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Title: North America — Volume 2
Author: Trollope, Anthony, 1815-1882
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Editorial note:

      Anthony Trollope travelled through the United States from
      August, 1861, to May, 1862. He visited all the states that
      did not secede except California. This book is partly a
      journal of his travels and partly his description of American
      customs and culture including industry, education, government,
      military affairs, religion, transportation, and even
      hotels. To an American of today it provides a revealing and
      fascinating picture of life at the time.

      The book was first published in two volumes by Chapman & Hall
      in 1862.




In Two Volumes



            I. WASHINGTON.
           II. CONGRESS.
            V. MISSOURI.
            X. THE GOVERNMENT.
           XV. LITERATURE.
          XVI. CONCLUSION.



The site of the present city of Washington was chosen with three
special views; firstly, that being on the Potomac it might have the
full advantage of water-carriage and a sea-port; secondly, that
it might be so far removed from the seaboard as to be safe from
invasion; and, thirdly, that it might be central alike to all the
States. It was presumed when Washington was founded that these three
advantages would be secured by the selected position. As regards the
first, the Potomac affords to the city but few of the advantages
of a sea-port. Ships can come up, but not ships of large burthen.
The river seems to have dwindled since the site was chosen; and at
present it is, I think, evident that Washington can never be great in
its shipping. _Statio benefida carinis_ can never be its motto. As
regards the second point, singularly enough Washington is the only
city of the Union that has been in an enemy's possession since the
United States became a nation. In the war of 1812 it fell into our
hands, and we burnt it. As regards the third point, Washington, from
the lie of the land, can hardly have been said to be centrical at
any time. Owing to the irregularities of the coast it is not easy of
access by railways from different sides. Baltimore would have been
far better. But as far as we can now see, and as well as we can now
judge, Washington will soon be on the borders of the nation to which
it belongs, instead of at its centre. I fear, therefore, that we must
acknowledge that the site chosen for his country's capital by George
Washington has not been fortunate.

I have a strong idea, which I expressed before in speaking of the
capital of the Canadas, that no man can ordain that on such a spot
shall be built a great and thriving city. No man can so ordain even
though he leave behind him, as was the case with Washington, a
prestige sufficient to bind his successors to his wishes. The
political leaders of the country have done what they could for
Washington. The pride of the nation has endeavoured to sustain
the character of its chosen metropolis. There has been no rival,
soliciting favour on the strength of other charms. The country has
all been agreed on the point since the father of the country first
commenced the work. Florence and Rome in Italy have each their
pretensions; but in the States no other city has put itself forward
for the honour of entertaining Congress. And yet Washington has been
a failure. It is commerce that makes great cities, and commerce has
refused to back the General's choice. New York and Philadelphia,
without any political power, have become great among the cities of
the earth. They are beaten by none except by London and Paris. But
Washington is but a ragged, unfinished collection of unbuilt broad
streets, as to the completion of which there can now, I imagine, be
but little hope.

Of all places that I know it is the most ungainly and most
unsatisfactory;--I fear I must also say the most presumptuous in its
pretensions. There is a map of Washington accurately laid down; and
taking that map with him in his journeyings a man may lose himself in
the streets, not as one loses oneself in London between Shoreditch
and Russell Square, but as one does so in the deserts of the Holy
Land, between Emmaus and Arimathea. In the first place no one knows
where the places are, or is sure of their existence, and then between
their presumed localities the country is wild, trackless, unbridged,
uninhabited, and desolate. Massachusetts Avenue runs the whole length
of the city, and is inserted on the maps as a full-blown street,
about four miles in length. Go there, and you will find yourself not
only out of town, away among the fields, but you will find yourself
beyond the fields, in an uncultivated, undrained wilderness. Tucking
your trousers up to your knees you will wade through the bogs, you
will lose yourself among rude hillocks, you will be out of the reach
of humanity. The unfinished dome of the Capitol will loom before you
in the distance, and you will think that you approach the ruins of
some western Palmyra. If you are a sportsman, you will desire to
shoot snipe within sight of the President's house. There is much
unsettled land within the States of America, but I think none so
desolate in its state of nature as three-fourths of the ground on
which is supposed to stand the city of Washington.

The city of Washington is something more than four miles long, and
is something more than two miles broad. The land apportioned to it
is nearly as compact as may be, and it exceeds in area the size
of a parallelogram four miles long by two broad. These dimensions
are adequate for a noble city, for a city to contain a million of
inhabitants. It is impossible to state with accuracy the actual
population of Washington, for it fluctuates exceedingly. The place
is very full during Congress, and very empty during the recess.
By which I mean it to be understood that those streets, which
are blessed with houses, are full when Congress meets. I do not
think that Congress makes much difference to Massachusetts Avenue.
I believe that the city never contains as many as eighty thousand,
and that its permanent residents are less than sixty thousand.

But, it will be said,--was it not well to prepare for a growing city?
Is it not true that London is choked by its own fatness, not having
been endowed at its birth or during its growth, with proper means for
accommodating its own increasing proportions? Was it not well to lay
down fine avenues and broad streets, so that future citizens might
find a city well prepared to their hand?

There is no doubt much in such an argument, but its correctness must
be tested by its success. When a man marries it is well that he
should make provision for a coming family. But a Benedict, who early
in his career shall have carried his friends with considerable
self-applause through half-a-dozen nurseries and at the end of twelve
years shall still be the father of one ricketty baby, will incur a
certain amount of ridicule. It is very well to be prepared for good
fortune, but one should limit one's preparation within a reasonable
scope. Two miles by one might perhaps have done for the skeleton
sketch of a new city. Less than half that would contain much more
than the present population of Washington; and there are, I fear, few
towns in the Union so little likely to enjoy any speedy increase.

Three avenues sweep the whole length of Washington;--Virginia Avenue,
Pennsylvania Avenue, and Massachusetts Avenue. But Pennsylvania
Avenue is the only one known to ordinary men, and the half of that
only is so known. This avenue is the backbone of the city, and those
streets which are really inhabited cluster round that half of it
which runs westward from the Capitol. The eastern end, running from
the front of the Capitol, is again a desert. The plan of the city is
somewhat complicated. It may truly be called "a mighty maze, but not
without a plan." The Capitol was intended to be the centre of the
city. It faces eastward, away from the Potomac,--or rather from the
main branch of the Potomac, and also unfortunately from the main body
of the town. It turns its back upon the chief thoroughfare, upon the
Treasury buildings, and upon the President's house; and indeed upon
the whole place. It was, I suppose, intended that the streets to the
eastward should be noble and populous, but hitherto they have come
to nothing. The building therefore is wrong side foremost, and all
mankind who enter it, senators, representatives, and judges included,
go in at the back-door. Of course it is generally known that in
the Capitol is the Chamber of the Senate, that of the House of
Representatives, and the Supreme Judicial Court of the Union. It may
be said that there are two centres in Washington, this being one and
the President's house the other. At these centres the main avenues
are supposed to cross each other, which avenues are called by the
names of the respective States. At the Capitol, Pennsylvania Avenue,
New Jersey Avenue, Delaware Avenue, and Maryland Avenue converge.
They come from one extremity of the city to the square of the Capitol
on one side, and run out from the other side of it to the other
extremity of the city. Pennsylvania Avenue, New York Avenue, Vermont
Avenue, and Connecticut Avenue do the same at what is generally
called President's Square. In theory, or on paper, this seems to be a
clear and intelligible arrangement; but it does not work well. These
centre depots are large spaces, and consequently one portion of a
street is removed a considerable distance from the other. It is as
though the same name should be given to two streets, one of which
entered St. James's Park at Buckingham Gate, while the other started
from the Park at Marlborough House. To inhabitants the matter
probably is not of much moment, as it is well known that this portion
of such an avenue and that portion of such another avenue are merely
myths,--unknown lands away in the wilds. But a stranger finds himself
in the position of being sent across the country knee-deep into the
mud, wading through snipe grounds, looking for civilization where
none exists.

All these avenues have a slanting direction. They are so arranged
that none of them run north and south or east and west; but the
streets, so called, all run in accordance with the points of the
compass. Those from east to west are A Street, B Street, C Street,
and so on,--counting them away from the Capitol on each side, so that
there are two A streets and two B streets. On the map these streets
run up to V Street, both right and left,--V Street North and V Street
South. Those really known to mankind are E, F, G, H, I, and K Streets
North. Then those streets which run from north to south are numbered
First Street, Second Street, Third Street, and so on, on each front
of the Capitol, running to Twenty-fourth or Twenty-fifth Street on
each side. Not very many of these have any existence, or I might
perhaps more properly say, any vitality in their existence.

Such is the plan of the city, that being the arrangement and those
the dimensions intended by the original architects and founders of
Washington; but the inhabitants have hitherto confined themselves to
Pennsylvania Avenue West, and to the streets abutting from it or near
to it. Whatever address a stranger may receive, however perplexing
it may seem to him, he may be sure that the house indicated is near
Pennsylvania Avenue. If it be not, I should recommend him to pay no
attention to the summons. Even in those streets with which he will
become best acquainted, the houses are not continuous. There will be
a house, and then a blank; then two houses, and then a double blank.
After that a hut or two, and then probably an excellent, roomy,
handsome family mansion. Taken altogether, Washington as a city is
most unsatisfactory, and falls more grievously short of the thing
attempted than any other of the great undertakings of which I have
seen anything in the States. San Jose, the capital of the republic of
Costa Rica, in Central America, has been prepared and arranged as a
new city in the same way. But even San Jose comes nearer to what was
intended than does Washington.

For myself, I do not believe in cities made after this fashion.
Commerce, I think, must select the site of all large congregations of
mankind. In some mysterious way she ascertains what she wants, and
having acquired that, draws men in thousands round her properties.
Liverpool, New York, Lyons, Glasgow, Venice, Marseilles, Hamburg,
Calcutta, Chicago, and Leghorn, have all become populous, and are or
have been great, because trade found them to be convenient for its
purposes. Trade seems to have ignored Washington altogether. Such
being the case, the Legislature and the Executive of the country
together have been unable to make of Washington anything better than
a straggling congregation of buildings in a wilderness. We are now
trying the same experiment at Ottawa, in Canada, having turned our
back upon Montreal in dudgeon. The site of Ottawa is more interesting
than that of Washington, but I doubt whether the experiment will be
more successful. A new town for art, fashion, and politics has been
built at Munich, and there it seems to answer the expectation of the
builders; but at Munich there is an old city as well, and commerce
had already got some considerable hold on the spot before the new
town was added to it.

The streets of Washington, such as exist, are all broad. Throughout
the town there are open spaces,--spaces, I mean, intended to be open
by the plan laid down for the city. At the present moment it is
almost all open space. There is also a certain nobility about the
proposed dimensions of the avenues and squares. Desirous of praising
it in some degree, I can say that the design is grand. The thing
done, however, falls so infinitely short of that design, that nothing
but disappointment is felt. And I fear that there is no look-out
into the future which can justify a hope that the design will be
fulfilled. It is therefore a melancholy place. The society into which
one falls there consists mostly of persons who are not permanently
resident in the capital; but of those who were permanent residents I
found none who spoke of their city with affection. The men and women
of Boston think that the sun shines nowhere else;--and Boston Common
is very pleasant. The New Yorkers believe in Fifth Avenue with an
unswerving faith; and Fifth Avenue is calculated to inspire a faith.
Philadelphia to a Philadelphian is the centre of the universe, and
the progress of Philadelphia, perhaps, justifies the partiality. The
same thing may be said of Chicago, of Buffalo, and of Baltimore. But
the same thing cannot be said in any degree of Washington. They who
belong to it turn up their noses at it. They feel that they live
surrounded by a failure. Its grand names are as yet false, and none
of the efforts made have hitherto been successful. Even in winter,
when Congress is sitting, Washington is melancholy;--but Washington
in summer must surely be the saddest spot on earth.

There are six principal public buildings in Washington, as to which
no expense seems to have been spared, and in the construction of
which a certain amount of success has been obtained. In most of these
this success has been more or less marred by an independent deviation
from recognized rules of architectural taste. These are the Capitol,
the Post-office, the Patent-office, the Treasury, the President's
house, and the Smithsonian Institute. The five first are Grecian,
and the last in Washington is called--Romanesque. Had I been left to
classify it by my own unaided lights, I should have called it bastard

The Capitol is by far the most imposing; and though there is much
about it with which I cannot but find fault, it certainly is
imposing. The present building was, I think, commenced in 1815, the
former Capitol having been destroyed by the English in the war of
1812-13. It was then finished according to the original plan, with a
fine portico and well-proportioned pediment above it,--looking to the
east. The outer flight of steps, leading up to this from the eastern
approach, is good and in excellent taste. The expanse of the building
to the right and left, as then arranged, was well proportioned,
and, as far as we can now judge, the then existing dome was well
proportioned also. As seen from the east the original building
must have been in itself very fine. The stone is beautiful, being
bright almost as marble, and I do not know that there was any great
architectural defect to offend the eye. The figures in the pediment
are mean. There is now in the Capitol a group apparently prepared for
a pediment, which is by no means mean. I was informed that they were
intended for this position; but they, on the other hand, are too good
for such a place, and are also too numerous. This set of statues
is by Crawford. Most of them are well known, and they are very
fine. They now stand within the old chamber of the Representative
House, and the pity is, that if elevated to such a position as that
indicated, they can never be really seen. There are models of them
all at West Point, and some of them I have seen at other places in
marble. The Historical Society at New York has one or two of them.
In and about the front of the Capitol there are other efforts of
sculpture,--imposing in their size, and assuming, if not affecting,
much in the attitudes chosen. Statuary at Washington runs too much on
two subjects, which are repeated perhaps almost ad nauseam; one is
that of a stiff, steady-looking, healthy, but ugly individual, with
a square jaw and big jowl, which represents the great General; he
does not prepossess the beholder, because he appears to be thoroughly
ill-natured. And the other represents a melancholy, weak figure
without any hair, but often covered with feathers, and is intended
to typify the red Indian. The red Indian is generally supposed to
be receiving comfort; but it is manifest that he never enjoys the
comfort ministered to him. There is a gigantic statue of Washington,
by Greenough, out in the grounds in front of the building. The figure
is seated and holding up one of its arms towards the city. There is
about it a kind of weighty magnificence; but it is stiff, ungainly,
and altogether without life.

But the front of the original building is certainly grand. The
architect who designed it must have had skill, taste, and nobility of
conception; but even this was spoilt, or rather wasted, by the fact
that the front is made to look upon nothing, and is turned from the
city. It is as though the _façade_ of the London Post-office had been
made to face the Goldsmiths' Hall. The Capitol stands upon the side
of a hill, the front occupying a much higher position than the back;
consequently they who enter it from the back--and everybody does so
enter it--are first called on to rise to the level of the lower floor
by a stiff ascent of exterior steps, which are in no way grand or
imposing, and then, having entered by a mean back-door, are instantly
obliged to ascend again by another flight,--by stairs sufficiently
appropriate to a back entrance, but altogether unfitted for the chief
approach to such a building. It may, of course, be said that persons
who are particular in such matters should go in at the front door and
not at the back; but one must take these things as one finds them.
The entrance by which the Capitol is approached is such as I have
described. There are mean little brick chimneys at the left hand as
one walks in, attached to modern bakeries which have been constructed
in the basement for the use of the soldiers; and there is on
the other hand the road by which waggons find their way to the
underground region with fuel, stationery, and other matters desired
by senators and representatives,--and at present by bakers also.

In speaking of the front I have spoken of it as it was originally
designed and built. Since that period very heavy wings have been
added to the pile;--wings so heavy that they are or seem to be much
larger than the original structure itself. This, to my thinking, has
destroyed the symmetry of the whole. The wings, which in themselves
are by no means devoid of beauty, are joined to the centre by
passages so narrow that from exterior points of view the light can be
seen through them. This robs the mass of all oneness, of all entirety
as a whole, and gives a scattered straggling appearance where there
should be a look of massiveness and integrity. The dome also has been
raised, a double drum having been given to it. This is unfinished
and should not therefore yet be judged; but I cannot think that the
increased height will be an improvement. This again, to my eyes,
appears to be straggling rather than massive. At a distance it
commands attention, and to one journeying through the desert places
of the city gives that idea of Palmyra which I have before mentioned.

Nevertheless, and in spite of all that I have said, I have had
pleasure in walking backwards and forwards, and through the grounds
which lie before the eastern front of the Capitol. The space for the
view is ample, and the thing to be seen has points which are very
grand. If the Capitol were finished and all Washington were built
around it, no man would say that the house in which Congress sat
disgraced the city.

Going west, but not due west, from the Capitol, Pennsylvania Avenue
stretches in a right line to the Treasury Chambers. The distance is
beyond a mile, and men say, scornfully, that the two buildings have
been put so far apart in order to save the Secretaries who sit in
the bureaux from a too rapid influx of members of Congress. This
statement I by no means indorse; but it is undoubtedly the fact that
both senators and representatives are very diligent in their calls
upon gentlemen high in office. I have been present on some such
occasions, and it has always seemed to me that questions of patronage
have been paramount. This reach of Pennsylvania Avenue is the quarter
for the best shops of Washington,--that is to say, the frequented
side of it is so,--that side which is on your right as you leave the
Capitol. Of the other side the world knows nothing. And very bad
shops they are. I doubt whether there be any town in the world at all
equal in importance to Washington, which is in such respects so ill
provided. The shops are bad and dear. In saying this I am guided by
the opinions of all whom I heard speak on the subject. The same thing
was told me of the hotels. Hearing that the city was very full at the
time of my visit--full to overflowing--I had obtained private rooms
through a friend before I went there. Had I not done so, I might have
lain in the streets, or have made one with three or four others in a
small room at some third-rate inn. There had never been so great a
throng in the town. I am bound to say that my friend did well for me.
I found myself put up at the house of one Wormley, a coloured man, in
I Street, to whose attention I can recommend any Englishman who may
chance to want quarters in Washington. He has an hotel on one side of
the street, and private lodging-houses on the other in which I found
myself located. From what I heard of the hotels I conceived myself
to be greatly in luck. Willard's is the chief of these, and the
everlasting crowd and throng of men with which the halls and passages
of the house were always full, certainly did not seem to promise
either privacy or comfort. But then there are places in which
privacy and comfort are not expected,--are hardly even desired,--and
Washington is one of them.

The Post-office and the Patent-office lie a little away from
Pennsylvania Avenue in F Street, and are opposite to each other. The
Post-office is certainly a very graceful building. It is square, and
hardly can be said to have any settled front or any grand entrance.
It is not approached by steps, but stands flush on the ground,
alike on each of the four sides. It is ornamented with Corinthian
pilasters, but is not over ornamented. It is certainly a structure
creditable to any city. The streets around it are all unfinished, and
it is approached through seas of mud and sloughs of despond, which
have been contrived, as I imagine, to lessen, if possible, the
crowd of callers, and lighten in this way the overtasked officials
within. That side by which the public in general were supposed to
approach was, during my sojourn, always guarded by vast mountains of
flour-barrels. Looking up at the windows of the building I perceived
also that barrels were piled within, and then I knew that the
Post-office had become a provision depot for the army. The official
arrangements here for the public were so bad as to be absolutely
barbarous. I feel some remorse in saying this, for I was myself
treated with the utmost courtesy by gentlemen holding high positions
in the office,--to which I was specially attracted by my own
connection with the Post-office in England. But I do not think that
such courtesy should hinder me from telling what I saw that was
bad,--seeing that it would not hinder me from telling what I saw that
was good. In Washington there is but one Post-office. There are no
iron pillars or wayside letter-boxes, as are to be found in other
towns of the Union;--no subsidiary offices at which stamps can be
bought and letters posted. The distances of the city are very great,
the means of transit through the city very limited, the dirt of the
city ways unrivalled in depth and tenacity; and yet there is but one
Post-office. Nor is there any established system of letter-carriers.
To those who desire it, letters are brought out and delivered by
carriers who charge a separate porterage for that service; but
the rule is that letters shall be delivered from the window. For
strangers this is of course a necessity of their position; and I
found that when once I had left instructions that my letters should
be delivered, those instructions were carefully followed. Indeed
nothing could exceed the civility of the officials within;--but so
also nothing can exceed the barbarity of the arrangements without.
The purchase of stamps I found to be utterly impracticable. They
were sold at a window in a corner, at which newspapers were also
delivered, to which there was no regular ingress, and from which
there was no egress. It would generally be deeply surrounded by a
crowd of muddy soldiers, who would wait there patiently till time
should enable them to approach the window. The delivery of letters
was almost more tedious, though in that there was a method. The
aspirants stood in a long line, _en cue_, as we are told by Carlyle
that the bread-seekers used to approach the bakers' shops at Paris
during the Revolution. This "cue" would sometimes project out into
the street. The work inside was done very slowly. The clerk had no
facility, by use of a desk or otherwise, for running through the
letters under the initials denominated, but turned letter by letter
through his hand. To one questioner out of ten would a letter
be given. It no doubt may be said in excuse for this that the
presence of the army round Washington caused at that period special
inconvenience; and that plea should of course be taken, were it
not that a very trifling alteration in the management within would
have remedied all the inconvenience. As a building the Washington
Post-office is very good; as the centre of a most complicated and
difficult department, I believe it to be well managed: but as regards
the special accommodation given by it to the city in which it stands,
much cannot, I think, be said in its favour.

Opposite to that which is, I presume, the back of the Post-office,
stands the Patent-office. This also is a grand building, with a fine
portico of Doric pillars at each of its three fronts. These are
approached by flights of steps, more gratifying to the eye than to
the legs. The whole structure is massive and grand, and, if the
streets round it were finished, would be imposing. The utilitarian
spirit of the nation has, however, done much toward marring the
appearance of the building, by piercing it with windows altogether
unsuited to it, both in number and size. The walls, even under the
porticoes, have been so pierced, in order that the whole space might
be utilized without loss of light; and the effect is very mean. The
windows are small and without ornament,--something like a London
window of the time of George III. The effect produced by a dozen such
at the back of a noble Doric porch, looking down among the pillars,
may be imagined.

In the interior of this building the Minister of the Interior holds
his court, and of course also the Commissioners of Patents. Here is,
in accordance with the name of the building, a museum of models of
all patents taken out. I wandered through it, gazing with listless
eye, now upon this, and now upon that; but to me, in my ignorance,
it was no better than a large toy-shop. When I saw an ancient
dusty white hat, with some peculiar appendage to it which was
unintelligible, it was no more to me than any other old white hat.
But had I been a man of science, what a tale it might have told!
Wandering about through the Patent-office I also found a hospital for
soldiers. A British officer was with me who pronounced it to be, in
its kind, very good. At any rate it was sweet, airy, and large. In
these days the soldiers had got hold of everything.

The Treasury Chambers is as yet an unfinished building. The front
to the south has been completed; but that to the north has not been
built. Here at the north stands as yet the old Secretary of State's
office. This is to come down, and the Secretary of State is to be
located in the new building, which will be added to the Treasury.
This edifice will probably strike strangers more forcibly than any
other in the town, both from its position and from its own character.
It stands with its side to Pennsylvania Avenue, but the avenue here
has turned round, and runs due north and south, having taken a twist,
so as to make way for the Treasury and for the President's house,
through both of which it must run had it been carried straight on
throughout. These public offices stand with their side to the street,
and the whole length is ornamented with an exterior row of Ionic
columns raised high above the footway. This is perhaps the prettiest
thing in the city, and when the front to the north has been
completed, the effect will be still better. The granite monoliths
which have been used, and which are to be used, in this building are
very massive. As one enters by the steps to the south there are two
flat stones, one on each side of the ascent, the surface of each
of which is about 20 feet by 18. The columns are, I think, all
monoliths. Of those which are still to be erected, and which now lie
about in the neighbouring streets, I measured one or two--one which
was still in the rough I found to be 32 feet long by 5 feet broad,
and 4½ deep. These granite blocks have been brought to Washington
from the State of Maine. The finished front of this building, looking
down to the Potomac, is very good; but to my eyes this also has been
much injured by the rows of windows which look out from the building
into the space of the portico.

The President's house--or the White House as it is now called all the
world over--is a handsome mansion fitted for the chief officer of
a great Republic, and nothing more. I think I may say that we have
private houses in London considerably larger. It is neat and pretty,
and with all its immediate outside belongings calls down no adverse
criticism. It faces on to a small garden, which seems to be always
accessible to the public, and opens out upon that everlasting
Pennsylvania Avenue, which has now made another turn. Here in front
of the White House is President's Square, as it is generally called.
The technical name is, I believe, La Fayette Square. The houses round
it are few in number,--not exceeding three or four on each side, but
they are among the best in Washington, and the whole place is neat
and well kept. President's Square is certainly the most attractive
part of the city. The garden of the square is always open, and does
not seem to suffer from any public ill-usage; by which circumstance
I am again led to suggest that the gardens of our London squares
might be thrown open in the same way. In the centre of this one
at Washington, immediately facing the President's house, is an
equestrian statue of General Jackson. It is very bad; but that it
is not nearly as bad as it might be is proved by another equestrian
statue,--of General Washington,--erected in the centre of a small
garden-plat at the end of Pennsylvania Avenue, near the bridge
leading to Georgetown. Of all the statues on horseback which I ever
saw, either in marble or bronze, this is by far the worst and most
ridiculous. The horse is most absurd, but the man sitting on the
horse is manifestly drunk. I should think the time must come when
this figure at any rate will be removed.

I did not go inside the President's house, not having had while
at Washington an opportunity of paying my personal respects to Mr.
Lincoln. I had been told that this was to be done without trouble,
but when I inquired on the subject I found that this was not exactly
the case. I believe there are times when anybody may walk into the
President's house without an introduction; but that, I take it, is
not considered to be the proper way of doing the work. I found that
something like a favour would be incurred, or that some disagreeable
trouble would be given, if I made a request to be presented,--and
therefore I left Washington without seeing the great man.

The President's house is nice to look at, but it is built on marshy
ground, not much above the level of the Potomac, and is very
unhealthy. I was told that all who live there become subject to fever
and ague, and that few who now live there have escaped it altogether.
This comes of choosing the site of a new city, and decreeing that it
shall be built on this or on that spot. Large cities, especially in
these latter days, do not collect themselves in unhealthy places. Men
desert such localities,--or at least do not congregate at them when
their character is once known. But the poor President cannot desert
the White House. He must make the most of the residence which the
nation has prepared for him.

Of the other considerable public building of Washington, called the
Smithsonian Institution, I have said that its style was bastard
Gothic; by this I mean that its main attributes are Gothic, but that
liberties have been taken with it, which, whether they may injure its
beauty or no, certainly are subversive of architectural purity. It is
built of red stone, and is not ugly in itself. There is a very nice
Norman porch to it, and little bits of Lombard Gothic have been well
copied from Cologne. But windows have been fitted in with stilted
arches, of which the stilts seem to crack and bend, so narrow are
they and so high. And then the towers with high pinnacled roofs are a
mistake,--unless indeed they be needed to give to the whole structure
that name of Romanesque which it has assumed. The building is used
for museums and lectures, and was given to the city by one James
Smithson, an Englishman. I cannot say that the city of Washington
seems to be grateful, for all to whom I spoke on the subject hinted
that the Institution was a failure. It is to be remarked that nobody
in Washington is proud of Washington, or of anything in it. If the
Smithsonian Institution were at New York or at Boston, one would have
a different story to tell.

There has been an attempt made to raise at Washington a vast obelisk
to the memory of Washington,--the first in war and first in peace,
as the country is proud to call him. This obelisk is a fair type
of the city. It is unfinished,--not a third of it having as yet
been erected,--and in all human probability ever will remain so. If
finished it would be the highest monument of its kind standing on the
face of the globe,--and yet, after all, what would it be even then as
compared with one of the great pyramids? Modern attempts cannot bear
comparison with those of the old world in simple vastness. But in
lieu of simple vastness, the modern world aims to achieve either
beauty or utility. By the Washington monument, if completed, neither
would be achieved. An obelisk with the proportions of a needle
may be very graceful; but an obelisk which requires an expanse of
flat-roofed, sprawling buildings for its base, and of which the shaft
shall be as big as a cathedral tower, cannot be graceful. At present
some third portion of the shaft has been built, and there it stands.
No one has a word to say for it. No one thinks that money will ever
again be subscribed for its completion. I saw somewhere a box of
plate-glass kept for contributions for this purpose, and looking in
perceived that two half-dollar pieces had been given;--but both of
them were bad. I was told also that the absolute foundation of the
edifice is bad;--that the ground, which is near the river and swampy,
would not bear the weight intended to be imposed on it.

A sad and saddening spot was that marsh, as I wandered down on it all
alone one Sunday afternoon. The ground was frozen and I could walk
dry-shod, but there was not a blade of grass. Around me on all sides
were cattle in great numbers--steers and big oxen--lowing in their
hunger for a meal. They were beef for the army, and never again I
suppose would it be allowed to them to fill their big maws and chew
the patient cud. There, on the brown, ugly, undrained field, within
easy sight of the President's house, stood the useless, shapeless,
graceless pile of stones. It was as though I were looking on the
genius of the city. It was vast, pretentious, bold, boastful with a
loud voice, already taller by many heads than other obelisks, but
nevertheless still in its infancy,--ugly, unpromising, and false. The
founder of the monument had said, Here shall be the obelisk of the
world! and the founder of the city had thought of his child somewhat
in the same strain. It is still possible that both city and monument
shall be completed; but at the present moment nobody seems to believe
in the one or in the other. For myself I have much faith in the
American character, but I cannot believe either in Washington city or
in the Washington monument. The boast made has been too loud, and the
fulfilment yet accomplished has been too small!

Have I as yet said that Washington was dirty in that winter of
1861-1862? Or, I should rather ask, have I made it understood that
in walking about Washington one waded as deep in mud as one does in
floundering through an ordinary ploughed field in November? There
were parts of Pennsylvania Avenue which would have been considered
heavy ground by most hunting-men, and through some of the remoter
streets none but light weights could have lived long. This was the
state of the town when I left it in the middle of January. On my
arrival in the middle of December, everything was in a cloud of
dust. One walked through an atmosphere of floating mud; for the dirt
was ponderous and thick, and very palpable in its atoms. Then came
a severe frost and a little snow; and if one did not fall while
walking, it was very well. After that we had the thaw; and Washington
assumed its normal winter condition. I must say that, during the
whole of this time, the atmosphere was to me exhilarating; but I was
hardly out of the doctor's hands while I was there, and he did not
support my theory as to the goodness of the air. "It is poisoned by
the soldiers," he said, "and everybody is ill." But then my doctor
was perhaps a little tinged with southern proclivities.

On the Virginian side of the Potomac stands a country-house called
Arlington Heights, from which there is a fine view down upon the
city. Arlington Heights is a beautiful spot,--having all the
attractions of a fine park in our country. It is covered with grand
timber. The ground is varied and broken, and the private roads about
sweep here into a dell and then up a brae-side, as roads should do in
such a domain. Below it was the Potomac, and immediately on the other
side stands the city of Washington. Any city seen thus is graceful;
and the white stones of the big buildings when the sun gleams on
them, showing the distant rows of columns, seem to tell something of
great endeavour and of achieved success. It is the place from whence
Washington should be seen by those who wish to think well of the
present city and of its future prosperity. But is it not the case
that every city is beautiful from a distance?

The house at Arlington Heights is picturesque, but neither large
nor good. It has before it a high Greek colonnade, which seems to
be almost bigger than the house itself. Had such been built in a
city,--and many such a portico does stand in cities through the
States,--it would be neither picturesque nor graceful; but here it is
surrounded by timber, and as the columns are seen through the trees,
they gratify the eye rather than offend it. The place did belong,
and as I think does still belong, to the family of the Lees,--if not
already confiscated. General Lee, who is or would be the present
owner, bears high command in the army of the Confederalists, and
knows well by what tenure he holds, or is likely to hold, his family
property. The family were friends of General Washington, whose seat,
Mount Vernon, stands about twelve miles lower down the river; and
here, no doubt, Washington often stood, looking on the site he had
chosen. If his spirit could stand there now and look around upon the
masses of soldiers by which his capital is surrounded, how would it
address the city of his hopes? When he saw that every foot of the
neighbouring soil was desecrated by a camp, or torn into loathsome
furrows of mud by cannon and army waggons,--that agriculture was
gone, and that every effort both of North and South was concentrated
on the art of killing; when he saw that this was done on the very
spot chosen by himself for the centre temple of an everlasting union,
what would he then say as to that boast made on his behalf by his
countrymen that he was first in war and first in peace? Washington
was a great man, and I believe a good man. I, at any rate, will not
belittle him. I think that he had the firmness and audacity necessary
for a revolutionary leader, that he had honesty to preserve him from
the temptations of ambition and ostentation, and that he had the good
sense to be guided in civil matters by men who had studied the laws
of social life and the theories of free government. He was _justus
et tenax propositi_; and in periods that might well have dismayed
a smaller man, he feared neither the throne to which he opposed
himself, nor the changing voices of the fellow-citizens for whose
welfare he had fought. But sixty or seventy years will not suffice to
give to a man the fame of having been first among all men. Washington
did much, and I for one do not believe that his work will perish.
But I have always found it difficult,--I may say impossible,--to
sound his praises in his own land. Let us suppose that a courteous
Frenchman ventures an opinion among Englishmen that Wellington was a
great general, would he feel disposed to go on with his eulogium when
encountered on two or three sides at once with such observations as
the following:--"I should rather calculate he was; about the first
that ever did live or ever will live. Why, he whipped your Napoleon
everlasting whenever he met him. He whipped everybody out of the
field. There warn't anybody ever lived was able to stand nigh him,
and there won't come any like him again. Sir, I guess our Wellington
never had his likes on your side of the water. Such men can't
grow in a down-trodden country of slaves and paupers." Under such
circumstances the Frenchman would probably be shut up. And when I
strove to speak of Washington I generally found myself shut up also.

Arlington Heights, when I was at Washington, was the head-quarters of
General M'Dowell, the General to whom is attributed--I believe most
wrongfully--the loss of the battle of Bull's Run. The whole place was
then one camp. The fences had disappeared. The gardens were trodden
into mud. The roads had been cut to pieces, and new tracks made
everywhere through the grounds. But the timber still remained. Some
no doubt had fallen, but enough stood for the ample ornamentation
of the place. I saw placards up, prohibiting the destruction of the
trees, and it is to be hoped that they have been spared. Very little
in this way has been spared in the country all around.

Mount Vernon, Washington's own residence, stands close over the
Potomac, above six miles below Alexandria. It will be understood that
the capital is on the eastern, or Maryland side of the river, and
that Arlington Heights, Alexandria, and Mount Vernon are in Virginia.
The river Potomac divided the two old colonies, or States as they
afterwards became; but when Washington was to be built, a territory,
said to be ten miles square, was cut out of the two States and was
called the district of Columbia. The greater portion of this district
was taken from Maryland, and on that the city was built. It comprised
the pleasant town of Georgetown, which is now a suburb--and the only
suburb--of Washington. The portion of the district on the Virginian
side included Arlington Heights, and went so far down the river as
to take in the Virginian city of Alexandria. This was the extreme
western point of the district; but since that arrangement was made,
the State of Virginia petitioned to have their portion of Columbia
back again, and this petition was granted. Now it is felt that the
land on both sides of the river should belong to the city, and the
Government is anxious to get back the Virginian section. The city and
the immediate vicinity are freed from all State allegiance, and are
under the immediate rule of the United States Government,--having of
course its own municipality; but the inhabitants have no political
power, as power is counted in the States. They vote for no political
officer, not even for the President, and return no member to
Congress, either as a senator or as a representative. Mount Vernon
was never within the district of Columbia.

When I first made inquiry on the subject I was told that Mount Vernon
at that time was not to be reached;--that though it was not in the
hands of the rebels, neither was it in the hands of Northerners, and
that therefore strangers could not go there; but this, though it
was told to me and others by those who should have known the facts,
was not the case. I had gone down the river with a party of ladies,
and we were opposite to Mount Vernon; but on that occasion we were
assured we could not land. The rebels, we were told, would certainly
seize the ladies, and carry them off into Secessia. On hearing which
the ladies were of course doubly anxious to be landed. But our stern
commander, for we were on a Government boat, would not listen to
their prayers, but carried us instead on board the "Pensacola," a
sloop-of-war which was now lying in the river, ready to go to sea,
and ready also to run the gauntlet of the rebel batteries which lined
the Virginian shore of the river for many miles down below Alexandria
and Mount Vernon. A sloop-of-war in these days means a large
man-of-war, the guns of which are so big that they only stand on
one deck, whereas a frigate would have them on two decks, and a
line-of-battle ship on three. Of line-of-battle ships there will, I
suppose, soon be none, as the "Warrior" is only a frigate. We went
over the "Pensacola," and I must say she was very nice, pretty, and
clean. I have always found American sailors on their men-of-war to
be clean and nice-looking,--as much so I should say as our own; but
nothing can be dirtier, more untidy, or apparently more ill-preserved
than all the appurtenances of their soldiers.

We landed also on this occasion at Alexandria, and saw as melancholy
and miserable a town as the mind of man can conceive. Its ordinary
male population, counting by the voters, is 1500, and of these 700
were in the southern army. The place had been made a hospital for
northern soldiers, and no doubt the site for that purpose had been
well chosen. But let any woman imagine what would be the feelings of
her life while living in a town used as a hospital for the enemies
against whom her absent husband was then fighting! Her own man would
be away ill,--wounded, dying, for what she knew, without the comfort
of any hospital attendance, without physic, with no one to comfort
him; but those she hated, with a hatred much keener than his, were
close to her hand, using some friend's house that had been forcibly
taken, crawling out into the sun under her eyes, taking the bread
from her mouth! Life in Alexandria at this time must have been sad
enough. The people were all secessionists, but the town was held by
the northern party. Through the lines, into Virginia, they could not
go at all. Up to Washington they could not go without a military
pass, not to be obtained without some cause given. All trade was at
an end. In no town at that time was trade very flourishing; but here
it was killed altogether,--except that absolutely necessary trade of
bread. Who would buy boots or coats, or want new saddles, or waste
money on books, in such days as these, in such a town as Alexandria?
And then out of 1500 men, one-half had gone to fight the southern
battles! Among the women of Alexandria secession would have found but
few opponents.

It was here that a hot-brained young man, named Ellsworth, was killed
in the early days of the rebellion. He was a colonel in the northern
volunteer army, and on entering Alexandria found a secession flag
flying at the chief hotel. Instead of sending up a corporal's guard
to remove it, he rushed up and pulled it down with his own hand. As
he descended, the landlord shot him dead, and one of his soldiers
shot the landlord dead. It was a pity that so brave a lad, who had
risen so high, should fall so vainly; but they have made a hero of
him in America;--have inscribed his name on marble monuments, and
counted him up among their great men. In all this their mistake
is very great. It is bad for a country to have no names worthy of
monumental brass; but it is worse for a country to have monumental
brasses covered with names which have never been made worthy of such
honour. Ellsworth had shown himself to be brave and foolish. Let his
folly be pardoned on the score of his courage, and there, I think,
should have been an end of it.

I found afterwards that Mount Vernon was accessible, and I rode
thither with some officers from the staff of General Heintzleman,
whose outside pickets were stationed beyond the old place. I
certainly should not have been well pleased had I been forced to
leave the country without seeing the house in which Washington had
lived and died. Till lately this place was owned and inhabited by
one of the family, a Washington, descended from a brother of the
General's; but it has now become the property of the country, under
the auspices of Mr. Everett, by whose exertions was raised the money
with which it was purchased. It is a long house, of two stories,
built, I think, chiefly of wood, with a verandah, or rather long
portico, attached to the front, which looks upon the river. There are
two wings, or sets of outhouses, containing the kitchen and servants'
rooms, which were joined by open wooden verandahs to the main
building; but one of these verandahs has gone, under the influence of
years. By these a semicircular sweep is formed before the front door,
which opens away from the river, and towards the old prim gardens,
in which, we were told, General Washington used to take much delight.
There is nothing very special about the house. Indeed, as a house, it
would now be found comfortless and inconvenient. But the ground falls
well down to the river, and the timber, if not fine, is plentiful
and picturesque. The chief interest of the place, however, is in the
tomb of Washington and his wife. It must be understood that it was a
common practice throughout the States to make a family burying-ground
in any secluded spot on the family property. I have not unfrequently
come across these in my rambles, and in Virginia I have encountered
small, unpretending gravestones under a shady elm, dated as lately as
eight or ten years back. At Mount Vernon there is now a cemetery of
the Washington family; and there, in an open vault--a vault open, but
guarded by iron grating--is the great man's tomb, and by his side
the tomb of Martha his wife. As I stood there alone, with no one
by to irritate me by assertions of the man's absolute supremacy, I
acknowledged that I had come to the final resting-place of a great
and good man,--of a man whose patriotism was, I believe, an honest
feeling, untinged by any personal ambition of a selfish nature. That
he was pre-eminently a successful man may have been due chiefly to
the excellence of his cause, and the blood and character of the
people who put him forward as their right arm in their contest;
but that he did not mar that success by arrogance, or destroy the
brightness of his own name by personal aggrandisement, is due to a
noble nature and to the calm individual excellence of the man.

Considering the circumstances and history of the place, the position
of Mount Vernon, as I saw it, was very remarkable. It lay exactly
between the lines of the two armies. The pickets of the Northern
army had been extended beyond it, not improbably with the express
intention of keeping a spot so hallowed within the power of the
northern Government. But since the war began it had been in the
hands of the seceders. In fact, it stood there in the middle of the
battle-field, on the very line of division between loyalism and
secession. And this was the spot which Washington had selected as the
heart and centre, and safest rallying homestead of the united nation
which he left behind him. But Washington, when he resolved to found
his capital on the banks of the Potomac, knew nothing of the glories
of the Mississippi. He did not dream of the speedy addition to his
already gathered constellations of those Western stars, of Wisconsin,
Illinois, Minnesota, and Iowa; nor did he dream of Texas conquered,
Louisiana purchased, and Missouri and Kansas rescued from the

I have said that Washington was at that time,--the Christmas of
1861-1862,--a melancholy place. This was partly owing to the
despondent tone in which so many Americans then spoke of their own
affairs. It was not that the northern men thought that they were to
be beaten, or that the southern men feared that things were going bad
with their party across the river; but that nobody seemed to have any
faith in anybody. Maclellan had been put up as the true man--exalted
perhaps too quickly, considering the limited opportunities for
distinguishing himself which fortune had thrown in his way; but now
belief in Maclellan seemed to be slipping away. One felt that it was
so from day to day, though it was impossible to define how or whence
the feeling came. And then the character of the ministry fared still
worse in public estimation. That Lincoln, the President, was honest,
and that Chase, the Secretary of the Treasury, was able, was the only
good that one heard spoken. At this time two Jonahs were specially
pointed out as necessary sacrifices, by whose immersion into the
comfortless ocean of private life the ship might perhaps be saved.
These were Mr. Cameron, the Secretary of War, and Mr. Welles, the
Secretary of the Navy. It was said that Lincoln, when pressed to rid
his Cabinet of Cameron, had replied, that when a man was crossing a
stream the moment was hardly convenient for changing his horse; but
it came to that at last, that he found he must change his horse, even
in the very sharpest run of the river. Better that than sit an animal
on whose exertions he knew that he could not trust. So Mr. Cameron
went, and Mr. Stanton became Secretary at War in his place. But Mr.
Cameron, though put out of the Cabinet, was to be saved from absolute
disgrace by being sent as Minister to Russia. I do not know that
it would become me here to repeat the accusations made against Mr.
Cameron, but it had long seemed to me that the maintenance in such
a position, at such a time, of a gentleman who had to sustain such
a universal absence of public confidence, must have been most
detrimental to the army and to the Government.

Men whom one met in Washington were not unhappy about the state of
things, as I had seen men unhappy in the North and in the West. They
were mainly indifferent, but with that sort of indifference which
arises from a break down of faith in anything. "There was the army!
Yes, the army! But what an army! Nobody obeyed anybody. Nobody did
anything! Nobody thought of advancing! There were, perhaps, two
hundred thousand men assembled round Washington; and now the effort
of supplying them with food and clothing was as much as could be
accomplished! But the contractors, in the meantime, were becoming
rich. And then as to the Government! Who trusted it? Who would put
their faith in Seward and Cameron? Cameron was now gone, it was true;
and in that way the whole of the Cabinet would soon be broken up. As
to Congress, what could Congress do? Ask questions which no one would
care to answer, and finally get itself packed up and sent home." The
President and the constitution fared no better in men's mouths. The
former did nothing,--neither harm nor good; and as for the latter, it
had broken down and shown itself to be inefficient. So men ate, and
drank, and laughed, waiting till chaos should come, secure in the
belief that the atoms into which their world would resolve itself,
would connect themselves again in some other form without trouble on
their part.

And at Washington I found no strong feeling against England and
English conduct towards America. "We men of the world," a Washington
man might have said, "know very well that everybody must take care of
himself first. We are very good friends with you,--of course, and are
very glad to see you at our table whenever you come across the water;
but as for rejoicing at your joys, or expecting you to sympathize
with our sorrows, we know the world too well for that. We are
splitting into pieces, and of course that is gain to you. Take
another cigar." This polite, fashionable, and certainly comfortable
way of looking at the matter had never been attained at New York or
Philadelphia, at Boston or Chicago. The northern provincial world
of the States had declared to itself that those who were not with
it were against it; that its neighbours should be either friends or
foes; that it would understand nothing of neutrality. This was often
mortifying to me, but I think I liked it better on the whole than the
_laisser-aller_ indifference of Washington.

Everybody acknowledged that society in Washington had been almost
destroyed by the loss of the southern half of the usual sojourners in
the city. The senators and members of Government, who heretofore had
come from the southern States, had no doubt spent more money in the
capital than their northern brethren. They and their families had
been more addicted to social pleasures. They are the descendants of
the old English Cavaliers, whereas the northern men have come from
the old English Roundheads. Or if, as may be the case, the blood
of the races has now been too well mixed to allow of this being
said with absolute truth, yet something of the manners of the old
forefathers has been left. The southern gentleman is more genial,
less dry,--I will not say more hospitable, but more given to enjoy
hospitality than his northern brother; and this difference is quite
as strong with the women as with the men. It may therefore be
understood that secession would be very fatal to the society of
Washington. It was not only that the members of Congress were not
there. As to very many of the representatives, it may be said that
they do not belong sufficiently to Washington to make a part of its
society. It is not every representative that is, perhaps, qualified
to do so. But secession had taken away from Washington those who
held property in the South--who were bound to the South by any ties,
whether political or other; who belonged to the South by blood,
education, and old habits. In very many cases--nay, in most such
cases--it had been necessary that a man should select whether he
would be a friend to the South, and therefore a rebel; or else an
enemy to the South, and therefore untrue to all the predilections and
sympathies of his life. Here has been the hardship. For such people
there has been no neutrality possible. Ladies even have not been able
to profess themselves simply anxious for peace and goodwill, and so
to remain tranquil. They who are not for me are against me, has been
spoken by one side and by the other. And I suppose that in all civil
war it is necessary that it should be so. I heard of various cases
in which father and son had espoused different sides in order that
property might be retained both in the North and in the South. Under
such circumstances it may be supposed that society in Washington
would be considerably cut up. All this made the place somewhat



In the interior of the Capitol much space is at present wasted, but
this arises from the fact of great additions to the original plan
having been made. The two chambers,--that of the Senate and of the
Representatives, are in the two new wings, on the middle, or what we
call the first-floor. The entrance is made under a dome, to a large
circular hall, which is hung around with surely the worst pictures by
which a nation ever sought to glorify its own deeds. There are yards
of paintings at Versailles which are bad enough; but there is nothing
at Versailles comparable in villany to the huge daubs which are
preserved in this hall at the Capitol. It is strange that even
self-laudatory patriotism should desire the perpetuation of such
rubbish. When I was there the new dome was still in progress, and an
ugly column of woodwork, required for internal support and affording
a staircase to the top, stood in this hall. This of course was a
temporary and necessary evil; but even this was hung around with the
vilest of portraits.

From the hall, turning to the left, if the entrance be made at the
front door, one goes to the new Chamber of Representatives, passing
through that which was the old chamber. This is now dedicated to the
exposition of various new figures by Crawford, and to the sale of
tarts and gingerbread,--of very bad tarts and gingerbread. Let that
old woman look to it, or let the House dismiss her. In fact this
chamber is now but a vestibule to a passage, a second hall as it
were, and thus thrown away. Changes probably will be made which will
bring it into some use, or some scheme of ornamentation. From this
a passage runs to the Representative Chamber, passing between those
tell-tale windows, which, looking to the right and left, proclaim the
tenuity of the building. The windows on one side, that looking to the
east or front, should, I think, be closed. The appearance, both from
the inside and from the outside, would be thus improved.

The Representative Chamber itself--which of course answers to our
House of Commons--is a handsome, commodious room, admirably fitted
for the purposes required. It strikes one as rather low, but I doubt
if it were higher whether it would be better adapted for hearing.
Even at present it is not perfect in this respect as regards the
listeners in the gallery. It is a handsome, long chamber, lighted by
skylights from the roof, and is amply large enough for the number to
be accommodated. The Speaker sits opposite to the chief entrance,
his desk being fixed against the opposite wall. He is thus brought
nearer to the body of the men before him than is the case with our
Speaker. He sits at a marble table, and the clerks below him are also
accommodated with marble. Every representative has his own arm-chair,
and his own desk before it. This may be done for a house consisting
of about 240 members, but could hardly be contrived with us. These
desks are arranged in a semicircular form, or in a broad horseshoe,
and every member as he sits faces the Speaker. A score or so of
little boys are always running about the floor, ministering to the
members' wishes, carrying up petitions to the chair, bringing water
to long-winded legislators, delivering and carrying out letters, and
running with general messages. They do not seem to interrupt the
course of business, and yet they are the liveliest little boys I
ever saw. When a member claps his hands, indicating a desire for
attendance, three or four will jockey for the honour. On the whole,
I thought the little boys had a good time of it.

But not so the Speaker. It seemed to me that the amount of work
falling upon the Speaker's shoulders was cruelly heavy. His voice was
always ringing in my ears, exactly as does the voice of the croupier
at a gambling-table who goes on declaring and explaining the results
of the game, and who generally does so in sharp, loud, ringing
tones, from which all interest in the proceeding itself seems
to be excluded. It was just so with the Speaker in the House of
Representatives. The debate was always full of interruptions; but
on every interruption the Speaker asked the gentleman interrupted
whether he would consent to be so treated. "The gentleman from
Indiana has the floor." "The gentleman from Ohio wishes to ask the
gentleman from Indiana a question." "The gentleman from Indiana gives
permission." "The gentleman from Ohio!"--these last words being a
summons to him of Ohio to get up and ask his question. "The gentleman
from Pennsylvania rises to order." "The gentleman from Pennsylvania
is in order." And then the House seems always to be voting, and the
Speaker is always putting the question. "The gentlemen who agree to
the amendment will say, Ay." Not a sound is heard. "The gentlemen who
oppose the amendment will say, No." Again not a sound. "The Ayes have
it," says the Speaker, and then he goes on again. All this he does
with amazing rapidity, and is always at it with the same hard, quick,
ringing, uninterested voice. The gentleman whom I saw in the chair
was very clever, and quite up to the task. But as for dignity--!
Perhaps it might be found that any great accession of dignity would
impede the celerity of the work to be done, and that a closer copy of
the British model might not on the whole increase the efficiency of
the American machine.

When any matter of real interest occasioned a vote, the ayes and noes
would be given aloud; and then, if there were a doubt arising from
the volume of sound, the Speaker would declare that the "ayes" or the
"noes" would seem to have it! And upon this a poll would be demanded.
In such cases the Speaker calls on two members, who come forth
and stand fronting each other before the chair, making a gangway.
Through this the ayes walk like sheep, the tellers giving them an
accelerating poke when they fail to go on with rapidity. Thus they
are counted, and the noes are counted in the same way. It seemed
to me that it would be very possible in a dishonest legislator to
vote twice on any subject of great interest; but it may perhaps be
the case that there are no dishonest legislators in the House of

According to a list which I obtained, the present number of members
is 173, and there are 63 vacancies occasioned by secession. New
York returns 33 members, Pennsylvania 25, Ohio 21, Virginia 13,
Massachusetts and Indiana 11, Tennessee and Kentucky 10, South
Carolina 6, and so on, till Delaware, Kansas, and Florida return only
1 each. When the constitution was framed, Pennsylvania returned 8,
and New York only 6; whereas Virginia returned 10, and South Carolina
5. From which may be gathered the relative rate of increase in
population of the Free-soil States and the Slave States. All these
States return two senators each to the other House, Kansas sending
as many as New York. The work in the House begins at 12 noon, and is
not often carried on late into the evening. Indeed this, I think, is
never done till towards the end of the session.

The Senate House is in the opposite wing of the building, the
position of the one house answering exactly to that of the other.
It is somewhat smaller, but is, as a matter of course, much less
crowded. There are 34 States, and therefore 68 seats and 68 desks
only are required. These also are arranged in a horse-shoe form,
and face the President; but there was a sad array of empty chairs
when I was in Washington, nineteen or twenty seats being vacant in
consequence of secession. In this house the Vice-President of the
United States acts as President, but has by no means so hard a job
of work as his brother on the other side of the way. Mr. Hannibal
Hamlin, from Maine, now fills this chair. I was driven, while in
Washington, to observe something amounting almost to a peculiarity in
the Christian names of the gentlemen who were then administrating the
Government of the country. Mr. Abraham Lincoln was the President, Mr.
Hannibal Hamlin the Vice-President, Mr. Galusha Grow the Speaker of
the Representatives, Mr. Salmon Chase the Secretary of the Treasury,
Mr. Caleb Smith the Attorney-General, Mr. Simon Cameron the Secretary
at War, and Mr. Gideon Welles the Secretary of the Navy.

In the Senate House, as in the other house, there are very commodious
galleries for strangers, running round the entire chambers, and these
galleries are open to all the world. As with all such places in the
States, a large portion of them is appropriated to ladies. But I came
at last to find that the word lady signified a female or a decently
dressed man. Any arrangement for classes is in America impossible;
the seats intended for gentlemen must as a matter of course be open
to all men; but by giving up to the rougher sex half the amount of
accommodation nominally devoted to ladies, the desirable division
is to a certain extent made. I generally found that I could obtain
admittance to the ladies' gallery if my coat were decent and I had
gloves with me.

All the adjuncts of both these chambers are rich and in good keeping.
The staircases are of marble, and the outside passages and lobbies
are noble in size and in every way convenient. One knows well the
trouble of getting into the House of Lords and House of Commons, and
the want of comfort which attends one there; and an Englishman cannot
fail to make comparisons injurious to his own country. It would not,
perhaps, be possible to welcome all the world in London as is done in
Washington, but there can be no good reason why the space given to
the public with us should not equal that given in Washington. But, so
far are we from sheltering the public, that we have made our House of
Commons so small, that it will not even hold all its own members.

I had an opportunity of being present at one of their field-days
in the Senate. Slidell and Mason had just then been sent from Fort
Warren across to England in the Rinaldo. And here I may as well say
what further there is for me to say about those two heroes. I was in
Boston when they were taken, and all Boston was then full of them. I
was at Washington when they were surrendered, and at Washington for
a time their names were the only household words in vogue. To me it
had, from the first, been a matter of certainty that England would
demand the restitution of the men. I had never attempted to argue the
matter on the legal points, but I felt, as though by instinct, that
it would be so. First of all there reached us, by telegram, from Cape
Race, rumours of what the press in England was saying;--rumours of a
meeting in Liverpool, and rumours of the feeling in London. And then
the papers followed, and we got our private letters. It was some days
before we knew what was actually the demand made by Lord Palmerston's
cabinet; and during this time, through the five or six days which
were thus passed, it was clear to be seen that the American feeling
was undergoing a great change--or if not the feeling, at any rate the
purpose. Men now talked of surrendering these Commissioners as though
it were a line of conduct which Mr. Seward might find convenient; and
then men went further, and said that Mr. Seward would find any other
line of conduct very inconvenient. The newspapers, one after another,
came round. That, under all the circumstances, the States Government
behaved well in the matter no one, I think, can deny; but the
newspapers, taken as a whole, were not very consistent and, I think,
not very dignified. They had declared with throats of brass that
these men should never be surrendered to perfidious Albion; but when
it came to be understood that in all probability they would be so
surrendered, they veered round without an excuse, and spoke of their
surrender as of a thing of course. And thus, in the course of about a
week, the whole current of men's minds was turned. For myself, on my
first arrival at Washington, I felt certain that there would be war,
and was preparing myself for a quick return to England; but from the
moment that the first whisper of England's message reached us, and
that I began to hear how it was received and what men said about it,
I knew that I need not hurry myself. One met a minister here, and a
senator there, and anon some wise diplomatic functionary. By none of
these grave men would any secret be divulged; none of them had any
secret ready for divulging. But it was to be read in every look of
the eye, in every touch of the hand, and in every fall of the foot of
each of them, that Mason and Slidell would go to England.

Then we had, in all the fulness of diplomatic language, Lord
Russell's demand and Mr. Seward's answer. Lord Russell's demand was
worded in language so mild, was so devoid of threat, was so free
from anger, that at the first reading it seemed to ask for nothing.
It almost disappointed by its mildness. Mr. Seward's reply, on the
other hand, by its length of argumentation, by a certain sharpness of
diction to which that gentleman is addicted in his State papers, and
by a tone of satisfaction inherent through it all, seemed to demand
more than he conceded. But, in truth, Lord Russell had demanded
everything, and the United States Government had conceded everything.

I have said that the American Government behaved well in its mode
of giving the men up, and I think that so much should be allowed to
them on a review of the whole affair. That Captain Wilkes had no
instructions to seize the two men is a known fact. He did seize them
and brought them into Boston harbour, to the great delight of his
countrymen. This delight I could understand, though of course I did
not share it. One of these men had been the parent of the Fugitive
Slave Law; the other had been great in fostering the success of
filibustering. Both of them were hot secessionists, and undoubtedly
rebels. No two men on the continent were more grievous by their
antecedents and present characters to all northern feeling. It is
impossible to deny that they were rebels against the Government of
their country. That Captain Wilkes was not on this account justified
in seizing them is now a matter of history, but that the people of
the loyal States should rejoice in their seizure was a matter of
course. Wilkes was received with an ovation, which as regarded him
was ill-judged and undeserved, but which in its spirit was natural.
Had the President's Government at that moment disowned the deed
done by Wilkes, and declared its intention of giving up the men
unasked, the clamour raised would have been very great, and perhaps
successful. We were told that the American lawyers were against
their doing so; and indeed there was such a shout of triumph that no
ministry in a country so democratic could have ventured to go at once
against it, and to do so without any external pressure.

Then came the one ministerial blunder. The President put forth his
message, in which he was cunningly silent on the Slidell and Mason
affair; but to his message was appended, according to custom, the
report from Mr. Welles, the Secretary of the Navy. In this report
approval was expressed of the deed done by Captain Wilkes. Captain
Wilkes was thus in all respects indemnified, and the blame, if any,
was taken from his shoulders and put on to the shoulders of that
officer who was responsible for the Secretary's letter. It is true
that in that letter the Secretary declared that in case of any future
seizure the vessel seized must be taken into port, and so declared
in animadverting on the fact that Captain Wilkes had not brought the
"Trent" into port. But, nevertheless, Secretary Welles approved of
Captain Wilkes's conduct. He allowed the reasons to be good which
Wilkes had put forward for leaving the ship, and in all respects
indemnified the captain. Then the responsibility shifted itself to
Secretary Welles; but I think it must be clear that the President, in
sending forward that report, took that responsibility upon himself.
That he is not bound to send forward the reports of his Secretaries
as he receives them;--that he can disapprove them and require
alteration, was proved at the very time by the fact that he had in
this way condemned Secretary Cameron's report, and caused a portion
of it to be omitted. Secretary Cameron had unfortunately allowed his
entire report to be printed, and it appeared in a New York paper.
It contained a recommendation with reference to the slave question
most offensive to a part of the Cabinet, and to the majority of Mr.
Lincoln's party. This, by order of the President, was omitted in the
official way. It was certainly a pity that Mr. Welles's paragraph
respecting the "Trent" was not omitted also. The President was dumb
on the matter, and that being so the Secretary should have been dumb

But when the demand was made the States Government yielded at once,
and yielded without bluster. I cannot say I much admired Mr. Seward's
long letter. It was full of smart special pleading, and savoured
strongly, as Mr. Seward's productions always do, of the personal
author. Mr. Seward was making an effort to place a great State paper
on record, but the _ars celare artem_ was altogether wanting; and,
if I am not mistaken, he was without the art itself. I think he left
the matter very much where he found it. The men however were to be
surrendered, and the good policy consisted in this,--that no delay
was sought, no diplomatic ambiguities were put into request. It was
the opinion of very many that some two or three months might be
gained by correspondence, and that at the end of that time things
might stand on a different footing. If during that time the North
should gain any great success over the South, the States might be in
a position to disregard England's threats. No such game was played.
The illegality of the arrest was at once acknowledged, and the
men were given up,--with a tranquillity that certainly appeared
marvellous after all that had so lately occurred.

Then came Mr. Sumner's field day. Mr. Charles Sumner is a senator
from Massachusetts, known as a very hot abolitionist and as having
been the victim of an attack made upon him in the Senate House by
Senator Brookes. He was also at the time of which I am writing
Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, which position is
as near akin to that of a British minister in Parliament as can
be attained under the existing constitution of the States. It is
not similar, because such chairman is by no means bound to the
Government; but he has ministerial relations, and is supposed to be
specially conversant with all questions relating to foreign affairs.
It was understood that Mr. Sumner did not intend to find fault either
with England or with the Government of his own country as to its
management of this matter; or that, at least, such fault-finding was
not his special object, but that he was desirous to put forth views
which might lead to a final settlement of all difficulties with
reference to the right of international search.

On such an occasion, a speaker gives himself very little chance of
making a favourable impression on his immediate hearers if he reads
his speech from a written manuscript. Mr. Sumner did so on this
occasion, and I must confess that I was not edified. It seemed to me
that he merely repeated, at greater length, the arguments which I had
heard fifty times during the last thirty or forty days. I am told
that the discourse is considered to be logical, and that it "reads"
well. As regards the gist of it, or that result which Mr. Sumner
thinks to be desirable, I fully agree with him, as I think will all
the civilized world before many years have passed. If international
law be what the lawyers say it is, international law must be altered
to suit the requirements of modern civilization. By those laws, as
they are construed, everything is to be done for two nations at war
with each other; but nothing is to be done for all the nations of the
world that can manage to maintain the peace. The belligerents are to
be treated with every delicacy, as we treat our heinous criminals;
but the poor neutrals are to be handled with unjust rigour, as we
handle our unfortunate witnesses in order that the murderer may, if
possible, be allowed to escape. Two men living in the same street
choose to pelt each other across the way with brickbats, and the
other inhabitants are denied the privileges of the footpath lest they
should interfere with the due prosecution of the quarrel! It is, I
suppose, the truth, that we English have insisted on this right of
search with more pertinacity than any other nation. Now in this case
of Slidell and Mason we have felt ourselves aggrieved, and have
resisted. Luckily for us there was no doubt of the illegality of the
mode of seizure in this instance; but who will say that if Captain
Wilkes had taken the "Trent" into the harbour of New York, in order
that the matter might have been adjudged there, England would have
been satisfied? Our grievance was, that our mail-packet was stopped
on the seas while doing its ordinary beneficent work. And our resolve
is, that our mail-packets shall not be so stopped with impunity.
As we were high-handed in old days in insisting on this right of
search, and as we are high-handed now in resisting a right of search,
it certainly behoves us to see that we be just in our modes of
proceeding. Would Captain Wilkes have been right according to the
existing law if he had carried the "Trent" away to New York? If so,
we ought not to be content with having escaped from such a trouble
merely through a mistake on his part. Lord Russell says that the
"Trent's" voyage was an innocent voyage. That is the fact that should
be established;--not only that the voyage was, in truth, innocent,
but that it should not be made out to be guilty by any international
law. Of its real innocency all thinking men must feel themselves
assured. But it is not only of the seizure that we complain, but of
the search also. An honest man is not to be handled by a policeman
while on his daily work, lest by chance a stolen watch should be
in his pocket. If international law did give such power to all
belligerents, international law must give it no longer. In the
beginning of these matters, as I take it, the object was when two
powerful nations were at war to allow the smaller fry of nations to
enjoy peace and quiet, and to avoid if possible the general scuffle.
Thence arose the position of a neutral. But it was clearly not fair
that any such nation, having proclaimed its neutrality, should, after
that, fetch and carry for either of the combatants to the prejudice
of the other. Hence came the right of search, in order that unjust
falsehood might be prevented. But the seas were not then bridged with
ships as they are now bridged, and the laws as written were, perhaps,
then practical and capable of execution. Now they are impracticable
and not capable of execution. It will not, however, do for us to
ignore them if they exist; and therefore they should be changed. It
is, I think, manifest that our own pretensions as to the right of
search must be modified after this. And now I trust I may finish my
book without again naming Messrs. Slidell and Mason.

The working of the Senate bears little or no analogy to that of our
House of Lords. In the first place, the senator's tenure there is not
hereditary, nor is it for life. They are elected, and sit for six
years. Their election is not made by the people of their States, but
by the State legislature. The two Houses, for instance, of the State
of Massachusetts meet together and elect by their joint vote to the
vacant seat for their State. It is so arranged that an entirely new
senate is not elected every sixth year. Instead of this a third of
the number is elected every second year. It is a common thing for
senators to be re-elected, and thus to remain in the House for twelve
and eighteen years. In our Parliament the House of Commons has
greater political strength and wider political action than the House
of Lords; but in Congress the Senate counts for more than the House
of Representatives in general opinion. Money bills must originate in
the House of Representatives, but that is, I think, the only special
privilege attaching to the public purse which the lower House enjoys
over the upper. Amendments to such bills can be moved in the Senate;
and all such bills must pass the Senate before they become law. I am
inclined to think that individual members of the Senate work harder
than individual representatives. More is expected of them, and any
prolonged absence from duty would be more remarked in the Senate than
in the other House. In our Parliament this is reversed. The payment
made to members of the Senate is 3000 dollars, or £600, per annum,
and to a representative, £500 per annum. To this is added certain
mileage allowance for travelling backwards and forwards, between
their own State and the Capitol. A senator, therefore, from
California or Oregon has not altogether a bad place; but the halcyon
days of mileage allowances are, I believe, soon to be brought to an
end. It is quite within rule that the senator of to-day should be
the representative of to-morrow. Mr. Crittenden, who was senator
from Kentucky, is now a member of the Lower House from an electoral
district in that State. John Quincy Adams went into the House of
Representatives after he had been President of the United States.

Divisions in the Senate do not take place as in the House of
Representatives. The ayes and noes are called for in the same way;
but if a poll be demanded, the clerk of the House calls out the names
of the different senators, and makes out lists of the votes according
to the separate answers given by the members. The mode is certainly
more dignified than that pursued in the other House, where during the
ceremony of voting the members look very much like sheep being passed
into their pens.

I heard two or three debates in the House of Representatives, and
that one especially in which, as I have said before, a chapter was
read out of the book of Joshua. The manner in which the Creator's
name and the authority of His Word was bandied about the house on
that occasion, did not strike me favourably. The question originally
under debate was the relative power of the civil and military
authority. Congress had desired to declare its ascendancy over
military matters; but the army and the Executive generally had
demurred to this,--not with an absolute denial of the rights of
Congress, but with those civil and almost silent generalities with
which a really existing Power so well knows how to treat a nominal
Power. The ascendant wife seldom tells her husband in so many words
that his opinion in the house is to go for nothing; she merely
resolves that such shall be the case, and acts accordingly. An
observer could not but perceive that in those days Congress was
taking upon itself the part, not exactly of an obedient husband, but
of a husband vainly attempting to assert his supremacy. "I have got
to learn," said one gentleman after another, rising indignantly on
the floor, "that the military authority of our generals is above that
of this House." And then one gentleman relieved the difficulty of the
position by branching off into an eloquent discourse against slavery,
and by causing a chapter to be read out of the book of Joshua.

On that occasion the gentleman's diversion seemed to have the effect
of relieving the House altogether from the embarrassment of the
original question; but it was becoming manifest, day by day, that
Congress was losing its ground, and that the army was becoming
indifferent to its thunders:--that the army was doing so, and
also that ministers were doing so. In the States, the President
and his ministers are not in fact subject to any parliamentary
responsibility. The President may be impeached, but the member of
an opposition does not always wish to have recourse to such an
extreme measure as impeachment. The ministers are not in the houses,
and cannot therefore personally answer questions. Different large
subjects, such as Foreign affairs, Financial affairs, and Army
matters, are referred to Standing Committees in both houses; and
these Committees have relations with the ministers. But they have no
constitutional power over the ministers; nor have they the much more
valuable privilege of badgering a minister hither and thither by
_vivâ voce_ questions on every point of his administration. The
minister sits safe in his office--safe there for the term of the
existing Presidency if he can keep well with the President; and
therefore, even under ordinary circumstances, does not care much for
the printed or written messages of Congress. But under circumstances
so little ordinary as those of 1861-62, while Washington was
surrounded by hundreds of thousands of soldiers, Congress was
absolutely impotent. Mr. Seward could snap his fingers at Congress,
and he did so. He could not snap his fingers at the army; but then he
could go with the army,--could keep the army on his side by remaining
on the same side with the army; and this, as it seemed, he resolved
to do. It must be understood that Mr. Seward was not Prime Minister.
The President of the United States has no Prime Minister,--or
hitherto has had none. The Minister for Foreign Affairs has usually
stood highest in the Cabinet, and Mr. Seward, as holding that
position, was not inclined to lessen its authority. He was gradually
assuming for that position the prerogatives of a Premier, and men
were beginning to talk of Mr. Seward's ministry. It may easily be
understood that at such a time the powers of Congress would be
undefined, and that ambitious members of Congress would rise and
assert on the floor, with that peculiar voice of indignation so
common in parliamentary debate, "that they had got to learn," &c.,
&c., &c. It seemed to me that the lesson which they had yet to learn
was then in the process of being taught to them. They were anxious
to be told all about the mischance at Ball's Bluff, but nobody would
tell them anything about it. They wanted to know something of that
blockade on the Potomac; but such knowledge was not good for them.
"Pack them up in boxes, and send them home," one military gentleman
said to me. And I began to think that something of the kind would be
done, if they made themselves troublesome. I quote here the manner in
which their questions, respecting the affair at Ball's Bluff, were
answered by the Secretary of War. "The Speaker laid before the House
a letter from the Secretary at War, in which he says that he has the
honour to acknowledge the receipt of the resolution adopted on the
6th instant, to the effect that the answer of the department to the
resolution passed on the second day of the session, is not responsive
and satisfactory to the House, and requesting a further answer. The
Secretary has now to state that measures have been taken to ascertain
who is responsible for the disastrous movement at Ball's Bluff, but
that it is not compatible with the public interest to make known
those measures at the present time."

In truth the days are evil for any Congress of debaters, when a great
army is in camp on every side of them. The people had called for the
army, and there it was. It was of younger birth than Congress, and
had thrown its elder brother considerably out of favour, as has been
done before by many a new-born baby. If Congress could amuse itself
with a few set speeches, and a field-day or two, such as those
afforded by Mr. Sumner, it might all be very well,--provided that
such speeches did not attack the army. Over and beyond this, let
them vote the supplies and have done with it. Was it probable that
General Maclellan should have time to answer questions about Ball's
Bluff,--and he with such a job of work on his hands? Congress could
of course vote what committees of military inquiry it might please,
and might ask questions without end; but we all know to what such
questions lead, when the questioner has no power to force an answer
by a penalty. If it might be possible to maintain the semblance of
respect for Congress, without too much embarrassment to military
secretaries, such semblance should be maintained; but if Congress
chose to make itself really disagreeable, then no semblance could be
kept up any longer. That, as far as I could judge, was the position
of Congress in the early months of 1862; and that, under existing
circumstances, was perhaps the only possible position that it could

All this to me was very melancholy. The streets of Washington were
always full of soldiers. Mounted sentries stood at the corners of all
the streets with drawn sabres,--shivering in the cold and besmeared
with mud. A military law came out that civilians might not ride
quickly through the street. Military riders galloped over one at
every turn, splashing about through the mud, and reminding one not
unfrequently of John Gilpin. Why they always went so fast, destroying
their horses' feet on the rough stones, I could never learn. But I,
as a civilian, given, as Englishmen are, to trotting, and furnished
for the time with a nimble trotter, found myself harried from time
to time by muddy men with sabres, who would dash after me, rattling
their trappings, and bid me go at a slower pace. There is a building
in Washington, built by private munificence and devoted, according to
an inscription which it bears, "To the Arts." It has been turned into
an army clothing establishment. The streets of Washington, night and
day, were thronged with army waggons. All through the city military
huts and military tents were to be seen, pitched out among the mud
and in the desert places. Then there was the chosen locality of the
teamsters and their mules and horses--a wonderful world in itself;
and all within the city! Here horses and mules lived,--or died,--_sub
dio_, with no slightest apology for a stable over them, eating their
provender from off the waggons to which they were fastened. Here,
there, and everywhere large houses were occupied as the head-quarters
of some officer, or the bureau of some military official. At
Washington and round Washington the army was everything. While this
was so, is it to be conceived that Congress should ask questions
about military matters with success?

All this, as I say, filled me with sorrow. I hate military
belongings, and am disgusted at seeing the great affairs of a nation
put out of their regular course. Congress to me is respectable.
Parliamentary debates, be they ever so prosy,--as with us, or even
so rowdy, as sometimes they have been with our cousins across the
water,--engage my sympathies. I bow inwardly before a Speaker's
chair, and look upon the elected representatives of any nation as the
choice men of the age. Those muddy, clattering dragoons, sitting at
the corners of the streets with dirty woollen comforters round their
ears, were to me hideous in the extreme. But there at Washington, at
the period of which I am writing, I was forced to acknowledge that
Congress was at a discount, and that the rough-shod generals were the
men of the day. "Pack them up and send them in boxes to their several
States." It would come to that, I thought, or to something like
that unless Congress would consent to be submissive. "I have yet to
learn--!" said indignant members, stamping with their feet on the
floor of the house. One would have said that by that time the lesson
might almost have been understood.

Up to the period of this civil war Congress has certainly worked well
for the United States. It might be easy to pick holes in it;--to show
that some members have been corrupt, others quarrelsome, and others
again impracticable. But when we look at the circumstances under
which it has been from year to year elected,--when we remember
the position of the newly-populated States from which the members
have been sent, and the absence throughout the country of that old
traditionary class of Parliament men on whom we depend in England;
when we think how recent has been the elevation in life of the
majority of those who are and must be elected,--it is impossible
to deny them praise for intellect, patriotism, good sense, and
diligence. They began but sixty years ago, and for sixty years
Congress has fully answered the purpose for which it was established.
With no antecedents of grandeur, the nation, with its Congress, has
made itself one of the five great nations of the world. And what
living English politician will say even now, with all its troubles
thick upon it, that it is the smallest of the five? When I think of
this, and remember the position in Europe which an American has been
able to claim for himself, I cannot but acknowledge that Congress on
the whole has been conducted with prudence, wisdom, and patriotism.

The question now to be asked is this,--Have the powers of Congress
been sufficient, or are they sufficient, for the continued
maintenance of free government in the States under the constitution?
I think that the powers given by the existing constitution to
Congress can no longer be held to be sufficient; and that if the
Union be maintained at all, it must be done by a closer assimilation
of its congressional system to that of our Parliament. But to
that matter I must allude again, when speaking of the existing
constitution of the States.



I have seen various essays purporting to describe the causes of this
civil war between the North and South; but they have generally been
written with the view of vindicating either one side or the other,
and have spoken rather of causes which should, according to the ideas
of their writers, have produced peace, than of those which did, in
the course of events, actually produce war. This has been essentially
the case with Mr. Everett, who in his lecture at New York, on the 4th
of July, 1860, recapitulated all the good things which the North has
done for the South, and who proved--if he has proved anything--that
the South should have cherished the North instead of hating it. And
this was very much the case also with Mr. Motley in his letter to
the "London Times." That letter is good in its way, as is everything
that comes from Mr. Motley, but it does not tell us why the war has
existed. Why is it that eight millions of people have desired to
separate themselves from a rich and mighty empire,--from an empire
which was apparently on its road to unprecedented success, and which
had already achieved wealth, consideration, power, and internal

One would be led to imagine from the essays of Mr. Everett and of Mr.
Motley, that slavery has had little or nothing to do with it. I must
acknowledge it to be my opinion that slavery in its various bearings
has been the single and necessary cause of the war;--that slavery
being there in the South, this war was only to be avoided by a
voluntary division,--secession voluntary both on the part of North
and South;--that in the event of such voluntary secession being not
asked for, or if asked for not conceded, revolution and civil war
became necessary,--were not to be avoided by any wisdom or care on
the part of the North.

The arguments used by both the gentlemen I have named prove very
clearly that South Carolina and her sister States had no right to
secede under the constitution; that is to say, that it was not open
to them peaceably to take their departure, and to refuse further
allegiance to the President and Congress without a breach of the
laws by which they were bound. For a certain term of years, namely,
from 1781 to 1787, the different States endeavoured to make their
way in the world, simply leagued together by certain articles
of confederation. It was declared that each State retained its
sovereignty, freedom, and independence; and that the said States then
entered severally into a firm league of friendship with each other
for their common defence. There was no President, no Congress taking
the place of our Parliament, but simply a congress of delegates
or ambassadors, two or three from each State, who were to act in
accordance with the policy of their own individual States. It is
well that this should be thoroughly understood, not as bearing
on the question of the present war, but as showing that a loose
confederation, not subversive of the separate independence of the
States, and capable of being partially dissolved at the will of each
separate State, was tried, and was found to fail. South Carolina took
upon herself to act as she might have acted had that confederation
remained in force; but that confederation was an acknowledged
failure. National greatness could not be achieved under it, and
individual enterprise could not succeed under it. Then in lieu of
that, by the united consent of the thirteen States the present
constitution was drawn up and sanctioned, and to that every State
bound itself in allegiance. In that constitution no power of
secession is either named or presumed to exist. The individual
sovereignty of the States had, in the first instance, been thought
desirable. The young republicans hankered after the separate power
and separate name which each might then have achieved; but that dream
had been found vain,--and therefore the States, at the cost of some
fond wishes, agreed to seek together for national power, rather than
run the risks entailed upon separate existence. I append to this
volume the articles of confederation and the constitution of the
United States, as they who desire to look into this matter may be
anxious to examine them without reference to other volumes. The
latter alone is clear enough on the subject, but is strengthened by
the former in proving that under the latter no State could possess
the legal power of seceding.

