a sound
comes on the ear except the short, fierce wrangle of packs of vagrant
curs crossing each other's hunting-ground, which they are as tenacious
of as the Indians are of their prairies.

At this hour I used often, after returning from a party, such as is
described above, to put on my morning-gown and slippers, and light my
pipe, then sallying forth, have strolled from Fuller's to the Capitol;
and climbing its bold hill, have looked down along the sleeping city,
speculating upon its possible destinies until my fancies waxed
threadbare, and then quietly returned, making a distance of nearly three
miles, without encountering an individual or hearing the sound of a
human voice.

At set balls even, the first hour of morning generally sees ample space
on the, till then, crowded floor; and the most ardent pleasure-lovers
rarely overleap the second by many minutes.

The consequence of this excellent plan is, that, although the ladies are
weak in numbers, they are always, to use an expressive sporting phrase,
ready to come again; rising, the morning after a dance, unwearied and
elastic in mind and body. I hope, for the sake of my American friends,
it will be very long before these healthful hours are changed to those
which custom has made fashionable in England; hours that soon fade the
roses even on their most genial soil, the cheeks of the fair girls of
Britain, blighting the healthful and the young, and withering the aged
and the weak.

Much of the population of Washington is migratory; and, during a long
session, samples may be found here of all classes, from every part of
the Union, whether represented or not. There are, however, generally
resident a few old Southern families, who, together with the foreign
ministers and their suites, form the nucleus of a permanent society,
where the polish of Europe is grafted upon the simple and frank courtesy
of the best of America. Were it not in violation of a rule I have
imposed upon myself as imperative, I could name families here whose
simple yet refined manners would do honour to any community, and from an
intercourse with whom the most fastidious conventionalist would return



My worthy manager had often pressed me to accompany him on one of our
off-nights to Alexandria, which he assured me boasted a very pretty
theatre, and a population, if not generally theatrical, still capable of
filling the house for two or three nights upon an extraordinary
occasion. Such he was pleased to consider the present; and although I
suggested the probability that most of the play-loving Alexandrians had
most likely, during the late very lovely nights, visited the Washington
theatre, Mr. Jefferson argued, there yet existed a sufficient body, of
the unsatisfied curious, to repay us for our short trip. A steam-boat,
he said, would take down him and his troop, bag and baggage, in a couple
of hours; and, as I was fond of riding, it was for me but a pleasant

As it was my intention to pass a few hours at this city, whose spires
might be seen any fine day from George-town heights, and close to which
lived a gentleman whom I had promised to visit, I decided with the
manager upon making trial of our popularity by convening on a certain
evening a public meeting of its inhabitants; our object being similar to
that of most conveners of public meetings, viz. to amuse the lieges and
benefit ourselves.

The town was advertised of our intended purpose, the night appointed,
and all the usual blowing of trumpets duly done, when on the forenoon of
a lovely day, accompanied by Captain R----y of the navy, I traversed the
interminable-looking bridge uniting the district of Columbia with
Virginia, and entered the _Old Dominion_, as the natives love to
distinguish their State.

The road was excellent, bordered with turf nearly the whole way, and
commanding extensive and varied views of the Potomac, together with
George-town and the Capitol. I often halted and turned my horse's head
to look upon this picture, for such it truly was. Nothing, in fact, can
be more panoramic than the aspect of these cities, lying in one of the
best-defined and most beautiful of natural amphitheatres, and flanked by
the grandest of rivers. At the distance of five or six miles all the
meannesses of the city are lost sight of, and the extreme ends, so
widely apart, and so worthily bounded, by the Capitol on the north and
the President's mansion, with the surrounding offices belonging to the
state department, on the south, combined with the dock-yard and a few
other large public buildings in the middle distance, give to the
metropolis of America an aspect no way unworthy of its high destiny.

Arrived at Shooter's Hill, the seat of Mr. D----y, we were encountered
with a welcome characteristic of a Virginian gentleman on his own soil,
and worthy the descendant of an Irishman.

Here then we dined, took our _tisan de champagne glacée_ upon the
well-shaded gallery fronting the river, and in due time I mounted, and
rode down to the city, to make my toilet and receive the Alexandrians.
The first I soon effected, and the last I should have rejoiced to have
also done; but they would not be received--"the more we waited, the more
they would not come."

I took possession of the stage, the only portion of the house occupied,
where, eyed by half a dozen curious negroes, who were evidently
amateurs, and by their good-humoured air ready to become admirers, I
awaited the appearance of the audience. In lieu of these, some half-hour
after the time of beginning, Mr. Jefferson made his appearance _solus_,
with an expression half comic, half vexed.

"It's no go, my good friend," said I.

"They're not come _yet_" said Mr. J.

"Nor are they on the road, Mr. Jefferson."

"They're a long way off, I guess, if they are," said he.

"And won't arrive in time, that's clear. Hadn't you better postpone the
business _sine die_?"

"We've nothing else left for it, I fear," said Mr. J., taking a last
careful survey of the well-lighted solitary _salle_: adding, "We must

"That ceremony will be quite superfluous," observed I, "unless as far as
we ourselves are concerned, and our sable friends here."

I had observed that the two or three little knots occupying the
intervals of the side-scenes were evidently interested observers of our
debate, and grieved and disappointed by the result. I should have liked
to have put them all into the front, and then have acted to them, could
one have insured their not being intruded on by any stray white-man. As
it was, Mr. Jefferson begged me to consider myself at perfect liberty.

"It's provoking too," added my good-humoured manager, who was quite a
philosopher in his vocation; "for it's a pretty theatre, isn't it?"

"It is a very pretty theatre," responded I. And so it was, exceedingly
so. It had been built when the place flourished, and the community was
prosperous and could afford to be merry. Now, trade having decayed, and
money ceased to circulate, the blood has also grown stagnant amongst
this once gay people: the fire is out and the drama's spirit fled.

Mr. Jefferson, however, had a much more summary mode of accounting for
our desolate state; for, on my suggesting that his bills might have been
ill distributed or his notice insufficient,--being rather desirous thus
to find a loophole for my vanity to creep out of,--he convinced me that
all points of 'vantage had been most provokingly well cared for.

"What the plague can be the reason they won't come for _once_, at least,
Mr. J.? One would be less surprised at their not answering to a second

Jefferson shook his head, in a fashion that expressed more than even
Puff designed Lord Burleigh's shake to convey:[9] adding, by way of

"The Bank question, sir! all the Bank question!"

I waited for no more, feeling that this was indeed an explanation
sufficiently satisfactory; since, for some time, it served to account
fully for every possible event, moral and physical,--the depression of
the markets, the failure of the fruit-crop, the non-arrival of the
packets, the sinking of stock, and the flooding of the Ohio.

Joining my friends at the hotel,--an exceedingly good one, by the
way,--we were soon once more in saddle; and, lighted by as beautiful a
moon as ever silvered the smooth surface of the Potomac, off I dashed
with them, for Washington at a slapping pace, in no way regretting my
having visited Alexandria or my premature return, since my day had been
most delightfully passed: and my not having a _soirée_ of my own,
enabled me to assist at one given by a very charming and intelligent
person, to which I was bidden, but in consequence of my engagement to
Mr. J. had no hopes of attending.


[9] See "The Critic."


This species of entertainment, so common in Europe, is in a great
measure a novelty in the States; for although in New York and
Philadelphia _materiel_ may be procured in abundance,--and there is no
lack of either wealth or spirit to put it in requisition,--yet the
society is too much divided to admit of numbers, and variety, sufficient
to relieve the groups from sameness and consequent insipidity. At
Washington, I believe, there had never been more than two or three
attempts made; when, therefore, Senator W----e, of Florida, issued cards
for a "Fancy Ball," with little more than a week's notice, the whole of
the visiting community was thrown into confusion, and, indeed, despair.
A rush was at once made upon the _materiel_; the candidates were many,
the supplies few; and all were eager to monopolise as far as was

In twenty-four hours after the summons had gone forth, not a plume of
feathers, a wreath of flowers, or a scarf or ribbon _couleur de rose_ or
_flamme d'enfer_, could have been purchased in the city of Washington.

It was most amusing to assist at the consultations of the ladies: not a
portfolio but what was rummaged, not a pencil but what was in
requisition copying or inventing authorities for all sorts of real and
imaginary costume.

Every man who either possessed, or was supposed possessed of, an iota of
taste, suddenly found himself greatly increased in importance. The
position of these virtuosi became enviable in the extreme: they ran or
walked about the streets with an air of well-pleased mystery, their
hands filled with delicate-looking triangular billets; they entered the
residences of the most admired belles without knocking; they were
consulted, caressed, listened to anxiously, smiled upon gratefully: in
short, for three or four days, their influence seemed only limited by
their discretion; they moved "air-borne, exalted above vulgar men."

But all human happiness is transient at best, and even the sovereignty
of taste could not endure for ever. As the costume became settled, the
fair clients fell off; the portfolios were returned with "thanks;" the
drawings, so lately pronounced "perfect loves," and gazed upon as though
worthy the creation of a Rubens, were now to be found doubled up in the
card-rack, or transfixed by two or three pins on the cushion of a
work-table; the three-cornered missives circulated in other channels;
and the man of Taste found ample leisure once more to speak to a friend
in the avenue, or fall quietly into the ranks at a dinner-party.

Nevertheless, up to the last hour, the ladies continued, if words might
have been trusted, in absolute despair; and in truth, when one examined
into the resources at their command, the case seemed desperate enough.
To be sure, Baltimore was near, and was soon under contribution; even
Philadelphia and New York were lightly visited, more than one belle
having sent thus far for a dress. Some of these, by the way, were, like
the Chevalier de Grammont's, swamped on the road, to the mortification
of the fair expectants.

Three or four gentlemen joined company in getting up a diplomatic group,
which my friend Kenny's little comedy of "The Irish Ambassador" had here
made very popular. Of this group I formed a part; and being honoured by
the company of an embassy from a new quarter, in the portly person of
"His Excellency minister extraordinary, and Plenipotentiary, from the
Dry Tortugas," together with his Secretary of legation and suite, our
equipages, as we left Fuller's, made rather a formidable show.

Many other well-dressed groups of men were known to us as being
prepared, and it was for the ladies only I felt any fear of a lame
conclusion. But what will not the ingenuity of woman effect when
inclination prompts and pleasure leads the way!

I entered the reception-room, quite sorrowing for one or two of my
personal friends, whose regret at being so miserably unprovided up to
the last hour had met sympathy from my credulous simplicity, when, lo!
here I found these fair sly things set forth in character, all plumed
"like estridges."

We made our bows to the lady patroness, a very charming person, habited
as Isabel de Croye, and attended by a suite of well-chosen characters,
very tastefully gotten up. Here were girls so unquestionably Greek, that
any good Christian would willingly have ransomed them without suspicion
of their country or quality; together with Turkish maidens, whose
appearance would have dazzled and deceived even the argus-eyed
guardians of the Imperial serai.

I was struck with the great variety of Asiatic costume present, of the
richest and most perfect kind, both male and female: a couple of women,
with fine black eyes and features of remarkable classic beauty, wore the
costume of Tripolitan ladies of the highest rank, and it would be
difficult to conceive anything richer or more strikingly picturesque.
The Mediterranean is the favourite cruising ground of the American navy;
and from this abundant wardrobe, of the most becoming costumes, every
ship imports specimens for their friends at home. On this occasion these
had been laid under requisition to excellent purpose.

There were two attempts only, as far as I remember, to embody character,
as is more usual in masquerade; but these were both remarkable for their
excellence. The most striking in appearance was a young officer of the
United States' army, habited as an Osage warrior, painted and plumed
with startling truth. Surrounded by all that was presumed to be strange
and bewildering, never for a moment did the well-trained young warrior
forget what was due to himself or his tribe: he looked on with the most
imperturbable _sangfroid_, moved about with the ease and self-possession
of one to whom all he mingled with had been a matter of common usage;
heard jests, questions, or friendly explanations with the most unmoved
gravity, replying by an occasional "Ou, ou!" or a slow bend of his head:
his patience was indeed worthy the most tried of the race he
represented, for never did he lose it or forget himself for a moment. He
was a very fine young man, and the features of his face appeared to have
been moulded to his present purpose.

The other was a Yankee young man, as he described himself, "jist come
away south, to see about;" and who, "noticin' that all kinds o' queer
men was comin' in here without payin' nothin', thought he'd best jist
step in tu, and make one among the lot."

And of a certainty he did make the queerest specimen I ever met in this
or any other lot. The supporter of this character was young Mr. W----r.
The total change in his appearance was effected by a certain set of the
hat and a mode of placing it on the head quite characteristic, together
with an odd hanging on of the coat and vest, which gave them the look
of having belonged to some one else, and as likely to fit any one as the
present wearer.

I had seen the original of this picture in the north, I had also
witnessed it admirably represented by Messrs. Hill and Hacket, the rival
Yankees of the American stage; but neither of them, I think, were so
minutely perfect or so whimsical as this new actor. The abstraction was
complete; and the odd questions, guesses, complicated relations, full of
drollery and wholly applicable to the present scene and the actors
engaged in it, were replete with humour, exhibiting a compound of vulgar
assurance, simplicity, and native shrewdness, not surpassed by any
assumption I have ever witnessed.

Although quite intimate with this gentleman, I stood for a while
listening to him where he stood grinning amidst a group who were
quizzing and questioning him, and for a short time imagined it was some
veritable rustic they held immeshed. It was not until after I had
learned who it was, that I succeeded in recognising a person who had
been sitting with me that very morning.

A few of the gravest of the senators alone had been privileged by the
host to appear _en habit de ville_, and these paid for their privilege
before they got clear off. Their potent seignorships, in truth, soon
found themselves exceedingly ill at ease here: jostled by lawless
pirates, lassoed by wild Guachos, and plundered of their loose cash by
irresistible broom and orange girls, they were fain to make an early
retreat, with as good a grace as might be assumed, under circumstances
so subversive of all due gravity.

If enjoyment be the object of such meetings, nothing could be more
absolutely attained than it was at this little fancy ball; for a scene
of higher festivity and good-humour no man could desire to assist at. It
had, however, the sin to account for of keeping its fair patronesses
together some two hours later than any other _fête_ I witnessed in this
most wisely merry capital.

On reaching Fuller's, accompanied by a joyous knot of diplomatists, it
was discovered to be over three hours past midnight; a novelty in
etiquette which it was decided _nem. con._ would have "plenty of
precedents _after_."



The principal lions of Washington, after the legislative chambers, are
the Navy-yard, the President's mansion, the National Exhibition,
connected with the patent-office, containing specimens of mechanical
inventions either original or considered such by their industrious
projectors, and lastly the offices for the department of State.

In the latter was a chamber which to me offered more attractions than
all the other objects put together: it contained a collection of
original portraits of the most distinguished amongst the aborigines,
allied with or opposed to the States.

This is an object well worthy the care of government, and, it is to be
hoped, one that will be persevered in, for yet but a few years, and here
will be the only memento left of the Red-man within the land. Something
is due to the memory of these savage warriors and legislators; this
tribute serves to render them a sort of poetical justice, and wins a
sympathy for their fate, through their portraits, which might have been
withheld from themselves,--at least, judging of those I have seen,
drunken, dirty, and debased.

Here, indeed, they show gallantly out, the untameable children of the
forest, the lords of the lake and of the river, some of them absolutely
handsome, their costume being in the highest degree chivalric; many,
unluckily, are clad in a mixed fashion, half Indian, half
American,--grotesque, but unbecoming when compared with the gaudily
turbaned and kilted Creek, or the plumed and painted Winnebago, who,
leaning on his rifle beneath a forest tree, and listening with a keen,
unwearying aspect for the coming tread of his foe or his prey, looks
like a being never born to wear harness or own a master.

A few of the chiefs are painted in the full-dress uniform of the
American army, but are not for an instant to be mistaken; although Red
Jacket, the great orator and warrior, and one or two others have
features exceedingly resembling some of the Provençal _noblesse_ of
France: the common expression is, however, almost uniformly
characteristic of their nature, cold, crafty, and cruel; I hardly found
one face in which I could have looked for either mercy or
compunction--always excepting the women, of whom here are a few
specimens. It would be but gallant to add to the number, if there are
many such amongst the tribes; for the features of these are pretty,
their expression truly feminine and gentle, with the most dove-like,
loveable eyes in nature.

I, some time after this, found a very fine work in course of publication
at Philadelphia, containing coloured prints, large folio size, made from
these and other original sources; with accurate biographical notices of
the most important amongst the chiefs, and a detailed account of their
history and habits. The author is Colonel M'Kenny, for many years
resident Indian agent, living amongst and with the people he describes;
and combining with these opportunities education, intelligence, and much
enthusiasm on the subject. In this work will be given correct
translations of their highly expressive but unpronounceable
appellations; and as much justice done to their characters, as, I can
answer for it, has been already rendered to their outward form and

The courtesy which distinguishes officials of every rank in this
country makes a visit to this, or any public place, not only a matter of
pleasure but of profit to the stranger; since one rarely returns without
some anecdote or information connected with the object visited, given in
an off-hand agreeable manner, which is in itself a gratification. I have
never been a sight-hunter in Europe, and this not from indolence or lack
of laudable curiosity, I believe; but simply through considering the
forms and difficulties that hedge in most places and persons worthy
observance, more than equivalent to the gratification to be won from a
sight of them. The case is different here: there is no unnecessary fuss
or form; the highest public servants are left to protect themselves from
impertinent intrusion; and to the stranger, all places that may be
considered public property are perfectly accessible, without any tax
being levied on his pride, his patience, or his purse,--matters which
might be amended in England, greatly to the advancement of our national
character, and in these reforming days not unworthy consideration.

I was a good deal amused looking over the various costly gifts which
have been, from time to time, presented by foreign potentates to the
distinguished public servants of America, all of which are here
collected; the law not permitting those on whom they were bestowed to
retain them, although yielding to the custom which has rendered such
marks of courtly approbation customary amongst the great ones of Europe.

I could not help smiling as I fancied the disgorgement of all the
_cadeaux_ exchanged between ministers and generals, and treaty-makers
and breakers, since 1812, an epoch fruitful of such courtesies. Why, it
would pay off the national debt of the general government of this
country, and leave a surplus for watering the streets of the capital, if
the legislature did not find fault with the appropriation, and continue
to prefer being blinded, as they are at present, rather than purchase a
few water-carts for the corporation, which it seems is too impoverished
to afford any outlay on its own account.

There was nothing that puzzled me more, on a first view of the matter,
than the utter indifference with which the Americans look upon the
exceedingly unworthy condition of their capital, when considered in
relation with the magnitude, the greatness, and prosperous condition of
their common country. During months of every session, the roads leading
through the district of Columbia are all but impassable: independent of
the discomfort and delay consequent upon their condition, hardly a
season passes without some member or other being injured more or less by
overturns, which are things of common occurrence; yet, only let
government insert one extra item in the budget to be applied to the
service of this their common property, and all parties from all quarters
of the Union unite to reject the supply.

I heard of a curious instance of this jealousy of poor Columbia whilst
on my last visit here. The great avenue, or principal street, leading
from the President's house to the Capitol, had recently been redeemed
from mud according to the plans of M'Adam; but the exposure of the
situation, and the nature of the material employed, rendered the
improvement rather questionable: every breeze that now blew filled the
atmosphere with thick clouds of dust charged with particles of mica,
which really made it a hazardous matter to venture forth on a gusty day,
unless in a closed carriage, when tired of sitting at home, suffocated
with heat, or smothered with dust by the wind, which ought to have
borne health and comfort on its wings instead of this eighth plague.

Every one complained, all suffered; members, senators, the President,
and the cabinet, all were having dust flung in their eyes, at a period
when the commonwealth required that they should all be most especially
keen and clearsighted. The Potomac, meantime, swept by them, clear and
cool, and the classic Tiber could with difficulty be kept out of their
houses. The Romans would have made their Tiber useful on such an
occasion, and the ready remedy at length suggested itself to the
half-smothered senators. The sum of a few hundred dollars was promptly
voted to abate the evil, in conjunction with the Tiber, whose
contribution was here on demand. The bill was, however, rejected on its
farther course: the dust continued to rise, the people saved their
dollars, their representatives continued blind, and the banks of the
Tiber remained undrawn on.

If you venture an observation upon this obvious absence of all decent
pride in their capital, as being somewhat singular in a people who seem
wrapt in their country, and solicitous that it should show worthily in
the world's eyes, the case is admitted, and accounted for readily
enough, but by no means creditably, in my mind.

The members from Louisiana or Maine will tell you that they cannot
satisfactorily account to their constituents for voting sums of money to
adorn or render convenient a city these may never see, and for whose
very existence they have no care.

The man from the great western valley will shrug up his shoulders at
your observation, admit its truth, but add, that the idea of the
continuance of Washington, as the metropolis of the Union, and seat of
the general government, is a ridicule, since this ought clearly to wait
upon the tide of population, and be situated west of the Alleghanies.

Neither of these answers are worthy the country or the American people:
the citizen voters of these distant states should be reminded that the
district of Columbia is their common property, and Washington the
capital of their great Union, representing them in the eyes of
strangers, and from whose present condition the least prejudiced
European will find it difficult to avoid drawing injurious conclusions.

Without internal resources, and entirely dependent upon the government,
it would be worthy their national grandeur to make this district a type
of that grandeur; and its city, as far as all public buildings and
general conveniences might be concerned, second to none in the world.

Presuming even its occupation to be temporary, and that, at no distant
period, it will be deserted, left again to the dominion of nature, to be
once more incorporated with the forest,--why, a Russian boyard has
raised as fine a city, to lodge his royal mistress in for one night, and
set it on fire to light her home on the next after!

Were it of a certainty to be deserted in ten years, I would, were I a
representative about to be sent to it, say to my clients: "As for
Washington, let us build, beautify, and render it habitable and
convenient, so that, when hereafter the European traveller seeks its
ruins in the forest, he shall never doubt but that he looks upon the
site once honoured as the capital of the American people."

