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Title: Society in America, v. 1-2
Author: Martineau, Harriet
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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"To seize a character, even that of one man, in its life and secret
mechanism, requires a philosopher; to delineate it with truth and
impressiveness is work for a poet. How then shall one or two sleek
clerical tutors, with here and there a tedium-stricken esquire, or
speculative half-pay captain, give us views on such a subject? How shall
a man, to whom all characters of individual men are like sealed books,
of which he sees only the title and the covers, decipher from his
four-wheeled vehicle, and depict to us, the character of a nation? He
courageously depicts his own optical delusions; notes this to be
incomprehensible, that other to be insignificant; much to be good, much
to be bad, and most of all indifferent; and so, with a few flowing
strokes, completes a picture, which, though it may not resemble any
possible object, his countrymen are to take for a national portrait. Nor
is the fraud so readily detected: for the character of a people has
such a complexity of aspect, that even the honest observer knows not
always, not perhaps after long inspection, what to determine regarding
it. From his, only accidental, point of view, the figure stands before
him like the tracings on veined marble,--a mass of mere random lines,
and tints, and entangled strokes, out of which a lively fancy may shape
almost _any_ image. But the image he brings with him is always the
readiest; this is tried; it answers as well as another; and a second
voucher now testifies its correctness. Thus each, in confident tones,
though it be with a secret misgiving, repeats his precursor; the
hundred-times-repeated comes in the end to be believed; the foreign
nation is now once for all understood, decided on, and registered
accordingly; and dunce the thousandth writes of it like dunce the
first."--_Edinburgh Review, No._ xlvi. p. 309.

This passage cannot but strike upon the heart of any traveller who
meditates giving to the world an account of the foreign country he has
visited. It is the mirror held up before his face; and he inevitably
feels himself, for the moment, "dunce the thousandth." For my own part,
I felt the truth contained in this picture so strongly, before I was
acquainted with the passage itself, that I had again and again put away
the idea of saying one word in print on the condition of society in the
United States. Whenever I encountered half-a-dozen irreconcilable, but
respectable opinions on a single point of political doctrine; whenever
half-a-dozen fair-seeming versions of a single fact were offered to me;
whenever the glow of pleasure at obtaining, by some trivial accident, a
piece of important knowledge passed into a throb of pain at the thought
of how much must remain concealed where a casual glimpse disclosed so
much; whenever I felt how I, with my pittance of knowledge and amidst my
glimmerings of conviction, was at the mercy of unmanageable
circumstances, wafted now here and now there, by the currents of
opinion, like one surveying a continent from a balloon, with only
starlight above him,--I was tempted to decline the task of generalising
at all from what I saw and heard. In the intervals, however, I felt that
this would be wrong. Men will never arrive at a knowledge of each other,
if those who have the opportunity of foreign observation refuse to
relate what they think they have learned; or even to lay before others
the materials from which they themselves hesitate to construct a theory,
or draw large conclusions.

In seeking for methods by which I might communicate what I have observed
in my travels, without offering any pretension to teach the English, or
judge the Americans, two expedients occurred to me; both of which I have
adopted. One is, to compare the existing state of society in America
with the principles on which it is professedly founded; thus testing
Institutions, Morals, and Manners by an indisputable, instead of an
arbitrary standard, and securing to myself the same point of view with
my readers of both nations.

In working according to this method, my principal dangers are two. I am
in danger of not fully apprehending the principles on which society in
the United States is founded; and of erring in the application to these
of the facts which came under my notice. In the last respect, I am
utterly hopeless of my own accuracy. It is in the highest degree
improbable that my scanty gleanings in the wide field of American
society should present a precisely fair sample of the whole. I can only
explain that I have spared no pains to discover the truth, in both
divisions of my task; and invite correction, in all errors of fact. This
I earnestly do; holding myself, of course, an equal judge with others on
matters of opinion.

My readers, on their part, will bear in mind that, in showing
discrepancies between an actual condition and a pure and noble theory
of society, I am not finding fault with the Americans, as for falling
behind the English, or the French, or any other nation. I decline the
office of censor altogether. I dare not undertake it. Nor will my
readers, I trust, regard the subject otherwise than as a compound of
philosophy and fact. If we can all, for once, allay our personal
feelings, dismiss our too great regard to mutual opinion, and put praise
and blame as nearly as possible out of the question, more that is
advantageous to us may perhaps be learned than by any invidious
comparisons and proud judgments that were ever instituted and

The other method by which I propose to lessen my own responsibility, is
to enable my readers to judge for themselves, better than I can for
them, what my testimony is worth. For this purpose, I offer a brief
account of my travels, with dates in full; and a report of the principal
means I enjoyed of obtaining a knowledge of the country.

At the close of a long work which I completed in 1834, it was thought
desirable that I should travel for two years. I determined to go to the
United States, chiefly because I felt a strong curiosity to witness the
actual working of republican institutions; and partly because the
circumstance of the language being the same as my own is very important
to one who, like myself, is too deaf to enjoy anything like an average
opportunity of obtaining correct knowledge, where intercourse is carried
on in a foreign language. I went with a mind, I believe, as nearly as
possible unprejudiced about America, with a strong disposition to admire
democratic institutions, but an entire ignorance how far the people of
the United States lived up to, or fell below, their own theory. I had
read whatever I could lay hold of that had been written about them; but
was unable to satisfy myself that, after all, I understood anything
whatever of their condition. As to knowledge of them, my mind was nearly
a blank: as to opinion of their state, I did not carry the germ of one.

I landed at New York on the 19th of September, 1834: paid a short visit
the next week to Paterson, in New Jersey, to see the cotton factories
there, and the falls of the Passaic; and passed through New York again
on my way to stay with some friends on the banks of the Hudson, and at
Stockbridge, Massachusetts. On the 6th of October, I joined some
companions at Albany, with whom I travelled through the State of New
York, seeing Trenton Falls, Auburn, and Buffalo, to the Falls of
Niagara. Here I remained nearly a week; then, after spending a few days
at Buffalo, I embarked on Lake Erie, landing in the back of
Pennsylvania, and travelling down through Meadville to Pittsburgh,
spending a few days at each place. Then, over the Alleghanies to
Northumberland, on the fork of the Susquehanna, the abode of Priestley
after his exile, and his burial place. I arrived at Northumberland on
the 11th of October, and left it, after visiting some villages in the
neighbourhood, on the 17th, for Philadelphia, where I remained nearly
six weeks, having very extensive intercourses with its various society.
My stay at Baltimore was three weeks, and at Washington five. Congress
was at that time in session, and I enjoyed peculiar opportunities of
witnessing the proceedings of the Supreme Court and both houses of
Congress. I was acquainted with almost every eminent senator and
representative, both on the administration and opposition sides; and was
on friendly and intimate terms with some of the judges of the Supreme
Court. I enjoyed the hospitality of the President, and of several of the
heads of departments: and was, like everybody else, in society from
morning till night of every day; as the custom is at Washington. One
day was devoted to a visit to Mount Vernon, the abode and burial-place
of Washington.

On the 18th of February I arrived at Montpelier, the seat of Mr. and
Mrs. Madison, with whom I spent two days, which were wholly occupied
with rapid conversation; Mr. Madison's share of which, various and
beautiful to a remarkable degree, will never be forgotten by me. His
clear reports of the principles and history of the Constitution of the
United States, his insight into the condition, his speculations on the
prospects of nations, his wise playfulness, his placid contemplation of
present affairs, his abundant household anecdotes of Washington,
Franklin, and Jefferson, were incalculably valuable and exceedingly
delightful to me.

The intercourse which I had with Chief Justice Marshall was of the same
character, though not nearly so copious. Nothing in either delighted me
more than their hearty admiration of each other, notwithstanding some
wide differences in their political views. They are both gone; and I now
deeply feel what a privilege it is to have known them.

From Mr. Madison's I proceeded to Charlottesville, and passed two days
amidst the hospitalities of the Professors of Jefferson's University,
and their families. I was astonished to learn that this institution had
never before been visited by a British traveller. I can only be sorry
for British travellers who have missed the pleasure. A few days more
were given to Richmond, where the Virginia legislature was in session;
and then ensued a long wintry journey though North and South Carolina to
Charleston, occupying from the 2nd to the 11th of March. The
hospitalities of Charleston are renowned; and I enjoyed them in their
perfection for a fortnight; and then a renewal of the same kind of
pleasures at Columbia, South Carolina, for ten days. I traversed the
southern States, staying three days at Augusta, Georgia, and nearly a
fortnight in and near Montgomery, Alabama; descending next the Alabama
river to Mobile. After a short stay there, and a residence of ten days
at New Orleans, I went up the Mississippi and Ohio to the mouth of the
Cumberland river, which I ascended to Nashville, Tennessee. I visited
the Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, and spent three weeks at Lexington. I
descended the Ohio to Cincinnati; and after staying there ten days,
ascended the river again, landing in Virginia, visiting the Hawk's Nest,
Sulphur Springs, Natural Bridge, and Weyer's Cave, arriving at New York
again on the 14th of July, 1835. The autumn was spent among the villages
and smaller towns of Massachusetts, in a visit to Dr. Channing in Rhode
Island, and in an excursion to the mountains of New Hampshire and
Vermont. The winter was passed in Boston, with the exception of a trip
to Plymouth, for "Forefather's Day." In the Spring I spent seven weeks
in New York; and a month in a farmhouse at Stockbridge, Massachusetts;
making an excursion, meanwhile, to Saratoga and Lake George. My last
journey was with a party of friends, far into the west, visiting Niagara
again, proceeding by Lake Erie to Detroit, and across the territory of
Michigan. We swept round the southern extremity of Lake Michigan to
Chicago: went a long day's journey down into the prairies, back to
Chicago, and by the Lakes Michigan, Huron, and St. Clair to Detroit,
visiting Mackinaw by the way. We landed from Lake Erie at Cleveland,
Ohio, on the 13th of July; and travelled through the interior of Ohio
till we joined the river at Beaver. We visited Rapp's Settlement at
Economy, on the Ohio, and returned to New York from Pittsburgh, by the
canal route through Pennsylvania, and the rail-road over the
Alleghanies. I sailed from New York for England on the 1st of August,
1836, having then been absent just two years.

In the course of this tour, I visited almost every kind of institution.
The prisons of Auburn, Philadelphia, and Nashville: the insane and other
hospitals of almost every considerable place: the literary and
scientific institutions; the factories of the north; the plantations of
the south; the farms of the west. I lived in houses which might be
called palaces, in log-houses, and in a farm-house. I travelled much in
wagons, as well as stages; also on horseback, and in some of the best
and worst of steam-boats. I saw weddings, and christenings; the
gatherings of the richer at watering places, and of the humbler at
country festivals. I was present at orations, at land sales, and in the
slave market. I was in frequent attendance on the Supreme Court and the
Senate; and witnessed some of the proceedings of state legislatures.
Above all, I was received into the bosom of many families, not as a
stranger, but as a daughter or a sister. I am qualified, if any one is,
to testify to the virtues and the peace of the homes of the United
States; and let it not be thought a breach of confidence, if I should be
found occasionally to have spoken of these out of the fulness of my

It would be nearly impossible to relate whom I knew, during my travels.
Nearly every eminent man in politics, science and literature, and
almost every distinguished woman, would grace my list. I have respected
and beloved friends of each political party; and of nearly every
religious denomination; among slave-holders, colonizationists, and
abolitionists; among farmers, lawyers, merchants, professors, and
clergy. I travelled among several tribes of Indians; and spent months in
the southern States, with negroes ever at my heels.

Such were my means of information. With regard to my power of making use
of them, I have but a few words to say.

It has been frequently mentioned to me that my being a woman was one
disadvantage; and my being previously heard of, another. In this I do
not agree.

I am sure, I have seen much more of domestic life than could possibly
have been exhibited to any gentleman travelling through the country. The
nursery, the boudoir, the kitchen, are all excellent schools in which to
learn the morals and manners of a people: and, as for public and
professional affairs,--those may always gain full information upon such
matters, who really feel an interest in them,--be they men or women. No
people in the world can be more frank, confiding and affectionate, or
more skilful and liberal in communicating information, than I have ever
found the Americans to be. I never asked in vain; and I seldom had to
ask at all; so carefully were my inquiries anticipated, and my aims so
completely understood. I doubt whether a single fact that I wished to
learn, or any doctrine that I desired to comprehend, was ever kept from
me because I was a woman.

As for the other objection, I can only state my belief, that my friends
and I found personal acquaintance so much pleasanter than any previous
knowledge by hearsay, that we always forgot that we had heard of each
other before. It would be preposterous to suppose that, received as I
was into intimate confidence, any false appearances could be kept up on
account of any preconceptions that could have been entertained of me.

I laboured under only one peculiar disadvantage, that I am aware of; but
that one is incalculable. I mean my deafness. This does not endanger the
accuracy of my information, I believe, as far as it goes; because I
carry a trumpet of remarkable fidelity; an instrument, moreover, which
seems to exert some winning power, by which I gain more in
_tête-à-têtes_ than is given to people who hear general conversation.
Probably its charm consists in the new feeling which it imparts of ease
and privacy in conversing with a deaf person. However this may be, I can
hardly imagine fuller revelations to be made in household intercourse
than my trumpet brought to me. But I am aware that there is no
estimating the loss, in a foreign country, from not hearing the casual
conversation of all kinds of people, in the streets, stages, hotels, &c.
I am aware that the lights which are thus gathered up by the traveller
for himself are often far more valuable than the most elaborate accounts
of things offered to him with an express design. This was my peculiar
disadvantage. It could not be helped; and it cannot be explained away. I
mention it, that the value of my testimony may be lowered according to
the supposed worth of this circumstance.

Much is often said about the delicacy to be observed, in the act of
revealing the history of one's travels, towards the hosts and other
friends of the traveller who have reposed confidence in him. The rule
seems to me a very plain one, which reconciles truth, honour and
utility. My rule is to speak of the public acts of public persons,
precisely as if I had known them only in their public character. This
may be sometimes difficult, and sometimes painful, to the writer; but it
leaves no just cause of complaint to any one else. Moreover, I hold it
allowable and necessary to make use of opinions and facts offered in
fire-side confidence, as long as no clue is offered by which they may be
traced back to any particular fire-side. If any of my American friends
should find in this book traces of old conversations and incidents, let
them keep their own counsel, and be assured that the conversation and
facts remain private between them and me. Thus far, all is safe; and
further than this, no honourable person would wish to go.

This is not the place in which to speak of my obligations or of my
friendships. Those who know best what I have in my heart to say meet me
here under a new relation. In these pages, we meet as writer and
readers. I would only entreat them to bear this distinction in mind, and
not to measure my attachment to themselves by anything this book may
contain about their country and their nation. The bond which unites us
bears no relation to clime, birth-place, or institutions. In as far as
our friendship is faithful, we are fellow-citizens of another and a
better country than theirs or mine.



INTRODUCTION                                          i


POLITICS                                              1


PARTIES                                               8


APPARATUS OF GOVERNMENT                              32
  SECTION I.--The General Government                 35
         II.--The Executive                          52
        III.--The State Governments                  64


MORALS OF POLITICS                                   82
  SECTION I.--Office                                 84
         II.--Newspapers                            109
        III.--Apathy in Citizenship                 115
         IV.--Allegiance to Law                     120
          V.--Sectional Prejudice                   135
         VI.--Citizenship of People of Colour       144
        VII.--Political Non-Existence of Women      148


ECONOMY                                             155
   Solitaires                                       162
   Springs of Virginia                              175
   New England Farm-house                           193
   West Country Life                                201
   Township of Gloucester                           205
   South Country Life                               212
   Picture of Michigan                              232
   The Northern Lakes                               270


AGRICULTURE                                         291
  SECTION I.--Disposal of Land                      318
         II.--Rural Labour                          338




     " ... Those unalterable relations which Providence has ordained
     that everything should bear to every other. These relations, which
     are truth itself, the foundation of virtue, and consequently, the
     only measures of happiness, should be likewise the only measures by
     which we should direct our reasoning. To these we should conform in
     good earnest, and not think to force nature, and the whole order of
     her system, by a compliance with our pride and folly, to conform to
     our artificial regulations. It is by a conformity to this method we
     owe the discovery of the few truths we know, and the little liberty
     and rational happiness we enjoy." _Burke._

Mr. Madison remarked to me, that the United States had been "useful in
proving things before held impossible." Of such proofs, he adduced
several. Others, which he did not mention, have since occurred to me;
and, among them, the pursuit of the _à priori_ method in forming a
constitution:--the _à priori_ method, as it is styled by its enemies,
though its advocates, with more reason, call it the inductive method.
Till the formation of the government of the United States, it had been
generally supposed, and it is so still by the majority of the old world,
that a sound theory of government can be constructed only out of the
experience of man in governments; the experience mankind has had of
despotisms, oligarchies, and the mixtures of these with small portions
of democracy. But the essential condition of the fidelity of the
inductive method is, that all the elements of experience should be
included. If, in this particular problem, of the true theory of
government, we take all experience of government, and leave out all
experience of man, except in his hitherto governing or governed state,
we shall never reach a philosophical conclusion. The true application of
the inductive method here is to test a theory of government deduced from
the principles of human nature, by the results of all governments of
which mankind has had experience. No narrower basis will serve for such
an induction. Such a method of finding a good theory of government was
considered impossible, till the United States "proved" it.

This proof can never be invalidated by anything that can now happen in
the United States. It is common to say "Wait; these are early days. The
experiment will fail yet." The experiment of the particular constitution
of the United States may fail; but the great principle which, whether
successfully or not, it strives to embody,--the capacity of mankind for
self-government,--is established for ever. It has, as Mr. Madison said,
proved a thing previously held impossible. If a revolution were to take
place to-morrow in the United States, it remains an historical fact
that, for half a century, a people has been self-governed; and, till it
can be proved that the self-government is the cause of the instability,
no revolution, or series of revolutions, can tarnish the lustre, any
more than they can impair the soundness of the principle that mankind
are capable of self-government. The United States have indeed been
useful in proving these two things, before held impossible; the finding
a true theory of government, by reasoning from the principles of human
nature, as well as from the experience of governments; and the capacity
of mankind for self-government.

It seems strange that while politics are unquestionably a branch of
moral science, bearing no other relation than to the duty and happiness
of man, the great principles of his nature should have been neglected by
politicians--with the exception of his love of power and desire of
gain,--till a set of men assembled in the State House at Philadelphia,
in the eighteenth century, and there throned a legitimate political
philosophy in the place of a deposed king. The _rationale_ of all
preceding governments had been, "men love power, therefore there must be
punishments for rulers who, having already much, would seize more. Men
desire gain; therefore there must be punishments for those, rulers or
ruled, who would appropriate the gains of others." The _rationale_ of
the new and "impossible" government is "that all men are created equal;
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable lights;
that among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to
secure those rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving
their just powers from the consent of the governed."[1] This last
recognizes, over and above what the former admits, the great principles
of indefeasible rights; human equality in relation to these; and the
obligation of universal justice.

These, then, are the principles which the statesmen in the State House
at Philadelphia announced as the soul of their embryo institutions; and
the rule through which they were to work was no less than that golden
one which seems to have been, by some unhappy chance, omitted in the
bibles of other statesmen--"Do unto others as ye would that they should
do unto you." Perhaps it may be reserved for their country to prove yet
one more impossible thing--that men can live by the rule which their
Maker has given them to live by. Meanwhile, every true citizen of that
country must necessarily be content to have his self-government tried by
the test of these principles, to which, by his citizenship, he has
become a subscriber. He will scorn all comparisons, instituted as a test
of merit, between his own government and those of other countries, which
he must necessarily consider as of narrower scope and lower aim. Whether
such comparisons be instituted abroad in a spirit of contempt, or at
home in a spirit of complacency, he will regard them equally as
irrelevant, and proving nothing to the best purposes of true citizens.
He will disdain every test but that furnished by the great principles
propounded in the State House at Philadelphia; and he will quarrel with
no results fairly brought out by such a test, whether they inspire him
with shame, or with complacency. In either case, he will be animated by

If the politics of a country be really derived from fundamental
principles of human nature and morals, the economy, manners, and
religion of that country must be designed to harmonise with these
principles. The same test must be applicable to all. The inalienable
right of all the human race to life, liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness, must control the economical, as well as the political
arrangements of a people; and the law of universal justice must regulate
all social intercourse, and direct all administration of religion.

Politics are morals, all the world over; that is, politics universally
implicate the duty and happiness of man. Every branch of morals is, and
ought to be considered, a universal concern. Under despotic governments,
there is a pretension, more or less sincere, on the part of the rulers,
to moral regards; but from these the bulk of the people are, by common
consent, cut off. If the bulk of the people saw the truth, that the
principles of politics affect them,--are the message of their Maker as
principles are to them, as well as to their rulers, they would become
moral agents in regard to politics, and despotism would be at an end. As
it is, they pay their taxes, and go out to war when they are bid, are
thankful when they are left unmolested by their government, and sorry or
angry when they feel themselves oppressed; and there they end. It is
owing to their ignorance of politics being morals--_i. e._ matters of
equal concern to all--that this truth is not made manifest in action in
every country on the globe that has any government at all.

The same is the case of the unrepresented under governments which are
not called despotic. According to the principles professed by the United
States, there is there a rectification of this mighty error--a
correction of this grand oversight. In that self-governing nation, all
are held to have an equal interest in the principles of its
institutions, and to be bound in equal duty to watch their workings.
Politics there are universal duty. None are exempted from obligation but
the unrepresented; and they, in theory, are none. However various may be
the tribes of inhabitants in those States, whatever part of the world
may have been their birth-place, or that of their fathers, however
broken may be their language, however noble or servile their
employments, however exalted or despised their state, all are declared
to be bound together by equal political obligation, as firmly as under
any other law of personal or social duty. The president, the senator,
the governor, may take upon himself some additional responsibility, as
the physician and lawyer do in other departments of office; but they
are under precisely the same political obligation as the German settler,
whose axe echoes through the lonely forest; and the Southern planter,
who is occupied with his hospitalities; and the New England merchant,
whose thoughts are on the sea; and the Irishman, in his shanty on the
canal-bank; and the negro, hoeing cotton in the hot field, or basking
away his sabbath on the shore of the Mississippi. Genius, knowledge,
wealth, may in other affairs set a man above his fellows; but not in
this. Weakness, ignorance, poverty may exempt a man from other
obligations; but not from this. The theory of the government of the
United States has grasped and embodied the mighty principle, that
politics are morals;--that is, a matter of universal and equal concern.
We shall have to see whether this principle is fully acted out.

Implicated with this is the theory, that the majority will be in the
right, both as to the choice of principles which are to govern
particular cases, and the agents who are to work them. This theory,
obviously just as it appears, as long as it is applied to matters of
universal and equal concern, cannot be set aside without overthrowing
all with which it is involved. We shall have to see, also, whether this
principle is effectually carried out.

Implicated with this, again, is the principle that a mutable, or rather
elastic form, must be given to every institution. "The majority are in
the right." Such is the theory. Few individuals of this majority can act
for longer than two-score years and ten; few for so long. No one can
suppose that his successor will think or feel as he does, however strict
may be the regard of each to the fundamental principles which are to
regulate his citizenship. It is absolutely necessary, to secure
permanence to the recognition of those principles, that there should be
liberty to change the form which contains them. Else, in the endless
variety of human views and interests, there is danger lest men, being
prohibited from producing a correspondence between the principles they
recognise, and the forms they desire, should, because interdicted from
outward change, gradually alter the spirit of their government. In such
a case, men would be some time in discovering that the fair body of
their constitution has become possessed, while they had supposed her
inspired: and, to pass over the mischiefs which might happen during the
period of her possession, the work of exorcism would be difficult and


[1] Declaration of Independence.



     "For these are the men that, when they have played their parts, and
     had their exits, must step out, and give the moral of their scenes,
     and deliver unto posterity an inventory of their virtues and

     _Sir Thomas Browne._

The first gentleman who greeted me on my arrival in the United States, a
few minutes after I had landed, informed me without delay, that I had
arrived at an unhappy crisis; that the institutions of the country would
be in ruins before my return to England; that the levelling spirit was
desolating society; and that the United States were on the verge of a
military despotism. This was so very like what I had been accustomed to
hear at home, from time to time, since my childhood, that I was not
quite so much alarmed as I might have been without such prior
experience. It was amusing too to find America so veritably the daughter
of England.

I looked around me carefully, in all my travels, till I reached
Washington, but could see no signs of despotism; even less of military.
Except the officers and cadets at West Point, and some militia on a
training day at Saugerties, higher up on the Hudson, I saw nothing that
could be called military; and officers, cadets, and militia, appeared
all perfectly innocent of any design to seize upon the government. At
Washington, I ventured to ask an explanation from one of the most
honoured statesmen now living; who told me, with a smile, that the
country had been in "a crisis" for fifty years past; and would be for
fifty years to come.

This information was my comfort, from day to day, till I became
sufficiently acquainted with the country to need such support no longer.
Mournful predictions, like that I have quoted, were made so often, that
it was easy to learn how they originated.

In the United States, as elsewhere, there are, and have always been, two
parties in politics, whom it is difficult to distinguish on paper, by a
statement of their principles, but whose course of action may, in any
given case, be pretty confidently anticipated. It is remarkable how
nearly their positive statements of political doctrine agree, while they
differ in almost every possible application of their common principles.
Close and continued observation of their agreements and differences is
necessary before the British traveller can fully comprehend their mutual
relation. In England, the differences of parties are so broad,--between
those who would have the people governed for the convenience of their
rulers; those who would have the many governed, for their good, by the
will of the few; and those who would have the people govern
themselves;--that it is, for some time, difficult to comprehend how
there should be party differences as wide in a country where the first
principle of government is that the people are to govern themselves. The
case, however, becomes clear in time: and, amidst a half century of
"crises," the same order and sequence become discernible which run
through the whole course of human affairs.

As long as men continue as differently organized as they now are, there
will be two parties under every government. Even if their outward
fortunes could be absolutely equalised, there would be, from individual
constitution alone, an aristocracy and a democracy in every land. The
fearful by nature would compose an aristocracy, the hopeful by nature a
democracy, were all other causes of divergence done away. When to these
constitutional differences are added all those outward circumstances
which go to increase the fear and the hope, the mutual misunderstandings
of parties are no longer to be wondered at. Men who have gained wealth,
whose hope is fulfilled, and who fear loss by change, are naturally of
the aristocratic class. So are men of learning, who, unconsciously
identifying learning and wisdom, fear the elevation of the ignorant to a
station like their own. So are men of talent, who, having gained the
power which is the fit recompense of achievement, dread the having to
yield it to numbers instead of desert. So are many more who feel the
almost universal fear of having to part with educational prejudices,
with doctrines with which honoured teachers nourished the pride of
youth, and prepossessions inwoven with all that has been to them most
pure, lofty, and graceful. Out of these a large aristocratic class must
everywhere be formed.

Out of the hopeful,--the rising, not the risen,--the aspiring, not the
satisfied,--must a still larger class be everywhere formed. It will
include all who have most to gain and least to lose; and most of those
who, in the present state of education, have gained their knowledge from
actual life, rather than, or as well as, from books. It will include the
adventurers of society, and also the philanthropists. It will include,
moreover,--an accession small in number, but inestimable in power,--the
men of genius. It is characteristic of genius to be hopeful and
aspiring. It is characteristic of genius to break up the artificial
arrangements of conventionalism, and to view mankind in true
perspective, in their gradations of inherent rather than of adventitious
worth. Genius is therefore essentially democratic, and has always been
so, whatever titles its gifted ones may have worn, or on whatever
subjects they may have exercised their gifts. To whatever extent men of
genius have been aristocratic, they have been so in spite of their
genius, not in consistency with it. The instances are so few, and their
deviations from the democratic principle so small, that men of genius
must be considered as included in the democratic class.

Genius being rare, and its claims but tardily allowed by those who have
attained greatness by other means, it seems as if the weight of
influence possessed by the aristocratic party,--by that party which,
generally speaking, includes the wealth, learning, and talents of the
country,--must overpower all opposition. If this is found not to be the
case, if it be found that the democratic party has achieved everything
that has been achieved since the United States' constitution began to
work, it is no wonder that there is panic in many hearts, and that I
heard from so many tongues of the desolations of the "levelling spirit,"
and the approaching ruin of political institutions.

These classes may be distinguished in another way. The description which
Jefferson gave of the federal and republican parties of 1799 applies to
the federal and democratic parties of this day, and to the aristocratic
and democratic parties of every time and country. "One," says Jefferson,
"fears most the ignorance of the people; the other, the selfishness of
rulers independent of them."

There is much reason in both these fears. The unreasonableness of party
lies in entertaining the one fear, and not the other. No argument is
needed to prove that rulers are prone to selfishness and narrowness of
views: and no one can have witnessed the injuries that the poor suffer
in old countries,--the education of hardship and insult that furnishes
them with their only knowledge of the highest classes, without being
convinced that their ignorance is to be feared;--their ignorance, not so
much of books as of liberty and law. In old countries, the question
remains open whether the many should, on account of their ignorance, be
kept still in a state of political servitude, as some declare; or
whether they should be gradually prepared for political freedom, as
others think, by an amelioration of their condition, and by being
educated in schools; or whether, as yet others maintain, the exercise of
political rights and duties be not the only possible political
education. In the New World, no such question remains to be debated. It
has no large, degraded, injured, dangerous (white) class who can afford
the slightest pretence for a panic-cry about agrarianism. Throughout the
prodigious expanse of that country, I saw no poor _men_, except a few
intemperate ones. I saw some very poor _women_; but God and man know
that the time has not come for women to make their injuries even heard
of. I saw no beggars but two professional ones, who are making their
fortunes in the streets of Washington. I saw no table spread, in the
lowest order of houses, that had not meat and bread on it. Every factory
child carries its umbrella; and pig-drivers wear spectacles. With the
exception of the foreign paupers on the seaboard, and those who are
steeped in sensual vice, neither of which classes can be politically
dangerous, there are none who have not the same interest in the security
of property as the richest merchant of Salem, or planter of Louisiana.
Whether the less wealthy class will not be the first to draw out from
reason and experience the true philosophy of property, is another
question. All we have to do with now is their equal interest with their
richer neighbours in the security of property, in the present state of
society. Law and order are as important to the man who holds land for
the subsistence of his family, or who earns wages that he may have land
of his own to die upon, as to any member of the president's cabinet.

Nor is there much more to fear from the ignorance of the bulk of the
people in the United States, than from their poverty. It is too true
that there is much ignorance; so much as to be an ever-present peril.
Though, as a whole, the nation is, probably, better informed than any
other entire nation, it cannot be denied that their knowledge is far
inferior to what their safety and their virtue require. But _whose_
ignorance is it? And ignorance of _what_? If the professors of colleges
have book-knowledge, which the owner of a log-house has not; the owner
of a log-house has very often, as I can testify, a knowledge of natural
law, political rights, and economical fact, which the college-professor
has not. I often longed to confront some of each class, to see whether
there was any common ground on which they could meet. If not, the one
might bring the charge of ignorance as justly as the other. If a common
ground could be discovered, it would have been in their equal relation
to the government under which they live: in which case, the natural
conclusion would be, that each understood his own interests best, and
neither could assume superiority over the other. The particular
ignorance of the countryman may expose him to be flattered and cheated
by an oratorical office-seeker, or a dishonest newspaper. But, on the
other hand, the professor's want of knowledge of the actual affairs of
the many, and his educational biases, are just as likely to cause him to
vote contrary to the public interest. No one who has observed society in
America will question the existence or the evil of ignorance there: but
neither will he question that such real knowledge as they have is pretty
fairly shared among them.

I travelled by wagon, with a party of friends, in the interior of Ohio.
Our driver must be a man of great and various knowledge, if he questions
all strangers as he did us, and obtains as copious answers. He told us
where and how he lived, of his nine children, of his literary daughters,
and the pains he was at to get books for them; and of his hopes from his
girl of fourteen, who writes poetry, which he keeps a secret, lest she
should be spoiled. He told us that he seldom lets his fingers touch a
novel, because the consequence always is that his business stands still
till the novel is finished; "and that doesn't suit." He recited to us,
Pope's "Happy the man whose wish and care," &c. saying that it suited
his idea exactly. He asked both the ladies present whether they had
written a book. Both had; and he carried away the titles, that he might
buy the books for his daughters. This man is fully informed of the value
of the Union, as we had reason to perceive; and it is difficult to see
why he is not as fit as any other man to choose the representatives of
his interests. Yet, here is a specimen of his conversation with one of
the ladies of the party.

"Was the book that you wrote on natural philosophy, madam?"

"No; I know nothing about natural philosophy."

"Hum! Because one lady has done that pretty well:--hit it!--Miss Porter,
you know."

"What Miss Porter?"

"She that wrote 'Thaddeus of Warsaw,' you know. She did it pretty well

As an antagonist case, take the wailings of a gentleman of very
distinguished station in a highly aristocratic section of
society;--wailings over the extent of the suffrage.

"What an enormity it is that such a man as Judge ----, there, should
stand on no higher level in politics than the man that grooms his

"Why should he? I suppose they have both got all they want,--full
representation: and they thus bear precisely the same relation to the

"No; the judge seldom votes, because of his office: while his groom can,
perhaps, carry nineteen men to vote as he pleases. It is monstrous!"

"It seems monstrous that the judge should omit his political duty for
the sake of his office; and also that nineteen men should be led by one.
But limiting the suffrage would not mend the matter. Would it not do
better to teach all the parties their duty?"

Let who will choose between the wagon-driver and the scholar. Each will
vote according to his own views; and the event,--the ultimate
majority,--will prove which is so far the wiser.

The vagueness of the antagonism between the two parties is for some time
perplexing to the traveller in America; and he does not know whether to
be most amazed or amused at the apparent triviality of the circumstances
which arouse the strongest party emotions. After a while, a body comes
out of the mystery, and he grasps a substantial cause of dissension.
From the day when the first constitution was formed, there have been
alarmists, who talk of a "crisis:" and from the day when the second
began its operations, the alarm has, very naturally, taken its subject
matter from the failure of the first. The first general government came
to a stand through weakness. The entire nation kept itself in order till
a new one was formed and set to work. As soon as the danger was over,
and the nation proved, by the last possible test, duly convinced of the
advantages of public order, the timid party took fright lest the general
government should still not be strong enough; and this tendency, of
course, set the hopeful party to watch lest it should be made too
strong. The panic and antagonism were at their height in 1799.[2] A
fearful collision of parties took place, which ended in the
establishment of the hopeful policy, which has continued, with few
interruptions, since. The executive patronage was retrenched, taxes were
taken off, the people were re-assured, and all is, as yet, safe. While
the leaders of the old federal party retired to their Essex junto, and
elsewhere, to sigh for monarchy, and yearn towards England, the greater
number threw off their fears, and joined the republican party. There are
now very few left to profess the politics of the old federalists. I met
with only two who openly avowed their desire for a monarchy; and not
many more who prophesied one. But there still is a federal party, and
there ever will be. It is as inevitable that there will be always some
who will fear the too great strength of the state governments, as that
there will be many who will have the same fear about the general
government. Instead of seeing in this any cause for dismay, or even
regret, the impartial observer will recognise in this mutual
watchfulness the best security that the case admits of for the general
and state governments preserving their due relation to one another. No
government ever yet worked both well and indisputably. A pure despotism
works (apparently) indisputably; but the bulk of its subjects will not
allow that it works well, while it wrings their heads from their
shoulders, or their earnings from their hands. The government of the
United States is disputed at every step of its workings: but the bulk of
the people declare that it works well, while every man is his own
security for his life and property.

The extreme panic of the old federal party is accounted for, and almost
justified, when we remember, not only that the commerce of England had
penetrated every part of the country, and that great pecuniary interests
were therefore everywhere supposed to be at stake; but that
republicanism, like that which now exists in America, was a thing
unheard of--an idea only half-developed in the minds of those who were
to live under it. Wisdom may spring, full-formed and accomplished, from
the head of a god, but not from the brains of men. The Americans of the
Revolution looked round upon the republics of the world, tested them by
the principles of human nature, found them republican in nothing but the
name, and produced something, more democratic than any of them; but not
democratic enough for the circumstances which were in the course of
arising. They saw that in Holland the people had nothing to do with the
erection of the supreme power; that in Poland (which was called a
republic in their day) the people were oppressed by an incubus of
monarchy and aristocracy, at once, in their most aggravated forms; and
that in Venice a small body of hereditary nobles exercised a stern sway.
They planned something far transcending in democracy any republic yet
heard of; and they are not to be wondered at, or blamed, if, when their
work was done, they feared they had gone too far. They had done much in
preparing the way for the second birth of their republic in 1789, and
for a third in 1801, when the republicans came into power; and from
which date, free government in the United States may be said to have
started on its course.

A remarkable sign of those times remains on record, which shows how
different the state of feeling and opinion was then from any that could
now prevail among a large and honourable body in the republic. The
society of the Cincinnati, an association of officers of the
revolutionary army, and other honourable persons, ordered their
proceedings in a manner totally inconsistent with the first principles
of republicanism; having secret correspondences, decking themselves with
an order, which was to be hereditary, drawing a line of distinction
between military and other citizens, and uniting in a secret bond the
chiefs of the first families of the respective States. Such an
association, formed on the model of some which might be more or less
necessary or convenient in the monarchies of the old world, could not be
allowed to exist in its feudal form in the young republic; and,
accordingly, the hereditary principle, and the power of adopting
honorary members, were relinquished; and the society is heard of no
more. It has had its use in showing how the minds of the earlier
republicans were imbued with monarchical prepossessions, and how large
is the reasonable allowance which must be made for the apprehensions of
men, who, having gone further in democracy than any who had preceded
them, were destined to see others outstrip themselves. Adams, Hamilton,
Washington! what names are these! Yet Adams in those days believed the
English constitution would be perfect, if some defects and abuses were
remedied. Hamilton believed it would be impracticable, if such
alterations were made; and that, in its then existing state, it was the
very best government that had ever been devised. Washington was
absolutely republican in his principles, but did not enjoy the strong
faith, the entire trust in the people, which is the attendant privilege
of those principles. Such men, pressed out from among the multitude by
the strong force of emergency, proved themselves worthy of their mission
of national redemption; but, though we may now be unable to single out
any who, in these comparatively quiet times, can be measured against
them, we are not thence to conclude that society, as a whole, has not
advanced; and that a policy which would have appeared dangerous to them,
may not be, at present, safe and reasonable.

Advantageous, therefore, as it may be, that the present federal party
should be perpetually on the watch against the encroachments of the
state governments,--useful as their incessant recurrence to the first
practices, as well as principles, of the constitution may be,--it would
be for their comfort to remember, that the elasticity of their
institutions is a perpetual safeguard; and, also, that the silent
influence of the federal head of their republics has a sedative effect
which its framers themselves did not anticipate. If they compare the
fickleness and turbulence of very small republics,--Rhode Island, for
instance,--with the tranquillity of the largest, or of the confederated
number, it is obvious that the existence of a federal head keeps down
more quarrels than ever appear.

When the views of the present apprehensive federal party are closely
looked into, they appear to be inconsistent with one or more of the
primary principles of the constitution which we have stated. "The
majority are right." Any fears of the majority are inconsistent with
this maxim, and were always felt by me to be so, from the time I entered
the country till I left it.

One sunny October morning I was taking a drive, with my party, along the
shores of the pretty Owasco Lake, in New York state, and conversing on
the condition of the country with a gentleman who thought the political
prospect less bright than the landscape. I had been less than three
weeks in the country, and was in a state of something like awe at the
prevalence of, not only external competence, but intellectual ability.
The striking effect upon a stranger of witnessing, for the first time,
the absence of poverty, of gross ignorance, of all servility, of all
insolence of manner, cannot be exaggerated in description. I had seen
every man in the towns an independent citizen; every man in the country
a land-owner. I had seen that the villages had their newspapers, the
factory girls their libraries. I had witnessed the controversies between
candidates for office on some difficult subjects, of which the people
were to be the judges. With all these things in my mind, and with every
evidence of prosperity about me in the comfortable homesteads which
every turn in the road, and every reach of the lake, brought into view,
I was thrown into a painful amazement by being told that the grand
question of the time was "whether the people should be encouraged to
govern themselves, or whether the wise should save them from
themselves." The confusion of inconsistencies was here so great as to
defy argument: the patronage among equals that was implied; the
assumption as to who were the wise; and the conclusion that all the rest
must be foolish. This one sentence seemed to be the most extraordinary
combination that could proceed from the lips of a republican.

The expressions of fear vary according to the pursuits, or habits of
mind of those who entertain them: but all are inconsistent with the
theory that the majority are right. One fears the influence in the
national councils of the "Tartar population" of the west, observing that
men retrograde in civilisation when thinly settled in a fruitful
country. But the representatives from these regions will be few while
they are thinly settled, and will be in the minority when in the wrong.
When these representatives become numerous, from the thick settlement of
those regions, their character will have ceased to become Tartar-like
and formidable: even supposing that a Tartar-like character could
co-exist with the commerce of the Mississippi. Another tells me that the
State has been, again and again, "on a lee shore, and a flaw has blown
it off, and postponed the danger; but this cannot go on for ever." The
fact here is true; and it would seem to lead to a directly contrary
inference. "The flaw" is the will of the majority, which might be better
indicated by a figure of something more stable. "The majority is
right." It has thus far preserved the safety of the state; and this is
the best ground for supposing that it will continue to be a safeguard.

One of the most painful apprehensions seems to be that the poorer will
heavily tax the richer members of society; the rich being always a small
class. If it be true, as all parties appear to suppose, that rulers in
general are prone to use their power for selfish purposes, there remains
the alternative, whether the poor shall over-tax the rich, or whether
the rich shall over-tax the poor: and, if one of these evils were
necessary, few would doubt which would be the least. But the danger
appears much diminished on the consideration that, in the country under
our notice, there are not, nor are likely to be, the wide differences in
property which exist in old countries. There is no class of hereditary
rich or poor. Few are very wealthy; few are poor; and every man has a
fair chance of being rich. No such unequal taxation has yet been
ordained by the sovereign people; nor does there appear to be any danger
of it, while the total amount of taxation is so very small as in the
United States, and the interest that every one has in the protection of
property is so great. A friend in the South, while eulogizing to me the
state of society there, spoke with compassion of his northern fellow
citizens, who were exposed to the risks of "a perpetual struggle between
pauperism and property." To which a northern friend replied, that it is
true that there is a perpetual struggle everywhere between pauperism and
property. The question is, which succeeds. In the United States, the
prospect is that each will succeed. Paupers may obtain what they want,
and proprietors will keep that which they have. As a mere matter of
convenience, it is shorter and easier to obtain property by enterprise
and labour in the United States, than by pulling down the wealthy. Even
the most desponding do not consider the case as very urgent, at present.
I asked one of my wealthy friends, who was predicting that in thirty
years his children would be living under a despotism, why he did not
remove. "Where," said he, with a countenance of perplexity, "could I be
better off?"--which appeared to me a truly reasonable question.

In a country, the fundamental principle of whose politics is, that its
"rulers derive their just powers from the consent of the governed," it
is clear that there can be no narrowing of the suffrage. However
earnestly some may desire this, no one hopes it. But it does not follow
that the apprehensive minority has nothing left but discontent. The
enlightenment of society remains not only matter for hope, but for
achievement. The prudent speak of the benefits of education as a matter
of policy, while the philanthropic promote it as a matter of justice.
Security of person and property follows naturally upon a knowledge of
rights. However the aristocracy of wealth, learning, and talent may
differ among themselves, as to what is the most valuable kind of
knowledge, all will agree that every kind will strengthen the bonds of
society. In this direction must the aristocracy work for their own
security. If they sufficiently provide the means of knowledge to the
community, they may dismiss their fears, and rest assured that the great
theory of their government will bear any test; and that "the majority
will be in the right."

If the fears of the aristocracy are inconsistent with the theory of the
government under which they live, so is much of the practice of the
democracy. Their hopefulness is reasonable; their reliance on the
majority is reasonable. But there are evils attendant on their practice
of their true theories which may account for the propounding of worse
theories by their opponents.

Learning by experience is slow work. However sure it may be, it is slow;
and great is the faith and patience required by men who are in advance
of a nation on a point which they feel that they could carry, if they
had not to wait the pleasure of the majority. Though the majority be
right in respect of the whole of politics, there is scarcely a sensible
man who may not be more in the right than the majority with regard to
some one point; and no allowance can be too great for the perpetual
discouragement hence arising. The majority eventually wills the best;
but, in the present imperfection of knowledge, the will is long in
exhibiting itself; and the ultimate demonstration often crowns a series
of mistakes and failures. From this fact arises the complaint of many
federalists that the democratic party is apt to adopt their measures,
after railing both at those measures, and at the men who framed them.
This is often true: and it is true that, if the people had only had the
requisite knowledge, they would have done wisely to have accepted good
measures from the beginning, without any railing at all. But the
knowledge was wanting. The next best thing that can happen is, that
which does happen: that the people learn, and act upon their learning.
If they are not wise enough to adopt a good measure at first, it would
be no improvement of the case that they should be too obstinate to
accept it at last. The case proves only that out of ignorance come
knowledge, conviction, and action; and the majority is ultimately in the
right. Whenever there is less of ignorance to begin with, there will be
less of the railing, which is childish enough, whether as a mere
imputation, or as a reality.

The great theory presumes that the majority not only will the best
measures, but choose the best men. This is far from being true in
practice. In no respect, perhaps, are the people more behind their
theory than in this. The noble set of public servants with which the
people were blessed in their revolutionary period seems to have inspired
them at first with a somewhat romantic faith in men who profess strong
attachment to whatever has been erected into a glory of the nation; and,
from that time to this, the federal party has, from causes which will be
hereafter explained, furnished a far superior set of men to the public
service than the democratic party. I found this fact almost universally
admitted by the wisest adherents of democracy; and out of it has arisen
the mournful question, whether an honest man with false political
principles be not more dangerous as a ruler than an unscrupulous man
with true political principles. I have heard the case put thus: "There
is not yet a sufficiency of real friends of the people willing to be
their servants. They must take either a somewhat better set of men whose
politics they disapprove, or a somewhat worse set of men to make tools
of. They take the tools, use them, and throw them away."

This is true; and a melancholy truth it is; since it is certain that
whenever the people shall pertinaciously require honest servants, and
take due pains to ascertain their honesty, true men will be forthcoming.
Under God's providence, the work never waits for the workman.

This fact, however, has one side as bright as the other is dark. It is
certain that many corrupt public servants are supported under the belief
that they are good and great men. No one can have attended assiduously
on the course of public affairs at Washington, and afterwards listened
to conversation in the stages, without being convinced of this. As soon
as the mistake is discovered, it is rectified. Retribution often comes
sooner than it could have been looked for. Though it be long delayed,
the remedy is ultimately secure. Every corrupt faction breaks up, sooner
or later, and character is revealed: the people let down their
favourite, to hide his head, or continue to show his face, as may best
suit his convenience; and forthwith choose a better man; or one believed
to be better. In such cases, the evil lies in ignorance--a temporary
evil; while the principle of rectification may work, for aught we can
see, eternally.

Two considerations,--one of fact, another of inference,--may reassure
those who are discouraged by these discrepancies between the theories of
the United States' government, and the practice of the democratic party,
with regard to both measures and men. The Americans are practically
acquainted with the old proverb, "What is every body's business is
nobody's business." No man stirs first against an abuse which is no more
his than other people's. The abuse goes on till it begins to overbear
law and liberty. Then the multitude arises, in the strength of the law,
and crushes the abuse. Sufficient confirmation of this will occur to any
one who has known the State histories of the Union for the last twenty
years, and will not be wholly contradicted by the condition of certain
affairs there which now present a bad aspect. Past experience sanctions
the hope that when these bad affairs have grown a little worse, they
will be suddenly and completely redressed. Illustrations in abundance
are at hand.

Lotteries were formerly a great inducement to gaming in Massachusetts.
Prudent fathers warned their sons against lotteries; employers warned
their servants; clergymen warned their flocks. Tracts, denouncing
lotteries, were circulated; much eloquence was expended,--not in vain,
though all sober people were already convinced, and weak people were
still unable to resist the seduction. At length, a young man drowned
himself. A disappointment in a lottery was found to be the cause. A
thrill of horror ran through the community. Every man helped to carry
his horror of lotteries into the legislature; and their abolition
followed in a trice.

Freemasonry was once popular in the United States; and no one seemed to
think any harm of it, though, when examined, it clearly appears an
institution incompatible with true republicanism. The account given of
it by some friends of mine, formerly masons, is, that it is utterly
puerile in itself; that it may be dignified, under a despotism, by an
application to foreign objects, but that it is purely mischievous in a
republic. Its object, of course, is power. It can have no other; and
ought not to have this, where the making of the laws is the office of
the people. Its interior obligations are also violations of the
democratic principle. All this was as true of masonry twelve years ago
as it is now; but masonry was allowed to spread far and wide. One
Morgan, a freemason, living in the western part of the state of New
York, did a remarkable deed, for which various motives are assigned. He
wrote a book in exposure of masonry, its facts and tendencies. When the
first part was printed and secured, some masons broke into the
printing-office where it was deposited, and destroyed as much of the
work as they could lay hold of. Being partly foiled, they bethought
themselves of stopping the work by carrying off the author. He was
arrested for a trifling debt, (probably fictitious,) conveyed hastily to
a magistrate, some miles off, who committed him for want of bail. The
ostensible creditor arrived at the jail, in the middle of the night,
and let him out; four or five men put him into a carriage, which made
for the Canada frontier. On landing him on British ground, the masons
there refused to have any concern in a matter which had gone so far, and
Morgan was shut up in the fort at Niagara village, where the Niagara
river flows into Lake Ontario. There he was fed and guarded for two
days. Thus far, the testimony is express; and concerning the succeeding
circumstances there is no reasonable doubt. He was put into a boat,
carried out into the middle of the river, and thrown in, with a stone
tied to his neck. For four years, there were attempts to bring the
conspirators to justice; but little was done. The lodges subscribed
funds to carry the actual murderers out of the country. Sheriffs,
jurymen, constables, all omitted their duty with regard to the rest. The
people were roused to action by finding the law thus overawed.
Anti-masonic societies were formed. Massachusetts and other States
passed laws against extra-judicial oaths. In such States, the lodges can
make no new members, and are becoming deserted by the old. The
anti-masonic party flourishes, having a great principle as its basis. It
has the control in a few States, and powerful influence in others.
Morgan's disclosures have been carried on by other hands. A bad
institution is overthrown. The people have learned an important lesson;
and they have gone through an honourable piece of discipline in making a
stand for the law, which is the life of their body politic.