But they who created the constitution, who framed the clauses, and
gave to this terribly important work what wisdom they possessed, did
not presume to think that it could be final. The mode of altering the
constitution is arranged in the constitution. Such alterations must
be proposed either by two-thirds of both the houses of the general
Congress, or by the legislatures of two-thirds of the States;
and must, when so proposed, be ratified by the legislatures of
three-fourths of the States.--(Article V.) There can, I think, be no
doubt that any alteration so carried would be valid; even though that
alteration should go to the extent of excluding one or any number
of States from the Union. Any division so made would be made in
accordance with the constitution.

South Carolina and the southern States no doubt felt that they would
not succeed in obtaining secession in this way, and therefore they
sought to obtain the separation which they wanted by revolution,--by
revolution and rebellion, as Naples has lately succeeded in her
attempt to change her political status; as Hungary is looking to do;
as Poland has been seeking to do any time since her subjection; as
the revolted colonies of Great Britain succeeded in doing in 1776,
whereby they created this great nation which is now undergoing all
the sorrows of a civil war. The name of secession claimed by the
South for this movement is a misnomer. If any part of a nationality
or empire ever rebelled against the government established on behalf
of the whole, South Carolina so rebelled when, on the 20th November,
1860, she put forth her ordinance of so-called secession; and the
other southern States joined in that rebellion when they followed
her lead. As to that fact, there cannot, I think, much longer be any
doubt in any mind. I insist on this especially, repeating perhaps
unnecessarily, opinions expressed in my first volume, because I still
see it stated by English writers that the secession ordinance of
South Carolina should have been accepted as a political act by the
government of the United States. It seems to me that no government
can in this way accept an act of rebellion without declaring its own
functions to be beyond its own power.

But what if such rebellion be justifiable, or even reasonable? what
if the rebels have cause for their rebellion? For no one will now
deny that rebellion may be both reasonable and justifiable; or that
every subject in the land may be bound in duty to rebel. In such case
the government will be held to have brought about its own punishment
by its own fault. But as government is a wide affair, spreading
itself gradually, and growing in virtue or in vice from small
beginnings,--from seeds slow to produce their fruits,--it is
much easier to discern the incidence of the punishment than the
perpetration of the fault. Government goes astray by degrees, or sins
by the absence of that wisdom which should teach rulers how to make
progress, as progress is made by those whom they rule. The fault may
be absolutely negative and have spread itself over centuries; may
be, and generally has been, attributable to dull good men;--but not
the less does the punishment come at a blow. The rebellion exists
and cannot be put down,--will put down all that opposes it; but the
government is not the less bound to make its fight. That is the
punishment that comes on governing men or on a governing people, that
govern not well or not wisely.

As Mr. Motley says in the paper to which I have alluded, "No man, on
either side of the Atlantic, with Anglo-Saxon blood in his veins,
will dispute the right of a people, or of any portion of a people,
to rise against oppression, to demand redress of grievances, and in
case of denial of justice to take up arms to vindicate the sacred
principle of liberty. Few Englishmen or Americans will deny that the
source of government is the consent of the governed, or that every
nation has the right to govern itself according to its will. When
the silent consent is changed to fierce remonstrance, revolution is
impending. The right of revolution is indisputable. It is written on
the whole record of our race. British and American history is made
up of rebellion and revolution. Hampden, Pym, and Oliver Cromwell;
Washington, Adams, and Jefferson, all were rebels." Then comes the
question whether South Carolina and the Gulf States had so suffered
as to make rebellion on their behalf justifiable or reasonable; or if
not, what cause had been strong enough to produce in them so strong
a desire for secession,--a desire which has existed for fully half
the term through which the United States has existed as a nation,
and so firm a resolve to rush into rebellion with the object of
accomplishing that which they deemed not to be accomplished on other

It must, I think, be conceded that the Gulf States have not suffered
at all by their connection with the northern States; that in lieu
of any such suffering, they owe all their national greatness to the
northern States; that they have been lifted up by the commercial
energy of the Atlantic States and by the agricultural prosperity of
the western States, to a degree of national consideration and respect
through the world at large, which never could have belonged to them
standing alone. I will not trouble my readers with statistics which
few would care to follow, but let any man of ordinary every-day
knowledge turn over in his own mind his present existing ideas of
the wealth and commerce of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago,
Pittsburg, and Cincinnati, and compare them with his ideas as to New
Orleans, Charleston, Savannah, Mobile, Richmond, and Memphis. I do
not name such towns as Baltimore and St. Louis, which stand in slave
States, but which have raised themselves to prosperity by northern
habits. If this be not sufficient, let him refer to population tables
and tables of shipping and tonnage. And of those southern towns
which I have named the commercial wealth is of northern creation.
The success of New Orleans as a city can be no more attributed to
Louisianians than can that of the Havana to the men of Cuba, or of
Calcutta to the natives of India. It has been a repetition of the old
story, told over and over again through every century since commerce
has flourished in the world; the tropics can produce,--but the men
from the North shall sow and reap, and garner and enjoy. As the
Creator's work has progressed, this privilege has extended itself to
regions further removed and still further from southern influences.
If we look to Europe, we see that this has been so in Greece, Italy,
Spain, France, and the Netherlands; in England and Scotland; in
Prussia and in Russia; and the Western world shows us the same story.
Where is now the glory of the Antilles? where the riches of Mexico,
and the power of Peru? They still produce sugar, guano, gold, cotton,
coffee, almost whatever we may ask them,--and will continue to do so
while held to labour under sufficient restraint; but where are their
men, where are their books, where are their learning, their art,
their enterprise? I say it with sad regret at the decadence of so
vast a population; but I do say that the southern States of America
have not been able to keep pace with their northern brethren;--that
they have fallen behind in the race, and feeling that the struggle is
too much for them, have therefore resolved to part.

The reasons put forward by the South for secession have been trifling
almost beyond conception. Northern tariffs have been the first,
and perhaps foremost. Then there has been a plea that the national
exchequer has paid certain bounties to New England fishermen,
of which the South has paid its share,--getting no part of such
bounty in return. There is also a complaint as to the navigation
laws,--meaning, I believe, that the laws of the States increase
the cost of coast traffic by forbidding foreign vessels to engage in
the trade, thereby increasing also the price of goods and confining
the benefit to the North, which carries on the coasting trade of
the country, and doing only injury to the South, which has none
of it. Then last, but not least, comes that grievance as to the
Fugitive Slave Law. The law of the land as a whole,--the law of the
nation,--requires the rendition from free States of all fugitive
slaves. But the free States will not obey this law. They even pass
State laws in opposition to it. "Catch your own slaves," they say,
"and we will not hinder you; at any rate we will not hinder you
officially. Of non-official hindrance you must take your chance. But
we absolutely decline to employ our officers to catch your slaves."
That list comprises, as I take it, the amount of southern official
grievances. Southern people will tell you privately of others. They
will say that they cannot sleep happy in their beds, fearing lest
insurrection should be roused among their slaves. They will tell you
of domestic comfort invaded by northern falsehood. They will explain
to you how false has been Mrs. Beecher Stowe. Ladies will fill your
ears and your hearts too with tales of the daily efforts they make
for the comfort of their "people," and of the ruin to those efforts
which arises from the malice of the abolitionists. To all this you
make some answer with your tongue that is hardly true,--for in such
a matter courtesy forbids the plain truth. But your heart within
answers truly, "Madam,--dear madam, your sorrow is great; but that
sorrow is the necessary result of your position."

As to those official reasons, in what fewest words I can use I will
endeavour to show that they come to nothing. The tariff--and a
monstrous tariff it then was--was the ground put forward by South
Carolina for secession, when General Jackson was President, and Mr.
Calhoun was the hero of the South. Calhoun bound himself and his
State to take certain steps towards secession at a certain day if
that tariff were not abolished. The tariff was so absurd that Jackson
and his Government were forced to abandon it,--would have abandoned
it without any threat from Calhoun; but under that threat it was
necessary that Calhoun should be defied. General Jackson proposed
a compromise tariff, which was odious to Calhoun,--not on its own
behalf, for it yielded nearly all that was asked, but as being
subversive of his desire for secession. The President, however,
not only insisted on his compromise, but declared his purpose of
preventing its passage into law unless Calhoun himself, as senator,
would vote for it. And he also declared his purpose, not, we may
presume, officially, of hanging Calhoun if he took that step towards
secession which he had bound himself to take in the event of the
tariff not being repealed. As a result of all this Calhoun voted for
the compromise, and secession for the time was beaten down. That was
in 1832, and may be regarded as the commencement of the secession
movement. The tariff was then a convenient reason, a ground to be
assigned with a colour of justice, because it was a tariff admitted
to be bad. But the tariff has been modified again and again since
that; and the tariff existing when South Carolina seceded in 1860 had
been carried by votes from South Carolina. The absurd Morrill tariff
could not have caused secession, for it was passed without a struggle
in the collapse of Congress occasioned by secession.

The bounty to fishermen was given to create sailors, so that a
marine might be provided for the nation. I need hardly show that
the national benefit would accrue to the whole nation for whose
protection such sailors were needed. Such a system of bounties may
be bad, but if so it was bad for the whole nation. It did not affect
South Carolina otherwise than it affected Illinois, Pennsylvania, or
even New York.

The navigation laws may also have been bad. According to my thinking
such protective laws are bad; but they created no special hardship
on the South. By any such a theory of complaint all sections of all
nations have ground of complaint against any other section which
receives special protection under any law. The drinkers of beer in
England should secede because they pay a tax, whereas the consumers
of paper pay none. The navigation laws of the States are no doubt
injurious to the mercantile interests of the States. I at least have
no doubt on the subject. But no one will think that secession is
justified by the existence of a law of questionable expediency. Bad
laws will go by the board if properly handled by those whom they
pinch, as the navigation laws went by the board with us in England.

As to that Fugitive Slave Law, it should be explained that the
grievance has not arisen from the loss of slaves. I have heard it
stated that South Carolina, up to the time of the secession, had
never lost a slave in this way--that is, by northern opposition to
the Fugitive Slave Law; and that the total number of slaves escaping
successfully into the northern States, and there remaining through
the non-operation of this law, did not amount to five in the year.
It has not been a question of property but of feeling. It has been a
political point, and the South has conceived--and probably conceived
truly--that this resolution on the part of northern States to defy
the law with reference to slaves, even though in itself it might
not be immediately injurious to southern property, was an insertion
of the narrow end of the wedge. It was an action taken against
slavery,--an action taken by men of the North against their
fellow-countrymen in the South. Under such circumstances the sooner
such countrymen should cease to be their fellows the better it would
be for them. That, I take it, was the argument of the South; or at
any rate that was its feeling.

I have said that the reasons given for secession have been trifling,
and among them have so estimated this matter of the Fugitive Slave
Law. I mean to assert that the ground actually put forward is
trifling;--the loss, namely, of slaves to which the South has been
subjected. But the true reason pointed at in this--the conviction,
namely, that the North would not leave slavery alone, and would
not allow it to remain as a settled institution--was by no means
trifling. It has been this conviction on the part of the South, that
the North would not live in amity with slavery, would continue to
fight it under this banner or under that, would still condemn it as
disgraceful to man and rebuke it as impious before God, which has
produced rebellion and civil war--and will ultimately produce that
division for which the South is fighting, and against which the
North is fighting; and which, when accomplished, will give the North
new wings, and will leave the South without political greatness or
commercial success.

Under such circumstances I cannot think that rebellion on the part
of the South was justified by wrongs endured or made reasonable
by the prospect of wrongs to be inflicted. It is disagreeable, that
having to live with a wife who is always rebuking one for some
special fault; but the outside world will not grant a divorce on that
account, especially if the outside world is well aware that the fault
so rebuked is of daily occurrence. "If you do not choose to be called
a drunkard by your wife," the outside world will say, "it will be
well that you should cease to drink." Ah! but that habit of drinking
when once acquired cannot easily be laid aside. The brain will not
work, the organs of the body will not perform their functions, the
blood will not run. The drunkard must drink till he dies. All that
may be a good ground for divorce, the outside world will say; but
the plea should be put in by the sober wife, not by the intemperate
husband. But what if the husband takes himself off without any
divorce and takes with him also his wife's property, her earnings,
that on which he has lived and his children? It may be a good bargain
still for her, the outside world will say; but she, if she be a woman
of spirit, will not willingly put up with such wrongs. The South
has been the husband drunk with slavery, and the North has been the
ill-used wife.

Rebellion, as I have said, is often justifiable, but it is, I think,
never justifiable on the part of a paid servant of that Government
against which it is raised. We must at any rate feel that this is
true of men in high places,--as regards those men to whom by reason
of their offices it should specially belong to put down rebellion.
Had Washington been the Governor of Virginia, had Cromwell been a
minister of Charles, had Garibaldi held a marshal's baton under the
Emperor of Austria or the King of Naples, those men would have been
traitors as well as rebels. Treason and rebellion may be made one
under the law, but the mind will always draw the distinction. I,
if I rebel against the Crown, am not on that account necessarily a
traitor. A betrayal of trust is, I take it, necessary to treason.
I am not aware that Jefferson Davis is a traitor; but that Buchanan
was a traitor admits, I think, of no doubt. Under him and with his
connivance, the rebellion was allowed to make its way. Under him and
by his officers arms and ships, and men and money, were sent away
from those points at which it was known that they would be needed
if it were intended to put down the coming rebellion, and to those
points at which it was known that they would be needed if it were
intended to foster the coming rebellion. But Mr. Buchanan had no
eager feeling in favour of secession. He was not of that stuff of
which are made Davis and Toombs and Slidell. But treason was easier
to him than loyalty. Remonstrance was made to him, pointing out the
misfortunes which his action, or want of action, would bring upon the
country. "Not in my time," he answered. "It will not be in my time."
So that he might escape unscathed out of the fire, this chief ruler
of a nation of thirty millions of men was content to allow treason
and rebellion to work their way! I venture to say so much here as
showing how impossible it was that Mr. Lincoln's government, on its
coming into office, should have given to the South,--not what the
South had asked, for the South had not asked,--but what the South had
taken; what the South had tried to filch. Had the South waited for
secession till Mr. Lincoln had been in his chair, I could understand
that England should sympathize with her. For myself I cannot agree to
that scuttling of the ship by the captain on the day which was to see
the transfer of his command to another officer.

The southern States were driven into rebellion by no wrongs inflicted
on them; but their desire for secession is not on that account matter
for astonishment. It would have been surprising had they not desired
secession. Secession of one kind, a very practical secession, had
already been forced upon them by circumstances. They had become
a separate people, dissevered from the North by habits, morals,
institutions, pursuits, and every conceivable difference in their
modes of thought and action. They still spoke the same language, as
do Austria and Prussia; but beyond that tie of language they had
no bond but that of a meagre political union in their Congress at
Washington. Slavery, as it had been expelled from the North, and as
it had come to be welcomed in the South, had raised such a wall of
difference, that true political union was out of the question. It
would be juster, perhaps, to say that those physical characteristics
of the South which had induced this welcoming of slavery, and those
other characteristics of the North which had induced its expulsion,
were the true causes of the difference. For years and years this
has been felt by both, and the fight has been going on. It has been
continued for thirty years, and almost always to the detriment of
the South. In 1845 Florida and Texas were admitted into the Union as
slave States. I think that no State had then been admitted, as a free
State, since Michigan, in 1836. In 1846 Iowa was admitted as a free
State, and from that day to this Wisconsin, California, Minnesota,
Oregon, and Kansas have been brought into the Union; all as free
States. The annexation of another slave State to the existing Union
had become, I imagine, impossible--unless such object were gained by
the admission of Texas. We all remember that fight about Kansas, and
what sort of a fight it was! Kansas lies alongside of Missouri, a
slave State, and is contiguous to no other State. If the free-soil
party could, in the days of Pierce and Buchanan, carry the day in
Kansas, it is not likely that they would be beaten on any new ground
under such a President as Lincoln. We have all heard in Europe how
southern men have ruled in the White House, nearly from the days of
Washington downwards; or if not southern men, northern men, such as
Pierce and Buchanan, with southern politics; and therefore we have
been taught to think that the South has been politically the winning
party. They have, in truth, been the losing party as regards national
power. But what they have so lost they have hitherto recovered by
political address and individual statecraft. The leading men of the
South have seen their position, and have gone to their work with the
exercise of all their energies. They organized the Democrat party so
as to include the leaders among the northern politicians. They never
begrudged to these assistants a full share of the good things of
official life. They have been aided by the fanatical abolitionism of
the North by which the Republican party has been divided into two
sections. It has been fashionable to be a Democrat, that is, to hold
southern politics, and unfashionable to be a Republican, or to hold
anti-southern politics. In that way the South has lived and struggled
on against the growing will of the population; but at last that will
became too strong, and when Mr. Lincoln was elected, the South knew
that its day was over.

It is not surprising that the South should have desired secession. It
is not surprising that it should have prepared for it. Since the days
of Mr. Calhoun its leaders have always understood its position with
a fair amount of political accuracy. Its only chance of political
life lay in prolonged ascendancy at Washington. The swelling
crowds of Germans, by whom the western States were being filled,
enlisted themselves to a man in the ranks of abolition. What was
the acquisition of Texas against such hosts as these? An evil day
was coming on the southern politicians, and it behoved them to be
prepared. As a separate nation,--a nation trusting to cotton, having
in their hands, as they imagined, a monopoly of the staple of English
manufacture, with a tariff of their own, and those rabid curses on
the source of all their wealth no longer ringing in their ears, what
might they not do as a separate nation? But as a part of the Union,
they were too weak to hold their own if once their political finesse
should fail them. That day came upon them, not unexpected, in 1860,
and therefore they cut the cable.

And all this has come from slavery. It is hard enough, for how could
the South have escaped slavery? How, at least, could the South have
escaped slavery any time during these last thirty years? And is it,
moreover, so certain that slavery is an unmitigated evil, opposed
to God's will, and producing all the sorrows which have ever been
produced by tyranny and wrong? It is here, after all, that one comes
to the difficult question. Here is the knot which the fingers of men
cannot open, and which admits of no sudden cutting with the knife. I
have likened the slave-holding States to the drunken husband, and in
so doing have pronounced judgment against them. As regards the state
of the drunken man, his unfitness for partnership with any decent,
diligent, well-to-do wife, his ruined condition, and shattered
prospects, the simile, I think, holds good. But I refrain from
saying, that as the fault was originally with the drunkard in that he
became such, so also has the fault been with the slave States. At any
rate I refrain from so saying here, on this page. That the position
of a slave-owner is terribly prejudicial, not to the slave of whom I
do not here speak, but to the owner;--of so much at any rate I feel
assured. That the position is therefore criminal and damnable, I am
not now disposed to take upon myself to assert.

The question of slavery in America cannot be handled fully and fairly
by any one who is afraid to go back upon the subject, and take its
whole history since one man first claimed and exercised the right of
forcing labour from another man. I certainly am afraid of any such
task; but I believe that there has been no period yet, since the
world's work began, when such a practice has not prevailed in a large
portion, probably in the largest portion, of the world's work-fields.
As civilization has made its progress, it has been the duty and
delight, as it has also been the interest of the men at the top of
affairs, not to lighten the work of the men below, but so to teach
them that they should recognize the necessity of working without
coercion. Emancipation of serfs and thralls, of bondsmen and slaves,
has always meant this,--that men having been so taught, should then
work without coercion. As men become educated and aware of the nature
of the tenure on which they hold their life, they learn the fact that
work is a necessity for them, and that it is better to work without
coercion than with it. When men have learned this they are fit for
emancipation, but they are hardly fit till they have learned so much.

In talking or writing of slaves, we always now think of the negro
slave. Of us Englishmen it must at any rate be acknowledged that we
have done what in us lay to induce him to recognize this necessity
for labour. At any rate we acted on the presumption that he would do
so, and gave him his liberty throughout all our lands at a cost which
has never yet been reckoned up in pounds, shillings, and pence. The
cost never can be reckoned up, nor can the gain which we achieved in
purging ourselves from the degradation and demoralization of such
employment. We come into court with clean hands, having done all that
lay with us to do to put down slavery both at home and abroad. But
when we enfranchised the negroes, we did so with the intention, at
least, that they should work as free men. Their share of the bargain
in that respect they have declined to keep, wherever starvation has
not been the result of such resolve on their part; and from the
date of our emancipation, seeing the position which the negroes now
hold with us, the southern States of America have learned to regard
slavery as a permanent institution, and have taught themselves to
regard it as a blessing, and not as a curse.

Negroes were first taken over to America because the white man
could not work under the tropical heats, and because the native
Indian would not work. The latter people has been, or soon will be,
exterminated,--polished off the face of creation, as the Americans
say,--which fate must, I should say, in the long run attend all
non-working people. As the soil of the world is required for
increasing population, the non-working people must go. And so the
Indians have gone. The negroes under compulsion did work, and work
well; and under their hands vast regions of the western tropics
became fertile gardens. The fact that they were carried up into
northern regions which from their nature did not require such aid,
that slavery prevailed in New York and Massachusetts, does not
militate against my argument. The exact limits of any great movement
will not be bounded by its purpose. The heated wax which you drop
on your letter spreads itself beyond the necessities of your seal.
That these negroes would not have come to the western world without
compulsion, or having come, would not have worked without compulsion,
is, I imagine, acknowledged by all. That they have multiplied in the
western world and have there become a race happier, at any rate in
all the circumstances of their life, than their still untamed kinsmen
in Africa, must also be acknowledged. Who, then, can dare to wish
that all that has been done by the negro immigration should have
remained undone?

The name of slave is odious to me. If I know myself I would not own
a negro though he could sweat gold on my behoof. I glory in that
bold leap in the dark which England took with regard to her own West
Indian slaves. But I do not see the less clearly the difficulty of
that position in which the southern States have been placed; and I
will not call them wicked, impious, and abominable, because they now
hold by slavery, as other nations have held by it at some period of
their career. It is their misfortune that they must do so now,--now,
when so large a portion of the world has thrown off the system,
spurning as base and profitless all labour that is not free. It is
their misfortune, for henceforth they must stand alone, with small
rank among the nations, whereas their brethren of the North will
still "flame in the forehead of the morning sky."

When the present constitution of the United States was written,--the
merit of which must probably be given mainly to Madison and Hamilton,
Madison finding the French democratic element, and Hamilton the
English conservative element,--this question of slavery was
doubtless a great trouble. The word itself is not mentioned in
the constitution. It speaks not of a slave, but of a "person held
to service or labour." It neither sanctions nor forbids slavery.
It assumes no power in the matter of slavery; and under it, at
the present moment, all Congress voting together, with the full
consent of the legislatures of thirty-three States, could not
constitutionally put down slavery in the remaining thirty-fourth
State. In fact the constitution ignored the subject.

But nevertheless Washington, and Jefferson from whom Madison received
his inspiration, were opposed to slavery. I do not know that
Washington ever took much action in the matter, but his expressed
opinion is on record. But Jefferson did so throughout his life.
Before the declaration of independence he endeavoured to make slavery
illegal in Virginia. In this he failed, but long afterwards, when
the United States was a nation, he succeeded in carrying a law by
which the further importation of slaves into any of the States was
prohibited after a certain year--1820. When this law was passed, the
framers of it considered that the gradual abolition of slavery would
be secured. Up to that period the negro population in the States had
not been self-maintained. As now in Cuba, the numbers had been kept
up by new importations, and it was calculated that the race, when
not recruited from Africa, would die out. That this calculation was
wrong we now know, and the breeding-grounds of Virginia have been the

At that time there were no cotton-fields. Alabama and Mississippi
were outlying territories. Louisiana had been recently purchased, but
was not yet incorporated as a State. Florida still belonged to Spain,
and was all but unpopulated. Of Texas no man had yet heard. Of the
slave States, Virginia, the two Carolinas, and Georgia were alone
wedded to slavery. Then the matter might have been managed. But under
the constitution as it had been framed, and with the existing powers
of the separate States, there was not even then open any way by which
slavery could be abolished other than by the separate action of the
States; nor has there been any such way opened since. With slavery
these southern States have grown and become fertile. The planters
have thriven, and the cotton-fields have spread themselves. And then
came emancipation in the British islands. Under such circumstances
and with such a lesson, could it be expected that the southern States
should learn to love abolition?

It is vain to say that slavery has not caused secession, and that
slavery has not caused the war. That, and that only, has been the
real cause of this conflict, though other small collateral issues may
now be put forward to bear the blame. Those other issues have arisen
from this question of slavery, and are incidental to it and a part of
it. Massachusetts, as we all know, is democratic in its tendencies,
but South Carolina is essentially aristocratic. This difference
has come of slavery. A slave country, which has progressed far in
slavery, must be aristocratic in its nature,--aristocratic and
patriarchal. A large slave-owner from Georgia may call himself a
democrat,--may think that he reveres republican institutions, and
may talk with American horror of the thrones of Europe; but he must
in his heart be an aristocrat. We, in England, are apt to speak of
republican institutions, and of universal suffrage which is perhaps
the chief of them, as belonging equally to all the States. In South
Carolina there is not and has not been any such thing. The electors
for the President there are chosen not by the people, but by the
legislature; and the votes for the legislature are limited by a high
property qualification. A high property qualification is required for
a member of the House of Representatives in South Carolina;--four
hundred freehold acres of land and ten negroes is one qualification.
Five hundred pounds clear of debt is another qualification;--for,
where a sum of money is thus named, it is given in English money.
Russia and England are not more unlike in their political and social
feelings than are the real slave States and the real free-soil
States. The gentlemen from one and from the other side of the line
have met together on neutral ground, and have discussed political
matters without flying frequently at each other's throats, while the
great question on which they differed was allowed to slumber. But the
awakening has been coming by degrees, and now the South had felt that
it was come. Old John Brown, who did his best to create a servile
insurrection at Harper's Ferry, has been canonized through the North
and West, to the amazement and horror of the South. The decision in
the "Dred Scott" case, given by the Chief Justice of the Supreme
Court of the United States, has been received with shouts of
execration through the North and West. The southern gentry have been
Uncle-Tommed into madness. It is no light thing to be told daily
by your fellow-citizens, by your fellow-representatives, by your
fellow-senators, that you are guilty of the one damning sin that
cannot be forgiven. All this they could partly moderate, partly
rebuke, and partly bear as long as political power remained in their
hands; but they have gradually felt that that was going, and were
prepared to cut the rope and run as soon as it was gone.

Such, according to my ideas, have been the causes of the war. But I
cannot defend the South. As long as they could be successful in their
schemes for holding the political power of the nation, they were
prepared to hold by the nation. Immediately those schemes failed,
they were prepared to throw the nation overboard. In this there
has undoubtedly been treachery as well as rebellion. Had these
politicians been honest,--though the political growth of Washington
has hardly admitted of political honesty,--but had these politicians
been even ordinarily respectable in their dishonesty, they would
have claimed secession openly before Congress, while yet their own
President was at the White House. Congress would not have acceded.
Congress itself could not have acceded under the constitution; but a
way would have been found, had the southern States been persistent in
their demand. A way, indeed, has been found; but it has lain through
fire and water, through blood and ruin, through treason and theft,
and the downfall of national greatness. Secession will, I think, be
accomplished, and the southern Confederation of States will stand
something higher in the world than Mexico and the republics of
Central America. Her cotton monopoly will have vanished, and her
wealth will have been wasted.

I think that history will agree with me in saying that the northern
States had no alternative but war. What concession could they make?
Could they promise to hold their peace about slavery? And had they
so promised, would the South have believed them? They might have
conceded secession; that is, they might have given all that would
have been demanded. But what individual chooses to yield to such
demands; and if not an individual,--then what people will do so?
But in truth they could not have yielded all that was demanded. Had
secession been granted to South Carolina and Georgia, Virginia would
have been coerced to join those States by the nature of her property,
and with Virginia Maryland would have gone, and Washington, the
capital. What may be the future line of division between the North
and the South I will not pretend to say; but that line will probably
be dictated by the North. It may still be hoped that Missouri,
Kentucky, Virginia, and Maryland will go with the North, and be
rescued from slavery. But had secession been yielded, had the
prestige of success fallen to the lot of the South, those States must
have become southern.

While on this subject of slavery--for in discussing the cause of the
war, slavery is the subject that must be discussed--I cannot forbear
to say a few words about the negroes of the North American States.
The republican party of the North is divided into two sections, of
which one may be called abolitionist, and the other non-abolitionist.
Mr. Lincoln's government presumes itself to belong to the latter,
though its tendencies towards abolition are very strong. The
abolition party is growing in strength daily. It is but a short time
since Wendell Phillips could not lecture in Boston without a guard of
police. Now, at this moment of my writing, he is a popular hero. The
very men who, five years since, were accustomed to make speeches,
strong as words could frame them, against abolition, are now turning
round, and if not preaching abolition, are patting the backs of those
who do so. I heard one of Mr. Lincoln's cabinet declare old John
Brown to be a hero and a martyr. All the Protestant Germans are
abolitionists,--and they have become so strong a political element
in the country that many now declare that no future President can be
elected without their aid. The object is declared boldly. No long
political scheme is asked for, but instant abolition is wanted;
abolition to be declared while yet the war is raging. Let the slaves
of all rebels be declared free; and all slave-owners in the seceding
States are rebels!

One cannot but ask what abolition means, and to what it would lead.
Any ordinance of abolition now pronounced would not effect the
emancipation of the slaves, but might probably effect a servile
insurrection. I will not accuse those who are preaching this crusade
of any desire for so fearful a scourge on the land. They probably
calculate that an edict of abolition once given would be so much done
towards the ultimate winning of the battle. They are making their
hay while their sun shines. But if they could emancipate those four
million slaves, in what way would they then treat them? How would
they feed them? In what way would they treat the ruined owners of the
slaves, and the acres of land which would lie uncultivated? Of all
subjects with which a man can be called on to deal, it is the most
difficult. But a New England abolitionist talks of it as though no
more were required than an open path for his humanitarian energies.
"I could arrange it all to-morrow morning," a gentleman said to me,
who is well known for his zeal in this cause!

Arrange it all to-morrow morning,--abolition of slavery having
become a fact during the night! I should not envy that gentleman his
morning's work. It was bad enough with us, but what were our numbers
compared with those of the southern States? We paid a price for the
slaves, but no price is to be paid in this case. The value of the
property would probably be lowly estimated at £100 a piece for men,
women, and children, or four hundred million pounds for the whole
population. They form the wealth of the South; and if they were
bought, what should be done with them? They are like children. Every
slave-owner in the country,--every man who has had ought to do with
slaves,--will tell the same story. In Maryland and Delaware are men
who hate slavery, who would be only too happy to enfranchise their
slaves; but the negroes who have been slaves are not fit for freedom.
In many cases, practically, they cannot be enfranchised. Give them
their liberty, starting them well in the world at what expense you
please, and at the end of six months they will come back upon your
hands for the means of support. Everything must be done for them.
They expect food and clothes, and instruction as to every simple act
of life, as do children. The negro domestic servant is handy at his
own work; no servant more so; but he cannot go beyond that. He does
not comprehend the object and purport of continued industry. If he
have money he will play with it,--will amuse himself with it. If
he have none, he will amuse himself without it. His work is like a
schoolboy's task; he knows it must be done, but never comprehends
that the doing of it is the very end and essence of his life. He is a
child in all things, and the extent of prudential wisdom to which he
ever attains is to disdain emancipation, and cling to the security
of his bondage. It is true enough that slavery has been a curse.
Whatever may have been its effect on the negroes, it has been a
deadly curse upon the white masters.

The preaching of abolition during the war is to me either the
deadliest of sins or the vainest of follies. Its only immediate
result possible would be servile insurrection. That is so manifestly
atrocious,--a wish for it would be so hellish, that I do not presume
the preachers of abolition to entertain it. But if that be not meant,
it must be intended that an act of emancipation should be carried
throughout the slave States,--either in their separation from the
North, or after their subjection and consequent reunion with the
North. As regards the States while in secession, the North cannot
operate upon their slaves any more than England can operate on
the slaves of Cuba. But if a reunion is to be a precursor of
emancipation, surely that reunion should be first effected. A
decision in the northern and western mind on such a subject cannot
assist in obtaining that reunion,--but must militate against the
practicability of such an object. This is so well understood, that
Mr. Lincoln and his Government do not dare to call themselves

  *President Lincoln has proposed a plan for the emancipation of
   slaves in the border States, and for compensation to the owners.
   His doing so proves that he regards present emancipation in the
   Gulf States as quite out of the question. It also proves that he
   looks forward to the recovery of the border States for the North,
   but that he does not look forward to the recovery of the Gulf

Abolition, in truth, is a political cry. It is the banner of defiance
opposed to secession. As the differences between the North and
South have grown with years, and have swelled to the proportions of
national antipathy, southern nullification has amplified itself into
secession, and northern free-soil principles have burst into this
growth of abolition. Men have not calculated the results. Charming
pictures are drawn for you of the negro in a state of Utopian bliss,
owning his own hoe and eating his own hog; in a paradise, where
everything is bought and sold, except his wife, his little ones, and
himself. But the enfranchised negro has always thrown away his hoe,
has eaten any man's hog but his own,--and has too often sold his
daughter for a dollar when any such market has been open to him.

I confess that this cry of abolition has been made peculiarly
displeasing to me by the fact that the northern abolitionist is by
no means willing to give even to the negro who is already free that
position in the world which alone might tend to raise him in the
scale of human beings,--if anything can so raise him and make him fit
for freedom. The abolitionists hold that the negro is the white man's
equal. I do not. I see, or think that I see, that the negro is the
white man's inferior through laws of nature. That he is not mentally
fit to cope with white men,--I speak of the full-blooded negro,--and
that he must fill a position simply servile. But the abolitionist
declares him to be the white man's equal. But yet, when he has him at
his elbow, he treats him with a scorn which even the negro can hardly
endure. I will give him political equality, but not social equality,
says the abolitionist. But even in this he is untrue. A black man may
vote in New York, but he cannot vote under the same circumstances as
a white man. He is subjected to qualifications which in truth debar
him from the poll. A white man votes by manhood suffrage, providing
he has been for one year an inhabitant of his State; but a man of
colour must have been for three years a citizen of the State, and
must own a property qualification of £50 free of debt. But political
equality is not what such men want, nor indeed is it social equality.
It is social tolerance and social sympathy; and these are denied to
the negro. An American abolitionist would not sit at table with a
negro. He might do so in England at the house of an English duchess;
but in his own country the proposal of such a companion would be
an insult to him. He will not sit with him in a public carriage if
he can avoid it. In New York I have seen special street-cars for
coloured people. The abolitionist is struck with horror when he
thinks that a man and a brother should be a slave; but when the man
and the brother has been made free, he is regarded with loathing and
contempt. All this I cannot see with equanimity. There is falsehood
in it from the beginning to the end. The slave as a rule is well
treated,--gets all he wants and almost all he desires. The free negro
as a rule is ill treated, and does not get that consideration which
alone might put him in the worldly position for which his advocate
declares him to be fit. It is false throughout,--this preaching. The
negro is not the white man's equal by nature. But to the free negro
in the northern States this inequality is increased by the white
man's hardness to him.

In a former book which I wrote some few years since, I expressed an
opinion as to the probable destiny of this race in the West Indies.
I will not now go over that question again. I then divided the
inhabitants of those islands into three classes,--the white, the
black, and the coloured, taking a nomenclature which I found there
prevailing. By coloured men I alluded to mulattoes, and all those of
mixed European and African blood. The word "coloured," in the States,
seems to apply to the whole negro race, whether full-blooded or
half-blooded. I allude to this now because I wish to explain that, in
speaking of what I conceive to be the intellectual inferiority of the
negro race, I allude to those of pure negro descent,--or of descent
so nearly pure as to make the negro element manifestly predominant.
In the West Indies, where I had more opportunity of studying the
subject, I always believed myself able to tell a negro from a
coloured man. Indeed the classes are to a great degree distinct
there, the greater portion of the retail trade of the country being
in the hands of the coloured people. But in the States I have been
able to make no such distinction. One sees generally neither the rich
yellow of the West Indian mulatto, nor the deep oily black of the
West Indian negro. The prevailing hue is a dry, dingy brown,--almost
dusty in its dryness. I have observed but little difference made
between the negro and the half-caste,--and no difference in the
actual treatment. I have never met in American society any man or
woman in whose veins there can have been presumed to be any taint of
African blood. In Jamaica they are daily to be found in society.

Every Englishman probably looks forward to the accomplishment of
abolition of slavery at some future day. I feel as sure of it as I do
of the final judgment. When or how it shall come I will not attempt
to foretell. The mode which seems to promise the surest success
and the least present or future inconvenience, would be an edict
enfranchising all female children born after a certain date, and all
their children. Under such an arrangement the negro population would
probably die out slowly,--very slowly. What might then be the fate of
the cotton-fields of the Gulf States, who shall dare to say? It may
be that coolies from India and from China will then have taken the
place of the negro there, as they probably will have done also in
Guiana and the West Indies.



Though I had felt Washington to be disagreeable as a city, yet I was
almost sorry to leave it when the day of my departure came. I had
allowed myself a month for my sojourn in the capital, and I had
stayed a month to the day. Then came the trouble of packing up,
the necessity of calling on a long list of acquaintances one after
another, the feeling that bad as Washington might be, I might be
going to places that were worse, a conviction that I should get
beyond the reach of my letters, and a sort of affection which I had
acquired for my rooms. My landlord, being a coloured man, told me
that he was sorry I was going. Would I not remain? Would I come back
to him? Had I been comfortable? Only for so and so or so and so, he
would have done better for me. No white American citizen, occupying
the position of landlord, would have condescended to such comfortable
words. I knew the man did not in truth want me to stay, as a lady
and gentleman were waiting to go in the moment I went out; but I did
not the less value the assurance. One hungers and thirsts after such
civil words among American citizens of this class. The clerks and
managers at hotels, the officials at railway stations, the cashiers
at banks, the women in the shops;--ah! they are the worst of all. An
American woman who is bound by her position to serve you,--who is
paid in some shape to supply your wants, whether to sell you a bit of
soap or bring you a towel in your bedroom at an hotel,--is, I think,
of all human creatures, the most insolent. I certainly had a feeling
of regret at parting with my coloured friend,--and some regret also
as regards a few that were white.

As I drove down Pennsylvania Avenue, through the slush and mud, and
saw, perhaps for the last time, those wretchedly dirty horse sentries
who had refused to allow me to trot through the streets, I almost
wished that I could see more of them. How absurd they looked, with
a whole kit of rattletraps strapped on their horses' backs behind
them,--blankets, coats, canteens, coils of rope, and, always at the
top of everything else, a tin pot! No doubt these things are all
necessary to a mounted sentry, or they would not have been there; but
it always seemed as though the horse had been loaded gipsy-fashion,
in a manner that I may perhaps best describe as higgledy-piggledy,
and that there was a want of military precision in the packing. The
man would have looked more graceful, and the soldier more warlike,
had the pannikin been made to assume some rigidly fixed position
instead of dangling among the ropes. The drawn sabre, too, never
consorted well with the dirty outside woollen wrapper which generally
hung loose from the man's neck. Heaven knows, I did not begrudge him
his comforter in that cold weather, or even his long, uncombed shock
of hair; but I think he might have been made more spruce, and I am
sure that he could not have looked more uncomfortable. As I went,
however, I felt for him a sort of affection, and wished in my heart
of hearts that he might soon be enabled to return to some more
congenial employment.

I went out by the Capitol, and saw that also, as I then believed,
for the last time. With all its faults it is a great building, and,
though unfinished, is effective; its very size and pretension give it
a certain majesty. What will be the fate of that vast pile, and of
those other costly public edifices at Washington, should the South
succeed wholly in their present enterprise? If Virginia should ever
become a part of the southern republic, Washington cannot remain the
capital of the northern republic. In such case it would be almost
better to let Maryland go also, so that the future destiny of that
unfortunate city may not be a source of trouble, and a stumbling
block of opprobrium. Even if Virginia be saved, its position will be
most unfortunate.

I fancy that the railroads in those days must have been doing a very
prosperous business. From New York to Philadelphia, thence on to
Baltimore, and again to Washington, I had found the cars full; so
full that sundry passengers could not find seats. Now, on my return
to Baltimore, they were again crowded. The stations were all crowded.
Luggage-trains were going in and out as fast as the rails could carry
them. Among the passengers almost half were soldiers. I presume that
these were men going on furlough, or on special occasions; for the
regiments were of course not received by ordinary passenger trains.
About this time a return was called for by Congress of all the moneys
paid by the government, on account of the army, to the lines between
New York and Washington. Whether or no it was ever furnished I did
not hear; but it was openly stated that the colonels of regiments
received large gratuities from certain railway companies for the
regiments passing over their lines. Charges of a similar nature
were made against officers, contractors, quartermasters, paymasters,
generals, and cabinet ministers. I am not prepared to say that any
of these men had dirty hands. It was not for me to make inquiries on
such matters. But the continuance and universality of the accusations
were dreadful. When everybody is suspected of being dishonest,
dishonesty almost ceases to be regarded as disgraceful.

I will allude to a charge made against one member of the Cabinet,
because the circumstances of the case were all acknowledged and
proved. This gentleman employed his wife's brother-in-law to buy
ships, and the agent so employed pocketed about £20,000 by the
transaction in six months. The excuse made was that this profit was
in accordance with the usual practice of the ship-dealing trade, and
that it was paid by the owners who sold, and not by the Government
which bought. But in so vast an agency the ordinary rate of profit on
such business became an enormous sum; and the gentleman who made the
plea must surely have understood that that £20,000 was in fact paid
by the government. It is the purchaser, and not the seller, who in
fact pays all such fees. The question is this,--Should the government
have paid so vast a sum for one man's work for six months? And if
so, was it well that that sum should go into the pocket of a near
relative of the Minister whose special business it was to protect the

American private soldiers are not pleasant fellow-travellers. They
are loud and noisy, and swear quite as much as the army could
possibly have sworn in Flanders. They are, moreover, very dirty; and
each man, with his long, thick great-coat, takes up more space than
is intended to be allotted to him. Of course I felt that if I chose
to travel in a country while it had such a piece of business on its
hands, I could not expect that everything should be found in exact
order. The matter for wonder, perhaps, was that the ordinary affairs
of life were so little disarranged, and that any travelling at all
was practicable. Nevertheless the fact remains that American private
soldiers are not agreeable fellow-travellers.

It was my present intention to go due west across the country into
Missouri, skirting, as it were, the line of the war which had now
extended itself from the Atlantic across into Kansas. There were at
this time three main armies,--that of the Potomac, as the army of
Virginia was called, of which Maclellan held the command; that of
Kentucky, under General Buell, who was stationed at Louisville on
the Ohio; and the army on the Mississippi, which had been under
Fremont, and of which General Halleck now held the command. To these
were opposed the three rebel armies of Beauregard, in Virginia; of
Johnston, on the borders of Kentucky and Tennessee; and of Price, in
Missouri. There was also a fourth army in Kansas, west of Missouri,
under General Hunter; and while I was in Washington another general,
supposed by some to be the "coming man," was sent down to Kansas to
participate in General Hunter's command. This was General Jim Lane,
who resigned a seat in the Senate in order that he might undertake
this military duty. When he reached Kansas, having on his route made
sundry violent abolition speeches, and proclaimed his intention
of sweeping slavery out of the south-western States, he came to
loggerheads with his superior officer respecting their relative

On my arrival at Baltimore, I found the place knee-deep in mud and
slush and half-melted snow. It was then raining hard,--raining dirt,
not water, as it sometimes does. Worse weather for soldiers out in
tents could not be imagined,--nor for men who were not soldiers,
but who nevertheless were compelled to leave their houses. I only
remained at Baltimore one day, and then started again, leaving there
the greater part of my baggage. I had a vague hope,--a hope which
I hardly hoped to realize,--that I might be able to get through to
the South. At any rate I made myself ready for the chance by making
my travelling impediments as light as possible, and started from
Baltimore, prepared to endure all the discomfort which lightness
of baggage entails. My route lay over the Alleghanies by Pittsburg
and Cincinnati, and my first stopping-place was at Harrisburg, the
political capital of Pennsylvania. There is nothing special at
Harrisburg to arrest any traveller; but the local legislature of
the State was then sitting, and I was desirous of seeing the Senate
and Representatives of at any rate one State, during its period of

In Pennsylvania the General Assembly, as the joint legislature is
called, sits every year, commencing their work early in January, and
continuing till it be finished. The usual period of sitting seems to
be about ten weeks. In the majority of States, the legislature only
sits every other year. In this State it sits every year, and the
representatives are elected annually. The senators are elected for
three years, a third of the body being chosen each year. The two
chambers were ugly, convenient rooms, arranged very much after the
fashion of the halls of Congress at Washington. Each member had his
own desk, and his own chair. They were placed in the shape of a
horse-shoe, facing the chairman, before whom sat three clerks. In
neither house did I hear any set speech. The voices of the Speaker
and of the clerks of the houses were heard more frequently than
those of the members; and the business seemed to be done in a dull,
serviceable, methodical manner, likely to be useful to the country,
and very uninteresting to the gentlemen engaged. Indeed at Washington
also, in Congress, it seemed to me that there was much less of set
speeches than in our House of Commons. With us there are certain
men whom it seems impossible to put down, and by whom the time of
Parliament is occupied from night to night, with advantage to no one
and with satisfaction to none but themselves. I do not think that the
evil prevails to the same extent in America, either in Congress or in
the State legislatures. As regards Washington, this good result may
be assisted by a salutary practice which, as I was assured, prevails
there. A member gets his speech printed at the Government cost, and
sends it down free by post to his constituents, without troubling
either the house with hearing it, or himself with speaking it. I
cannot but think that the practice might be copied with success on
our side of the water.

The appearance of the members of the legislature of Pennsylvania did
not impress me very favourably. I do not know why we should wish a
legislator to be neat in his dress, and comely, in some degree, in
his personal appearance. There is no good reason, perhaps, why they
should have cleaner shirts than their outside brethren, or have been
more particular in the use of soap and water, and brush and comb.
But I have an idea that if ever our own Parliament becomes dirty, it
will lose its prestige; and I cannot but think that the Parliament
of Pennsylvania would gain an accession of dignity by some slightly
increased devotion to the Graces. I saw in the two houses but one
gentleman, a senator, who looked like a Quaker; but even he was a
very untidy Quaker.

I paid my respects to the Governor, and found him briskly employed
in arranging the appointments of officers. All the regimental
appointments to the volunteer regiments,--and that is practically
to the whole body of the army,*--are made by the State in which the
regiments are mustered. When the affair commenced, the captains and
lieutenants were chosen by the men; but it was found that this would
not do. When the skeleton of a State militia only was required, such
an arrangement was popular and not essentially injurious; but now
that war had become a reality, and that volunteers were required to
obey discipline, some other mode of promotion was found necessary.
As far as I could understand, the appointments were in the hands of
the State Governor, who however was expected in the selection of
the superior officers to be guided by the expressed wishes of the
regiment, when no objection existed to such a choice. In the present
instance the Governor's course was very thorny. Certain unfinished
regiments were in the act of being amalgamated;--two perfect
regiments being made up from perhaps five imperfect regiments, and
so on. But though the privates had not been forthcoming to the full
number for each expected regiment, there had been no such dearth
of officers, and consequently the present operation consisted in
reducing their number.

  *The army at this time consisted nominally of 660,000 men, of
   whom only 20,000 were regulars.

Nothing can be much uglier than the State House at Harrisburg, but
it commands a magnificent view of one of the valleys into which the
Alleghany mountains is broken. Harrisburg is immediately under the
range, probably at its finest point, and the railway running west
from the town to Pittsburg, Cincinnati, and Chicago passes right
over the chain. The line has been magnificently engineered, and the
scenery is very grand. I went over the Alleghanies in mid-winter when
they were covered with snow, but even when so seen they were very
fine. The view down the valley from Altoona, a point near the summit,
must in summer be excessively lovely. I stopped at Altoona one night
with the object of getting about among the hills, and making the best
of the winter view; but I found it impossible to walk. The snow had
become frozen and was like glass. I could not progress a mile in any
way. With infinite labour I climbed to the top of one little hill,
and when there became aware that the descent would be very much more
difficult. I did get down, but should not choose to describe the
manner in which I accomplished the descent.

In running down the mountains to Pittsburg an accident occurred which
in any other country would have thrown the engine off the line, and
have reduced the carriages behind the engine to a heap of ruins. But
here it had no other effect than that of delaying us for three or
four hours. The tire of one of the heavy driving wheels flew off, and
in the shock the body of the wheel itself was broken, one spoke and a
portion of the circumference of the wheel was carried away, and the
steam-chamber was ripped open. Nevertheless the train was pulled up,
neither the engine nor any of the carriages got off the line, and
the men in charge of the train seemed to think very lightly of the
matter. I was amused to see how little was made of the affair by
any of the passengers. In England a delay of three hours would in
itself produce a great amount of grumbling, or at least many signs
of discomfort and temporary unhappiness. But here no one said a word.
Some of the younger men got out and looked at the ruined wheel; but
most of the passengers kept their seats, chewed their tobacco, and
went to sleep. In all such matters an American is much more patient
than an Englishman. To sit quiet, without speech, and ruminate in
some contorted position of body comes to him by nature. On this
occasion I did not hear a word of complaint--nor yet a word of
surprise or thankfulness that the accident had been attended with no
serious result. "I have got a furlough for ten days," one soldier
said to me. "And I have missed every connection all through from
Washington here. I shall have just time to turn round and go back
when I get home." But he did not seem to be in any way dissatisfied.
He had not referred to his relatives when he spoke of "missing his
connections," but to his want of good fortune as regarded railway
travelling. He had reached Baltimore too late for the train on to
Harrisburg, and Harrisburg too late for the train on to Pittsburg.
Now he must again reach Pittsburg too late for his further journey.
But nevertheless he seemed to be well pleased with his position.

Pittsburg is the Merthyr-Tydvil of Pennsylvania,--or perhaps I should
better describe it as an amalgamation of Swansea, Merthyr-Tydvil, and
South Shields. It is without exception the blackest place which I
ever saw. The three English towns which I have named are very dirty,
but all their combined soot and grease and dinginess do not equal
that of Pittsburg. As regards scenery it is beautifully situated,
being at the foot of the Alleghany mountains, and at the juncture
of the two rivers Monongahela and Alleghany. Here, at the town,
they come together and form the river Ohio. Nothing can be more
picturesque than the site; for the spurs of the mountains come down
close round the town, and the rivers are broad and swift, and can
be seen for miles from heights which may be reached in a short walk.
Even the filth and wondrous blackness of the place are picturesque
when looked down upon from above. The tops of the churches are
visible, and some of the larger buildings may be partially traced
through the thick, brown, settled smoke. But the city itself is
buried in a dense cloud. The atmosphere was especially heavy when
I was there, and the effect was probably increased by the general
darkness of the weather. The Monongahela is crossed by a fine bridge,
and on the other side the ground rises at once, almost with the
rapidity of a precipice; so that a commanding view is obtained down
upon the town and the two rivers and the different bridges, from a
height immediately above them. I was never more in love with smoke
and dirt than when I stood here and watched the darkness of night
close in upon the floating soot which hovered over the housetops of
the city. I cannot say that I saw the sun set, for there was no sun.
I should say that the sun never shone at Pittsburg,--as foreigners
who visit London in November declare that the sun never shines there.

Walking along the river-side I counted thirty-two steamers, all
beached upon the shore with their bows towards the land,--large
boats, capable probably of carrying from one to two hundred
passengers each, and about 300 tons of merchandise. On inquiry I
found that many of these were not now at work. They were resting
idle, the trade down the Mississippi below St. Louis having been
cut off by the war. Many of them, however, were still running,
the passage down the river being open to Wheeling in Virginia, to
Portsmouth, Cincinnati and the whole of South Ohio, to Louisville
in Kentucky, and to Cairo in Illinois, where the Ohio joins the
Mississippi. The amount of traffic carried on by these boats while
the country was at peace within itself was very great, and conclusive
as to the increasing prosperity of the people. It seems that
everybody travels in America, and that nothing is thought of
distance. A young man will step into a car and sit beside you, with
that easy, careless air which is common to a railway passenger
in England who is passing from one station to the next; and on
conversing with him you will find that he is going seven or eight
hundred miles. He is supplied with fresh newspapers three or four
times a day as he passes by the towns at which they are published; he
eats a large assortment of gum-drops and apples, and is quite as much
at home as in his own house. On board the river boats it is the same
with him, with this exception, that when there he can get whisky when
he wants it. He knows nothing of the ennui of travelling, and never
seems to long for the end of his journey, as travellers do with us.
Should his boat come to grief upon the river, and lie by for a day or
a night, it does not in the least disconcert him. He seats himself
upon three chairs, takes a bite of tobacco, thrusts his hands into
his trousers pockets and revels in an elysium of his own.

I was told that the stockholders in these boats were in a bad way at
the present time. There were no dividends going. The same story was
repeated as to many and many an investment. Where the war created
business, as it had done on some of the main lines of railroad and
in some special towns, money was passing very freely; but away from
this, ruin seemed to have fallen on the enterprise of the country.
Men were not broken-hearted, nor were they even melancholy; but they
were simply ruined. That is nothing in the States, so long as the
ruined man has the means left to him of supplying his daily wants
till he can start himself again in life. It is almost the normal
condition of the American man in business; and therefore I am
inclined to think that when this war is over, and things begin to
settle themselves into new grooves, commerce will recover herself
more quickly there than she would do among any other people. It is so
common a thing to hear of an enterprise that has never paid a dollar
of interest on the original outlay,--of hotels, canals, railroads,
banks, blocks of houses, &c., that never paid even in the happy days
of peace,--that one is tempted to disregard the absence of dividends,
and to believe that such a trifling accident will not act as any
check on future speculation. In no country has pecuniary ruin been
so common as in the States; but then in no country is pecuniary ruin
so little ruinous. "We are a recuperative people," a west-country
gentleman once said to me. I doubted the propriety of his word, but
I acknowledged the truth of his assertion.

Pittsburg and Alleghany, which latter is a town similar in its nature
to Pittsburg on the other side of the river of the same name, regard
themselves as places apart; but they are in effect one and the same
city. They live under the same blanket of soot, which is woven by the
joint efforts of the two places. Their united population is 135,000,
of which Alleghany owns about 50,000. The industry of the towns is of
that sort which arises from a union of coal and iron in the vicinity.
The Pennsylvanian coalfields are the most prolific in the Union;
and Pittsburg is therefore great, exactly as Merthyr-Tydvil and
Birmingham are great. But the foundry-work at Pittsburg is more
nearly allied to the heavy, rough works of the Welsh coal metropolis
than to the finish and polish of Birmingham.

"Why cannot you consume your own smoke?" I asked a gentleman there.
"Fuel is so cheap that it would not pay," he answered. His idea of
the advantage of consuming smoke was confined to the question of its
paying as a simple operation in itself. The consequent cleanliness
and improvement in the atmosphere had not entered into his
calculations. Any such result might be a fortuitous benefit, but was
not of sufficient importance to make any effort in that direction
expedient on its own account. "Coal was burned," he said, "in the
foundries at something less than two dollars a ton; while that was
the case, it could not answer the purpose of any iron-founder to put
up an apparatus for the consumption of smoke." I did not pursue the
argument any further, as I perceived that we were looking at the
matter from two different points of view.

Everything in the hotel was black; not black to the eye, for the eye
teaches itself to discriminate colours even when loaded with dirt,
but black to the touch. On coming out of a tub of water my foot took
an impress from the carpet exactly as it would have done had I trod
barefooted on a path laid with soot. I thought that I was turning
negro upwards, till I put my wet hand upon the carpet, and found that
the result was the same. And yet the carpet was green to the eye,--a
dull, dingy green, but still green. "You shouldn't damp your feet,"
a man said to me, to whom I mentioned the catastrophe. Certainly
Pittsburg is the dirtiest place I ever saw, but it is, as I said
before, very picturesque in its dirt when looked at from above the

From Pittsburg I went on by train to Cincinnati, and was soon in the
State of Ohio. I confess that I have never felt any great regard for
Pennsylvania. It has always had in my estimation a low character for
commercial honesty, and a certain flavour of pretentious hypocrisy.
This probably has been much owing to the acerbity and pungency of
Sydney Smith's witty denunciations against the drab-coloured State.
It is noted for repudiation of its own debts, and for sharpness in
exaction of its own bargains. It has been always smart in banking. It
has given Buchanan as a President to the country, and Cameron as a
Secretary at War to the Government! When the battle of Bull's Run was
to be fought, Pennsylvanian soldiers were the men who, on that day,
threw down their arms because the three months' term for which they
had been enlisted was then expired! Pennsylvania does not in my mind
stand on a par with Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Illinois,
or Virginia. We are apt to connect the name of Benjamin Franklin
with Pennsylvania, but Franklin was a Boston man. Nevertheless,
Pennsylvania is rich and prosperous. Indeed it bears all those marks
which Quakers generally leave behind them.

I had some little personal feeling in visiting Cincinnati, because my
mother had lived there for some time, and had there been concerned in
a commercial enterprise, by which no one, I believe, made any great
sum of money. Between thirty and forty years ago she built a bazaar
in Cincinnati, which I was assured by the present owner of the house,
was at the time of its erection considered to be the great building
of the town. It has been sadly eclipsed now, and by no means rears
its head proudly among the great blocks around it. It had become
a "Physico-medical Institute" when I was there, and was under
the dominion of a quack doctor on one side, and of a college of
rights-of-women female medical professors on the other. "I believe,
sir, no man or woman ever yet made a dollar in that building; and as
for rent, I don't even expect it." Such was the account given of the
unfortunate bazaar by the present proprietor.

Cincinnati has long been known as a great town,--conspicuous among
all towns for the number of hogs which are there killed, salted, and
packed. It is the great hog metropolis of the western States; but
Cincinnati has not grown with the rapidity of other towns. It has
now 170,000 inhabitants, but then it got an early start. St. Louis,
which is west of it again, near the confluence of the Missouri and
Mississippi, has gone ahead of it. Cincinnati stands on the Ohio
river, separated by a ferry from Kentucky, which is a slave State.
Ohio itself is a free-soil State. When the time comes for arranging
the line of division, if such time shall ever come, it will be very
hard to say where northern feeling ends and where southern wishes
commence. Newport and Covington, which are in Kentucky, are suburbs
of Cincinnati; and yet in these places slavery is rife. The domestic
servants are mostly slaves, though it is essential that those so kept
should be known as slaves who will not run away. It is understood
that a slave who escapes into Ohio will not be caught and given up by
the intervention of the Ohio police; and from Covington or Newport
any slave can escape into Ohio with ease. But when that division
takes place, no river like the Ohio can form the boundary between
the divided nations. Such rivers are the highways, round which in
this country people have clustered themselves. A river here is not
a natural barrier, but a connecting street. It would be as well to
make a railway a division, or the centre line of a city a national
boundary. Kentucky and Ohio States are joined together by the Ohio
river, with Cincinnati on one side and Louisville on the other; and
I do not think that man's act can upset these ties of nature. But
between Kentucky and Tennessee there is no such bond of union. There
a mathematical line has been simply drawn, a continuation of that
line which divides Virginia from North Carolina, to which two latter
States Kentucky and Tennessee belonged when the thirteen original
States first formed themselves into a union. But that mathematical
line has offered no peculiar advantages to population. No great towns
cluster there, and no strong social interests would be dissevered
should Kentucky throw in her lot with the North, and Tennessee with
the South; but Kentucky owns a quarter of a million of slaves, and
those slaves must either be emancipated or removed before such a
junction can be firmly settled.

The great business of Cincinnati is hog-killing now, as it used to
be in the old days of which I have so often heard. It seems to be an
established fact, that in this portion of the world the porcine genus
are all hogs. One never hears of a pig. With us a trade in hogs and
pigs is subject to some little contumely. There is a feeling, which
has perhaps never been expressed in words, but which certainly
exists, that these animals are not so honourable in their bearings
as sheep and oxen. It is a prejudice which by no means exists in
Cincinnati. There hog killing and salting and packing are very
honourable, and the great men in the trade are the merchant princes
of the city. I went to see the performance, feeling it to be a duty
to inspect everywhere that which I found to be of most importance;
but I will not describe it. There were a crowd of men operating,
and I was told that the point of honour was to "put through" a hog
a minute. It must be understood that the animal enters upon the
ceremony alive, and comes out in that cleanly, disembowelled guise in
which it may sometimes be seen hanging up previous to the operation
of the pork-butcher's knife. To one special man was appointed a
performance which seemed to be specially disagreeable, so that he
appeared despicable in my eyes; but when on inquiry I learned that he
earned five dollars, or a pound sterling, a day, my judgment as to
his position was reversed. And after all what matters the ugly nature
of such an occupation when a man is used to it?

Cincinnati is like all other American towns, with second, third, and
fourth streets, seventh, eighth, and ninth streets, and so on. Then
the cross-streets are named chiefly from trees. Chesnut, walnut,
locust, &c. I do not know whence has come this fancy for naming
streets after trees in the States, but it is very general. The
town is well built, with good fronts to many of the houses, with
large shops and larger stores;--of course also with an enormous
hotel, which has never paid anything like a proper dividend to the
speculator who built it. It is always the same story. But these towns
shame our provincial towns by their breadth and grandeur. I am afraid
that speculators with us are trammelled by an "ignorant impatience of
ruin." I should not myself like to live in Cincinnati or in any of
these towns. They are slow, dingy, and uninteresting; but they all
possess an air of substantial, civic dignity. It must however be
remembered that the Americans live much more in towns than we do.
All with us that are rich and aristocratic and luxurious live in the
country, frequenting the metropolis for only a portion of the year.
But all that are rich and aristocratic and luxurious in the States
live in the towns. Our provincial towns are not generally chosen as
the residences of our higher classes.

Cincinnati has 170,000 inhabitants, and there are 14,000 children
at the free schools,--which is about one in twelve of the whole
population. This number gives the average of scholars throughout
the year ended 30th June, 1861. But there are other schools in
Cincinnati,--parish schools and private schools, and it is stated to
me that there were in all 32,000 children attending school in the
city throughout the year. The education at the State schools is very
good. Thirty-four teachers are employed, at an average salary of £92
each, ranging from £260 to £60 per annum. It is in this matter of
education that the cities of the free States of America have done so
much for the civilization and welfare of their population. This fact
cannot be repeated in their praise too often. Those who have the
management of affairs, who are at the top of the tree, are desirous
of giving to all an opportunity of raising themselves in the scale of
human beings. I dislike universal suffrage; I dislike vote by ballot;
I dislike above all things the tyranny of democracy. But I do like
the political feeling--for it is a political feeling--which induces
every educated American to lend a hand to the education of his
fellow-citizens. It shows, if nothing else does so, a germ of truth
in that doctrine of equality. It is a doctrine to be forgiven when
he who preaches it is in truth striving to raise others to his own
level;--though utterly unpardonable when the preacher would pull down
others to his level.

Leaving Cincinnati I again entered a slave State, namely, Kentucky.
When the war broke out Kentucky took upon itself to say that it would
be neutral, as if neutrality in such a position could by any means
have been possible! Neutrality on the borders of secession, on
the battle-field of the coming contest, was of course impossible.
Tennessee, to the south, had joined the South by a regular secession
ordinance. Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana to the north were of course
true to the Union. Under these circumstances it became necessary that
Kentucky should choose her side. With the exception of the little
State of Delaware, in which from her position secesssion would have
been impossible, Kentucky was, I think, less inclined to rebellion,
more desirous of standing by the North, than any other of the slave
States. She did all she could, however, to put off the evil day of so
evil a choice. Abolition within her borders was held to be abominable
as strongly as it was so held in Georgia. She had no sympathy and
could have none with the teachings and preachings of Massachusetts.
But she did not wish to belong to a Confederacy of which the northern
States were to be the declared enemy, and be the border State of the
South under such circumstances. She did all she could for personal
neutrality. She made that effort for general reconciliation of which
I have spoken as the Crittenden compromise. But compromises and
reconciliation were not as yet possible, and therefore it was
necessary that she should choose her part. Her Governor declared
for secession; and at first also her legislature was inclined to
follow the Governor. But no overt act of secession by the State
was committed, and at last it was decided that Kentucky should be
declared to be loyal. It was in fact divided. Those on the southern
border joined the secessionists, whereas the greater portion of the
State, containing Frankfort the capital and the would-be secessionist
Governor who lived there, joined the North. Men in fact became
unionists or secessionists, not by their own conviction, but through
the necessity of their positions; and Kentucky, through the necessity
of her position, became one of the scenes of civil war.

I must confess that the difficulty of the position of the whole
country seems to me to have been under-estimated in England. In
common life it is not easy to arrange the circumstances of a divorce
between man and wife, all whose belongings and associations have for
many years been in common. Their children, their money, their house,
their friends, their secrets, have been joint property and have
formed bonds of union. But yet such quarrels may arise, such mutual
antipathy, such acerbity and even ill-usage, that all who know them
admit that a separation is needed. So it is here in the States.
Free-soil and slave-soil could, while both were young and unused to
power, go on together,--not without many jars and unhappy bickerings;
but they did go on together. But now they must part; and how shall
the parting be made? With which side shall go this child, and who
shall remain in possession of that pleasant homestead? Putting
secession aside, there were in the United States two distinct
political doctrines, of which the extremes were opposed to each other
as pole is opposed to pole. We have no such variance of creed, no
such radical difference as to the essential rules of life between
parties in our country. We have no such cause for personal rancour
in our Parliament as has existed for some years past in both Houses
of Congress. These two extreme parties were the slave-owners of the
South and the abolitionists of the North and West. Fifty years ago
the former regarded the institution of slavery as a necessity of
their position,--generally as an evil necessity,--and generally also
as a custom to be removed in the course of years. Gradually they have
learned to look upon slavery as good in itself, and to believe that
it has been the source of their wealth and the strength of their
position. They have declared it to be a blessing inalienable,--that
should remain among them for ever,--as an inheritance not to be
touched, and not to be spoken of with hard words. Fifty years ago
the abolitionists of the North differed only in opinion from the
slave-owners of the South in hoping for a speedier end to this stain
upon the nation; and in thinking that some action should be taken
towards the final emancipation of the bondsmen. But they also have
progressed; and as the southern masters have called the institution
blessed, they have called it accursed. Their numbers have increased,
and with their numbers their power and their violence. In this way
two parties have been formed who could not look on each other without
hatred. An intermediate doctrine has been held by men who were nearer
in their sympathies to the slave-owners than to the abolitionists;
but who were not disposed to justify slavery as a thing apart. These
men have been aware that slavery has existed in accordance with the
constitution of their country, and have been willing to attach the
stain which accompanies the institution to the individual State
which entertains it, and not to the national Government, by which
the question has been constitutionally ignored. The men who have
participated in the Government have naturally been inclined towards
the middle doctrine; but as the two extremes have retreated further
from each other, the power of this middle-class of politicians has
decreased. Mr. Lincoln, though he does not now declare himself an
abolitionist, was elected by the abolitionists; and when, as a
consequence of that election, secession was threatened, no step which
he could have taken would have satisfied the South which had opposed
him, and been at the same time true to the North which had chosen
him. But it was possible that his Government might save Maryland,
Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri. As Radicals in England become
simple Whigs when they are admitted into public offices, so did Mr.
Lincoln with his government become anti-abolitionist when he entered
on his functions. Had he combated secession with emancipation of
the slaves, no slave State would or could have held by the Union.
Abolition for a lecturer may be a telling subject. It is easy to
bring down rounds of applause by tales of the wrongs of bondage. But
to men in office, abolition was too stern a reality. It signified
servile insurrection, absolute ruin to all southern slave-owners, and
the absolute enmity of every slave State.

But that task of steering between the two has been very difficult. I
fear that the task of so steering with success is almost impossible.
In England it is thought that Mr. Lincoln might have maintained the
Union by compromising matters with the South,--or if not so, that he
might have maintained peace by yielding to the South. But no such
power was in his hands. While we were blaming him for opposition to
all southern terms, his own friends in the North were saying that
all principle and truth was abandoned for the sake of such States as
Kentucky and Missouri. "Virginia is gone; Maryland cannot go. And
slavery is endured and the new virtue of Washington is made to tamper
with the evil one, in order that a show of loyalty may be preserved
in one or two States which after all are not truly loyal!" That is
the accusation made against the government by the abolitionists; and
that made by us on the other side is the reverse. I believe that
Mr. Lincoln had no alternative but to fight, and that he was right
also not to fight with abolition as his battle-cry. That he may be
forced by his own friends into that cry, is, I fear, still possible.
Kentucky at any rate did not secede in bulk. She still sent her
senators to Congress, and allowed herself to be reckoned among
the stars in the American firmament. But she could not escape the
presence of the war. Did she remain loyal or did she secede, that was
equally her fate.

The day before I entered Kentucky a battle was fought in that State,
which gave to the northern arms their first actual victory. It was at
a place called Mill Spring, near Somerset, towards the south of the
State. General Zollicoffer, with a Confederate army, numbering, it
was supposed, some eight thousand men, had advanced upon a smaller
Federal force, commanded by General Thomas, and had been himself
killed, while his army was cut to pieces and dispersed; the cannon
of the Confederates were taken, and their camp seized and destroyed.
Their rout was complete; but in this instance again the advancing
party had been beaten, as had, I believe, been the case in all the
actions hitherto fought throughout the war. Here, however, had been
an actual victory, and it was not surprising that in Kentucky loyal
men should rejoice greatly, and begin to hope that the Confederates
would be beaten out of the State. Unfortunately, however, General
Zollicoffer's army had only been an offshoot from the main rebel army
in Kentucky. Buell, commanding the Federal troops at Louisville, and
Sydney Johnston, the Confederate General, at Bowling Green, as yet
remained opposite to each other, and the work was still to be done.

I visited the little towns of Lexington and Frankfort, in Kentucky.
At the former I found in the hotel to which I went seventy-five
teamsters belonging to the army. They were hanging about the great
hall when I entered, and clustering round the stove in the middle
of the chamber;--a dirty, rough, quaint set of men, clothed in a
wonderful variety of garbs, but not disorderly or loud. The landlord
apologized for their presence, alleging that other accommodation
could not be found for them in the town. He received, he said, a
dollar a day for feeding them, and for supplying them with a place in
which they could lie down. It did not pay him,--but what could he do?
Such an apology from an American landlord was in itself a surprising
fact. Such high functionaries are, as a rule, men inclined to tell
a traveller that if he does not like the guests among whom he finds
himself, he may go elsewhere. But this landlord had as yet filled the
place for not more than two or three weeks, and was unused to the
dignity of his position. While I was at supper, the seventy-five
teamsters were summoned into the common eating-room by a loud gong,
and sat down to their meal at the public table. They were very dirty;
I doubt whether I ever saw dirtier men; but they were orderly and
well-behaved, and but for their extreme dirt might have passed as the
ordinary occupants of a well-filled hotel in the West. Such men, in
the States, are less clumsy with their knives and forks, less astray
in an unused position, more intelligent in adapting themselves to a
new life than are Englishmen of the same rank. It is always the same
story. With us there is no level of society. Men stand on a long
staircase, but the crowd congregates near the bottom, and the lower
steps are very broad. In America men stand upon a common platform,
but the platform is raised above the ground, though it does not
approach in height the top of our staircase. If we take the average
altitude in the two countries, we shall find that the American heads
are the more elevated of the two. I conceived rather an affection for
those dirty teamsters; they answered me civilly when I spoke to them,
and sat in quietness, smoking their pipes, with a dull and dirty, but
orderly demeanour.

The country about Lexington is called the Blue Grass Region, and
boasts itself as of peculiar fecundity in the matter of pasturage.
Why the grass is called blue, and or in what way or at what period
it becomes blue, I did not learn; but the country is very lovely and
very fertile. Between Lexington and Frankfort a large stock farm,
extending over three thousand acres, is kept by a gentleman, who
is very well known as a breeder of horses, cattle, and sheep. He
has spent much money on it, and is making for himself a Kentucky
elysium. He was kind enough to entertain me for a while, and showed
me something of country life in Kentucky. A farm in that part of the
State depends, and must depend, chiefly on slave-labour. The slaves
are a material part of the estate, and as they are regarded by the
law as real property--being actually adstricti glebæ--an inheritor
of land has no alternative but to keep them. A gentleman in Kentucky
does not sell his slaves. To do so is considered to be low and
mean, and is opposed to the aristocratic traditions of the country.
A man who does so willingly, puts himself beyond the pale of
good-fellowship with his neighbours. A sale of slaves is regarded
as a sign almost of bankruptcy. If a man cannot pay his debts, his
creditors can step in and sell his slaves; but he does not himself
make the sale. When a man owns more slaves than he needs, he hires
them out by the year; and when he requires more than he owns, he
takes them on hire by the year. Care is taken in such hirings not to
remove a married man away from his home. The price paid for a negro's
labour at the time of my visit was about a hundred dollars, or twenty
pounds, for the year; but this price was then extremely low in
consequence of the war disturbances. The usual price had been about
fifty or sixty per cent. above this. The man who takes the negro on
hire feeds him, clothes him, provides him with a bed, and supplies
him with medical attendance. I went into some of their cottages on
the estate which I visited, and was not in the least surprised to
find them preferable in size, furniture, and all material comforts
to the dwellings of most of our own agricultural labourers. Any
comparison between the material comfort of a Kentucky slave and an
English ditcher and delver would be preposterous. The Kentucky slave
never wants for clothing fitted to the weather. He eats meat twice
a day, and has three good meals; he knows no limit but his own
appetite; his work is light; he has many varieties of amusement;
he has instant medical assistance at all periods of necessity for
himself, his wife, and his children. Of course he pays no rent, fears
no baker, and knows no hunger. I would not have it supposed that
I conceive slavery with all these comforts to be equal to freedom
without them; nor do I conceive that the negro can be made equal to
the white man. But in discussing the condition of the negro, it is
necessary that we should understand what are the advantages of which
abolition would deprive him, and in what condition he has been placed
by the daily receipt of such advantages. If a negro slave wants new
shoes, he asks for them, and receives them, with the undoubting
simplicity of a child. Such a state of things has its picturesquely
patriarchal side; but what would be the state of such a man if he
were emancipated to-morrow?

The natural beauty of the place which I was visiting was very great.
The trees were fine and well-scattered over the large, park-like
pastures, and the ground was broken on every side into hills. There
was perhaps too much timber, but my friend seemed to think that that
fault would find a natural remedy only too quickly. "I do not like to
cut down trees if I can help it," he said. After that I need not say
that my host was quite as much an Englishman as an American. To the
purely American farmer a tree is simply an enemy to be trodden under
foot, and buried underground, or reduced to ashes and thrown to the
winds with what most economical despatch may be possible. If water
had been added to the landscape here it would have been perfect,
regarding it as ordinary English park-scenery. But the little rivers
at this place have a dirty trick of burying themselves under the
ground. They go down suddenly into holes, disappearing from the upper
air, and then come up again at the distance of perhaps half a mile.
Unfortunately their periods of seclusion are more prolonged than
those of their upper-air distance. There were three or four such
ascents and descents about the place.

My host was a breeder of race-horses, and had imported sires from
England; of sheep also, and had imported famous rams; of cattle too,
and was great in bulls. He was very loud in praise of Kentucky and
its attractions, if only this war could be brought to an end. But I
could not obtain from him an assurance that the speculation in which
he was engaged had been profitable. Ornamental farming in England
is a very pretty amusement for a wealthy man, but I fancy,--without
intending any slight on Mr. Mechi,--that the amusement is expensive.
I believe that the same thing may be said of it in a slave State.

Frankfort is the capital of Kentucky, and is as quietly dull a little
town as I ever entered. It is on the river Kentucky, and as the
grounds about it on every side rise in wooded hills, it is a very
pretty place. In January it was very pretty, but in summer it must
be lovely. I was taken up to the cemetery there by a path along the
river, and am inclined to say that it is the sweetest resting-place
for the dead that I have ever visited. Daniel Boone lies there.
He was the first white man who settled in Kentucky; or rather,
perhaps, the first who entered Kentucky with a view to a white man's
settlement. Such frontier men as was Daniel Boone never remained long
contented with the spots they opened. As soon as he had left his mark
in that territory he went again further west over the big rivers into
Missouri, and there he died. But the men of Kentucky are proud of
Daniel Boone, and so they have buried him in the loveliest spot they
could select, immediately over the river. Frankfort is worth a visit,
if only that this grave and graveyard may be seen. The legislature of
the State was not sitting when I was there, and the grass was growing
in the streets.

Louisville is the commercial city of the State, and stands on the
Ohio. It is another great town, like all the others, built with high
stores, and great houses and stone-faced blocks. I have no doubt that
all the building speculations have been failures, and that the men
engaged in them were all ruined. But there, as the result of their
labour, stands a fair great city on the southern banks of the Ohio.
Here General Buell held his head-quarters, but his army lay at a
distance. On my return from the West I visited one of the camps of
this army, and will speak of it as I speak of my backward journey. I
had already at this time begun to conceive an opinion that the armies
in Kentucky and in Missouri would do at any rate as much for the
northern cause as that of the Potomac, of which so much more had been
heard in England.