I have, when in conversation with intelligent friends here, delivered
similar sentiments, and they have smiled at them without admitting
their justice or applicability: I now set them down for their further
amusement, not because I imagine they will be a tittle the more
regarded, but simply because such were my "Impressions" of Washington.

I went several times to the senate-chamber and the hall of the
representatives; but was not fortunate enough to hear a debate in the
latter, or find any very important topic under discussion. Speeches I
never found much attraction in anywhere, unless deeply interested in the
subject of them; and those of the American assembly are rather made to
be read than to be listened to. The arguments, thus delivered in
Washington, are in fact directed to, and intended for, the constituents
of the party, to whom they are directly forwarded in the shape of most
formidable-looking pamphlets, no matter to what distance, post-free,
serving as an exposition of the author's sentiments, and an evidence of
his industry.

In the senate I had the happiness to hear a slight matter debated, in
which Messrs. Clay and Forsyth took part; and I was struck with the
force and fluency of the one, and the gentlemanlike tone and quiet
self-possession of the other. Mr. Henry Clay reminded me strongly of
Brougham, when the latter happens to be in one of his mildest
moods;--the same facility of words and happy adaptation of them; the
same bold, confident air, as though assured of his auditory and of
himself; and withal, a touch of sly caustic humour, conveyed in look and
in manner, that an adversary might well feel heedful of awakening.

Mr. Webster, another of the thunderers of the senate, was in his place
on the occasion I allude to, but did not rise, which I was exceedingly
anxious he should do, for I had already heard him speak at Boston, and
never remember to have been more impressed. The cast, and setting on, of
his head is grand, quite antique, his features massive and regular, yet
in their expression, and in the calm repose of his deep-set black eyes,
there is a strong resemblance to the native Indian, with whose blood, I
believe, the great orator claims close affinity.

Mr. Van Buren's manner I thought highly characteristic of his political
character,--cool, courteous; with a tone quiet but persuasive, a voice
low-pitched, but singularly effective from the clearness of his
enunciation and well-chosen emphasis. He bestows an undivided attention
to the matter before the house becoming his situation.

As vice-president, this gentleman is chairman of the senate; a situation
at this time of peculiar delicacy, considering his position as the
proclaimed director of the measures of General Jackson's cabinet, and
heir to his party and his power. His filling this chair with so little
reproach under assaults and provocations which it required the greatest
good temper and good sense to encounter or turn aside, I consider no
slight evidence of that wisdom and political sagacity for which his
party give him credit, and which have acquired for him amongst his
admirers the familiar cognomen of the Little Magician.

The ladies, however, formed the chief attraction of the senate-chamber.
Occupying a sort of passage or gallery on a level with and circling
round two-thirds of the floor, here they sit, listening to their
favourite speaker wherever he may be engaged, either before the
President's chair boldly advancing the common interest, or behind some
fair politician's, timidly seeking to advance his own, and hence, deal
forth their award in well-pleased smiles, in due proportion to the
eloquence of the speaker, public or private.

This is a custom the advantages of which I am sorry to find are about
to be tested in England. Shame that a man should ever have to express
regret that one other muster-place had been invented for a _reunion_ of
pretty faces! But such is my honest impression, and with me honesty is
paramount;--a quality which must serve to balance my discourteous
opinion, and restore me to the sex's favour. Then again, I am not of the
Commons' House, or likely to be; and do not choose, perhaps, that the
members should divide with me that part of my audience I value most, and
would desire if possible to monopolize.

Why then, it may be asked, are these your only reasons? In reply permit
me to say, I have a reserve of minor importance, but which may be added
as a make-weight to my graver argument,--I do not think the place will
become them, or that the habit of hearing debates will improve them. I
had as soon see a woman a dragoon as a politician: not a Hussar; for I
have seen a lady of our land make a very dashing hussar, without
forfeiting one charm as a woman. No: I mean a "Heavy," with jackboots
and cuirass, helmet and horse-hair; and to this condition will the
novelty of the thing, if it becomes a fashion, possibly degrade our
gentle, retiring, womanly women.

Let me here, however, declare, that it does not appear to have had this
fatal effect upon the American ladies, since I never found one amongst
them who thought about talking politics, unless it was with some snob
who was too stupid to talk any nonsense less dull. But then they are
born to the manner, and very few of them resident in the capital. It is
only a novelty, therefore, enjoyed once or twice; then yawned over,
voted tiresome, and forgotten.

On the other hand, our ladies, who would be most likely to monopolize
the house, are in town for the whole session, eager for new excitement,
and prepared to die martyrs to anything that may become the rage: then
again, although I will answer for their capability of remaining silent
during a debate, unless they are differently constituted from their fair
kinswomen, t'other side the Atlantic, yet is there a coming and going, a
rustling of silk and pulling off of gloves, a glancing of sparkling
rings and yet more sparkling eyes, anything but promoters of attention
or order in the house; besides the danger of a faint or two during a
crush or a row amongst the members,--the latter, if one may rely upon
the journals, a thing of nightly recurrence now.

I have many other good reasons to advance, but as they chiefly apply to
the younger members, I think it useless to add them; indeed, my object
in saying so much is rather to justify my expressed opinion, than from
either the desire or hope of seeing an order so likely to prove
agreeable to the Commons' House rescinded.

Politics have rarely run higher, or assumed an aspect more startling to
a European, than during my residence in the States; and though it is not
my intention to deal largely with a subject which every brother
scribbler, who spends his six months here, arranges to his great ease
and perfect satisfaction, yet, whenever I think my object of making the
people known may be advanced by giving a smack of their politics, I
shall do so with perfect freedom, considering this as ground on which
the best friends may differ without any impeachment of good feeling or
sound judgment.

The assumption of a new power by the President in the removal of the
national fund, upon his own responsibility, from the United States
Bank, and in violation of the terms of their unexpired charter, deranged
for a time the credit of the community, and convulsed the land from one
extremity to the other. During this panic, remonstrances and prayers for
redress poured in from one party; whilst addresses, laudatory and
congratulatory, were duly gotten up by the other.

The sea-board cities, together with every trading community, crowded the
capital with deputations, praying the President to restore the monies
and heal the national credit, until their importunities became so
frequent, so personal, and led to such undignified altercations between
these delegates and the chief of the government, that the gates of the
palace were fairly closed against them; and, as the Whig journals
expressed it, "for the first time, the Republic beheld the doors of the
chief magistrate barred upon delegates charged to pour out the
sufferings of the people, to remonstrate against their causes, and to
awaken their author to a sense of his tyranny and injustice."

In senate and congress the tone assumed by this party against
government, and the violence of the language used, become really
startling to the ears of the subject of a monarchy: for instance, Mr.
Webster, in a recent speech, drew a parallel between Sylla and the
President, or _Dictator_, as he styled him, of the States, by no means
disadvantageous to the Roman; showing how the tyrant of old first
excited the populace, by the basest flattery, to overturn the
restrictive power of the senate; which done, and his lawless will being
left without a check, he turned upon his restless, ignorant allies, and
slaughtering them by thousands, succeeded in prostrating their liberties
and the freedom of his country: the speaker adding,

"I fear the worst fate of Rome is hanging over us; whether that of Sylla
be in store for our despot, I know not. Should he, however, abdicate at
the end of three years (Sylla's term), he will be hunted by the cries of
a guilty conscience and by the curses of an outraged people, more
intolerable than the pangs which tortured in his last moment the Roman

In anticipation of another speaker's assault, a journalist says,

"We may, when he delivers his sentiments,--which will be indeed the
reflex of public opinion,--look to behold the fur fly off the back of
the treacherous old usurper, our implacable tyrant," &c. &c.

On the other hand, the adulation of the administration exhausts
panegyric in the President's praise: his qualities are proclaimed to be
superhuman, his intuitive wisdom and farsightedness approaching to
omniscience; by this party he, indeed, is all but deified. The
vice-president proclaims that he shall consider it honour enough to have
it known that he held a place in his counsels. Members of the
legislature, of sound age and high character, dispute in their places
within the house their seniority of standing as "true _soldiers_ of the
General's administration;" an odd title, by the way, independent of the
strangeness of the avowal, for a representative of the people.

The assumption of the act of responsibility, and its exercise, it is
argued by this party, have been decisive as to the conservation of the
_morale_ of the country, without which their liberties were held by a
tenure liable to be quickly subverted, and the blood, and toil, and
treasure of their predecessors spent in vain; that the integrity of
their institutions was by this act assured, and the continuance of the
people's happiness and prosperity based upon marble, unimpeachable and
to endure for ever!

In every society, in all places, and at all times, this subject is
all-absorbent amongst the men. Observing with pity a very intelligent
friend arrested in the lobby of a drawing-room which was occupied by a
whole bevy of beauty, and there undergo a buttoning of half an hour
before he could shake off his worrier, I inquired with a compassionate
air, just as he made his escape, "whether he would not be glad when the
present ferment was over, and this eternal spectre laid in the sea of

"No, indeed," replied my friend coolly; "since it would only vanish to
be succeeded by some other, in reality not quite so important perhaps,
but which, for lack of a better, would be made to the full as absorbing
of one's time and patience."

And this is strictly true: whatever subject may turn up is laid hold on,
tooth and nail, by the _Ins_ and _Outs_ of the day, who, dividing upon
it, lift banners, and under the chosen war-cry, be it "Masonry," "Indian
treaties," or "Bank charter," fairly fight it out; a condition of
turmoil, which, viewed on the surface, may appear anything but desirable
to a man who loves his ease and quiet, and troubles himself with
nothing less than with affairs of state, but which constitutes one of
the personal taxes men must pay who look to govern themselves, or who
desire to fancy that they do so.

It is a matter of great regret to me that there occurred no levee whilst
I was in Washington; because, had one taken place, I should have enjoyed
the honour of a closer view of the venerable chief of the States than I
could snatch from seeing him pass two or three times on the avenue. Not
but that there are facilities enough afforded for a presentation to one
who is never denied when disengaged from his public duties; facilities
which it may be very right and proper for the American citizen to avail
himself of, but which good taste might suggest to the stranger,
especially the Englishman, it would be more becoming in him to forego:
as it is, I have frequently, in travelling, heard Europeans talking with
the most offensive familiarity of having called upon the President, who
at home would have stood hat-in-hand in their county magistrate's
office, waiting for an interview with the great man.

As viewed on horseback, the General is a fine soldierly, well-preserved
old gentleman, with a pale wrinkled countenance, and a keen clear eye,
restless and searching. His seat is an uncommonly good one, his hand
apparently light, and his carriage easy and horseman-like;
circumstances, though trifling in themselves, not so general here as to
escape observation.

His personal friends, of whom I know many most intimately, speak of him
with great regard, and describe him politically as one whose singleness
of purpose and integrity of mind, in all that relates to his country,
can never be fairly impeached upon any tenable ground. With these
friends, without regard to rank or station, he lives at all times on the
most familiar terms. When in his neighbourhood, they visit him as they
have ever done, without finding the slightest increase of form; and,
over his cigar, the President canvasses the events and receives the
opinions of the day with all the frankness of an indifferent party,
neither affecting nor enforcing mystery or restraint.

His address is described as being naturally fluent, pleasing, and
gentlemanlike: this I have from a source on which I can confidently
rely; for both the wife and sister of an English officer of high rank,
themselves women of remarkable refinement of mind and manners, observed
to me, in speaking of the President, that they had seldom met a person
possessed of more native courtesy or a more dignified deportment.

To another of the great ones of the land I had an introduction, which,
as it is characteristic of the man, I will here relate. One afternoon,
about dusk, being on my way to a family party at the house occupied by
the late Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Southard, I thought I had run down
my distance, and began an inspection of the outward appearance of the
houses, all puzzlingly alike, when a couple of men, lounging round a
corner, single file, smoking their cigars, chanced to cross my track.
Addressing the rearmost, I inquired, "Pray, sir, do you chance to know
which of the houses opposite is Mr. Southard's, the senator from New

"I do know where Mr. Southard's house is," replied the stranger, eyeing
me as I fancied somewhat curiously; "though it is not exactly opposite.
But surely you and I have met before now,--more than once too, or I am
greatly mistaken?"

"That is more than probable, sir," replied I, "if you are fond of a
play. My name is Power, Mr. Power of the theatre."

"I thought so," cried the stranger, holding out his hand; adding
cordially, "My name, sir, is Clay, Henry Clay, of the senate; and I am
glad, Mr. Power, that we are now personally acquainted."

I need hardly say, I joined in expressing the pleasure I derived from
any chance which had procured me this honour, begging that I might not
detain him longer.

"But stop, Mr. Power," said the orator;--"touching Mr. Southard's;--you
observe yonder long-sided fellow propping up the post-office down below;
only that he is waiting for me, I'd accompany you to the house; which,
however, you can't miss if you'll observe that it's the very last of the
next square but one."

With many thanks for his politeness, I here parted from Mr. Clay, to
pursue my way according to his instructions, whilst he passed forward to
join the tall gentleman, who waited for him at some distance near the
public building which he had humorously described him as propping.

An accidental interview of this kind, however brief, will do more to
prejudice the judgment for or against a man, than a much longer and more
ceremonious intercourse. I confess my impressions on this occasion were
all in Mr. Clay's favour; they were confirmatory of the _bonhommie_ and
playful humour ascribed to him by his friends and admirers, who are to
be found throughout every part of the country.

The very day following this little incident I bade adieu to Washington,
after a second prolonged visit. I had here encountered and mixed with
persons from every State of the Union, and became thus in possession of
the means of making comparisons, and drawing conclusions, such as no
other single city, or perhaps any period less generally exciting, could
have supplied.

I quitted it gratefully impressed in favour both of its private society
and of the kind and hospitable character of its citizens generally. I
had, whilst here, without delivering a letter, received unlooked-for
attentions and kindnesses from persons the most distinguished for
character and talent: attentions which I am as hopeless of ever being
able to return, as I am incapable of ever being desirous to forget.



The season continued to wear away without any severe demonstration; and
by the 19th of February, the day on which I reached New York on my way
from Washington to Boston, I found the first boat advertised for the
passage, just open, to Providence,--a piece of good luck, by hitting
which I was saved a land journey of two hundred miles.

We were detained by a fog in the Sound for a few hours, but reached
Providence by three o'clock P.M. next day, and were just ten hours going
the forty miles between that place and Boston; one extra bad bit of
about three miles took an excellent team exactly two hours to pull
through it. I could not conceive the possibility of this road, which I
had seen three months before in a very fair condition, being so utterly
washed out; but the heavy snows of these Northern States would penetrate
ways of adamant, and will for ever exclude them from attaining the
perfection of a well-kept turnpike.

A little after one o'clock A.M. I was rattled up to the door of the
Tremont; where, late as the hour was, I found friends waiting up for me,
and experienced what at all times is a pleasure, but more especially
after such a cold jolting,--a warm welcome.

I was now a resident of this city for a month, during which time I
enjoyed a continued series of the most friendly attentions. I found
three or four men, who, like myself, were fond of riding, and together
we rambled over the whole of the surrounding country; and a beautiful
country it is, with its island-gemmed bay and gaily-painted country
seats. One of these, the house of Colonel Thomas Perkins, is seated
within grounds well kept and tastefully laid out, with a very extensive
range of noble hot-houses, within which, at this season and in this
latitude, the fruit and flowers of the tropics were to be found in their
freshest bloom and beauty. I think these grounds are more agreeably
broken, offer a greater variety of soil, and command a finer prospect of
land and sea, than any place I ever visited of equal dimensions.

We wanted nothing, on many of the fine open mornings we now had, but a
pack of good foxhounds: the land is better cleared than it is farther
south, the covers smaller, with fewer swamps, and no fencing that might
not be crept round or got over by even a moderate-going man.

I had heard a good many amusing anecdotes of the infinite respect with
which the country people of New England view and address persons of
their own grade, and the utter disregard of decent ceremony which they
evince towards all others: there appeared something so whimsically
exaggerated in these stories, that I never had received them as
veritable history; and when the Duke of Saxe Weimar told of the
coachman's inquiring "Are you the man going to Portland? because, if you
are, I'm the gentleman that's a going to drive you," I set it down for a
good joke, illustrative, perchance, of a _brusquerie_ of manner which
did exist, but not in itself strictly true. I have, however, during my
present sojourn here, received good corroborative evidence of its being
a veracious report.

I went out on one occasion to partake of a fine black bear, that had
been killed at a house famous for the plenty, the quality, and cooking
of game. There were eight or nine men of the party, some of whom had
ridden out on horseback: in going over a rail-fence close to the house
we were to dine at, the horse I rode struck both hind feet and cast his
shoes: as soon as I got into the yard, where some of the party had
already dismounted, I inquired for the ostler. A good-humoured,
active-looking fellow immediately made his appearance, with whom, being
desirous to have my nag's feet looked after before we set out on our
return, I was led into the following dialogue.

"Pray, have you a smithy in this neighbourhood?"

"We've gotten a blacksmith or two, I guess."

"At what distance is the nearest blacksmith's forge?"

"Well, I don't 'no; there is a shop about half a mile maybe, or

"Can you have this horse taken down there to get the two hind shoes put

"Guess not, 'cept I car' him down myself."

"Well, will you carry him down yourself?"

"Well, you see, I can't tell about that nohow at present. Guess I will,
if I can tho', by an' by."

"But why can't you say whether you will or will not? I'll pay you for
your trouble. Have you any objection to taking the horse down?"

"Oh no! not at all, by no means. I've no objection nohow to obleege you,
if, you see, I can find some other gentleman to look after my horses
whiles I go."

My companions, who had been enjoying this cross-examination of my
equivocal friend, now laughed outright, and heartily did I join in the
guffaw: they were to "the manner born," and it was my puzzled expression
that so tickled them; to me, after the first surprise was over, the
whole thing was indescribably droll. I caught instantly "another
gentleman," an idler about the public-house door, who, for a shilling,
found the cast shoes, and undertook to do for the horses whilst the
first gentleman, of the stable, led my nag away to the forge.

This was a very fair specimen, but we were to be favoured with another
and a better. Mr. T. P----s, a son of the Colonel's, one of the foremost
citizens of this State, was driven out in his English landau, with
certain delicacies not to be expected where we dined. As the coachman,
who was a servant of the old Colonel's, drew up by the inn-door, he was
immediately recognised, and saluted most cordially by the landlord; who,
addressing him by his name,--Jenkins, or whatever it was,--hoped he was
quite well, and was "uncommon glad to see him." During this ceremony,
Mr. P----s had alighted; and, in order to be particularly civil,
observed with great good-humour to the landlord,

"Ah, my friend, what you remember Jenkins, do you?"

"Why yes, I guess I ought," replied our host of the game; "I've know'd
Muster Jenkins long enough, seein' he's the _gentleman_ as used to drive
old Tom P----'s coach."

The fact was, the man knew the Colonel--or old Tom P----s, as he styled
him--quite well, but had forgotten Mr. P----s, who had been much in
Europe, and was, moreover, put quite out of his latitude by the English
landau Mr. Jenkins was driving: he guessed, I suppose, that this
_gentleman_ had hired a new master, and had consequently turned off the
family of his old one.

Odd as all this sounds, the strangest part of the matter is, that there
appears no disrespect, nor churlishness of manner, conveyed or implied
by this reversal of conventional distinctions. I can at least answer for
the ostler, who required some other _gentleman_ as _aide_, turning out
on this, and on other occasions, a most assiduously civil fellow; and as
for our host, he served up the steaks of his bear as though it might
never have danced to any but the "genteelest o' tunes," and himself have
been its instructor.

He certainly gave us, in a plain but comfortable way, the best game
dinner possible, including trout and codling of the finest flavour. Let
me add, that I liked the bear vastly; and, after assisting to pick his
ribs, carried away the skin which had once covered them,--not the least
delicate portion of this bruin, by the way, for it was the blackest and
richest fur, of the kind, I ever saw.

I quitted this hospitable city on the 10th of March, and remained in New
York until the 20th, when I departed for Pittsburg _viâ_ Philadelphia;
although, from the little I had seen of stageing, I would have given a
trifle to have been off the engagement, which I had made without
contemplating the difficulties to be expected in a stage journey of
three hundred miles over the Alleghanies at this early season. I had
latterly, however, heard enough of the condition of this route, or line
as it is called; but the intelligence was of a colour anything but

At Philadelphia I took my place for Pittsburg, in the "Good Intent
line," professing to carry only six inside; but this excellent intention
of the worthy proprietors must be consigned to the commissioners of
pavement in a certain unmentionable place, since it was never fulfilled.
We commenced our journey with seven, the book-keeper making it a favour
that we should take in one gentleman who was greatly pressed for time. I
perceived, as we started, another person get outside, which made us

We were very soon transferred to the Columbia rail-road, which was in
progress and now travelled upon for about twenty-one miles: along this I
was rolled over the viaduct whose commencement I had noted, and, I
believe, regretted. According to Mitchell's description, it crosses the
Schuylkill at a place called Peter's Island; is one thousand and
forty-five feet long and forty-one wide, being thirty feet above
water-mark. Of the elevation, when I crossed on this occasion, we had an
excellent opportunity of forming an opinion; for, except a pathway in
the centre, the spaces between the beams had not yet been filled in, so
that we looked through on to the water running beneath: the workmen were
hard at it covering over and filling up; but it was passable in its
present state, and therefore, "Go a-head was the word:"--there's no time
lost here, i'faith! Immediately on crossing this viaduct, you come on an
inclined plane two thousand eight hundred and five feet long: this
struck me as being admirably contrived.

I was very sorry when we were once again to be re-packed in our stage.
Though one gets accustomed to anything in time, I never exactly brought
myself to view these frequent transfers as a part of travelling to be
rejoiced in. Our system of running a coach through a journey is not yet
adopted here; they still stick to the old plan,--every proprietor his
own vehicle; consequently you are for ever trundling from one to
another, to your own great discomfiture, and to the destruction of any
but the toughest sort of trunks.