Thus end, and thus, we may trust, will end the mistakes of the people,
whose professed interest is in a wise self-government. Some worse
institutions even than masonry remain to be cast out. The law has been
again overawed; not once, but many times; and the eyes of the world are
on the people of the United States, to see what they will do. The world
is watching to discover whether they are still sensible of the sacred
value of unviolated law; whether they are examining who it is that
threatens and overbears the law, and why; and whether they are
proceeding towards the re-establishment of the peace and security of
their whole community, by resolutely rooting out from among their
institutions every one which will not bear the test of the first
principles of the whole.

The other ground of hope of which I spoke as being inferential, arises
out of the imaginative political character of the Americans. They have
not yet grown old in the ways of the world. Their immediate fathers have
done such a deed as the world never saw; and the children have not yet
passed out the intoxication of success. With far less of vanity and
presumption than might have been looked for from their youth among the
nations, with an extraordinary amount of shrewdness and practical talent
shared among individuals, the American people are as imaginative as any
nation I happen to have heard or read of. They reminded me every day of
the Irish. The frank, confiding character of their private intercourses,
the generous nature of their mutual services, the quickness and
dexterity of their doings, their fertility of resource, their proneness
to be run away with by a notion, into any extreme of absurdity--in all
this, and in everything but their deficiency of moral independence, (for
which a difference of circumstances will fully account,) they resemble
the Irish. I regard the American people as a great embryo poet: now
moody, now wild, but bringing out results of absolute good sense:
restless and wayward in action, but with deep peace at his heart:
exulting that he has caught the true aspect of things past, and at the
depth of futurity which lies before him, wherein to create something so
magnificent as the world has scarcely begun to dream of. There is the
strongest hope of a nation that is capable of being possessed with an
idea; and this kind of possession has been the peculiarity of the
Americans from their first day of national existence till now. Their
first idea was loftier than some which have succeeded; but they have
never lost sight of the first. It remains to be, at intervals,
apprehended anew; and whenever the time shall arrive, which cannot but
arrive, when the nation shall be so fully possessed of the complete idea
as by a moral necessity to act it out, they will be as far superior to
nations which act upon the experience and expediency of their time as
the great poet is superior to common men.

This time is yet very far distant; and the American people have not only
much to learn, and a painful discipline to endure, but some disgraceful
faults to repent of and amend. They must give a perpetual and earnest
heed to one point; to cherish their high democratic hope, their faith in
man. The older they grow, the more must they "reverence the dreams of
their youth." They must eschew the folly and profaneness so prevalent in
the old world, of exalting man, abstractedly and individually, as a
piece of God's creation, and despising men in the mass. The statesman in
a London theatre feels his heart in a tumult, while a deep amen echoes
through its chambers at Hamlet's adoration of humanity; but not the
less, when he goes home, does he speak slightingly, compassionately, or
protectingly of the masses, the population, the canaille. He is
awestruck with the grandeur of an individual spirit; but feels nothing
of the grandeur of a congregated million of like spirits, because they
happen to be far off. This proves nothing but the short-sightedness of
such a man. Such shortness of sight afflicts some of the wisest and best
men in the new world. I know of one who regards with a humble and
religious reverence the three or four spirits which have their
habitation under his roof, and close at hand; who begins to doubt and
question, in the face of far stronger outward evidence of good, persons
who are a hundred miles off; and has scarcely any faith left for those
who happen to be over the sea. The true democratic hope cannot coexist
with such distrust. Its basis is the unmeasured scope of humanity; and
its _rationale_ the truth, applicable alike to individuals and nations,
that men are what they are taken for granted to be. "Countrymen," cries
Brutus, dying,

     "My heart doth joy that yet in all my life,
     I found no man but he was true to me."

The philosophy of this fact is clear; it followed of course from Brutus
always supposing that men were true. Whenever the Americans, or any
other people, shall make integrity their rule, their criterion, their
invariable supposition, the first principles of political philosophy
will be fairly acted out, and the high democratic hope will be its own


[2] Jefferson writes, September, 1798, "The most long-sighted politician
could not, seven years ago, have imagined that the people of this wide
extended country could have been enveloped in such delusion, and made so
much afraid of themselves and their own power, as to surrender it
spontaneously to those who are manoeuvring them into a form of
government, the principal branches of which may be beyond their

Again, March, 1801:--"You have understood that the revolutionary
movements in Europe had, by industry and artifice, been wrought into
objects of terror in this country, and had really involved a great
portion of our well-meaning citizens in a panic which was perfectly
unaccountable, and during the prevalence of which they were led to
support measures the most insane. They are now pretty thoroughly
recovered from it, and sensible of the mischief which was done, and
preparing to be done, had their minds continued a little longer under
that derangement. The recovery bids fair to be complete, and to
obliterate entirely the line of party division, which had been so
strongly drawn."--_Jefferson's Correspondence_, vol. iii. pp. 401, 457.



     "The true foundation of republican government is the equal right of
     every citizen, in his person and property, and in their management.
     Try by this, as a tally, every provision of our constitution, and
     see if it hangs directly on the will of the people."


Though it be true that the principles of government are to be deduced
more from experience of human nature than experience of human
governments, the institutions in which those principles are to be
embodied must be infinitely modified by preceding circumstances. Bentham
must have forgotten this when he offered, at sixty-four, to codify for
several of the United States, and also for Russia. He proposed to
introduce a new set of terms. These could not, from his want of local
knowledge, have been very specific; and if general, what was society to
do till the lawyers had done arguing? How could even a Solomon
legislate, three thousand miles off, for a republic like that of
Connecticut, which set out with taking its morals and politics by
handfuls, out of Numbers and Deuteronomy? or for Virginia, rank with
feudal prejudices and methods? or for Delaware, with its monarchical
martyr spirit? or for Louisiana, compounded of Spain, France, and
America? Though at the time of the framing of the constitution, the
States bore a strong general resemblance in their forms of government,
endless minor differences existed, mainly arising from the different
tenure on which they had been held under the English crown. Some had
been provinces, governed by royal commissions, according to royal
convenience. These were New Hampshire, New York, Virginia, the
Carolinas, and Georgia. Others had been under proprietary government; as
Maryland, held under patent, by Lord Baltimore; and Pennsylvania and
Delaware, held by William Penn. Others, again, were under charter
governments; ruled and altogether disposed of by political corporations.
Such were Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Within the
memory of middle-aged men, the governor of New Hampshire used to travel
in a coach and six, while the governor of the much more important
Massachusetts went on a horse, with his wife on a pillion. It is within
the memory of living men how Massachusetts rose up in rejection of the
imposition of a clergy by England; while the colonial law of Virginia
ordained parsons to be paid yearly six thousand weight of prime tobacco,
in addition to marriage, burial, and birth-fees; in which days, an
unholy pastor, appointed by Lord Baltimore, was seen to ride about with
the church key in one hand, and a pistol in the other. It is absurd to
suppose that communities, where wide differences of customs, prejudices,
and manners still exist, can be, or ought to be, brought into a state of
exact conformity of institutions. Diversities, not only of old custom,
but of climate, productions and genealogy, forbid it; and reason does
not require it. That institutions should harmonise with the same first
principles, is all that is requisite. Some, who would not go so far as
to offer to codify for countries where they have not get their foot,
are yet apt to ask the use of one or another institution, to which the
Americans seem to be unreasonably attached. It is a sufficient general
answer that institutions are rarely sudden and complete inventions. They
have usually an historical origin, even when renovated by revolution.
Their protracted existence, and the attachment of the people to them are
strong presumptions of their having some use. If their purposes can be
better attained in another way, they will surely be modified. If they
are the result of compromise, they will be abolished, according to the
invariable law by which expediency finally succumbs to principle. That
this will be the fate of certain of the United States' institutions
which no one yet dreams of touching, and few dare to analyze, has been
clearly foreseen, for forty years past, by many of the most upright and
able men in the country. Some of them entertain an agonizing alarm at
the prospect of change. Others, more reasonably, trust that, where no
large pecuniary interests are at stake, the work of rectifying may very
quietly and safely succeed that of reconciling: and the majority have no
idea of the changes which their own hands, or their children's, will
have to effect. The gradual ripening for change may be an advantage in
more respects than one. Political changes which are the result of full
conviction in a free people, are pretty sure to be safe. Time is also
allowed, meanwhile, for men to practice their new lesson of separating
the idea of revolution from the horrors which have no more natural
connexion with it than burning at the stake has with the firm grasp of
speculative truth.



"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."

So much for the authority, and the objects of this celebrated
constitution, as set forth in its preamble.

Its provisions are so well known that it is needful only to indicate
them. In Europe, the difficulty is to avoid supposing the state
governments to be subordinate to the general. "They are coordinate
departments of one simple and integral whole." State government
legislates and administers in all affairs which concern its own
citizens. To the federal government are consigned all affairs which
concern citizens, as foreigners from other states, or as fellow-citizens
with all in certain specified relations.

The general objects of the instrument are easily stated; and an
apparently clear case of separation between the general and state
governments drawn out upon paper. But the application of the instrument
to practice is the difficulty.

In this, there are two grand difficulties, among many of inferior
importance. The one is, to construe the instrument; the other is, to
bridge over its awful chasms of compromise.

There has never been a solemn instrument drawn up yet without leaving
room for varieties of construction. There never can be, under our
present use of abstract terms; no two men's abstractions being alike, or
discoverably so. Of course, the profession in this case is, that words
are to be taken according to their just and natural import; that there
is to be no straining; that they are to be judged of according to common
sense; and so on. The old jests against etymologists are enough to prove
how far men are from agreeing what straining is. As to common sense, men
respond in unison to a revelation of it; but they rarely agree, _à
priori_, as to what it is. This difficulty is a wholly unavoidable one.
The refuge under it is in the maxim "the majority are right." If the
case in dispute be one of judicial import, the citizen may appeal to the
Supreme Court. If it be of a different nature, it must be left to that
other kind of supreme court,--the majority,--and the verdict will be
given through the ballot-boxes.

The other difficulty, that of compromise, is declared to have been
equally unavoidable. Concession, large mutual concession, was clearly
necessary. To what extent, may be faintly conceived from the following
extract from the Federalist. To some readers, who are more interested in
the present workings of the government, than in the embarrassments of
its inventors, this extract may appear dull. But it is useful to be
presented with an outline of the difficulties incurred in legislating
for a federal republic, both as a fact in political science; as a means
of forming something like a just judgment of the framers of the
constitution; and as a ground of hope that, so much danger having been
surmounted, that which remains may be also overcome.

"This one tells us, that the proposed constitution ought to be
rejected, because it is not a confederation of the States, but a
government over individuals. Another admits, that it ought to be a
government over individuals, to a certain extent, but by no means to the
extent proposed. A third does not object to the government over
individuals, or to the extent proposed; but to the want of a Bill of
Rights. A fourth concurs in the absolute necessity of a Bill of Rights,
but contends that it ought to be declaratory, not of the personal rights
of individuals, but of the rights reserved to the States in their
political capacity. A fifth is of opinion that a Bill of Rights of any
sort would be superfluous and misplaced; and that the plan would be
unexceptionable, but for the fatal power of regulating the times and
places of election. An objector in a large State exclaims loudly against
the unreasonable equality of representation in the senate. An objector
in a small State is equally loud against the dangerous inequality in the
House of Representatives. From one quarter, we are alarmed with the
amazing expense, from the number of persons who are to administer the
new government. From another quarter, and sometimes from the same
quarter on another occasion, the cry is that the Congress will be but
the shadow of a representation; and that the government would be far
less objectionable, if the number of the expenses were doubled. A
patriot in a State that does not import or export, discerns insuperable
objections against the power of direct taxation. The patriotic
adversary, in a State of great exports and imports, is not less
dissatisfied that the whole burthen of taxes may be thrown on
consumption. This politician discovers in the constitution a direct and
irresistible tendency to monarchy. That, is equally sure that it will
end in aristocracy. Another is puzzled to say which of these shapes it
will ultimately assume, but sees clearly it must be one or other of
them. While a fourth is not wanting, who, with no less confidence,
affirms, that the constitution is so far from having a bias towards
either of these dangers, that the weight on that side will not be
sufficient to keep it upright and firm against its opposite
propensities. With another class of adversaries to the constitution, the
language is, that the legislative, executive, and judiciary departments
are intermixed in such a manner as to contradict all the ideas of
regular government, and all the requisite precautions in favour of
liberty. Whilst this objection circulates in vague and general
expressions, there are not a few who lend their sanction to it. Let each
one come forward with his particular explanation, and scarcely any two
are exactly agreed on the subject. In the eyes of one, the junction of
the senate with the president, in the responsible function of appointing
to offices, instead of vesting this power in the executive alone, is the
vicious part of the organisation. To another, the exclusion of the House
of Representatives, whose numbers alone could be a due security against
corruption and partiality in the exercise of such a power, is equally
obnoxious. With a third, the admission of the president into any share
of a power, which must ever be a dangerous engine in the hands of the
executive magistrate, is an unpardonable violation of the maxims of
republican jealousy. No part of the arrangement, according to some, is
more inadmissible than the trial of impeachments by the Senate, which is
alternately a member both of the legislative and executive departments,
when this power so evidently belonged to the judiciary department. We
concur fully, reply others, in the objection to this part of the plan;
but we can never agree that a reference of impeachments to the judiciary
authority would be an amendment of the error: our principal dislike to
the organisation arises from the extensive powers already lodged in that
department. Even among the zealous patrons of a council of state, the
most irreconcilable variance is discovered, concerning the mode in which
it ought to be constituted. The demand of one gentleman is, that the
council should consist of a small number, to be appointed by the most
numerous branch of the legislature. Another would prefer a larger
number, and considers it a fundamental condition, that the appointment
should be made by the president himself."[3]

It must have cost Mr. Madison some trouble to vary the mode of
expression in putting this host of objections. We cannot but admire the
ingenuity with which he has brought them into view. But what should we
say to the management which should reconcile the differences themselves?
Concessions, various and large, were obviously necessary. I am not about
to give a catalogue of what these actually were. They may be learned
from any history of the period. Suffice it that the general and state
governments not only urged and established claims, but admitted a set of
prohibitions on themselves.

In all this there appears no fatal compromise. But there were some which
made the wisest men of the time tremble for the stability of their noble
work. There seems peril enough in the liability to the occurrence of new
questions, which could not be foreseen, and for which an opening might,
or might not, happen to be left. When, in addition to such, there were
some questions left to be settled by a future government, from the
inability of the statesmen of 1787 to agree upon them, these statesmen
might well be uneasy about the stability of their work. Of the first
order of questions is that which is now debated with great
animosity,--whether Congress has power to abolish slavery in the
District of Columbia: a disputed point of construction, on which it
seems to me that no plain person can be blamed for not anticipating any
difference of opinion. Of the second class is that great question, or
nest of questions, respecting Reserved Rights. It was agreed that all
unforeseen questions which might arise with regard to the respective
powers of the general and state governments, should be settled by the
state governments; but then, there was an indefinite limitation
introduced in the clause, that the general government should have all
powers necessary for the prosecution of such and such purposes. This
vague clause has been the occasion of the Union being shaken to its
centre; and it may be thus shaken again, before the questions arising
out of it are all settled.

Even these, being open questions, are less formidable than the
compromise of the true republican principle which is apparent in some
provisions of the constitution, and in some of the most important
institutions of the country. The northern States, which had abolished,
on principle, a far milder slavery than that of the cotton and
sugar-growing south, agreed to admit slavery in the south as a basis for
direct taxation, and for representation. They did worse. They agreed to
act in behalf of their southern fellow-citizens in the capture and
restitution of runaway slaves, and in the defence of masters against
rebellious slaves. What bitter sorrows of conscience and of feeling this
compromise has cost their children, it is impossible fully to describe.
Of course, the law, being against conscience, _i. e._ the law of man
coming into collision with the law of God, is constantly broken; and
causes of dissension hence arise. I know that slavery is only recognised
by the constitution as a matter of fact; and that it is only twice
mentioned; in connexion with representation, and with the restitution to
their masters of "persons held to labour escaping into another State:"
but the fact remains that a man who abhors slavery is compellable by the
law which his fathers made, to deliver up to the owner a slave whose act
of absconding he approves. It is impossible to estimate the evils which
have proceeded from, and which will yet arise out of this guilty but
"necessary" compromise.

There was difficulty in bringing the greater and smaller States into
union. The smaller States could not agree to such an unequal
representation as should render them liable to be swallowed up by the
larger; while the larger could not consent to be reduced to an equality
with the smaller. The Senate was established to afford an equal state
representation; while the House of Representatives affords a fair
representation of the nation in the aggregate, according to numbers. But
the principle of the general government is, that it governs the entire
people as one nation, and not as a league of States. There ought, in
consistency with this, to be no state representation at all; and the
Senate is an anomaly. An anomalous institution cannot be very
long-lived. A second chamber, on a more consistent principle, will
probably be established in its place, to fulfil its functions as a Court
of Review, and as a check upon the precipitation of the other house,
and, if need be, upon the encroachments of the executive. There is yet
more of compromise involved in this institution of the Senate; as might
be expected, since there is no end of compromise when principle is once
departed from; yet there are statesmen who defend it on other grounds
than that its establishment was necessary to the foundation of any
federal government at all. One observed to me, "Some things look well in
theory, and fail in practice. This may not be justifiable in theory; but
it works well." If this last sentence be true, the well-working of the
Senate is only a temporary affair; an accident. Its radical change
becomes a question of time merely; and the recent agitation of the
question of Instructions seems to indicate that the time is not very far

The appointment of the judges for life is another departure from the
absolute republican principle. There is no actual control over them.
Theirs is a virtually irresponsible office. Much can be and is said in
defence of this arrangement; and whatever is said, is most powerfully
enforced by the weight of character possessed by the judiciary, up to
this day. But all this does not alter the fact that irresponsible
offices are an inconsistency in a republic. With regard to all this
compromise, no plea of expediency can alter the fact that, while the
House of Representatives is mainly republican, the Senate is only
partially so, being anomalous in its character, and its members not
being elected immediately by the people; and that the judiciary is not
republican at all, since the judges are independent of the nation, from
the time of their appointment.

I was told, on high authority, that the assent of the first nine States
to the constitution, in 1788, was obtained by means not absolutely fair.
What devices were used to procure an apparent majority, I was not
informed; but it is generally supposed that if there had been no
legislatures active on the occasion, if it had been put to the vote
throughout the nation, the ratification would not have taken place when
it did. Chief Justice Marshall gives testimony to this effect in his
Life of Washington. "So small, in many instances, was the majority in
favour of the constitution, as to afford strong ground for the opinion
that, had the influence of character been removed, the intrinsic merits
of the instrument would not have secured its adoption. Indeed, it is
scarcely to be doubted that, in some of the adopting States, a majority
of the people were in opposition."

That a constitution, so framed, and so carried, should have worked as
well as it has done, seems to point out two very encouraging things;
that we may, without rashness, speak of it as Washington did, when he
said, "I was convinced it approached nearer to perfection than any
government hitherto instituted among men;" and that the world may
quietly and hopefully await the further proceedings of the American
people, in their advances towards an uncompromising democracy. There
will be changes, but not therefore convulsion. There will be the change
which Jefferson foresaw, and provided for without dread. "Still," says
he, so lately as June, 1824, "we consider our constitutions not
otherwise changeable than by the authority of the people, on a special
election of representatives for that very purpose: they are, until then,
the _lex legum_. But can they be made unchangeable? Can one generation
bind another, and all others, in succession for ever? I think not. The
Creator has made the earth for the living, not the dead."--"A generation
may bind itself as long as its majority continues in life; when that has
disappeared, another majority is in place, holds all the rights and
powers their predecessors once held, and may change their laws and
institutions to suit themselves. Nothing then is unchangeable but the
inherent and inalienable rights of man."[4]

Nothing can be more striking to a stranger than the experience gained,
after some residence in the United States, of the ultimate ascendency of
the will of the majority--_i. e._ of the right--in defiance of all
appearances to the contrary. The review of what I witnessed of this
kind, in the course of two years, with regard to the conduct of Congress
alone, surprises and cheers me. It is true that I see several wrongs
unredressed; several wounds inflicted on the people's liberties yet
unhealed; but these are cases in which the people do not yet understand
what has been done; or have not yet roused themselves to show that they

In the Senate, the people's right of petition is invaded. Last session,
it was ordained that all petitions and memorials relating to a
particular subject--slavery in the District of Columbia--should be laid
on the table unread, and never recurred to. Of course, the people will
not long submit to this. What has been already achieved in Congress on
this topic is a security that the rest will follow. When I entered the
United States, there was an absolute and most ominous silence in
Congress about slavery. Almost every leading man there told me in
conversation that it was the grand question of all; that every member's
mind was full of it; that nearly all other questions were much affected,
or wholly determined by it; yet no one even alluded to it in public.
Before I left, it had found its way into both houses. The houses had, in
some sort, come to a vote upon it, which showed the absolute abolition
strength in the House of Representatives to be forty-seven. The entering
wedge having been thus far driven, it is inconceivable that the nation
will allow it to be withdrawn by surrendering their right of petition.
When I left, however, the people had virtually no right of petition with
regard to the District over which they--_i. e._ their Congress--have an
exclusive jurisdiction.

Again. There were loud and extensive complaints, last session, of the
despotism of the chair in the House of Representatives, chiefly in
connexion with the subject of slavery. No members, it was said, were
allowed a fair hearing but those who sat in a particular part of the
house. If this complaint arises out of the peevishness of political
disappointment, it will soon be contradicted by facts. If it is true, it
is a grave injury. In either case, the chair will not long possess this
power of despotism. If the favoured are few, as the complaint states,
the injured many will demand and obtain the power to make themselves
heard in turn; and no spirit of party can long stand in the way of a
claim so just.

Again. After the gentlemen of Charleston had disgraced their city and
country, by breaking into the post-office, and burning the contents of
the mail-bags, in their dread of abolition papers, a post-master wrote
to a member of the cabinet, desiring his approbation for having examined
and refused to forward certain papers mailed at his office. The member
of the cabinet, Kendall, gave the desired sanction to this audacious
stoppage of the post-office function, declaring that the good of the
community (as judged of by the individual) is a consideration above the
law. The strangers in the land knew not what to make of the
fool-hardiness of hazarding such a declaration, in a man of Kendall's
wit. It was known that he desired the office of post-master-general;
that the president wished him to have it, and that the doubt was whether
the Senate would confirm the appointment. Soon after this apparently
fatal declaration, he was nominated, and the Senate confirmed his
appointment. The declaration, no doubt, seated him in office. The
southern members were won by it. Kendall calculated rightly for his
immediate object. What is to become of him when the people shall at
length recognise the peril and insult to themselves of one of their
favoured servants declaring the will of an individual to be occasionally
subversive of the law--_i. e._ of the will of the majority--remains to
be seen. Meantime, the continuance in office of the person whose
declaration to the above effect remains unretracted, may be regarded as
one of the deepest wounds which has been inflicted on the liberties of
the nation.

Another attempt, brought on, no doubt, by Kendall's success, to derange
or stop the functions of the post-office, has failed. Mr. Calhoun's
Bill, commonly called the Gag Bill, prohibiting postmasters from
receiving and forwarding any papers whatsoever containing anything
relating to slavery, actually was brought to a third reading by the
casting vote of the president of the Senate. There was fear, at the
time, that this casting vote might ensure the success of the bill, from
the popularity of the vice-president. But the bill was thrown out on the
third reading; and the effect of the casting vote has been, not to aid
the bill, but to injure materially the popularity of the vice-president.
This is so far well. It shows that the people are preparing to grapple
honestly with the great, the hideous question, out of which arise these
minor encroachments upon their liberties.

Out of the slavery question arose the last monstrous usurpation of
Congress, for which the emphatic rebuke of the nation awaits the sinning
members. The story deserves to be told at length, on account both of its
peculiarities, and of its furnishing a fair illustration of certain
relations between the state and general governments.

Great Britain was not very learned in the geography of the new world,
in the early days of her colonies there. She gave Virginia a patent for
lands, including what is now Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan,
Missouri, and on to the Pacific. Other colonies obtained grants of equal
moderation as to size, and wisdom as to disposition. This absurd
partition, it was found, must occasion irreconcilable quarrels among the
members of the confederation; and Washington proposed that all, after
fixing their own boundaries, should throw into the common stock the huge
unoccupied domain. Virginia led the way in making this honourable
sacrifice. She fixed her own boundary; and the articles of compact
between the United States and the people of the territory north-west of
the Ohio river, declared that the territory should be divided into not
more than five, nor less than three States. This was in 1787. The
boundary prescribed for Ohio and Michigan, was found to be "not
convenient." That is, Ohio found it so; and Michigan was not in a
situation, at the time when Ohio was admitted into the Union, to insist
upon the ancient boundary, prescribed at the time of the cession of land
by Virginia. When Ohio was made a State, the boundary she desired was,
among other particulars, ratified by Congress.

In 1816, another portion of land, lying within what Michigan supposed to
be her own territory, was taken from her, and added to Indiana, on the
latter being made a State. An equivalent is offered to Michigan in a
portion of land, to be taken out of Wisconsin, on the western side of
Lake Michigan, which is the natural boundary of the territory. Michigan
alleges that the inconvenience of a part of her territory lying on the
other side of the lake would be so great, that the inhabitants would
prefer belonging to Wisconsin; and the land would be ceded, as soon as
Wisconsin becomes a State. The decision of the right of this case is the
proper business of the Supreme Court, whenever the contesting parties
shall have all come into the Union. Meantime, all parties are interested
in bearing down the claims of Michigan. Ohio and Indiana desire to keep
the lands Congress has authorised them to take. The slave States are
anxious to hinder the increase in number of the free States; and by the
ordinance of 1787, slavery is prohibited for ever, north-west of the
Ohio. The slave States hope, by giving to Michigan a slice of Wisconsin,
to make Wisconsin too small to be hereafter divided into two States. In
this object, the south will be foiled. Even if slavery should exist till
Wisconsin is ready for admission into the Union, there are two ways by
which the desire of the south may and will be foiled. By the re-cession
of the inconvenient portion by Michigan, as mentioned above; and by the
willingness of these northern States to make themselves smaller, and add
one to their number, as, by a _proviso_ in the original compact, they
have power to do, than let themselves be overborne by the south. This
part of the contest, for "a balance of power," arises altogether out of
the slavery question.

Soon after I entered the country, Michigan became qualified to request
admission into the Union. She did so, declaring her discontent with the
boundaries prescribed to her by Congress, and her intention to demand,
in the Supreme Court, on her admission, the re-establishment of the old
ones. I was amused with the different views of the affair presented to
me in different parts of the country. At Cincinnati, in June, 1835, I
was told that the President had just transmitted a threat to Ohio, that
if she did not yield the boundary claimed by Michigan, he would send the
United States troops to fight it out. It was added that the
vice-president had thus far prevailed with the President; it being of
importance to Mr. Van Buren, that Michigan, which he considered in his
interest, should be admitted into the Union in time to vote for him in
the presidential election of 1836. There was much talk at Cincinnati of
the resources of Ohio. The people would turn out, to a man. The
legislature had instantly voted 300,000 dollars to raise troops; and one
hundred and fifty thousand men would immediately be in the field: while
Michigan had neither men nor money;--had absolutely nothing to depend
upon but the six thousand United States' soldiers. This seemed to me to
be too clear a case to be a very true one: and the event belied the
story in almost every particular. Michigan did raise men; (though there
was no war:) she had not the United States' troops: she is not in the
interest of Van Buren; and Ohio could bring no troops into the field.

Michigan proceeded to organise her state government, and sent her
senators to Washington, during the session of 1835 and 1836. They were
allowed to witness the proceedings, but not, of course, to vote. When I
arrived at Detroit, the capital of Michigan, in the middle of June,
1836, the Governor told me that the Michiganians were in the singular
position of having a state government in full operation, while they were
excluded from the Union. The general opinion seemed to be that some
concession must be made about the boundary line; in which case, Michigan
would be admitted, in time to vote at the presidential election. I
pursued my travels through and around the Territory; and when I returned
to Detroit, a month afterwards, I found the place in a state of high
excitement: an excitement fully warranted by the circumstances which had

Congress had acknowledged Michigan to be a sovereign State; and had
offered to admit her into the Union, on condition of her surrendering
all claim to the disputed portions of territory.

A grosser usurpation of power can hardly be conceived. Congress here
usurped the function of the Supreme Court in passing sentence against
Michigan: passing sentence, too, without hearing, or having a right to
listen to, evidence on the case. Congress here required of Michigan to
lay down her rights on the threshold of the Union, if she meant to be
admitted. Mr. Adams intrepidly declared in the House of Representatives,
that Michigan had more cause to ply the Nullification doctrine than
South Carolina ever had. A South Carolina nullifier declared in
conversation, that he believed the Michiganians' claims to be just: but
that, sooner than give her the means of summoning another sovereign
State before the Supreme Court, he would vote for her exclusion from the
Union as long as he lives. A strange posture of affairs, where all
justice seemed to be set aside, and the constitution to have become a
dead letter!

The anxiety next was to know what Michigan would do. There seemed too
many symptoms of yielding. It was mournful to those who felt that now
was the time, now the opportunity, so often sighed for in the best
moments of the best men, for making a heroic stand for the right, to
hear the forebodings about the canal shares, the lake trade, the
probable pecuniary loss in various ways, if there should be delay in the
admission of Michigan into the Union. If we spoke of the constitution,
we were answered with the canal. If we spoke of patriotism, we were
answered with the surplus revenue--the share of it that would be lost.
Then, there were fears of war. We were told that the alternative
was--admission, with its advantages, and a surrender of the contested
lands; and exclusion, with war between infant Michigan and Ohio, backed
by the United States. The alternative was rather, admission, with
submission to unconstitutional force; or exclusion, with the lonely
enjoyment of an honest sovereignty. But this was not the only
alternative. Remaining out of the Union did not involve war. Michigan
might remain out of the Union, peaceably, and under protest, till the
people of the United States should become fully possessed of her case,
and aroused to do her justice. It was with heartfelt delight that I
found, at length, that this last honest course is that which Michigan
has determined to pursue. It is so common for communities, as for
individuals, to miss the moment for doing the greatest of their deeds,
to have the bright object of their preceding worship eclipsed at the
critical moment, to pray incessantly that they may be honest, and then
stand aghast, after all, at an honest deed, that the meeting of the
Convention which was to consider of this affair, was watched with deep
anxiety by the friends of Michigan. We, their visitors, gathered hope
from the tone of the Governor, and others with whom we conversed; from
the aspect of the legislators who were assembled to discuss the
Governor's message;--men with earnest and sensible faces, who looked as
if they were aware that their liberties were at stake; and from the
spirited conduct of Michigan from the beginning of the quarrel. Still,
we were doubtful whether the canal, the surplus revenue, and the
probable war, would not be too much for the fortitude of so young a
people. They have shamed our fears, and made a stand for constitutional
liberty, which will secure to them the gratitude of the Union, to the
latest day of its existence. They have refused to enter the Union on the
unconstitutional terms proposed. The people will see that they are
honourably admitted, and that Congress is duly rebuked.



The principle which is professed in the appointment of a chief
magistrate in the United States is, that his removal is to be as easy as
possible, and effected without disturbing for a moment the proceedings
of government. Under the idea that this last must be impossible, some of
the patriots of 1789 were opposed to the institution of the office of
President altogether; and there are now some who desire that the chief
magistrate should be, as nearly as possible, a cipher; that, for this
purpose, his election should be annual; and that, if this cannot be, the
term should continue to be four years, but without renewal. Such declare
that the office was made for the man, Washington, who was wanted, to
reconcile all parties. They maintain that, though it was, for a
considerable time, well filled, it must become, sooner or later,
dangerous to the public welfare: that it comprehends too much power for
a citizen of a republic to hold, presents too high a stake, occupies too
much thought, and employs too much endeavour, to the exclusion of better

Some desire that the office should have a duration of six years, without

No one dreams of an attempt to hold the office for a third term; and
there is every prospect that, if any President should be ambitious
enough to desire a second re-election, he would fail, and descend from
his high station with a total loss of honour.

Some think so highly of the dignity of the chief magistracy, as to
propose that ex-presidents should be debarred from holding lower
offices. This looks too like an approximation to the monarchical
principle to be, or to become, a popular way of viewing the subject. It
is a proposition of the high federalists. I was far more gratified than
amused at seeing Mr. Adams daily in his seat in the House of
Representatives, while the history of his administration was perpetually
referred to by those who discussed the politics of the country with me.
I am aware that two interpretations may be put upon the fact of an
ex-president desiring a lower office. It may occur from a patriotism
which finds its own dignity in the welfare of its country, or from a
restless ambition to be in the public eye. In either case, it seems to
be no matter for a fixed rule. The republican principle supposes every
man to be at all times ready to serve his country, when called upon. The
rest must be left to the character of the man, and the views of his

Others think so much more highly of the dignity of the Senate than of
the executive, as to desire that senators should be ineligible for the
office of President. The object here is two-fold: to exalt the Senate;
and, by making half a hundred offices higher in honour than that of
President, to drain off some of the eager ambition which flows in the
direction of the executive function. But power is more alluring than
honour; and executive offices will always be objects of choice, in
preference to legislative, except with a very small class of men.
Besides, the Senate is already further removed from the control of the
people, than consistency with the true republican principle allows: and
if the people are to be precluded from choosing their chief magistrate
from among the fifty wisest men (as the senators are in theory) that the
States can choose for the guardianship of their interests, the dignity
of both functions would be much lowered. In theory, the people's range
of choice for their chief magistrate is to extend from the
vice-president's chair to the humblest abode which nestles in the rocks
of their eastern coasts, or overlooks the gulf of Mexico. The honour in
which the Senate is held must depend on its preserving the character,
which, on the whole, it has hitherto maintained. A nobler legislative
body, for power and principle, has probably never been known.
Considering the number of individuals of whom it is composed, its
character has, perhaps, been as remarkable as that of the noble array of
Presidents, of which the United States have to boast. If, amidst its
indirect mode of election, and long term of office, it should prove
equally stable in principle, and flexible in its methods of progress, it
may yet enjoy a long term of existence, as honourable as could be
secured by any exclusion of its members from other offices in the

By far the greatest apprehension connected with the President's office,
relates to the extent of his patronage. It was highly alarming, at
first, to hear all that was said about the country being ridden with
administration-officers, and office-expectants. A little arithmetic,
however, proved very cheering. The most eminent alarmist I happened to
converse with, stated the number of persons directly and indirectly
interested in the bestowment of office by the executive, to be 150,000.
No exact calculation can be made, since no one can do more than
conjecture how many persons at a time are likely to be in expectation
of any one office. But the above may be taken as the widest exaggeration
which an honest alarmist can put forth. This class of interested persons
is, after all, but a small section of the population. There is every
reason to fear that official corruption is abundant under all
governments; and, for some reasons which will be easily apprehended,
remarkably so under the government of the United States; but, when it is
considered how small a proportion of the people is, at any time,
interested in office, and how many persons in office are to be, in
fairness, supposed honest, the evil of executive patronage diminishes to
the imagination so rapidly as to induce a suspicion that many who say
the most about it are throwing a tub to the whale. The watchfulness on
the executive power thus induced is a benefit which will set off against
a great amount of alarm. It will assist the people to find the true mean
between their allowing the President too much power over the servants
who are to transact their business, and their assuming too much control
over the servants who are to transact his.

Difficult as it is to resist impressions on the spot, from all that is
said about the power of the executive, and the character of the
President of the time, the worst alarms are derided by the event. It
does not appear as if the President could work any permanent effect upon
the mind and destiny of the nation. It is of great consequence to the
morals and prosperity of the season, that the chief magistrate should be
a man of principle, rather than expediency; a frank friend of the
people, rather than their cunning flatterer; a man of sense and temper,
rather than an angry bigot; a man of business, rather than a blunderer.
But the term of an unworthy or incapable President is pretty sure to be
the shortest; and, if permitted to serve his eight years, he can do
little unless he acts, on the whole, in accordance with the mind of the
people. If he has any power, it is because the people are with him: in
which case, he cannot be very destructive to their interests. If he does
not proceed in accordance with public sentiment, he has no power. A
brief review of the course of the American Presidents seems to show that
their influence subsides into something very weak and transitory; always
excepting that immeasurable and incalculable influence which is breathed
forth through the remotest generations, by the personal character of
conspicuous individuals.

Washington's influence is a topic which no one is ever hardy enough to
approach, in the way of measurement or specification. Within the compass
of his name lies more than other words can tell of his power over men.
When the British officers were passing up the Potomac, in the last war,
to perpetrate as dastardly a deed of spoliation at the capital as ever
it was the cruel fate of soldiers to be ordered to do, they desired to
be told when they were passing the burial place of Washington, and stood
uncovered on deck as long as they were within sight of Mount Vernon. Any
in England who happen to know how deeply disgraced their country was by
the actors in this expedition, will feel what the power must have been
which, breathing from that shore, humanised for the hour the cowardly
plunderers as they floated by. But it was Washington, the man, not the
President, who moved them to uncover their heads. It is Washington, the
man, not the President, whose name is lovingly spoken, whose picture
smiles benignly in every inhabited nook of his own congregation of
republics. It is even Washington, the man, not the President, whose name
is sacred above all others, to men of all political parties. It was
Washington, the man, who united the votes of all parties in his
presidentship, since, so far from pretending to agree with all, he took
and left, without fear or favour, what convictions he could or could not
adopt from each. The one impression which remains of his presidentship
is its accordance with himself. Had it been, in any respect, a lower
self, there would have been little left of Washington in the people now.

Adams came in by the strength of the federal party. Supported by the
slave States, and all the federalism of the north, he had the means, if
any President ever had, of leaving a strong and permanent impression on
the face of affairs. He filled up his offices with federalists.
Everything during his term of office favoured the influence of the
federalists. The nation was almost beside itself with panic at the
political convulsions of Europe. Yet, notwithstanding all this, and Mr.
Adams's great weight of character, giving influence to his partialities,
the people revealed themselves, in the choice of his successor,
staunchly republican.

Jefferson's influence was greater than that of any other President,
except Washington; and the reason is, that his convictions went along
with the national mind. If Jefferson, with the same love of the people,
the same earnestness of temper, and grace of manners, had been in any
considerable degree less democratic, he might have gone creditably
through his term, and have been well spoken of now; but he would not
have been the honourable means of two successors of the same principles
with himself, being brought in; nor would he have lain, as he now does,
at the very heart of the people. At the outset, his state-rights
principle secured him the south, and his philanthropic, democratic
principles, the north. He was popular, almost beyond example. His
popularity could scarcely be increased; but it has never declined. The
common charges against him, of irreligion, of oppression in the
management of his patronage, of disrespect to his predecessors, are
falling into oblivion, while his great acts remain. As to his religion,
whatever might be his creed, its errors or deficiencies, these are still
matters of disagreement among the wise and good; and it is certain that
Jefferson viewed all the realities that came within his ken, with that
calm earnestness which is the true religious spirit. As to the removals
from office, which are still complained of, it should be remembered that
his predecessor had filled as many offices as possible with high
federalists, many of whom provoked their own discharge by their activity
against the government they professed to serve. There is no evidence
that Jefferson went beyond his own principle; and a principle is no
matter of reproach, though it may be of controversy. He says, "Mr.
Adams's last appointment, when he knew he was naming counsellors and
aids for me and not for himself, I shall set aside as far as depends on
me. Officers who have been guilty of gross abuses of office, such as
marshals packing juries, &c., I shall now remove, as my predecessor
ought in justice to have done. The instances will be few, and governed
by strict rule, and not party passion. The right of opinion shall suffer
no invasion from me."--"The remonstrance laments that a change in the
administration must produce a change in the subordinate officers; in
other words, that it should be deemed necessary for all officers to
think with their principal. But on whom does this imputation bear? On
those who have excluded from office every shade of opinion which was not
their's? or on those who have been so excluded? I lament sincerely that
unessential differences of opinion should ever have been deemed
sufficient to interdict half the society from the rights and blessings
of self-government, to proscribe them as unworthy of every trust. It
would have been to me a circumstance of great relief, had I found a
moderate participation of office in the hands of the majority. I would
gladly have left to time and accident to raise them to their just share.
But their total exclusion calls for prompter corrections. I shall
correct the procedure: but, that done, return with joy to that state of
things, when the only questions concerning a candidate shall be, Is he
honest? Is he capable? Is he faithful to the constitution?"[5]

As to his disrespect to Washington and Adams, it should be remembered
what the party heats of the day were; how Washington's cabinet was
divided between France, war, and general liberty; and neutrality, peace,
and care of the people at home. With such a theme of quarrel, it would
have been a wonder if hasty words had not been sometimes spoken on all
sides. Jefferson's ultimate opinion of Washington, written in confidence
to a friend, in 1814, has happily come to light. At the close, he says,
"These are my opinions of General Washington, which I would vouch at the
judgment-seat of God, having been formed on an acquaintance of thirty
years." One extract is enough: "On the whole, his character was, in its
mass, perfect; in nothing bad, in few things indifferent; and it may
truly be said, that never did nature and fortune combine more perfectly
to make a man great, and to place him in the same constellation with
whatever worthies have merited from man an everlasting remembrance."[6]
The friendship in old age between himself and Mr. Adams, and the moral
and intellectual beauty of their close correspondence, are a spectacle
in sight of which all prior party misunderstandings should be forgotten.
There is one infallible test by which to try old men who have had much
to do in the world. If their power and privilege of admiration survive
their knowledge of the world, they are true-hearted; and they occasion
as much admiration as they enjoy. Jefferson stands this test.

His great acts are much heard of. The reduction of taxes and correction
of abuses with which he began his administration; his having actually
done something against slavery; his invariable decision for advocacy or
opposition, in accordance with the true democratic principle, are now
spoken of more frequently than things less worthy to be remembered. His
influence has been greater than that of any other President since
Washington, exactly in proportion to his nearer approach to the national
idea of a chief magistrate.

No great change took place during the administration of his two
successors, Madison and Monroe. They were strong in the strength of his
principles, and of their own characters. Madison's term of office would
have been memorable in history, if he had not immediately followed his
friend Jefferson. Their identity of views, put into practice by Madison,
with the simplest honesty and true modesty, caused less observation than
the same conduct immediately succeeding a federal administration would
have done. Hence the affectation, practised by some, of calling Madison
a tool of Jefferson. Those who really knew Mr. Madison and his public
life, will be amused at the idea of his being anybody's tool.

The reason why John Quincy Adams's administration is little notorious is
somewhat of the same nature. He was a pure President; a strictly moral
man. His good morality was shown in the devotion of his fine powers to
the faithful conduct of evanescent circumstances. His lot was that of
all good Presidents in the quiet days of the republic. He would not use
his small power for harm; and possessed no very great power for
political good.

General Jackson was brought into office by an overpowering majority, and
after a series of strong party excitements. If ever there was a
possibility of a President marking his age, for good or for evil, it
would have been done during Jackson's administration. He is a man made
to impress a very distinct idea of himself on all minds. He has great
personal courage, much sagacity, though frequently impaired by the
strength of his prejudices, violent passions, an indomitable will, and
that devotion to public affairs in which no President has ever failed.
He had done deeds of war which flattered the pride of the people; and in
doing them, he had acquired a knowledge of the people, which has served
him instead of much other knowledge in which he is deficient. He has
known, however, how to obtain the use, though not the reputation, of the
knowledge which he does not possess. Notwithstanding the strength of his
passions, and the awkward positions in which he has placed himself by
the indulgence of his private resentments, his sagacity has served him
well in keeping him a little way a-head of the popular convictions. No
physician in the world ever understood feeling the pulse, and ordering
his practice accordingly, better than President Jackson. Here are all
the requisites for success in a tyrannical administration. Even in
England, we heard rumours in 1828, and again in 1832, about the perils
of the United States, under the rule of a despotic soldier. The cry
revived with every one of his high-handed deeds; with every exercise of
the veto,--which he has used oftener than all the other Presidents put
together,--with every appointment made in defiance of the Senate; with
the removal of the deposites; with his messages of menace to the French
government. Yet to what amounts the power now, at the close of his
administration, of this idol of the people, this man strong in war, and
subtle in council, this soldier and statesman of indomitable will, of
insatiable ambition, with the resources of a huge majority at his
disposal? The deeds of his administration remain to be justified in as
far as they are sound, and undone if they are faulty. Meantime, he has
been able to obtain only the barest majority in the Senate, the great
object of his wrath: he has been unable to keep the slavery question out
of Congress,--the introduction of which is by far the most remarkable
event of his administration. One of the most desponding complaints I
heard of his administration was, not that he had strengthened the
general government--not that his government had tended to
centralisation--not that he had settled any matters to his own
satisfaction, and left the people to reconcile themselves to his
pleasure as they best might,--but that every great question is left
unsettled; that it is difficult now to tell any party by its principles;
that the principles of such affairs as the currency, land, slavery,
internal improvements, &c. remain to be all argued over again.
Doubtless, this will be tiresome to such public men as have entirely and
finally made up their minds on these subjects. To such, nothing can well
be more wearisome than discussion and action, renewed from year to year.
But the very fact that these affairs remain unsettled, that the people
remain unsatisfied about them, proves that the people have more to
learn, and that they mean to learn it. No true friend of his country
would wish that the questions of slavery and currency should remain in
any position that they have ever yet occupied in the United States; and
towards the settlement of the latter of the two, as far as light depends
on collision of opinions, it is certain that no man has done so much,
whether he meant it or not, as President Jackson. The occasional
breaking up and mingling of parties is a necessary circumstance, whether
it be considered an evil or a good. It may be an evil, in as far as it
affords a vantage-ground to unprincipled adventurers; it is a good, in
as far as it leads to mutual understanding, and improves the candour of
partisans. For the rest, there is no fear but that parties will soon
draw asunder, with each a set of distinctive principles as its badge.
Meantime, men will have reason to smile at their fears of the formidable
personage, who is now descending from the presidential chair; and their
enthusiasm will have cooled down to the temperature fixed by what the
event will prove to have been his merits. They will discuss him by their
firesides with the calmness with which men speak of things that are
past; while they keep their hopes and fears to be chafed up at public
meetings, while the orator points to some rising star, or to some cloud
no bigger than a man's hand. Irish emigrants occasionally fight out the
battle of the Boyne in the streets of Philadelphia; but native Americans
bestow their apprehensions and their wrath upon things future; and their
philosophy upon things past. While they do this, it will not be in the
power of any President to harm them much or long.



Never, perhaps, did statesmen begin their task of constitution-making
with so much aid from preceding circumstances as the great men of the
Revolution. A social neighbourhood of colonies, all suffering under
colonial grievances, and all varying in their internal government,
afforded a broad hint of the present system, and fine facilities for
putting it in practice. There was much less speculation in the case than
might appear from a distance; and this fact so far takes away from the
superhuman character of the wisdom which achieved the completion of the
United States' constitution, as to bring the mind down from its state of
amazement into one of very wholesome admiration.

The state governments are the conservative power, enabling the will of
the majority to act with freedom and convenience. Though the nation is
but an aggregation of individuals, as regards the general government,
their division into States, for the management of their domestic
affairs, precludes a vast amount of confusion and discord. Their mutual
vigilance is also a great advantage to their interests, both within each
State, and abroad. No tyrant, or tyrannical party, can remain unwatched
and unchecked. There is, in each State, a people ready for information
and complaint, when necessary; a legislature ready for deliberation; and
an executive ready to act. Many States, in other ages and regions, have
been lost through the necessity of creating their instruments when they
should have been acting. State organisation is never managed without
dispute; and it makes the entire difference in the success of resistance
to aggression whether the necessary apparatus has to be created in haste
and confusion, or whether everything is in readiness for executing the
will of the majority.

Under no other arrangement, perhaps, could the advantage be secured of
every man being, in his turn, a servant of the commonwealth. If the
general government managed everything, the public service would soon
become the privilege of a certain class, or a number of classes of men;
as is seen to be the case elsewhere. The relation and gradation of
service which are now so remarkable a feature in the United States
commonwealth, could never then happen naturally, as they now do. Almost
every man serves in his township in New England, and in the
corresponding ward or section elsewhere; and has his capability tried;
and, if worthy, he serves his county, his State, and finally the Union,
in Congress. Such is the theory: and if not followed up well in
practice, if some of the best men never get beyond serving their
township, and some of the worst now and then get into Congress, the
people are unquestionably better served than if the selection of
servants depended on accident, or the favour of men in power. Whatever
extraneous impediments may interfere with the true working of the
theory, every citizen feels, or ought to feel, what a glorious career
may lie before him. In his country, every road to success is open to
all. There are no artificial disqualifications which may not be
surmounted. All _humbug_, whether of fashion and show, of
sanctimoniousness, of licentiousness, or of anything else, is there
destined to speedy failure and retribution. There is no hereditary
humbug in the United States. If the honest, wise man, feels himself
depressed below the knave, he has, if he did but know it, only to wait
patiently a little while, and he will have his due. Though truth is
equally great everywhere, and equally sure ultimately to prevail, men of
other countries have often to wait till they reach the better country
than all, before they witness this ultimate prevalence, except with the
eye of faith. The young nation over the Atlantic, is indulged, for the
encouragement, with a speedier retribution for her well or ill doings;
and almost every one of her citizens, if he be truly honourable, may
trust to be fitly honoured before he dies.