While I was at Louisville the Ohio was flooded. It had begun to rise
when I was at Cincinnati, and since then had gone on increasing
hourly, rising inch by inch up into the towns upon its bank. I
visited two suburbs of Louisville, both of which were submerged, as
to the streets and ground-floors of the houses. At Shipping Port,
one of these suburbs, I saw the women and children clustering in the
up-stairs room, while the men were going about in punts and wherries,
collecting drift wood from the river for their winter's firing. In
some places bedding and furniture had been brought over to the high
ground, and the women were sitting, guarding their little property.
That village, amidst the waters, was a sad sight to see; but I heard
no complaints. There was no tearing of hair and no gnashing of teeth;
no bitter tears or moans of sorrow. The men who were not at work
in the boats stood loafing about in clusters, looking at the still
rising river; but each seemed to be personally indifferent to the
matter. When the house of an American is carried down the river, he
builds himself another;--as he would get himself a new coat when his
old coat became unserviceable. But he never laments or moans for such
a loss. Surely there is no other people so passive under personal

Going from Louisville up to St. Louis, I crossed the Ohio river and
passed through parts of Indiana and of Illinois, and striking the
Mississippi opposite St. Louis, crossed that river also, and then
entered the State of Missouri. The Ohio was, as I have said, flooded,
and we went over it at night. The boat had been moored at some
unaccustomed place. There was no light. The road was deep in mud up
to the axle-tree, and was crowded with waggons and carts, which in
the darkness of the night seemed to have stuck there. But the man
drove his four horses through it all, and into the ferry-boat, over
its side. There were three or four such omnibuses, and as many
waggons, as to each of which I predicted in my own mind some fatal
catastrophe. But they were all driven on to the boat in the dark,
the horses mixing in through each other in a chaos which would have
altogether incapacitated any English coachman. And then the vessel
laboured across the flood, going sideways, and hardly keeping her
own against the stream. But we did get over, and were all driven
out again, up to the railway station in safety. On reaching the
Mississippi about the middle of the next day, we found it frozen
over, or rather covered from side to side with blocks of ice which
had forced its way down the river, so that the steam ferry could not
reach its proper landing. I do not think that we in England would
have attempted the feat of carrying over horses and carriages under
stress of such circumstances. But it was done here. Huge plankings
were laid down over the ice, and omnibuses and waggons were driven
on. In getting out again, these vehicles, each with four horses, had
to be twisted about, and driven in and across the vessel, and turned
in spaces to look at which would have broken the heart of an English
coachman. And then with a spring they were driven up a bank as steep
as a ladder! Ah me! under what mistaken illusions have I not laboured
all the days of my youth, in supposing that no man could drive four
horses well but an English stage-coachman? I have seen performances
in America,--and in Italy and France also, but above all in
America,--which would have made the hair of any English professional
driver stand on end.

And in this way I entered St. Louis.



Missouri is a slave State lying to the west of the Mississippi and to
the north of Arkansas. It forms a portion of the territory ceded by
France to the United States in 1803. Indeed, it is difficult to say
how large a portion of the continent of North America is supposed to
be included in that territory. It contains the States of Louisiana,
Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas, as also the present Indian territory;
but it also is said to have contained all the land lying back from
them to the Rocky Mountains, Utah, Nebraska, and Dacotah, and forms
no doubt the widest dominion ever ceded by one nationality to

Missouri lies exactly north of the old Missouri compromise line,
that is, 36 30 north. When the Missouri compromise was made it was
arranged that Missouri should be a slave State, but that no other
State north of the 36 30 line should ever become slave soil. Kentucky
and Virginia, as also of course Maryland and Delaware, four of the
old slave States, were already north of that line; but the compromise
was intended to prevent the advance of slavery in the north-west. The
compromise has been since annulled, on the ground, I believe, that
Congress had not constitutionally the power to declare that any soil
should be free, or that any should be slave soil. That is a question
to be decided by the States themselves, as each individual State may
please. So the compromise was repealed. But slavery has not on that
account advanced. The battle has been fought in Kansas, and after a
long and terrible struggle, Kansas has come out of the fight as a
free State. Kansas is in the same parallel of latitude as Virginia,
and stretches west as far as the Rocky Mountains.

When the census of the population of Missouri was taken in 1860, the
slaves amounted to 10 per cent. of the whole number. In the Gulf
States the slave population is about 45 per cent. of the whole. In
the three border States of Kentucky, Virginia, and Maryland, the
slaves amount to 30 per cent. of the whole population. From these
figures it will be seen that Missouri, which is comparatively a new
slave State, has not gone a-head with slavery as the old slave States
have done, although from its position and climate, lying as far south
as Virginia, it might seem to have had the same reasons for doing so.
I think there is every reason to believe that slavery will die out in
Missouri. The institution is not popular with the people generally;
and as white labour becomes abundant,--and before the war it was
becoming abundant,--men recognize the fact that the white man's
labour is the more profitable. The heat in this State, in midsummer,
is very great, especially in the valleys of the rivers. At St. Louis,
on the Mississippi, it reaches commonly to 90 degrees, and very
frequently goes above that. The nights moreover are nearly as hot as
the days; but this great heat does not last for any very long period,
and it seems that white men are able to work throughout the year. If
correspondingly severe weather in winter affords any compensation to
the white man for what of heat he endures during the summer, I can
testify that such compensation is to be found in Missouri. When I was
there we were afflicted with a combination of snow, sleet, frost, and
wind, with a mixture of ice and mud, that makes me regard Missouri as
the most inclement land into which I ever penetrated.

St. Louis, on the Mississippi, is the great town of Missouri, and is
considered by the Missourians to be the star of the West. It is not
to be beaten in population, wealth, or natural advantages by any
other city so far west; but it has not increased with such rapidity
as Chicago, which is considerably to the north of it on Lake
Michigan. Of the great western cities I regard Chicago as the most
remarkable, seeing that St. Louis was a large town before Chicago had
been founded.

The population of St. Louis is 170,000. Of this number only 2000 are
slaves. I was told that a large proportion of the slaves of Missouri
are employed near the Missouri river in breaking hemp. The growth of
hemp is very profitably carried on in that valley, and the labour
attached to it is one which white men do not like to encounter.
Slaves are not generally employed in St. Louis for domestic service,
as is done almost universally in the towns of Kentucky. This work
is chiefly in the hands of Irish and Germans. Considerably above
one-third of the population of the whole city is made up of these two
nationalities. So much is confessed; but if I were to form an opinion
from the language I heard in the streets of the town, I should say
that nearly every man was either an Irishman or a German.

St. Louis has none of the aspects of a slave city. I cannot say that
I found it an attractive place, but then I did not visit it at an
attractive time. The war had disturbed everything, given a special
colour of its own to men's thoughts and words, and destroyed all
interest except that which might proceed from itself. The town is
well built, with good shops, straight streets, never-ending rows of
excellent houses, and every sign of commercial wealth and domestic
comfort,--of commercial wealth and domestic comfort in the past, for
there was no present appearance either of comfort or of wealth. The
new hotel here was to be bigger than all the hotels of all other
towns. It is built, and is an enormous pile, and would be handsome
but for a terribly ambitious Grecian doorway. It is built, as far
as the walls and roof are concerned, but in all other respects is
unfinished. I was told that the shares of the original stockholders
were now worth nothing. A shareholder, who so told me, seemed to
regard this as the ordinary course of business.

The great glory of the town is the "levée," as it is called, or the
long river beach up to which the steamers are brought with their bows
to the shore. It is an esplanade looking on to the river, not built
with quays or wharves, as would be the case with us, but with a
sloping bank running down to the water. In the good days of peace a
hundred vessels were to be seen here, each with its double funnels.
The line of them seemed to be never ending even when I was there, but
then a very large proportion of them were lying idle. They resemble
huge wooden houses, apparently of frail architecture, floating upon
the water. Each has its double row of balconies running round it, and
the lower or ground floor is open throughout. The upper stories are
propped and supported on ugly sticks and ricketty-looking beams; so
that the first appearance does not convey any great idea of security
to a stranger. They are always painted white and the paint is
always very dirty. When they begin to move, they moan and groan in
melancholy tones which are subversive of all comfort; and as they
continue on their courses they puff and bluster, and are for ever
threatening to burst and shatter themselves to pieces. There they lie
in a continuous line nearly a mile in length along the levée of St.
Louis, dirty, dingy, and now, alas, mute. They have ceased to groan
and puff, and if this war be continued for six months longer, will
become rotten and useless as they lie.

They boast at St. Louis that they command 46,000 miles of navigable
river water, counting the great rivers up and down from that place.
These rivers are chiefly the Mississippi, the Missouri and Ohio which
fall into the Mississippi near St. Louis, the Platte and Kansas
rivers--tributaries of the Missouri, the Illinois, and the Wisconsin.
All these are open to steamers, and all of them traverse regions rich
in corn, in coal, in metals, or in timber. These ready-made highways
of the world centre, as it were, at St. Louis, and make it the depôt
of the carrying trade of all that vast country. Minnesota is 1500
miles above New Orleans, but the wheat of Minnesota can be brought
down the whole distance without change of the vessel in which it is
first deposited. It would seem to be impossible that a country so
blessed should not become rich. It must be remembered that these
rivers flow through lands that have never yet been surpassed in
natural fertility. Of all countries in the world one would say that
the States of America should have been the last to curse themselves
with a war; but now the curse has fallen upon them with a double
vengeance. It would seem that they could never be great in war: their
very institutions forbid it; their enormous distances forbid it; the
price of labour forbids it; and it is forbidden also by the career of
industry and expansion which has been given to them. But the curse of
fighting has come upon them, and they are showing themselves to be
as eager in the works of war as they have shown themselves capable
in the works of peace. Men and angels must weep as they behold the
things that are being done, as they watch the ruin that has come and
is still coming, as they look on commerce killed and agriculture
suspended. No sight so sad has come upon the earth in our days.
They were a great people; feeding the world, adding daily to the
mechanical appliances of mankind, increasing in population beyond all
measures of such increase hitherto known, and extending education
as fast as they extended their numbers. Poverty had as yet found no
place among them, and hunger was an evil of which they had read, but
were themselves ignorant. Each man among their crowds had a right
to be proud of his manhood. To read and write,--I am speaking here
of the North,--was as common as to eat and drink. To work was no
disgrace, and the wages of work were plentiful. To live without work
was the lot of none. What blessing above these blessings was needed
to make a people great and happy? And now a stranger visiting them
would declare that they are wallowing in a very slough of despond.
The only trade open is the trade of war. The axe of the woodsman is
at rest; the plough is idle; the artificer has closed his shop. The
roar of the foundry is still heard because cannon are needed, and
the river of molten iron comes out as an implement of death. The
stone-cutter's hammer and the mason's trowel are never heard. The
gold of the country is hiding itself as though it had returned to its
mother-earth, and the infancy of a paper currency has been commenced.
Sick soldiers, who have never seen a battlefield, are dying by
hundreds in the squalid dirt of their unaccustomed camps. Men and
women talk of war, and of war only. Newspapers full of the war
are alone read. A contract for war stores,--too often a dishonest
contract,--is the one path open for commercial enterprise. The
young man must go to the war or he is disgraced. The war swallows
everything, and as yet has failed to produce even such bitter fruits
as victory or glory. Must it not be said that a curse has fallen upon
the land?

And yet I still hope that it may ultimately be for good. Through
water and fire must a nation be cleansed of its faults. It has been
so with all nations, though the phases of their trials have been
different. It did not seem to be well with us in Cromwell's early
days; nor was it well with us afterwards in those disgraceful years
of the later Stuarts. We know how France was bathed in blood in her
effort to rid herself of her painted sepulchre of an ancient throne;
how Germany was made desolate, in order that Prussia might become a
nation. Ireland was poor and wretched, till her famine came. Men said
it was a curse, but that curse has been her greatest blessing. And so
will it be here in the West. I could not but weep in spirit as I saw
the wretchedness around me,--the squalid misery of the soldiers, the
inefficiency of their officers, the bickerings of their rulers, the
noise and threats, the dirt and ruin, the terrible dishonesty of
those who were trusted! These are things which made a man wish that
he were anywhere but there. But I do believe that God is still over
all, and that everything is working for good. These things are the
fire and water through which this nation must pass. The course of
this people had been too straight, and their ways had been too
pleasant. That which to others had been ever difficult had been made
easy for them. Bread and meat had come to them as things of course,
and they hardly remembered to be thankful. "We ourselves have done
it," they declared aloud. "We are not as other men. We are gods upon
the earth. Whose arm shall be long enough to stay us, or whose bolt
shall be strong enough to strike us?"

Now they are stricken sore, and the bolt is from their own bow. Their
own hands have raised the barrier that has stayed them. They have
stumbled in their running, and are lying hurt upon the ground; while
they who have heard their boastings turn upon them with ridicule, and
laugh at them in their discomforture. They are rolling in the mire,
and cannot take the hand of any man to help them. Though the hand
of the bystander may be stretched to them, his face is scornful and
his voice full of reproaches. Who has not known that hour of misery
when in the sullenness of the heart all help has been refused, and
misfortune has been made welcome to do her worst? So is it now with
those once United States. The man who can see without inward tears
the self-inflicted wounds of that American people can hardly have
within his bosom the tenderness of an Englishman's heart.

But the strong runner will rise again to his feet, even though he
be stunned by his fall. He will rise again, and will have learned
something by his sorrow. His anger will pass away, and he will again
brace himself for his work. What great race has ever been won by any
man, or by any nation, without some such fall during its course? Have
we not all declared that some check to that career was necessary?
Men in their pursuit of intelligence had forgotten to be honest; in
struggling for greatness they had discarded purity. The nation has
been great, but the statesmen of the nation have been little. Men
have hardly been ambitious to govern, but they have coveted the wages
of governors. Corruption has crept into high places,--into places
that should have been high,--till of all holes and corners in the
land they have become the lowest. No public man has been trusted for
ordinary honesty. It is not by foreign voices, by English newspapers
or in French pamphlets, that the corruption of American politicians
has been exposed, but by American voices and by the American press.
It is to be heard on every side. Ministers of the cabinet, senators,
representatives, State legislatures, officers of the army, officials
of the navy, contractors of every grade,--all who are presumed to
touch, or to have the power of touching public money, are thus
accused. For years it has been so. The word politician has stunk
in men's nostrils. When I first visited New York, some three years
since, I was warned not to know a man, because he was a "politician."
We in England define a man of a certain class as a black-leg. How has
it come about that in American ears the word politician has come to
bear a similar signification?

The material growth of the States has been so quick, that the
political growth has not been able to keep pace with it. In commerce,
in education, in all municipal arrangements, in mechanical skill, and
also in professional ability, the country has stalked on with amazing
rapidity; but in the art of governing, in all political management
and detail, it has made no advance. The merchants of our country and
of that country have for many years met on terms of perfect equality,
but it has never been so with their statesmen and our statesmen, with
their diplomatists and our diplomatists. Lombard Street and Wall
Street can do business with each other on equal footing, but it is
not so between Downing Street and the State-office at Washington. The
science of statesmanship has yet to be learned in the States,--and
certainly the highest lesson of that science, which teaches that
honesty is the best policy.

I trust that the war will have left such a lesson behind it. If it
do so, let the cost in money be what it may, that money will not
have been wasted. If the American people can learn the necessity
of employing their best men for their highest work,--if they
can recognize these honest men and trust them when they are so
recognized,--then they may become as great in politics as they have
become great in commerce and in social institutions.

St. Louis, and indeed the whole State of Missouri, was at the time of
my visit under martial law. General Halleck was in command, holding
his head-quarters at St. Louis, and carrying out, at any rate as
far as the city was concerned, what orders he chose to issue. I
am disposed to think that, situated as Missouri then was, martial
law was the best law. No other law could have had force in a town
surrounded by soldiers, and in which half of the inhabitants were
loyal to the existing Government, and half of them were in favour of
rebellion. The necessity for such power is terrible, and the power
itself in the hands of one man must be full of danger; but even that
is better than anarchy. I will not accuse General Halleck of abusing
his power, seeing that it is hard to determine what is the abuse of
such power and what its proper use. When we were at St. Louis a tax
was being gathered of £100 a head from certain men presumed to be
secessionists, and as the money was not of course very readily paid,
the furniture of these suspected secessionists was being sold by
auction. No doubt such a measure was by them regarded as a great
abuse. One gentleman informed me that, in addition to this, certain
houses of his had been taken by the Government at a fixed rent, and
that the payment of the rent was now refused unless he would take
the oath of allegiance. He no doubt thought that an abuse of power!
But the worst abuse of such power comes not at first, but with long

Up to the time however at which I was at St. Louis, martial law had
chiefly been used in closing grog-shops and administering the oath of
allegiance to suspected secessionists. Something also had been done
in the way of raising money by selling the property of convicted
secessionists; and while I was there eight men were condemned to be
shot for destroying railway bridges. "But will they be shot?" I asked
of one of the officers. "Oh, yes. It will be done quietly, and no one
will know anything about it. We shall get used to that kind of thing
presently." And the inhabitants of Missouri were becoming used to
martial law. It is surprising how quickly a people can reconcile
themselves to altered circumstances, when the change comes upon them
without the necessity of any expressed opinion on their own part.
Personal freedom has been considered as necessary to the American
of the States as the air he breathes. Had any suggestion been made
to him of a suspension of the privilege of habeas corpus, of a
censorship of the press, or of martial law, the American would
have declared his willingness to die on the floor of the House of
Representatives, and have proclaimed with ten million voices his
inability to live under circumstances so subversive of his rights as
a man. And he would have thoroughly believed the truth of his own
assertions. Had a chance been given of an argument on the matter, of
stump speeches, and caucus meetings, these things could never have
been done. But as it is, Americans are, I think, rather proud of the
suspension of the habeas corpus. They point with gratification to the
uniformly loyal tone of the newspapers, remarking that any editor who
should dare to give even a secession squeak, would immediately find
himself shut up. And now nothing but good is spoken of martial law. I
thought it a nuisance when I was prevented by soldiers from trotting
my horse down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, but I was assured
by Americans that such restrictions were very serviceable in a
community. At St. Louis martial law was quite popular. Why should not
General Halleck be as well able to say what was good for the people
as any law or any lawyer? He had no interest in the injury of the
State, but every interest in its preservation. "But what," I asked,
"would be the effect were he to tell you to put out all your fires
at eight o'clock?" "If he were so to order, we should do it; but we
know that he will not." But who does know to what General Halleck or
other generals may come; or how soon a curfew-bell may be ringing in
American towns? The winning of liberty is long and tedious, but the
losing it is a downhill easy journey.

It was here, in St. Louis, that General Fremont had held his military
court. He was a great man here during those hundred days through
which his command lasted. He lived in a great house, had a bodyguard,
was inaccessible as a great man should be, and fared sumptuously
every day. He fortified the city,--or rather, he began to do so.
He constructed barracks here, and instituted military prisons. The
fortifications have been discontinued as useless, but the barracks
and the prisons remain. In the latter there were 1200 secessionist
soldiers who had been taken in the State of Missouri. "Why are they
not exchanged?" I asked. "Because they are not exactly soldiers,"
I was informed. "The secessionists do not acknowledge them." "Then
would it not be cheaper to let them go?" "No," said my informant;
"because in that case we should have to catch them again." And so the
1200 remain in their wretched prison,--thinned from week to week and
from day to day by prison disease and prison death.

I went out twice to Benton barracks, as the camp of wooden huts was
called, which General Fremont had erected near the fair-ground of the
city. This fair-ground, I was told, had been a pleasant place. It had
been constructed for the recreation of the city, and for the purpose
of periodical agricultural exhibitions. There is still in it a pretty
ornamented cottage, and in the little garden a solitary Cupid stood
dismayed by the dirt and ruin around him. In the fair-green are the
round buildings intended for show cattle and agricultural implements,
but now given up to cavalry horses and Parrott guns. But Benton
barracks are outside the fair-green. Here on an open space, some
half-mile in length, two long rows of wooden sheds have been built,
opposite to each other, and behind them are other sheds used for
stabling and cooking-places. Those in front are divided, not into
separate huts, but into chambers capable of containing nearly two
hundred men each. They were surrounded on the inside by great wooden
trays, in three tiers,--and on each tray four men were supposed to
sleep. I went into one or two while the crowd of soldiers was in
them, but found it inexpedient to stay there long. The stench of
those places was foul beyond description. Never in my life before had
I been in a place so horrid to the eyes and nose as Benton barracks.
The path along the front outside was deep in mud. The whole space
between the two rows of sheds was one field of mud, so slippery that
the foot could not stand. Inside and outside every spot was deep
in mud. The soldiers were mud-stained from foot to sole. These
volunteer soldiers are in their nature dirty, as must be all men
brought together in numerous bodies without special appliances for
cleanliness, or control and discipline as to their personal habits.
But the dirt of the men in the Benton barracks surpassed any dirt
that I had hitherto seen. Nor could it have been otherwise with them.
They were surrounded by a sea of mud, and the foul hovels in which
they were made to sleep and live were fetid with stench and reeking
with filth. I had at this time been joined by another Englishman,
and we went through this place together. When we inquired as to the
health of the men, we heard the saddest tales,--of three hundred men
gone out of one regiment, of whole companies that had perished, of
hospitals crowded with fevered patients. Measles had been the great
scourge of the soldiers here,--as it had also been in the army of the
Potomac. I shall not soon forget my visits to Benton barracks. It may
be that our own soldiers were as badly treated in the Crimea; or that
French soldiers were treated worse on their march into Russia. It
may be that dirt, and wretchedness, disease and listless idleness,
a descent from manhood to habits lower than those of the beasts,
are necessary in warfare. I have sometimes thought that it is so;
but I am no military critic and will not say. This I say,--that the
degradation of men to the state in which I saw the American soldiers
in Benton barracks, is disgraceful to humanity.

General Halleck was at this time commanding in Missouri, and was
himself stationed at St. Louis; but his active measures against the
rebels were going on to the right and to the left. On the left shore
of the Mississippi, at Cairo, in Illinois, a fleet of gun-boats was
being prepared to go down the river, and on the right an army was
advancing against Springfield, in the south-western district of
Missouri, with the object of dislodging Price, the rebel guerilla
leader there, and, if possible, of catching him. Price had been the
opponent of poor General Lyon who was killed at Wilson's Creek, near
Springfield, and of General Fremont, who during his hundred days
had failed to drive him out of the State. This duty had now been
intrusted to General Curtis, who had for some time been holding his
head-quarters at Rolla, halfway between St. Louis and Springfield.
Fremont had built a fort at Rolla, and it had become a military
station. Over 10,000 men had been there at one time, and now General
Curtis was to advance from Rolla against Price with something
above that number of men. Many of them, however, had already gone
on, and others were daily being sent up from St. Louis. Under
these circumstances my friend and I, fortified with a letter of
introduction to General Curtis, resolved to go and see the army at

On our way down by the railway we encountered a young German officer,
an aide-de-camp of the Federals, and under his auspices we saw Rolla
to advantage. Our companions in the railway were chiefly soldiers
and teamsters. The car was crowded and filled with tobacco smoke,
apple peel, and foul air. In these cars during the winter there
is always a large lighted stove, a stove that might cook all the
dinners for a French hotel, and no window is ever opened. Among our
fellow-travellers there was here and there a west-country Missouri
farmer going down, under the protection of the advancing army,
to look after the remains of his chattels,--wild, dark, uncouth,
savage-looking men. One such hero I specially remember, as to whom
the only natural remark would be that one would not like to meet him
alone on a dark night. He was burly and big, unwashed and rough,
with a black beard, shorn some two months since. He had sharp, angry
eyes, and sat silent, picking his teeth with a bowie knife. I met him
afterwards at the Rolla hotel, and found that he was a gentleman of
property near Springfield. He was mild and meek as a sucking dove,
asked my advice as to the state of his affairs, and merely guessed
that things had been pretty rough with him. Things had been pretty
rough with him. The rebels had come upon his land. House, fences,
stock, and crop were all gone. His homestead had been made a ruin,
and his farm had been turned into a wilderness. Everything was gone.
He had carried his wife and children off to Illinois, and had now
returned, hoping that he might get on in the wake of the army till
he could see the debris of his property. But even he did not seem
disturbed. He did not bemoan himself or curse his fate. "Things were
pretty rough," he said; and that was all that he did say.

It was dark when we got into Rolla. Everything had been covered with
snow, and everywhere the snow was frozen. We had heard that there
was an hotel, and that possibly we might get a bedroom there. We
were first taken to a wooden building, which we were told was the
head-quarters of the army, and in one room we found a colonel with
a lot of soldiers loafing about, and in another a provost-marshal
attended by a newspaper correspondent. We were received with open
arms, and a suggestion was at once made that we were no doubt
picking up news for European newspapers. "Air you a son of the Mrs.
Trollope?" said the correspondent. "Then, sir, you are an accession
to Rolla." Upon which I was made to sit down, and invited to "loaf
about" at the head-quarters as long as I might remain at Rolla.
Shortly, however, there came on a violent discussion about waggons.
A general had come in and wanted all the colonel's waggons, but the
colonel swore that he had none, declared how bitterly he was impeded
with sick men, and became indignant and reproachful. It was Brutus
and Cassius again; and as we felt ourselves in the way, and anxious
moreover to ascertain what might be the nature of the Rolla hotel, we
took up our heavy portmanteaux--for they were heavy--and with a guide
to show us the way, started off through the dark and over the hill up
to our inn. I shall never forget that walk. It was up hill and down
hill, with an occasional half-frozen stream across it. My friend
was impeded with an enormous cloak lined with fur, which in itself
was a burden for a coalheaver. Our guide, who was a clerk out of
the colonel's office, carried an umbrella and a small dressing-bag,
but we ourselves manfully shouldered our portmanteaux. Sydney Smith
declared that an Englishman only wasted his time in training himself
for gymnastic aptitudes, seeing that for a shilling he could always
hire a porter. Had Sydney Smith ever been at Rolla he would have
written differently. I could tell at great length how I fell on my
face in the icy snow, how my friend stuck in the frozen mud when
he essayed to jump the stream, and how our guide walked on easily
in advance, encouraging us with his voice from a distance. Why is
it that a stout Englishman bordering on fifty finds himself in
such a predicament as that? No Frenchman, no Italian, no German,
would so place himself, unless under the stress of insurmountable
circumstances. No American would do so under any circumstances. As I
slipped about on the ice and groaned with that terrible fardle on my
back, burdened with a dozen shirts, and a suit of dress clothes, and
three pair of boots, and four or five thick volumes, and a set of
maps, and a box of cigars, and a washing-tub, I confessed to myself
that I was a fool. What was I doing in such a galley as that? Why had
I brought all that useless lumber down to Rolla? Why had I come to
Rolla, with no certain hope even of shelter for a night? But we did
reach the hotel; we did get a room between us with two bedsteads.
And, pondering over the matter in my mind, since that evening, I have
been inclined to think that the stout Englishman is in the right of
it. No American of my age and weight will ever go through what I went
through then; but I am not sure that he does not in his accustomed
career go through worse things even than that. However, if I go to
Rolla again during the war, I will at any rate leave the books behind

What a night we spent in that inn! They who know America will be
aware that in all hotels there is a free admixture of different
classes. The traveller in Europe may sit down to dinner with his
tailor and shoemaker; but if so, his tailor and shoemaker have
dressed themselves as he dresses, and are prepared to carry
themselves according to a certain standard, which in exterior does
not differ from his own. In the large Eastern cities of the States,
such as Boston, New York, and Washington, a similar practice of life
is gradually becoming prevalent. There are various hotels for various
classes, and the ordinary traveller does not find himself at the same
table with a butcher fresh from the shambles. But in the West there
are no distinctions whatever. "A man's a man for a' that" in the
West, let the "a' that" comprise what it may of coarse attire and
unsophisticated manners. One soon gets used to it. In that inn
at Rolla was a public room, heated in the middle by a stove, and
round that we soon found ourselves seated in a company of soldiers,
farmers, labourers, and teamsters. But there was among them a
general;--not a fighting, or would-be fighting general of the present
time, but one of the old-fashioned local generals,--men who held,
or had once held, some fabulous generalship in the State militia.
There we sat, cheek by jowl with our new friends, till nearly twelve
o'clock, talking politics and discussing the war. The General was
a stanch Unionist, having, according to his own showing, suffered
dreadful things from secessionist persecutors since the rebellion
commenced. As a matter of course everybody present was for the Union.
In such a place one rarely encounters any difference of opinion.
The General was very eager about the war, advocating the immediate
abolition of slavery, not as a means of improving the condition
of the southern slaves, but on the ground that it would ruin the
southern masters. We all sat by, edging in a word now and then, but
the General was the talker of the evening. He was very wrathy, and
swore at every other word. "It was pretty well time," he said, "to
crush out this rebellion, and by ---- it must and should be crushed
out; General Jim Lane was the man to do it, and by ---- General Jim
Lane would do it!" and so on. In all such conversations the time for
action has always just come, and also the expected man. But the time
passes by as other weeks and months have passed before it, and the
new General is found to be no more successful than his brethren. Our
friend was very angry against England. "When we've polished off these
accursed rebels, I guess we'll take a turn at you. You had your turn
when you made us give up Mason and Slidell, and we'll have our turn
by-and-by." But in spite of his dislike to our nation he invited us
warmly to come and see him at his home on the Missouri river. It
was, according to his showing, a new Eden,--a Paradise upon earth.
He seemed to think that we might perhaps desire to buy a location,
and explained to us how readily we could make our fortunes. But he
admitted in the course of his eulogiums that it would be as much as
his life was worth for him to ride out five miles from his own house.
In the meantime the teamsters greased their boots, the soldiers
snored, those who were wet took off their shoes and stockings,
hanging them to dry round the stove, and the western farmers chewed
tobacco in silence and ruminated. At such a house all the guests go
in to their meals together. A gong is sounded on a sudden, close
behind your ears; accustomed as you may probably be to the sound you
jump up from your chair in the agony of the crash, and by the time
that you have collected your thoughts the whole crowd is off in a
general stampede into the eating room. You may as well join them; if
you hesitate as to feeding with so rough a lot of men, you will have
to sit down afterwards with the women and children of the family, and
your lot will then be worse. Among such classes in the western States
the men are always better than the women. The men are dirty and
civil, the women are dirty and uncivil.

On the following day we visited the camp, going out in an ambulance
and returning on horseback. We were accompanied by the General's
aide-de-camp, and also, to our great gratification, by the General's
daughter. There had been a hard frost for some nights, but though
the cold was very great there was always heat enough in the middle
of the day to turn the surface of the ground into glutinous mud;
consequently we had all the roughness induced by frost, but none of
the usually attendant cleanliness. Indeed, it seemed that in these
parts nothing was so dirty as frost. The mud stuck like paste and
encompassed everything. We heard that morning that from sixty to
seventy baggage-waggons had "broken through," as they called it, and
stuck fast near a river in their endeavour to make their way on to
Lebanon. We encountered two generals of brigade, General Siegel, a
German, and General Ashboth, an Hungarian, both of whom were waiting
till the weather should allow them to advance. They were extremely
courteous, and warmly invited us to go on with them to Lebanon and
Springfield, promising to us such accommodation as they might be able
to obtain for themselves. I was much tempted to accept the offer; but
I found that day after day might pass before any forward movement
was commenced, and that it might be weeks before Springfield or even
Lebanon could be reached. It was my wish, moreover, to see what I
could of the people, rather than to scrutinize the ways of the army.
We dined at the tent of General Ashboth, and afterwards rode his
horses through the camp back to Rolla. I was greatly taken with this
Hungarian gentleman. He was a tall, thin, gaunt man of fifty, a
pure-blooded Magyar as I was told, who had come from his own country
with Kossuth to America. His camp circumstances were not very
luxurious, nor was his table very richly spread; but he received us
with the ease and courtesy of a gentleman. He showed us his sword,
his rifle, his pistols, his chargers, and daguerreotype of a friend
he had loved in his own country. They were all the treasures that he
carried with him,--over and above a chess-board and a set of chessmen
which sorely tempted me to accompany him in his march.

In my next chapter, which will, I trust, be very short, I purport to
say a few words as to what I saw of the American army, and therefore
I will not now describe the regiments which we visited. The tents
were all encompassed by snow, and the ground on which they stood was
a bed of mud; but yet the soldiers out here were not so wretchedly
forlorn, or apparently so miserably uncomfortable, as those at Benton
barracks. I did not encounter that horrid sickly stench, nor were
the men so pale and wobegone. On the following day we returned to St.
Louis, bringing back with us our friend the German aide-de-camp. I
stayed two days longer in that city, and then I thought that I had
seen enough of Missouri;--enough of Missouri at any rate under the
present circumstances of frost and secession. As regards the people
of the West, I must say that they were not such as I expected to
find them. With the Northerns we are all more or less intimately
acquainted. Those Americans whom we meet in our own country, or on
the Continent, are generally from the North, or if not so they have
that type of American manners which has become familiar to us. They
are talkative, intelligent, inclined to be social, though frequently
not sympathetically social with ourselves; somewhat _soi-disant_,
but almost invariably companionable. As the traveller goes southward
into Maryland and Washington, the type is not altered to any great
extent. The hard intelligence of the Yankee gives place gradually
to the softer, and perhaps more polished manner of the Southern. But
the change thus experienced is not so great as is that between the
American of the western and the American of the Atlantic States.
In the West I found the men gloomy and silent,--I might almost say
sullen. A dozen of them will sit for hours round a stove, speechless.
They chew tobacco and ruminate. They are not offended if you speak to
them, but they are not pleased. They answer with monosyllables, or,
if it be practicable, with a gesture of the head. They care nothing
for the graces,--or shall I say, for the decencies of life? They are
essentially a dirty people. Dirt, untidiness, and noise, seem in
nowise to afflict them. Things are constantly done before your eyes,
which should be done and might be done behind your back. No doubt we
daily come into the closest contact with matters which, if we saw
all that appertains to them, would cause us to shake and shudder. In
other countries we do not see all this, but in the western States we
do. I have eaten in Bedouin tents, and have been ministered to by
Turks and Arabs. I have sojourned in the hotels of old Spain and of
Spanish America. I have lived in Connaught, and have taken up my
quarters with monks of different nations. I have, as it were, been
educated to dirt, and taken out my degree in outward abominations.
But my education had not reached a point which would enable me to
live at my ease in the western States. A man or woman who can do that
may be said to have graduated in the highest honours, and to have
become absolutely invulnerable, either through the sense of touch,
or by the eye, or by the nose. Indifference to appearances is there
a matter of pride. A foul shirt is a flag of triumph. A craving for
soap and water is as the wail of the weak and the confession of
cowardice. This indifference is carried into all their affairs, or
rather this manifestation of indifference. A few pages back, I spoke
of a man whose furniture had been sold to pay a heavy tax raised
on him specially as a secessionist; the same man had also been
refused the payment of rent due to him by the Government, unless he
would take a false oath. I may presume that he was ruined in his
circumstances by the strong hand of the northern army. But he seemed
in nowise to be unhappy about his ruin. He spoke with some scorn of
the martial law in Missouri, but I felt that it was esteemed a small
matter by him that his furniture was seized and sold. No men love
money with more eager love than these western men, but they bear
the loss of it as an Indian bears his torture at the stake. They
are energetic in trade, speculating deeply whenever speculation is
possible; but nevertheless they are slow in motion, loving to loaf
about. They are slow in speech, preferring to sit in silence, with
the tobacco between their teeth. They drink, but are seldom drunk
to the eye; they begin at it early in the morning, and take it in a
solemn, sullen, ugly manner, standing always at a bar; swallowing
their spirits, and saying nothing as they swallow it. They drink
often, and to great excess; but they carry it off without noise,
sitting down and ruminating over it with the everlasting cud within
their jaws. I believe that a stranger might go into the West, and
passing from hotel to hotel through a dozen of them, might sit
for hours at each in the large everlasting public hall, and never
have a word addressed to him. No stranger should travel in the
western States, or indeed in any of the States, without letters of
introduction. It is the custom of the country, and they are easily
procured. Without them everything is barren; for men do not travel in
the States of America as they do in Europe, to see scenery and visit
the marvels of old cities which are open to all the world. The social
and political life of the Americans must constitute the interest
of the traveller, and to these he can hardly make his way without

I cannot part with the West without saying in its favour that there
is a certain manliness about its men, which gives them a dignity
of their own. It is shown in that very indifference of which I
have spoken. Whatever turns up the man is still there,--still
unsophisticated and still unbroken. It has seemed to me that no
race of men requires less outward assistance than these pioneers of
civilization. They rarely amuse themselves. Food, newspapers, and
brandy-smashes suffice for life; and while these last, whatever
may occur, the man is still there in his manhood. The fury of the
mob does not shake him, nor the stern countenance of his present
martial tyrant. Alas! I cannot stick to my text by calling him a
just man. Intelligence, energy, and endurance are his virtues. Dirt,
dishonesty, and morning drinks are his vices.

All native American women are intelligent. It seems to be their
birthright. In the eastern cities they have, in their upper classes,
superadded womanly grace to this intelligence, and consequently
they are charming as companions. They are beautiful also, and, as
I believe, lack nothing that a lover can desire in his love. But I
cannot fancy myself much in love with a western lady, or rather with
a lady in the West. They are as sharp as nails, but then they are
also as hard. They know, doubtless, all that they ought to know, but
then they know so much more than they ought to know. They are tyrants
to their parents, and never practise the virtue of obedience till
they have half-grown-up daughters of their own. They have faith in
the destiny of their country, if in nothing else; but they believe
that that destiny is to be worked out by the spirit and talent of the
young women. I confess that for me Eve would have had no charms had
she not recognized Adam as her lord. I can forgive her in that she
tempted him to eat the apple. Had she come from the West country she
would have ordered him to make his meal, and then I could not have
forgiven her.

St. Louis should be, and still will be, a town of great wealth. To no
city can have been given more means of riches. I have spoken of the
enormous mileage of water-communication of which she is the centre.
The country around her produces Indian corn, wheat, grasses, hemp,
and tobacco. Coal is dug even within the boundaries of the city, and
iron-mines are worked at a distance from it of a hundred miles. The
iron is so pure, that it is broken off in solid blocks, almost free
from alloy; and as the metal stands up on the earth's surface in the
guise almost of a gigantic metal pillar, instead of lying low within
its bowels, it is worked at a cheap rate, and with great certainty.
Nevertheless, at the present moment, the iron-works of Pilot Knob, as
the place is called, do not pay. As far as I could learn, nothing did
pay, except government contracts.



To whatever period of life my days may be prolonged, I do not think
that I shall ever forget Cairo. I do not mean Grand Cairo, which is
also memorable in its way, and a place not to be forgotten,--but
Cairo in the State of Illinois, which by native Americans is always
called Caaro. An idea is prevalent in the States, and I think I have
heard the same broached in England, that a popular British author had
Cairo, State of Illinois, in his eye when under the name of Eden he
depicted a chosen, happy spot on the Mississippi river, and told us
how certain English emigrants fixed themselves in that locality, and
there made light of those little ills of life which are incident to
humanity even in the garden of the valley of the Mississippi. But I
doubt whether that author ever visited Cairo in mid-winter, and I
am sure that he never visited Cairo when Cairo was the seat of an
American army. Had he done so, his love of truth would have forbidden
him to presume that even Mark Tapley could have enjoyed himself in
such an Eden.

I had no wish myself to go to Cairo, having heard it but
indifferently spoken of by all men; but my friend with whom I was
travelling was peremptory in the matter. He had heard of gun-boats
and mortar-boats, of forts built upon the river, of Columbiads,
Dahlgrens, and Parrotts, of all the pomps and circumstance of
glorious war, and entertained an idea that Cairo was the nucleus or
pivot of all really strategetic movements in this terrible national
struggle. Under such circumstances I was as it were forced to go to
Cairo, and bore myself, under the circumstances, as much like Mark
Tapley as my nature would permit. I was not jolly while I was there
certainly, but I did not absolutely break down and perish in its mud.

Cairo is the southern terminus of the Illinois central railway. There
is but one daily arrival there, namely, at half-past four in the
morning, and but one despatch, which is at half-past three in the
morning. Everything is thus done to assist that view of life which
Mark Tapley took when he resolved to ascertain under what possible
worst circumstances of existence he could still maintain his jovial
character. Why anybody should ever arrive at Cairo at half-past four
A.M., I cannot understand. The departure at any hour is easy of
comprehension. The place is situated exactly at the point at which
the Ohio and the Mississippi meet, and is, I should say, merely
guessing on the matter, some ten or twelve feet lower than the
winter level of the two rivers. This gives it naturally a depressed
appearance, which must have much aided Mark Tapley in his endeavours.
Who were the founders of Cairo I have never ascertained. They are
probably buried fathoms deep in the mud, and their names will no
doubt remain a mystery to the latest ages. They were brought thither,
I presume, by the apparent water privileges of the place; but the
water privileges have been too much for them, and by the excess of
their powers have succeeded in drowning all the capital of the early
Cairovians, and in throwing a wet blanket of thick, moist, glutinous
dirt over all their energies.

The free State of Illinois runs down far south between the slave
States of Kentucky to the east, and of Missouri to the west, and is
the most southern point of the continuous free-soil territory of the
Northern States. This point of it is a part of a district called
Egypt, which is as fertile as the old country from whence it has
borrowed a name; but it suffers under those afflictions which are
common to all newly-settled lands which owe their fertility to the
vicinity of great rivers. Fever and ague universally prevail. Men and
women grow up with their lantern faces like spectres. The children
are prematurely old; and the earth which is so fruitful is hideous in
its fertility. Cairo and its immediate neighbourhood must, I suppose,
have been subject to yearly inundation before it was "settled up."
At present it is guarded on the shores of each river by high mud
banks, built so as to protect the point of land. These are called
the levees, and do perform their duty by keeping out the body of the
waters. The shore between the banks is, I believe, never above breast
deep with the inundation; and from the circumstances of the place,
and the soft, half-liquid nature of the soil, this inundation
generally takes the shape of mud instead of water.

Here, at the very point, has been built a town. Whether the town
existed during Mr. Tapley's time I have not been able to learn. At
the period of my visit, it was falling quickly into ruin; indeed I
think I may pronounce it to have been on its last legs. At that
moment a galvanic motion had been pumped into it by the war movements
of General Halleck, but the true bearings of the town, as a town,
were not less plainly to be read on that account. Every street was
absolutely impassable from mud. I mean that in walking down the
middle of any street in Cairo a moderately framed man would soon
stick fast and not be able to move. The houses are generally built
at considerable intervals and rarely face each other, and along one
side of each street a plank boarding was laid, on which the mud had
accumulated only up to one's ankles. I walked all over Cairo with
big boots, and with my trousers tucked up to my knees; but at the
crossings I found considerable danger, and occasionally had my doubts
as to the possibility of progress. I was alone in my work, and saw
no one else making any such attempt. A few only were moving about,
and they moved in wretched carts, each drawn by two miserable,
floundering horses. These carts were always empty, but were presumed
to be engaged in some way on military service. No faces looked out
at the windows of the houses, no forms stood in the doorways. A few
shops were open, but only in the drinking shops did I see customers.
In these silent, muddy men were sitting,--not with drink before them,
as men sit with us,--but with the cud within their jaws, ruminating.
Their drinking is always done on foot. They stand silent at a bar,
with two small glasses before them. Out of one they swallow the
whisky, and from the other they take a gulp of water, as though to
rinse their mouths. After that, they again sit down and ruminate. It
was thus that men enjoyed themselves at Cairo.

I cannot tell what was the existing population of Cairo. I asked one
resident; but he only shook his head and said that the place was
about "played out." And a miserable play it must have been. I tried
to walk round the point on the levees, but I found that the mud
was so deep and slippery on that which protected the town from the
Mississippi, that I could not move on it. On the other, which forms
the bank of the Ohio, the railway runs, and here was gathered all
the life and movement of the place. But the life was galvanic in its
nature, created by a war-galvanism of which the shocks were almost
neutralized by mud.

As Cairo is of all towns in America the most desolate, so is its
hotel the most forlorn and wretched. Not that it lacked custom. It
was so full that no room was to be had on our first entry from the
railway cars at five A.M., and we were reduced to the necessity of
washing our hands and faces in the public wash-room. When I entered
it the barber and his assistants were asleep there, and four or five
citizens from the railway were busy at the basins. There is a fixed
resolution in these places that you shall be drenched with dirt and
drowned in abominations, which is overpowering to a mind less strong
than Mark Tapley's. The filth is paraded and made to go as far as
possible. The stranger is spared none of the elements of nastiness.
I remember how an old woman once stood over me in my youth, forcing
me to swallow the gritty dregs of her terrible medicine-cup. The
treatment I received in the hotel at Cairo reminded me of that old
woman. In that room I did not dare to brush my teeth lest I should
give offence; and I saw at once that I was regarded with suspicion
when I used my own comb instead of that provided for the public.

At length we got a room, one room for the two. I had become
so depressed in spirits that I did not dare to object to this
arrangement. My friend could not complain much, even to me, feeling
that these miseries had been produced by his own obstinacy. "It is a
new phase of life," he said. That, at any rate, was true. If nothing
more be necessary for pleasurable excitement than a new phase of
life, I would recommend all who require pleasurable excitement to
go to Cairo. They will certainly find a new phase of life. But do
not let them remain too long, or they may find something beyond a
new phase of life. Within a week of that time my friend was taking
quinine, looking hollow about the eyes, and whispering to me of fever
and ague. To say that there was nothing eatable or drinkable in
that hotel, would be to tell that which will be understood without
telling. My friend, however, was a cautious man, carrying with him
comfortable tin pots, hermetically sealed, from Fortnum & Mason's;
and on the second day of our sojourn we were invited by two officers
to join their dinner at a Cairo eating-house. We ploughed our way
gallantly through the mud to a little shanty, at the door of which we
were peremptorily demanded by the landlord to scrub ourselves before
we entered with the stump of an old broom. This we did, producing on
our nether persons the appearance of bread which has been carefully
spread with treacle by an economic housekeeper. And the proprietor
was right, for had we not done so, the treacle would have run off
through the whole house. But after this we fared royally. Squirrel
soup and prairie chickens regaled us. One of our new friends had
laden his pockets with champagne and brandy; the other with glasses
and a corkscrew; and as the bottle went round, I began to feel
something of the spirit of Mark Tapley in my soul.

But our visit to Cairo had been made rather with reference to its
present warlike character, than with any eye to the natural beauties
of the place. A large force of men had been collected there, and also
a fleet of gun-boats. We had come there fortified with letters to
generals and commodores, and were prepared to go through a large
amount of military inspection. But the bird had flown before our
arrival; or rather the body and wings of the bird, leaving behind
only a draggled tail and a few of its feathers. There were only a
thousand soldiers at Cairo when we were there;--that is, a thousand
stationed in the Cairo sheds. Two regiments passed through the place
during the time, getting out of one steamer on to another, or passing
from the railway into boats. One of these regiments passed before me
down the slope of the river-bank, and the men as a body seemed to
be healthy. Very many were drunk, and all were mud-clogged up to
their shoulders and very caps. In other respects they appeared to
be in good order. It must be understood that these soldiers, the
volunteers, had never been made subject to any discipline as to
cleanliness. They wore their hair long. Their hats or caps, though
all made in some military form and with some military appendance,
were various and ill-assorted. They all were covered with loose,
thick, blue-gray great-coats, which no doubt were warm and wholesome,
but which from their looseness and colour seemed to be peculiarly
susceptible of receiving and showing a very large amount of mud.
Their boots were always good; but each man was shod as he liked.
Many wore heavy over-boots coming up the leg;--boots of excellent
manufacture, and from their cost, if for no other reason, quite out
of the reach of an English soldier; boots in which a man would be
not at all unfortunate to find himself hunting; but from these, or
from their high-lows, shoes, or whatever they might wear, the mud
had never been even scraped. These men were all warmly clothed, but
clothed apparently with an endeavour to contract as much mud as might
be possible.

The generals and commodores were gone up the Ohio river and up the
Tennessee in an expedition with gun-boats, which turned out to be
successful, and of which we have all read in the daily history of
this war. They had departed the day before our arrival, and though
we still found at Cairo a squadron of gun-boats,--if gun-boats go in
squadrons,--the bulk of the army had been moved. There was left there
one regiment and one colonel, who kindly described to us the battles
he had fought, and gave us permission to see everything that was to
be seen. Four of these gun-boats were still lying in the Ohio, close
under the terminus of the railway with their flat, ugly noses against
the muddy bank, and we were shown over two of them. They certainly
seemed to be formidable weapons for river warfare, and to have been
"got up quite irrespective of expense." So much, indeed, may be said
for the Americans throughout the war. They cannot be accused of
parsimony. The largest of these vessels, called the "Benton," had
cost £36,000. These boats are made with sides sloping inwards, at an
angle of 45 degrees. The iron is two-and-a-half inches thick, and
it has not, I believe, been calculated that this will resist cannon
shot of great weight, should it be struck in a direct line. But the
angle of the sides of the boat makes it improbable that any such
shot should strike them; and the iron, bedded as it is upon oak, is
supposed to be sufficient to turn a shot that does not hit it in a
direct line. The boats are also roofed in with iron, and the pilots
who steer the vessel stand encased, as it were, under an iron cupola.
I imagine that these boats are well calculated for the river service,
for which they have been built. Six or seven of them had gone up the
Tennessee river the day before we reached Cairo, and while we were
there they succeeded in knocking down Fort Henry, and in carrying
off the soldiers stationed there and the officer in command. One of
the boats, however, had been penetrated by a shot which made its
way into the boiler, and the men on deck, six, I think, in number,
were scalded to death by the escaping steam. The two pilots up in
the cupola were destroyed in this terrible manner. As they were
altogether closed in by the iron roof and sides, there was no escape
for the steam. The boats, however, were well made and very powerfully
armed, and will, probably, succeed in driving the secessionist armies
away from the great river banks. By what machinery the secessionist
armies are to be followed into the interior is altogether another

But there was also another fleet at Cairo, and we were informed that
we were just in time to see the first essay made at testing the
utility of this armada. It consisted of no less than thirty-eight
mortar-boats, each of which had cost £1700. These mortar-boats were
broad, flat-bottomed rafts, each constructed with a deck raised
three feet above the bottom. They were protected by high iron sides,
supposed to be proof against rifle balls, and when supplied had been
furnished each with a little boat, a rope, and four rough sweeps or
oars. They had no other furniture or belongings, and were to be moved
either by steam tugs or by the use of the long oars which were sent
with them. It was intended that one 13-inch mortar, of enormous
weight, should be put upon each, that these mortars should be fired
with twenty-three pounds of powder, and that the shell thrown should,
at a distance of three miles, fall with absolute precision into any
devoted town which the rebels might hold on the river banks. The
grandeur of the idea is almost sublime. So large an amount of powder
had, I imagine, never then been used for the single charge in any
instrument of war; and when we were told that thirty-eight of them
were to play at once on a city, and that they could be used with
absolute precision, it seemed as though the fate of Sodom and
Gomorrah could not be worse than the fate of that city. Could any
city be safe when such implements of war were about upon the waters?

But when we came to inspect the mortar-boats, our misgivings as
to any future destination for this fleet were relieved, and our
admiration was given to the smartness of the contractor who had
secured to himself the job of building them. In the first place they
had all leaked till the spaces between the bottoms and the decks were
filled with water. This space had been intended for ammunition, but
now seemed hardly to be fitted for that purpose. The officer who was
about to test them by putting a mortar into one and by firing it off
with twenty-three pounds of powder, had the water pumped out of a
selected raft, and we were towed by a steam-tug from their moorings a
mile up the river, down to the spot where the mortar lay ready to be
lifted in by a derrick. But as we turned on the river, the tug-boat
which had brought us down, was unable to hold us up against the force
of the stream. A second tug-boat was at hand, and with one on each
side we were just able, in half-an-hour, to recover the 100 yards
which we had lost down the river. The pressure against the stream
was so great, owing partly to the weight of the raft, and partly to
the fact that its flat head buried itself in the water, that it was
almost immoveable against the stream, although the mortar was not yet
on it.

It soon became manifest that no trial could be made on that day,
and so we were obliged to leave Cairo without having witnessed the
firing of the great gun. My belief is that very little evil to the
enemy will result from those mortar-boats, and that they cannot be
used with much effect. Since that time they have been used on the
Mississippi, but as yet we do not know with what result. Island
No. 10 has been taken, but I do not know that the mortar-boats
contributed much to that success. The enormous cost of moving them
against the stream of the river is in itself a barrier to their use.
When we saw them--and then they were quite new--many of the rivets
were already gone. The small boats had been stolen from some of them,
and the ropes and oars from others. There they lay, thirty-eight in
number, up against the mud-banks of the Ohio, under the boughs of the
half-clad, melancholy forest trees, as sad a spectacle of reckless
prodigality as the eye ever beheld. But the contractor who made them
no doubt was a smart man.

This armada was moored on the Ohio against the low, reedy bank, a
mile above the levee, where the old unchanged forest of nature came
down to the very edge of the river, and mixed itself with the shallow
overflowing waters. I am wrong in saying that it lay under the boughs
of the trees, for such trees do not spread themselves out with broad
branches. They stand thickly together, broken, stunted, spongy
with rot, straight and ugly, with ragged tops and shattered arms,
seemingly decayed, but still ever renewing themselves with the
rapid moist life of luxuriant forest vegetation. Nothing to my eyes
is sadder than the monotonous desolation of such scenery. We, in
England, when we read and speak of the primeval forests of America,
are apt to form pictures in our minds of woodland glades, with
spreading oaks and green mossy turf beneath,--of scenes than which
nothing that God has given us is more charming. But these forests
are not after that fashion; they offer no allurement to the lover,
no solace to the melancholy man of thought. The ground is deep with
mud, or overflown with water. The soil and the river have no defined
margins. Each tree, though full of the forms of life, has all the
appearance of death. Even to the outward eye they seem to be laden
with ague, fever, sudden chills, and pestilential malaria.

When we first visited the spot we were alone, and we walked across
from the railway line to the place at which the boats were moored.
They lay in treble rank along the shore, and immediately above them
an old steam-boat was fastened against the bank. Her back was broken,
and she was given up to ruin,--placed there that she might rot
quietly into her watery grave. It was mid-winter, and every tree
was covered with frozen sleet and small particles of snow which had
drizzled through the air; for the snow had not fallen in hearty,
honest flakes. The ground beneath our feet was crisp with frost, but
traitorous in its crispness; not frozen manfully so as to bear a
man's weight, but ready at every point to let him through into the
fat, glutinous mud below. I never saw a sadder picture, or one which
did more to awaken pity for those whose fate had fixed their abodes
in such a locality. And yet there was a beauty about it too,--a
melancholy, death-like beauty. The disordered ruin and confused decay
of the forest was all gemmed with particles of ice. The eye reaching
through the thin underwood could form for itself picturesque shapes
and solitary bowers of broken wood, which were bright with the opaque
brightness of the hoar-frost. The great river ran noiselessly along,
rapid, but still with an apparent lethargy in its waters. The ground
beneath our feet was fertile beyond compare, but as yet fertile to
death rather than to life. Where we then trod man had not yet come
with his axe and his plough; but the railroad was close to us, and
within a mile of the spot thousands of dollars had been spent in
raising a city which was to have been rich with the united wealth of
the rivers and the land. Hitherto fever and ague, mud and malaria,
had been too strong for man, and the dollars had been spent in vain.
The day, however, will come when this promontory between the two
great rivers will be a fit abode for industry. Men will settle there,
wandering down from the North and East, and toil sadly, and leave
their bones among the mud. Thin, pale-faced, joyless mothers will
come there, and grow old before their time; and sickly children will
be born, struggling up with wan faces to their sad life's labour.
But the work will go on, for it is God's work; and the earth will be
prepared for the people, and the fat rottenness of the still living
forest will be made to give forth its riches.

We found that two days at Cairo were quite enough for us. We had
seen the gun-boats and the mortar-boats, and gone through the sheds
of the soldiers. The latter were bad, comfortless, damp, and cold;
and certain quarters of the officers, into which we were hospitably
taken, were wretched abodes enough; but the sheds of Cairo did not
stink like those of Benton barracks at St. Louis, nor had illness
been prevalent there to the same degree. I do not know why this
should have been so, but such was the result of my observation. The
locality of Benton barracks must, from its nature, have been the more
healthy, but it had become by art the foulest place I ever visited.
Throughout the army it seemed to be the fact, that the men under
canvas were more comfortable, in better spirits, and also in better
health than those who were lodged in sheds. We had inspected the
Cairo army and the Cairo navy, and had also seen all that Cairo had
to show us of its own. We were thoroughly disgusted with the hotel,
and retired on the second night to bed, giving positive orders that
we might be called at half-past two, with reference to that terrible
start to be made at half-past three. As a matter of course we kept
dozing and waking till past one, in our fear lest neglect on the part
of the watcher should entail on us another day at this place; of
course we went fast asleep about the time at which we should have
roused ourselves; and of course we were called just fifteen minutes
before the train started. Everybody knows how these things always go.
And then the pair of us, jumping out of bed in that wretched chamber,
went through the mockery of washing and packing which always takes
place on such occasions;--a mockery indeed of washing, for there was
but one basin between us! And a mockery also of packing, for I left
my hair-brushes behind me! Cairo was avenged in that I had declined
to avail myself of the privileges of free citizenship which had been
offered to me in that barber's shop. And then, while we were in our
agony, pulling at the straps of our portmanteaux and swearing at the
faithlessness of the boots, up came the clerk of the hotel--the great
man from behind the bar--and scolded us prodigiously for our delay.
"Called! We had been called an hour ago!" Which statement, however,
was decidedly untrue, as we remarked, not with extreme patience. "We
should certainly be late," he said; "it would take us five minutes to
reach the train, and the cars would be off in four." Nobody who has
not experienced them can understand the agonies of such moments,--of
such moments as regards travelling in general; but none who have not
been at Cairo can understand the extreme agony produced by the threat
of a prolonged sojourn in that city. At last we were out of the
house, rushing through the mud, slush, and half-melted snow, along
the wooden track to the railway, laden with bags and coats, and
deafened by that melancholy, wailing sound, as though of a huge polar
she-bear in the pangs of travail upon an iceberg, which proceeds
from an American railway-engine before it commences its work. How
we slipped and stumbled, and splashed and swore, rushing along in
the dark night, with buttons loose, and our clothes half on! And how
pitilessly we were treated! We gained our cars, and even succeeded in
bringing with us our luggage; but we did not do so with the sympathy,
but amidst the derision of the bystanders. And then the seats were
all full, and we found that there was a lower depth even in the
terrible deep of a railway train in a western State. There was a
second-class carriage, prepared, I presume, for those who esteemed
themselves too dirty for association with the aristocracy of Cairo;
and into this we flung ourselves. Even this was a joy to us, for we
were being carried away from Eden. We had acknowledged ourselves to
be no fitting colleagues for Mark Tapley, and would have been glad
to escape from Cairo even had we worked our way out of the place
as assistant-stokers to the engine-driver. Poor Cairo! unfortunate
Cairo! "It is about played out!" said its citizen to me. But in truth
the play was commenced a little too soon. Those players have played
out; but another set will yet have their innings, and make a score
that shall perhaps be talked of far and wide in the western world.

We were still bent upon army inspection, and with this purpose went
back from Cairo to Louisville in Kentucky. I had passed through
Louisville before, as told in my last chapter, but had not gone south
from Louisville towards the Green River, and had seen nothing of
General Buell's soldiers. I should have mentioned before that when we
were at St. Louis, we asked General Halleck, the officer in command
of the northern army of Missouri, whether he could allow us to pass
through his lines to the South. This he assured us he was forbidden
to do, at the same time offering us every facility in his power for
such an expedition if we could obtain the consent of Mr. Seward,
who at that time had apparently succeeded in engrossing into his
own hands, for the moment, supreme authority in all matters of
Government. Before leaving Washington we had determined not to ask
Mr. Seward, having but little hope of obtaining his permission, and
being unwilling to encounter his refusal. Before going to General
Halleck we had considered the question of visiting the land of Dixie
without permission from any of the men in authority. I ascertained
that this might easily have been done from Kentucky to Tennessee,
but that it could only be done on foot. There are very few available
roads running North and South through these States. The railways came
before roads; and even where the railways are far asunder, almost
all the traffic of the country takes itself to them, preferring a
long circuitous conveyance with steam, to short distances without.
Consequently such roads as there are run laterally to the railways,
meeting them at this point or that, and thus maintaining the
communication of the country. Now the railways were of course in the
hands of the armies. The few direct roads leading from North to South
were in the same condition, and the bye-roads were impassable from
mud. The frontier of the North therefore, though very extended,
was not very easily to be passed, unless, as I have said before,
by men on foot. For myself I confess that I was anxious to go
South; but not to do so without my coats and trousers, or shirts
and pocket-handkerchiefs. The readiest way of getting across the
line,--and the way which was I believe the most frequently used,--was
from below Baltimore in Maryland by boat across the Potomac. But in
this there was a considerable danger of being taken, and I had no
desire to become a state-prisoner in the hands of Mr. Seward under
circumstances which would have justified our Minister in asking for
my release only as a matter of favour. Therefore when at St. Louis,
I gave up all hopes of seeing "Dixie" during my present stay in
America. I presume it to be generally known that Dixie is the negro's
heaven, and that the southern slave States, in which it is presumed
that they have found a Paradise, have since the beginning of the war
been so named.

We remained a few days at Louisville, and were greatly struck with
the natural beauty of the country around it. Indeed, as far as I was
enabled to see, Kentucky has superior attractions as a place of rural
residence for an English gentleman, to any other State in the Union.
There is nothing of landscape there equal to the banks of the upper
Mississippi, or to some parts of the Hudson river. It has none of
the wild grandeur of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, nor does
it break itself into valleys equal to those of the Alleghanies in
Pennsylvania. But all those are beauties for the tourist rather
than for the resident. In Kentucky the land lies in knolls and soft
sloping hills. The trees stand apart, forming forest openings. The
herbage is rich, and the soil, though not fertile like the prairies
of Illinois, or the river bottoms of the Mississippi and its
tributaries, is good, steadfast, wholesome farming ground. It is a
fine country for a resident gentleman farmer, and in its outward
aspect reminds me more of England in its rural aspects, than any
other State which I visited. Round Louisville there are beautiful
sites for houses, of which advantage in some instances has been
taken. But, nevertheless, Louisville though a well-built, handsome
city, is not now a thriving city. I liked it because the hotel was
above par, and because the country round it was good for walking;
but it has not advanced as Cincinnati and St. Louis have advanced.
And yet its position on the Ohio is favourable, and it is well
circumstanced as regards the wants of its own State. But it is not
a free-soil city. Nor indeed is St. Louis; but St. Louis is tending
that way, and has but little to do with the "domestic institution."
At the hotels in Cincinnati and St. Louis you are served by white
men, and are very badly served. At Louisville the ministration is by
black men, "bound to labour." The difference in the comfort is very
great. The white servants are noisy, dirty, forgetful, indifferent,
and sometimes impudent. The negroes are the very reverse of all this;
you cannot hurry them; but in all other respects,--and perhaps even
in that respect also,--they are good servants. This is the work for
which they seem to have been intended. But nevertheless where they
are, life and energy seem to languish, and prosperity cannot make any
true advance. They are symbols of the luxury of the white men who
employ them, and as such are signs of decay and emblems of decreasing
power. They are good labourers themselves, but their very presence
makes labour dishonourable. That Kentucky will speedily rid herself
of the institution I believe firmly. When she has so done, the
commercial city of that State may perhaps go a-head again like her

At this very time the Federal army was commencing that series of
active movements in Kentucky and through Tennessee which led to such
important results, and gave to the North the first solid victories
which they had gained since the contest began. On the 19th of January
one wing of General Buell's army, under General Thomas, had defeated
the secessionists near Somerset, in the south-eastern district of
Kentucky, under General Zollicoffer, who was there killed. But in
that action the attack was made by Zollicoffer and the secessionists.
When we were at Louisville we heard of the success of that gun-boat
expedition up the Tennessee river by which Fort Henry was taken. Fort
Henry had been built by the Confederates on the Tennessee,--exactly
on the confines of the States of Tennessee and Kentucky. They had
also another fort, Fort Donnelson, on the Cumberland river, which at
that point runs parallel to the Tennessee, and is there distant
from it but a very few miles. Both these rivers run into the Ohio.
Nashville, which is the capital of Tennessee, is higher up on the
Cumberland; and it was now intended to send the gun-boats down the
Tennessee back into the Ohio, and thence up the Cumberland, there to
attack Fort Donnelson, and afterwards to assist General Buell's army
in making its way down to Nashville. The gun-boats were attached to
General Halleck's army, and received their directions from St. Louis.
General Buell's head-quarters were at Louisville, and his advanced
position was on the Green River, on the line of the railway from
Louisville to Nashville. The secessionists had destroyed the railway
bridge over the Green River, and were now lying at Bowling Green,
between the Green River and Nashville. This place it was understood
that they had fortified.

Matters were in this position when we got a military pass to go down
by the railway to the army on the Green River,--for the railway was
open to no one without a military pass;--and we started, trusting
that Providence would supply us with rations and quarters. An officer
attached to General Buell's staff, with whom however our acquaintance
was of the very slightest, had telegraphed down to say that we were
coming. I cannot say that I expected much from the message, seeing
that it simply amounted to a very thin introduction to a general
officer to whom we were strangers even by name, from a gentleman to
whom we had brought a note from another gentleman whose acquaintance
we had chanced to pick up on the road. We manifestly had no right to
expect much; but to us, expecting very little, very much was given.
General Johnson was the officer to whose care we were confided, he
being a brigadier under General M'Cook, who commanded the advance.
We were met by an aide-de-camp and saddle-horses, and soon found
ourselves in the General's tent, or rather in a shanty formed of
solid upright wooden logs, driven into the ground with the bark still
on, and having the interstices filled in with clay. This was roofed
with canvas, and altogether made a very eligible military residence.
The General slept in a big box about nine feet long and four broad
which occupied one end of the shanty, and he seemed in all his
fixings to be as comfortably put up as any gentleman might be when
out on such a picnic as this. We arrived in time for dinner, which
was brought in, table and all, by two negroes. The party was made up
by a doctor, who carved, and two of the staff, and a very nice dinner
we had. In half-an-hour we were intimate with the whole party, and
as familiar with the things around us as though we had been living
in tents all our lives. Indeed I had by this time been so often in
the tents of the northern army, that I almost felt entitled to make
myself at home. It has seemed to me that an Englishman has always
been made welcome in these camps. There has been and is at this
moment a terribly bitter feeling among Americans against England, and
I have heard this expressed quite as loudly by men in the army as by
civilians; but I think I may say that this has never been brought to
bear upon individual intercourse. Certainly we have said some very
sharp things of them,--words which, whether true or false, whether
deserved or undeserved, must have been offensive to them. I have
known this feeling of offence to amount almost to an agony of anger.
But nevertheless I have never seen any falling off in the hospitality
and courtesy generally shown by a civilized people to passing
visitors. I have argued the matter of England's course throughout
the war, till I have been hoarse with asseverating the rectitude of
her conduct and her national unselfishness. I have met very strong
opponents on the subject, and have been coerced into loud strains of
voice; but I never yet met one American who was personally uncivil
to me as an Englishman, or who seemed to be made personally angry by
my remarks. I found no coldness in that hospitality to which as a
stranger I was entitled, because of the national ill-feeling which
circumstances have engendered. And while on this subject I will
remark, that when travelling I have found it expedient to let
those with whom I might chance to talk know at once that I was an
Englishman. In fault of such knowledge things would be said which
could not but be disagreeable to me; but not even from any rough
western enthusiast in a railway carriage have I ever heard a word
spoken insolently to England, after I had made my nationality known.
I have learned that Wellington was beaten at Waterloo; that Lord
Palmerston was so unpopular that he could not walk alone in the
streets; that the House of Commons was an acknowledged failure; that
starvation was the normal condition of the British people, and that
the Queen was a bloodthirsty tyrant. But these assertions were not
made with the intention that they should be heard by an Englishman.
To us as a nation they are at the present moment unjust almost beyond
belief; but I do not think that the feeling has ever taken the guise
of personal discourtesy.

We spent two days in the camp close upon the Green River, and I do
not know that I enjoyed any days of my trip more thoroughly than I
did these. In truth for the last month, since I had left Washington,
my life had not been one of enjoyment. I had been rolling in mud
and had been damp with filth. Camp Wood, as they called this
military settlement on the Green River, was also muddy; but we were
excellently well-mounted; the weather was very cold, but peculiarly
fine, and the soldiers around us, as far as we could judge, seemed to
be better off in all respects than those we had visited at St. Louis,
at Rolla, or at Cairo. They were all in tents, and seemed to be
light-spirited and happy. Their rations were excellent,--but so much
may, I think, be said of the whole northern army from Alexandria on
the Potomac to Springfield in the west of Missouri. There was very
little illness at that time in the camp in Kentucky, and the reports
made to us led us to think that on the whole this had been the most
healthy division of the army. The men, moreover, were less muddy than
their brethren either east or west of them,--at any rate this may be
said of them as regards the infantry.

But perhaps the greatest charm of the place to me was the beauty of
the scenery. The Green River at this spot is as picturesque a stream
as I ever remember to have seen in such a country. It lies low down
between high banks, and curves hither and thither, never keeping a
straight line. Its banks are wooded; but not, as is so common in
America, by continuous, stunted, uninteresting forest, but by large
single trees standing on small patches of meadow by the water-side,
with the high banks rising over them, with glades through them open
for the horseman. The rides here in summer must be very lovely. Even
in winter they were so, and made me in love with the place in spite
of that brown, dull, barren aspect which the presence of an army
always creates. I have said that the railway bridge which crossed
the Green River at this spot had been destroyed by the secessionists.
This had been done effectually as regarded the passage of trains, but
only in part as regarded the absolute fabric of the bridge. It had
been, and still was when I saw it, a beautifully light construction,
made of iron and supported over a valley, rather than over a river,
on tall stone piers. One of these piers had been blown up; but when
we were there, the bridge had been repaired with beams and wooden
shafts. This had just been completed, and an engine had passed over
it. I must confess that it looked to me most perilously insecure; but
the eye uneducated in such mysteries is a bad judge of engineering
work. I passed with a horse backwards and forwards on it, and it did
not tumble down then; but I confess that on the first attempt I was
glad enough to lead the horse by the bridle.

That bridge was certainly a beautiful fabric, and built in a most
lovely spot. Immediately under it there was also a pontoon bridge.
The tents of General M'Cook's division were immediately at the
northern end of it, and the whole place was alive with soldiers,
nailing down planks, pulling up temporary rails at each side,
carrying over straw for the horses, and preparing for the general
advance of the troops. It was a glorious day. There had been heavy
frost at night; but the air was dry, and the sun though cold was
bright. I do not know when I saw a prettier picture. It would perhaps
have been nothing without the loveliness of the river scenery; but
the winding of the stream at the spot, the sharp wooded hills on each
side, the forest openings, and the busy, eager, strange life together
filled the place with no common interest. The officers of the army at
the spot spoke with bitterest condemnation of the vandalism of their
enemy in destroying the bridge. The justice of the indignation, I
ventured very strongly to question. "Surely you would have destroyed
their bridge?" I said. "But they are rebels," was the answer. It has
been so throughout the contest; and the same argument has been held
by soldiers and by non-soldiers,--by women and by men. "Grant that
they are rebels," I have answered. "But when rebels fight they cannot
be expected to be more scrupulous in their mode of doing so than
their enemies who are not rebels." The whole population of the North
has from the beginning of this war considered themselves entitled to
all the privileges of belligerents; but have called their enemies
Goths and Vandals for even claiming those privileges for themselves.
The same feeling was at the bottom of their animosity against
England. Because the South was in rebellion, England should
have consented to allow the North to assume all the rights of
a belligerent, and should have denied all those rights to the
South! Nobody has seemed to understand that any privilege which a
belligerent can claim must depend on the very fact of his being in
encounter with some other party having the same privilege. Our press
has animadverted very strongly on the States government for the
apparent untruthfulness of their arguments on this matter; but I
profess that I believe that Mr. Seward and his colleagues,--and
not they only but the whole nation,--have so thoroughly deceived
themselves on this subject, have so talked and speechified themselves
into a misunderstanding of the matter, that they have taught
themselves to think that the men of the South could be entitled to
no consideration from any quarter. To have rebelled against the
stars and stripes seems to a northern man to be a crime putting the
criminal altogether out of all courts,--a crime which should have
armed the hands of all men against him, as the hands of all men
are armed at a dog that is mad, or a tiger that has escaped from
its keeper. It is singular that such a people, a people that has
founded itself on rebellion, should have such a horror of rebellion;
but, as far as my observation may have enabled me to read their
feelings rightly, I do believe that it has been as sincere as it is

We were out riding early on the morning of the second day of our
sojourn in the camp, and met the division of General Mitchell, a
detachment of General Buell's army, which had been in camp between
the Green River and Louisville, going forward to the bridge which was
then being prepared for their passage. This division consisted of
about 12,000 men, and the road was crowded throughout the whole day
with them and their waggons. We first passed a regiment of cavalry,
which appeared to be endless. Their cavalry regiments are, in
general, more numerous than those of the infantry, and on this
occasion we saw, I believe, about 1200 men pass by us. Their horses
were strong and serviceable, and the men were stout and in good
health; but the general appearance of everything about them was
rough and dirty. The American cavalry have always looked to me like
brigands. A party of them would, I think, make a better picture than
an equal number of our dragoons; but if they are to be regarded in
any other view than that of the picturesque, it does not seem to me
that they have been got up successfully. On this occasion they were
forming themselves into a picture for my behoof, and as the picture
was, as a picture, very good, I at least have no reason to complain.

We were taken to see one German regiment, a regiment of which all
the privates were German and all the officers save one,--I think the
surgeon. We saw the men in their tents, and the food which they eat,
and were disposed to think that hitherto things were going well with
them. In the evening the colonel and lieutenant-colonel, both of whom
had been in the Prussian service, if I remember rightly, came up to
the general's quarters, and we spent the evening together in smoking
cigars and discussing slavery round the stove. I shall never forget
that night, or the vehement abolition enthusiasm of the two German
colonels. Our host had told us that he was a slave-owner; and as our
wants were supplied by two sable ministers, I concluded that he had
brought with him a portion of his domestic institution. Under such
circumstances I myself should have avoided such a subject, having
been taught to believe that southern gentlemen did not generally take
delight in open discussions on the subject. But had we been arguing
the question of the population of the planet Jupiter, or the final
possibility of the transmutation of metals, the matter could not have
been handled with less personal feeling. The Germans, however, spoke
the sentiments of all the Germans of the western States,--that is,
of all the Protestant Germans, and to them is confined the political
influence held by the German immigrants. They all regard slavery
as an evil, holding on the matter opinions quite as strong as ours
have ever been. And they argue that as slavery is an evil, it should
therefore be abolished at once. Their opinions are as strong as ours
have ever been, and they have not had our West Indian experience.
Any one desiring to understand the present political position of the
States should realize the fact of the present German influence on
political questions. Many say that the present President was returned
by German voters. In one sense this is true, for he certainly could
not have been returned without them; but for them, or for their
assistance, Mr. Breckinridge would have been President, and this
civil war would not have come to pass. As abolitionists they are much
more powerful than the republicans of New England, and also more in
earnest. In New England the matter is discussed politically; in the
great western towns, where the Germans congregate by thousands, they
profess to view it philosophically. A man, as a man, is entitled to
freedom. That is their argument, and it is a very old one. When you
ask them what they would propose to do with 4,000,000 of enfranchised
slaves and with their ruined masters,--how they would manage the
affairs of those 12,000,000 of people, all whose wealth and work and
very life have hitherto been hinged and hung upon slavery, they again
ask you whether slavery is not in itself bad, and whether anything
acknowledged to be bad should be allowed to remain.

But the American Germans are in earnest, and I am strongly of opinion
that they will so far have their way, that the country which for
the future will be their country, will exist without the taint of
slavery. In the northern nationality, which will reform itself after
this war is over, there will, I think, be no slave State. That final
battle of abolition will have to be fought among a people apart; and
I must fear that while it lasts their national prosperity will not be



I trust that it may not be thought that in this chapter I am going
to take upon myself the duties of a military critic. I am well aware
that I have no capacity for such a task, and that my opinion on such
matters would be worth nothing. But it is impossible to write of the
American States as they were when I visited them, and to leave that
subject of the American army untouched. It was all but impossible to
remain for some months in the northern States without visiting the
army. It was impossible to join in any conversation in the States
without talking about the army. It was impossible to make inquiry
as to the present and future condition of the people without basing
such inquiries more or less upon the doings of the army. If a
stranger visit Manchester with the object of seeing what sort of
place Manchester is, he must visit the cotton mills and printing
establishments, though he may have no taste for cotton and no
knowledge on the subject of calicoes. Under pressure of this kind
I have gone about from one army to another, looking at the drilling
of regiments, of the manoeuvres of cavalry, at the practice of
artillery, and at the inner life of the camps. I do not feel that I
am in any degree more fitted to take the command of a campaign than I
was before I began, or even more fitted to say who can and who cannot
do so. But I have obtained on my own mind's eye a tolerably clear
impression of the outward appearance of the northern army; I have
endeavoured to learn something of the manner in which it was brought
together, and of its cost as it now stands; and I have learned--as
any man in the States may learn, without much trouble or personal
investigation--how terrible has been the peculation of the
contractors and officers by whom that army has been supplied. Of
these things, writing of the States at this moment, I must say
something. In what I shall say as to that matter of peculation
I trust that I may be believed to have spoken without personal
ill-feeling or individual malice.

While I was travelling in the States of New England and in the
North-west, I came across various camps at which young regiments were
being drilled and new regiments were being formed. These lay in our
way as we made our journeys, and therefore we visited them; but they
were not objects of any very great interest. The men had not acquired
even any pretence of soldierlike bearing. The officers for the most
part had only just been selected, having hardly as yet left their
civil occupations, and anything like criticism was disarmed by the
very nature of the movement which had called the men together. I then
thought, as I still think, that the men themselves were actuated
by proper motives, and often by very high motives, in joining the
regiments. No doubt they looked to the pay offered. It is not often
that men are able to devote themselves to patriotism without any
reference to their personal circumstances. A man has got before him
the necessity of earning his bread, and very frequently the necessity
of earning the bread of others besides himself. This comes before him
not only as his first duty, but as the very law of his existence.
His wages are his life, and when he proposes to himself to serve his
country that subject of payment comes uppermost as it does when he
proposes to serve any other master. But the wages given, though very
high in comparison with those of any other army, have not been of
a nature to draw together from their distant homes at so short a
notice, so vast a cloud of men, had no other influence been at work.
As far as I can learn, the average rate of wages in the country since
the war began has been about 65 cents a day over and beyond the
workmen's diet. I feel convinced that I am putting this somewhat too
low, taking the average of all the markets from which the labour has
been withdrawn. In large cities labour has been higher than this,
and a considerable proportion of the army has been taken from large
cities. But taking 65 cents a day as the average, labour has been
worth about 17 dollars a month over and above the labourers' diet. In
the army the soldier receives 13 dollars a month, and also receives
his diet and clothes; in addition to this, in many States, 6 dollars
a month have been paid by the State to the wives and families of
those soldiers who have left wives and families in the States behind
them. Thus for the married men the wages given by the army have been
2 dollars a month, or less than £5 a year, more than his earnings at
home, and for the unmarried man they have been 4 dollars a month, or
less than £10 a year below his earnings at home. But the army also
gives clothing to the extent of 3 dollars a month. This would place
the unmarried soldier, in a pecuniary point of view, worse off by one
dollar a month, or £2 10_s._ a year, than he would have been at home;
and would give the married man 5 dollars a month, or £12 a year more
than his ordinary wages for absenting himself from his family. I
cannot think therefore that the pecuniary attractions have been very

Our soldiers in England enlist at wages which are about one half that
paid in the ordinary labour market to the class from whence they
come. But labour in England is uncertain, whereas in the States it is
certain. In England the soldier with his shilling gets better food
than the labourer with his two shillings; and the Englishman has no
objection to the rigidity of that discipline which is so distasteful
to an American. Moreover, who in England ever dreamed of raising
600,000 new troops in six months, out of a population of thirty
million? But this has been done in the northern States out of a
population of eighteen million. If England were invaded, Englishmen
would come forward in the same way, actuated, as I believe, by the
same high motives. My object here is simply to show that the American
soldiers have not been drawn together by the prospect of high wages,
as has been often said since the war began.

