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´╗┐Title: Travels in the United States of America - Commencing in the Year 1793, and Ending in 1797. - With the Author's Journals of his Two Voyages - Across the Atlantic.
Author: Priest, William
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Travels in the United States of America - Commencing in the Year 1793, and Ending in 1797. - With the Author's Journals of his Two Voyages - Across the Atlantic." ***

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[Illustration: PETER BROWN'S ARMS.]


Commencing in the Year 1793, and Ending in 1797. With The Author's
Journals of his Two Voyages Across the Atlantic

       *       *       *       *       *

Late of the Theatres Philadelphia, Baltimore and Boston.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

Printed for J. Johnson, No. 72, St. Paul's Church-Yard

       *       *       *       *       *


Bryer, Printer, Bridewell Hospital, Bridge Street.


An elegant writer observes that a preface may be dispensed with in any
work, if the author (either from his humility of justice) think that his
style be calculated only to put his readers to sleep. Though I do not
think the publication of the following sheets will _materially_ affect the
price of opium, I cannot intrude this volume on the public without
informing them, what all my friends will vouch for the truth of, viz.--
that on my return from America, in 1797, I wrote the work in its present
form _for their_ perusal; and, that conscious of my want of talent as a
writer, I resisted all their entreaties for its publication, till within
these three months.

The public, I presume, will not be _wholly_ disappointed; the _extracts_ I
have made from _Jefferson_, _Belknap_, and other american writers, are
worthy their attention: _I_ have no other merit than having placed them in
a tolerable point of view.

"The God of Truth, and all who know
me, will bear testimony that, from my
whole soul, I despise deceit, as I do all
silly claims to superior wisdom, and
infallibility, which so many writers, by
a thousand artifices, endeavour to make
their readers imagine they possess."



JOURNAL--Gravesend--why so called--Deal--Falmouth--Pendennis castle--a
gale--a hymn--the gulph weed--sun set at sea--dolphins and flying fish--
first account of the yellow fever--arrival in the Delaware--on shore in
the Jerseys--Woodbury--melancholy visit to Philadelphia--arrival at

ANNAPOLIS--why so called--extract from the charter--situation--loss of the
trade--accounted for--Annapolitans partial to theatrical amusements--
produce of Maryland--tobacco--wheat--new species of manure

JOURNEY TO THE CAPITAL--filial affection of the negroes--fried squirrels
and coffee--Baltimore--the mighty Susquana--intrepidity of a slave--how
rewarded--Wilmington--Brandywine--grist mills--the battle--Chester--
arrival at Philadelphia

TWO ANECDOTES--a gentleman blacksmith not ashamed of his origin--a high
sheriff doing his duty

PHILADELPHIA--state of, in 1681--Penn's arrival in 1701--intended plan of
the city--not observed--situation--advantages of exports--entries in 1793--
buildings how constructed--houses removed intire--new theatre--pleasure
carriages--removal of the state government to Lancaster

MANNER OF LIVING OF THE PHILADELPHIANS--breakfast--dinner--supper--bad
effects of such diet--relishes in stile at an American tea-garden

BACK SETTLER--arrives at his purchase--builds his huts--manner of clearing
the land--Indian corn--advantages of--the black and grey squirrels--
attacked by the Indians--extract--he escapes the scalping knife--more
comfortably situated--an idle back settler--his manner of life--what he
calls liberty--joins the Indians at war with the states--the demisavage
copies only the black side of the Indian character

PENNSYLVANIA PLANTER--enjoys a happy state of mediocrity between riches
and poverty--the children how disposed of--the boys--effect of the
religious education given to the girls not intirely eradicated even by a
brothel--a country sleighing match--another in Philadelphia in stile--a
fiddler a necessary apendage

FROGS--two extracts--they sit croaking to the wonderment of strangers--
land of enchantment--frog concert--how supported--treble--counter tenor--
tenor--bass--fire-flies--night-hawks--probable effects on an enthusiastic

JOURNEY TO LANCASTER--the Pioli--Wayne's surprise--appointed to the
command of the western army--Indian war--shocking effects of--
misunderstanding between the Canadians and American citizens--accounted
for--French agents--the British government vindicated--Proceed on the
journey--charming prospects--beauties of the Susquana destroys the
navigation--arrival at Lancaster--rifle manufactory--uncommon shot of two
back woodsmen--Dutch schools--three concerts--two German sans culottes--
extracts from the regulations of the Hanover dancing assembly--German and
Irish emigrants

FEDERAL COINAGE not approved of by the people--the new scheme contrasted
with the old one--advantages of an even division by the decimal

DELAWARE SHAD FISHERY--stupidity of the Anglo-Americans in giving English
names to animals peculiar to the new continent--length of the siens--
greatest haul of shad on record--fanatical law of the Quakers injurious to
the fishery--sturgeon--extract from general Lincoln on the migration of

JOURNEY TO BALTIMORE--water-stage--Newcastle--Glasgow--the Elk--bay of
Chesapeake--arrival at Baltimore--yellow fever

BALTIMORE--situation--disadvantages of--the Dutch plan of canals not
adapted to a southern latitude--the former race-course in the centre of
the town--anecdote

MANUFACTORIES--not the interest of the Americans to engage in them--why--
American iron--its malleability--two patents granted by Congress--

SHOOTING AND FISHING--partridges--no game laws--woodcocks in August--the
American ortolan--back woodsmen--their game--wild turkey--squirrel
shooting--American fishing parties--how conducted

INDIANS--genius for oratory, painting, and sculpture--their continence--
extract--the Indian student--the splenetic Indian--his remedy--seen in
another point of view--the Indian orator--verses on an Indian burial-ground

SCHEME OF A RIFLE CORPS--of forming the corps--rifles--powder--
accoutrements and dress--exercise

SPECULATION--the United States--the land of--100 acres of land for a
dollar--flour--the mines--description of a coal-bank

CLIMATE--Cooper on this subject not to be depended upon--quotation
from Jefferson--the N.W. wind not accounted for--Volney--his intended

WHITE SLAVE TRADE--mortality on board a white Guineaman from Ireland--
Hibernian and German societies--the trade not allowed in New England--a
German flesh-butcher sells his countrymen at Philadelphia during the fatal
yellow fever of 1793

JOURNEY TO BOSTON--Pennsylvania the garden of the United States--
Bristol--Trentown--New Brunswick--New York--arrival in Yankee Land--land
speculators harangue--interrupted--arrival at Boston--P.S.--dramatic
mania--detestation of the primitive Bostonians to theatricals--are first
introduced as moral lectures--the theatrical opposition

BATTLE OF BUNKER'S HILL--inscription from a monument on the scene of
action--anecdotes of Cox, the celebrated bridge-architect--connects Boston
with the Continent--goes to Ireland, where he builds seven bridges

BOSTON--situation--West Boston--advantages of the harbour--the long
wharf--new theatre--university of Cambridge--new bridge a mile in length--
Irish market

BOSTONIAN FIRE ALARM--amateur firemen--negro incendiaries--good effects of
their villainy

FANATICISM--Brownists--intolerance proved from their own writers--
rebellion against parents made a capital crime--smoaking tobacco and
drinking healths forbidden--proclamation against wearing long hair--
persecution of the Quakers--Penn's retaliation--poetry

NEGRO SLAVERY--state of in the Southern, Middle, and New England Slates--
abolition society--extract from Jefferson's Virginia

YELLOW FEVER--a new disorder--first imported from the coast of Guinea to
the West Indies in 1792--extract from Dr. Rush--a disorder fatal only to
one race of men not new--plague among the red men--how accounted for by
the fanatics--not to the satisfaction of a philosopher--age of the world
proved to be 36,960 years from the falls of Niagara

dumb fish--how cured--merchantable--Jamaica fish--former and present state
of the fishery

accounted for--general knowledge of the inhabitants--free schools--how
supported--difference of climate

VOYAGE TO ENGLAND--journal--severe gale at N.E.--the vessel encrusted with
ice--stand to the southward--the gulph stream--another gale--misfortunes--
arrival at Dover--conclusion


P. 11, 1.8, for _plantation_, read _plantations_.

   32, 1.5 and 6, are a note having reference to p. 28, 1.11.

   71, 1.5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12, are a note having reference to
   p. 68, 1.4.

   131, 1.6, for _freeing_, read _treeing_.

   146, the asterisk placed at the word _vessel_ in the 13th line,
   should be placed at the word _Newcastle_ in the 15th line.


       *       *       *       *       *

_London, May 7th, 1797._


Since my return, my friends have made a thousand inquiries respecting the
state of America. I do not know how I can inform them of my sentiments on
that subject better, than by having the rough draught I preserved of the
letters I wrote to you from that country fairly copied for their use. If,
like you, they are _really_ my friends, they will take the will for the
deed. The _truth_ of my information, and my _wish_ to contribute to their
amusement, will be a sufficient apology for the many imperfections they
will meet with, in the desultory epistles of

Yours very sincerely.

_Annapolis, December 1st, 1793._


The enclosed extracts from my journal will I hope convince you, I have not
_entirely_ forgot my promise at parting. When at Philadelphia I delivered
your letters to----. Believe me

Yours very sincerely.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Gravesend, on board the George Barclay,_

_31st of July, 1793._

Arrived onboard at 2 this afternoon, with an intention of sailing to
Philadelphia: Gravesend is so called from it's being _the end of a
sailors grave_, as those who die on a voyage after passing the fort are
thrown over board.

_August 1st._

Got under weigh with a light breeze at S.W., which not being sufficient to
stem the returning tide, we dropped out anchor again off the Nore light.

_Aug. 2nd_.--Weighed anchor with the wind at S.E., and on the morning
of the 3rd; off Deal, sent a boat on shore, which soon returned with a
supply of meat, water, sheep, poultry gin, and gingerbread; dismissed our
pilot, and soon after doubted the South Foreland; the prospect of Dover
and the adjacent coast delightful.

_Aug 8th_.--Beating to windward with a fresh breeze off the Lizard;
finding it impossible to clear the land, put about, and by three in the
afternoon were safe moored in Falmouth harbour. Went on shore; the lower
order of the inhabitants chaunt, or rather speak in recitative, a strange
dialect, in which I could distinguish several English words.

Took a walk to Pendennis castle, which protects the West entrance of the
harbour; found it garrisoned by a party of invalides, who informed me they
had not two nights in bed to one up; hard duty after twenty years

_Aug. 9th_.--Dined on john dory, which I cannot think equal either to
turbot or sole. Falmouth has the best fish market in England: I am
informed, in the course of the year, they have upward of fifty different
species for sale, on very moderate terms.

_Aug. 15th._--Weighed anchor, and having a good breeze at N.E., we
were soon clear of the land. On the evening of the 16th came on a smart
breeze at S.W.; at 2 A.M. the wind changed to W.N.W. and _blew a hard
gale_, which split our jib, and at last obliged us to lie too, under
our courses: shipped some very heavy seas over our quarter, which drowned
three parts of our stock of geese and other poultry; the baggage of near
fifty passengers, for want of being properly lashed, was dashing about the
steerage; which, with the shrieks of the women, heaving of the vessel,
rattling of the wind, and all the _et cetera_ of a storm, was
dreadful indeed.

_Aug. 18th_.--Wind N.W. moderate; the morning delightful; appeared
doubly so, contrasted with the horrours of the night.

_Aug. 31st_.--Fresh breeze at S.W. increasing to a hard gale, reduced
us once more to our courses: at 8 P.M. calm, with a very heavy swell.

_Sunday 1st September._

Pleasant breeze at N.N.E. The following hymn was written by Mr. Harwood,
for this morning's service.



Father of Heav'n, to thee we raise
  (Mark'd by thy kind peculiar care,)
Our songs of thankfulness and praise,
  To thee ascends the grateful pray'r.


Thou didst direct the gentlest breath,
  That o'er the sleeping waters stole;
Thine is the dreadful voice of death,
  In which thy angry thunders roll.


Father of all, 'tis thine to give,
  Not what our erring pray'r demands;
With joy thy blessings we receive,
  And bow submissive 'neath thy hand.

_Sept. 7th_.--First appearance of the gulf-weed. The trade wind, between
the Equator and the extent of the northern Tropic, setting from the
eastward, forces the water against the islands, and at length into the
gulf of Mexico where it meets with an uniform opposition from the
main, causing a strong current to the N.E., or points somewhat in that
direction. This stream is so violent as to tear up the sea weeds in the
gulf, and bear them as far to the north as latitude 44: the stream is soon
after absorbed in the Western ocean; but causes certain counter currents,
which, for want of being properly allowed for by mariners, have been the
causes of many shipwrecks.

_Sept. 8th_.--Fine morning; wind at W.S.W. A beautiful dolphin struck at
an artificial flying fish, hanging at our bow-sprit; the hook breaking, he
escaped;--continued playing round our bows for some time, and struck at
several flying fish; but we could not again tempt him with the artificial

_Mem_. To read this lesson once a month.

_Sept. 9th_.--Calm and fog, several flocks of wild fowl. Suppose ourselves
near the banks of Newfoundland. Thermometer sunk 18 degrees since

_Sept. 10th_.--Pleasant morning, having run to the S.W. during the
night: no sign of the banks. A land bird, of the thrush kind, came and
settled on our main yard; seemed quite exhausted; fell upon the deck, and
was taken up by the cabin boy. The poor creature must have been driven off
the coast of America in a violent gale at N.W., the distance from any land
being upwards of a thousand miles; no other circumstance could account for
it's flying so far.

_Sept. 19th_.--Wind at N.N.W. very moderate;--the afternoon calm. The
sun set this evening with uncommon beauty, that glorious luminary was
surrounded with clouds of a vivid yellow, green, and red; strongly shaded
with black half the extent of the horizon. The moon at the same time
rising to the east-ward, with a cool and faint sky, formed a strong and
beautiful contrast.

_Sept. 21st_.--Wind S. with rain. Caught four dolphins, which afforded us
a most delicious repast: in the paunch of one was found a dodon, or
globe-fish; the sailors call it a parrot-fish, from its having a beak
exactly resembling that bird.--At 9 A.M. spoke with the Queen Charlotte of
London, bound to Bristol, out ten days from Baltimore; the captain's
account of the longitude 67. Our joy in being so near the land was of
short continuance; for, in one hour after, we spoke with the Union, eight
days from Philadelphia. The captain informed us, there was a sort of
plague in that city, which carries off great numbers, and that ten
thousand of the inhabitants had fled to the country, to avoid the

_Sept. 24th_.--Soundings at 60 fathom: lay to all night.

_Sept. 25th_.--Woke with the cry of "Land." At 10 A.M. we took a
pilot on board: he informed us the disorder at Philadelphia is the yellow
fever, imported in a french schooner from the West Indies; some of the
passengers of this vessel died of this fatal disorder, at a lodging-house
in Water-street, and communicated the infection to the family. It is now
spreading rapidly through the city, in all directions. The faculty, so far
from being able to cure this disorder, have, in several instances, fallen
victims to it's fury. Within this few days, a Dr. Rush has discovered this
disorder is _not_ the yellow fever of the West Indies and has applied
an opposite mode of cure by copious bleedings, mercurial medicines, &c.
with some success. What is truly extraordinary, the infection does not
affect _people of colour!_

_Sept. 28th._--Came to an anchor off Glocester Point, five miles
below Philadelphia: the vessel proceeds no further at present, as all
intercourse with the city is cut off, and business at a stand.

_October 1st_.

Brought my baggage on shore, and arrived, at four in the afternoon, at
Woodbury, the county town of Glocester, in the state of West Jersey. With
some difficulty I procured a lodging within half a mile of the town.
Woodbury consists of about fifty well built houses, chiefly inhabited by
quakers, and other dissenters of the most rigid kind; so very primitive
are they in their appearance, that a barber cannot make a living among

_Oct. 13th_.--Spent the last ten days in shooting, and rambling about
the woods. The face of the country is exactly that of an immense forest,
entirely covered with wood, except the plantation cleared by the settlers.
The land sandy, and by no means of a good quality; the chief produce
maize, or indian corn. I counted the increase of _one_ stalk with
three ears; the amount of the grains were upward of _one thousand two

_Oct. 16th_.--I believe the Americans conceive their woods to be
inexhaustible. My landlord this day cut down thirty-two young cedars to
make a hog-pen. A settler informs me, he raised a gum tree from the seed,
which, in sixteen years, measured twenty inches diameter, three feet from
it's base. He tells, me they have ten species of oak; viz, white, black,
red, spanish, turkey, chesnut, ground, water, barren, and live oak. The
white, turkey, and chesnut are used for ship-timber; the acorn of the
latter very superiour in size to any other. Red oak is chiefly used for
pipe-staves, and exported to most parts of Europe, and the West Indies.
Black oak is a dry wood, and easily splits; is chiefly used for the rails
and fences of their enclosures. Ground oak is bushy, and seldom exceeds
six feet in height; it bears a small acorn of a very superiour flavour,
which is the chief food of the deer, and sheep, who run wild in the woods.
Water and barren oak are small and bushy, and only used for firing. Live
oak is _said_ to be very superiour to all the rest, and the best
_ship-timber_ in the world. I am informed it is a sort of evergreen,
seldom met with north of the Carolinas.

_Oct. 26th_.--Went to Philadelphia.--After crossing the Delaware, I found
the land very different from the Jersey shore; a fine stiff black soil,
the clover growing spontaneously. The city exhibited a most melancholy
spectacle; most of the houses and stores shut up, and grass growing in
many of the streets; what few _white_ inhabitants I met with had a most
dejected appearance. The disorder has been most favourable to the softer
sex; women with child, and those above and under a certain age, were in
general free from the infection: but so fatal has it proved to the other
sex, that, in Apple-tree-alley, which does not exceed fifty yards in
length, there are upwards of sixty widows within these two months. The
total loss on this melancholy occasion already exceeds four thousand,
nearly one tenth of the inhabitants! Returning to Woodbury, I met with a
quaker, who informed me of the _cause_ of the infectious disorder in the
Great City: "_It is_ a judgment on the inhabitants for their sins,
insomuch that they sent to England for a number of play-actors, singers,
and _musicians_, who were _actually arrived_; and as a just judgment on
the Philadelphians for encouraging these _children of iniquity_, they were
now afflicted with the yellow fever." I told him, that more likely the
sins of the _quakers_ had drawn down this judgment on the city _of
brotherly love_, and that it was now scourged for _their_ hypocrisy,
lying, canting, and other _manifold iniquities_.

_Oct. 27th_.--Very cold wind at N.W. In the evening snow.

_Oct. 29th_.--Favourable accounts from Philadelphia: the late cold
weather has entirely stopped the progress of the disorder.

_November 26th_.

Set out for Annapolis, and arrived there in health, the 29th, at five in
the afternoon.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Annapolis, 17th December, 1793._


The bay of Chesapeak is one of the largest in the world. From it's
entrance, between capes Henry and Charles, to the mouth of the Susquana,
which forms the head of the bay, the distance is two hundred and eighty
miles, through which great extent of water the tide ebbs and flows. This
bay receives into it's bosom the following rivers; viz. the Patomac, the
Rappahanock, the Patapsico, the York, the James, the Severn, and the Elk,
beside innumerable creeks, and small streams. On an inlet from this bay,
about two hundred miles from it's entrance from the Atlantic, stands
Annapolis, the capital of the state of Maryland, so called in honour of
queen Anne, as appears from the following extract from their charter:--

"Anne, by the grace of God, queen of Great Britain, &c....

"To all, and singular, our faithful subjects within our province of
Maryland, greeting.... Whereas there is a pleasant and commodious place
for trade ... laid out for a town, and port, and called Annapolis, in
honour of us."

This city was intended for the emporium of the province; and surely no
spot ever _seemed_ better calculated for a town of trade and commerce. Far
to the south, and in one of the most pleasant and healthy situations in
America; as the seat of government, being the greatest, and indeed then
_only_ mercantile town in the province; the bay of Chesapeak, and adjacent
rivers, wafting the tobacco and other produce of the country to this mart
at a trifling expense; a harbour where ships might ride at anchor in
perfect security, and where wharfs, with sufficient depth of water for a
vessel of eight hundred tons, might be formed with very little trouble:
but unfortunately these advantages were rendered abortive by the bite of a
small insect; the worms are so troublesome in these waters, that a vessel
lying in this harbour during the summer months will be as full of holes as
a honey-comb. Baltimore, a town on a similar inlet from the bay, about
thirty miles hence, being free from this plague, (by having a great
proportion of fresh water from the Patapsico in it's harbour) has drawn
all the trade from the _capital_: the Annapolians have now but _one_
square-rigged vessel belonging to their port, while their rivals have many
hundreds, and drive a brisk trade to the four quarters of the globe.