Another conservative effect of the state governments is the facilities
they afford for the correction of solecisms, the renovation of
institutions as they are outgrown, and the amendment of all unsuitable
arrangements. If anything wants to be rectified in any State, it can be
done on the mere will of the people concerned. There is no imploring of
an uninterested government at a distance--a government so occupied with
its foreign relations as to have little attention to spare for domestic
grievances which it does not feel. There is no waiting any body's
pleasure; nobody's leave to ask. The remedy is so close at hand, those
who are to give it are so nearly concerned, that it may always, and, for
the most part, speedily, be obtained, upon good cause being shown. No
external observance is needed, except of the few and express
prohibitions which the general and state governments have interchanged.

It is amusing to look over the proceedings of the state legislatures for
any one year. Maine amends her libel law, decreeing that proof of truth
shall be admitted as justification. Massachusetts decrees a revision and
consolidation of her laws, and the annihilation of lotteries. Rhode
Island improves her quarantine regulations. Connecticut passes an act
for the preservation of corn-fields from crows. Vermont decrees the
protection of the dead in their graves. New York prohibits the
importation of foreign convicts. New Jersey incorporates a dairy
company. Pennsylvania mitigates the law which authorises imprisonment
for debt. Maryland authorises a geological survey. Georgia enlarges her
law of divorce. Alabama puts children, in certain circumstances, under
the protection of chancery. Mississippi decrees a census. Tennessee
interdicts barbacues in the neighbourhood of camp meetings. Ohio
regulates the care of escheated lands. Indiana prohibits a higher rate
of interest than ten percent. Missouri authorises the conveyance of real
estate by married women. And so on. It seems difficult to imagine how
many abuses can reach an extreme, or be tardy of cure, where the will of
the majority is not only speedily made known, but where the division of
employment is so skilfully arranged that the majority may be trusted to
understand the case on which they are to decide.

It has always appeared to me that much misapprehension is occasioned by
its being supposed that the strength of the general government lies in
the number of its functions; and its weakness in the extent of its area.
To me it appears directly the reverse. A government which has the
management of all the concerns of a people, the greater and the smaller,
preserves its stability by the general interest in its more important
functions. If you desire to weaken it, you must withdraw from its
guardianship the more general and important of its affairs. If you
desire to shield it from cavil and attack, you must put the more local
and partial objects of its administration under other management. If the
general government of the United States had to manage all legislation
and administration within their boundaries, it could hardly hold
together one year. If it had only one function, essential to all, and
impossible to be otherwise fulfilled, there seems no reason why it
should not work prosperously till there are fifty States around it, and
longer. The importance of the functions of the general government
depends partly upon the universality of the interest in them; and partly
upon the numbers included under them. So far, therefore, from the
enlargement of the area of the United States being perilous to the
general government, by making it "cumbrous," as many fear, it seems to
me likely to work a directly contrary effect. There are strong reasons
why an extension of her area would be injurious to her, but I cannot
regard this as one. A government which has to keep watch over the
defence, foreign policy, commerce, and currency, of from twenty-five to
fifty small republics, is safer in the guardianship of its subjects than
if it had to manage these same affairs for one large republic, with the
additional superintendence of its debtors, its libellers, and the crows
of its corn-fields.

Little or no room for rebellion seems to be left under the constitution
of the United States. In the progress of human affairs, familiar evils
expire with worn-out institutions, and new dangers arise out of the
midst of renovated arrangements. Assassinations are the form which
resistance to government assumes in pure despotisms. Rebellion is the
name it bears under governments somewhat more liberal. In the United
States, nothing worse than professed Nullification has yet been heard
of--unless Colonel Burr's secret schemes were indeed treasonable. A
brief account of the South Carolina Nullification may exhibit the
relations, and occasional enmities of the general and states government
in a clearer way than could be done, otherwise than by a narrative of
facts. This little history shows, among many other things, that America
follows the rest of the world in quoting the constitution as a sanction
of the most opposite designs and proceedings: what different sympathies
respond to the word "patriotism;" and of how little avail is the letter
of the constitution, when there is variance as to its spirit.

Georgia laid claim, some years ago, to the Cherokee territory, on the
ground that the United States had no right to make the laws and treaties
by which the Cherokees were protected; that such legislation was
inconsistent with the reserved rights of the sovereign state of Georgia.
Georgia thus acted upon the supposition, that she was to construe the
federal compact in her own way, and proceed according to her own
construction. Congress checked her in this assumption, and rejected her
pretensions by an almost unanimous vote. Soon after the accession of
General Jackson to the presidentship, Georgia, either presuming upon his
favour, or wishing to test his dispositions, began to encroach upon the
Cherokee lands. The Cherokees appealed to the federal government for
protection, under the laws and treaties framed for that very purpose.
The President replied, that Georgia was right in annulling those laws
and treaties, and that the executive could not interfere. The Indian
cause was brought before the Supreme Court. There was difficulty about
the character in which the plaintiffs were to sue, and as to whether
they could sue at all, under that provision of the constitution which
authorises _foreign nations_ to demand justice from the federal
tribunals. The court expressed a strong, opinion however, that the
Cherokees were entitled to protection from the Executive.

The Supreme Court and Georgia were thus brought into opposition, while
the Executive took the part of Georgia. Compassion for the Cherokees was
now swallowed up in anxiety about the decision of the question of state
rights. The Executive had, as yet, only negatively declared himself,
however; and the Supreme Court had not been driven on to deliver a
verdict against the Georgian laws, by which the Cherokees were
oppressed. The topic of the right of a State to annul the laws and
treaties of the federal government was meantime generally discussed; and
reconsideration was forced upon the President.

South Carolina presently followed the example of Georgia. She annulled
the acts of Congress, which regarded such revenue laws as she considered
contrary to general principles, and to her own interests. The President
now perceived that if every State proceeded to nullify the acts of
Congress, upon its own construction of the federal constitution, the
general government could not be secure of its existence for a day. While
the Executive was still in a position of observation, the Supreme Court
pronounced, in another case, a verdict against the unconstitutional laws
of Georgia. In 1829, the legislature of Virginia asserted the right of
each State to construe the federal constitution for itself: and thus
there appeared to be three States already in the course of withdrawing
from the Union.

Congress went on legislating about the tariff, without regard to this
opposition; and the protests of certain States against their proceedings
were quietly laid on the table, as impertinences. The South Carolina
advocates of Nullification worked diligently in their own State to ripen
the people sufficiently to obtain a convention which should proclaim
their doctrine as the will of the State: in which case, they doubted
not that they should secure the countenance and co-operation of most or
all of the southern States. A convention in favour of free trade met at
Philadelphia; another in favour of the tariff met at New York; and the
nullifiers saw reason to turn the discussion of the quarrel as much as
possible from the principle of Nullification to the principle of free
trade. They perceived the strength of the latter ground, whether or not
they saw the weakness of the former; and by their skilful movement upon
it, they eventually caused a greater benefit to the nation, than their
discontent did harm to themselves.

The President was invited to dine at Charleston on the 4th of July,
1831; and in his answer, he thought fit to announce that he should do
his duty in case of any attempt to annul the laws of the Union. This was
a virtual retractation of his encouragement to Georgia. A committee of
the legislature of South Carolina reported the letter to be at variance
with the duties of the President, and the rights of the States. The heat
was rising rapidly. The nullifiers were loud in their threats, and
watchful in observing the effect of those threats abroad. North Carolina
repudiated the whole doctrine of Nullification: other neighbouring
States showed a reluctance to sanction it. The President's next message
recommended a modification of the tariff, which was known to be no
favorite of his; but the modification he proposed had no other bearing
than upon the amount of the revenue.

During the session of Congress of 1832, various alterations were made in
the duties, which it was hoped would be to the satisfaction of South
Carolina: but the complaint of her representatives was, that the
reductions which were ordained were on those articles in which she had
no interest; while her burdens were actually increased. These
representatives met at Washington, and drew up an address to the people
of South Carolina, in which they declared their wrongs, and inquired
whether they were to be tamely submitted to.

The legislature of South Carolina, after the next election, exhibited a
large majority in both houses in favour of Nullification. A convention
was called at Columbia, in consequence of whose proceedings an ordinance
was prepared, and speedily passed through the legislature, declaring all
the acts of Congress imposing duties on imported goods, to be null and
void within the state of South Carolina. It prohibited the levying of
all such duties within the State, and all appeals on the subject to the
Supreme Court. A number of minor provisions were made to hinder the levy
of import duties. The governor was empowered to call the militia into
service against any opposition which might be made by the general
government to this bold mode of proceeding. The entire military force of
the State, and the services of volunteers, were also placed at his
disposal. Arms and ammunition were ordered to be purchased.

This was too much for the President's anxiety about consistency. He
ordered all the disposable military force to assemble at Charleston;
sent a sloop of war to that port, to protect the federal officers in the
discharge of their duties; and issued a vigorous proclamation, stating
the constitutional doctrine, about the mutual relations of the general
and state governments, and exhorting the citizens of South Carolina not
to forfeit their allegiance. Governor Hayne issued a counter
proclamation, warning the citizens of the State against being seduced
from their state allegiance by the President. This was at the close of

Everything being thus ready for an explosion, South Carolina, appeared
willing to wait the result of another session. This was needful enough;
for she was as yet uncertain whether she was to have the assistance of
any of her sister States. Mr. Calhoun, the vice-president, resigned his
office, and became a senator in the room of governor Hayne: and thus the
nullification cause was in powerful hands in the senate. Its proceedings
were watched with the most intense anxiety by the whole Union. The
crisis of the Union was come.

In the discontented State, the union party, which was strong, though
excluded from the government, was in great sorrow and fear. Civil war
seemed inevitable; and they felt themselves oppressed and insulted by
the imposition of the oath of allegiance to the State. The nullifiers
justified this requisition by saying that many foreigners resident in
Charleston, who did not understand the case, believed that their duty to
the general government required them to support it, while its vessels of
war and troops were in port; however well they might be disposed to the
nullification cause. It was merely as a method of enlightenment, it was
protested, that this oath was imposed.

The ladies, meanwhile, had a State Rights ball at the arsenal, and
contributed their jewels for the support of the expected war. I could
not learn that they made lint--the last test of woman's earnestness for
war; but I was told by a leading nullifier that the ladies were "chock
full of fight." The expectation of war was so nearly universal that I
could hear of only one citizen of Charleston who discouraged the removal
of his wife and children from the city, in the belief that a peaceful
settlement of the quarrel would take place.

The legislatures of the States passed resolutions, none of them
advocating nullification; (even Georgia forsaking that ground;) many
condemned the proceedings of South Carolina; but some, while doing so,
made strong remonstrances against the tariff. Five of the States, in
which manufactures had been set up, declared their opposition to any
alteration of the tariff. It is amusing now to read the variety of terms
in which the South Carolina proceedings were condemned; though, at the
time, the reports of these resolutions must have carried despair to the
hearts of the citizens of the solitary discontented State. The effect of
these successive shocks is still spoken of in strong and touching
language by those who had to sustain them.

While the South Carolina militia were training, and the munitions of war
preparing, the senators and representatives of the State were wearing
stern and grave faces at Washington. The session was passing away, and
nothing but debate was yet achieved. Their fellow legislators looked on
them with grief, as being destined to destruction in the field, or on
the scaffold. They were men of high spirit and gallantry; and it was
clear that they had settled the matter with themselves and with each
other. They would never submit to mere numbers; and would oppose force
to force, till all of their small resources was spent. No one can
estimate their heroism, or desperation, whichever it may be called, who
has not seen the city and State which would have been the theatre of the
war. The high spirit of South Carolina is of that kind which accompanies
fallen, or inferior fortunes. Pride and poverty chafe the spirit. They
make men look around for injury, and aggravate the sense of injury when
it is real. In South Carolina, the black population outnumbers the
white. The curse of slavery lies heavy on the land, and its inhabitants
show the usual unwillingness of sufferers to attribute their maladies to
their true cause. Right as the South Carolinians may be as to the
principle of free trade, no tariff ever yet occasioned such evils as
they groan under. If not a single import duty had ever been imposed,
there would still have been the contrasts which they cannot endure to
perceive between the thriving States of the north and their own. Now,
when they see the flourishing villages of New England, they cry "We pay
for all this." When the north appears to receive more favour from the
general government, in its retrospective recompenses for service in war,
the greater proportion of which service was rendered by the north, the
south again cries, "We pay for all this." It is true that the south pays
dearly; but it is for her own depression, not for others' prosperity.
When I saw the face of the nullifiers' country, I was indeed amazed at
their hardihood. The rich soil, watered by full streams, the fertile
bottoms, superintended by the planters' mansions, with their slave
quarter a little removed from the house, the fine growth of trees, and
of the few patches of pasturage which are to be seen, show how
nourishing this region ought to be. But its aspect is most depressing to
the traveller. Roads nearly impassable in many parts, bridges carried
away and not restored, lands exhausted, and dwellings forsaken, are
spectacles too common in South Carolina. The young men, whose patrimony
has deteriorated, migrate westward with their 'force;' selling their
lands, if they can; if not, forsaking them. There are yet many
plantations of unsurpassed fertility; but there are many exhausted: and
it is more profitable to remove to a virgin soil than to employ slave
labour in renovating the fertility of the old. There is an air of
rudeness about the villages, and languor about the towns, which promise
small resource in times of war and distress. And then, the wretched
slave population is enough to paralyse the arm of the bravest community,
and to ensure defeat to the best cause. I saw the soldiers and the
preparations for war at Charleston, two years after the crisis was past.
When I was to be shown the arms and ammunition, it appeared that "the
gentleman that had the key was not on the premises." This showed that no
immediate invasion was expected; but it was almost incredible what had
been threatened with such resources. The precautionary life of the
community, on account of the presence of so large a body of slaves, may
be, in some sort, a training for war; but it points out the impediments
to success. If South Carolina had, what some of her leading men seem to
desire, a Lacedemonian government, which should make every free man a
soldier, she would be farther from safety in peace, and success in war,
than any quaker community, exempt from the curse of a debased and
wronged servile class. One glance over the city of Charleston is enough
to show a stranger how helpless she is against a foreign foe, if
unsupported. The soldiers met, at every turn, the swarms of servile
blacks, the very luxuries and hospitalities of the citizens, grateful as
these luxuries are to the stranger, and honourable as these
hospitalities are to his entertainers, betoken a state of society which
has no strength to spare from the great work of self-renovation. Those
who remained at home during the winter of 1832 and 1833, might be
hopeful about the conflict, from being unaware of the depressed
condition of their State, in comparison with others: but the leaders at
Washington might well look stern and grave. It is no impeachment of
their bravery, if their hearts died within them, day by day.

The session was within fourteen days of its close, when Mr. Clay brought
in a bill which had been carefully prepared as a compromise between the
contending parties. It provided that all import duties exceeding twenty
per cent. should be gradually reduced, till, in 1842, they should have
declined to that amount; leaving liberty to augment the duties again, in
case of war. This bill, with certain amendments, not affecting its
principle, was passed, as was the Enforcing Bill,--for enforcing the
collection imposed by act of Congress. A convention was held in South
Carolina: the obnoxious ordinance was repealed; the Enforcing Bill was,
indeed, nominally nullified; but no powers were offered to the
legislature for enforcing the nullification; and the quarrel was, to all
intents and purposes, at an end.

The triumph remained,--if triumph there were,--with South Carolina. This
was owing to the goodness of her principle of free trade; and in no
degree, to the reasonableness of her nullifying practices. The passage
of the Compromise Bill was a wise and fortunate act. Its influence on
the planting and manufacturing interests is a subject to be considered
in another connexion. Its immediate effect in honourably reconciling
differences which had appeared irreconcileable, was a blessing, not only
to the United States, but to the world. The lustre of democratic
principles would have been shrouded to many eyes by a civil war among
the citizens of the Union; while now, the postponement of a danger so
imminent, the healing of a breach so wide, has confirmed the confidence
of many who feared that the States remained united only for want of a
cause of separation.

Some ill effects remain,--especially in the irritation of South
Carolina. There is still an air of mystery and fellowship about the
leading nullifiers, and of disquiet among the Union men of Charleston.
But there is cause enough for restlessness in Charleston, as I have
before said; and much excuse for pique.

Meanwhile, these events have proved to thousands of republicans the
mischief of compromise conveyed in vague phraseology, in so solemn an
instrument as a written constitution.

There could not have been a doubt on this case, if the question of
construction had not had place, from the unfortunate clause ordaining
that the general government shall have all powers necessary for the
fulfilment of certain declared purposes. While this provision, thus
worded, remains, the nullification theory will be played off, from time
to time. The good consequence will arise from this liability, that a
habit will be formed of construing the constitution liberally, with
regard to the States, wherever there is a doubt as to the exercise of
its powers; but this collateral good is no justification of the
looseness of language by which the peace and integrity of the Union have
been made to hang on a point of construction. The people of the United
States will probably show their wisdom in henceforth accepting the
benefit by shunning the evil.

In the privacy of their houses, many citizens have lamented to me, with
feelings to which no name but grief can be given, that the events of
1832--3 have suggested the words "use" or "value of the Union." To an
American, a calculation of the value of the Union would formerly have
been as offensive, as absurd, as an estimate of the value of religion
would be to a right-minded man. To Americans of this order, the Union
has long been more than a matter of high utility. It has been idealised
into an object of love and veneration. In answer to this _cui bono_,
many have cried in their hearts, with Lear, "O reason not the need!" I
was struck with the contrast in the tone of two statesmen, a chief
nullifier and one of his chief opponents. The one would not disguise
from me that the name of the Union had lost much of its charm in the
south, since 1830. The other, in a glow, protested that he never would
hear of the Union losing its charm.

But the instances of carelessness, of levity about the Union, are very
rare; and this is the reason why more show of attachment to it is not
made. The probabilities of the continuance of the Union are so
overwhelming, that no man, not in a state of delusion, from some strong
prejudice, can seriously entertain the idea of a dissolution within any
assignable period. I met with one gentleman in the north, a clergyman,
who expects and desires a dissolution of the Union, saying that the
north bore all the expense of the war, and has had nothing but
obstruction and injury from the south. I saw, also, one gentleman in
South Carolina, who sees no use in the Union, but much expense and
trouble. He declares the only effect of it to be the withdrawing of the
best men from each State to dawdle away their time at Washington.
Another, who desponds about the condition of England, and whose views
are often embellished, and sometimes impaired, by his perceptions of
analogy, expressed his fears that his own country, an offset from mine,
would share the fate of offsets, and perish with the parent. But these
are examples of eccentricity.

There are many among the slave-holders of the south who threaten
secession. Such of these as are in earnest are under the mistake into
which men fall when they put everything to the hazard of one untenable
object. The untenable object once relinquished, the delusion will clear
away with the disappearance of its cause, and the Union will be to them,
with good reason, dearer than it has ever been. The southern States
could not exist, separately, with their present domestic institutions,
in the neighbourhood of any others. They would have thousands of miles
of frontier, over which their slaves would be running away, every day of
the year. In case of war, they might be only too happy if their slaves
did run away, instead of rising up against them at home. If it was
necessary to purchase, Florida because it was a retreat for runaways; if
it was necessary, first to treat with Mexico for the restitution of
runaways, and then to steal Texas, the most high-handed theft of modern
times; if it is necessary to pursue runaways into the northern States,
and to keep magistrates and jails in perpetual requisition for the
restitution of southern human property, how would the southern States
manage by themselves? Only by ridding themselves of slavery; in which
case, their alleged necessity of separation is superseded. As for their
resources,--the shoe-business of New York State is of itself larger and
more valuable than the entire commerce of Georgia,--the largest and
richest of the southern States.

The mere act of separation could not be accomplished. In case of war
against the northern States, it would be necessary to employ half the
white population to take care of the black; and of the remaining half,
no one would undertake to say how many are at heart sick and weary of
slavery, and would be, therefore, untrustworthy. The middle slave
States, now nearly ready to discard slavery, would seize so favourable
an opportunity as that afforded them by the peril of the Union. The
middle free States, from Pennsylvania to the Mississippi, having
everything to lose by separation, and nothing to gain, would treat the
first overt act as rebellion; proceeding against it, and punishing it as
such. The case is so palpable as scarcely to need even so brief a
statement as this. The fact which renders such a statement worth making
is, that most of those who threaten the dissolution of the Union, do it
in order to divert towards this impracticable object the irritation
which would otherwise, and which will, ere long, turn against the
institution of slavery. The gaze of the world is fixed upon this
institution. The world is shouting the one question about this anomaly
which cannot be answered. The dwellers in the south would fain be
unconscious of that awful gaze. They would fain not hear the
reverberation of that shout. They would fain persuade themselves and
others, that they are too busy in asserting their rights and their
dignity as citizens of the Union, to heed the world beyond.

This self and mutual deception will prove a merely temporary evil. The
natural laws which regulate communities, and the will of the majority,
may be trusted to preserve the good, and to remove the bad elements from
which this dissension arises. It requires no gift of prophecy to
anticipate the fate of an anomaly among a self-governing people. Slavery
was not always an anomaly; but it has become one. Its doom is therefore
sealed; and its duration is now merely a question of time. Any anxiety
in the computation of this time is reasonable; for it will not only
remove a more tremendous cause than can ever again desolate society, but
restore the universality of that generous attachment to their common
institutions which has been, and will be, to the American people,
honour, safety, and the means of perpetual progress.


[3] The Federalist, vol. i. p. 277.

[4] Correspondence, vol. iv. p. 396.

[5] Jefferson's Correspondence, vol. iii. pp. 467-476.

[6] Jefferson's Correspondence, vol. iv. p. 236.



     "'Tis he whose law is reason; who depends
     Upon that law as on the best of friends;
     Whence, in a state where men are tempted still
     To evil for a guard against worse ill,
     And what in quality or act is best,
     Doth seldom on a right foundation rest,
     He fixes good on good alone, and owes
     To virtue every triumph, that he knows."


Under a pure despotism, the morals of politics would make but a very
short chapter. Mercy in the ruler; obedience in his officers, with,
perhaps, an occasional stroke of remonstrance; and taxpaying in the
people, would comprehend the whole. Among a self-governing people, who
profess to take human equality for their great common principle, and the
golden rule for their political vow, a long chapter of many sections is

The morals of politics are not too familiar anywhere. The clergy are apt
to leave out its topics from their list of subjects for the pulpit.
Writers on morals make that chapter as brief as if they lived under the
pure despotism, supposed above. An honest newspaper, here and there, or
a newspaper honest for some particular occasion, and therefore
uninfluential in its temporary honesty, are the only speakers on the
morals of politics. The only speakers; but not the only exhibitors.
Scattered here and there, through a vast reach of ages, and expanse of
communities, there may be found, to bless his race, an honest statesman.
Statesmen, free from the gross vices of peculation, sordid, selfish
ambition, cruelty and tergiversation, are not uncommon. But the last
degree of honesty has always been, and is still, considered incompatible
with statesmanship. To hunger and thirst after righteousness has been
naturally, as it were, supposed a disqualification for affairs; and a
man, living for truth, and in a spirit of love, "pure in the last
recesses of the mind," who should propose to seek truth through
political action, and exercise love in the use of political influence,
and refine his purity by disinfecting the political atmosphere of its
corruptions, would hear it reported on every hand that he had a demon.
Yet one who is aware of the enthusiasm with which the Germans hail the
words of Posa at every representation of Don Carlos; one who has seen
how American officials are supported by the people, on the supposition
that they are great men, (however small such men may really be,) one who
has watched the acceleration, within our own time, of the retribution
which overtakes untrustworthy public men, whatever may be their talents
and their knowledge, in contrast with the comparative stability of less
able, but more honest men, can doubt no longer that the time is at hand
for the advent of political principle. The hour is come when dwellers in
the old world should require integrity of their rulers; and dwellers in
the new world, each in his turn a servant of society, should require it
of each other and of themselves. The people of the United States are
seeking after this, feebly and dimly. They have retained one wise saying
of the fathers to whom they owe so much; that the letter of laws and
constitutions is a mere instrument; with no vitality; no power to
protect and bless; and that the spirit is all in all. They have been far
from acting upon this with such steadiness as to show that they
understand and believe it. But the saying is in their minds; and, like
every other true thing that lies there, it will in time exhibit itself
in the appointed mode--the will of the majority.



I was told two things separately, last year, which, if put together,
seem to yield an alarming result. I was told that almost every man holds
office, some time during his life; and that holding one is the ruin of
moral independence. The case is not, however, nearly so bad as this.
There is a kind of public life which does seem to injure the morals of
all who enter it; but very few are affected by this. Office in a man's
own neighbourhood, where his character and opinions are known, and where
the honour and emolument are small, is not very seductive: and these are
the offices filled by the greater number of citizens who serve society.
The temptation to propitiate opinion becomes powerful when a citizen
desires to enter the legislature, or to be the chief magistrate of the
State. The peril increases when he becomes a candidate for Congress; and
there seems to be no expectation whatever that a candidate for the
presidentship, or his partizans, should retain any simplicity of speech,
or regard to equity in the distribution of places and promises. All this
is dreadfully wrong. It originates in a grand mistake, which cannot be
rectified but by much suffering. It is obvious that there must be
mistake; for it can never be an arrangement of Providence that men
cannot serve each other in their political relations without being

The primary mistake is in supposing that men cannot bear to hear the
truth. It has become the established method of seeking office, not only
to declare a coincidence of opinion with the supposed majority, on the
great topics on which the candidate will have to speak and act while in
office, but to deny, or conceal, or assert anything else which it is
supposed will please the same majority. The consequence is, that the
best men are not in office. The morally inferior who succeed, use their
power for selfish purposes, to a sufficient extent to corrupt their
constituents, in their turn. I scarcely knew, at first, how to
understand the political conversations which I heard in travelling. If a
citizen told another that A. had voted in a particular manner, the other
invariably began to account for the vote. A. had voted thus to please
B., because B.'s influence was wanted for the benefit of C., who had
promised so and so to A.'s brother, or son, or nephew, or leading
section of constituents. A reason for a vote, or other public
proceeding, must always be found; and any reason seemed to be taken up
rather than the obvious one, that a man votes according to the decision
of his reason and conscience. I often mentioned this to men in office,
or seeking to be so; and they received it with a smile or a laugh which
wrung my heart. Of all heart-withering things, political scepticism in a
republic is one of the most painful. I told Mr. Clay my observations in
both kinds. "Let them laugh!" cried he, with an honourable warmth: "and
do you go on requiring honesty; and you will find it." He is right: but
those who would find the highest integrity had bettor not begin their
observations on office-holders, much less on office-seekers, as a class.
The office-holder finds, too often, that it may be easier to get into
office than to have power to discharge its duties when there: and then
the temptation to subservience, to dishonest silence, is well nigh too
strong for mortal man. The office-seeker stands committed as desiring
something for which he is ready to sacrifice his business or profession,
his ease, his leisure, and the quietness of his reputation. He stands
forth as either an adventurer, a man of ambition, or of self-sacrificing
patriotism. Being once thus committed, failure is mortifying, and the
allurement to compromise, in order to success, is powerful. Once in
public life, the politician is committed for ever, whether he
immediately perceives this, or not. Almost every public man of my
acquaintance owned to me the difficulty of retiring,--in mind, if not in
presence,--after the possession of a public trust. This painful
hankering is part of the price to be paid for the honours of public
service: and I am disposed to think that it is almost universal; that
scarcely any man knows quiet and content, from the moment of the success
of his first election. The most modest men shrink from thus committing
themselves. The most learned men, generally speaking, devote themselves,
in preference, to professions. The most conscientious men, generally
speaking, shun the snares which fatally beset public life, at present,
in the United States.

A gentleman of the latter class, whose talents and character would
procure him extensive and hearty support, if he desired it, told me,
that he would never serve in office, because he believes it to be the
destruction of moral independence: he pointed out to me three friends of
his, men of remarkable talent, all in public life. "Look at them," said
he, "and see what they might have been! Yet A. is a slave, B. is a
slave, and C. is a worm in the dust." Too true.

Here is a grievous misfortune to the republic! My friend ascribes it to
the want of protection from his neighbours, to which a man is exposed
from the want of caste. This will never do. A crown and sceptre would be
about as desirable in a republic as caste. If men would only try the
effect of faith in one another, I believe they would take rank, and
yield protection, with more precision and efficacy than by any
manifestation of the exclusive spirit that was ever witnessed. Of
course, this proposal will be called "Quixotic;" that convenient term
which covers things the most serious and the most absurd, the wisest and
the wildest. I am strengthened in my suggestion by a recurrence to the
first principles of society in the United States, according to which I
find that "rulers derive their just powers from the consent of the
governed;" and that the theory is, that the best men are chosen to
serve. Both these pre-suppose mutual faith. Let the governed once
require honesty as a condition of their consent; let them once choose
the best men, according to their most conscientious conviction, and
there will be an end of this insulting and disgusting political
scepticism. Adventurers and ambitious men there will still be; but they
will not taint the character of the class. Better men, who will respect
their constituents, without fearing or flattering them, will foster the
generous mutual faith which is now so grievously wanting; and the spirit
of the constitution, now drooping in some of its most important
departments, will revive.

I write more in hope than in immediate expectation. I saw much ground
for hope, but very much also for grief. Scarcely anything that I
observed in the United States caused me so much sorrow as the
contemptuous estimate of the people entertained by those who were bowing
the knee to be permitted to serve them. Nothing can be more disgusting
than the contrast between the drawing-room gentleman, at ease among
friends, and the same person courting the people, on a public occasion.
The only comfort was a strong internal persuasion that the people do not
like to be courted thus. They have been so long used to it, that they
receive it as a matter of course; but, I believe, if a candidate should
offer, who should make no professions but of his opinions, and his
honest intentions of carrying them out; if he should respect the people
as men, not as voters, and inform them truly of his views of their
condition and prospects, they would recognise him at once as their best
friend. He might, notwithstanding, lose his election; for the people
must have time to recover, or to attain simplicity; but he would serve
them better by losing his election thus, than by the longest and most
faithful service in public life.

I have often wondered whether a gentleman at Laporte, in Indiana, who
advertised his desire to be sheriff, gained his election. He declared in
his advertisement that he had not been largely solicited, but that it
was his own desire that he should be sheriff: he would not promise to do
away with mosquitoes, ague, and fever, but only to do his duty. This
candidate has his own way of flattering his constituents.

A gentleman of considerable reputation offered, last year, to deliver a
lecture, in a Lyceum, in Massachusetts. It was upon the French
Revolution; and on various accounts curious. There was no mention of the
causes of the Revolution, except in a parenthesis of one sentence,
where he intimated that French society was not in harmony with the
spirit of the age. He sketched almost every body concerned, except the
Queen. The most singular part, perhaps, was his estimate of the military
talents of Napoleon. He exalted them much, and declared him a greater
general than Wellington, but not so great as Washington. The audience
was large and respectable. I knew a great many of the persons present,
and found that none of them liked the lecture.

I attended another Lyceum lecture in Massachusetts. An agent of the
Colonisation Society lectured; and, when he had done, introduced a
clergyman of colour, who had just returned from Liberia, and could give
an account of the colony in its then present state. As soon as this
gentleman came forward, a party among the audience rose, and went out,
with much ostentation of noise. Mr. Wilson broke off till he could be
again heard, and then observed in a low voice, "that would not have been
done in Africa;" upon which, there was an uproar of applause, prolonged
and renewed. All the evidence on the subject that I could collect, went
to prove that the people can bear, and do prefer to hear, the truth. It
is a crime to withhold it from them; and a double crime to substitute

The tone of the orations was the sole, but great drawback from the
enjoyment of the popular festivals I witnessed. I missed the celebration
of the 4th of July,--both years; being, the first year, among the
Virginia mountains, (where the only signs of festivity which I saw, were
some slaves dressing up a marquee, in which their masters were to feast,
after having read, from the Declaration of Independence, that all men
are created free and equal, and that rulers derive their just powers
from the consent of the governed;) and the second year on the lakes,
arriving at Mackinaw too late in the evening of the great day for any
celebration that might have taken place. But I was at two remarkable
festivals, and heard two very remarkable orations. They were represented
to me as fair or favourable specimens of that kind of address; and, to
judge by the general sum of those which I read and heard, they were so.

The valley of the Connecticut is the most fertile valley in New England;
and it is scarcely possible that any should be more beautiful. The
river, full, broad, and tranquil as the summer sky, winds through
meadows, green with pasture, or golden with corn. Clumps of forest trees
afford retreat for the cattle in the summer heats; and the magnificent
New England elm, the most graceful of trees, is dropped singly, here and
there, and casts its broad shade upon the meadow. Hills of various
height and declivity bound the now widening, now contracting valley. To
these hills, the forest has retired; the everlasting forest, from which,
in America, we cannot fly. I cannot remember that, except in some parts
of the prairies, I was ever out of sight of the forest in the United
States and I am sure I never wished to be so. It was like the "verdurous
wall of Paradise," confining the mighty southern and western rivers to
their channels. We were, as it appeared, imprisoned in it for many days
together, as we traversed the south-eastern States. We threaded it in
Michigan; we skirted it in New York and Pennsylvania; and throughout New
England it bounded every landscape. It looked down upon us from the
hill-tops; it advanced into notice from every gap and notch in the
chain. To the native it must appear as indispensable in the
picture-gallery of nature as the sky. To the English traveller it is a
special boon, an added charm, a newly-created grace, like the infant
planet that wanders across the telescope of the astronomer. The English
traveller finds himself never weary by day of prying into the forest,
from beneath its canopy: or, from a distance drinking in its exquisite
hues: and his dreams, for months or years, will be of the mossy roots,
the black pine, and silvery birch stems, the translucent green shades of
the beech, and the slender creeper, climbing like a ladder into the
topmost boughs of the dark holly, a hundred feet high. He will dream of
the march of the hours through the forest; the deep blackness of night,
broken by the dun forest-fires, and startled by the showers of sparks,
sent abroad by the casual breeze from the burning stems. He will hear
again the shrill piping of the whip-poor-will, and the multitudinous din
from the occasional swamp. He will dream of the deep silence which
precedes the dawn; of the gradual apparition of the haunting trees,
coming faintly out of the darkness; of the first level rays,
instantaneously piercing the woods to their very heart, and lighting
them up into boundless ruddy colonnades, garlanded with wavy verdure,
and carpeted with glittering wild-flowers. Or, he will dream of the
clouds of gay butterflies, and gauzy dragon-flies, that hover above the
noon-day paths of the forest, or cluster about some graceful shrub,
making it appear to bear at once all the flowers of Eden. Or the golden
moon will look down through his dream, making for him islands of light
in an ocean of darkness. He may not see the stars but by glimpses; but
the winged stars of those regions,--the gleaming fire-flies,--radiate
from every sleeping bough, and keep his eye in fancy busy in following
their glancing, while his spirit sleeps in the deep charms of the summer
night. Next to the solemn and various beauty of the sea and the sky,
comes that of the wilderness. I doubt whether the sublimity of the
vastest mountain-range can exceed that of the all-pervading forest, when
the imagination becomes able to realise the conception of what it is.

In the valley of the Connecticut, the forest merely presides over the
scene, giving gravity to its charm. On East Mountain, above Deerfield,
in Massachusetts, it is mingled with grey rocks, whose hue mingles
exquisitely with its verdure. We looked down from thence on a long reach
of the valley, just before sunset, and made ourselves acquainted with
the geography of the catastrophe which was to be commemorated in a day
or two. Here and there, in the meadows, were sinkings of the soil,
shallow basins of verdant pasturage, where there had probably once been
small lakes, but where cattle were now grazing. The unfenced fields,
secure within landmarks, and open to the annual inundation which
preserves their fertility, were rich with unharvested Indian corn; the
cobs left lying in their sheaths, because no passer-by is tempted to
steal them; every one having enough of his own. The silvery river lay
among the meadows; and on its bank, far below us, stretched the avenue
of noble trees, touched with the hues of autumn, which shaded the
village of Deerfield. Saddleback bounded our view opposite, and the
Northampton hills and Green Mountains on the left. Smoke arose, here and
there, from the hills' sides, and the nearer eminences were dotted with
white dwellings, of the same order with the homesteads which were
sprinkled over the valley. The time is past when a man feared to sit
down further off than a stone's throw from his neighbours, lest the
Indians should come upon him. The villages of Hadley and Deerfield are a
standing memorial of those times, when the whites clustered together
around the village church, and their cattle were brought into the area,
every night, under penalty of their being driven off before morning.
These villages consist of two rows of houses, forming a long street,
planted with trees; and the church stands in the middle. The houses, of
wood, were built in those days with the upper story projecting; that the
inhabitants, in case of siege, might fire at advantage upon the Indians,
forcing the door with tomahawks.

I saw an old house of this kind at Deerfield,--the only one which
survived the burning of the village by the French and Indians, in 1704,
when all the inhabitants, to the number of two hundred and eighty, being
attacked in their sleep, were killed or carried away captive by the
Indians. The wood of the house was old and black, and pierced in many
parts with bullet-holes. One had given passage to a bullet which shot a
woman in the neck, as she rose up in bed, on hearing the tomahawk strike
upon the door. The battered door remains, to chill one's blood with the
thought that such were the blows dealt by the Indians upon the skulls of
their victims, whether infants or soldiers.

This was not the event to commemorate which we were assembled at
Deerfield. A monument was to be erected on the spot where another body
of people had been murdered, by savage foes of the same race. Deerfield
was first settled in 1671; a few houses being then built on the present
street, and the settlers being on good terms with their neighbours. King
Philip's war broke out in 1675, and the settlers were attacked more than
once. There was a large quantity of grain stored up at Deerfield; and it
was thought advisable to remove it for safety to Hadley, fifteen miles
off. Captain Lothrop, with eighty men, and some teams, marched from
Hadley to remove the grain; his men being the youth and main hope of
the settlements around. On their return from Deerfield, on the 30th of
September 1675, about four miles and a half on the way to Hadley, the
young men dispersed to gather the wild grapes that were hanging ripe in
the thickets, and were, under this disadvantage, attacked by a large
body of Indians. It was afterwards discovered that the only way to
encounter the Indians is in phalanx. Captain Lothrop did not know this;
and he posted his men behind trees, where they were, almost to a man,
picked off by the enemy. About ninety-three, including the teamsters,
fell. When all was over, help arrived. The Indians were beaten; but they
appeared before the village, some days after, shaking the scalps and
bloody garments of the slain captain and his troop, before the eyes of
the inhabitants. The place was afterwards abandoned by the settlers,
destroyed by the Indians, and not rebuilt for some years.

This was a piteous incident in the history of the settlement; but it is
not easy to see why it should be made an occasion of commemoration, by
monument and oratory, in preference to many others which have a stronger
moral interest attaching to them. Some celebrations, like that of
Forefather's Day, are inexpressibly interesting and valuable, from the
glorious recollections by which they are sanctified. But no virtue was
here to be had in remembrance; nothing but mere misery. The
contemplation of mere misery is painful and hurtful; and the only
salutary influence that I could perceive to arise from this occasion was
a far-fetched and dubious one,--thankfulness that the Indians are not
now at hand to molest the white inhabitants. Then occurs the question
about the Indians,--"where are they?" and the answer leaves one less
sympathy than one would wish to have with the present security of the
settler. The story of King Philip, who is supposed to have headed, in
person, the attack on Lothrop's troop, is one of the most melancholy in
the records of humanity; and sorrow for him must mingle with
congratulations to the descendants of his foes, who, in his eyes, were
robbers. With these thoughts in my mind, I found it difficult to
discover the philosophy of this celebration. A stranger might be
pardoned for being so slow.

One of the then candidates for the highest office in the State, is
renowned for his oratory. He is one of the most accomplished scholars
and gentlemen that the country possesses. It was thought, "by his
friends," that his interest wanted strengthening in the western part of
the State. The people were pleased when any occasion procured them the
_éclat_ of bringing a celebrated orator over to address them. The
commemoration of an Indian catastrophe was thought of as an occasion
capable of being turned to good electioneering purposes.--Mr. Webster
was invited to be the orator, it being known that he would refuse. "Not
I," said he. "I won't go and rake up old bloody Indian stories." The
candidate was next invited, and, of course, took the opportunity of
"strengthening his interest in the western part of the State." I was not
aware of this till I sometime after heard it, on indisputable authority.
I should have enjoyed it much less than I did, if I had known that the
whole thing was got up, or its time and manner chosen, for
electioneering objects; that advantage was taken of the best feelings of
the people for the political interest of one.

The afternoon of the 29th we went to Bloody Brook, the fearfully-named
place of disaster. We climbed the Sugar-loaf; a high, steep hill, from
whose precipitous sides is obtained a view of the valley which pleases
me more than the celebrated one from Mount Holyoke, a few miles off.
Each, however, is perfect in its way; and both so like heaven, when one
looks down upon the valley in the light of an autumn afternoon,--such a
light as never yet burnished an English scene,--that no inclination is
left to make comparisons. The ox team was in the fields, the fishers on
the banks of the grey river,--banks and fishers reflected to the
life,--all as tranquil as if there was to be no stir the next day.

On descending, we went to the Bloody Brook Inn, and saw the strange and
horrible picture of the slaughter of Lothrop's troop; a picture so bad
as to be laughable; but too horrible to be laughed at. Every man of the
eighty exactly alike, and all looking scared at being about to be
scalped. We saw, also, the long tables spread for the feast of
to-morrow. Lengths of unbleached cotton for table cloths, plates and
glasses, were already provided. Some young men were bringing in long
trails of the wild vine, clustered with purple grapes, to hang about the
young maple trees which overshadowed the tables; others were trying the
cannon. We returned home in a state of high expectation.

The morning of the 30th was bright, but rather cold. It was doubtful how
far prudence would warrant our sitting in an orchard for several hours,
in such a breeze as was blowing. It was evident, however, that persons
at a distance had no scruples on the subject, so thickly did they throng
to the place of meeting. The wagon belonging to the band passed my
windows, filled with young ladies from the High School at Greenfield.
They looked as gay as if they had been going to a fair. By half-past
eight, our party set off, accompanied by a few, and passing a great
number of strangers from distant villages.

After having accomplished our drive of three or four miles, we warmed
ourselves in a friendly house, and repaired to the orchard to choose our
seats, while the ceremony of laying the first stone of the monument was
proceeding at some distance. The platform from which the orator was to
address the assemblage was erected under a rather shabby walnut-tree,
which was rendered less picturesque by its lower branches being lopped
off, for the sake of convenience. Several men had perched themselves on
the tree; and I was beginning to wonder how they would endure their
uncomfortable seat, in the cold wind, for three hours, when I saw them
called down, and dismissed to find places among the rest of the
assemblage, as they sent down bark and dust upon the heads of those who
sat on the platform. Long and deep ranges of benches were provided; and
on these, with carriage cushions and warm cloaks, we found ourselves
perfectly well accommodated. Nothing could be better. It was a pretty
sight. The wind rustled fitfully in the old walnut-tree. The audience
gathered around, it were sober, quiet; some would have said dull. The
girls appeared to me to be all pretty, after the fashion of American
girls. Every body was well-dressed; and such a thing as ill-behaviour in
any village assemblage in New England, is, I believe, unheard of. The
soldiers were my great amusement; as they were on the few other
occasions when I had the good fortune to see any. Their chief business,
on the present occasion, was to keep clear the seats which were reserved
for the band, now absent with the procession. These seats were
advantageously placed; and new-comers were every moment taking
possession of them, and had to be sent, disappointed, into the rear. It
was moving to behold the loving entreaties of the soldiers that these
seats might be vacated. I saw one, who had shrunk away from his
uniform, (probably from the use of tobacco, of which his mouth was
full,) actually put his arm round the neck of a gentleman, and smile
imploringly in his face. It was irresistible, and the gentleman moved
away. It is a perfect treat to the philanthropist to observe the pacific
appearance of the militia throughout the United States. It is well known
how they can fight, when the necessity arises: but they assuredly look,
at present, as if it was the last thing in their intentions:--as I hope
it may long be.

The band next arrived, leading the procession of gentlemen, and were
soon called into action by the first hymn. They did their best; and, if
no one of their instruments could reach the second note of the German
Hymn, (the second note of three lines out of four,) it was not for want
of trying.

The oration followed. I strove, as I always did, not to allow difference
of taste, whether in oratory, or in anything else, to render me
insensible to the merit, in its kind, of what was presented to me: but,
upon this occasion, all my sympathies were baffled, and I was deeply
disgusted. It mattered little what the oration was in itself, if it had
only belonged in character to the speaker. If a Greenfield farmer or
mechanic had spoken as he believed orators to speak, and if the failure
had been complete, I might have been sorry or amused, or disappointed;
but not disgusted. But here was one of the most learned and accomplished
gentlemen in the country, a candidate for the highest office in the
State, grimacing like a mountebank before the assemblage whose votes he
desired to have, and delivering an address, which he supposed level to
their taste and capacity. He spoke of the "stately tree," (the poor
walnut,) and the "mighty assemblage," (a little flock in the middle of
an orchard,) and offered them shreds of tawdry sentiment, without the
intermixture of one sound thought, or simple and natural feeling, simply
and naturally expressed. It was equally an under estimate of his
hearers, and a degradation of himself.

The effect was very plain. Many, I know, were not interested, but were
unwilling to say so of so renowned an orator. All were dull; and it was
easy to see that none of the proper results of public speaking followed.
These very people are highly imaginative. Speak to them of what
interests them, and they are moved with a word. Speak to those whose
children are at school, of the progress and diffusion of knowledge, and
they will hang upon the lips of the speaker. Speak to the
unsophisticated among them of the case of the slave, and they are ready
to brave Lynch-law on his behalf. Appeal to them on any religious or
charitable enterprise, and the good deed is done, almost as soon as
indicated. But they have been taught to consider the oratory of set
persons on set occasions as a matter of business or of pastime. They
listen to it, make their remarks upon it, vote, perhaps, that it shall
be printed, and go home, without having been so much moved as by a dozen
casual remarks, overheard upon the road.

All this would be of little importance, if these orations consisted of
narrative,--or of any mere matter of fact. The grievance lies in the
prostitution of moral sentiment, the clap-trap of praise and pathos,
which is thus criminally adventured. This is one great evil. Another, as
great, both to orators and listeners, is the mis-estimate of the people.
No insolence and meanness can surpass those of the man of sense and
taste who talks beneath himself to the people, because he thinks it
suits them. No good parent ventures to do so to his youngest child; and
a candidate for office who will do it, shows himself ignorant of that
which it is most important he should know,--what fidelity of deference
every man owes to every other man. Is such a one aware that he is
perpetually saying in his heart, "God! I thank thee that I am not as
other men are?"

The other festival, to which I have alluded, was the celebration of
Forefathers' Day;--of the landing of the Pilgrims on Plymouth Rock. I
trust that this anniversary will be hailed with honour, as long as
Massachusetts overlooks the sea. A more remarkable, a nobler enterprise,
was never kept in remembrance by a grateful posterity, than the
emigration of the Pilgrim Fathers; and their posterity are, at least, so
far worthy of them as that they all, down to the young children, seem to
have a clear understanding of the nature of the act, and the character
of the men. I never beheld the popular character in a more cheering
light than on this occasion; and, if I happened to be acquainted with a
misanthrope, I would send him to Plymouth, to keep Forefathers' Day.
Every fact that I review, every line that I write, brings back
delightful feelings towards some of the affectionate and hospitable
friends through whose kindness I saw and learned whatever I learned of
their country; but to none am I more thankful than to those who took me
to Plymouth, and those who welcomed me there. It was an occasion when
none could be on any other terms than pure brotherhood with all the
rest. It was the great birth-day of the New England people; and none
could fail to wish the people joy.

My party and I reached Plymouth from Hingham the day before the
celebration. As we drew near the coast, I anxiously watched the
character of the scenery, trying to view it with the eyes of the first
emigrants. It must have struck a chill to their hearts;--so bare, so
barren, so wintry. The firs grew more and more stunted, as we approached
the sea; till, as one of my companions observed, they were ashamed to
show themselves any smaller, and so turned into sand. Mrs. Hemans calls
it, in her fine lyric, a rock-bound coast; naturally enough, as she was
told that the pilgrims set their feet on a rock, on landing; but that
rock was the only one. The coast is low and sandy. The aspect of the bay
was, this day, most dreary. We had travelled through snow, all the way
behind; snowy fields, with here and there a solitary crow stalking in
the midst; and now, there was nothing but ice before us. Dirty, grey
ice, some sheeted, some thrown up by the action of the sea into heaps,
was all that was to be seen, instead of the blue and glittering sea. A
friend assured me, however, that all would be bright and cheering the
next morning; informing me, with a smile, that in the belief of the
country people, it never did rain or snow, and never would rain or snow,
on Forefathers' Day. This is actually a superstition firmly held in the
neighbourhood. This friend pointed out to me, in the course of the
afternoon, how the green grass was appearing through the snow on Burial
Hill, on whose slope the descending sun, warm for December, was shining.
We mounted Burial Hill; and when I trod the turf, after some weeks'
walking over crisp snow, I began to feel that I might grow superstitious
too, if I lived at Plymouth.

Upwards of half the pilgrim company died the first winter. Fifty-one
dropped in succession; and the graves of most of them are on this hill.
Burial Hill was probably chosen to be a _memento mori_ to the pious
pilgrims; its elevation, bristling with grave-stones, being conspicuous
from every part of the town. But, lest it should exhibit their tale of
disaster to their foes, the Indians, the colonists sowed the place of
their dead with corn; making it, for honest purposes, a whited
sepulchre. From this eminence, we saw the island in the harbour where
the fathers landed for service on the first Sunday after their arrival;
also, the hill on which stood a wigwam, from whence issued an Indian to
hold the first parley. A brook flowed between the two hills, on which
stood the Indian and the chief of the intruders. Governor Winslow
descended to the brook; bridged it with stepping-stones, in sight of the
Indian; laid down his arms, and advanced. The meeting was friendly; but
there was so little feeling of security, for long after, that when half
the colonists had perished, the rest were paraded round and round a hut
on Burial Hill, to conceal the smallness of their numbers from the
vigilant Indians.