They who inquire closely into the matter will find that hundreds and
thousands have joined the army as privates, who in doing so have
abandoned all their best worldly prospects, and have consented to
begin the game of life again, believing that their duty to their
country has now required their services. The fact has been that
in the different States a spirit of rivalry has been excited.
Indiana has endeavoured to show that she was as forward as
Illinois; Pennsylvania has been unwilling to lag behind New York;
Massachusetts, who has always struggled to be foremost in peace, has
desired to boast that she was first in war also; the smaller States
have resolved to make their names heard, and those which at first
were backward in sending troops have been shamed into greater
earnestness by the public voice. There has been a general feeling
throughout the people that the thing should be done;--that the
rebellion must be put down, and that it must be put down by arms.
Young men have been ashamed to remain behind; and their elders,
acting under that glow of patriotism which so often warms the hearts
of free men, but which perhaps does not often remain there long in
all its heat, have left their wives and have gone also. It may be
true that the voice of the majority has been coercive on many;--that
men have enlisted partly because the public voice required it of
them, and not entirely through the promptings of individual spirit.
Such public voice in America is very potent; but it is not, I think,
true that the army has been gathered together by the hope of high

Such was my opinion of the men when I saw them from State to State
clustering into their new regiments. They did not look like soldiers;
but I regarded them as men earnestly intent on a work which they
believed to be right. Afterwards when I saw them in their camps,
amidst all the pomps and circumstances of glorious war, positively
converted into troops, armed with real rifles and doing actual
military service, I believed the same of them,--but cannot say that
I then liked them so well. Good motives had brought them there. They
were the same men, or men of the same class that I had seen before.
They were doing just that which I knew they would have to do. But
still I found that the more I saw of them the more I lost of that
respect for them which I had once felt. I think it was their dirt
that chiefly operated upon me. Then, too, they had hitherto done
nothing, and they seemed to be so terribly intent upon their rations!
The great boast of this army was that they eat meat twice a day, and
that their daily supply of bread was more than they could consume.

When I had been two or three weeks in Washington, I went over to the
army of the Potomac and spent a few days with some of the officers.
I had on previous occasions ridden about the camps, and had seen
a review at which General Maclellan trotted up and down the lines
with all his numerous staff at his heels. I have always believed
reviews to be absurdly useless as regards the purpose for which
they are avowedly got up,--that, namely, of military inspection.
And I believed this especially of this review. I do not believe
that any Commander-in-chief ever learns much as to the excellence
or deficiencies of his troops by watching their manoeuvres on a
vast open space; but I felt sure that General Maclellan had learned
nothing on this occasion. If before his review he did not know
whether his men were good as soldiers, he did not possess any such
knowledge after the review. If the matter may be regarded as a review
of the general;--if the object was to show him off to the men, that
they might know how well he rode, and how grand he looked with his
staff of forty or fifty officers at his heels, then this review must
be considered as satisfactory. General Maclellan does ride very well.
So much I learned, and no more.

It was necessary to have a pass for crossing the Potomac either
from one side or from the other, and such a pass I procured from a
friend in the War-office, good for the whole period of my sojourn in
Washington. The wording of the pass was more than ordinarily long,
as it recommended me to the special courtesy of all whom I might
encounter; but in this respect it was injurious to me rather than
otherwise, as every picket by whom I was stopped found it necessary
to read it to the end. The paper was almost invariably returned to
me without a word; but the musket which was not unfrequently kept
extended across my horse's nose by the reader's comrade would be
withdrawn, and then I would ride on to the next barrier. It seemed
to me that these passes were so numerous and were signed by so many
officers, that there could have been no risk in forging them. The
army of the Potomac into which they admitted the bearer lay in
quarters which were extended over a length of twenty miles up and
down on the Virginian side of the river, and the river could be
traversed at five different places. Crowds of men and women were
going over daily, and no doubt all the visitors who so went with
innocent purposes were provided with proper passports; but any whose
purposes were not innocent, and who were not so provided, could
have passed the pickets with counterfeited orders. This, I have
little doubt, was done daily. Washington was full of secessionists,
and every movement of the Federal army was communicated to the
Confederates at Richmond, at which city was now established the
Congress and head-quarters of the Confederacy. But no such tidings of
the Confederate army reached those in command at Washington. There
were many circumstances in the contest which led to this result, and
I do not think that General Maclellan had any power to prevent it.
His system of passes certainly did not do so.

I never could learn from any one what was the true number of this
army on the Potomac. I have been informed by those who professed
to know that it contained over 200,000 men, and by others who also
professed to know, that it did not contain 100,000. To me the
soldiers seemed to be innumerable, hanging like locusts over the
whole country,--a swarm desolating everything around them. Those
pomps and circumstances are not glorious in my eyes. They affect me
with a melancholy which I cannot avoid. Soldiers gathered together in
a camp are uncouth and ugly when they are idle; and when they are at
work their work is worse than idleness. When I have seen a thousand
men together, moving their feet hither at one sound and thither at
another, throwing their muskets about awkwardly, prodding at the air
with their bayonets, trotting twenty paces here and backing ten paces
there, wheeling round in uneven lines, and looking, as they did so,
miserably conscious of the absurdity of their own performances, I
have always been inclined to think how little the world can have
advanced in civilization, while grown-up men are still forced to
spend their days in such grotesque performances. Those to whom the
"pomps and circumstances" are dear--nay, those by whom they are
considered simply necessary--will be able to confute me by a thousand
arguments. I readily own myself confuted. There must be soldiers, and
soldiers must be taught. But not the less pitiful is it to see men
of thirty undergoing the goose-step, and tortured by orders as to
the proper mode of handling a long instrument which is half-gun and
half-spear. In the days of Hector and Ajax, the thing was done in a
more picturesque manner, and the songs of battle should, I think, be
confined to those ages.

The ground occupied by the divisions on the further or south-western
side of the Potomac was, as I have said, about twenty miles in length
and perhaps seven in breadth. Through the whole of this district the
soldiers were everywhere. The tents of the various brigades were
clustered together in streets, the regiments being divided; and the
divisions, combining the brigades, lay apart at some distance from
each other. But everywhere, at all points, there were some signs of
military life. The roads were continually thronged with waggons, and
tracks were opened for horses wherever a shorter way might thus be
made available. On every side the trees were falling, or had fallen.
In some places whole woods had been felled with the express purpose
of rendering the ground impracticable for troops, and firs and pines
lay one over the other, still covered with their dark rough foliage,
as though a mighty forest had grown there along the ground, without
any power to raise itself towards the heavens. In other places the
trees had been chopped off from their trunks about a yard from the
ground, so that the soldier who cut it should have no trouble in
stooping, and the tops had been dragged away for firewood, or for
the erection of screens against the wind. Here and there in solitary
places there were outlying tents, looking as though each belonged to
some military recluse; and in the neighbourhood of every division was
to be found a photographing-establishment upon wheels, in order that
the men might send home to their sweethearts pictures of themselves
in their martial costumes.

I wandered about through these camps both on foot and on horseback
day after day, and every now and then I would come upon a farm-house
that was still occupied by its old inhabitants. Many of such houses
had been deserted, and were now held by the senior officers of the
army; but some of the old families remained, living in the midst of
this scene of war in a condition most forlorn. As for any tillage
of their land, that under such circumstances might be pronounced as
hopeless. Nor could there exist encouragement for farm-work of any
kind. Fences had been taken down and burned; the ground had been
overrun in every direction. The stock had of course disappeared; it
had not been stolen, but had been sold in a hurry for what under such
circumstances it might fetch. What farmer could work or have any hope
for his land in the middle of such a crowd of soldiers? But yet there
were the families. The women were in their houses, and the children
playing at their doors, and the men, with whom I sometimes spoke,
would stand around with their hands in their pockets. They knew that
they were ruined; they expected no redress. In nine cases out of ten
they were inimical in spirit to the soldiers around them. And yet it
seemed that their equanimity was never disturbed. In a former chapter
I have spoken of a certain general,--not a fighting general of the
army, but a local farming general,--who spoke loudly and with many
curses of the injury inflicted on him by the secessionists. With that
exception, I heard no loud complaint of personal suffering. These
Virginian farmers must have been deprived of everything,--of the very
means of earning bread. They still hold by their houses, though they
were in the very thick of the war, because there they had shelter
for their families, and elsewhere they might seek it in vain. A man
cannot move his wife and children if he have no place to which to
move them, even though his house be in the midst of disease, of
pestilence, or of battle. So it was with them then, but it seemed as
though they were already used to it.

But there was a class of inhabitants in that same country to whom
fate had been even more unkind than to those whom I saw. The lines
of the northern army extended perhaps seven or eight miles from the
Potomac, and the lines of the Confederate army were distant some
four miles from those of their enemies. There was, therefore, an
intervening space or strip of ground about four miles broad, which
might be said to be no man's land. It was no man's land as to
military possession, but it was still occupied by many of its old
inhabitants. These people were not allowed to pass the lines either
of one army or of the other; or if they did so pass they were not
allowed to return to their homes. To these homes they were forced to
cling, and there they remained. They had no market, no shops at which
to make purchases even if they had money to buy; no customers with
whom to deal even if they had produce to sell. They had their cows,
if they could keep them from the Confederate soldiers, their pigs and
their poultry; and on them they were living--a most forlorn life. Any
advance made by either party must be over their homesteads. In the
event of battle they would be in the midst of it; and in the meantime
they could see no one, hear of nothing, go no whither beyond the
limits of that miserable strip of ground!

The earth was hard with frost when I paid my visit to the camp, and
the general appearance of things around my friend's quarters was on
that account cheerful enough. It was the mud which made things sad
and wretched. When the frost came it seemed as though the army had
overcome one of its worst enemies. Unfortunately cold weather did not
last long. I have been told in Washington that they rarely have had
so open a season. Soon after my departure that terrible enemy, the
mud, came back upon them, but during my stay the ground was hard and
the weather very sharp. I slept in a tent, and managed to keep my
body warm by an enormous overstructure of blankets and coats; but I
could not keep my head warm. Throughout the night I had to go down,
like a fish beneath the water, for protection, and come up for air at
intervals, half-smothered. I had a stove in my tent, but the heat of
that when lighted was more terrible than the severity of the frost.

The tents of the brigade with which I was staying had been pitched
not without an eye to appearances. They were placed in streets as it
were, each street having its name, and between them screens had been
erected of fir-poles and fir-branches, so as to keep off the wind.
The outside boundaries of the nearest regiment were ornamented with
arches, crosses, and columns constructed in the same way; so that
the quarters of the men were reached, as it were, through gateways.
The whole thing was pretty enough, and while the ground was hard
the camp was picturesque, and a visit to it was not unpleasant. But
unfortunately the ground was in its nature soft and deep, composed of
red clay, and as the frost went and the wet weather came, mud became
omnipotent and destroyed all prettiness. And I found that the cold
weather, let it be ever so cold, was not severe upon the men. It was
wet which they feared and had cause to fear, both for themselves and
for their horses. As to the horses, but few of them were protected by
any shelter or covering whatsoever. Through both frost and wet they
remained out, tied to the wheel of a waggon or to some temporary rack
at which they were fed. In England we should imagine that any horse
so treated must perish; but here the animals seemed to stand it. Many
of them were miserable enough in appearance, but nevertheless they
did the work required of them. I have observed that horses throughout
the States are treated in a hardier manner than is usually the case
with us.

At the period of which I am speaking, January, 1862, the health of
the army of the Potomac was not as good as it had been, and was
beginning to give way under the effects of the winter. Measles had
become very prevalent, and also small-pox--though not of a virulent
description; and men, in many instances, were sinking under fatigue.
I was informed by various officers that the Irish regiments were
on the whole the most satisfactory. Not that they made the best
soldiers, for it was asserted that they were worse, as soldiers, than
the Americans or Germans; not that they became more easily subject to
rule, for it was asserted that they were unruly;--but because they
were rarely ill. Diseases which seized the American troops on all
sides seemed to spare them. The mortality was not excessive, but the
men became sick and ailing, and fell under the doctor's hands.

Mr. Olmstead, whose name is well known in England as a writer on the
southern States, was at this time secretary to a Sanitary Commission
on the army, and published an abstract of the results of the
inquiries made, on which I believe perfect reliance may be placed.
This inquiry was extended to two hundred regiments, which were
presumed to be included in the army of the Potomac; but these
regiments were not all located on the Virginian side of the river,
and must not therefore be taken as belonging exclusively to the
divisions of which I have been speaking. Mr. Olmstead says, "The
health of our armies is evidently not above the average of armies in
the field. The mortality of the army of the Potomac during the summer
months averaged 3½ per cent., and for the whole army it is stated at
5 per cent." "Of the camps inspected, 5 per cent.," he says, "were
in admirable order; 44 per cent. fairly clean and well policed. The
condition of 26 per cent. was negligent and slovenly, and of 24 per
cent. decidedly bad, filthy, and dangerous." Thus 50 per cent. were
either negligent and slovenly, or filthy and dangerous. I wonder
what the report would have been had Camp Benton at St. Louis been
surveyed! "In about 80 per cent. of the regiments the officers
claimed to give systematic attention to the cleanliness of the men;
but it is remarked that they rarely enforced the washing of the feet,
and not always of the head and neck." I wish Mr. Olmstead had added
that they never enforced the cutting of the hair. No single trait has
been so decidedly disadvantageous to the appearance of the American
army, as the long, uncombed, rough locks of hair which the men have
appeared so loth to abandon. In reading the above one cannot but
think of the condition of those other twenty regiments!

According to Mr. Olmstead two-thirds of the men were native-born, and
one-third was composed of foreigners. These foreigners are either
Irish or German. Had a similar report been made of the armies in
the West, I think it would have been seen that the proportion of
foreigners was still greater. The average age of the privates was
something under twenty-five, and that of the officers thirty-four. I
may here add, from my own observation, that an officer's rank could
in no degree be predicated from his age. Generals, colonels, majors,
captains, and lieutenants, had been all appointed at the same time
and without reference to age or qualification. Political influence or
the power of raising recruits had been the standard by which military
rank was distributed. The old West Point officers had generally been
chosen for high commands, but beyond this everything was necessarily
new. Young colonels and ancient captains abounded without any harsh
feeling as to the matter on either side. Indeed in this respect the
practice of the country generally was simply carried out. Fathers and
mothers in America seem to obey their sons and daughters naturally,
and as they grow old become the slaves of their grandchildren.

Mr. Olmstead says that food was found to be universally good and
abundant. On this matter Mr. Olmstead might have spoken in stronger
language without exaggeration. The food supplied to the American
armies has been extravagantly good, and certainly has been wastefully
abundant. Very much has been said of the cost of the American army,
and it has been made a matter of boasting that no army so costly has
ever been put into the field by any other nation. The assertion is,
I believe, at any rate true. I have found it impossible to ascertain
what has hitherto been expended on the army. I much doubt whether
even Mr. Chase, the Secretary of the Treasury, or Mr. Stanton, the
Secretary-at-War, know themselves, and I do not suppose that Mr.
Stanton's predecessor much cared. Some approach, however, may be
reached to the amount actually paid in wages and for clothes and
diet, and I give below a statement which I have seen of the actual
annual sum proposed to be expended on these heads, presuming the army
to consist of 500,000 men. The army is stated to contain 660,000 men,
but the former numbers given would probably be found to be nearer the

   Wages of privates, including
     sergeants and corporals               86,640,000
   Salaries of regimental officers         23,784,000
   Extra wages of privates; extra pay to
     mounted officers, and salary of
     officers above the rank of colonel    17,000,000
                                          £25,484,000 sterling.

To this must be added the cost of diet and clothing. The food of the
men, I was informed, was supplied at an average cost of 17 cents a
day, which, for an army of 500,000 men, would amount to £6,200,000
per annum. The clothing of the men is shown by the printed statement
of their war department to amount to 3 dollars a month for a period
of five years. That, at least, is the amount allowed to a private of
infantry or artillery. The cost of the cavalry uniforms and of the
dress of the non-commissioned officers is something higher, but not
sufficiently so to make it necessary to make special provision for
the difference in a statement so rough as this. At 3 dollars a month
the clothing of the army would amount to £3,600,000. The actual
annual cost would therefore be as follows:--

   Salaries and wages           £25,484,400
   Diet of the soldiers           6,200,000
   Clothing for the soldiers      3,600,000

I believe that these figures may be trusted, unless it be with
reference to that sum of $17,000,000 or £3,400,000, which is presumed
to include the salaries of all general-officers with their staffs,
and also the extra wages paid to soldiers in certain cases. This is
given as an estimate, and may be over or under the mark. The sum
named as the cost of clothing would be correct, or nearly so, if the
army remained in its present force for five years. If it so remained
for only one year the cost would be one-fifth higher. It must of
course be remembered that the sum above named includes simply the
wages, clothes, and food of the men. It does not comprise the
purchase of arms, horses, ammunition, or waggons; the forage of
horses; the transport of troops, or any of those incidental expenses
of warfare which are always, I presume, heavier than the absolute
cost of the men, and which in this war have been probably heavier
than in any war ever waged on the face of God's earth. Nor does it
include that terrible item of peculation as to which I will say a
word or two before I finish this chapter.

The yearly total payment of the officers and soldiers of the armies
is as follows. As regards the officers it must be understood that
this includes all the allowances made to them, except as regards
those on the staff. The sums named apply only to the infantry and
artillery. The pay of the cavalry is about ten per cent. higher.

   Lieutenant-General.                        £1,850
     General Scott alone holds that
     rank in the States' army
   Major-General                               1,150
   Brigadier-General                             800
   *Colonel                                      530
   *Lieutenant-Colonel                           475
   Major                                         430
   Captain                                       300
   First Lieutenant                              265
   Second Lieutenant                             245
   First Sergeant                                 48
   Sergeant                                       40
   Corporal                                       34
   Private                                        31

   *A Colonel and Lieutenant-Colonel are attached to
    each regiment.

In every grade named the pay is, I believe, higher than that given by
us, or, as I imagine, by any other nation. It is, however, probable
that the extra allowances paid to some of our higher officers when
on duty may give to their positions for a time a higher pecuniary
remuneration. It will of course be understood that there is nothing
in the American army answering to our colonel of a regiment. With us
the officer so designated holds a nominal command of high dignity and
emolument as a reward for past services.

I have already spoken of my visits to the camps of the other armies
in the field, that of General Halleck, who held his head-quarters
at St. Louis, in Missouri, and that of General Buell, who was at
Louisville, in Kentucky. There was also a fourth army under General
Hunter, in Kansas, but I did not make my way as far west as that.
I do not pretend to any military knowledge, and should be foolish
to attempt military criticism; but as far as I could judge by
appearance, I should say that the men in Buell's army were, of the
three, in the best order. They seemed to me to be cleaner than the
others, and, as far as I could learn, were in better health. Want
of discipline and dirt have, no doubt, been the great faults of the
regiments generally, and the latter drawback may probably be included
in the former. These men have not been accustomed to act under the
orders of superiors, and when they entered on the service hardly
recognized the fact that they would have to do so in ought else than
in their actual drill and fighting. It is impossible to conceive any
class of men to whom the necessary discipline of a soldier would come
with more difficulty than to an American citizen. The whole training
of his life has been against it. He has never known respect for
a master, or reverence for men of a higher rank than himself. He
has probably been made to work hard for his wages,--harder than an
Englishman works,--but he has been his employer's equal. The language
between them has been the language of equals, and their arrangement
as to labour and wages has been a contract between equals. If he
did not work he would not get his money,--and perhaps not if he did.
Under these circumstances he has made his fight with the world; but
those circumstances have never taught him that special deference to
a superior, which is the first essential of a soldier's duty. But
probably in no respect would that difficulty be so severely felt as
in all matters appertaining to personal habits. Here at any rate the
man would expect to be still his own master, acting for himself and
independent of all outer control. Our English Hodge, when taken from
the plough to the camp, would, probably, submit without a murmur
to soap and water and a barber's shears; he would have received
none of that education which would prompt him to rebel against such
ordinances; but the American citizen, who for a while expects to
shake hands with his captain whenever he sees him, and is astonished
when he learns that he must not offer him drinks, cannot at once
be brought to understand that he is to be treated like a child in
the nursery;--that he must change his shirt so often, wash himself
at such and such intervals, and go through a certain process of
cleansing his outward garments daily. I met while travelling a
sergeant of an old regular American regiment, and he spoke of the
want of discipline among the volunteers as hopeless. But even he
instanced it chiefly by their want of cleanliness. "They wear their
shirts till they drop off their backs," said he; "and what can you
expect from such men as that?" I liked that sergeant for his zeal
and intelligence, and also for his courtesy when he found that I was
an Englishman; for previous to his so finding he had begun to abuse
the English roundly,--but I did not quite agree with him about the
volunteers. It is very bad that soldiers should be dirty, bad also
that they should treat their captains with familiarity and desire
to exchange drinks with the majors. But even discipline is not
everything; and discipline will come at last even to the American
soldiers, distasteful as it may be, when the necessity for it is made
apparent. But these volunteers have great military virtues. They are
intelligent, zealous in their cause, handy with arms, willing enough
to work at all military duties, and personally brave. On the other
hand they are sickly, and there has been a considerable amount of
drunkenness among them. No man who has looked to the subject can, I
think, doubt that a native American has a lower physical development
than an Irishman, a German, or an Englishman. They become old sooner,
and die at an earlier age. As to that matter of drink, I do not think
that much need be said against them. English soldiers get drunk when
they have the means of doing so, and American soldiers would not get
drunk if the means were taken away from them. A little drunkenness
goes a long way in a camp, and ten drunkards will give a bad name to
a company of a hundred. Let any man travel with twenty men of whom
four are tipsy, and on leaving them he will tell you that every man
of them was a drunkard.

I have said that these men are brave, and I have no doubt that they
are so. How should it be otherwise with men of such a race? But it
must be remembered that there are two kinds of courage, one of which
is very common and the other very uncommon. Of the latter description
of courage it cannot be expected that much should be found among the
privates of any army, and perhaps not very many examples among the
officers. It is a courage self-sustained, based on a knowledge of the
right and on a life-long calculation that any results coming from
adherence to the right will be preferable to any that can be produced
by a departure from it. This is the courage which will enable a man
to stand his ground in battle or elsewhere, though broken worlds
should fall around him. The other courage, which is mainly an affair
of the heart or blood and not of the brain, always requires some
outward support. The man who finds himself prominent in danger bears
himself gallantly, because the eyes of many will see him; whether
as an old man he leads an army, or as a young man goes on a forlorn
hope, or as a private carries his officer on his back out of the
fire, he is sustained by the love of praise. And the men who are not
individually prominent in danger, who stand their ground shoulder
to shoulder, bear themselves gallantly also, each trusting in the
combined strength of his comrades. When such combined strength has
been acquired, that useful courage is engendered which we may rather
call confidence, and which of all courage is the most serviceable in
the army. At the battle of Bull's Run the army of the North became
panic-stricken and fled. From this fact many have been led to believe
that the American soldiers would not fight well, and that they could
not be brought to stand their ground under fire. This I think has
been an unfair conclusion. In the first place the history of the
battle of Bull's Run has yet to be written; as yet the history of
the flight only has been given to us. As far as I can learn, the
northern soldiers did at first fight well;--so well, that the army of
the South believed itself to be beaten. But a panic was created--at
first, as it seems, among the teamsters and waggons. A cry was
raised, and a rush was made by hundreds of drivers with their carts
and horses; and then men who had never seen war before, who had not
yet had three months' drilling as soldiers, to whom the turmoil of
that day must have seemed as though hell were opening upon them,
joined themselves to the general clamour, and fled to Washington,
believing that all was lost. But at the same time the regiments of
the enemy were going through the same farce in the other direction!
It was a battle between troops who knew nothing of battles; of
soldiers who were not yet soldiers. That individual high-minded
courage, which would have given to each individual recruit the
self-sustained power against a panic, which is to be looked for in a
general, was not to be looked for in them. Of the other courage of
which I have spoken, there was as much as the circumstances of the
battle would allow.

On subsequent occasions the men have fought well. We should, I think,
admit that they have fought very well when we consider how short has
been their practice at such work. At Somerset, at Fort Henry, at Fort
Donnelson, at Corinth, the men behaved with courage, standing well
to their arms, though at each place the slaughter among them was
great. They have always gone well into fire, and have generally
borne themselves well under fire. I am convinced that we in England
can make no greater mistake than to suppose that the Americans as
soldiers are deficient in courage.

But now I must come to a matter in which a terrible deficiency has
been shown, not by the soldiers, but by those whose duty it has been
to provide for the soldiers. It is impossible to speak of the army
of the North and to leave untouched that hideous subject of army
contracts. And I think myself the more specially bound to allude to
it because I feel that the iniquities which have prevailed, prove
with terrible earnestness the demoralizing power of that dishonesty
among men in high places, which is the one great evil of the American
States. It is there that the deficiency exists, which must be
supplied before the public men of the nation can take a high rank
among other public men. There is the gangrene, which must be cut out
before the government, as a government, can be great. To make money
is the one thing needful, and men have been anxious to meddle with
the affairs of government, because there might money be made with
the greatest ease. "Make money," the Roman satirist said; "make it
honestly if you can, but at any rate make money." That first counsel
would be considered futile and altogether vain by those who have
lately dealt with the public wants of the American States.

This is bad in a most fatal degree, not mainly because men in high
places have been dishonest, or because the government has been badly
served by its own paid officers. That men in high places should be
dishonest, and that the people should be cheated by their rulers is
very bad. But there is worse than this. The thing becomes so common,
and so notorious, that the American world at large is taught to
believe that dishonesty is in itself good. "It behoves a man to be
smart, sir!" Till the opposite doctrine to that be learned; till men
in America,--ay, and in Europe, Asia, and Africa,--can learn that
it specially behoves a man not to be smart, they will have learned
little of their duty towards God, and nothing of their duty towards
their neighbour.

In the instances of fraud against the States' government to which I
am about to allude, I shall take all my facts from the report made
to the House of Representatives at Washington by a Committee of that
House in December, 1861. "Mr. Washbourne, from the Select Committee
to inquire into the Contracts of the Government, made the following
Report." That is the heading of the pamphlet. The Committee was known
as the Van Wyck Committee, a gentleman of that name having acted as

The Committee first went to New York, and began their inquiries with
reference to the purchase of a steam-boat called the "Catiline."
In this case a certain Captain Comstock had been designated from
Washington as the agent to be trusted in the charter or purchase
of the vessel. He agreed on behalf of the Government to hire that
special boat for £2000 a month for three months, having given
information to friends of his on the matter, which enabled them to
purchase it out-and-out for less than £4000. These friends were
not connected with shipping matters, but were lawyers and hotel
proprietors. The Committee conclude "that the vessel was chartered to
the Government at an unconscionable price; and that Captain Comstock,
by whom this was effected, while enjoying _the peculiar confidence of
the Government_, was acting for and in concert with the parties who
chartered the vessel, and was in fact their agent." But the report
does not explain why Captain Comstock was selected for this work by
authority from Washington, nor does it recommend that he be punished.
It does not appear that Captain Comstock had ever been in the regular
service of the Government, but that he had been master of a steamer.

In the next place one Starbuck is employed to buy ships. As a
government agent he buys two for £1300, and sells them to the
government for £2900. The vessels themselves, when delivered at the
Navy Yard, were found to be totally unfit for the service for which
they had been purchased. But why was Starbuck employed, when, as
appears over and over again in the report, New York was full of paid
government servants ready and fit to do the work? Starbuck was merely
an agent, and who will believe that he was allowed to pocket the
whole difference of £1600? The greater part of the plunder was,
however, in this case refunded.

Then we come to the case of Mr. George D. Morgan, brother-in-law
of Mr. Welles, the Secretary of the Navy. I have spoken of this
gentleman before, and of his singular prosperity. He amassed a large
fortune in five months, as a government agent for the purchase of
vessels, he having been a wholesale grocer by trade. This gentleman
had had no experience whatsoever with reference to ships. It is shown
by the evidence that he had none of the requisite knowledge, and that
there were special servants of the government in New York at that
time, sent there specially for such services as these, who were in
every way trustworthy, and who had the requisite knowledge. Yet
Mr. Morgan was placed in this position by his brother-in-law the
Secretary of the Navy, and in that capacity made about £20,000 in
five months, all of which was paid by the government, as is well
shown to have been the fact in the report before me. One result of
such a mode of agency is given;--one other result, I mean, besides
the £20,000 put into the pocket of the brother of the Secretary of
the Navy. A ship called the "Stars and Stripes" was bought by Mr.
Morgan for £11,000, which had been built some months before for
£7000. This vessel was bought from a company which was blessed with a
President. The President made the bargain with the government agent,
but insisted on keeping back from his own company £2000 out of the
£11,000 for expenses incident to the purchase. The company did not
like being mulcted of its prey, and growled heavily; but their
President declared that such bargains were not got at Washington
for nothing. Members of Congress had to be paid to assist in such
things. At least he could not reduce his little private bill for such
assistance below £1600. He had, he said, positively paid out so much
to those venal Members of Congress, and had made nothing for himself
to compensate him for his own exertions. When this President came
to be examined, he admitted that he had really made no payments to
Members of Congress. His own capacity had been so great that no such
assistance had been found necessary. But he justified his charge on
the ground that the sum taken by him was no more than the company
might have expected him to lay out on Members of Congress, or on
ex-Members who are specially mentioned, had he not himself carried
on the business with such consummate discretion! It seems to me that
the Members or ex-Members of Congress were shamefully robbed in this

The report deals manfully with Mr. Morgan, showing that for five
months' work,--which work he did not do and did not know how to
do,--he received as large a sum as the President's salary for the
whole Presidential term of four years. So much better is it to be an
agent of government than simply an officer! And the Committee adds,
that they "do not find in this transaction the less to censure in the
fact that this arrangement between the Secretary of the Navy and Mr.
Morgan was one between brothers-in-law." After that who will believe
that Mr. Morgan had the whole of that £20,000 for himself? And yet
Mr. Welles still remains Secretary of the Navy, and has justified the
whole transaction in an explanation admitting everything, and which
is considered by his friends to be an able State paper. "It behoves a
man to be smart, sir." Mr. Morgan and Secretary Welles will no doubt
be considered by their own party to have done their duty well as
high trading public functionaries. The faults of Mr. Morgan and of
Secretary Welles are nothing to us in England; but the light in which
such faults may be regarded by the American people is much to us.

I will now go on to the case of a Mr. Cummings. Mr. Cummings, it
appears, had been for many years the editor of a newspaper in
Philadelphia, and had been an intimate political friend and ally of
Mr. Cameron. Now at the time of which I am writing, April, 1861, Mr.
Cameron was Secretary-at-War, and could be very useful to an old
political ally living in his own State. The upshot of the present
case will teach us to think well of Mr. Cameron's gratitude.

In April, 1861, stores were wanted for the army at Washington, and
Mr. Cameron gave an order to his old friend Cummings to expend
2,000,000 dollars, pretty much according to his fancy, in buying
stores. Governor Morgan, the Governor of New York State and a
relative of our other friend Morgan, was joined with Mr. Cummings
in this commission, Mr. Cameron no doubt having felt himself bound
to give the friends of his colleague at the Navy a chance. Governor
Morgan at once made over his right to his relative; but better things
soon came in Mr. Morgan's way, and he relinquished his share in this
partnership at an early date. In this transaction he did not himself
handle above 25,000 dollars. Then the whole job fell into the hands
of Mr. Cameron's old political friend.

The 2,000,000 of dollars, or £400,000, were paid into the hands of
certain government treasurers at New York, but they had orders to
honour the draft of the political friend of the Secretary-at-War, and
consequently £50,000 was immediately withdrawn by Mr. Cummings, and
with this he went to work. It is shown that he knew nothing of the
business; that he employed a clerk from Albany whom he did not know,
and confided to this clerk the duty of buying such stores as were
bought; that this clerk was recommended to him by Mr. Weed, the
editor of a newspaper at Albany, who is known in the States as the
special political friend of Mr. Seward, the Secretary of State; and
that in this way he spent £32,000. He bought linen pantaloons and
straw hats to the amount of £4200, because he thought the soldiers
looked hot in the warm weather; but he afterwards learned that they
were of no use. He bought groceries of a hardware dealer named
Davidson, at Albany, that town whence came Mr. Weed's clerk. He did
not know what was Davidson's trade, nor did he know exactly what he
was going to buy; but Davidson proposed to sell him something which
Mr. Cummings believed to be some kind of provisions, and he bought
it. He did not know for how much,--whether over £2000 or not. He
never saw the articles and had no knowledge of their quality. It was
out of the question that he should have such knowledge, as he naïvely
remarks. His clerk Humphreys saw the articles. He presumed they
were brought from Albany, but did not know. He afterwards bought a
ship,--or two or three ships. He inspected one ship "by a mere casual
visit:" that is to say, he did not examine her boilers; he did not
know her tonnage, but he took the word of the seller for everything.
He could not state the terms of the charter, or give the substance of
it. He had had no former experience in buying or chartering ships. He
also bought 75,000 pair of shoes at only 25 cents, or one shilling a
pair, more than their proper price. He bought them of a Mr. Hall, who
declares that he paid Mr. Cummings nothing for the job, but regarded
it as a return for certain previous favours conferred by him on Mr.
Cummings in the occasional loans of £100 or £200.

At the end of the examination it appears that Mr. Cummings still held
in his hand a slight balance of £28,000, of which he had forgotten
to make mention in the body of his own evidence. "This item seems to
have been overlooked by him in his testimony," says the report. And
when the report was made nothing had yet been learned of the destiny
of this small balance.

Then the report gives a list of the army supplies miscellaneously
purchased by Mr. Cummings:--280 dozen pints of ale at 9_s._ 6_d._
a dozen; a lot of codfish and herrings; 200 boxes of cheeses and
a large assortment of butter; some tongues; straw hats and linen
"pants;" 23 barrels of pickles; 25 casks of Scotch ale, price not
stated; a lot of London porter, price not stated; and some Hall
carbines of which I must say a word more further on. It should be
remembered that no requisition had come from the army for any of
the articles named; that the purchase of herrings and straw hats
was dictated solely by the discretion of Cummings and his man
Humphreys,--or, as is more probable, by the fact that some other
person had such articles by him for sale; and that the government
had its own established officers for the supply of things properly
ordered by military requisition. These very same articles also were
apparently procured, in the first place, as a private speculation,
and were made over to the government on the failure of that
speculation. "Some of the above articles," says the report, "were
shipped by the 'Catiline,' which were probably loaded on private
account, and not being able to obtain a clearance was in some way,
through Mr. Cummings, transferred over to the government,--_Scotch
ale, London porter, selected herrings_, and all." The italics as well
as the words are taken from the report.

This was the confidential political friend of the Secretary-at-War,
by whom he was intrusted with £400,000 of public money! £28,000
had not been accounted for when the report was made, and the
army supplies were bought after the fashion above named. That
Secretary-at-War, Mr. Cameron, has since left the Cabinet; but he has
not been turned out in disgrace; he has been nominated as minister to
Russia, and the world has been told that there was some difference
of opinion between him and his colleagues respecting slavery! Mr.
Cameron in some speech or paper declared on his leaving the Cabinet
that he had not intended to remain long as Secretary-at-War. This
assertion, I should think, must have been true.

And now about the Hall carbines, as to which the gentlemen on this
Committee tell their tale with an evident delight in the richness of
its incidents which at once puts all their readers in accord with
them. There were altogether some five thousand of these, all of which
the government sold to a Mr. Eastman in June, 1861, for 14_s._ each,
as perfectly useless, and afterwards bought in August for £4 8_s._
each, about 4_s._ a carbine having been expended in their repair in
the mean time. But as regards 790 of these now famous weapons, it
must be explained they had been sold by the government as perfectly
useless, and at a nominal price, previously to this second sale made
by the government to Mr. Eastman. They had been so sold, and then,
in April, 1861, they had been bought again for the government by the
indefatigable Cummings for £3 each. Then they were again sold as
useless for 14_s._ each to Eastman, and instantly rebought on behalf
of the government for £4 8_s._ each! Useless for war purposes they
may have been, but as articles of commerce it must be confessed that
they were very serviceable.

This last purchase was made by a man named Stevens on behalf of
General Fremont, who at that time commanded the army of the United
States in Missouri. Stevens had been employed by General Fremont as
an agent on the behalf of government, as is shown with clearness
in the report, and on hearing of these muskets telegraphed to the
General at once. "I have 5000 Hall's rifled cast-steel muskets,
breech-loading, new, at 22 dollars." General Fremont telegraphed
back instantly, "I will take the whole 5000 carbines ... I will pay
all extra charges . . ." And so the purchase was made. The muskets,
it seems, were not absolutely useless even as weapons of war.
"Considering the emergency of the times," a competent witness
considered them to be worth "10 or 12 dollars." The government had
been as much cheated in selling them as it had in buying them. But
the nature of the latter transaction is shown by the facts that
Stevens was employed, though irresponsibly employed, as a government
agent by General Fremont; that he bought the muskets in that
character himself, making on the transaction £1 18_s._ on each
musket; and that the same man afterwards appeared as an aide-de-camp
on General Fremont's staff. General Fremont had no authority himself
to make such a purchase, and when the money was paid for the first
instalment of the arms, it was so paid by the special order of
General Fremont himself out of moneys intended to be applied to
other purposes. The money was actually paid to a gentleman known at
Fremont's head-quarters as his special friend, and was then paid in
that irregular way because this friend desired that that special
bill should receive immediate payment. After that who can believe
that Stevens was himself allowed to pocket the whole amount of the

There is a nice little story of a clergyman in New York who sold
for £40 and certain further contingencies, the right to furnish 200
cavalry horses; but I should make this too long if I told all the
nice little stories. As the frauds at St. Louis were, if not in fact
the most monstrous, at any rate the most monstrous which have as
yet been brought to the light, I cannot finish this account without
explaining something of what was going on at that western Paradise in
those halcyon days of General Fremont.

General Fremont, soon after reaching St. Louis, undertook to build
ten forts for the protection of that city. These forts have since
been pronounced as useless, and the whole measure has been treated
with derision by officers of his own army. But the judgment displayed
in the matter is a military question with which I do not presume to
meddle. Even if a general be wrong in such a matter, his character as
a man is not disgraced by such error. But the manner of building them
was the affair with which Mr. Van Wyck's committee had to deal. It
seems that five of the forts, the five largest, were made under the
orders of a certain Major Kappner at a cost of £12,000, and that the
other five could have been built at least for the same sum. Major
Kappner seems to have been a good and honest public servant, and
therefore quite unfit for the superintendence of such work at St.
Louis. The other five smaller forts were also in progress, the works
on them having been continued from 1st September to 25th September,
1861; but on the 25th September General Fremont himself gave special
orders that a contract should be made with a man named Beard, a
Californian, who had followed him from California to St. Louis. This
contract is dated the 25th of September. But nevertheless the work
specified in that contract was done previous to that date, and most
of the money paid was paid previous to that date. The contract did
not specify any lump sum, but agreed that the work should be paid for
by the yard and by the square foot. No less a sum was paid to Beard
for this work--the cormorant Beard, as the report calls him--than
£24,200, the last payment only, amounting to £4000, having been made
subsequent to the date of the contract. £20,200 was paid to Beard
before the date of the contract! The amounts were paid at five times,
and the last four payments were made on the personal order of General
Fremont. This Beard was under no bond, and none of the officers of
the government knew anything of the terms under which he was working.
On the 14th of October General Fremont was ordered to discontinue
these works, and to abstain from making any further payments on their
account. But, disobeying this order, he directed his Quartermaster to
pay a further sum of £4000 to Beard out of the first sums he should
receive from Washington, he then being out of money. This however
was not paid. "It must be understood," says the report, "that every
dollar ordered to be paid by General Fremont on account of these
works was diverted from a fund specially appropriated for another
purpose." And then again, "The money appropriated by Congress to
subsist and clothe and transport our armies was then, in utter
contempt of all law and of the army regulations, as well as in
defiance of superior authority, ordered to be diverted from its
lawful purpose and turned over to the cormorant Beard. While he had
received 170,000 dollars (£24,200) from the Government, it will be
seen from the testimony of Major Kappner that there had only been
paid to the honest German labourers, who did the work on the first
five forts built under his directions, the sum of 15,500 dollars
(£3100), leaving from 40,000 to 50,000 dollars (£8000 to £10,000)
still due; and while these labourers, whose families were clamouring
for bread, were besieging the Quartermaster's department for their
pay, this infamous contractor Beard is found following up the army
and in the confidence of the Major-General, who gives him orders for
large purchases, which could only have been legally made through the
Quartermaster's department." After that who will believe that all
the money went into Beard's pocket? Why should General Fremont have
committed every conceivable breach of order against his government,
merely with the view of favouring such a man as Beard?

The collusion of the Quartermaster M'Instry with fraudulent knaves
in the purchase of horses is then proved. M'Instry was at this time
Fremont's Quartermaster at St. Louis. I cannot go through all these.
A man of the name of Jim Neil comes out in beautiful pre-eminence. No
dealer in horses could get to the Quartermaster except through Jim
Neil, or some such go-between. The Quartermaster contracted with
Neil and Neil with the owners of horses; Neil at the time being
also military inspector of horses for the Quartermaster. He bought
horses as cavalry horses for £24 or less, and passed them himself
as artillery horses for £30. In other cases the military inspectors
were paid by the sellers to pass horses. All this was done under
Quartermaster M'Instry, who would himself deal with none but such as
Neil. In one instance, one Elleard got a contract from M'Instry, the
profit of which was £8000. But there was a man named Brady. Now Brady
was a friend of M'Instry's, who, scenting the carrion afar off, had
come from Detroit, in Michigan, to St. Louis. M'Instry himself had
also come from Detroit. In this case Elleard was simply directed by
M'Instry to share his profits with Brady, and consequently paid to
Brady £4000, although Brady gave to the business neither capital nor
labour. He simply took the £4000 as the Quartermaster's friend. This
Elleard, it seems, also gave a carriage and horses to Mrs. Fremont.
Indeed Elleard seems to have been a civil and generous fellow. Then
there is a man named Thompson, whose case is very amusing. Of him
the Committee thus speaks:--"It must be said that Thompson was not
forgetful of the obligations of gratitude, for, after he got through
with the contract, he presented the son of Major M'Instry with a
riding pony. That was the only mark of respect," to use his own
words, "that he showed to the family of Major M'Instry."

General Fremont himself desired that a contract should be made with
one Augustus Sacchi for a thousand Canadian horses. It turned out
that Sacchi was "nobody: a man of straw living in a garret in New
York whom nobody knew, a man who was brought out there"--to St.
Louis--"as a good person through whom to work." "It will hardly be
believed," says the report, "that the name of this same man Sacchi
appears in the newspapers as being on the staff of General Fremont,
at Springfield, with the rank of captain."

I do not know that any good would result from my pursuing further the
details of this wonderful report. The remaining portion of it refers
solely to the command held by General Fremont in Missouri, and adds
proof upon proof of the gross robberies inflicted upon the government
of the States by the very persons set in high authority to protect
the government. We learn how all utensils for the camp, kettles,
blankets, shoes, mess-pans, &c., were supplied by one firm, without
a contract, at an enormous price, and of a quality so bad as to be
almost useless, because the Quartermaster was under obligations to
the partners. We learn that one partner in that firm gave £40 towards
a service of plate for the Quartermaster, and £60 towards a carriage
for Mrs. Fremont. We learn how futile were the efforts of any honest
tradesman to supply good shoes to soldiers who were shoeless, and
the history of one special pair of shoes which was thrust under the
nose of the Quartermaster is very amusing. We learn that a certain
paymaster properly refused to settle an account for matters with
which he had no concern, and that General Fremont at once sent down
soldiers to arrest him unless he made the illegal payment. In October
£1000 was expended in ice, all which ice was wasted. Regiments were
sent hither and thither with no military purpose, merely because
certain officers, calling themselves generals, desired to make up
brigades for themselves. Indeed every description of fraud was
perpetrated, and this was done not through the negligence of those in
high command, but by their connivance and often with their express

It will be said that the conduct of General Fremont during the days
of his command in Missouri is not a matter of much moment to us
in England; that it has been properly handled by the Committee of
Representatives appointed by the American Congress to inquire into
the matter; and that after the publication of such a report by them,
it is ungenerous in a writer from another nation to speak upon the
subject. This would be so if the inquiries made by that Committee
and their report had resulted in any general condemnation of the men
whose misdeeds and peculations have been exposed. This, however, is
by no means the case. Those who were heretofore opposed to General
Fremont on political principles are opposed to him still; but those
who heretofore supported him are ready to support him again.* He has
not been placed beyond the pale of public favour by the record which
has been made of his public misdeeds. He is decried by the democrats
because he is a republican, and by the anti-abolitionists because
he is an abolitionist; but he is not decried because he has shown
himself to be dishonest in the service of his government. He was
dismissed from his command in the West, but men on his side of the
question declare that he was so dismissed because his political
opponents had prevailed. Now, at the moment that I am writing this,
men are saying that the President must give him another command.
He is still a major-general in the army of the States, and is as
probable a candidate as any other that I could name for the next

  *Since this was written General Fremont has been restored to high
   military command, and now holds equal rank and equal authority
   with Maclellan and Halleck. In fact, the charges made against him
   by the Committee of the House of Representatives have not been
   allowed to stand in his way. He is politically popular with a
   large section of the nation, and therefore it has been thought
   well to promote him to high place. Whether he be fit for such
   place, either as regards capability or integrity, seems to be
   considered of no moment.

The same argument must be used with reference to the other gentlemen
named. Mr. Welles is still a Cabinet Minister and Secretary for
the Navy. It has been found impossible to keep Mr. Cameron in the
Cabinet, but he was named as the Minister of the States government to
Russia after the publication of the Van Wyck report, when the result
of his old political friendship with Mr. Alexander Cummings was
well known to the President who appointed him and to the Senate who
sanctioned his appointment. The individual corruption of any one
man--of any ten men--is not much. It should not be insisted on loudly
by any foreigner in making up a balance-sheet of the virtues and
vices of the good and bad qualities of any nation. But the light in
which such corruption is viewed by the people whom it most nearly
concerns is very much. I am far from saying that democracy has failed
in America. Democracy there has done great things for a numerous
people, and will yet, as I think, be successful. But that doctrine as
to the necessity of smartness must be eschewed before a verdict in
favour of American democracy can be pronounced. "It behoves a man to
be smart, sir." In those words are contained the curse under which
the States' government has been suffering for the last thirty years.
Let us hope that the people will find a mode of ridding themselves of
that curse. I, for one, believe that they will do so.



From Louisville we returned to Cincinnati, in making which journey
we were taken to a place called Seymour in Indiana, at which spot we
were to "make connection" with the train running on the Mississippi
and Ohio line from St. Louis to Cincinnati. We did make the
connection, but were called upon to remain four hours at Seymour
in consequence of some accident on the line. In the same way, when
going eastwards from Cincinnati to Baltimore a few days later, I was
detained another four hours at a place called Crossline, in Ohio. On
both occasions I spent my time in realizing, as far as that might
be possible, the sort of life which men lead who settle themselves
at such localities. Both these towns,--for they call themselves
towns,--had been created by the railways. Indeed this has been the
case with almost every place at which a few hundred inhabitants have
been drawn together in the western States. With the exception of such
cities as Chicago, St. Louis, and Cincinnati, settlers can hardly
be said to have chosen their own localities. These have been chosen
for them by the originators of the different lines of railway. And
there is nothing in Europe in any way like to these western railway
settlements. In the first place the line of the rails runs through
the main street of the town, and forms not unfrequently the only
road. At Seymour I could find no way of getting away from the rails
unless I went into the fields. At Crossline, which is a larger place,
I did find a street in which there was no railroad, but it was
deserted, and manifestly out of favour with the inhabitants. As there
were railway junctions at both these posts, there were of course
cross-streets, and the houses extended themselves from the centre
thus made along the lines, houses being added to houses at short
intervals as new comers settled themselves down. The panting and
groaning, and whistling of engines is continual; for at such places
freight trains are always kept waiting for passenger trains, and the
slower freight trains for those which are called fast. This is the
life of the town; and indeed as the whole place is dependent on the
railway, so is the railway held in favour and beloved. The noise
of the engines is not disliked, nor are its puffings and groanings
held to be unmusical. With us a locomotive steam-engine is still,
as it were, a beast of prey, against which one has to be on one's
guard,--in respect to which one specially warns the children. But
there, in the western States, it has been taken to the bosoms of them
all as a domestic animal; no one fears it, and the little children
run about almost among its wheels. It is petted and made much of on
all sides,--and, as far as I know, it seldom bites or tears. I have
not heard of children being destroyed wholesale in the streets, or of
drunken men becoming frequent sacrifices. But had I been consulted
beforehand as to the natural effects of such an arrangement, I should
have said that no child could have been reared in such a town, and
that any continuance of population under such circumstances must have
been impracticable.

Such places, however, do thrive and prosper with a prosperity
especially their own, and the boys and girls increase and multiply in
spite of all dangers. With us in England, it is difficult to realize
the importance which is attached to a railway in the States, and
the results which a railway creates. We have roads everywhere, and
our country had been cultivated throughout, with more or less care,
before our system of railways had been commenced; but in America,
especially in the North, the railways have been the precursors of
cultivation. They have been carried hither and thither, through
primeval forests and over prairies, with small hope of other traffic
than that which they themselves would make by their own influences.
The people settling on their edges have had the very best of all
roads at their service; but they have had no other roads. The face of
the country between one settlement and another is still in many cases
utterly unknown; but there is the connecting road by which produce
is carried away, and new comers are brought in. The town that is
distant a hundred miles by the rail is so near that its inhabitants
are neighbours; but a settlement twenty miles distant across the
uncleared country is unknown, unvisited, and probably unheard of
by the women and children. Under such circumstances the railway is
everything. It is the first necessity of life, and gives the only
hope of wealth. It is the backbone of existence from whence spring,
and by which are protected, all the vital organs and functions of
the community. It is the right arm of civilization for the people,
and the discoverer of the fertility of the land. It is all in all
to those people, and to those regions. It has supplied the wants of
frontier life with all the substantial comfort of the cities, and
carried education, progress, and social habits into the wilderness.
To the eye of the stranger such places as Seymour and Crossline are
desolate and dreary. There is nothing of beauty in them, given either
by nature or by art. The railway itself is ugly, and its numerous
sidings and branches form a mass of iron road which is bewildering
and, according to my ideas, in itself disagreeable. The wooden houses
open down upon the line, and have no gardens to relieve them. A
foreigner, when first surveying such a spot, will certainly record
within himself a verdict against it; but in doing so he probably
commits the error of judging it by a wrong standard. He should
compare it with the new settlements which men have opened up in spots
where no railway has assisted them, and not with old towns in which
wealth has long been congregated. The traveller may see what is the
place with the railway; then let him consider how it might have
thriven without the railway.

I confess that I became tired of my sojourn at both the places I
have named. At each I think that I saw every house in the place,
although my visit to Seymour was made in the night; and at both I
was lamentably at a loss for something to do. At Crossline I was all
alone, and began to feel that the hours which I knew must pass before
the missing train could come, would never make away with themselves.
There were many others stationed there as I was, but to them had been
given a capability for loafing which niggardly Nature has denied
to me. An American has the power of seating himself in the close
vicinity of a hot stove and feeding in silence on his own thoughts
by the hour together. It may be that he will smoke; but after a
while his cigar will come to an end. He sits on, however, certainly
patient, and apparently contented. It may be that he chews, but if
so, he does it with motionless jaws, and so slow a mastication of
the pabulum on which he feeds, that his employment in this respect
only disturbs the absolute quiet of the circle when, at certain long,
distant intervals, he deposits the secretion of his tobacco in an
ornamental utensil which may probably be placed in the furthest
corner of the hall. But during all this time he is happy. It does not
fret him to sit there and think and do nothing. He is by no means an
idle man,--probably one much given to commercial enterprise. Idle men
out there in the West we may say there are none. How should any idle
man live in such a country? All who were sitting hour after hour in
that circle round the stove of the Crossline Hotel hall,--sitting
there hour after hour in silence, as I could not sit,--were men
who earned their bread by labour. They were farmers, mechanics,
storekeepers; there was a lawyer or two, and one clergyman.
Sufficient conversation took place at first to indicate the
professions of many of them. One may conclude that there could not be
place there for an idle man. But they all of them had a capacity for
a prolonged state of doing nothing, which is to me unintelligible,
and which is very much to be envied. They are patient as cows, which
from hour to hour lie on the grass chewing their cud. An Englishman,
if he be kept waiting by a train in some forlorn station in which
he can find no employment, curses his fate and all that has led to
his present misfortune with an energy which tells the story of his
deep and thorough misery. Such, I confess, is my state of existence
under such circumstances. But a western American gives himself up
to "loafing," and is quite happy. He balances himself on the back
legs of an arm-chair, and remains so, without speaking, drinking, or
smoking for an hour at a stretch; and while he is doing so he looks
as though he had all that he desired. I believe that he is happy, and
that he has all that he wants for such an occasion;--an arm-chair in
which to sit, and a stove on which he can put his feet, and by which
he can make himself warm.

Such was not the phase of character which I had expected to find
among the people of the West. Of all virtues, patience would have
been the last which I should have thought of attributing to them. I
should have expected to see them angry when robbed of their time, and
irritable under the stress of such grievances as railway delays; but
they are never irritable under such circumstances as I have attempted
to describe, nor, indeed, are they a people prone to irritation under
any grievances. Even in political matters they are long-enduring, and
do not form themselves into mobs for the expression of hot opinion.
We in England thought that masses of the people would rise in anger
if Mr. Lincoln's government should consent to give up Slidell and
Mason; but the people bore it without any rising. The habeas corpus
has been suspended, the liberty of the press has been destroyed for a
time, the telegraph wires have been taken up by the government into
their own hands; but nevertheless the people have said nothing. There
has been no rising of a mob, and not even an expression of an adverse
opinion. The people require to be allowed to vote periodically, and
having acquired that privilege permit other matters to go by the
board. In this respect we have, I think, in some degree misunderstood
their character. They have all been taught to reverence the nature
of that form of government under which they live, but they are not
specially addicted to hot political fermentation. They have learned
to understand that democratic institutions have given them liberty,
and on that subject they entertain a strong conviction which is
universal. But they have not habitually interested themselves deeply
in the doings of their legislators or of their government. On the
subject of slavery there have been and are different opinions, held
with great tenacity and maintained occasionally with violence; but on
other subjects of daily policy the American people have not, I think,
been eager politicians. Leading men in public life have been much
less trammelled by popular will than among us. Indeed with us the
most conspicuous of our statesmen and legislators do not lead, but
are led. In the States the noted politicians of the day have been
the leaders, and not unfrequently the coercers of opinion. Seeing
this, I claim for England a broader freedom in political matters than
the States have as yet achieved. In speaking of the American form of
government, I will endeavour to explain more clearly the ideas which
I have come to hold on this matter.

I survived my delay at Seymour, after which I passed again through
Cincinnati, and then survived my subsequent delay at Crossline. As
to Cincinnati, I must put on record the result of a country walk
which I took there,--or rather on which I was taken by my friend. He
professed to know the beauties of the neighbourhood, and to be well
acquainted with all that was attractive in its vicinity. Cincinnati
is built on the Ohio, and is closely surrounded by picturesque hills
which overhang the suburbs of the city. Over these I was taken,
ploughing my way through a depth of mud which cannot be understood
by any ordinary Englishman. But the depth of mud was not the only
impediment, nor the worst which we encountered. As we began to
ascend from the level of the outskirts of the town we were greeted
by a rising flavour in the air, which soon grew into a strong
odour, and at last developed itself into a stench that surpassed in
offensiveness anything that my nose had ever hitherto suffered. When
we were at the worst we hardly knew whether to descend or to proceed.
It had so increased in virulence, that at one time I felt sure that
it arose from some matter buried in the ground beneath my feet. But
my friend, who declared himself to be quite at home in Cincinnati
matters, and to understand the details of the great Cincinnati
trade, declared against this opinion of mine. Hogs, he said, were
at the bottom of it. It was the odour of hogs going up to the Ohio
heavens;--of hogs in a state of transit from hoggish nature to
clothes-brushes, saddles, sausages, and lard. He spoke with an
authority that constrained belief; but I can never forgive him in
that he took me over those hills, knowing all that he professed to
know. Let the visitors to Cincinnati keep themselves within the city,
and not wander forth among the mountains. It is well that the odour
of hogs should ascend to heaven and not hang heavy over the streets;
but it is not well to intercept that odour in its ascent. My friend
became ill with fever, and had to betake himself to the care of
nursing friends; so that I parted company with him at Cincinnati. I
did not tell him that his illness was deserved as well as natural,
but such was my feeling on the matter. I myself happily escaped the
evil consequences which his imprudence might have entailed on me.

I passed again through Pittsburg, and over the Alleghany mountains by
Altoona, and down to Baltimore,--back into civilization, secession,
conversation, and gastronomy. I never had secessionist sympathies
and never expressed them. I always believed in the North as a
people,--discrediting, however, to the utmost the existing northern
Government, or, as I should more properly say, the existing northern
Cabinet; but nevertheless, with such feelings and such belief, I
found myself very happy at Baltimore. Putting aside Boston, which
must, I think, be generally preferred by Englishmen to any other
city in the States, I should choose Baltimore as my residence if I
were called upon to live in America. I am not led to this opinion,
if I know myself, solely by the canvas-back ducks; and as to the
terrapins, I throw them to the winds. The madeira, which is still
kept there with a reverence which I should call superstitious were
it not that its free circulation among outside worshippers prohibits
the just use of such a word, may have something to do with it; as may
also the beauty of the women,--to some small extent. Trifles do bear
upon our happiness in a manner that we do not ourselves understand,
and of which we are unconscious. But there was an English look about
the streets and houses which I think had as much to do with it as
either the wine, the women, or the ducks; and it seemed to me as
though the manners of the people of Maryland were more English than
those of other Americans. I do not say that they were on this account
better. My English hat is, I am well aware, less graceful, and I
believe less comfortable, than a Turkish fez and turban; nevertheless
I prefer my English hat. New York I regard as the most thoroughly
American of all American cities. It is by no means the one in which I
should find myself the happiest, but I do not on that account condemn

I have said that in returning to Baltimore I found myself among
secessionists. In so saying, I intend to speak of a certain set
whose influence depends perhaps more on their wealth, position, and
education than on their numbers. I do not think that the population
of the city was then in favour of secession, even if it had ever been
so. I believe that the mob of Baltimore is probably the roughest mob
in the States,--is more akin to a Paris mob, and I may, perhaps, also
say to a Manchester mob, than that of any other American city. There
are more roughs in Baltimore than elsewhere, and the roughs there are
rougher. In those early days of secession, when the troops were being
first hurried down from New England for the protection of Washington,
this mob was vehemently opposed to its progress. Men had been taught
to think that the rights of the State of Maryland were being invaded
by the passage of the soldiers; and they also were undoubtedly imbued
with a strong prepossession for the southern cause. The two ideas
had then gone together. But the mob of Baltimore had ceased to
be secessionists within twelve months of their first exploit. In
April, 1861, they had refused to allow Massachusetts soldiers to
pass through the town on their way to Washington; and in February,
1862, they were nailing Union flags on the door-posts of those who
refused to display such banners as signs of triumph at the northern

That Maryland can ever go with the South, even in the event of the
South succeeding in secession, no Marylander can believe. It is
not pretended that there is any struggle now going on with such
an object. No such result has been expected, certainly since the
possession of Washington was secured to the North by the army of the
Potomac. By few, I believe, was such a result expected even when
Washington was insecure. And yet the feeling for secession among a
certain class in Baltimore is as strong now as ever it was. And it is
equally strong in certain districts of the State,--in those districts
which are most akin to Virginia in their habits, modes of thought,
and ties of friendship. These men, and these women also, pray for
the South if they be pious, give their money to the South if they be
generous, work for the South if they be industrious, fight for the
South if they be young, and talk for the South morning, noon, and
night in spite of General Dix and his columbiads on Federal Hill. It
is in vain to say that such men and women have no strong feeling on
the matter, and that they are praying, working, fighting, and talking
under dictation. Their hearts are in it. And judging from them, even
though there were no other evidence from which to judge, I have no
doubt that a similar feeling is strong through all the seceding
States. On this subject the North, I think, deceives itself in
supposing that the southern rebellion has been carried on without any
strong feeling on the part of the southern people. Whether the mob
of Charleston be like the mob of Baltimore I cannot tell; but I have
no doubt as to the gentry of Charleston and the gentry of Baltimore
being in accord on the subject.

In what way, then, when the question has been settled by the force of
arms, will these classes find themselves obliged to act? In Virginia
and Maryland they comprise, as a rule, the highest and best educated
of the people. As to parts of Kentucky the same thing may be said,
and probably as to the whole of Tennessee. It must be remembered that
this is not as though certain aristocratic families in a few English
counties should find themselves divided off from the politics and
national aspirations of their countrymen,--as was the case long since
with reference to the Roman Catholic adherents of the Stuarts, and
as has been the case since then in a lesser degree with the firmest
of the old Tories who had allowed themselves to be deceived by Sir
Robert Peel. In each of these cases the minority of dissentients was
so small that the nation suffered nothing, though individuals were
all but robbed of their nationality. But as regards America it must
be remembered that each State has in itself a governing power, and
is in fact a separate people. Each has its own legislature, and must
have its own line of politics.

The secessionists of Maryland and of Virginia may consent to live in
obscurity; but if this be so, who is to rule in those States? From
whence are to come the senators and the members of Congress; the
governors and attorney-generals? From whence is to come the national
spirit of the two States, and the salt that shall preserve their
political life? I have never believed that these States would succeed
in secession. I have always felt that they would be held within the
Union, whatever might be their own wishes. But I think that they
will be so held in a manner and after a fashion that will render any
political vitality almost impossible till a new generation shall
have sprung up. In the meantime life goes on pleasantly enough in
Baltimore, and ladies meet together, knitting stockings and sewing
shirts for the southern soldiers, while the gentlemen talk southern
politics and drink the health of the (southern) President in
ambiguous terms, as our Cavaliers used to drink the health of the

During my second visit to Baltimore I went over to Washington for a
day or two, and found the capital still under the empire of King Mud.
How the elite of a nation--for the inhabitants of Washington consider
themselves to be the elite--can consent to live in such a state of
thraldom, a foreigner cannot understand. Were I to say that it was
intended to be typical of the condition of the government, I might
be considered cynical; but undoubtedly the sloughs of despond which
were deepest in their despondency were to be found in localities
which gave an appearance of truth to such a surmise. The Secretary
of State's office in which Mr. Seward was still reigning, though
with diminished glory, was divided from the Head-Quarters of the
Commander-in-Chief, which are immediately opposite to it, by an
opaque river which admitted of no transit. These buildings stand at
the corner of President Square, and it had been long understood that
any close intercourse between them had not been considered desirable
by the occupants of the military side of the causeway. But the
Secretary of State's office was altogether unapproachable without a
long circuit and begrimed legs. The Secretary-at-War's department
was, if possible, in a worse condition. This is situated on the other
side of the President's house, and the mud lay, if possible, thicker
in this quarter than it did round Mr. Seward's chambers. The passage
over Pennsylvania Avenue, immediately in front of the War Office, was
a thing not to be attempted in those days. Mr. Cameron, it is true,
had gone, and Mr. Stanton was installed; but the labour of cleansing
the interior of that establishment had hitherto allowed no time for a
glance at the exterior dirt, and Mr. Stanton should, perhaps, be held
as excused. That the Navy Office should be buried in mud, and quite
debarred from approach, was to be expected. The space immediately in
front of Mr. Lincoln's own residence was still kept fairly clean,
and I am happy to be able to give testimony to this effect. Long may
it remain so. I could not, however, but think that an energetic and
careful President would have seen to the removal of the dirt from
his own immediate neighbourhood. It was something that his own shoes
should remain unpolluted; but the foul mud always clinging to the
boots and leggings of those by whom he was daily surrounded must,
I should think, have been offensive to him. The entrance to the
Treasury was difficult to achieve by those who had not learned by
practice the ways of the place; but I must confess that a tolerably
clear passage was maintained on that side which led immediately
down to the halls of Congress. Up at the Capitol the mud was again
triumphant in the front of the building; this however was not of
great importance, as the legislative chambers of the States are
always reached by the back-door. I, on this occasion, attempted to
leave the building by the grand entrance, but I soon became entangled
among rivers of mud and mazes of shifting sand. With difficulty I
recovered my steps, and finding my way back to the building was
forced to content myself by an exit among the crowd of senators and
representatives who were thronging down the back-stairs.

Of dirt of all kinds it behoves Washington and those concerned in
Washington to make themselves free. It is the Augean stables through
which some American Hercules must turn a purifying river before
the American people can justly boast either of their capital or of
their government. As to the material mud, enough has been said. The
presence of the army perhaps caused it, and the excessive quantity
of rain which had fallen may also be taken as a fair plea. But what
excuse shall we find for that other dirt? It also had been caused by
the presence of the army, and by that long-continued down-pouring of
contracts which had fallen like Danaë's golden shower into the laps
of those who understood how to avail themselves of such heavenly
waters. The leaders of the rebellion are hated in the North. The
names of Jefferson Davis, of Cobb, Tombes, and Floyd are mentioned
with execration by the very children. This has sprung from a true
and noble feeling; from a patriotic love of national greatness and a
hatred of those who, for small party purposes, have been willing to
lessen the name of the United States. I have reverenced the feeling
even when I have not shared it. But, in addition to this, the names
of those also should be execrated who have robbed their country when
pretending to serve it; who have taken its wages in the days of its
great struggle, and at the same time have filched from its coffers;
who have undertaken the task of steering the ship through the storm
in order that their hands might be deep in the meal-tub and the
bread-basket, and that they might stuff their own sacks with the
ship's provisions. These are the men who must be loathed by the
nation,--whose fate must be held up as a warning to others before
good can come! Northern men and women talk of hanging Davis and his
accomplices. I myself trust that there will be no hanging when the
war is over. I believe there will be none, for the Americans are not
a blood-thirsty people. But if punishment of any kind be meted out,
the men of the North should understand that they have worse offenders
among them than Davis and Floyd.

At the period of which I am now speaking, there had come a change
over the spirit of Mr. Lincoln's cabinet. Mr. Seward was still his
Secretary of State, but he was, as far as outside observers could
judge, no longer his Prime Minister. In the early days of the war,
and up to the departure of Mr. Cameron from out of the cabinet, Mr.
Seward had been the Minister of the nation. In his despatches he
talks ever of We or of I. In every word of his official writings, of
which a large volume has been published, he shows plainly that he
intends to be considered as the man of the day,--as the hero who is
to bring the States through their difficulties. Mr. Lincoln may be
King, but Mr. Seward is Mayor of the Palace and carries the King in
his pocket. From the depth of his own wisdom he undertakes to teach
his ministers in all parts of the world, not only their duties, but
their proper aspiration. He is equally kind to foreign statesmen,
and sends to them messages as though from an altitude which no
European politician had ever reached. At home he has affected the
Prime Minister in everything, dropping the We and using the I in a
manner that has hardly made up by its audacity for its deficiency
in discretion. It is of course known everywhere that he had run Mr.
Lincoln very hard for the position of republican candidate for the
Presidency. Mr. Lincoln beat him, and Mr. Seward is well aware that
in the States a man has never a second chance for the Presidential
chair. Hence has arisen his ambition to make for himself a new place
in the annals of American politics. Hitherto there has been no Prime
Minister known in the Government of the United States. Mr. Seward has
attempted a revolution in that matter, and has essayed to fill the
situation. For awhile it almost seemed that he was successful. He
interfered with the army, and his interferences were endured. He took
upon himself the business of the police, and arrested men at his own
will and pleasure. The habeas corpus was in his hand, and his name
was current through the States as a covering authority for every
outrage on the old laws. Sufficient craft, or perhaps cleverness,
he possessed to organize a position which should give him a power
greater than the power of the President; but he had not the genius
which would enable him to hold it. He made foolish prophecies about
the war, and talked of the triumphs which he would win. He wrote
state papers on matters which he did not understand, and gave himself
the airs of diplomatic learning while he showed himself to be sadly
ignorant of the very rudiments of diplomacy. He tried to joke as Lord
Palmerston jokes, and nobody liked his joking. He was greedy after
the little appanages of power, taking from others who loved them as
well as he did, privileges with which he might have dispensed. And
then, lastly, he was successful in nothing. He had given himself
out as the commander of the Commander-in-Chief; but then under his
command nothing got itself done. For a month or two some men had
really believed in Mr. Seward. The policemen of the country had
come to have an absolute trust in him, and the underlings of the
public offices were beginning to think that he might be a great man.
But then, as is ever the case with such men, there came suddenly a
downfall. Mr. Cameron went from the cabinet, and everybody knew that
Mr. Seward would be no longer commander of the Commander-in-Chief.
His prime ministership was gone from him, and he sank down into the
comparatively humble position of Minister for Foreign Affairs. His
lettres de cachet no longer ran. His passport system was repealed.
His prisoners were released. And though it is too much to say that
writs of habeas corpus were no longer suspended, the effect and very
meaning of the suspension were at once altered. When I first left
Washington Mr. Seward was the only minister of the cabinet whose name
was ever mentioned with reference to any great political measure.
When I returned to Washington Mr. Stanton was Mr. Lincoln's leading
minister, and, as Secretary-at-War, had practically the management of
the army and of the internal police.

I have spoken here of Mr. Seward by name, and in my preceding
paragraphs I have alluded with some asperity to the dishonesty of
certain men who had obtained political power under Mr. Lincoln and
used it for their own dishonest purposes. I trust that I may not be
understood as bringing any such charges against Mr. Seward. That
such dishonesty has been frightfully prevalent all men know who knew
anything of Washington during the year 1861. In a former chapter I
have alluded to this more at length, stating circumstances and in
some cases giving the names of the persons charged with offences.
Whenever I have done so, I have based my statements on the Van Wyck
Report, and the evidence therein given. This is the published report
of a Committee appointed by the House of Representatives; and as it
has been before the world for some months without refutation, I think
that I have a right to presume it to be true.* On no less authority
than this would I consider myself justified in bringing any such
charge. Of Mr. Seward's incompetency I have heard very much among
American politicians; much also of his ambition. With worse offences
than these I have not heard him charged.

  *I ought perhaps to state that General Fremont has published an
   answer to the charges preferred against him. That answer refers
   chiefly to matters of military capacity or incapacity, as to
   which I have expressed no opinion. General Fremont does allude
   to the accusations made against him regarding the building of
   the forts;--but in doing so he seems to me rather to admit than
   to deny the facts as stated by the Committee.

At the period of which I am writing, February, 1862, the long list of
military successes which attended the northern army through the late
winter and early spring had commenced. Fort Henry, on the Tennessee
river, had first been taken, and after that, Fort Donnelson on the
Cumberland river, also in the State of Tennessee. Price had been
driven out of Missouri into Arkansas by General Curtis, acting under
General Halleck's orders. The chief body of the Confederate army in
the West had abandoned the fortified position which they had long
held at Bowling Green, in the south-western district of Kentucky.
Roanoke Island, on the coast of North Carolina, had been taken by
General Burnside's expedition, and a belief had begun to manifest
itself in Washington that the army of the Potomac was really about
to advance. It is impossible to explain in what way the renewed
confidence of the northern party showed itself, or how one learned
that the hopes of the secessionists were waxing dim; but it was so;
and even a stranger became aware of the general feeling as clearly as
though it were a defined and established fact. In the early part of
the winter, when I reached Washington, the feeling ran all the other
way. Northern men did not say that they were despondent; they did not
with spoken words express diffidence as to their success; but their
looks betrayed diffidence, and the moderation of their self-assurance
almost amounted to despondency. In the capital the parties were
very much divided. The old inhabitants were either secessionists or
influenced by "secession proclivities," as the word went; but the men
of the government and of the two houses of Congress were, with a few
exceptions, of course northern. It should be understood that these
parties were at variance with each other on almost every point as to
which men can disagree. In our civil war it may be presumed that all
Englishmen were at any rate anxious for England. They desired and
fought for different modes of government; but each party was equally
English in its ambition. In the States there is the hatred of a
different nationality added to the rancour of different politics.
The Southerners desire to be a people of themselves,--to divide
themselves by every possible mark of division from New England; to
be as little akin to New York as they are to London,--or if possible
less so. Their habits, they say, are different; their education,
their beliefs, their propensities, their very virtues and vices
are not the education, or the beliefs, or the propensities, or the
virtues and vices of the North. The bond that ties them to the
North is to them a Mezentian marriage, and they hate their northern
spouses with a Mezentian hatred. They would be anything sooner than
citizens of the United States. They see to what Mexico has come,
and the republics of Central America; but the prospect of even that
degradation is less bitter to them than a share in the glory of the
stars and stripes. Better, with them, to reign in hell than serve in
heaven! It is not only in politics that they will be beaten, if they
be beaten,--as one party with us may be beaten by another; but they
will be beaten as we should be beaten if France annexed us, and
directed that we should live under French rule. Let an Englishman
digest and realize that idea, and he will comprehend the feelings
of a southern gentleman as he contemplates the probability that his
State will be brought back into the Union. And the northern feeling
is as strong. The northern man has founded his national ambition on
the territorial greatness of his nation. He has panted for new lands,
and for still extended boundaries. The western world has opened her
arms to him, and has seemed to welcome him as her only lord. British
America has tempted him towards the north, and Mexico has been as a
prey to him on the south. He has made maps of his empire, including
all the continent, and has preached the Monroe doctrine as though it
had been decreed by the gods. He has told the world of his increasing
millions, and has never yet known his store to diminish. He has pawed
in the valley, and rejoiced in his strength. He has said among the
trumpets, Ha, ha! He has boasted aloud in his pride, and called on
all men to look at his glory. And now shall he be divided and shorn?
Shall he be hemmed in from his ocean and shut off from his rivers?
Shall he have a hook run into his nostrils, and a thorn driven into
his jaw? Shall men say that his day is over, when he has hardly yet
tasted the full cup of his success? Has his young life been a dream,
and not a truth? Shall he never reach that giant manhood which the
growth of his boyish years has promised him? If the South goes from
him, he will be divided, shorn, and hemmed in. The hook will have
pierced his nose, and the thorn will fester in his jaw. Men will
taunt him with his former boastings, and he will awake to find
himself but a mortal among mortals.

Such is the light in which the struggle is regarded by the two
parties, and such the hopes and feelings which have been engendered.
It may therefore be surmised with what amount of neighbourly love
secessionist and northern neighbours regarded each other in such
towns as Baltimore and Washington. Of course there was hatred of
the deepest dye; of course there were muttered curses, or curses
which sometimes were not simply muttered. Of course there were
wretchedness, heart-burnings, and fearful divisions in families.
That, perhaps, was the worst of all. The daughter's husband would be
in the northern ranks, while the son was fighting in the South; or
two sons would hold equal rank in the two armies, sometimes sending
to each other frightful threats of personal vengeance. Old friends
would meet each other in the street, passing without speaking; or,
worse still, would utter words of insult for which payment is to be
demanded when a southern gentleman may again be allowed to quarrel in
his own defence.

And yet society went on. Women still smiled, and men were happy to
whom such smiles were given. Cakes and ale were going and ginger
was still hot in the mouth. When many were together no words of
unhappiness were heard. It was at those small meetings of two or
three that women would weep instead of smiling, and that men would
run their hands through their hair and sit in silence, thinking of
their ruined hopes and divided children.

I have spoken of southern hopes and northern fears, and have
endeavoured to explain the feelings of each party. For myself I think
that the Southerners have been wrong in their hopes, and that those
of the North have been wrong in their fears. It is not better to rule
in hell than serve in heaven. Of course a southern gentleman will not
admit the premises which are here by me taken for granted. The hell
to which I allude is, the sad position of a low and debased nation.
Such, I think, will be the fate of the Gulf States, if they succeed
in obtaining secession,--of a low and debased nation, or, worse
still, of many low and debased nations. They will have lost their
cotton monopoly by the competition created during the period of the
war, and will have no material of greatness on which either to found
themselves or to flourish. That they had much to bear when linked
with the North, much to endure on account of that slavery from which
it was all but impossible that they should disentangle themselves,
may probably be true. But so have all political parties among all
free nations much to bear from political opponents, and yet other
free nations do not go to pieces. Had it been possible that the
slave-owners and slave properties should have been scattered in parts
through all the States and not congregated in the South, the slave
party would have maintained itself as other parties do; but in such
case, as a matter of course, it would not have thought of secession.
It has been the close vicinity of slave-owners to each other,
the fact that their lands have been coterminous, that theirs was
especially a cotton district, which has tempted them to secession.
They have been tempted to secession, and will, as I think, still
achieve it in those Gulf States,--much to their misfortune.

And the fears of the North are, I think, equally wrong. That they
will be deceived as to that Monroe doctrine is no doubt more than
probable. That ambition for an entire continent under one rule will
not, I should say, be gratified. But not on that account need the
nation be less great, or its civilization less extensive. That hook
in its nose and that thorn in its jaw will, after all, be but a hook
of the imagination and an ideal thorn. Do not all great men suffer
such ere their greatness be established and acknowledged? There is
scope enough for all that manhood can do between the Atlantic and the
Pacific, even though those hot, swampy cotton-fields be taken away;
even though the snows of the British provinces be denied to them. And
as for those rivers and that sea-board, the Americans of the North
will have lost much of their old energy and usual force of will, if
any southern Confederacy be allowed to deny their right of way or to
stop their commercial enterprises. I believe that the South will be
badly off without the North; but I feel certain that the North will
never miss the South when once the wounds to her pride have been

From Washington I journeyed back to Boston through the cities which
I had visited in coming thither, and stayed again on my route for a
few days at Baltimore, at Philadelphia, and at New York. At each town
there were those whom I now regarded almost as old friends, and as
the time of my departure drew near I felt a sorrow that I was not to
be allowed to stay longer. As the general result of my sojourn in the
country, I must declare that I was always happy and comfortable in
the eastern cities, and generally unhappy and uncomfortable in the
West. I had previously been inclined to think that I should like the
roughness of the West, and that in the East I should encounter an
arrogance which would have kept me always on the verge of hot water;
but in both these surmises I found myself to have been wrong. And I
think that most English travellers would come to the same conclusion.
The western people do not mean to be harsh or uncivil, but they do
not make themselves pleasant. In all the eastern cities,--I speak of
the eastern cities north of Washington,--a society may be found which
must be esteemed as agreeable by Englishmen who like clever genial
men, and who love clever pretty women.