Annapolis is whimsically laid out, the streets verging from each other,
like rays from a centre. It is still the seat of government; and it's
state-house is by much the best building I have seen in America. This
little city is now the retreat of some of the best families in the
state. The inhabitants in general are passionately fond of theatrical
entertainments, and received us with a degree of kindness and hospitality
which claims our warmest acknowledgments. I spend my time here very
agreeably. The politeness, ease, and conviviality of the Annapolians form
a strong and pleasing contrast to the behaviour of the stiff, gloomy and
unsocial bigots I was lately surrounded with in the Jerseys. Next to
Virginia, this state was the most famous for tobacco-plantations; but the
people now find the culture of wheat more profitable, as well as less
injurious to the soil. No plant impoverishes the earth so much by it's
growth as tobacco; many plantations, owing to successive crops of this
_weed_, are what is here called _worn out_; formerly, when their land was
in this state, instead of endeavouring to bring it round by a few fallow
years and manure, as in England, they immediately cleared a fresh tract.
They now begin to use manure, and have discovered a very extraordinary
kind; viz. antediluvian oyster-shells, large beds of which are found
a few feet beneath the surface of the earth in several parts of the
state[Footnote: See Bartram's Account of a similar Bed in Georgia,
page 213.]: these being laid on the land, are, by the effect of the
air, crumbled into dust in a few days, and fertilize the earth in an
astonishing degree.--Farewell.--Conclude me

Yours very sincerely, &c.

_Philadelphia, 27th February, 1794._


On the fourth instant I left Annapolis on my way to this city. After
travelling eight miles, we passed through a long and dreary wood; here we
met two negroes conveying a coffin on a sort of sledge. On inquiry, one of
them informed us, the coffin contained the corpse of his mother; that on
the death of his old master, his parents were sold to different planters,
which his father took so much to heart, that he died soon after; his
mother only survived him about five months; and they were now complying
with her last request, which was, to be carried to a plantation about
eight miles thence, and there buried with her husband. There seemed a
great degree of dejection in the poor fellow's countenance; and I could
not help telling him, by way of consolation, that his father and mother
were gone to a better place, where there was no distinction of colour, and
where no white man would dare again to part them; but as _words_ are
_wind_, we agreed to administer some more _solid_ consolation, which the
black man received with a look of gratitude, then cast his eye towards his
mother's corpse, and shed a silent tear. Why was not _Sterne_ present at
this scene?

I slept at an inn, about twenty miles from Annapolis, where we supped in
the American fashion on fried squirrels and coffee, the former excellent.

_Feb. 5th_.--Arrived at Baltimore, and hired a caravan with four
horses, which is here called a stage: the same afternoon we arrived at the
Susquana. This noble river, which is here about a mile and a quarter wide,
was frozen hard. Our _advanced guard_ crossed the day before, in a
ferry boat: this circumstance will give you some idea of the severity of
the cold in this climate. A negro slave, belonging to the ferry, undertook
to drive our stage over the river for two dollars, which his _master put
into his pocket_, and ordered _Sambo_ to proceed; the fellow drove
boldly, and was across in a few minutes, the ice cracking most horribly
all the way. I suppose I need not inform you, we were _not_ in the

On the evening of the 7th we slept at Wilmington, a pleasantly situate
town on the banks of a creek, which joins the Delaware, about thirty miles
below Philadelphia. There are about thirty square-rigged vessels, beside
sloops, and schooners, belonging to this port, which was originally a
danish settlement.

The next morning I walked to Brandywine, to see the grist mills, which are
said to be the best in the United States. About five miles from this
village was fought the battle of Brandywine. This was Washington's last
effort to stop general Howe's progress, and save Philadelphia. The
royal army being victorious, they got possession of that city without
opposition. General Washington, after rallying his troops, took a very
advantageous situation on a chain of hills, a few miles west of the
British army.

We dined at Chester. This little town is situated on the Delaware, and is
the same to Philadelphia that Gravesend is to London. Ships outward bound
here receive their passengers, &c. &c.

At four the same day, arrived in this city, distant from Annapolis one
hundred and forty one miles, and from Baltimore one hundred and eleven.

Yours, &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Philadelphia, March 1st, 1794._


I perfectly agree with you, that the form of government in a great measure
_affects_, or rather _forms_ the manners, and way of thinking of
the people; but must decline answering the queries in your last, at least
for the present. I have not been long enough in these states to draw any
fair conclusions on these subjects; but that you may not be wholly
disappointed, I send you two anecdotes, on which you may depend.

Peter Brown, a blacksmith of this city, having made his fortune, set up
his coach; but so far from being ashamed of the means by which he acquired
his riches, he caused a large _anvil_ to be painted on each pannel of
his carriage, with two naked arms in the act of striking. The motto,
"_By this I got ye_."

Benjamin Whitall, high sheriff for the county of Gloster, West Jersey,
being obliged soon after his appointment to attend an execution, not
approving of Jack Ketch's clumsy method of _finishing the law_,
fairly tucked up the next criminal _himself_. Such behaviour in
Germany would have branded him with eternal infamy, but is in this country
(I think justly) thought a spirited action of a man, who was above
receiving the emoluments of an office, without performing the most
essential duty annexed to it himself.

I have often heard it asserted, that a servant should be born under an
absolute monarchy: whether this observation is just or not, I cannot tell,
but I know, that a republic is _not_ the place to find good servants.
If you want to hire a maid servant in this city, she will not allow you
the title of _master_, or herself to be called a _servant_; and
you may think yourself favoured if she condescends to inform you when she
means to spend an evening abroad; if you grumble at all this, she will
leave you at a moment's warning; after which you will find it very
difficult to procure another on any terms. This is one of the natural
consequences of liberty and equality.

Farewell, &c.

_March 3d, 1794._

Dear friend,

Philadelphia, the present seat of government, both of the state of
Pensylvania, and of the whole federal union, consisted, in the year 1681,
of half a dozen miserable huts, inhabited by a few emigrants from Sweden;
when the celebrated William Penn obtained a charter from king Charles the
Second, for a certain tract of unsettled country in North America,
extending from twelve miles north of Newcastle, along the courses of the
Delaware, and a meridian line from its head, to the 43d degree of north
latitude, and westward, 5 degrees of longitude from its eastern bounds.

In the year following, he arrived, and in 1701 the city was finally laid
out from Cedar-street to Vine-street, forming an oblong square of two
miles in length, from the river Delaware to the Scuylkill; and about a
mile in width. It was the wish of the founder, that the fronts facing the
_two_ rivers should be _equally_ built upon; by which means the city would
naturally meet in the centre; but they have not only deviated from the
original plan, by running the city along the banks of the Delaware,
_beyond_ the aforesaid streets, which formed the bounds in that direction,
but have left the _Scuylkill_ front without a single street.

Philadelphia is situate in latitude 39 deg. 56 min. north, and long. 75
deg. 8 min. west from Greenwich, on a narrow neck of land, between the
rivers Delaware and Scuylkill, on the Pensylvania banks of the latter,
where this river is about one mile wide, and one hundred and twenty
(following it's course) from the Atlantic Ocean. This noble river affords
a safe navigation for vessels of a thousand tuns burden up to the wharfs
of the city. The Scuylkill (though by no means so wide) has nearly the
same depth of water.

Philadelphia is the first port in the Union. The total value of it's
exports in the year 1793, was 695736 dollars; the total of flower shipped
in the year 1792 was 420000 barrels, and in the spring only of 1793 it
exceeded 200000 barrels.

The total of inward entries at Philadelphia, in 1793, was 1414 vessels of
different sizes, of which 477 were ships or brigs.

It is foreign from the subject of this city, but I cannot help informing
you, that the imports of the _United States_ from _Great Britain_
alone, in the year 1791, were stated at 19502070 dollars, (chiefly of
_manufactured articles_) and have been considerably increasing every
year since.

By a slight inspection of the plan, you will perceive the great regularity
observed in laying out this city; the streets intersect each other at
right angles, the centre street, north and south, is 113 feet wide; that
east and west 100 feet; and the other principal streets 50 feet wide. Had
equal care been taken to build the houses uniformly, and their height in
proportion to the width of the streets, this city would have been
uncommonly beautiful; but except that the fronts of the buildings were not
permitted to extend beyond the line laid down in the plan, every man built
his house (to use the language of the first settlers,) "as it seemed good
in his own eyes."

The first object of an industrious emigrant, who means to settle in
Philadelphia, is to purchase a lot of ground in one of the vacant streets.
He erects a small building forty or fifty feet from the line laid out for
him by the city surveyor, and lives there till he can afford to build a
house; when his former habitation serves him for a kitchen and wash-house.
I have observed buildings in this state in the heart of the city; but they
are more common in the outskirts. Our friend Wright is exactly in this
situation; but I am afraid it will be many years before he will be able to
build in _front_.

The buildings in this city are about two thirds of brick, and the rest of
wood. The foundations of the former are in general of a species of marble;
the bricks are uncommonly well manufactured; and these buildings are more
firmly constructed than in Europe. Those of wood are the reverse, which
you will easily credit, when I inform you, that when a house of this
description is offered for sale, it is by no means understood, as in
England, that the _land_ on which it stands is included in the purchase.
They have a method of removing these buildings _entire_. A house
_travelling_ in this manner through the streets of the city is to a
European a truly grotesque and extraordinary sight.

During the time the British troops had possession of this city in the last
war, they were much distressed for fuel, and obliged to cut down all the
wood they could meet with; upwards of a thousand acres of peach and apple
orchard were destroyed, belonging to one family. This destruction of the
trees has materially hurt the prospects for three or four miles on the
Pensylvania side; the opposite Jersey shore (except the plantations) is
one entire forest.

Philadelphia is at present supplied with water from pumps, placed in
different parts of the city; but a company of adventurers are bringing
water from above the falls of Scuylkill, in the manner of the New River in
London: but mean to improve on sir Hugh Middleton's plan, by making their
aqueduct also serve the purposes of inland navigation.

The inhabitants are in general very fond of theatrical representations;
their new theatre is an elegant building, from a design the subscribers
obtained from London, where the principal scenes were painted by
Richardson and Rooker. The receipts of the house have exceeded one
thousand six hundred dollars.

The fair Philadelphians are by no means so fond of walking, as the English
ladies; not that they have any _great dislike_ to a _trip_ into the
_country_, but it is not fashionable even for a maid servant to make use
of her _legs_ on these occasions; the consequence is, that there are 806
two and four wheeled machines entered at the office, and pay duty, as
_pleasure carriages_, most of which are for hire; and yet the inhabitants
do not exceed 50000, of whom there are not three individuals but follow
some profession, trade, or employment. In a few days I shall have an
opportunity of sending you a publication, which will give you a more ample
account of this city than you now receive from

Yours, &c.

Since writing this letter, the seat of government of the state has been
removed to Lancaster, as being nearer the centre; for the same reason,
that of the general government of the United States, will, in the year
1800, be removed to the federal city, now building in the district of

Several _uniform_ and elegant rows of houses have _lately_ been built.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Philadelphia, March 7th, 1794._


It is a general observation with respect to the English, that they eat
more animal food than the people of any other nation. The following
statement of the manner of living of the Americans[Footnote: By the term
_American_ you must understand a white man descended from a native of
the Old Continent; and by the term _Indian_, or _Savage_, one of
the aborigines of the New World.] will convince you of the falsity of this

About eight or nine in the morning they breakfast on tea and coffee,
attended always with what they call _relishes_, such as salt fish,
beef-steaks, sausages, broiled-fowls, ham, bacon, &c. At two they dine on
what is usual in England, with a variety of american dishes, such as bear,
opossum, racoon, &c. At six or seven in the evening they have their
supper, which is exactly the same as their breakfast, with the addition of
what cold meat is left at dinner. I have often wondered how they acquired
this method of living, which is by no means calculated for the climate;
such stimulating food at breakfast and supper naturally causes thirst, and
there being no other beverage at these meals than tea, or coffee, they are
apt to drink too freely of them, particularly the female part of the
family; which, during the excessive heats in summer, is relaxing and
debilitating; and in winter, by opening the pores, exposes them to colds
of the most dangerous kind.

The manner of living I have been describing is that of people in moderate
circumstances; but this taste for _relishes_ with coffee and tea extends
to all ranks of people in these states. Soon after my arrival at
this city, I went on a party of pleasure to a sort of tea-garden and
_tavern_[Footnote: By the word _tavern,_ in America, is meant an inn or
public house of any description.], romantically situate on the bank of the
Scuylkill. At six in the evening we ordered coffee, which I was informed
they were here famous for serving _in style_. I took a memorandum of what
was on the table; viz. _coffee, cheese, sweet cakes, hung beef, sugar,
pickled salmon, butter, crackers, ham, cream_, and _bread_. The ladies all
declared, it was a most _charming relish_!

Yours sincerely, &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Philadelphia, March 12th, 1794._

Dear Friend,

The price of labour in this country is very great, owing to the prospect
an industrious man has of procuring an independance by cultivating a tract
of the waste lands; many millions of acres of which are how on sale by
government; to say nothing of those held by individuals. The money arising
from the sale of the former is appropriated to the discharge of the
national debt.

During my residence in Jersey, I was at no little pains to inform myself
of the difficulties attending a back settler. We will suppose a person
making such an attempt to possess one hundred pounds, though many have
been successful with a much less sum: his first care is to purchase about
three hundred acres of land, which, if it is in a remote western
settlement, he will procure for about nineteen pounds sterling: he may
know the quality of the land by the trees, with which it is entirely
covered. The hickory and the walnut are an infallible sign of a rich, and
every species of fir, of a barren, sandy, and unprofitable soil. When his
land is properly registered, his next care is to provide himself with a
horse, a plough, and other implements of agriculture; a rifle, a fowling
piece, some ammunition, and a large dog of the blood-hound breed, to hunt
deer. We will suppose him arrived at the place of his destination in
spring, as soon as the ground is clear of frost. No sooner is the arrival
of a new settler circulated, than, for many miles round, his neighbours
flock to him: they all assist in erecting his hut; this is done with logs;
a bricklayer is only wanting to make his chimney and oven. He then clears
a few acres by cutting down the large trees about four feet from the
_ground_[Footnote: These stumps are many years rotting, and, when
completely rotted, afford an excellent manure.], grubs up the underwood,
splits some of the large timber for railing fences, and sets fire to the
rest upon the spot; ploughs round the stumps of the large timber, and in
May plants maize, or indian corn. In October he has a harvest of eight
hundred or a thousand fold. This is every thing to him and his family.
Indian corn, ground and made into cakes, answers the end of bread, and
when boiled with meat, and a small proportion of a sort of kidney-bean
(which it is usual to sow with this grain), it makes an excellent dish,
which they call _hominy_. They also coarsely pound the indian corn,
and boil it for five hours; this is by the Indians called _mush_;
and, when a proportion of milk is added, forms their breakfast. Indian
corn is also the best food for horses employed in agriculture in this
climate: black cattle, deer, and hogs are very fond of it, and fatten
better than on any other grain. It is also excellent food for turkies, and
other poultry.

When this harvest is in, he provides himself with a cow, and a few sheep
and hogs; the latter run wild in the woods. But for a few years he depends
chiefly on his _rifle_, and _faithful dog_; with these he provides his
family with deer, bear, racoon, &c.; but what he values most are the
black, and gray squirrels; these animals are large and numerous, are
excellent roasted, and make a soup exceedingly rich and nourishing.

He gradually clears his land, a few acres every year, and begins to plant
wheat, tobacco, &c. These, together with what hogs, and other increase of
his stock he can spare, as also the skins of deer, bear, and other animals
he shoots in the woods, he exchanges with the nearest storekeeper, for
clothing, sugar, coffee, &c.

In this state he suffers much for want of the comforts and even
_necessaries_ of life. Suppose him afflicted with a flux or fever,
attacked by a panther, bitten by a rattle-snake, or any other of the
dreadful circumstances peculiar to his situation: but, above all, suppose
a war to break out between the Indians, and him, and his whole family
scalped, and their plantations burnt!

The following extract from an American work very feelingly describes him
under these cruel apprehensions:--


"You know the position of our settlement; therefore I need not describe
it. To the west it is enclosed by a chain of mountains, reaching to----.
To the east, the country is yet but very thinly inhabited. We are almost
insulated, and the houses are at a considerable distance from each other.
From the mountains we have but too much reason to expect our dreadful
enemy, the Indians; and the wilderness is a harbour, where it is
impossible to find them. It is a door through which they can enter our
country at any time; and as they seem determined to destroy the whole
frontier, our fate cannot be far distant. From lake Champlain almost all
has been conflagrated, one after another. What renders these incursions
still more dreadful is, that they most commonly take place in the dead
of the night. We never go to our fields, but we are seized with an
involuntary fear, which lessens our strength, and weakens our labour. No
other subject of discourse intervenes between the different accounts,
which spread through the country, of successive acts of devastation; and
these, told in chimney corners, swell themselves in our affrighted
imaginations into the most terrific ideas. We never sit down, either to
dinner, or supper, but the least noise spreads a general alarm, and
prevents us from enjoying the comforts of our meals. The very appetite
proceeding from labour and peace of mind is gone! Our sleep is disturbed
by the most frightful dreams! Sometimes I start awake, as if the great
hour of danger was come; at other times the howling of our dogs seems to
announce the arrival of the enemy: we leap out of bed, and run to arms; my
poor wife, with panting bosom, and silent tears, takes leave of me, as if
we were to see each other no more. She snatches the youngest children from
their beds, who, suddenly awakened, increase by their innocent questions
the horrour of the dreadful moment! She tries to hide them in the cellar,
as if our cellar was inaccessible to the fire! I place all my servants at
the window, and myself at the door, where I am determined to perish. Fear
industriously increases every sound; we all listen; each communicates to
each other his fears and conjectures. We remain thus, sometimes for whole
hours, our hearts and our minds racked by the most anxious suspense! What
a dreadful situation! A thousand times worse than that of a soldier
engaged in the midst of a most severe conflict! Sometimes feeling the
spontaneous courage of a man, I seem to wish for the decisive minute; the
next instant a message from my wife, sent by one of the children, quite
unmans me. Away goes my courage, and I descend again into the deepest
despondency: at last, finding it was a false alarm, we return once more to
our beds; but what good can the sleep of nature do us, when interrupted
with _such_ scenes?"

       *       *       *       *       *

But we will suppose our planter to have escaped the scalping knife and
tomahawk; and in the course of years situate in a thick, settled
neighbourhood of planters like himself, who have struggled through all the
foregoing difficulties: he is now a man of some consequence, builds a
house by the side of his former hut, which now serves him for a kitchen;
and as he is comfortably situate, we will leave him to the enjoyment of
the fruits of his industry.

Such a being has often ideas of liberty, and a contempt of vassalage and
slavery, which do honour to human nature.

The planter I have endeavoured to describe, I have supposed to be sober
and industrious: but when a man of an opposite description makes such an
attempt, he often degenerates into a demisavage; he cultivates no more
land than will barely supply the family with bread, or rather makes his
wife, and children perform that office. His whole employment is to procure
skins, and furs, to exchange for rum, brandy, and ammunition; for this
purpose he is often for several days together in the woods, without seeing
a human being. He is by no means at a loss; his rifle supplies him with
food, and at night he cuts down some boughs with his tomahawk, and
constructs a _wigwam_[Footnote: The Indian name for their huts so
constructed.], in which he spends the night, stretched on the skins of
those animals he has killed in the course of his excursion. This manner of
living he learned from his savage neighbours, the Indians, and like them
calls every other state of life _slavery_. It sometimes happens, that
an unsuccessful back settler joins the Indians at war with the states.
When this is the case, it is observed he is, if possible, more cruel than
his new allies; he eagerly imbibes all the vices of the savages, without a
single spark of their virtues. Farewell,

Yours &c.

_Philadelphia, March 18th, 1794_.

Dear Friend,

My present intention is to give you some conception of the family of a
planter, whose ancestors had in some degree gone through all the
difficulties I described in my last.

We will suppose them descended from the original english emigrants, who
came over with Penn; like them, to possess a high sense of religion; and
that this family are now in the quiet possession of about three hundred
acres of land, their own _property_[Footnote: There are very few _farms_
properly so called in the United States.], situate in Pennsylvania, about
seventy or eighty miles from Philadelphia. Whatever difficulties they, or
their ancestors, struggled formerly with, are now over; their lands are
cleared, and in the bosom of a fine country, with a sure market for every
article of produce they can possibly raise, and entirely out of the reach
of the most desperate predatory excursions of the savages.