We went to the Registry Office, and saw the earliest records of the
colony,--as far back as 1623,--in the handwriting of the fathers. Among
them is a record of the lots of land appointed to those who came over in
the Mayflower. (Little did the builders of that ship dream how they were
working for immortality!) Sometimes a cow is appointed, with a lot, to
six families. Sometimes a black goat. The red cow is ordained to be kept
for the poor, to calve.

The rock on which the pilgrims first landed, has been split, and the top
part, in order to its preservation, removed within an iron railing, in
front of Pilgrim Hall. The memorable date of the landing, 1620, is
painted upon it; and the names of the fathers, in cast-iron, are
inserted into the railing which surrounds the rock.

Within the Hall, a plain, spacious building, erected within ten years,
to serve as the scene of the festivities of Forefathers' Day, and also
as a Museum of Pilgrim curiosities, is a picture, by Sargent, of the
Landing of the Pilgrims. Samosat, the Indian chief, is advancing, with
English words of greeting,--"Welcome, Englishmen!" Elder Brewster, and
the other fathers, with their apprehensive wives and wondering children,
form an excellent group; and the Mayflower is seen moored in the
distance. The greatest defect in the picture is the introduction of the
blasted tree, which needlessly adds to the desolation of the scene, and
gives a false idea, as far as it goes. I could not have anticipated the
interest which these memorials would inspire. I felt as if in a dream,
the whole time that I was wandering about with the rejoicing people,
among the traces of the heroic men and women who came over into the
perilous wilderness, in search of freedom of worship.

Forefathers' Day rose bright and mild. I looked out towards the harbour.
Every flake of ice was gone, and the deep blue sea rippled and sparkled
in the sun. The superstition was fated to endure another year, at least.
All Plymouth was in a joyous bustle, with lines of carriages, and groups
of walkers. After breakfast, we proceeded to the church, to await the
orator of the day. We were detained on the steps for a few minutes, till
the doors should be opened; and I was glad of it, for the sun was warm,
and the _coup d'oeil_ was charming. There was one long descent from the
church down to the glittering sea; and on the slope were troops of gay
ladies, and lines of children; with here and there a company of little
boys, playing soldiers to the music of the band, which came faintly from
afar. Of real soldiers, I saw two during the day. There might be more;
but none were needed. The strangest association of all was of a Pilgrim
Ode sung to the tune of "God save the King!" an air which I should have
supposed no more likely to be chosen for such an occasion than as an
epilogue to the Declaration of Independence. It did very well, however.
It set us all singing so as to drown the harmony of the violins and
horns which acted as instigation.

The oration was by an ex-senator of the United States. It consisted
wholly of an elaboration of the transcendent virtues of the people of
New England. His manner was more quiet than that of any other orator I
heard; and I really believe that there was less of art than of weakness
and bad taste in his choice of his mode of address. Nothing could be
imagined worse,--more discordant with the fitting temper of the
occasion,--more dangerous to the ignorant, if such there were,--more
disgusting to the wise, (as I know, on the testimony of such,)--more
unworthy of one to whom the ear of the people was open. He told his
hearers of the superiority of their physical, intellectual, and moral
constitution to that of their brethren of the middle and southern
States, to that of Europeans, and all other dwellers in the earth; a
superiority which forbade their being ever understood and appreciated by
any but themselves. He spoke especially of the intensity of the New
England character, as being a hidden mystery from all but natives. He
contrasted the worst circumstances of European society, (now in course
of correction,) with the best of New England arrangements, and drew the
obvious inferences. He excused the bigotry of the Pilgrim Fathers, their
cruel persecution of the Quakers, and other such deeds, on the ground
that they had come over to have the colony to themselves, and did not
want interlopers. He extenuated the recent mobbing practices in New
England, on the ground of their rarity and small consequences, and
declared it impossible that the sons of the pilgrims should trust to
violence for the maintenance of opinion. This last sentiment, the only
sound one that I perceived in the oration, was loudly cheered. The whole
of the rest, I rejoice to say, fell dead.

The orator was unworthy of his hearers. He had been a senator of the
United States, and had, I was told, discharged his duty there; but he
was little fit for public life, if he did not know that it is treason to
republicanism to give out lower morals in public than are held in
private; to smile or sigh over the vanity of the people by the fireside,
and pamper it from the rostrum; to use the power of oratory to injure
the people, instead of to save. In this case, the exaggeration was so
excessive as to be, I trust, harmless. No man of common sense could be
made to believe that any community of mortal men has ever been what the
orator described the inhabitants of New England to have attained. I was
deeply touched by the first remark I heard upon this oration. A lady,
who had been prevented from attending, asked me, on my return, home, how
I liked the address. Before I could open my lips to reply, her daughter
spoke. "I am heart-sick of this boasting. When I think of our
forefathers, I want to cry, 'God be merciful to us sinners!'" If the
oration awakened in others, as I believe it did, by force of contrast,
feelings as healthful, as faithful to the occasion as this, it was not
lost, and our pity must rest upon the orator.

I am aware,--I had but too much occasion to observe,--how this practice
of flattering the people from the rostrum is accounted for, and, as a
matter of fact, smiled at by citizens of the United States. I know that
it is considered as a mode, inseparable from the philosophy of politics
there. I dissent from this view altogether. I see that the remedy lies,
not wholly where remedies for the oppression of severe natural laws
lie,--in a new combination of outward circumstances,--but in the
individual human will. The people may have honest orators if they
choose to demand to hear the truth. The people will gladly hear the
truth, if the appointed orator will lay aside selfish fears and desires,
and use his high privilege of speaking from the bottom of his soul. If,
in simplicity, he delivers to the people his true and best self, he is
certain to gain the convictions of many, and the sympathies of all; and
his soul will be clear of the guilt of deepening the pit under the feet
of the people, while trying to persuade them that they are treading on
firm ground. What is to be said of guides who dig pitfalls?

The day closed delightfully. Almost everybody went to pay respect to an
aged lady, then eighty-eight, a regular descendant of one of the
pilgrims. She was confined to the sofa, but retained much beauty, and
abundant cheerfulness. She was delighted to receive us, and to
sympathise in those pleasures of the day which she could not share. I
had the honour of sitting in the chair which her ancestor brought over
from England, and of feeling the staple by which it was fastened in the

The dinner being over, the gentlemen returned to their several abodes,
to escort the ladies to the ball in Pilgrim Hall. I went, with a party
of seven others, in a stage coach; every carriage, native and exotic,
being in requisition to fill the ball-room, from which no one was
excluded. It was the only in-door festival, except the President's
levee, where I witnessed an absolutely general admission; and its aspect
and conduct were, in the highest degree, creditable to the intelligence
and manners of the community. There were families from the islands in
the bay, and other country residences, whence the inhabitants seldom
emerge, except for this festival. The dress of some of the young ladies
was peculiar, and their glee was very visible; but I saw absolutely no
vulgarity. There was much beauty, and much elegance among the young
ladies, and the manners of their parents were unexceptionable. There was
evidence in the dancing, of the "intensity" of which we had heard so
much in the morning. The lads and lasses looked as if they meant never
to tire; but this enjoyment of the exercise pleased me much more than
the affectation of dancing, which is now fashionable in the large
cities. I never expect to see a more joyous and unexceptionable piece of
festivity than the Pilgrim ball of 1835.

The next day, the harbour was all frozen over; and the memory of the
blue, rippling sea of Plymouth, is therefore, with me, sacred to
Forefathers' Day.

I was frequently reminded by friends of what is undoubtedly very true,
the great perils of office in the United States, as an excuse for the
want of honesty in officials. It is perfectly true that it is ruin to a
professional man without fortune, to enter public life for a time, and
then be driven back into private life. I knew a senator of the United
States who had served for nearly his twice six years, and who then had
to begin life again, as regarded his profession. I knew a representative
of the United States, a wealthy man, with a large family, who is
doubting still, as he has been for a few years past, whether he shall
give up commerce or public life, or go on trying to hold them both. He
is rich enough to devote himself to public life; but at the very next
election after he has relinquished his commercial affairs, he may be
thrown out of politics. I see what temptations arise in such cases, to
strain a few points, in order to remain in the public eye; and I am
willing to allow for the strength of the temptation.

But the part for honest men to take is to expose the peril, to the end
that the majority may find a remedy; and not to sanction it by yielding
to it. Let the attention of the people be drawn towards the salaries of
office, that they may discover whether they are too low; which is best,
that adventurers of bad character should now and then get into office,
because they have not reputation enough to obtain a living by other
means, or that honest and intelligent men should be kept out, because
the prizes of office are engrossed by more highly educated men; and
whether the rewards of office are kept low by the democratic party, for
the sake of putting in what their opponents call 'adventurers,' or by
the aristocratic, with the hope of offices being engrossed by the men of
private fortune. Let the true state of the case, according to each
official's view of it, be presented to the people, rather than any
countenance be given to the present dreadful practice of wheedling and
flattery; and the perils of office will be, by some means, lessened.

The popular scandal against the people of the United States, that they
boast intolerably of their national institutions and character, appears
to me untrue: but I see how it has arisen. Foreigners, especially the
English, are partly to blame for this. They enter the United States with
an idea that a republic is a vulgar thing: and some take no pains to
conceal their thought. To an American, nothing is more venerable than a
republic. The native and the stranger set out on a misunderstanding. The
English attacks, the American defends, and, perhaps, boasts. But the
vain-glorious flattery of their public orators is the more abundant
source of this reproach; and it rests with the people to redeem
themselves from it. For my own part, I remember no single instance of
patriotic boasting, from man, woman, or child, except from the rostrum;
but from thence there was poured enough to spoil the auditory for life,
if they had been simple enough to believe what they were told. But they
were not.



Side by side with the sinners of the rostrum, stand the sinners of the
newspaper press. The case is clear, and needs little remark or
illustration. The profligacy of newspapers, wherever they exist, is a
universal complaint; and, of all newspaper pressed I never heard any one
deny that the American is the worst. Of course, this depravity being so
general throughout the country, it must be occasioned by some
overpowering force of circumstances. The causes are various; and it is a
testimony to the strength and purity of the democratic sentiment in the
country, that the republic has not been overthrown by its newspapers.

While the population is so scattered as it now is, throughout the
greater part of the Union, nothing is easier than to make the people
know only one side of a question; few things are easier than to keep
from them altogether the knowledge of any particular affair; and, worse
than all, on them may easily be practised the discovery that lies may
work their intended effect, before the truth can overtake them.

It is hard to tell which is worst; the wide diffusion of things that are
not true, or the suppression of things that are true. It is no secret
that some able personage at Washington writes letters on the politics
and politicians of the general government, and sends them to the
remotest corners of the Union, to appear in their newspapers; after
which, they are collected in the administration newspaper at Washington,
as testimonies of public opinion in the respective districts where they
appear. It is no secret that the newspapers of the south keep out of
their columns all information which might enlighten their readers, near
and afar, as to the real state of society at home. I can testify to the
_remarkable events_ which occur in the southern States, unnoticed by any
press, and transpiring only through accident. Two men were burned alive,
without trial, by the gentlemen of Mobile, just before my arrival there;
and no newspaper even alluded to the circumstance, till, many months
after, a brief and obscure paragraph, in a northern journal, treated it
as a matter of hearsay.

It is no secret that the systematic abuse with which the newspapers of
one side assail every candidate coming forward on the other, is the
cause of many honourable men, who have a regard to their reputation,
being deterred from entering public life; and of the people being thus
deprived of some better servants than any they have. Though a faithful
public servant should be able to endure all the consequences of faithful
service, yet there are many cases where men, undecided as to their
choice of public and private life, are fixed in favour of the latter by
this one circumstance. It is the one obstacle too much. A public man in
New England gave me the history of an editor of a newspaper, who began
his professional course by making an avowed distinction between telling
lies in conversation and in a newspaper, where every body looks for
them. Of course, he has sunk deeper and deeper in falsehood; but
retribution has not yet overtaken him. My informant told me, that this
editor has made some thousands of dollars by his abuse of one man; and
jocosely proposed, that persons who are systematically railed at by any
newspaper, should lay claim to a proportion of the profits arising out
of the use of their names and characters.

The worst of it is, that the few exceptions to this depravity,--the few
newspapers conducted by men of truth and superior intelligence, are not
yet encouraged in proportion to their merits. It is easy to see how a
youth, going into the wilds, to set up a newspaper for the neighbouring
villages, should meet with support, however vicious or crude his
production maybe; but it is discouraging to perceive how little
preference is given, in the Atlantic cities, to the best journals over
the worst. Still, there is a preference; and it appears to be on the
increase; and that increase, again, is in proportion to the intrepidity
of the paper in discussing affairs as they arise.

There will be no great improvement in the literary character of the
American newspapers till the literature of the country has improved.
Their moral character depends upon the moral taste of the people. This
looks like a very severe censure. If it be so, the same censure applies
elsewhere, and English morals must be held accountable for the slanders
and captiousness displayed in the leading articles of British journals,
and for the disgustingly jocose tone of their police reports, where
crimes are treated as entertainments, and misery as a jest. Whatever may
be the exterior causes of the Americans having been hitherto ill-served
in their newspapers, it is now certain that there are none which may not
be overpowered by a sound moral taste. In their country, the demand lies
with the many. Whenever the many demand truth and justice in their
journals, and reject falsehood and calumny, they will be served
according to their desire.

This desire is beginning to awaken. Some months before I left the
United States, a man of colour was burned alive, without trial, at St.
Louis, in Missouri; a large assemblage of the "respectable" inhabitants
of the city being present. No one supposed that anybody out of the State
of Missouri was any further implicated with this deed, than as men have
an interest in every outrage done to man. The interest which residents
in other States had in this deed, was like that which an Englishman has
in a man being racked in the Spanish Inquisition; or a Frenchman, in a
Turk being bastinadoed at Constantinople. He is not answerable for it,
or implicated in it, as a fellow-citizen; and he speaks his humane
reprobation as a fellow-man. Certain American citizens, out of Missouri,
contrived, however, to implicate themselves in the responsibility for
this awful outrage, which, one would have thought, any man would have
been thankful to avoid. The majority of newspaper editors made
themselves parties to the act, by refusing, from fear, to reprobate it.
The state of the case was this, as described to me by some inhabitants
of St. Louis. The gentlemen of the press in that city dared not
reprobate the outrage, for fear of the consequences from the murderers.
They merely announced the deed, as a thing to be regretted, and
recommended that the veil of oblivion should be drawn over the affair.
Their hope was widely different from their recommendation. They hoped
that the newspapers throughout the Union would raise such a chorus of
execration as would annihilate the power of the executioners. But the
newspapers of the Union were afraid to comment upon the affair, because
they saw that the St. Louis editors were afraid. The really respectable
inhabitants of that disgraced city were thrown almost into despair by
this dastardly silence, and believed all security of life and property
in their State to be at an end. A few journals were honest enough to
thunder the truth in the ears of the people; and the people awoke to
perceive how their editors had involved themselves in this crime, by a
virtual acquiescence,--like the unfaithful mastiff, if such a creature
there be, which slinks away from its master's door, to allow a passage
to a menacing thief. The influence of the will of the awakening people
is already seen in the improved vigour in the tone of the newspapers
against outrage. On occasion of the more recent riots at Cincinnati, the
editorial silence has been broken by many voices.

There is a spirited newspaper at Louisville which has done its duty
well, on occasions when it required some courage to do it; informing the
Cincinnati people of the meanness of their conduct in repressing the
expression of opinion, lest it should injure the commerce between Ohio
and Kentucky; and also, justifying Judge Shaw of Massachusetts, against
the outcries of the South, for a judgment he lately gave in favour of
the release of a slave, voluntarily carried into a free State. Two New
York papers, the New York American and the Evening Post, have gained
themselves honour by intrepidity of the same kind, and by the
comparative moderation and friendliness of their spirit. I hope that
there may be many more, and that their number may be perpetually on the

The very best newspaper that I saw in the United States was a single
number of the Cleveland Whig, which I picked up at an hotel in the
interior of Ohio. I had seen spirited extracts from it in various
newspapers. The whole of this particular number was valuable for the
excellence of its spirit, and for its good sense. It had very important,
and some very painful subject matter,--instances of overbearing the
law,--to treat of. It was so done as nearly to beguile me, hungry
traveller as I was, of my dinner, and of all thought of my journey.

One other remarkable paper lies before me: remarkable for its professing
to be conducted on principles of exact justice, and for its accordance
with its principles to a degree which has hardly been dreamed of in a
publication of its kind. There is something heroic in the enterprise,
which inspires a strong hope of its success. If the ability be but
sufficient to sustain it,--of which there seems no reason to
doubt,--there can be no question of its acceptableness. The just and
gentle construction of human actions, and the cheerful and trustful mood
in surveying natural events, are more congenial with the general mind,
than captiousness and distrust towards men, and despondency under the
government of God. Such men as the editor of the Boston Reformer are
sure to command the sympathies of men, however they may appear to run
counter to the supposed tastes of newspaper readers. The following
notice to correspondents is a novelty in its place,--more striking than
any announcements in the news columns.

"To correspondents.--Our paper is no vehicle of vulgar abuse, or
spiteful attacks on persons or institutions. Our design is to avoid
everything which appeals to or pleases any bad propensity in our nature.
Doubtless there are a thousand petty annoyances somewhat grievous to be
borne; but we cannot go about to redress them. The best way is to
forgive and forget them. We cannot waste our strength on little matters.
We know no way to do good to man, to make society really better, but to
suppress our anger, keep our temper, show an elevated mind and a good
heart. We must look for the good, not for the bad in men, and always
put the best construction we can on all their doings."--_Boston



In England the idea of an American citizen is of one who is always
talking politics, canvassing, bustling about to make proselytes abroad,
buried in newspapers at home, and hurrying to vote on election days.

There is another side to the object. A learned professor of a western
college told me abundance of English news, but declared himself ignorant
of everything that had passed in the home portion of the political
world. He never took any interest in politics. What would be the use of
his disturbing himself? How far does one man's vote go? He does more
good by showing himself above such affairs.

It was communicated to me that there are more modes of political action
than one: and that, though this professor does not vote, he uses his
utmost influence with the students of his college, in favour of his own
political opinions; and with entire success. If this be true, the
gentleman falls short of his duty in one respect, and exceeds it in

A clergyman in the north was anxious to assure me that elections are
merely personal matters, and do not affect the happiness of the people.
It matters not to him, for instance, who is in office, and what party in
politics is uppermost: life goes on the same to him. This gentleman had
probably never heard of the old lady who said that she did not care
what revolutions happened, as long as she had her roast chicken, and her
little game at cards. But that old lady did not live in a republic, or
perhaps even she might have perceived that there would have been no
security for roast chickens and cards, if all were to neglect political
action but those who want political power and profit. In a democracy,
every man is supposed to be his own security for life and property: and,
if a man devolves his political charge upon others, he must lay his
accounts for not being so well taken care of as he might be. So much for
the selfish aspect of the case;--the view which might have been
presented, with illustrations, to the old lady, if she had happened to
live in a republic.

The clergyman ought to see further. He ought to see, in virtue of his
office, how public morals must suffer under the neglect of public duty
by respectable men. If such men were to perform the duties of citizens
as conscientiously as they do those of husbands, fathers, and pastors,
and leave it to the knaves to neglect the duties of citizenship, the
republic might go on as well as a republic with knaves in it can go on.
But if the case is reversed,--if the knaves are eager to use their
political rights for selfish purposes, and the conscientious in other
respects are remiss in the duties of citizenship, the pastors may almost
as well leave off preaching. All good pastoral influence will be borne
down by the spread of corruption. The clergy may preach themselves
hoarse to little purpose, if they live, and encourage others to live, in
the avowed neglect of the first duty of any one relation; and the
exercise of the suffrage is the first duty of republican citizenship.

A naval officer, a man of an otherwise sound head and heart, told me,
very coolly, that he had never voted more than twice in his life. His
defence, in answer to my remonstrance, was, that he had served his
country in other ways. In as far as this might be meant to convey that
he could not vote at New York when in India, the excuse must be admitted
as valid: but, if it was meant to apply to elections going on before his
eyes, it was much the same as if he had said, "there is no occasion for
me to be a good father, because I have been a good son."

A member of Congress gave me instances of what would have been the
modifications of certain public affairs, but for the apathy of the
minority about the use of their suffrage. If citizens regulate their
exertions by the probabilities of immediate success, instead of by their
faith in their own convictions, it is indeed no wonder if the minority
leave everything to their adversaries; but this is not the way for men
to show themselves worthy of the possession of political rights. This is
not the way that society has advanced. This is not the way that security
for life and property has been obtained for those idle citizens who are
now leaving that security to the mercy of those whom they believe to be
the enemies of society.

A public man told me that it would be a great point gained, if every
citizen could be induced to vote, at least once a year. So far is it
from being true that all Americans are the bustling politicians the
English have been apt to suppose. If such political bustle should be
absurd, the actual apathy is something worse. If it were only borne in
mind that rulers derive their just powers from the consent of the
governed, surely all conscientious men would see the guilt of any man
acquiescing in the rule of governors whom he disapproves, by not having
recorded his dissent. Or, if he should be in the majority, the case is
no better. He has omitted to bear his testimony to what he esteems the
true principles of government. He has not appointed his rulers; and, in
as far as he accepts their protection, he takes without having given, he
reaps without having sown; he deprives his just rulers of a portion of
the authority which is their due--of a portion of the consent of the

There is another cause for the reluctance to vote which is complained of
by the best friends of the people; but it is almost too humbling and
painful to be discussed. Some are afraid to vote!

This happens not in the country, nor among the strength of the
population in the towns: but among the feeble aristocracy. There is not,
in the United States, as with us, a system of intimidation exercised by
the rich over the poor. In the country, there are no landlords and
tenants at will. In the towns, the tradesmen do not stand in need of the
patronage of the rich. Though they vote by ballot, and any man who
chooses it may vote secretly, (and many do upon occasion,) there is
rarely any need of such protection. But there is no reason why the
gentry, who may be afraid of hurting one another's feelings, should not
use their power of secret voting, rather than neglect the duty of giving
their suffrage. If the educated and principled men of the community, as
they are esteemed, fall back into idleness and silence, when the time
comes for a struggle for principles, and there is a danger of
disappointing expectations, and hurting feelings, their country has
little to thank them for. They are the men from whom the open discharge
of duty is looked for; they are the men who should show that political
obligation is above private regards. If they have not the virtue to do
this, and take the consequences, let them avail themselves of the
secrecy of the ballot-box, which in England is desired for the
protection of those whom bad arrangements have made dependent for bread
on the rich and powerful. At all events, let them vote, or be ashamed to
accept the privileges of citizenship without having discharged the

The fear of opinion sometimes takes the form of an almost insane dread
of responsibility. There are occasions when public men, unable to judge
for themselves of particular classes of circumstances, are obliged to
ask advice of their friends and supporters. Happy he who obtains a full
and true answer from any one! The chances against this are in proportion
to the importance of the case. I knew of one such instance, the result
of which more than one is, I trust, now grieving over in his inmost
heart. An eminent statesman was hesitating whether to offer himself as a
candidate for a very high office. He requested the opinion and advice of
a number of gentlemen in public life, his supporters. All were of the
same opinion; that he should not stand. No one of them chose to take the
responsibility of telling him so. Some of them wrote ambiguous answers,
hoping that he would infer that they thought ill of his chance. Others
rather encouraged the enterprise. The illustrative details which might
be given,--showing the general uniformity, with particular diversity, of
the conduct of the advisers,--would be amusing if they were not too sad.
Suffice it that no one, as far as I could learn, could get over his fear
of responsibility so as to be faithful. They allowed their idol to make
a fool of himself. If he should henceforth be sunk in political
scepticism, perhaps these gentlemen may find that in shunning one kind
of responsibility, they have incurred another, far heavier.

It is felt, and understood, in the United States, that their near future
in politics is indiscernible. Odd, unexpected circumstances,
determining the present, are perpetually turning up. Almost every man
has his convictions as to what the state of affairs will be, in the
gross, a century hence. Scarcely any man will venture a conjecture as to
what will have happened next spring. This is the very condition, if the
people could but see it, for the exercise of faith in principles. With a
dark and shifting near future, and a bright and fixed ultimate destiny,
what is the true, the only wisdom? Not to pry into the fogs and thickets
round about, or to stand still for fear of what may next occur in the
path; but to look from Eden gate behind to heaven gate before, and press
on to the certain future. In his political as in his moral life, man
should, in the depth of his ignorance and the fallibility of his
judgment, throw himself, in a full sense of security, upon principles;
and then he is safe from being depressed by opposition, or scared by
uncertainty, or depraved by responsibility.



It is notorious that there is a remarkable failure in this department of
political morals among certain parties in the United States. The mobbing
events of the last few years are celebrated; the abolition riots in New
York and Boston; the burning of the Charleston Convent; the bank riots
at Baltimore; the burning of the mails at Charleston; the hangings by
Lynch-law at Vickesburgh; the burning alive of a man of colour at St.
Louis; the subsequent proceedings there towards the students of Marion
College; and the abolition riots at Cincinnati. Here is a fearful list!

The first question that arises is, who has done these things? Whose
hands have lighted green fagots round a living man? and strung up a
dozen or twenty citizens on the same gallows? and fired and razed
houses; and sent a company of trembling nuns flying for their lives at
midnight? Here is evidence enough of ignorance,--of desperate, brutal
ignorance. Whose ignorance?

In Europe, the instantaneous and natural persuasion of men who hear the
tidings is, that the lowest classes in America have risen against the
higher. In Europe, desperate, brutal ignorance is the deepest curse in
the cursed life of the pauper and the serf. In Europe, mobbing is
usually the outbreak of exasperated misery against laws which oppress,
and an aristocracy which insults humanity. Europeans, therefore,
naturally assume that the gentry of the United States are the sinned
against, and the poor the sinners, in their social disturbances. They
draw conclusions against popular government, and suppose it proved that
universal suffrage dissolves society into chaos. They picture to
themselves a rabble of ragged, desperate workmen, with torches in their
hands; while the gentry look on in dismay, or tremble within their

It is not so. I was informed, twenty times over, by gentlemen, that the
Boston mob of last year was wholly composed of gentlemen. The only
working man in it was the truck-man who saved the victim. They were the
gentlemen of St. Louis who burned the black man, and banished the
students of Marion College. They were the gentlemen of Cincinnati who
denounced the abolitionists, and raised the persecution against them.
They were the magistrates and gentry of Vickesburgh who hanged
way-farers, gamblers, and slaves in a long row. They were the gentlemen
of Charleston who broke open the Post Office, and violated its sacred
function, to the insult and injury of the whole country.

The case is plain. There are no paupers to rise against oppressive laws
in a country, where the laws are made by all, and where pauperism is
thereby excluded. There is no degraded class, subject to insults from
the highest, which can be resented only by outrage. The assumption is a
false one, that ignorance and poverty, knowledge and wealth, go
together. Mobbing for European causes, and in European modes, is
absolutely precluded where political rights are universal, and political
power equally diffused through all classes.

The very few European causes which are in analogy with United States
mobbing, are those riots for opinion, which bear only a subordinate
relation to politics; such as the Birmingham riots, and the attempt of
the Liverpool merchants to push Clarkson into the dock. The cases are
very similar. The mobs of America are composed of high churchmen, (of
whatever denomination,) merchants and planters, and lawyers.

One complete narrative of a riot, for the fidelity of which I can vouch,
will expose the truth of the case better than a list of deeds of horror
which happened beyond my sight. It is least revolting, too, to treat of
a case whose terror lies in its existence, more than in its
consequences. The actors in the riot, which it was my fortune to
understand, were scarcely less guilty than if they had bathed their
hands in blood; but it is easier to examine, undisturbed by passion, the
case of those whose hands are, to the outward eye, clean.

A very few years ago, certain citizens in New England began to discover
that the planters of the south were making white slaves in the north,
nearly as successfully as they were propagating black slavery in the
territories of the south and west. Charleston and Boston were
affectionate friends in old times, and are so still, notwithstanding the
hard words that passed between them in nullification days: that is, the
merchants and professional men of Boston are fond of Charleston, on
account of their commercial relations. This attachment has been carried
to such an extreme as to be almost fatal to the liberties of some of the
best citizens of the northern city. They found their brothers dismissed
from their pastoral charges, their sons expelled from colleges, their
friends excluded from professorships, and themselves debarred from
literary and social privileges, if they happened to entertain and
express opinions unfavourable to the peculiar domestic institution by
which Charleston declares it to be her intention to abide. Such is the
plea of those citizens of Boston who have formed associations for the
purpose of opposing, by moral influence, an institution which they feel
to be inconsistent with the first principles of morals and politics. For
a considerable time before my visit to that part of the country, they
had encountered petty persecutions of almost every conceivable kind.
There is no law in Massachusetts by which the free expression of opinion
on moral subjects is punishable. I heard many regret the absence of such
law. Everything was done that could be done to make up for its absence.
Books on any subject, written by persons who avow by association their
bad opinion of slavery, are not purchased: clergymen are no longer
invited to preach: the proprietors of public rooms will not let them to
members of such associations; and the churches are shut against them.
Their notices of public meetings are torn in the pulpits, while all
notices of other public meetings are read. The newspapers pour contempt
and wrath upon them in one continued stream. Bad practices are imputed
to them, and their denial is drowned in clamour. As a single instance of
this last; I was told so universally in the south and west that the
abolitionists of Boston and New York were in the habit of sending
incendiary tracts among the slaves, that it never occurred to me to
doubt the fact; though I was struck with surprise at never being able to
find any one who had seen any one who had actually seen one of these
tracts. Nor did it occur to me that as slaves cannot read, verbal
messages would be more to the purpose of all parties, as being more
effectual and more prudent. Mr. Madison made the charge, so did Mr.
Clay, so did Mr. Calhoun, so did every slave-holder and merchant with
whom I conversed. I chose afterwards to hear the other side of the whole
question; and I found, to my amazement, that this charge was wholly
groundless. No Abolition Society of New York or Massachusetts has ever
sent any anti-slavery paper south of Washington, except the circulars,
addressed to public officers in the States, which were burnt at
Charleston. The abolitionists of Boston have been denying this charge
ever since it was first made, and offering evidence of its
groundlessness; yet the calumny is persisted in, and, no doubt, honestly
believed, to this hour, throughout the south, whither the voice of the
condemned, stifled by their fellow-citizens, cannot reach.

Only mortal things, however, can be really suffocated; and there has
never yet been an instance of a murder of opinion. There seemed, in
1835, so much danger of the abolitionists making themselves heard, that
an emphatic contradiction was got up, it was hoped in good time.

The abolitionists had been, they believe illegally, denied by the city
authority the use of Faneuil Hall; (called, in memory of revolutionary
days, the "Cradle of Liberty.") Certain merchants and lawyers of Boston
held a meeting there, in August, 1835, for the purpose of reprobating
the meetings of the abolitionists, and denouncing their measures, while
approving of their principles. The less that is said of this
meeting,--the deepest of all the disgraces of Boston,--the better. It
bears its character in its face. Its avowed object was to put down the
expression of opinion by opprobrium, in the absence of gag laws. Of the
fifteen hundred who signed the requisition for this meeting, there are
many, especially among the younger and more thoughtless, who have long
repented of the deed. Some signed in anger; some in fear; many in
mistake; and of each of these there are some, who would fain, if it were
possible, efface their signatures with their blood.

It is an invariable fact, and recognized as such, that meetings held to
supply the deficiency of gag laws are the prelude to the violence which
supplies the deficiency of executioners under such laws. Every meeting
held to denounce opinion is followed by a mob. This was so well
understood in the present case that the abolitionists were warned that
if they met again publicly, they would be answerable for the disorders
that might ensue. The abolitionists pleaded that this was like making
the rich man answerable for the crime of the thief who robbed him, on
the ground that if the honest man had not been rich, the thief would not
have been tempted to rob him. The abolitionists also perceived how
liberty of opinion and of speech depended on their conduct in this
crisis; and they resolved to yield to no threats of illegal violence;
but to hold their legal meeting, pursuant to advertisement, for the
despatch of their usual business. One remarkable feature of the case was
that this heavy responsibility rested upon women. It was a ladies'
meeting that was in question. Upon consultation, the ladies agreed that
they should never have sought the perilous duty of defending liberty of
opinion and speech at the last crisis; but, as such a service seemed
manifestly appointed to them, the women were ready.

On the 21st of October, they met, pursuant to advertisement, at the
office of their association, No. 46, Washington Street. Twenty-five
reached their room, by going three-quarters of an hour before the
appointed time. Five more made their way up with difficulty through the
crowd. A hundred more were turned back by the mob.

They knew that a hand-bill had been circulated on the Exchange, and
posted on the City Hall, and throughout the city, the day before, which
declared that Thompson, the abolitionist, was to address them; and
invited the citizens, under promise of pecuniary reward, to "snake
Thompson out, and bring him to the tar-kettle before dark." The ladies
had been warned that they would be killed, "as sure as fate," if they
showed themselves on their own premises that day. They therefore
informed the mayor that they expected to be attacked. The reply of the
city marshal was, "You give us a great deal of trouble."

The committee-room was surrounded, and gazed into by a howling,
shrieking mob of gentlemen, while the twenty-five ladies sat perfectly
still, awaiting the striking of the clock. When it struck, they opened
their meeting. They were questioned as to whether Thompson was there in
disguise; to which they made no reply.

They began, as usual, with prayer; the mob shouting "Hurra! here comes
Judge Lynch!" Before they had done, the partition gave way, and the
gentlemen hurled missiles at the lady who was presiding. The secretary
having risen, and begun to read her report, rendered inaudible by the
uproar, the mayor entered, and insisted upon their going home, to save
their lives. The purpose of their meeting was answered: they had
asserted their principle; and they now passed out, two and two, amidst
the execration of some thousands of gentlemen;--persons who had silver
shrines to protect. The ladies, to the number of fifty, walked to the
house of one of their members, and were presently struck to the heart by
the news that Garrison was in the hands of the mob. Garrison is the
chief apostle of abolition in the United States. He had escorted his
wife to the meeting; and, after offering to address the ladies, and
being refused, out of regard to his safety, had left the room, and, as
they supposed, the premises. He was, however, in the house when the
ladies left it. He was hunted for by the mob; dragged from behind some
planks where he had taken refuge, and conveyed into the street. Here his
hat was trampled under-foot, and brick-bats were aimed at his bare head;
a rope was tied round him, and thus he was dragged through the streets.
His young wife saw all this. Her exclamation was, "I think my husband
will be true to his principles. I am sure my husband will not deny his
principles." Her confidence was just. Garrison never denies his

He was saved by a stout truckman, who, with his bludgeon, made his way
into the crowd, as if to attack the victim. He protected the bare head,
and pushed on towards a station house, whence the mayor's officers
issued, and pulled in Garrison, who was afterwards put into a coach. The
mob tried to upset the coach, and throw down the horses; but the driver
laid about him with his whip, and the constables with their staves, and
Garrison was safely lodged in jail: for protection; for he had committed
no offence.

Before the mayor ascended the stairs to dismiss the ladies, he had done
a very remarkable deed;--he had given permission to two gentlemen to
pull down and destroy the anti-slavery sign, bearing the inscription,
"Anti-Slavery Office,"--which had hung for two years, as signs do hang
before public offices in Boston. The plea of the mayor is, that he hoped
the rage of the mob would thus be appeased: that is, he gave them leave
to break the laws in one way, lest they should in another. The citizens
followed up this deed of the mayor with one no less remarkable. They
elected these two rioters members of the State legislature, by a large
majority, within ten days.

I passed through the mob some time after it had begun to assemble. I
asked my fellow-passengers in the stage what it meant. They supposed it
was a busy foreign-post day, and that this occasioned an assemblage of
gentlemen about the post-office. They pointed out to me that there were
none but gentlemen. We were passing through from Salem, fifteen miles
north of Boston, to Providence, Rhode Island; and were therefore
uninformed of the events and expectations of the day. On the morrow, a
visitor who arrived at Providence from Boston told us the story; and I
had thenceforth an excellent opportunity of hearing all the remarks that
could be made by persons of all ways of thinking and feeling, on this

It excited much less attention than it deserved; less than would be
believed possible by those at a distance who think more seriously of
persecution for opinion, and less tenderly of slavery than a great many
of the citizens of Boston. To many in the city of Boston the story I
have told would be news: and to yet more in the country, who know that
some trouble was caused by abolition meetings in the city, but who are
not aware that their own will, embodied in the laws, was overborne to
gratify the mercenary interests of a few, and the political fears of a
few more.

The first person with whom I conversed about this riot was the president
of a university. We were perfectly agreed as to the causes and character
of the outrage. This gentleman went over to Boston for a day or two; and
when he returned, I saw him again. He said he was happy to tell me that
we had been needlessly making ourselves uneasy about the affair: that
there had been no mob, the persons assembled having been all gentlemen.

An eminent lawyer at Boston was one of the next to speak upon it. "O,
there was no mob," said he. "I was there myself, and saw they were all
gentlemen. They were all in fine broad-cloth."

"Not the less a mob for that," said I.

"Why, they protected Garrison. He received no harm. They protected

"From whom, or what?"

"O, they would not really hurt him. They only wanted to show that they
would not have such a person live among them."

"Why should not he live among them? Is he guilty under any law?"

"He is an insufferable person to them."

"So may you be to-morrow. If you can catch Garrison breaking the laws,
punish him under the laws. If you cannot, he has as much right to live
where he pleases as you."

Two law pupils of this gentleman presently entered. One approved of all
that had been done, and praised the spirit of the gentlemen of Boston. I
asked whether they had not broken the law. Yes. I asked him if he knew
what the law was. Yes; but it could not be always kept. If a man was
caught in a house setting it on fire, the owner might shoot him; and
Garrison was such an incendiary. I asked him for proof. He had nothing
but hearsay to give. The case, as I told him, came to this. A. says
Garrison is an incendiary. B. says he is not. A. proceeds on his own
opinion to break the law, lest Garrison should do so.

The other pupil told me of the sorrow of heart with which he saw the
law, the life of the republic, set at naught by those who should best
understand its nature and value. He saw that the time was come for the
true men of the republic to oppose a bold front to the insolence of the
rich and the powerful, who were bearing down the liberties of the people
for a matter of opinion. The young men, he saw, must brace themselves up
against the tyranny of the monied mob, and defend the law; or the
liberties of the country were gone. I afterwards found many such among
the young men of the wealthier classes. If they keep their convictions,
they and their city are safe.

No prosecutions followed. I asked a lawyer, an abolitionist, why. He
said there would be difficulty in getting a verdict; and, if it was
obtained, the punishment would be merely a fine, which would be paid on
the spot, and the triumph would remain with the aggressors. This seemed
to me no good reason.

I asked an eminent judge the same question; and whether there was not a
public prosecutor who might prosecute for breach of the peace, if the
abolitionists would not, for the assault on Garrison. He said it might
be done; but he had given his advice against it. Why? The feeling was so
strong against the abolitionists,--the rioters were so respectable in
the city,--it was better to let the whole affair pass over without

Of others, some knew nothing of it, because it was about such a low set
of people; some could not take any interest in what they were tired of
hearing about; some had not heard anything of the matter; some thought
the abolitionists were served quite right; some were sure the gentlemen
of Boston would not do anything improper; and some owned that there was
such bad taste and meddlesomeness in the abolitionists, that people of
taste kept out of the way of hearing anything about them.

Notwithstanding all this, the body of the people are sound. Many of the
young lawyers are resolved to keep on the watch, to maintain the rights
of the abolitionists in the legislature, and in the streets of the city.
Many hundreds of the working men agreed to leave their work on the first
rumour of riot, get sworn in as special constables, and keep the peace
against the gentry; acting vigorously against the mob ringleaders, if
such should be the magistrates of Boston themselves. I visited many of
the villages in Massachusetts; and there everything seemed right. The
country people are abolitionists, by nature and education, and they see
the iniquity of mob-law. A sagacious gentleman told me that it did him
good to hear, in New York, of this mob, because it proved the rest of
Massachusetts to be in a sound state. It is always 'Boston _versus_
Massachusetts;' and when the city, or the aristocracy there, who think
themselves the city, are very vehemently wrong, it is a plain proof that
the country people are eminently right. This may, for the humour of the
thing, be strongly put; but there is much truth in it.

The philosophy of the case is very easy to understand; and supremely
important to be understood.

The law, in a republic, is the embodiment of the will of the people. As
long as the republic is in a natural and healthy state, containing no
anomaly, and exhibiting no gross vices, the function of the law works
easily, and is understood and reverenced. Its punishments bear only upon
individuals, who have the opposition of society to contend with for
violating its will, and who are helpless against the righteous
visitations of the law.

If there be any anomaly among the institutions of a republic, the
function of the law is certain to be disturbed, sooner or later: and
that disturbance is usually the symptom by the exhibition of which the
anomaly is first detected, and then cured. It was so with free-masonry.
It will be so with slavery; and with every institution inconsistent with
the fundamental principles of democracy. The process is easily
traceable. The worldly interests of the minority,--of perhaps a single
class,--are bound up with the anomaly:--of the minority, because, if the
majority had been interested in any anti-republican institution, the
republic would not have existed. The minority may go on for a length of
time in apparent harmony with the expressed will of the many,--the law.
But the time comes when their anomaly clashes with the law. For
instance, the merchants of the north trade in products which are, as
they believe, created out of a denial that all men are born free and
equal, and that the just powers of rulers are derived from the consent
of the governed; while the contrary principles are the root which
produces the law. Which is to be given up, when both cannot be held? If
the pecuniary interest of merchants is incompatible with freedom of
speech in fellow-citizens, which is to suffer?--The will of the
majority, the lawmaker, is to decide. But it takes some time to awaken
the will of the majority; and till it awakes, the interest of the
faction is active, and overbears the law. The retribution is certain;
the result is safe. But the evils meanwhile are so tremendous, that no
exertion should be spared to open the eyes of the majority to the
insults offered to its will. There is no fear that the majority will
ultimately succumb to the minority,--the harmonious law to the
discordant anomaly: but it is a fearful thing, meantime, that the brave
should be oppressed by the mercenary, and oppressed in proportion to
their bravery; that the masters of black slaves in the south should be
allowed to make white slaves in the north; that power and wealth should
be used to blind the people to the nature and dignity of the law, and to
seduce them into a preference of brute force. These evils are so
tremendous as to make it the duty of every citizen to bring every
lawbreaker, high or low, to punishment; to strike out of the election
list every man who tampers with the will of the majority; to teach every
child what the law is, and why it must be maintained; to keep his eye on
the rostrum, the bench, the bar, the pulpit, the press, the lyceum, the
school, that no fallacy, no compromise with an anomaly, no surrender of
principle be allowed to pass unexposed and unstigmatized.

One compound fallacy is allowed daily to pass unexposed and
unstigmatized. "You make no allowance," said a friend who was strangely
bewildered by it,--"you make no allowance for the great number of
excellent people who view the anomaly and the law as you do, but who
keep quiet, because they sincerely believe that by speaking and acting
they should endanger the Union." This explains the conduct of a crowd of
"excellent people," neither merchants, nor the friends of slave-holders,
nor approving slavery, or mobbing, or persecution for opinion; but who
revile or satirize the abolitionists, and, for the rest, hold their
tongues. But is it possible that such do not see that if slavery be
wrong, and if it be indeed bound up with the Union, the Union must fall?
Is it possible that they do not see that if the question be really
this,--that if the laws of God and the arrangements of man are
incompatible, man's arrangements must give way?--I regard it as a false
and mischievous assumption that slavery is bound up with the Union: but
if I believed the dictum, I should not be for "putting off the evil
day." Every day which passes over the unredressed wrongs of any class
which a republic holds in her bosom; every day which brings persecution
on those who act out the principles which all profess; every day which
adds a sanction to brute force, and impairs the sacredness of law; every
day which prolongs impunity to the oppressor and discouragement to the
oppressed, is a more evil day than that which should usher in the work
of renovation.

But the dictum is not true. This bitter satire upon the constitution,
and upon all who have complacently lived under it, is not true. The
Union is not incompatible with freedom of speech. The Union does not
forbid men to act according to their convictions. The Union has never
depended for its existence on hypocrisy, insult, and injury; and it
never will.

Let citizens but take heed individually to respect the law, and see that
others do,--that no neighbour transgresses it, that no statesman
despises it unrebuked, that no child grows up ignorant or careless of
it; and the Union is as secure as the ground they tread upon. If this be
not done, everything is in peril, for the season; not only the Union,
but property, home, life and integrity.



It is the practice at Washington to pay the Members of Congress, not
only a per diem allowance, but their travelling expenses; at so much per
twenty miles. Two Members of Congress from Missouri made charges widely
different in amount. Complaints were made that the Members were not
confined to a mail route, and that the country had to pay for any
digressions the honourable gentlemen might be in the humour to make.
Upon this, a Member observed that, so far from wishing to confine the
congressional travellers to a mail route, he would, if possible,
prescribe the condition that they should travel, both in coming and
going, through every State of the Union. Any money thus expended, would
be, he considered, a cheap price to pay for the conquest of prejudices
and dispersion of unfriendly feelings, which would be the consequence of
the rambles he proposed.

The Members of Congress from the north like to revert to the day when
there were only two universities, Harvard and Yale, to which all the
youth of the Union repaired for education. The southern members love to
boast of the increase of colleges, so that every State will soon be
educating its own youth. The northern men miss the sweet sounds of
acknowledgment which used to meet their ears, as often as past days were
referred to--the grateful mention of the New England retreats where the
years of preparation for active life were spent. The southern men are
mortified at the supposition that everything intellectual must come out
of New England. When they boast that Virginia has produced almost all
their Presidents, they are met by the boast that New England has
furnished almost all the school-masters, professors, and clergy of the
country. While the north is still fostering a reverence for the Union,
the south loses no opportunity of enlarging lovingly on the virtue of
passionate attachment to one's native state.

There is much nature and much reason in all this. It is true that there
is advantage in the youth of the whole country being brought together
within college walls, at the age when warm friendships are formed. They
can hardly quarrel very desperately in Congress, after having striven,
and loved, and learned together, in their bright early days. The cadets
at West Point spoke warmly to me of this. They told me that when a youth
is coming from afar, the youths who have arrived from an opposite point
of the compass prepare to look cold upon him and quiz him, and receive
him frigidly enough; but the second Sunday seldom comes round before
they wonder at him and themselves, and acknowledge that he might almost
have been born in their own State. On the other hand, it is true that it
would be an absurdity and a hardship to the dwellers in the south and
west to have no means of educating their youth at home; but to be
obliged to send them a thousand miles in pursuit of necessary learning.
It is also true that medical colleges should abound; that peculiar
diseases, incident to climate and locality, may be studied on the spot.
In this, as in many other cases, some good must be sacrificed for the
attainment of a greater good.

The question is, need sectional prejudices increase under the new
arrangements? Are there no means of counteracting this great evil,
except the ancient methods? Is West Point the last spot whereon common
interests may rally, and whence state jealousies may be excluded?

I should be sorry if the answer were unfavourable; for this Sectional
Prejudice, carried beyond the point of due political vigilance, is
folly,--childish folly. Events prove it to be so. Deadly political
enemies meet at Washington, and snarl and declaim at one another with
mighty fierceness. They find themselves, some sunny day, lying on the
grass under the shade of a tree, at the country-house of an
acquaintance; they rise up cordial friends. They have actually discussed
the question of questions, the American System and Nullification; and
yet they rise up cordial friends. Again; a Boston gentleman and his lady
travel for health through the south and west. They hear abuse of their
State and city in abundance by the roadside; but their hearts are
touched by the hospitality and friendliness they meet under every roof.
Again; the planter carries his family to a Rhode Island bathing place,
for the hot season: and there he finds some to whom he can open his
heart about his domestic troubles, caused by slavery; he gains their
sympathy, and carries away their esteem. The sectional hatred, if not an
abstraction, is founded mainly on abstractions, and gives way at once
when the parties are confronted. Does it not deserve to be called
childish folly?

Yet "hatred" is not too strong a term for this sectional prejudice. Many
a time in America have I been conscious of that pang and shudder which
are felt only in the presence of hatred. I question whether the enmity
between the British and the Americans, at the most exasperating crisis
of the war, could ever have been more intense than some that I have seen
flashing in the eyes, and heard from the lips, of Americans against
fellow-citizens in distant sections of their country. I have scarcely
known whether to laugh or to mourn when I have been told that the New
England people are all pedlars or canting priests; that the people of
the south are all heathens; and those of the west all barbarians. Nay, I
was even told in New York that the Rhode Island people were all
heathens, and the New Jersey folks no better. Some Baltimore ladies told
me that the Philadelphia ladies say that no Baltimore lady knows how to
put on a bonnet: but that the Philadelphians have something worse the
matter with them than that; for that they do not know how to be
hospitable to strangers. Without stopping to settle which is the gravest
of these heavy charges, I am anxious to bear my testimony against the
correctness of either. I saw some pretty bonnets, most becomingly worn,
at Baltimore; and I can speak confidently to the hospitality of

Trifling as some instances appear of the manifestation of this puerile
spirit, it sometimes, it always, issues in results which are no
trifle;--always, because the spirit of jealousy is a deadly curse to him
who is possessed by it, whether it be founded on fact, or no. It cannot
co-exist with a generous patriotism, one essential requisite of which is
an enlarged faith in fellow-citizens. All republicans are patriotic,
more or less frequently and loftily. If every American will look into
himself at the moment he is glowing with patriotism, he will find his
sectional prejudices melted away and gone, for the season. The Americans
feel this in their travels abroad, when their country is attacked. They
yearn towards the remotest dwellers in their country as if they were the
nearest and dearest. Would they could always feel thus at home, and in
the absence of provocation!