I was forced to pass twice again over the road between New York and
Boston, as the packet by which I intended to leave America was fixed
to sail from the former port. I had promised myself, and had promised
others, that I would spend in Boston the last week of my sojourn in
the States, and this was a promise which I was by no means inclined
to break. If there be a gratification in this world which has
no alloy, it is that of going to an assured welcome. The belief
that men's arms and hearts are open to receive one,--and the arms
and hearts of women, too, as far as they allow themselves to
open them,--is the salt of the earth, the sole remedy against
sea-sickness, the only cure for the tedium of railways, the one
preservative amidst all the miseries and fatigue of travel. These
matters are private, and should hardly be told of in a book; but in
writing of the States, I should not do justice to my own convictions
of the country if I did not say how pleasantly social intercourse
there will ripen into friendship, and how full of love that
friendship may become. I became enamoured of Boston at last. Beacon
Street was very pleasant to me, and the view over Boston Common was
dear to my eyes. Even the State House, with its great yellow-painted
dome, became sightly; and the sunset over the western waters that
encompass the city beats all other sunsets that I have seen.

During my last week there the world of Boston was moving itself on
sleighs. There was not a wheel to be seen in the town. The omnibuses
and public carriages had been dismounted from their axles and put
themselves upon snow runners, and the private world had taken out its
winter carriages, and wrapped itself up in buffalo robes. Men now
spoke of the coming thaw as of a misfortune which must come, but
which a kind Providence might perhaps postpone,--as we all, in short,
speak of death. In the morning the snow would have been hardened by
the night's frost, and men would look happy and contented. By an hour
after noon the streets would be all wet, and the ground would be
slushy and men would look gloomy and speak of speedy dissolution.
There were those who would always prophesy that the next day would
see the snow converted into one dull, dingy river. Such I regarded as
seers of tribulation, and endeavoured with all my mind to disbelieve
their interpretations of the signs. That sleighing was excellent fun.
For myself I must own that I hardly saw the best of it at Boston, for
the coming of the end was already at hand when I arrived there, and
the fresh beauty of the hard snow was gone. Moreover when I essayed
to show my prowess with a pair of horses on the established course
for such equipages, the beasts ran away, knowing that I was not
practised in the use of snow chariots, and brought me to grief and
shame. There was a lady with me on the sleigh whom, for a while, I
felt that I was doomed to consign to a snowy grave,--whom I would
willingly have overturned into a drift of snow, so as to avoid worse
consequences, had I only known how to do so. But Providence, even
though without curbs and assisted only by simple snaffles, did at
last prevail; and I brought the sleigh, horses, and lady alive back
to Boston, whether with or without permanent injury I have never yet

At last the day of tribulation came, and the snow was picked up and
carted out of Boston. Gangs of men, standing shoulder to shoulder,
were at work along the chief streets, picking, shovelling, and
disposing of the dirty blocks. Even then the snow seemed to be nearly
a foot thick; but it was dirty, rough, half-melted in some places,
though hard as stone in others. The labour and cost of cleansing the
city in this way must be very great. The people were at it as I left,
and I felt that the day of tribulation had in truth come.

Farewell to thee, thou western Athens! When I have forgotten thee my
right hand shall have forgotten its cunning, and my heart forgotten
its pulses. Let us look at the list of names with which Boston has
honoured itself in our days, and then ask what other town of the same
size has done more. Prescott, Bancroft, Motley, Longfellow, Lowell,
Emerson, Dana, Agassiz, Holmes, Hawthorne! Who is there among us
in England who has not been the better for these men? Who does not
owe to some of them a debt of gratitude? In whose ears is not their
names familiar? It is a bright galaxy and far extended, for so small
a city. What city has done better than this? All these men, save
one, are now alive and in the full possession of their powers. What
other town of the same size has done as well in the same short space
of time? It may be that this is the Augustan æra of Boston,--its
Elizabethan time. If so, I am thankful that my steps have wandered
thither at such a period.

While I was at Boston I had the sad privilege of attending the
funeral of President Felton, the head of Harvard College. A few
months before I had seen him a strong man, apparently in perfect
health and in the pride of life. When I reached Boston, I heard of
his death. He also was an accomplished scholar, and as a Grecian
has left few behind him who were his equals. At his installation as
President, four ex-Presidents of Harvard College assisted. Whether
they were all present at his funeral I do not know, but I do know
that they were all still living. These are Mr. Quincy, who is now
over ninety; Mr. Sparks; Mr. Everett, the well-known orator; and Mr.
Walker. They all reside in Boston or its neighbourhood, and will
probably all assist at the installation of another President.



It is, I presume, universally known that the citizens of the
Western American colonies of Great Britain which revolted, declared
themselves to be free from British dominion by an Act which they
called the Declaration of Independence. This was done on the 4th of
July, 1776, and was signed by delegates from the thirteen colonies,
or States as they then called themselves. These delegates in this
document declare themselves to be the representatives of the United
States of America in general Congress assembled. The opening
and close of this declaration have in them much that is grand
and striking; the greater part of it, however, is given up to
enumerating, in paragraph after paragraph, the sins committed by
George III. against the colonies. Poor George III.! There is no one
now to say a good word for him; but of all those who have spoken ill
of him, this declaration is the loudest in its censure.

In the following year, on the 15th November, 1777, were drawn up
the Articles of Confederation between the States, by which it was
then intended that a sufficient bond and compact should be made for
their future joint existence and preservation. A reference to this
document, which, together with the Declaration of Independence and
the subsequently framed Constitution of the United States, is given
in the Appendix, will show how slight was the then intended bond of
union between the States. The second article declares that each State
retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence. The third article
avows that "the said States hereby severally enter into a firm league
of friendship with each other for their common defence, the security
of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding
themselves to assist each other against all force offered to, or
attacks made upon, them, or any of them, on account of religion,
sovereignty, trade, or any other pretext whatever." And the third
article, "the better to secure and perpetuate mutual friendship,"
declares that the free citizens of one State shall be free citizens
of another. From this it is, I think, manifest that no idea of one
united nation had at that time been received and adopted by the
citizens of the States. The articles then go on to define the way
in which Congress shall assemble and what shall be its powers. This
Congress was to exercise the authority of a national Government
rather than perform the work of a national Parliament. It was
intended to be executive rather than legislative. It was to consist
of delegates, the very number of which within certain limits was to
be left to the option of the individual States, and to this Congress
was to be confided certain duties and privileges, which could not
be performed or exercised separately by the Governments of the
individual States. One special article, the eleventh, enjoins that
"Canada, acceding to the Confederation, and joining in the measures
of the United States, shall be admitted into and entitled to all
the advantages of this Union; but no other colony shall be admitted
into the same unless such admission be agreed to by nine States." I
mention this to show how strong was the expectation at that time that
Canada also would revolt from England. Up to this day few Americans
can understand why Canada has declined to join her lot to them.

But the compact between the different States made by the Articles of
Confederation, and the mode of national procedure therein enjoined,
were found to be inefficient for the wants of a people who to be
great must be united in fact as well as in name. The theory of the
most democratic among the Americans of that day was in favour of
self-government carried to an extreme. Self-government was the Utopia
which they had determined to realize, and they were unwilling to
diminish the reality of the self-government of the individual States
by any centralization of power in one head, or in one Parliament, or
in one set of ministers for the nation. For ten years, from 1777 to
1787, the attempt was made; but then it was found that a stronger
bond of nationality was indispensable, if any national greatness
was to be regarded as desirable. Indeed, all manner of failure had
attended the mode of national action ordained by the Articles of
Confederation. I am not attempting to write a history of the United
States, and will not therefore trouble my readers with historic
details, which are not of value unless put forward with historic
weight. The fact of the failure is however admitted, and the present
written constitution of the United States, which is the splendid
result of that failure, was "Done in Convention by the unanimous
consent of the States present."* Twelve States were present,--Rhode
Island apparently having had no representative on the occasion,--on
the 17th September, 1787, and in the twelfth year of the Independence
of the United States.

  *It must not, however, be supposed that by this "doing in
   convention," the constitution became an accepted fact. It simply
   amounted to the adoption of a proposal of the constitution.
   The constitution itself was formally adopted by the people in
   conventions held in their separate State capitals. It was agreed
   to by the people in 1788, and came into operation in 1789.

I call the result splendid, seeing that under this constitution so
written a nation has existed for three quarters of a century and
has grown in numbers, power, and wealth till it has made itself the
political equal of the other greatest nations of the earth. And it
cannot be said that it has so grown in spite of the constitution, or
by ignoring the constitution. Hitherto the laws there laid down for
the national guidance have been found adequate for the great purpose
assigned to them, and have done all that which the framers of them
hoped that they might effect. We all know what has been the fate of
the constitutions which were written throughout the French revolution
for the use of France. We all, here in England, have the same
ludicrous conception of Utopian theories of government framed by
philosophical individuals who imagine that they have learned from
books a perfect system of managing nations. To produce such theories
is especially the part of a Frenchman; to disbelieve in them is
especially the part of an Englishman. But in the States a system of
government has been produced, under a written constitution, in which
no Englishman can disbelieve, and which every Frenchman must envy.
It has done its work. The people have been free, well-educated,
and politically great. Those among us who are most inclined at the
present moment to declare that the institutions of the United States
have failed, can at any rate only declare that they have failed in
their finality; that they have shown themselves to be insufficient to
carry on the nation in its advancing strides through all times. They
cannot deny that an amount of success and prosperity, much greater
than the nation even expected for itself, has been achieved under
this constitution and in connection with it. If it be so they cannot
disbelieve in it. Let those who now say that it is insufficient,
consider what their prophecies regarding it would have been had they
been called on to express their opinions concerning it when it was
proposed in 1787. If the future as it has since come forth had then
been foretold for it, would not such a prophecy have been a prophecy
of success? That constitution is now at the period of its hardest
trial, and at this moment one may hardly dare to speak of it with
triumph; but looking at the nation even in its present position, I
think I am justified in saying that its constitution is one in which
no Englishman can disbelieve. When I also say that it is one which
every Frenchman must envy, perhaps I am improperly presuming that
Frenchmen could not look at it with Englishmen's eyes.

When the constitution came to be written, a man had arisen in the
States who was peculiarly suited for the work in hand; he was one
of those men to whom the world owes much, and of whom the world in
general knows but little. This was Alexander Hamilton, who alone on
the part of the great State of New York signed the constitution of
the United States. The other States sent two, three, four, or more
delegates; New York sent Hamilton alone; but in sending him New York
sent more to the constitution than all the other States together. I
should be hardly saying too much for Hamilton if I were to declare
that all those parts of the constitution emanated from him in which
permanent political strength has abided. And yet his name has not
been spread abroad widely in men's mouths. Of Jefferson, Franklin,
and Madison, we have all heard; our children speak of them and they
are household words in the nursery of history. Of Hamilton however it
may, I believe, be said that he was greater than any of those.

Without going with minuteness into the early contests of democracy
in the United States, I think I may say that there soon arose two
parties, each probably equally anxious in the cause of freedom,
one of which was conspicuous for its French predilections, and the
other for its English aptitudes. It was the period of the French
revolution,--the time when the French revolution had in it as yet
something of promise, and had not utterly disgraced itself. To many
in America the French theory of democracy not unnaturally endeared
itself, and foremost among these was Thomas Jefferson. He was the
father of those politicians in the States who have since taken the
name of democrats, and in accordance with whose theory it has come to
pass that everything has been referred to the universal suffrage of
the people. James Madison, who succeeded Jefferson as President, was
a pupil in this school, as indeed have been most of the Presidents of
the United States. At the head of the other party, from which through
various denominations have sprung those who now call themselves
republicans, was Alexander Hamilton. I believe I may say that all the
political sympathies of George Washington were with the same school.
Washington, however, was rather a man of feeling and of action, than
of theoretical policy or speculative opinion. When the constitution
was written, Jefferson was in France, having been sent thither as
minister from the United States, and he therefore was debarred from
concerning himself personally in the matter. His views, however,
were represented by Madison, and it is now generally understood that
the Constitution, as it stands, is the joint work of Madison and
Hamilton.* The democratic bias, of which it necessarily contains
much, and without which it could not have obtained the consent of
the people, was furnished by Madison; but the conservative elements,
of which it possesses much more than superficial observers of the
American form of government are wont to believe, came from Hamilton.

  *It should, perhaps, be explained that the views of Madison
   were originally not opposed to those of Hamilton. Madison,
   however, gradually adopted the policy of Jefferson,--his policy
   rather than his philosophy.

The very preamble of the constitution at once declares that the
people of the different States do hereby join themselves together
with the view of forming themselves into one nation. "We, the
people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union,
establish justice, ensure domestic tranquillity, provide for the
common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings
of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish
this constitution for the United States of America." Here a great
step was made towards centralization,--towards one national
government and the binding together of the States into one nation.
But from that time down to the present, the contest has been going
on, sometimes openly and sometimes only within the minds of men,
between the still alleged sovereignty of the individual States and
the acknowledged sovereignty of the central Congress and central
Government. The disciples of Jefferson,--even though they have
not known themselves to be his disciples,--have been carrying on
that fight for State rights which has ended in secession; and the
disciples of Hamilton,--certainly not knowing themselves to be his
disciples,--have been making that stand for central government, and
for the one acknowledged republic, which is now at work in opposing
secession, and which, even though secession should to some extent
be accomplished, will, we may hope, nevertheless, and not the less
on account of such secession, conquer and put down the spirit of

The political contest of parties which is being waged now, and which
has been waged throughout the history of the United States, has
been pursued on one side in support of that idea of an undivided
nationality of which I have spoken,--of a nationality in which the
interests of a part should be esteemed as the interests of the whole;
and on the other side it has been pursued in opposition to that idea.
I will not here go into the interminable question of slavery,--though
it is on that question that the southern or democratic States have
most loudly declared their own sovereign rights and their aversion to
national interference. Were I to do so I should fail in my present
object of explaining the nature of the constitution of the United
States. But I protest against any argument which shall be used to
show that the constitution has failed because it has allowed slavery
to produce the present division among the States. I myself think that
the Southern or Gulf States will go. I will not pretend to draw the
exact line, or to say how many of them are doomed; but I believe that
South Carolina with Georgia, and perhaps five or six others, will be
extruded from the Union. But their very extrusion will be a political
success, and will, in fact, amount to a virtual acknowledgment in
the body of the Union of the truth of that system for which the
conservative republican party has contended. If the North obtain
the power of settling that question of boundary, the abandonment of
those southern States will be a success, even though the privilege of
retaining them be the very point for which the North is now in arms.

The first clause of the constitution declares that all the
legislative powers granted by the constitution shall be vested
in a Congress, which shall consist of a Senate and of a House of
Representatives. The House of Representatives is to be rechosen every
two years, and shall be elected by the people, such persons in each
State having votes for the national Congress as have votes for the
legislature of their own States. If therefore South Carolina should
choose--as she has chosen--to declare that the electors of her own
legislature shall possess a property qualification, the electors
of members of Congress from South Carolina must also have that
qualification. In Massachusetts universal suffrage now prevails,
although it is not long since a low property qualification prevailed
even in Massachusetts. It therefore follows that members of the House
of Representatives in Congress need by no means be all chosen on the
same principle. As a fact, universal suffrage* and vote by ballot,
that is by open voting papers, prevail in the States, but they do not
so prevail by virtue of any enactment of the constitution. The laws
of the States, however, require that the voter shall have been a
resident in the State for some period, and generally either deny
the right of voting to negroes, or so hamper that privilege that
practically it amounts to the same thing.

  *Perhaps the better word would have been manhood suffrage;
   and even that word should be taken with certain restrictions.
   Aliens, minors, convicts, and men who pay no taxes cannot vote.
   In some States none can vote unless they can read and write.
   In some there is a property qualification. In all there are
   special restrictions against negroes. There is in none an
   absolutely universal suffrage. But I keep the name as it best
   expresses to us in England the system of franchise which has
   practically come to prevail in the United States.

The Senate of the United States is composed of two senators from each
State. These senators are chosen for six years, and are elected in a
manner which shows the conservative tendency of the constitution with
more signification than perhaps any other rule which it contains.
This branch of Congress, which, as I shall presently endeavour to
show, is by far the more influential of the two, is not in any way
elected by the people. "The Senate of the United States shall be
composed of two senators from each State, _chosen by the legislature
thereof_, for six years, and each senator shall have one voice."
The Senate sent to Congress is therefore elected by the State
legislatures. Each State legislature has two Houses; and the senators
sent from that State to Congress are either chosen by vote of the
two Houses voting together--which is, I believe, the mode adopted
in most States, or are voted for in the two Houses separately--in
which cases, when different candidates have been nominated, the
two Houses confer by committees and settle the matter between them.
The conservative purpose of the constitution is here sufficiently
evident. The intention has been to take the election of the senators
away from the people, and to confide it to that body in each State
which may be regarded as containing its best trusted citizens. It
removes the senators far away from the democratic element, and
renders them liable to the necessity of no popular canvas. Nor am I
aware that the constitution has failed in keeping the ground which it
intended to hold in this matter. On some points its selected rocks
and chosen standing ground have slipped from beneath its feet, owing
to the weakness of words in defining and making solid the intended
prohibitions against democracy. The wording of the constitution has
been regarded by the people as sacred; but the people has considered
itself justified in opposing the spirit as long as it revered the
letter of the constitution. And this was natural. For the letter
of the constitution can be read by all men; but its spirit can be
understood comparatively but by few. As regards the election of the
senators, I believe that it has been fairly made by the legislatures
of the different States. I have not heard it alleged that members
of the State legislatures have been frequently constrained by
the outside popular voice to send this or that man as senator to
Washington. It was clearly not the intention of those who wrote the
constitution that they should be so constrained. But the Senators
themselves in Washington have submitted to restraint. On subjects in
which the people are directly interested they submit to instructions
from the legislatures which have sent them as to the side on which
they shall vote, and justify themselves in voting against their
convictions by the fact that they have received such instructions.
Such a practice, even with the members of a House which has been
directly returned by popular election, is, I think, false to the
intention of the system. It has clearly been intended that confidence
should be put in the chosen candidate for the term of his duty,
and that the electors are to be bound in the expression of their
opinion by his sagacity and patriotism for that term. A member of
a representative House so chosen, who votes at the bidding of his
constituency in opposition to his convictions, is manifestly false to
his charge, and may be presumed to be thus false in deference to his
own personal interests, and with a view to his own future standing
with his constituents. Pledges before election may be fair, because
a pledge given is after all but the answer to a question asked. A
voter may reasonably desire to know a candidate's opinion on any
matter of political interest before he votes for or against him.
The representative when returned should be free from the necessity
of further pledges. But if this be true with a House elected by
popular suffrage, how much more than true must it be with a chamber
collected together as the Senate of the United States is collected!
Nevertheless it is the fact that many senators, especially those
who have been sent to the House as democrats, do allow the State
legislatures to dictate to them their votes, and that they do hold
themselves absolved from the personal responsibility of their
votes by such dictation. This is one place in which the rock which
was thought to have been firm has slipped away, and the sands of
democracy have made their way through. But with reference to this it
is always in the power of the Senate to recover its own ground, and
re-establish its own dignity; to the people in this matter the words
of the constitution give no authority, and all that is necessary for
the recovery of the old practice is a more conservative tendency
throughout the country generally. That there is such a conservative
tendency no one can doubt; the fear is whether it may not work too
quickly and go too far.

In speaking of these instructions given to senators at Washington,
I should explain that such instructions are not given by all States,
nor are they obeyed by all senators. Occasionally they are made in
the form of requests, the word "instruct" being purposely laid aside.
Requests of the same kind are also made to representatives, who, as
they are not returned by the State legislatures, are not considered
to be subject to such instructions. The form used is as follows: "We
instruct our senators and request our representatives," &c. &c.

The senators are elected for six years, but the same Senate does not
sit entire throughout that term. The whole chamber is divided into
three equal portions or classes, and a portion goes out at the end of
every second year; so that a third of the Senate comes in afresh with
every new House of Representatives. The Vice-President of the United
States, who is elected with the President, and who is not a senator
by election from any State, is the ex-officio President of the
Senate. Should the President of the United States vacate his seat
by death or otherwise, the Vice-President becomes President of the
United States; and in such case the Senate elects its own President
pro tempore.

In speaking of the Senate, I must point out a matter to which the
constitution does not allude, but which is of the gravest moment in
the political fabric of the nation. Each State sends two senators
to Congress. These two are sent altogether independently of the
population which they represent, or of the number of members which
the same State supplies to the Lower House. When the constitution
was framed, Delaware was to send one member to the House of
Representatives, and Pennsylvania eight; nevertheless, each of these
States sent two senators. It would seem strange that a young people,
commencing business as a nation on a basis intended to be democratic,
should consent to a system so directly at variance with the theory of
popular representation. It reminds one of the old days when Yorkshire
returned two members, and Rutlandshire two also. And the discrepancy
has greatly increased as young States have been added to the Union,
while the old States have increased in population. New York, with a
population of about 4,000,000, and with thirty-three members in the
House of Representatives, sends two senators to Congress. The new
State of Oregon, with a population of 50,000 or 60,000, and with one
member in the House of Representatives, sends also two senators to
Congress. But though it would seem that in such a distribution of
legislative power, the young nation was determined to preserve some
of the old fantastic traditions of the mother-country which it had
just repudiated; the fact, I believe, is that this system, apparently
so opposed to all democratic tendencies, was produced and specially
insisted upon by democracy itself. Where would be the State
sovereignty and individual existence of Rhode Island and Delaware,
unless they could maintain, in at least one House of Congress, their
State equality with that of all other States in the Union? In those
early days, when the constitution was being framed, there was nothing
to force the small States into a Union with those whose populations
preponderated. Each State was sovereign in its municipal system,
having preserved the boundaries of the old colony, together with the
liberties and laws given to it under its old colonial charter. A
union might be, and no doubt was, desirable; but it was to be a union
of sovereign States, each retaining equal privileges in that union,
and not a fusion of the different populations into one homogeneous
whole. No State was willing to abandon its own individuality, and
least of all were the small States willing to do so. It was therefore
ordained that the House of Representatives should represent the
people, and that the Senate should represent the States.

From that day to the present time the arrangement of which I am
speaking has enabled the democratic or southern party to contend
at a great advantage with the republicans of the North. When the
constitution was founded, the seven northern States--I call those
northern which are now free-soil States, and those southern in which
the institution of slavery now prevails--the seven northern States
were held to be entitled by their population to send thirty-five
members to the House of Representatives, and they sent fourteen
members to the Senate. The six southern States were entitled to
thirty members in the Lower House, and to twelve senators. Thus the
proportion was about equal for the North and South. But now,--or
rather in 1860, when secession commenced,--the northern States,
owing to the increase of population in the North, sent one hundred
and fifty representatives to Congress, having nineteen States and
thirty-eight senators; whereas the South, with fifteen States and
thirty senators, was entitled by its population to only ninety
representatives, although by a special rule in its favour, which
I will presently explain, it was in fact allowed a greater number
of representatives in proportion to its population than the North.
Had an equal balance been preserved, the South, with its ninety
representatives in the Lower House, would have but twenty-three
senators, instead of thirty, in the Upper.* But these numbers
indicate to us the recovery of political influence in the North,
rather than the pride of the power of the South; for the South,
in its palmy days, had much more in its favour than I have above
described as its position in 1860. Kansas had then just become a
free-soil State, after a terrible struggle, and shortly previous
to that Oregon and Minnesota, also free States, had been added to
the Union. Up to that date the slave States sent thirty senators to
Congress, and the free States only thirty-two. In addition to this
when Texas was annexed and converted into a State, a clause was
inserted into the Act giving authority for the future subdivision
of that State into four different States as its population should
increase, thereby enabling the South to add senators to its own party
from time to time, as the northern States might increase in number.

  *It is worthy of note that the new northern and western States
   have been brought into the Union by natural increase and the
   spread of population. But this has not been so with the new
   southern States. Louisiana and Florida were purchased, and Texas

And here I must explain, in order that the nature of the contest may
be understood, that the senators from the South maintained themselves
ever in a compact body, voting together, true to each other,
disciplined as a party, understanding the necessity of yielding in
small things in order that their general line of policy might be
maintained. But there was no such system, no such observance of
political tactics among the senators of the North. Indeed, they
appear to have had no general line of politics, having been divided
among themselves on various matters. Many had strong southern
tendencies, and many more were willing to obtain official power by
the help of southern votes. There was no great bond of union among
them, as slavery was among the senators from the South. And thus,
from these causes, the power of the Senate and the power of the
Government fell into the hands of the southern party.

I am aware that in going into these matters here I am departing
somewhat from the subject of which this chapter is intended to treat;
but I do not know that I could explain in any shorter way the manner
in which those rules of the constitution have worked by which the
composition of the Senate is fixed. That State basis, as opposed to a
basis of population in the Upper House of Congress, has been the one
great political weapon, both of offence and defence, in the hands of
the democratic party. And yet I am not prepared to deny that great
wisdom was shown in the framing of the constitution of the Senate. It
was the object of none of the politicians then at work to create a
code of rules for the entire governance of a single nation such as
is England or France. Nor, had any American politician of the time
so desired, would he have had reasonable hope of success. A federal
union of separate sovereign States was the necessity, as it was also
the desire, of all those who were concerned in the American policy of
the day; and I think it may be understood and maintained that no such
federal union would have been just, or could have been accepted by
the smaller States, which did not in some direct way recognize their
equality with the larger States. It is moreover to be observed, that
in this, as in all matters, the claims of the minority were treated
with indulgence. No ordinance of the constitution is made in a
niggardly spirit. It would seem as though they who met together to
do the work had been actuated by no desire for selfish preponderance
or individual influence. No ambition to bind close by words which
shall be exacting as well as exact is apparent. A very broad power of
interpretation is left to those who were to be the future
interpreters of the written document.

It is declared that "Representation and direct taxes shall be
apportioned among the several States which may be included within
this Union according to their respective numbers," thereby meaning
that representation and taxation in the several States shall be
adjusted according to the population. This clause ordains that
throughout all the States a certain amount of population shall
return a member to the Lower House of Congress,--say one member to
100,000 persons, as is I believe about the present proportion,--and
that direct taxation shall be levied according to the number of
representatives. If New York return thirty-three members and Kansas
one, on New York shall be levied, for the purposes of the United
States' revenue, thirty-three times as much direct taxation as on
Kansas. This matter of direct taxation was not then, nor has it been
since, matter of much moment. No direct taxation has hitherto been
levied in the United States for national purposes. But the time has
now come when this proviso will be a terrible stumbling-block in the

But before we go into that matter of taxation, I must explain how the
South was again favoured with reference to its representation. As a
matter of course no slaves, or even negroes--no men of colour--were
to vote in the southern States. Therefore, one would say, that
in counting up the people with reference to the number of the
representatives, the coloured population should be ignored
altogether. But it was claimed on behalf of the South that their
property in slaves should be represented, and in compliance with this
claim, although no slave can vote or in any way demand the services
of a representative, the coloured people are reckoned among the
population. When the numbers of the free persons are counted, to this
number is added "three-fifths of all other persons." Five slaves are
thus supposed to represent three white persons. From the wording,
one would be led to suppose that there was some other category into
which a man might be put besides that of free or slave! But it may
be observed, that on this subject of slavery the framers of the
constitution were tender-mouthed. They never speak of slavery or
of a slave. It is necessary that the subject should be mentioned,
and therefore we hear first of persons other than free, and then of
persons bound to labour!

Such were the rules laid down for the formation of Congress, and the
letter of those rules has, I think, been strictly observed. I have
not thought it necessary to give all the clauses, but I believe I
have stated those which are essential to a general understanding of
the basis upon which Congress is founded. A reference to the Appendix
will show all those which I have omitted.

The constitution ordains that members of both the Houses shall be
paid for their time, but it does not decree the amount. "The senators
and representatives shall receive a compensation for their services,
to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United
States." In the remarks which I have made as to the present Congress
I have spoken of the amount now allowed. The understanding, I
believe, is that the pay shall be enough for the modest support of
a man who is supposed to have raised himself above the heads of the
crowd. Much may be said in favour of this payment of legislators,
but very much may also be said against it. There was a time when our
members of the House of Commons were entitled to payment for their
services, and when, at any rate, some of them took the money. It
may be that with a new nation such an arrangement was absolutely
necessary. Men whom the people could trust, and who would have been
able to give up their time without payment, would not have probably
been found in a new community. The choice of senators and of
representatives would have been so limited that the legislative power
would have fallen into the hands of a few rich men. Indeed it may be
said that such payment was absolutely necessary in the early days
of the life of the Union. But no one, I think, will deny that the
tone of both Houses would be raised by the gratuitous service of the
legislators. It is well known that politicians find their way into
the Senate and into the Chamber of Representatives solely with a
view to the loaves and fishes. The very word "politician" is foul
and unsavoury throughout the States, and means rather a political
blackleg than a political patriot. It is useless to blink this matter
in speaking of the politics and policy of the United States. The
corruption of the venial politicians of the nation stinks aloud in
the nostrils of all men. It behoves the country to look to this.
It is time now that she should do so. The people of the nation are
educated and clever. The women are bright and beautiful. Her charity
is profuse; her philanthropy is eager and true; her national ambition
is noble and honest,--honest in the cause of civilization. But she
has soiled herself with political corruption, and has disgraced the
cause of republican government by the dirt of those whom she has
placed in her high places. Let her look to it now. She is nobly
ambitious of reputation throughout the earth; she desires to be
called good as well as great; to be regarded not only as powerful,
but also as beneficent. She is creating an army; she is forging
cannon and preparing to build impregnable ships of war. But all these
will fail to satisfy her pride, unless she can cleanse herself from
that corruption by which her political democracy has debased itself.
A politician should be a man worthy of all honour, in that he loves
his country; and not one worthy of all contempt, in that he robs his

I must not be understood as saying that every senator and
representative who takes his pay is wrong in taking it. Indeed, I
have already expressed an opinion that such payments were at first
necessary, and I by no means now say that the necessity has as yet
disappeared. In the minds of thorough democrats it will be considered
much that the poorest man of the people should be enabled to go into
the legislature, if such poorest man be worthy of that honour. I am
not a thorough democrat, and consider that more would be gained by
obtaining in the legislature that education, demeanour, and freedom
from political temptation which easy circumstances produce. I am not,
however, on this account inclined to quarrel with the democrats,--not
on that account if they can so manage their affairs that their poor
and popular politicians shall be fairly honest men. But I am a
thorough republican, regarding our own English form of government
as the most purely republican that I know, and as such I have a
close and warm sympathy with those trans-Atlantic anti-monarchical
republicans who are endeavouring to prove to the world that they have
at length founded a political Utopia. I for one do not grudge them
all the good they can do, all the honour they can win. But I grieve
over the evil name which now taints them, and which has accompanied
that wider spread of democracy which the last twenty years has
produced. This longing for universal suffrage in all things--in
voting for the President, in voting for judges, in voting for the
representatives, in dictating to senators, has come up since the days
of President Jackson, and with it has come corruption and unclean
hands. Democracy must look to it, or the world at large will declare
her to have failed.

One would say that at any rate the Senate might be filled with unpaid
servants of the public. Each State might surely find two men who
could afford to attend to the public weal of their country without
claiming a compensation for their time. In England we find no
difficulty in being so served. Those cities among us in which the
democratic element most strongly abounds, can procure representatives
to their mind--even though the honour of filling the position is not
only not remunerative, but is very costly. I cannot but think that
the Senate of the United States would stand higher in the public
estimation of its own country if it were an unpaid body of men.

It is enjoined that no person holding any office under the United
States shall be a member of either House during his continuance in
office. At first sight such a rule as this appears to be good in
its nature; but a comparison of the practice of the United States'
Government with that of our own makes me think that this embargo
on members of the legislative bodies is a mistake. It prohibits
the President's ministers from a seat in either House, and thereby
relieves them from the weight of that responsibility to which our
ministers are subjected. It is quite true that the United States'
ministers cannot be responsible as are our ministers, seeing that
the President himself is responsible and that the Queen is not so.
Indeed, according to the theory of the American constitution, the
President has no ministers. The constitution speaks only of the
principal officers of the executive departments. "He," the President,
"may require the opinion in writing of the principal officer in each
of the executive departments." But in practice he has his cabinet,
and the irresponsibility of that cabinet would practically cease
if the members of it were subjected to the questionings of the two
Houses. With us the rule which prohibits servants of the State from
going into Parliament is, like many of our constitutional rules, hard
to be defined, and yet perfectly understood. It may perhaps be said,
with the nearest approach to a correct definition, that permanent
servants of the State may not go into Parliament, and that those may
do so whose services are political, depending for the duration of
their term on the duration of the existing ministry. But even this
would not be exact, seeing that the Master of the Rolls and the
officers of the army and navy can sit in Parliament. The absence
of the President's ministers from Congress certainly occasions
much confusion, or rather prohibits a more thorough political
understanding between the executive and the legislative than now
exists. In speaking of the Government of the United States in the
next chapter, I shall be constrained to allude again to this

  *It will be alleged by Americans that the introduction into
   Congress of the President's ministers would alter all the
   existing relations of the President and of Congress, and would
   at once produce that Parliamentary form of Government which
   England possesses, and which the States have chosen to avoid.
   Such a change would elevate Congress, and depress the President.
   No doubt this is true. Such elevation, however, and such
   depression seem to me to be the two things needed.

The duties of the House of Representatives are solely legislative.
Those of the Senate are legislative and executive--as with us those
of the Upper House are legislative and judicial. The House of
Representatives is always open to the public. The Senate is so open
when it is engaged on legislative work; but it is closed to the
public when engaged in executive session. No treaties can be made by
the President, and no appointments to high offices confirmed without
the consent of the Senate; and this consent must be given--as regards
the confirmation of treaties--by two-thirds of the members present.
This law gives to the Senate the power of debating with closed
doors upon the nature of all treaties, and upon the conduct of the
Government as evinced in the nomination of the officers of State.
It also gives to the Senate a considerable control over the foreign
relations of the Government. I believe that this power is often used,
and that by it the influence of the Senate is raised much above
that of the Lower House. This influence is increased again by the
advantage of that superior statecraft and political knowledge which
the six years of the senator gives him over the two years of the
representative. The tried representative, moreover, very frequently
blossoms into a senator; but a senator does not frequently fade into
a representative. Such occasionally is the case, and it is not even
unconstitutional for an ex-President to re-appear in either House.
Mr. Benton, after thirty years' service in the Senate, sat in the
House of Representatives. Mr. Crittenden, who was returned as senator
by Kentucky, I think seven times, now sits in the Lower House; and
John Quincy Adams appeared as a representative from Massachusetts
after he had filled the Presidential chair.

And, moreover, the Senate of the United States is not debarred from
an interference with money bills, as the House of Lords is debarred
with us. "All bills for raising revenue," says the seventh section
of the first article of the constitution, "shall originate with the
House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with
amendments as on other bills." By this the Senate is enabled to have
an authority in the money matters of the nation almost equal to that
held by the Lower House,--an authority quite sufficient to preserve
to it the full influence of its other powers. With us the House
of Commons is altogether in the ascendant, because it holds and
jealously keeps to itself the exclusive command of the public purse.

Congress can levy custom duties in the United States, and always has
done so; hitherto the national revenue has been exclusively raised
from custom duties. It cannot levy duties on imports. It can levy
excise duties, and is now doing so; hitherto it has not done so. It
can levy direct taxes, such as an income-tax and a property-tax; it
hitherto has not done so, but now must do so. It must do so, I think
I am justified in saying; but its power of doing this is so hampered
by constitutional enactment, that it would seem that the constitution
as regards this heading must be altered before any scheme can be
arranged by which a moderately just income-tax can be levied and
collected. This difficulty I have already mentioned, but perhaps it
will be well that I should endeavour to make the subject more plain.
It is specially declared, "That all duties, imposts, and excises
shall be uniform throughout the United States." And again, "That no
capitation or other direct tax shall be laid, unless in proportion
to the census or enumeration hereinbefore directed to be taken." And
again, in the words before quoted, "Representatives and direct taxes
shall be apportioned among the several States which shall be included
in this Union, according to their respective numbers." By these
repeated rules it has been intended to decree that the separate
States shall bear direct taxation according to their population and
the consequent number of their representatives; and this intention
has been made so clear, that no direct taxation can be levied in
opposition to it without an evident breach of the constitution. To
explain the way in which this will work, I will name the two States
of Rhode Island and Iowa as opposed to each other, and the two States
of Massachusetts and Indiana as opposed to each other. Rhode Island
and Massachusetts are wealthy Atlantic States, containing, as regards
enterprise and commercial success, the cream of the population of the
United States. Comparing them in the ratio of population, I believe
that they are richer than any other States. They return between them
thirteen representatives, Rhode Island sending two and Massachusetts
eleven. Iowa and Indiana also send thirteen representatives, Iowa
sending two, and being thus equal to Rhode Island; Indiana sending
eleven and being thus equal to Massachusetts. Iowa and Indiana are
western States; and though I am not prepared to say that they are
the poorest States of the Union, I can assert that they are exactly
opposite in their circumstances to Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
The two Atlantic States of New England are old established, rich,
and commercial. The two western States I have named are full of
new immigrants, are comparatively poor, and are agricultural.
Nevertheless any direct taxation levied on those in the East and
on those in the West must be equal in its weight. Iowa must pay as
much as Rhode Island; Indiana must pay as much as Massachusetts.
But Rhode Island and Massachusetts could pay without the sacrifice
of any comfort to its people, without any sensible suffering, an
amount of direct taxation which would crush the States of Iowa and
Indiana,--which indeed no tax-gatherer could collect out of those
States. Rhode Island and Massachusetts could with their ready money
buy Iowa and Indiana; and yet the income-tax to be collected from
the poor States is to be the same in amount as that collected from
the rich States. Within each individual State the total amount of
income-tax or of other direct taxation to be levied from that State
may be apportioned as the State may think fit; but an income-tax of
two per cent. on Rhode Island would probably produce more than an
income-tax of ten per cent. in Iowa; whereas Rhode Island could pay
an income-tax of ten per cent. easier than could Iowa one of two per

It would in fact appear that the constitution as at present framed is
fatal to all direct taxation. Any law for the collection of direct
taxation levied under the constitution would produce internecine
quarrel between the western States and those which border on the
Atlantic. The western States would not submit to the taxation. The
difficulty which one here feels is that which always attends an
attempt at finality in political arrangements. One would be inclined
to say at once that the law should be altered, and that as the money
required is for the purposes of the Union and for State purposes,
such a change should be made as would enable Congress to levy an
income-tax on the general income of the nation. But Congress cannot
go beyond the constitution.

It is true that the constitution is not final, and that it contains
an express article ordaining the manner in which it may be amended.
And perhaps I may as well explain here the manner in which this can
be done, although by doing so, I am departing from the order in which
the constitution is written. It is not final, and amendments have
been made to it. But the making of such amendments is an operation
so ponderous and troublesome, that the difficulty attached to any
such change envelops the constitution with many of the troubles of
finality. With us there is nothing beyond an act of parliament. An
act of parliament with us cannot be unconstitutional. But no such
power has been confided to Congress, or to Congress and the President
together. No amendment of the constitution can be made without
the sanction of the State legislatures. Congress may propose any
amendments, as to the expediency of which two-thirds of both Houses
shall be agreed; but before such amendments can be accepted they must
be ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the States, or
by conventions in three-fourths of the States, "as the one or the
other mode of ratification may be proposed by Congress." Or Congress,
instead of proposing the amendments, may, on an application from the
legislatures of two-thirds of the different States, call a convention
for the proposing of them. In which latter case the ratification by
the different States must be made after the same fashion as that
required in the former case. I do not know that I have succeeded
in making clearly intelligible the circumstances under which the
constitution can be amended; but I think I may have succeeded in
explaining that those circumstances are difficult and tedious. In a
matter of taxation why should States agree to an alteration proposed
with the very object of increasing their proportion of the national
burden? But unless such States will agree,--unless Rhode Island,
Massachusetts, and New York will consent to put their own necks into
the yoke,--direct taxation cannot be levied on them in a manner
available for national purposes. I do believe that Rhode Island and
Massachusetts at present possess a patriotism sufficient for such an
act. But the mode of doing the work will create disagreement, or at
any rate, tedious delay and difficulty. How shall the constitution be
constitutionally amended while one-third of the States are in revolt?

In the eighth section of its first article the Constitution gives
a list of the duties which Congress shall perform,--of things, in
short, which it shall do, or shall have power to do:--To raise taxes;
to regulate commerce and the naturalization of citizens; to coin
money and protect it when coined; to establish postal communication;
to make laws for defence of patents and copyrights; to constitute
national courts of law inferior to the Supreme Court; to punish
piracies; to declare war; to raise, pay for, and govern armies,
navies, and militia; and to exercise exclusive legislation in a
certain district which shall contain the seat of Government of the
United States, and which is therefore to be regarded as belonging to
the nation at large, and not to any particular State. This district
is now called the district of Columbia. It is situated on the Potomac
and contains the city of Washington.

Then the ninth section of the same article declares what Congress
shall not do. Certain immigration shall not be prohibited; _the
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended_,
except under certain circumstances; no ex post facto law shall be
passed; no direct tax shall be laid unless in proportion to the
census; no tax shall be laid on exports; no money shall be drawn from
the treasury but by legal appropriation; no title of nobility shall
be granted.

The above are lists or catalogues of the powers which Congress has,
and of the powers which Congress has not; of what Congress may do,
and of what Congress may not do; and having given them thus seriatim,
I may here perhaps be best enabled to say a few words as to the
suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the
United States. It is generally known that this privilege has been
suspended during the existence of the present rebellion very many
times; that this has been done by the executive, and not by Congress;
and that it is maintained by the executive, and by those who defend
the conduct of the now acting executive of the United States, that
the power of suspending the writ has been given by the constitution
to the President, and not to Congress. I confess that I cannot
understand how any man, familiar either with the wording or with the
spirit of the constitution should hold such an argument. To me it
appears manifest that the executive, in suspending the privilege of
the writ without the authority of Congress, has committed a breach
of the constitution. Were the case one referring to our British
constitution, a plain man, knowing little of Parliamentary usage,
and nothing of law lore, would probably feel some hesitation in
expressing any decided opinion on such a subject, seeing that our
constitution is unwritten. But the intention has been that every
citizen of the United States should know and understand the rules
under which he is to live,--and he that runs may read.

As this matter has been argued by Mr. Horace Binney, a lawyer of
Philadelphia, much trusted, of very great and of deserved eminence
throughout the States, in a pamphlet in which he defends the
suspension of the privilege of the writ by the President, I will take
the position of the question as summed up by him in his last page,
and compare it with that clause in the constitution by which the
suspension of the privilege under certain circumstances is decreed;
and to enable me to do this I will, in the first place, quote the
words of the clause in question:--

"The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended
unless when, in case of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may
require it." It is the second clause of that section which states
what Congress shall not do.

Mr. Binney argues as follows:--"The conclusion of the whole matter
is this: that the constitution itself is the law of the privilege,
and of the exception to it; that the exception is expressed in the
constitution, and that the constitution gives effect to the act of
suspension when the conditions occur; that the conditions consist of
two matters of fact,--one a naked matter of fact, and the other a
matter-of-fact conclusion from facts, that is to say, rebellion and
the public danger, or the requirement of public safety." By these
words Mr. Binney intends to imply that the constitution itself gave
the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, and itself prescribes the
taking away of that privilege under certain circumstances. But this
is not so. The constitution does not prescribe the suspension of the
privilege of the writ under any circumstances. It says that it shall
not be suspended except under certain circumstances. Mr. Binney's
argument, if I understand it, then goes on as follows. As the
constitution prescribes the circumstances under which the privilege
of the writ shall be suspended, the one circumstance being the naked
matter-of-fact rebellion, and the other circumstance the public
safety supposed to have been endangered by such rebellion,--which Mr.
Binney calls a matter-of-fact conclusion from facts, the constitution
must be presumed itself to suspend the privilege of the writ. Whether
the President or Congress be the agent of the constitution in this
suspension is not matter of moment. Either can only be an agent,
and as Congress cannot act executively, whereas the President must
ultimately be charged with the executive administration of the
order for that suspension, which has in fact been issued by the
constitution itself, therefore the power of exercising the suspension
of the writ may properly be presumed to be in the hands of the
President, and not to be in the hands of Congress.

If I follow Mr. Binney's argument, it amounts to so much. But it
seems to me that Mr. Binney is wrong in his premises, and wrong in
his conclusion. The article of the constitution in question does not
define the conditions under which the privilege of the writ shall
be suspended. It simply states that this privilege shall never be
suspended, except under certain conditions. It shall not be suspended
unless when the public safety may require such suspension on account
of rebellion or invasion. Rebellion or invasion is not necessarily to
produce such suspension. There is indeed no naked matter of fact to
guide either President or Congress in the matter, and therefore I say
that Mr. Binney is wrong in his premises. Rebellion or invasion might
occur twenty times over, and might even endanger the public safety,
without justifying the suspension of the privilege of the writ
under the constitution. I say also that Mr. Binney is wrong in his
conclusion. The public safety must require the suspension before the
suspension can be justified, and such requirement must be a matter
for judgment, and for the exercise of discretion. Whether or no there
shall be any suspension is a matter for deliberation,--not one simply
for executive action, as though it were already ordered. There is no
matter-of-fact conclusion from facts. Should invasion or rebellion
occur, and should the public safety, in consequence of such rebellion
or invasion, require the suspension of the privilege of the writ,
then, and only then, may the privilege be suspended. But to whom
is the power, or rather the duty, of exercising this discretion
delegated? Mr. Binney says that "there is no express delegation of
the power in the constitution." I maintain that Mr. Binney is again
wrong, and that the constitution does expressly delegate the power,
not to the President, but to Congress. This is done so clearly, to my
mind, that I cannot understand the misunderstanding which has existed
in the States upon the subject. The first article of the constitution
treats "of the legislature." The second article treats "of the
executive." The third treats "of the judiciary." After that there
are certain "miscellaneous articles," so called. The eighth section
of the first article gives, as I have said before, a list of things
which the legislature or Congress shall do. The ninth section gives
a list of things which the legislature or Congress shall not do. The
second item in this list is the prohibition of any suspension of
the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, except under certain
circumstances. This prohibition is therefore expressly placed upon
Congress, and this prohibition contains the only authority under
which the privilege can be constitutionally suspended. Then comes the
article on the executive, which defines the powers that the President
shall exercise. In that article there is no word referring to the
suspension of the privilege of the writ. He that runs may read.

I say, therefore, that Mr. Lincoln's Government has committed a
breach of the constitution in taking upon itself to suspend the
privilege;--a breach against the letter of the constitution. It has
assumed a power which the constitution has not given it,--which,
indeed, the constitution, by placing it in the hands of another body,
has manifestly declined to put into the hands of the executive;
and it has also committed a breach against the spirit of the
constitution. The chief purport of the constitution is to guard the
liberties of the people, and to confide to a deliberative body the
consideration of all circumstances by which those liberties may be
affected. The President shall command the army; but Congress shall
raise and support the army. Congress shall declare war. Congress
shall coin money. Congress, by one of its bodies, shall sanction
treaties. Congress shall establish such law courts as are not
established by the constitution. Under no circumstances is the
President to decree what shall be done. But he is to do those things
which the constitution has decreed or which Congress shall decree.
It is monstrous to suppose that power over the privilege of the
writ of habeas corpus would, among such a people, and under such a
constitution, be given without limit to the chief officer, the only
condition being that there should be some rebellion. Such rebellion
might be in Utah territory; or some trouble in the uttermost bounds
of Texas would suffice. Any invasion, such as an inroad by the
savages of Old Mexico upon New Mexico, would justify an arbitrary
President in robbing all the people of all the States of their
liberties! A squabble on the borders of Canada would put such a power
into the hands of the President for four years; or the presence of an
English frigate in the St. Juan channel might be held to do so. I say
that such a theory is monstrous.

And the effect of this breach of the constitution at the present day
has been very disastrous. It has taught those who have not been close
observers of the American struggle to believe that, after all, the
Americans are indifferent as to their liberties. Such pranks have
been played before high heaven by men utterly unfitted for the use
of great power, as have scared all the nations. Mr. Lincoln, the
President by whom this unconstitutional act has been done, apparently
delegated his assumed authority to his minister, Mr. Seward. Mr.
Seward has revelled in the privilege of unrestrained arrests, and has
locked men up with reason and without. He has instituted passports
and surveillance; and placed himself at the head of an omnipresent
police system with all the gusto of a Fouché, though luckily without
a Fouché's craft or cunning. The time will probably come when Mr.
Seward must pay for this,--not with his life or liberty, but with
his reputation and political name. But in the mean time his lettres
de cachet have run everywhere through the States. The pranks which
he played were absurd, and the arrests which he made were grievous.
After a while, when it became manifest that Mr. Seward had not found
a way to success, when it was seen that he had inaugurated no great
mode of putting down rebellion, he apparently lost his power in the
cabinet. The arrests ceased, the passports were discontinued, and the
prison-doors were gradually opened. Mr. Seward was deposed, not from
the cabinet, but from the premiership of the cabinet. The suspension
of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus was not countermanded,
but the operation of the suspension was allowed to become less
and less onerous; and now, in April, 1862, within a year of the
commencement of the suspension, it has, I think, nearly died out.
The object in hand now is rather that of getting rid of political
prisoners, than of taking others.

This assumption by the government of an unconstitutional power has,
as I have said, taught many lookers-on to think that the Americans
are indifferent to their liberties. I myself do not believe that
such a conclusion would be just. During the present crisis the
strong feeling of the people--that feeling which for the moment has
been dominant--has been one in favour of the government as against
rebellion. There has been a passionate resolution to support the
nationality of the nation. Men have felt that they must make
individual sacrifices, and that such sacrifices must include a
temporary suspension of some of their constitutional rights. But I
think that this temporary suspension is already regarded with jealous
eyes;--with an increasing jealousy which will have created a reaction
against such policy as that which Mr. Seward has attempted, long
before the close of Mr. Lincoln's Presidency. I know that it is wrong
in a writer to commit himself to prophecies, but I find it impossible
to write upon this subject without doing so. As I must express a
surmise on this subject, I venture to prophesy that the Americans
of the States will soon show that they are not indifferent to the
suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. On that
matter of the illegality of the suspension by the President I feel
in my own mind that there is no doubt.

The second article of the constitution treats of the executive, and
is very short. It places the whole executive power in the hands of
the President, and explains with more detail the mode in which the
President shall be chosen, than the manner after which the duties
shall be performed. The first section states that the executive
shall be vested in a President, who shall hold his office for four
years. With him shall be chosen a Vice-President. I may here explain
that the Vice-President, as such, has no power either political or
administrative. He is, ex officio, the speaker of the Senate; and
should the President die, or be by other cause rendered unable to
act as President, the Vice-President becomes President either for
the remainder of the Presidential term or for the period of the
President's temporary absence. Twice since the constitution was
written, the President has died and the Vice-President has taken
his place. No President has vacated his position, even for a period,
through any cause other than death.

Then come the rules under which the President and Vice-President
shall be elected,--with reference to which there has been an
amendment of the constitution subsequent to the fourth presidential
election. This was found to be necessary by the circumstances of the
contest between John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Aaron Burr. It was
then found that the complications in the method of election created
by the original clause were all but unendurable, and the constitution
was amended.

I will not describe in detail the present mode of election, as the
doing so would be tedious and unnecessary. Two facts I wish, however,
to make specially noticeable and clear. The first is, that the
President of the United States is now chosen by universal suffrage;
and the second is, that the constitution expressly intended that the
President should not be chosen by universal suffrage, but by a body
of men who should enjoy the confidence and fairly represent the will
of the people. The framers of the constitution intended so to write
the words, that the people themselves should have no more immediate
concern in the nomination of the President than in that of the
Senate. They intended to provide that the election should be made in
a manner which may be described as thoroughly conservative. Those
words, however, have been inefficient for their purpose. They have
not been violated. But the spirit has been violated, while the words
have been held sacred,--and the Presidential elections are now
conducted on the widest principles of universal suffrage. They are
essentially democratic.

The arrangement, as written in the constitution, is that each State
shall appoint a body of electors equal in number to the senators and
representatives sent by that State to Congress, and that thus a body
or college of electors shall be formed equal in number to the two
joint Houses of Congress, by which the President shall be elected. No
member of Congress, however, can be appointed an elector. Thus New
York, with thirty-three representatives in the Lower House, would
name thirty-five electors; and Rhode Island, with two members in the
Lower House, would name four electors;--in each case two being added
for the two senators.

It may perhaps be doubted whether this theory of an election by
electors has ever been truly carried out. It was probably the case
even at the election of the first Presidents after Washington, that
the electors were pledged in some informal way as to the candidate
for whom they should vote; but the very idea of an election by
electors has been abandoned since the Presidency of General Jackson.
According to the theory of the constitution the privilege and the
duty of selecting a best man as President was to be delegated to
certain best men chosen for that purpose. This was the intention of
those who framed the constitution. It may, as I have said, be doubted
whether this theory has ever availed for action; but since the days
of Jackson it has been absolutely abandoned. The intention was
sufficiently conservative. The electors to whom was to be confided
this great trust, were to be chosen in their own States as each State
might think fit. The use of universal suffrage for this purpose was
neither enjoined nor forbidden in the separate States,--was neither
treated as desirable or undesirable by the constitution. Each State
was left to judge how it would elect its own electors. But the
President himself was to be chosen by those electors and not by the
people at large. The intention is sufficiently conservative, but the
intention is not carried out.

The electors are still chosen by the different States in conformity
with the bidding of the constitution. The constitution is exactly
followed in all its biddings, as far as the wording of it is
concerned; but the whole spirit of the document has been evaded in
the favour of democracy, and universal suffrage in the Presidential
elections has been adopted. The electors are still chosen, it is
true; but they are only chosen as the mouthpiece of the people's
choice, and not as the mind by which that choice shall be made. We
have all heard of Americans voting for a ticket,--for the democratic
ticket, or the republican ticket. All political voting in the States
is now managed by tickets. As regards these Presidential elections,
each party decides on a candidate. Even this primary decision is
a matter of voting among the party itself. When Mr. Lincoln was
nominated as its candidate by the republican party, the names of no
less than thirteen candidates were submitted to the delegates who
were sent to a convention at Chicago, assembled for the purpose of
fixing upon a candidate. At that convention, Mr. Lincoln was chosen
as the republican candidate; and in that convention was in fact
fought the battle which was won in Mr. Lincoln's favour, although
that convention was what we may call a private arrangement, wholly
irrespective of any constitutional enactment. Mr. Lincoln was then
proclaimed as the republican candidate, and all republicans were held
as bound to support him. When the time came for the constitutional
election of the electors, certain names were got together in each
State as representing the republican interest. These names formed
the republican ticket, and any man voting for them voted in fact
for Lincoln. There were three other parties, each represented by a
candidate, and each had its own ticket in the different States. It
is not to be supposed that the supporters of Mr. Lincoln were very
anxious about their ticket in Alabama, or those of Mr. Breckinridge
as to theirs in Massachusetts. In Alabama, a democratic slave-ticket
would of course prevail. In Massachusetts, a republican free-soil
ticket would do so. But it may, I think, be seen that in this way
the electors have in reality ceased to have any weight in the
elections,--have in very truth ceased to have the exercise of any
will whatever. They are mere names, and no more. Stat nominis umbra.
The election of the President is made by universal suffrage, and not
by a college of electors. The words as they are written are still
obeyed; but the constitution in fact has been violated, for the
spirit of it has been changed in its very essence.

The President must have been born a citizen of the United States.
This is not necessary for the holder of any other office or for a
senator or representative; he must be thirty-four years old at the
time of his election.

His executive power is almost unbounded. He is much more powerful
than any minister can be with us, and is subject to a much lighter
responsibility. He may be impeached by the House of Representatives
before the Senate, but that impeachment only goes to the removal
from office and permanent disqualification for office. But in these
days, as we all practically understand, responsibility does not mean
the fear of any great punishment, but the necessity of accounting
from day to day for public actions. A leading statesman has but
slight dread of the axe, but is in hourly fear of his opponent's
questions. The President of the United States is subject to no such
questionings; and as he does not even require a majority in either
House for the maintenance of his authority, his responsibility sits
upon him very slightly. Seeing that Mr. Buchanan has escaped any
punishment for maladministration, no President need fear the anger
of the people.

The President is Commander-in-chief of the army and of the navy. He
can grant pardons,--as regards all offences committed against the
United States. He has no power to pardon an offence committed against
the laws of any State, and as to which the culprit has been tried
before the tribunals of that State. He can make treaties; but such
treaties are not valid till they have been confirmed by two-thirds
of the senators present in executive session. He appoints all
ambassadors and other public officers,--but subject to the
confirmation of the Senate. He can convene either or both Houses of
Congress at irregular times, and under certain circumstances can
adjourn them. His executive power is in fact almost unlimited; and
this power is solely in his own hands, as the constitution knows
nothing of the President's ministers. According to the constitution
these officers are merely the heads of his bureaux. An Englishman,
however, in considering the executive power of the President, and
in making any comparison between that and the executive power of
any officer or officers attached to the Crown in England, should
always bear in mind that the President's power, and even authority,
is confined to the Federal Government, and that he has none
with reference to the individual States. Religion, education, the
administration of the general laws which concern every man and
woman, and the real de facto Government which comes home to every
house;--these things are not in any way subject to the President of
the United States.

His legislative power is also great. He has a veto upon all acts of
Congress. This veto is by no means a dead letter, as is the veto
of the Crown with us; but it is not absolute. The President, if he
refuses his sanction to a bill sent up to him from Congress, returns
it to that House in which it originated, with his objections in
writing. If, after that, such bill shall again pass through both the
Senate and the House of Representatives, receiving in each House the
approvals of two-thirds of those present, then such bill becomes law
without the President's sanction. Unless this be done the President's
veto stops the bill. This veto has been frequently used, but no bill
has yet been passed in opposition to it.

The third article of the constitution treats of the judiciary of the
United States, but as I purpose to write a chapter devoted to the law
courts and lawyers of the States, I need not here describe at length
the enactments of the constitution on this head. It is ordained that
all criminal trials, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by

There are after this certain miscellaneous articles, some of which
belong to the constitution as it stood at first, and others of which
have been since added as amendments. A citizen of one State is to
be a citizen of every State. Criminals from one State shall not
be free from pursuit in other States. Then comes a very material
enactment:--"No person held to service or labour in one State, under
the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any
law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labour;
but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service
or labour may be due." In speaking of a person held to labour the
constitution intends to speak of a slave, and the article amounts to
a fugitive slave law. If a slave run away out of South Carolina and
find his way into Massachusetts, Massachusetts shall deliver him up
when called upon to do so by South Carolina. The words certainly are
clear enough. But Massachusetts strongly objects to the delivery
of such men when so desired. Such men she has delivered up, with
many groanings and much inward perturbation of spirit. But it is
understood, not in Massachusetts only, but in the free-soil States
generally, that fugitive slaves shall not be delivered up by the
ordinary action of the laws. There is a feeling strong as that which
we entertain with reference to the rendition of slaves from Canada.
With such a clause in the constitution as that, it is hardly too much
to say that no free-soil State will consent to constitutional action.
Were it expunged from the constitution, no slave State would consent
to live under it. It is a point as to which the advocates of slavery
and the enemies of slavery cannot be brought to act in union. But on
this head I have already said what little I have to say.

New States may be admitted by Congress, but the bounds of no old
State shall be altered without the consent of such State. Congress
shall have power to rule and dispose of the territories and property
of the United States. The United States guarantee every State a
republican form of Government; but the constitution does not define
that form of Government. An ordinary citizen of the United States,
if asked, would probably say that it included that description of
franchise which I have called universal suffrage. Such, however, was
not the meaning of those who framed the constitution. The ordinary
citizen would probably also say that it excluded the use of a king,
though he would, I imagine, be able to give no good reason for saying
so. I take a republican government to be that in which the care of
the people is in the hands of the people. They may use an elected
President, an hereditary king, or a chief magistrate called by any
other name. But the magistrate, whatever be his name, must be the
servant of the people and not their lord. He must act for them and at
their bidding,--not they at his. If he do so, he is the chief officer
of a republic;--as is our Queen with us.

The United States' constitution also guarantees to each State
protection against invasion, and, if necessary, against domestic
violence,--meaning, I presume, internal violence. The words domestic
violence might seem to refer solely to slave insurrections; but such
is not the meaning of the words. The free State of New York would be
entitled to the assistance of the Federal Government in putting down
internal violence, if unable to quell such violence by her own power.

This constitution, and the laws of the United States made in
pursuance of it, are to be held as the supreme law of the land.
The judges of every State are to be bound thereby, let the laws
or separate constitution of such State say what they will to the
contrary. Senators and others are to be bound by oath to support
the constitution; but no religious test shall be required as a
qualification to any office.

In the amendments to the constitution, it is enacted that Congress
shall make no law as to the establishment of any religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof; and also that it shall not
abridge the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of petition.--The
Government, however, as is well known, has taken upon itself to
abridge the freedom of the press.--The right of the people to bear
arms shall not be infringed. Then follow various clauses intended
for the security of the people in reference to the administration of
the laws. They shall not be troubled by unreasonable searches. They
shall not be made to answer for great offences except by indictment
of a grand jury. They shall not be put twice in jeopardy for the
same offence. They shall not be compelled to give evidence against
themselves. Private property shall not be taken for public use
without compensation. Accused persons in criminal proceedings shall
be entitled to speedy and public trial. They shall be confronted with
the witnesses against them, and shall have assistance of counsel.
Suits in which the value controverted is above 20 dollars (£4) shall
be tried before juries. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor
cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. In all which enactments
we see, I think, a close resemblance to those which have been
time-honoured among ourselves.

The remaining amendments apply to the mode in which the President and
Vice-President shall be elected, and of them I have already spoken.

The constitution is signed by Washington as President,--as President
and Deputy from Virginia. It is signed by deputies from all the
other States, except Rhode Island. Among the signatures is that of
Alexander Hamilton, from New York; of Franklin, heading a crowd in
Pennsylvania, in the capital of which State the convention was held;
and that of James Madison, the future President, from Virginia.

In the beginning of this chapter I have spoken of the splendid
results attained by those who drew up the constitution; and then, as
though in opposition to the praise thus given to their work, I have
insisted throughout the chapter both on the insufficiency of the
constitution and on the breaches to which it has been subjected.
I have declared my opinion that it is inefficient for some of its
required purposes, and have said that, whether inefficient or
efficient, it has been broken and in some degree abandoned. I
maintain, however, that in this I have not contradicted myself. A
boy, who declares his purpose of learning the Æneid by heart, will
be held as being successful if at the end of the given period he can
repeat eleven books out of the twelve. Nevertheless the reporter, in
summing up the achievement, is bound to declare that that other book
has not been learned. Under this constitution of which I have been
speaking, the American people have achieved much material success
and great political power. As a people they have been happy and
prosperous. Their freedom has been secured to them, and for a
period of seventy-five years they have lived and prospered without
subjection to any form of tyranny. This in itself is much, and
should, I think, be held as a preparation for greater things to
follow. Such, I think, should be our opinion, although the nation
is at the present burdened by so heavy a load of troubles. That any
written constitution should serve its purposes and maintain its
authority in a nation for a dozen years is in itself much for its
framers. Where are now the constitutions which were written for
France? But this constitution has so wound itself into the affections
of the people, has become a mark for such reverence and love, has,
after a trial of three quarters of a century, so recommended itself
to the judgment of men, that the difficulty consists in touching
it, not in keeping it. Eighteen or twenty millions of people who
have lived under it,--in what way do they regard it? Is not that
the best evidence that can be had respecting it? Is it to them an old
woman's story, a useless parchment, a thing of old words at which
all must now smile? Heaven mend them, if they reverence it more, as
I fear they do, than they reverence their Bible. For them, after
seventy-five years of trial, it has almost the weight of inspiration.
In this respect,--with reference to this worship of the work of their
forefathers, they may be in error. But that very error goes far to
prove the excellence of the code. When a man has walked for six
months over stony ways in the same boots, he will be believed when he
says that his boots are good boots. No assertion to the contrary from
any bystander will receive credence, even though it be shown that a
stitch or two has come undone, and that some required purpose has not
effectually been carried out. The boots have carried the man over his
stony roads for six months, and they must be good boots. And so I say
that the constitution must be a good constitution.

As to that positive breach of the constitution which has, as I
maintain, been committed by the present Government, although I have
been at some trouble to prove it, I must own that I do not think
very much of it. It is to be lamented, but the evil admits, I think,
of easy repair. It has happened at a period of unwonted difficulty,
when the minds of men were intent rather on the support of that
nationality which guarantees their liberties, than on the enjoyment
of those liberties themselves, and the fault may be pardoned if it
be acknowledged. But it is essential that it should be acknowledged.
In such a matter as that there should at any rate be no doubt. Now,
in this very year of the rebellion, it may be well that no clamour
against Government should arise from the people, and thus add to
the difficulties of the nation. But it will be bad, indeed, for the
nation if such a fault shall have been committed by this Government
and shall be allowed to pass unacknowledged, unrebuked,--as though
it were a virtue and no fault. I cannot but think that the time will
soon come in which Mr. Seward's reading of the constitution and Mr.
Lincoln's assumption of illegal power under that reading will receive
a different construction in the States than that put upon it by Mr.

But I have admitted that the constitution itself is not perfect.
It seems to me that it requires to be amended on two separate
points;--especially on two; and I cannot but acknowledge that there
would be great difficulty in making such amendments. That matter
of direct taxation is the first. As to that I shall speak again in
referring to the financial position of the country. I think, however,
that it must be admitted, in any discussion held on the constitution
of the United States, that the theory of taxation as there laid down
will not suffice for the wants of a great nation. If the States are
to maintain their ground as a great national power, they must agree
among themselves to bear the cost of such greatness. While a custom
duty was sufficient for the public wants of the United States, this
fault in the constitution was not felt. But now that standing armies
have been inaugurated, that iron-clad ships are held as desirable,
that a great national debt has been founded, custom duties will
suffice no longer, nor will excise duties suffice. Direct taxation
must be levied, and such taxation cannot be fairly levied without a
change in the constitution. But such a change may be made in direct
accordance with the spirit of the constitution, and the necessity for
such an alteration cannot be held as proving any inefficiency in the
original document for the purposes originally required.

As regards the other point which seems to me to require amendment,
I must acknowledge that I am about to express simply my own opinion.
Should Americans read what I write, they may probably say that I
am recommending them to adopt the blunders made by the English in
their practice of government. Englishmen, on the other hand, may
not improbably conceive that a system which works well here under a
monarchy, would absolutely fail under a presidency of four years'
duration. Nevertheless I will venture to suggest that the government
of the United States would be improved in all respects, if the
gentlemen forming the President's cabinet were admitted to seats
in Congress. At present they are virtually irresponsible. They are
constitutionally little more than head clerks. This was all very well
while the Government of the United States was as yet a small thing;
but now it is no longer a small thing. The President himself cannot
do all, nor can he be, in truth, responsible for all. A cabinet, such
as is our cabinet, is necessary to him. Such a cabinet does exist,
and the members of it take upon themselves the honours which are
given to our cabinet ministers. But they are exempted from all that
parliamentary contact which, in fact, gives to our cabinet ministers
their adroitness, their responsibility, and their position in the
country. On this subject also I must say another word or two further

But how am I to excuse the constitution on those points as to which
it has, as I have said, fallen through,--in respect to which it has
shown itself to be inefficient by the weakness of its own words?
Seeing that all the executive power is intrusted to the President, it
is especially necessary that the choice of the President should be
guarded by constitutional enactments;--that the President should be
chosen in such a manner as may seem best to the concentrated wisdom
of the country. The President is placed in his seat for four years.
For that term he is irremovable. He acts without any majority in
either of the legislative Houses. He must state reasons for his
conduct, but he is not responsible for those reasons. His own
judgment is his sole guide. No desire of the people can turn him out;
nor need he fear any clamour from the press. If an officer so high in
power be needed, at any rate the choice of such an officer should be
made with the greatest care. The constitution has decreed how such
care should be exercised, but the constitution has not been able to
maintain its own decree. The constituted electors of the President
have become a mere name; and that officer is chosen by popular
election, in opposition to the intention of those who framed the
constitution. The effect of this may be seen in the characters of the
men so chosen. Washington, Jefferson, Madison, the two Adamses, and
Jackson were the owners of names that have become known in history.
They were men who have left their marks behind them. Those in Europe
who have read of anything, have read of them. Americans, whether as
republicans they admire Washington and the Adamses, or as democrats
hold by Jefferson, Madison, and Jackson, do not at any rate blush for
their old Presidents. But who has heard of Polk, of Pierce, and of
Buchanan? What American is proud of them? In the old days the name
of a future President might be surmised. He would probably be a man
honoured in the nation; but who now can make a guess as to the next
President? In one respect a guess may be made with some safety. The
next President will be a man whose name has as yet offended no one by
its prominence. But one requisite is essential for a President; he
must be a man whom none as yet have delighted to honour.

This has come of universal suffrage; and seeing that it has come in
spite of the constitution, and not by the constitution, it is very
bad. Nor in saying this am I speaking my own conviction so much
as that of all educated Americans with whom I have discussed the
subject. At the present moment universal suffrage is not popular.
Those who are the highest among the people certainly do not love
it. I doubt whether the masses of the people have ever craved it.
It has been introduced into the Presidential elections by men called
politicians--by men who have made it a matter of trade to dabble
in state affairs, and who have gradually learned to see how the
constitutional law, with reference to the Presidential electors,
could be set aside without any positive breach of the constitution.*

  *On this matter one of the best, and best informed Americans that
   I have known told me that he differed from me. "It introduced
   itself," said he. "It was the result of social and political
   forces. Election of the President by popular choice became a
   necessity." The meaning of this is, that in regard to their
   Presidential elections the United States drifted into universal
   suffrage. I do not know that his theory is one more comfortable
   for his country than my own.

Whether or no any backward step can now be taken,--whether these
elections can again be put into the hands of men fit to exercise a
choice in such a matter,--may well be doubted. Facilis descensus
Averni. But the recovery of the downward steps is very difficult. On
that subject, however, I hardly venture here to give an opinion. I
only declare what has been done, and express my belief that it has
not been done in conformity with the wishes of the people,--as it
certainly has not been done in conformity with the intention of the

In another matter a departure has been made from the conservative
spirit of the constitution. This departure is equally grave with the
other, but it is one which certainly does admit of correction. I
allude to the present position assumed by many of the senators, and
to the instructions given to them by the State legislatures, as to
the votes which they shall give in the Senate. An obedience on their
part to such instructions is equal in its effects to the introduction
of universal suffrage into the elections. It makes them hang upon the
people, divests them of their personal responsibility, takes away
all those advantages given to them by a six years' certain tenure of
office, and annuls the safety secured by a conservative method of
election. Here again I must declare my opinion that this democratic
practice has crept into the Senate without any expressed wish of
the people. In all such matters the people of the nation has been
strangely undemonstrative. It has been done as part of a system which
has been used for transferring the political power of the nation
to a body of trading politicians who have become known and felt as
a mass, and not known and felt as individuals. I find it difficult
to describe the present political position of the States in this
respect. The millions of the people are eager for the constitution,
are proud of their power as a nation, and are ambitious of national
greatness. But they are not, as I think, especially desirous of
retaining political influences in their own hands. At many of the
elections it is difficult to induce them to vote. They have among
them a half-knowledge that politics is a trade in the hands of the
lawyers, and that they are the capital by which those political
tradesmen carry on their business. These politicians are all lawyers.
Politics and law go together as naturally as the possession of land
and the exercise of magisterial powers do with us. It may be well
that it should be so, as the lawyers are the best educated men of the
country, and need not necessarily be the most dishonest. Political
power has come into their hands, and it is for their purposes and by
their influences that the spread of democracy has been encouraged.

As regards the Senate, the recovery of their old dignity and former
position is within their own power. No amendment of the constitution
is needed here, nor has the weakness come from any insufficiency of
the constitution. The Senate can assume to itself to-morrow its own
glories, and can, by doing so, become the saviours of the honour and
glory of the nation. It is to the Senate that we must look for that
conservative element which may protect the United States from the
violence of demagogues on one side and from the despotism of military
power on the other. The Senate, and the Senate only, can keep the
President in check. The Senate also has a power over the Lower House
with reference to the disposal of money, which deprives the House
of Representatives of that exclusive authority which belongs to our
House of Commons. It is not simply that the House of Representatives
cannot do what is done by the House of Commons. There is more than
this. To the Senate, in the minds of all Americans, belongs that
superior prestige, that acknowledged possession of the greater
power and fuller scope for action, which is with us as clearly the
possession of the House of Commons. The United States' Senate can be
conservative, and can be so by virtue of the constitution. The love
of the constitution in the hearts of all Americans is so strong that
the exercise of such power by the Senate would strengthen rather than
endanger its position. I could wish that the senators would abandon
their money payments, but I do not imagine that that will be done
exactly in these days.

I have now endeavoured to describe the strength of the constitution
of the United States, and to explain its weakness. The great question
is at this moment being solved, whether or no that constitution will
still be found equal to its requirements. It has hitherto been the
mainspring in the government of the people. They have trusted with
almost childlike confidence to the wisdom of their founders, and
have said to their rulers,--"There; in those words, you must find
the extent and the limit of your powers. It is written down for
you, so that he who runs may read." That writing down, as it were,
at a single sitting, of a sufficient code of instructions for the
governors of a great nation, had not hitherto in the world's history
been found to answer. In this instance it has, at any rate, answered
better than in any other, probably because the words so written
contained in them less pretence of finality in political wisdom than
other written constitutions have assumed. A young tree must bend, or
the winds will certainly break it. For myself I can honestly express
my hope that no storm may destroy this tree.



In speaking of the American constitution I have said so much of the
American form of government that but little more is left to me to say
under that heading. Nevertheless, I should hardly go through the work
which I have laid out for myself if I did not endeavour to explain
more continuously, and perhaps more graphically, than I found myself
able to do in the last chapter, the system on which public affairs
are managed in the United States.

And here I must beg my readers again to bear in mind how moderate is
the amount of governing which has fallen to the lot of the government
of the United States; how moderate, as compared with the amount which
has to be done by the Queen's officers of state for Great Britain, or
by the Emperor, with such assistance as he may please to accept from
his officers of state, for France. That this is so must be attributed
to more than one cause; but the chief cause is undoubtedly to be
found in the very nature of a federal government. The States are
individually sovereign, and govern themselves as to all internal
matters. All the judges in England are appointed by the Crown; but in
the United States only a small proportion of the judges are nominated
by the President. The greater number are servants of the different
States. The execution of the ordinary laws for the protection of men
and property does not fall on the government of the United States,
but on the executives of the individual States,--unless in some
special matters, which will be defined in the next chapter. Trade,
education, roads, religion, the passing of new measures for the
internal or domestic comfort of the people,--all these things are
more or less matters of care to our government. In the States they
are matters of care to the governments of each individual State, but
are not so to the central government at Washington.

But there are other causes which operate in the same direction, and
which have hitherto enabled the Presidents of the United States, with
their ministers, to maintain their positions without much knowledge
of statecraft, or the necessity for that education in state matters
which is so essential to our public men. In the first place, the
United States have hitherto kept their hands out of foreign politics.
If they have not done so altogether, they have so greatly abstained
from meddling in them that none of that thorough knowledge of the
affairs of other nations has been necessary to them which is so
essential with us, and which seems to be regarded as the one thing
needed in the cabinets of other European nations. This has been a
great blessing to the United States, but it has not been an unmixed
blessing. It has been a blessing because the absence of such care has
saved the country from trouble and from expense. But such a state of
things was too good to last; and the blessing has not been unmixed,
seeing that now, when that absence of concern in foreign matters
has been no longer possible, the knowledge necessary for taking a
dignified part in foreign discussions has been found wanting. Mr.
Seward is now the Minister for Foreign Affairs in the States, and it
is hardly too much to say that he has made himself a laughing-stock
among the diplomatists of Europe, by the mixture of his ignorance and
his arrogance. His reports to his own ministers during the single
year of his office, as published by himself apparently with great
satisfaction, are a monument not so much of his incapacity as of his
want of training for such work. We all know his long state papers
on the "Trent" affair. What are we to think of a statesman who
acknowledges the action of his country's servant to have been wrong,
and in the same breath declares that he would have held by that
wrong, had the material welfare of his country been thereby improved?
The United States have now created a great army and a great debt.
They will soon also have created a great navy. Affairs of other
nations will press upon them, and they will press against the affairs
of other nations. In this way statecraft will become necessary to
them; and by degrees their ministers will become habile, graceful,
adroit;--and perhaps crafty, as are the ministers of other nations.

And, moreover, the United States have had no outlying colonies or
dependencies, such as an India and Canada are to us, as Cuba is and
Mexico was to Spain, and as were the provinces of the Roman empire.
Territories she has had, but by the peculiar beneficence of her
political arrangements, these territories have assumed the guise
of sovereign States, and been admitted into federal partnership on
equal terms, with a rapidity which has hardly left to the central
Government the reality of any dominion of its own. We are inclined to
suppose that these new States have been allowed to assume their equal
privileges and State rights because they have been contiguous to
the old States--as though it were merely an extension of frontier.
But this has not been so. California and Oregon have been very much
further from Washington than the Canadas are from London. Indeed they
are still further, and I hardly know whether they can be brought much
nearer than Canada is to us, even with the assistance of railways.
But nevertheless California and Oregon were admitted as States,
the former as quickly and the latter much more quickly than its
population would seem to justify Congress in doing, according to
the received ratio of population. A preference in this way has been
always given by the United States to a young population over one that
was older. Oregon with its 60,000 inhabitants has one representative.
New York with 4,000,000 inhabitants has thirty-three. But in order
to be equal with Oregon, New York should have sixty-six. In this way
the outlying populations have been encouraged to take upon themselves
their own governance, and the governing power of the President and
his cabinet has been kept within moderate limits.