They enjoy a happy state of mediocrity[Footnote: The quakers in
particular. I have seen at a meeting in West Jersey, in a very small town,
upwards of two hundred carriages, one horse chairs, and light waggons,
which are machines peculiar to this country, and well adapted to the sandy
soil of the state of New Jersey; they are covered like a caravan, and will
hold eight persons; the benches are removable at pleasure, and they are
also used to convey the produce of the country to market.], between riches
and poverty, perhaps the most enviable of all situations. When the boys of
this family are numerous, those the father cannot provide for at home, and
who prefer a planter's life to a trade, or profession, are, when married,
presented with two or three hundred acres of uncultivated land, which
their parents purchase for them as near home as possible. The young couple
are supplied with stock, and supported till they have a sufficient
quantity of land cleared to provide for themselves.

If unsuccessful through want of industry, &c., they often sell off, and
emigrate to Kentucky, or some other new country seven or eight hundred
miles to the S.W., and begin the world again as back settlers.

The daughters are brought up in habits of virtue and industry; the strict
notions of female delicacy, instilled into their minds from their earliest
infancy, never entirely forsake them. Even when one of these girls is
decoyed from the peaceful dwelling of her parents, and left by her
infamous seducer a prey to poverty and prostitution in a _brothel_ at
Philadelphia, her whole appearance is neat, and breathes an air of
modesty: you see nothing in her dress, language, or behaviour, that could
give you any reason to guess at her unfortunate situation; (how unlike her
unhappy sisters so circumstanced in England!) she by no means gives over
the idea of a husband, she is seldom disappointed: and, I am informed,
often makes an excellent wife.

The chief amusement of the country girls in winter is sleighing, of which
they are passionately fond, as indeed are the whole sex in this country. I
never heard a woman speak of this diversion but with rapture. You have
doubtless read a description of a _sleigh_, or sledge, as it is
common in all northern countries, and can only be used on the snow. In
British America this amusement may be followed nearly all the winter; but
so far to the south as Pennsylvania, the snow seldom lies on the ground
more than seven or eight days together. The consequence is, that every
moment that will admit of sleighing is seized on with avidity. The tavern
and inn-keepers are up all night; and the whole country is in motion. When
the snow begins to fall, our planter's daughters provide hot sand, which
at night they place in bags at the bottom of the sleigh. Their sweethearts
attend with a couple of horses, and away they glide with astonishing
velocity; visiting their friends for many miles round the country. But in
large towns, in order to have a sleighing frolic in _style_, it is
necessary to provide a _fiddler_ who is placed at the head of the
sleigh, and plays all the way. At every inn they meet with on the road,
the company alight and have a dance. But I perceive I am _dancing_
from my subject, which I suppose you are by this time heartily tired of; I
shall therefore conclude, by assuring you,

I am

Yours sincerely, &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

"There be also store of frogs, which in the spring time will chirp, and
whistle like birds: there be also toads, that will creep to the top of
trees, and sit there croaking, to the wonderment of strangers!"

"To a stranger walking for the first time in these woods during the
summer, this appears the land of enchantment: he hears a thousand noises,
without being able to discern from whence or from what animal they
proceed, but which are, in fact, the discordant notes of five different
species of frogs!"

_Philadelphia, April 27th, 1794._


Previous to my coming to this country, I recollect reading the foregoing
passages, the first in a history of New England, published in London, in
the year 1671; and the other in a similar production of a later date.

Prepared as I was to hear something extraordinary from these animals, I
confess the first frog _concert_ I heard in America was so much beyond any
thing I could conceive of the _powers_ of these _musicians_, that I was
truly astonished. This _performance_ was _al fresco_, and took place on
the night of the 18th instant, in a large _swamp_, where there were at
least ten thousand _performers_; and I really believe not two _exactly_ in
the same pitch, if the octave can possibly admit of so many divisions or
shades of semitones. An hibernian musician, who, like myself, was present
for the first time at this _concert_ of _antimusic_, exclaimed, "By Jasus
but they stop out of tune to a _nicety!"_

I have been since informed by an _amateur_, who resided many years in this
country, and made this species of _music_ his peculiar study, that on
these occasions the _treble_ is performed by the tree-frogs, the smallest
and most _beautiful_ species; they are always of the same colour as the
bark of the tree they inhabit, and their note is not unlike the chirp of a
cricket: the next in size are our _counter tenors_; they have a note
resembling the _setting_ of a _saw_. A still larger species sing _tenor_;
and the _under part_ is supported by the bull-frogs; which are as large as
a man's foot, and _bellow_ out the _bass_ in a tone as loud and sonorous
as that of the animal from which they take their name.

To an Englishman lately arrived in this country there are other phenomena,
equally curious; as _fire-flies, night-hawks &c.;_  but, above all,
such tremendous peals of thunder and flashes of lightning, as can be
conceived only by those who have been in southern latitudes.

I have often thought, if an enthusiastic _cockney_, of weak nerves,
who had never been out of the sound of Bow bell, could suddenly be
conveyed from his bed, in the middle of the night, and laid, fast asleep,
in an american swamp, he would, on waking, fancy himself in the infernal
regions: his first sensation would be from the stings of a myriad of
mosquitoes; waking with the smart, his ears would be assailed with the
horrid noises of the frogs; on lifting up his eyes he would have a faint
view of the night-hawks, flapping their ominous wings over his devoted
head, visible only from the glimmering light of the fire-flies, which he
would naturally conclude were sparks from the bottomless pit. Nothing
would be wanting at this moment to complete the illusion, but one of those
dreadful explosions of thunder and lightning, so _extravagantly_
described by Lee, in Oedipus:--

"Call you these peals of thunder, but the yawn or bellowing clouds? by
Jove, they seem to me the world's last groans, and those large sheets of
flame it's last blaze!"

I have often traversed the woods by myself at night, and sometimes during
_such scenes_; and though I was conscious that all round me proceeded from
natural causes, I could not at these times entirely forget,

"All that the _priest_ and all the nurse had taught."

Farewell.--Believe me

Yours very sincerely, &c.,

       *       *       *       *       *

_Philadelphia, August 10th, 1794._


Having a few weeks vacation at the theatre, we agreed upon a scheme to
give three concerts at Lancaster, a town in Pennsylvania, about seventy
miles west of this city. Our band was small, but select; and our singers
Darley, and miss Broadhurst. We crossed the Scuylkill about two miles
below the Falls.

The country, which, from the Atlantic to this spot, is nearly a level, now
abruptly swells into hills, and rises as you advance westerly, till you
reach the Allegany mountains, the great _back bone_ of America, as
the Indians call that chain of mountains. There is then a considerable
descent; but that the country rises afterward for many hundred miles is
certain from the course of the rivers. No traveller has penetrated so far
west, in these latitudes, as to find a river which did not ultimately run
into the Atlantic Ocean,

We slept about a mile from the _Pioli_. I took a walk to reconnoitre
the field of battle, with one who was present at that horrid affair.

General Wayne was here completely surprised, but had his revenge at Stoney

After St. Claire's defeat, he was appointed by Congress to the command of
the continental army in the present indian war. The fatal surprise at the
Pioli has been an excellent lesson for him; since his present appointment
he has established the most rigid discipline: this is of the utmost
consequence in any army; but particularly so in _that_ he commands,
as they have to contend with the most subtle and desperate foe on earth,
flushed with their late victory over St. Claire.--In a former indian war,
an army lay with it's rear and flanks well secured; a river three quarters
of a mile broad in its front, and no enemy within fifty miles. A body of
Indians, being informed by their scouts of the situation of this army,
made a forced march, crossed the river in the night, on rafts hastily
constructed, completely surprised the camp before sun-rise in the morning,
butchered all before them, and made their retreat good with their scalps
and plunder, before the enemy recovered from the general consternation.
The system of military tactics Wayne has introduced is admirably adapted
to the perilous service, in which he is engaged. He fights the Indians in
their own way, and scalps are now taken on both sides.--There is expected
to be warm work this campaign; and it is generally imagined Wayne will
meet with the fate of Braddock and St. Clare. A few military men I have
discoursed with, are of another opinion; they tell me the rifle-men of the
western army were recruited from Kentucky, and other remote settlements,
and are all experienced _back-woods-men_, who have been great part of
their lives in the habits of Indian fighting; that the general is forming
a body of cavalry, on principles entirely new, from which much is
expected; in short, that Wayne will oblige the Indians to _bury the
hatchet_ on his own terms. The Indian war is not popular. It has met
with much opposition both in the General Assemblies of the States, and in

The devastation that has (even within the present century) taken place
among the brave and independent aborigines of this continent, is really
shocking to humanity[Footnote: The Cherokees are by no means the
formidable body of warriors they were 40 years ago. The original
possessors of the vast tract of land which forms North Carolina, are
reduced to a single family; and several tribes of the eastern Indians
actually exterminated.].

I spent the evening at the Pioli, with a surgeon of the american army
lately from the scene of action; he gave me a disgusting account of the
misunderstanding that subsists between the american citizens on the
frontiers, and their neighbours in Upper Canada. It seems the Canadians
are accused of assisting the indians in the decisive action against St.

As many of the descendants of the original french settlers have indian
blood in their veins, the charge is not improbable, as far as relates to a
few _individuals_, but that they received either the connivance, or
protection of _government_, (as the Americans assert) is totally
without foundation.

I never take up a western newspaper that does not teem with the most
illiberal abuse of the british government. It would therefore be
impossible to exonorate certain american citizens from _their share of
provocation_, and a wish to blow up the hardly-extinguished embers of
the late war. This temper is kept alive by french agents, who use every
means of inflaming the public mind, by the most flagrant exaggerations of
the late captures, &c.: and so successful have they been in their
misrepresentations, that a war with England would at this time be very

_Aug. 30th_.--You can conceive nothing more beautifully romantic,
than the appearance of the country during the latter part of this day's
journey. The hills, bold, rounding, and lofty, are covered with wood to
their very summit. In the midst of this wild scenery is the mighty
_Susquana_, above a mile wide, dashing over rocks and precipices,
seventy or eighty miles distant from the flow of the tide. A similar body
of running water, perfectly clear and transparent, with so many hundred
cascades as beautify the Susquana, is perhaps no where else to be met
with. Unfortunately these very beauties render the navigation of this
noble river impracticable.

_Aug. 31st_.--Arrived at Lancaster, a prettily situate town, of about
nine hundred houses. It is reckoned the largest inland town south of New
England, and indeed the only large town without some kind of navigation;
to remedy this inconvenience as much as possible, a turnpike road (very
superiour to any thing of the kind in America, and which will cost three
thousand dollars per mile,) is forming from Philadelphia, through
Lancaster, to the Susquana. I before told you this river, owing to the
rocks and falls, was not navigable; but I forgot to inform you, that the
inhabitants of the back country contrive to waft the produce of their
plantations down the river on floats, during the floods, in spring and
fall; which will be conveyed by means of this new road to Philadelphia,
whence it will be exported to the west indian or european markets.

The only manufactory in Lancaster is one of rifles; they have contracted
to supply the continental army with these _"mortal engines."_

I have heard a hundred improbable stories relative to what was done with
the rifle by famous marksmen in America, such as shooting an apple from a
child's head, &c; to which I could not give credit: but, I have no reason
to doubt the following feat: as it was actually performed before many
hundred inhabitants of this borough, and the adjacent country.--During the
late war, in the year 1775, a company of riflemen, formed from the back
woodsmen of Virginia, were quartered here for some time: two of them
_alternately_ held a board only nine inches square between his knees,
while his comrade fired a ball through it from a distance of one hundred
paces! The board is still preserved; and I am assured by several who were
present, that it was performed without any manner of deception.

Lancaster was originally a german settlement; the inhabitants were so
desirous of perpetuating their language, that they established german
schools for the education of the rising generation; but their descendants,
finding the inconvenience of being without a knowledge of English, now
send their children first to the german, and afterward to the english
schools; by which means they acquire a tolerable idea of both languages.
They still retain many characteristics of their ancestors; such as
frugality, plainness in dress, &c. At our first concert, three
clownish-looking fellows came into the room, and, after sitting a few
minutes, (the weather being _warm_, not to say _hot_) very composedly took
off their coats: they were in the usual summer dress of farmers servants
in this part of the country; that is to say, _without_ either stockings or
breeches, a loose pair of trowsers being the only succedaneum. As we fixed
our admission at a dollar each, (here seven shillings and sixpence,) we
expected this circumstance would be sufficient to exclude _such_
characters; but on inquiry, I found (to my very great surprise!) our three
_sans culottes_ were german _gentlemen_ of considerable property in the

They manage these matters better at Hanover; (a settlement of germans
about forty miles hence.) One of the articles of their dancing assembly
is in these words; "No gentleman to enter the ball-room without
_breeches_, or to be allowed to dance without his _coat_."

All the back parts of Pennsylvania were in general cleared, and settled by
german, and irish emigrants; but the former are commonly more prosperous
than their neighbours, whom they excel in sobriety and economy, and have
also a much better understanding amongst themselves.

An irish family often arrives, and purchases a plantation; which for some
years brings them good crops, but for want of manure will in time be worn
out (a very common case in America.) When in this situation they offer it
for sale, the adjacent german families club a sum of money, purchase the
land, plough it well, and let it remain in this state for three or four
years: they then place an emigrant family from their _own country_
upon the farm, who, by indefatigable industry and manure, soon bring the
land round, pay for the estate by installments, and live very comfortably.
Some of the best plantations in Pennsylvania were originally left in this
manner. The irish family go two or three hundred miles up the country,
where they can purchase as much land as they please, from sixpence to a
dollar per acre: here they literally _break fresh ground_, and begin
the world again. To some timorous people, their new situation would be
thought dangerous, as they are liable to a visit from the Indians, and
perishing by the scalping knife and tomahawk.--See a former letter on back

_Aug. 6th_.--We returned to Philadelphia, not _overloaded_ with _cash_,
but with more than was sufficient for our expenses, which, owing to
several excursions from Lancaster, were not trifling.--Farewel.--Believe

Yours very sincerely.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Philadelphia, 14th August, 1794._


By captain H----, of the Betsy, who will deliver this letter, I have sent
you specimens of the federal coinage.

When that government was formed, a mint was established, and a coinage
issued on a new plan. This was much wanted, as scarcely three of the
states agreed as to the value currency of a dollar. Here it was seven
shillings and sixpence, in South Carolina four shillings and eight pence,
at New York eight shillings, and in the New England states six shillings.
According to the new regulations, all _nominal_ coins are exploded,
and the silver dollar, weighing 17 dwts. 6 grs.[Footnote: This is the
exact weight of the spanish milled dollar, which, as well as the
divisions, are allowed to pass current; they consist of the half, quarter,
eighth, and sixteenth, also the pistreen, or fifth, and the half pistreen,
or tenth.], is fixed as the standard, divided into one hundred decimal
parts; these are of copper, and called cents. All taxes, duties and
imposts, that extend to the _whole Union_, are levied in these coins
_only_. The other federal coins, like the english guineas and crowns,
never appear on the public accounts.

Those of _gold_ are eagles, half eagles, and quarter eagles, value ten,
five, and two and a half, dollars: of _silver_, the half, quarter, tenth,
and twentieth of the standard dollar; or fifty, twenty-five, ten, and five
cents: of _copper_, the half cent, or two hundredth part of a dollar. The
principle on which this coinage is formed is so very simple, that the
proportion they bear to each other, and the standard dollar may be found
with the utmost facility. Indeed little else is wanted than the adding or
cutting off figures or ciphers: for instance, the public accounts being
kept in two columns, dollars, and cents; suppose in adding up the latter,
you find they amount to 27621, you have only to cut off the two right hand
figures, and their value stands thus; 276 dollars, 21 cents. To reduce
eagles to dollars, add a cipher, and vice versa. To reduce half, and
quarter eagles to dollars, you have only to divide by 2 or 4 previous to
adding the cipher.

But though the federal government has succeeded in establishing it's
coinage, the _people_ cannot be persuaded (the wholesale merchants, and a
few enlightened citizens excepted,) to come into this scheme; _they_
obstinately insist on buying, selling, and keeping their accounts in the
_good old way of their fathers!_ that is to say, in _currency_, by pounds,
shillings, and pence; and nothing can be more complex, as they have not a
single _coin_ in circulation of the _real_ or _nominal_ value of any of
them. If you are to pay the sum of three shillings and fourpence
halfpenny, (without having recourse to the federal scheme) you must
provide yourself with three silver divisions of the Spanish dollar, viz.
the fourth, eighth, and sixteenth, three english halfpence, two of George
the Second, and one of his present majesty[Footnote: Owing to the quantity
of counterfeit english halfpence of the present reign now in circulation
in these states, those of king George the Third, whether counterfeit or
not, are depreciated to the 360th part of a dollar.]; the nominal value of
which, added together, make that sum within a very trifling fraction.

I am informed the federal government means to fix the weights and measures
by a standard, which, like the coinage, will admit of the same _even_
division by decimals. I am often asked why the English, after having
proved the great utility of this scheme in their chain of one hundred
links for land measuring, do not extend it to their coin, &c.? If you can
think of a good solution to this question, pray let me have it in your
next to

Yours sincerely, &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Philadelphia, August 18th, 1794._


In a former letter I mentioned the relishes of salt fish usual at
breakfast and supper in this country; they are chiefly of shad, a name
given them by the first settlers, from their having _some resemblance_ to
that fish, though in fact they are very different; and indeed this is the
case with almost every fish, bird, and other animal these Anglo-Americans
took it into their heads to christen. It is a great pity they did not call
those peculiar to this continent by their _indian_ names; and this should
also have been the case with mountains, lakes, rivers, &c. What man of any
taste will not prefer the sonorous sounds of Susquana, Patapsico,
Allegany, Raphanock, Potomack, and other _indian_ titles, to such stupid
appellations as Cape Cod, Mud Island, cat-fish, sheep's head-fish, whip
poor will, &c.?

But to return to the _shad_, if it must be so called; it is an excellent
fish, and comes up the rivers in prodigious shoals, in the months of April
and May, to spawn. The largest nets used in this fishery are on the
Delaware, where that river is from one to two miles wide. These nets are
from one hundred and fifty to three hundred yards long. The greatest hawl
ever known was upwards of nine thousand, from four to nine pounds per

The revolution has not yet done away a fanatical law passed by the
quakers, prohibiting the catching of these fish on a sunday; which,
considering the short time they remain in the river, is highly impolitic.

There are thirteen fisheries within ten miles of Philadelphia; allowing
only eight sundays in the season, and ten thousand shads lost in each of
the twenty-four hours, a very moderate calculation, the aggregate loss to
Philadelphia, and the adjacent country, is eighty thousand fish, weighing
five pounds each, on an average. I say _loss_; for the return of the
fish is the same now as it was a hundred and thirty years ago, when only a
few dozen were taken in the season by the Indians.

There is also a small fish which comes up the rivers with the shad; the
shoals this year have been uncommonly large; upwards of ten thousand have
been taken at one hawl. Like the shad, it takes salt well; and, from it's
having some resemblance to a _herring_, they give it that name, though
very different from the herring which visits the shores of Europe. I
believe there is no instance of a herring running a hundred and fifty
miles up a fresh water river, or existing at all in water perfectly fresh.

The above particulars you may depend upon; they were communicated to me by
Mr. West, who is proprietor of the largest shad-fisheries on the Delaware.

This river also abounds in cat-fish, perch, jack, eels, and a great
variety of others; above all, in sturgeon; which are frequently caught by
accident in the shad-nets, and either boiled for their oil, or suffered to
rot on the, shores, being very seldom sent to market: when this is the
case, they are sold for a mere trifle, chiefly to emigrants. The Americans
have conceived a violent antipathy to this fish. I recollect no instance
of seeing it at their tables. They have every externals appearance of the
european sturgeon, but in other respects must be _very different_, or
the Americans lose one of the best fisheries in the world.

Enclosed is an extract from general Lincoln's letter on the migration of
fish. He endeavours to prove, that river fish, after their passage to the
sea, whatever time they remain there, always return to the original waters
in which they were spawned, unless some unnatural obstructions are thrown
in their way.

Yours, &c.

In an old History of Bermuda, published in the year 1661, is the following

"There is great store of fish, which being mostly unknown to the English,
they gave them such names as best _liked_ them, as _porgie-fish,
hog-fish, yellow-tails, cony-fish_, &c."


"Whilst I resided in Philadelphia, in 1782, and 1783, I discovered that
the shad brought to market from the Scuylkill were very superiour in
flavour and firmness to those taken in the Delaware, which must proceed
from their food in that river, previous to their going to the sea; as they
are taken by the nets of the fishermen, before they are six hours in that
river, on their return. I cannot think it a romantic idea, that the waters
are impregnated with certain particles, on which they have been accustomed
to feed; which is sufficient to allure them to where they were originally
spawned; or that they are piloted there by some of the old fry. This idea
will not appear improbable, when we consider the general laws which seem
to control the whole finny tribe; and what would be the consequence should
they be thrown down? The cod-fish which occupy the banks of Newfoundland,
between the latitudes of 41 and 45, are very different, and are kept so
distinct, and are so similar on the respective banks, that a man
acquainted with that fishery will separate those caught on one bank from
those of another, with as much ease as we separate the apple from the

"I am, &c.