I forget how often we changed coach on this journey; indeed, I fancy
that, during the third night out, I might have effected a transfer or
two in my sleep; but I recollect that they were vexatiously frequent,
and would have been more grievous had the weather been less generally

My fellow passengers were, luckily, with one exception, thin spare
fellows, all citizens of the frontier State of Illinois; the fat subject
was a countryman of my own, who had been for many years a resident at
Pittsburg, and was a merry, contented son of Erin as ever jolted over
these rough roads, which he informed me he did once at least in every

We soon shook into shape: the condition of the turnpike, after the woful
accounts I had received, appeared to me exceedingly passable; indeed, it
was infinitely better than any part of the one between Washington and
Baltimore, or than the Boston and Providence turnpike, as I had last
experienced it. The country through which we rode was under excellent
cultivation; the barns attached to the roadside houses were all large,
brick-built, and in the very neatest condition. The approach to
Lancaster, a fine town about forty miles from Philadelphia, was very
beautiful, and bespoke the people rich in agricultural wealth. I have
seldom seen a finer valley, or one under more careful cultivation.

The next large place we arrived at was Harrisburg, the capital of the
State of Pennsylvania: it was midnight when we reached it; but I
immediately walked to look at the State-house, where the legislature
assembles, and about which are ranged the public offices.

The mass appeared large; and the effect of the buildings with their
lofty classic porticos, viewed under the influence of a fine starlight
night, was imposing enough: the situation is well chosen, appearing like
a natural elevation in the midst of a plain, and overlooking the waters
of the Susquehannah, above whose banks the city is built.

One always feels something like disappointment on entering one of these
capitals, although previously aware that the site is selected with
regard only to the general convenience of the community, and without
reference to the probabilities of its ever becoming important for its
trade or of monstrous size. A European accustomed to seek in the capital
of a country the highest specimens of its excellence in art, and the
utmost of its refinement in literature, and indeed, in all which relates
to society, is necessarily hard to reconcile to these small rustic
cities, whose population is doubled by villages he has only heard named
for the first time whilst journeying on his way to the Liliputian
mistress of them all. As places of meeting for the legislature, I am of
those who think the smallness of the population an advantage. Firstly,
the members are freed from the expense consequent upon living in large
cities; and next, the chambers are removed from having their
deliberations overawed or impeded by any of those sudden outbreaks of
popular madness to which all people are prone, and to which the nature
of this government more immediately exposes it, without possessing any
power quickly to arrest or even control such licence.

Harrisburg is highly spoken of for the salubrity as well as the beauty
of its site, and gives promise of becoming important in point of
population; at present its inhabitants are about four thousand.

From this we steered away to the southward, until at Chambersburg we
struck the direct road leading from Baltimore to Pittsburg. We had a
rough night of it; but a halt of an hour at Chambersburg in the morning,
enabled me to make a comfortable toilet and get an excellent breakfast.
Here we took the first spur of the mountains, and from this were on a
continual ascent.

Up the longer and steeper hills I constantly walked, and was often an
hour in advance of the stage. This mountain region is certainly a very
fine one, and I do not think its grandeur has ever been done justice to
in description. Its attributes are all gigantic: it has the picturesque
ruggedness of the Appenines, without their barrenness; since the valleys
lying between the ridges, wherever they have been cleared, give
evidences of the richest soil. A view from any hill top, however, shows
these clearings to be mere specks in the surrounding forest, which yet
clothes richly the sides of each interminable ridge you cross, fringes
their most rugged summits, and waves over the loftiest peaks.

At Bedford Springs there is a most excellent inn; but the one at a
miserable village called Macconnelville, presented an aspect anything
but inviting: the precaution of Mr. Head, however, had made me
independent of supplies. On quitting the Mansion-house he had fitted up
a small basket with sundry comforts, which were of infinite use to
myself and comrades, they served as a speedy introduction and a durable
cement to our friendship.

I like these Western men; their off-hand manner makes you at once at
your ease with them: they abound in anecdote growing out of the state in
which they live, full of wild frolic and hardy adventure, and they
recount these adventures with an exaggeration of figure quite Oriental,
in a phraseology peculiar to themselves, and with a manner most

Much amongst strangers, they have a quick appreciation of character;
and, where they take a dislike, are, I have no doubt, mighty troublesome
customers; they are, however, naturally courteous, and capable of
genuine and inbred kindness, as a little anecdote of my present trip
will serve to illustrate.

On the morning of our second night out, I observed the Major and his
friends holding a council just as we were stepping into the coach. We
were eight persons, which gave three sitters to two of the seats and two
to the third; by way of relief, my servant or myself frequently mounted
the box, enabling the parties to separate,--a luxury of no mean
importance. On this occasion I noticed, on being about to take my seat,
which was the front one, that it was unoccupied, Sam being on the box,
and three persons on each of the other seats. On requesting that one of
the sitters by my fat friend would share the vacant front with me, the
Major informed me that the arrangement was preconcerted, as they knew I
was not quite so well used to rough roads as they were, and had work
before me on getting to my journey's end; begging me to fix myself
comfortably on the seat, and try and sleep for an hour or two.

This being a piece of unpurchasable, unthought-for consideration and
civility, I conceived it as well worth notice as the many instances of
brutality which ill-used travellers put on record; but it is by no means
the only example I have seen of these rough subjects' innate kindness,
and, I may add, good-breeding. There is, with them, a give-and-take
system whilst thus roughing it in company, they seek no exclusive
advantage, and evince no selfishness; but they are quick-sighted and
shrewd observers, and I would recommend any who desire to travel
comfortably with them, to carefully suppress any exhibition of
over-regard for self.

With this precaution, let a stranger, and a British subject, be only
known as such, and if a preference should occur, I will answer for his
standing a good chance of getting it.

Here I enjoyed my first lesson in what is familiarly termed riding a
rail; and from all such railways I hope to be spared henceforward. The
term is derived from a fence-rail being occasionally used to supply the
place of a broken thoro'-brace, by which all these stages are hung; and
these are, in fact, the only sort of spring that would endure the load
and the "rough breaks" their virtue must go through.

We broke down by a sudden plump, into a hole, that would have shaken a
broad-wheeled waggon into shavings. Our driver did not approve of any of
the fence-rails in the vicinity, so plunged into the wood, accompanied
by one of my Western companions; and in ten minutes they returned,
bearing a young hickory pole, that the driver assured us was "as tough
as Andrew Jackson himself,[10] and as hard to break, though it might
give a leetle under a heavy load." This was shoved under the body of the
carriage, and rested upon the fore and hind axles: it was lashed fast,
and the spare part of the spar was left sticking out behind, like the
end of the main boom of a smack. The coach body, when rested upon this,
was found to have a considerable list to port; but to have brought it to
an even keel would have been a work of time,--not that such a thing was
contemplated for a moment. The driver was enabled by this ingenious
substitute for a carriage-spring to "go ahead:" the rest was luxury,
which the "Good-intent line" did not bargain for; so we were left to
trim ship to our liking. Contrary to all my experience, I insisted that
the heaviest part of our cargo should be stowed at the bottom, for to
have had my countryman's eighteen stone of solid stuff to prop up, for
twenty miles, would have required the shoulders of Atlas.

Whilst walking up the mountains, I frequently overtook settlers moving
with all their worldly goods over to the great Western valley. I
generally exchanged a few words with them, and with the more
communicative now and then had a considerable long talk. Most of them
were small farmers and mechanics from the Northern States, who followed
here in the wake of kindred or neighbours, their plan arranged and
their location determined upon. One or two heads of families, however,
told me they were just going to look about, and did not know rightly
where they might set up.

I overtook one old couple attending a single-horse waggon up
Laurel-hill; and surely, if any laurels awaited them at the summit, they
were hardly enough won. The appearance of this pair attracted me as I
approached the rocky platform where for a moment they had halted to
breathe: the woman was a little creature, dressed in an old-fashioned
flowered gown, with sleeves tight to the elbows, met by black mittens of
faded silk, and a very small close bonnet of the same colour. She had
small brass buckles in her shoes; a cane, like those borne by running
footmen, in one hand, and upon the other arm a small basket, rolled up
within which lay a tabby cat, with which she held a conversation in what
sounded to me like broken French and English.

The man was a son of Anak in altitude, somewhat bent by years, but
having a soldierlike air. His white hair was combed back, and gathered
behind into a thick club: he wore a long greatcoat, which, if made for
him, gave testimony to a considerable falling-off in his proportions,
for it hung but loosely about him; had a very broad-leaved hat set
jauntily on one side of his head; and supported his steps upon a sturdy

I saluted this singular-looking pair, and was by the lady honoured with
an especially gracious curtsey, whilst the gaunt old man bade me good
day in an accent decidedly foreign. I patted the cat of the basket,
addressing it in French, and was in a moment overwhelmed by the delights
of its mistress, who _ciel_'d, and _mon-Dieu_'d, and _quel-plaisir_'d,
until, if her tall _mari_ had not stepped in to the rescue, I do not
know to what lengths her delight might not have carried her.

The horse was sufficiently rested; the man who drove it was ready to
proceed; and the ancient Parisienne, for such she was, had once more to
ensconce herself beneath the canvass covering of the waggon, into which
I had the honour of assisting herself and her cat, amidst thanks and
excuses blended with all the graceful volubility of a well-bred
Frenchwoman,--for well-bred she was, beyond a doubt.

"My poor little woman!" said the old giant, as, after the twentieth
adieu, I joined him where he waited a little in advance of the waggon,
and quickened my pace to keep up with his strides,--"she is made too
happy for to-day to hear a gentleman address her in her own language,
and by whom she can be understood;" adding, "You are not a Frenchman,

"I am not," said I, smiling; "but should imagine you are, by the
compliment you so adroitly infer."

"No, sir," rejoined mine ancient, "I am a Biscayan; bred a ship-builder,
but at present a house-carpenter."

"But you speak English like a native: how is that?" inquired I, desirous
of continuing the dialogue thus begun.

"I have been forty years in this good country, and have made better
progress than my poor little woman, though she is well educated and I
have no learning to help me."

"Madame, then, is not Spanish?"

"No, sir, she is of Paris; and, what is very odd, that is nearly all she
ever told me of herself. It was in the winter of 1792 that I first met
my poor little woman: I had slept within a few miles of Havre, and was
just turned away from the cabaret, when a little boy joined me,
requesting that I would let him walk with me to the town. We fell into
chat, when I discovered that my new friend had no passport, but that he
had money, and was desirous to escape from France, no matter to what
place. He was in great trouble; cried much; said he had lost all his
friends, and begged me not to desert him.

"It would be too long a story to tell you all the trouble I had to get
him on board ship with me; but, sir, that little boy is now in the
waggon where you handed him."

"Your wife!" exclaimed I, affecting surprise, and really greatly
interested. "But when did she disclose her sex to you?"

"Why, sir, there was no great need of disclosure after we once got to
sea; her cowardice told her story, but I kept her secret till we arrived
at Philadelphia, where we married; and in the lower part of this State
we have lived ever since quietly enough, until lately."

"And what, at your age, could induce you to cross the mountains, my

"Why, sir, work was scarce in our country place, and I'm told there's a
heap of building raising about Pittsburg, that's one reason; but the
truth is that our politics have changed a good deal in Pennsylvania of
late. In a scuffle at the bar of our hotel, this last election, I got
knocked down and trodden on; my arm was broken, and I a good deal hurt;
and my poor woman took such a horror of the little bit of mobbing we had
that she would make me pull up stakes, and here we are on our last

We walked on side by side, until the waggon was left far behind and the
coach came up. We had a long talk on the subject of politics; and,
although a stanch American and a republican, I found my friend was
opposed to "the removal of the deposits,"--the universal test of the
day,--and by no means a whole-hog man. But he said, "It is a fine
country and a fine people; I am a citizen, have lived here forty years,
and hope to die here."

Wishing that his desire might have a late fulfilment, I shook the honest
veteran's hand; and we parted for ever, after an intercourse of three
hours had created a sort of fellowship between us. Here was an humble
chapter from the romance of real life, gleaned, where such an adventure
was least expected, in one of the passes of the Alleghanies.

The walk up this hill was, independent of the good companionship I
enjoyed, in itself fine: the road circling about dark ravines, from
whose thickly-wooded deeps rose the hollow murmur of closely-pent
currents, whose waters had rarely reflected the rays of the sun; and in
other places clinging to the steep precipice, from whose side it had
been cut, and which was yet burthened with the half-burnt trunks of
hundreds of noble trees that had fallen to make place for it. The view,
too, from the summit was glorious; and I thought as I looked below,
northward and eastward, where two wide openings gave a boundless stretch
of valley to the eye, that my journey was well repaid: but it was not
over yet; and, before we reached Pittsburg, I do not know but that there
were moments when I would have retracted this burst of enthusiasm.

The third afternoon and night it rained incessantly; the road from
Youngstown, or Greensburg, being nearly as bad as that memorable
Washington turnpike. The delays, too, were unnecessary and frequent; at
some of the changing-places the servants had to be roused, and this was
no easy task. Now and then, an extra independent hand refused to get
up, or denied us help when he was up; in which case the poor devil of a
driver was left to his own resources, with, now and then, the aid of a
half-naked, wretched negro.

The travelling of the "Good Intent," taking the roads into
consideration, was a capital pace, the horses excellent; but I have set
down, that, on a pretty fair estimate, making allowance for the
exaggerations of discomfort and ill-humour, about nine hours on the
whole line were lost for want of the commonest attention, and the
passengers greatly inconvenienced without any advantage accruing to the

At length we emerged from the slough, and about daylight on the third
morning were rumbled over the _pavé_ of Pittsburg.

The inn was closed; but the rough assault of my Western friends soon
roused the bar-keeper, who got his door open just in time to save his
lock from a huge paving-stone, with which the angry Major purposed to
test its power of resistance.

"Why, you're in an uncommon hurry," exclaimed the half-awakened

"That's more than we can say of you, stranger," retorted the Major.
"What was you about that you didn't hear the coach? Maybe it was the
rain made such a noise you couldn't?"

"No; does it rain that hard, though?" gaped the matter-of-fact mixer of

"I guess it does; and if it wasn't that you've got the key of the
liquor, it would be only right to put you out into it for an hour; for
you are the hardest-hearted white-man I ever come across, this side the
mountains, or you'd a' moved quicker to let in a dog on such a night."

A rousing fire and some hot whisky and water soon restored our
good-humour: a bed was quickly arranged for me by a good-natured negro,
who had, I verily believe, just crawled out of it; a fire was lighted in
the little hole it occupied; and in half an hour I was fast asleep on
the banks of _la belle rivière_.


[10] "Old Hickory" is one of the familiar names by which his lovers
delight to designate the venerable President.


My first visit, at an early hour on Monday morning, was to the banks of
the Monongahela, which ran by the bottom of the main street, wherein I
was lodged. The water was at this time low, being fifteen feet under its
highest level: the point of junction with the Alleghany lay, as I
discovered, some way below. The opposite heights, which rise boldly from
the water's edge, looked dark and drear enough, covered as they are with
a stubble of blackened stumps, and a few blasted trees, the ghosts of
the ruined forest. The political economist, however, would find ready
consolation in the mounds of coal-dust, the dingy low-roofed buildings,
together with the swinging of a hundred cranks, worked by the engines
whose smoke is seen curling along the face of the steep hill. It is to
give place to these iron giants that the forest has been felled; and to
supply these with fire, the mountain is in this direction pierced to its

Nature has supplied this place with wharves; and the people appear
quite contented with her handiwork, for they are left as she made them.
I counted fourteen steamboats all busied in taking in or discharging
freight; and the river was here and there dotted by keels of a rude,
picturesque construction: everything, indeed, gave evidence of active
and prosperous trade.

I from hence made a circuit of the principal part of the town, which is
soon accomplished, for it offers nothing externally to arrest the
passer-by for a moment: the streets are narrow, irregular, and
ill-paved; the houses as dirty as the smoke of bituminous coal can make
them, and, though substantially built, are in general wholly destitute
of neatness or ornament.

Upon Grant's Hill, a spur of one of the surrounding heights, that
thrusts itself boldly into the heart of the delta on which the town is
built, I found a Gothic edifice almost completed, the magnitude and
tasteful design of which attracted me: I entered it, and perceived at
once that it was a place of Catholic worship. From a communicative
little man, whom I observed for some time eyeing me with a sociable
look, I learnt that this was the cathedral; and it stands a pleasing
memorial of the liberality of the sects of this town, having been
raised by voluntary subscriptions made among the numerous congregations
of the place.

It is a grateful task to record such evidences of the existence of true
Christian charity; they reconcile one to one's fellows, and serve to
balance the barbarous acts of bigotry and blindness which yet
occasionally disgrace the age and degrade humanity. This edifice, when
completed, will be an attractive object, both from its commanding site
and the character of its architecture, which is of the florid Gothic,
tastefully sustained throughout.

Descending the steep bluff of Grant's Hill, I entered the theatre, which
lies within its shadow. This building was not yet a year old, and
offered one of the neatest-formed interiors possible, calculated to
contain about one thousand persons. It had all the offices and
appointments of such an establishment, well and conveniently arranged;
and in this respect might serve as a model to more important-looking
houses. The ornamental parts of the interior were already disfigured by
the smoke which fills this atmosphere day and night, and fully
exonerates the people from the charge of being wilfully regardless of
neatness and _propreté_ in the arrangement of their dwellings.

I found the manager, Mr. Wemyss, at his post, and all things in
tolerable order. At night the house was filled; though how the people
made their way home again I do not know: even the short distance I had
to explore on the line of the principal street, I found beset with
perils; loose pavement, scaffold-poles, rubbish, and building materials
of all kinds blocked up the _trottoir_ in several places, which were to
be avoided by instinct, for light here was none, natural or artificial.
At length, after a few stumbles, I was securely housed in a small room,
which I was promised the exclusive use of, and wherein the cheerful
light of the bituminous coal, that blazed like pitch-pine, in my mind
made ample amends for the dust it created, and of this, the amount was
by no means trifling.

The next day I was joined by Lieutenant I----d, of the cavalry corps
about to advance on an expedition through the prairies, and across the
hunting-grounds of the Nomade tribes, ranging over the still
slightly-explored regions lying between the Mississippi and the Rocky
Mountains. We were ancient comrades of the spur and snaffle, having
harried the low country in company far and wide; and, the morning being
fine, we were quickly mounted for a raid through this new land.

Crossing the long bridge over the Monongahela, a muddy, turbid-looking
river, we commenced the ascent of Coal Hill, so called from the great
quantities of this material it supplies; along its base lies a range of
busy manufactories, and the roar of the steam-engine resounds on all
sides. Here, too, is a growing town, called Birmingham; but it must
overleap the mountain, or, following the galleries by which the miners
have already penetrated to its centre, become a subterranean city,
before it can hope to rival even a suburb of its gigantic sponsor.

We had much difficulty in scaling the hill; the track was knee-deep in
heavy mud, and in trying to follow a narrow ledge, by which we
calculated to avoid this impediment for a hundred yards, I----'s horse
made a false step, and fairly rolled down a precipitous descent of some
fifty feet into the road beneath, to the infinite amusement of a group
of miners, who had probably been "guessing" that such a termination to
our scramble was likely: they now swore that a better Racker[11] down
hill they had never seen. I----d had thrown himself adroitly out of his
seat on the upper side of the ledge the very instant of the brute's
slip, and, being unhurt, soon caught the astonished nag, which remained
quietly looking about by the bottom of the precipice, half buried in an
avalanche of shingle and small coal he had loosened in his course.

Once on the summit of this coal-hill, the plan of the growing city of
manufacture lay displayed as on a chart beneath our feet, together with
a great extent of country, and the course and character of the two fine
rivers which, combined at this spot, take henceforward the name and
style of the Ohio, or River of Beauty.

The course of the muddy Monongahela is north-west; and, from about
north-east, the clear, lively Alleghany comes bounding into it,
breasting its turbid waters, and bearing their heavy mass back by its
brisk charge close against the western bank, whence, side by side, they
take their downward course, but each preserving its distinctive
character and colour for a considerable distance; divided by a pretty
verdant island, about a couple of miles below their junction, they each
embrace a moiety of it, renewing their churlish fellowship once more
when this obstacle is passed.

The town stands upon a small alluvial delta, of a triangular form, at
the exact point of union between the rivers,--a spot so lovely, that, as
I looked upon it, much as I respect manufactures, I found myself
involuntarily wishing that fate had reserved it for some less dirty
purpose. As the city grows, it must of necessity climb the steep bluffs
by which it is encompassed; and on these it is not too much to imagine,
at no far period, the squares, terraces, and crescents of a wealthy and
public-spirited community; whilst, within the crowded triangle beneath,
the clang of the noisy steam-engine and the black smoke will lie
drowned, and along the narrow strips of level soil skirting its rivers
will rise the warehouses and wharves of its commerce.

To the north of the Alleghany you see the little town of that name, with
one or two buildings conspicuous, at this distance, for their size:
this, too, is united to Pittsburg by a bridge of great apparent
lightness and strength.

From the abutting hill whence we took our first long survey of this
congeries of future cities, we took a western course, following the line
of the Ohio; but holding to the high lands, till coming back, when we
made a _détour_ to the north, and thus got frequent and fine views of
the neighbourhood.

The country appears generally hilly, with rich glens and valleys lying
between, having numerous streams of clear living water, and presenting
every proof of exhaustless mineral wealth; hence its adoption by the
industrious swarm whose fires darken the sky by night and day.

The day after this, I----d embarked on board a steamer for Louisville,
on his way to join the head-quarters of his corps, somewhere upon the
Missouri. The Republic allows no sinecure pay to its soldiers: most of
these gallant men pass the best half of their lives upon the frontier,
wasted by sickness, removed far from society or sympathy, poorly paid
and worse thanked, enjoying very little present consideration, and
without hope of future fame. It must require an ardent imagination, and
all the romance with which poetry has invested sword and feather, to
keep an American soldier to his colours in this time of peace; as, on a
sober worldly view, his appears the least enviable condition to be
found in the community.