But not the less is the position of the President very dominant in
the eyes of us Englishmen by reason of the authority with which he
is endowed. It is not that the scope of his power is great, but that
he is so nearly irresponsible in the exercise of that power. We know
that he can be impeached by the representatives and expelled from
his office by the verdict of the Senate; but this, in fact, does
not amount to much. Responsibility of this nature is doubtless very
necessary, and prevents ebullitions of tyranny such as those in which
a Sultan or an Emperor may indulge; but it is not that responsibility
which especially recommends itself to the minds of free men. So much
of responsibility they take as a matter of course, as they do the
air which they breathe. It would be nothing to us to know that Lord
Palmerston could be impeached for robbing the Treasury, or Lord
Russell punished for selling us to Austria. It is well that such laws
should exist, but we do not in the least suspect those noble lords
of such treachery. We are anxious to know, not in what way they may
be impeached and beheaded for great crimes, but by what method they
may be kept constantly straight in small matters. That they are true
and honest is a matter of course. But they must be obedient also,
discreet, capable, and above all things of one mind with the public.
Let them be that; or if not they, then with as little delay as may
be, some others in their place. That with us is the meaning of
ministerial responsibility. To that responsibility all the cabinet is
subject. But in the Government of the United States there is no such
responsibility. The President is placed at the head of the executive
for four years, and while he there remains no man can question
him. It is not that the scope of his power is great. Our own Prime
Minister is doubtless more powerful,--has a wider authority. But it
is that within the scope of his power the President is free from all
check. There are no reins, constitutional or unconstitutional, by
which he can be restrained. He can absolutely repudiate a majority
of both Houses, and refuse the passage of any act of Congress even
though supported by those majorities. He can retain the services of
ministers distasteful to the whole country. He can place his own
myrmidons at the head of the army and navy,--or can himself take the
command immediately on his own shoulders. All this he can do, and
there is no one that can question him.

It is hardly necessary that I should point out the fundamental
difference between our King or Queen, and the President of the United
States. Our Sovereign, we all know, is not responsible. Such is the
nature of our constitution. But there is not on that account any
analogy between the irresponsibility of the Queen and that of the
President. The Queen can do no wrong; but therefore, in all matters
of policy and governance, she must be ruled by advice. For that
advice her ministers are responsible; and no act of policy or
governance can be done in England as to which responsibility does
not immediately settle on the shoulders appointed to bear it. But
this is not so in the States. The President is nominally responsible.
But from that every-day working responsibility, which is to us so
invaluable, the President is in fact free.

I will give an instance of this. Now, at this very moment of my
writing, news has reached us that President Lincoln has relieved
General Maclellan from the command of the whole army, that he has
given separate commands to two other generals,--to General Halleck,
namely, and alas! to General Fremont, and that he has altogether
altered the whole organization of the military command as it
previously existed. This he did not only during war, but with
reference to a special battle, for the special fighting of which he,
as ex-officio Commander-in-Chief of the forces, had given orders. I
do not hereby intend to criticise this act of the President's, or to
point out that that has been done which had better have been left
undone. The President, in a strategetical point of view, may have
been,--very probably has been, quite right. I, at any rate, cannot
say that he has been wrong. But then neither can anybody else say
so with any power of making himself heard. Of this action of the
President's, so terribly great in its importance to the nation, no
one has the power of expressing any opinion to which the President
is bound to listen. For four years he has this sway, and at the end
of four years he becomes so powerless that it is not then worth the
while of any demagogue in a fourth-rate town to occupy his voice with
that President's name. The anger of the country as to the things done
both by Pierce and Buchanan is very bitter. But who wastes a thought
upon either of these men? A past President in the United States is of
less consideration than a past Mayor in an English borough. Whatever
evil he may have done during his office, when out of office he is not
worth the powder which would be expended in an attack.

But the President has his ministers as our Queen has hers. In one
sense he has such ministers. He has high state servants who under
him take the control of the various departments, and exercise among
them a certain degree of patronage and executive power. But they are
the President's ministers, and not the ministers of the people. Till
lately there has been no chief minister among them, nor am I prepared
to say that there is any such chief at present. According to the
existing theory of the government these gentlemen have simply been
the confidential servants of the commonwealth under the President,
and have been attached each to his own department without concerted
political alliance among themselves, without any acknowledged chief
below the President, and without any combined responsibility even
to the President. If one minister was in fault--let us say the
Postmaster-General,--he alone was in fault, and it did not fall to
the lot of any other minister either to defend him, or to declare
that his conduct was indefensible. Each owed his duty and his defence
to the President alone; and each might be removed alone, without
explanation given by the President to the others. I imagine that the
late practice of the President's cabinet has in some degree departed
from this theory; but if so, the departure has sprung from individual
ambition rather than from any preconcerted plan. Some one place in
the cabinet has seemed to give to some one man an opportunity of
making himself pre-eminent, and of this opportunity advantage has
been taken. I am not now intending to allude to any individual, but
am endeavouring to indicate the way in which a ministerial cabinet,
after the fashion of our British cabinet, is struggling to get itself
created. No doubt the position of Foreign Secretary has for some time
past been considered as the most influential under the President.
This has been so much the case that many have not hesitated to call
the Secretary of State the chief minister. At the present moment,
May, 1862, the gentleman who is at the head of the war department
has, I think, in his own hands greater power than any of his

It will probably come to pass before long that one special minister
will be the avowed leader of the cabinet, and that he will be
recognized as the chief servant of the State under the President. Our
own cabinet, which now-a-days seems with us to be an institution as
fixed as Parliament and as necessary as the throne, has grown by
degrees into its present shape, and is not, in truth, nearly so old
as many of us suppose it to be. It shaped itself, I imagine, into its
present form, and even into its present joint responsibility, during
the reign of George III. It must be remembered that even with us
there is no such thing as a constitutional Prime Minister, and that
our Prime Minister is not placed above the other ministers in any
manner that is palpable to the senses. He is paid no more than the
others; he has no superior title; he does not take the highest rank
among them; he never talks of his subordinates, but always of his
colleagues; he has a title of his own, that of First Lord of the
Treasury, but it implies no headship in the cabinet. That he is the
head of all political power in the nation, the Atlas who has to bear
the globe, the god in whose hands rest the thunderbolts and the
showers, all men do know. No man's position is more assured to him.
But the bounds of that position are written in no book, are defined
by no law, have settled themselves not in accordance with the
recorded wisdom of any great men, but as expediency and the fitness
of political things in Great Britain have seemed from time to time to
require. This drifting of great matters into their proper places is
not as closely in accordance with the idiosyncrasies of the American
people as it is with our own. They would prefer to define by words,
as the French do, what shall be the exact position of every public
servant connected with their Government; or rather of every public
servant with whom the people shall be held as having any concern.
But nevertheless, I think it will come to pass that a cabinet will
gradually form itself at Washington as it has done at London, and
that of that cabinet there will be some recognized and ostensible

But a Prime Minister in the United States can never take the place
there which is taken here by our Premier. Over our Premier there is
no one politically superior. The highest political responsibility of
the nation rests on him. In the States this must always rest on the
President, and any minister, whatever may be his name or assumed
position, can only be responsible through the President. And it is
here especially that the working of the United States system of
Government seems to me deficient,--appears as though it wanted
something to make it perfect and round at all points. Our ministers
retire from their offices, as do the Presidents; and indeed the
ministerial term of office with us, though of course not fixed, is
in truth much shorter than the Presidential term of four years. But
our ministers do not, in fact, ever go out. At one time they take one
position, with pay, patronage, and power; and at another time another
position, without these good things; but in either position they are
acting as public men, and are, in truth, responsible for what they
say and do. But the President, on whom it is presumed that the whole
of the responsibility of the United States Government rests, goes out
at a certain day, and of him no more is heard. There is no future
before him to urge him on to constancy; no hope of other things
beyond, of greater honours and a wider fame, to keep him wakeful in
his country's cause. He has already enrolled his name on the list of
his country's rulers, and received what reward his country can give
him. Conscience, duty, patriotism may make him true to his place.
True to his place, in a certain degree, they will make him. But
ambition and hope of things still to come are the moving motives in
the minds of most men. Few men can allow their energies to expand
to their fullest extent in the cold atmosphere of duty alone. The
President of the States must feel that he has reached the top of the
ladder, and that he soon will have done with life. As he goes out he
is a dead man. And what can be expected from one who is counting the
last lingering hours of his existence? "It will not be in my time,"
Mr. Buchanan is reported to have said, when a friend spoke to him
with warning voice of the coming rebellion. "It will not be in my
time." In the old days, before democracy had prevailed in upsetting
that system of Presidential election which the constitution had
intended to fix as permanent, the Presidents were generally
re-elected for a second term. Of the seven first Presidents five
were sent back to the White House for a second period of four years.
But this has never been done since the days of General Jackson; nor
will it be done, unless a stronger conservative reaction takes place
than the country even as yet seems to promise. As things have lately
ordered themselves, it may almost be said that no man in the Union
would be so improbable a candidate for the Presidency as the outgoing
President. And it has been only natural that it should be so. Looking
at the men themselves who have lately been chosen, the fault has not
consisted in their non-reelection, but in their original selection.
There has been no desire for great men; no search after a man of such
a nature, that when tried the people should be anxious to keep him.
"It will not be in my time," says the expiring President. And so,
without dismay, he sees the empire of his country slide away from

A President, with the possibility of re-election before him, would
be as a minister who goes out, knowing that he may possibly come
in again before the session is over,--and perhaps believing that
the chances of his doing so are in his favour. Under the existing
political phase of things in the United States, no President has any
such prospect;--but the ministers of the President have that chance.
It is no uncommon thing at present for a minister under one President
to reappear as a minister under another; but a statesman has no
assurance that he will do so because he has shown ministerial
capacity. We know intimately the names of all our possible
ministers,--too intimately as some of us think,--and would be taken
much by surprise if a gentleman without an official reputation were
placed at the head of a high office. If something of this feeling
prevailed as to the President's cabinet, if there were some assurance
that competent statesmen would be appointed as Secretaries of State,
a certain amount of national responsibility would by degrees attach
itself to them, and the President's shoulders would, to that amount,
be lightened. As it is, the President pretends to bear a burden
which, if really borne, would indicate the possession of Herculean
shoulders. But, in fact, the burden at present is borne by no one.
The government of the United States is not in truth responsible
either to the people or to Congress.

But these ministers, if it be desired that they shall have weight
in the country, should sit in Congress either as senators or as
representatives. That they cannot so sit without an amendment of the
constitution I have explained in the previous chapter; and any such
amendment cannot be very readily made. Without such seats they cannot
really share the responsibility of the President, or be in any degree
amenable to public opinion for the advice which they give in their
public functions. It will be said that the constitution has expressly
intended that they should not be responsible, and such, no doubt, has
been the case. But the constitution, good as it is, cannot be taken
as perfect. The government has become greater than seems to have been
contemplated when that code was drawn up. It has spread itself as it
were over a wider surface, and has extended to matters which it was
not then necessary to touch. That theory of governing by the means
of little men was very well while the government itself was small.
A President and his clerks may have sufficed when there were from
thirteen to eighteen States; while there were no territories, or none
at least that required government; while the population was still
below five millions; while a standing army was an evil not known and
not feared; while foreign politics was a troublesome embroglio in
which it was quite unnecessary that the United States should take a
part. Now there are thirty-four States. The territories populated by
American citizens stretch from the States on the Atlantic to those on
the Pacific. There is a population of thirty million souls. At the
present moment the United States are employing more soldiers than any
other nation, and have acknowledged the necessity of maintaining a
large army even when the present troubles shall be over. In addition
to this the United States have occasion for the use of statecraft
with all the great kingdoms of Europe. That theory of ruling by
little men will not do much longer. It will be well that they should
bring forth their big men and put them in the place of rulers.

The President has at present seven ministers. They are the Secretary
of State, who is supposed to have the direction of Foreign Affairs;
the Secretary of the Treasury, who answers to our Chancellor of the
Exchequer; the Secretaries of the Army and of the Navy; the Minister
of the Interior; the Attorney-General; and the Postmaster-General.
If these officers were allowed to hold seats in one House or in the
other,--or rather if the President were enjoined to place in these
offices men who were known as members of Congress, not only would the
position of the President's ministers be enhanced and their weight
increased, but the position also of Congress would be enhanced
and the weight of Congress would be increased. I may, perhaps,
best exemplify this by suggesting what would be the effect on
our Parliament by withdrawing from it the men who at the present
moment,--or at any moment,--form the Queen's cabinet. I will not say
that by adding to Congress the men who usually form the President's
cabinet, a weight would be given equal to that which the withdrawal
of the British cabinet would take from the British Parliament. I
cannot pay that compliment to the President's choice of servants. But
the relationship between Congress and the President's ministers would
gradually come to resemble that which exists between Parliament and
the Queen's ministers. The Secretaries of State and of the Treasury
would after a while obtain that honour of leading the Houses which is
exercised by our high political officers, and the dignity added to
the positions would make the places worthy of the acceptance of great
men. It is hardly so at present. The career of one of the President's
ministers is not a very high career as things now stand; nor is the
man supposed to have achieved much who has achieved that position. I
think it would be otherwise if the ministers were the leaders of the
legislative Houses. To Congress itself would be given the power of
questioning and ultimately of controlling these ministers. The power
of the President would no doubt be diminished as that of Congress
would be increased. But an alteration in that direction is in itself
desirable. It is the fault of the present system of government in the
United States that the President has too much of power and weight,
while the Congress of the nation lacks power and weight. As matters
now stand, Congress has not that dignity of position which it should
hold; and it is without it because it is not endowed with that
control over the officers of the government which our Parliament is
enabled to exercise.

The want of this close connection with Congress and the President's
ministers has been so much felt, that it has been found necessary
to create a medium of communication. This has been done by a system
which has now become a recognized part of the machinery of the
government, but which is, I believe, founded on no regularly
organized authority. At any rate no provision is made for it in the
constitution; nor, as far as I am aware, has it been established by
any special enactment or written rule. Nevertheless, I believe I
am justified in saying that it has become a recognized link in the
system of government adopted by the United States. In each House
standing committees are named, to which are delegated the special
consideration of certain affairs of state. There are, for instance,
committees of foreign affairs, of finance, the judiciary committee,
and others of a similar nature. To these committees are referred all
questions which come before the House bearing on the special subject
to which each is devoted. Questions of taxation are referred to the
finance committee before they are discussed in the House; and the
House, when it goes into such discussion, has before it the report of
the committee. In this way very much of the work of the legislature
is done by branches of each House, and by selected men whose time and
intellects are devoted to special subjects. It is easy to see that
much time and useless debate may be thus saved, and I am disposed
to believe that this system of committees has worked efficiently
and beneficially. The mode of selection of the members has been
so contrived as to give to each political party that amount of
preponderance in each committee which such party holds in the House.
If the democrats have in the Senate a majority, it would be within
their power to vote none but democrats into the committee on finance;
but this would be manifestly unjust to the republican party, and the
injustice would itself frustrate the object of the party in power;
therefore the democrats simply vote to themselves a majority in each
committee, keeping to themselves as great a preponderance in the
committee as they have in the whole House, and arranging also that
the chairman of the committee shall belong to their own party. By
these committees the chief legislative measures of the country are
originated and inaugurated,--as they are with us by the ministers of
the Crown, and the chairman of each committee is supposed to have
a certain amicable relation with that minister who presides over
the office with which his committee is connected. Mr. Sumner is at
present chairman of the committee on foreign affairs, and he is
presumed to be in connection with Mr. Seward, who, as Secretary of
State, has the management of the foreign relations of the Government.

But it seems to me that this supposed connection between the
committees and the ministers is only a makeshift, showing by its
existence the absolute necessity of close communication between the
executive and the legislative, but showing also by its imperfections
the great want of some better method of communication. In the first
place the chairman of the committee is in no way bound to hold any
communication with the minister. He is simply a senator, and as such
has no ministerial duties, and can have none. He holds no appointment
under the President, and has no palpable connection with the
executive. And then it is quite as likely that he may be opposed in
politics to the minister as that he may agree with him. If the two
be opposed to each other on general politics, it may be presumed
that they cannot act together in union on one special subject.
Nor, whether they act in union or do not so act, can either have
any authority over the other. The minister is not responsible to
Congress, nor is the chairman of the committee in any way bound
to support the minister. It is presumed that the chairman must
know the minister's secrets, but the chairman may be bound by party
considerations to use those secrets against the minister.

The system of committees appears to me to be good as regards the work
of legislation. It seems well adapted to effect economy of time and
the application of special men to special services. But I am driven
to think that that connection between the chairmen of the committees
and the ministers, which I have attempted to describe, is an
arrangement very imperfect in itself, but plainly indicating the
necessity of some such close relation between the executive and the
legislature of the United States as does exist in the political
system of Great Britain. With us the Queen's minister has a greater
weight in Parliament than the President's minister could hold in
Congress, because the Queen is bound to employ a minister in whom the
Parliament has confidence. As soon as such confidence ceases, the
minister ceases to be minister. As the Crown has no politics of its
own, it is simply necessary that the minister of the day should hold
the politics of the people as testified by their representatives. The
machinery of the President's Government cannot be made to work after
this fashion. The President himself is a political officer, and the
country is bound to bear with his politics for four years, whatever
those politics may be. The ministry which he selects on coming to
his seat will probably represent a majority in Congress, seeing that
the same suffrages which have elected the President will also have
elected the Congress. But there exists no necessity on the part of
the President to employ ministers who shall carry with them the
support of Congress. If, however, the ministers sat in Congress,--if
it were required of each minister that he should have a seat either
in one House or in the other,--the President would, I think, find
himself constrained to change a ministry in which Congress should
decline to confide. It might not be so at first, but there would be a
tendency in that direction.

The governing powers do not rest exclusively with the President, or
with the President and his ministers; they are shared in a certain
degree with the Senate, which sits from time to time in executive
Session, laying aside at such periods its legislative character. It
is this executive authority which lends so great a dignity to the
Senate, gives it the privilege of preponderating over the other
House, and makes it the political safeguard of the nation. The
questions of government as to which the Senate is empowered to
interfere are soon told. All treaties made by the President must be
sanctioned by the Senate; and all appointments made by the President
must be confirmed by the Senate. The list is short, and one is
disposed to think, when first hearing it, that the thing itself does
not amount to much. But it does amount to very much; it enables the
Senate to fetter the President, if the Senate should be so inclined,
both as regards foreign politics and home politics. A Secretary
for Foreign Affairs at Washington may write what despatches he
pleases without reference to the Senate; but the Senate interferes
before those despatches can have resulted in any fact which may
be detrimental to the nation. It is not only that the Senate is
responsible for such treaties as are made, but that the President
is deterred from the making of treaties for which the Senate would
decline to make itself responsible. Even though no treaty should
ever be refused its sanction by the Senate, the protecting power of
the Senate in that matter would not on that account have been less
necessary or less efficacious. Though the bars with which we protect
our house may never have been tried by a thief, we do not therefore
believe that our house would have been safe if such bars had
been known to be wanting. And then, as to that matter of state
appointments, is it not the fact that all governing powers consist in
the selection of the agents by whom the action of Government shall
be carried on? It must come to this, I imagine, when the argument
is pushed home. The power of the most powerful man depends only
on the extent of his authority over his agents. According to the
constitution of the United States, the President can select no agent
either at home or abroad, for purposes either of peace or war, or
to the employment of whom the Senate does not agree with him. Such
a rule as this should save the nation from the use of disreputable
agents as public servants. It might, perhaps, have done more towards
such salvation than it has as yet effected;--and it may well be hoped
that it will do more in future.

Such are the executive powers of the Senate; and it is, I think,
remarkable that the Senate has always used these powers with extreme
moderation. It has never shown a factious inclination to hinder
Government by unnecessary interference, or a disposition to clip
the President's wings by putting itself altogether at variance with
him. I am not quite sure whether some fault may not have lain on the
other side; whether the Senate may not have been somewhat slack in
exercising the protective privileges given to it by the constitution.
And here I cannot but remark how great is the deference paid to all
governors and edicts of Government throughout the United States.
One would have been disposed to think that such a feeling would be
stronger in an old country such as Great Britain than in a young
country such as the States. But I think that it is not so. There
is less disposition to question the action of government either at
Washington or at New York, than there is in London. Men in America
seem to be content when they have voted in their governors, and to
feel that for them all political action is over until the time shall
come for voting for others. And this feeling, which seems to prevail
among the people, prevails also in both Houses of Congress. Bitter
denunciations against the President's policy or the President's
ministers are seldom heard. Speeches are not often made with the
object of impeding the action of Government. That so small and so
grave a body as the Senate should abstain from factious opposition to
the Government when employed on executive functions was perhaps to
be expected. It is of course well that it should be so. I confess,
however, that it has appeared to me that the Senate has not used the
power placed in its hands as freely as the constitution has intended.
But I look at the matter as an Englishman, and as an Englishman I
can endure no government action which is not immediately subject to
Parliamentary control.

Such are the governing powers of the United States. I think it will
be seen that they are much more limited in their scope of action than
with us; but within that scope of action much more independent and
self-sufficient. And, in addition to this, those who exercise power
in the United States are not only free from immediate responsibility,
but are not made subject to the hope or fear of future judgment.
Success will bring no award, and failure no punishment. I am not
aware that any political delinquency has ever yet brought down
retribution on the head of the offender in the United States, or
that any great deed has been held as entitling the doer of it to his
country's gratitude. Titles of nobility they have none; pensions they
never give; and political disgrace is unknown. The line of politics
would seem to be cold and unalluring. It is cold;--and would be
unalluring, were it not that as a profession it is profitable. In
much of this I expect that a change will gradually take place. The
theory has been that public affairs should be in the hands of little
men. The theory was intelligible while the public affairs were small;
but they are small no longer, and that theory, I fancy, will have
to alter itself. Great men are needed for the government, and in
order to produce great men a career of greatness must be opened to
them. I can see no reason why the career and the men should not be



I do not propose to make any attempt to explain in detail the
practices and rules of the American Courts of Law. No one but a
lawyer should trust himself with such a task, and no lawyer would be
enabled to do so in the few pages which I shall here devote to the
subject. My present object is to explain, as far as I may be able to
do so, the existing political position of the country. As this must
depend more or less upon the power vested in the hands of the judges,
and upon the tenure by which those judges hold their offices, I shall
endeavour to describe the circumstances of the position in which the
American judges are placed; the mode in which they are appointed; the
difference which exists between the national judges and the State
judges; and the extent to which they are or are not held in high
esteem by the general public whom they serve.

It will, I think, be acknowledged that this last matter is one of
almost paramount importance to the welfare of a country. At home in
England we do not realize the importance to us in a political as
well as social view of the dignity and purity of our judges, because
we take from them all that dignity and purity can give as a matter
of course. The honesty of our bench is to us almost as the honesty
of heaven. No one dreams that it can be questioned or become
questionable, and therefore there are but few who are thankful for
its blessings. Few Englishmen care to know much about their own
courts of law, or are even aware that the judges are the protectors
of their liberties and property. There are the men, honoured on
all sides, trusted by every one, removed above temptation, holding
positions which are coveted by all lawyers. That it is so is enough
for us; and as the good thence derived comes to us so easily, we
forget to remember that we might possibly be without it. The law
courts of the States have much in their simplicity and the general
intelligence of their arrangements to recommend them. In all ordinary
causes justice is done with economy, with expedition, and I believe
with precision. But they strike an Englishman at once as being
deficient in splendour and dignity, as wanting that reverence which
we think should be paid to words falling from the bench, and as being
in danger as to that purity, without which a judge becomes a curse
among a people, a chief of thieves, and an arch-minister of the Evil
One. I say as being in danger;--not that I mean to hint that such
want of purity has been shown, or that I wish it to be believed that
judges with itching palms do sit upon the American bench; but because
the present political tendency of the State arrangements threatens
to produce such danger. We in England trust implicitly in our
judges,--not because they are Englishmen, but because they are
Englishmen carefully selected for their high positions. We should
soon distrust them if they were elected by universal suffrage from
all the barristers and attorneys practising in the different courts;
and so elected only for a period of years, as is the case with
reference to many of the State judges in America. Such a mode of
appointment would, in our estimation, at once rob them of their
prestige. And our distrust would not be diminished if the pay
accorded to the work were so small that no lawyer in good practice
could afford to accept the situation. When we look at a judge in
court, venerable beneath his wig and adorned with his ermine, we do
not admit to ourselves that that high officer is honest because he
is placed above temptation by the magnitude of his salary. We do not
suspect that he, as an individual, would accept bribes and favour
suitors if he were in want of money. But, still, we know as a fact
that an honest man, like any other good article, must be paid for at
a high price. Judges and bishops expect those rewards which all men
win who rise to the highest steps on the ladder of their profession.
And the better they are paid, within measure, the better they will be
as judges and bishops. Now, the judges in America are not well paid,
and the best lawyers cannot afford to sit upon the bench.

With us the practice of the law and the judicature of our law courts
are divided. We have Chancery barristers and Common Law barristers;
and we have Chancery Courts and Courts of Common Law. In the States
there is no such division. It prevails neither in the national or
federal courts of the United States, nor in the courts of any of the
separate States. The code of laws used by the Americans is taken
almost entirely from our English laws,--or rather, I should say, the
federal code used by the nation is so taken, and also the various
codes of the different States,--as each State takes whatever laws it
may think fit to adopt. Even the precedents of our courts are held as
precedents in the American courts, unless they chance to jar against
other decisions given specially in their own courts with reference to
cases of their own. In this respect the founders of the American law
proceedings have shown a conservation bias and a predilection for
English written and traditional law, which are much at variance with
that general democratic passion for change by which we generally
presume the Americans to have been actuated at their revolution. But
though they have kept our laws, and still respect our reading of
those laws, they have greatly altered and simplified our practice.
Whether a double set of courts for Law and Equity are or are not
expedient, either in the one country or in the other, I do not
pretend to know. It is, however, the fact that there is no such
division in the States.

Moreover there is no division in the legal profession. With us
we have barristers and attorneys. In the States the same man is
both barrister and attorney; and, which is perhaps in effect more
startling, every lawyer is presumed to undertake law cases of every
description. The same man makes your will, sells your property,
brings an action for you of trespass against your neighbour,
defends you when you are accused of murder, recovers for you
two-and-sixpence, and pleads for you in an argument of three days'
length when you claim to be the sole heir to your grandfather's
enormous property. I need not describe how terribly distinct with
us is the difference between an attorney and a barrister, or how
much further than the poles asunder is the future Lord Chancellor,
pleading before the Lords Justices at Lincoln's Inn, from the
gentleman who at the Old Bailey is endeavouring to secure the
personal liberty of the ruffian who a week or two since walked off
with all your silver spoons. In the States no such differences are
known. A lawyer there is a lawyer, and is supposed to do for any
client any work that a lawyer may be called on to perform. But though
this is the theory, and as regards any difference between attorney
and barrister is altogether the fact, the assumed practice is not,
and cannot be maintained as regards the various branches of a
lawyer's work. When the population was smaller, and the law cases
were less complicated, the theory and the practice were no doubt
alike. As great cities have grown up, and properties large in amount
have come under litigation, certain lawyers have found it expedient
and practicable to devote themselves to special branches of their
profession. But this, even up to the present time, has not been done
openly as it were, or with any declaration made by a man as to his
own branch of his calling. I believe that no such declaration on his
part would be in accordance with the rules of the profession. He
takes a partner, however, and thus attains his object;--or more than
one partner, and then the business of the house is divided among them
according to their individual specialities. One will plead in court,
another will give chamber-counsel, and a third will take that lower
business which must be done, but which first-rate men hardly like to

It will easily be perceived that law in this way will be made
cheaper to the litigant. Whether or no that may be an unadulterated
advantage, I have my doubts. I fancy that the united professional
incomes of all the lawyers in the States would exceed in amount those
made in England. In America every man of note seems to be a lawyer,
and I am told that any lawyer who will work may make a sure income.
If it be so, it would seem that Americans per head pay as much or
more for their law as men do in England. It may be answered that they
get more law for their money. That may be possible, and even yet
they may not be gainers. I have been inclined to think that there
is an unnecessarily slow and expensive ceremonial among us in the
employment of barristers through a third party; it has seemed that
the man of learning, on whose efforts the litigant really depends, is
divided off from his client and employer by an unfair barrier, used
only to enhance his own dignity and give an unnecessary grandeur
to his position. I still think that the fault with us lies in this
direction. But I feel that I am less inclined to demand an immediate
alteration in our practice than I was before I had seen any of the
American courts of law.

It should be generally understood that lawyers are the leading men in
the States, and that the governance of the country has been almost
entirely in their hands ever since the political life of the nation
became full and strong. All public business of importance falls
naturally into their hands, as with us it falls into the hands of men
of settled wealth and landed property. Indeed, the fact on which I
insist is much more clear and defined in the States than it is with
us. In England the lawyers also obtain no inconsiderable share of
political and municipal power. The latter is perhaps more in the
hands of merchants and men in trade than of any other class; and even
the highest seats of political greatness are more open with us to the
world at large than they seem to be in the States to any that are not
lawyers. Since the days of Washington every President of the United
States has, I think, been a lawyer, excepting General Taylor. Other
Presidents have been generals, but then they have also been lawyers.
General Jackson was a successful lawyer. Almost all the leading
politicians of the present day are lawyers. Seward, Cameron, Welles,
Stanton, Chase, Sumner, Crittenden, Harris, Fessenden, are all
lawyers. Webster, Clay, Calhoun, and Cass were lawyers. Hamilton and
Jay were lawyers. Any man with an ambition to enter upon public life
becomes a lawyer as a matter of course. It seems as though a study
and practice of the law were necessary ingredients in a man's
preparation for political life. I have no doubt that a very large
proportion of both Houses of legislature would be found to consist of
lawyers. I do not remember that I know of the circumstance of more
than one senator who is not a lawyer. Lawyers form the ruling class
in America as the landowners do with us. With us that ruling class is
the wealthiest class; but this is not so in the States. It might be
wished that it were so.

The great and ever-present difference between the national or federal
affairs of the United States government, and the affairs of the
government of each individual State should be borne in mind at all
times by those who desire to understand the political position of the
States. Till this be realized no one can have any correct idea of the
bearings of politics in that country. As a matter of course we in
England have been inclined to regard the Government and Congress of
Washington as paramount throughout the States, in the same way that
the Government of Downing Street and the Parliament of Westminster
are paramount through the British isles. Such a mistake is natural;
but not the less would it be a fatal bar to any correct understanding
of the constitution of the United States. The national and State
governments are independent of each other, and so also are the
national and State tribunals. Each of these separate tribunals has
its own judicature, its own judges, its own courts, and its own
functions. Nor can the supreme tribunal at Washington exercise any
authority over the proceedings of the Courts in the different States,
or influence the decisions of their judges. For not only are the
national judges and the State judges independent of each other; but
the laws in accordance with which they are bound to act, may be
essentially different. The two tribunals, those of the nation and
of the State, are independent and final in their several spheres.
On a matter of State jurisprudence no appeal lies from the supreme
tribunal of New York or Massachusetts to the supreme tribunal of the
nation at Washington.

The national tribunals are of two classes. First, there is the
Supreme Court specially ordained by the constitution. And then there
are such inferior courts as Congress may from time to time see fit to
establish. Congress has no power to abolish the Supreme Court, or to
erect another tribunal superior to it. This court sits at Washington,
and is a final court of appeal from the inferior national courts
of the federal empire. A system of inferior courts, inaugurated by
Congress, has existed for about sixty years. Each State for purposes
of national jurisprudence is constituted as a district; some few
large States, such as New York, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, being
divided into two districts. Each district has one district court
presided over by one judge. National causes in general, both civil
and criminal, are commenced in these district courts, and those
involving only small amounts are ended there. Above these district
courts are the national circuit courts, the districts or States
having been grouped into circuits as the counties are grouped with
us. To each of these circuits is assigned one of the judges of the
Supreme Court of Washington, who is the ex-officio judge of that
circuit, and who therefore travels as do our Common Law judges. In
each district he sits with the judge of that district, and they two
together form the circuit court. Appeals from the district court
lie to the circuit court in cases over a certain amount, and also
in certain criminal cases. It follows therefore that appeals lie
from one judge to the same judge when sitting with another,--an
arrangement which would seem to be fraught with some inconvenience.
Certain causes, both civil and criminal, are commenced in the circuit
courts. From the circuit courts the appeal lies to the Supreme Court
at Washington; but such appeal beyond the circuit court is not
allowed in cases which are of small magnitude or which do not involve
principles of importance. If there be a division of opinion in the
circuit court the case goes to the Supreme Court;--from whence it
might be inferred that all cases brought from the district court to
the circuit court would be sent on to the Supreme Court, unless the
circuit judge agreed with the district judge; for the district judge
having given his judgment in the inferior court, would probably
adhere to it in the superior court. No appeal lies to the Supreme
Court at Washington in criminal cases.

All questions that concern more than one State, or that are litigated
between citizens of different States, or which are international in
their bearing, come before the national judges. All cases in which
foreigners are concerned, or the rights of foreigners, are brought
or may be brought into the national courts. So also are all causes
affecting the Union itself, or which are governed by the laws of
Congress and not by the laws of any individual State. All questions
of Admiralty law and maritime jurisdiction, and cases affecting
ambassadors or consuls, are there tried. Matters relating to the
Post-office, to the Customs, the collection of national taxes, to
patents, to the army and navy, and to the mint, are tried in the
national courts. The theory is that the national tribunals shall
expound and administer the national laws and treaties, protect
national offices and national rights; and that foreigners and
citizens of other States shall not be required to submit to the
decisions of the State tribunals;--in fact, that national tribunals
shall take cognizance of all matters as to which the general
government of the nation is responsible. In most of such cases the
national tribunals have exclusive jurisdiction. In others it is
optional with the plaintiff to select his tribunal. It is then
optional with the defendant, if brought into a State court, to
remain there or to remove his cause into the national tribunal. The
principle is, that either at the beginning, or ultimately, such
questions shall or may be decided by the national tribunals. If in
any suit properly cognizable in a State court the decision should
turn on a clause in the constitution, or on a law of the United
States, or on the act of a national offence, or on the validity of
a national act, an appeal lies to the Supreme Court of the United
States and to its officers. The object has been to give to the
national tribunals of the nation full cognizance of its own laws,
treaties, and congressional acts.

The judges of all the national tribunals, of whatever grade or rank,
hold their offices for life, and are removable only on impeachment.
They are not even removable on an address of Congress; thus holding
on a firmer tenure even than our own judges, who may, I believe, be
moved on an address by Parliament. The judges in America are not
entitled to any pension or retiring allowances; and as there is not,
as regards the judges of the national courts, any proviso that they
shall cease to sit after a certain age, they are, in fact, immoveable
whatever may be their infirmities. Their position in this respect
is not good, seeing that their salaries will hardly admit of their
making adequate provision for the evening of life. The salary of
the Chief Justice of the United States is only £1300 per annum. All
judges of the national courts of whatever rank are appointed by the
President, but their appointments must be confirmed by the Senate.
This proviso, however, gives to the Senate practically but little
power, and is rarely used in opposition to the will of the President.
If the President name one candidate, who on political grounds is
distasteful to a majority of the Senate, it is not probable that a
second nomination made by him will be more satisfactory. This seems
now to be understood, and the nomination of the cabinet ministers
and of the judges, as made by the President, are seldom set aside or
interfered with by the Senate, unless on grounds of purely personal

The position of the national judges as to their appointments and mode
of tenure is very different from that of the State judges, to whom in
a few lines I shall more specially allude. This should, I think, be
specially noticed by Englishmen when criticising the doings of the
American courts. I have observed statements made to the effect that
decisions given by American judges as to international or maritime
affairs affecting English interests could not be trusted, because
the judges so giving them would have been elected by popular vote,
and would be dependent on the popular voice for reappointment. This
is not so. Judges are appointed by popular vote in very many of
the States. But all matters affecting shipping, and all questions
touching foreigners are tried in the national courts before judges
who have been appointed for life. I should not myself have had any
fear with reference to the ultimate decision in the affair of Slidell
and Mason had the "Trent" been carried into New York. I would,
however, by no means say so much had the cause been one for trial
before the tribunals of the State of New York.

I have been told that we in England have occasionally fallen into
the error of attributing to the Supreme Court at Washington a quasi
political power which it does not possess. This court can give no
opinion to any department of the Government, nor can it decide upon
or influence any subject that has not come before it as a regularly
litigated case in law. Though especially founded by the constitution,
it has no peculiar power under the constitution, and stands in no
peculiar relation either to that or to Acts of Congress. It has no
other power to decide on the constitutional legality of an act of
Congress or an act of a State legislature or of a public officer than
every court, State and national, high and low, possesses and is bound
to exercise. It is simply the national court of last appeal.

In the different States such tribunals have been established as each
State by its constitution and legislation has seen fit to adopt. The
States are entirely free on this point. The usual course is to have
one Supreme Court, sometimes called by that name, sometimes the
Court of Appeals, and sometimes the Court of Errors. Then they have
such especial courts as their convenience may dictate. The State
jurisprudence includes all causes not expressly or by necessary
implication secured to the national courts. The tribunals of the
States have exclusive control over domestic relations, religion,
education, the tenure and descent of land, the inheritance of
property, police regulations, municipal economy, and all matters
of internal trade. In this category of course come the relations
of husband and wife, parent and child, master and servant, owner
and slave, guardian and ward, tradesman and apprentice. So also
do all police and criminal regulations not external in their
character,--highways, railroads, canals, schools, colleges, the
relief of paupers, and those thousand other affairs of the world
by which men are daily surrounded in their own homes and their own
districts. As to such subjects Congress can make no law, and over
them Congress and the national tribunals have no jurisdiction.
Congress cannot say that a man shall be hung for murder in New York;
nor if a man be condemned to be hung in New York can the President
pardon him. The legislature of New York must say whether or no
hanging shall be the punishment adjudged to murder in that State;
and the Governor of the State of New York must pronounce the man's
pardon,--if it be that he is to be pardoned. But Congress must decide
whether or no a man shall be hung for murder committed on the high
seas, or in the national forts or arsenals; and in such a case it is
for the President to give or to refuse the pardon.

The judges of the States are appointed as the constitution or the
laws of each State may direct in that matter. The appointments, I
think, in all the old States were formerly vested in the Governor. In
some States such is still the case. In some, if I am not mistaken,
the nomination is now made, directly, by the legislature. But in
most of the States the power of appointing has been claimed by the
people, and the judges are voted in by popular election, just as the
President of the Union and the Governors of the different States
are voted in. There has for some years been a growing tendency in
this direction, and the people in most of the States have claimed
the power;--or rather the power has been given to the people by
politicians who have wished to get into their hands in this way the
patronage of the courts. But now, at the present moment, there is
arising a strong feeling of the inexpediency of appointing judges in
such a manner. An antidemocratic bias is taking possession of men's
minds, causing a reaction against that tendency to universal suffrage
in everything which prevailed before the war began. As to this matter
of the mode of appointing judges, I have heard but one opinion
expressed; and I am inclined to think that a change will be made in
one State after another, as the constitutions of the different States
are revised. Such revisions take place generally at periods of about
twenty-five years' duration. If, therefore, it be acknowledged that
the system be bad, the error can be soon corrected.

Nor is this mode of appointment the only evil that has been adopted
in the State judicatures. The judges in most of the States are not
appointed for life, nor even during good behaviour. They enter their
places for a certain term of years, varying from fifteen down, I
believe, to seven. I do not know whether any are appointed for a term
of less than seven years. When they go out they have no pensions; and
as a lawyer who has been on the bench for seven years can hardly
recall his practice, and find himself at once in receipt of his old
professional income, it may easily be imagined how great will be
the judge's anxiety to retain his position on the bench. This he
can do only by the universal suffrages of the people, by political
popularity, and a general standing of that nature which enables a man
to come forth as the favourite candidate of the lower orders. This
may or may not be well when the place sought for is one of political
power,--when the duties required are political in all their bearings.
But no one can think it well when the place sought for is a judge's
seat on the bench;--when the duties required are solely judicial.
Whatever hitherto may have been the conduct of the judges in the
courts of the different States, whether or no impurity has yet crept
in, and the sanctity of justice has yet been outraged, no one can
doubt the tendency of such an arrangement. At present even a few
visits to the courts constituted in this manner will convince an
observer that the judges on the bench are rather inferior than
superior to the lawyers who practise before them. The manner of
address, the tone of voice, the lack of dignity in the judge, and the
assumption by the lawyer before him of a higher authority than his,
all tell this tale. And then the judges in these courts are not paid
at a rate which will secure the services of the best men. They vary
in the different States, running from about £600 to about £1000 per
annum. But a successful lawyer practising in the courts in which
these judges sit, not unfrequently earns £3000 a year. A professional
income of £2000 a year is not considered very high. When the
different conditions of the bench are considered, when it is
remembered that the judge may lose his place after a short term of
years, and that during that short term of years he receives a payment
much less than that earned by his successful professional brethren,
it can hardly be expected that first-rate judges should be found. The
result is seen daily in society. You meet Judge This and Judge That,
not knowing whether they are ex-judges or in-judges; but you soon
learn that your friends do not hold any very high social position on
account of their forensic dignity.

It is, perhaps, but just to add that in Massachusetts, which I cannot
but regard as in many respects the noblest of the States, the judges
are appointed by the Governor, and are appointed for life.



The Americans are proud of much that they have done in this war, and
indeed much has been done which may justify pride; but of nothing are
they so proud as of the noble dimensions and quick growth of their
Government debt. That Mr. Secretary Chase, the American Chancellor
of the Exchequer, participates in this feeling I will not venture to
say; but if he do not, he is well nigh the only man in the States
who does not do so. The amount of expenditure has been a subject of
almost national pride, and the two million of dollars a day which has
been roughly put down as the average cost of the war, has always been
mentioned by northern men in a tone of triumph. This feeling is, I
think, intelligible; and although we cannot allude to it without a
certain amount of inward sarcasm,--a little gentle laughing in the
sleeve, at the nature of this national joy, I am not prepared to say
that it is altogether ridiculous. If the country be found able and
willing to pay the bill, this triumph in the amount of the cost will
hereafter be regarded as having been anything but ridiculous. In
private life an individual will occasionally be known to lavish his
whole fortune on the accomplishment of an object which he conceives
to be necessary to his honour. If the object be in itself good, and
if the money be really paid, we do not laugh at such a man for the
sacrifices which he makes.

For myself, I think that the object of the northern States in this
war has been good. I think that they could not have avoided the
war without dishonour, and that it was incumbent on them to make
themselves the arbiters of the future position of the South, whether
that future position shall or shall not be one of secession. This
they could only do by fighting. Had they acceded to secession
without a civil war, they would have been regarded throughout Europe
as having shown themselves inferior to the South, and would for
many years to come have lost that prestige which their spirit and
energy had undoubtedly won for them; and in their own country such
submission on their part would have practically given to the South
the power of drawing the line of division between the two new
countries. That line, so drawn, would have given Virginia, Maryland,
Kentucky, and Missouri to the southern Republic. The great effect of
the war to the North will be, that the northern men will draw the
line of secession, if any such line be drawn. I still think that such
line will ultimately be drawn, and that the southern States will be
allowed to secede. But if it be so, Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, and
Missouri will not be found among these seceding States; and the line
may not improbably be driven south of North Carolina and Tennessee.
If this can be so, the object of the war will, I think, hereafter
be admitted to have been good. Whatever may be the cost in money of
joining the States which I have named to a free-soil northern people,
instead of allowing them to be buried in that dismal swamp, which
a confederacy of southern slave States will produce, that cost can
hardly be too much. At the present moment there exists in England a
strong sympathy with the South, produced partly by the unreasonable
vituperation with which the North treated our Government at the
beginning of the war, and by the capture of Mason and Slidell; partly
also by that feeling of good-will which a looker-on at a combat
always has for the weaker side. But, although this sympathy does
undoubtedly exist, I do not imagine that many Englishmen are of
opinion that a confederacy of southern slave States will ever offer
to the general civilization of the world very many attractions. It
cannot be thought that the South will equal the North in riches, in
energy, in education, or general well-being. Such has not been our
experience of any slave country; such has not been our experience of
any tropical country; and such especially has not been our experience
of the southern States of the North American Union. I am no
abolitionist; but to me it seems impossible that any Englishman
should really advocate the cause of slavery against the cause of
free soil. There are the slaves, and I know that they cannot be
abolished,--neither they nor their chains; but, for myself, I will
not willingly join my lot with theirs. I do not wish to have dealings
with the African negro either as a free man or as a slave, if I can
avoid them, believing that his employment by me in either capacity
would lead to my own degradation.* Such, I think, are the feelings of
Englishmen generally on this matter. And if such be the case, will it
not be acknowledged that the northern men have done well to fight for
a line which shall add five or six States to that Union which will in
truth be a union of free men, rather than to that Confederacy which,
even if successful, must owe its success to slavery?

  *In saying this I fear that I shall be misunderstood, let me
   use what foot-note or other mode of protestation I may to guard
   myself. In thus speaking of the African negro, I do not venture to
   despise the work of God's hands. That He has made the negro, for
   His own good purposes, as He has the Esquimaux, I am aware. And I
   am aware that it is my duty, as it is the duty of us all, to see
   that no injury be done to him, and, if possible, to assist him in
   his condition. When I declare that I desire no dealings with the
   negro, I speak of him in the position in which I now find him,
   either as a free servant or a slave. In either position he impedes
   the civilization and the progress of the white man.

In considering this matter it must be remembered that the five
or six States of which we are speaking are at present slave
States, but that, with the exception of Virginia,--of part only of
Virginia,--they are not wedded to slavery. But even in Virginia,
great as has been the gain which has accrued to that unhappy State
from the breeding of slaves for the southern market,--even in
Virginia slavery would soon die out if she were divided from the
South, and joined to the North. In those other States, in Maryland,
in Kentucky, and in Missouri there is no desire to perpetuate the
institution. They have been slave States, and as such have resented
the rabid abolition of certain northern orators. Had it not been for
those orators, and their oratory, the soil of Kentucky would now have
been free. Those five or six States are now slave States; but a line
of secession drawn south of them will be the line which cuts off
slavery from the North. If those States belong to the North when
secession shall be accomplished, they will belong to it as free
States; but if they belong to the South, they will belong to the
South as slave States. If they belong to the North, they will become
rich as the North is, and will share in the education of the North.
If they belong to the South they will become poor as the South
is, and will share in the ignorance of the South. If we presume
that secession will be accomplished,--and I for one am of that
opinion,--has it not been well that a war should be waged with
such an object as this? If those five or six States can be gained,
stretching east and west from the Atlantic to the centre of the
continent, hundreds of miles beyond the Mississippi, and north and
south over four degrees of latitude,--if that extent of continent can
be added to the free soil of the northern territory, will not the
contest that has done this have been worth any money that can have
been spent on it?

So much as to the object to be gained by the money spent on the war!
And I think that in estimating the nature of the financial position
which the war has produced, it was necessary that we should consider
the value of the object which has been in dispute. The object I
maintain has been good. Then comes the question whether or no the
bill will be fairly paid;--whether they who have spent the money will
set about that disagreeable task of settling the account with a true
purpose and an honest energy. And this question splits itself into
two parts. Will the Americans honestly wish to pay the bill; and if
they do so wish, will they have the power to pay it? Again that last
question must be once more divided. Will they have the power to pay,
as regards the actual possession of the means, and if possessing
them, will they have the power of access to those means?

The nation has obtained for itself an evil name for repudiation. We
all know that Pennsylvania behaved badly about her money affairs,
although she did at last pay her debts. We all know that Mississippi
has behaved very badly about her money affairs, and has never paid
her debts, nor does she intend to pay them. And, which is worse than
this, for it applies to the nation generally and not to individual
States, we all know that it was made a matter of boast in the States
that in the event of a war with England the enormous amount of
property held by Englishmen in the States should be confiscated.
That boast was especially made in the mercantile city of New York;
and when the matter was discussed it seemed as though no American
realized the iniquity of such a threat. It was not apparently
understood that such a confiscation on account of a war would be an
act of national robbery justified simply by the fact that the power
of committing it would be in the hands of the robbers. Confiscation
of so large an amount of wealth would be a smart thing, and men did
not seem to perceive that any disgrace would attach to it in the eyes
of the world at large. I am very anxious not to speak harsh words of
the Americans; but when questions arise as to pecuniary arrangements
I find myself forced to acknowledge that great precaution is at any
rate necessary.

But, nevertheless, I am not sure that we shall be fair if we allow
ourselves to argue as to the national purpose in this matter from
such individual instances of dishonesty as those which I have
mentioned. I do not think it is to be presumed that the United States
as a nation will repudiate its debts because two separate States may
have been guilty of repudiation. Nor am I disposed to judge of the
honesty of the people generally from the dishonest threatenings of
New York, made at a moment in which a war with England was considered
imminent. I do believe that the nation, as a nation, will be as ready
to pay for the war as it has been ready to carry on the war. That
"ignorant impatience of taxation," to which it is supposed that we
Britons are very subject, has not been a complaint rife among the
Americans generally. We, in England, are inclined to believe that
hitherto they have known nothing of the merits and demerits of
taxation, and have felt none of its annoyances, because their entire
national expenditure has been defrayed by light Custom duties; but
the levies made in the separate States for State purposes, or chiefly
for municipal purposes, have been very heavy. They are, however,
collected easily, and, as far as I am aware, without any display of
ignorant impatience. Indeed, an American is rarely impatient of any
ordained law. Whether he be told to do this, or to pay for that, or
to abstain from the other, he does do and pay and abstain without
grumbling, provided that he has had a hand in voting for those
who made the law and for those who carry out the law. The people
generally have, I think, recognized the fact that they will have to
put their necks beneath the yoke, as the peoples of other nations
have put theirs, and support the weight of a great national debt.
When the time comes for the struggle,--for the first uphill heaving
against the terrible load which they will henceforth have to drag
with them in their career, I think it will be found that they are not
ill-inclined to put their shoulders to the work.

Then as to their power of paying the bill! We are told that the
wealth of a nation consists in its labour, and that that nation is
the most wealthy which can turn out of hand the greatest amount of
work. If this be so the American States must form a very wealthy
nation, and as such be able to support a very heavy burden. No one,
I presume, doubts that that nation which works the most, or works
rather to the best effect, is the richest. On this account England is
richer than other countries, and is able to bear, almost without the
sign of an effort, a burden which would crush any other land. But
of this wealth the States own almost as much as Great Britain owns.
The population of the northern States is industrious, ambitious of
wealth, and capable of work as is our population. It possesses, or is
possessed by, that restless longing for labour which creates wealth
almost unconsciously. Whether this man be rich or be a bankrupt,
whether the bankers of that city fail or make their millions, the
creative energies of the American people will not become dull.
Idleness is impossible to them, and therefore poverty is impossible.
Industry and intellect together will always produce wealth; and
neither industry nor intellect is ever wanting to an American. They
are the two gifts with which the fairy has endowed him. When she
shall have added honesty as a third, the tax-gatherer can desire no
better country in which to exercise his calling.

I cannot myself think that all the millions that are being spent
would weigh upon the country with much oppression, if the weight were
once properly placed upon the muscles that will have to bear it. The
difficulty will be in the placing of the weight. It has, I know,
been argued that the circumstances under which our national debt
has extended itself to its present magnificent dimensions cannot be
quoted as parallel to those of the present American debt, because we,
while we were creating the debt, were taxing ourselves very heavily,
whereas the Americans have gone a-head with the creation of their
debt before they have levied a shilling on themselves towards the
payment of those expenses for which the debt has been encountered.
But this argument, even if it were true in its gist, goes no way
towards proving that the Americans will be unable to pay. The
population of the present free-soil States is above eighteen
millions; that of the States which will probably belong to the Union
if secession be accomplished is about twenty-two millions. At a time
when our debt had amounted to six hundred millions sterling, we
had no population such as that to bear the burden. It may be said
that we had more amassed wealth than they have. But I take it that
the amassed wealth of any country can go but a very little way in
defraying the wants or in paying the debts of a people. We again come
back to the old maxim, that the labour of a country is its wealth;
and that a country will be rich or poor in accordance with the
intellectual industry of its people.

But the argument drawn from that comparison between our own conduct
when we were creating our debt, and the conduct of the Americans
while they have been creating their debt,--during the twelve months
from April 1, 1861, to March 31, 1862, let us say,--is hardly a fair
argument. We, at any rate, knew how to tax ourselves,--if only the
taxes might be forthcoming. We were already well used to the work;
and a minister with a willing House of Commons had all his material
ready to his hand. It has not been so in the United States. The
difficulty has not been with the people who should pay the taxes, but
with the minister and the Congress which did not know how to levy
them. Certainly not as yet have those who are now criticising the
doings on the other side of the water, a right to say that the
American people are unwilling to make personal sacrifices for the
carrying out of this war. No sign has as yet been shown of an
unwillingness on the part of the people to be taxed. But wherever
a sign could be given, it has been given on the other side. The
separate States have taxed themselves very heavily for the support
of the families of the absent soldiers. The extra allowances made
to maimed men, amounting generally to twenty-four shillings a month,
have been paid by the States themselves, and have been paid almost
with too much alacrity.

I am of opinion that the Americans will show no unwillingness to pay
the amount of taxation which must be exacted from them; and I also
think that as regards their actual means they will have the power
to pay it. But as regards their power of obtaining access to those
means, I must confess that I see many difficulties in their way.
In the first place they have no financier,--no man who by natural
aptitude and by long continued contact with great questions of
finance, has enabled himself to handle the money affairs of a nation
with a master's hand. In saying this I do not intend to impute any
blame to Mr. Chase, the present Secretary at the Treasury. Of his
ability to do the work properly, had he received the proper training,
I am not able to judge. It is not that Mr. Chase is incapable. He may
be capable or incapable. But it is that he has not had the education
of a national financier, and that he has no one at his elbow to help
him who has had that advantage.

And here we are again brought to that general absence of state craft
which has been the result of the American system of government. I am
not aware that our Chancellors of the Exchequer have in late years
always been great masters of finance; but they have at any rate been
among money men and money matters, and have had financiers at their
elbows if they have not deserved the name themselves. The very fact
that a Chancellor of the Exchequer sits in the House of Commons and
is forced in that House to answer all questions on the subject of
finance, renders it impossible that he should be ignorant of the
rudiments of the science. If you put a white cap on a man's head and
place him in a kitchen, he will soon learn to be a cook. But he will
never be made a cook by standing in the dining-room and seeing the
dishes as they are brought up. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is our
cook; and the House of Commons, not the Treasury chambers, is his
kitchen. Let the Secretary of the United States Treasury sit in the
House of Representatives. He would learn more there by contest with
opposing members than he can do by any amount of study in his own

But the House of Representatives itself has not as yet learned its
own lesson with reference to taxation. When I say that the United
States are in want of a financier, I do not mean that the deficiency
rests entirely with Mr. Chase. This necessity for taxation, and for
taxation at so tremendous a rate, has come suddenly, and has found
the representatives of the people unprepared for such work. To us, as
I conceive, the science of taxation, in which we certainly ought to
be great, has come gradually. We have learned by slow lessons what
taxes will be productive, under what circumstances they will be most
productive, and at what point they will be made unproductive by their
own weight. We have learned what taxes may be levied so as to afford
funds themselves, without injuring the proceeds of other taxes, and
we know what taxes should be eschewed as being specially oppressive
to the general industry and injurious to the well-being of the
nation. This has come of much practice, and even we, with all our
experience, have even got something to learn. But the public men
in the States who are now devoting themselves to this matter of
taxing the people have, as yet, no such experience. That they
have inclination enough for the work is, I think, sufficiently
demonstrated by the national tax bill, the wording of which is now
before me, and which will have been passed into law before this
volume can be published. It contains a list of every taxable article
on the earth or under the earth. A more sweeping catalogue of
taxation was probably never put forth. The Americans, it has been
said by some of us, have shown no disposition to tax themselves for
this war; but before the war has as yet been well twelve months in
operation, a bill has come out with a list of taxation so oppressive,
that it must, as regards many of its items, act against itself and
cut its own throat. It will produce terrible fraud in its evasion,
and create an army of excise officers who will be as locusts over
the face of the country. Taxes are to be laid on articles which I
should have said that universal consent had declared to be unfit for
taxation. Salt, soap, candles, oil, and other burning fluids, gas,
pins, paper, ink, and leather, are to be taxed. It was at first
proposed that wheat-flour should be taxed, but that item has, I
believe, been struck out of the bill in its passage through the
House. All articles manufactured of cotton, wool, silk, worsted,
flax, hemp, jute, india-rubber, gutta percha, wood (?), glass,
pottery wares, leather, paper, iron, steel, lead, tin, copper, zinc,
brass, gold and silver, horn, ivory, bone, bristles, wholly or in
part, or of other materials, are to be taxed;--provided always that
books, magazines, pamphlets, newspapers, and reviews shall not be
regarded as manufactures. It will be said that the amount of taxation
to be levied on the immense number of manufactured articles which
must be included in this list will be light,--the tax itself being
only 3 per cent. ad valorem. But with reference to every article,
there will be the necessity of collecting this 3 per cent.! As
regards each article that is manufactured, some government official
must interfere to appraise its value and to levy the tax. Who shall
declare the value of a barrel of wooden nutmegs; or how shall
the Excise-officer get his tax from every cobbler's stall in the
country? And then tradesmen are to pay licences for their trades,--a
confectioner £2, a tallow-chandler £2, a horsedealer £2. Every man
whose business it is to sell horses shall be a horsedealer. True. But
who shall say whether or no it be a man's business to sell horses?
An apothecary £2, a photographer £2, a pedlar £4, £3, £2, or £1,
according to his mode of travelling. But if the gross receipts of any
of the confectioners, tallow-chandlers, horsedealers, apothecaries,
photographers, pedlars, or the like do not exceed £200 a year, then
such tradesmen shall not be required to pay for any licence at all.
Surely such a proviso can only have been inserted with the express
view of creating fraud and ill blood! But the greatest audacity has,
I think, been shown in the levying of personal taxes,--such taxes
as have been held to be peculiarly disagreeable among us, and have
specially brought down upon us the contempt of lightly-taxed people,
who, like the Americans, have known nothing of domestic interference.
Carriages are to be taxed,--as they are with us. Pianos also are to
be taxed, and plate. It is not signified by this clause that such
articles shall pay a tax, once for all, while in the maker's hands,
which tax would no doubt fall on the future owner of such piano or
plate; in such case the owner would pay, but would pay without any
personal contact with the tax-gatherer. But every owner of a piano or
of plate is to pay annually according to the value of the articles
he owns. But perhaps the most audacious of all the proposed taxes
is that on watches. Every owner of a watch is to pay 4_s._ a year
for a gold watch and 2_s._ a year for a silver watch! The American
tax-gatherers will not like to be cheated. They will be very keen in
searching for watches. But who can say whether they or the carriers
of watches will have the best of it in such a hunt. The tax-gatherers
will be as hounds ever at work on a cold scent. They will now be
hot and angry, and then dull and disheartened. But the carriers of
watches who do not choose to pay will generally, one may predict, be
able to make their points good.

With such a tax bill,--which I believe came into action on the 1st of
May, 1862,--the Americans are not fairly open to the charge of being
unwilling to tax themselves. They have avoided none of the irritating
annoyances of taxation, as also they have not avoided, or attempted
to lighten for themselves, the dead weight of the burden. The dead
weight they are right to endure without flinching; but their mode of
laying it on their own backs justifies me, I think, in saying that
they do not yet know how to obtain access to their own means. But
this bill applies simply to matters of excise. As I have said before,
Congress, which has hitherto supported the government by custom
duties, has also the power of levying excise duties, and now, in its
first session since the commencement of the war, has begun to use
that power without much hesitation or bashfulness. As regards their
taxes levied at the Custom House, the government of the United States
has always been inclined to high duties, with the view of protecting
the internal trade and manufactures of the country. The amount
required for national expenses was easily obtained, and these duties
were not regulated, as I think, so much with a view to the amount
which might be collected, as to that of the effect which the tax
might have in fostering native industry. That, if I understand it,
was the meaning of Mr. Morrill's bill, which was passed immediately
on the secession of the southern members of Congress, and which
instantly enhanced the price of all foreign manufactured goods in the
States. But now the desire for protection, simply as protection, has
been swallowed up in the acknowledged necessity for revenue; and the
only object to be recognized in the arrangement of the custom duties
is the collection of the greatest number of dollars. This is fair
enough. If the country can at such a crisis raise a better revenue
by claiming a shilling a pound on coffee than it can by claiming
sixpence, the shilling may be wisely claimed, even though many may
thus be prohibited from the use of coffee. But then comes the great
question, What duty will really give the greatest product? At what
rate shall we tax coffee so as to get at the people's money? If it be
so taxed that people won't use it, the tax cuts its own throat. There
is some point at which the tax will be most productive; and also
there is a point up to which the tax will not operate to the serious
injury of the trade. Without the knowledge which should indicate
these points, a Chancellor of the Exchequer, with his myrmidons,
would be groping in the dark. As far as we can yet see, there is not
much of such knowledge either in the Treasury Chambers or the House
of Representatives at Washington.

But the greatest difficulty which the States will feel in obtaining
access to their own means of taxation, is that which is created by
the constitution itself, and to which I alluded when speaking of
the taxing powers which the constitution had given to Congress, and
those which it had denied to Congress. As to custom duties and excise
duties, Congress can do what it pleases, as can the House of Commons.
But Congress cannot levy direct taxation according to its own
judgment. In those matters of customs and excise, Congress and the
Secretary of the Treasury will probably make many blunders; but
having the power they will blunder through, and the money will be
collected. But direct taxation, in an available shape, is beyond the
power of Congress under the existing rule of the constitution. No
income-tax, for instance, can be laid on the general incomes of the
United States, that shall be universal throughout the States. An
income-tax can be levied, but it must be levied in proportion to the
representation. It is as though our Chancellor of the Exchequer, in
collecting an income-tax, were obliged to demand the same amount of
contribution from the town of Chester as from the town of Liverpool,
because both Chester and Liverpool return two Members to Parliament.
In fitting his tax to the capacity of Chester, he would be forced to
allow Liverpool to escape unscathed. No skill in money matters on
the part of the Treasury Secretary, and no aptness for finance on
the part of the Committee on Ways and Means, can avail here. The
constitution must apparently be altered before any serviceable resort
can be had to direct taxation. And yet, at such an emergency as
that now existing, direct taxation would probably give more ready
assistance than can be afforded either by the Customs or the Excise.

It has been stated to me that this difficulty in the way of direct
taxation can be overcome without any change in the constitution.
Congress could only levy from Rhode Island the same amount of
income-tax that it might levy from Iowa; but it will be competent to
the legislature of Rhode Island itself to levy what income-tax it may
please on itself; and to devote the proceeds to national or federal
purposes. Rhode Island may do so; and so may Massachusetts, New
York, Connecticut, and the other rich Atlantic States. They may
tax themselves according to their riches, while Iowa, Illinois,
Wisconsin, and such-like States are taxing themselves according to
their poverty. I cannot myself think that it would be well to trust
to the generosity of the separate States for the finances needed by
the national Government. We should not willingly trust to Yorkshire
or Sussex to give us their contributions to the national income,
especially if Yorkshire and Sussex had small Houses of Commons of
their own, in which that question of giving might be debated. It may
be very well for Rhode Island or New York to be patriotic! But what
shall be done with any State that declines to evince such patriotism?
The legislatures of the different States may be invited to impose a
tax of 5 per cent. on all incomes in each State; but what will be
done if Pennsylvania, for instance, should decline, or Illinois
should hesitate? What if the legislature of Massachusetts should
offer 6 per cent., or that of New Jersey decide that 4 per cent.
was sufficient? For a while the arrangement might possibly be made
to answer the desired purpose. During the first ebullition of high
feeling, the different States concerned might possibly vote the
amount of taxes required for federal purposes. I fear it would not be
so, but we may allow that the chance is on the card. But it is not
conceivable that such an arrangement should be continued when, after
a year or two, men came to talk over the war with calmer feelings
and a more critical judgment. The State legislatures would become
inquisitive, opinionative, and probably factious. They would be
unwilling to act in so great a matter under the dictation of the
federal Congress; and by degrees one, and then another, would decline
to give its aid to the central government. However broadly the
acknowledgment may have been made, that the levying of direct taxes
was necessary for the nation, each State would be tempted to argue
that a wrong mode and a wrong rate of levying had been adopted, and
words would be forthcoming instead of money. A resort to such a mode
of taxation would be a bad security for government Stock.

All matters of taxation, moreover, should be free from any taint
of generosity. A man who should attempt to lessen the burdens of
his country by gifts of money to its Exchequer would be laying his
country under an obligation, for which his country would not thank
him. The gifts here would be from States, and not from individuals;
but the principle would be the same. I cannot imagine that the United
States' Government would be willing to owe its revenue to the good
will of different States, or its want of revenue to their caprice. If
under such an arrangement the western States were to decline to vote
the quota of income-tax or property-tax to which the eastern States
had agreed,--and in all probability they would decline,--they would
in fact be seceding. They would thus secede from the burdens of their
general country; but in such event no one could accuse such States of
unconstitutional secession.

It is not easy to ascertain with precision what is the present amount
of debt due by the United States; nor probably has any tolerably
accurate guess been yet given of the amount to which it may be
extended during the present war. A statement made in the House of
Representatives, by Mr. Spaulding, a member of the Committee of Ways
and Means, on the 29th of January last, may perhaps be taken as
giving as trustworthy information as any that can be obtained. I have
changed Mr. Spaulding's figures from dollars into pounds, that they
may be more readily understood by English readers.

   There was Due up to July 1,1861         £18,173,566
       "     Added in July and August        5,379,357
       "     Borrowed in August             10,000,000
       "     Borrowed in October            10,000,000
       "     Borrowed in November           10,000,000
       "     Amount of Treasury Demand
               Notes issued                  7,800,000

This was the amount of the debt due up to January 15th, 1862. Mr.
Spaulding then calculates that the sum required to carry on the
Government up to July 1st, 1862, will be £68,647,077. And that a
further sum of £110,000,000 will be wanted on or before the 1st
of July, 1863. Thus the debt at that latter date would stand as

   Amount of Debt up to January, 1862     £61,352,923
   Added by July 1st, 1862                 68,647,077
   Again added by July 1st, 1863          110,000,000

The first of these items may no doubt be taken as accurate. The
second has probably been founded on facts which leave little doubt
as to its substantial truth. The third, which professes to give the
proposed expense of the war for the forthcoming year, viz. from 1st
July, 1862, to 30th June, 1863, must necessarily have been obtained
by a very loose estimate. No one can say what may be the condition of
the country during the next year,--whether the war may then be raging
throughout the southern States, or whether the war may not have
ceased altogether. The North knows little or nothing of the capacity
of the South. How little it knows may be surmised from the fact that
the whole southern army of Virginia retreated from their position at
Manassas before the northern generals knew that they were moving; and
that when they were gone no word whatever was left of their numbers.
I do not believe that the northern Government is even yet able to
make any probable conjecture as to the number of troops which the
southern confederacy is maintaining, and if this be so, they can
certainly make no trustworthy estimates as to their own expenses for
the ensuing year.

Two hundred and forty millions is, however, the sum named by a
gentleman presumed to be conversant with the matter, as the amount
of debt which may be expected by midsummer, 1863; and if the war
be continued till then, it will probably be found that he has not
exceeded the mark. It is right, however, to state that Mr. Chase in
his estimate does not rate the figures so high. He has given it as
his opinion that the debt will be about one hundred and four millions
in July, 1862, and one hundred and eighty millions in July, 1863. As
to the first amount, with reference to which a tolerably accurate
calculation may probably be made, I am inclined to prefer the
estimate as given by the member of the committee; and as to the
other, which hardly, as I think, admits of any calculation, his
calculation is at any rate as good as that made in the Treasury.

But it is the immediate want of funds, and not the prospective debt
of the country, which is now doing the damage. In this opinion Mr.
Chase will probably agree with me; but readers on this side of the
water will receive what I say with a smile. Such a state of affairs
is certainly one that has not uncommonly been reached by financiers;
it has also often been experienced by gentlemen in the management of
their private affairs. It has been common in Ireland, and in London
has created the wealth of the pawnbrokers. In the States at the
present time the government is very much in this condition. The
prospective wealth of the country is almost unbounded, but there is
great difficulty in persuading any pawnbroker to advance money on the
pledge. In February last Mr. Chase was driven to obtain the sanction
of the legislature for paying the national creditors by bills drawn
at twelve months' date, and bearing 6 per cent. interest. It is the
old story of the tailor who calls with his little account, and draws
on his insolvent debtor at ninety days. If the insolvent debtor be
not utterly gone as regards solvency he will take up the bill when
due, even though he may not be able to pay a simple debt. But then,
if he be utterly insolvent, he can do neither the one nor the other!
The Secretary of the Treasury, when he asked for permission to
accept these bills,--or to issue these certificates, as he calls
them,--acknowledged to pressing debts of over five millions sterling
which he could not pay; and to further debts of eight millions
which he could not pay, but which he termed floating;--debts, if
I understand him, which were not as yet quite pressing. Now I
imagine that to be a lamentable condition for any Chancellor of an
Exchequer,--especially as a confession is at the same time made
that no advantageous borrowing is to be done under the existing
circumstances. When a Chancellor of the Exchequer confesses that he
cannot borrow on advantageous terms, the terms within his reach must
be very bad indeed. This position is indeed a sad one, and at any
rate justifies me in stating that the immediate want of funds is
severely felt.

But the very arguments which have been used to prove that the country
will be ultimately crushed by the debt, are those which I should use
to prove that it will not be crushed. A comparison has more than once
been made between the manner in which our debt was made, and that in
which the debt of the United States is now being created; and the
great point raised in our favour is, that while we were borrowing
money we were also taxing ourselves, and that we raised as much by
taxes as we did by loans. But it is too early in the day to deny to
the Americans the credit which we thus take to ourselves. We were a
tax-paying nation when we commenced those wars which made our great
loans necessary, and only went on in that practice which was habitual
to us. I do not think that the Americans could have taxed themselves
with greater alacrity than they have shown. Let us wait, at any rate,
till they shall have had time for the operation, before we blame
them for not making it. It is then argued that we in England did not
borrow nearly so fast as they have borrowed in the States. That is
true. But it must be remembered that the dimensions and proportions
of wars now are infinitely greater than they were when we began to
borrow. Does any one imagine that we would not have borrowed faster,
if by faster borrowing we could have closed the war more speedily?
Things go faster now than they did then. Borrowing for the sake of a
war may be a bad thing to do,--as also it may be a good thing; but if
it be done at all, it should be so done as to bring the war to the
end with what greatest despatch may be possible.

The only fair comparison, as it seems to me, which can be drawn
between the two countries with reference to their debts, and the
condition of each under its debt, should be made to depend on the
amount of the debt and probable ability of the country to bear that
burden. The amount of the debt must be calculated by the interest
payable on it, rather than by the figures representing the actual sum
due. If we debit the United States Government with seven per cent.
on all the money borrowed by them, and presume that amount to have
reached in July, 1863, the sum named by Mr. Spaulding, they will then
have loaded themselves with an annual charge of £16,800,000 sterling.
It will have been an immense achievement to have accomplished in so
short a time, but it will by no means equal the annual sum with which
we are charged. And, moreover, the comparison will have been made in
a manner that is hardly fair to the Americans. We pay our creditors
three per cent. now that we have arranged our affairs, and have
settled down into the respectable position of an old gentleman whose
estates, though deeply mortgaged, are not over-mortgaged. But we did
not get our money at three per cent. while our wars were on hand, and
there yet existed some doubt as to the manner in which they might be

This attempt, however, at guessing what may be the probable amount of
the debt at the close of the war is absolutely futile. No one can as
yet conjecture when the war may be over, or what collateral expenses
may attend its close. It may be the case that the government in
fixing some boundary between the future United States and the future
southern Confederacy, will be called on to advance a very large sum
of money as compensation for slaves who shall have been liberated
in the border States, or have been swept down south into the cotton
regions with the retreating hordes of the southern army. The total
of the bill cannot be reckoned up while the work is still unfinished.
But, after all, that question as to the amount of the bill is not
to us the question of the greatest interest. Whether the debt
shall amount to two, or three, or even to four hundred millions
sterling,--whether it remain fixed at its present modest dimensions,
or swell itself out to the magnificent proportions of our British
debt,--will the resources of the country enable it to bear such
a burden? Will it be found that the Americans share with us that
elastic power of endurance which has enabled us to bear a weight that
would have ruined any other people of the same number? Have they the
thews and muscles, the energy and endurance, the power of carrying
which we possess? They have got our blood in their veins, and have
these qualities gone with the blood? It is of little avail either
to us or to the truth that we can show some difference between our
position and their position which may seem to be in our favour. They,
doubtless, could show other points of difference on the other side.
With us, in the early years of this century, it was a contest for
life and death, in which we could not stop to count the cost,--in
which we believed that we were fighting for all that we cared to call
our own, and in which we were resolved that we would not be beaten,
as long as we had a man to fight and a guinea to spend. Fighting in
this mind we won. Had we fought in any other mind, I think I may say
that we should not have won. To the Americans of the northern States
this also is a contest for life and death. I will not here stay to
argue whether this need have been so. I think they are right; but
this at least must be accorded to them--that having gone into this
matter of civil war, it behoves them to finish it with credit to
themselves. There are many Englishmen who think that we were wrong to
undertake the French war; but there is, I take it, no Englishman who
thinks that we ought to have allowed ourselves to be beaten when we
had undertaken it. To the Americans it is now a contest of life and
death. They also cannot stop to count the cost. They also will go on
as long as they have a dollar to spend or a man to fight.

It appears that we were paying fourteen millions a year interest on
our national debt in the year 1796. I take this statement from an
article in "The Times," in which the question of the finances of the
United States is handled. But our population in 1796 was only sixteen
millions. I estimate the population of the northern section of the
United States, as the States will be after the war, at twenty-two
millions. In the article alluded to these northern Americans are now
stated to be twenty millions. If then we, in 1796, could pay fourteen
millions a year with a population of sixteen millions, the United
States, with a population of twenty or twenty-two millions, will be
able to pay the sixteen or seventeen millions sterling of interest
which will become due from them,--if their circumstances of payment
are as good as were ours. They can do that and more than that if
they have the same means per man as we had. And as the means per man
resolves itself at last into the labour per man, it may be said that
they can pay what we could pay, if they can and will work as hard as
we could and did work. That which did not crush us will not crush
them, if their future energy be equal to our past energy.

And on this question of energy I think that there is no need for
doubt. Taking man for man and million for million, the Americans are
equal to the English in intellect and industry. They create wealth at
any rate as fast as we have done. They develop their resources, and
open out the currents of trade, with an energy equal to our own. They
are always at work, improving, utilizing, and creating. Austria, as I
take it, is succumbing to monetary difficulties, not because she has
been extravagant, but because she has been slow at progress;--because
it has been the work of her rulers to repress rather than encourage
the energies of her people; because she does not improve, utilize,
and create. England has mastered her monetary difficulties because
the genius of her government and her people has been exactly opposite
to the genius of Austria. And the States of America will master
their money difficulties, because they are born of England, and are
not born of Austria. What! Shall our eldest child become bankrupt
in its first trade difficulty; be utterly ruined by its first
little commercial embarrassment? The child bears much too strong a
resemblance to its parent for me to think so.



Any Englishman or Frenchman residing in the American States
cannot fail to be struck with the inferiority of the Post-office
arrangements in that country to those by which they are accommodated
in their own country. I have not been a resident in the States, and
as a traveller might probably have passed the subject without special
remark, were it not that the service of the Post-office has been my
own profession for many years. I could therefore hardly fail to
observe things which to another man would have been of no material
moment. At first I was inclined to lean heavily in my judgment upon
the deficiencies of a department which must be of primary importance
to a commercial nation. It seemed that among a people so intelligent,
and so quick in all enterprises of trade, a well arranged Post-office
would have been held to be absolutely necessary, and that all
difficulties would have been made to succumb in their efforts to
put that establishment, if no other, upon a proper footing. But
as I looked into the matter, and in becoming acquainted with
the circumstances of the Post-office learned the extent of the
difficulties absolutely existing, I began to think that a very great
deal had been done, and that the fault, as to that which had been
left undone, rested, not with the Post-office officials, but was
attributable partly to political causes altogether outside the
Post-office, and partly,--perhaps chiefly,--to the nature of the
country itself.

It is, I think, undoubtedly true that the amount of accommodation
given by the Post-office of the States is small,--as compared with
that afforded in some other countries, and that that accommodation
is lessened by delays and uncertainty. The point which first struck
me was the inconvenient hours at which mails were brought in and
despatched. Here, in England, it is the object of our Post-office to
carry the bulk of our letters at night; to deliver them as early as
possible in the morning, and to collect them and take them away for
despatch as late as may be in the day;--so that the merchant may
receive his letters before the beginning of his day's business, and
despatch them after its close. The bulk of our letters is handled in
this manner, and the advantage of such an arrangement is manifest.
But it seemed that in the States no such practice prevailed. Letters
arrived at any hour in the day miscellaneously, and were despatched
at any hour, and I found that the postmaster at one town could never
tell me with certainty when letters would arrive at another. If the
towns were distant, I would be told that the conveyance might take
about two or three days; if they were near, that my letter would get
to hand "some time to-morrow." I ascertained, moreover, by painful
experience that the whole of a mail would not always go forward by
the first despatch. As regarded myself this had reference chiefly to
English letters and newspapers.--"Only a part of the mail has come,"
the clerk would tell me. With us the owners of that part which did
not "come," would consider themselves greatly aggrieved and make
loud complaint. But, in the States, complaints made against official
departments are held to be of little moment.

Letters also in the States are subject to great delays by
irregularities on railways. One train does not hit the town of its
destination before another train, to which it is nominally fitted,
has been started on its journey. The mail trains are not bound to
wait; and thus, in the large cities, far distant from New York,
great irregularity prevails. It is, I think, owing to this,--at any
rate partly to this,--that the system of telegraphing has become so
prevalent. It is natural that this should be so between towns which
are in the due course of post perhaps forty-eight hours asunder; but
the uncertainty of the post increases the habit, to the profit, of
course, of the companies which own the wires,--but to the manifest
loss of the Post-office.