_Baltimore, 14th October, 1794._


On the 7th of September I left the city of Brotherly Love, on my way to
this town.

After sailing down the Delaware about two hours, in the water stage, our
skipper run us on a sand bank. As there was no remedy but to wait
patiently for the flow of tide, a party of us borrowed a boat, and went a
shooting on the islands with which this part of the Delaware abounds. We
landed at Fort Miflin, which was the principal obstruction to general
Howe's progress up the river, in his way to Philadelphia, and obliged him
to go several hundred miles round; this fort also kept the whole british
fleet at bay, for some time after the army had taken possession of that

Fort Miflin, or Mud Fort (so called from it's low situation) is on an
island in the Delaware, about one third nearer the Pennsylvania, than the
Jersey shore.

During the first general attack of the british fleet the fort set fire to
the Augusta, of 64 guns, and she shortly after blew up; and the Merlin
sloop was so roughly handled, that she was hastily evacuated. The british
admiral then procured a pilot, who carried two men of war, cut down for
that purpose, on the Pennsylvania side of the island; a manoeuvre the
Americans deemed impracticable. The works of the fort were now completely
enfiladed, and on the 15th of November, the British began; a desperate
attack, both from their ships on each side the island, and from a battery
on the Pennsylvania shore.

The fort was supported by a battery on, the opposite side, and some

The british fire was heavy and well directed: they are supposed to have
fired 1030 shots, weighing from 12 to 32 pounds, every 20 minutes, which,
by the middle of the day, nearly levelled the works with the mud. This was
the moment to storm the fort, which being lost by the British, the remains
of the brave garrison made their retreat good to the Jersey shore the same

The British now having the complete command of the Delaware, totally
dismantled this fort: in which state it remained till last year, when a
french engineer was engaged to put it again into a state of defence. The
works are already in great forwardness: the parapets are, according to the
new french improvements, without embrasures, and the guns mounted on false

We also landed on several of, the other islands, and had tolerable sport.

At high water we proceeded on our voyage, and about twelve the next day
arrived at Newcastle; whence I walked to Glasgow, a small village within a
few miles of the river Elk, where general Howe landed his troops, after
sailing two hundred and fifty miles up the bay of Chesapeak. His head
quarters were at the house where I slept; the landlord also informed me,
that I lay on the same bed general Washington occupied four times a year,
in his way to his seat at Mount Vernon; an honour I did not _exactly_ know
the _value_ of till the next morning, when he brought in _his bill_; after
satisfying my conscientious landlord, I walked to French Town, which
consists of _two houses_. This _town_ is about 17 miles from the Delaware,
and has a communication with the Chesapeak by means of the river Elk. But
there is a nearer approximation of the Chesapeak to the Delaware, from a
creek running into the latter at Apoquiminick, where the distance is only
7 miles: over this neck of land, all the trade between Philadelphia and
Baltimore is conveyed in waggons. How soon would a canal be cut in such a
situation in England!

I embarked in the Baltimore pacquet; had a pleasant sail down the Elk; in
four hours entered the bay, and arrived here the same evening.

_September 12th._

The yellow fever is certainly in town. Is it not astonishing the example
of Philadelphia last year did not teach the inhabitants of Baltimore the
necessity of building a lazaretto, and establishing a strict quarantine on
all vessels from the infected islands in the West Indies? The first was
not even attempted, and the last so carelessly performed, that I am
mistaken if the fever has not been imported into more than _one_ part
of the town.

_Sept. 29th_.--The theatre closed at the request of the committee of
health, the fever gaining ground rapidly, and the inhabitants quitting the
town as fast as possible.

_October the 2d_.

The committee of health published their list of deaths, which they mean to
continue every 24 hours. Died since the 1st of August 344 persons. The
next day a violent cold and penetrating N.W. wind set in, with uncommon
severity, which has entirely stopped the infection.

_Oct. 14th_.--The late cold weather has completely destroyed the
yellow fever. The inhabitants are returned, and trade is restored to its
usual course.

Yours, sincerely, &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

Baltimore and the Point[Footnote: Or Fell's Point, the name given to a
small but well-situated town about a mile lower down the bay.] may be
considered but as one town, as the interval that parts them is already
laid out for building.

There is not perhaps on the face of the earth so many excellent situations
for a sea-port as in this vicinity; and yet they have fixed on the very
spot where the town should _not_ be.

Baltimore, by being built so far from the bay of Chesapeak, has not depth
of water for a vessel of two hundred tons, nearer than the Point. The
lower part of the town is a dead flat, intersected with canals and docks,
filled with stagnated water from the Basin: owing to this circumstance the
town is unhealthy at certain seasons, and subject, in the fall, to
musquitoes: these inconveniences might have been avoided by building the
town a mile lower, on either side the bay.

But there is a much better situation for a town and port on an inlet from
the Patapsico, west of the town, round a point, which runs about W.N.W.
where I have marked No. 10.

On this spot is water for a vessel of eight hundred tons burden,
sufficiently fresh to exclude the worms, and at the same time a current
strong enough to prevent stagnation. A bay perfectly secure from the N.W.
and other dangerous winds, a gradual rise of ground consisting of a fine
dry gravel to build upon; in short, every natural advantage. This was the
original situation designed for the town; but the proprietor was concerned
in a wharf in this neighbourhood, and fearing the new town would injure
his business, positively refused his consent to the proposals made him on
this occasion, and by that means, lost one of the first estates perhaps
ever offered to an individual.

I was in this bay, on a fishing party, a few days ago, with one of his
descendants, who was lamenting the infatuation of his ancestor. This
gentleman was so kind as to point out and explain the foregoing

You will naturally inquire how the town came to be built in it's present
situation? The governor of the province was proprietor of most of the
land. Is not _that_ a sufficient reason.

About forty years ago the two towns of Baltimore, and the Point, contained
only _two_ brick houses, and a few wooden ones: in a late edition of
Salmon's Geography, I find Baltimore described as consisting of a few
straggling houses, scarcely deserving the _name_ of a _town_. Within these
fifteen years it has increased in size and population beyond all
precedent. It now contains nearly twenty thousand inhabitants; and, in
point of trade, Baltimore is the fourth town in America.

The following anecdote will give you some idea of the growth of the town,
and amazing increase in the value of land:--

An english gentleman, who emigrated to this country some years ago, built
a small _country seat_ on the side of the race ground; this house is
now in the possession of a colonel Rogers, and in the _centre street of
Baltimore_. The colonel has sold the wings for two thousand guineas to
build upon, and still retains the house.

But the improvements have not advanced in proportion to the buildings;
there is scarcely a dozen lamps in the whole town, which is badly paved,

All the inhabitants agree as to the necessity of establishing a powerful,
and energetic government, for the regulation of the town, _somewhere_; but
though frequent town meetings have been called, they cannot agree about
the _means_.

Something must soon be done, as the nuisances are every day increasing.

Yours sincerely, &c.

Since writing the above, the general assembly has ordered fifty thousand
dollars be raised by lottery, which are laid out in paving the town, and
clearing the Basin. Two enormous machines have been constructed on the
dutch plan, to work with oxen, which make such progress in clearing the
channel, that it is expected in a few years it will be sufficiently deep,
to admit the largest merchantmen to come up to the wharfs of the town. And
since my landing in England, my brother informs me, Baltimore is at last
incorporated; a vigorous police established; and improvements are going on
with spirit.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Baltimore, November 27th, 1794._


Yours of the 21st of August I received.--So I find you fall into the
commonplace notion of the English, that manufactories are forming here,
which will in a short time render all importation of british goods
unnecessary. Take my word for it, you have nothing of that kind to fear,
whilst the United States have so few inhabitants, and so _much_ of
their best land uncultivated. It is not their _interest_ to engage in
manufactories; and when the country is sufficiently populous, it will be
easier to conquer South America, and procure thence the _means_ of
purchasing commodities, than to go through the _drudgery_ of their
_fabrication_: but at present such is the cheapness of land, and the high
price of wheat, and other produce, that it has raised the value of labour
beyond the profits of almost any manufacture. If they could be established
with effect in any part of America, it would be in the _New England
states_, where the population is more than double those of the south; and
provision much cheaper; but the New Englanders, when they fancy themselves
too populous, rather than engage in a laborious trade, prefer emigration
to the _Genasee_[Footnote: The Genasee is a rich tract of country, a
considerable distance west of New York, much resorted to by New England
emigrants since the peace with the Six Nations. Kentucky is at least one
thousand miles from the nearest of the New England states, two hundred of
which are through a wilderness, which cannot be passed during an indian
war, without great danger.], or even Kentucky. The same restless,
enterprising spirit, which brought their ancestors from Europe, carries
them to these remote western settlements; and I have no doubt their
descendants will continue the same in that direction; till the Pacific
Ocean[Footnote: A distance of more than two thousand miles from the most
remote western settlement.] stops their further progress; unless, as I
before observed, lured by a _golden bait_, they go to the _south_: let the
Spaniard look to that.--The manufactories in this country that have fallen
under my observation are one of rifles at Lancaster, another of musquets
at Connecticut, and at German Town, in Pennsylvania, a peculiar sort of
winter stockings. An American has lately procured a patent from Congress,
for cutting brads out of sheet iron with an engine. The american iron is
of an excellent quality, and possesses a great degree of malleability,
which perhaps suggested the first idea of this invention. The following
extract from the advertisement of the patentee will enable you, to form
some judgment of this singular undertaking: "He begs leave to observe
their superiority to english-wrought brads consists in their being quite
regular in their shape, so much so, that ten thousand may be drove through
the thinnest pine board, without using a brad-awl, or splitting the board.
They have the advantage also of being cut _with the grain_ of the iron;
others are cut _against_ it. He has already three engines at work, which
can turn out two hundred thousand per day."

Another patent has been granted for making the teeth of cotton and wool
cards by an engine, which is supposed to be a similar process.

There are also manufactories of cotton, sail cloth, gun-powder, glass,
&c., but of no great consequence.

Their sawing-mills are numerous, and well constructed; this circumstance,
and the great quantity of timber, mast, spars, &c., with which this
country abounds, enable them to build vessels considerably under what you
can afford in England, though the wages of a shipwright are now two
dollars and a quarter per day. Theirs ships, in point of model and
sailing, if not superiour, are at least equal to the best european-built
vessels, and when constructed of _live oak_, and _red cedar_, are equally
durable. Vessels of this description are scarce. Live oak is rarely met
with north of the Carolinas: that used in the Boston ship-yards is brought
from Georgia; a distance of more than a thousand miles,

Yours sincerely, &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Philadelphia, February 21st 1795._


You know one motive for my coming to this country was, that I might have
an unlimited range in my two favourite amusements, shooting, and fishing,
and in both I have had tolerable sport. But as few except emigrants,
follow the european method of shooting, I cannot purchase a pointer for
any sum: pray send me one by an early fall ship, and if possible smuggle
me half a dozen pounds of Battel powder; for since you have begun to cut
one another's throats in Europe, I find it impossible to procure any but
dutch, and that unglazed, at the _moderate_ price of two dollars a

We have two kinds of partridges; one larger, and the other smaller, than
those of Europe: the former reside chiefly in the woods, and is in the
southern states called a pheasant; but it is in fact neither one nor the
other: the latter is called a quail in the northern states. The flesh of
these birds is perfectly rich, white, and juicy, and though it has not a
game flavour, is a very great delicacy. In other respects (except their
size, and that they occasionally perch on the branches of a tree,) they
differ very little in their plumage, call, manner of keeping in coveys,
&c., from the partridge of England. They are amazingly prolific; I have
often found twelve or fourteen coveys in the course of a few hours
shooting; this will appear extraordinary, when you are informed there are
no game laws in America, and that all ranks of citizens, or even a negro,
may destroy them in any manner he pleases. When the snow is on the ground,
whole coveys are taken in traps, and brought alive to market. They fly
swiftly, and afford an excellent shot; but if the same covey be shot at a
second time, they will often seek a refuge in the woods, whence it is
difficult to dislodge them. They are very hardy, and will bear almost any
degree of heat and cold; this circumstance, and their being so prolific, I
should think would make a breed of them in England a very desirable
acquisition. I am determined to bring over a few couples, by way of

We are visited by a sort of woodcock in July and August; we have also a
kind of grouse, plover, dove, and wild pigeon, snipe, wild fowl,
and a wonderful variety of small birds; among which, the _reed-bird_
[Footnote: So called from their note resembling the word _reed_.], or
american ortolan, justly holds the first place: they visit us from the
south, and are found at certain seasons as far as the West Indies in that

The back woodsmen, and indeed all western settlers, affect to despise our
mode of shooting; they all use rifles, and throw a single ball to a great
degree of certainty. The riflemen in the last war were all of this
description, _Their_ game are deer, bear, beaver, and other animals.
The only _bird_ they think worthy their attention is the wild turkey.
An american naturalist (Bartram) says, "Our turkey of America is a very
different species from the meleagris of Asia and Europe. I have seen
several that have weighed between twenty and thirty pounds, and some have
been killed that have weighed nearly forty pounds."

Why do not the Americans domesticate this noble bird? They are much better
adapted to bear this climate than the puny breed their ancestors imported
from England. The few that are shot so far to the eastward as to be
brought to our markets bear a great price.

The shooting of the back settlers is rather _business_ than _sport_. When
they are inclined for a frolic of the latter sort, they meet in large
parties to shoot the gray squirrel: the devastation made on these
occasions is incredible; the following is from the Kentucky Gazette; and I
have no doubt, that it is strictly true:--

"_Lexington, July 13th._

"At a squirrel-hunt in Madison county, on the 29th and 30th ult., the
hunters rendezvoused at captain Archibald Wood's, and upon counting the
_scalps_[Footnote: By scalp is here meant skin, which is an excellent
fur.] taken, it was found they amounted to 5589!"

This sport is not confined to the back woods, but is in such general
estimation, as to be preferred to all other shooting. They find this game
by means of a mongrel breed of dogs, trained for that purpose; the
squirrel, on being pursued, immediately ascends one of the most lofty
trees he can find; the dog follows, and makes a point under the tree,
looking up for his game. The squirrel hides himself behind the branches,
and practises a thousand manoeuvres to avoid the shot; sometimes springing
from one tree to another, with astonishing agility. Nature has given him a
thick fur; this circumstance, and the height of the trees, make a long
barrel, and large shot, indispensable in this kind of shooting. The best
method of cooking the squirrel is in a ragout; this I learnt of a french
epicure, who always speaks with rapture of this _bonne bouche_: it
has a high game flavour, and is justly thought by the Americans to be an
excellent dish; but we have many English, who, through mere prejudice,
never tasted this animal; their antipathy also extends to bear, opossum,
racoon, and cat-fish:--"Oh!" say the english ladies, "the _sight_ of
such frightful creatures is quite enough for me!"'

Fishing parties among the farmers, and in small towns in some parts of
America, are very agreeably arranged: twelve or fourteen neighbours form
themselves into a sort of club, and agree to fish one day in the week
during the summer; previous: to which they fix on a romantic situation on
the side of a wood commanding the intended scene of action. Under some of
the large trees they erect a sort of hut, forming a dining-room and

When the time is fixed to begin fishing, the steward for the day sends
down a negro cook, with bread, butter, wine, liquors, culinary utensils,
etc. About ten in the morning the fishermen arrive, and follow the sport
in boats, canoes, or from the shore, either with angles or nets; but they
seldom make use of the latter, except when they are disappointed in
angling: they are then determined the fish, though not in a humour to
bite, shall not deprive them of their dinner. At one they all meet at the
place of general rendezvous, where all hands are employed in preparing the
fish for the cook; by which means the dinner is soon on the table.--When
over, and a few glasses have circulated, those who do not choose to remain
drinking, take a nap during the heat of the day, which in this country is
from two to four in the afternoon. At five the ladies arrive, and the
company amuse themselves in catching fish for supper, walking in the
woods, swinging, singing, playing on some musical instrument, &c. I
have often been on these parties, and never spent my time more to my
satisfaction; which is more than you will be able to say of that spent in
reading this scrawl from

Yours, &c.

_Philadelphia, May 7th, 1795._


In answer so your last, respecting the aborigines of this continent, I am
almost ashamed to inform you, I have scarcely any particulars on the
subject worth troubling you with. Ever since my arrival in America, I have
made up my mind to take the first opportunity of going to the westward on
a shooting party, for a month or two, among the Indians; for which purpose
I procured an introduction to the young _corn-planter_, son to a
chief of the six nations, who is here for his education. He was no sooner
informed of my intention, than he gave me a cordial invitation to attend
him on his return in the fall; or, if I could not then make it convenient,
at any other time; but the distance is so great, that, to confess the
truth, I have never yet been able to raise the _necessary supplies_,
and am likely to leave America without seeing a single wigwam.

The Indians have a fine natural genius for oratory, painting, and
sculpture: I have a specimen of the latter cut with a knife on a piece of
hickory, which is destitute neither of elegance of design, nor neatness of
execution. But the most extraordinary trait in the character of these _red
men_ is their _continence_. We have every year fourteen or fifteen of
their chiefs in this city, to form treaties, and other public business.
They are often attended with well-made young men in the prime of life,
and yet I never heard but of _one_ instance of their engaging in a
love-intrigue of _any kind_. They frequently tomahawk and scalp the most
beautiful women, who are so unfortunate as to fall into their hands in
time of war.--Each warrior cuts the number of scalps he has taken on his
war club, and distinguishes the sex by certain marks. Several of these
clubs, and other indian trophies taken from famous chiefs in former wars,
are deposited in the Philadelphia Museum. On one war club I counted _five_
fatal proofs of the savage who owned the weapon having butchered as many

But whatever cruelties they practise on their female captives, they are
never known to take the slightest liberty with them _bordering on
indecency_. Mary Rowlandson, a fanatic, who was captured in 1765, has
the following passage in her narrative:

"I have been in the midst of these roaring lions, and savage bears, that
neither fear God, man, nor devil, by day and night, _alone_, and in
company, _sleeping all sorts together_, and yet not one of them offered me
the least abuse of unchastity, in word or action!"

Charlevoix, in his account of the Canadian Indians, says, there is no
example of their having taken the least liberty with any of the french
women, even when their prisoners. In short, all accounts allow them this
extraordinary male virtue, but differ whether it proceeds from education,
or what the french call temperament.

But as they do not look upon chastity as a necessary requisite in the
character of the squaws _before_ marriage, these ladies are said by
the white traders to be _less eminent_ for this virtue than their

The works of F---- being little known in England, I send you some
specimens of his writing on _indian_ subjects; and, however uncouth,
his language may appear, you may rely on the truth and accuracy of his



Virg. Georg. 2d. v. 483.

       *       *       *       *       *

From Susquehanna's utmost springs,
  Where savage tribes pursue their game,
His blanket tied with yellow strings,
  A shepherd of the forest came.

Not long before, a wandering priest
  Express'd his wish with visage sad--
'Ah, why,' he cry'd, 'in Satan's waste,
  'Ah, why detain so fine a lad?

'In Yanky land there stands a town
  'Where learning may be purchas'd low--
'Exchange his blanket for a gown,
  'And let the lad to college go.'

From long debate the council rose,
  And viewing Shalum's tricks with joy,
To _Harvard hall_[1], o'er wastes of snows,
  They sent the copper-colour'd boy.
[Footnote 1: Harvard college, at Cambridge, near Boston.]

One generous chief a bow supply'd,
  This gave a shaft, and that a skin;
The feathers, in vermilion dy'd,
  Himself did from a turkey win:

Thus dress'd so gay, he took his way
  O'er barren hills, alone, alone!
His guide a star, he wander'd far,
  His pillow every night a stone.

At last he came, with leg so lame,
  Where learned men talk heathen Greek,
And hebrew lore is gabbled o'er,
  To please the muses, twice a week.

A while he writ, a while he read,
  A while he learn'd the grammar rules.--
An indian savage, so well bred,
  Great credit promis'd to their schools.

Some thought, he would in law excel,
  Some said, in physic he would shine;
And one, that knew him passing well,
  Beheld in him a sound divine.

But those of more discerning eye,
  E'en then could _other_ prospects show,
And saw him lay his Virgil by,
  To wander with his dearer _bow_.

The tedious hours of study spent,
  The heavy-moulded lecture done,
He to the woods a hunting went,
  But sigh'd to see the setting sun.

No mystic wonders fir'd his mind;
  He sought to gain no learn'd degree,
But only sense enough to find
  The _squirrel in the hollow tree_.