The most mortifying instance that I witnessed of this sectional
prejudice was at Cincinnati. It was the most mortifying, on two
accounts; because it did not give way before intercourse; and because
its consequences are likely to be very serious to the city, and, if it
spreads, to the whole west. One may laugh at the untravelled citizen of
the south who declares that he knows the New Englanders very well. "How
should you know the New Englanders?" "O, they drive about in our parts
sometimes:"--"they" meaning the Yankee pedlars with wooden clocks for
sale. One may laugh at the simple youth on board a steam-boat on Lake
Erie, who warned me not to believe anything the Huron people might tell
me against the Sandusky people, because he could tell me beforehand that
it was all false, and that the Sandusky people are far better than the
Huron people. One may laugh at the contemptuous amazement of the Boston
lady at my declaration that I liked Cincinnati; that wild western place,
where she believed people did not sit down to dinner like Christians.
All mistakes of this kind, it is clear, might be rectified by a little
travelling. But it is a serious matter to see the travelled gentlemen,
the professional men of such a place as Cincinnati, setting up their
sectional prejudices in one another's way.

Cincinnati is a glorious place. Few things can be conceived finer than
the situation of this magnificent city, and the beauty by which she is
surrounded. She is enthroned upon a high platform,--one of the rich
bottoms occurring on the Ohio, which expand the traveller's notions of
what fertility is. Behind her are hills, opening and closing, receding
and advancing; here glowing with the richest green pasturage, and there
crested and ribbed by beeches which seem transplanted from some giant
land. Wherever we went among these hills, we found them rounding away
from us in some new form of beauty; in steep grassy slopes, with a
running stream at the bottom; in shadowy precipices, bristling with
trees; in quiet recesses, pierced by sunset lights, shining in among the
beechen stems, which spring, unencumbered by undergrowth, from the rich
elastic turf. These hill-sides reminded me of the Castle of Indolence,
of the quiet paths of Eden, of the shades that Una trod, of Windsor
Forest,--of all that my memory carried about undulating wood-lands: but
nothing would do; no description that I am acquainted with is rich
enough to answer to what I saw on the Ohio,--its slopes, and clumps, and
groves. At the foot of these hills runs the river, broad and full, busy
with the commerce of the wide West. A dozen steam-boats lie abreast at
the wharf, and many more are constantly passing; some stealing along,
unheard so far off, under the opposite bank; others puffing and
ploughing along the middle of the stream. Fine, level turnpike-roads
branch off from the city among the hills, which open so as to allow a
free circulation of air over the entire platform. Cincinnati is the most
healthy large city in the United States. The streets are wide; and the
terraces afford fine situations for houses. The furnishing of the
dwellings is as magnificent as the owners may choose to make it; for
commerce with the whole world is carried on from their port. Their
vineyards, their conservatories, their fruit and flower gardens delight
the eye in the gorgeous month of June. They have a native artist of
great genius who has adorned the walls of their houses with, perhaps,
the best pictures I saw in the country. I saw their streets filled with
their thousands of free-school children. "These," said a lady to me,
"are our populace." I thought it a populace worthy of such a city. There
is no need to speak of its long ranges of furnaces, of its shipping, of
its incredible commerce in pork, of its wealth and prospects. Suffice it
that one of its most respected inhabitants tells that when he landed in
Ohio, less than fifty years ago, it contained fewer than a hundred
whites; and buffalo lodged in a cane brake where the city now stands;
while the State at present contains upwards of a million of inhabitants,
the city between thirty and forty thousand; and Cincinnati has four
daily, and five or six weekly, newspapers, besides a variety of other

The most remarkable circumstance, and the most favourable, with regard
to the peopling of Cincinnati is, that its population contains
contributions of almost every element that goes to constitute society;
and each in its utmost vigour. There are here few of the arbitrary
associations which exist among the members of other societies. Young men
come with their wives, in all directions, from afar; with no parents,
cousins, sects, or parties about them. Here is an assemblage from almost
every nation under heaven,--a contribution from the resources of almost
every country; and all unburdened, and ready for natural association and
vigorous action. Like takes to like, and friendships are formed from
congeniality, and not from accident or worldly design. Yet is there a
tempering of prejudices, a mutual enlightenment, from previous
differences of education and habits,--difference even of country and
language. Great force is thus given to any principle carried out into
action by the common convictions of differing persons; and life is deep
and rapid in its course. Such is the theory of society in Cincinnati;
and such is, in some degree, its practice. But here it is that sectional
prejudice interferes, to set up arbitrary associations where, of all
places, they should be shunned.

The adventurers who barbarize society in new places, have gone westward;
and, of the full population that remains, above one-fifth are Germans.
Their function seems to be, everywhere in the United States, to
develope the material resources of the infant places in which they
settle; and the intellectual ones at a more advanced stage. They are the
farmers and market-gardeners here. There are many English, especially
among the artizans. I saw two handsome white houses, on the side of a
hill above the river, with rich ground lots, and extensive garden walls.
These are the property of two English artizans, brothers, who emigrated
a very few years ago. An Englishman, servant to a physician in
Cincinnati in 1818, turned pork-butcher; was worth 10,000 dollars when I
was there, and is rapidly growing rich. There are many New Englanders
among the clergy, lawyers, and merchants; and this is the portion of
society that will not freely mix with the westerners. It is no wonder if
the earliest settlers of the place, westerners, are proud of it, and are
careful to cherish its primitive emblems and customs. The New Englanders
should not take this as an affront to themselves. It is also natural
enough that the New Englanders should think and speak alike, and be fond
of acting together; and the westerners should not complain of their
being clannish. I was at a delightful party at the house of one of the
oldest inhabitants, where a sprig of the distinctive buck-eye was hung
up in the hall, and a buck-eye bowl of lemonade stood on the table. This
was peevishly commented upon by some of eastern derivation: but I
thought it would have been wiser to adopt the emblem than to find fault
with it. Cincinnati has not gone to the eastern people: the eastern
people have gone to her. If they have adopted her for their city, they
may as well adopt her emblems too, and make themselves westerners at
heart, as well as in presence. These discontents may appear trifling;
but they are not so while they impede the furtherance of great objects.
I was told on the spot that they would be very transient; but I fear it
is not so. And yet they would be very transient if the spirited and
choice inhabitants of that magnificent city could see their position as
it is viewed by people at a distance. When I was one day expressing my
admiration, and saying that it was a place for people of ambition,
worldly or philanthropic, to live in, one of its noblest citizens said,
"Yes, we have a new creation going on here; won't you come and dabble in
the mud?" If they will but remember that it is a new creation that is
going on, and not a fortuitous concourse of atoms; that the human will
is, or may be, the presiding intelligence; that centuries hence, their
posterity will either bless their memories with homage like that which
is paid to the Pilgrim Fathers, or suffer the retribution which follows
the indulgence of human passions, all petty jealousies will surely
subside, in the prospect which lies before every good man. In a place
like Cincinnati, where every man may gratify his virtuous will, and do,
with his own hands, the deeds of a generation, feelings should be as
grand as the occasion. If the merchants of Genoa were princes, the
citizens of Cincinnati, as of every first city of a new region, are
princes and prophets at once. They can foresee the future, if they
please; and shape it, if they will: and petty personal regards are
unworthy of such a destiny. It is melancholy to see how the crusading
chiefs quarrelled for precedence on the soil of the Holy Land: it would
be more so to see the leaders of this new enterprise desecrating their
higher mission by a like contention.



Before I entered New England, while I was ascending the Mississippi, I
was told by a Boston gentleman that the people of colour in the New
England States were perfectly well-treated; that the children were
educated in schools provided for them; and that their fathers freely
exercised the franchise. This gentleman certainly believed he was
telling me the truth. That he, a busy citizen of Boston, should know no
better, is now as striking an exemplification of the state of the case
to me as a correct representation of the facts would have been. There
are two causes for his mistake. He was not aware that the schools for
the coloured children in New England are, unless they escape by their
insignificance, shut up, or pulled down, or the school-house wheeled
away upon rollers over the frontier of a pious State, which will not
endure that its coloured citizens should be educated. He was not aware
of a gentleman of colour, and his family, being locked out of their own
hired pew in a church, because their white brethren will not Worship by
their side. But I will not proceed with an enumeration of injuries, too
familiar to Americans to excite any feeling but that of weariness; and
too disgusting to all others to be endured. The other cause of this
gentleman's mistake was, that he did not, from long custom, feel some
things to be injuries, which he would call anything but good treatment,
if he had to bear them himself. Would he think it good treatment to be
forbidden to eat with fellow-citizens; to be assigned to a particular
gallery in his church; to be excluded from college, from municipal
office, from professions, from scientific and literary associations? If
he felt himself excluded from every department of society, but its
humiliations and its drudgery, would he declare himself to be "perfectly
well-treated in Boston?" Not a word more of statement is needed.

A Connecticut judge lately declared on the bench that he believed people
of colour were not considered citizens in the laws. He was proved to be
wrong. He was actually ignorant of the wording of the acts by which
people of colour are termed citizens. Of course, no judge could have
forgotten this who had seen them treated as citizens: nor could one of
the most eminent statesmen and lawyers in the country have told me that
it is still a doubt, in the minds of some high authorities, whether
people of colour are citizens. He is as mistaken as the judge. There has
been no such doubt since the Connecticut judge was corrected and
enlightened. The error of the statesman arose from the same cause; he
had never seen the coloured people treated as citizens. "In fact," said
he, "these people hold an anomalous situation. They are protected as
citizens when the public service requires their security; but not
otherwise treated as such," Any comment would weaken this intrepid

The common argument, about the inferiority of the coloured race, bears
no relation whatever to this question. They are citizens. They stand, as
such, in the law, and in the acknowledgment of every one who knows the
law. They are citizens, yet their houses and schools are pulled down,
and they can obtain no remedy at law. They are thrust out of offices,
and excluded from the most honourable employments, and stripped of all
the best benefits of society by fellow-citizens who, once a year,
solemnly lay their hands on their hearts, and declare that all men are
born free and equal, and that rulers derive their just powers from the
consent of the governed.

This system of injury is not wearing out. Lafayette, on his last visit
to the United States, expressed his astonishment at the increase of the
prejudice against colour. He remembered, he said, how the black soldiers
used to mess with the whites in the revolutionary war. The leaders of
that war are gone where principles are all,--where prejudices are
nothing. If their ghosts could arise, in majestic array, before the
American nation, on their great anniversary, and hold up before them the
mirror of their constitution, in the light of its first principles,
where would the people hide themselves from the blasting radiance? They
would call upon their holy soil to swallow them up, as unworthy to tread
upon it. But not all. It should ever be remembered that America is the
country of the best friends the coloured race has ever had. The more
truth there is in the assertions of the oppressors of the blacks, the
more heroism there is in their friends. The greater the excuse for the
pharisees of the community, the more divine is the equity of the
redeemers of the coloured race. If it be granted that the coloured race
are naturally inferior, naturally depraved, disgusting, cursed,--it must
be granted that it is a heavenly charity which descends among them to
give such solace as it can to their incomprehensible existence. As long
as the excuses of the one party go to enhance the merit of the other,
the society is not to be despaired of, even with this poisonous anomaly
at its heart.

Happily, however, the coloured race is not cursed by God, as it is by
some factions of his children. The less clear-sighted of them are
pardonable for so believing. Circumstances, for which no living man is
answerable, have generated an erroneous conviction in the feeble mind of
man, which sees not beyond the actual and immediate. No remedy could
ever have been applied, unless stronger minds than ordinary had been
brought into the case. But it so happens, wherever there is an anomaly,
giant minds rise up to overthrow it: minds gigantic, not in
understanding, but in faith. Wherever they arise, they are the salt of
their earth, and its corruption is retrieved. So it is now in America.
While the mass of common men and women are despising, and disliking, and
fearing, and keeping down the coloured race, blinking the fact that they
are citizens, the few of Nature's aristocracy are putting forth a strong
hand to lift up this degraded race out of oppression, and their country
from the reproach of it. If they were but one or two, trembling and
toiling in solitary energy, the world afar would be confident of their
success. But they number hundreds and thousands; and if ever they feel a
passing doubt of their progress, it is only because they are pressed
upon by the meaner multitude. Over the sea, no one doubts of their
victory. It is as certain as that the risen sun will reach the meridian.
Already are there overflowing colleges, where no distinction of colour
is allowed;--overflowing, _because_ no distinction of colour is allowed.
Already have people of colour crossed the thresholds of many whites, as
guests, not as drudges or beggars. Already are they admitted to worship,
and to exercise charity, among the whites.

The world has heard and seen enough of the reproach incurred by America,
on account of her coloured population. It is now time to look for the
fairer side The crescent streak is brightening towards the full, to wane
no more. Already is the world beyond the sea beginning to think of
America, less as the country of the double-faced pretender to the name
of Liberty, than as the home of the single-hearted, clear-eyed Presence
which, under the name of Abolitionism, is majestically passing through
the land which is soon to be her throne.



One of the fundamental principles announced in the Declaration of
Independence is, that governments derive their just powers from the
consent of the governed. How can the political condition of women be
reconciled with this?

Governments in the United States have power to tax women who hold
property; to divorce them from their husbands; to fine, imprison, and
execute them for certain offences. Whence do these governments derive
their powers? They are not "just," as they are not derived from the
consent of the women thus governed.

Governments in the United States have power to enslave certain women;
and also to punish other women for inhuman treatment of such slaves.
Neither of these powers are "just;" not being derived from the consent
of the governed.

Governments decree to women in some States half their husbands'
property; in others one-third. In some, a woman, on her marriage, is
made to yield all her property to her husband; in others, to retain a
portion, or the whole, in her own hands. Whence do governments derive
the unjust power of thus disposing of property without the consent of
the governed?

The democratic principle condemns all this as wrong; and requires the
equal political representation of all rational beings. Children, idiots,
and criminals, during the season of sequestration, are the only fair

The case is so plain that I might close it here; but it is interesting
to inquire how so obvious a decision has been so evaded as to leave to
women no political rights whatever. The question has been asked, from
time to time, in more countries than one, how obedience to the laws can
be required of women, when no woman has, either actually or virtually,
given any assent to any law. No plausible answer has, as far as I can
discover, been offered; for the good reason, that no plausible answer
can be devised. The most principled democratic writers on government
have on this subject sunk into fallacies, as disgraceful as any advocate
of despotism has adduced. In fact, they have thus sunk from being, for
the moment, advocates of despotism. Jefferson in America, and James Mill
at home, subside, for the occasion, to the level of the author of the
Emperor of Russia's Catechism for the young Poles.

Jefferson says,[7] "Were our State a pure democracy, in which all the
inhabitants should meet together to transact all their business, there
would yet be excluded from their deliberations,

"1. Infants, until arrived at years of discretion;

"2. Women, who, to prevent depravation of morals, and ambiguity of
issue, could not mix promiscuously in the public meetings of men;

"3. Slaves, from whom the unfortunate state of things with us takes away
the rights of will and of property."

If the slave disqualification, here assigned, were shifted up under the
head of Women, their case would be nearer the truth than as it now
stands. Woman's lack of will and of property, is more like the true
cause of her exclusion from the representation, than that which is
actually set down against her. As if there could be no means of
conducting public affairs but by promiscuous meetings! As if there would
be more danger in promiscuous meetings for political business than in
such meetings for worship, for oratory, for music, for dramatic
entertainments,--for any of the thousand transactions of civilized life!
The plea is not worth another word.

Mill says, with regard to representation, in his Essay on Government,
"One thing is pretty clear; that all those individuals, whose interests
are involved in those of other individuals, may be struck off without
inconvenience.... In this light, women may be regarded, the interest of
almost all of whom is involved, either in that of their fathers or in
that of their husbands."

The true democratic principle is, that no person's interests can be, or
can be ascertained to be, identical with those of any other person. This
allows the exclusion of none but incapables.

The word "almost," in Mr. Mill's second sentence, rescues women from the
exclusion he proposes. As long as there are women who have neither
husbands nor fathers, his proposition remains an absurdity.

The interests of women who have fathers and husbands can never be
identical with theirs, while there is a necessity for laws to protect
women against their husbands and fathers. This statement is not worth
another word.

Some who desire that there should be an equality of property between men
and women, oppose representation, on the ground that political duties
would be incompatible with the other duties which women have to
discharge. The reply to this is, that women are the best judges here.
God has given time and power for the discharge of all duties; and, if he
had not, it would be for women to decide which they would take, and
which they would leave. But their guardians follow the ancient fashion
of deciding what is best for their wards. The Emperor of Russia
discovers when a coat of arms and title do not agree with a subject
prince. The King of France early perceives that the air of Paris does
not agree with a free-thinking foreigner. The English Tories feel the
hardship that it would be to impose the franchise on every artizan, busy
as he is in getting his bread. The Georgian planter perceives the
hardship that freedom would be to his slaves. And the best friends of
half the human race peremptorily decide for them as to their rights,
their duties, their feelings, their powers. In all these cases, the
persons thus cared for feel that the abstract decision rests with
themselves; that, though they may be compelled to submit, they need not

It is pleaded that half of the human race does acquiesce in the decision
of the other half, as to their rights and duties. And some instances,
not only of submission, but of acquiescence, there are. Forty years ago,
the women of New Jersey went to the poll, and voted, at state elections.
The general term, "inhabitants," stood unqualified;--as it will again,
when the true democratic principle comes to be fully understood. A
motion was made to correct the inadvertence; and it was done, as a
matter of course; without any appeal, as far as I could learn, from the
persons about to be injured. Such acquiescence proves nothing but the
degradation of the injured party. It inspires the same emotions of pity
as the supplication of the freed slave who kneels to his master to
restore him to slavery, that he may have his animal wants supplied,
without being troubled with human rights and duties. Acquiescence like
this is an argument which cuts the wrong way for those who use it.

But this acquiescence is only partial; and, to give any semblance of
strength to the plea, the acquiescence must be complete. I, for one, do
not acquiesce. I declare that whatever obedience I yield to the laws of
the society in which I live is a matter between, not the community and
myself, but my judgment and my will. Any punishment inflicted on me for
the breach of the laws, I should regard as so much gratuitous injury:
for to those laws I have never, actually or virtually, assented. I know
that there are women in England who agree with me in this--I know that
there are women in America who agree with me in this. The plea of
acquiescence is invalidated by us.

It is pleaded that, by enjoying the protection of some laws, women give
their assent to all. This needs but a brief answer. Any protection thus
conferred is, under woman's circumstances, a boon bestowed at the
pleasure of those in whose power she is. A boon of any sort is no
compensation for the privation of something else; nor can the enjoyment
of it bind to the performance of anything to which it bears no relation.
Because I, by favour, may procure the imprisonment of the thief who robs
my house, am I, unrepresented, therefore bound not to smuggle French
ribbons? The obligation not to smuggle has a widely different

I cannot enter upon the commonest order of pleas of all;--those which
relate to the virtual influence of woman; her swaying the judgment and
will of man through the heart; and so forth. One might as well try to
dissect the morning mist. I knew a gentleman in America who told me how
much rather he had be a woman than the man he is;--a professional man, a
father, a citizen. He would give up all this for a woman's influence. I
thought he was mated too soon. He should have married a lady, also of my
acquaintance, who would not at all object to being a slave, if ever the
blacks should have the upper hand; "it is so right that the one race
should be subservient to the other!" Or rather,--I thought it a pity
that the one could not be a woman, and the other a slave; so that an
injured individual of each class might be exalted into their places, to
fulfil and enjoy the duties and privileges which they despise, and, in
despising, disgrace.

The truth is, that while there is much said about "the sphere of woman,"
two widely different notions are entertained of what is meant by the
phrase. The narrow, and, to the ruling party, the more convenient notion
is that sphere appointed by men, and bounded by their ideas of
propriety;--a notion from which any and every woman may fairly dissent.
The broad and true conception is of the sphere appointed by God, and
bounded by the powers which he has bestowed. This commands the assent of
man and woman; and only the question of powers remains to be proved.

That woman has power to represent her own interests, no one can deny
till she has been tried. The modes need not be discussed here: they must
vary with circumstances. The fearful and absurd images which are
perpetually called up to perplex the question,--images of women on
wool-sacks in England, and under canopies in America, have nothing to do
with the matter. The principle being once established, the methods will
follow, easily, naturally, and under a remarkable transmutation of the
ludicrous into the sublime. The kings of Europe would have laughed
mightily, two centuries ago, at the idea of a commoner, without robes,
crown, or sceptre, stepping into the throne of a strong nation. Yet who
dared to laugh when Washington's super-royal voice greeted the New World
from the presidential chair, and the old world stood still to catch the

The principle of the equal rights of both halves of the human race is
all we have to do with here. It is the true democratic principle which
can never be seriously controverted, and only for a short time evaded.
Governments can derive their just powers only from the consent of the


[7] Correspondence vol. iv. p. 295.



     "That thou givest them they gather. Thou openest thine hand; they
     are filled with good."

     _104th Psalm._

The traveller from the Old World to the New is apt to lose himself in
reflection when he should be observing. Speculations come in crowds in
the wilderness. He finds himself philosophizing with every step he
takes, as luxuriously as by his study fireside, or in his rare solitary
walk at home.

In England, everything comes complete and finished under notice. Each
man may be aware of some one process of formation, which it is his
business to conduct; but all else is presented to him in its entireness.
The statesman knows what it is to compose an act of parliament; to
proceed from the first perception of the want of it, through the
gathering together of facts and opinions, the selection from these, the
elaborating, adjusting, moulding, specifying, excluding, consolidating,
till it becomes an entire something, which he throws down for parliament
to find fault with. When it is passed, the rest of society looks upon it
as a whole, as a child does upon a table or a doll, without being aware
of any process of formation. The shoemaker, thus, takes his loaf of
bread, and the clock that ticks behind his door, as if they came down
from the clouds as they are, in return for so much of his wages; and he
analyzes nothing but shoes. The baker and watchmaker receive their shoes
in the same way, and analyze nothing but bread and clocks. Too many
gentlemen and ladies analyze nothing at all. If better taught, and
introduced at an early age into the world of analysis, nothing, in the
whole course of education, is probably so striking to their minds. They
begin a fresh existence from the day when they first obtain a glimpse
into this new region of discovery.

Such an era is the traveller's entrance upon the wilder regions of
America. His old experience is all reversed. He sees nothing of art in
its entireness; but little of nature in her instrumentality. Nature is
there the empress, not the handmaid. Art is her inexperienced page, and
no longer the Prospero to whom she is the Ariel.

It is an absorbing thing to watch the process of world-making:--both the
formation of the natural and the conventional world. I witnessed both in
America; and when I look back upon it now, it seems as if I had been in
another planet. I saw something of the process of creating the natural
globe in the depths of the largest explored cave in the world. In its
depths, in this noiseless workshop, was Nature employed with her blind
and dumb agents, fashioning mysteries which the earthquake of a thousand
years hence may bring to light, to give man a new sense of the shortness
of his life. I saw something of the process of world-making behind the
fall of Niagara, in the thunder cavern, where the rocks that have stood
for ever tremble to their fall amidst the roar of the unexhausted
floods. I stood where soon human foot shall stand no more. Foot-hold
after foot-hold is destined to be thrown down, till, after more ages
than the world has yet known, the last rocky barrier shall be
overpowered, and an ocean shall overspread countries which are but just
entering upon civilized existence. Niagara itself is but one of the
shifting scenes of life, like all of the outward that we hold most
permanent. Niagara itself, like the systems of the sky, is one of the
hands of Nature's clock, moving, though too slowly to be perceived by
the unheeding,--still moving, to mark the lapse of time. Niagara itself
is destined to be as the traditionary monsters of the ancient earth--a
giant existence, to be spoken of to wondering ears in studious hours,
and believed in from the sole evidence of its surviving grandeur and
beauty. While I stood in the wet whirlwind, with the crystal roof above
me, the thundering floor beneath, and the foaming whirlpool and rushing
flood before me, I saw those quiet, studious hours of the future world
when this cataract shall have become a tradition, and the spot on which
I stood shall be the centre of a wide sea, a new region of life. This
was seeing world-making. So it was on the Mississippi, when a sort of
scum on the waters betokened the birth-place of new land. All things
help in this creation. The cliffs of the upper Missouri detach their
soil, and send it thousands of miles down the stream. The river brings
it, and deposits it, in continual increase, till a barrier is raised
against the rushing waters themselves. The air brings seeds, and drops
them where they sprout, and strike downwards, so that their roots bind
the soft soil, and enable it to bear the weight of new accretions. The
infant forest, floating, as it appeared, on the surface of the turbid
and rapid waters, may reveal no beauty to the painter; but to the eye
of one who loves to watch the process of world-making, it is full of
delight. These islands are seen in every stage of growth. The
cotton-wood trees, from being like cresses in a pool, rise breast-high;
then they are like the thickets, to whose shade the alligator may
retreat; then, like groves that bid the sun good-night, while he is
still lighting up the forest; then like the forest itself, with the
wood-cutter's house within its screen, flowers springing about its
stems, and the wild-vine climbing to meet the night breezes on its lofty
canopy. This was seeing world-making. Here was strong instigation to the
exercise of analysis.

One of the most frequent thoughts of a speculator in these wildernesses,
is the rarity of the chance which brings him here to speculate. The
primitive glories of nature have, almost always since the world began,
been dispensed to savages; to men who, dearly as they love the
wilderness, have no power of bringing into contrast with it the mind of
man, as enriched and stimulated by cultivated society. Busy colonists,
pressed by bodily wants, are the next class brought over the threshold
of this temple: and they come for other purposes than to meditate. The
next are those who would make haste to be rich; selfish adventurers, who
drive out the red man, and drive in the black man, and, amidst the
forests and the floods, think only of cotton and of gold. Not to such
alone should the primitive glories of nature be dispensed; glories which
can never be restored. The philosopher should come, before they are
effaced, and find combinations and proportions of life and truth which
are not to be found elsewhere. The painter should come, and find
combinations and proportions of visible beauty which are not to be found
elsewhere. The architect should come, and find suggestions and
irradiations of his art which are not to be found elsewhere. The poet
should come, and witness a supremacy of nature such as he imagines in
the old days when the world's sires came forth at the tidings of the
rainbow in the cloud. The chance which opens to the meditative the
almost untouched regions of nature, is a rare one; and they should not
be left to the vanishing savage, the busy and the sordid.

I watched also the progress of conventional life. I saw it in every
stage of advancement, from the clearing in the woods, where the settler,
carrying merely his axe, makes his very tools, his house, his fireplace,
his bed, his table; carves out his fields, catches from among wild or
strayed animals his farm stock, and creates his own food, warmth, and
winter light,--from primitive life like this, to that of the highest
finish, which excludes all thought of analysis.

The position or prospects of men in a new country may best be made
intelligible by accounts of what the traveller saw and heard while among
them. Pictures serve the purpose better than reports. I will, therefore,
give pictures of some of the many varieties of dwellers that I saw,
amidst their different localities, circumstances, and modes of living.
No one of them is aware how vivid an idea he impresses on the mind of
humanity; nor how distinct a place he fills in her records. No one of
them, probably, is aware how much happier he is than Alexander, in
having before him more worlds to conquer.

My narratives, or pictures, must be but a few selected from among a
multitude. My chapter would extend to a greater length than any old
novel, if I were to give all I possess.

The United States are not only vast in extent: they are inestimably rich
in material wealth. There are fisheries and granite quarries along the
northern coasts; and shipping from the whole commercial world within
their ports. There are tanneries within reach of their oak woods, and
manufactures in the north from the cotton growth of the south. There is
unlimited wealth of corn, sugar-cane and beet, hemp, flax, tobacco, and
rice. There are regions of pasture land. There are varieties of grape
for wine, and mulberries for silk. There is salt. There are mineral
springs. There is marble, gold, lead, iron, and coal. There is a chain
of mountains, dividing the great fertile western valley from the busy
eastern region which lies between the mountains and the Atlantic. These
mountains yield the springs by which the great rivers are to be fed for
ever, to fertilize the great valley, and be the vehicle of its commerce
with the world. Out of the reach of these rivers, in the vast breadth of
the north, lie the great lakes, to be likewise the servants of commerce,
and to afford in their fisheries the means of life and luxury to
thousands. These inland seas temper the climate, summer and winter, and
insure health to the heart of the vast continent. Never was a country
more gifted by nature.

It is blessed also in the variety of its inhabitants. However it may
gratify the pride of a nation to be descended from one stock, it is
ultimately better that it should have been compounded from many nations.
The blending of qualities, physical and intellectual, the absorption of
national prejudices, the increase of mental resources, will be found in
the end highly conducive to the elevation of the national character.
America will find herself largely blessed in this way, however much she
may now complain of the immigration of strangers. She complains of some
for their poverty; but such bring a will to work, and a capacity for
labour. She complains of others for their coming from countries
governed by a despotism; but it is the love of freedom which they cannot
enjoy at home, that brings such. She complains of others that they keep
up their national language, manners, and modes of thinking, while they
use her privileges of citizenship. This may appear ungracious; but it
proceeds from that love of country and home institutions which will make
staunch American patriots of their children's children. It is all well.
The New England States may pride themselves on their population being
homogeneous, while that of other States is mongrel. It is well that
stability should thus have been temporarily provided for in one part of
the Union, which should, for the season, be the acknowledged superior
over the rest: but, this purpose of the arrangement having been
fulfilled, New England may perhaps hereafter admit, what some others see
already, that, if she inherits many of the virtues of the Pilgrims, she
requires fortifying in others; and that a large reinforcement from other
races would help her to throw off the burden of their inherited faults.

There can scarcely be a finer set of elements for the composition of a
nation than the United States now contain. It will take centuries to
fuse them; and by that time, pride of ancestry,--vanity of physical
derivation,--will be at an end. The ancestry of moral qualities will be
the only pedigree preserved: and of these every civilized nation under
heaven possesses an ample, and probably an equal, share. Let the United
States then cherish their industrious Germans and Dutch; their hardy
Irish; their intelligent Scotch; their kindly Africans, as well as the
intellectual Yankee, the insouciant Southerner, and the complacent
Westerner. All are good in their way; and augment the moral value of
their country, as diversities of soil, climate, and productions, do its
material wealth.

Among the most interesting personages in the United States, are the
Solitaries;--solitary families, not individuals. Europeans, who think it
much to lodge in a country cottage for six weeks in the summer, can form
little idea of the life of a solitary family in the wilds. I did not see
the most sequestered, as I never happened to lose my way in the forests
or on the prairies: but I witnessed some modes of life which realized
all I had conceived of the romantic, or of the dismal.

One rainy October day, I saw a settler at work in the forest, on which
he appeared to have just entered. His clearing looked, in comparison
with the forest behind him, of about the size of a pincushion. He was
standing, up to the knees in water, among the stubborn stumps, and
charred stems of dead trees. He was notching logs with his axe, beside
his small log hut and stye. There was swamp behind, and swamp on each
side;--a pool of mud around each dead tree, which had been wont to drink
the moisture. There was a semblance of a tumble-down fence: no orchard
yet; no grave-yard; no poultry; none of the graces of fixed habitation
had grown up. On looking back to catch a last view of the scene, I saw
two little boys, about three and four years old, leading a horse home
from the forest; one driving the animal behind with an armful of bush,
and the other reaching up on tiptoe to keep his hold of the halter; and
both looking as if they would be drowned in the swamp. If the mother was
watching from the hut, she must have thought this strange dismal play
for her little ones. The hard-working father must be toiling for his
children; for the success of his after life can hardly atone to him for
such a destitution of comfort as I saw him in the midst of. Many such
scenes are passed on every road in the western parts of the States. They
become cheering when the plough is seen, or a few sheep are straggling
on the hill side, seeming lost in space.

One day, at Niagara, I had spent hours at the Falls, till, longing for
the stillness of the forest, I wandered deep into its wild paths,
meeting nothing but the belled heifer, grazing, and the slim, clean
swine which live on the mast and roots they can find for themselves. I
saw some motion in a thicket, a little way from the path, and went to
see what it was. I found a little boy and girl, working away, by turns,
with an axe, at the branches of a huge hickory, which had been lately
felled. "Father" had felled the hickory the day before, and had sent the
children to make faggots from the branches. They were heated and out of
breath. I had heard of the toughness of hickory, and longed to know what
the labour of wood-cutting really was. Here was an irresistible
opportunity for an experiment I made the children sit down on the fallen
tree, and find out the use of my ear-trumpet, while I helped to make
their faggot. When I had hewn through one stout branch, I was quite
sufficiently warmed, and glad to sit down to hear the children's story.
Their father had been a weaver and a preacher in England. He had brought
out his wife and six children. During the week, he worked at his land,
finding some employment or another for all of his children who could
walk alone; and going some distance on Sundays to preach. This last
particular told volumes. The weaver has not lost heart over his hard
field-labour. His spirit must be strong and lively, to enable him to
spend his seventh day thus, after plying the axe for six. The children
did not seem to know whether they liked Manchester or the forest best;
but they looked stout and rosy.

They, however, were within reach of church and habitation; buried, as
they appeared, in the depths of the woods. I saw, in New Hampshire, a
family who had always lived absolutely alone, except when an occasional
traveller came to their door, during the summer months. The old man had
run away with his wife, forty-six years before, and brought her to the
Red Mountain, near the top of which she had lived ever since. It was
well that she married for love, for she saw no one but her husband and
children, for many a long year after she jumped out of her window, in
her father's house, to run away.

Our party, consisting of four, was in the humour to be struck with the
romance of the domestic history of the old man of the mountain, as the
guide is called. We had crossed Lake Winnepisseogee, the day before, and
watched from our piazza, at Centre Harbour, the softening of the evening
light over the broad sheet of water, and the purple islands that rested
upon it. After dark, fires blazed forth from the promontories, and
glimmered in the islands; every flaming bush and burning stem being
distinctly reflected in the grey mirror of the waters. These fires were
signs of civilization approaching the wild districts on which we were
entering. Land on the lake shores has become very valuable; and it is
being fast cleared.

We were to have set off very early on our mountain expedition, next day;
but the morning was misty, and we did not leave Centre Harbour till near
eight;--nearly an hour and a half after breakfast. We were in a wagon,
drawn by the horses on which the two ladies were to ascend the mountain
from the guide's house. The sky was grey, but promising; for its
curtains were rising at the other end of the lake, and disclosing ridge
after ridge of pines on the mountain side. The road became very rough as
we began to ascend; and it was a wonder to me how the wagon could be
lifted up, as it was, from shelf to shelf of limestone. One shelf sloped
a little too much, even for our wagon. Its line of direction was no
longer within the base, as children are taught at school that it should
be. All the party, except myself, rolled out. The driver, sprawling on
his back on a terribly sharp eminence of limestone, tugged manfully at
the reins, and shouted, "Whoi-ee" as cheerfully as if he had been
sitting on a cushion, in his proper place. He was not a man to desert
his duty in an extremity. He was but little hurt, and nobody else at

The wagon was left here, and we ascended a mile, a steep path, among
woods and rocks, to the guide's little farm; plunging into a cloud, just
before we reached the house. It was baking day; and we found the old
dame, with a deaf and dumb daughter,--one of three deaf,--busy among new
bread, pies, and apples. Strings of apples hung against the walls; and
there was every symptom of plenty and contentment within and without
doors. The old dame might have been twin sister to Juliet's nurse. She
was delighted to have an opportunity of using her tongue, and was
profuse in her invitations to us to stay,--to come again,--to be
sociable. The exercise she takes in speaking must be one cause of her
buxom health. Out of a pantomime, I never saw anything so energetic as
her action; the deafness of her children being no doubt the cause of
this. She seemed heartily proud of them; the more, evidently, on account
of their singularity. She told us that the daughter now at home had
never left it. "Her father could not spare her to school; but I could
have spared her." What a life of little incidents magnified must their's
be! As one of my companions observed, the bursting of a shoe, or the
breaking of a plate, must furnish talk for a week. The welcome discovery
was made that we had a mutual acquaintance. A beloved friend of mine had
ascended the mountain some weeks before, and had followed her usual
practice of carrying away all the hearts she found there. The old dame
spoke lovingly of her as "that Liza;" and she talked about her till she
had seen my foot into the stirrup, and given me her blessing up the

The path was steep, and the summit bare. There was an opening for a
single moment on our arrival; the mist parted and closed again, having
shown us what a view there was beneath us of green mountains, and blue
ponds, and wooded levels. We were entertained for some time with such
glimpses; more beautiful perhaps than an unrestricted vision. Such
revelations take away one's breath. When all was misty again, we amused
ourselves with gathering blue-berries, which grew profusely under foot.
The old man, too, was ready with any information we desired about
himself; and with abundance of anecdotes of summer travellers, to whom
he had acted as guide.

He was a soldier of the revolution; and at its close, retired hither,
with his bride, among bears and deer. There are no deer left; and he
killed nineteen bears with his own hand: the last, thirty-five years
before. One of them was nearly the death of him. A shot which he
intended to be mortal was not so. The wounded bear chased him; and there
was nothing to be done but to run round and round a tree, loading his
gun, while the bear was at his heels, blowing foam and blood upon him.
He fired over his shoulder, and dispatched his pursuer. He told us, when
the curtain of mist finally drew up, the opinions of learned men whom he
had conducted hither, about this mountain having once been an island in
the midst of a vast lake. He pointed out how it is, even now, nearly
surrounded by waters; Long Pond, Lake Winnepisseogee, and Squam Lake.
The two last are so crowded with islands that the expression of the
water is broken up. The islands lie in dark slips upon the gleamy
surface, dividing it into too many pond-like portions. But the mountain
horizon was altogether beautiful. Some had sharp peaks, some notched;
the sides of some were bare, with traces of tremendous slides: others,
green as the spring, with wandering sun gleams and cloud shadows. I
found myself much mistaken in my fancy that I did not care for
bird's-eye views.

The dame was looking out for us when we descended, anxious to detain us
for more talk, and to make us bearers of a present to "that Liza." She
hung some strings of her drying apples over the arm of a gentleman of
the party, with the utmost faith that he would take care of them all the
way to Boston. He kindly received them; and I can testify that he did
his best to make them reach their destination. It was kindness well
bestowed; for no doubt it was a winter luxury of the good dame's to
fancy our mutual friend enjoying her Red Mountain applesauce. The
sending a present to Boston must be a rare event to dwellers in such a

Not many miles from this place, stands a deserted dwelling whose
inhabitants lived in a deeper solitude, and perished all in one night,
far from human aid. No house stands within many miles of it, even now. I
had heard the story before I saw the place; but I had no idea of the
difference between listening to a sad tale, and seeing the spot of which
it is told. In a deep narrow valley among the White Mountains, lived a
family of the name of Willey. Their dwelling was a comfortable
log-house, on a green platform, at the foot of one of the steepest
mountains. There were but few travellers among these mountains in their
day; but those few were kindly welcomed: and the cheerful host and
hostess, and their comely children, were always well spoken of. On a
stormy August night, 1826, a tremendous slide came crashing down the
mountain side, at the rear of the house. If the family had remained in
their chambers, they would have been safe: a rock at the edge of the
green platform, behind the dwelling, parted the slide, so that the
grassy plot remained untouched,--a bright island in the midst, of the
desolation. The family, to the number of nine, were overwhelmed, and all
perished. The bodies of seven were found. The bones of the other two are
doubtless buried under the slide, where rank verdure and young trees are
growing up, as if trying to efface the horrors of the wreck. The scene
must have been dreadful to those who first arrived at the spot, after
the event. The house, safe on its grass plot; its door standing wide;
the beds and clothes of the family showing that they had sprung up from
sleep, and so fled from the only place where they would have been safe;
no one there; a deadly silence brooding over the quiet spot, and chaotic
desolation around;--it is no wonder that the house remains deserted, and
the valley untenanted.

Some miles further on, the traveller may witness what comfortable cheer
may be afforded by dwellers in the wilderness. All travellers in the
White Mountains know Ethan A. Crawford's hospitality. He cannot be said
to live in solitude, inasmuch as there is another house in the valley:
but everybody is aware how little sociability there is between two
dwellers in a lonely place. One may enjoy life there; and several may
get on well; but two never: and Ethan Crawford's is a virtual solitude,
except for three months in the year. The fate of the Willeys was
uppermost in our minds when we arrived; and we were little prepared for
such entertainment as we found. After a supper of fine lake trout, a son
of our host played to us on a nameless instrument, made by the joiners
who put the house together, and highly creditable to their ingenuity. It
was something like the harmonica in form, and the bagpipes in tone; but,
well-played as it was by the boy, it was highly agreeable. Then Mr.
Crawford danced an American jig, to the fiddling of a relation of his.
The dancing was somewhat solemn; but its good faith made up for any want
of mirth. He had other resources for the amusement of his guests: a gun
wherewith he was wont to startle the mountain echoes, till, one day, it
burst: (leaving nothing for us to do but to look at the fragments:)
also, a horn, which, blown on a calm day, brings a chorus of sweet
responses from the far hill sides. Retirement in such a valley, and with
such resources as Ethan Crawford's, is attractive enough to the passing
traveller; and, to judge by the countenance of the host, anything but
dispiriting to those who have made trial of it.

No solitude can be more romantic than that at the mouth of the Mammoth
Cave in Kentucky; so called, not because any mammoth-bones have been
found there, but because it is the largest explored cave in the world. I
was told, not only by the guides, but by a gentleman who is learned in
caves, that it can be travelled through, in different directions, to the
extent of sixty miles. We could not think of achieving the entire
underground journey; but we resolved to see all we could; and, for that
purpose, preferred devoting the half of two days to the object, to one
entire day, the weariness of which would probably curtail our rambles.
After a most interesting and exciting journey of nearly two nights and
a day from Nashville, Tennessee, our party, consisting of four, arrived
at Bell's hotel, twelve miles from the cave, at half-past seven, on a
bright May morning. We slept till one o'clock, and then set off in a
stage and four for the cave. My expectations had been so excited, that
every object on the road seemed to paint itself on my very spirit; and I
now feel as if I saw the bright hemp fields, the oak copses, the
gorgeous wild flowers, and clear streams, running over their limestone
beds, that adorned our short journey.

The house at the cave stands on the greenest sward that earth and dews
can produce; and it grows up to the very walls of the dwelling. The
well, with its sweep,--a long pole, with a rope and bucket at one end,
laid across the top of a high post,--this primitive well, on the same
plot of turf, and the carriage in which two travellers--young men--had
just arrived, were the only occupiers of the grass, besides the house.
We lost no time in proceeding to the cave. The other party of travellers
and the guides carried lamps, and grease to trim them with; an ample
supply of both; for the guides know something of the horrors of being
left in darkness in the mazes of a cave. We went down a steep path into
a glen, from which the golden sunlight seemed reflected, as from water;
so bright was the May verdure. The guides carried our cloaks; which
seemed to us very ridiculous; for we were panting with the heat. But,
when we had wound down to the yawning, shadowy cave, with its diamond
drips and clustering creepers about the entrance, a blast of wintry wind
gushed from it, and chilled our very hearts. I found it possible to
stand on one foot, and be in the midst of melting heat; and leaning
forward on the other, to feel half frozen. The humming birds must be
astonished, when they flit across the entrance, to meet winter in the
middle of the glen, and emerge into summer again on the other side.

The entrance of the cave serves as an ice-house to the family of the
guide. They keep their meat there, and go to refresh themselves when
relaxed by the heat. The temperature is delightful, after the first two
or three minutes; and we were glad to leave our cloaks by the way side.
The ladies tied handkerchiefs over their heads, and tucked up their
gowns for the scramble over the loose limestone; looking thereby very
picturesque, and not totally unlike the witches in Macbeth. The gloom,
the echo of the footsteps, the hollow sound of voices, the startling
effect of lights seen unexpectedly in a recess, in a crevice, or high
overhead,--these impressions may be recalled in those who have wandered
in caves, but can never be communicated to those who have not. It is in
vain to describe a cave. Call it a chaos of darkness and rocks, with
wandering and inexplicable sounds and motions, and all is done.
Everything appears alive: the slowly growing stalactites, the water ever
dropping into the plashing pool, the whispering airs,--all seem
conscious. The coolness, vastness, suggestions of architecture, and dim
disclosures, occasion different feelings from any that are known under
the lights of the sky. The air in the neighbourhood of the waterfall was
delicious to breathe; and the pool was so clear that I could not, for
some time, see the water, in a pretty full light. That Rembrandt light
on the drip of water, on the piled rocks, and on our figures,--light
swallowed up before it could reach the unseen canopy under which we
stood, can never be forgotten. Milton's lake of fire might have brought
the roof into view:--nothing less.

The young guides, brothers, were fine dashing youths, as Kentucky youths
are. They told us some horrible tales, and one very marvellous story
about darkness and bewilderment in the labyrinth of the cave. They told
us (before they knew that any of us were English) that "all the lords
and lights of England had been to see the cave, except the king." While
they were about it, they might as well have included his majesty.
Perhaps they have, by this time; good stories being of very rapid
growth. They reported that ladies hold on in the cave better than
gentlemen. One of the party supposed this was because they were lighter;
but the guide believed it was owing to their having more curiosity.

I was amused at their assurances about the number of miles that we had
walked; and thought it as good a story as any they had told us: but, to
my utter amazement, I found, on emerging from the cave, that the stars
were shining resplendently down into the glen, while the summer
lightning was quivering incessantly over the "verdurous wall" which
sprang up to a lofty height on either hand. There seemed to be none of
the coolness of night abroad. A breathless faintness came over us on
quitting the freshness of the cave, and taught us the necessary caution
of resting awhile at the entrance.

Supper was ready when we returned; and then the best room was assigned
to the three ladies, while the gentlemen were to have the loft. We saw
the stars through chinks in our walls; but it was warm May, and we
feared no cold. Shallow tin-pans,--milk-pans, I believe,--were furnished
to satisfy our request for ewer and basin. The windows had blinds of
paper-hanging; a common sort of window-blind at hotels, and in country
places. Before it was light, I was wakened by a strong cold breeze
blowing upon me; and at dawn, I found that the entire lower half of the
window was absent. A deer had leaped through it, a few weeks before; and
there had been no opportunity of mending it. But everything was clean;
everybody was obliging; the hostess was motherly; and the conclusion
that we came to in the morning was that we had all slept well, and were
ready for a second ramble in the cave.

We saw, this day, the Grotto and the Deserted Chamber. Few visitors
attempt the grotto, the entrance to it being in one part only a foot and
a half high. We were obliged, not only to go on hands and knees, but to
crawl lying flat. It is a sensation worth knowing, to feel oneself
imprisoned in the very heart of a mountain, miles from the sun-light,
and with no mode of escape but the imperceptible hole which a child
might block up in five minutes. Never was there a more magnificent
prison or sepulchre. Whether the singularity of our mode of access
magnified to our eyes the beauties we had thereby come into the midst
of, or whether Nature does work most _con amore_ in retired places, this
grotto seemed to us all by far the most beautiful part of the cave. The
dry sandy floor was pleasant to the tread, after the loose limestone;
the pillars were majestic; the freaks of nature most wild and elegant.
The air was so fresh and cool that, if only a Rosicrucian lamp could be
hung in this magnificent chamber, it would be the place of all others in
which to spend the sultry summer's day,--entering when the beauties of
the sunrise had given place to glare, and issuing forth at the rising of
the evening star.

On our way to the Deserted Chamber, we cut off half a mile by a descent
through a crevice, and a re-ascent by another. We were presently
startled by the apparition of two yellow stars, at what appeared an
immeasurable distance. In this cave, I was reminded, after a total
forgetfulness of many years, of the night-mare visitations of my
childhood; especially of the sense of infinite distance, which used to
terrify me indescribably. Here, too, the senses and the reason were
baulked. Those two yellow stars might have been worlds, many millions of
miles off in space, or,--what they were,--two shabby lamps, fifty yards
off. A new visitor had arrived; and the old man of the solitary house
had brought him down, in hopes of meeting our larger party. One of the
gentlemen presently slipped on the loose stones, and fell into a hole,
with his back against a sharp rock; and he seemed at first unable to
rise. This was the only misadventure we had; and it did not prove a
serious one. He was somewhat shaken and bruised, and rendered unwilling
to go with the rest to the Bottomless Pit: but there was no eventual
injury. He and I staid in the Deserted Chamber, while our companions
disappeared, one by one, through a crevice, on their way to the pit. The
dead silence, and the glimmer of our single lamp, were very striking;
and we were more disposed to look round upon the low-roofed apartment,
piled with stones as far as the eye could reach, than to talk. I tried
to swallow a piece of bread or cake, very like a shoe-sole, and
speculated upon these piles of stones;--by whose hand they were reared,
and how long ago. There is much cane--doubtless, once used for
fuel--scattered about the deeper recesses of the cave; and these stones
were evidently heaped up by human hands: and those not Indian. It is
supposed that this cave was made use of by that mysterious race which
existed before the Indians, and of which so many curious traces remain
in the middle States of the West; a race more civilized, to judge by the
works of their hands, than the Indians have ever been; but of which no
tradition remains.

Our party returned safe, and refreshed by a draught of water, better
worth having than my luncheon of bread. When we left the cave, our
guides insisted upon it that we had walked, this morning, ten or eleven
miles. I pronounced it four. Others of the party said seven; and the
point remains unsettled. We all agreed that it was twice as much as we
could have accomplished in the heat above ground; and perhaps the most
remarkable walk we had ever taken in our lives. Our hostess was with us
the whole time; and it was amusing to see in her the effect of custom.
She trod the mazes of this cave just as people do the walks of their own

The gush of sun-light pouring in at the mouth of the cave, green and
soft, as we emerged from the darkness, was exquisitely beautiful. So was
the foliage of the trees, after the rigid forms which had been printing
themselves upon our eye-sight for so many hours. As we sat at the
entrance, to accustom ourselves to the warm outward air, I saw, growing
high in the steep woods, the richest of kalmias, in full bloom. One of
the gentlemen ran to bring me some; and when it came, it was truly a
feast to the eye. How apt are we to look upon all things as made for us!
How many seasons has this kalmia bloomed?