I on this day took a solitary ride up the Monongahela, and visited the
scene of Bradock's defeat and death. I found it all snugly fenced in,
and under good cultivation. An intelligent farmer, who was on the spot,
good-naturedly undertook, in answer to an inquiry I made, to act as
_cicerone_. The localities appeared like a book to him: he told where
the French lay _perdu_; pointed out the cover from whence the British
advanced, to be repulsed headlong; where they, according to his legend,
were re-formed, and once more thrust forward, to be again, and finally,

I understood the minutest details of the whole affair, as well as the
positions occupied by French, English, Indians, and Virginians, before
my good-natured guide appeared quite satisfied; at least, I was forced,
out of consideration for my own time and his patience, to say so much,
and with many thanks to leave him: not, however, until he had urged me
strongly to come home and take tea with his wife, or at least take a
drink with him; one or both of which I pledged myself to do on a future

It was not a little amusing, at this distant day, to observe the ardour
with which my guide canvassed the lost fight, of which he had read, as
he informed me, twenty different accounts.

"It was a shame," he said, "a right-down sin, and a throwin' away of
men's lives, ever to have put them under Bradock's command," whom he
accused of having "no more military gumption than a goose."--"Why," he
said, "two companies of British grenadiers would have eat every
_crapaud_ on the ground, if they'd bin let to go round and in at one end
o' the ditch, instead of walking right straight up hill agin' the loaded
muzzles of guns they couldn't see, only by the smoke out o' the long

Then he would take off his hat, wipe his brow, and fairly knock it
against his knee with vexation at the British defeat.

"Why, sir," he said, at the same time grasping my thigh, where I sat in
my saddle, with an energy that brought tears into my eyes,--"why,
mister, just do you look up at that little knoll to the right; the place
warn't cleared then, and there was a heap o' dead timber lying
there-bout. Well, sir, Washington sent, out of his own head,--for he
warn't a deal thought on then, you see,--a company of Virginians to try
the trees for it. Well, now just look where they were fixed by that
move, right over the _crapauds_,--every mother's son o' them Virginians
good for a squirrel at fifty yards. I'm d----d if they wouldn't have
used up every human of a Frenchman behind the drain, if it had been left
to a settlement between them, and if the English would only quietly ha'
looked on, and kept Johnny from breaking cover and treeing it."

"And why the devil didn't they use them up?" I here demanded, to give my
vexed informant time to breathe.

"I'll tell you why, if you don't know. Why, because that d----d Bradock
was blind as well as deaf, and took the Virginians for inimies; so, not
bein' able to get at Johnny, he slamm'd it right smash into them, and
killed the biggest half on 'em as they were tryin' to run back to their
own side. Sir, it was nothin' better than an eternal murder, and Bradock
ought to have swung for it; but he was shot down, somehow or other, and
died amongst better men, only shootin' was a sight too good for him."

Taking the statement of my friend for the ground of my opinion, I left
him, at once amused by his enthusiasm and informed by his intelligence.

I did purpose keeping tryst with my new acquaintance, and having the
battle fought over again, when I might have been able to do some justice
to the force and spirit of his narration; but other routes were to be
visited, and my time was limited to a few days: so we met no more.

On another day I rode by the United States' Arsenal, a fine building,
inclosing some acres. It is well situated, near the banks of the
Alleghany, about two miles out of the town. This is one of the most
considerable _depôts_ for arms and ordnance stores to be found in the
Western country.

From this I pursued my way up the river for a mile or two, to where, at
a pretty quiet spot, I observed a boat just leaving the bank for the
north side. I hailed the ferryman, and he returned immediately, when,
adding myself and nag to his freight, he again commenced pulling up the
stream, assisted by a couple of curly-headed urchins, his sons, two out
of twelve, as he laughingly told me; adding, that they were capital

We had a couple of market-waggons aboard the flat, each drawn by a pair
of horses. The river, I fancied, was here about as wide as the Thames at
Southwark, running clear and strong; the banks tolerably bold, very
regular, and fringed by a luxuriant growth of various trees and
water-loving shrubs. On the other side I fell on the Pennsylvania canal,
and I for a mile followed the line by which it approaches the town of
Alleghany, till, coming to a rough high hill, I was tempted to try the
ascent, which, after a good deal of ducking and scrambling, I

The prospect from the summit amply repaid me: at my feet lay the growing
town of Alleghany, which stands on a fine alluvial plain affording ample
space for a city as large as Pekin; with two ports, one on the
Alleghany, the other on the Ohio. I here traced the course of the canal
to the aqueduct on which it crosses the river. Two fine steamers, with
their galleried decks tier over tier, were stemming the current, each
looking like the old wood-cut of Noah's Ark,--houses built upon rafts,
of three stories high, with balconies running round them, the whole
being covered by inclined roofs. Many of the picturesque-looking keels
found here were also working up for the quays; and the waters just
before the busy town presented a strange contrast to the view either up
or down the rivers, where all was tranquil and solitary as when the
light _pirogue_ of the adventurous _voyageur_ first timidly skimmed
along by their rich shores, sending the startled deer to the mountain
and drawing the watchful savage down.

How to get back was now a consideration without retracing my steps, to
do which I had neither the instinct nor the inclination. I pushed for a
near wood, from which I perceived smoke stealthily curling over the tree
tops; and, after a long threading of the thicket, stumbled upon a little
colony of charcoal-burners, the blackest and the merriest devils I ever
met: they might have been Iroquois, or negroes, from their colour; but
the first reply I got to my hail rendered any inquiry as to country

"Hola! my friend," shouted I at the top of my voice, as a tall,
half-naked being stalked out of one of the huts, from which I was
separated by a deep ravine; "pray step this way for one moment."

The man did as I desired, without a word; a couple of attendant imps
hanging on to the strings of his knees.

"I'm sorry to trouble you," I added, as he drew within easy
speaking-distance; "but the fact is, I have lost my road, and fear to
lose my dinner."

"I'faith, thin, sir, if you'll tell me where-abouts you lost the road
I'll find you the dinner, and go and look for the road while you're
atein' it: with the blessing o' God, it will be the first road I seen
since I've bin this side o' Pittsburg, to say the laste."

"Maybe you've seen a fine aisy-goin' road betune Cork and Cove?" I
replied, in the same accent.

"Maybe I hav'nt," grinned the pleased charcoal-burner, laughing from ear
to ear. "Och murder! you're the devil, sure! wasn't it the last ten
miles I ever toed of Irish ground? Long life to you, sir! wait till I
call the wife. Molly ashtore, come out av id, for here's a witch of a
gintleman here. Jem, you robber, go and bid your mammy stir herself and
come here."

Away ran Jem and his brother, or rather flew, for their feathers were
fluttering in the air. I laughed immoderately whilst my countryman,
with the most puzzled air, exclaimed,

"Och murder! but it's the quarest thing alive. Sure you must have know'd

He was now joined by his wife and two or three others of the little
family, who all appeared nearly of an age. Poor Molly, the Mistress,
looked weak and haggard, and told me she "had the shakes on her for the
last six months." She was affected to tears when her husband told her of
my witchcraft, in knowing where they were from, and joined in begging
that "I'd come round and take a bite o' cake and a sup o' spirits and
water, to keep me from feelin' faint till I got to my dinner."

I requested, however, as my time was short, that one of the little ones
might at once put me on the nearest track by which I would reach the
bridge; and finding I would not accept their hospitality, the father of
the family, attended by Jem, walked along with me to where a bridle-path
led on to a waggon-track, which he desired me to pursue. Here I left my
friendly countryman, and with a "God send you safe home, sir!" he turned
to his own humble dwelling, to think with a full heart of that distant
home my chance visit had recalled in all its freshness, and which,
although he may never look to revisit, no son of poor Ireland ever

A circuitous route led me on to the main road, pursuing which I soon
reached the bridge; but on my way through the street was struck with the
growing air of this place, which I cannot help thinking is one day
destined to be the great city of the river of beauty.

I entered the smoky Pittsburg, more than ever charmed with the scenery
amidst which it is seated, still beautiful despite the ravages of the
miner and the pollution of steam, smoke, charcoal, and all the other
useful abominations attendant upon the manufacture of iron, glass,
pottery, &c. The wealth and various attractions of this rich heiress of
Nature have proved her undoing.

The greatest ravage which I had to mourn, because it appeared carried to
a wanton and heedless extent, was the havoc everywhere making with
barbarous and indiscriminate zeal amongst the neighbouring timber. I
looked about upon the nearest hills, many of which are already bare,
denuded of every shrub; and sorrowed to think that even such others as
yet rejoiced in their rich forest garb were but enjoying a brief
respite from the axe and flame, being assuredly condemned and marked for

Every man here, in fact, is at work "for his own hand;" and as each
proprietor is desirous to make the most he can of his acres, these burn
and destroy on all sides, never feeling satisfied that their land is
cleared whilst a single tree lives to tell where once the forest waved.

In noticing the well-fenced fields, the comfortable dwellings,
substantial offices, and generally excellent condition of these farms,
one can hardly credit the history of the settlement of this Western
country, when it is considered that, amongst these well-cleared and
well-cultivated fields, within the memory of living men, the Indian
ranged and the uncouth buffalo herded, and that the first "white-man"
born west of the Alleghany is still living: by the way, a whimsical
anecdote relating to this gentleman is current in Pittsburg, and which I
here relate as I myself received it.

At a public dinner, Mr. R----, the person alluded to, being present, had
his health proposed and cordially drunk, as "the first white man born
west of the Alleghany." Now Mr. R---- happening to be very
dark-complexioned, a waggish countryman of mine, who was seated next to
him, could not help adding, with a sly air, having repeated the toast,
"and not particularly white either."

"Why that's very true," returned the subject of this jest, with much
good-humour; "and the reason assigned for the exceeding redness of my
skin is in itself not a little illustrative of the late condition of our
country, which is, in fact, the true subject of this toast.

"Shortly after my father had located his family on the Ohio, my mother
was, whilst in the act of fetching water from the stream a little way
outside the stockade within which our dwelling stood, startled by the
near whoop of an Indian warrior, and, on raising her head, perceived
close beside her a chief of the neighbouring tribe; she instantly fled
like a deer; and, being young and active, gained the shelter of the
stockade, within which, however, she fell exhausted, but was so
preserved. Some time after I was ushered into life; and the darkness of
my complexion was always referred to the chance of my mother having been
thus frightened and followed by the young Indian."

"And a mighty natural mode of accounting for the same," replied Pat;
adding with a most provoking air of simplicity, "but may I ask did you
ever hear your poor mother say whether the Indian overtook her or not?"

The last night I acted here was made memorable by the jovial condition
of a couple of the leading members of the corps dramatic, and as it
chanced, diplomatic. The play was "The Irish Ambassador," and the first
news I had of my principal colleague, his Excellency the representative
of his most Catholic Majesty, was, that he had arrived, but in a state
unfit for our purposed conference, having been rendered utterly
incapable by an imprudent application of gin cock-tail, prescribed, as
his Excellency himself assured me with tears in his eyes, as a sovereign
remedy for a disorganized state of nerves, to which he was unhappily

An excuse was made for the unavoidable absence of the Spanish minister,
on the score of ill-health; and the indulgence of the meeting requested
for one of the _attachés_, who had boldly undertaken to read the absent
diplomatist's instructions at first sight. This point got over, we
proceeded smoothly, as might be expected, until the period when his
Highness the Grand-duke was required in person, when it became evident
that, through sympathy or some cause less sentimental, the Prince too
was royally rocky: availing himself of his rank however, he made shift
to reach a chair, and, aided by the support it afforded, maintained his
place at the conference.

Nothing could exceed the charitable forbearance with which this
republican assemblage looked upon the fallen condition of royalty:
whether they judged that it was no way out of character for a German
sovereign and the possessor of a hock-cellar to be fuddled, or whether
they considered that this was no bad specimen of royalty to exhibit to
their children's contempt, I know not; but, happily, the signs of their
displeasure fell lightly on his Highness, and our negotiation was at
length, though lamely, brought to a conclusion.

On Tuesday the 8th of April, at eight o'clock P.M. I once more took my
place in the Good Intent, to re-cross the Alleghanies; when, turning our
backs upon the River of Beauty, we slowly traversed the dark streets of
its sooty neighbour; for, strange to tell, although the material for gas
lies at their doors in exhaustless abundance, and although they use a
great quantity of coal-coke for manufacturing purposes, the streets
remain as dark as the extremity of their deepest mine on a holiday.

This too, I found upon inquiry, was by the good citizens laid to the
account of the "removal of the deposits." "It is enough," they say, "for
one side to originate a question, however obviously excellent and
desirable, to have the antagonist party oppose it, and make the measure
a new watchword to try battle on."

I was informed of one spirited individual having offered to light the
place with gas on his own risk, but, as a matter of course, he was
immediately opposed by both parties; and so matters will rest, until the
good people, wearied of being kept in the dark, open the eyes of their
divided corporation; and in those days will the Pittsburgians cease to
walk in darkness, and become what, considering the quantity of coal they
possess, they are well entitled to be,--a gas-enlightened community.

It was raining when we departed, and continued to rain all night, as we
weltered through the mud. Next morning, although a shower yet fell, I
became so weary of the close confinement of the stage, that I alighted
at the foot of Laurel Hill, and, putting stoutly forth, pushed on ahead
of the heavy vehicle. The road winds about the steep side of the
mountain, and from several points affords grand views of the forest,
valleys, and humbler hills below. The early shrubs were already putting
forth abundant leaf and blossom, for the winter had been singularly
mild, and the quiet air was impregnated with sweetness.

When very near the top of the mountain,--for the ascent is full four
miles,--I encountered one of those groups which appear in constant
progress along the great Western line. The extent, however, of the
present caravan made it peculiarly interesting. It consisted of five
long, well-covered waggons, each drawn by eight or six horses, was
attended by three or four led nags, and a number of dogs of various
denominations. The occupants of the waggons were women and children: the
faces of the chubby rogues were all crowded in front to look upon the
passing stranger, with here and there a shining ebony phiz thrust
between; the chief freight appeared to consist of household furniture
and agricultural implements.

By the side of these waggons first rode four or five horsemen, well
mounted, who might be the principals of the party, for they were men
past the meridian of life; straggling in the rear, or scattered along
the edges of the forest, walked eight or nine younger men,
rough-and-ready-looking fellows, each with his rifle in his hand. Wild
pigeons abounded along the cover-edge, and the sharp crack which every
now and then rang through the thin air of morning told that the hunters
were dealing upon them.

From the construction of the waggons, as well as because their owners
evinced no inclination either to hold communion or exchange civilities
with a passing wayfarer, which no Southern ever fails to do, I concluded
this to be a party of New England men, who, abandoning their worn-out
native fields, were pushing on for the "far West" with the lightness of
heart consequent on the surety of reaping a brave harvest from a soil
which withholds abundance from none who possess hearts and arms to task

With what apparent indifference, if not positive pleasure, do the people
of this country quit their ancient homes, and wander forth in search of
new ones, to be again, in turn, deserted, if not by themselves, by their
restless and enterprising children! The Tartar habit of movement and
frequent change, which is, I fancy, natural to man, finds in no country
at the present age such inviting facilities as are offered in this, nor
could a people be found who more fully enjoy them.

I looked upon this well-ordered, sober party with much pleasure; and as
I stood upon the mountain top, and thence watched their downward track,
I found my mind actively employed picturing their after progress and
accompanying the line of their long travel. First, came their repose and
rest, as in their plentifully-furnished flat they slowly drifted down
the smooth course of the near Ohio; then, their after-journeying through
the wilderness in search of a pleasant spot on which to rear their huts
and make to themselves a home; now followed their early and
long-enduring toil, accompanied perhaps by the sickness of their
children and the pining of their women, whose sensibilities, more acute
than those of men, ever revert in seasons of sadness to the far-off
places their young days made pleasant; and, lastly, when, after years
had passed away, and that their well-fenced fields were teeming with a
plenteous harvest, I beheld their sons gathering together their
inheritance and setting forth in search of another new country, within
which they might resume the toil of their fathers. Man may change the
scene of his labour, but the evil of his condition is not to be evaded;
and alike, from the most fertile as from the most barren soil, by the
sweat of his brow must his bread be won.

I here waited, sheltered by a rocky projection, until the stage came up.
The continuance of the rain effectually prevented me from indulging in
any more walks this day; the tedium of the journey however, whilst light
lasted, was greatly relieved by the constant changes of mountain
scenery, as viewed through an atmosphere now wildly clear and again
thick and gloomy.

I found considerable amusement also in calculating the fair odds against
our being pitched into some one of the many deep ravines along whose
edge we were, when going down hill, whirled with startling speed. It was
at these descents that the driver sought to pull up his lost time; and
this he did with a recklessness of consequences that led me, after
mature consideration, aided by the experience of much rough travel, to
come to the following conclusion,--that, in crossing the Alleghany
mountains, when the roads are rotten and slippery, the chances for and
against a broken neck are so nearly equal that no sporting man, of any
liberality, need desire to seek odds, should he feel inclined to make a
bet before commencing the journey.

We at times encountered a string of waggons at some narrow sharp turn of
the corkscrew path, and were whirled by them, with our off-wheels
curiously circling the unguarded ledge of a precipice some four or five
hundred feet deep, where a wheel-horse suddenly jibbing, or a leader
shying or falling, would, in all human probability, have provided the
wolves and bears with a banquet, and the journalists with a neat
paragraph, headed, "Melancholy result of fast driving, attended with
serious loss of valuable lives."

The practice is for the team to be put on a run the moment they gain the
summit of a hill; and, if all things hold out, this is kept up until the
bottom be reached: the horses are excellent, and rarely fail. On my
asking the coachman,--by whom I rode as much as possible,--what he did
in the event of a wheel-horse coming down in a steep pass, he replied,
"Why, I keep driving ahead, and drag him along;"--an accident which he
assured me had occurred more than once to himself when the roads were
encrusted with ice and snow: the passengers at such times are placed in
sleighs, which are perhaps less dangerous.

On the morning of Thursday we once more arrived at the frontier town of
the low-lands of Pennsylvania,--Chambersburg; and here I quitted the
"Good Intent" line, transferring myself, servant, and kit to the
Baltimore stage; and at three o'clock A.M. on Friday, I was set down,
cold and weary and wet, at the door of Barnum's hotel. A few thundering
knocks brought down the porter, and I was admitted within shelter of the
well-warmed hall, with

"Och murther alive! Mr. Power, is it yerself, sir? Why, thin, you're

And in five minutes after, I was in a comfortable chamber, and a blazing
fire of wood rising under the inspection of my Irish porter. Anxious to
conclude my journey, I desired him to rouse me in time for the eight
o'clock stage to Washington, though, Heaven knows, I could have slept
for twelve hours at the least; and so tumbled into bed whilst the man
was yet regretting the "mighty haste" I was in.

By nine A.M. I was once more rolling off the pavement of the monumental
city. But what a change was I experiencing! The sun shone cheerily, as
though rejoicing in his conquest over the cold mass which had so long
imprisoned him, and all around appeared to hail his presence with
gladness: the wind was light and mild, the road, which I had seen two
months before all but impassable, was now, by comparison, excellent, and
the surrounding country, then so bleak and bare, was now rejoicing in
the beauty of early spring. My fatigue was all forgotten, and I enjoyed
my present ride as though I had not before known what a bone-breaking
jolt was.

At two o'clock P.M. Washington once more lay beneath me, with the broad
Potomac beyond, looking like a currentless transparent lake, clipped
about by finely wooded irregular heights, and navigated by faëry barks.
Such was the aspect this noble river presented, and just such the little
fleet of fishing-boats scattered over its bosom, busied in pursuit of
the shad and the herring, now coming into season.

To my great joy, I found my excellent friend, Captain B----n, was still
resident at Fuller's: my old rooms had that day been vacated for me, a
few hours beheld me comfortably installed, and the rough-work of the
past trip across the backbone of the continent only served to enhance
my present enjoyments.

The Impressions left by my present residence I have already given in an
embodied form to the reader. I shall therefore beg him to accompany me
back to Philadelphia, and thence _viâ_ Princeton to New York.

_May 26th._--A lovely morning: landed from the Delaware steamer at
Bordenton, and rode thence to Princeton on horseback, sixteen miles;
passing two royal residences by the way, first, that of Joseph
Buonaparte, and next a queer-looking, low, quadrangular building,
inhabited by one of the sons of Joachim Murat, ex-king of Naples. On
reaching the hospitable house to which I was bound at Princeton, I
encountered the prince, paying a visit to my friend Mr. T----n. He is a
tall, robust-looking personage, very fat, and fond of race-horses; but
has not, as I learn, been over-lucky on the turf.

One can never meet and contemplate any of these far-flung fragments of
Napoleon's mighty empire without reverting with renewed interest to the
founder of so much unlooked-for though brief greatness. Sheltered
beneath his Titan ægis these new-made monarchs flourished, and ruffled
it with the best of Europe's princes; until, grown vain of their fancied
power, they deserted their shield and shelter, leaving it to abide
unsustained the assault of an outraged world, and, whilst, forgetful of
their origin, seeking to stand alone, were shattered into atoms by its

What a capricious climate is this! On Tuesday the 27th of May, I rode
from Princeton to Brunswick, on a day as sultry as a July afternoon ever
is in England; the heavy showers of the 25th had so saturated the sandy
soil that no particle of dust could float, and the verdure of wood and
valley was bright and refreshing to look upon. Yet here we are in New
York, on the 28th, with large fires burning within, a north-east wind
blowing without, attended by alternate sleet and showers, with fog and
every other atmospheric misery most grievous to humanity. This sample of
"the spring-time of the year" continued tolerably regular until

_June 6th._--This day the sun is fairly on duty again. Rode to the
course on Long Island, the third day of the present meeting, to witness
a race which had called up North and South to arms. Trifle--a little
mare of Colonel Johnson's, the Nestor of the American turf--had come on
from Virginia to be entered against Shark, the property of Captain
Robert Stockton, about to run his first four-mile race, a horse much was
expected from. Alice Grey, the mare which I had seen beaten easily by
Trifle at the fall meeting, was the only other entry expected to be made
good; so that the thing was considered as a match between the two horses
first named. For the only time I saw ladies present in considerable
numbers, and was sorry that the gallantry of my sporting friends had not
provided them with a more becoming stand.