The shady bank, the purling stream,
  The woody wild his heart possess'd;
The dewy lawn his morning dream
  _In fancy's gayest colours dress'd._

'And why,' he cried, 'did I forsake
  My native wood for gloomy walls?
The silver stream, the limpid lake,
  For musty books and college halls?

'A little could my wants supply--
  Can wealth and honour give me more?
Or, will the sylvan god deny
  The humble treat he gave before?

'Let seraphs reach the bright abode,
  And Heav'n's sublimest mansions see:--
I only bow to Nature's God--
  _The land of shades_, will do for _me_.

'These dreadful secrets of the sky
  'Alarm my soul with chilling fear:--
'Do planets in their orbits fly?
  'And is the Earth, indeed, a sphere?

'Let planets still their aim pursue,
  'And comets round creation run--
'In Him my faithful friend I view,
  'The image of my God--the Sun.

'Where Nature's ancient forests grow,
  'And mingled laurel never fades,
'My heart is fix'd; and I must go
  'To die among my native shades.'

He spoke,--and to the western springs
  (His gown discharged, his money spent)
His blanket tied with yellow strings,
  The shepherd of the forest went.

Returning to the rural reign,
  The Indians welcom'd him with joy;
The council took him home again,
  And bless'd the copper-coloured boy.

Our author, brings his hero again upon the stage, under the title of


"To the best of my recollection, it was about the middle of the month of
August; we were sitting on a green bank by the brook side; the fox grapes
were not yet come to maturity; but we were anticipating the pleasure we
should soon experience in eating some fine clusters, that at this instant
hung over our heads in the tall shade of a beech tree; when, upon a sudden
clamour raised by some young fellows, who were advancing rapidly towards
us, the learned Indian sachem Tomo-cheeki, who at this time happened to be
my friend and companion, seized me by the hand, and intimated a strong
desire, that I should accompany him to his _wigwam_, situate at many
miles distance in the wilderness.

"A request so unusual, and at such a sultry season of the year (it being
now the height of the dog days), and to all appearance occasioned by so
trifling a circumstance as the approach of a few noisy bacchanalians,
could not but give me some surprise. I nevertheless accepted his offer,
and we then walked on together westward, without saying a word, though not
forgetting to kindle our pipes afresh at the first house we came to.

"We had no sooner entered the forest, than I began to be convinced, that
all things around us were precisely such as nature had finished them; the
trees were straight and lofty, and appeared as if they had never been
obliged to art in their progress to maturity; the streams of water were
winding and irregular, and not odiously drawn into a right line by the
spade of the ditcher. The soil had never submitted to the ploughshare, and
the air that circulated through this domain of nature was replete with
that balmy fragrance, which was breathed into the lungs of the long-lived
race of men, that flourished in the first ages of the world.

"At last we approached the wigwam, as I discovered by the barking of a
yellow dog, who ran out to meet us. The building seemed to be composed of
rough materials, and at most was not more than eight feet in height, with
a hole in the centre of the roof, to afford a free passage to the smoke
from within. It was situate in a thicket of lofty trees, on the side of a
stream of clear water, at a considerable distance from the haunts of
civilized men. A young indian girl was angling in the deepest part of the
stream, whence she every now and then drew a trout, or some other
inhabitant of the waters. An old squaw sat at a very small distance, and,
after cutting off the heads, and extracting the entrails, hung the fish in
the smoke, to preserve them against the time of winter.

"The Indian and myself then entered the wigwam, and without ceremony
seated ourselves on blocks of wood covered with fox skins. The furniture
of his habitation consisted of scarcely any thing besides. The flooring
was that which was originally common to all men and animals. I thought
myself happy, that I had been permitted to come into the world, in an age
when some vestige of the primitive men, and their manners of living, were
yet to be found. A few ages will totally obliterate the scene.

"I now determined to teaze the Indian, if possible--'But for a man of your
education,' says I, 'sachem Tomo-cheeki; to bury yourself in this savage
retreat, is to me inexplicable. You who have travelled on foot no less
than one hundred and seventeen leagues, till you reached the walls of
Havard college, and all for the sake of gaining an insight into languages,
arts, and mysteries; and then to neglect all you have acquired at last, is
a mode of conduct, for which I cannot easily account--What! was not the
mansion of a fat _clergyman_ a more desirable acquisition than this
miserable hut, these gloomy forests, and yonder savage stream?--Were not
the food and liquor belonging to the white men of the _law_ far superiour
to these insipid fish, these dried roots, and these running waters?--Were
not a _physician's_ cap, an elegant morning gown, and a grave suit of
black clothes, made by an european tailor, more tempting to your
imagination, than this wretched blanket, that is eternally slipping from
your shoulders, unless it be fastened with skewers, which are by no means

"Pardon me,' replied the Indian, 'if all those blessings and advantages
you have mentioned seemed nothing to my view, in comparison with these
_divine solitudes_: opinion alone is happiness. The _Great Man_,
who has chosen his habitation beyond the stars, will dispose of us as he
pleases. I am under an obligation of passing happily here that life which
he has given me, because in so doing I serve and adore him. I could not
but be sorrowful, were I to be removed for ever from this stream. Let me
alone, white man; others shall make laws, and pass sleepless nights, for
the advantage of the world; sachem Tomo-cheeki will leave all things to
the _invisible direction_; and, provided he can be contented in his
_wigwam_, the end of his existence is accomplished.

"But,' continued he, 'of what great value can that education be,
which does not inculcate moral and social _honesty_ as it's first and
greatest principle. The knowledge of all things above and below is of
inconsiderable worth, unconnected with the heart of rectitude and
benevolence.--Let us walk to the remains of an old indian town; the bones
of my ancestors repose in its vicinity.'--

"He had scarcely uttered these words when he seized his staff, and rushed
out of the wigwam with a sort of passionate violence, as if deeply
agitated at the recollection of the past, present, and future fate of his
countrymen.--I followed him with equal celerity. 'But,' said he, 'it is in
vain to grieve! In three centuries there will not be one individual of all
our race existing upon the Earth. I lately passed this stream, and it
being swollen with rains at my return, I could not without the greatest
danger cross over it again to my wigwam; the winds raged, the rain fell,
and the storms roared around me. I laid me down to sleep beneath a copse
of hazles. Immediately the unbodied souls of my ancestors appeared before
me. Grief was in their countenances. All fixed their eyes upon me, and
cried, one after the other, "_Brother, it is time thou hadst also
arrived in our abodes: thy nation is extirpated, thy lands are gone, thy
choicest warriors are slain; the very wigwam in which thou residest is
mortgaged for three barrels of hard cider! Act like a man, and if nature
be too tardy in bestowing the favour, it rests with yourself to force your
way into the invisible mansions of the departed_."

"By this time we had arrived at the ruins of the old indian town. The
situation was highly romantic, and of that kind which naturally inclines
one to be melancholy. At this instant a large heavy cloud obscured the
sun, and added a grace to the gloominess of the scene. The vestiges of
streets and squares were still to be traced; several favourite trees were
yet standing, that had outlived the inhabitants; the stream ran, and the
springs flowed, as lively as ever, that had afforded refreshment to so
many generations of men, that were now passed away, never to return. All
this while the Indian had melancholy deeply depicted in his countenance;
but he did not shed many tears, till we came to that quarter where his
ancestors had been entombed. 'This spot of land,' said he, recovering
himself a little, 'was once sacred to the dead; but it is now no longer
so! This whole town, with a large tract around it, not even excepting the
bones of our progenitors, has been sold to a stranger. We were deceived
out of it, and that by a man who understood Greek and Hebrew; five kegs of
whiskey did the business: he took us in the hour of dissipation, when the
whole universe appeared to us but a little thing; how much less then, this
comparatively small tract of country, which was, notwithstanding, our
whole dependance for the purposes of hunting and fishing!----Here,'
continued he, sighing, 'was the habitation of _Tawlongo_, one of our
most celebrated warriors. He, in his time, could boast of having gained no
fewer than one hundred and twenty-seven complete victories over his
enemies; yet he was killed at last by an unarmed _Englishman_.

"Here, too, on the opposite side of the way, stood the house of
_Pilaware_, the admirable; she had been addressed by thirty-three suitors
of her own nation, but refused them all, and went off at last with an
_irish pedlar_, for the sake of three yards of silver riband, and a new
blanket. Yonder stood the dwelling of _Scuttawabah_, my immediate
ancestor; he died for joy of having found a keg of rum, that had been lost
by some western trader. May his joys be continued behind the western
mountains--Recollection overcomes me--Let us return to the wigwam in the

"As soon as we had reached this sequestered abode, the Indian once more
sat himself down, and leaned his head upon his hand, melancholy enough, to
be sure.

"The old squaw desired to know why he was so sorrowful--The _remedy_,'
said she, _is in your power_.'--He then started up, as if suddenly
recollecting somewhat, and cried out, 'Existence is but a dream, an
agreeable dream indeed, if we only choose to consider it as such.--Bring
me that jug of strong cider; it will be my friend, when all others fail
and forsake me--Choicest gift of God to man! and which the white people
alone possess the art and knowledge of producing!'--He courteously offered
me a share of his beverage; but I found it so intolerably sour, that I was
forced to swear by all the gods of the Indians, I would not have any
connexion with it.--He then pointed to the stream where the girl was
angling, and said, with a peasant countenance that had brightened up for a
moment, 'Go; you are a _sober_ man; the clear waters are good for
you; for my own part, this juice of the apple shall be sufficient.'--Two
hours now elapsed, without any one uttering a word.--The Indian had by
this time drunk two large gallons of cider; and recollecting in an
instant, he had signed away his lands and wigwam, some days before, for a
_mere trifle_, he became at once outrageous; his rage heightened to
an alarming degree of extravagance by the strong fumes of the liquor he
had swallowed.--'_It is enough_,' said he; '_my house and lands are
departed: I will speak a word in favour of suicide_.

"'Tis all in vain! These flowers, these streams, these solitary shades,
are nothing to me. I shall not offend the spirit of truth when I say, they
are odious in my eyes. Sixty times has the sun performed his journey of a
year, since I was first struck with the beauty of his yellow rays. Could I
be a witness of sixty yet to come, would there be any thing new, or which
I had not seen before? It is high time we should intrude ourselves into
the invisible abodes, when all things satiate and grow stale upon us here
below. I will this very night enclose myself in my wigwam, and, setting it
on fire, depart with the thin vapour that shall arise from the dried wood
of the forest, when piled around me--No, no,' continued he, tasting the
remains of his cider '_there is nothing new_; all is _old, stale;
and insipid_.'

"At this instant an Indian trader alighted at the door. He appeared to
have come a considerable distance, and now proffered to barter a keg of
_french brandy_ for some beaver skins, he saw hanging out a post.

"French brandy!' cried Tomo cheekily 'that must be something _new_.'

"It is surely such,' replied the wandering trader, 'at least in this
remote wilderness.'

"I will taste it, by Heaven,' said the Indian.

"But will it not prove the falsehood of your position and assertion,'
interrupted I, 'that there is nothing _new under the sun? To him that
exists through all ages nothing can be strange or novel; with the
transitory race of man, the case is wholly different. Art and Nature are
combined in perpetually composing new forms and substances for his use and
amusement on the ocean of life_.'

"The Divinity himself must surely reside in that precious liquor!'
exclaimed the Indian, after tasting it a second time; 'take all my skins
and furs; and when the dawn of the morning appears, return home, stranger,
and bring a fresh supply of this celestial beverage. My existence had
indeed begun to be a burden: I was meditating, to extricate myself by the
shortest method. I have now learned wisdom, and am convinced, that it is
_variety alone that can make life desirable."_

       *       *       *       *       *

In order to understand the following, I must inform you, F---- had been
telling the story of a love-distracted maid, somewhat similar to Sterne's
Maria. You will suppose her lately to have put an end to her existence.--

"We had not proceeded very far on our way, when we discovered a funeral
procession advancing towards us, headed by the parson of the parish in
which we were. He was a little man, dressed in black, with a scarf hanging
over his left shoulder.--Upon inquiry, we found they were proceeding to a
church about a league distant, where the corpse they attended was to be

"And to whom may this body belong?" said the _indian physician_,
addressing the man who walked in the rear of the procession.

"It is the corpse of the unfortunate Marcia,' replied the other, speaking
low; 'she died suddenly, yesterday morning, and is now carrying to be
interred in the vault of her ancestors.' We were much affected at this
intelligence, as we had hoped to hear of her recovery, instead of her

"At the request of my friend, the man in the white linen coat, the Indian
agreed to attend the funeral along with us, and accordingly we all three
fell in among the followers, and travelled on with a slow pace till we
came to the scene of interment. The situation was wild and gloomy. Naked
rocks, dark cedars, the head of a small lake, and the venerable tombs of
the dead, completed the scenery.

"It was pity,' said I, 'to the singing clerk, who stood near me, 'that
Fate has so ordered matters, that this young creature should depart the
world in so very extravagant a condition of mind. Though too many pass
their whole lives in a state of insanity, it were to be wished, that,
towards the evening, the clouds of phrensy might be dissipated, and the
sun of reason set clear.'

"The singing clerk looked full in my face, opened his mouth wide, and was
about to make some reply, when silence was ordered, that the clergyman
might pronounce a speech over the body; but his reverence stumbled at the
threshold: he had unluckily forgot his pocket Bible, and could not
recollect his _text_.

"Cannot he say something applicable to the melancholy occasion,' whispered
the Indian, 'without the formality of taking a _text_?'

"Were you to give him three worlds, each as rich as a dozen of the
Indies,' replied the clerk, 'you could not get a word out of him on any
other condition.'

"The sexton of the parish was then ordered to mount one of the horses, and
make the best of the way to the good doctor's house, to bring the Bible.

"After waiting a full and entire hour, he returned with the vexatious
intelligence, that the Bible was not to be found--it was stolen--or, it
was hid--or it had been _neglected_--or, it was mislaid--or they knew
not what had been done with it.--'More is the pity!' exclaimed the singing

"The doctor of divinity then mounted the horse himself, apparently with
some uneasiness, and set out personally to bring the Bible at all events.

"By this time, however, the sun was set, and the whole company stood
waiting in anxious expectation of the clergyman's return, till darkness
had taken possession of the earth; but there was yet no appearance of
either the divine or his Bible.

"As it is more than probable he cannot find his book,' said the man in the
white linen coat, 'I am positive he will not return at all; and, as it is
now almost dark, I am of opinion the sooner the funeral ceremonies are
finished the better. The body of the unfortunate Marcia ought not to be
deposited in these silent retreats of death without some living token of
our respect. She was amiable while living, and notwithstanding the
misfortune of a disordered brain, and an innocent, unsuspecting confidence
in another's honour, is, in my way of thinking, no less amiable when
dead.--Our friend, the Indian will, I know, be complaisant enough on this
occasion to give us a few sentences, and then the venerable sexton may
proceed to close the scene, and we shall be at liberty to return to our
respective homes.'

"This man is not in holy orders,' cried the sexton.

"He does not wear a black coat or gown,' said the singing clerk.

"He has not a gray wig on his head, observed one of the church wardens.

"It is no matter,' replied the man in the white linen coat, 'he has a
plain understanding, has written a treatise on the virtues of tobacco, and
knows what is common sense, as well as the best of you.'

"Casting my eyes at this instant toward the east, I perceived a glimmering
among the trees, which proved to be the moon rising, two days after the
full. The evening was calm and serene, and every thing was hushed, except
the surge of the ocean, which we could distinctly hear breaking on the
rocks of the adjacent coasts; when, finding the parish clergyman did not
return, the Indian shook the dew from his blanket, stepped boldly upon a
tombstone of black marble, and, for reasons best known to himself,
preferring the Indian style on this occasion, he thus began:--

"Instead of these dismal countenances, why have we not a feast of seven
days? Instead of the voice of sorrow, why are not the instruments of music
touched by the hand of skill? Fair daughter of the morning! thou didst not
perish by slow decay. At the rising of the sun we saw thee; the ruddy
bloom of youth was then upon thy countenance; In the evening thou wert
nothing; and the pallid complexion of death had taken place of the bloom
of beauty.--And now thou art gone to sit down in the gardens that are
found at the setting of the sun, behind the western mountains, where the
daughters of the white men have a separate place allotted to them by the
spirit of the hills. As much as the mind is superiour to the body, so much
are those charming regions preferable to these which we now inhabit. Man
is here but an image of himself, the representation of an idea that in
itself is not subjected to a change. That which derived it's origin from
the dust shall indeed to the dust return; but the fine ethereal substance
does not cease to think, and shall be again employed by the immortal gods
to put the forms of things in motion. What was thine errour?--It was
nothing: the bow was too mighty for the string, and the foundation too
feeble for the fabric that was built upon it. All shall be right when thou
art arrived at the foot of the mountains, where the sound of the wintry
winds will not be permitted to reach thee, and where the light of the lamp
is not extinguished by the sickly blasts of autumn.----

_"What infernal stuff is this?'_ exclaimed the clergyman, who at this
period of the Indian's discourse had returned on a full gallop with a
large folio Bible before him: _'what infernal heretical trash is this,
with which my ears are insulted?--Miscreant, avaunt!'_ said he, addressing
the Indian, _'or I will teach you how to make speeches within the bounds
of my jurisdiction,'_

"The Indian then modestly stepped down from the tombstone, and the
legitimate clergyman took his place. After making a slight apology for his
stay, he read his text by the light from a horn lantern, which the clerk
held up to his nose, and then proceeded to mumble over a written discourse
upon the subject he had chosen, and which held him about half an
hour.--'In my country,' observed the Indian, 'they would make a more
_animated_ speech at the interment of a _favourite racoon_!'

"'This divinity-monger is the angel of our church,' answered the man in the
white linen coat; 'and it is dangerous to criticise upon his productions,
especially as he considers every one to be in the wrong, who does not
precisely fall in with his own opinions in matters appertaining to

"'Weak men are always arrogant, positive, and self-conceited,' replied the

"'Let us hasten home,' whispered the man in the white linen, coat, 'for the
night begins to wear apace."

       *       *       *       *       *

Before the following lines are read, represent to yourself, that some of
the tribes of Indians bury their dead in a sitting posture.--


In spite of all the learn'd have said,
  I still my old opinion keep,
The _posture_ that _we_ give the dead,
  Points out the soul's eternal sleep.

Not so the ancients of these lands:--
  The Indian, when from life releas'd,
Again is seated with his friends,
  And shares again the joyous feast.

His imag'd birds, and painted bowl,
  And ven'son for a journey drest,
Bespeak the _nature_ of the soul--
  _Activity_, that wants no rest.

His bow for action ready bent,
  And arrows with a head of bone,
Can only mean that life is spent,
  And not the finer essence gone.

Thou, stranger, that shalt come this way,
  No fraud upon the dead commit;
Yet, mark the swelling turf, and say,
  'They do not _lie_, but here they _sit_'

Here still a lofty rock remains,
  On which the curious eye may trace
(Now wasted half by weiring rains)
  The fancies of a ruder race.

Here still an aged elm aspires,
  Beneath whose far projecting shade
(And which the shepherd still admires)
  The children of the forest play'd.

There oft a restless indian queen,
  (Pale Marian, with her braided hair)
And many a barb'rous form, is seen,
  To chide the man that lingers there.

By midnight moons, o'er moist'ning dews,
  In vestments for the chace array'd,
The hunter still the deer pursues--
  The hunter and the deer--a shade.

And long shall tim'rous fancy see
  The painted chief, and pointed spear,
And, _Reason's self_ shall bow the knee
  To shadows and delusions here.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Philadelphia, September 22d, 1795._


I find from a perusal of the english papers, that fencibles are raising in
all parts of the country, and every precaution taking, to put the kingdom
in the best state of defence, in case of an invasion. I have for some
years thought a few regiments of riflemen would much contribute to this
desirable end.

Some lessons I have received in the use of the rifle, from back woodsmen,
since my arrival in America, have confirmed me in this opinion.

I know it will be objected, that the rifle is not a fair weapon. Perhaps
it is not.--I should be sorry to see it in general use in the european
armies: but surely it may be used to repel an invader, without any
infringement of the Law of Nations.

What I would recommend to Government on this subject is, first,


Beside the officers who have paid any attention to this method of fighting
during the last war in America, some of the most experienced back woodsmen
and indian chiefs should be sent for from Canada.

Independent of the regiments on the ordinary establishment, I would
recommend one of _select men_, with better pay, &c., to be formed
from the other rifle corps; _merit_ being the only recommendation.

Volunteer companies, in different parts of the country, might soon be
formed, composed of gentlemen, sportsmen, gamekeepers, &c. Proper persons
should make the circuit of the kingdom, to instruct them in some of the
most necessary particulars; such as loading, with the proper use of the
patch; to draw a level, making a just allowance for distance, &c.