But the deficiency which struck me most forcibly in the American
Post-office, was the absence of any recognized official delivery of
letters. The United States Post-office does not assume to itself
the duty of taking letters to the houses of those for whom they are
intended, but holds itself as having completed the work for which
the original postage has been paid, when it has brought them to the
window of the Post-office of the town to which they are addressed.
It is true that in most large towns,--though by no means in all,--a
separate arrangement is made by which a delivery is afforded to those
who are willing to pay a further sum for that further service; but
the recognized official mode of delivery is from the office window.
The merchants and persons in trade have boxes at the windows, for
which they pay. Other old-established inhabitants in towns, and
persons in receipt of a considerable correspondence, receive their
letters by the subsidiary carriers and pay for them separately. But
the poorer classes of the community, those persons among which it
is of such paramount importance to increase the blessing of letter
writing, obtain their letters from the Post-office windows.

In each of these cases the practice acts to the prejudice of the
department. In order to escape the tax on delivery, which varies
from two cents to one cent a letter, all men in trade, and many who
are not in trade, hold office boxes; consequently immense space is
required. The space given at Chicago, both to the public without and
to the officials within, for such delivery, is more than four times
that required at Liverpool for the same purpose. But Liverpool is
three times the size of Chicago. The corps of clerks required for the
window delivery is very great, and the whole affair is cumbrous in
the extreme. The letters at most offices are given out through little
windows, to which the inquirer is obliged to stoop. There he finds
himself opposite to a pane of glass with a little hole; and when the
clerk within shakes his head at him, he rarely believes but what his
letters are there if he could only reach them. But in the second
case, the tax on the delivery, which is intended simply to pay the
wages of the men who take them out, is paid with a bad grace; it robs
the letter of its charm, and forces it to present itself in the
guise of a burden. It makes that disagreeable which for its own sake
the Post-office should strive in every way to make agreeable. This
practice, moreover, operates as a direct prevention to a class of
correspondence, which furnishes in England a large proportion of the
revenue of the Post-office. Mercantile houses in our large cities
send out thousands of trade circulars, paying postage on them; but
such circulars would not be received, either in England or elsewhere,
if a demand for postage were made on their delivery. Who does not
receive these circulars in our country by the dozen, consigning them
generally to the waste-paper basket, after a most cursory inspection?
As regards the sender, the transaction seems to us often to be very
vain; but the Post-office gets its penny. So also would the American
Post-office get its three cents.

But the main objection in my eyes to the American Post-office system
is this,--that it is not brought nearer to the poorer classes.
Everybody writes or can write in America, and therefore the
correspondence of their millions should be, million for million, at
any rate equal to ours. But it is not so: and this, I think, comes
from the fact that communication by Post-office is not made easy to
the people generally. Such communication is not found to be easy by
a man who has to attend at a Post-office window on the chance of
receiving a letter. When no arrangement more comfortable than that
is provided, the Post-office will be used for the necessities of
letter-writing, but will not be esteemed as a luxury. And thus not
only do the people lose a comfort which they might enjoy, but the
Post-office also loses that revenue which it might make.

I have said that the correspondence circulating in the United States
is less than that of the United Kingdom. In making any comparison
between them I am obliged to arrive at facts, or rather at the
probabilities of facts, in a somewhat circuitous mode, as the
Americans have kept no account of the number of letters which pass
through their post-offices in a year. We can, however, make an
estimate which, if incorrect, shall not at any rate be incorrect
against them. The gross postal revenue of the United States, for the
year ended 30th June, 1861, was in round figures £1,700,000. This was
the amount actually earned, exclusive of a sum of £140,000 paid to
the Post-office by the government for the carriage of what is called
in that country free mail matter; otherwise, books, letters, and
parcels franked by members of Congress. The gross postal revenue
of the United Kingdom was in the last year, in round figures,
£3,358,000, exclusive of a sum of £179,000 claimed as earned for
carrying official postage, and also exclusive of £127,866, that
being the amount of money order commission which in this country is
considered a part of the Post-office revenue. In the United States
there is at present no money order office. In the United Kingdom
the sum of £3,358,000 was earned by the conveyance and delivery of

   593 millions of letters,
    73 millions of newspapers,
    12 millions of books.

What number of each was conveyed through the post in the United
States we have no means of knowing; but presuming the average rate
of postage on each letter in the States to be the same as it is in
England, and presuming also that letters, newspapers, and books
circulated in the same proportion there as they do with us, the sum
above named of £1,700,000 will have been earned by carrying about 300
millions of letters. But the average rate of postage in the States
is, in fact, higher than it is in England. The ordinary single rate
of postage there is three cents or three half-pence, whereas with us
it is a penny; and if three half-pence might be taken as the average
rate in the United States, the number of letters would be reduced
from 300 to 200 millions a year. There is however a class of letters
which in the States are passed through the Post-office at the rate of
one halfpenny a letter, whereas there is no rate of postage with us
less than a penny. Taking these halfpenny letters into consideration,
I am disposed to regard the average rate of American postage at
about five farthings, which would give the number of letters at 250
millions. We shall at any rate be safe in saying that the number is
considerably less than 300 millions, and that it does not amount to
half the number circulated with us. But the difference between our
population and their population is not great. The population of the
States during the year in question was about 27 millions, exclusive
of slaves, and that of the British isles was about 29 millions. No
doubt, in the year named, the correspondence of the States had been
somewhat disturbed by the rebellion; but that disturbance, up to
the end of June, 1861, had been very trifling. The division of
the southern from the northern States, as far as the Post-office
was concerned, did not take place till the end of May, 1861; and
therefore but one month in the year was affected by the actual
secession of the South. The gross postal revenue of the States which
have seceded was, for the year prior to secession, twelve hundred
thousand five hundred dollars, and for that one month of June
it would therefore have been a little over one hundred thousand
dollars, or £20,000. That sum may therefore be presumed to have
been abstracted by secession from the gross annual revenue of the
Post-office. Trade, also, was no doubt injured by the disturbance
in the country, and the circulation of letters was, as a matter
of course, to some degree affected by this injury; but it seems
that the gross revenue of 1861 was less than that of 1860 by only
one thirty-sixth. I think, therefore, that we may say, making all
allowance that can be fairly made, that the number of letters
circulating in the United Kingdom is more than double that which
circulates, or ever has circulated, in the United States.

That this is so, I attribute not to any difference in the people
of the two countries,--not to an aptitude for letter writing
among us which is wanting with the Americans,--but to the greater
convenience and wider accommodation of our own Post-office. As I
have before stated, and will presently endeavour to show, this wider
accommodation is not altogether the result of better management on
our part. Our circumstances as regards the Post-office have had in
them less of difficulties than theirs. But it has arisen in great
part from better management; and in nothing is their deficiency so
conspicuous as in the absence of a free delivery for their letters.

In order that the advantages of the Post-office should reach all
persons, the delivery of letters should extend not only to towns,
but to the country also. In France all letters are delivered free.
However remote may be the position of a house or cottage, it is not
too remote for the postman. With us all letters are not delivered;
but the exceptions refer to distant solitary houses and to localities
which are almost without correspondence. But in the United States
there is no free delivery, and there is no delivery at all except in
the large cities. In small towns, in villages, even in the suburbs
of the largest cities, no such accommodation is given. Whatever may
be the distance, people expecting letters must send for them to the
Post-office;--and they who do not expect them, leave their letters
uncalled for. Brother Jonathan goes out to fish in these especial
waters with a very large net. The little fish, which are profitable,
slip through; but the big fish, which are by no means profitable, are
caught,--often at an expense greater than their value.

There are other smaller sins upon which I could put my finger,--and
would do so were I writing an official report upon the subject of
the American Post-office. In lieu of doing so, I will endeavour
to explain how much the States' office has done in this matter of
affording Post-office accommodation,--and how great have been the
difficulties in the way of Post-office reformers in that country.

In the first place, when we compare ourselves to them, we must
remember that we live in a tea-cup, and they in a washing-tub. As
compared with them we inhabit towns which are close to each other.
Our distances, as compared with theirs, are nothing. From London to
Liverpool the line of railway traverses about two hundred miles, but
the mail train which conveys the bags for Liverpool, carries the
correspondence of probably four or five millions of persons. The
mail train from New York to Buffalo passes over about four hundred
miles, and on its route serves not one million. A comparison of this
kind might be made with the same effect between any of our great
internal mail routes and any of theirs. Consequently, the expense of
conveyance to them is, per letter, very much greater than with us,
and the American Post-office is as a matter of necessity driven to
an economy in the use of railways for the Post-office service, which
we are not called on to practise. From New York to Chicago is nearly
1000 miles. From New York to St. Louis is over 1600. I need not say
that in England we know nothing of such distances, and that therefore
our task has been comparatively easy. Nevertheless the States have
followed in our track, and have taken advantage of Sir Rowland Hill's
wise audacity in the reduction of postage with greater quickness than
any other nation but our own. Through all the States letters pass for
three cents over a distance less than 3000 miles. For distances above
3000 miles the rate is ten cents or five-pence. This increased rate
has special reference to the mails for California, which are carried
daily across the whole continent at a cost to the States Government
of two hundred thousand pounds a year.

With us the chief mail trains are legally under the management of the
Postmaster-General. He fixes the hours at which they shall start and
arrive, being of course bound by certain stipulations as to pace. He
can demand trains to run over any line at any hour, and can in this
way secure the punctuality of mail transportation. Of course such
interference on the part of a government official in the working of
a railway is attended with a very heavy expense to the Government.
Though the British Post-office can demand the use of trains at any
hour, and as regards those trains can make the despatch of mails
paramount to all other matters, the British Post-office cannot
fix the price to be paid for such work. This is generally done by
arbitration, and of course for such services the payment is very
high. No such practice prevails in the States. The Government has no
power of using the mail lines as they are used by our Post-office,
nor could the expense of such a practice be borne or nearly borne by
the proceeds of letters in the States. Consequently the Post-office
is put on a par with ordinary customers, and such trains are used
for mail matter as the directors of each line may see fit to use for
other matter. Hence it occurs that no offence against the Post-office
is committed when the connection between different mail trains
is broken. The Post-office takes the best it can get, paying as
other customers pay, and grumbling as other customers grumble when
the service rendered falls short of that which has been promised.

It may, I think, easily be seen that any system such as ours,
carried across so large a country, would go on increasing in cost
at an enormous ratio. The greater the distance, the greater is the
difficulty in securing the proper fitting of fast-running trains.
And moreover, it must be remembered that the American lines have
been got up on a very different footing from ours, at an expense per
mile of probably less than a fifth of that laid out on our railways.
Single lines of rail are common, even between great towns with large
traffic. At the present moment--May, 1862--the only railway running
into Washington, that namely from Baltimore, is a single line over
the greater distance. The whole thing is necessarily worked at a
cheaper rate than with us; not because the people are poorer, but
because the distances are greater. As this is the case throughout
the whole railway system of the country, it cannot be expected that
such despatch and punctuality should be achieved in America as are
achieved here, in England, or in France. As population and wealth
increase, it will come. In the mean time that which has been already
done over the extent of the vast North American continent is
very wonderful. I think, therefore, that complaint should not
be made against the Washington Post-office, either on account
of the inconvenience of the hours, or on the head of occasional
irregularity. So much has been done in reducing the rate to three
cents, and in giving a daily mail throughout the States, that the
department should be praised for energy, and not blamed for apathy.

In the year ended 30th June, 1861, the gross revenue of the
Post-office of the States was, as I have stated, £1,700,000. In
the same year its expenditure was in round figures £2,720,000.
Consequently there was an actual loss, to be made up out of general
taxation, amounting to £1,020,000. In the accounts of the American
officers this is lessened by £140,000, that sum having been
arbitrarily fixed by the Government as the amount earned by the
Post-office in carrying free mail matter. We have a similar system in
computing the value of the service rendered by our Post-office to the
Government in carrying government despatches; but with us the amount
named as the compensation depends on the actual weight carried. If
the matter so carried be carried solely on the Government service,
as is I believe the case with us, any such claim on behalf of the
Post-office is apparently unnecessary. The Crown works for the Crown,
as the right hand works for the left. The Post-office pays no rates
or taxes, contributes nothing to the poor, runs its mails on turnpike
roads free of toll, and gives receipts on unstamped paper. With us
no payment is in truth made, though the Post-office in its accounts
presumes itself to have received the money. But in the States the
sum named is handed over by the State Treasury to the Post-office
Treasury. Any such statement of credit does not in effect alter the
real fact, that over a million sterling is required as a subsidy by
the American Post-office, in order that it may be enabled to pay its
way. In estimating the expenditure of the office the department at
Washington debits itself with the sums paid for the ocean transit of
its mails, amounting to something over £150,000. We also now do the
same, with the much greater sum paid by us for such service, which
now amounts to £949,228, or nearly a million sterling. Till lately
this was not paid out of the Post-office moneys, and the Post-office
revenue was not debited with the amount.

Our gross Post-office revenue is, as I have said, £3,358,250. As
before explained, this is exclusive of the amount earned by the
money order department, which, though managed by the authorities of
the Post-office, cannot be called a part of the Post-office; and
exclusive also of the official postage, which is, in fact, never
received. The expenditure of our British Post-office, inclusive of
the sum paid for the ocean mail service, is £3,064,527. We therefore
make a net profit of £293,723 out of the Post-office, as compared
with a loss of £1,020,000, on the part of the United States.

But perhaps the greatest difficulty with which the American
Post-office is burdened, is that "free mail matter" to which I have
alluded, for carrying which, the Post-office claims to earn £140,000,
and for the carriage of which, it might as fairly claim to earn
£1,350,000, or half the amount of its total expenditure, for I was
informed by a gentleman whose knowledge on the subject could not be
doubted, that the free mail matter so carried, equalled in bulk and
weight all that other matter which was not carried free. To such an
extent has the privilege of franking been carried in the States! All
members of both Houses frank what they please,--for in effect the
privilege is stretched to that extent. All Presidents of the Union,
past and present, can frank, as, also, all Vice-Presidents, past and
present; and there is a special act, enabling the widow of President
Polk to frank! Why it is that widows of other Presidents do not
agitate on the matter, I cannot understand. And all the Secretaries
of State can frank; and ever so many other public officers. There is
no limit in number to the letters so franked, and the nuisance has
extended itself to so huge a size, that members of Congress in giving
franks, cannot write the franks themselves. It is illegal for them
to depute to others the privilege of signing their names for this
purpose, but it is known at the Post-office that it is done. But even
this is not the worst of it. Members of the House of Representatives
have the power of sending through the post all those huge books
which, with them as with us, grow out of Parliamentary debates and
workings of Committees. This, under certain stipulations, is the
case also in England; but in England, luckily, no one values them.
In America, however, it is not so. A voter considers himself to be
noticed if he gets a book. He likes to have the book bound, and the
bigger the book may be, the more the compliment is relished. Hence it
comes to pass that an enormous quantity of useless matter is printed
and bound, only that it may be sent down to constituents and make a
show on the parlour shelves of constituents' wives. The Post-office
groans and becomes insolvent, and the country pays for the paper, the
printing, and the binding. While the public expenses of the nation
were very small, there was, perhaps, no reason why voters should not
thus be indulged; but now the matter is different, and it would be
well that the conveyance by post of these Congressional libraries
should be brought to an end. I was also assured that members very
frequently obtain permission for the printing of a speech which has
never been delivered,--and which never will be delivered,--in order
that copies may be circulated among their constituents. There is in
such an arrangement an ingenuity which is peculiarly American in its
nature. Everybody concerned is no doubt cheated by the system. The
constituents are cheated; the public, which pays, is cheated; and the
Post-office is cheated. But the House is spared the hearing of the
speech, and the result on the whole is perhaps beneficial.

We also, within the memory of many of us, had a franking privilege,
which was peculiarly objectionable inasmuch as it operated towards
giving a free transmission of their letters by post to the rich,
while no such privilege was within reach of the poor. But with us it
never stretched itself to such an extent as it has now achieved in
the States. The number of letters for members was limited. The whole
address was written by the franking member himself, and not much
was sent in this way that was bulky. I am disposed to think that
all government and Congressional jobs in the States bear the same
proportion to government and Parliamentary jobs which have been
in vogue among us. There has been an unblushing audacity in the
public dishonesty,--what I may perhaps call the State dishonesty,--at
Washington, which I think was hardly ever equalled in London.
Bribery, I know, was disgracefully current in the days of Walpole, of
Newcastle, and even of Castlereagh;--so current, that no Englishman
has a right to hold up his own past government as a model of purity.
But the corruption with us did blush and endeavour to hide itself.
It was disgraceful to be bribed, if not so to offer bribes. But at
Washington corruption has been so common that I can hardly understand
how any honest man can have held up his head in the vicinity of the
Capitol, or of the State office.

But the country has, I think, become tired of this. Hitherto it
has been too busy about its more important concerns, in extending
commerce, in making railways, in providing education for its youth,
to think very much of what was being done at Washington. While the
taxes were light and property was secure, while increasing population
gave daily increasing strength to the nation, the people as a body
were content with that theory of being governed by their little men.
They gave a bad name to politicians, and allowed politics, as they
say, "to slide." But all this will be altered now. The tremendous
expenditure of the last twelve months has allowed dishonesty of so
vast a grasp to make its ravages in the public pockets, that the evil
will work its own cure. Taxes will be very high, and the people will
recognize the necessity of having honest men to look after them. The
nation can no longer afford to be indifferent about its Government,
and will require to know where its money goes, and why it goes. This
franking privilege is already doomed, if not already dead. When I was
in Washington a Bill was passed through the Lower House by which it
would be abolished altogether. When I left America its fate in the
Senate was still doubtful, and I was told by many that that Bill
would not be allowed to become law without sundry alterations. But,
nevertheless, I regard the franking privilege as doomed, and offer to
the Washington Post-office officials my best congratulations on their
coming deliverance.

The Post-office in the States is also burdened by another terrible
political evil, which in itself is so heavy, that one would at first
sight declare it to be enough to prevent anything like efficiency.
The whole of its staff is removeable every fourth year,--that is
to say, on the election of every new President. And a very large
proportion of its staff is thus removed periodically to make way
for those for whom a new President is bound to provide, by reason
of their services in sending him to the White House. They have
served him and he thus repays them by this use of his patronage in
their favour. At four hundred and thirty-four Post-offices in the
States,--those being the offices to which the highest salaries are
attached,--the President has this power, and exercises it as a
matter of course. He has the same power with reference, I believe,
to all the appointments held in the Post-office at Washington.
This practice applies by no means to the Post-office only. All the
government clerks,--clerks employed by the central government at
Washington,--are subject to the same rule. And the rule has also been
adopted in the various States with reference to State offices.

To a stranger this practice seems so manifestly absurd, that he can
hardly conceive it possible that a government service should be
conducted on such terms. He cannot, in the first place, believe that
men of sufficient standing before the world could be found to accept
office under such circumstances; and is led to surmise that men of
insufficient standing must be employed, and that there are other
allurements to the office beyond the very moderate salaries which
are allowed. He cannot, moreover, understand how the duties can
be conducted, seeing that men must be called on to resign their
places as soon as they have learned to make themselves useful. And,
finally, he is lost in amazement as he contemplates this barefaced
prostitution of the public employ to the vilest purposes of political
manoeuvring. With us also patronage has been used for political
purposes, and to some small extent is still so used. We have not yet
sufficiently recognized the fact, that in selecting a public servant
nothing should be regarded but the advantage of the service in which
he is to be employed. But we never, in the lowest times of our
political corruption, ventured to throw over the question of service
altogether, and to declare publicly, that the one and only result to
be obtained by Government employment was political support. In the
States political corruption has become so much a matter of course,
that no American seems to be struck with the fact that the whole
system is a system of robbery.

From sheer necessity some of the old hands are kept on when these
changes are made. Were this not done the work would come absolutely
to a dead lock. But it may be imagined how difficult it must be for
men to carry through any improvements in a great department, when
they have entered an office under such a system, and are liable to
be expelled under the same. It is greatly to the praise of those who
have been allowed to grow old in the service that so much has been
done. No men, however, are more apt at such work than Americans,
or more able to exert themselves at their posts. They are not
idle. Independently of any question of remuneration, they are not
indifferent to the well-being of the work they have in hand. They are
good public servants, unless corruption come in their way.

While speaking on the subject of patronage, I cannot but allude
to two appointments which had been made by political interest,
and with the circumstances of which I became acquainted. In both
instances a good place had been given to a gentleman by the incoming
President,--not in return for political support, but from motives of
private friendship,--either his own friendship or that of some mutual
friend. In both instances I heard the selection spoken of with the
warmest praise, as though a noble act had been done in the nomination
of a private friend instead of a political partisan. And yet in each
case a man was appointed who knew nothing of his work; who, from
age and circumstances, was not likely to become acquainted with
his work; who, by his appointment, kept out of the place those who
did understand the work, and had earned a right to promotion by
so understanding it. Two worthy gentlemen,--for they were both
worthy,--were pensioned on the government for a term of years under
a false pretence. That this should have been done is not perhaps
remarkable; but it did seem remarkable to me that everybody regarded
such appointments as a good deed--as a deed so exceptionably good as
to be worthy of great praise. I do not allude to these selections on
account of the political vice shown by the Presidents in making them,
but on account of the political virtue;--in order that the nature
of political virtue in the States may be understood. It had never
occurred to any one to whom I spoke on the subject, that a President
in bestowing such places was bound to look for efficient work in
return for the public money which was to be paid.

Before I end this chapter I must insert a few details respecting the
Post-office of the States, which, though they may not be specially
interesting to the general reader, will give some idea of the extent
of the department. The total number of post-offices in the States on
30th June, 1861, was 28,586. With us the number in England, Scotland,
and Ireland, at the same period was about 11,400. The population
served may be regarded as nearly the same. Our lowest salary is £3
per annum. In the States the remuneration is often much lower. It
consists of a commission on the letters, and is sometimes less than
ten shillings a year. The difficulty of obtaining persons to hold
these offices, and the amount of work which must thereby be thrown on
what is called the "appointment branch," may be judged by the fact
that 9235 of these offices were filled up by new nominations during
the last year. When the patronage is of such a nature it is difficult
to say which give most trouble, the places which nobody wishes to
have, or those which everybody wishes to have.

The total amount of postage on European letters, _i.e._, letters
passing between the States and Europe, in the last year as to which
accounts were kept between Washington and the European post-offices,
was £275,000. Of this over £150,000 was on letters for the United
Kingdom; and £130,000 was on letters carried by the Cunard packets.

According to the accounts kept by the Washington office, the letters
passing from the States to Europe and from Europe to the States are
very nearly equal in number, about 101 going to Europe for every 100
received from Europe. But the number of newspapers sent from the
States is more than double the number received in the States from

On 30th June, 1861, mails were carried through the then loyal States
of the Union over 140,400 miles daily. Up to 31st May preceding, at
which time the Government mails were running all through the United
States, 96,000 miles were covered in those States which had then
virtually seceded, and which in the following month were taken out
from the Post-office accounts,--making a total of 236,400 miles
daily. Of this mileage something less than one third is effected by
railways, at an average cost of about sixpence a mile. Our total
mileage per day is 151,000 miles, of which 43,823 are done by
railway, at a cost of about sevenpence-halfpenny per mile.

As far as I could learn the servants of the Post-office are less
liberally paid in the States than with us,--excepting as regards two
classes. The first of these is that class which is paid by weekly
wages,--such as letter-carriers and porters. Their remuneration is
of course ruled by the rate of ordinary wages in the country; and
as ordinary wages are higher in the States than with us, such men
are paid accordingly. The other class is that of postmasters at
second-rate towns. They receive the same compensation as those at the
largest towns;--unless indeed there be other compensation than those
written in the books at Washington. A postmaster is paid a certain
commission on letters, till it amounts to £400 per annum: all above
that going back to the Government. So also out of the fees paid for
boxes at the window he receives any amount forthcoming, not exceeding
£400 a year; making in all a maximum of £800. The postmaster of New
York can get no more. But any moderately large town will give as
much, and in this way an amount of patronage is provided which in a
political view is really valuable.

But with all this the people have made their way, because they have
been intelligent, industrious, and in earnest. And as the people have
made their way, so has the Post-office. The number of its offices,
the mileage it covers, its extraordinary cheapness, the rapidity with
which it has been developed, are all proofs of great things done;
and it is by no means standing still even in these evil days of war.
Improvements are even now on foot, copied in a great measure from
ourselves. Hitherto the American office has not taken upon itself
the task of returning to their writers undelivered and undeliverable
letters. This it is now going to do. It is, as I have said, shaking
off from itself that terrible incubus the franking privilege. And
the expediency of introducing a money-order office into the States,
connected with the Post-office as it is with us, is even now under
consideration. Such an accommodation is much needed in the country;
but I doubt whether the present moment, looking at the fiscal state
of the country, is well adapted for establishing it.

I was much struck by the great extravagance in small things
manifested by the Post-office through the States, and have reason
to believe that the same remark would be equally true with regard
to other public establishments. They use needless forms without
end,--making millions of entries which no one is ever expected to
regard. Their expenditure in stationery might, I think, be reduced
by one half, and the labour might be saved which is now wasted in
the abuse of that useless stationery. Their mail-bags are made
in a costly manner, and are often large beyond all proportion or
necessity. I could greatly lengthen this list if I were addressing
myself solely to Post-office people; but as I am not doing so, I will
close these semi-official remarks with an assurance to my colleagues
in Post-office work on the other side of the water that I greatly
respect what they have done, and trust that before long they may have
renewed opportunities for the prosecution of their good work.



I find it impossible to resist the subject of inns. As I have gone on
with my journey, I have gone on with my book, and have spoken here
and there of American hotels as I have encountered them. But in the
States the hotels are so large an institution, having so much closer
and wider a bearing on social life than they do in any other country,
that I feel myself bound to treat them in a separate chapter as a
great national feature in themselves. They are quite as much thought
of in the nation as the legislature, or judicature, or literature of
the country; and any falling off in them, or any improvement in the
accommodation given, would strike the community as forcibly as a
change in the constitution, or an alteration in the franchise.

Moreover I consider myself as qualified to write a chapter on
hotels;--not only on the hotels of America but on hotels generally.
I have myself been much too frequently a sojourner at hotels. I think
I know what an hotel should be, and what it should not be; and am
almost inclined to believe, in my pride, that I could myself fill the
position of a landlord with some chance of social success, though
probably with none of satisfactory pecuniary results.

Of all hotels known to me, I am inclined to think that the Swiss
are the best. The things wanted at an hotel are, I fancy, mainly
as follows:--a clean bedroom with a good and clean bed,--and with
it also plenty of water. Good food, well dressed and served at
convenient hours, which hours should on occasions be allowed to
stretch themselves. Wines that shall be drinkable. Quick attendance.
Bills that shall not be absolutely extortionate, smiling faces,
and an absence of foul smells. There are many who desire more than
this;--who expect exquisite cookery, choice wines, subservient
domestics, distinguished consideration, and the strictest economy.
But they are uneducated travellers who are going through the
apprenticeship of their hotel lives;--who may probably never become
free of the travellers' guild, or learn to distinguish that which
they may fairly hope to attain from that which they can never

Taking them as a whole I think that the Swiss hotels are the best.
They are perhaps a little close in the matter of cold water, but
even as to this, they generally give way to pressure. The pressure,
however, must not be violent, but gentle rather, and well continued.
Their bedrooms are excellent. Their cookery is good, and to the
outward senses is cleanly. The people are civil. The whole work of
the house is carried on upon fixed rules which tend to the comfort of
the establishment. They are not cheap, and not always quite honest.
But the exorbitance or dishonesty of their charges rarely exceeds a
certain reasonable scale, and hardly ever demands the bitter misery
of a remonstrance.

The inns of the Tyrol are, I think, the cheapest I have known,
affording the traveller what he requires for half the price, or less
than half, that demanded in Switzerland. But the other half is taken
out in stench and nastiness. As tourists scatter themselves more
profusely, the prices of the Tyrol will no doubt rise. Let us hope
that increased prices will bring with them besoms, scrubbing-brushes,
and other much needed articles of cleanliness.

The inns of the north of Italy are very good, and indeed, the Italian
inns throughout, as far as I know them, are much better than the name
they bear. The Italians are a civil, kindly people, and do for you,
at any rate, the best they can. Perhaps the unwary traveller may
be cheated. Ignorant of the language, he may be called on to pay
more than the man who speaks it, and who can bargain in the Italian
fashion as to price. It has often been my lot, I doubt not, to be
so cheated. But then I have been cheated with a grace that has been
worth all the money. The ordinary prices of Italian inns are by no
means high.

I have seldom thoroughly liked the inns of Germany which I have
known. They are not clean, and water is very scarce. Smiles too are
generally wanting, and I have usually fancied myself to be regarded
as a piece of goods out of which so much profit was to be made.

The dearest hotels I know are the French;--and certainly not the
best. In the provinces they are by no means so cleanly as those of
Italy. Their wines are generally abominable, and their cookery often
disgusting. In Paris grand dinners may no doubt be had, and luxuries
of every description,--except the luxury of comfort. Cotton-velvet
sofas and ormolu clocks stand in the place of convenient furniture,
and logs of wood, at a franc a log, fail to impart to you the heat
which the freezing cold of a Paris winter demands. They used to make
good coffee in Paris, but even that is a thing of the past. I fancy
that they import their brandy from England, and manufacture their own
cigars. French wines you may get good at a Paris hotel; but you would
drink them as good and much cheaper if you bought them in London and
took them with you.

The worst hotels I know are in the Havana. Of course I do not speak
here of chance mountain huts, or small far-off roadside hostels in
which the traveller may find himself from time to time. All such
are to be counted apart, and must be judged on their merits, by the
circumstances which surround them. But with reference to places of
wide resort, nothing can beat the hotels of the Havana in filth,
discomfort, habits of abomination, and absence of everything which
the traveller desires. All the world does not go to the Havana,
and the subject is not, therefore, one of general interest. But in
speaking of hotels at large, so much I find myself bound to say.

In all the countries to which I have alluded the guests of the house
are expected to sit down together at one table. Conversation is at
any rate possible, and there is the show if not the reality of

And now one word as to English inns. I do not think that we
Englishmen have any great right to be proud of them. The worst about
them is that they deteriorate from year to year instead of becoming
better. We used to hear much of the comfort of the old English
wayside inn, but the old English wayside inn has gone. The railway
hotel has taken its place, and the railway hotel is too frequently
gloomy, desolate, comfortless, and almost suicidal. In England too,
since the old days are gone, there are wanting the landlord's bow,
and the kindly smile of his stout wife. Who now knows the landlord of
an inn, or cares to inquire whether or no there be a landlady? The
old welcome is wanting, and the cheery warm air which used to atone
for the bad port and tough beef has passed away;--while the port is
still bad and the beef too often tough.

In England, and only in England, as I believe, is maintained in hotel
life the theory of solitary existence. The sojourner at an English
inn,--unless he be a commercial traveller, and, as such, a member of
a universal, peripatetic tradesman's club,--lives alone. He has his
breakfast alone, his dinner alone, his pint of wine alone, and his
cup of tea alone. It is not considered practicable that two strangers
should sit at the same table, or cut from the same dish. Consequently
his dinner is cooked for him separately, and the hotel keeper can
hardly afford to give him a good dinner. He has two modes of life
from which to choose. He either lives in a public room,--called
a coffee-room,--and there occupies during his comfortless meal a
separate small table too frequently removed from fire and light,
though generally exposed to draughts; or else he indulges in the
luxury of a private sitting-room, and endeavours to find solace on
an old horse-hair sofa, at the cost of seven shillings a day. His
bedroom is not so arranged that he can use it as a sitting-room.
Under either phase of life he can rarely find himself comfortable,
and therefore he lives as little at an hotel as the circumstances
of his business or of his pleasure will allow. I do not think that
any of the requisites of a good inn are habitually to be found
in perfection at our Kings' Heads and White Horses, though the
falling-off is not so lamentably distressing as it sometimes is in
other countries. The bedrooms are dingy rather than dirty. Extra
payment to servants will generally produce a tub of cold water. The
food is never good, but it is usually eatable, and you may have it
when you please. The wines are almost always bad, but the traveller
can fall back upon beer. The attendance is good, provided always that
the payment for it is liberal. The cost is generally too high, and
unfortunately grows larger and larger from year to year. Smiling
faces are out of the question unless specially paid for; and as
to that matter of foul smells there is often room for improvement.
An English inn to a solitary traveller without employment is an
embodiment of dreary desolation. The excuse to be made for this is
that English men and women do not live much at inns in their own

The American inn differs from all those of which I have made mention,
and is altogether an institution apart, and a thing of itself. Hotels
in America are very much larger and more numerous than in other
countries. They are to be found in all towns, and I may almost say
in all villages. In England and on the Continent we find them on the
recognized routes of travel and in towns of commercial or social
importance. On unfrequented roads and in villages there is usually
some small house of public entertainment in which the unexpected
traveller may obtain food and shelter, and in which the expected boon
companions of the neighbourhood smoke their nightly pipes, and drink
their nightly tipple. But in the States of America the first sign
of an incipient settlement is an hotel five stories high, with an
office, a bar, a cloak-room, three gentlemen's parlours, two ladies'
parlours, a ladies' entrance, and two hundred bedrooms.

These, of course, are all built with a view to profit, and it may be
presumed that in each case the originators of the speculation enter
into some calculation as to their expected guests. Whence are to come
the sleepers in those two hundred bedrooms, and who is to pay for the
gaudy sofas and numerous lounging chairs of the ladies' parlours? In
all other countries the expectation would extend itself simply to
travellers;--to travellers or to strangers sojourning in the land.
But this is by no means the case as to these speculations in America.
When the new hotel rises up in the wilderness, it is presumed that
people will come there with the express object of inhabiting it. The
hotel itself will create a population,--as the railways do. With us
railways run to the towns; but in the States the towns run to the
railways. It is the same thing with the hotels.

Housekeeping is not popular with young married people in America, and
there are various reasons why this should be so. Men there are not
fixed in their employment as they are with us. If a young Benedict
cannot get along as a lawyer at Salem, perhaps he may thrive as a
shoemaker at Thermopylæ. Jefferson B. Johnson fails in the lumber
line at Eleutheria, but hearing of an opening for a Baptist preacher
at Big Mud Creek moves himself off with his wife and three children
at a week's notice. Aminadab Wiggs takes an engagement as a clerk
at a steam-boat office on the Pongowonga river, but he goes to his
employment with an inward conviction that six months will see him
earning his bread elsewhere. Under such circumstances even a large
wardrobe is a nuisance, and a collection of furniture would be as
appropriate as a drove of elephants. Then, again, young men and women
marry without any means already collected on which to commence their
life. They are content to look forward and to hope that such means
will come. In so doing they are guilty of no imprudence. It is
the way of the country; and, if the man be useful for anything,
employment will certainly come to him. But he must live on the fruits
of that employment, and can only pay his way from week to week and
from day to day. And as a third reason I think I may allege that
the mode of life found in these hotels is liked by the people who
frequent them. It is to their taste. They are happy, or at any rate
contented, at these hotels, and do not wish for household cares. As
to the two first reasons which I have given I can agree as to the
necessity of the case, and quite concur as to the expediency of
marriage under such circumstances. But as to that matter of taste,
I cannot concur at all. Anything more forlorn than a young married
woman at an American hotel, it is impossible to conceive.

Such are the guests expected for those two hundred bedrooms. The
chance travellers are but chance additions to these, and are not
generally the main stay of the house. As a matter of course the
accommodation for travellers which these hotels afford increases
and creates travelling. Men come because they know they will be fed
and bedded at a moderate cost, and in an easy way, suited to their
tastes. With us, and throughout Europe, inquiry is made before an
unaccustomed journey is commenced, on that serious question of
wayside food and shelter. But in the States no such question is
needed. A big hotel is a matter of course, and therefore men travel.
Everybody travels in the States. The railways and the hotels have
between them so churned up the people that an untravelled man or
woman is a rare animal. We are apt to suppose that travellers make
roads, and that guests create hotels; but the cause and effect run
exactly in the other way. I am almost disposed to think that we
should become cannibals if gentlemen's legs and ladies' arms were
hung up for sale in purveyors' shops.

After this fashion and with these intentions hotels are built. Size
and an imposing exterior are the first requisitions. Everything about
them must be on a large scale. A commanding exterior, and a certain
interior dignity of demeanour is more essential than comfort or
civility. Whatever an hotel may be it must not be "mean." In the
American vernacular the word "mean" is very significant. A mean white
in the South is a man who owns no slaves. Men are often mean, but
actions are seldom so called. A man feels mean when the bluster is
taken out of him. A mean hotel, conducted in a quiet unostentatious
manner, in which the only endeavour made had reference to the comfort
of a few guests, would find no favour in the States. These hotels
are not called by the name of any sign, as with us in our provinces.
There are no "Presidents' Heads" or "General Scotts." Nor by the name
of the landlord, or of some former landlord, as with us in London,
and in many cities of the Continent. Nor are they called from some
country or city which may have been presumed at some time to have
had special patronage for the establishment. In the nomenclature of
American hotels the speciality of American hero-worship is shown,
as in the nomenclature of their children. Every inn is a house,
and these houses are generally named after some hero, little known
probably in the world at large, but highly estimated in that locality
at the moment of the christening.

They are always built on a plan which to a European seems to be most
unnecessarily extravagant in space. It is not unfrequently the case
that the greater portion of the ground-floor is occupied by rooms and
halls which make no return to the house whatever. The visitor enters
a great hall by the front door, and almost invariably finds it full
of men who are idling about, sitting round on stationary seats,
talking in a listless manner, and getting through their time as
though the place were a public lounging room. And so it is. The
chances are that not half the crowd are guests at the hotel. I will
now follow the visitor as he makes his way up to the office. Every
hotel has an office. To call this place the bar, as I have done too
frequently, is a lamentable error. The bar is held in a separate room
appropriated solely to drinking. To the office, which is in fact a
long open counter, the guest walks up, and there inscribes his name
in a book. This inscription was to me a moment of misery which I
could never go through with equanimity. As the name is written, and
as the request for accommodation is made, half a dozen loungers look
over your name and listen to what you say. They listen attentively,
and spell your name carefully, but the great man behind the bar does
not seem to listen or to heed you. Your destiny is never imparted
to you on the instant. If your wife or any other woman be with you,
(the word "lady" is made so absolutely distasteful in American hotels
that I cannot bring myself to use it in writing of them) she has been
carried off to a lady's waiting room, and there remains in august
wretchedness till the great man at the bar shall have decided on her
fate. I have never been quite able to fathom the mystery of these
delays. I think they must have originated in the necessity of waiting
to see what might be the influx of travellers at the moment, and then
have become exaggerated and brought to their present normal state by
the gratified feeling of almost divine power with which for the time
it invests that despotic arbiter. I have found it always the same,
though arriving with no crowd, by a conveyance of my own, when no
other expectant guests were following me. The great man has listened
to my request in silence, with an imperturbable face, and has usually
continued his conversation with some loafing friend, who at the time
is probably scrutinizing my name in the book. I have often suffered
in patience; but patience is not specially the badge of my tribe,
and I have sometimes spoken out rather freely. If I may presume
to give advice to my travelling countrymen how to act under such
circumstances I should recommend to them freedom of speech rather
than patience. The great man when freely addressed generally opens
his eyes, and selects the key of your room without further delay. I
am inclined to think that the selection will not be made in any way
to your detriment by reason of that freedom of speech. The lady in
the ballad who spoke out her own mind to Lord Bateman was sent to her
home honourably in a coach and three. Had she held her tongue we are
justified in presuming that she would have been returned on a pillion
behind a servant.

I have been greatly annoyed by that silence on the part of the hotel
clerk. I have repeatedly asked for room, and received no syllable
in return. I have persisted in my request, and the clerk has nodded
his head at me. Until a traveller is known, these gentlemen are
singularly sparing of speech,--especially in the West. The same
economy of words runs down from the great man at the office all
through the servants of the establishment. It arises, I believe,
entirely from that want of courtesy which democratic institutions
create. The man whom you address has to make a battle against the
state of subservience, presumed to be indicated by his position, and
he does so by declaring his indifference to the person on whose wants
he is paid to attend. I have been honoured on one or two occasions by
the subsequent intimacy of these great men at the hotel offices, and
have then found them ready enough at conversation.

That necessity of making your request for rooms before a public
audience is not in itself agreeable, and sometimes entails a
conversation which might be more comfortably made in private. "What
do you mean by a dressing-room, and why do you want one?" Now that
is a question which an Englishman feels awkward at answering before
five-and-twenty Americans, with open mouths and eager eyes; but
it has to be answered. When I left England, I was assured that
I should not find any need for a separate sitting-room, seeing
that drawing-rooms more or less sumptuous were prepared for the
accommodation of "ladies." At first we attempted to follow the advice
given to us, but we broke down. A man and his wife travelling from
town to town, and making no sojourn on his way, may eat and sleep
at an hotel without a private parlour. But an Englishwoman cannot
live in comfort for a week, or even, in comfort, for a day, at any
of these houses, without a sitting-room for herself. The ladies'
drawing-room is a desolate wilderness. The American women themselves
do not use it. It is generally empty, or occupied by some forlorn
spinster, eliciting harsh sounds from the wretched piano which it

The price at these hotels throughout the Union is nearly always the
same, viz., two and a half dollars a day, for which a bedroom is
given, and as many meals as the guest can contrive to eat. This
is the price for chance guests. The cost to monthly boarders is,
I believe, not more than the half of this. Ten shillings a day,
therefore, covers everything that is absolutely necessary, servants
included. And this must be said in praise of these inns: that the
traveller can compute his expenses accurately, and can absolutely
bring them within that daily sum of ten shillings. This includes
a great deal of eating, a great deal of attendance, the use of
reading-rooms and smoking-rooms--which, however, always seem to
be open to the public as well as to the guests,--and a bedroom
with accommodation which is at any rate as good as the average
accommodation of hotels in Europe. In the large Eastern towns baths
are attached to many of the rooms. I always carry my own, and have
never failed in getting water. It must be acknowledged that the price
is very low. It is so low that I believe it affords, as a rule, no
profit whatsoever. The profit is made upon extra charges, and they
are higher than in any other country that I have visited. They are so
high that I consider travelling in America, for an Englishman with
his wife or family, to be more expensive than travelling in any part
of Europe. First in the list of extras comes that matter of the
sitting-room, and by that for a man and his wife the whole first
expense is at once doubled. The ordinary charge is five dollars, or
one pound a day! A guest intending to stay for two or three weeks
at an hotel, or perhaps for one week, may, by agreement, have this
charge reduced. At one inn I stayed a fortnight, and having made no
such agreement was charged the full sum. I felt myself stirred up to
complain, and did in that case remonstrate. I was asked how much I
wished to have returned,--for the bill had been paid,--and the sum I
suggested was at once handed to me. But even with such reduction the
price is very high, and at once makes the American hotel expensive.
Wine also at these houses is very costly, and very bad. The usual
price is two dollars, or eight shillings, a bottle. The people of the
country rarely drink wine at dinner in the hotels. When they do so,
they drink champagne; but their normal drinking is done separately,
at the bar, chiefly before dinner, and at a cheap rate. "A drink,"
let it be what it may, invariably costs a dime, or fivepence. But
if you must have a glass of sherry with your dinner, it costs two
dollars; for sherry does not grow into pint bottles in the States.
But the guest who remains for two days can have his wine kept for
him. Washing also is an expensive luxury. The price of this is
invariable, being always fourpence for everything washed. A cambric
handkerchief or muslin dress all come out at the same price. For
those who are cunning in the matter this may do very well; but
for men and women whose cuffs and collars are numerous it becomes
expensive. The craft of those who are cunning is shown, I think, in
little internal washings, by which the cambric handkerchiefs are kept
out of the list, while the muslin dresses are placed upon it. I am
led to this surmise by the energetic measures taken by the hotel
keepers to prevent such domestic washings, and by the denunciations
which in every hotel are pasted up in every room against the
practice. I could not at first understand why I was always warned
against washing my own clothes in my own bedroom, and told that no
foreign laundress could on any account be admitted into the house.
The injunctions given on this head are almost frantic in their
energy, and therefore I conceive that hotel keepers find themselves
exposed to much suffering in the matter. At these hotels they wash
with great rapidity, sending you back your clothes in four or five
hours if you desire it.

Another very stringent order is placed before the face of all
visitors at American hotels, desiring them on no account to leave
valuable property in their rooms. I presume that there must have been
some difficulty in this matter in bygone years, for in every State a
law has been passed declaring that hotel keepers shall not be held
responsible for money or jewels stolen out of rooms in their houses,
provided that they are furnished with safes for keeping such money,
and give due caution to their guests on the subject. The due caution
is always given, but I have seldom myself taken any notice of it. I
have always left my portmanteau open, and have kept my money usually
in a travelling desk in my room. But I never to my knowledge lost
anything. The world, I think, gives itself credit for more thieves
than it possesses. As to the female servants at American inns, they
are generally all that is disagreeable. They are uncivil, impudent,
dirty, slow,--provoking to a degree. But I believe that they keep
their hands from picking and stealing.

I never yet made a single comfortable meal at an American hotel, or
rose from my breakfast or dinner with that feeling of satisfaction
which should, I think, be felt at such moments in a civilized land in
which cookery prevails as an art. I have had enough, and have been
healthy and am thankful. But that thankfulness is altogether a matter
apart, and does not bear upon the question. If need be I can eat food
that is disagreeable to my palate, and make no complaint. But I hold
it to be compatible with the principles of an advanced Christianity
to prefer food that is palatable. I never could get any of that
kind at an American hotel. All meal-times at such houses were to me
periods of disagreeable duty; and at this moment, as I write these
lines at the hotel in which I am still staying, I pine for an English
leg of mutton. But I do not wish it to be supposed that the fault
of which I complain,--for it is a grievous fault,--is incidental to
America as a nation. I have stayed in private houses, and have daily
sat down to dinners quite as good as any my own kitchen could afford
me. Their dinner parties are generally well done, and as a people
they are by no means indifferent to the nature of their comestibles.
It is of the hotels that I speak, and of them I again say that
eating in them is a disagreeable task,--a painful labour. It is as a
schoolboy's lesson, or the six hours' confinement of a clerk at his

The mode of eating is as follows. Certain feeding hours are named,
which generally include nearly all the day. Breakfast from six till
ten. Dinner from one till five. Tea from six till nine. Supper from
nine till twelve. When the guest presents himself at any of these
hours he is marshalled to a seat, and a bill is put into his hand
containing the names of all the eatables then offered for his choice.
The list is incredibly and most unnecessarily long. Then it is that
you will see care written on the face of the American hotel liver,
as he studies the programme of the coming performance. With men this
passes off unnoticed, but with young girls the appearance of the
thing is not attractive. The anxious study, the elaborate reading
of the daily book, and then the choice proclaimed with clear
articulation. "Boiled mutton and caper sauce, roast duck, hashed
venison, mashed potatoes, poached eggs and spinach, stewed tomatoes.
Yes; and waiter,--some squash." There is no false delicacy in the
voice by which this order is given, no desire for a gentle whisper.
The dinner is ordered with the firm determination of an American
heroine, and in some five minutes' time all the little dishes appear
at once, and the lady is surrounded by her banquet.

How I did learn to hate those little dishes and their greasy
contents! At a London eating-house things are often not very nice,
but your meat is put on a plate and comes before you in an edible
shape. At these hotels it is brought to you in horrid little oval
dishes, and swims in grease. Gravy is not an institution at American
hotels, but grease has taken its place. It is palpable, undisguised
grease, floating in rivers,--not grease caused by accidental bad
cookery, but grease on purpose. A beef-steak is not a beef-steak
unless a quarter of a pound of butter be added to it. Those horrid
little dishes! If one thinks of it how could they have been made to
contain Christian food? Every article in that long list is liable
to the call of any number of guests for four hours. Under such
circumstances how can food be made eatable? Your roast mutton is
brought to you raw;--if you object to that you are supplied with meat
that has been four times brought before the public. At hotels on the
continent of Europe different dinners are cooked at different hours,
but here the same dinner is kept always going. The house breakfast
is maintained on a similar footing. Huge boilers of tea and coffee
are stewed down and kept hot. To me those meals were odious. It is
of course open to any one to have separate dinners and separate
breakfasts in his own room; but by this little is gained and much
is lost. He or she who is so exclusive pays twice over for such
meals,--as they are charged as extras on the bill; and, after all,
receives the advantage of no exclusive cooking. Particles from the
public dinners are brought to the private room, and the same odious
little dishes make their appearance.

But the most striking peculiarity of the American hotels is in their
public rooms. Of the ladies' drawing-room I have spoken. There
are two and sometimes three in one hotel, and they are generally
furnished at any rate expensively. It seems to me that the space
and the furniture are almost thrown away. At watering places, and
sea-side summer hotels they are, I presume, used; but at ordinary
hotels they are empty deserts. The intention is good, for they are
established with the view of giving to ladies at hotels the comforts
of ordinary domestic life; but they fail in their effect. Ladies will
not make themselves happy in any room, or with ever so much gilded
furniture, unless some means of happiness be provided for them. Into
these rooms no book is ever brought, no needle-work is introduced;
from them no clatter of many tongues is ever heard. On a marble table
in the middle of the room always stands a large pitcher of iced
water, and from this a cold, damp, uninviting air is spread through
the atmosphere of the ladies' drawing-room.

Below, on the ground floor, there is, in the first place, the huge
entrance hall, at the back of which, behind a bar, the great man of
the place keeps the keys and holds his court. There are generally
seats around it, in which smokers sit,--or men not smoking but
ruminating. Opening off from this are reading rooms, smoking rooms,
shaving rooms, drinking rooms, parlours for gentlemen in which
smoking is prohibited, and which are generally as desolate as the
ladies' sitting-rooms above. In those other more congenial chambers
is always gathered together a crowd, apparently belonging in no way
to the hotel. It would seem that a great portion of an American
inn is as open to the public as an Exchange, or as the wayside of
the street. In the West, during the early months of this war, the
traveller would always see many soldiers among the crowd,--not
only officers, but privates. They sit in public seats, silent but
apparently contented, sometimes for an hour together. All Americans
are given to gatherings such as these. It is the much-loved
institution to which the name of "loafing" has been given.

I do not like the mode of life which prevails in the American
hotels. I have come across exceptions, and know one or two that are
comfortable,--always excepting that matter of eating and drinking.
But taking them as a whole I do not like their mode of life. I feel,
however, bound to add that the hotels of Canada, which are kept,
I think, always after the same fashion, are infinitely worse than
those of the United States. I do not like the American hotels; but
I must say in their favour that they afford an immense amount of
accommodation. The traveller is rarely told that an hotel is full, so
that travelling in America is without one of those great perils to
which it is subject in Europe. It must also be acknowledged that for
the ordinary purposes of a traveller they are very cheap.



In speaking of the literature of any country we are, I think, too
much inclined to regard the question as one appertaining exclusively
to the writers of books,--not acknowledging, as we should do, that
the literary character of a people will depend much more upon what
it reads than what it writes. If we can suppose any people to have
an intimate acquaintance with the best literary efforts of other
countries, we should hardly be correct in saying that such a people
had no literary history of their own because it had itself produced
nothing in literature. And, with reference to those countries which
have been most fertile in the production of good books, I doubt
whether their literary histories would not have more to tell of those
ages in which much has been read than of those in which much has been

The United States have been by no means barren in the production
of literature. The truth is so far from this that their literary
triumphs are perhaps those which of all their triumphs are the most
honourable to them, and which, considering their position as a young
nation, are the most permanently satisfactory. But though they
have done much in writing, they have done much more in reading. As
producers they are more than respectable, but as consumers they are
the most conspicuous people on the earth. It is impossible to speak
of the subject of literature in America without thinking of the
readers rather than of the writers. In this matter their position is
different from that of any other great people, seeing that they share
the advantages of our language. An American will perhaps consider
himself to be as little like an Englishman as he is like a Frenchman.
But he reads Shakespeare through the medium of his own vernacular,
and has to undergo the penance of a foreign tongue before he can
understand Molière. He separates himself from England in politics and
perhaps in affection; but he cannot separate himself from England in
mental culture. It may be suggested that an Englishman has the same
advantages as regards America; and it is true that he is obtaining
much of such advantage. Irving, Prescott, and Longfellow are the same
to England as though she herself had produced them. But the balance
of advantage must be greatly in favour of America. We have given her
the work of four hundred years, and have received back in return the
work of fifty.

And of this advantage the Americans have not been slow to avail
themselves. As consumers of literature they are certainly the most
conspicuous people on the earth. Where an English publisher contents
himself with thousands of copies an American publisher deals with
ten thousands. The sale of a new book, which in numbers would amount
to a considerable success with us, would with them be a lamentable
failure. This of course is accounted for, as regards the author
and the publisher, by the difference of price at which the book is
produced. One thousand in England will give perhaps as good a return
as the ten thousand in America. But as regards the readers there can
be no such equalization. The thousand copies cannot spread themselves
as do the ten thousand. The one book at a guinea cannot multiply
itself, let Mr. Mudie do what he will, as do the ten books at a
dollar. Ultimately there remain the ten books against the one; and
if there be not the ten readers against the one, there are five,
or four, or three. Everybody in the States has books about his
house. "And so has everybody in England," will say my English
reader, mindful of the libraries, or book-rooms, or book-crowded
drawing-rooms of his friends and acquaintances. But has my English
reader who so replies examined the libraries of many English cabmen,
of ticket porters, of warehousemen, and of agricultural labourers?
I cannot take upon myself to say that I have done so with any close
search in the States. But when it has been in my power I have done
so, and I have always found books in such houses as I have entered.
The amount of printed matter which is poured forth in streams from
the printing-presses of the great American publishers is, however, a
better proof of the truth of what I say than anything that I can have
seen myself.

But of what class are the books that are so read? There are many
who think that reading in itself is not good unless the matter
read be excellent. I do not myself quite agree with this, thinking
that almost any reading is better than none; but I will of course
admit that good matter is better than bad matter. The bulk of the
literature consumed in the States is no doubt composed of novels,--as
it is also, now-a-days, in this country. Whether or no an unlimited
supply of novels for young people is or is not advantageous, I will
not here pretend to say. The general opinion with ourselves I take it
is, that novels are bad reading if they be bad of their kind. Novels
that are not bad are now-a-days accepted generally as indispensable
to our households. Whatever may be the weakness of the American
literary taste in this respect, it is, I think, a weakness which we
share. There are more novel readers among them than with us, but
only, I think, in the proportion that there are more readers.

I have no hesitation in saying, that works by English authors are
more popular in the States than those written by themselves; and,
among English authors of the present day, they by no means confine
themselves to the novelists. The English names of whom I heard
most during my sojourn in the States were perhaps those of Dickens,
Tennyson, Buckle, Tom Hughes, Martin Tupper, and Thackeray. As the
owners of all these names are still living, I am not going to take
upon myself the delicate task of criticising the American taste.
I may not perhaps coincide with them in every respect. But if I be
right as to the names which I have given, such a selection shows that
they do get beyond novels. I have little doubt but that many more
copies of Dickens's novels have been sold during the last three
years, than of the works either of Tennyson or of Buckle; but such
also has been the case in England. It will probably be admitted
that one copy of the "Civilization" should be held as being equal
to five-and-twenty of "Nicholas Nickleby," and that a single "In
Memoriam" may fairly weigh down half-a-dozen "Pickwicks." Men and
women after their day's work are not always up to the "Civilization."
As a rule they are generally up to "Proverbial Philosophy," and this,
perhaps, may have had something to do with the great popularity of
that very popular work.

I would not have it supposed that American readers despise their own
authors. The Americans are very proud of having a literature of their
own. Among the literary names which they honour, there are none, I
think, more honourable than those of Cooper and Irving. They like to
know that their modern historians are acknowledged as great authors,
and as regards their own poets will sometimes demand your admiration
for strains with which you hardly find yourself to be familiar. But
English books are, I think, the better loved;--even the English books
of the present day. And even beyond this,--with those who choose
to indulge in the costly luxuries of literature,--books printed in
England are more popular than those which are printed in their own
country; and yet the manner in which the American publishers put
out their work is very good. The book sold there at a dollar, or a
dollar and a quarter, quite equals our ordinary five shilling volume.
Nevertheless English books are preferred,--almost as strongly as are
French bonnets. Of books absolutely printed and produced in England
the supply in the States is of course small. They must necessarily be
costly, and as regards new books, are always subjected to the rivalry
of a cheaper American copy. But of the reprinted works of English
authors the supply is unlimited, and the sale very great. Almost
everything is reprinted; certainly everything which can be said to
attain any home popularity. I do not know how far English authors
may be aware of the fact; but it is undoubtedly a fact that their
influence as authors is greater on the other side of the Atlantic
than on this. It is there that they have their most numerous school
of pupils. It is there that they are recognized as teachers by
hundreds of thousands. It is of those thirty millions that they
should think, at any rate in part, when they discuss within their
own hearts that question which all authors do discuss, whether that
which they write shall in itself be good or bad,--be true or false.
A writer in England may not, perhaps, think very much of this with
reference to some trifle of which his English publisher proposes to
sell some seven or eight hundred copies. But he begins to feel that
he should have thought of it when he learns that twenty or thirty
thousand copies of the same have been scattered through the length
and breadth of the United States. The English author should feel that
he writes for the widest circle of readers ever yet obtained by the
literature of any country. He provides not only for his own country
and for the States, but for the readers who are rising by millions
in the British colonies. Canada is supplied chiefly from the presses
of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, but she is supplied with
the works of the mother country. India, as I take it, gets all her
books direct from London, as do the West Indies. Whether or no the
Australian colonies have as yet learned to reprint our books I do not
know, but I presume that they cannot do so as cheaply as they can
import them. London with us, and the three cities which I have named
on the other side of the Atlantic, are the places at which this
literature is manufactured; but the demand in the western hemisphere
is becoming more brisk than that which the old world creates. There
is, I have no doubt, more literary matter printed in London than in
all America put together. A greater extent of letter-press is put up
in London than in the three publishing cities of the States. But the
number of copies issued by the American publishers is so much greater
than those which ours put forth, that the greater bulk of literature
is with them. If this be so, the demand with them is of course
greater than it is with us.

I have spoken here of the privilege which an English author enjoys
by reason of the ever widening circle of readers to whom he writes.
I speak of the privilege of an English author as distinguished from
that of an American author. I profess my belief that in the United
States an English author has an advantage over one of that country
merely in the fact of his being English, as a French milliner has
undoubtedly an advantage in her nationality let her merits or
demerits as a milliner be what they may. I think that English books
are better liked because they are English. But I do not know that
there is any feeling with us either for or against an author because
he is American. I believe that Longfellow stands in our judgment
exactly where he would have stood had he been a tutor at a college in
Oxford instead of a Professor at Cambridge in Massachusetts. Prescott
is read among us as an historian without any reference as to his
nationality, and by many, as I take it, in absolute ignorance of
his nationality. Hawthorne, the novelist, is quite as well known in
England as he is in his own country. But I do not know that to either
of these three is awarded any favour or is denied any justice because
he is an American. Washington Irving published many of his works in
this country, receiving very large sums for them from Mr. Murray, and
I fancy that in dealing with his publisher he found neither advantage
nor disadvantage in his nationality;--that is, of course, advantage
or disadvantage in reference to the light in which his works would be
regarded. It must be admitted that there is no jealousy in the States
against English authors. I think that there is a feeling in their
favour, but no one can at any rate allege that there is a feeling
against them. I think I may also assert on the part of my own country
that there is no jealousy here against American authors. As regards
the tastes of the people, the works of each country flow freely
through the other. That is as it should be. But when we come to the
mode of supply, things are not exactly as they should be; and I do
not believe that any one will contradict me when I say that the fault
is with the Americans.

I presume that all my readers know the meaning of the word copyright.
A man's copyright, or right in his copy, is that amount of legal
possession in the production of his brains which has been secured to
him by the laws of his own country and by the laws of others. Unless
an author were secured by such laws, his writings would be of but
little pecuniary value to him, as the right of printing and selling
them would be open to all the world. In England and in America, and
as I conceive in all countries possessing a literature, there is such
a law securing to authors and to their heirs for a term of years the
exclusive right over their own productions. That this should be so
in England as regards English authors is so much a matter of course,
that the copyright of an author would seem to be as naturally his
own as a gentleman's deposit at his bank or his little investment in
the three per cents. The right of an author to the value of his own
productions in other countries than his own is not so much a matter
of course; but nevertheless, if such productions have any value in
other countries, that value should belong to him. This has been felt
to be the case between England and France, and treaties have been
made securing his own property to the author in each country. The
fact that the languages of England and France are different makes the
matter one of comparatively small moment. But it has been found to be
for the honour and profit of the two countries, that there should be
such a law, and an international copyright does exist. But if such
an arrangement be needed between two such countries as France and
England,--between two countries which do not speak the same language
or share the same literature,--how much more necessary must it be
between England and the United States? The literature of the one
country is the literature of the other. The poem that is popular
in London will certainly be popular in New York. The novel that is
effective among American ladies will be equally so with those of
England. There can be no doubt as to the importance of having a
law of copyright between the two countries. The only question can
be as to the expediency and the justice. At present there is no
international copyright between England and the United States, and
there is none because the States have declined to sanction any such
law. It is known by all who are concerned in the matter on either
side of the water that as far as Great Britain is concerned such a
law would meet with no impediment.

Therefore it is to be presumed that the legislators of the States
think it expedient and just to dispense with any such law. I have
said that there can be no doubt as to the importance of the question,
seeing that the price of English literature in the States must be
most materially affected by it. Without such a law the Americans are
enabled to import English literature without paying for it. It is
open to any American publisher to reprint any work from an English
copy, and to sell his reprints without any permission obtained from
the English author or from the English publisher. The absolute
material which the American publisher sells, he takes, or can take,
for nothing. The paper, ink, and composition he supplies in the
ordinary way of business; but of the very matter which he professes
to sell,--of the book which is the object of his trade, he is enabled
to possess himself for nothing. If you, my reader, be a popular
author, an American publisher will take the choicest work of your
brain and make dollars out of it, selling thousands of copies of it
in his country, whereas you can, perhaps, only sell hundreds of it
in your own; and will either give you nothing for that he takes,--or
else will explain to you that he need give you nothing, and that in
paying you anything he subjects himself to the danger of seeing the
property which he has bought taken again from him by other persons.
If this be so that question whether or no there shall be a law
of international copyright between the two countries cannot be

But it may be inexpedient that there shall be such a law. It may be
considered well, that as the influx of English books into America
is much greater than the out-flux of American books back to England,
the right of obtaining such books for nothing should be reserved,
although the country in doing so robs its own authors of the
advantage which should accrue to them from the English market. It
might perhaps be thought anything but smart to surrender such an
advantage by the passing of an international copyright bill. There
are not many trades in which the tradesman can get the chief of his
goods for nothing; and it may be thought, that the advantage arising
to the States from such an arrangement of circumstances should not
be abandoned. But how then about the justice? It would seem that
the less said upon that subject the better. I have heard no one say
that an author's property in his own works should not, in accordance
with justice, be insured to him in the one country as well as in the
other. I have seen no defence of the present position of affairs,
on the score of justice. The price of books would be enhanced by an
international copyright law, and it is well that books should be
cheap. That is the only argument used. So would mutton be cheap, if
it could be taken out of a butcher's shop for nothing!

But I absolutely deny the expediency of the present position of the
matter, looking simply to the material advantage of the American
people in the matter, and throwing aside altogether that question
of justice. I must here, however, explain that I bring no charge
whatsoever against the American publishers. The English author is
a victim in their hands, but it is by no means their fault that he
is so. As a rule, they are willing to pay for the works of popular
English writers, but in arranging as to what payments they can make,
they must of course bear in mind the fact that they have no exclusive
right whatsoever in the things which they purchase. It is natural,
also, that they should bear in mind when making their purchases,
and arranging their prices, that they can have the very thing they
are buying without any payment at all, if the price asked do not
suit them. It is not of the publishers that I complain, or of any
advantage which they take; but of the legislators of the country, and
of the advantage which accrues, or is thought by them to accrue to
the American people from the absence of an international copyright
law. It is mean on their part to take such advantage if it existed;
and it is foolish in them to suppose that any such advantage can
accrue. The absence of any law of copyright no doubt gives to the
American publisher the power of reprinting the works of English
authors without paying for them,--seeing that the English author is
undefended. But the American publisher who brings out such a reprint
is equally undefended in his property. When he shall have produced
his book, his rival in the next street may immediately reprint it
from him, and destroy the value of his property by underselling him.
It is probable that the first American publisher will have made some
payment to the English author for the privilege of publishing the
book honestly,--of publishing it without recurrence to piracy,--and
in arranging his price with his customers he will be, of course,
obliged to debit the book with the amount so paid. If the author
receive ten cents a copy on every copy sold, the publisher must add
that ten cents to the price he charges for it. But he cannot do this
with security, because the book can be immediately reprinted, and
sold without any such addition to the price. The only security which
the American publisher has against the injury which may be so done to
him, is the power of doing other injury in return. The men who stand
high in the trade, and who are powerful because of the largeness of
their dealings, can in a certain measure secure themselves in this
way. Such a firm would have the power of crushing a small tradesman
who should interfere with him. But if the large firm commits any
such act of injustice, the little men in the trade have no power of
setting themselves right by counter injustice. I need hardly point
out what must be the effect of such a state of things upon the whole
publishing trade; nor need I say more to prove that some law which
shall regulate property in foreign copyrights would be as expedient
with reference to America, as it would be just towards England. But
the wrong done by America to herself does not rest here. It is true
that more English books are read in the States than American books
in England, but it is equally true that the literature of America is
daily gaining readers among us. That injury to which English authors
are subjected from the want of protection in the States, American
authors suffer from the want of protection here. One can hardly
believe that the legislators of the States would willingly place the
brightest of their own fellow countrymen in this position, because in
the event of a copyright bill being passed, the balance of advantage
would seem to accrue to England!

Of the literature of the United States, speaking of literature in its
ordinary sense, I do not know that I need say much more. I regard
the literature of a country as its highest produce, believing it to
be more powerful in its general effect, and more beneficial in its
results, than either statesmanship, professional ability, religious
teaching, or commerce. And in no part of its national career have
the United States been so successful as in this. I need hardly
explain that I should commit a monstrous injustice were I to make a
comparison in this matter between England and America. Literature is
the child of leisure and wealth. It is the produce of minds which by
a happy combination of circumstances have been enabled to dispense
with the ordinary cares of the world. It can hardly be expected to
come from a young country, or from a new and still struggling people.
Looking around at our own magnificent colonies I hardly remember
a considerable name which they have produced, except that of my
excellent old friend, Sam Slick. Nothing, therefore, I think, shows
the settled greatness of the people of the States more significantly
than their firm establishment of a national literature. This
literature runs over all subjects. American authors have excelled in
poetry, in science, in history, in metaphysics, in law, in theology,
and in fiction. They have attempted all, and failed in none. What
Englishman has devoted a room to books, and devoted no portion of
that room to the productions of America?

But I must say a word of literature in which I shall not speak of it
in its ordinary sense, and shall yet speak of it in that sense which
of all perhaps, in the present day, should be considered the most
ordinary. I mean the every-day periodical literature of the press.
Most of those who can read, it is to be hoped, read books; but all
who can read do read newspapers. Newspapers in this country are so
general that men cannot well live without them; but to men, and to
women also, in the United States they may be said to be the one chief
necessary of life. And yet in the whole length and breadth of the
United States there is not published a single newspaper which seems
to me to be worthy of praise.

A really good newspaper,--one excellent at all points,--would indeed
be a triumph of honesty and of art! Not only is such a publication
much to be desired in America, but it is still to be desired in
Great Britain also. I used, in my younger days, to think of such
a newspaper as a possible publication, and in a certain degree I
then looked for it. Now I expect it only in my dreams. It should be
powerful without tyranny, popular without triumph, political without
party passion, critical without personal feeling, right in its
statements and just in its judgments, but right and just without
pride. It should be all but omniscient, but not conscious of its
omniscience; it should be moral, but not strait-laced; it should be
well-assured, but yet modest; though never humble, it should be free
from boasting. Above all these things it should be readable; and
above that again it should be true. I used to think that such a
newspaper might be produced, but I now sadly acknowledge to myself
the fact that humanity is not capable of any work so divine.

The newspapers of the States generally may not only be said to have
reached none of the virtues here named, but to have fallen into
all the opposite vices. In the first place they are never true. In
requiring truth from a newspaper the public should not be anxious to
strain at gnats. A statement setting forth that a certain gooseberry
was five inches in circumference, whereas in truth its girth was only
two and a half, would give me no offence. Nor would I be offended at
being told that Lord Derby was appointed to the premiership, while in
truth the Queen had only sent for his lordship, having as yet come to
no definite arrangement. The demand for truth which may reasonably be
made upon a newspaper amounts to this,--that nothing should be stated
not believed to be true, and that nothing should be stated as to
which the truth is important, without adequate ground for such
belief. If a newspaper accuse me of swindling, it is not sufficient
that the writer believe me to be a swindler. He should have ample
and sufficient ground for such belief;--otherwise in making such a
statement he will write falsely. In our private life we all recognize
the fact that this is so. It is understood that a man is not a
whit the less a slanderer because he believes the slander which
he promulgates. But it seems to me that this is not sufficiently
recognized by many who write for the public press. Evil things are
said, and are probably believed by the writers; they are said with
that special skill for which newspaper writers have in our days
become so conspicuous, defying alike redress by law or redress by
argument; but they are too often said falsely. The words are not
measured when they are written, and they are allowed to go forth
without any sufficient inquiry into their truth. But if there be any
ground for such complaint here in England, that ground is multiplied
ten times--twenty times--in the States. This is not only shown in
the abuse of individuals, in abuse which is as violent as it is
perpetual, but in the treatment of every subject which is handled.
All idea of truth has been thrown overboard. It seems to be admitted
that the only object is to produce a sensation, and that it is
admitted by both writer and reader that sensation and veracity are
incompatible. Falsehood has become so much a matter of course with
American newspapers that it has almost ceased to be falsehood. Nobody
thinks me a liar because I deny that I am at home when I am in my
study. The nature of the arrangement is generally understood. So also
is it with the American newspapers.

But American newspapers are also unreadable. It is very bad that
they should be false, but it is very surprising that they should
be dull. Looking at the general intelligence of the people, one
would have thought that a readable newspaper, put out with all
pleasant appurtenances of clear type, good paper, and good internal
arrangement, would have been a thing specially within their reach.
But they have failed in every detail. Though their papers are always
loaded with sensation headings, there are seldom sensation paragraphs
to follow. The paragraphs do not fit the headings. Either they cannot
be found, or if found they seem to have escaped from their proper
column to some distant and remote portion of the sheet. One is led to
presume that no American editor has any plan in the composition of
his newspaper. I never know whether I have as yet got to the very
heart's core of the daily journal, or whether I am still to go on
searching for that heart's core. Alas, it too often happens that
there is no heart's core! The whole thing seems to have been put
out at hap-hazard. And then the very writing is in itself below
mediocrity;--as though a power of expression in properly arranged
language was not required by a newspaper editor, either as regards
himself or as regards his subordinates. One is driven to suppose that
the writers for the daily press are not chosen with any view to such
capability. A man ambitious of being on the staff of an American
newspaper should be capable of much work, should be satisfied with
small pay, should be indifferent to the world's good usage, should
be rough, ready, and of long sufferance; but, above all, he should
be smart. The type of almost all American newspapers is wretched--I
think I may say of all;--so wretched that that alone forbids one to
hope for pleasure in reading them. They are ill-written, ill-printed,
ill-arranged, and in fact are not readable. They are bought, glanced
at, and thrown away.

They are full of boastings,--not boastings simply as to their
country, their town, or their party,--but of boastings as to
themselves. And yet they possess no self-assurance. It is always
evident that they neither trust themselves, nor expect to be trusted.
They have made no approach to that omniscience which constitutes the
great marvel of our own daily press; but finding it necessary to
write as though they possessed it, they fall into blunders which
are almost as marvellous. Justice and right judgment are out of
the question with them. A political party end is always in view,
and political party warfare in America admits of any weapons. No
newspaper in America is really powerful or popular; and yet they are
tyrannical and overbearing. The "New York Herald" has, I believe, the
largest sale of any daily newspaper; but it is absolutely without
political power, and in these times of war has truckled to the
Government more basely than any other paper. It has an enormous sale,
but so far is it from having achieved popularity, that no man on any
side ever speaks a good word for it. All American newspapers deal in
politics as a matter of course; but their politics have ever regard
to men and never to measures. Vituperation is their natural political
weapon; but since the President's ministers have assumed the power
of stopping newspapers which are offensive to them, they have shown
that they can descend to a course of eulogy which is even below

I shall be accused of using very strong language against the
newspaper press of America. I can only say that I do not know how to
make that language too strong. Of course there are newspapers as to
which the editors and writers may justly feel that my remarks, if
applied to them, are unmerited. In writing on such a subject, I can
only deal with the whole as a whole. During my stay in the country,
I did my best to make myself acquainted with the nature of its
newspapers, knowing in how great a degree its population depends on
them for its daily store of information. Newspapers in the States of
America have a much wider, or rather closer circulation, than they
do with us. Every man and almost every woman sees a newspaper daily.
They are very cheap, and are brought to every man's hand without
trouble to himself, at every turn that he takes in his day's work. It
would be much for the advantage of the country, that they should be
good of their kind; but, if I am able to form a correct judgment on
the matter, they are not good.



In one of the earlier chapters of this volume,--now some seven or
eight chapters past,--I brought myself on my travels back to Boston.
It was not that my way homewards lay by that route, seeing that my
fate required me to sail from New York; but I could not leave the
country without revisiting my friends in Massachusetts. I have told
how I was there in the sleighing time, and how pleasant were the
mingled slush and frost of the snowy winter. In the morning the
streets would be hard and crisp, and the stranger would surely fall
if he were not prepared to walk on glaciers. In the afternoon he
would be wading through rivers,--and if properly armed at all points
with india-rubber, would enjoy the rivers as he waded. But the air
would be always kindly, and the east wind there, if it was east as
I was told, had none of that power of dominion which makes us all so
submissive to its behests in London. For myself, I believe that the
real east wind blows only in London.

And when the snow went in Boston I went with it. The evening before
I left I watched them as they carted away the dirty uncouth blocks
which had been broken up with pickaxes in Washington Street, and was
melancholy as I reflected that I too should no longer be known in the
streets. My weeks in Boston had not been very many, but nevertheless
there were haunts there which I knew as though my feet had trodden
them for years. There were houses to which I could have gone with
my eyes blindfold; doors of which the latches were familiar to my
hands; faces which I knew so well that they had ceased to put on
for me the fictitious smiles of courtesy. Faces, houses, doors, and
haunts, where are they now? For me they are as though they had never
been. They are among the things which one would fain remember as
one remembers a dream. Look back on it as a vision and it is all
pleasant. But if you realize your vision and believe your dream to be
a fact, all your pleasure is obliterated by regret.

I know that I shall never again be at Boston, and that I have said
that about the Americans which would make me unwelcome as a guest if
I were there. It is in this that my regret consists;--for this reason
that I would wish to remember so many social hours as though they had
been passed in sleep. They who will expect blessings from me, will
say among themselves that I have cursed them. As I read the pages
which I have written I feel that words which I intended for blessings
when I prepared to utter them have gone nigh to turn themselves into

I have ever admired the United States as a nation. I have loved their
liberty, their prowess, their intelligence, and their progress. I
have sympathized with a people who themselves have had no sympathy
with passive security and inaction. I have felt confidence in them,
and have known, as it were, that their industry must enable them to
succeed as a people, while their freedom would insure to them success
as a nation. With these convictions I went among them wishing to
write of them good words,--words which might be pleasant for them to
read, while they might assist perhaps in producing a true impression
of them here at home. But among my good words there are so many which
are bitter, that I fear I shall have failed in my object as regards
them. And it seems to me, as I read once more my own pages, that in
saying evil things of my friends, I have used language stronger than
I intended; whereas I have omitted to express myself with emphasis
when I have attempted to say good things. Why need I have told of the
mud of Washington, or have exposed the nakedness of Cairo? Why did
I speak with such eager enmity of those poor women in the New York
cars, who never injured me, now that I think of it? Ladies of New
York, as I write this, the words which were written among you, are
printed and cannot be expunged; but I tender to you my apologies from
my home in England. And as to that Van Wyck committee! Might I not
have left those contractors to be dealt with by their own Congress,
seeing that that Congress committee was by no means inclined to spare
them? I might have kept my pages free from gall, and have sent my
sheets to the press unhurt by the conviction that I was hurting those
who had dealt kindly by me! But what then? Was any people ever truly
served by eulogy; or an honest cause furthered by undue praise?

O my friends with thin skins,--and here I protest that a thick skin
is a fault not to be forgiven in a man or a nation, whereas a thin
skin is in itself a merit, if only the wearer of it will be the
master and not the slave of his skin,--O, my friends with thin skins,
ye whom I call my cousins and love as brethren, will ye not forgive
me these harsh words that I have spoken? They have been spoken in
love,--with a true love, a brotherly love, a love that has never been
absent from the heart while the brain was coining them. I had my task
to do, and I could not take the pleasant and ignore the painful. It
may perhaps be that as a friend I had better not have written either
good or bad. But no! To say that would indeed be to speak calumny of
your country. A man may write of you truly, and yet write that which
you would read with pleasure;--only that your skins are so thin!
The streets of Washington are muddy and her ways are desolate. The
nakedness of Cairo is very naked. And those ladies of New York--is
it not to be confessed that they are somewhat imperious in their
demands? As for the Van Wyck committee, have I not repeated the tale
which you have told yourselves? And is it not well that such tales
should be told?

And yet ye will not forgive me; because your skins are thin, and
because the praise of others is the breath of your nostrils.