We were truly sorry to bid farewell to our motherly hostess, and her
"smart" sons. Theirs is a singular mode of life; and it left nearly as
vivid an impression on our minds as their mighty neighbour, the cave. If
any of us should ever happen to be banished, and to have a home to seek,
I fancy we should look out for a plot of green sward, among flowering
kalmias, near the mouth of an enormous cave, with humming birds flitting
about it by day, and fire-flies and summer lightning by night.

In strong contrast in my mind with such a scene as this, stands a gay
encampment in the wilderness, at which I soon after arrived. The
watering places among the Virginia mountains are as new and striking a
spectacle as the United States can afford. The journeyings of those who
visit them are a perpetual succession of contrasts. I may as well give
the whole journey from Cincinnati to the eastern base of the

We left Cincinnati at noon on the 25th of June: as sultry a summer's day
as ever occurs on the Ohio. The glare was reflected from the water with
a blinding and scorching heat; and feather fans were whisking all day in
the ladies' cabin of our steam-boat. Hot as it was, I could not remain
in the shady cabin. The shores of the Ohio are so beautiful, that I
could not bear to lose a single glimpse between the hills. It is
holiday-travelling to have such a succession of pictures as I saw there
made to pass noiselessly before one's eyes. There were the children
running among the gigantic trees on the bank, to see the boat pass; the
girl with her milk-pail, half way up the hill; the horseman on the
ridge, or the wagoner with his ox-team pausing on the slope. Then there
was the flitting blue jay under the cool shadow of the banks; the
butterflies crossing the river in zig-zag flight; the terrapins (small
turtle) floundering in the water, with their pert little heads above the
surface; and the glancing fire-flies every night.

On the afternoon of this day, we were met by the storm which swept over
the whole country, and which will be remembered as having caused the
death of the son of Chief-Justice Marshall, at Baltimore, on his way to
his dying father. I watched, from the deck, the approach of the storm.
First, the sky, above the white clouds, was of a dark grey, which might
have been mistaken for the deep blue of twilight. Then a mass of black
clouds came hurrying up below the white. Then a flash escaped from out
of the upper grey, darting perpendicularly into the forest; and then
another, exploding like the four rays of a star. I saw the squall
coming in a dark line, straight across the river. Our boat was hurried
under the bank to await it. The burst was furious: a roaring gust, and a
flood of rain, which poured in under our cabin door, close shut as it
was. All was nearly as dark as night for a while, and all silent but the
elements. Then the day seemed to dawn again; but loud peals of thunder
lasted long, and the lightning was all abroad in the air. Faint flashes
now wandered by; and now a brilliant white zig-zag quivered across the
sky. One splendid violet-coloured shaft shot straight down into the
forest; and I saw a tall tree first blaze and then smoulder at the
touch. A noble horse floated by, dead and swollen. When we drew out into
the middle of the river, it was as if spring had come in at the heels of
the dog-days; all was so cool and calm.

The company on board were of the lowest class we ever happened to meet
with in our travels. They were obliging enough; as everybody is
throughout the country, as far as my experience goes; but otherwise they
were no fair specimens of American manners. One woman excited my
curiosity from the beginning; but I entertained a much more agreeable
feeling towards her when we parted, after several days' travelling in
company. Her first deed was to ask where we were going; and her next, to
take my book out of my lap, and examine it. Much of the rest of her time
was occupied in dressing her hair, which was, notwithstanding, almost as
rough as a negro's. She wore in her head a silver comb, another set with
brilliants, and a third, an enormous tortoiseshell, so stuck in, on one
side, as to remind the observer, irresistibly, of a unicorn. She pulled
down her hair in company, and put it up again, many times in a day,
whenever, as it seemed to me, she could not think of anything else to
be doing. Her young companion, meantime, sat rubbing her teeth with
dragon-root. The other cabin company seemed much of the same class. I
was dressing in my state room between four and five the next morning,
when an old lady, who was presently going ashore, burst in, and snatched
the one tumbler glass from my hand. She was probably as much amazed at
my having carried it out of sight as I was at her mode of recovering it.

I loved the early morning on the great rivers, and therefore rose at
dawn. I loved the first grey gleams that came from between the hills,
and the bright figures of people in white, (the men all in linen jackets
in hot weather,) on the banks. I loved to watch the river craft; the
fussy steamer making rapid way; the fairy canoe shooting silently
across; the flat-boat, with its wreath of blue smoke, stealing down in
the shadow of the banks, her navigators helping her along in the current
by catching at the branches as they passed: and the perilous looking
raft, with half-a-dozen people on it, under their canopy of green
boughs, their shapeless floor bending and walloping in the middle of the
stream. I loved the trees, looking as if they stood self-poised, their
roots were washed so bare. I loved the dwellings that stood behind their
screen, those on the eastern bank seeming fast asleep; those on the
western shore gay with the flickering shadows cast on them by the breezy
sunrise through the trees.

On passing Catletsburgh we bade adieu to glorious Kentucky. At that
point, our eyes rested on three sovereign States at one glance, Ohio,
Kentucky, and Virginia. We landed at Guyandot, and proceeded by stage
the next morning to Charleston, on the Kanawha river. The road, all the
way to the Springs, is marvellously good for so wild a part of the
country. The bridges over the streams are, some of them, prettily
finished; and the accommodations by the road side are above the average.
The scenery is beautiful the whole way. We were leaving the great
Western Valley; and the road offered a succession of ascents and levels.
There were many rivulets and small waterfalls; the brier-rose was in
full bloom along the ground; the road ran half way up the wooded hills,
so that there were basins of foliage underneath, the whole apparently
woven into so compact a mass by the wild vine, that it seemed as if one
might walk across the valley on the tree tops. The next day's dawn broke
over the salt works and coal pits, or rather caverns of coal, on the
hill sides. The corn was less tall and rich, the trees were less lofty,
and it was apparent that we were mounting to a higher region. It
occurred to me, in a careless kind of way, that we were now not very far
from the Hawk's Nest. Some ladies in the Guyandot Hotel had said to me,
"Be sure you see the Hawk's Nest." "What is that?" "A place that
travellers can see if they choose; the driver always stops a few minutes
to let them see the Hawk's Nest." I had never heard of it before, and I
never heard of it again. The world is fairly awakened to Niagara; but it
is still drowsy about two scenes which moved me--the one more than
Niagara, the other nearly as much; the platform at Pine Orchard House,
on the top of the Catshills, and the Hawk's Nest.

The last of the Kanawha River, as we bade adieu to it on the 28th of
June, was smooth and sweet, with its islets of rocks, and the pretty
bridge by which we crossed the Gauley, and entered upon the ascent above
New River. The Gauley and the New River join to make the Kanawha. The
ascent of the mountains above New River is trying to weak nerves. The
horses have to stop, here and there, to rest; and it appears that if
they were to back three steps, it would be death. The road, however, is
really broad, though it appears a mere ledge when the eye catches the
depth below, where the brown river is rushing and brawling in its rocky
bed. A passenger dropped his cap in the steepest part, and the driver
made no difficulty about stopping to let him recover it. What a depth it
was! like the dreamy visions of one's childhood of what winged
messengers may first learn of man's dwelling-place, when they light on a
mountain-top; like Satan's glimpses from the Mount of Soliloquy; like
any unusual or forbidden peep from above into the retirements of nature,
or the arrangements of man. On our left rose the blasted rocks which had
been compelled to yield us a passage; but their aspect was already
softened by the trails of crimson and green creepers which were
spreading over their front. The unmeasured pent-house of wild vine was
still below us on the right, with rich rhododendron blossoms bursting
through, and rock-plants shooting up from every ledge and crevice at the
edge of the precipice. After a long while, (I have nothing to say of
time or distance, for I thought of neither,) a turn in the road shut out
the whole from our sight. I leaned out of the stage, further and
further, to catch, as I supposed, a last glimpse of the tremendous
valley; and when I drew in again, it was with a feeling of deep grief
that such a scene was to be beheld by me no more. I saw a house, a
comfortable homestead, in this wild place, with its pasture and
corn-fields about it; and I longed to get out, and ask the people to let
me live with them.

In a few minutes the stage stopped. "If any of the passengers wish to go
to the Hawk's Nest ..." shouted the driver. He gave us ten minutes, and
pointed with his whip to a beaten path in the wood to the right. It
seems to me now that I was unaccountably cool and careless about it. I
was absorbed by what I had seen, or I might have known, from the
direction we were taking, that we were coming out above the river again.
We had not many yards to go. We issued suddenly from the covert of the
wood, upon a small platform of rock;--a Devil's Pulpit it would be
called, if its present name were not so much better;--a platform of
rock, springing from the mountain side, without any visible support, and
looking sheer down upon an angle of the roaring river, between eleven
and twelve hundred feet below. Nothing whatever intervenes. Spread out
beneath, shooting up around, are blue mountain peaks, extending in
boundless expanse. No one, I believe, could look down over the edge of
this airy shelf, but for the stunted pines which are fast rooted in it.
With each arm clasping a pine-stem, I looked over, and saw more, I
cannot but think, than the world has in reserve to show me.

It is said that this place was discovered by Chief Justice Marshall,
when, as a young man, he was surveying among the mountains. But how many
Indians knew it before? How did it strike the mysterious race who gave
place to the Indians? Perhaps one of these may have stood there to see
the summer storm careering below; to feel that his foothold was too
lofty to be shaken by the thunderpeals that burst beneath; to trace the
quiverings of the lightnings afar, while the heaven was clear above his
own head. Perhaps this was the stand chosen by the last Indian, from
which to cast his lingering glance upon the glorious regions from which
the white intruders were driving his race. If so, here he must have
pined and died, or hence he must have cast himself down. I cannot
conceive that from this spot any man could turn away, to go into exile.
But it cannot be that Marshall was more than the earliest of Saxon race
who discovered this place. Nature's thrones are not left to be first
mounted by men who can be made Chief Justices. We know not what races of
wild monarchs may have had them first.

We travelled the rest of the day through an Alpine region, still full of
beauty. The road is so new that the stopping places seemed to have no
names. The accommodations were wonderfully good. At eleven we reached a
place where we were allowed, not only to sup, but to lie down for two
hours; a similar mercy to that afforded us the night before. Those who
are impatient of fatigue should not attempt this method of reaching the
Virginia Springs, though they are much to be pitied if they adopt any
other. Our first re-entrance upon the world was at Lewisburg, at noon,
on the 29th. It appears to be a neat village. The militia were parading:
very respectable men, I do not doubt, but not much like soldiers. In a
quarter of an hour we were off for the White Sulphur Springs, nine miles
(of dusty road) from Lewisburg, and arrived there at half-past two, just
as the company were dispersing about the walks, after dinner.

Nothing could be more striking than the contrast between our stage-coach
society and that which was thronging the green area into which we were
driven. We were heated, wearied, shabby, and all of one dust colour,
from head to foot, and, I doubt not, looking very sheepish under the
general stare. Every body else was gay and spruce, and at full leisure
to criticise us. Gentlemen in the piazza in glossy coats and polished
pumps; ladies in pink, blue, and white, standing on green grass, shading
their delicate faces and gay head-dresses under parasols; never was
there a more astonishing contrast than all this presented with what we
had been seeing of late. The friends who were expecting us, however,
were not ashamed of us, and came bounding over the green to welcome us,
and carry us within reach of refreshment.

It was doubtful whether "a cabin" could be spared to us. We were
fortunate in being so favoured as to be put in possession of one in the
course of the afternoon. Several carriages full of visitors arrived
within a few days, each with its load of trunks, its tin pail dangling
behind (wherewith to water the horses in the wilderness) and its crowd
of expecting and anxious faces at the windows, and were turned back to
seek a resting-place elsewhere. That we were accommodated at all, I
believe to this day to be owing to some secret self-denying ordinance on
the part of our friends.

On one side of the green, are the large rooms, in which the company at
the Springs dine, play cards, and dance. Also, the bar-room, and stage,
post, and superintendent's offices. The cabins are disposed round the
other sides, and dropped down, in convenient situations behind. These
cabins consist of one, two, or more rooms, each containing a bed, a
table, a looking-glass, and two or three chairs. All company is received
in a room with a bed in it: there is no help for it. The better cabins
have a piazza in front; and all have a back door opening upon the hill
side; so that the attendants, and their domestic business, are kept out
of sight.

The sulphur fountain is in the middle of the southern end of the green;
and near it is the sulphur bathing-house. The fountain rises in the
midst of a small temple, which is surmounted by a statue of Hygeia,
presented to the establishment by a grateful visitor from New Orleans.

The water, pure and transparent, and far more agreeable to the eye than
to the taste, forms a pool in its octagon-shaped cistern; and hither
the visitors lounge, three times a day, to drink their two or three
half-pint tumblers of nauseousness.

I heard many complaints, from new-comers, of the drowsiness caused by
drinking the water. Some lay down to sleep more than once in the day;
and others apologised for their dulness in society; but this is only a
temporary effect, if one may judge by the activity visible on the green
from morning till night. One of the greatest amusements was to listen to
the variety of theories afloat about the properties and modes of
application of the waters.

These springs had been visited only about fifteen years. No
philosophising on cases appears to have been instituted: no recording,
classifying, inferring, and stating. The patients come from distances of
a thousand miles in every direction, with a great variety of complaints;
they grow better or do not; they go away, and nobody is the wiser for
their experience. It would be difficult to trace them, and to make a
record of anything more than their experience while on the spot. The
application of these waters will probably continue for a long time to be
purely empirical. All that is really known to the patients themselves
is, that they are first sleepy, then ravenous; that they must then leave
the White Sulphur Spring, and go to the Warm Springs, to be bathed; then
to the Sweet Springs, to be braced; and then home, to send all their
ailing friends into Virginia next year.

Upwards of two hundred visitors were accommodated when I was in the
White Sulphur Valley; and cabins were being built in all directions. The
valley, a deep basin among the mountains; presents such beauties to the
eye, as perhaps few watering-places in the world can boast. There has
been no time yet to lay them open, for the benefit of the invalids; but
there are plans for the formation of walks and drives through the woods,
and along the mountain sides. At present, all is wild, beyond the
precincts of the establishment; and, for the pleasure of the healthy,
for those who can mount, and ramble, and scramble, it seems a pity that
it should not remain so. The mocking-bird makes the woods ring with its
delicious song; and no hand has bridged the rapid streams. If you want
to cross them, you must throw in your own stepping-stones. If you desire
to be alone, you have only to proceed from the gate of the establishment
to the first turn in the road, force your way into the thicket, and look
abroad from your retreat upon as sweet and untouched a scene of mountain
and valley as the eye of the red man loves to rest upon. The gentlemen
who are not invalids go out shooting in the wilderness. A friend of mine
returned from such an expedition, the day after my arrival. He brought
home a deer; had been overtaken by a storm in the mountains, and had,
with his companions, made a house and a fire. Such amusements would
diversify the occupations of Bath and Cheltenham very agreeably.

The morning after our arrival, we were too weary to be roused by the
notice bell, which rings an hour before every meal; and we were ready
only just in time for the last bell. Breakfast is carried to the cabins,
if required; but every person who is able prefers breakfasting in
company. On rainy mornings, it is a curious sight to see the company
scudding across the green to the public-room, under umbrellas, and in
cloaks and india-rubber shoes. Very unlike the slow pace, under a
parasol, in a July sun.

There was less meat on the table at breakfast and tea than I was
accustomed to see. The bread and tea were good. For the other eatables
there is little to be said. It is a table spread in the wilderness; and
a provision of tender meat and juicy vegetables for two or three
hundred people is not to be had for the wishing. The dietary is sure to
be improved, from year to year; the most that is to be expected at
present is, that there should be enough for everybody. The sum paid for
board per week is eight dollars; and other charges may make the expenses
mount up to twelve. Pitchers of water and of milk may be seen, at every
meal, all down the tables; little or no wine.

The establishment is under the management of the proprietor, who has
been offered 500,000 dollars for it, that it may be conducted by a
company of share-holders, who would introduce the necessary
improvements. When I was there, the proprietor was still holding off
from this bargain, the company not being willing to continue to him the
superintendence of the concern. I hope that arrangements, satisfactory
to all parties, may have been made by this time. The average gross
receipts of a season were reported to be 50,000 dollars. It was added
that these might easily be doubled, if all were done that might be.

Rheumatism and liver complaints seemed the most common grievances. Two
little girls, perhaps four and five years old, sat opposite to me, who
were sufferers from rheumatism. But the visitors who came for pleasure
seemed to outnumber considerably those who came for health.

After breakfast, we sauntered about the green, and visited various new
acquaintances in their piazzas. Then we went home for our bonnets, and
rambled through the woods, till we were sent back by the rain, and took
shelter beside the fountain. The effect was strange of seeing there a
family of emigrants, parents and nine children, who were walking from
North Carolina into Illinois. There must have been twins among these
children, so many of them looked just alike. The contrast between this
group of way-worn travellers, stopping out of curiosity to taste the
waters, and the gay company among whom they very properly held up their
independent heads, was striking to a stranger.

We dined at two; and afterwards found that a fire would be comfortable,
though it was the last day of June. As many friends as our room would
hold came home with us, and sat on the bed, table, and the few chairs we
could muster, while one made the wood fire, and another bought
ice-creams, which a country lad brought to the door. These ice-creams
seemed to be thin custard, with a sprinkling of snow in it; but the boy
declared that they were ice-creams when he left home. When we had
finished our dessert, washed and returned the glasses, and joked and
talked till the new-comers of our party grew ashamed of their
drowsiness, we crossed the green to diversify the afternoon amusements
of certain of our friends. Some were romping with their dogs; some
reading books brought by themselves; (for there is no library yet;) some
playing at chess or backgammon; all deploring the rain.

After tea, we stormed the great scales, and our whole party were
individually weighed. It must be an interesting occupation to the
valetudinarians of the place to watch their own and each others' weight,
from day to day, or from week to week. For my part, I found my weight
just what it always has been, the few times in my life that I have
remembered to ascertain it. Such unenviable persons can never make a
pursuit of the scales, as others can whose gravity is more
discriminating.--From the scales, we adjourned to the ball-room, where I
met friends and acquaintances from Mobile and New Orleans; saw
new-comers from the Carolinas and Georgia; was introduced to personages
of note from Boston; recognized some whom I had known at Philadelphia;
and sat between two gentlemen who had fought a duel. There was music,
dancing, and refreshments; laughing and flirting here; grave
conversation there;--all the common characteristics of a ball, with the
added circumstances that almost every State in the Union was here
represented; and that we were gathered together in the heart of the

One more visit remained to be paid this day. We had promised to look in
upon some friends who were not at the ball, in order to try the charms
and virtues of egg-nogg, which had been lauded to us by an eminent
statesman, who has had opportunity, during his diplomatic missions, to
learn what there is best in this world. The egg-nogg having been duly
enjoyed, we at length went home, to write letters as long as we could
hold up our heads, after so extremely busy a day:--a day which may be
considered a fair specimen of life at the White Sulphur Springs.

One of the personages whom I referred to as low company, at the
beginning of my story, declared himself in the stage-coach to be a
gambler, about to visit the Springs for professional purposes. He said
to another man, who looked fit company for him, that he played higher at
faro than any man in the country but one. These two men slept while we
were mounting to the Hawk's Nest. People who pursue their profession by
night, as such people do, must sleep in the day, happen what may. They
were rather self-important during the journey; it was a comfort to see
how poor a figure they cut at the Springs. They seemed to sink into the
deepest insignificance that could be desired. Such persons are the pests
of society in the south and west; and they are apt to boast that their
profession is highly profitable in the eastern cities. I fear this is no
empty vaunt.

We left the White Sulphur Springs, a party of six, in "an extra
exclusive return stage," and with two saddle horses. Nothing could be
more promising. The stage was perfectly new, having been used only to
bring General C---- and his lady from Philadelphia to the Springs. We
had a shrewd and agreeable Yankee driver, for the whole way. The weather
was as fine as July weather ought to be; and as cool as is its wont near
the tops of mountains: the very weather for the saddle, or for having
the stage open on all sides; or for walking. The alternations were
frequently tried. Roses and mountain laurels adorned our road; the
breezy woods cast their shadows over us; and we remembered what waters
were springing beneath us;--that we were passing over the sources of the
mighty rivers of the West, which we had lately navigated with deep awe
and delight. The few dwellings we passed were almost all houses of
entertainment; but nothing could be more quiet than their air, nestling
as they did in the most enviable situations, and resembling more the
lodges in the avenues of the parks of English gentry than the hotels of
the high road.

We reached the Sweet Springs, twelve miles, I believe, from the White
Sulphur, at half-past two. We were as hungry as mountain travellers
should be, and dinner was over. However, we were soon set down to hot
stewed venison, beet, hominy, ham, and fruit pies; and, thus reinforced,
we issued forth to examine the place. The spring at the bathhouse looked
so tempting, that I resolved to bathe at sun-down, which, in this
valley, would be at five o'clock. The establishment here is inferior to
the one we had left. The green was not paled in; the cabins were more
shabby; the dining-room smaller. We had it almost to ourselves. The
season had not begun, few having been yet sufficiently sulphured and
bathed elsewhere to come here to be braced. The water is a little warm;
it has a slight briskness; and bubbles up prettily in its well under the
piazza. The luxury is to have nothing to do with its disagreeable taste,
but to bathe in it, as it gushes, tepid, from its spout. It would be
worth while, if there were nothing but trouble in crossing the mountains
to get to it. The Sweet Springs lie in one of the highest valleys of the
Alleghanies, and one of the fairest. Five times that afternoon did I
climb the steep breezy slope behind our cabin, bringing first one of our
party, then another, to look abroad; and then returning to enjoy the
sun-set alone. The crowds of blue peaks, the bright clearings, the
clumps of forest trees, lilac in the sunset with the shepherds lying in
their shadow, and the sheep grazing on the sunny slopes, the cluster of
cabins below, with their thin smokes rising straight into the golden
air,--the whole looked as if the near heavens had opened to let down a
gush of their inner light upon this high region. Never shall I forget
those tufty purple hills. Cold twilight came on; and we sat round a
blazing wood fire, telling ghost and murder stories till we could have
declared it was a Christmas night.

At supper, I observed a hale, brisk, intellectual-looking gentleman who
satisfied himself with a basin of liquid; as he did at breakfast the
next morning; and as he may be seen to do at every meal he takes. He
told us his story. Twenty years before, he nearly closed his oesophagus
by taking too powerful an emetic. For twenty years, he has had no
illness; he rises at dawn all the year round, and has never been known
to be low-spirited for two minutes. We all began to think of living upon
liquids; but I have not heard of any of the party having proceeded
beyond the suggestion.

We rose at five, the next morning, having thirty mountain miles to go
during the day, with the same horses. It must not be supposed that this
mountain travelling is scrambling among craggy peaks, piercing through
dark defiles, and so forth. The roads wind so gently among the slopes,
that a sleeping or blind traveller would not discover that the carriage
was not, for the greater part of the time, proceeding on level ground.
Woody slopes at hand, and a crowd of blue summits afar, are the most
characteristic features of the scenery. A white speck of a house, on its
tiny green clearing, comes into sight, high up among the hills, from a
turn in the road, and the traveller says to himself, "What a perch to
live on!" In two hours, he stops at that very house to dine, not being
aware how he has got up to it, and looking round with wonder on the snug
comforts of the homestead.

Our thirty miles of this day were delicious. Having breakfasted, we bade
adieu, at half-past six, to the Sweet Springs, steaming in the bitter
cold morning air, and followed a gentleman of our party who had
proceeded on foot to the top of the first ridge. There we found him,
sitting under a tree, having succeeded in warming himself by the walk.
Up the second ridge, the whole party walked, I having started off, ahead
of the rest. It was warm, and I stopped, here and there, to rest and
gather wild flowers. The rhododendrons and kalmias grew in profusion;
and there were plenty of roses, the fine orange columbine of the hills,
vetches, and a few splendid scarlet lilies. The peeps down into abysses
of foliage were glorious; and, yet more, the cloudlike expanse of
mountain tops, growing bluer and fainter till they faded quite away. A
steep road on an opposite mountain was the only sign of humanity being
near. On the summit, however, there was a small farm. In it lived an
elderly woman, who had never been further from the spot than eight
miles. If she was born to travel no further than eight miles, no better
dwelling place could have been assigned her; for hence she sees more at
a glance, any sunset, than some, with all means of locomotion, have ever

It was a strange feeling, the beginning to descend. It was strange to
cross, soon after, the path of the tornado. I had seen something of its
ravages before, on the banks of the Cumberland river: the stoutest
forest-trees wrenched and twisted, like red-hot iron in the vice of the
blacksmith; and snapped off, all at the same height; so that the forest
looked like a gigantic scorched stubble-field. Here, a similar
desolation was seen in immediate contrast with the rich fertility of the
little valley beneath. The hurricane had seared a path for itself up the
mountain side, passing over the lowly roofs in the depths. We arrived to
dinner at a house on Barber Creek, where we entreated to be fed without
delay, on anything whatsoever that was eatable; as time was precious,
this day. Yet were we kept waiting two hours and a half. I found much to
do by the creek side watching the minnows making their way up against
the current; watching two girls who had set up their washing
establishment in pretty style under a tree beside the water; their wood
fire, black cauldron, and stand of tubs; while the bushes stood round
about to be used as drying horses. I also actually saw a hog voluntarily
walk three times through the clear water; and the delay of the dinner
afforded time for speculation whether the race was not improving. When
the dinner was on the table, no one of us could tell what it consisted
of. The dish from which I ate was, according to some, mutton; to others,
pork: my own idea is that it was dog. Whatever it was, it was at last
done with, and paid for, and I was in my saddle, listening to the creek
as it rattled under the grey rocks. Having crossed one mountain top on
foot, in the morning, I was about to pass another on my horse this
afternoon. There is no describing what it is to be pacing upwards, on
the extreme edge of the steep road, with one's feet hanging over the
green abyss; the shadowy mountains retreating, advancing, interlacing,
opening, to disclose a low far-off bit of meadow, with a diminutive
dwelling, quiet as a lonely star. What blessed work road-making must be
in such places! It was with no little pleasure that, after fourteen
miles from Barber Creek, I saw a fine house on an eminence; and then the
town of Fincastle, spread out below us, on some rising grounds.

The scenes of the day left me little disposed for sociability in the
evening. We were kept waiting long for supper, by the arrival of a party
of New Yorkers; to avoid an introduction to whom, some of us pretended
to read, and some to be asleep, while others did our duty, talk. The
night closed in worthily. From the balcony of my chamber, I saw how
modestly the young moon eyed with me the region which will be spread
before her for ever, but which I was looking back upon for the last

Here I must break off; and, instead of adding another description of the
Natural Bridge to the hundred which exist, bring into contrast with life
at the Virginia Springs, life in a New England farm-house.

Nothing can he quieter or more refreshing, after a winter's visiting at
Boston or New York, than such an abode in a country village as I made
trial of last May. The weeks slipped away only too fast. Dr. and Mrs.
F., their little boy, six years old, and myself, were fortunate enough
to prevail with a farmer's widow at Stockbridge, Massachusetts, to take
us into her house. The house was conspicuous from almost every part of
the sweet valley into which it looked; the valley of the Housatonic. It
was at the top of a steep hill; a sort of air palace. From our parlour
windows we could see all that went on in the village; and I often found
it difficult to take off my attention from this kind of spying. It was
tempting to trace the horseman's progress along the road, which wound
among the meadows, and over the bridge. It was tempting to watch the
neighbours going in and out, and the children playing in the courts, or
under the tall elms; all the people looking as small and busy as ants
upon a hillock. On week-days there was the ox-team in the field; and on
Sundays the gathering at the church-door. The larger of the two churches
stood in the middle of a green, with stalls behind it for the horses and
vehicles which brought the churchgoers from a distance. It was a pretty
sight to see them converging from every point in the valley, so that the
scene was all alive; and then disappear for the space of an hour and a
half, as if an earthquake had swallowed up all life; and then pour out
from the church door, and, after grouping on the green for a few
minutes, betake themselves homewards. Monument Mountain reared itself
opposite to us, with its thick woods, and here and there a grey crag
protruding. Other mountains closed in the valley, one of which treated
us for some nights with the spectacle of a spreading fire in its woods.
From the bases of these hills, up to our very door-step, there was one
bright carpet of green. Everything, houses, trees, churches, were
planted down into this green, so that there was no interruption but the
one road, and the blue mazy Housatonic. The softness of the scene, early
in a May morning, or when the sun was withdrawing, could not be
surpassed by anything seen under a Greek or Italian sky. Sometimes I
could scarcely believe it real: it looked air-painted, cloud-moulded.

It was as a favour that the widow Jones[8] took us in. She does not let
lodgings. She opened her house to us, and made us a part of her family.
Two of her daughters were at home, and a married son lived at hand. We
had a parlour, with three windows, commanding different views of the
valley: two good-sized chambers, conveniently furnished, and a large
closet between; our board with the family, and every convenience that
could be provided: and all for two dollars per week each, and half price
for the child. She was advised to ask more, but she refused, as she did
not wish to be "grasping." It was a merry afternoon when we followed the
wagon up the hill to our new abode, and unpacked, and settled ourselves
for our long-expected month of May. Never was unpacking a pleasanter

The blossomy cherry-tree beside my chamber window was the first object I
saw in the morning when I threw up the sash; and beneath it was a broad
fallow, over which the blue jay flitted. By this window there was an
easy chair and a light table, a most luxurious arrangement for reading.
We breakfasted at half-past seven on excellent bread, potatoes, hung
beef, eggs, and strong tea. We admitted no visitors during the forenoon,
as our theory was that we were very busy people. Writing and reading did
occupy much of our time, but it was surprising how much was left for the
exercise of our tongues. Then there were visits to be made to the
post-office, and the crockery store, and the cobbler; and Charley found
occasion to burst in, a dozen times a-day, with a bunch of violets, or
news of the horse or cow, or of the ride he had had, or of the oxen in
the field.

We all dined together at two. One of the daughters absented herself at
breakfast, that she might arrange our rooms; but both were present at
dinner, dressed, and ready for their afternoon's occupation of working
and reading. One was fond of flowers, and had learned a great deal about
them. She was skilful in drying them, and could direct us to the places
in the woods and meadows where they grew. Some members of the family,
more literary than the rest, were gone westward; but there was a taste
for books among them all. I often saw a volume on the table of the
widow's parlour, with her spectacles in it. She told me, one day, of her
satisfaction in her children, that they were given to good pursuits, and
all received church members. All young people in these villages are more
or less instructed. Schooling is considered a necessary of life. I
happened to be looking over an old almanack one day, when I found, among
the directions relating to the preparations for winter on a farm, the
following: "Secure your cellars from frost. Fasten loose clap-boards and
shingles. Secure a good school-master." It seemed doubtful, at the first
glance, whether some new farming utensil had not been thus whimsically
named; as the brass plate which hooks upon the fender, or upper bar of
the grate, is called "the footman;" but the context clearly showed that
a man with learning in his head was the article required to be provided
before the winter. The only respect, as far as I know, in which we made
our kind hostess uneasy, was in our neglect of Charley's book-studies.
Charley's little head was full of knowledge of other kinds; but the
widow's children had all known more of the produce of the press at his
age than he; and she had a few anxious thoughts about him.

In the afternoon we rambled abroad, if the weather was fine; if rainy,
we lighted our wood fire, and pursued our employments of the morning,
not uncheered by a parting gleam from the west; a bar of bright yellow
sky above the hill tops, or a gush of golden light burnishing the dewy
valley at the last. Our walks were along the hill road to the lake, on
the way to Lenox, or through the farmyard and wood to a tumbling brook
in a small ravine. We tried all manner of experiments with moss, stones,
and twigs, among its sunny and shadowy reaches, and tiny falls. We
hunted up marsh flowers, wood anemones, and violets, and unfolded the
delicate ferns, still closely buttoned up, and waiting for the full
power of the summer sun. It was some trouble to me, in America, that I
could not get opportunity to walk so much as I think necessary to
health. It is not the custom there: partly owing to the climate, the
extreme heat of summer, and cold of winter; and partly to the absence of
convenient and pretty walks in and about the cities; a want which, I
trust, will be supplied in time. In Stockbridge much pedestrian exercise
may be and is accomplished; and I took the opportunity of indulging in
it, much to the surprise of some persons, who were not aware how English
ladies can walk. One very warm afternoon, we were going on a visit to
Lenox, five miles off. My friends went in a wagon; I preferred walking.
The widow's son watched me along the road, and then remarked, "You will
see no more of her till you get to Lenox. I would not walk off at that
rate, if they gave me Lenox when I got there."

In the evenings, we made a descent upon the village, or the village came
up to us. In the latter case, our hostess was always ready with a simple
and graceful welcome, and her best endeavours to provide seats for our
many friends. If we staid below till after nine, the family had gone to
rest on our return. We had only to lift the latch, light our candles,
and make our way to the milk-pans, if we were thirsty. For twenty-five
years, the widow has lived on the top of her hill, with only a latch to
her door. She sleeps undefended, for she has no enemies; and in her
village there are no thieves.

One night, when we were visiting some friends in the valley, it was
brought home to us what it is to live in a place where there are no
hackney coaches, or other travelling shelter. When we should have been
going home, it was a tremendous spring-storm; wind, thunder and
lightning, and rain in floods. We waited long; but it seemed to have no
intention of abating. When at length we did set out, we were a
remarkable looking troop; a gentlemanly young lawyer in a pea jacket;
the other gentlemen in the roughest coats that could be found; the
ladies leaving bonnets and caps behind, with handkerchiefs over their
heads, India-rubbers on their feet, their dresses tucked up, and cloaks
swathed round them. Our party were speeded up the hill by the fear that
Charley would be wakened and alarmed by the storm; but it was a
breathless sort of novelty to be working our way through one continued
pond to the foot of the hill, and then up the slippery ascent,
unbonneted, with the strangling gust in our faces, and no possibility of
our finding our way in the pitchy darkness but by the flashes of blue
lightning. Well clad as we were, we felt, I believe, something like
being paupers, or gentry of the highway, or some such houseless
personages exposed to the pelting of the pitiless storm. Charley was
found to be sound asleep, and we ourselves no worse off than being
steeped over the ankles.

The time came too soon when I must leave the beloved village, when I
must see no longer the morning baking and the evening milking; and the
soap cauldron boiling in the open air behind the house, with Charley
mounted on a log, peeping into it; and the reading and working, and
tying up of flowers in the afternoon. The time was come when the
motherly and sisterly kiss were ready for me, and my country life in New
England was at an end. It is well for us that our best pleasures have an
immortality like our own; that the unseen life is a glorification of the
seen. But for this, no one with a human heart would travel abroad, and
attach himself to scenes and persons which he cannot but love, but which
he must leave.

It was not always that the villagers of New England could place
themselves on hill tops, and leave their doors unfastened. There is a
striking contrast between their present security and the fears of their
forefathers, in the days when the nursling went to church, because it
was unsafe at home, in the absence of its father. Father, mother, and
children, all went on one horse to meet the total population within the
walls of the church; the one parent armed, the other prying about for
traces of the fearful red man. Those were the days when the English
regicides had fled to the colonies, and were there secreted. Those were
the days when anything that was to be made known to all was announced in
church, because everybody was sure to be there; and a fast-day was
ordained if anything very remarkable was to be done, or conveyed.
Sometimes formal announcements were made; sometimes intimations were so
interwoven with the texture of the discourse, as that unfriendly ears,
if such should be present, should not apprehend the meaning. When any
emissary of Charles the Second was prowling in search of a concealed
regicide, the pastor preached from some such text as, "Hide the
outcasts. Bewray not him that wandereth;"[9] and the flock understood
that they were to be on their guard against spies. Charles the Second
could never get hold of one of his enemies who had taken refuge in these

On looking abroad over the valley of the Connecticut, from the top of
Mount Holyoke, I saw the village of Hadley, seated in the meadows, and
extending across a promontory, formed by the winding of the river. This
promontory afforded a secure grazing ground for the cattle by day, which
were driven by night into the area of the village, where the church
stood. Goffe, the regicide, was concealed for many years in the
parsonage at Hadley; all the people in the village, except two or three,
being, in this instance, unaware of an outcast being among them. One
Sunday, the Indians attacked the village while the people were all in
church. The women and children were left in the church, while their
husbands, fathers, and brothers went out to do battle with the cruel
foe. It went hard with the whites; the Indians were fast bearing them
down, when an unknown figure appeared in their ranks, with flowing
robes, streaming white hair, and a glittering sword. The cry was raised
that the angel Gabriel had been sent in answer to the prayers of the
women in the church. Every spirit was cheered, every arm was nerved, and
the Indians were beaten off, with great slaughter. Upon this, Gabriel
vanished; but tradition long preserved the memory of his miraculous
appearance. The very few who recognized in him Goffe, with his undressed
hair, and in his morning gown, kept the secret faithfully. How blessed a
change has come over rural life in Massachusetts since those days! Never
may its peace and security be invaded by those social abuses which are
more hateful than foreign spies; more cruel and treacherous than the
injured and exasperated red man of the wilderness!

The contrast is also striking between the country life of New England
and that of the west. I staid for some weeks in the house of a wealthy
land-owner in Kentucky. Our days were passed in great luxury; and some
of hottest of them very idly. The house was in the midst of grounds, gay
with verdure and flowers, in the opening month of June; and our
favourite seats were the steps of the hall, and chairs under the trees.
From thence we could watch the play of the children on the grass-plat,
and some of the drolleries of the little negroes. The red bird and the
blue bird flew close by; and the black and white woodpecker with crimson
head, tapped at all the tree-trunks, as if we were no interruption. We
relished the table fare, after that with which we had been obliged to
content ourselves on board the steam-boats. The tender meat, fresh
vegetables, good claret and champagne, with the daily piles of
strawberries and towers of ice-cream, were welcome luxuries. There were
thirty-three horses in the stables, and we roved about the neighbouring
country accordingly. There was more literature at hand than time to
profit by it. Books could be had at home; but not the woods of
Kentucky;--clear, sunny woods, with maple and sycamore springing up to a
height which makes man feel dwarfish. The glades, with their turf so
clean, every fallen leaf having been absorbed, reminded me of Ivanhoe, I
almost looked for Gurth in my rambles. All this was, not many years ago,
one vast canebrake, with a multitude of buffalo and deer: the pea-vine
spreading everywhere, and the fertility far greater than even now.

One morning I took a lesson in rifle-shooting; the gentlemen having
brought out their weapons for a few hours' sport among the squirrels. A
rifle does not bounce like a musket, and affords, therefore, an easy
beginning. I took aim at twenty-five paces, and hitting within an inch,
thought it best to leave off with credit. A child of eighteen months
stood in the middle of the gravel-walk, very composedly, while the
rifles were popping off; and his elder brothers were busy examining the
shots. Children seem born to their future pursuits, in new countries.
Negro children seem all born riders and drivers. It was an amusement to
see little children that in England could not hold themselves on a large
horse, playing pranks with a whole equipage that they were leading to

In the afternoon of this day we took a long drive in search of buffalo;
the only herd of those hideous animals now to be seen in Kentucky. None
of the family liked to be left behind, so we filled the barouche and the
phaeton, and Master H., eight years old, in his garden costume, mounted
the mare, whose foal could not be induced to remain at home, and
frolicked beside us all the way. We rattled on through lanes, over open
ground above a pond, beneath locust groves, and beechen shades, seeing
herds of mules, and the finest of cattle within the verge of the woods.
The mules are raised for exportation to the fields of Louisiana. Then we
reached the hill-side where eight buffalo were grazing, four of the pure
and four of a mixed breed. The creatures stood looking at us as if they
had been turned into stone at the sight of us. Their sidelong gaze, as
they stood motionless beside a stump, or beneath a tree, was horrid. I
never saw an eye and attitude of which I should be so much afraid. As
they appeared to have no intention of moving a hair of their tails or
huge necks while we halted, a little slave, named Oliver, was sent up
the hill to put them in motion; there being no danger whatever in the
operation. Oliver disappeared, and no result of his exertions was
visible. When the buffalo and we had mutually stared for another five
minutes, Oliver's master called to him to know what he was about. He
replied that the buffalo looked too hard at him. At last, however, he
went near enough to put them in motion; and then they moved all at once,
each seeming more clumsy than the others in its headlong run. I am glad
to have seen buffalo, but there is nothing to be said for their beauty
or grace.

In the evening we repaired to the cool grass-plat, to amuse ourselves
with the pretty sport of trying which should find out the first star. It
was then ascertained that two gentlemen present were well qualified to
entertain us with stories of horrible western murders,--more fearful
than any other murders. So we sat till late at night, amidst summer
lightning and the glancing of fire-flies, listening to the most
harrowing and chilling set of tales of human misdeeds and their
retributions, that it ever was my fortune to listen to. The Christmas
firesides of England yield no impressions of horror like the plain facts
of a life in the wilderness, told under the trees, in a sultry night,
while the pale lightning is exploding on the horizon.

We had tidings of a camp-meeting to be held at some distance, the next
day. I had never seen a camp-meeting; but the notice was too short, and
the distance too great, and I missed the chance.

One of the slaves of a neighbouring gentleman came and asked his master
what he would give him for two bee-holes. "You are a pretty fellow,"
said his master, "to ask me to pay for my own trees." The negro urged
that his master would never have found out the bee-holes for himself;
which was very true. He was referred to his mistress; and it was finally
arranged that three of us English strangers should see the felling of a
bee-tree; a spectacle we had all heard of, but not seen. A large party
dined at this gentleman's house; and, presently after dinner, all set
out in carriages, or on horseback, for the spot in the woods where the
bee-tree stood. It was a shabby black walnut, which seemed scarcely fit
company for the noble array of trees around it. It was of so respectable
a circumference near the ground, however, and the negroes were making
such slow progress into its interior, that it was plain we should have
time for a drive in the woods before the catastrophe; so my host mounted
the box of our barouche, and we wound hither and thither under the
trees, over the rich grass; and, seldom having to stoop to avoid the
branches, catching bright glimpses of a hundred glades. It was a full
hour before the tree fell. We arrived just when it was chopped into the
middle, and some minutes before the event. It is a pretty sight to see
the top branches of the falling glory quiver, its canopy shake, and its
huge bulk come crashing down, while everybody runs away at the shout
which tells that it is coming. This tree fell on the wrong side, and
destroyed several yards of fence, snapping the stakes, and setting them
flying in all directions.

Straw and sulphur were burned in the hollow of the trunk. A few little
startled bees flew out, and wreaked their vengeance on our host and
myself; but most of them perished very quietly. I was asked whether I
should like to look into the cleft; and when I was stepping over the
bristling branches for the purpose, a bough was put into my hand, with
directions to wave it before me. I returned, stung, but having seen what
I wanted; and then I was told that if I had not waved a bough, I should
have escaped the bees. Mine was the common fate of persons who follow
unasked advice. Our host capered among the trees, with a bee or two
under his cravat and hair. It was impossible to help laughing. A stout
gentleman of the party did the same, under the mere idea of bees being
upon him; and, while tossing his head and arms about, he ran up, with a
great shock, against his own horse; on which sat a little negro,
grinning from ear to ear. The result of the whole was,--half a tumbler
glass full of blackened honey, and the high gratification of the
spectators, native and foreign, unharmed and stung.

Such is a fair specimen of our life in the West. Contrasts rise up
before my mind's eye, as the scenes of my journeying present themselves;
contrasts in the face of the country, as striking as in the modes of

When I was at Salem, in Massachusetts, the friends whose hospitality I
was enjoying proposed an excursion to Cape Ann, (the northern point of
Massachusetts' bay,) and round the peninsula which constitutes the
township of Gloucester. This excursion impressed me strongly, from the
peculiar character of the scenery: but I know not whether it is an
impression which can be conveyed by description. Whether it be or not, I
would recommend all strangers to go and visit this peninsula; and, if
convenient, in fine autumn weather, when the atmosphere lends its best
aid to the characteristic charms of the landscape.

It was the 19th of October, a foggy morning, when we mounted the
carry-all,--a carriage which holds four,--and drove merrily out of
Salem, upon a carpet of fallen leaves. I love streets that have trees in
them; Summer Street in Boston; State Street in Albany; and Chesnut
Street in Salem. We passed through Beverley, where, as in most of the
small New England towns, the population has a character of its own. At
Marblehead, on the bay, near Salem, the people are noisy, restless,
high-spirited, and democratic. At Beverley, in the near neighbourhood,
they are quiet, economical, sober, and whig. Such, at least, is the
theory: and one fact in this connexion is, that the largest sums in the
Boston savings' banks are from Beverley. We passed over a long
bridge,--a respectable toll-bridge. The Americans are not fond of tolls
of above a certain age,--for fear of monopoly. There is a small bridge,
called Spite Bridge, because it spites the Beverley toll, which is much
used in preference. Seven miles further is Manchester;--how unlike the
English Manchester! A mere with pond-lilies! woods with the glorious
magnolia flourishing in the midst! This is the only place in New England
where the magnolia grows. In summer, parties are formed to visit the
woods; and children make much money as guides and gatherers.
Cabinet-making is the great business of the place. We saw logs of
mahogany lying outside the houses; and much furniture in pieces standing
up against the walls, ready to be packed for New Orleans. The furniture
of the southern cities is almost entirely derived from this
neighbourhood. One manufacturer, who makes the furniture here, and sells
it from his warehouse at New Orleans, has an income of 150,000 dollars.
The inhabitants of Manchester are very prosperous. The houses were all
good, except, here and there, the abode of a drunkard, known by its
unpainted walls, loose shingles, broken shutters, and decayed door-step,
in striking contrast with the neat white or yellow painted houses of the
neighbours, with their bright windows, and spruce Venetian blinds.

Seven miles further, stands Gloucester; the road to it winding among
wooded rocks; sometimes close down to the shore; and sometimes
overhanging the rippling waters of Massachusetts Bay. The gay autumn
copses harmonized well with the grey granite, out of which they seemed
to grow; and with the pearly sea, sinning out from beneath the
dissolving mist.

We crossed a little canal which opens into the bay, near Gloucester; and
hastened onto the most interesting ground we had to traverse, stopping
only a few minutes at Gloucester, to consult a map which indicated
almost every rock and house in the peninsula.

The population of the peninsula is homogeneous. There is probably no
individual beyond Gloucester whose parentage may not be referred to a
particular set of people, at a particular date in English history. It
has great wealth of granite and fish. It is composed of granite; and
almost its only visitors are fish.

It is a singular region. If a little orchard plot is seen, here and
there it seems rescued by some chance from being grown over with
granite. It was pleasant to see such a hollow, with its apple tree, the
ladder reared against it, the basket beneath, and the children picking
up the fallen fruit. The houses look as if they were squeezed in among
the rocks. The granite rises straight behind a house, encroaches on each
side, and overhangs the roof, leaving space only for a sprinkling of
grass about the door, for a red shrub or two to wave from a crevice, and
a drip of water to flow down among gay weeds. Room for these dwellings
is obtained by blasting the rocks. Formerly, people were frightened at
fragments falling through the roof after a blasting: but now, it has
become too common an occurrence to alarm any body. One precaution is
enforced: no one is allowed to keep more than twenty-eight pounds of
powder in one town or village; and the powder-houses may be seen,
insulated on rocks, and looking something like watch-boxes, at some
distance from every settlement. The school-houses are also remarkable
buildings. The school-house may always be known at a glance: a single
square room, generally painted white or pale green, and reared on a
grassy eminence, with a number of small heads to be seen through the
windows, or little people gathered about the door. There are twenty-one
school-houses in this township of Gloucester, the population of which is
nine thousand.

We dined at Sandy Bay, in a neat little hotel, whose windows bloomed
with chrysanthemums, nasturtium, and geraniums; and where we feasted on
chowder, an excellent dish when well cooked. It consists of fish, (in
this instance haddock,) stewed in milk, with potatoes. The parlour table
was graced with a fair collection of books; as was almost every parlour
I saw, throughout the country. Sandy Bay is a thriving place. It has a
pretty, and very conspicuous church, and a breakwater, built by the
people, at an expense of 40,000 dollars, but now too small for their
purposes. The Atlantic rolls in upon their coast fiercely in winter: and
the utility of a harbour hereabouts for all vessels, is a sufficient
ground for an application to Congress for an appropriation of 100,000
dollars, to make a larger breakwater. If the application has succeeded,
Sandy Bay will soon be an important place. While dinner was preparing,
we went down to the little harbour, and saw the dancing fishing-vessels,
the ranges and piles of mackarel barrels, and an immense display of the
fish drying. The mackarel fishery begins in June, and continues almost
through the year. There are three orders of mackarel, to which the
unfortunate individuals which are detained in their summer excursion
are assigned, according to their plumpness; one dollar per barrel being
the superiority of price of one over another.

After dinner, we proceeded on our travels, first visiting Cape Ann, the
extreme north end of Massachusetts Bay. We had the bay before us, and
the great Atlantic on our left. We ought to have seen Boston; but the
fog had not quite cleared away in the distance. Thatcher's Island was
near, with its two lighthouses, and a bright, green sea playing about
it. Then we turned and drove northward along the shore, with busy and
most picturesque quarries to our left. There were tall poles in the
quarries, with stretched ropes, the pulleys by which the blocks of stone
were raised: there were ox-teams and sleds: there were groups of workmen
in the recesses of the rocks, and beside the teams, and about the little
bays and creeks, where graceful sloops were riding under the lee of tiny
breakwaters, where the embarkation of the stone for foreign parts goes
on. Blocks of granite lay by the road-side, marked, either in reference
to its quality, if for sale; or to its proportion among the materials
which are being prepared to order for some great building in New York,
or Mobile, or New Orleans. Some may wonder how granite should be exposed
for sale in such a district; and who would be likely to buy it. I saw,
this afternoon, gate-posts, corner-posts, and foundations of common
houses, of undressed granite; and, also, an entire house, the abode of
the blacksmith. The friend who sat beside me told me that he hoped to
see many more such mechanics' dwellings before he dies. Stone becomes
cheaper, and wood dearer, continually; and there is no question which is
the more desirable material for those who can afford it. With regard to
beauty merely, I know of no building material to equal granite; dressed
in the city; undressed in the country. We went into a quarry, and saw an
untold wealth of fissured stone. The workmen contrive to pursue their
business even in the winter. When the snow is on the ground, and the
process of drilling is stopped, they remove ordinary pieces out of the
way, and make all clear for their spring labours. They "turn out"
250,000 dollars'-worth a-year; and the demand is perpetually on the

Along the north side of the peninsula the road was very pretty. The
grey, distant coast of New Hampshire bounded the sea view. Groups of
children were playing on the sands of a deep cove; and the farmers were
collecting or spreading their manure of sea-weed and fish-heads. Squam
river, which forms the peninsula, flowed out into the sea, and the
village of Annisquam spread along its bank. We crossed the bridge, close
by the only tide mill I ever saw. It works for six hours, and stops for
six, while the flow of the tide fills the pond above. The gates are then
shut, and a water-power is obtained till the tide again flows.