I would by no means recommend _contract_ let proper encouragement be
given to gun-smiths, to supply rifles of the best construction, _loading
from the muzzle_.--Their being of an uniform length, or bore, is of no
consequence, as every man should cast and cut his own ball.

The barrel, mounting, and lock, should be covered with a composition, to
render them as dull, and as little discernible, as possible. The locks
should always be in the very best firing order, and constructed to give
fire as easily as the nature of the service will admit. Oil, for the
inside of the rifle, should be regularly served; and the flints should be
of a much better quality than those used in muskets.


Every thing depends upon this article's being of an uniform degree of
strength: it should be of the best quality, but not glazed.


Cannot be better than those used by the rifle corps in this country,
except perhaps that the latter should be of a dusky green, the colour died
in the Highlands of Scotland for plaids; even the cap should be of this
colour: a sort of helmet, constructed so as to afford a rest to fire from,
when lying on the belly.


It may perhaps be presumption in me to say any thing on this subject; but
I cannot help thinking it should be the _reverse_ of what is used in
the Line. They should be encamped as much as possible in a woody country,
as the art of _freeing_, as the back woodsmen call it, is one of
their best manoeuvres. Their whole time should be taken up in the
_real_ study of their profession, not in powdering, pipeclaying,
blacking, polishing, and such military fopperies.

The rifle out of the question, I do not think _slow, deliberate firing_
sufficiently attended to in the english army. Want of ammunition first
introduced it into this country at Bunker's Hill, and afterward at
Sullivan's Island. The carnage that ensued was a fatal proof of it's

I have often thought, that the success of our navy was in a great measure
owing to _cool, deliberate firing_; and there is no doubt but that the
military fame of our ancestors was owing to their great superiority in
shooting the long bow; for the exercise of which, butts were erected in
every village in the kingdom.--


Yours, &c

       *       *       *       *       *

_Philadelphia, February 12th, 1796._


Were I to characterise the _United States_, it should be by the
appellation of the _land of speculation_.

Such has been the rapid rise of every article of american produce, of
house-rent, and land (to say nothing of mercantile speculation, great part
of the carrying trade of Europe being now in the hands of the Americans),
that surely there never was a country where that passion was so universal,
or had such unbounded scope.

The last great purchase of land from the Indians, on the confines of
Georgia, was at the rate of a cent per acre; one hundred acres for a

Before the american war, flour, was sold at _two_ dollars, per barrel; it
is now selling at _fourteen_.

But perhaps the most tempting speculation is that of the _mines_. Our
friend, Parsons, who is here looked upon as an agent to some english
speculators, has lately received the enclosed, which I begged a copy of,
for your perusal but should first inform you, the cheapest fuel you can
burn in some parts of America, is english coal from Liverpool!




"The coal mine, of which you requested, me to give you a description, is
situate in the county of Hampshire, on a spur or arm of the Allegany
mountains. At the foot of this, within the distance of one mile, is the
river Patowmack, at the confluence of it's north branch with the Savage
river. To this point, the Patowmack Company, incorporated for this
purpose, intend to extend their navigation, and have already perfected it
within the distant of six or seven miles. The work is going forward, and I
believe will be completed next summer. This being perfected, there will be
a good navigation for large flat-bottomed boats, within one mile of the
coal-bank, to which a good road may be had on the side of the mountain.

"This immense body of coal, which lies not above two or three feet under
the surface of the earth, was discovered by the falling of a tree, the
roots of which brought up some pieces of coal. It has been made use of for
some years by the neighbouring blacksmiths, who have made a perpendicular
opening, about ten feet on this side of the mountain. Intending to
purchase this property, I employed a man about two years ago to dig about
twelve feel lower down than the first opening, and found nothing but a
solid body of coal, of an excellent quality. I am inclined to think it
extends to the bottom of the mountain, and may be procured with so much
ease, that one hand, as I am assured, could deliver three hundred bushels
a day.

"From the information I have received, there is a body of iron ore within
seven or eight miles of the coal-bank; and I expect a very advantageous
situation for water-works might be found at the confluence of the North
Branch and the Savage. Among the great objects contemplated by the
Patowmack Company in clearing the navigation of that extensive river, was
that of forming an easy communication between the eastern and western
waters, which you know are divided by the Allegany Mountains. The space
that separates them at present is about sixty miles; but when the
obstructions to the navigation down the Patowmack, which, passing through
an extensive and fertile country, leads to the seat[Footnote: The writer
means _intended_ seat of federal empire.] of federal empire; and
thence widening by degrees to the width of twelve miles, empties itself
into the bay of Chesapeak.

"Should any of your friends in England incline to form an establishment
here, in the smaller branches of non manufactory, I should he glad to
treat with them on terms mutually beneficial.

"Yours, &c."

       *       *       *       *       *

_Philadelphia June 27th, 1796._


"In some part of the middle states, a climate similar to that of England
may easily be found."

Inform our old acquaintance H----, that if he emigrates to America on the
strength of this assertion of Cooper, (on which, you tell me he so much
depends), he will, on his arrival, find himself egregiously mistaken. The
sameness of latitude does not always indicate similarity of temperature:
there are many other causes, which contribute to make this a very
different climate from that of Great Britain.

The middle states of North America are hotter and colder _at intervals_,
not only than England, but than any part of the Old Continent, under the
same parallel of latitude.

Jefferson says, "Our changes from heat to cold are sudden and great. The
mercury in Fahrenheit's thermometer has been known to descend from 92 to
47, in thirteen hours."

And I copied the following from a New York paper:--

"Wednesday, the 14th of May, the mercury in Fahrenheit rose to 91 degrees,
The Saturday night following, there was a severe frost. The next Tuesday
and Wednesday, the mercury rose to 85 degrees; from the 20th to the 26th,
it has been nearly stationary, varying only from 60 to 64.: Easterly wind,
and rain."

These violent transitions from heat to cold, are produced by means of the
N.W. wind, which in this country is the most keen and severe of any that
is to be met with on the face of the globe. It is much the most prevalent
wind we have, and seldom fails to blow four or five days with great
uniformity. This wind is perfectly _dry_, and so uncommonly penetrating,
that I am convinced it would destroy all the plagues of Egypt in a very
short time. You may recollect, I informed you of the astonishing effect of
this powerful agent in stopping the yellow fever in a few hours, last
year, at Baltimore.

Neither the prevalence, nor uncommon severity of this wind has been
properly accounted for; but we may now expect something more satisfactory
on this subject, from the celebrated Volney; who is here endeavouring to
investigate the causes of this, and other phenomena, relative to the winds
of this continent.

Our heats in summer are sometimes very great; but the excess seldom
exceeds three days; the rotation is generally as follows; the first day
perhaps the mercury rises to 86, the next to 90, and the 3rd to 97, and
sometimes, though very rarely, to upward of 100 then comes a thunder gust,
which restores the air to it's usual summer temperature, till another
three days period of excessive heat begins and ends in the same manner, at
intervals, through the season. The succession of the degree of cold in
winter is exactly the same: I never knew the excess exceed three days; not
that we have then a thaw but that the weather is moderate, till another
excess commences of three days.

On these occasions the mercury _sometimes_ descends to 10 or 12 degrees
below 0. Rivers a mile broad are frozen over in one night, and the bay of
Chesapeak traversed in waggons and sleighs!

Though this climate, compared with that of England, is not in my opinion
on the whole so good, yet it possesses many advantages, such as the
clearness of the atmosphere, greater equality of the length of the days,
and _certainty_ of settled weather; for though the transitions are more
_violent_, they are by no means so _frequent_ as in England; where you
have the wind from every point of the compass, and experience all the
seasons of the year in twenty-four hours!

Recollect these observations on the climate of America are confined to the
_middle states_, including Virginia in this description. Those of the
north, and south, are _somewhat_ different; but I am informed
the country to the S.W. of the Allegany Mountains is _materially
different_. The distance the N.W. wind has to travel to this country,
and the opposition it meets with from those mountains, in a great measure
meliorates and destroys those penetrating qualities, which make this wind
so formidable to the Atlantic States. I have heard so many extraordinary
accounts of the South-western territory, that I have long made up my mind
to visit that country: two _trifling_ reasons alone prevented me;
viz. want of _time_ and _money_; and from some disagreeable
intelligence I have lately received from _Wells_, instead of climbing
the _Allegany,_ I apprehend I shall soon be obliged to cross the
_Atlantic;_ in which case, I shall have the pleasure of returning you
thanks in person for your obliging attention to my order concerning
the........... which I received by the Peggy.

At present I must content myself by assuring you of my being

Your obliged friend, &c.

_Philadelphia, September 13th, 1796._


I write this in my way to Boston, where I am going to fulfil my engagement
with W----, the particulars of which I informed you of in a former letter.

When I arrived at Newcastle, I had the mortification to find upwards of
one hundred irish passengers on board the packet.

For some time before I left Baltimore, our papers were full of a shocking
transaction, which took place on board an irish passenger ship, containing
upwards of three hundred. It is said, that, owing to the cruel usage they
received from the captain, such as being put on a _very scanty_ allowance
of water[Footnote: By a law of the United States, the quantity of water
and provision every vessel is obliged to take (in proportion to the length
of the passage and persons on board) is clearly defined. A master of a
vessel violating this law forfeits five hundred dollars.] and provision, a
contagious disorder broke out on board, which carried off great numbers;
and, to add to their distress, when they arrived in the Delaware, they
were obliged to perform quarantine, which, for some days, was equally

The disorder was finally got under by the physicians belonging to the
Health Office. We had several of the survivors on board, who confirmed all
I had heard: indeed their emaciated appearance was a sufficient testimony
of what they had suffered. They assured me, the captain sold the ship's
water by the pint; and informed me of a number of shocking circumstances,
which I will not wound your feelings by relating.

It is difficult to conceive how a multitude of witnesses can militate
_against_ a fact; but more so, how three hundred passengers could
tamely submit to such cruelties, from a bashaw of a captain.

I am happy to inform you the Philadelphia Hibernian Society are determined
to prosecute this _flesh butcher_ for _murder_; As the manner of
carrying on this _trade_ in human flesh is not generally known in
England, I send you a few particulars of what is here emphatically called
a _white Guinea man_. There are vessels in the trade of Belfast,
Londonderry, Amsterdam, Hamburgh, &c., whose chief _cargoes_, on
their return to America, are passengers; great numbers of whom, on their
arrival, are _sold_ for a term of years to pay their passage; during
their servitude, they are liable to be _resold_, at the death or
caprice of their masters. Such advertisements as the following, are

"To be disposed of, the indentures of a strong, healthy, _irish woman_;
who has two years to serve, and is fit for all kind of house work.--
Enquire of the printer."

"_Stop the villain!_

Ran away this morning, an irish servant, named Michael Day, by trade a
tailor, about five feet eight inches high, fair complexion, has a down
look when spoken to, light bushy hair, speaks much in the irish dialect,
&c.:--Whoever secures the above described, in any gaol, shall receive
thirty dollars reward, and all reasonable charges paid.--_N.B._. All
masters of vessels are forbid harbouring, or carrying off the said servant
at their peril."

The laws respecting the _redemptioners_[Footnote: The name given to these
persons.] are very severe; they were formed for the english convicts
before the revolution. There are lately hibernian, and german societies,
who do all in their power, to mitigate the severity of these laws, and
render their countrymen, during their servitude, as comfortable as
possible. These societies are in all the large towns south of Connecticut.
In New England they are not wanting, as the _trade_ is there prohibited.
The difficulty of hiring a tolerable servant induces many to _deal_ in
this way. Our friend S---- lately bought an irish girl for three years,
and in a few days discovered he was likely to have a greater _increase of
his family_ than he bargained for; we had the laugh sadly against him on
this occasion; I sincerely believe the jew regrets his new purchase is not
a few shades darker. If he could prove her a _women of colour_, and
produce a bill of sale, he would make a slave of the child as well as the
mother! The emigration from Ireland has been this year very great; I
left a large _vessel_[Footnote: These vessels frequently belong to
Philadelphia, but land their passengers here, as there is a direct road to
the back parts of Pennsylvania.] full of passengers from thence at
Baltimore: I found _three_ at Newcastle: and there is _one_ in this city.
The number of passengers cannot be averaged at less than two hundred and
fifty to each vessel, all of whom have arrived within the last six weeks!

While the yellow fever was raging in this city, in the year 1793, when few
vessels would venture nearer than Fort Miflin; a german captain in _this
trade_ arrived in the river, and hearing that such was the fatal nature of
the infection, that a sufficient number of nurses could not be procured to
attend the sick for any sum, conceived the philanthropic idea of supplying
this deficiency from his _redemption passengers!_ actuated by this _humane
motive_, he sailed boldly up to the city, and _advertised_[Footnote: I
have preserved this advertisement, and several others equally curious.]
his _cargo_ for sale:--

"A few _healthy_ servants, generally between seventeen and twenty-one
years of age; their times will be disposed of, by applying on board the

Generous soul! thus nobly to sacrifice his _own countrymen, pro bono
publico_. I never heard this _honest_ german was _properly_ rewarded; but
virtue is it's own reward, and there is no doubt but the consciousness of
having performed _such_ an action is quite _sufficient_; at least, it
would be to

Yours, &c.,

       *       *       *       *       *

_Boston, September 23rd, 1797._


I set out for New York on the afternoon of the 16th. We had a pleasant
journey, over a rich and well cultivated tract of country, to Bristol. We
soon after crossed the Delaware, in a scow constructed to carry the stage
and horses over in a few minutes, without even taking the latter from the
carriage. We then entered the state of Jersey, and slept at Trenton, which
we left before sunrise the next morning; a circumstance I regretted, as I
wished to see the falls of the river Delaware in that neighbourhood, which
I am informed are worthy the attention of a traveller.

Our journey across the Jerseys was pleasant; but the land is by no means
so rich as on the other side of the Delaware. Pennsylvania is, in my
opinion, justly called the Garden of America, at least of the United
States _East_ of the Allegany Mountains. We dined at New Brunswick,
where there is a wooden bridge, with stone piers, thrown over a broad and
rapid river. Our landlord informed us, several englishmen assured him, "It
was _very like_ Westminster Bridge." Though my conscience would not
permit me, _exactly_ to chime with my countrymen, it is but justice
to acknowledge, that when the infant state of the country is considered,
it is a work of equal magnitude, boldly designed, and neatly executed.

About four in the afternoon, we embarked in a small vessel for New York,
which is situate on an island, in a bay, formed by the conflux of two
large rivers, the Hudson or North, and the East river.

The city covers the south end of the island, and, as you approach it in
that direction from the Jersey shore, seems like Venice, gradually rising
from the sea. The evening was uncommonly pleasant; the sky perfectly clear
and serene, and the sun, in setting with all that vivid warmth of
colouring peculiar to southern latitudes, illuminated some of the most
beautiful scenery in nature, on the north river, and adjacent country. For
some minutes all my faculties were absorbed in admiration of the
surrounding objects! I never enjoyed a prospect more enchanting; but this
pleasure was of short continuance; I unfortunately cast my eyes towards
the city, and immediately recollected _two words_ I heard in the
Jerseys (yellow fever); at which the delusion vanished!

_New York, Sept. 18th_.--My Jersey intelligence was too true; but the
disorder is chiefly confined to one part of the city, and is effectually
prevented from spreading at present by the N.W. wind, which is set in this
morning with uncommon severity; a circumstance which sometimes happens at
this season of the year, and is of long continuance. This kind of weather
the Indians call _half_ winter. Unfortunately for the Philadelphians,
they had no half winter in the year 1793.--I spent this day in surveying
the city, which, as well as the manners of the inhabitants, is more like
England than any other part of America. New York is a London in miniature,
populous streets, hum of business, busy faces, shops in style, &c.

_Sept. 25th,_--I spent this day in viewing the city with increasing
admiration: It is certainly one of the first maritime situations in the
world. The extensive settlements on the banks of the Hudson, which
is navigable upwards of two hundred miles, amply supplies the city
with exports and provision. The inhabitants boast of having the best
fish-market in the United States; their own oyster-beds, and their
vicinity to the _New England states_, give them this advantage[Footnote:
There are fish on the coast of America which have certain boundaries,
beyond which they never go; salmon, for instance, is never found south of
a river in Connecticut; and certain southern fish never visit the New
England coast.].--The governor's house, new theatre, and tontine coffee
house, are magnificent buildings; the public walks well laid out, and
pleasantly situate.

One advantage this city possesses peculiar to itself; you may be as much
in the country as you can desire for five farthings english money: the
fare is no more to Long Island, where you may be conveyed, from the heart
of the city, in a few minutes, and meet with as great a variety of hill
and dale, wood and water, as in any part of the world. This island is
ninety miles in length.

_Sept. 19th_.--I intended proceeding to Boston, by the way of Rhode
Island, as I was informed the passage through _Hell Gates_[Footnote:
A dangerous strait, between stupendous rocks.] and the Sound is very
pleasant at this season; but the fear of being obliged to perform a
quarantine at my arrival prevented me. I set off this morning, in the
stage. Our course lay the whole length of the island, which is barren and
rocky; affording some romantic situations, in several of which I observed
(to use a cockney phrase) _snug little boxes_; these, I was informed,
belonged to the wealthy citizens; they commanded a view of the city, the
North River, the Sound, and adjacent islands.

At noon we entered Connecticut, the most southerly of the New England
states. Slept at Fairfield.

On the night of the 20th we reached Hertford, the capital of the state.--
About five miles from it, a house was pointed out to me, where a very
shocking circumstance took place a few years ago.--A merchant, not being
able to bear a change in his circumstances from affluence to extreme
poverty, coolly and deliberately shot his wife and five children, and
afterward himself. He tried every means, for several days, to send his
wife away; but she preferred dying with him and the children. He left a
paper on the table, informing his friends, that his only motive for
committing this rash action was to rescue his family from a situation,
which he himself found insupportable.

_Sept. 21st._--We this afternoon entered the state of Massachusetts.
I found New England very different from any part of America I had before
seen; the soil but very indifferent, rocky, and mountainous, interspersed
with some rich tracts of land in the valleys; the up lands are divided by
means of stone walls, as in Derbyshire, and some other parts of Great

They have few negroes, or european emigrants; so far from wanting the
latter, as in the South, they send great numbers every year to the new
settlements in the South-west.

When we made any stay at a tavern on the road, I observed one of my
fellow travellers (who was very eloquent upon this subject) take every
opportunity of singing forth the praises of _New Virginia_[Footnote: A
rich tract of country, west of the Allegany Mountains.].--The north-west
wind continuing, the morning of the 22d was very cold; and we breakfasted
with a number of strangers. Our orator did not lose this opportunity of
holding forth on his favourite topic. I recollect the latter part of his
harangue was to the following effect:--_"There,"_ says he, (while the New
Englanders were staring with their _mouths open_,) "when I clear a fresh
lot of land on any of my plantations, I am obliged to plant it six or
seven years with hemp, or tobacco, before it is sufficiently _poor_ to
bear wheat! My indian corn grows twelve or thirteen feet high; I'll dig
four feet deep on my best land, and it shall then be sufficiently rich to
_manure_ your barren hills; and as to the climate, there is no comparison:
this cursed cold north-west wind loses all it's severity before it reaches
us; our winters are so mild, that our cattle requite no fodder, but range
the woods all winter; and our summers are more moderate than on your side
the Allegany; and as to----" Here the stage-driver put an end to his
oration, by informing us, all was ready to proceed on our journey.

We must not be surprised, that numbers, who cultivate an ungrateful soil
in this cold climate, should be induced, by such descriptions as the
above, to emigrate to our orator's land of promise, I am informed ten
thousand persons emigrated from these states to Kentucky _alone_, in
one year. I have lately seen a flattering description of this country,
published in London: that the accounts are exaggerated, I have no doubt,
as it is said to be written by a speculator; deeply interested in the sale
of lands in the new settlements. I had a strong suspicion our fellow
traveller was of this description, and took every opportunity to
cross-examine him on this subject; he stuck true to his text, insisted
that all he advanced was literally true, but acknowledged he was going to
receive a sum of money for land he had sold to some emigrants from the
province of Main, and that he expected to sell a considerable tract before
his return. I arrived at Boston the 23d instant, four hundred and
seventy-four miles from Baltimore.

Yours, &c.