I do not know that an American as an individual is more thin-skinned
than an Englishman; but as the representative of a nation it may
almost be said of him that he has no skin at all. Any touch comes
at once upon the net-work of his nerves and puts in operation all
his organs of feeling with the violence of a blow. And for this
peculiarity he has been made the mark of much ridicule. It shows
itself in two ways; either by extreme displeasure when anything is
said disrespectful of his country; or by the strong eulogy with which
he is accustomed to speak of his own institutions and of those of his
countrymen whom at the moment he may chance to hold in high esteem.
The manner in which this is done is often ridiculous. "Sir, what
do you think of our Mr. Jefferson Brick? Mr. Jefferson Brick,
sir, is one of our most remarkable men." And again. "Do you like
our institutions, sir? Do you find that philanthropy, religion,
philosophy, and the social virtues are cultivated on a scale
commensurate with the unequalled liberty and political advancement of
the nation?" There is something absurd in such a mode of address when
it is repeated often. But hero-worship and love of country are not
absurd; and do not these addresses show capacity for hero-worship
and an aptitude for the love of country? Jefferson Brick may not be
a hero; but a capacity for such worship is something. Indeed the
capacity is everything, for the need of a hero will at last produce
the hero needed. And it is the same with that love of country.
A people that are proud of their country will see that there is
something in their country to justify their pride. Do we not all of
us feel assured by the intense nationality of an American that he
will not desert his nation in the hour of her need? I feel that
assurance respecting them; and at those moments in which I am moved
to laughter by the absurdities of their addresses, I feel it the

I left Boston with the snow, and returning to New York found that
the streets there were dry and that the winter was nearly over. As
I had passed through New York to Boston the streets had been by no
means dry. The snow had lain in small mountains over which the
omnibuses made their way down Broadway, till at the bottom of that
thoroughfare, between Trinity Church and Bowling Green, alp became
piled upon alp, and all traffic was full of danger. The accursed love
of gain still took men to Wall Street, but they had to fight their
way thither through physical difficulties which must have made even
the state of the money market a matter almost of indifference to
them. They do not seem to me to manage the winter in New York so well
as they do in Boston. But now, on my last return thither, the alps
were gone, the roads were clear, and one could travel through the
city with no other impediment than those of treading on women's
dresses if one walked, or having to look after women's band-boxes and
pay their fares and take their change, if one used the omnibuses.

And now had come the end of my adventures, and as I set my foot
once more upon the deck of the Cunard steamer I felt that my work
was done. Whether it were done ill or well, or whether indeed any
approach to the doing of it had been attained, all had been done that
I could accomplish. No further opportunity remained to me of seeing,
hearing, or of speaking. I had come out thither, having resolved to
learn a little that I might if possible teach that little to others;
and now the lesson was learned, or must remain unlearned. But in
carrying out my resolution I had gradually risen in my ambition, and
had mounted from one stage of inquiry to another, till at last I had
found myself burdened with the task of ascertaining whether or no the
Americans were doing their work as a nation well or ill; and now, if
ever, I must be prepared to put forth the result of my inquiry. As I
walked up and down the deck of the steamboat I confess I felt that I
had been somewhat arrogant.

I had been a few days over six months in the States, and I was
engaged in writing a book of such a nature that a man might well
engage himself for six years, or perhaps for sixty, in obtaining the
materials for it. There was nothing in the form of government, or
legislature, or manners of the people, as to which I had not taken
upon myself to say something. I was professing to understand their
strength and their weakness; and was daring to censure their faults
and to eulogize their virtues. "Who is he," an American would say,
"that he comes and judges us? His judgment is nothing." "Who is he,"
an Englishman would say, "that he comes and teaches us? His teaching
is of no value."

In answer to this I have but a small plea to make. I have done
my best. I have nothing "extenuated, and have set down nought in
malice." I do feel that my volumes have blown themselves out into
proportions greater than I had intended;--greater not in mass of
pages, but in the matter handled. I am frequently addressing my own
muse, who I am well aware is not Clio, and asking her whither she
is wending. "Cease, thou wrong-headed one, to meddle with these
mysteries." I appeal to her frequently, but ever in vain. One cannot
drive one's muse, nor yet always lead her. Of the various women with
which a man is blessed, his muse is by no means the least difficult
to manage.

But again I put in my slight plea. In doing as I have done, I have
at least done my best. I have endeavoured to judge without prejudice,
and to hear with honest ears, and to see with honest eyes. The
subject, moreover, on which I have written, is one which, though
great, is so universal in its bearings, that it may be said to admit
of being handled without impropriety by the unlearned as well as the
learned;--by those who have grown gray in the study of constitutional
lore, and by those who have simply looked on at the government of men
as we all look on at those matters which daily surround us. There are
matters as to which a man should never take a pen in hand unless he
has given to them much labour. The botanist must have learned to
trace the herbs and flowers before he can presume to tell us how God
has formed them. But the death of Hector is a fit subject for a boy's
verses though Homer also sang of it. I feel that there is scope for a
book on the United States' form of government as it was founded, and
as it has since framed itself, which might do honour to the life-long
studies of some one of those great constitutional pundits whom we
have among us; but, nevertheless, the plain words of a man who is no
pundit need not disgrace the subject, if they be honestly written,
and if he who writes them has in his heart an honest love of liberty.
Such were my thoughts as I walked the deck of the Cunard steamer.
Then I descended to my cabin, settled my luggage, and prepared
for the continuance of my work. It was fourteen days from that
time before I reached London, but the fourteen days to me were not
unpleasant. The demon of sea-sickness usually spares me, and if I can
find on board one or two who are equally fortunate--who can eat with
me, drink with me, and talk with me--I do not know that a passage
across the Atlantic is by any means a terrible evil.

In finishing these volumes after the fashion in which they have been
written throughout, I feel that I am bound to express a final opinion
on two or three points, and that if I have not enabled myself to
do so, I have travelled through the country in vain. I am bound by
the very nature of my undertaking to say whether, according to such
view as I have enabled myself to take of them, the Americans have
succeeded as a nation politically and socially; and in doing this I
ought to be able to explain how far slavery has interfered with such
success. I am bound also, writing at the present moment, to express
some opinion as to the result of this war, and to declare whether the
North or the South may be expected to be victorious,--explaining in
some rough way what may be the results of such victory, and how such
results will affect the question of slavery. And I shall leave my
task unfinished if I do not say what may be the possible chances of
future quarrel between England and the States. That there has been
and is much hot blood and angry feeling no man doubts; but such angry
feeling has existed among many nations without any probability of
war. In this case, with reference to this ill-will that has certainly
established itself between us and that other people, is there any
need that it should be satisfied by war and allayed by blood?

No one, I think, can doubt that the founders of the great American
Commonwealth made an error in omitting to provide some means for the
gradual extinction of slavery throughout the States. That error did
not consist in any liking for slavery. There was no feeling in favour
of slavery on the part of those who made themselves prominent at the
political birth of the nation. I think I shall be justified in saying
that at that time the opinion that slavery is itself a good thing,
that it is an institution of divine origin and fit to be perpetuated
among men as in itself excellent, had not found that favour in the
southern States in which it is now held. Jefferson, who has been
regarded as the leader of the southern or democratic party, has
left ample testimony that he regarded slavery as an evil. It is, I
think, true that he gave such testimony much more freely when he was
speaking or writing as a private individual than he ever allowed
himself to do when his words were armed with the weight of public
authority. But it is clear that, on the whole, he was opposed to
slavery, and I think there can be little doubt that he and his party
looked forward to a natural death for that evil. Calculation was made
that slavery when not recruited afresh from Africa could not maintain
its numbers, and that gradually the negro population would become
extinct. This was the error made. It was easier to look forward
to such a result and hope for such an end of the difficulty, than
to extinguish slavery by a great political movement, which must
doubtless have been difficult and costly. The northern States got
rid of slavery by the operation of their separate legislatures, some
at one date and some at others. The slaves were less numerous in
the North than in the South, and the feeling adverse to slaves was
stronger in the North than in the South. Mason and Dixon's line,
which now separates slave soil from free soil, merely indicates the
position in the country at which the balance turned. Maryland and
Virginia were not inclined to make great immediate sacrifices for the
manumission of their slaves; but the gentlemen of those States did
not think that slavery was a divine institution, destined to flourish
for ever as a blessing in their land.

The maintenance of slavery was, I think, a political mistake;--a
political mistake, not because slavery is politically wrong, but
because the politicians of the day made erroneous calculations as
to the probability of its termination. So the income tax may be a
political blunder with us;--not because it is in itself a bad tax,
but because those who imposed it conceived that they were imposing it
for a year or two, whereas, now, men do not expect to see the end of
it. The maintenance of slavery was a political mistake; and I cannot
think that the Americans in any way lessen the weight of their own
error by protesting, as they occasionally do, that slavery was a
legacy made over to them from England. They might as well say, that
travelling in carts without springs, at the rate of three miles an
hour, was a legacy made over to them by England. On that matter of
travelling they have not been contented with the old habits left
to them, but have gone ahead and made railroads. In creating those
railways the merit is due to them; and so also is the demerit of
maintaining those slaves.

That demerit and that mistake have doubtless brought upon the
Americans the grievances of their present position; and will, as I
think, so far be accompanied by ultimate punishment that they will
be the immediate means of causing the first disintegration of their
nation. I will leave it to the Americans themselves to say, whether
such disintegration must necessarily imply that they have failed in
their political undertaking. The most loyal citizens of the northern
States would have declared a month or two since,--and for aught
I know would declare now,--that any disintegration of the States
implied absolute failure. One stripe erased from the banner, one star
lost from the firmament, would entail upon them all the disgrace
of national defeat! It had been their boast that they would always
advance, never retreat. They had looked forward to add ever State
upon State, and territory to territory, till the whole continent
should be bound together in the same union. To go back from that now,
to fall into pieces and be divided, to become smaller in the eyes
of the nations,--to be absolutely halfed, as some would say of such
division, would be national disgrace, and would amount to political
failure. "Let us fight for the whole," such men said, and probably do
say. "To lose anything is to lose all!"

But the citizens of the States who speak and think thus, though they
may be the most loyal, are perhaps not politically the most wise. And
I am inclined to think that that defiant claim of every star, that
resolve to possess every stripe upon the banner, had become somewhat
less general when I was leaving the country than I had found it to be
at the time of my arrival there. While things were going badly with
the North,--while there was no tale of any battle to be told except
of those at Bull's Run and Springfield, no northern man would admit
a hint that secession might ultimately prevail in Georgia or Alabama.
But the rebels had been driven out of Missouri when I was leaving
the States, they had retreated altogether from Kentucky, having
been beaten in one engagement there, and from a great portion of
Tennessee, having been twice beaten in that State. The coast of North
Carolina, and many points of the southern coast, were in the hands of
the northern army, while the army of the South was retreating from
all points into the centre of their country. Whatever may have been
the strategetical merits or demerits of the northern generals, it
is at any rate certain that their apparent successes were greedily
welcomed by the people, and created an idea that things were going
well with the cause. And, as all this took place, it seemed to me
that I heard less about the necessary integrity of the old flag.
While as yet they were altogether unsuccessful, they were minded to
make no surrender. But with their successes came the feeling, that in
taking much they might perhaps allow themselves to yield something.
This was clearly indicated by the message sent to Congress by the
President in February, 1862, in which he suggested that Congress
should make arrangements for the purchase of the slaves in the border
States; so that in the event of secession--accomplished secession--in
the gulf States, the course of those border States might be made
clear for them. They might hesitate as to going willingly with the
North, while possessing slaves,--as to setting themselves peaceably
down as a small slave adjunct to a vast free soil nation, seeing that
their property would always be in peril. Under such circumstances
a slave adjunct to the free soil nation would not long be possible.
But if it could be shown to them that in the event of their adhering
to the North, compensation would be forthcoming, then, indeed,
the difficulty in arranging an advantageous line between the two
future nations might be considerably modified. This message of the
President's was intended to signify, that secession on favourable
terms might be regarded by the North as not undesirable. Moderate men
were beginning to whisper that, after all, the gulf States were no
source either of national wealth or of national honour. Had there not
been enough at Washington of cotton lords and cotton laws? When I
have suggested that no senator from Georgia would ever again sit in
the United States senate, American gentlemen have received my remark
with a slight demur, and have then proceeded to argue the case. Six
months before they would have declaimed against me and not have

I will leave it to Americans themselves to say whether that
disintegration of the States, should it ever be realized, will imply
that they have failed in their political undertaking. If they do not
protest that it argues failure, their feelings will not be hurt by
any such protestations on the part of others. I have said that the
blunder made by the founders of the nation with regard to slavery
has brought with it this secession as its punishment. But such
punishments come generally upon nations as great mercies. Ireland's
famine was the punishment of her imprudence and idleness, but it has
given to her prosperity and progress. And indeed, to speak with more
logical correctness, the famine was no punishment to Ireland, nor
will secession be a punishment to the northern States. In the long
result step will have gone on after step, and effect will have
followed cause, till the American people will at last acknowledge,
that all these matters have been arranged for their advantage and
promotion. It may be that a nation now and then goes to the wall, and
that things go from bad to worse with a large people. It has been so
with various nations and with many people since history was first
written. But when it has been so, the people thus punished have been
idle and bad. They have not only done evil in their generation, but
have done more evil than good, and have contributed their power to
the injury rather than to the improvement of mankind. It may be that
this or that national fault may produce or seem to produce some
consequent calamity. But the balance of good or evil things which
fall to a people's share will indicate with certainty their average
conduct as a nation. The one will be the certain consequence of the
other. If it be that the Americans of the northern States have done
well in their time, that they have assisted in the progress of the
world, and made things better for mankind rather than worse, then
they will come out of this trouble without eventual injury. That
which came in the guise of punishment for a special fault, will be a
part of the reward resulting from good conduct in the general. And as
to this matter of slavery, in which I think that they have blundered
both politically and morally,--has it not been found impossible
hitherto for them to cleanse their hands of that taint? But that
which they could not do for themselves the course of events is doing
for them. If secession establish herself, though it be only secession
of the gulf States, the people of the United States will soon be free
from slavery.

In judging of the success or want of success of any political
institutions or of any form of government, we should be guided, I
think, by the general results, and not by any abstract rules as to
the right or wrong of those institutions or of that form. It might
be easy for a German lawyer to show that our system of trial by jury
is open to the gravest objections, and that it sins against common
sense. But if that system gives us substantial justice, and protects
us from the tyranny of men in office, the German lawyer will not
succeed in making us believe that it is a bad system. When looking
into the matter of the schools at Boston, I observed to one of
the committee of management that the statements with which I was
supplied, though they told me how many of the children went to
school, did not tell me how long they remained at school. The
gentleman replied that that information was to be obtained from the
result of the schooling of the population generally. Every boy and
girl around us could read and write, and could enjoy reading and
writing. There was therefore evidence to show that they remained at
school sufficiently long for the required purposes. It was fair that
I should judge of the system from the results. Here in England, we
generally object to much that the Americans have adopted into their
form of government, and think that many of their political theories
are wrong. We do not like universal suffrage. We do not like a
periodical change in the first magistrate; and we like quite as
little a periodical permanence in the political officers immediately
under the chief magistrate. We are, in short, wedded to our own forms
and therefore opposed by judgment to forms differing from our own.
But I think we all acknowledge that the United States, burdened as
they are with these political evils,--as we think them, have grown in
strength and material prosperity with a celerity of growth hitherto
unknown among nations. We may dislike Americans personally, we may
find ourselves uncomfortable when there, and unable to sympathize
with them when away; we may believe them to be ambitious, unjust,
self-idolatrous, or irreligious. But, unless we throw our judgment
altogether overboard, we cannot believe them to be a weak people, a
poor people, a people with low spirits or a people with idle hands.
To what is it that the government of a country should chiefly look?
What special advantages do we expect from our own government? Is it
not that we should be safe at home and respected abroad;--that laws
should be maintained, but that they should be so maintained that
they should not be oppressive? There are, doubtless, countries in
which the government professes to do much more than this for its
people,--countries in which the government is paternal; in which it
regulates the religion of the people, and professes to enforce on all
the national children respect for the governors, teachers, spiritual
pastors, and masters. But that is not our idea of a government.
That is not what we desire to see established among ourselves or
established among others. Safety from foreign foes, respect from
foreign foes and friends, security under the law and security from
the law,--this is what we expect from our government; and if I add to
this that we expect to have these good things provided at a fairly
moderate cost, I think I have exhausted the list of our requirements.

And if the Americans with their form of government have done for
themselves all that we expect our government to do for us; if they
have with some fair approach to general excellence obtained respect
abroad and security at home from foreign foes; if they have made
life, liberty, and property safe under their laws, and have also so
written and executed their laws as to secure their people from legal
oppression,--I maintain that they are entitled to a verdict in their
favour, let us object as we may to universal suffrage, to four years'
Presidents, and four years' presidential cabinets. What, after all,
matters the theory or the system, whether it be King or President,
universal suffrage or ten-pound voter, so long as the people be free
and prosperous? King and President, suffrage by poll and suffrage by
property, are but the means. If the end be there, if the thing has
been done, King and President, open suffrage and close suffrage may
alike be declared to have been successful. The Americans have been
in existence as a nation for seventy-five years, and have achieved
an amount of foreign respect during that period greater than any
other nation ever obtained in double the time. And this has been
given to them, not in deference to the statesman-like craft of
their diplomatic and other officers, but on grounds the very
opposite of those. It has been given to them because they form a
numerous, wealthy, brave, and self-asserting nation. It is, I think,
unnecessary to prove that such foreign respect has been given to
them: but were it necessary, nothing would prove it more strongly
than the regard which has been universally paid by European
governments to the blockade placed during this war on the southern
ports by the government of the United States. Had the United States
been placed by general consent in any class of nations below the
first, England, France, and perhaps Russia would have taken the
matter into their own hands, and have settled for the States, either
united or disunited, at any rate that question of the blockade. And
the Americans have been safe at home from foreign foes; so safe,
that no other strong people but ourselves have enjoyed anything
approaching to their security since their foundation. Nor has our
security been equal to theirs if we are to count our nationality
as extending beyond the British Isles. Then as to security under
their laws and from their laws! Those laws and the system of their
management have been taken almost entirely from us, and have so been
administered that life and property have been safe, and the subject
also has been free from oppression. I think that this may be taken
for granted, seeing that they who have been most opposed to American
forms of government, have never asserted the reverse. I may be told
of a man being lynched in one State, or tarred and feathered in
another, or of a duel in a third being "fought at sight." So I may be
told also of men garotted in London, and of tithe proctors buried in
a bog without their ears in Ireland. Neither will seventy years of
continuance nor will seven hundred secure such an observance of laws
as will prevent temporary ebullition of popular feeling, or save a
people from the chance disgrace of occasional outrage. Taking the
general, life and limb and property have been as safe in the States
as in other civilized countries with which we are acquainted.

As to their personal liberty under their laws, I know it will be said
that they have surrendered all claim to any such precious possession
by the facility with which they have now surrendered the privilege of
the writ of habeas corpus. It has been taken from them, as I have
endeavoured to show, illegally, and they have submitted to the loss
and to the illegality without a murmur! But in such a matter I do
not think it fair to judge them by their conduct in such a moment as
the present. That this is the very moment in which to judge of the
efficiency of their institutions generally, of the aptitude of those
institutions for the security of the nation, I readily acknowledge.
But when a ship is at sea in a storm, riding out all that the winds
and waves can do to her, one does not condemn her because a yard-arm
gives way, nor even though the mainmast should go by the board. If
she can make her port, saving life and cargo, she is a good ship, let
her losses in spars and rigging be what they may. In this affair of
the habeas corpus we will wait a while before we come to any final
judgment. If it be that the people, when the war is over, shall
consent to live under a military or other dictatorship,--that they
shall quietly continue their course as a nation without recovery
of their rights of freedom, then we shall have to say that their
institutions were not founded in a soil of sufficient depth, and that
they gave way before the first high wind that blew on them. I myself
do not expect such a result.

I think we must admit that the Americans have received from their
government, or rather from their system of policy, that aid and
furtherance which they required from it; and, moreover, such aid and
furtherance as we expect from our system of government. We must admit
that they have been great, and free, and prosperous, as we also have
become. And we must admit, also, that in some matters they have gone
forward in advance of us. They have educated their people, as we
have not educated ours. They have given to their millions a personal
respect, and a standing above the abjectness of poverty, which with
us are much less general than with them. These things, I grant, have
not come of their government, and have not been produced by their
written constitution. They are the happy results of their happy
circumstances. But so, also, those evil attributes which we sometimes
assign to them are not the creatures of their government, or of their
constitution. We acknowledge them to be well educated, intelligent,
philanthropic, and industrious; but we say that they are ambitious,
unjust, self-idolatrous, and irreligious. If so, let us at any rate
balance the virtues against the vices. As to their ambition, it is a
vice that leans so to virtue's side, that it hardly needs an apology.
As to their injustice, or rather dishonesty, I have said what I have
to say on that matter. I am not going to flinch from the accusation
I have brought, though I am aware that in bringing it I have thrown
away any hope that I might have had of carrying with me the good will
of the Americans for my book. The love of money,--or rather of making
money,--carried to an extreme, has lessened that instinctive respect
for the rights of meum and tuum which all men feel more or less, and
which, when encouraged within the human breast, finds its result in
perfect honesty. Other nations, of which I will not now stop to name
even one, have had their periods of natural dishonesty. It may be
that others are even now to be placed in the same category. But it
is a fault which industry and intelligence combined will after a
while serve to lessen and to banish. The industrious man desires to
keep the fruit of his own industry, and the intelligent man will
ultimately be able to do so. That the Americans are self-idolaters is
perhaps true,--with a difference. An American desires you to worship
his country, or his brother; but he does not often, by any of the
usual signs of conceit, call upon you to worship himself. As an
American, treating of America, he is self-idolatrous; but that
is a self-idolatry which I can endure. Then, as to his want of
religion--and it is a very sad want--I can only say of him, that
I, as an Englishman, do not feel myself justified in flinging the
first stone at him. In that matter of religion, as in the matter of
education, the American, I think, stands on a level higher than ours.
There is not in the States so absolute an ignorance of religion as
is to be found in some of our manufacturing and mining districts,
and also, alas! in some of our agricultural districts; but also, I
think, there is less of respect and veneration for God's word among
their educated classes, than there is with us; and, perhaps, also
less knowledge as to God's word. The general religious level is, I
think, higher with them; but there is with us, if I am right in my
supposition, a higher eminence in religion, as there is also a deeper
depth of ungodliness.

I think then that we are bound to acknowledge that the Americans
have succeeded as a nation, politically and socially. When I speak
of social success, I do not mean to say that their manners are
correct according to this or that standard. I will not say that they
are correct, or are not correct. In that matter of manners I have
found that those, with whom it seemed to me natural that I should
associate, were very pleasant according to my standard. I do not
know that I am a good critic on such a subject, or that I have ever
thought much of it with the view of criticising. I have been happy
and comfortable with them, and for me that has been sufficient. In
speaking of social success I allude to their success in private
life as distinguished from that which they have achieved in public
life;--to their successes in commerce, in mechanics, in the comforts
and luxuries of life, in medicine and all that leads to the solace of
affliction, in literature, and I may add also, considering the youth
of the nation, in the arts. We are, I think, bound to acknowledge
that they have succeeded. And if they have succeeded, it is vain for
us to say that a system is wrong which has, at any rate, admitted of
such success. That which was wanted from some form of government, has
been obtained with much more than average excellence; and therefore
the form adopted has approved itself as good. You may explain to a
farmer's wife with indisputable logic, that her churn is a bad churn;
but as long as she turns out butter in greater quantity, in better
quality, and with more profit than her neighbours, you will hardly
induce her to change it. It may be that with some other churn she
might have done even better; but, under such circumstances, she will
have a right to think well of the churn she uses.

The American constitution is now, I think, at the crisis of its
severest trial. I conceive it to be by no means perfect, even for
the wants of the people who use it; and I have already endeavoured
to explain what changes it seems to need. And it has had this
defect,--that it has permitted a falling away from its intended
modes of action, while its letter has been kept sacred. As I have
endeavoured to show, universal suffrage and democratic action in the
Senate were not intended by the framers of the constitution. In this
respect, the constitution has, as it were, fallen through, and it is
needed that its very beams should be re-strengthened. There are also
other matters as to which it seems that some change is indispensable.
So much I have admitted. But, not the less, judging of it by the
entirety of the work that it has done, I think that we are bound to
own that it has been successful.

And now, with regard to this tedious war, of which from day to day we
are still, in this month of May, 1862, hearing details which teach us
to think that it can hardly as yet be near its end;--to what may we
rationally look as its result? Of one thing I myself feel tolerably
certain,--that its result will not be nothing, as some among us
have seemed to suppose may be probable. I cannot believe that all
this energy on the part of the North will be of no avail, more
than I suppose that southern perseverance will be of no avail.
There are those among us who say that as secession will at last be
accomplished, the North should have yielded to the South at once, and
that nothing will be gained by their great expenditure of life and
treasure. I can by no means bring myself to agree with these. I also
look to the establishment of secession. Seeing how essential and
thorough are the points of variance between the North and the South,
how unlike the one people is to the other, and how necessary it is
that their policies should be different; seeing how deep are their
antipathies, and how fixed is each side in the belief of its own
rectitude and in the belief also of the other's political baseness,
I cannot believe that the really southern States will ever again be
joined in amicable union with those of the North. They, the States of
the Gulf, may be utterly subjugated, and the North may hold over them
military power. Georgia and her sisters may for a while belong to
the Union, as one conquered country belongs to another. But I do not
think that they will ever act with the Union;--and, as I imagine,
the Union before long will agree to a separation. I do not mean
to prophesy that the result will be thus accomplished. It may be
that the South will effect their own independence before they lay
down their arms. I think, however, that we may look forward to such
independence, whether it be achieved in that way, or in this, or in
some other.

But not on that account will the war have been of no avail to the
North. I think it must be already evident to all those who have
looked into the matter that had the North yielded to the first call
made by the South for secession all the slave States must have gone.
Maryland would have gone, carrying Delaware in its arms; and if
Maryland, all south of Maryland. If Maryland had gone, the capital
would have gone. If the Government had resolved to yield, Virginia to
the east would assuredly have gone, and I think there can be no doubt
that Missouri, to the west, would have gone also. The feeling for
the Union in Kentucky was very strong, but I do not think that even
Kentucky could have saved itself. To have yielded to the southern
demands would have been to have yielded everything. But no man now
believes, let the contest go as it will, that Maryland and Delaware
will go with the South. The secessionists of Baltimore do not think
so, nor the gentlemen and ladies of Washington, whose whole hearts
are in the southern cause. No man thinks that Maryland will go; and
few, I believe, imagine that either Missouri or Kentucky will be
divided from the North. I will not pretend what may be the exact
line, but I myself feel confident that it will run south both of
Virginia and of Kentucky.

If the North do conquer the South, and so arrange their matters that
the southern States shall again become members of the Union, it will
be admitted that they have done all that they sought to do. If they
do not do this;--if instead of doing this, which would be all that
they desire, they were in truth to do nothing;--to win finally not
one foot of ground from the South,--a supposition which I regard as
impossible;--I think that we should still admit after a while that
they had done their duty in endeavouring to maintain the integrity of
the empire. But if, as a third and more probable alternative, they
succeed in rescuing from the South and from slavery four or five of
the finest States of the old Union,--a vast portion of the continent,
to be beaten by none other in salubrity, fertility, beauty, and
political importance,--will it not then be admitted that the war has
done some good, and that the life and treasure have not been spent in

That is the termination of the contest to which I look forward. I
think that there will be secession, but that the terms of secession
will be dictated by the North, not by the South; and among these
terms I expect to see an escape from slavery for those border States
to which I have alluded. In that proposition which, in February
last (1862), was made by the President, and which has since been
sanctioned by the Senate, I think we may see the first step towards
this measure. It may probably be the case that many of the slaves
will be driven south; that as the owners of those slaves are driven
from their holdings in Virginia they will take their slaves with
them, or send them before them. The manumission, when it reaches
Virginia, will not probably enfranchise the half million of slaves
who, in 1860, were counted among its population. But as to that I
confess myself to be comparatively careless. It is not the concern
which I have now at heart. For myself, I shall feel satisfied if that
manumission shall reach the million of whites by whom Virginia is
populated; or if not that million in its integrity then that other
million by which its rich soil would soon be tenanted. There are
now about four millions of white men and women inhabiting the slave
States which I have described, and I think it will be acknowledged
that the northern States will have done something with their armies
if they succeed in rescuing those four millions from the stain and
evil of slavery.

There is a third question which I have asked myself, and to which I
have undertaken to give some answer. When this war be over between
the northern and southern States will there come upon us Englishmen
a necessity of fighting with the Americans? If there do come such
necessity, arising out of our conduct to the States during the period
of their civil war, it will indeed be hard upon us, as a nation,
seeing the struggle that we have made to be just in our dealings
towards the States generally, whether they be North or South. To
be just in such a period, and under such circumstances, is very
difficult. In that contest between Sardinia and Austria it was all
but impossible to be just to the Italians without being unjust to
the Emperor of Austria. To have been strictly just at the moment
one should have begun by confessing the injustice of so much that
had gone before! But in this American contest such justice, though
difficult, was easier. Affairs of trade rather than of treaties
chiefly interfered; and these affairs, by a total disregard of our
own pecuniary interests, could be so managed that justice might be
done. This I think was effected. It may be, of course, that I am
prejudiced on the side of my own nation; but striving to judge of
the matter as best I may without prejudice, I cannot see that we,
as a nation, have in aught offended against the strictest justice
in our dealings with America during this contest. But justice has
not sufficed. I do not know that our bitterest foes in the northern
States have accused us of acting unjustly. It is not justice which
they have looked for at our hands, and looked for in vain;--not
justice, but generosity! We have not, as they say, sympathized with
them in their trouble! It seems to me that such a complaint is
unworthy of them as a nation, as a people, or as individuals. In such
a matter generosity is another name for injustice,--as it too often
is in all matters. A generous sympathy with the North would have been
an ostensible and crashing enmity to the South. We could not have
sympathized with the North without condemning the South, and telling
to the world that the South were our enemies. In ordering his own
household a man should not want generosity or sympathy from the
outside; and if not a man, then certainly not a nation. Generosity
between nations must in its very nature be wrong. One nation may be
just to another, courteous to another, even considerate to another
with propriety. But no nation can be generous to another without
injustice either to some third nation, or to itself.

But though no accusation of unfairness has, as far as I am aware,
ever been made by the government of Washington against the government
of London, there can be no doubt that a very strong feeling of
antipathy to England has sprung up in America during this war, and
that it is even yet so intense in its bitterness, that were the North
to become speedily victorious in their present contest very many
Americans would be anxious to turn their arms at once against Canada.
And I fear that that fight between the Monitor and the Merrimac has
strengthened this wish by giving to the Americans an unwarranted
confidence in their capability of defending themselves against any
injury from British shipping. It may be said by them, and probably
would be said by many of them, that this feeling of enmity had not
been engendered by any idea of national injustice on our side;--that
it might reasonably exist, though no suspicion of such injustice had
arisen in the minds of any. They would argue that the hatred on their
part had been engendered by scorn on ours,--by scorn and ill words
heaped upon them in their distress.

They would say that slander, scorn, and uncharitable judgments create
deeper feuds than do robbery and violence, and produce deeper enmity
and worse rancour. "It is because we have been scorned by England,
that we hate England. We have been told from week to week, and from
day to day, that we were fools, cowards, knaves, and madmen. We have
been treated with disrespect, and that disrespect we will avenge." It
is thus that they speak of England, and there can be no doubt that
the opinion so expressed is very general. It is not my purpose here
to say whether in this respect England has given cause of offence
to the States, or whether either country has given cause of offence
to the other. On both sides have many hard words been spoken, and
on both sides also have good words been spoken. It is unfortunately
the case that hard words are pregnant, and as such they are read,
digested, and remembered; while good words are generally so dull that
nobody reads them willingly, and when read they are forgotten. For
many years there have been hard words bandied backwards and forwards
between England and the United States, showing mutual jealousies and
a disposition on the part of each nation to spare no fault committed
by the other. This has grown of rivalry between the two, and in fact
proves the respect which each has for the other's power and wealth.
I will not now pretend to say with which side has been the chiefest
blame, if there has been chiefest blame on either side. But I do say
that it is monstrous in any people or in any person to suppose that
such bickerings can afford a proper ground for war. I am not about to
dilate on the horrors of war. Horrid as war may be, and full of evil,
it is not so horrid to a nation, nor so full of evil, as national
insult unavenged, or as national injury unredressed. A blow taken by
a nation and taken without atonement is an acknowledgment of national
inferiority than which any war is preferable. Neither England nor the
States are inclined to take such blows. But such a blow, before it
can be regarded as a national insult, as a wrong done by one nation
on another, must be inflicted by the political entity of the one on
the political entity of the other. No angry clamours of the press,
no declamations of orators, no voices from the people, no studied
criticisms from the learned few or unstudied censures from society
at large, can have any fair weight on such a question or do aught
towards justifying a national quarrel. They cannot form a casus
belli. Those two Latin words, which we all understand, explain this
with the utmost accuracy. Were it not so, the peace of the world
would indeed rest upon sand. Causes of national difference will
arise,--for governments will be unjust as are individuals. And
causes of difference will arise because governments are too blind
to distinguish the just from the unjust. But in such cases the
government acts on some ground which it declares. It either shows or
pretends to show some casus belli. But in this matter of threatened
war between the States and England it is declared openly that such
war is to take place because the English have abused the Americans,
and because, consequently, the Americans hate the English. There
seems to exist an impression that no other ostensible ground for
fighting need be shown, although such an event as that of war between
the two nations would, as all men acknowledge, be terrible in
its results. "Your newspapers insulted us when we were in our
difficulties. Your writers said evil things of us. Your legislators
spoke of us with scorn. You exacted from us a disagreeable duty of
retribution just when the performance of such a duty was most odious
to us. You have shown symptoms of joy at our sorrow. And, therefore,
as soon as our hands are at liberty, we will fight you." I have
known schoolboys to argue in that way, and the arguments have been
intelligible. But I cannot understand that any government should
admit such an argument.

Nor will the American government willingly admit it. According to
existing theories of government the armies of nations are but the
tools of the governing powers. If at the close of the present civil
war the American government,--the old civil government consisting of
the President with such checks as Congress constitutionally has over
him,--shall really hold the power to which it pretends, I do not fear
that there will be any war. No President, and I think no Congress,
will desire such a war. Nor will the people clamour for it, even
should the idea of such a war be popular. The people of America are
not clamorous against their government. If there be such a war it
will be because the army shall have then become more powerful than
the Government. If the President can hold his own the people will
support him in his desire for peace. But if the President do not hold
his own;--if some General with two or three hundred thousand men at
his back shall then have the upper hand in the nation,--it is too
probable that the people may back him. The old game will be played
again that has so often been played in the history of nations, and
some wretched military aspirant will go forth to flood Canada with
blood, in order that the feathers of his cap may flaunt in men's eyes
and that he may be talked of for some years to come as one of the
great curses let loose by the Almighty on mankind.

I must confess that there is danger of this. To us the danger is very
great. It cannot be good for us to send ships laden outside with
iron shields instead of inside with soft goods and hardware to those
thickly thronged American ports. It cannot be good for us to have
to throw millions into those harbours instead of taking millions
out from them. It cannot be good for us to export thousands upon
thousands of soldiers to Canada of whom only hundreds would return.
The whole turmoil, cost, and paraphernalia of such a course would be
injurious to us in the extreme, and the loss of our commerce would
be nearly ruinous. But the injury of such a war to us would be as
nothing to the injury which it would inflict upon the States. To them
for many years it would be absolutely ruinous. It would entail not
only all those losses which such a war must bring with it; but that
greater loss which would arise to the nation from the fact of its
having been powerless to prevent it. Such a war would prove that it
had lost the freedom for which it had struggled, and which for so
many years it has enjoyed. For the sake of that people as well as
for our own,--and for their sakes rather than for our own,--let us,
as far as may be, abstain from words which are needlessly injurious.
They have done much that is great and noble, even since this war
has begun, and we have been slow to acknowledge it. They have made
sacrifices for the sake of their country which we have ridiculed.
They have struggled to maintain a good cause, and we have disbelieved
in their earnestness. They have been anxious to abide by their
constitution, which to them has been as it were a second gospel, and
we have spoken of that constitution as though it had been a thing of
mere words in which life had never existed. This has been done while
their hands were very full and their back heavily laden. Such words
coming from us, or from parties among us, cannot justify those
threats of war which we hear spoken; but that they should make the
hearts of men sore and their thoughts bitter against us can hardly be
matter of surprise.

As to the result of any such war between us and them, it would depend
mainly, I think, on the feelings of the Canadians. Neither could
they annex Canada without the good-will of the Canadians, nor could
we keep Canada without that good-will. At present the feeling in
Canada against the northern States is so strong and so universal that
England has little to fear on that head.

I have now done my task, and may take leave of my readers on either
side of the water with a hearty hope that the existing war between
the North and South may soon be over, and that none other may follow
on its heels to exercise that new-fledged military skill which
the existing quarrel will have produced on the other side of the
Atlantic. I have written my book in obscure language if I have not
shown that to me social successes and commercial prosperity are much
dearer than any greatness that can be won by arms. The Americans had
fondly thought that they were to be exempt from the curse of war,--at
any rate from the bitterness of the curse. But the days for such
exemption have not come as yet. While we are hurrying on to make
twelve-inch shield-plates for our men-of-war, we can hardly dare
to think of the days when the sword shall be turned into the
ploughshare. May it not be thought well for us if, with such work
on our hands, any scraps of iron shall be left to us with which to
pursue the purposes of peace? But at least let us not have war with
these children of our own. If we must fight, let us fight the French,
"for King George upon the throne." The doing so will be disagreeable,
but it will not be antipathetic to the nature of an Englishman. For
my part, when an American tells me that he wants to fight with me,
I regard his offence as compared with that of a Frenchman under the
same circumstances, as I would compare the offence of a parricide
or a fratricide with that of a mere common-place murderer. Such a
war would be plus quam civile bellum. Which of us two could take a
thrashing from the other and afterwards go about our business with

On our return to Liverpool, we stayed for a few hours at Queenstown,
taking in coal, and the passengers landed that they might stretch
their legs and look about them. I also went ashore at the dear old
place which I had known well in other days, when the people were not
too grand to call it Cove, and were contented to run down from Cork
in river steamers, before the Passage railway was built. I spent a
pleasant summer there once in those times;--God be with the good
old days! And now I went ashore at Queenstown, happy to feel that
I should be again in a British isle, and happy also to know that I
was once more in Ireland. And when the people came around me as they
did, I seemed to know every face and to be familiar with every voice.
It has been my fate to have so close an intimacy with Ireland, that
when I meet an Irishman abroad, I always recognize in him more of a
kinsman than I do in an Englishman. I never ask an Englishman from
what county he comes, or what was his town. To Irishmen I usually put
such questions, and I am generally familiar with the old haunts which
they name. I was happy therefore to feel myself again in Ireland, and
to walk round from Queenstown to the river at Passage by the old way
that had once been familiar to my feet.

Or rather I should have been happy if I had not found myself
instantly disgraced by the importunities of my friends! A legion of
women surrounded me, imploring alms, begging my honour to bestow my
charity on them for the love of the Virgin, using the most holy names
in their adjurations for halfpence, clinging to me with that half
joking, half lachrymose air of importunity which an Irish beggar has
assumed as peculiarly her own. There were men too, who begged as well
as women. And the women were sturdy and fat, and, not knowing me as
well as I knew them, seemed resolved that their importunities should
be successful. After all, I had an old world liking for them in their
rags. They were endeared to me by certain memories and associations
which I cannot define. But then what would those Americans think of
them;--of them and of the country which produced them? That was the
reflection which troubled me. A legion of women in rags clamorous for
bread, protesting to heaven that they are starving, importunate with
voices and with hands, surrounding the stranger when he puts his foot
on the soil so that he cannot escape, does not afford to the cynical
American who then first visits us,--and they all are cynical when
they visit us,--a bad opportunity for his sarcasm. He can at any rate
boast that he sees nothing of that at home. I myself am fond of Irish
beggars. It is an acquired taste,--which comes upon one as does that
for smoked whisky, or Limerick tobacco. But I certainly did wish that
there were not so many of them at Queenstown.

I tell all this here not to the disgrace of Ireland;--not for the
triumph of America. The Irishman or American who thinks rightly on
the subject will know that the state of each country has arisen from
its opportunities. Beggary does not prevail in new countries, and but
few old countries have managed to exist without it. As to Ireland we
may rejoice to say that there is less of it now than there was twenty
years since. Things are mending there. But though such excuses may
be truly made,--although an Englishman when he sees this squalor and
poverty on the quays at Queenstown, consoles himself with reflecting
that the evil has been unavoidable, but will perhaps soon be
avoided,--nevertheless he cannot but remember that there is no such
squalor and no such poverty in the land from which he has returned.
I claim no credit for the new country. I impute no blame to the old
country. But there is the fact. The Irishman when he expatriates
himself to one of those American States loses much of that
affectionate, confiding, master-worshipping nature which makes him so
good a fellow when at home. But he becomes more of a man. He assumes
a dignity which he never has known before. He learns to regard his
labour as his own property. That which he earns he takes without
thanks, but he desires to take no more than he earns. To me
personally he has perhaps become less pleasant than he was. But to
himself--! It seems to me that such a man must feel himself half a
god, if he has the power of comparing what he is with what he was.

It is right that all this should be acknowledged by us. When we speak
of America and of her institutions we should remember that she has
given to our increasing population rights and privileges which we
could not give;--which as an old country we probably can never give.
That self-asserting, obtrusive independence which so often wounds us,
is, if viewed aright, but an outward sign of those good things which
a new country has produced for its people. Men and women do not beg
in the States;--they do not offend you with tattered rags; they do
not complain to heaven of starvation; they do not crouch to the
ground for halfpence. If poor, they are not abject in their poverty.
They read and write. They walk like human beings made in God's form.
They know that they are men and women, owing it to themselves and
to the world that they should earn their bread by their labour, but
feeling that when earned it is their own. If this be so,--if it be
acknowledged that it is so,--should not such knowledge in itself
be sufficient testimony of the success of the country and of her



WHEN, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one
people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with
another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate
and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God
entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires
that they should declare the causes which impel them to the

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created
equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness. That, to secure these rights, governments are
instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent
of the governed; and that, whenever any form of government becomes
destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or
abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundations
on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to
them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments, long established,
should not be changed for light and transient causes; and,
accordingly, all experience hath shown, that mankind are more
disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right
themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But,
when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably
the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute
despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such
government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such
has been the patient sufferance of the colonies, and such is now the
necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of
government. The history of the present king of Great Britain is a
history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having, in direct
object, the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these States.
To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws the most wholesome and necessary
for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing
importance, unless suspended in their operations till his assent
should be obtained; and, when so suspended, he has utterly neglected
to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large
districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right
of representation in the legislature--a right inestimable to them,
and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual,
uncomfortable, and distant from the repository of their public
records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with
his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with
manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused, for a long time after such dissolutions, to cause
others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable
of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their
exercise; the State remaining, in the meantime, exposed to all the
dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for
that purpose, obstructing the laws of naturalization of foreigners,
refusing to pass others to encourage their migration thither, and
raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his
assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone for the tenure of
their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of
officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in time of peace, standing armies, without the
consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the military independent of, and superior
to, the civil power.

He has combined, with others, to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign
to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his
assent to their acts of pretended legislation.

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us.

For protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment for any murders
which they should commit on the inhabitants of these States.

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world.

For imposing taxes on us without our consent

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefit of trial by jury.

For transporting us beyond seas, to be tried for pretended offences.

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighbouring
province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging
its boundaries, so as to render it at once an example and fit
instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and
altering, fundamentally, the forms of our governments.

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves
invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his
protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and
destroyed the lives of our people.

He is, at this time, transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries
to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already
begun, with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled
in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a
civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow-citizens, taken captive on the high
seas, to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners
of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured
to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian
savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished
destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions, we have petitioned for redress
in the most humble terms. Our repeated petitions have been answered
only by repeated injuries. A prince, whose character is thus marked
by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of
a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren.
We have warned them, from time to time, of the attempts by their
legislature, to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have
reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement
here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and
we have conjured them, by the ties of our common kindred, to disavow
these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections
and correspondence. They, too, have been deaf to the voice of justice
and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity
which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of
mankind, enemies in war, in peace, friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America,
in General Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the
world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name and by
the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish
and declare that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to
be, free and independent States; that they are absolved from all
allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connection
between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be,
totally dissolved; and that, as free and independent States, they
have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances,
establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which
independent States may of right do. And, for the support of this
declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine
Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes,
and our sacred honour.

The foregoing declaration was, by order of Congress, engrossed, and
signed by the following members:


_New Hampshire._

Josiah Bartlett,
William Whipple,
Matthew Thornton.

_Massachusetts Bay._

Samuel Adams,
John Adams,
Robert Treat Paine,
Elbridge Gerry.

_Rhode Island._

Stephen Hopkins,
William Ellery.


Roger Sherman,
Samuel Huntington,
William Williams,
Oliver Wolcott.

_New York._

William Floyd,
Philip Livingston,
Francis Lewis,
Lewis Morris.

_New Jersey._

Richard Stockton,
John Witherspoon,
Francis Hopkinson,
John Hart,
Abraham Clark.


Robert Morris,
Benjamin Rush,
Benjamin Franklin,
John Morton,
George Clymer,
James Smith,
George Taylor,
James Wilson,
George Ross.


Cæsar Rodney,
George Read,
Thomas M'Kean.


Samuel Chase,
William Paca,
Thomas Stone,
Charles Carroll, of Carrollton.


George Wythie,
Richard Henry Lee,
Thomas Jefferson,
Benjamin Harrison,
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee,
Carter Braxton.

_North Carolina._

William Hooper,
Joseph Hewes,
John Penn.

_South Carolina._

Edward Rutledge,
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton.


Button Gwinnett,
Lyman Hall,
George Walton.

4 _July_, 1776.




_We, the undersigned, delegates of the States, affixed to our names,
send greeting:_

WHEREAS, the delegates of the United States of America, in Congress
assembled did, on the fifteenth day of November, in the year of
our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-seven, and in
the second year of the independence of America, agree to certain
articles of confederation and perpetual union between the States
of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence
Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,
Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and
Georgia, in the words following, viz:

   Articles of confederation and perpetual union between the States
   of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence
   Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,
   Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and

ARTICLE 1. The style of this confederacy shall be, "The United States
of America."

ART. 2. Each State retains its sovereignty, freedom, and
independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not
by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States in
Congress assembled.

ART. 3. The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of
friendship with each other for their common defence, the security
of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare; binding
themselves to assist each other against all force offered to, or
attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion,
sovereignty, trade, or any other pretext whatever.

ART. 4. The better to secure and perpetuate mutual friendship and
intercourse among the people of the different States in this union,
the free inhabitants of each of these States, paupers, vagabonds,
and fugitives from justice excepted, shall be entitled to all
privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several States;
and the people of each State shall have free ingress and regress to
and from any other State, and shall enjoy therein all the privileges
of trade and commerce, subject to the same duties, impositions, and
restrictions, as the inhabitants thereof respectively, provided that
such restrictions shall not extend so far as to prevent the removal
of property imported into any State to any other State, of which the
owner is an inhabitant; provided, also, that no imposition, duties,
or restriction, shall be laid by any State on the property of the
United States, or either of them.

If any person guilty of or charged with treason, felony, or other
high misdemeanor, in any State, shall flee from justice, and be found
in any of the United States, he shall upon demand of the Governor, or
executive power of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, and
removed to the State having jurisdiction of his offence.

Full faith and credit shall be given in each of these States to the
records, acts, and judicial proceedings of the courts and magistrates
of every other State.

ART. 5. For the more convenient management of the general interests
of the United States, delegates shall be annually appointed in such
manner as the legislature of each State shall direct, to meet in
Congress on the first Monday in November, in every year, with a power
reserved to each State to recall its delegates or any of them, at
any time within the year, and to send others in their stead for the
remainder of the year.

No State shall be represented in Congress by less than two nor
more than seven members; and no person shall be capable of being a
delegate for more than three years in any term of six years; nor
shall any person, being a delegate, be capable of holding an office
under the United States, for which he, or another for his benefit,
receives any salary, fees, or emolument of any kind.

Each State shall maintain its own delegates in a meeting of the
States, and while they act as members of the committee of the States.

In determining questions in the United States in Congress assembled,
each State shall have one vote.

Freedom of speech and debate in Congress shall not be impeached or
questioned in any court or place out of Congress; and the members
of Congress shall be protected in their persons from arrests and
imprisonments, during the time of their going to and from and
attendance on Congress, except for treason, felony, or breach of the

ART. 6. No State, without the consent of the United States in
Congress assembled, shall send an embassy to, or receive any embassy
from, or enter into any conference, agreement, alliance, or treaty,
with any king, prince, or State; nor shall any person holding any
office of profit or trust under the United States or any of them,
accept of any present, emolument, office, or title of any kind
whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign State; nor shall the
United States in Congress assembled, or any of them, grant any title
of nobility.

No two or more States shall enter into any treaty, confederation, or
alliance whatever between them, without the consent of the United
States in Congress assembled, specifying accurately the purpose for
which the same is to be entered into, and how long it shall continue.

No State shall lay any imposts or duties, which may interfere with
any stipulations in treaties entered into by the United States in
Congress assembled, with any king, prince, or State, in pursuance of
any treaties already proposed by Congress to the courts of France and

No vessels of war shall be kept up in time of peace, by any State,
except such number as shall be deemed necessary by the United States
in Congress assembled, for the defence of such State or its trade;
nor shall any body of forces be kept up by any State in time of
peace, except such number only as, in the judgment of the United
States in Congress assembled, shall be deemed requisite to garrison
the forts necessary for the defence of such State; but every State
shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia,
sufficiently armed and accoutred, and shall provide and have
constantly ready for use, in public stores, a number of field pieces
and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition, and camp

No State shall engage in any war without the consent of the United
States in Congress assembled, unless such State be actually invaded
by enemies, or shall, have received certain advice of a resolution
being formed by some nation of Indians to invade such State, and the
danger is so imminent as not to admit of a delay till the United
States in Congress assembled can be consulted; nor shall any State
grant commissions to any ships or vessels of war, or letters of
marque or reprisal, except it be after a declaration of war by the
United States in Congress assembled, and then only against the
Kingdom or State, and the subjects thereof, against which war has
been so declared, and under such regulations as shall be established
by the United States in Congress assembled, unless such State be
infested by pirates, in which case vessels of war may be fitted out
for that occasion, and kept so long as the danger shall continue,
or until the United States in Congress assembled shall determine

ART. 7. When land forces are raised by any State for the common
defence, all officers of or under the rank of colonel, shall be
appointed by the legislature of each State respectively, by whom
such forces shall be raised, or in such manner as such State shall
direct; and all vacancies shall be filled up by the State which first
made the appointment.

ART. 8. All charges of war, and all other expenses that shall be
incurred for the common defence or general welfare, and allowed by
the United States in Congress assembled, shall be defrayed out of
a common treasury, which shall be supplied by the several States
in proportion to the value of all land within each State granted
to or surveyed for any person, as such land and the buildings and
improvements thereon shall be estimated, according to such mode
as the United States in Congress assembled shall from time to time
direct and appoint.

The taxes for paying that proportion shall be laid and levied by
the authority and direction of the legislatures of the several
States, within the time agreed upon by the United States in Congress

ART. 9. The United States in Congress assembled shall have the sole
and exclusive right and power of determining on peace and war, except
in the cases mentioned in the sixth Article: of sending and receiving
ambassadors: entering into treaties and alliances; provided that no
treaty of commerce shall be made whereby the legislative power of the
respective States shall be restrained from imposing such imposts and
duties on foreigners as their own people are subjected to, or from
prohibiting the exportation or importation of any species of goods
or commodities whatsoever: of establishing rules for deciding in all
cases, what captures on land or water shall be legal, and in what
manner prizes taken by land or naval forces in the service of the
United States shall be divided or appropriated: of granting letters
of marque and reprisal, in times of peace: appointing courts for
the trial of piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and
establishing courts for receiving and determining finally appeals in
all cases of captures; provided, that no member of Congress shall be
appointed a judge of any of the said courts.

The United States in Congress assembled shall also be the last resort
on appeal in all disputes and differences now subsisting, or that
hereafter may arise between two or more States concerning boundary,
jurisdiction, or any other cause whatever; which authority shall
always be exercised in the manner following: whenever the legislative
or executive authority or lawful agent of any State in controversy
with another shall present a petition to Congress, stating the matter
in question, and praying for a hearing, notice thereof shall be given
by order of Congress to the legislative or executive authority of the
other State in controversy, and a day assigned for the appearance
of the parties, by their lawful agents, who shall then be directed
to appoint by joint consent commissioners or judges to constitute a
court for hearing and determining the matter in question; but if they
cannot agree, Congress shall name three persons out of each of the
United States, and from the list of such persons each party shall
alternately strike out one, the petitioners beginning, until the
number shall be reduced to thirteen; and from that number not less
than seven nor more than nine names, as Congress shall direct,
shall, in the presence of Congress, be drawn out by lot; and the
persons whose names shall be so drawn, or any five of them, shall
be commissioners or judges, to hear and finally determine the
controversy, so always as a major part of the judges, who shall hear
the cause, shall agree in the determination; and if either party
shall neglect to attend at the day appointed, without showing reasons
which Congress shall judge sufficient, or being present shall refuse
to strike, the Congress shall proceed to nominate three persons out
of each State, and the Secretary of Congress shall strike in behalf
of such party absent or refusing; and the judgment and sentence of
the court to be appointed in the manner before prescribed, shall
be final and conclusive; and if any of the parties shall refuse to
submit to the authority of such court, or to appear, or defend their
claim or cause, the court shall nevertheless proceed to pronounce
sentence or judgment, which shall in like manner be final and
decisive, the judgment or sentence, and other proceedings, being in
either case transmitted to Congress, and lodged among the acts of
Congress for the security of the parties concerned: provided, that
every commissioner, before he sits in judgment, shall take an oath,
to be administered by one of the judges of the supreme or superior
court of the State, where the cause shall be tried, "well and truly
to hear and determine the matter in question, according to the best
of his judgment, without favour, affection, or hope of reward;"
provided also, that no State shall be deprived of territory for the
benefit of the United States.

All controversies concerning the private right of soil, claimed
under different grants of two or more States, whose jurisdiction as
they may respect such lands and the States which passed such grants
are adjusted, the said grants or either of them being at the same
time claimed to have originated antecedent to such settlement of
jurisdiction, shall, on the petition of either party to the Congress
of the United States, be finally determined, as near as may be,
in the same manner as is before prescribed for deciding disputes
respecting territorial jurisdiction between different States.

The United States in Congress assembled shall also have the sole and
exclusive right and power of regulating the alloy and value of coin
struck by their own authority, or by that of the respective States;
fixing the standard of weights and measures throughout the United
States: regulating the trade and managing all affairs with Indians
not members of any of the States; provided, that the legislative
right of any State within its own limits be not infringed or
violated: establishing and regulating post-offices from one State to
another, throughout all the United States, and exacting such postage
on the papers passing through the same as may be requisite to defray
the expenses of the said office: appointing all officers of the land
forces in the service of the United States, excepting regimental
officers: appointing all the officers of the naval forces, and
commissioning all officers whatever in the service of the United
States: making rules for the government and regulation of the said
land and naval forces, and directing their operations.

The United States in Congress assembled shall have authority
to appoint a committee to sit in the recess of Congress, to be
denominated "a Committee of the States;" and to consist of one
delegate from each State, and to appoint such other committees and
civil officers as may be necessary for managing the general affairs
of the United States, under their direction: to appoint one of their
number to preside, provided that no person be allowed to serve in the
office of President more than one year in any term of three years: to
ascertain the necessary sums of money to be raised for the service
of the United States, and to appropriate and apply the same for
defraying the public expenses: to borrow money or emit bills on the
credit of the United States, transmitting every half year to the
respective States an account of the sums of money so borrowed or
emitted: to build and equip a navy: to agree upon the number of land
forces, and to make requisitions from each State for its quota, in
proportion to the number of white inhabitants in each State; which
requisition shall be binding, and thereupon the legislature of each
State shall appoint the regimental officers, raise the men, and
clothe, arm, and equip them in a soldier-like manner, at the expense
of the United States; and the officers and men so clothed, armed, and
equipped, shall march to the place appointed, and within the time
agreed on by the United States in Congress assembled: but if the
United States in Congress assembled, shall, on consideration of
circumstances, judge proper that any State should not raise men, or
should raise a smaller number than its quota, and that any other
State should raise a greater number of men than the quota thereof,
such extra number shall be raised, officered, clothed, armed, and
equipped, in the same manner as the quota of such State, unless the
legislature of such State shall judge that such extra number cannot
safely be spared out of the same; in which case they shall raise,
officer, clothe, arm, and equip, as many of such extra number as
they judge can safely be spared. And the officers and men so clothed,
armed, and equipped, shall march to the place appointed, and within
the time agreed on by the United States in Congress assembled.

The United States in Congress assembled shall never engage in a war,
nor grant letters of marque and reprisal in time of peace, nor enter
into any treaties or alliances, nor coin money, nor regulate the
value thereof, nor ascertain the sums and expenses necessary for
the defence and welfare of the United States or any of them, nor
emit bills, nor borrow money on the credit of the United States, nor
appropriate money, nor agree upon the number of vessels of war to be
built or purchased, or the number of land or sea forces to be raised,
nor appoint a commander in chief of the army or navy, unless nine
States assent to the same; nor shall a question on any other point,
except for adjourning from day to day, be determined, unless by the
votes of a majority of the United States in Congress assembled.

The Congress of the United States shall have power to adjourn to any
time within the year, and to any place within the United States, so
that no period of adjournment be for a longer duration than the space
of six months; and shall publish the journal of their proceedings
monthly, except such parts thereof relating to treaties, alliances,
or military operations, as in their judgment require secresy; and the
yeas and nays of the delegates of each State on any question shall be
entered on the journal when it is desired by any delegate; and the
delegates of a State, or any of them, at his or their request, shall
be furnished with a transcript of the said journal, except such parts
as are above excepted, to lay before the legislatures of the several

ART. 10. The Committee of the States, or any nine of them, shall
be authorized to execute in the recess of Congress, such of the
powers of Congress as the United States in Congress assembled,
by the consent of nine States, shall, from time to time, think
expedient to vest them with; provided that no power be delegated
to the said committee, for the exercise of which, by the articles of
confederation, the voice of nine States in the Congress of the United
States assembled is requisite.

ART. 11. Canada, acceding to this confederation, and joining in the
measures of the United States, shall be admitted into, and entitled
to, all the advantages of this union: but no other colony shall be
admitted into the same unless such admission be agreed to by nine

ART. 12. All bills of credit emitted, moneys borrowed, debts
contracted, by or under the authority of Congress, before the
assembling of the United States, in pursuance of the present
confederation, shall be deemed and considered as a charge against the
United States, for payment and satisfaction whereof the said United
States and the public faith are hereby solemnly pledged.

ART. 13. Every State shall abide by the determination of the United
States in Congress assembled, on all questions which, by this
confederation, are submitted to them. And the Articles of this
confederation shall be inviolably observed by every State, and the
union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time
hereafter be made in any of them, unless such alteration be agreed to
in a Congress of the United States, and be afterwards confirmed by
the legislature of every State.

And whereas it has pleased the Great Governor of the world to incline
the hearts of the legislatures we respectively represent in Congress,
to approve of and to authorize us to ratify the said Articles of
confederation and perpetual union: KNOW YE, That we, the undersigned
delegates, by virtue of the power and authority to us given for that
purpose, do, by these presents, in the name and in behalf of our
respective constituents, fully and entirely ratify and confirm each
and every of the said Articles of confederation and perpetual union,
and all and singular the matters and things therein contained; and
we do further solemnly plight and engage the faith of our respective
constituents, that they shall abide by the determinations of the
United States in Congress assembled, on all questions which, by the
said confederation, are submitted to them; and that the Articles
thereof shall be inviolably observed by the States we respectively
represent; and that the union shall be perpetual.

   In witness whereof, we have hereunto set our hands, in Congress.
   Done at Philadelphia, in the State of Pennsylvania, the ninth
   day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred
   and seventy-eight, and in the third year of the independence of

_On the part and behalf of the State of New Hampshire._
Josiah Bartlet, John Wentworth, jun., August 8, 1778.

_On the part and behalf of the State of Massachusetts Bay._
John Hancock,           Francis Dana,
Samuel Adams,           James Lovell,
Elbridge Gerry,         Samuel Holten.

_On the part and in behalf of the State of Rhode Island and
Providence Plantations._
William Ellery,         John Collins.
Henry Marchant,

_On the part and behalf of the State of Connecticut._
Roger Sherman,          Titus Hosmer,
Samuel Huntington,      Andrew Adams.
Oliver Wolcott,

_On the part and behalf of the State of New York._
Jas. Duane,             Wm. Duer,
Fra. Lewis,             Gouv. Morris.

_On the part and in behalf of the State of New Jersey._
Jno. Witherspoon,       Nath. Scudder,
                           Nov. 26, 1778.

_On the part and behalf of the State of Pennsylvania._
Robt. Morris,           William Clingan,
Daniel Roberdeau,       Joseph Reed,
Jona. Bayard Smith,        22d July, 1778.

_On the part and behalf of the State of Delaware._
Tho. M'Kean,            Nicholas Van Dyke.
   Feb. 13, 1779,
John Dickinson,
   May 5th, 1779,

_On the part and behalf of the State of Maryland._
John Hanson,            Daniel Carroll,
   March 1,1781,           March 1, 1781.

_On the part and behalf of the State of Virginia._
Richard Henry Lee,      Jno. Harvie,
John Banister,          Francis Lightfoot Lee.
Thomas Adams,

_On the part and behalf of the State of North Carolina._
John Penn,              Jno. Williams.
   July 21,1778,
Corns. Harnett,

_On the part and behalf of the State of South Carolina._
Henry Laurens,          Richard Hutson,
William Henry Drayton,  Thos. Heywood, jun.
Jno. Mathews,

_On the part and behalf of the State of Georgia._
Jno. Walton,            Edwd. Langworthy.
   24th July, 1778,
Edwd. Telfair,

   NOTE.--From the circumstance of delegates from the same State
   having signed the Articles of confederation at different times,
   as appears by the dates, it is probable they affixed their names
   as they happened to be present in Congress, after they had been
   authorized by their constituents.

   The above Articles of confederation continued in force until
   the 4th day of March, 1789, when the constitution of the United
   States took effect.




WE, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect
union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for
the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the
blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and
establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


_Of the Legislature._


1. All legislative powers herein granted, shall be vested in a
Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and
House of Representatives.


1. The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen
every second year by the people of the several States; and the
electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for
electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislature.

2. No person shall be a representative who shall not have attained to
the age of twenty-five years, and been seven years a citizen of the
United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of
that State in which he shall be chosen.

3. Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the
several States which may be included within this union, according to
their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the
whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a
term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all
other persons. The actual enumeration shall be made within three
years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States,
and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as
they shall by law direct. The number of representatives shall not
exceed one for every thirty thousand, but each State shall have at
least one representative; and until such enumeration shall be made,
the State of _New Hampshire_ shall be entitled to choose three;
_Massachusetts_, eight; _Rhode Island_, and _Providence Plantations_,
one; _Connecticut_, five; _New York_, six; _New Jersey_, four;
_Pennsylvania_, eight; _Delaware_, one; _Maryland_, six; _Virginia_,
ten; _North Carolina_, five; _South Carolina_, five; and _Georgia_,

4. When vacancies happen in the representation from any State, the
executive authority thereof shall issue writs of election to fill up
such vacancies.

5. The House of Representatives shall choose their speaker and other
officers, and shall have the sole power of impeachment.


1. The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two senators
from each State, chosen by the legislature thereof, for six years,
and each senator shall have one vote.

2. Immediately after they shall be assembled in consequence of the
first election, they shall be divided, as equally as may be, into
three classes. The seats of the senators of the first class shall be
vacated at the expiration of the second year, of the second class
at the expiration of the fourth, and of the third class at the
expiration of the sixth year, so that one-third may be chosen every
second year; and if vacancies happen, by resignation or otherwise,
during the recess of the legislature of any State, the executive
thereof may make temporary appointments until the next meeting of the
legislature, which shall then fill such vacancies.

3. No person shall be a senator who shall not have attained to the
age of thirty years, and been nine years a citizen of the United
States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that
State for which he shall be chosen.

4. The Vice-President of the United States shall be President of the
Senate, but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided.

5. The Senate shall choose their other officers, and also a president
pro tempore, in the absence of the Vice-President, or when he shall
exercise the office of President of the United States.

6. The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments. When
sitting for that purpose, they shall be on oath or affirmation. When
the President of the United States is tried, the chief justice shall
preside; and no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of
two-thirds of the members present.

7. Judgment in case of impeachment shall not extend further than
to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any
office of honour, trust, or profit, under the United States; but
the party convicted shall, nevertheless, be liable and subject to
indictment, trial, judgment, and punishment according to law.


1. The times, places, and manner of holding elections for senators
and representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the
legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time, by law, make
or alter such regulations, except as to the place of choosing

2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such
meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall
by law appoint a different day.


1. Each House shall be the judge of the elections, returns, and
qualifications of its own members; and a majority of each shall
constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn
from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the attendance of
absent members, in such manner and under such penalties as each House
may provide.

2. Each House may determine the rule of its proceedings, punish
its members for disorderly behaviour, and, with the concurrence of
two-thirds, expel a member.

3. Each House shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and from
time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may in their
judgment require secrecy; and the yeas and nays of the members of
either House, on any question, shall, at the desire of one-fifth of
those present, be entered on the journal.

4. Neither House during the Session of Congress shall, without the
consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any
other place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.


1. The senators and representatives shall receive a compensation
for their services, to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the
treasury of the United States. They shall in all cases, except
treason, felony, and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest
during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses,
and in going to or returning from the same; and for any speech or
debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other

2. No senator or representative shall, during the time for which he
was elected, be appointed to any civil office under the authority of
the United States, which shall have been created, or the emoluments
whereof shall have been increased, during such time; and no person
holding any office under the United States shall be a member of
either House during his continuance in office.


1. All Bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House
of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with
amendments, as on other Bills.

2. Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives
and the Senate shall, before it become a law, be presented to the
President of the United States; if he approve, he shall sign it; but
if not, he shall return it, with his objections, to that House in
which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objection at
large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If, after such
reconsideration, two-thirds of that House shall agree to pass the
Bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other
House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved
by two-thirds of that House, it shall become a law. But in all such
cases the votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and nays,
and the names of the persons voting for and against the Bill shall be
entered on the journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall
not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted)
after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law
in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their
adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a law.

3. Every order, resolution, or vote to which the concurrence of the
Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary, (except a
question of adjournment), shall be presented to the President of
the United States; and before the same shall take effect, shall be
approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by
two-thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to
the rules and limitations prescribed in the case of a Bill.


The Congress shall have power--

1. To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the
debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the
United States; but all duties, imposts, and excises shall be uniform
throughout the United States:

2. To borrow money on the credit of the United States:

3. To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several
States, and with the Indian tribes:

4. To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on
the subject of bankruptcies, throughout the United States:

5. To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin,
and fix the standard of weights and measures:

6. To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and
current coin of the United States:

7. To establish post offices and post roads:

8. To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing
for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to
their respective writings and discoveries:

9. To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court:

10. To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high
seas, and offences against the law of nations:

11. To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make
rules concerning captures on land and water:

12. To raise and support armies; but no appropriation of money to
that use shall be for a longer term than two years:

13. To provide and maintain a navy:

14. To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and
naval forces:

15. To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of
the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions:

16. To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia,
and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service
of the United States, reserving to the States respectively the
appointment of the officers and the authority of training the militia
according to the discipline prescribed by Congress:

17. To exercise exclusive legislation, in all cases whatsoever, over
such district (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of
particular States and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of
government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over
all places purchased, by the consent of the legislature of the State
in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines,
arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings: and,

18. To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying
into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by
this Constitution in the government of the United States, or any
department or officer thereof.


1. The migration or importation of such persons as any of the States
now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by
the Congress prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight,
but a tax or duty may be imposed on such importation, not exceeding
ten dollars for each person.

2. The privilege of the writ of _habeas corpus_ shall not be
suspended unless when, in case of rebellion or invasion, the public
safety may require it.

3. No Bill of attainder, or ex-post-facto law, shall be passed.

4. No capitation or other direct tax shall be laid; unless in
proportion to the census or enumeration hereinbefore directed to be

5. No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any State.
No preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue
to the ports of one State over those of another; nor shall vessels
bound to or from one State be obliged to enter, clear, or pay duties
in another.

6. No money shall be drawn from the treasury but in consequence of
appropriations made by law; and a regular statement and account of
the receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published
from time to time.

7. No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States, and no
person holding any office of profit or trust under them shall,
without the consent of Congress, accept of any present, emolument,
office, or title of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or
foreign State.


1. No State shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation;
grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin money; emit bills of
credit; make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment
of debts; pass any Bill of attainder, ex-post-facto law, or law
impairing the obligation of contracts; or grant any title of

2. No State shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any imposts
or duties on imports or exports, except what may be absolutely
necessary for executing its inspection laws; and the net produce
of all duties and imposts laid by any State on imports or exports
shall be for the use of the treasury of the United States, and all
such laws shall be subject to the revision and control of Congress.
No State shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any duty on
tonnage, keep troops or ships of war in time of peace, enter into any
agreement or compact with another State, or with a foreign power, or
engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as
will not admit of delay.


_Of the Executive._


1. The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United
States of America. He shall hold his office during the term of four
years, and, together with the Vice-President, chosen for the same
term, be elected as follows:--

2. Each State shall appoint, in such manner as the legislature
thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number
of senators and representatives to which the State may be entitled
in Congress; but no senator or representative, or person holding any
office of trust or profit under the United States, shall be appointed
an elector.

3. The electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote
by ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not be an
inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a
list of all the persons voted for, and of the number of votes for
each; which list they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed
to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the
President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the
presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the
certificates, and the votes shall then be counted. The person having
the greatest number of votes shall be the President, if such number
be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and if
there be more than one who have such a majority, and have an equal
number of votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately
choose by ballot one of them for President; and if no person have a
majority, then, from the five highest on the list, the said House
shall in like manner choose the President. But in choosing the
President, the votes shall be taken by States; the representation
from each State having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall
consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the States, and
a majority of all the States shall be necessary to a choice. In
every case, after the choice of the President, the person having the
greatest number of votes of the electors shall be Vice-President. But
if there should remain two or more who have equal votes, the Senate
shall choose from them by ballot the Vice-President.

4. The Congress may determine the time of choosing the electors and
the day on which they shall give their votes, which day shall be the
same throughout the United States.

5. No person except a natural-born citizen, or a citizen of the
United States at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall
be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be
eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of
thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the
United States.

6. In case of the removal of the President from office, or of his
death, resignation, or inability to discharge the powers and duties
of the said office, the same shall devolve on the Vice-President;
and the Congress may by law provide for the case of removal, death,
resignation, or inability, both of the President and Vice-President,
declaring what officer shall then act as President: and such officer
shall act accordingly, until the disability be removed or a President
shall be elected.

7. The President shall, at stated times, receive for his services
a compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished
during the period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall
not receive within that period any other emolument from the United
States, or any of them.

8. Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the
following oath or affirmation:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the
office of President of the United States, and will, to the best of my
ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United


1. The President shall be commander-in-chief of the army and navy
of the United States and of the militia of the several States, when
called into the actual service of the United States; he may require
the opinion in writing of the principal officer in each of the
executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of
their respective offices; and he shall have power to grant reprieves
and pardons for offences against the United States, except in cases
of impeachment.

2. He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the
Senate, to make treaties, provided two-thirds of the senators present
concur: and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent
of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and
consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the
United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided
for, and which shall be established by law. But the Congress may by
law vest the appointment of such inferior officers as they think
proper in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads
of departments.

3. The President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may
happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions,
which shall expire at the end of their next session.


1. He shall, from time to time, give to Congress information of
the state of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such
measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on
extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them;
and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time
of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think
proper; he shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers;
he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed; and shall
commission all the officers of the United States.


1. The President, Vice-President, and all civil officers of the
United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for
and conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and


_Of the Judiciary._


1. The judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one
Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as Congress may, from time
to time, order and establish. The judges, both of the Supreme and
inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour; and
shall, at stated times, receive for their services a compensation,
which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.


1. The judicial power shall extend to all cases in law and equity
arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and
treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority; to all
cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls; to
all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction; to controversies to
which the United States shall be a party; to controversies between
two or more states; between a State and citizens of another State;
between citizens of different States; between citizens of the same
State claiming lands under grants of different States; and between a
State, or the citizens thereof and foreign States, citizens or

2. In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and
consuls, and those in which a State shall be a party, the Supreme
Court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases before
mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both
as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations
as Congress shall make.

3. The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be
by jury, and such trial shall be held in the State where the said
crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any
State, the trial shall be at such place or places as Congress may by
law have directed.


1. Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying
war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid
and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason, unless on the
testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or confession in
open court.

2. Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason;
but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or
forfeiture, except during the life of the person attainted.




1. Full faith and credit shall be given in each State to the public
acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other State. And
Congress may, by general laws, prescribe the manner in which such
acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect


1. The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges
and immunities of citizens in the several States.

2. A person charged in any State with treason, felony, or other
crime, who shall flee from justice and be found in another State,
shall, on demand of the executive authority of the State from
which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having
jurisdiction of the crime.

3. No person held to service or labour in one State, under the laws
thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or
regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labour; but
shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or
labour may be due.


1. New States may be admitted by Congress into this Union; but no new
State shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other
State, nor any State be formed by the junction of two or more States,
or parts of States, without the consent of the legislatures of the
States concerned, as well as of Congress.

2. Congress shall have power to dispose of, and make all needful
rules and regulations respecting the territory, or other property
belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution
shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States
or of any particular State.


1. The United States shall guarantee to every State in this union a
republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against
invasion; and, on application of the legislature, or of the executive
(when the legislature cannot be convened), against domestic violence.


_Of Amendments._

1. Congress, whenever two-thirds of both Houses shall deem it
necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution; or, on the
application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the several States,
shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either
case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this
Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths
of the several States, or by conventions in three-fourths thereof,
as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by
Congress; provided, that no amendment which may be made prior to
the year one thousand eight hundred and eight, shall in any manner
affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first
Article; and that no State, without its consent, shall be deprived of
its equal suffrage in the Senate.



1. All debts contracted and engagements entered into, before the
adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United
States under this Constitution, as under the confederation.

2. This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall
be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made, or which shall
be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the
supreme law of the land; and the judges in every State shall be bound
thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the
contrary notwithstanding.

3. The senators and representatives before mentioned, and the members
of the several State legislatures, and all executive and judicial
officers, both of the United States, and of the several States, shall
be bound by oath or affirmation to support this Constitution; but
no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any
office, or public trust, under the United States.


_Of the Ratification._

1. The ratification of the conventions of nine States shall be
sufficient for the establishment of this Constitution between the
States so ratifying the same.

Done in Convention, by the unanimous consent of the States
present, the seventeenth day of September, in the year of our
Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, and of the
Independence of the United States of America the twelfth. In
witness whereof, we have hereunto subscribed our names.

_President, and Deputy from Virginia._

_New Hampshire._
John Langdon,
Nicholas Gilman.

Nathaniel Gorman,
Rufus King.

William Samuel Johnson,
Roger Sherman.

_New York._
Alexander Hamilton.

_New Jersey._
William Livingston,
David Brearly,
William Patterson,
Jonathan Dayton.

Benjamin Franklin,
Thomas Mifflin,
Robert Morris,
George Clymer,
Thomas Fitzsimons,
Jared Ingersoll,
James Wilson,
Governeur Morris.

George Read,
Gunning Bedford, jun.,
John Dickinson,
Richard Bassett,
Jacob Broom.

James M'Henry,
Daniel of St. Tho. Jenifer,
Daniel Carroll.

John Blair,
James Madison, jr.

_North Carolina._
William Blount,
Richard Dobbs Spaight,
Hugh Williamson.

_South Carolina._
John Rutledge,
Chas. Cotesworth Pinckney,
Charles Pinckney,
Pierce Butler.

William Few,
Abraham Baldwin.

_Attest,_ WILLIAM JACKSON, _Secretary_.


ART. 1. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of
religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging
the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people
peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress
of grievances.

ART. 2. A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of
a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not
be infringed.

ART. 3. No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house
without the consent of the owner; nor in time of war, but in a manner
to be prescribed by law.

ART. 4. The right of the people to be secure in their persons,
houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and
seizures, shall not be violated; and no warrants shall issue but upon
probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly
describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be

ART. 5. No person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise
infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand
jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the
militia when in actual service in time of war, or public danger; nor
shall any person be subject for the same offence, to be put twice in
jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled, in any criminal
case, to be witness against himself; nor be deprived of life,
liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private
property be taken for public use without just compensation.

ART. 6. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the
right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State
and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which
district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be
informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted
with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for
obtaining witnesses in his favour; and to have the assistance of
counsel for his defence.

ART. 7. In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall
exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved;
and no fact tried by jury shall be otherwise re-examined in any court
of the United States than according to the rules of the common law.

ART. 8. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines
imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

ART. 9. The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights, shall
not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

ART. 10. The powers not delegated to the United States by the
Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the
States respectively, or to the people.

ART. 11. The judicial power of the United States shall not be
construed to extend to any suit in law or equity commenced or
prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another
State, or by citizens or subjects of another State, or by citizens or
subjects of any foreign State.

ART. 12. § 1. The electors shall meet in their respective States,
and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at
least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same State as themselves;
they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President,
and in distinct ballots the person voted for with Vice-President; and
they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President,
and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of
votes for each, which list they shall sign and certify, and transmit
sealed to the seat of government of the United States, directed to
the President of the Senate: the President of the Senate shall in the
presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the
certificates, and the votes shall then be counted; the person having
the greatest number of votes for President shall be the President, if
such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed;
and if no person have such a majority, then from the persons having
the highest numbers, not exceeding three, on the list of those
voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose
immediately by ballot the President. But in choosing the President,
the votes shall be taken by States, the representation from each
State having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a
member or members from two-thirds of the States, and a majority of
all the States shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of
Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of
choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next
following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in
the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the

2. The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President,
shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the
whole number of electors appointed; and if no person have a majority,
then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall
choose the Vice-President: a quorum for the purpose shall consist of
two-thirds of the whole number of senators, and a majority of the
whole number shall be necessary to a choice.

3. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of
President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United

   NOTE.--At the fourth presidential election, Thomas Jefferson
   and Aaron Burr were the democratic candidates for President and
   Vice-President. By the electoral returns they had an even number
   of votes. In the House of Representatives, Burr, by intrigue,
   got up a party to vote for him for President; and the House was
   so divided that there was a tie. A contest was carried on for
   several days, and so warmly, that even sick members were brought
   to the House on their beds. Finally one of Burr's adherents
   withdrew, and Jefferson was elected by one majority--which was
   the occasion of this twelfth article.

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