All was tiptoe expectation; but the anticipated sport fell through,
owing to the ill condition of Shark. He was, from some cause or other,
as completely out of order as an animal could well be, and ought
properly to have been drawn. His spirited owner was, however, absent in
Europe, and the friends who acted for him decided that he should do his
best. Two heats, run in very indifferent time, decided the affair; and
the little pet of the Southerners was once more hailed _victrix_.


[11] Racking is a sort of shuffling gait, easy, I believe, to both horse
and rider, when both are broken to it, and much followed throughout the


With expectations highly raised, and for a long time cultivated and
encouraged by an eager inspection of all the prints I could collect, and
a perusal of glowing descriptions in both prose and poetry, did I at
length wake on the morning which was to introduce me to the beauties of
this vaunted river.

My first act was to rush to my window, and throw open shutter and sash.
It was six o'clock, the sun was up, and the sky cloudless; thanking my
lucky star, which had prevailed to my wish, I hurried through my toilet,
and away to the foot of Courtland-street, from whose wharf the steamboat
Champion was advertised to start at seven A.M. Punctual to the hour, we
slipped our moorings, and in a minute were gallantly heading up the
Hudson, breasting its current at the rate of fifteen miles per hour.

Hoboken and its Elysian fields were passed like lightning. Casting one
backward glance, I perceived Jersey city floating indistinctly in the
golden haze of morning; whilst the yet more distant heights of Long and
Staten Islands, with the dividing Narrows, showed like two dusky clouds
with a pathway of silver drawn between.

I was first struck by a near view of that singular range of cliff, the
Palisadoes, so named from the face of the rock bearing a resemblance to
a gigantic stockade rising from the bank of the river, along whose
southern side it is continued for a considerable distance. Lee's Fort is
pointed out; the Tappan Zee is next entered, upon whose border lies the
scene of poor André's capture; and farther on is the point from which
the traitor Arnold made his timely flight.

All these, with other memorable sites, are in turn pointed out, glanced
at, and rapidly left behind. But I am free to confess historical
associations were lost upon me; they awakened no sympathy in my mind; it
was absorbed, filled, bewildered, in the admiration which each
rapidly-opening point awakened, for never before this fair morning had
such a succession of matchless river views passed before my delighted

"Write down your first impressions of scenery when fairly viewed, and
your descriptions will at least have correctness to recommend them."
Somebody, I know, says something very like this; and I have hitherto
quoted it as an axiom: but alas! what rule, however sage, but meets
exceptions; for what man endowed with any ordinary share of devotion to
Nature, and admiration of her handiwork, dare venture to set down his
first impressions of this enchanting Hudson whilst the overwhelming
influence it creates is yet dazzling his imagination! I say
overwhelming, because such, in sober truth, was its first effect on me.

I was at times unable to venture the expression of all I felt even to
myself: I sought to avoid the intelligent friends who accompanied me,
and am not ashamed to add, that, albeit "unused to the melting mood," I
here was affected almost to weakness. There might, perhaps, have been
chords awakened that helped this fancy; but in no mood could an
enthusiast of Nature, I think, feel otherwise than "rapt" when free for
the first time to view, on such a day, such glorious magic pass before
his sight; for, in our rapid flight, I could compare the effect of all I
saw to glamour only.

The grape-covered steeps of the old Rhine, the mountain-enshrined lochs
of our Hielans, with their clear blue waters, and the sweet valleys in
which the little lakes of Killarney are set like gems,--all are lovely,
and all of these appear to me to have contributed models for this
masterpiece, each to be equalled, if not surpassed.

But I must check my pen, since disjointed eulogium will do little
towards satisfying the curious or silencing the sceptical; and for
description in reasonable detail, worthy the subject, only one hand in
our age has existed endowed by nature to grapple with such a task, and
that wizard hand lies mouldering now beneath the ruins of Dryburg Abbey!

Above West Point and the pass of the highlands the river expands
grandly, forming the Bay of Newburg. The town of this name lies prettily
spread along the face of a gently rising hill; and in a meadow at the
foot of the town stands a venerable-looking stone-built house, rendered
memorable from having been the residence of Washington when at this
place; which, bordering upon his stronghold, the highlands, was often
his head-quarters.

On the opposite side of the river, deep within the bight of the bay,
lies the stirring town of Fish-kill, occupied by a colony originally
from the island of Nantucket, who carry on from this place their
adventurous trade of whale-fishing; and appear, indeed, to have roused
their neighbours of Newburg and Hudson to imitate their enterprise; many
ships, the joint property of the most spirited of the community, being
now yearly fitted out in these places, and sent to hunt the sperm-whale
about the world.

Above this bay the river again narrows, and the scenery upon its banks
assumes a softer character: spacious meadows with well-cultivated lands
stretch widely to the distant wooded heights; the bold outline of the
highlands is drawn about the rear; and in front the loftier Catskills
push their rugged peaks amongst the clouds.

From Poughkeepsie, numerous country seats occupy the now park-like banks
of the river to the north, which, although lying from eighty to one
hundred miles distant from New York, may be yet considered reasonably
near; for six or seven hours brings the boat up, and in the course of
the day there do not pass fewer than five or six. On this morning I met
on board the Champion Messrs. W----'s and L----e, on their way to the
summer abode of their families: they were landed at Hyde Park, ninety
miles distant from New York, before one o'clock.

By half past five we were laid alongside the wharf of Albany, having
steamed one hundred and sixty miles in ten hours and a half, including
many stoppages of perhaps a couple of minutes each; and nothing can be
more readily executed than one of these pulls-up, with the discharge or
reception of luggage or passengers.


This is the capital of the powerful state of New York, and promises at
no very distant period to wear an aspect worthy its rank. No situation
was ever chosen better adapted to display; for the town is built over
the face of a lofty and steep hill, which only affords space for one or
two streets about its foot, and this is chiefly occupied by docks and
the several canal basins connected with the Hudson.

The principal avenue, a regularly built, grandly proportioned street,
with a railway running through its centre, climbs directly up the hill,
and is terminated by a well-kept public square, or _Grande Place_, as
the French would call it, about which the State House, City Hall, and
other public buildings are ranged. These striking objects, from the
nature of the ground, stand boldly out, and have all an appearance
sufficiently imposing; whilst here are some buildings that possess
strong claims to architectural beauty.

Nearly all the more important public offices have lofty and
well-proportioned domes; and these being uniformly covered with tin or
other bright metal, impart a gay and picturesque effect to the general
mass; and, indeed, the city, viewed from a little distance, with all
these cupolas and towering domes reflected in the setting sun, assumes
quite an Oriental appearance: one is immediately reminded of the mosque
and minaret of some Turkish capital: the fine marble too used in the
construction of all public buildings, and indeed of many private ones,
increases the effect which they derive from their style and from the
bold eminence they occupy.

Albany was long almost exclusively Dutch, and may be said up to this
time to have hardly kept pace with the rapid advance of the country
generally: it must have marvelled at the spread of the numerous
flourishing towns which have grown up around within a few years, and
which threatened to eclipse, if not extinguish it wholly. A movement,
however, has of late taken place: the inhabitants have awoke, new
colonists have superseded the family from Sleepy-hollow, or imparted to
them a share of their energy; and Albany begins to assert her claims on
the productive country by which she is backed, and to turn into her own
channel a portion of its commerce. Building is everywhere going forward;
land has doubled and trebled in value; improvements are in steady
progress; and, should the present prosperous course of things meet with
no untoward check to paralyse the industry of the people, Albany will in
a few years assume an importance more profitable to its citizens than
the empty honour it derives from being styled the capital of the State.

There are several excellent inns here: one kept by an Englishman, a Mr.
Thomas, in which I dined once or twice with friends, and which bears a
high reputation; another, wherein I always resided on my several visits
here, kept by Mr. Crutenden; and if henceforward any stranger who
relishes good fare, loves Shakspeare, and would choose to make the
acquaintance of a Transatlantic Falstaff, passes through Albany without
calling at the Eagle, and cracking a bottle with "mine host," he will
have missed one of those days he would not have failed to mark with a
white stone.

Soberly, I do not remember ever to have met with a face and figure
which, were I a painter, I would so readily adopt for a _beau-idéal_ of
the profligate son of mirth and mischief as those of mine host o' th'
Eagle. He has a fellow feeling too with "lean Jack," is as well read in
Shakspeare as most good men, quotes him fluently and happily, honours
and loves him as he should be loved and honoured, and in himself
possesses much of the humour, much of the native wit, but not a single
trait of the less admirable portions of the fat knight's character.

Indebted to Mr. Crutenden for many pleasant hours, I will offer no
excuse for making this indifferent sketch of him here, since it in no
way trenches upon the rule I hold sacred of eschewing comment on private
persons, or details of social intercourse, where indeed, men speak
oftener from the heart than from the head. Mr. C. I look upon as a
public character, and thus I am enabled to say how much I esteem him.
Should he be wroth, I vow, if I ever should visit Albany again, never to
make one at the "Feast of Shells." On the contrary, I'll fly the Eagle;
forswear "the villanous company" of mine host; I'll disclaim him,
renounce him, "and d--n me if ever I call him Jack again."

The theatre here is a handsome building, and well adapted to the
purpose for which it was designed; but is, I believe, worse supported
than any other on this continent. I had been advised not to visit the
city professionally; but being strongly solicited by the worthy manager,
"mischief lay in my way, and I found it."

I feel compelled in honesty to state the facts of this trip, though no
way flattering to my powers of attraction: however, if there be anything
unpleasant to relate, I ever find it better to tell of oneself, than
leave it to the charity of good-natured friends. The only disagreement I
ever had with an audience, in fact, occurred here, and roundly, thus it

On the evening when I was advertised to make my _début_ to an Albany
audience, I at my usual hour walked to the house, dressed, and was
ready; but when, half an hour after the time of beginning, I went on to
the stage, there were not ten persons in the house. The stage-director
and myself now held a consultation on the unpromising aspect of our
affairs. He ascribed the unusually deserted condition of the _salle_ to
the sultry and threatening state of the atmosphere, which had deterred
the neighbouring towns of Troy and Waterford from furnishing their
quota,--those indeed being his chief dependencies. I was opposed, on
policy, to throwing away our ammunition so unprofitably; and so after
due deliberation, the manager agreed to state to the few persons in
front, that "with their permission" the performances intended for this
night would be postponed until the evening after the next following; as,
in consequence of the exceeding smallness of the audience, it was to be
feared the play would prove dull to them, as it must be irksome to the

Nothing could be received with better feeling on the part of the persons
assembled; not a breath of disapprobation was heard. They instantly went
away; but soon after I reached home, I found, by the report of one or
two gentlemen who had since been at the theatre seeking admittance, that
a considerable excitement prevailed, and that at the public bars of the
neighbourhood the affair was detailed in a way likely to produce
unpleasant effects on my first appearance.

The appointed night came, the house was filled with men, and everything
foreboded a violent outbreak; the manager appeared terrified out of his
wits; but, as far as I can judge, behaved with infinite honesty;
disavowed the truth of the imputations connected with the dismissal,
and which it was sought to fasten upon me; and affirmed that he was
fully prepared to place the facts simply before the audience, in the
event of my suffering any interruption.

It was now found that an actor or two needed in the piece were absent.
These worthies, the chief agitators in this affair, were, in fact, in
front of the house to assist in the expected assault upon a stranger and
one of their own profession. On this being explained to the manager, he
said he was aware of it, and had threatened to discharge the
individuals; but relying upon the affair terminating in my discomfiture,
they did not fear being sustained by the same intelligence which they
now directed against me.

On my appearance the din was mighty deafening; the volunteer champions
of the public had come well prepared, and every invention for making the
voice of humanity bestial was present and in full use. The boxes I
observed to be occupied by well-dressed men, who generally either
remained neutral, or by signs sought that I should be heard. This,
however, was out of the question; and after long and patient abiding,
"for patience is the badge of all our tribe," I made my bow and
retired, when the manager, who had on the night in question dismissed
the house, made his bow, and, after silence was obtained, begged that
the audience would give me a hearing, assuring them on his own knowledge
that I had not contemplated insulting them.

I again came forward, and after some time was permitted to say that I
could in no way account for a simple matter of business being so
misrepresented as to occasion this violent exhibition of their anger;
that, before the audience in question was dismissed, its permission had
been obtained; that, had I really contemplated insult, it is hardly
probable I should wait two days to encounter the anger of those I had
sought to offend. I farther said, that on the common principle which
they professed, I was entitled to a hearing, since the sense of the
majority was evidently with me; and that, if the disorder continued, I
should, for the sake of that respectable majority, sincerely regret
this, since the character of their city for justice and hospitality
would be more impeached than my prospects be injured.

After this the row was resumed with added fierceness: not a word of
either play or farce was heard; but I persisted in going through with
the performance, being determined not to dismiss a second time.

At the fall of the curtain I begged the manager would not again announce
me; as although, for the sake of the many who I could see were opposed
to this misjudged outrage, I had gone through the business once, I could
not again subject them to the annoyance of such a collision, or myself
to continued insult.

I was, however, happily induced to change this determination at the
request of many gentlemen of the place, who assured me that the whole
thing arose from stories most industriously circulated by one or two
ill-conditioned actors, backed by inflammatory handbills and a
scurrilous print.

Out of this affair, which threatened me serious annoyance, I really
gathered a new proof of the kindness of the people of this country, for
I found persons on all sides interesting themselves for me, although I
entered the place without an acquaintance; and, had I not stood in need
of help, so in all probability should I have quitted it: but in this
hour of annoyance, men not of theatrical habits put themselves actively
forward to shield a calumniated stranger from insult or injury; in
consequence of this interposition, on my next appearance, nothing could
be more orderly than the conduct of the audience.

I concluded my engagement, which was only for four nights, and left the
theatre with a promise to return, which pledge, at some inconvenience, I
redeemed; and I have never been able to regret a momentary vexation
which obtained for me many friends, and made known to me the sterling
good feeling existing in Albany, of which I might otherwise have
remained ignorant.

The rides about Albany are numerous, the roads the best in the country;
and the little city of Troy, with its Mount Ida, worthy even the
celestial visitants who honoured its less beautiful predecessor with
their presence. Higher up lies Waterford, a thriving place, also
charmingly situated; and, near this, the Fall of the Cohoos, one of the
finest natural objects in the country. Indeed, a morning's ride in this
direction offers a succession of views that can nowhere be surpassed,
and which I do not remember to have often seen equalled.

Approaching Albany from the west, and looking across the Hudson over
the finely-wooded slopes and verdant meadows on which it fronts, it
appears a city bordered by an ornamental park; to the south tower the
cloud-capped Catskills; on the north are the blue mountains of Vermont;
and about the verge of the landscape on all sides runs a line of boldly
undulating hills, whose rugged outline forms no inappropriate framing to
this very beautiful picture.

It had been my intention from Albany to proceed directly for Niagara,
and thence returning to Buffalo, join a steam-boat, which was advertised
to make the tour of the great lakes, Superior and Erie, touching at
Detroit and one or two other points of interest, then after visiting the
new entrepôt for the territory of Michigan, Chicago, was to return with
her passengers to Buffalo; the trip being one of pastime, and calculated
to occupy about twenty days.

This plan was, however, frustrated, through an application being made
from the Polish committee of Philadelphia that I should act a night for
the benefit of the fund raised for these exiles for liberty: back,
therefore, I hurried to Philadelphia; arrived in the morning, acted at
night, with the thermometer at ninety-seven, and was off again for New
York by the mail-boat next day.

I was anxious to get away west, to make the most of my holidays, and,
being Sunday, this mail was the only public conveyance permitted through
the State of Jersey. I however caution all thin-skinned travellers
against using it any time between the first day of June and the last of
October; for to run the gauntlet at night through the legions of
musquitoes quartered between the Delaware and the Raritan is no laughing
matter, as I found to my cost.

The worst of this journey was, that, on arriving by the railroad car at
Amboy, which we did at midnight, we were compelled to wait unhoused here
until three or four in the morning, the steamer not departing until that
hour for New York. The example those insatiable vermin made of me with
four hours' leisure in which to work their wicked will, I even now sweat
to think on; one of my eyes was hermetically sealed up, and my upper lip
would have matched that of any Guinea negro, whilst my hands were so
swollen that I could not close them without pain and difficulty: in
short, as Roque says, there was not "a sounder-bitten bully in all

Halting for one day at New York, I proceeded by the morning boat to
West-point with the intention of resting here a few days: but not having
taken the precaution of writing on to secure a chamber, I was
indifferently provided for; this charming spot only possessing one
hotel, which is a concession made by government to the public, as it is
properly only a military post, and the seat of the national Military

Much has been said and sung, well and ill, of the beauty of the place,
but certainly not one word too much, for language can hardly convey any
just notion of the variety of attributes Nature has laid under
contribution, and here combined, for the embellishment of this most
perfect spot.

In the cool hour of twilight I strolled a little way up the western
hill, and thence looked back upon the hotel and the lines of tents
beyond, for at this season the cadets were in camp; excepting the hum of
myriads of busy insects, not a sound was to be heard; the fire-fly was
filling the lower grounds with his dazzling light, and seemed the only
thing that lived or moved there; when suddenly the sharp roll of a drum,
followed by a bugle-call, broke in on this tranquillity, and
disenchanted the scene which I had just decided must have been designed
by Nature as a temple to Solitude.

The next morning I quitted West-point, and in the afternoon landed once
again in Albany, where I took a couple of days' repose, and employed
myself in making inquiries and settling my route to Niagara, the idea of
visiting which wonder became all-absorbing; the long cherished desire
was about to be gratified, the dream of years to be realized. All
obstacles of business being removed, I grew restless and impatient of
further delay; I had, however, pledged myself to make a visit by the
way, and was only waiting for a couple of friends who were to be my
travelling companions.



At three o'clock A.M. on a cloudy and somewhat chilly morning, left the
door of the Eagle in a very comfortable extra coach, which was chartered
to convey a freight of four persons to the mansion of Mr. C----e, lying
upon Otsego Lake, distant from Albany some sixty miles.

My companions were Mr. H----e, whom I had with me at starting, and Mr.
I. V. B----n, for whom we had agreed to halt at his hotel on the top of
the State House hill, and a long halt we had of it; for, having no great
confidence in our punctuality, he had very wisely, as far as his own
comfort was concerned, left orders to be called whenever we should
appear: and not a moment earlier was he in the least danger of being
roused, for we had to awaken one of the Irish waiters before he could be
come at; a task of no small difficulty. After some half-hour's delay at
the top of the hill, we set forward.

_Mem._--In future, always arrange on all early expeditions to have my
quarters beat up last.

Although the morning broke gloomily, the sun rose brave and bright, and
managed throughout the day to keep the field against both wind and
cloud, that sought to overcast him. For the most part, this line of
country is very tame, and offers little to compensate for the bad road
leading through it. The amusement, therefore, which a series of fine
landscapes affords the traveller not being found here, we had to draw
upon our own personal resources to banish weariness; happily these were
not wanting: the youngest of my friends was the son of a leading Whig,
or Oppositionist, and newly inoculated with the right degree of
political fervour becoming the time and his age; the senior was a Tory,
or of the Government party, possessed of much natural humour, and having
a thorough knowledge of the people.

Previous to starting, the young politician was bold in his assertion
that in Schoharie county,--that through which our route lay,--the Whig
interest was in the ascendant; this assertion his better instructed
opponent as stoutly contradicted, insisting on the contrary, that
Jacksonism was the political creed cherished as orthodox amongst the
country people.

The mode of coming at the true state of the parties was simple enough;
we had only, whilst halting to change horses or bait, to touch upon the
absorbing topic of the day, and the village loungers, landlord,
bar-keeper, and guests, might have been placed upon a canvassing roll
without a chance of error, so decidedly did they make "their love

I soon discovered that the "ould Gineral" had a hollow thing of it on
this line of march, as, indeed, I have uniformly observed to be the case
in all the agricultural districts; and although it may be argued that
the confidence of these sons of the soil may neither be wisely nor well
placed, it must, I conceive, be on all hands admitted that it is at
least the result of honest conviction; for, if a stranger may be
permitted to judge, I should say, a more virtuous and right-meaning
class does not exist than the agriculturists generally of these States;
indeed it appears clear to me that it is to this great body of truly
independent electors the political seer must turn when he would desire
fairly to calculate the probable changes likely to be worked out in this
vast region. They are the owners of the land which their votes govern;
they are invulnerable to the anarchist and the mad agrarian; they are
observant and intelligent; and although liable, as are all men, to be
for a time hoodwinked, or led astray, by interested brawlers, only let
the veil be once lifted, and a glimpse afforded which shall inform them
that their property or the country's freedom are endangered, and they
will be found a rampart behind which all true patriots, the lovers of
order and country, may rally, and which they may hold impregnable
against the furious assault of the leveller, or the insidious sap of the
disguised despot.

But enough of this: _chacun à son métier_; yet here I am betrayed into a
homily where I only contemplated a jest. The truth is, my allusion to
this topic at all arose from the vivid recollection I still have of the
great fun I derived from this canvassing of my companions in support of
their opinions previously expressed.

At each new stopping-place, my Whig friend would jump out with eager
anticipations that here his majority would be made too palpable for
denial; after him would quickly stride his long-legged, long-headed
rival; and in a moment both were hard at it with the inmates of the

At places where a weak minority gave signs of hardihood, I usually
adopted their side in argument; and, as I was fully _au fait_ to all the
slang of party at least, it became my business in promotion of fun, to
fan the flame, which in one instance had nearly ended in getting myself
and my allies turned out of an honest Jacksonian's house, who swore no
such libellous Whigs should drink at his bar. In fact, my ears being
kept on strict duty during our noisy debates, in order to determine the
exact moment for prudently backing out, I, in this case, concluded it
wise to anticipate the expulsion which was decreed by a large majority,
having caught certain ominous disjointed words, which, by the aid of a
copulative conjunction or two, would have read, "Take 'em down and duck
them in the river."

About two o'clock we reached the neat little village called Cherry
Valley, and, in a couple of hours after, entered upon the well-kept
domain of Mr. C----e. The view of the lake and mansion, as it is
approached from the main road, is exceedingly good; and, when the
spirited proprietor's tasteful designs shall be completed, will have no
equal in this country.