_P.S._ I find we are to have a most vigorous theatrical opposition. A sort
of dramatic mania has lately seiz'd the inhabitants. The _primitive_
Bostonians would as soon have admitted the plague as a company of players;
but the present inhabitants having more liberal sentiments, a company of
comedians came to this town about four years ago, and ventured to exhibit
dramatic pieces, under the title of _Moral Lectures_. At length a bill
passed the General Assembly of Massachusetts to licence theatrical
performances; and as it is natural for mankind to run from one extreme to
another, they have this year _two_ theatres, both of which are attended
with a prodigious expence. Some of the performers are engaged at upwards
of 20_l_. english per week; and Mrs. Whitlocke (sister to Mrs. Siddons,
whom you may perhaps recollect at the Haymarket) is to have 180_l_.
sterling for six nights. This opposition will in all probability end in
the ruin of the managers, or rather of the _subscribers, who are bound for
the payments_.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Boston, October 3d, 1796._


The first leisure day after my arrival here, I went to Bunker's Hill,
attended by two persons, who were spectators of the engagement, and were
kind enough to point out and explain a number of particulars I wished to
be acquainted with, for the purpose of enabling me to form a tolerable
idea of this famous action. If general Howe meant only to give the
_Yankies_ a specimen of british valour, and his contempt of them and their
intrenchment, he succeeded in both.--His enemies on this side the water
say, "they gave him a _Rowland_ for his _Oliver_; _that_ he paid _too
dear_ for this victory; _that_ a more prudent general would have found a
better place to land the troops, and a safer mode of attack; _that_ the
_price_ he paid for this little redoubt ought to have convinced him, he
could not afford even to _bid_ for Dorchester heights, if once the
Americans got possession of those hills; _that_ he should therefore have
fortified them _himself_; _that_----" But as nothing is easier than to
see all these _thats_ when it is _too late_, I shall plague you with no
more of them, but conclude with an inscription from a monument on the
scene of action.

Yours, &c.

            "ERECTED, 1794,
By King Solomon's Lodge of Free Masons,
[Footnote: General Warren was a brother.]
    constituted at Charlestown, 1783,
              In Memory of
 Who were slain on this memorable spot,
            June 17th, 1775.

None but they, who set a just value on the
   blessings of LIBERTY, are worthy to enjoy
In vain we toil'd, in vain we fought,
We bled in vain, if you, our offspring,
Want valour to repel the assaults of her

      CHARLES TOWN settled 1628.
      ------------ burnt   1775.
      ------------ rebuilt 1776.

_P. S._ I was yesterday introduced to Cox, the celebrated
bridge-architect: he is famous for throwing a bridge over waters, where,
from the _depth_ or _strength_ of the current, this operation was thought
impracticable. He always constructs his bridges of wood, and endeavours to
give as little resistance to the water as possible: his supporters are
numerous, but slender; and there is an interval between each. He tells me
this idea first struck him from reading Aesop's fable of the Reed and the
Oak: the reed, by _yielding_, was unhurt by a tempest, which tore up the
sturdy oak by the roots.

Cox served his apprenticeship to a carpenter; and it was late in life
before he attempted bridge-building. He proved his new theory on a
small bridge in the country, which answering beyond his most sanguine
expectations, he delivered proposals for connecting Boston to the
continent, at Charleston, by means of a draw-bridge. His plan was by some
supposed to proceed from a _distempered brain_. It is usual for the
_ignorant_ to call a projector _insane_, when his schemes exceed
the bounds of _their shallow comprehensions_.

After some time, a subscription was raised; and, to the confusion of his
enemies, he erected a bridge 1500 feet long, by 42 wide, where there was,
at the _lowest ebb_, 28 feet of water, and the flow of the tide was
from 12 to 16 feet _more_. But what is the most surprising, this
bridge has stood the shock of prodigious bodies of ice, sometimes three or
four feet in thickness; which are, every thaw violently forced against it
with a powerful current. He was rewarded with the sum of two hundred
dollars above his contract. He then went to Ireland, where he built seven
bridges; the largest was at Londonderry, 1860 feet long, by 40 wide; the
depth of water 37 feet, and the flow of the tide from 14 to 18 feet more.
He compleated this bridge so much to the satisfaction of the gentlemen who
employed him, that he was presented with a gold medal and one hundred
pounds above his contract.

He speaks feelingly, and with gratitude, of the many favours he received
during his residence in that kingdom.

Farewell, yours, &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Boston, October 9th, 1796._


Boston is situate in latitude 42 deg. 23 min. north, on a small peninsula,
at the bottom of Massachusetts Bay. It was built in the manner cities were
in England, at the time this settlement was formed; that is to say, with,
the gable end of the houses in front, the streets are narrow, ill paved,
and worse lighted. But recollect, I do not include the New Town, or West
Boston, in this description; which, as well as those houses that have
lately been erected in the Old Town, are in the modern style.

The harbour is one of the best in the States; and, as a sea port, Boston
possesses advantages superiour to any I have seen in America: being too
far to the north to have any thing to fear from the worms (see a former
letter from Annapolis); and so near the ocean, that the navigation is
open, when the ports of Philadelphia, Baltimore, and others, three or four
degrees more to the south, are entirely frozen.

Several of the public buildings are well worthy the attention of a

The New State House will, when finished, add considerably to the beauty of
the town. It is building on Beacon Hill, and commands a very extensive
view of the bay of Massachusetts, and adjacent islands.

The long wharf is a bold design; it runs 1743 feet in a right line into
the bay, where there is, at the lowest ebb, 17 feet of water. On this
wharf are upwards of eighty large stores, containing merchandize to a
great amount. I could never view these buildings without astonishment at
the infatuation of the proprietors: they are, without a single exception,
of _wood_, and the roofs covered with cedar shingles; were a fire to
commence at either extremity with a brisk wind in the same direction, the
whole must infallibly be consumed.

The new[Footnote: The _old_ theatre has not been erected five years. Our
opposition rages with great violence. Much ink has already been shed. One
third of the public papers are crammed with what is called _Theatrical
Critique_; but is in fact either the barefaced puff direct in favour of
_one_ theatre, or a string of abusive epithets against the _other_,
equally void of truth and decency.

The dispute has lately taken _political_ turn. It seems ours is the
_aristocratic_ theatre. The _democrats_ at the New Theatre are commanded
by the _Moral Lecture_ manager. _Mr. Powell informs his fellow-citizens,
that on Monday evening will be performed the tragedy of the Battle of
Bunker's Hill_.--The English in this town affect to laugh at the eagerness
with which the Bostonians swallow certain passages of this play. I laugh
too, but _justice_ obliges me to confess, that _John Bull_ can swallow a
fulsome clap trap as voraciously at any _Yankee_ of them all.] theatre is
a stupendous wooden building, that will contain one tenth of the
inhabitants of the whole town.

The favourite promenade of the Bostonians, is the Mall, which has trees on
each side, as in St. James's Park, London. This walk commands some
beautiful prospects of the adjacent continent.

Immediately opposite is the village and university of Cambridge.

To open an immediate communication between Boston and the university, the
New Bridge was built on the plan of Mr. Cox during his absence in Ireland;
a great undertaking, including the causeways, which are covered in
the same manner as the water. This bridge is within a few feet of a
_mile_ in length, by means of which, the bridge at Charleston, and
the neck of the peninsula, our communication with the continent is so
complete, that we feel but few inconveniences from our insular situation.
--We have a plentiful supply of provision. Our fish-market is an excellent
one: the following species are larger than I remember seeing them in
Europe; viz. hallibut, cod, mackarel, smelts, and lobsters. The first is
often brought to market weighing two hundred pounds. Dr. Belknap, in his
History of New Hampshire, says, that when full grown, they often exceed
five hundred pounds weight. The cod are from seventy to eighty pounds.
Mackarel _often_ exceed four, and lobsters _sometimes_ thirty-five
pounds weight. I have preserved a claw of one of the latter, which
weighed thirty pounds: this I shall bring home with me, lest my friends
should think that, in this particular, I take too liberal an advantage of
the _traveller's privilege_, which I assure you I do not, when I
subscribe myself

Your sincere friend.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Boston, December 27th, 1796._


There is no calamity the bostonians so much, and justly dread, as
fire. Almost every part of the town exhibits melancholy proofs of the
devastation of that destructive element. This you will not wonder at, when
I inform you that three fourths of the houses are built with _wood_,
and covered with _shingles_, thin pieces of cedar, nearly in the
shape, and answering the end of tiles. We have no regular fire-men, or
rather mercenaries, as every master of a family belongs to a fire-company:
there are several in town, composed of every class of citizens, who have
entered into a contract to turn out with two buckets at the first fire
alarm, and assist to the utmost of their power in extinguishing the
flames, without fee or reward.

I awoke this morning about two o'clock by the cry of fire, and the
jingling of all the church bells, which, with the rattling of the engines,
call for water, and other _et caetera_ of a bostonian fire-alarm,
form a concert truly horrible.

As sleep was impossible under such circumstances, I immediately rose, and
found the town illuminated. When the alarm is given at night, the female
part of the family immediately place candles in the windows. This is of
great service in a town where there are few lamps.

I found the fire had broken out in one of the narrow streets, and was
spreading fast on all sides. I was much pleased with the regularity
observed by these _amateur_ fire-men. Each engine had a double row,
extending to the nearest water; one row passed the full, and the other the
empty buckets. The citizens not employed at the engines were pulling down
the adjacent buildings, or endeavouring to save the furniture; their
behaviour was bold and intrepid. The wind blew fresh at N.W.; and nothing
but such uncommon exertions could possibly have saved the town, composed,
as it is, of such _combustible_ materials. You will naturally inquire,
whether they have no other. Yes, brick and stone in great plenty; but the
cheapness of a frame, or wooden building, is a great inducement for the
continuance of this dangerous practice: but there is one still greater,
viz. a strange idea, universal in America, that wooden houses are more
healthy, and less liable to generate or retain contagious infection than
those of brick or stone. This notion has been ably controverted by one of
their best _writers_[Footnote: Jefferson, vicepresident of the United
States.], but with little effect; and, like all other deep-rooted
prejudices, will not easily be eradicated.

Your papers have, I suppose, informed you of a set of diabolical
incendiaries having set fire to Savannah, Charleston, Baltimore, and New
York. The villainy of these infernals is likely to be productive of some
good. The inhabitants of Charleston have agreed to prohibit the erection
of wooden buildings in that city. The philadelphians had before come to
this prudent resolution, within certain limits, I was present when this
matter was agitated. It was violently opposed by the democratic party; who
insisted, that in a _free_ country, a man has a right to build his
house of what materials he pleases. "True," said I, "of _stone_-brimstone
--use gun-powder for lime, and mix it with spirit of turpentine,"

Yours, &c.

_P.S._ I thank you for the _Apology_. It has been already twice answered
in this country, or rather, the bishop has been as often abused; first, by
a deist of New York, for speaking too _favourably_ of the Bible; and
secondly, by a hot-headed frantic of New England; who, in a work he calls
_The Bible needs no Apology_, rails at his lordship for the _opposite
reason_, and consigns him to eternal damnation, for _not_ insisting on
_every sentence_ of scripture being the _inspired_ word of God.

_Boston, January 7th, 1797._


The states of Massachusetts and Connecticut were originally settled by
brownists, and other puritans, and were, for many years, an asylum for
dissenters of all denominations, who fled from persecution in Europe, to
exercise a still greater degree of intolerance themselves, when in power
in America. You have doubtless read or heard of the _Blue_ Laws of
Connecticut. Without insisting on the sanguinary code, said to be formerly
in force under this title, I shall briefly, and without connexion,
transcribe for you some extracts from Dr. Belknap, and others of their
_own_ writers on this subject; on the truth of which you may rely:--


"Severe laws, conformable to the principles of the laws of Moses, were
enacted against all kinds of immorality.

"Blasphemy, idolatry, unnatural lusts, rape, murder, adultery,
man-stealing, bearing false witness, rebellion against parents, were all
_equally_ made _capital_ crimes. The law against the latter was in these
words:--'If any child or children, above sixteen years of age, and of
sufficient understanding, shall curse or smite their natural father or
mother, he or they shall be _put to death. Exodus_ xxi, 17; _Lev._ x, 9.'

"A law was passed to prohibit, under a severe penalty, the _smoking of
tobacco_, which was compared to the _smoke_ of the _bottomless pit_.
_Drinking_ of _healths_, and _wearing long hair_, were also forbidden,
under the same penalty: the first was considered as a heathenish and
idolatrous practice, grounded on the ancient libations.

"Previous to putting the laws in execution against the latter, the
following proclamation was issued, and is now preserved among the records
at Havard College, Cambridge, near Boston:--

"Forasmuch as the wearing of long hair, after the manner of ruffians and
barbarous indians, has begun to invade New England, contrary to the rule
of God's word, _Corinthians_ xi, 14, which says it is a shame for a man to
wear long hair; as also the commendable custom generally of all the
_godly_ of our nation, until these few years; we, the magistrates who have
subscribed this paper, (for the showing of our own _innocency_ in this
behalf,) do declare and manifest our dislike and detestation against the
wearing of such long hair, as against a thing _uncivil_ and _unmanly_;
whereby men do deform themselves, and offend _sober_ and _modest_ men, and
do _corrupt good manners_. We do therefore, earnestly intreat all the
elders of this jurisdiction, as often as they shall see cause, to
_manifest their zeal_ against it in their public administrations, and to
take care that the _members_ of their respective churches be not _defiled
therewith_, that so, such as shall prove obstinate, and will not reform
themselves, may have God and man to witness against them.

"The 3d month, 10th day, 1649.

"_Jo. Endicott_, Governor.
_Tho. Dudley_, Dep. Governor
_Rich. Bellingham.
Rich. Salton Stall.
Increase Nowell.
William Hibbins.
Tho. Flint.
Rob. Bridges.
Simon Bradstreet_.'

"Laws were made to regulate the intercourse between the sexes, and the
advances towards matrimony. They had a ceremony of betrothing, which
preceded that of marriage. _Pride_ and _levity_ came under the cognizance
of the magistrates. Not only the richness, but the mode of dress, and cut
of the hair, were subject to regulations. Women were forbidden to expose
their _arms_ or _bosoms_ to view. It was ordered, that their sleeves
should reach down to their _wrists_, and their gowns to be closed round
the _neck_. Women _offending_ against these laws were _presentable_ by the
_grand jury_.

"The following were some of their favourite arguments in favour of
persecution. The celebrated Cotton, in a treatise published in 1647,
laboured to prove the lawfulness of the magistrate using the civil sword,
to extirpate _heretics_, from the command given to the jews, to put
to death _blasphemers_ and _idolaters!_

"After saying it was _toleration_, which made the world _antichristian_,
he concludes his work with this singular ejaculation:--'The Lord keep us
from being bewitched with the whore's cup, lest while we seem to reject
her with our profession, we bring her in by a _back door_ of _toleration_,
and so drink deeply of the cup of the Lord's wrath, and be filled with her

"During a war with the eastern Indians, a council was called, and a
proposal made to draw upon them the _Mohawks_, their ancient enemy, though
then at peace: the lawfulness of this proceeding was doubted by some
_tender consciences_; but all their doubts vanished, when it was urged,
that _Abraham_ had entered into a confederacy with the _Amorites, among
whom he dwelt_, and made use of _their_ assistance in recovering his
kinsman _Lot_ from the hands of their _common enemy_."

       *       *       *       *       *

"The quakers at first were banished; but this proving insufficient, a
succession of sanguinary laws were enacted against them; such as
imprisonment, whipping, cutting off the ears, boreing the tongue with a
red-hot iron, and banishment on pain of death. In consequence of these
laws, four quakers were put to death at Boston only; when their friends in
England procured an order from king Charles the Second, which put a stop
to _capital executions_."

And now, friend Joseph, what do you think of these primitive christians?
When the _real_ Christian _William Penn_ arrived in America, what was _his
retaliation?_ He called his city _Philadelphia_, to perpetuate a memorial
of the cords of peace and good will, which bound him, and all his
followers, not only to one another, but even to his enemies at Boston,
were they inclined to come and settle with them.--The following words of
his proclamation ought to be written in letters of gold:--

"Because no people can be happy, if abridged of the freedom of their
consciences, as to their religious professions and worship; I do grant and
declare, that no person inhabiting this province, or territories, who
shall acknowledge one Almighty God, the Creator, Ruler, and Upholder of
the world, and live quietly under the civil government, shall in any case
be molested, or prejudiced in his person or estate because of his
conscientious persuasion or practice."

But to return to New England; happily for these states, the revolution
has done away great part of the severity of their ancient laws; but
the inhabitants still retain a taste for scriptural phrases and allusions
in their writings. As you are fond of _poetry_, I send you two
specimens of this kind of writing; the first is from a tomb-stone at
_Plymouth_[Footnote: The oldest settlement north of Virginia.]. It was
written by one of the first settlers, and is in the true spirit of those


"Here lies our captain, and major,
  Of Suffolk was withal,
A _godly_ magistrate was he,
  And major general.
Two troops of horse came here,
  (Such love his worth did crave;)
Ten companies of foot also,
  Mourning, marched to his grave.
Let all that read be sure to keep
  The _faith, as he has done_.
He lives now _crowned_ with _Christ_;
  His name was Humphrey Atherton."

In order to understand the second, I must inform you, it is usual for
boys, who expect christmas boxes, to present their masters' customers with
a copy of verses, expressive of their good wishes, &c. The call-boy of the
theatre, (a mechanic's son of this town,) had the following _verses_
written in the usual style by the _poet_ commonly employed on these
occasions, and when printed, delivered one to each of the performers.--


"Look up, worthy friends, from yonder bright hills
  See how Phoebus smiles, to hail the new year:
I bring you a tribute--rejoice thus to find,
  So many are living, and meet with us here.

"May health be confirm'd, and sickness remov'd;
  May no sweeping flames take place in this state;
We sympathise deeply with neighbouring friends,
  Whose cup has run over with this bitter fate.

"May _teachers_ this day find _help from above_
  To publish glad news, as _heralds of grace_,
While _Zion_ is mourning her light shall break forth,
  And shadows of midnight away from her chase.

"I wish through this year _God's presence_ may smile
  On all your just schemes at home or abroad;
I wish you his protection, by sea or by land;
  May your _theatrical works_ find favour in _God_.
[Footnote: The boy must surely mean the _gods_.]

"Gentlemen and ladies, accept these wishes sincere,
  And I wish you all a happy new year."

_Boston, January 1st, 1797._


To answer your last, wherein you desire me to send you the exact state of
negro slavery in this country, is a task to which I am unequal.

You will conceive the great difficulty of obliging you in this request,
when you are informed, that on this subject each individual state has it's
own laws. The only point in which they are unanimous, is to prohibit their
importation, either from the Coast of Africa, or the West Indies. I can
only inform you in general terms, that in the _southern states_ there
is little alteration in the negro code since the revolution; of course the
laws are nearly the same as in the British West India islands. In the
_middle states_, though negro slavery is allowed, their situation has
been considerably meliorated, by a variety of laws in their favour, some
tending to their gradual emancipation, others to render their servitude
less irksome, &c.

Societies are formed in several of the large towns to enforce these
lenient laws, and to purchase the freedom of a few of the most deserving
slaves. The quakers, beside liberating all their negroes, have contributed
liberally towards the funds these societies have established, for carrying
their benevolent intentions into effect. In consequence of these measures,
there are a number of free negroes in Philadelphia, whose situation is
very comfortable. A handsome episcopalian church has been built for their
use, and one of the most respectable negroes ordained, who performs all
the duties of his office with great solemnity and fervour of devotion,
assisted occasionally by his white brethren; and there are also two
schools, where the children of people of colour are educated gratis; one
supported by the quakers, the other by the abolition society.

Negro slavery, under any modification or form, is prohibited in this state
(Massachusetts,) also in New Hampshire, the province of Maine, and, _I
believe_, in all the _New England states_.

As to your other queries respecting the negroes, I send you my sentiments,
infinitely better expressed by Jefferson, notwithstanding all that Imlay,
Wilberforce, and other authors, have written against his assertion, viz.,
that "Negroes are _inferiour_ to the whites, both in the endowments of
_body_ and _mind_." I am clearly and decidedly of his opinion. A strict
attention to this subject, during three years residence in these states,
has convinced me of the truth of every tittle of the following extract
from his Virginia, which I enclose for your perusal, and am, most

Yours, &c.

"The first difference that strikes us is colour. Whether the black of the
negro reside in the reticular membrane, between the skin and scarf skin,
or in the scarf skin itself; whether it proceed from the colour of the
blood, the colour of the bile, or from that of some other secretion, the
difference is fixed in nature, and is as real as if it's seat and cause
were better known to us. And is this difference of no importance? Is it
not the foundation of a greater or less share of beauty in the two races?
Are not the fine mixtures of red and white, the expression of every
passion by a greater or less suffusion of colour in the one, preferable to
that eternal monotony, that immovable veil of black, which covers all the
emotions of the other race? Add to these, flowing hair, a more elegant
symmetry of form, their own judgment in favour of the whites, declared by
their preference to them, as uniformly as is the preference of the
oroonowtang for the black women over those of his own species? The
circumstance of superiour beauty is thought worthy attention in the
propagation of our horses, dogs, and other domestic animals; why not in
that of man?