We saw what we could of Gloucester, on our return to that little town,
before sunset. There are some very good houses, newly-built; and the
place has the air of prosperity that gladdens the eye wherever it turns,
in New England. We ran down to the shore. It is overlooked by a
windmill, from whose grassy platform we beheld the scene in the singular
light which here succeeds an autumn sunset. The sky and sea were,
without exaggeration, of a deep scarlet: Ten Pound Island sat black upon
the waters, with its yellow beacon just lighted. Fishing vessels lay
still, every rope being reflected in the red mirror; and a boat, in
which a boy was sculling across the harbour, was the only moving object.

After tea, a clergyman and his wife called; and then a long succession
of the hospitable inhabitants of Gloucester came to bid us welcome: from
which it appeared that small articles of intelligence circulate as
rapidly here as in other country-places. In another respect, Gloucester
resembled all the villages and small towns I passed through: in the
pretty attention of presenting flowers. In some of the larger cities,
bouquets of rich and rare flowers were sent to me, however severe might
have been the frost, or however dreary the season. In the smallest
villages, I had offerings, quite as welcome, in bunches of flowers from
the woods and meadows. Many of these last were new to me, and as gladly
received as the luscious hyacinths which greeted me every morning at
Charleston. At Lenox, in Massachusetts, where I spent one night, my
table was covered with meadow-flowers, and with fine specimens of
Jack-in-the-pulpit, and the moccassin-flower, or lady's slipper: and at
Gloucester, when I returned from my early visit to the beach, where I
had been to see the fishermen go out, I found a gorgeous bouquet of
autumn flowers; dahlias more various and rich than could have been
supposed to grow in such a region.

On our return to Salem, we diverged a little from our road, near
Manchester, to see a farm, whose situation would make an envious person
miserable. The house lies under the shelter of a wooded hill, and enjoys
a glorious view of Massachusetts Bay. The property lies between two
bays, and has a fine fishing-station off the point. The fields look
fertile, and a wide range of pasturage skirts the bay. A woman and
children were busy in the orchard, with a cart and barrels, taking in a
fine crop of apples; and we could only hope that they were sensible of
their privilege in living in such a place. These are the region,
teeming with the virtues of the Pilgrims, and as yet uninfected by the
mercenary and political cowardice of the cities, where the most
gladdening aspects of human life are to be seen.

The newly-settled districts of the southern States are as unlike as
possible to all this. They are extreme opposite cases. If human life
presents its fairest aspects in the retired townships of New
England,--some of its very worst, perhaps, are seen in the raw
settlements of Alabama and Mississippi.

When we drew near to Columbus, Georgia, we were struck with amazement at
the stories that were told, and the anecdotes that were dropped, in the
stage, about recent attempts on human life in the neighbourhood; and at
the number of incidents of the same kind which were the news of the day
along the road. Our driver from Macon had been shot at, in attempting to
carry off a young lady. A gentleman, boarding in the hotel at Columbus,
was shot in the back, in the street, and laid by for months. No inquiry
was made, or nothing came of it. The then present governor of the State
of Mississippi had recently stood over two combatants, pistol in hand,
to see fair play. This _was_ stated as a remarkable fact. The landlord
of the house where we stopped to breakfast on the day we were to reach
Columbus, April 9th, 1835, was, besides keeping a house of
entertainment, a captain of militia, and a member of the legislature of
Georgia. He was talking over with his guests a late case of homicide in
a feud between the Myers and Macklimore families. He declared that he
would have laws like those of the Medes and Persians against homicide;
and, in the same breath, said that if he were a Myers, he would shoot
Mr. Macklimore and all his sons.

We arrived at Columbus before sunset, and determined to stay a day to
see how the place had got on since Captain Hall saw it cut out of the
woods, ten years before. During the evening, I could do nothing but
watch the Indians from my window. The place swarmed with them; a few
Choctaws, and the rest Creeks. A sad havoc has taken place among them
since; and this neighbourhood has been made the scene of a short but
fierce war. But all looked fair and friendly when we were there. Groups
of Indians were crouching about the entries of the stores, or looking in
at the windows. The squaws went by, walking one behind another, with
their hair, growing low on the forehead, loose, or tied at the back of
the head, forming a fine contrast with the young lady who had presided
at our breakfast-table at five that morning, with her long hair braided
and adorned with brilliant combs, while her fingers shone in pearl and
gold rings. These squaws carried large Indian baskets on their backs,
and shuffled along, bare-footed, while their lords paced before them,
well mounted; or, if walking, gay with blue and red clothing and
embroidered leggings, with tufts of hair at the knees, while pouches and
white fringes dangled about them. They looked like grave merry-andrews;
or, more still, like solemn fanatical harvest men going out for largess.
By eight o'clock they had all disappeared; but the streets were full of
them again the next morning.

Our hostess was civil, and made no difficulty about giving us a late
breakfast by ourselves, in consideration of our fatigues. Before one
o'clock we dined, in company with seventy-five persons, at one long
table. The provisions were good, but ill-cooked; and the knives so blunt
that it was a mystery to me how the rest of the company obtained so
quick a succession of mouthfuls as they did.

The Chattahoochee, on whose banks Columbus stands, is unlike any river
I saw in the United States, unless it be some parts of the Susquehanna.
Its rapids, overhung by beech and pine woods, keep up a perpetual
melody, grateful alike to the ear of the white and the red man. It is
broad and full, whirling over and around the rocks with which it is
studded, and under the frail wooden foot-bridge which spans a portion of
its width, between the shore and a pile of rocks in the middle of the
channel. On this foot-bridge I stood, and saw a fish caught in a net
laid among the eddies. A dark fisherman stood on each little promontory;
and a group was assembled about some canoes in a creek on the opposite
Alabama shore, where the steepness of the hills seemed scarcely to allow
a foothold between the rushing water and the ascent. The river is
spanned by a long covered bridge, which we crossed the same night on our
way into Alabama.

There are three principal streets in Columbus, with many smaller,
branching out into the forest. Some pretty bits of greensward are left,
here and there, with a church, or a detached house upon
each--village-like. There are some good houses, five hotels, and a
population of above 2,000,--as nearly as I could make out among the
different accounts of the accession of inhabitants since the census. The
stores looked creditably stocked; and a great many gentlemanly men were
to be seen in the streets. It bears the appearance of being a thriving,
spacious, handsome village, well worth stopping to see.

We left it, at seven in the evening, by the long bridge, at the other
end of which we stopped for the driver to hold a parley, about a parcel,
with a woman, who spoke almost altogether in oaths. A gentleman in the
stage remarked, that we must have got quite to the end of the world.
The roads were as bad as roads could be; and we rolled from side to side
so incessantly, as to obviate all chance of sleeping. The passengers
were very patient during the hours of darkness; but, after daylight,
they seemed to think they had been long enough employed in shifting
their weight to keep the coach on its four wheels. "I say, driver,"
cried one, "you won't upset us, now daylight is come?" "Driver," shouted
another, "keep this side up." "Gentlemen," replied the driver, "I shall
mind nothing you say till the ladies begin to complain." A reply equally
politic and gallant.

At half past five, we stopped to breakfast at a log dwelling, composed
of two rooms, with an open passage between. We asked for water and
towel. There was neither basin nor towel; but a shallow tin dish of
water was served up in the open passage where all our fellow-travellers
were standing. We asked leave to carry our dish into the right-hand
room. The family were not all dressed. Into the left-hand room. A lady
lodged there!

We travelled till sunset through the Creek Territory, the roads
continuing to be extremely bad. The woods were superb in their spring
beauty. The thickets were in full leaf; and the ground was gay with
violets, may-apple, buck-eye, blue lupin, iris, and crow-poison. The
last is like the white lily, growing close to the ground. Its root,
boiled, mixed with corn, and thrown out into the fields, poisons crows.
If eaten by cattle, it injures but does not destroy them. The sour-wood
is a beautiful shrub. To-day it looked like a splendid white fuchsia,
with tassels of black butterflies hanging from the extremities of the
twigs. But the grandest flower of all, perhaps the most exquisite I ever
beheld, is the honeysuckle of the southern woods. It bears little
resemblance to the ragged flower which has the same name elsewhere. It
is a globe of blossoms, larger than my hand, growing firmly at the end
of an upright stalk, with the richest and most harmonious colouring, the
most delicate long anthers, and the flowers exquisitely grouped among
the leaves. It is the queen of flowers. I generally contrived, in my
journeys through the southern States, to have a bunch of honeysuckles in
the stage before my eyes; and they seemed to be visible wherever I
turned, springing from the roots of the forest trees, or dangling from
their topmost boughs, or mixing in with the various greens of the

We saw to-day, the common sight of companies of slaves travelling
westwards; and the very uncommon one of a party returning into South
Carolina. When we overtook such a company proceeding westwards, and
asked where they were going, the answer commonly given by the slaves
was, "Into Yellibama."--Sometimes these poor creatures were encamped
under the care of the slave-trader, on the banks of a clear stream, to
spend a day in washing their clothes. Sometimes they were loitering
along the road; the old folks and infants mounted on the top of a
wagon-load of luggage; the able-bodied, on foot, perhaps silent, perhaps
laughing; the prettier of the girls, perhaps with a flower in the hair,
and a lover's arm around her shoulder. There were wide differences in
the air and gait of these people. It is usual to call the most depressed
of them brutish in appearance. In some sense they are so; but I never
saw in any brute an expression of countenance so low, so lost, as in the
most degraded class of negroes. There is some life and intelligence in
the countenance of every animal; even in that of "the silly sheep,"
nothing so dead as the vacant, unheeding look of the depressed slave is
to be seen. To-day, there was a spectacle by the roadside which showed
that this has nothing to do with negro nature; though no such proof is
needed by those who have seen negroes in favourable circumstances, and
know how pleasant an aspect those grotesque features may wear. To-day we
passed, in the Creek Territory, an establishment of Indians who held
slaves. Negroes are anxious to be sold to Indians, who give them
moderate work, and accommodations as good as their own. Those seen
to-day among the Indians, were sleek, intelligent, and cheerful-looking,
like the most favoured house-slaves, or free servants of colour, where
the prejudice is least strong.

We were on the look-out for Indians, all the way through this Creek
Territory. Some on horseback gave us a grave glance as we passed. Some
individuals were to be seen in the shadow of the forest, leaning against
a tree or a fence. One lay asleep by the roadside, overcome with
"whiskey too much," as they style intoxication. They are so intent on
having their full bargain of whiskey, that they turn their bottle upside
down, when it has been filled to the cork, to have the hollow at the
bottom filled. The piazza at the post-office was full of solemn Indians.
Miserable-looking squaws were about the dwellings, with their naked
children, who were gobbling up their supper of hominy from a wooden

We left the Creek Territory just as the full moon rose, and hoped to
reach Montgomery by two hours before midnight. We presently began to
ascend a long hill; and the gentlemen passengers got out, according to
custom, to walk up the rising ground. In two minutes, the driver
stopped, and came to tell us ladies that he was sorry to trouble us to
get out; but that an emigrant's wagon had blocked up the ford of a creek
which we had to cross; and he feared we might be wetted if we remained
in the stage while he took it through a deeper part. A gentleman was
waiting, he said, to hand us over the log which was to be our bridge.
This gentleman, I believe, was the emigrant himself. I made for what
seemed to me the end of the log; but was deceived by the treacherous
moonlight, which made wood, ground, and water, look all one colour. I
plunged up to the waist into the creek; and, when I was out again, could
hardly keep upon the log for laughing. There was time, before we
overtook the rest of the party, to provide against my taking cold; and
there remained only the ridiculous image of my deliberate walk into the

It must not be supposed a common circumstance that an emigrant's wagon
was left in a creek. The "camping out" is usually done in a sheltered,
dry spot in the woods, not far from some little stream, where the kettle
may be filled, and where the dusty children may be washed. Sleepy as I
might be, in our night journeys, I was ever awake to this picture, and
never tired of contemplating it. A dun haze would first appear through
the darkness; and then gleams of light across the road. Then the whole
scene opened. If earlier than ten at night, the fire would be blazing,
the pot boiling, the shadowy horses behind, at rest, the groups fixed in
their attitudes to gaze at us, whether they were stretching their
sailcloth on poles to windward, or drawing up the carts in line, or
gathering sticks, or cooking. While watching us, they little thought
what a picture they themselves made. If after midnight, the huge fire
was flickering and smouldering; figures were seen crouching under the
sailcloth, or a head or two was lifted up in the wagon. A solitary
figure was seen in relief against the fire; the watch, standing to keep
himself awake; or, if greeted by our driver, thrusting a pine slip into
the fire, and approaching with his blazing torch to ask or to give
information. In the morning, the places where such encampments have
been cannot be mistaken. There is a clear, trodden space, strewed with
chips and refuse food, with the bare poles which had supported the
sailcloth, standing in the midst, and a scorched spot where the fire had
been kindled. Others, besides emigrants, camp out in the woods. Farmers,
on their way to a distant market, find it cheaper to bring food, and
trust otherwise to the hospitality of dame Nature, than to put up at
hotels. Between the one and the other, we were amply treated with the
untiring spectacle.

We had bespoken accommodations for the night at the hotel at Montgomery,
by a friend who had preceded us. On our arrival at past eleven o'clock,
we found we were expected; but no one would have guessed it. In my
chamber, there was neither water, nor sheets, nor anything that afforded
a prospect of my getting to rest, wet as my clothes were. We were
hungry, and tired, and cold; and there was no one to help us but a
slave, who set about her work as slaves do. We ate some biscuits that we
had with us, and gave orders, and made requests with so much success as
to have the room in tolerable order by an hour after midnight. When I
awoke in the morning, the first thing I saw was, that two mice were
running after one another round my trunk, and that the floor of the room
seemed to contain the dust of a twelvemonth. The breakfast was to atone
for all. The hostess and another lady, three children, and an array of
slaves, placed themselves so as to see us eat our breakfast; but it
seemed to me that the contents of the table were more wonderful to look
at than ourselves. Besides the tea and coffee, there were corn bread,
buns, buck-wheat cakes, broiled chicken, bacon, eggs, rice, hominy,
fish, fresh and pickled, and beef-steak. The hostess strove to make us
feel at home, and recommended her plentiful meal by her hearty welcome
to it. She was anxious to explain that her house was soon to be in
better order. Her husband was going to Mobile to buy furniture; and,
just now, all was in confusion, from her head slave having swallowed a
fish bone, and being unable to look after the affairs of the house. When
our friends came to carry us to their plantation, she sent in
refreshments, and made herself one of the party, in all heartiness.

It was Sunday, and we went to the Methodist church, hoping to hear the
regular pastor, who is a highly-esteemed preacher. But a stranger was in
the pulpit, who gave us an extraordinary piece of doctrine, propounded
with all possible vehemence. His text was the passage about the tower of
Siloam; and his doctrine was that great sinners would somehow die a
violent death. Perhaps this might be thought a useful proposition in a
town where life is held so cheap as in Montgomery; but we could not
exactly understand how it was derived from the text. The place was
intensely light and hot, there being no blinds to the windows, on each
side of the pulpit: and the quietness of the children was not to be
boasted of.

On the way to our friends' plantation, we passed a party of negroes,
enjoying their Sunday drive. They never appear better than on such
occasions, as they all ride and drive well, and are very gallant to
their ladies. We passed a small prairie, the first we had seen; and very
serene and pretty it looked, after the forest. It was green and
undulating, with a fringe of trees.

Our friends, now residing seven miles from Montgomery, were from South
Carolina; and the lady, at least, does not relish living in Alabama. It
was delightful to me to be a guest in such an abode as theirs. They were
about to build a good house: meantime, they were in one which I liked
exceedingly: a log-house, with the usual open passage in the middle.
Roses and honeysuckles, to which humming-birds resort, grew before the
door. Abundance of books, and handsome furniture and plate, were within
the house, while daylight was to be seen through its walls. In my well
furnished chamber, I could see the stars through the chinks between the
logs. During the summer, I should be sorry to change this primitive kind
of abode for a better.

It is not difficult to procure the necessaries and comforts of life.
Most articles of food are provided on the plantation. Wine and groceries
are obtained from Mobile or New Orleans; and clothing and furniture from
the north. Tea is twenty shillings English per lb.; brown sugar,
threepence-halfpenny; white sugar, sixpence-halfpenny. A gentleman's
family, where there are children to be educated, cannot live for less
than from seven hundred pounds to one thousand pounds per annum. The
sons take land and buy slaves very early; and the daughters marry almost
in childhood; so that education is less thought of, and sooner ended,
than in almost any part of the world. The pioneers of civilisation, as
the settlers in these new districts may be regarded, care for other
things more than for education; or they would not come. They are, from
whatever motive, money-getters; and few but money-getting qualifications
are to be looked for in them. It was partly amusing, and partly sad, to
observe the young people of these regions; some, fit for a better mode
of life, discontented; some youths pedantic, some maidens romantic, to a
degree which makes the stranger almost doubt the reality of the scenes
and personages before his eyes. The few better educated who come to get
money, see the absurdity, and feel the wearisomeness of this kind of
literary cultivation; but the being in such society is the tax they
must pay for making haste to be rich.

I heard in Montgomery of a wealthy old planter in the neighbourhood, who
has amassed millions of dollars, while his children can scarcely write
their names. Becoming aware of their deficiencies, as the place began to
be peopled from the eastward, he sent a son of sixteen to school, and a
younger one to college; but they proved "such gawks," that they were
unable to learn, or even to remain in the society of others who were
learning; and their old father has bought land in Missouri, whither he
was about to take his children, to remove them from the contempt of
their neighbours. They are doomed to the lowest office of social beings;
to be the mechanical, unintelligent pioneers of man in the wilderness.
Surely such a warning as this should strike awe into the whole region,
lest they should also perish to all the best purposes of life, by
getting to consider money, not as a means, but an end.

I suppose there must be such pioneers; but the result is a society which
it is a punishment to its best members to live in. There is pedantry in
those who read; prejudice in those who do not; coxcombry among the young
gentlemen; bad manners among the young ladies; and an absence of all
reference to the higher, the real objects of life. When to all this is
added that tremendous curse, the possession of irresponsible power,
(over slaves,) it is easy to see how character must become, in such
regions, what it was described to me on the spot, "composed of the
chivalric elements, badly combined:" and the wise will feel that, though
a man _may_ save his soul anywhere, it is better to live on bread and
water where existence is most idealized, than to grow suddenly rich in
the gorgeous regions where mind is corrupted or starved amidst the
luxuriance of nature. The hard-working settler of the north-west, who
hews his way into independence with his own hands, is, or may be, exempt
from the curse of this mental corruption or starvation; but it falls
inevitably and heavily upon those who fatten upon the bounty of Nature,
in the society of money-getters like themselves, and through the labours
of degraded fellow-men, whom they hold in their injurious power.

We saw several plantations while we were in this neighbourhood. Nothing
can be richer than the soil of one to which we went, to take a lesson in
cotton-growing. It will never want more than to have the cotton seed
returned to it. We saw the plough, which is very shallow. Two throw up a
ridge, which is wrought by hand into little mounds. After these are
drilled, the seed is put in by hand. This plantation consists of nine
hundred and fifty acres, and is flourishing in every way. The air is
healthy, as the situation is high prairie land. The water is generally
good; but, after rain, so impregnated with lime, as to be disagreeable
to the smell and taste. Another grievance is, a weed which grows on the
prairie, which the cows like in summer, but which makes the milk so
disagreeable, that cream, half-an-inch thick, is thrown to the pigs.
They only can estimate this evil who know what the refreshment of milk
is in hot climates. Another grievance is, that no trees can be allowed
to grow near the house, for fear of the mosquitoes. Everything else is
done for coolness; there are wide piazzas on both sides of the house;
the rooms are lofty, and amply provided with green blinds; but all this
does not compensate to the eye for the want of the shade of trees. The
bareness of the villages of the south is very striking to the eye of a
stranger, as he approaches them. They lie scorching and glaring on the
rising grounds, or on the plain, hazy with the heat, while the forest,
with its myriads of trees, its depth of shade, is on the horizon. But
the plague of mosquitoes is a sufficient warrant for any sacrifice of
the pleasures of the eye; for they allow but little enjoyment of
anything in their presence.

On this, and many other estates that we saw, the ladies make it their
business to cut out all the clothes for the negroes. Many a fair pair of
hands have I seen dyed with blue, and bearing the marks of the large
scissars. The slave women cannot be taught, it is said, to cut out even
their scanty and unshapely garments economically. Nothing can be more
hideous than their working costume. There would be nothing to lose on
the score of beauty, and probably much gained, if they could be
permitted to clothe themselves. But it is universally said that they
cannot learn. A few ladies keep a woman for this purpose, very naturally
disliking the coarse employment.

We visited the negro quarter; a part of the estate which filled me with
disgust, wherever I went. It is something between a haunt of monkeys and
a dwelling-place of human beings. The natural good taste, so remarkable
in free negroes, is here extinguished. Their small, dingy, untidy
houses, their cribs, the children crouching round the fire, the animal
deportment of the grown-up, the brutish chagrins and enjoyments of the
old, were all loathsome. There was some relief in seeing the children
playing in the sun, and sometimes fowls clucking and strutting round the
houses; but otherwise, a walk through a lunatic asylum is far less
painful than a visit to the slave quarter of an estate. The children are
left, during working hours, in the charge of a woman; and they are
bright, and brisk, and merry enough, for the season, however slow and
stupid they may be destined to become.

My next visit was to a school--the Franklin Institute, in Montgomery,
established by a gentleman who has bestowed unwearied pains on its
organization, and to whose care it does great credit. On our approach,
we saw five horses walking about the enclosure, and five saddles hung
over the fence: a true sign that some of the pupils came from a
distance. The school was hung with prints; there was a collection of
shells; many books and maps; and some philosophical apparatus. The boys,
and a few girls, were steadily employed over their books and mapping;
and nothing could exceed the order and neatness of the place. If the
event corresponds with the appearance, the proprietor must be one of the
most useful citizens the place has yet been honoured with.

I spent some days at a plantation a few miles from Montgomery, and heard
there of an old lady who treats her slaves in a way very unusual, but
quite safe, as far as appears. She gives them knowledge, which is
against the law; but the law leaves her in peace and quiet. She also
commits to them the entire management of the estate, requiring only that
they should make her comfortable, and letting them take the rest. There
is an obligation by law to keep an overseer; to obviate insurrection.
How she manages about this, I omitted to inquire: but all goes on well;
the cultivation of the estate is creditable, and all parties are
contented. This is only a temporary ease and contentment. The old lady
must die; and her slaves will either be sold to a new owner, whose
temper will be an accident; or, if freed, must leave the State: but the
story is satisfactory in as far as it gives evidence of the
trust-worthiness of the negroes.

Our drives about the plantation and neighbouring country were delicious.
The inundations from the rivers are remarkable; a perfect Eden appears
when they subside. At the landing place of this plantation, I saw a
board nailed near the top of a lofty tree, and asked what it could be
for. It was the high-water mark. The river, the Alabama, was now upwards
of twenty feet higher than usual; and logs, corn-stalks, and green
boughs were being carried down its rapid current, as often as we went to
the shore. There were evidences of its having laid even houses under
water; but, on its subsiding, it would be found to have left a deposit
of two inches and a half of fine new soil on the fields on either side
of its channel. I never stood on the banks of the southern rivers
without being reminded of Daniell's Views in India and Ceylon: the water
level, shadowy and still, and the thickets actually springing out of it,
with dark-green recesses, with the relief of a slender white stem, or
dangling creeper here and there. Some creepers rise like a ladder,
straight from the water to a bough one hundred and twenty feet high. As
for the softness of the evening light on the water, it is indescribable.
It is as if the atmosphere were purified from all mortal breathings, it
is so bright, and yet not dazzling; there is such a profusion of

There were black women ploughing in the field, with their ugly, scanty,
dingy dresses, their walloping gait, and vacant countenance. There were
scarlet and blue birds flitting over the dark fallows. There was
persimon sprouting in the woods, and the young corn-plants in the field,
with a handful of cotton-seed laid round each sprout. There was a view
from a bluff which fully equalled all my expectations of what the
scenery of the southern States would be; yet, tropical as it was in many
respects, it reminded me strongly of the view from Richmond Hill. We
were standing on the verge of a precipice, of a height which I dare not
specify. A deep fissure to our right was spanned by a log which it made
one shudder to think of crossing. Behind us lay a cotton-field of 7,000
acres within one fence. All this, and the young aloes, and wild vines,
were little enough like Richmond; and so was the faint blue line of
hills on the horizon; but it was the intervening plain, through which
the river ran, and on which an infinite variety of noble trees grew, as
it appeared, to an interminable distance. Here their tops seemed woven
into compactness; there they were so sprinkled as to display the majesty
and grace of their forms. I looked upon this as a glorification of the
Richmond view.

It was now the middle of April. In the kitchen garden the peas were
ripening, and the strawberries turning red, though the spring of 1835
was very backward. We had salads, young asparagus, and radishes.

The following may be considered a pretty fair account of the provision
for a planter's table, at this season; and, except with regard to
vegetables, I believe it does not vary much throughout the year.
Breakfast at seven; hot wheat bread, generally sour; corn bread,
biscuits, waffles, hominy, dozens of eggs, broiled ham, beef-steak or
broiled fowl, tea and coffee. Lunch at eleven; cake and wine, or
liqueur. Dinner at two; now and then soup (not good,) always roast
turkey and ham; a boiled fowl here, a tongue there; a small piece of
nondescript meat, which generally turns out to be pork disguised;
hominy, rice, hot corn-bread, sweet potatoes; potatoes mashed with
spice, very hot; salad and radishes, and an extraordinary variety of
pickles. Of these, you are asked to eat everything with everything else.
If you have turkey and ham on your plate, you are requested to add
tongue, pork, hominy, and pickles. Then succeed pies of apple, squash,
and pumpkin; custard, and a variety of preserves as extraordinary as the
preceding pickles: pine-apple, peach, limes, ginger, guava jelly,
cocoa-nut, and every sort of plums. These are almost all from the
West-Indies. Dispersed about the table are shell almonds, raisins,
hickory, and other nuts; and, to crown the whole, large blocks of
ice-cream. Champagne is abundant, and cider frequent. Ale and porter may
now and then be seen; but claret is the most common drink. During dinner
a slave stands at a corner of the table, keeping off the flies by waving
a large bunch of peacock's feathers fastened into a handle,--an ampler
fan than those of our grandmothers.

Supper takes place at six, or seven. Sometimes the family sits round the
table; but more commonly the tray is handed round, with plates which
must be held in the lap. Then follow tea and coffee, waffles, biscuits,
sliced ham or hung-beef, and sweet cake. Last of all, is the offer of
cake and wine at nine or ten.

The profits of cotton-growing, when I was in Alabama, were thirty-five
per cent. One planter whom I knew had bought fifteen thousand dollars'
worth of land within two years, which he could then have sold for
sixty-five thousand dollars. He expected to make, that season, fifty or
sixty thousand dollars of his growing crop. It is certainly the place to
become rich in; but the state of society is fearful. One of my hosts, a
man of great good-nature, as he shows in the treatment of his slaves,
and in his family relations, had been stabbed in the back in the
reading-room of the town, two years before, and no prosecution was
instituted. Another of my hosts carried loaded pistols for a fortnight,
just before I arrived, knowing that he was lain in wait for by persons
against whose illegal practices he had given information to a
magistrate, whose carriage was therefore broken in pieces, and thrown
into the river. A lawyer with whom we were in company one afternoon, was
sent for to take the deposition of a dying man who had been sitting with
his family in the shade, when he received three balls in the back from
three men who took aim at him from behind trees. The tales of
jail-breaking and rescue were numberless; and a lady of Montgomery told
me that she had lived there four years, during which time no day, she
believed, had passed without some one's life having been attempted,
either by duelling or assassination. It will be understood that I
describe this region as presenting an extreme case of the material
advantages and moral evils of a new settlement, under the institution of
slavery. The most prominent relief is the hospitality,--that virtue of
young society. It is so remarkable, and to the stranger so grateful,
that there is danger of its blinding him to the real state of affairs.
In the drawing-room, the piazza, the barouche, all is so gay and
friendly, there is such a prevailing hilarity and kindness, that it
seems positively ungrateful and unjust to pronounce, even in one's own
heart, that all this way of life is full of wrong and peril. Yet it is
impossible to sit down to reflect, with every order of human beings
filling an equal space before one's mental eye, without being struck to
the soul with the conviction that the state of society, and no less of
individual families, is false and hollow, whether their members are
aware of it or not; that they forget that they must be just before they
can be generous. The severity of this truth is much softened to
sympathetic persons on the spot; but it returns with awful force when
they look back upon it from afar.

In the slave quarter of a plantation hereabouts I saw a poor wretch who
had run away three times, and been re-captured. The last time he was
found in the woods, with both legs frost-bitten above the knees, so as
to render amputation necessary. I passed by when he was sitting on the
door-step of his hut, and longed to see him breathe his last. But he is
a young man, likely to drag out his helpless and hopeless existence for
many a dreary year. I dread to tell the rest; but such things must be
told sometimes, to show to what a pass of fiendish cruelty the human
spirit may be brought by merely witnessing the exercise of irresponsible
power over the defenceless. I give the very words of the speaker,
premising that she is not American by birth or education, nor yet

The master and mistress of this poor slave, with their children, had
always treated him and his fellow-slaves very kindly. He made no
complaint of them. It was not from their cruelty that he attempted to
escape. His running away was therefore a mystery to the person to whom I
have alluded. She recapitulated all the clothes that had been given to
him; and all the indulgences, and forgivenesses for his ingratitude in
running away from such a master, with which he had been blessed. She
told me that she had advised his master and mistress to refuse him
clothes, when he had torn his old ones with trying to make his way
through the woods; but his master had been too kind, and had again
covered his nakedness. She turned round upon me, and asked what could
make the ungrateful wretch run away a third time from such a master?

"He wanted to be free."

"Free! from such a master!"

"From any master."

"The villain! I went to him when he had had his legs cut off, and I said
to him, it serves you right...."

"What! when you knew he could not run away any more?"

"Yes, that I did; I said to him, you wretch! but for your master's sake
I am glad it has happened to you. You deserve it, that you do. If I were
your master I would let you die; I'd give you no help nor nursing. It
serves you right; it is just what you deserve. It's fit that it should
happen to you ...!"

"You did not--you dared not so insult the miserable creature!" I cried.

"Oh, who knows," replied she, "but that the Lord may bless a word of
grace in season!"

Some readers may conceive this to be a freak of idiotcy. It was not so.
This person is shrewd and sensible in matters where rights and duties
are not in question. Of these she is, as it appears, profoundly
ignorant; in a state of superinduced darkness; but her character is that
of a clever, and, with some, a profoundly religious woman. Happily, she
has no slaves of her own: at least, no black ones.

I saw this day, driving a wagon, a man who is a schoolmaster, lawyer,
almanack-maker, speculator in old iron, and dealer in eggs, in addition
to a few other occupations. His must be a very active existence.

This little history of a portion of my southern journey may give an idea
of what life is in the wilder districts of the south. I will offer but
one more sketch, and that will exemplify life in the wilder districts of
the north. The picture of my travels in and around Michigan will convey
the real state of things there, at present.

Our travelling party consisted of Mr. and Mrs. L., the before-mentioned
Charley, his father and mother, and myself. We were prepared to see
everything to advantage; for there was strong friendship among us all;
and a very unusual agreement of opinion on subjects which education,
temperament, or the circumstances of the time, made most interesting to
us. The great ornament of the party--our prince of Denmark--was Charley;
a boy of uncommon beauty and promise, and fully worthy of the character
given him by one of our drivers, with whom the boy had ingratiated
himself by his chatter on the box;--"An eternal smart boy, and the
greatest hand at talk I ever came across."

We landed at Detroit, from Lake Erie, at seven o'clock in the morning of
the 13th of June, 1836. We reached the American just in time for
breakfast. At that long table, I had the pleasure of seeing the
healthiest set of faces that I had beheld since I left England. The
breakfast was excellent, and we were served with much consideration; but
the place was so full, and the accommodations of Detroit are so
insufficient for the influx of people who are betaking themselves
thither, that strangers must patiently put up with much delay and
inconvenience till new houses of entertainment are opened. We had to
wait till near one o'clock before any of us could have a room in which
to dress; but I had many letters to write, and could wait; and before I
had done, Charley came with his shining face and clean collar, to show
me that accommodation had been provided. In the afternoon, we saw what
we could of the place, and walked by the side of the full and tranquil
river St. Clair. The streets of the town are wide and airy; but the
houses, churches, and stores, are poor for the capital city of a
Territory or State. This is a defect which is presently cured, in the
stirring northern regions of the United States. Wooden planks, laid on
the grass, form the pavement, in all the outskirts of the place. The
deficiency is of stone, not of labour. Thousands of settlers are
pouring in every year; and of these, many are Irish, Germans, or Dutch,
working their way into the back country, and glad to be employed for a
while at Detroit, to earn money to carry them further. Paving-stones
will be imported here, I suppose, as I saw them at New Orleans, to the
great improvement of the health and comfort of the place. The block-wood
pavement, of which trial has been made in a part of Broadway, New York,
is thought likely to answer better at Detroit than any other kind, and
is going to be tried.

The country round Detroit is as flat as can be imagined; and, indeed, it
is said that the highest mountain in the State boasts only sixty feet of
elevation. A lady of Detroit once declared, that if she were to build a
house in Michigan, she would build a hill first. The Canada side of the
river looks dull enough from the city; but I cannot speak from a near
view of it, having been disappointed in my attempts to get over to it.
On one occasion, we were too late for the ferry-boat; and we never had
time again for the excursion.

A cool wind from the northern lakes blows over the whole face of the
country, in the midst of the hottest days of summer; and in the depth of
winter, the snow never lies deep, nor long. These circumstances may
partly account for the healthiness of the row of faces at the table of
the American.

The society of Detroit is very choice; and, as it has continued so since
the old colonial days, through the territorial days, there is every
reason to think that it will become, under its new dignities, a more and
more desirable place of residence. Some of its interior society is still
very youthful; a gentleman, for instance, saying in the reading-room, in
the hearing of one of our party, that, though it did not sound well at
a distance, Lynching[10] was the only way to treat Abolitionists: but
the most enlightened society is, I believe, equal to any which is to be
found in the United States. Here we began to see some of the
half-breeds, of whom we afterwards met so many at the north. They are
the children of white men who have married squaws; and may be known at a
glance, not only by the dark complexion, but by the high cheekbones,
straight black hair, and an indescribable mischievous expression about
the eyes. I never saw such imps and Flibbertigibbets as the half-breed
boys that we used to see rowing or diving in the waters, or playing
pranks on the shores of Michigan.

We had two great pleasures this day; a drive along the quiet Lake St.
Clair, and a charming evening party at General Mason's. After a
pilgrimage through the State of New York, a few exciting days at
Niagara, and a disagreeable voyage along Lake Erie, we were prepared to
enjoy to the utmost the novelty of a good evening party; and we were as
merry as children at a ball. It was wholly unexpected to find ourselves
in accomplished society on the far side of Lake Erie; and there was
something stimulating in the contrast between the high civilisation of
the evening, and the primitive scenes that we were to plunge into the
next day. Though we had to pack up and write, and be off very early in
the morning, we were unable to persuade ourselves to go home till late;
and then we talked over Detroit as if we were wholly at leisure.

The scenery of Lake St. Clair was new to me. I had seen nothing in the
United States like its level green banks, with trees slanting over the
water, festooned with the wild vine; the groups of cattle beneath them;
the distant steam-boat, scarcely seeming to disturb the grey surface of
the still waters. This was the first of many scenes in Michigan which
made me think of Holland; though the day of canals has not yet arrived.

15th. An obliging girl at the American provided us with coffee and
biscuits at half-past five, by which time our "exclusive extra" was at
the door. Charley had lost his cap. It was impossible that he should go
bare-headed through the State; and it was lucky for us that a store was
already open where he was furnished in a trice with a willow-hat. The
brimming river was bright in the morning sun; and our road was, for a
mile or two, thronged with Indians. Some of the inhabitants of Detroit,
who knew the most about their dark neighbours, told me that they found
it impossible to be romantic about these poor creatures. We, however,
could not help feeling the excitement of the spectacle, when we saw them
standing in their singularly majestic attitudes by the road-side, or on
a rising ground: one, with a bunch of feathers tied at the back of the
head; another, with his arms folded in his blanket; and a third, with
her infant lashed to a board, and thus carried on her shoulders. Their
appearance was dreadfully squalid.

As soon as we had entered the woods, the roads became as bad as, I
suppose, roads ever are. Something snapped, and the driver cried out
that we were "broke to bits." The team-bolt had given way. Our
gentlemen, and those of the mail-stage, which happened to be at hand,
helped to mend the coach; and we ladies walked on, gathering abundance
of flowers, and picking our way along the swampy corduroy road. In less
than an hour, the stage took us up, and no more accidents happened
before breakfast. We were abundantly amused while our meal was preparing
at Danversville. One of the passengers of the mail-stage took up a
violin, and offered to play to us. Books with pictures were lying about.
The lady of the house sat by the window, fixing her candle-wicks into
the moulds. In the piazza, sat a party of emigrants, who interested us
much. The wife had her eight children with her; the youngest, puny
twins. She said she had brought them in a wagon four hundred miles; and
if they could only live through the one hundred that remained before
they reached her husband's lot of land, she hoped they might thrive; but
she had been robbed, the day before, of her bundle of baby things. Some
one had stolen it from the wagon. After a good meal, we saw the
stage-passengers stowed into a lumber wagon; and we presently followed
in our more comfortable vehicle.

Before long, something else snapped. The splinter-bar was broken. The
driver was mortified; but it was no fault of his. Juggernaut's car would
have been "broke to bits" on such a road. We went into a settler's
house, where we were welcomed to rest and refresh ourselves. Three years
before, the owner bought his eighty acres of land for a dollar an acre.
He could now sell it for twenty dollars an acre. He shot, last year, a
hundred deer, and sold them for three dollars a-piece. He and his family
need have no fears of poverty. We dined well, nine miles before reaching
Ypsilanti. The log-houses,--always comfortable when well made, being
easily kept clean, cool in summer, and warm in winter,--have here an air
of beauty about them. The hue always harmonizes well with the soil and
vegetation. Those in Michigan have the bark left on, and the corners
sawn off close; and are thus both picturesque and neat.

At Ypsilanti, I picked up an Ann Arbor newspaper. It was badly printed;
but its contents were pretty good; and it could happen nowhere out of
America, that so raw a settlement as that at Ann Arbor, where there is
difficulty in procuring decent accommodations, should have a newspaper.

It was past seven before we left the inn at Ypsilanti, to go thirteen
miles further. We departed on foot. There was a bridge building at
Ypsilanti; but, till it was ready, all vehicles had to go a mile down
the water-side to the ferry, while the passengers generally preferred
crossing the foot-bridge, and walking on through the wood. We found in
our path, lupins, wild geraniums, blue-eye grass, blue iris, wild
sunflower, and many others. The mild summer night was delicious, after
the fatigues of the day. I saw the youngest of golden moons, and two
bright stars set, before we reached Wallace's Tavern, where we were to
sleep. Of course, we were told that there was no room for us; but, by a
little coaxing and management, and one of the party consenting to sleep
on the parlour-floor, everything was made easy.

16th. We were off by half-past six; and, not having rested quite enough,
and having the prospect of fourteen miles before breakfast, we, with one
accord, finished our sleep in the stage. We reached Tecumseh by
half-past nine, and perceived that its characteristic was chair-making.
Every other house seemed to be a chair manufactory. One bore the
inscription, "Cousin George's Store:" the meaning of which I do not
pretend to furnish. Perhaps the idea is, that purchasers may feel free
and easy, as if dealing with cousin George. Everybody has a cousin
George. Elsewhere, we saw a little hotel inscribed, "Our House;" a
prettier sign than "Traveller's Rest," or any other such tempting
invitation that I am acquainted with. At Tecumseh, I saw the first
strawberries of the season. All that I tasted in Michigan, of prairie
growth, were superior to those of the west, grown in gardens.

Charley was delighted to-day by the sight of several spotted fawns,
tamed by children. If a fawn be carried a hundred yards from its bush,
it will follow the finder, and remain with him, if kindly treated. They
are prettiest when very young, as they afterwards lose their spots.

We fairly entered the "rolling country" to-day: and nothing could be
brighter and more flourishing than it looked. The young corn was coming
up well in the settlers' fields. The copses, called "oak-openings,"
looked fresh after the passing thunder-showers; and so did the rising
grounds, strewed with wild flowers and strawberries. "The little hills
rejoiced on every side." The ponds, gleaming between the hills and
copses, gave a park-like air to the scenery. The settlers leave trees in
their clearings; and from these came the song of the wood-thrush; and
from the dells the cry of the quail. There seemed to be a gay
wood-pecker to every tree.

Our only accident to-day was driving over a poor hog: we can only hope
it died soon. Wherever we stopped, we found that the crowds of emigrants
had eaten up all the eggs; and we happened to think eggs the best
article of diet of all on a journey. It occurred to me that we might get
some by the way, and carry them on to our resting-place. All agreed
that we might probably procure them: but how to carry them safely over
such roads was the question. This day we resolved to try. We made a
solemn stir for eggs in a small settlement; and procured a dozen. We
each carried one in each hand,--except Charley, who was too young to be
trusted. His two were wrapped up each in a bag. During eight miles of
jolting, not one was hurt; and we delivered them to our host at
Jonesville with much satisfaction. We wished that some of our
entertainers had been as rich as a Frenchman at Baltimore, who, talking
of his poultry-yard, informed a friend that he had "fifty head of hen."

At Jonesville, the ladies and Charley were favoured with a large and
comfortable chamber. The gentlemen had to sleep with the multitude
below; ranged like walking-sticks, or umbrellas, on a shop-counter.

17th. The road was more deplorable than ever to-day. The worst of it
was, that whenever it was dangerous for the carriage, so that we were
obliged to get out, it was, in proportion, difficult to be passed on
foot. It was amusing to see us in such passes as we had to go through
to-day. I generally acted as pioneer, the gentlemen having their ladies
to assist; and it was pleasant to stand on some dry perch, and watch my
companions through the holes and pools that I had passed. Such hopping
and jumping; such slipping and sliding; such looks of despair from the
middle of a pond; such shifting of logs, and carrying of planks, and
handing along the fallen trunks of trees! The driver, meantime, was
looking back provokingly from his box, having dragged the carriage
through; and far behind stood Charley, high and dry, singing or eating
his bit of bread, till his father could come back for him. Three times
this day was such a scene enacted; and, the third time, there was a
party of emigrant ladies to be assisted, too. When it was all over, and
I saw one with her entire feet cased in mud, I concluded we must all be
very wet, and looked at my own shoes: and lo! even the soles were as dry
as when they were made! How little the worst troubles of travelling
amount to, in proportion to the apprehension of them! What a world of
anxiety do travellers suffer lest they should get wet, or be without
food! How many really faint with hunger, or fall into an ague with damp
and cold? I was never in danger of either the one or the other, in any
of the twenty-three States which I visited.

At one part of our journey to-day, where the road was absolutely
impassable, we went above a mile through the wood, where there was no
track, but where the trees are blazed, to serve as guide-posts, summer
and winter. It was very wild. Our carriage twisted and wound about to
avoid blows against the noble beech-stems. The waters of the swamp
plashed under our wheels, and the boughs crunched overhead. An overturn
would have been a disaster in such a place. We travelled only forty-two
miles this long day; but the weariness of the way was much beguiled by
singing, by a mock oration, story-telling, and other such amusements.
The wit and humour of Americans, abundant under ordinary circumstances,
are never, I believe, known to fail in emergencies, serious or trifling.
Their humour helps themselves and their visitors through any Sloughs of
Despond, as charitably as their infinite abundance of logs through the
swamps of their bad roads.

We did not reach Sturgis's Prairie till night. We had heard so poor an
account of the stage-house, that we proceeded to another, whose owner
has the reputation of treating his guests magnificently, or not at all.
He treated us on _juste milieu_ principles. He did what he could for us;
and that could not be called magnificent. The house was crowded with
emigrants. When, after three hours waiting, we had supper, two
full-grown persons were asleep on some blankets in the corner of the
room, and as many as fifteen or sixteen children on chairs and on the
floor. Our hearts ached for one mother. Her little girl, two years old,
had either sprained or broken her arm, and the mother did not know what
to do with it. The child shrieked when the arm was touched, and wailed
mournfully at other times. We found in the morning, however, that she
had had some sleep. I have often wondered since how she bore the motion
of the wagon on the worst parts of the road. It was oppressively hot. I
had a little closet, whose door would not shut, and which was too small
to give me room to take off the soft feather-bed. The window would not
keep open without being propped by the tin water-jug; and though this
was done, I could not sleep for the heat. This reminds me of the
considerate kindness of an hotel-keeper in an earlier stage of our
journey. When he found that I wished to have my window open, there being
no fastening, he told me he would bring his own tooth-brush for a
prop,--which he accordingly did.

18th. Our drive of twelve miles to breakfast was very refreshing. The
roads were the best we had travelled since we left New York State. We
passed through a wilderness of flowers; trailing roses, enormous white
convolvulus, scarlet lilies, and ground-ivy, with many others, being
added to those we had before seen. Milton must have travelled in
Michigan before he wrote the garden parts of "Paradise Lost." Sturgis's
and White Pigeon Prairies are highly cultivated, and look just like any
other rich and perfectly level land. We breakfasted at White Pigeon
Prairie, and saw the rising ground where the Indian chief lies buried,
whose name has been given to the place.

The charms of the settlement, to us, were a kind landlady, an admirable
breakfast, at which eggs abounded, and a blooming garden. Thirty-seven
miles further brought us to Niles, where we arrived by five in the
afternoon. The roads were so much improved that we had not to walk at
all; which was well, as there was much pelting rain during the day.

Niles is a thriving town on the river St. Joseph, on the borders of the
Potowatomie territory. Three years ago, it consisted of three houses. We
could not learn the present number of inhabitants; probably because the
number is never the same two days together. A Potowatomie village stands
within a mile; and we saw two Indians on horseback, fording the rapid
river very majestically, and ascending the wooded hills on the other
side. Many Indian women were about the streets; one with a nose-ring;
some with plates of silver on the bosom, and other barbaric ornaments.
Such a tremendous storm of thunder and lightning came on, with a deluge
of rain, that we were prevented seeing anything of the place, except
from our windows. I had sent my boots to a cobbler, over the way. He had
to put on India rubbers, which reached above the knee, to bring his work
home; the street was so flooded. We little imagined for the hour the
real extent and violence of this storm, and the effect it would have on
our journeying.

The prairie strawberries, at breakfast this morning, were so large,
sweet, and ripe, that we were inclined for more in the course of the
day. Many of the children of the settlers were dispersed near the
road-side, with their baskets, gathering strawberries; they would not
sell any: they did not know what mother would say if they went home
without any berries for father. But they could get enough for father,
too, they were told, if they would sell us what they had already
gathered. No; they did not want to sell. Our driver observed, that money
was "no object to them." I began to think that we had, at last, got to
the end of the world; or rather, perhaps, to the beginning of another
and a better.

19th. No plan could be more cleverly and confidently laid than ours was
for this day's journey. We were to travel through the lands of the
Potowatomies, and reach the shores of the glorious Lake Michigan, at
Michigan City, in time for an early supper. We were to proceed on the
morrow round the southern extremity of the lake, so as, if possible, to
reach Chicago in one day. It was wisely and prettily planned: and the
plan was so far followed, as that we actually did leave Niles some time
before six in the morning. Within three minutes, it began to rain again,
and continued, with but few and short intervals, all day.

We crossed the St. Joseph by a rope ferry, the ingenious management of
which, when stage-coaches had to be carried over, was a perpetual study
to me. The effect of crossing a rapid river by a rope-ferry, by
torch-light, in a dark night, is very striking; and not the less so for
one's becoming familiarized with it, as the traveller does in the United
States. As we drove up the steep bank, we found ourselves in the Indian
territory. All was very wild; and the more so for the rain. There were
many lodges in the glades, with the red light of fires hanging around
them. The few log huts looked drenched; the tree-stems black in the wet;
and the very wild flowers were dripping. The soil was sandy; so that the
ugliest features of a rainy day, the mud and puddles, were obviated.
The sand sucked up the rain, so that we jumped out of the carriage as
often as a wild-flower of peculiar beauty tempted us. The bride-like,
white convolvulus, nearly as large as my hand, grew in trails all over
the ground.

The poor, helpless, squalid Potowatomies are sadly troubled by
squatters. It seems hard enough that they should be restricted within a
narrow territory, so surrounded by whites that the game is sure soon to
disappear, and leave them stripped of their only resource. It is too
hard that they should also be encroached upon by men who sit down,
without leave or title, upon lands which are not intended for sale. I
enjoyed hearing of an occasional alarm among the squatters, caused by
some threatening demonstrations by the Indians. I should like to see
every squatter frightened away from Indian lands, however advantageous
their squatting may be upon lands which are unclaimed, or whose owners
can defend their own property. I was glad to hear to-day that a
deputation of Potowatomies had been sent to visit a distant warlike
tribe, in consequence of the importunities of squatters, who wanted to
buy the land they had been living upon. The deputation returned,
painted, and under other hostile signals, and declared that the
Potowatomies did not intend to part with their lands. We stopped for
some milk, this morning, at the "location" of a squatter, whose wife was
milking as we passed. The gigantic personage, her husband, told us how
anxious he was to pay for the land which repaid his tillage so well; but
that his Indian neighbours would not sell. I hope that, by this time, he
has had to remove, and leave them the benefit of his house and fences.
Such an establishment in the wild woods is the destruction of the
game,--and of those who live upon it.