Our reception at Hyde-hall was as hospitable as heart could wish. It was
the birthday of our host's son; and we found a large party assembled,
amongst whom were three or four remarkably handsome women.

Otsego, or, as it is commonly called, Cooper's-Town Lake, has been best
described by the novelist of that name, in, I think, his admirable
American book, "The Last of the Mohicans." He looked upon it with the
eye of a poet and the love of a son; for he was born and passed his
boyhood upon its banks, and in the pretty town reflected in its clear
water the name of his father is perpetuated. The son has founded his
name upon a yet surer basis: towns may fall as they have risen, and
their founders be forgotten; but the pleasure we derive from genius
enshrines its possessor within our hearts, and transmits his name to be
a household word amongst our children. Ages may pass away, and empires
may flourish and may fade, but the hand of a Cicero will ever be found
to pluck the weeds from the tomb of an Archimedes!

This mansion, at which I continued for three or four days, is built
upon a natural terrace, part of a fine hill that juts out into the lake,
and creates a little bay that laves its south side, and forms a safe
harbour for the boats of the family, in one of which I remember to have
had the pleasure of making an exploring cruise under the infliction of
as pitiless a shower as ever a party of fair voyagers was pelted by.

On either hand range the bold finely-timbered hills by which the lake is
bordered, until, gradually rounding at the southern extremity, it
affords space for one of the neatest little towns I ever visited, and
whose white buildings and glittering vanes give a charming termination
to the view from Hyde, from which it is distant some eight or nine
miles; but the character of the vista, and there being only water
between, makes it look nearer by half this space.

On Monday, June 30th, after abiding three cold, wet days, quitted Mr.
C----e's family, drove along the bank of the lake to Cooper's Town, and
thence took stage for Utica, accompanied by my young Whig companion, who
now had the field of politics to himself; for our Tory friend had turned
upon his steps for Albany.

We did not reach Utica till late in the afternoon, the distance being
forty miles, and our rate of going not exceeding six miles per hour: we
made no halt here, but, hiring a carriage, immediately pushed for the
Retreat at Trenton Falls, which we did not arrive at until after ten
o'clock P.M. The people, however, were yet up, and with much civility
set to work to provide us with a broiled chicken and a fresh trout, over
which we quickly forgot a very rough day's ride.


On awaking here in the morning, I rejoiced to hail the beams of a fine
warm sun breaking into my little chamber; it had been a stranger for the
last few days; and the weather, after having been prematurely hot, had
at once jumped back into March, and become wet, boisterous, and cold to
a most provoking degree.

After an early breakfast we set out, with the din of the waters sounding
an alarum in our ears, and directing our steps.

Immediately on quitting the hall of the Retreat, we entered upon a grove
of fine trees overhanging the bed of the torrent, and thence descended
by several flights of ladders planted _en échelon_, for some hundred and
sixty feet, until we at last stood on a level with the swift dark
stream, and, looking upwards, beheld the forest high overhead bending
from either side, with a narrow strip of clear blue sky drawn between.
The first fall was visible about five hundred yards to our left; its
waters tumbling, as it seemed, over the tops of the intervening trees,
to whose foliage the late heavy rains had restored the freshness of
early spring.

Looking about from this first point, I could have readily imagined
myself standing upon the floor timbers of a first-rate ship buried in a
wooded ravine, so evenly were the sides of the rock scooped out; and
this impression was assisted by narrow layers of different strata, which
ran in slightly curved lines placed at equal distances, giving the
effect of the ship's sheer and planking, whilst through her entrance or
cloven bow the white foam rushed.

Walking upward, along a narrow strand of bare rock, with the forest
pressing on you, as, bent almost double in some places, you stoop
beneath the overhanging cliff on which it grows; then for a time closely
shouldering the precipice, walk upon a ledge or projecting shelf of from
one to three feet wide, the current below boiling and whirling along the
while, of dazzling brilliance; I at one moment counted five rainbow
arches, perfect and imperfect. What a succession of "Maidens of the
Mist" might a lover of romance conjure up from these vexed waters on a
fine moonlight night!

Proceeding onwards, you, on quitting this point, descend once more into
the river's bed; and here the resistless power of the torrent when at
its full is made manifest by the ruin which on all sides marks its
headlong course. Trees of the largest growth lie twenty feet above its
ordinary level; some with their roots uppermost, others sustained
athwart the arms of their sturdier fellows, here decay and rot amidst
their living leaves.

Passing the second fall, we mounted a few steps to a resting-place,
named the "Rural Retreat;" and here, from a little box perched on the
point of a huge rock which abuts right upon the great abyss, we had a
scene before us and about us of great wildness and grandeur; whilst high
over all waved the original forest, contemporary with the continent
itself,--trees beneath whose shade the sachems of the warlike Mohawks
had feasted and legislated.

The last fall lies about a quarter of a mile above this point; and
immediately below is a dangerous pass, where the vast mass of falling
water is hurled in its course against a deeply-serrated rock, over which
rock the curious visitor is obliged to tread, making a step across an
angle formed by the boiling whirlpool, clinging to a stout chain, and
closely shouldering the rock; the river passing below, with a motion
anything but composing for a nervous man to cast a sidelong glance upon.
At all points of peril, however, lines of chain are securely riveted,
affording a dependable holdfast; which after rains is indeed absolutely
necessary, where a single _faux pas_ would be fatal.

A little to our left the water of the river was collected into a basin
of about one hundred yards' diameter; overflowing which, it found a
narrow outlet between two rocks, and thence precipitating itself in a
flood of the colour of amber, was bridged by rainbows dazzling to look
upon, although a person of ordinary nerve has nothing to encounter
really dangerous; yet, at this point, a very few years back, an accident
of a fatal nature did occur, and under circumstances which give to it a
melancholy interest and will ever keep it as a legend of the place.

A family party, consisting of father, mother, son, two daughters, and
the betrothed of one of the latter, a fine girl of seventeen, arrived
in company at the "Retreat," where the parents decided upon remaining
whilst the rest of the company explored the more adventurous route

On went the young people in high glee,--the last fall was at length
achieved; here, after standing for a moment upon the table rock against
which the strength of the fall bursts, one by one the attentive lover
handed the merry girls up the dizzy step: he turned to offer to his
young betrothed the last and dearest act of gallantry, but the rock was
naked; the object of his care, who but the instant before smiled in his
face, was here no longer.

Not a soul of the party had witnessed any movement of their vanished
companion. Absorbed by the scene, they were struggling onward beneath
the overhanging cliff, when the arrival of the distracted lover, his mad
gesticulations and horror-stricken looks, recalled them to hear his loss
and aid his search.

For a few minutes the hope that she had turned back, or concealed
herself to cause a false alarm, held the worst conclusion at bay: but,
on reaching a little cove a few yards lower down, this hope was
crushed, and conviction of her fate placed before them; for here,
quietly floating on the smooth eddy, lay a gaily-trimmed bonnet. It was
at once recognised: the lover sprang into the river, snatched it up, and
found within its hollow the comb of her they sought.

She had, in truth, slipped from off that giddy ledge, and, sinking at
once below the influence of the whirlpool, lay calmly upon its rocky

Next day, after much perseverance, the body was found, and rescued from
beneath the very point off which she must have fallen; not a feature was
discomposed, as it is said, or a garment ruffled: to use the words of my
informant, who for thirty years has listened to the roar of this
torrent, "She looked just as though she had lain down to sleep in the
rain, where I saw her, stretched out upon the ledge here."

The details of this story were given to me with added interest by the
narrator, from the circumstance that, the very day previous, two of the
party alluded to had revisited the spot for the first time since the
chance which made it to them so memorable.

Our guide, I believe, related the particulars of one or two other
accidents; but after this I had ears for no more. That the young and
happy maid should in one moment be snatched from a world to her so
bright and beautiful, and engulphed down deep in that cold pool, her
brothers in her sight, her lover by her side, yet no hand held forth to
save her, was a picture too sorrowful to be shifted for any other. I
could not indeed forget it during the remainder of the day, and the rush
of the water no longer roused me to exertion. From this spot we turned,
and retraced our steps to the hotel.

Our next morning was devoted to an excursion down the stream, to a spot
where a saw-mill was at work and a strong rude bridge in progress; we
crossed upon it, unfinished as it was, and in a meadow upon the west
side, Herkimer county, I believe, saw two youngsters herding a couple of
fine cows. I called them to me, but the girl, at the sight of my
companion and myself, ran off like a lapwing; the boy, a redheaded
chubby rogue, about twelve years of age, was however soon persuaded to
approach. When we questioned as to where his mammy lived, he pointed
over the meadow to a thicket from out of which a little column of light
smoke was rising; but in reply to one or two other queries, after a
scratch or two at his head, our little squire boldly bolted out "No

And sure enough not another word could we coax out of him: he was,
however, quite willing and able to make it up in good Irish, and much
did I regret not being able to have a "goster" with him. From one of the
carpenters at work on the bridge I learned that the mother spoke only
Irish, but that she managed her dairy and farm admirably; and that the
father, who was just able, as they expressed it, "to tell what he
wanted," worked at the mill, and got "a heap o' money jobbin' about at
one thing or t'other."

These poor people had been in this neighbourhood about three years: they
had arrived here destitute, friendless, ignorant even of the language of
the country; but they were industrious and persevering, and at this time
may have been said to possess independence; for they were owners of
sixty acres of excellent land, a cow or two, a few sheep, with poultry,
pigs, and other evidences of pastoral wealth. The situation of their
little cottage might be envied by many a wealthy builder in search of a
beautiful site, and the country about them is perfectly healthy.

We this day met at the hotel a new arrival or two, and sat down in
company to a very neat dinner: the trout here is excellent, and the
butter the best out of Philadelphia.

On the 2nd of July we left this comfortable house; and it was not
without reluctance I so soon bade farewell to the Falls of Trenton,
which, beautiful in themselves, are surrounded by a country possessing
so much attraction that I felt a strong desire to become more intimate
with it.

My companion, Mr. H----, having met with a couple of friends here who
were journeying our way, it was proposed that we should join company as
far as Niagara, taking to our own use an extra. This we readily procured
at Utica; the postmaster agreeing to forward the party to Buffalo by a
route we laid down, for the sum of seventy-five dollars, the distance
being nearly two hundred miles. We were by our agreement entitled to
halt as long as we chose at any place on our route, and, moreover, were
to be driven at the rate of seven miles per hour at the least.

All these points being duly arranged, we left the thriving city of Utica
in as heavy a storm of rain as could well fall, the weather having once
more become cold and cheerless: a more dismal night I never would desire
to encounter. The rate of travelling soon fell below the minimum of our
stipulated pace: to do the drivers justice, this was owing to no fault
of theirs, but the roads were cut into gullies broad and deep, and the
tumbling we got would have been of vast service to a dyspeptic subject.
The state of the weather was the more to be regretted as we were passing
through some of the best cultivated farms in this State; and,
notwithstanding the disadvantageous nature of the medium through which I
saw the land, this character appeared to me well deserved.

The farmhouses were very numerous, generally built of good brick, and
putting forth strong claims on admiration in the shape of various
ornamental flourishes; an ambition which distinguishes the rural
architecture indeed of all this State, giving evidence of the ease and
growing wealth, if not of the purest taste, existing amongst the

Syracuse we passed through in the middle of the storm and the darkness
of night; and about six A.M. were safely landed under the ample portico
of the hotel at Auburn, celebrated for its prison, regulated upon what
is called the "silent system."

Whilst my companions were making toilet I set forth to visit this penal
abode, the character of which is made sufficiently evident as you
approach the lofty walls that encompass so much of misery and guilt. At
regular distances upon these battlements I perceived sentry-boxes, with
men keeping watch, musket in hand.

A small sum is here paid for admittance. On my arrival at the lodge, I
was informed that the prisoners were at breakfast, during which time
visitors were prohibited: I therefore had to wait some minutes in this
place; and, except the occasional fall of a heavy bolt, did not hear a
sound; the very turnkeys seemed infected by the system which it was
their duty to enforce, and they moved in and out in silence, or spoke in
monosyllables hardly above a whisper.

Following the gaoler, I was passed within the square at the very moment
when the prisoners were moving out from their breakfast-hall on the way
to renew their several labours; and the sight was to me one of sickening

They were marched from the building in squads, using what is called the
"lock-step," and were jammed together as close as they could possibly
tread: they moved in quick-time, and fell out singly, or in pairs, as
they arrived at the point nearest to the scene of their employment.

I observed that, notwithstanding the regularity of labour, and the
unquestionably wholesome diet provided here, the faces of the
individuals composing these ruffian squads were uniformly pale and
haggard; yet, on saying so much to my guide, I was assured that disease
is comparatively rare amongst them, and that many who enter here with
broken constitutions recover their bodily vigour and are made whole men

The cleanliness of this prison-house, the convenient distribution of its
various offices, and, indeed, the evident excellence of its general
arrangement, must strike every stranger with admiration, and doubtless
presented to the commissioners of inquiry recently appointed from
England many hints worthy of adoption for home use. Of the merits of the
system itself it does not become me to speak; it has been well
considered by wise and worthy men, who continue to watch over its
working with a philanthropic spirit; but I confess that the impressions
I received from my visits to these prisons were anything but in its

At eight A.M. we quitted Auburn, the weather clear and mild: we crossed
the head-water of the Seneca Lake upon a well-built bridge, a mile and a
quarter in length, and, with this exception, observed no point of
interest until we approached the Lake of Geneva.

This is one of the lions of this route, and in no way disappointed our
raised expectations. Gradually winding about the eastern bend of the
lake, the road affords to the traveller a continuous view of the
location of the little city; and certainly nothing was ever more happily
chosen than the fine hill over whose side it is built, its streets
rising gradually from the edge of the clear water in which they are

Entering the main street, I observed that the stores were large and
substantially built; there was a great bustle, and an air of business
too, about most of them, which it was pleasant to look upon. The hotel
at which we drew up was a large, well-appointed house: the landlord,
finding that we were strangers, civilly invited us to ascend to the
gallery upon the roof; and certainly the view it afforded was one I
should have been sorry to miss.

The environs appear to possess an unusual number of tasteful villas; on
all sides these might be distinguished, giving and receiving adornment
from the situation. The lake itself looked like a huge mirror; and from
its polished surface was clearly reflected every turn of its shores, and
each cloud that floated over it. Its characteristics are softness and
repose; of a certainty it must have been a feminine spirit that presided
at the creation of this spot, for its features are all of gentleness and

At Canandaigua we stopped to dine at a very large, and, I should
imagine, good hotel: the landlord was exceedingly obliging. The regular
dinner of the house was long past, but he managed to get us a very
tolerable meal; and what was wanting in this he made up by giving us an
excellent bottle of wine.

In the environs of this place, as at Geneva, I observed a number of
well-built and neatly-appointed villas; indeed, this sort of country
residence is better kept, and built in better taste, in this western
country than I have elsewhere observed in the States.

About nine P.M. we arrived at Avon Springs; and here we called a halt
for the night, not a little pleased with the prospect of a comfortable
bed, which the appearance of the inn gave promise of.

This place is a good deal frequented of late years by invalids, its
mineral waters being found of great service in dyspepsia,--the most
crying complaint of the country next to the removal of the deposits, and
certainly more universal.

I here found my excellent friend R----d, who, together with his young
bride, had accompanied his father-in-law, who was desirous of testing
the salubrity of these springs. He described the surrounding country as
beautiful, and the little place itself as agreeable enough for a short

The fourth of July, the anniversary of American Independence, was to be
duly celebrated by a ball, for which my friend had received an invite
printed upon the back of the nine of hearts; a medium now obsolete in
England, but conserved here in its integrity.

A less amusing remembrancer of the glorious event began to parade the
avenue at an early hour in the shape of a patriotic drummer, having an
instrument, to judge by its sound, coeval with the first fight for that
freedom it was beaten to celebrate. If anything could have kept me
awake, this cracked drum would; and, in truth, I had my fears, when, on
entering my room, I heard my hero ruffing it away immediately in front
of the window; but they were groundless apprehensions, though his
efforts were varied and unceasing, for I undressed to the tune of the
"Grenadiers' March," stepped into bed to the "Reveille," and dropped
fast asleep to the first part of "Yankee Doodle!"

At six A.M. of the 4th we were once more in motion; the vapours of night
were yet hanging thick and low; but through the dense atmosphere, as we
rolled down the avenue, I heard the indefatigable functionary, who
composed the military band of Avon, determinately beating "Hail

At the village of Caledonia we found that a ball was afoot, and we
pushed on eagerly for Buffalo, anticipating, from the importance of the
place and the wealth of its citizens, something in the way of display
worthy of their loyalty and of the occasion.

Between Le Roy, a town of remarkable neatness, and Batavia, I
encountered my first sample of a corduroy-road, or, as it is sometimes
facetiously termed, a Canadian railway.

Our driver, a merry fellow, called out that we must look out "not to get
mixed up of a heap," and rattled at it. I did not require much
experience to decide that travelling over a road of corduroy was by no
means going on velvet; but the effect was not so bad as I had expected
to prove it: by holding fast, one could keep one's seat tolerably well,
without much fear of dislocation; but I would strongly recommend any man
having loose teeth, to walk over this stage, unless he desires to have
them shaken out of his head.

From Batavia the road is execrable, and the country without a feature to
interest or amuse, uncultivated, wild, and dismal. It was about half an
hour before sunset when we entered Buffalo, the City of the Lakes, the
entrepôt for these inland oceans.


America is, perhaps, in our day, the only country wherein these infant
capitals, these embryo cities, may be seen, and their growth noted, as
they are gradually developed before living eyes.

A very few years back, this frontier, now so populous and thriving, was
only known as "the Wilderness;" and upon the edge of this, washed by the
waters of Lake Erie, has Buffalo sprung up. The great source of that
gratification which is felt on a near view of this, and other places of
similar origin, is to be found in the feeling that they derive their
being from the prosperous industry of our fellow-men, and that in their
increase we behold its happy continuance. They are the vouchers which
America may fairly produce to show that the fruition of liberty has been
with her productive of increased energy and spreading enterprise.

These places have not, like St. Petersburg, been raised up in obedience
to the policy or the caprice of a despot; the work of bondsmen, founded
amidst pestilence, and cemented with blood and tears. The unfinished
palace of the half-savage prince already the tomb of hundreds of its
miserable builders; a city of marble founded upon a marsh.

Here, it is true, was a wonder having no parallel, of which the living
of the last century might have observed the progress,--one may add, the
completion, as, should its lord so will, the present generation may look
upon its abandonment and depopulation;--but the cause of the existence
of St. Petersburg calls up no generous sympathy with its progress,
because we know that the labour was constrained; and from its story,
when fairly told, we rise, not with pride in the power of our kind,
which had overcome so many obstacles, but with pity for the suffering
and debasement of humanity constrained to such exertion. On the
contrary, these yet humble cities of America, so humble as sometimes to
draw from the far-travelled a sneer upon the application of the word,
are surrounded by a healthful, moral atmosphere: their infancy is
vigorous, giving promise of a long endurance and ultimate greatness,
only to be limited by the will of the King of kings.

From the roof of the Eagle, a very large hotel, I took a general view of
the wide-spread frame of Buffalo, whose many as yet barely definable
streets are in the keeping of houses so thinly scattered, that they
reminded me of lines of sentries placed to denote occupation. I traced
the course of the great Erie canal from the Niagara river to the lake,
whose busy harbour was filled with steamers, schooners, and other
trading craft.

After sunset we descended from our lofty observatory, and followed the
line of the main street, witnessing the rejoicings called forth by this
anniversary of American Independence. The feeling of the community at
large could only be guessed at, since it made no sign; but if the body
politic of Buffalo might be considered fairly represented by some
hundred or so of active urchins who were congregated in a square near
the centre of the main street, nothing could be more ardent than this
city's gratitude, for these delegates beat drums, blew fifes, fired
crackers, and huzzaed until the welkin rang with their shrill small
yells. We found, upon inquiry, that there was no ball, dinner, or other
public demonstration; the reason was ascribed to the extreme violence of
party politics, which at this period completely divided the community,
and were carried out to an extent without precedent in their brief

The street was chiefly occupied by a number of Indians of the Seneca
tribe, dressed in a costume part native and part European: these
holiday-keepers lounged lazily about in all the delight of utter
intoxication, the men invariably in groups by themselves, and the ladies
of the tribe trapesing after them at a long interval with stoical

Nothing can be more subversive of the poetry one's early recollections
connect with this race, than a first rencontre with the outcasts by whom
it is represented on these frontiers, who daily degenerate where all
else seems to thrive, and who perish in the midst of an abundance,
which, for all but them, increases with each year.

I am not sure whether it would not be more humane to deal upon the
natives as summarily as with their forests; for the fall of the former
before the advance of civilization is not, though slower, less certain.

They may at present be likened to girdled trees, about whose vigorous
trunk the axe of the woodman is but lightly drawn, yet whose fall is
assured past remedy; the springs of health and life are stopped, upon
their fading leaves the sun rises and heaven's dews descend in vain; for
a little while they continue to wave their naked crests in the gale, and
hold forth their gaunt limbs as if life were in them, objects exciting
at once commiseration and disgust; until, crumbled into decay, the
unseemly skeletons lie prostrate athwart the roots of their once
fellows, who were stricken down in their bloom, and so perished by a
quicker and more merciful sentence.


I felt interested with Buffalo, and had promised myself much pleasure
from a visit to the country occupied by a branch of the Seneca tribe in
its neighbourhood; but Niagara was now within a few hours,--the great
object of the journey was almost in sight. I was for ever fancying that
I heard the sound of the "Thunder-water"[12] booming on the breeze; so,
with a restlessness and anxiety not to be suppressed, I got into the
coach on the day after my arrival at the capital of the lakes, and was
in a short time set down on the bank of the swift river Niagara, at the
ferry, which is some four miles from Buffalo.

We found the little rapids about the shore occupied by fishers of all
ages, who required but a small share of the patience which is deemed so
essential a qualification to the followers of this melancholy sport, for
they were pulling the simple wretches out as fast as the lines could be
baited and offered.