"Beside those of colour, figure, and hair, there are other physical
distinctions, proving a difference of race. They have less hair on the
face and body. They secrete less by the kidneys, and more by the glands of
the skin; which gives them a very strong and disagreeable odour. This
greater degree of transpiration renders them more tolerant of heat, and
less so of cold, than the whites. Perhaps a difference of structure in the
pulmonary aparatus, which a late ingenious experimentalist, (Crawford) has
discovered to be the principal regulator of animal heat, may have disabled
them from extricating, in the act of inspiration, so much of that fluid
from the outer air; or obliged them, in expiration, to part with more of

"They seem to require less sleep. A black, after hard labour through the
day, will be induced by the slightest amusement, to sit up till midnight,
or later, though knowing he must be out with the dawn of the morning. They
are at least as brave, and more adventurous; but this may proceed from
want of forethought, which prevents their seeing a danger till it be
present; when present, they do not go through it with more coolness and
steadiness than the whites. They are more ardent after the female; but
love seems with them more an eager desire, than a tender delicate mixture
of sentiment and sensation. Their griefs are transient. Those numberless
afflictions which render it doubtful, whether Heaven has given life to us
more in mercy, or in wrath, are less felt and sooner forgotten with them.
In general, their existence appears to participate more of sensation than
reflection. To this must be ascribed their disposition to sleep, when
abstracted from their diversions, or unemployed in labour. An animal,
whose body is at rest, and who does not reflect, must be disposed to sleep
of course. Comparing them by their faculties of memory, reason, and
imagination, it appears to me that in memory, they are equal to the
whites; in reason much inferiour. As I think one could scarcely be found
capable of tracing, and comprehending the investigations of Euclid; and
that in imagination they are dull, tasteless, and anomalous. It would be
unfair to follow them to Africa for this investigation. We will consider
them here, on the same stage with the whites. And where the facts are not
apocryphal on which a judgment is to be formed, it will be right to make
allowances for the difference of condition, of conversation, and of the
sphere in which they move. Many millions of them have been brought to, and
born in America. Most of them indeed have been confined to tillage, to
their own homes, and their own society; yet many have been so situate,
that they might have availed themselves of the conversation of their
masters; many have been brought up to the handicraft arts, and from that
circumstance have always been associated with the whites; some have been
liberally educated, and all have lived in countries where the arts and
sciences are cultivated to a considerable degree, and have had before
their eyes samples of the best work from abroad. The Indians with no
advantages of this kind, will often carve figures on their pipes, not
destitute of merit and design. They will crayon out an animal, a plant, or
a country, so as to prove the existence of a germe in their minds, which
only wants cultivation. They astonish you with strokes of the most
sublime oratory, such as prove their reason and sentiment strong, their
imagination glowing and elevated; but never yet could I find a black, that
had uttered a thought above the level of plain narration[Footnote: "Sleep
hab no massa," was the answer of a sleepy negro, who was told that his
massa called him.--See Edward's History of Jamaica, 2d Vol.]; never see
even an elementary trait of painting, or sculpture. In music they are more
generally gifted than the whites with accurate ears for tune, and time;
and they have been found capable of imagining a small catch[Footnote: "The
instrument proper to them is the _banjore_, which they brought here
from Africa, and which is the origin of the guitar, it's chords being
precisely the four lower chords of that instrument." J---- N.]. Whether
they will be equal to the composition of a more extensive run of melody,
or of complicated harmony[Footnote: From this circumstance, I conceive our
author's _catch_ was improperly so called.], is yet to be proved.
Misery is often the parent of the most affecting touches in poetry. Among
the blacks is misery enough, God knows, but no poetry. Love is the
peculiar oestrum of the poet: their love is ardent; but it kindles the
senses only, not the imagination. Religion, or rather fanaticism,
has produced a _Phyllis Wheatly_; but it could not produce a poet.
Ignatius Sancho has approached nearer to merit in composition; yet his
letters do more credit to the heart than the head; supposing them to have
been genuine, and to have received amendment from no other hand; points
which would not be easy of investigation. The improvement of the blacks in
body and mind, in the first instance of their mixture with the whites, has
been observed by every one, and proves their inferiority is not the effect
merely of their condition in life.

"The white slaves, among the Romans, were often their rarest artists; they
excelled too in science, insomuch as to be usually employed as tutors to
their masters' children. Epictetus, Terence, and Phoedrus, were slaves.
Whether further observation will, or will not, verify the conjecture, that
Nature has been less bountiful to them, in the endowments of the head, I
believe in those of the heart she will be found to have done them justice.
That disposition to theft, with which they have been branded, must be
ascribed to their situation, and not to any depravity of the moral sense.
The man, in whose favour no laws of property exist, probably feels himself
less bound to respect those made in favour of others. When arguing for
ourselves, we lay it down as a fundamental, that laws, to be just, must
give a reciprocation of right; that without this, they are mere arbitrary
rules of conduct, founded in force, and not in conscience. And it is a
problem which I give the master to solve, whether the religious precepts
against the violation of property, were not formed for _him_, as well
as his slave, and whether the slave may not as justifiably take a little
from one who has taken _all_ from him, as he would slay one that
would slay him?

"That a change in the relation in which a man is placed should change his
ideas of moral right and wrong, is neither new, nor confined to the
blacks; Homer tells us, it was so 2600 years ago:--'Jove fixed it certain,
that whatever day makes a man a slave, takes half his worth away.' But the
slaves Homer speaks of were whites.

"But to return to the blacks. Notwithstanding this consideration, which
must weaken their respect for the laws of property, we find among them
numerous instances of the most rigid integrity; and as many as among their
better instructed masters, of benevolence, gratitude, and unshaken

"The opinion that they are inferiour in the faculties of reason and
imagination, must be hazarded with great diffidence. To justify a general
conclusion requires many observations, even where the subject may be
submitted to the anatomical knife, to optical glasses, to analysis by fire
or solvents: how much more, then, when it is a faculty, not a substance,
we are examining; where it eludes the research of all the senses; where
the conditions of it's existence are various, and variously combined;
where the effects of those which are present or absent bid defiance to
calculation; let me add too, in a circumstance where our conclusions would
degrade a whole race of men from the rank in the scale of beings, which
their Creator may perhaps have given them! To our reproach it must be
said, though for a century and a half we have had under our eyes the races
of black and red men, they have never yet been viewed by us as subjects of
natural history. I advance it therefore as a suspicion only, that the
blacks[Footnote: Where Jefferson makes use of the word _Black_, in
this extract, it is rigidly confined to the _Negroes_ originally from
the coast of Africa, or their descendants.], whether originally a distinct
race, or made so by time and circumstances, are inferiour to the whites in
the endowments both of body and mind."

       *       *       *       *       *

_Boston, December 29th, 1796._


Upon my arrival here, I had once more the mortification to find myself in
the neighbourhood of the yellow fever, which had lately been imported. The
uncommon, early, and severe north-west winds entirely prevented it from
spreading; a fortunate circumstance for the inhabitants of Boston, as,
from the narrowness of their streets, great population, and other
circumstances, it must have been very fatal, had it not been by this means

In order to give you the most regular account of this disorder I could
procure, I must repeat several circumstances from former letters.

The yellow fever, which has lately been so fatal, is a _new disorder_,
first brought to the West Indies, in a slave-ship from the coast of
Africa, late in the year 1792. It spread rapidly from island to island,
and in July, 1793, was first imported to the continent in a french
schooner to Philadelphia. The physicians of that city, naturally
concluding it was the usual yellow fever of the West Indies, applied the
common remedies in that case: viz., bark, and other astringents. In nine
cases out of ten, death was the inevitable consequence to all who took
these medicines. The disease was equally fatal to the faculty. A universal
despondency took place, till doctor Rush, suspecting this was a new
disorder, applied an opposite method of cure, by mercurial medicines, and
copious bleedings; which, when administered in the first or second stage
of the disorder, had the desired effect.

I send you an extract from the doctor's pamphlet, wherein he explains his
motives for adopting this method of cure, &c.

Speaking of the effect of the lancet, he says, "It was at this time my old
master reminded me of Dr. Sydenham's remark, that _moderate_ bleeding
did harm in the plague, where _copious_ bleeding was indicated, and
that, in the cure of that disorder, we should leave Nature wholly to
herself, or take the cure altogether out of her hands."

The truth of this observation was obvious:--By taking away as much blood
as restored the blood-vessels to a morbid degree of action, without
reducing this action afterward, pain, congestion, and inflammation, were
greatly increased; all of which were prevented, or occurred in a less
degree, when the system rose gradually from the state of depression which
had been induced by indirect debility. Under the influence of the facts
and reasonings which have been mentioned, I bore the same testimony in
acute cases against what was called _moderate_ bleeding, that I did
against bark, wine, and laudanum, in this fever.--I drew from many persons
seventy or eighty ounces of blood in five days.

       *       *       *       *       *

After the cold weather had completely destroyed this disorder, it did not
appear again in the United States till the next year, when it was imported
to Baltimore and New Haven; a distance from each other of more than five
hundred miles. The cold weather again destroyed it, till carried, in 1795,
to Charleston and New York, equally distant from each other; and this
summer it was imported to Charleston, New York, Boston, and Newbery Port;
a distance of one thousand five hundred miles along the coast; but
fortunately the early N.W. winds destroyed it in all these places before
it had made any considerable progress.

A quarantine upon vessels from the infected islands would effectually
prevent the importation of this plague; but if performed in the _literal
sense of the word_, it would materially hurt the West India trade of
the Americans.

You have little to fear from this disorder being brought to England;
experience has clearly proved, this fever cannot exist in a _cold_
climate; but was it to be imported to the south of Europe, the
consequences would be dreadful indeed. I before told you, the negroes were
not afflicted with the yellow fever, though universally employed as nurses
to the sick.

A disease that will affect but _one_ species of men is not new. About the
year 1652, a very dreadful and uncommon plague ravaged this part of
America, and actually extirpated several nations of the Indians, without,
in a single instance, affecting the _white_ emigrants, though continually
among them. This strange circumstance the fanatics of New England
accounted for in their usual way, as appears from several of their
sermons, still preserved:--

"It was a just judgment of God upon these heathenish and idolatrous
nations; the Lord took this method of destroying them, that he might make
the more room for his _chosen people_." A _philosopher_ would perhaps
demand a better reason. Apropos of philosophers--An american writer has
been endeavouring to investigate the age of the world, from the _Falls of
Niagara!_ According to _his_ calculation (which, by the by, is not a
little curious) it is _36960_ years since the first rain fell upon the
face of the earth!

Yours, &c.

_Boston, December 19th, 1796._


I before hinted to you, that the Americans pay very little attention to
their fisheries.

Exclusive of the shad fishery, which is only two months in the year, there
is not _one_ individual, either in the city of Philadelphia, or it's
vicinity, who procures a livelihood by catching fish in the Delaware,
though that river abounds with sturgeon, perch, cat-fish, eels, and a vast
variety of others, which would meet with a sure sale in the Philadelphia
markets: but this is a trifle to their neglect of the greatest fishery in
the universe; for such certainly is that on the banks of Newfoundland.

The Americans now being at peace with most of the piratical states
of Barbary, will find an excellent market for their fish in the
Mediterranean. This circumstance may induce congress to pay some attention
to the hints thrown out by Dr. Belknap, in his Account of the American
Newfoundland Fishery, which I transcribe for you perusal:--

"The cod-fishery is either carried on by boats or schooners. The boats in
the winter season go out in the morning, and return at night. In the
spring they do not return till they are filled. The schooners make three
trips to the banks of Newfoundland in a season; the first, or spring
cargo, are large, thick fish, which, after being properly salted and
dried, are kept alternately above and under ground, till they become so
mellow as to be denominated _dumb fish_. These, when boiled, are red,
and of an excellent quality; they are chiefly consumed in these states.
The fish caught in the other two trips, during the summer and fall, are
white, thin, and less firm; these are exported to Europe and the West
Indies; they are divided into two sorts; one called merchantable, and the
other Jamaica fish.

"The places where the cod-fishery is chiefly carried on, are the Isle of
Shoals, Newcastle, Rye, and Hampton. The boats employed in this fishery
are of that light and swift kind called whale-boats; they are rowed either
with two or four oars, and steered with another; and being equally sharp
at each end, move with the utmost celerity on the surface of the ocean.
The schooners are from twenty to fifty tons, carry six or seven men, and
one or two boys. When they make a tolerable voyage, they bring over five
or six hundred quintals of fish, salted and stowed in bulk. At their
arrival, the fish is rinced in salt water, and spread on hurdles composed
of brush-wood, and raised on stakes three or four feet from the ground.
They are kept carefully preserved from the rain: they should not be wet
from the time they are first spread on the hurdle till they are boiled for
the table.

"This fishery has not of late years been prosecuted with the same spirit
it was fifty or sixty years ago, when the shores were covered with
fish-flakes, and seven or eight ships were annually loaded for Spain or
Portugal, beside what was carried to the West Indies. Afterward they found
it more convenient to cure the fish at Corscaw, which was nearer to the
banks. It was continued there to great advantage till 1744, when it was
broken up by the french war. After the peace it revived, but not in so
great a degree as before. Fish was frequently cured in the summer on the
eastern shores and islands, and in the spring and fall at home.

"Previously to the late revolution the greater part of remittances were
made to Europe by the fishery; but it has not yet recovered from the shock
which it received by the war with Britain: it is however in the power of
the Americans to make more advantage of the cod-fishery perhaps than, any
of the european nations. We can fit out vessels at less expense, and by
reason of the westerly winds, which prevail on our coasts in February and
March, can go to the banks earlier in the season than the Europeans, and
take the best fish. We can dry it in a clearer air than the foggy shores
of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. We can supply every necessary from among
ourselves; vessels, spars, sails, cordage, anchors, lines, hooks, and
provision. Salt can be imported from abroad cheaper than it can be made at
home, if it be not too much loaded with duties. Men can always be had to
go on shares, which is by far the most profitable way, both to the
employer and fisherman. The fishing banks are an inexhaustible source of
wealth; and the fishing business is a most excellent nursery for seamen;
it therefore deserves every encouragement and indulgence from an
enlightened and rational legislature."

_Boston, March 4th, 1797._


Being very busy in making preparation for my voyage to England, I have not
leisure to write you a long epistle, but enclose you one I sent to an
american friend in the south.--Farewell.

This will most likely be the last letter you will receive from me on this
side of the Atlantic. The French have already taken two hundred sail of
american vessels. I hope my next may not be dated from _Brest_.

_To Mr.--------,_

_State of--------._


In consequence of my promise at parting, I sit down to give you some
account of _Yankee Land_. You were perfectly right in telling me I
should find the New England states very different from your part of

The first object that would strike you is the population of the country.
In one day's journey through Connecticut, I saw as many towns, villages,
and houses, as I ever remember seeing, when travelling the same distance
in England; a prospect you _Buck-skins_ can have no idea of.

The next is the beauty of the women, (I beg their pardon; that would be
the _first_ object that would strike _you!_) Their great superiority in
that respect may be accounted for, from their being of _engllsh_ descent.
Your women have not all that _advantage_, ('True english prejudice this!'
methinks I hear you mutter): great part are of _dutch_, or _german_
descent. The close iron stoves they have introduced among you are terrible
enemies to beauty. Why you so obstinately persist in a custom so
prejudicial to health, I cannot imagine. Your plea, that the coldness of
the climate makes them indispensable, I can-not admit of; you know, that
we are here three degrees to the north of you, and that the present is the
coldest winter since the year 1780-81; and yet I have not seen a close
stove since I left New York. The tavern bills in these states are
near one hundred per cent under yours. The exorbitant charges of your
tavern-keepers are a disgrace to the country: I could never account for
your submitting so quietly to their impositions.

Whether it be owing to the abolition of negro slavery, and the sale of
irish, and german redemptioners, (which, by the by, is nearly as bad, and
ought not to be tolerated in a free country,) or to the great population,
or to the produce of the land being of less value than in the south: I say
whether it be owing to any, or to all of these causes, I know not; but
certain it is, a greater strain of industry runs through all ranks of
people than with you; and it is equally certain, that the lower order of
citizens receive a better education, and of course are more intelligent,
and better informed. This you will not wonder at, when I tell you there
are seven free schools in Boston, containing about nine hundred scholars,
and that in the country schools are in a still greater proportion. They
are maintained by a tax on every class of citizens, therefore education
may be claimed by _all_ as a _right_.

This climate is much colder, compared with yours, than I can account for
geographically; but it may perhaps be owing to our having a greater
proportion of easterly winds, which, coming immediately from the banks of
Newfoundland, are attended with a cloudy sky, and thick atmosphere. These
may tend to mitigate the heats of summer, but are very disagreeable in the
other seasons. The coldness of the climate is plainly to be perceived in
the birch tree, which is here common in the woods; and the _want_ of
the mocking bird, the red bird, and a great variety of others, that visit
you in the glimmer from South America. The fox squirrel too is scarce, and
the gray squirrel almost white. We cannot cultivate the sweet, or tropical
potatoe, but import it from Carolina. Even the peach is late, small, and
acid. The coldness of the climate, and the fanaticism of the inhabitants,
make the New England states by no means such desirable places of
residence, as those of the south, to

Yours, &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Dover, April 22nd, 1797._


On the 12th of March I embarked in the Betsy, captain Hart, for London; my
live stock consisted of some fowls, four brace of partridges, a flying
squirrel, and a young racoon. We sailed about midnight, with a good breeze
at S.W., and were in a few hours clear of the land.

On the evening of the 13th, we met with a hard gale at N. E. by N.--The
degree of cold was intolerable. We shipped some heavy seas, and our
rigging being intirely incrusted with ice, our captain was resolved to
stand to the south, in search of better weather. The next morning being on
the edge of the gulf stream, we were witness to a strange struggle between
the warmth of the current, and the coldness of the surrounding ocean and
atmosphere: the stream actually smoaked like a caldron! We ran as far to
the south as latitude 38, when the wind shifting to the S. W., in a few
hours we found a wonderful change of climate: the degree of heat was, at
least, equal to that of a usual summer day in England, without the
disagreeable pressure experienced from a thick atmosphere. The air was
perfectly clear, elastic, and animating, nothing could be more charming;
but this was of short continuance; the next morning the wind shifted to
the N. E., and blew a _gale_, which lasted eighteen hours. We had
then a calm, which was succeeded by westerly winds,

On the 27th, we had run down half our longitude, four degrees of which we
sailed in the last twenty four hours.

On the 29th, we met with another very severe gale at E.N.E., which soon
obliged us to strike our top-gallant-yards, and lie too, under our mizen
and mizen stay sail. During the confusion of the night, my racoon got
loose, and found means to kill all my partridges! and, as misfortunes
seldom come alone; a large spanish cat we had on board, caught my flying
squirrel. The loss of my partridges was the more provoking, as they were
in perfect health, and I had no doubt of landing them safe: so ends my
project of propagating the breed of these birds in England.

In a former letter, wherein I gave you my motives for making this attempt,
I mentioned their extreme hardiness; of this I had now additional proofs:
these birds were in a coop on the deck, and I expected every sea we
shipped over our quarter during the first gale, they certainly would be
drowned; but was agreeably surprised, when the gale was over, to find them
very little the worse for their severe ducking.

_April 14th._--For the last eight days we have been beating against
an easterly wind, a few leagues to the westward of the chops of the
channel, subject to continual alarms from french cruisers, of all
situations the most disagreeable. This evening we had soundings at 80
fathom, and a favourable change of the wind to the westward.

On the 15th we saw an american-built ship standing athwart us, by her
course and appearance evidently a french prize, bound to Brest. She had
her anchors over her bows, and most likely had been but a few days from
some port in St. George's Channel. About five hours after we were boarded
by the Spitfire, british sloop of war; we informed the lieutenant of the
exact course of the prize, and he immediately gave chace.

The next day we made the Bill of Portland. Our passage up the channel was
very pleasant, till within six leagues of Dover, when we once more
encountered a violent easterly gale, which, for the fifth time, reduced us
to our courses. Night coming on, and not being able to procure a pilot, we
were a little uneasy. The gale abating the next day, a pilot came on
board. He had the conscience to demand three guineas to put me on shore!
but took one third of the sum, which I think he deserved, as we were six
hours making this harbour. I found the custom house officers, and their
myrmidon porters, exactly as Smollet has described them; two of these
_gentlemen_ had the impudence to charge me half a guinea for bringing
my trunk seventy yards.--So ends my tour. I am once more landed in Old
England, after an absence of three years and nine months, with a plentiful
lack of money and _some_ experience!--


Yours, &c.


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