The shipment was quickly effected, and in a few minutes our faces were
turned from the dominion of the States. The vessel was a large
horse-boat; that is, a flat propelled by paddle-wheels similar to those
of a steam-boat, only wrought by horse-power,--an animal tread-mill in
fact. Whether the horses working this were here on good behaviour, or
not, I could not rightly ascertain, but certainly they were
scampish-looking steeds, their physiognomical expression was low and
dogged, such as one might expect from the degrading nature of their
unvarying task.

On the larboard gangway of our flat the American jack floated, and over
the starboard side waved the Union flag of Old England; they fluttered
proudly side by side, a worthy brotherhood, and so united may they long
be found!

The ride along the Canada shore was very fine, the noble stream being
constantly in sight: the country appeared thickly populated; but the
land poor, the cultivation of it, I believe, is not found very

We halted to water the team at a public-house that stands upon the
ground where was fought the battle of Chippewa, which, as the Yankees
say, "eventuated just no how." This was the twentieth anniversary; and,
on alighting from the box, I was exceedingly amused to find the host and
a smart wayfaring young man, with mutual vehemence well worthy the
cause, fighting the battle over again.

From this house the eternal mist caused by the great fall may be plainly
seen curling like a vast body of light smoke, and shooting occasionally
in spiral columns high above the tree-tops; but not a sound told of its
neighbourhood, although we were not five miles distant from it, and the
day was calm and clear. At about three miles from this, as the vehicle
slowly ascended a rise, I heard for the first time the voice of the
waters, and called the attention of my friends within the carriage to
the sound.

Never let any impatient man set out for Niagara in one of these coaches;
a railroad would hardly keep pace with one's eagerness, and here were we
crawling at the rate of four miles per hour. I fancied that the last
three miles never would be accomplished; and often wished internally, as
I beat the devil's tattoo upon the footboard of the coach-box, that I
had bought or borrowed or stolen a horse at Chippewa, and galloped to
the wonder alone and silently.

At length the hotel came in view, and I knew that the rapid was close at

"Now, sir, look out!" quietly said the driver.

I almost determined upon shutting my eyes or turning away my head; but I
do not think it would have been within the compass of my will so to have
governed them; for even at this distant moment, as I write, I find my
pen move too slow to keep pace with the recollections of the impatience
which I seek to record.

It was at the moment we struck the foot of the hill leading up to the
hotel that the rapid and the great horse-shoe fall became visible over
the sunken trees to our right, almost on a level with us. I have heard
people talk of having felt disappointed on a first view of this
stupendous scene: by what process they arrived at this conclusion I
profess myself utterly incapable of divining, since, even now that two
years have almost gone by, I find on this point my feelings are not yet
to be analyzed; I dare not trust myself to their guidance, and only know
that my wildest imaginings were forgotten in contemplating this awful

A very few minutes after we were released from the confinement of the
coach saw myself and companions upon the Table-rock; and soon after we
were submitting to the equipment provided by a man resident upon the
spot for persons who chose to penetrate beneath the great fall, and
whose advertisement assured us that the gratification of curiosity was
unattended with either inconvenience or danger, as water-proof dresses
were kept in readiness, together with an experienced guide. The
water-proof dress given to me I found still wet through; and, on the
arrival of the experienced guide, I was not a little surprised to see
the fellow, after a long stare in my face, exclaim,

"Och, blur an' 'oons! Mr. Power, sure it's not yer honour that's come
all this way from home!"

An explanation took place; when I found that our guide, whom I had seen
some two years before as a helper in the stable of my hospitable friend
Smith Barry, at Foaty, was this summer promoted to the office of
"Conductor," as he styled himself, under the waterfall.

And a most whimsical "conductor" he proved. His cautions, and "divil a
fears!" and "not a hap'orth o' danger!" must have been mighty assuring
to the timid or nervous, if any such ever make this experiment, which,
although perfectly safe, is not a little startling.

His directions,--when we arrived at the point where the mist, pent in
beneath the overhanging rock, makes it impossible to distinguish
anything, and where the rush of air is so violent as to render
respiration for a few seconds almost impracticable,--were inimitable.

"Now, yer honour!" he shouted in my ear--for we moved in Indian
file,--"whisper the next gintleman to follow you smart; and, for the
love o' God! shoulder the rock close, stoop yer heads, and shut fast yer
eyes, or you won't be able to see an inch!"

I repeated my orders verbatim, though the cutting wind made it difficult
to open one's mouth.

"Now thin, yer honour," he cried, cowering down as he spoke, "do as ye
see me do; hould yer breath, and scurry after like divils!"

With the last word away he bolted, and was lost to view in an instant.
I repeated his instructions however to the next in file, and, as
directed, scurried after.

This rather difficult point passed, I came upon my countryman waiting
for us within the edge of the curve described by this falling ocean; he
grasped my wrist firmly as I emerged from the dense drift, and shouted
in my ear,

"Luk up, sir, at the green sea that's rowlin' over uz! Murder! bud iv it
only was to take a shlope in on uz!"

Here we could see and breathe with perfect ease; and even the ludicrous
gestures and odd remarks of my poetical countryman could not wholly rob
the scene of its striking grandeur.

I next passed beyond my guide as he stood on tiptoe against the rock
upon a ledge of which we trod, and under his direction attained that
limit beyond which the foot of man never pressed. I sat for one moment
on the Termination Rock, and then followed my guide back to my
companions, when together we once more "scurried" into day.

"Isn't it illegant, sir?" began the "Conductor," as soon as we were well
clear of the mist.

"Isn't it a noble sight intirely? Caps the world for grandness any way,
that's sartain!"

I need hardly say that in this opinion we all joined loudly; but Mr.
Conductor was not yet done with us,--he had now to give us a taste of
his "larnin."

"I wish ye'd take notice, sir," said he, pointing across the river with
an air of authority and a look of infinite wisdom. "Only take a luk at
the falls, an' you'll see that Shakspeare is out altogether about the

"How's that, Pat?" inquired I, although not a little taken aback by the
authority so gravely quoted by my critical friend.

"Why, sir, Shakspeare first of all says that there's two falls; now, ye
may see wid yer own eyes that it's one river sure, and one fall, only
for the shtrip o' rock that makes two af id."

This I admitted was evident; whilst Pat gravely went on:

"Thin agin, only luk here, sir; Shakspeare says, 'The cloud-cap tower;'
why, if he'd ever taken the trouble to luk at it, he'd seen better than
that; an' if he wasn't a fool,--which I'm sure he wasn't, bein' a grand
poet,--he'd know that the clouds never can rise to cap the tower, by
reason that it stands up above the fall, and that the current for ever
sets down."

Again I agreed with him, excusing Shakspeare's discrepancies on the
score of his never having had a proper guide to explain these matters.

"I don't know who at all showed him the place," gravely responded Pat;
"but it's my belief he never was in id at all at all, though the
gintleman that tould me a heap more about it swears for sartin that he

This last remark, and the important air with which the doubt was
conveyed, proved too much for my risible faculties, already suffering
some constraint, and I fairly roared out in concert with my companion,
who had been for some time convulsed with laughter.

Whoever first instructed the "Conductor" on this point of critical
history deserves well of the visitors so long as the present subject
remains here to communicate the knowledge; indeed, I trust, before he is
drowned in the Niagara, or burnt up with the whisky required, as he
says, "to keep the could out of the shtomach," the present possessor of
this curiosity in literature will bequeath it to his successor, so that
it may be handed down in its integrity to all future visitors.

Next morning at an early hour I revisited the "Termination Rock," but
excused myself from being accompanied by "the Conductor." I next
wandered down the stream, and had a delightful bathe in it. Accompanied
by a friend, I was pulled in a skiff as close to the fall as possible,
and in short performed duly all the observances that have been suggested
and practised by curiosity or idleness; but in all these I found no
sensation equal to a long quiet contemplation of the mass entire, not as
viewed from the balconies of the hotel, but from some rocky point or
wooded shade, where house and fence and man and all his petty doings
were shut out, and the eye left calmly to gaze upon the awful scene, and
the rapt mind to raise its thoughts to Him who loosed this eternal flood
and guides it harmless as the petty brook.

There never should have been a house permitted within sight of the fall
at least. How I have envied those who first sought Niagara, through the
scarce trod wilderness, with the Indian for a guide; and who slept upon
its banks with the summer trees for their only shelter, with the sound
of its waters for their only _réveille_.

Now, one is awakened here by a bell, which I never can liken to any
other than a dustman's, and can hardly find a spot whereto parasols and
smart forage-caps intrude not.

I would even include in my denunciation the tower which is now erected
upon the piece of rock that abuts upon the great fall, and standing in
whose gallery you actually hang suspended over the abyss; not but that
the tower is in itself rudely simple, and in good taste perhaps, but
that one feels this place needs no such accessories, and, instead of
deriving advantage from them, is degraded into a mere show by their
presence; and, in saying this much, I feel as though the application of
the term was a profanation.

I only saw three natives near the fall during my stay; but these formed
a little group I would like much to have had Landseer look upon.

I was walking one morning before breakfast about a quarter of a mile
below the fall, when I suddenly came upon a squaw leaning against a
tree: as many of the Tuscaroras understand a few words of English, I
addressed her with "Good morning, good morning!"

With a calm bend of the head she placed her fingers over her lips by
way of return to my salutation, turning herself at the same time a
little away as if to avoid further notice or intercourse: curiosity,
however, overcame good-breeding in me, and mounting the little bank to a
level with the shady tree against which she passively leaned, I
immediately became aware of her object.

Coiled up, on the earth, by her feet lay an Indian, his head and
shoulders wrapped close in his blanket; upon this motionless mass her
eyes were calmly fixed: against the opposite side of the tree sat a very
handsome lad, about eight or nine years old, who never lifted his head
to look on the intruder: near the boy crouched a half-starved hound of
the lurcher kind, a red-coloured, wire-haired brute, with a keen cold
Indian look, and as apparently incurious as the best-taught warrior of
the tribe: there was no wagging of the tail in friendly recognition, as
might be expected from a kindly European dog; neither was there the
warning growl and spiteful show of bristled crest and angry teeth, nor
any suspicious circling round the stranger, with tail tucked close and
thievish scrutiny, so common amongst low-bred white curs; this hound of
the Red-man, on the contrary, deported himself in a manner creditable to
his race, and to the tribe of his adoption: I do not believe his eye was
ever once raised to survey me; or, if it was, the movement was so well
managed that I did not detect it.

Supported against the tree stood a long rifle, over whose muzzle was
hung a scarlet shoulder-belt and pouch, richly worked with an embroidery
of blue and white beads; by a thong of hide was also suspended from the
rifle a sheath of leather, through which protruded a couple of inches of
the bright broad blade of a knife: these I readily conceived to be the
appointments of the sleeping man; and the trio thus patiently watching
his slumbers,--his wife, child, and dog.

I looked upon this savage group for some minutes, and no happier scene
could have been found for such a rencontre:--the grassy knoll which the
family occupied; the rich foliage of the butter-nut tree that shaded
them; the wooded heights above, and the deep-channeled river flowing by;
together with a stillness made more thrilling by the sound of the
cataract, for a moment rumbling like near-coming thunder, and then
dying away into a continuous moan, soft and absolutely musical, whilst
afar off its light vapoury masses gently rose and fell, converted by the
morning sun into clouds of silver tissue. I have often, amongst other
vain wishes, sighed for the possession of the painter's power, but never
more than at this moment; and as I silently looked upon the unchanging
group, and called to mind the artists whom such a chance would have
repaid for longer travel, I grieved to think it should have been given
to one whose attempts by description to image it must prove so tame a

After a long pause, pointing to the coiled-up sleeper, I ventured on a
second inquiry, saying, "Man,--he sick?"

The squaw fixed her fine eyes upon me, and comprehending my inquiry,
nodded once or twice, articulating in a low musical voice, "Man
sick,--whisky too much--make bad!"

Again her head drooped, and her eyes rested upon the motionless mass
before her; the little imp and the hound meanwhile never by a sign
indicating their knowledge of the presence of an intruder. I now turned
back towards the hotel, which I had left to watch the sun rise on the
fall from the bed of the river. My early stirring was every way
fortunate, for the morning was fresh and unseasonably cool, consequently
the misty abyss into which the river tumbled was bridged by beautiful
rainbows in every direction; whilst, to crown all, with the exception of
the group I have mentioned, no unhallowed foot broke on the holy place.

The family had not appeared on my return to the house; so seeking my
little chamber, whose window commanded the rapids and the great fall, I
flung myself upon my bed, and gratefully reviewed all the beauty of
earth and sky which I had been so happily permitted to behold and to

The days I passed here must always be recalled by me as days of
unalloyed enjoyment; I felt an indescribable calm steal, as it were,
over my spirit. Generally active, impatient, and inquiring, I have
seldom found any neighbourhood which I did not compass in a few days;
but from the vicinity of this spot I had no desire to stir. Finding that
the dinner-hour was two o'clock, which would have destroyed the day, I
requested the proprietor of the hotel, one of the most obliging persons
I ever met,--an Englishman,--to give our little party dinner at five;
and from breakfast to this time I believe our time was usually passed
lounging dreamily about Goat Island, to reach which you cross the river
below the falls to the American side, and then pass over the rapids on a
bridge, which is in itself a wonder.

The turf of this island, its trees and flowers, retaining in summer the
freshness of spring, the delicious purity of its atmosphere, and the
brightness of its waters, render it most charming. The solitude here has
no drawback; the strong currents of air by which it is encircled defy
the powers of the musquito,--that bane to all thin-skinned people with
pastoral inclinations, and not an insect in the least venomous or
annoying is to be found here.

This Island of the Rainbow, as it has been poetically and not
inappropriately named, is situated exactly between the falls;
surrounded, and intersected in part, by rapids frightful to look on.
Before American enterprise and ingenuity spanned these with the bridge
that now connects the Iris isle with the main land, the approach to it
must have been attended with great difficulty and much danger; indeed,
I believe it was very rarely attempted; at present it is occupied by one
or two poor families, who tend a garden now in progress, under the care
of the proprietor of the place.

Within these few years, a young man of good appearance was known to have
taken up his abode here; he shunned all observance, only holding
communion with a poor family who procured him what necessaries he
needed. After a residence of two years he died, without leaving the
slightest clue to his name or country. That his condition was gentle may
be inferred from his accomplishments: a flute and a guitar, on both of
which he is said to have played much and well, with a drawing or two,
are all that remain of the recluse, although the man who attended upon
him says he sketched and wrote much.

Certainly no anchorite ever selected a pleasanter summer solitude: how
he got through the severity of a five or six months' winter in a place
so exposed can only be imagined, since the hermit died and "made no

I visited the other lions of the place, but took little heed of them.
The sulphur springs were exhibited, and the gas ignited, by a
remarkably fine old man, who was full of anecdote of the late war: one
or two of his stories I took good note of, and purpose availing myself
of them at some future time.

On one afternoon I forced myself away to visit the Devil's Hole and the
Whirlpool, situated about five miles below the falls; and a wilder scene
it is impossible for imagination to conceive than the deep rocky basin
into which the river is precipitated, and from which it issues at right
angles from its previous course, bearing with it portions of the wrack
accumulated within the black vortex of this fearful pool, into whose
gulf it is impossible to look without a shudder. The drive through the
forest was delightful; and, if any sight could have repaid me for
leaving the neighbourhood of the falls, this fitting _pendant_ would be
that sight.

The bad weather which occurred so late in the month of June, and,
indeed, continued through the first days of July, had retarded the
advance of visitors. At the period of our stay there were but two or
three strangers here besides ourselves; and, not dining at the public
table, these I never saw except at a distance. The weather during the
day was warm without being oppressive, the evenings and nights
deliciously cool.

I had brought my companion, Mr. H----e, thus far on a promise of
returning with him in a few days, and never did I feel more urged to
break faith: but knowing that he was compelled to return in a certain
time, and had accompanied me out of sheer good-nature, I could not
reconcile it to myself to let him journey back alone; for our companions
were bound on a wide tour through the Canadas.

After a halt here of only three short days then, I finally crossed the
Niagara for the American shore, and immediately took a coach for
Tonnewanta, to intercept the boat on its way from Buffalo by the Erie
canal, intending to journey by this route as far as Rochester.

At Tonnewanta, a pretty little village, we were detained two or three
hours; and here I once more encountered my family of Tuscarora Indians.
The man was at this time wide awake, but still half drunk; and, although
a fine-made fellow, had that horrid brutal look which accompanies
continued debauch. He was attended as I at first saw him, only that now,
as he stood by the public-house door talking with a couple of negroes,
the boy and the hound only were beside him. I looked about for my lady
of the tribe, and perceived her squatted on her heels against the wall,
about fifty paces lower down, "burd alane."

From a slight furtive glance of the urchin, I perceived that he
recognised me; he spoke a couple of words to his father, who, turning
his head in the direction where I stood, muttered an interjectional
"Ugh!" and resumed his previous calm attitude, contrasting oddly with
the _insouciant_ look and merry grimaces of his negro companions.

I next walked on to the solitary squaw, in hopes of claiming
acquaintance; but she kept her eyes fixed upon a necklace she was
playing with as gravely as a devotee might tell her beads, and by no
sign of recognition deigned to flatter me.

Miserable and degraded race! on whose condition much care has been
vainly bestowed, much generous sympathy idly wasted! I say wasted, since
the aborigines of this continent are either above or below sympathy. I
confess my feeling for them has been much changed by a near view of
their condition and a better knowledge of their history and habits; and
whatever complaints they may advance against the rapacity of the white
man, he must at least be admitted a generous historian.

I shall have occasion hereafter to revert to the unpopular view of this
question, which I have adopted against my inclination in obedience to my
judgment, and meantime must quit my family of the Tuscaroras--what a
name to adorn a tale!--for the canal boat arrived, and in a moment we
were hurried to embark.


[12] The Indian name "Niagara" signifies Thunder-water.



This day, up to the meridian, had been temperately warm, but not in the
least sultry or unbearable. The boat was exceedingly clean, not
over-crowded; and I sat down within its neat cabin, anticipating a
couple of days' quiet travel, which, if a little monotonous, would be at
least unattended by the fatigue and dust of a stage journey between this
and Utica.

The boat for a few hours went on merrily; the eternal forest closed
about us, and the sound of our horses' feet alone broke upon its
silence. Towards evening the heat became great, and after sunset the
southern sky began to give forth continuous sheets of flame, along whose
pale surface would occasionally dart lines of red forked lightning,
whilst the breeze gradually died away. My first idea was, that we were
about to be favoured with a refreshing storm of rain and thunder; but
vain were my hopes: I watched and listened, but no drop fell, no sound
was heard.

Meantime, the heat increased as the night closed in: the little cots,
however, were duly hung one below another along the sides of the cabin.
I had procured an upper berth, with a window by my side; and having
exhausted my patience, and wearied my sight watching the fiery sky, I at
last ventured to creep below. Although a hotter atmosphere can hardly be
imagined, I slept tolerably sound; but, on waking, found myself anything
but refreshed. The sun was not yet above the horizon when I crept forth
on to the deck: it was that hour of morning which, of all others, one
expects to be invigorating and cool, as indeed it usually is in all
climates; but here, enclosed within the banks of the canal, and
surrounded by swamp and forest, there was no morning air for us. My mind
was made up to leave the boat at the first place where a stage might be

All this day the air absolutely stood still. At our places of halt we
were joined by men who had left the stages in consequence of those
vehicles not being able to travel. Our pace was reduced considerably;
and the cattle, although in excellent condition, were terribly
distressed. At Lockport we found business nearly at a stand-still; the
thermometer was at 110 degrees of Fahrenheit. We passed several horses
dead upon the banks of the canal, and were compelled to leave one or two
of our own in a dying state. Here more persons joined than we could well
accommodate, and I found positively that all movement by the stage route
was at an end, forty horses having fallen on the line the day previous.
To attempt abiding in any of the places along the canal, I was assured
would be an exchange for the worse; so the only course was to endure the
"ills we had," and certainly these did not become the lighter through
practice. Towards the second night our progress became tediously slow,
for it appeared to grow hot in proportion as the evening advanced.

The south-western sky was again banked up by black clouds, from which
the sheet lightning never ceased to burst. Under other circumstances the
scene would have been viewed as one of infinite grandeur; but, at
present, every consideration became absorbed by our sufferings, for to
this the affair really amounted.

This night I found it impossible to look in upon the cabin; I therefore
made a request to the captain that I might be permitted to have a
mattress on deck: but this, he told me, could not be; there was an
existing regulation which positively forbade sleeping upon the deck of a
canal packet; indeed, he assured me that this could only be done at the
peril of life, with the certainty of catching fever and ague. I appeared
to submit to his well-meant arguments; but inwardly resolved, _coûte qui
coûte_, not to sleep within the den below, which exhibited a scene of
suffocation and its consequences that defies description.

I got my cloak up, filled my hat with cigars, and, planting myself about
the centre of the deck, here resolved, _malgré_ dews and musquitoes, to
weather it through the night.

"What is this name of the country we are now passing?" I inquired of one
of the boatmen who joined me about the first hour of morning.

"Why sir, this is called the Cedar Swamp," answered the man, to whom I
handed a cigar, in order to retain his society and create more smoke,
weak as was the defence against the hungry swarms surrounding us on all

"We have not much more of this Cedar Swamp to get through, I hope?"
inquired I, seeking for some consolatory information.

"About fifty miles more, I guess," was the reply of my companion,
accompanying each word with a sharp slap on the back of his hand, or on
his cheek or forehead.

"Thank Heaven!" I involuntarily exclaimed, drawing my cloak closer about
me, although the heat was killing; "we shall after that escape in some
sort, I hope, from these legions of musquitoes?"

"I guess not quite," replied the man; "they are as thick, if not
thicker, in the Long Swamp."

"The Long Swamp!" I repeated: "what a horrible name for a country! Does
the canal run far through it?"

"No, not so very far, only about eighty miles."

"We've then done with swamps, I hope, my friend?" I inquired, as he kept
puffing and slapping on with unwearied constancy.

"Why, yes, there's not a heap more swamp, that is to say, not close to
the line, till we come to within about forty miles of Utica."

"And is that one as much infested with these infernal insects as are
the Cedar and Long Swamps."

"I guess _that_ is _the_ place above all for musquitoes," replied the
man grinning. "Thim's the real gallinippers, emigrating north for the
summer all the way from the Balize and Red River. Let a man go to sleep
with his head in a cast-iron kettle among thim chaps, and if their bills
don't make a watering-pot of it before morning, I'm d----d. They're
strong enough to lift the boat out of the canal, if they could only get
underneath her."

I found these swamps endless as Banquo's line: would they had been
shadows only; but alas! they were yet to be encountered, horrible
realities not to be evaded. I closed my eyes in absolute fear, and
forbore further inquiry.

Here I remained throughout the whole night, dozing a little between
whiles, but never foregoing my cigar for a minute. Towards daylight the
dew descended like rain, but brought with it no coolness to earth or
man: it felt exactly as though it had been boiled the day before, and
had not been left long enough to get cool.

During this day many of our men frequently threw themselves overboard,
clothes and all on, that is, in shirt and trousers, these being all of
habiliment that could be worn; I really feared that some of them who had
been a little too free in their cold applications, that is, of iced
water and brandy, would have gone mad.

This blessing of ice we were seldom many hours without, the poorest
hovel on the canal being commonly provided with it in sufficient
abundance to give us a supply. The inhabitants, I found, were suffering
from the unusual continuance of heat as much as strangers: at night they
built huge fires of pine before their doors, so that the thick smoke
might penetrate the dwelling, and scour the infernal musquitoes out of
it. At these fires we would find the poor women sitting in the smoke at
the risk of suffocation; pale, haggard, with their hair neglected and
dishevelled, looking like worn-out ghosts rather than living beings. The
oldest inhabitants on the line of the canal assured us they never
remembered any heat of three days' continuance which could compare to
this; and I believe them, since no man could long endure such a

This evening our condition was in no way improved, except that we heard
the sound and felt the presence of a strong current of northerly wind;
but it blew as though issuing from a furnace, and afforded no present
relief. The sky continued to show "fiery off," and the musquitoes of
that ilk did credit to the genealogy my informant ascribed to them: but
there is a period beyond which even suffering ceases; this happy
insensibility I had attained; and when after midnight we were landed at
Utica, I felt as though I could have slept soundly and well even beneath
the heated deck of our canal packet.

I got an excellent bed at the hotel, however; and at daylight awoke to
feel once more the delightful sensation of coolness. In the night heavy
rain had fallen; a light but pleasant breeze was blowing; and the past
was already a subject for merriment, although it was such matter for
jest as I never willingly will undertake to collect again.



The early hour of six A.M. saw us once more in motion for Schnectady, by
way of Little Falls. We pursued what is termed the ridge road, running
along the valley of the Mohawk.

The day was bright, and not over-warm. The sun's rays being tempered by
a delicious north-east breeze, the condition of the atmosphere
completely re-invigorated the almost prostrate body, whilst the
loveliness of the prospect delighted and cheered the mind. No valley in
the world can present charms more varied or more beautiful; even making
every allowance for the happy change from musquitoes, swamps, close
confinement, and suffocation, to freedom, exercise, and healthful
breezes, with the satisfaction consequent upon the re-enjoyment of all

We frequently ran along the line of cuttings for the railroad now in
progress between Utica and Schnectady. The rocky nature of the ridge
whose line they pursue, offers formidable impediments; but the work was
proceeding with great rapidity notwithstanding. This railway, when
complete, together with the canal by whose side it runs, will afford a
facility of communication between New York and Utica, which, for speed
and convenience, can have no rival.

We breakfasted at Little Falls, a small town built on what was, at some
period or other, the very bed of a torrent, amidst the huge piles of
rock riven from the mountains in its course. Although overshadowed by
the steep heights that wall the ravine in which it lies, it is kept cool
and healthful by the constant current of air following the rapid fall of
the river, which is here precipitated over a series of rocky ledges in a
wild and hurried course, giving to the ravine and town the name of
Little Falls. A more picturesque, romantic site no painter could desire.
I felt vexed to be compelled to leave it after about an hour's halt; and
should yet more regret this, did I not hope to revisit it.

Arriving at Schnectady, we found the railroad train about to start for
Saratoga springs; and, taking our places, we arrived at this Malvern of
America about ten at night, after a delightful day's ride.

Next morning I got up early, and took a lounge about Saratoga. The
nominal attraction to this place is its water, which is much in vogue,
and may be procured all over the States, being bottled and sold under
the name of Congress water; as in all such places however, pleasure, not
health, is the end pursued by the majority of visitors.

The day was again close and hot: the street was a foot deep in light
dust, so that every carriage moved in a cloud, and not a breath of air
could rise without bearing this nuisance on its wing. I could not but
think, considering the abundance of water, that there was a lack of
charity in thus withholding a sprinkling from the road, especially as
the resident invalids would, I am sure, have as much benefited by this
mode of application as by any other; since to breathe for any length of
time an atmosphere constantly impregnated with impalpable powder, must
be anything but salutary.

The chief attraction presented to my eyes was the piazza of the hotel
where myself and friend had our quarters. This was of immense extent,
full twenty feet wide, boarded throughout, and covered by the roof of
the house, which was supported by lofty pillars of pine. About these
columns grew, in the greatest luxuriance, the wild vine of the country,
or some other Clematis, covering them from ground to roof, and forming a
continuous rich drapery throughout the whole extent of the long piazza.

This forms a promenade for the residents of the house and their
visitors; and, were it out of reach of the dust, it would be difficult
to create one more elegant and agreeable. There are several hotels here,
whose exteriors present all the attractions of cleanliness and great
size, both exceeding good points in so hot a climate as this now was. Of
their internal arrangements I know nothing; for after partaking of a
breakfast, in common with some hundred and fifty elaborately
well-dressed ladies and gentlemen, in a room every way proportioned to
the number of the _convives_, with the thermometer at about 88 degrees,
I declared off, and made up my mind to decamp by the next train to seek
quiet and coolness on the summit of the Catskill mountains.

On our way we halted for a few hours at Ballston, the quality of whose
water is, I believe, similar to that of the Saratoga springs: the place
itself I liked better, simply, I suppose, because it had less of bustle
and pretension. At the hotel, whose pillared piazza, was, like that I
had just quitted, clothed with the freshest and most luxuriant clematis,
I met a gay young belle of New York, who was resident here with her
family, recruiting a sufficient stock of health to carry her through the
fatigues of a winter campaign. By this lady I had my prepossessions in
favour of Ballston confirmed; she assured me that the society here,
though exceedingly small by comparison, was infinitely more pleasant;
that there was less of dress or ceremony, and consequently more real
comfort and sociability. I left this place with a strong inclination to
remain for a few days at least: but my time of _relâche_ was short; and
my misery was that I had much to see, and many points to visit lying far
asunder, therefore was bound to hasten on, leaving agreeable realities
as soon as found, to seek for something better, which too often proved a
shadow when overtaken.

Arrived at Albany, however, I found a right substantial welcome
awaiting me from "mine host o' th' Eagle," in the shape of a six o'clock
dinner of trout and woodcock, which would have recommended itself even
without the aid of a hot day's journey and a ten hours' fast.

Passed the evening with the K----s, one of those families of women
which, if I did not value their delicacy more than my own inclination, I
should like to describe, in contradiction to those who, viewing only the
surface of American society, have so flippantly passed judgment upon its

And how many of these little circles have I encountered, and been
admitted into, in various parts of these States, composed of women who
have seen little of what is called the world; but whose information,
intelligence, and spirit would have made them the ornaments of any
country; and whose manners, refined, feminine, and naturally graceful,
might with infinite advantage be studied by some of the ungentle censors
whose tone of criticism is so _prononcé_.

It has often, when visiting in the country, been a matter of surprise to
me to meet with so many women every way presentable, yet who have had
such slight opportunity, as it is called, of acquiring that perfect
ease and repose of manner by which truly well-bred women are readily

The fact is, in the cities, where numbers congregate, society is apt
rather to catch its tone from that which is most showy and prominent
than from what, though more refined, is less obvious. In cities, also,
strangers are often presented, and, from a deference to European
fashion, observed and imitated, whose manner might with more profit be
viewed as an example of what ought to be eschewed than held out as a
model for adoption.

But this is a digression I must close here, and which, indeed, the
recollection of my fair friends at Albany alone could have betrayed me
into. Acquainted with so much that is attractive and admirable in
private life in this country, I should be less than honest did I not
feel a desire to do it such poor justice as the expression of my feeling
may render: I have only to regret that a rigid sense of propriety
condemns me to deal in generalities only upon a point where I could
individualise with such absolute truth.

At seven o'clock A.M. went on board the Erie steamer, and a little after
ten my companion and myself were landed at Catskill.

A stage was in waiting at the landing-place, which quickly took us up
to the town; and here we hired a carriage to proceed directly to the
Mountain-house, which we had marked from the river as the morning sun
lighted it up, looking like a white dovecot raised against the dark

In consequence of some bridge having been recently washed away by a
flood, we were compelled to make a considerable circuit in order to ford
the river; this, however, we accomplished, and continued our ascent
under the happiest auspices.

I will say nothing of our winding rocky road, or of the glimpses we now
and then had of the nether world, which "momentarily grew less," as,
whilst, halting for breath, we curiously peeped through the leafy
skreen, flying from the faded leaf and drooping flower of scorching
summer, and finding ourselves once more surrounded by all the lovely
evidences of early spring.

We took nearly five hours to win the house aptly called of the Mountain.
I walked more than half way, and never felt less weary than when I
rested on the natural platform, which, thrust from the hill-side, forms
a stand whence may be worshipped one of the most glorious prospects
ever given by the Creator to man's admiration.

In the cool shade we stood here, and from this eyrie looked upon the
silver line drawn through the vast rich valley far below, doubtful of
its being the broad Hudson, upon whose bosom we had so lately floated in
a huge vessel crowded with passengers: for this vessel we searched in
vain; but, by the aid of a telescope, made out one of the same kind,
which appeared to flit along like some fairy skiff over a pantomimic
lake made all radiant with gold and pearl.

How delightful were the sensations attendant upon a first repose in this
changed climate, enhanced as these were by the remembrance of the
broiling we had so recently endured! I never remember to have risen with
feelings more elastic, or in higher spirits, than I did after my first
night's rest upon this mountain: the rooms were small but very clean,
and the house with but few inmates; a circumstance I rejoiced in
exceedingly, although it was perfectly incomprehensible to me,
considering the state of the atmosphere below.

I found next day that here even there was a lion, in the shape of a
waterfall, to be visited before one could be permitted to take absolute
rest; so away I went to visit it,--a sort of waggon-omnibus being in
preparation to take the inmates through the wood to the fall.

A ride of some three miles brought us as close as might be to the spot,
and a walk of as many hundred yards presented to view a scene as well
suited for a witches' festival as any spot in the old Hartz.

In the season of melting snow this must doubtless be a grand affair, for
the fall is full three hundred feet deep; at present a mere rill crept
over the centre of the rocky amphitheatre, and, long before it reached
the basin beneath, it was changed into a silvery shower of light spray.
We found a mill-dam had appropriated all the surplus of the weakened
torrent, close by the head of the fall: as here was a day and night to
recruit in, a trifling bribe induced the sawyers to raise their
floodgates for our especial benefit.

The bargain being completed, we descended into the bed of the river near
the basin, and, giving the appointed signal, were indulged with a
momentary glimpse of the scene under better form; but still, I am
certain, received no idea of the effect produced here when the machinery
is complete.

After wandering a little way down the rugged bed of this misused
river,--for surely Nature never designed that its waters should be
arrested in their course to turn a saw-mill,--the party collected to
return: with two others, I decided upon walking back, and pleasant it is
to walk through these quiet wild wood-paths, where the chirp of the
birds and the rustle of the leaves alone break in upon the repose.

These mountains are everywhere thickly clothed with wood, saving only
the platform whereon the house is built; deer abound on the lower
ridges, and the bear yet finds ample cover here. A number of these
animals are killed every season by an indefatigable old Nimrod who lives
in the valley beneath, and who breeds some very fine dogs to this sport.

I did promise unto myself that during the coming November I would return
up here, and sojourn with the stout bear-hunter for a few days, for the
purpose of seeing Bruin baited in his proper lair; but regret to say my
plan was frustrated. It must be an exciting chase to rouse the lord of
this wild mountain forest on a sunny morning, with the first hoar frost
yet crisping the feathery pines; and to hear the deep-mouthed hounds
giving tongue where a hundred echoes wait to bay the fierce challenge
back, and to hear the sharp crack of the rifle rattle through the thin

Or, whilst resting upon some crag under the blue sunny sky, to watch the
sea of cold clouds tumbling about far below, and think that they
o'er-canopy a region lower still, about which one's fellows are at the
moment creeping with red noses and watery eyes, or rubbing their frozen
fingers over anthracite stoves, utterly unconscious, poor devils! that

     "The sun, when obscured by the clouds, yet above
     "Shines not the less bright, though unseen."

On Tuesday at five A.M. was roused to breakfast, and descended into the
lower world to meet the Albany steamer.

I opened my casement and looked forth upon the ocean of mist, whose huge
waves rose and fell as they kept rolling by. It seemed as though river,
valley, and mountain had been overwhelmed by this restless deluge, whose
course was yet unstayed. The sun as yet wanted the power to shine
through the mist; all was dark, chilling, and almost fearful.

Before breakfast I had a last palaver with our guide; he said that the
extreme denseness of the fog gave assured token of "an awful hot day."

At six A.M. our muster was completed, and the party for the lower
regions duly told off. As the carriage slowly crept down some of the
steepest portions of the tortuous way, time and opportunities were
afforded to steal a look under the cloudy canopy which the sun was
quickly drawing upwards, and thus good assurance was afforded that the
guide had prognosticated rightly.

It did look "awful hot," to be sure; a golden-coloured haze seemed to
float over the whole land like the subdued reflection of a bright flame.
It made one feel uncomfortable to look upon the glowing landscape: the
long snaky river gave no idea of coolness; it had a dead shiny look,
only to be likened to a stream of molten lead.

Meantime we mournfully beheld the green moist leaves, the yet half-open
buds, together with all the other pleasant signs of spring, vanish with
our too hasty fall, and to these succeeded parched grass, dry yellow
leaves, and sickly flowers drooping and over-blown.

At half-past ten we quitted Catskill in the steamer, and by half-after
twelve were landed at Hyde Park. Mr. W----ks was awaiting our arrival,
and a pair of his trotters soon set us down at his very pretty
country-house, which is one of a cluster of charming residences
scattered along this portion of the north bank of the river.

A pleasant house and an agreeable party, with the sweetest possible
scenery to ride or walk through, with a river and boats, and every
accessory the frankest hospitality could furnish, might reasonably be
presumed attractive enough to arrest a wayfarer in search of comfort:
one drawback alone was to me insurmountable, mine ancient and implacable
foes the musquito tribe were in full possession. These verdant shades
form a portion of their hunting-ground on the Hudson; with them the
war-hatchet is never buried; I had no sooner taken up my position
therefore, than hostilities were re-commenced; my defence was creditable
enough as I flatter myself; but Hercules himself might have shunned such
fearful odds; I saw no reason therefore why I should abide to have every
vein in my carcase breathed by these Cossacks, in obedience to a mere
point of honour; so, shortly after dinner, I fairly cried peccavi, and
decided to decamp.

I was almost ashamed to declare my motives of flight to my hostess,
whose hospitality I had accepted for a few days; especially as I saw
others, and women too, heroically abiding the assault: but the truth
is, my residence on the mountain had made me effeminate; Catskill proved
my Cannæ. Freed from every accustomed annoyance in that "shady, blest
retreat," I had absolutely begun to doubt whether there could be any
longer found in the world below either heat or musquitoes; with the
confident presumption of restored vigour, I stooped from my security,
and reaped the harvest of my folly.

My first idea was to return to the hills, but I had made an appointment
to sail from Nahant down the east coast for a day or two with a friend,
who I knew would expect me; and thither I resolved to push, the more
especially as I was informed musquitoes were not strong enough on the
wing to abide the rough breezes blowing in the bay of Massachusetts.

It was nigh midnight when the night-boat touched, in its way down, at
the pier of Hyde Park: bidding adieu to my friends, I stepped on board,
and was again cutting through the dark river.

The boat was crowded; and what a scene did the cabins present! But to
describe it is impossible: indeed, the glance of curiosity I was tempted
to take was an exceedingly brief one. Let the reader only imagine some
two hundred men stowed away in double tiers of berths, or lying in rows
upon stretchers placed close together, between the decks of a steamer,
on one of the hottest, closest nights of a North American summer, and he
may imagine a picture it would be very difficult to describe correctly.

The night was very beautiful however, and almost reconciled me to
passing it sleepless. Many persons kept the decks, which were yet ample
enough to afford solitude to those who desired it. Myself and H----e
quietly lighted our cigars, and philosophically roughed it out till six
o'clock A.M., at which time we were landed in New York.

We knocked up the lazy varlets of the hot baths, and with this luxury
balanced the loss of sleep.

I found myself back in New York sooner than I had anticipated on
starting for the west; but, in the course of the day, discovered that
the good city was yet too hot to hold me. W----n, who by good fortune
was yet holding out here, invited me to dine with B----r and himself at
the club; and, could we only have contrived to ice the atmosphere,
nothing would have been wanting to our comfort. I found these last of
the Romans were off in a day or two for the Springs, after the rest of
the world; so, nothing being left to hold me, I took my passage next
evening for Boston.

Roomy as is the "Benjamin Franklin," I found on this occasion every
berth already taken: the captain, however, resigned his room to me with
much good-will; so my mischance proved fortunate, as I found myself
installed in a neat cabin having a window opening on the water, which
indeed the heat of the night made most necessary.

There were two or three southern families on board, bound for Rhode
Island: they appeared worn out by heat and long travel. The women
especially pay dearly, I fear, for their sunny possessions; and what
return can compensate for loss of health? Many of these are natives of
the north; but, marrying southern gentlemen, they follow the fortunes of
their husbands; the distances are great to which they are removed
perhaps; and the necessity for a continuous residence on the plantation
through two or three succeeding summers, saps, for ever, the
constitution of a delicate female.

The appearance of two or three of these young matrons now on board the
packet excited my more than commiseration; attenuated in form,
sallow-visaged, and fragile as the aspen, they appeared to shrink from
the very breeze, to seek whose freshness they had journeyed so far. Two
of them possessed the remains of positive beauty; their dark hair was of
gossamer fineness, and their handsome eyes sparkled with that unnatural
light which shines as it were from the tomb. No man could have looked
upon them without pity; so attractive, so young, yet so evidently past
all earthly cure.

Landing at Providence, five hours' ride over a most dusty road brought
us within sight of the State-house of Boston, when a thunder-storm,
which had been for some time threatening, fell upon us with merciless
fury. The overburdened cloud appeared as though it fairly rested upon
the house-tops, and out of it ran a torrent of rain such as I should
only have looked for under the line, or on some tropical island.

I was outside, and had I even desired to seek shelter, the assault was
of so sudden a nature, and so vigorous, that the worst one could expect
from a complete ducking was effected in a moment: I sat it out
therefore, and arrived at the Tremont uncommonly uncomfortable.

_July 22nd._--Still on the move, seeking some cool spot where I may
fold my tired wings and take "mine ease." One night's halt convinced me
Boston was no quarter such as I desired just now; the house was crowded,
the thermometer high, and my room as high as the glass, for it was one
hundred and something up four flights of stairs. My good friend, Mr.
T----r, took compassion on my condition, and volunteered to drive me
down to Nahant; so off I was again. We passed across the harbour by one
of the little steamers; and from hence to the pretty town of Lynn, there
is nothing in the landscape particularly attractive. Over the destinies
of this said town of Lynn St. Crispin holds absolute dominion; for the
entire population, man, woman, and child, father, son, and brother,
appear devoted to the calling in whose practice the princely saint was
brought up.

Vast quantities of shoes are here manufactured for the Indian markets;
the amount exported annually is something enormous. The place wears an
air of great prosperity; the dwellings being of remarkable neatness, and
the public edifices of a size and character highly creditable to the
ambition of these worthy citizens.

This caste-like monopoly of certain callings is a singular feature in
the economy of the New England republic, there being many of its towns
where trades are exclusively exercised, and the practice of them handed
down as an inheritance from one industrious generation to the next in
succession; and notwithstanding the many arguments lately raised at home
against hereditary honours, I do not find that in Massachusetts a souter
is considered likely to make a shoe, a cooper a cask, or a farmer grow
onions, with less ability, simply because their fathers did the same
before them.

The drive along the sandy beach from this place to Nahant was a most
agreeable change from the dusty road on a warm July morning, especially
with the prospect of a fresh breeze and a fish breakfast crowning the
rocky peninsula rising boldly in the distance.

The first happily encountered us before we reached the hotel, much to
our relief; and the second was very quickly provided on our arrival. The
precise day of the month when this place becomes fashionable had not yet
arrived; although the heat, which alone could render such a residence
desirable, had; consequently, there were few visitors, and my fears
about want of room proved groundless. A choice of chambers was
proffered me, and I selected one having an eastern aspect, with a
window that commanded the north-east coast of the vast bay of
Massachusetts; whilst just within reach lay the snugly-sheltered cove
and rocky islet about which, according to the most authentic reports,
the "great sea sarpint" delights to disport him when in a merry mood.
"Who knows," said I to myself, when all the advantages of my location
became known to me,--"who knows but that on some morning, bright and
early, I may behold the monster combing his venerable beard amongst the
rocks below, or see him lift his head to the level of my window--the
height not being over a hundred feet--in civil search of a bit of old
brown Windsor to shave withal?"

Here, then, will I fix my head-quarters until the prompter's whistle
shall once more summon me to commence a new campaign at New York;--six
weeks nearly, with nothing to do,--it will require some management to
complete this task without weariness!


Dorset Street, Fleet Street.

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