At breakfast, we saw a fine specimen of a settler's family. We had
observed the prosperity and cheerfulness of the settlers, all along the
road; but this family exceeded the best. I never saw such an
affectionate set of people. They, like many others, were from one of the
southern States: and I was not surprised to find all emigrants from
North and South Carolina well satisfied with the change they had made.
The old lady seemed to enjoy her pipe, and there was much mirth going on
between the beautiful daughter and all the other men and maidens. They
gave us an excellent breakfast in one of the two lower rooms; the table
being placed across the foot of the two beds. No pains were spared by
them to save us from the wet in the stage; but the rain was too pelting
and penetrating for any defence to avail long. It streamed in at all
corners, and we gave the matter up for the day. We were now entering
Indiana; and one of our intentions had been to see the celebrated Door
Prairie; so called from exquisite views into it being opened through
intervals in the growth of wood with which it is belted. I did obtain
something like an idea of it through the reeking rain, and thought that
it was the first prairie that I had seen that answered to my idea of
one. But I dare say we formed no conception of what it must be in
sunshine, and with the cloud shadows, which adorn a prairie as they do
still water.

We reached Laporte, on the edge of the Door Prairie, at three o'clock,
and were told that the weather did not promise an easy access to
Michigan City. We changed horses, however, and set forward again on a
very bad road, along the shore of a little lake, which must be pretty in
fine weather. Then we entered a wood, and jolted and rocked from side to
side, till, at last, the carriage leaned three parts over, and stuck. We
all jumped out into the rain, and the gentlemen literally put their
shoulders to the wheel, and lifted it out of its hole. The same little
incident was repeated in half an hour. At five or six miles from
Laporte, and seven from Michigan City, our driver stopped, and held a
long parley with somebody by the road side. The news was that a bridge
in the middle of a marsh had been carried away by a tremendous freshet;
and with how much log-road on either side, could not be ascertained till
the waters should subside. The mails, however, would have to be carried
over, by some means, the next day; and we must wait where we were till
we could profit by the post-office experiment. The next question was,
where were we to be harboured? There was no house of entertainment near.
We shrank from going back to Laporte over the perilous road which was
growing worse every minute. A family lived at hand, who hospitably
offered to receive us; and we were only too ready to accept their
kindness. The good man stopped our acknowledgments by saying, in the
most cheerful manner, "You know you would not have staid with me, if you
could have helped it; and I would not have had you, if I could have
helped it: so no more words about it; but let us make ourselves

We perceived by a glance at the beard and costume of our host, that
there was something remarkable about him. He was of the Tunker sect of
Baptists, (from _Tunken_, to dip,) a very peculiar sect of religionists.
He explained, without any reserve, his faith, and the reasons on which
it was founded.

It was all interesting, as showing how the true and the fanciful, the
principle and the emblem, the eternal truth and the supposed type, may
become all mixed together, so as to be received alike as articles of
faith. This man might almost compare with Origen in his mystical
divinations of scripture. The most profitable and delightful part of
his communication related to the operation upon his life and fortunes of
his peace principles. He had gone through life on the non-resistance
principle; and it was animating to learn how well it had served him; as
every high exercise of faith does serve every one who has strength and
simplicity of heart to commit himself to it. It was animating to learn,
not only his own consistency, but the force of his moral power over
others; how the careless had been won to thoughtfulness of his
interests, and the criminal to respect of his rights. He seemed to have
unconsciously secured the promise and the fruit of the life that now is,
more effectually than many who think less of that which is to come. It
was done, he said, by always supposing that the good was in men. His
wife won our hearts by the beauty of her countenance, set off by the
neat plain dress of her sect. She was ill; but they made us thoroughly
comfortable, without apparently discomposing themselves. Sixteen out of
seventeen children were living; of whom two sons and five daughters were
absent, and six sons and three daughters at home: the youngest was three
years old.

Their estate consists of eight hundred acres, a large portion of which
is not yet broken up. The owner says he walks over the ground once a
year, to see the huckleberries grow. He gave the upset price for the
land; a dollar and a-quarter an acre. He is now offered forty dollars an
acre, and says the land is worth fifty, its situation being very
advantageous; but he does not wish to sell. He has thus become worth
40,000 dollars in the three years which have elapsed since he came out
of Ohio. His sons, as they grow up, settle at a distance; and he does
not want money, and has no inducement to sell. I have no idea, however,
that the huckleberries will be long permitted to grow in peace and
quiet, in so busy a district as this is destined to become. The good man
will be constrained by the march and pressure of circumstances, either
to sell or cultivate.

The house, log-built, consisted of three rooms; two under one roof; and
another apparently added afterwards. There were also out-houses. In one
of these three rooms, the cooking and eating went on; another was given
up to us ladies, with a few of the little children; and in the other,
the rest of the family, the gentlemen of our party, and another
weather-bound traveller, slept. Huge fires of logs blazed in the
chimneys; two or three of the little ones were offered us as
hand-maidens; and the entire abode was as clean as could be conceived.
Here was comfort!

As we warmed and dried ourselves in the chimney corners, and looked upon
the clear windows, the bright tin water-pails, and the sheets and towels
as white as snow, we had only one anxiety. It was necessary for Mr. and
Mrs. L. to be at home, a thousand miles off, by a particular day. We had
already met with some delays; and there was no seeing the end of the
present adventure. There was some doubt whether we should not have done
better to cross the southern end of Lake Michigan, from Niles to
Chicago, by a little steam-boat, the Delaware, which was to leave Niles
a few hours after our stage. It had been thought of at Niles; but there
was some uncertainty about the departure of the boat; and we all
anxiously desired to skirt the extremity of this great inland sea, and
to see the new settlements on its shores. Had we done right in incurring
this risk of detention? Right or wrong, here we were; and here we must
wait upon events.

Our sleep, amidst the luxury of cleanliness and hospitality, was most
refreshing. The next morning it was still raining, but less vehemently.
After breakfast, we ladies employed ourselves in sweeping and dusting
our room, and making the beds; as we had given our kind hostess too much
trouble already. Then there was a Michigan City newspaper to be read;
and I sat down to write letters. Before long, a wagon and four drove up
to the door, the driver of which cried out that if there was any getting
to Michigan City, he was our man. We equipped ourselves in our warmest
and thickest clothing, put on our india rubber shoes, packed ourselves
and our luggage in the wagon, put up our umbrellas, and wondered what
was to be our fate. When it had come to saying farewell, our hostess put
her hands on my shoulders, kissed me on each cheek, and said she had
hoped for the pleasure of our company for another day. For my own part,
I would willingly take her at her word, if my destiny should ever carry
me near the great lakes again.

We jolted on for two miles and a half through the woods, admiring the
scarlet lilies, and the pink and white moccasin flower, which was
brilliant. Then we arrived at the place of the vanished bridge. Our
first prospect was of being paddled over, one by one, in the smallest of
boats. But, when the capabilities of the place were examined, it was
decided that we should wait in a house on the hill, while the
neighbours, the passengers of the mail-stage, and the drivers, built a
bridge. We waited patiently for nearly three hours, watching the busy
men going in and out, gathering tidings of the freshet, and its effects,
and being pleased to see how affectionate the woman of the house was to
her husband, while she was cross to everybody else. It must have been
vexatious to her to have her floor made wet and dirty, and all her
household operations disturbed by a dozen strangers whom she had never
invited. She let us have some dough nuts, and gave us a gracious glance
or two at parting.

We learned that a gentleman who followed us from Niles, the preceding
day, found the water nine feet deep, and was near drowning his horses,
in a place which we had crossed without difficulty. This very morning, a
bridge which we had proved and passed, gave way with the stage, and the
horses had to be dug and rolled out of the mud, when they were on the
point of suffocation. Such a freshet had never been known to the present

Our driver was an original; and so were some of the other muddy
gentlemen who came in to dry themselves, after their bridge making. One
asked if such an one was not a "smart fellow." "He! he can't see through
a ladder." Our driver informed us, "when they send a man to jail here,
they put him abroad into the woods. Only, they set a man after him, that
they may knew where he is." A pretty expensive method of imprisonment,
though there be no bills for jail building. This man conversed with his
horses in much the same style as with us, averring that they understood
him as well. On one occasion, he boxed the ears of one of the leaders,
for not standing still when bidden, declaring, "If you go on doing so,
I'll give you something you can't buy at the grocer's shop." I was not
before aware that there was anything that was not to be bought at a
back-country grocer's shop.

At half-past two, the bridge was announced complete, and we re-entered
our wagon, to lead the cavalcade across it. Slowly, anxiously, with a
man at the head of each leader, we entered the water, and saw it rise to
the nave of the wheels. Instead of jolting, as usual, we mounted and
descended each log individually. The mail-wagon followed, with two or
three horsemen. There was also a singularly benevolent personage, who
jumped from the other wagon, and waded through all the doubtful places,
to prove them. He leaped and splashed through the water, which was
sometimes up to his waist, as if it was the most agreeable sport in the
world. In one of these gullies, the fore part of our wagon sank and
stuck, so as to throw us forward, and make it doubtful in what mode we
should emerge from the water. Then the rim of one of the wheels was
found to be loose; and the whole cavalcade stopped till it was mended. I
never could understand how wagons were made in the back-country; they
seemed to be elastic, from the shocks and twisting they would bear
without giving way. To form an accurate idea of what they have to bear,
a traveller should sit on a seat without springs, placed between the
hind wheels, and thus proceed on a corduroy road. The effect is less
fatiguing and more amusing, of riding in a wagon whose seats are on
springs, while the vehicle itself is not. In that case, the feet are
dancing an involuntary jig, all the way; while the rest of the body is
in a state of entire repose.

The drive was so exciting and pleasant, the rain having ceased, that I
was taken by surprise by our arrival at Michigan City. The driver
announced our approach by a series of flourishes on one note of his
common horn, which made the most ludicrous music I ever listened to. How
many minutes he went on, I dare not say; but we were so convulsed with
laughter that we could not alight with becoming gravity, amidst the
groups in the piazza of the hotel. The man must be first cousin to

Such a city as this was surely never before seen. It is three years
since it was begun; and it is said to have one thousand five hundred
inhabitants. It is cut out of the forest, and curiously interspersed
with little swamps, which we no doubt saw in their worst condition after
the heavy rains. New, good houses, some only half finished, stood in the
midst of the thick wood. A large area was half cleared. The finished
stores were scattered about; and the streets were littered with stumps.
The situation is beautiful. The undulations of the ground, within and
about it, and its being closed in by lake or forest on every side,
render it unique. An appropriation has been made by Government for a
harbour; and two piers are to be built out beyond the sand, as far as
the clay soil of the lake. Mr. L---- and I were anxious to see the
mighty fresh water sea. We made inquiry in the piazza; and a sandy hill,
close by, covered with the pea vine, was pointed out to us. We ran up
it, and there beheld what we had come so far to see. There it was, deep,
green, and swelling on the horizon, and whitening into a broad and heavy
surf as it rolled in towards the shore. Hence, too, we could make out
the geography of the city. The whole scene stands insulated in my
memory, as absolutely singular; and, at this distance of time, scarcely
credible. I was so well aware on the spot that it would be so, that I
made careful and copious notes of what I saw: but memoranda have nothing
to do with such emotions as were caused by the sight of that enormous
body of tumultuous waters, rolling in apparently upon the helpless
forest,--everywhere else so majestic.

The day was damp and chilly, as we were told every day is here. There is
scarcely ever a day of summer in which fire is not acceptable. The
windows were dim; the metals rusted, and the new wood about the house
red with damp. We could not have a fire. The storm had thrown down a
chimney; and the house was too full of workmen, providing accommodation
for future guests, to allow of the comfort of those present being much
attended to. We were permitted to sit round a flue in a chamber, where a
remarkably pretty and graceful girl was sewing. She has a widowed mother
to support, and she "gets considerable" by sewing here, where the women
lead a bustling life, which leaves no time for the needle. We had to
wait long for something to eat; that is, till supper time; for the
people are too busy to serve up anything between meals. Two little girls
brought a music book, and sang to us; and then we sang to them; and then
Dr. F. brought me two harebells.--one of the rarest flowers in the
country. I found some at Trenton Falls; and in one or two other rocky
and sandy places; but so seldom as to make a solitary one a great

Our supper of young pork, good bread, potatoes, preserves, and tea, was
served at two tables, where the gentlemen were in proportion to the
ladies as ten to one. In such places, there is a large proportion of
young men who are to go back for wives when they have gathered a few
other comforts about them. The appearance of health was as striking as
at Detroit, and everywhere on this side of Lake Erie.

Immediately after supper we went for a walk, which, in peculiarity,
comes next to that in the Mammoth Cave; if, indeed, it be second to it.
The scene was like what I had always fancied the Norway coast, but for
the wild flowers, which grew among the pines on the slope, almost into
the tide. I longed to spend an entire day on this flowery and shadowy
margin of the inland sea. I plucked handfuls of pea-vine and other
trailing flowers, which seemed to run over all the ground. We found on
the sands an army, like Pharaoh's drowned host, of disabled butterflies,
beetles, and flies of the richest colours and lustre, driven over the
lake by the storm. Charley found a small turtle alive. An elegant little
schooner, "the Sea Serpent of Chicago," was stranded, and formed a
beautiful object as she lay dark between the sand and the surf. The sun
was going down. We watched the sunset, not remembering that the
refraction above the fresh waters would probably cause some remarkable
appearance. We looked at one another in amazement at what we saw. First,
there were three gay, inverted rainbows between the water and the sun,
then hidden behind a little streak of cloud. Then the sun emerged from
behind this only cloud, urn-shaped; a glistering golden urn. Then it
changed, rather suddenly, to an enormous golden acorn. Then to a precise
resemblance, except being prodigiously magnified, of Saturn with his
ring. This was the most beautiful apparition of all. Then it was quickly
narrowed and elongated till it was like the shaft of a golden pillar;
and thus it went down square. Long after its disappearance, a lustrous,
deep crimson dome, seemingly solid, rested steadily on the heaving
waters. An inexperienced navigator might be pardoned for making all sail
towards it; it looked so real. What do the Indians think of such
phenomena? Probably as the child does of the compass, the upas tree, and
all the marvels of Madame Genlis' story of Alphonso and Dalinda; that
such things are no more wonderful than all other things. The age of
wonder from natural appearances has not arrived in children and savages.
It is one of the privileges of advancing years. A grave Indian, who
could look with apathy upon the cataract and all the tremendous shows of
the wilderness, found himself in a glass-house at Pittsburg. He saw a
glassblower put a handle upon a pitcher. The savage was transported out
of his previous silence and reserve. He seized and grasped the hand of
the workman, crying out that it was now plain that he had had
intercourse with the Great Spirit. I remember in my childhood, being
more struck with seeing a square box made in three minutes out of a
piece of writing-paper, than with all that I read about the loadstone
and the lunar influence upon the tides. In those days I should have
looked upon this Indiana sunset with the same kind of feeling as upon a
cloud which might look "very like a whale."

We walked briskly home, beside the skiey sea, with the half-grown moon
above us, riding high. Then came the struggling for room to lie down,
for sheets and fresh water. The principal range of chambers could have
been of no manner of use to us, in their present state. There were, I
think, thirty, in one range along a passage. A small bed stood in the
middle of each, made up for use; but the walls were as yet only scantily
lathed, without any plaster; so that everything was visible along the
whole row. They must have been designed for persons who cannot see
through a ladder.

When I arose at daybreak, I found myself stiff with cold. No wonder: the
window, close to my head, had lost a pane. I think the business of a
perambulating glazier might be a very profitable one, in most parts of
the United States. When we seated ourselves in our wagon, we found that
the leathern cushions were soaked with wet; like so many sponges. They
were taken in to a hot fire, and soon brought out, each sending up a
cloud of steam. Blankets were furnished to lay over them; and we set
off. We were cruelly jolted through the bright dewy woods, for four
miles, and then arrived on the borders of a swamp where the bridge had
been carried away. A man waded in; declared the depth to be more than
six feet; how much more he could not tell. There was nothing to be done
but to go back. Back again we jolted, and arrived at the piazza of the
hotel just as the breakfast-bell was ringing. All the "force" that could
be collected on a hasty summons,--that is, almost every able-bodied man
in the city and neighbourhood, was sent out with axes to build us a
bridge. We breakfasted, gathered and dried flowers, and wandered about
till ten o'clock, when we were summoned to try our fortune again in the
wagon. We found a very pretty scene at the swamp. Part of the "force"
was engaged on our side of the swamp, and part on the other. As we sat
under the trees, making garlands and wreaths of flowers and oakleaves
for Charley, we could see one lofty tree-top after another, in the
opposite forest, tremble and fall; and the workmen cluster about it,
like bees, lop off its branches, and, in a trice, roll it, an ugly log,
into the water, and pin it down upon the sleepers. Charley was as busy
as anybody, making islands in the water at the edge of the marsh. The
moccasin flower grew here in great profusion and splendour. We sat thus
upwards of two hours; and the work done in that time appeared almost
incredible. But the Americans in the back country seem to like the
repairing of accidents--a social employment--better than their regular
labour; and even the drivers appeared to prefer adventurous travelling
to easy journeys. A gentleman in a light gig made the first trial of the
new bridge: our wagon followed, plunging and rocking, and we scrambled
in safety up the opposite bank.

There were other bad places in the road, but none which occasioned
further delay. The next singular scene was an expanse of sand, before
reaching the lake-shore,--sand, so extensive, hot, and dazzling, as to
realise very fairly one's conceptions of the middle of the Great Desert;
except for the trailing roses which skirted it. I walked on, a-head of
the whole party, till I had lost sight of them behind some low
sand-hills. Other such hills hid the lake from me; and, indeed, I did
not know how near it was. I had ploughed my way through the ankle-deep
sand till I was much heated, and turned in hope of meeting a breath of
wind. At the moment, the cavalcade came slowly into view from behind the
hills; the labouring horses, the listless walkers, and smoothly rolling
vehicles, all painted absolutely black against the dazzling sand. It was
as good as being in Arabia. For cavalcade, one might read caravan. Then
the horses were watered at a single house on the beach; and we proceeded
on the best part of our day's journey; a ride of seven miles on the hard
sand of the beach, actually in the lapsing waves. We saw another vessel
ashore, with her cargo piled upon the beach. The sight of the clear
waters suggested thoughts of bathing. Charley dearly loves bathing. He
follows the very natural practice of expressing himself in abstract
propositions when his emotions are the strongest. He heard the
speculations on the facilities for bathing which might offer at our
resting-place; and besought his mother to let him bathe. He was told
that it was doubtful whether we should reach our destination before
sunset, and whether any body would be able to try the water. Might he
ask his father?--Yes: but he would find his father no more certain than
the rest of us. "Mother," cried the boy, in an agony of earnestness,
"does not a father know when his child ought to bathe?"--There was no
bathing. The sun had set, and it was too cold.

The single house at which we were to stop for the night, while the
mail-wagon, with its passengers, proceeded, promised well, at first
sight. It was a log-house on a sand-bank, perfectly clean below stairs,
and prettily dressed with green boughs. We had a good supper, (except
that there was an absence of milk,) and we concluded ourselves fortunate
in our resting-place. Never was there a greater mistake. We walked out,
after supper, and when we returned, found that we could not have any
portion of the lower rooms. There was a loft, which I will not describe,
into which, having ascended a ladder, we were to be all stowed. I would
fain have slept on the soft sand, out of doors, beneath the wagon; but
rain came on. There was no place for us to put our heads into but the
loft. Enough. I will only say that this house was, as far as I remember,
the only place in the United States where I met with bad treatment.
Everywhere else, people gave me the best they had,--whether it was bad
or good.

On our road to Chicago, the next day,--a road winding in and out among
the sand-hills, we were called to alight, and run up a bank to see a
wreck. It was the wreck of the Delaware;--the steamer in which it had
been a question whether we should not proceed from Niles to Chicago. She
had a singular twist in her middle, where she was nearly broken in two.
Her passengers stood up to the neck in water, for twenty-four hours
before they were taken off; a worse inconvenience than any that we had
suffered by coming the other way. The first thing the passengers from
the Delaware did, when they had dried and warmed themselves on shore,
was to sign a letter to the captain, which appeared in all the
neighbouring newspapers, thanking him for the great comfort they had
enjoyed on board his vessel. It is to be presumed that they meant
previously to their having to stand up to their necks in water.

In the wood which borders the prairie on which Chicago stands, we saw an
encampment of United States' troops. Since the rising of the Creeks in
Georgia, some months before, there had been apprehensions of an Indian
war along the whole frontier. It was believed that a correspondence had
taken place among all the tribes, from the Cumanches, who were engaged
to fight for the Mexicans in Texas, up to the northern tribes among
whom we were going. It was believed that the war-belt was circulating
among the Winnebagoes, the warlike tribe who inhabit the western shores
of Lake Michigan; and the government had sent troops to Chicago, to keep
them in awe. It was of some consequence to us to ascertain the real
state of the case; and we were glad to find that alarm was subsiding so
fast, that the troops were soon allowed to go where they were more
wanted. As soon as they had recovered from the storm which seemed to
have incommoded everybody, they broke up their encampment, and departed.

Chicago looks raw and bare, standing on the high prairie above the
lake-shore. The houses appeared insignificant, and run up in various
directions, without any principle at all. A friend of mine who resides
there had told me that we should find the inns intolerable, at the
period of the great land sales, which bring a concourse of speculators
to the place. It was even so. The very sight of them was intolerable;
and there was not room for our party among them all. I do not know what
we should have done, (unless to betake ourselves to the vessels in the
harbour,) if our coming had not been foreknown, and most kindly provided
for. We were divided between three families, who had the art of removing
all our scruples about intruding on perfect strangers. None of us will
lose the lively and pleasant associations with the place, which were
caused by the hospitalities of its inhabitants.

I never saw a busier place than Chicago was at the time of our arrival.
The streets were crowded with land speculators, hurrying from one sale
to another. A negro, dressed up in scarlet, bearing a scarlet flag, and
riding a white horse with housings of scarlet, announced the times of
sale. At every street-corner where he stopped, the crowd flocked round
him; and it seemed as if some prevalent mania infected the whole people.
The rage for speculation might fairly be so regarded. As the gentlemen
of our party walked the streets, store-keepers hailed them from their
doors, with offers of farms, and all manner of land-lots, advising them
to speculate before the price of land rose higher. A young lawyer, of my
acquaintance there, had realised five hundred dollars per day, the five
preceding days, by merely making out titles to land. Another friend had
realised, in two years, ten times as much money as he had before fixed
upon as a competence for life. Of course, this rapid money-making is a
merely temporary evil. A bursting of the bubble must come soon. The
absurdity of the speculation is so striking, that the wonder is that the
fever should have attained such a height as I witnessed. The immediate
occasion of the bustle which prevailed, the week we were at Chicago, was
the sale of lots, to the value of two millions of dollars, along the
course of a projected canal; and of another set, immediately behind
these. Persons not intending to game, and not infected with mania, would
endeavour to form some reasonable conjecture as to the ultimate value of
the lots, by calculating the cost of the canal, the risks from accident,
from the possible competition from other places, &c., and, finally, the
possible profits, under the most favourable circumstances, within so
many years' purchase. Such a calculation would serve as some sort of
guide as to the amount of purchase-money to be risked. Whereas, wild
land on the banks of a canal, not yet even marked out, was selling at
Chicago for more than rich land, well improved, in the finest part of
the valley of the Mohawk, on the banks of a canal which is already the
medium of an almost inestimable amount of traffic. If sharpers and
gamblers were to be the sufferers by the impending crash at Chicago, no
one would feel much concerned: but they, unfortunately, are the people
who encourage the delusion, in order to profit by it. Many a
high-spirited, but inexperienced, young man; many a simple settler, will
be ruined for the advantage of knaves.

Others, besides lawyers and speculators by trade, make a fortune in such
extraordinary times. A poor man at Chicago had a pre-emption right to
some land, for which he paid in the morning one hundred and fifty
dollars. In the afternoon, he sold it to a friend of mine for five
thousand dollars. A poor Frenchman, married to a squaw, had a suit
pending, when I was there, which he was likely to gain, for the right of
purchasing some land by the lake for one hundred dollars, which would
immediately become worth one million dollars.

There was much gaiety going on at Chicago, as well as business. On the
evening of our arrival a fancy fair took place. As I was too much
fatigued to go, the ladies sent me a bouquet of prairie flowers. There
is some allowable pride in the place about its society. It is a
remarkable thing to meet such an assemblage of educated, refined, and
wealthy persons as may be found there, living in small, inconvenient
houses on the edge of a wild prairie. There is a mixture, of course. I
heard of a family of half-breeds setting up a carriage, and wearing fine
jewellery. When the present intoxication of prosperity passes away, some
of the inhabitants will go back to the eastward; there will be an
accession of settlers from the mechanic classes; good houses will have
been built for the richer families, and the singularity of the place
will subside. It will be like all the other new and thriving lake and
river ports of America. Meantime, I am glad to have seen it in its
strange early days.

We dined one day with a gentleman who had been Indian agent among the
Winnebagoes for some years. He and his lady seem to have had the art of
making themselves as absolutely Indian in their sympathies and manners
as the welfare of the savages among whom they lived required. They were
the only persons I met with who, really knowing the Indians, had any
regard for them. The testimony was universal to the good faith, and
other virtues of savage life of the unsophisticated Indians; but they
were spoken of in a tone of dislike, as well as pity, by all but this
family; and they certainly had studied their Indian neighbours very
thoroughly. The ladies of Indian agents ought to be women of nerve. Our
hostess had slept for weeks with a loaded pistol on each side her
pillow, and a dagger under it, when expecting an attack from a hostile
tribe. The foe did not, however, come nearer than within a few miles.
Her husband's sister was in the massacre when the fort was abandoned, in
1812. Her father and her husband were in the battle, and her mother and
young brothers and sisters sat in a boat on the lake near. Out of
seventy whites, only seventeen escaped, among whom were her family. She
was wounded in the ankle, as she sat on her horse. A painted Indian, in
warlike costume, came leaping up to her, and seized her horse, as she
supposed, to murder her. She fought him vigorously, and he bore it
without doing her any injury. He spoke, but she could not understand
him. Another frightful savage came up, and the two led her horse to the
lake, and into it, in spite of her resistance, till the water reached
their chins. She concluded that they meant to drown her; but they
contented themselves with holding her on her horse till the massacre
was over, when they led her out in safety. They were friendly Indians,
sent by her husband to guard her. She could not but admire their
patience when she found how she had been treating her protectors.

We had the fearful pleasure of seeing various savage dances performed by
the Indian agent and his brother, with the accompaniments of complete
costume, barbaric music, and whooping. The most intelligible to us was
the Discovery Dance, a highly descriptive pantomime. We saw the Indian
go out armed for war. We saw him reconnoitre, make signs to his
comrades, sleep, warm himself, load his rifle, sharpen his
scalping-knife, steal through the grass within rifle-shot of his foes,
fire, scalp one of them, and dance, whooping and triumphing. There was a
dreadful truth about the whole, and it made our blood run cold. It
realised hatred and horror as effectually as Taglioni does love and

We were unexpectedly detained over the Sunday at Chicago; and Dr. F. was
requested to preach. Though only two hours' notice was given, a
respectable congregation was assembled in the large room of the Lake
House; a new hotel then building. Our seats were a few chairs and
benches, and planks laid on trestles. The preacher stood behind a rough
pine-table, on which a large Bible was placed. I was never present at a
more interesting service; and I know that there were others who felt
with me.

From Chicago, we made an excursion into the prairies. Our young
lawyer-friend threw behind him the five hundred dollars per day which he
was making, and went with us. I thought him wise; for there is that to
be had in the wilderness which money cannot buy. We drove out of the
town at ten o'clock in the morning, too late by two hours; but it was
impossible to overcome the introductions to strangers, and the bustle of
our preparations, any sooner. Our party consisted of seven, besides the
driver. Our vehicle was a wagon with four horses.

We had first to cross the prairie, nine miles wide, on the lake edge of
which Chicago stands. This prairie is not usually wet so early in the
year; but at this time the water stood almost up to the nave of the
wheels: and we crossed it at a walking pace. I saw here, for the first
time in the United States, the American primrose. It grew in profusion
over the whole prairie, as far as I could see; not so large and fine as
in English greenhouses, but graceful and pretty. I now found the truth
of what I had read about the difficulty of distinguishing distances on a
prairie. The feeling is quite bewildering. A man walking near looks like
a Goliath a mile off. I mistook a covered wagon without horses, at a
distance of fifty yards, for a white house near the horizon: and so on.
We were not sorry to reach the belt of trees, which bounded the swamp we
had passed. At a house here, where we stopped to water the horses, and
eat dough nuts, we saw a crowd of emigrants; which showed that we had
not yet reached the bounds of civilisation. A little further on we came
to the river Aux Plaines, spelled on a sign board "Oplain." The ferry
here is a monopoly, and the public suffers accordingly. There is only
one small flat boat for the service of the concourse of people now
pouring into the prairies. Though we happened to arrive nearly first of
the crowd of to-day, we were detained on the bank above an hour; and
then our horses went over at two crossings, and the wagon and ourselves
at the third. It was a pretty scene, if we had not been in a hurry; the
country wagons and teams in the wood by the side of the quiet clear
river; and the oxen swimming over, yoked, with only their patient faces
visible above the surface. After crossing, we proceeded briskly till we
reached a single house, where, or nowhere, we were to dine. The kind
hostess bestirred herself to provide us a good dinner of tea, bread,
ham, potatoes, and strawberries, of which a whole pailful, ripe and
sweet, had been gathered by the children in the grass round the house,
within one hour. While dinner was preparing, we amused ourselves with
looking over an excellent small collection of books, belonging to Miss
Cynthia, the slaughter of the hostess.

I never saw insulation, (not desolation,) to compare with the situation
of a settler on a wide prairie. A single house in the middle of
Salisbury Plain would be desolate. A single house on a prairie has
clumps of trees near it, rich fields about it; and flowers,
strawberries, and running water at hand. But when I saw a settler's
child tripping out of home-bounds, I had a feeling that it would never
get back again. It looked like putting out into Lake Michigan in a
canoe. The soil round the dwellings is very rich. It makes no dust, it
is so entirely vegetable. It requires merely to be once turned over to
produce largely; and, at present, it appears to be inexhaustible. As we
proceeded, the scenery became more and more like what all travellers
compare it to,--a boundless English park. The grass was wilder, the
occasional footpath not so trim, and the single trees less majestic; but
no park ever displayed anything equal to the grouping of the trees
within the windings of the blue, brimming river Aux Plaines.

We had met with so many delays that we felt doubts about reaching the
place where we had intended to spend the night. At sunset, we found
ourselves still nine miles from Joliet;[11] but we were told that the
road was good, except a small "slew" or two; and there was half a moon
shining behind a thin veil of clouds; so we pushed on. We seemed
latterly to be travelling on a terrace overlooking a wide champaign,
where a dark, waving line might indicate the winding of the river,
between its clumpy banks. Our driver descended, and went forward, two or
three times, to make sure of our road; and at length, we rattled down a
steep descent, and found ourselves among houses. This was not our
resting-place, however. The Joliet hotel lay on the other side of the
river. We were directed to a foot-bridge by which we were to pass; and a
ford below for the wagon. We strained our eyes in vain for the
foot-bridge; and our gentlemen peeped and pryed about for some time. All
was still but the rippling river, and everybody asleep in the houses
that were scattered about. We ladies were presently summoned to put on
our water-proof shoes, and alight. A man showed himself who had risen
from his bed to help us in our need. The foot-bridge consisted, for some
way, of two planks, with a hand-rail on one side: but, when we were
about a third of the way over, one half of the planks, and the
hand-rail, had disappeared. We actually had to cross the rushing, deep
river on a line of single planks, by dim moonlight, at past eleven
o'clock at night. The great anxiety was about Charley; but between his
father and the guide, he managed very well. This guide would accept
nothing but thanks. He "did not calculate to take any pay." Then we
waited some time for the wagon to come up from the ford. I suspected it
had passed the spot where we stood, and had proceeded to the village,
where we saw a twinkling light, now disappearing, and now re-appearing.
It was so, and the driver came back to look for us, and tell us that the
light we saw was a signal from the hotel-keeper, whom we found, standing
on his door-step, and sheltering his candle with his hand. We sat down
and drank milk in the bar, while he went to consult with his wife what
was to be done with us, as every bed in the house was occupied. We,
meanwhile, agreed that the time was now come for us to enjoy an
adventure which we had often anticipated; sleeping in a barn. We had all
declared ourselves anxious to sleep in a barn, if we could meet with one
that was air-tight, and well-supplied with hay. Such a barn was actually
on these premises. We were prevented, however, from all practising the
freak by the prompt hospitality of our hostess. Before we knew what she
was about, she had risen and dressed herself, put clean sheets on her
own bed, and made up two others on the floor of the same room; so that
the ladies and Charley were luxuriously accommodated. Two sleepy
personages crawled down stairs to offer their beds to our gentlemen. Mr.
L. and our Chicago friend, however, persisted in sleeping in the barn.
Next morning, we all gave a very gratifying report of our lodgings. When
we made our acknowledgments to our hostess, she said she thought that
people who could go to bed quietly every night ought to be ready to give
up to tired travellers. Whenever she travels, I hope she will be treated
as she treated us. She let us have breakfast as early as half-past five,
the next morning, and gave Charley a bun at parting, lest he should be
too hungry before we could dine.

The great object of our expedition, Mount Joliet, was two miles distant
from this place. We had to visit it, and perform the journey back to
Chicago, forty miles, before night. The mount is only sixty feet high;
yet it commands a view which I shall not attempt to describe, either in
its vastness, or its soft beauty. The very spirit of tranquillity
resides in this paradisy scene. The next painter who would worthily
illustrate Milton's Morning Hymn, should come and paint what he sees
from Mount Joliet, on a dewy summer's morning, when a few light clouds
are gently sailing in the sky, and their shadows traversing the prairie.
I thought I had never seen green levels till now; and only among
mountains had I before known the beauty of wandering showers. Mount
Joliet has the appearance of being an artificial mound, its sides are so
uniformly steep, and its form so regular. Its declivity was bristling
with flowers; among which were conspicuous the scarlet lily, the white
convolvulus, and a tall, red flower of the scabia form. We disturbed a
night-hawk, sitting on her eggs, on the ground. She wheeled round and
round over our heads, and, I hope, returned to her eggs before they were

Not far from the mount was a log-house, where the rest of the party went
in to dry their feet, after having stood long in the wet grass. I
remained outside, watching the light showers, shifting in the partial
sunlight from clump to level, and from reach to reach of the brimming
and winding river. The nine miles of prairie, which we had traversed in
dim moonlight last night, were now exquisitely beautiful, as the sun
shone fitfully upon them.

We saw a prairie wolf, very like a yellow dog, trotting across our path,
this afternoon. Our hostess of the preceding day, expecting us, had an
excellent dinner ready for us. We were detained a shorter time at the
ferry, and reached the belt of trees at the edge of Nine-mile Prairie,
before sunset. Here, in common prudence, we ought to have stopped till
the next day, even if no other accommodation could be afforded us than a
roof over our heads. We deserved an ague for crossing the swamp after
dark, in an open wagon, at a foot pace. Nobody was aware of this in
time, and we set forward: the feet of our wearied horses plashing in
water at every step of the nine miles. There was no road; and we had to
trust to the instinct of driver and horses to keep us in the right
direction. I rather think the driver attempted to amuse himself by
exciting our fears. He hinted more than once at the difficulty of
finding the way; at the improbability that we should reach Chicago
before midnight; and at the danger of our wandering about the marsh all
night, and finding ourselves at the opposite edge of the prairie in the
morning. Charley was bruised and tired. All the rest were hungry and
cold. It was very dreary. The driver bade us look to our right hand. A
black bear was trotting alongside of us, at a little distance. After
keeping up his trot for some time, he turned off from our track. The
sight of him made up for all,--even if ague should follow, which I
verily believed it would. But we escaped all illness. It is remarkable
that I never saw ague but once. The single case that I met with was in
autumn, at the Falls of Niagara.

I had promised Dr. F. a long story about English politics, when a
convenient opportunity should occur. I thought the present an admirable
one; for nobody seemed to have anything to say, and it was highly
desirable that something should be said. I made my story long enough to
beguile four miles; by which time, some were too tired, and others too
much disheartened, for more conversation. Something white was soon after
visible. Our driver gave out that it was a house, half a mile from
Chicago. But no: it was an emigrant encampment, on a morsel of raised,
dry ground; and again we were uncertain whether we were in the right
road. Presently, however, the Chicago beacon was visible, shining a
welcome to us through the dim, misty air. The horses seemed to see it,
for they quickened their pace; and before half-past ten, we were on the

The family, at my temporary home, were gone up to their chambers; but
the wood-fire was soon replenished, tea made, and the conversation
growing lively. My companions were received as readily at their several
resting-places. When we next met, we found ourselves all disposed to
place warm hospitality very high on the list of virtues.

While we were at Detroit, we were most strongly urged to return thither
by the Lakes, instead of by either of the Michigan roads. From place to
place, in my previous travelling, I had been told of the charms of the
Lakes, and especially of the Island of Mackinaw. Every officer's lady
who has been in garrison there, is eloquent upon the delights of
Mackinaw. As our whole party, however, could not spare time to make so
wide a circuit, we had not intended to indulge ourselves with a further
variation in our travels than to take the upper road back to Detroit;
having left it by the lower. On Sunday, June 27th, news arrived at
Chicago that this upper road had been rendered impassable by the rains.
A sailing vessel, the only one on the Lakes, and now on her first trip,
was to leave Chicago for Detroit and Buffalo, the next day. The case was
clear: the party must divide. Those who were obliged to hasten home must
return by the road we came: the rest must proceed by water. On Charley's
account, the change of plan was desirable; as the heats were beginning
to be so oppressive as to render travelling in open wagons unsafe for a
child. It was painful to break up our party at the extreme point of our
journey; but it was clearly right. So Mr. and Mrs. L. took their chance
by land; and the rest of us went on board the Milwaukee, at two o'clock
on the afternoon of the 28th.

Mrs. F. and I were the only ladies on board; and there was no
stewardess. The steward was obliging, and the ladies' cabin was clean
and capacious; and we took possession of it with a feeling of comfort.
Our pleasant impressions, however, were not of long duration. The vessel
was crowded with persons who had come to the land sales at Chicago, and
were taking their passage back to Milwaukee; a settlement on the western
shore of the lake, about eighty miles from Chicago. Till we should reach
Milwaukee, we could have the ladies' cabin only during a part of the
day. I say a part of the day, because some of the gentry did not leave
our cabin till near nine in the morning; and others chose to come down,
and go to bed, as early as seven in the evening, without troubling
themselves to give us five minutes' notice, or to wait till we could put
up our needles, or wipe our pens. This ship was the only place in
America where I saw a prevalence of bad manners. It was the place of all
others to select for the study of such; and no reasonable person would
look for anything better among land-speculators, and settlers in regions
so new as to be almost without women. None of us had ever before seen,
in America, a disregard of women. The swearing was incessant; and the
spitting such as to amaze my American companions as much as myself.

Supper was announced presently after we had sailed; and when we came to
the table, it was full, and no one offered to stir, to make room for
us. The captain, who was very careful of our comfort, arranged that we
should be better served henceforth; and no difficulty afterwards
occurred. At dinner, the next day, we had a specimen of how such
personages as we had on board are managed on an emergency. The captain
gave notice, from the head of the table, that he did not choose our
party to be intruded on in the cabin; and that any one who did not
behave with civility at table should be turned out. He spoke with
decision and good-humour; and the effect was remarkable. Everything on
the table was handed to us; and no more of the gentry came down into our
cabin to smoke, or throw themselves on the cushions to sleep, while we
sat at work.

Our fare was what might be expected on Lake Michigan. Salt beef and
pork, and sea-biscuit; tea without milk, bread, and potatoes. Charley
throve upon potatoes and bread: and we all had the best results of
food,--health and strength.

A little schooner which left Chicago at the same time with ourselves,
and reached Milwaukee first, was a pretty object. On the 29th, we were
only twenty-five miles from the settlement; but the wind was so
unfavourable that it was doubtful whether we should reach it that day.
Some of the passengers amused themselves by gaming, down in the hold;
others by parodying a methodist sermon, and singing a mock hymn. We did
not get rid of them till noon on the 30th, when we had the pleasure of
seeing our ship disgorge twenty-five into one boat, and two into
another. The atmosphere was so transparent as to make the whole scene
appear as if viewed through an opera-glass; the still, green waters, the
dark boats with their busy oars, the moving passengers, and the
struggles of one to recover his hat, which had fallen overboard. We
were yet five miles from Milwaukee; but we could see the bright, wooded
coast, with a few white dots of houses.

While Dr. F. went on shore, to see what was to be seen, we had the cabin
cleaned out, and took, once more, complete possession of it, for both
day and night. As soon as this was done, seven young women came down the
companion-way, seated themselves round the cabin, and began to question
us. They were the total female population of Milwaukee; which settlement
now contains four hundred souls. We were glad to see these ladies; for
it was natural enough that the seven women should wish to behold two
more, when such a chance offered. A gentleman of the place, who came on
board this afternoon, told me that a printing-press had arrived a few
hours before; and that a newspaper would speedily appear. He was kind
enough to forward the first number to me a few weeks afterwards; and I
was amused to see how pathetic an appeal to the ladies of more
thickly-settled districts it contained; imploring them to cast a
favourable eye on Milwaukee, and its hundreds of bachelors. Milwaukee
had been settled since the preceding November. It had good stores, (to
judge by the nature and quality of goods sent ashore from our ship;) it
had a printing-press and newspaper, before the settlers had had time to
get wives. I heard these new settlements sometimes called "patriarchal;"
but what would the patriarchs have said to such an order of affairs?

Dr. F. returned from the town, with apple-pies, cheese, and ale,
wherewith to vary our ship-diet. With him arrived such a number of
towns-people, that the steward wanted to turn us out of our cabin once
more; but we were sturdy, appealed to the captain, and were confirmed in
possession. From this time began the delights of our voyage. The moon,
with her long train of glory, was magnificent to-night; the vast body of
waters on which she shone being as calm as if the winds were dead.

The navigation of these lakes is, at present, a mystery. They have not
yet been properly surveyed. Our captain had gone to and fro on Lake
Huron, but had never before been on Lake Michigan; and this was rather
an anxious voyage to him. We had got aground on the sand-bar before
Milwaukee harbour; and on the 1st of July, all hands were busy in
unshipping the cargo, to lighten the vessel, instead of carrying her up
to the town. An elegant little schooner was riding at anchor near us;
and we were well amused in admiring her, and in watching the bustle on
deck, till some New-England youths, and our Milwaukee acquaintance,
brought us, from the shore, two newspapers, some pebbles, flowers, and a
pitcher of fine strawberries.

As soon as we were off the bar, the vessel hove round, and we cast
anchor in deeper water. Charley was called to see the sailors work the
windlass, and to have a ride thereon. The sailors were very kind to the
boy. They dressed up their dog for him in sheep-skins and a man's hat; a
sight to make older people than Charley laugh. They took him down into
the forecastle to show him prints that were pasted up there. They asked
him to drink rum and water with them: to which Charley answered that he
should be happy to drink water with them, but had rather not have any
rum. While we were watching the red sunset over the leaden waters,
betokening a change of weather, the steamer "New York" came ploughing
the bay, three weeks after her time; such is the uncertainty in the
navigation of these stormy lakes. She got aground on the sand-bank, as
we had done; and boats were going from her to the shore and back, as
long as we could see.

The next day there was rain and some wind. The captain and steward went
off to make final purchases: but the fresh meat which had been bespoken
for us had been bought up by somebody else; and no milk was to be had;
only two cows being visible in all the place. Ale was the only luxury we
could obtain. When the captain returned, he brought with him a stout
gentleman, one of the proprietors of the vessel, who must have a berth
in our cabin as far as Mackinaw; those elsewhere being too small for
him. Under the circumstances, we had no right to complain; so we helped
the steward to partition off a portion of the cabin with a counterpane,
fastened with four forks. This gentleman, Mr. D., was engaged in the fur
trade at Mackinaw, and had a farm there, to which he kindly invited us.

On Sunday, the 3rd, there was much speculation as to whether we should
be at Mackinaw in time to witness the celebration of the great day. All
desired it; but I was afraid of missing the Manitou Isles in the dark.
There was much fog; the wind was nearly fair; the question was whether
it would last. Towards evening, the fog thickened, and the wind
freshened. The mate would not believe we were in the middle of the lake,
as every one else supposed. He said the fog was too warm not to come
from near land. Charley caught something of the spirit of uncertainty,
and came to me in high, joyous excitement, to drag me to the side of the
ship, that I might see how fast we cut through the waves, and how
steadily we leaned over the water, till Charley almost thought he could
touch it. He burst out about the "kind of a feeling" that it was "not to
see a bit of land," and not to know where we were; and to think "_if_ we
should upset!" and that we never did upset:--it was "a good and a bad
feeling at once;" and he should never be able to tell people at home
what it was like. The boy had no fear: he was roused, as the brave man
loves to be. Just as the dim light of the sunset was fading from the
fog, it opened, and disclosed to us, just at hand, the high, sandy shore
of Michigan. It was well that this happened before dark. The captain
hastened up to the mast-head, and reported that we were off Cape Sable,
forty miles from the Manitou Isles.

Three bats and several butterflies were seen to-day, clinging to the
mainsail,--blown over from the shore. The sailors set their dog at a
bat, of which it was evidently afraid. A flock of pretty pigeons flew
round and over the ship; of which six were shot. Four fell into the
water; and the other two were reserved for the mate's breakfast; he
being an invalid.

We were up before five, on the morning of the 4th of July, to see the
Manitou Isles, which were then just coming in sight. They are the Sacred
Isles of the Indians, to whom they belong. Manitou is the name of their
Great Spirit, and of everything sacred. It is said that they believe
these islands to be the resort of the spirits of the departed. They are
two: sandy and precipitous at the south end; and clothed with wood, from
the crest of the cliffs to the north extremity, which slopes down
gradually to the water. It was a cool, sunny morning, and these dark
islands lay still, and apparently deserted, on the bright green waters.
Far behind, to the south, were two glittering white sails, on the
horizon. They remained in sight all day, and lessened the feeling of
loneliness which the navigators of these vast lakes cannot but have,
while careering among the solemn islands and shores. On our right lay
the Michigan shore, high and sandy, with the dark eminence, called the
Sleeping Bear, conspicuous on the ridge. No land speculators have set
foot here yet. A few Indian dwellings, with evergreen woods and sandy
cliffs, are all. Just here, Mr. D. pointed out to us a schooner of his
which was wrecked, in a snowstorm, the preceding November. She looked
pretty and forlorn, lying on her side in that desolate place, seeming a
mere plaything thrown in among the cliffs. "Ah!" said her owner, with a
sigh, "she was a lovely creature, and as stiff as a church." Two lives
were lost. Two young Germans, stout lads, could not comprehend the
orders given them to put on all their clothing, and keep themselves
warm. They only half-dressed themselves: "the cold took them," and they
died. The rest tried to make fire by friction of wood; but got only
smoke. Some one found traces of a dog in the snow. These were followed
for three miles, and ended at an Indian lodge, where the sailors were
warmed, and kindly treated.

During the bright morning of this day we passed the Fox and Beaver
Islands. The captain was in fine spirits, though there was no longer any
prospect of reaching Mackinaw in time for the festivities of the day.
This island is chiefly known as a principal station of the great
north-western fur trade. Others know it as the seat of an Indian
mission. Others, again, as a frontier garrison. It is known to me as the
wildest and tenderest little piece of beauty that I have yet seen on
God's earth. It is a small island, nine miles in circumference, being in
the strait between the Lakes Michigan and Huron, and between the coasts
of Michigan and Wisconsin.

Towards evening the Wisconsin coast came into view, the strait suddenly
narrowed, and we were about to bid farewell to the great Lake whose
total length we had traversed, after sweeping round its southern
extremity. The ugly light-ship, which looked heavy enough, came into
view about six o'clock; the first token of our approach to Mackinaw.
The office of the light-ship is to tow vessels in the dark through the
strait. We were too early for this; but perhaps it performed that office
for the two schooners whose white specks of sails had been on our
southern horizon all day. Next we saw a white speck before us; it was
the barracks of Mackinaw, stretching along the side of its green hills,
and clearly visible before the town came into view.

The island looked enchanting as we approached, as I think it always
must, though we had the advantage of seeing it first steeped in the most
golden sunshine that ever hallowed lake or shore. The colours were up on
all the little vessels in the harbour. The national flag streamed from
the garrison. The soldiers thronged the walls of the barracks;
half-breed boys were paddling about in their little canoes, in the
transparent waters; the half-French, half-Indian population of the place
were all abroad in their best. An Indian lodge was on the shore, and a
picturesque dark group stood beside it. The cows were coming down the
steep green slopes to the milking. Nothing could be more bright and

The houses of the old French village are shabby-looking, dusky, and
roofed with bark. There are some neat yellow houses, with red shutters,
which have a foreign air, with their porches and flights of steps. The
better houses stand on the first of the three terraces which are
distinctly marked. Behind them are swelling green knolls; before them
gardens sloping down to the narrow slip of white beach, so that the
grass seems to grow almost into the clear rippling waves. The gardens
were rich with mountain ash, roses, stocks, currant bushes, springing
corn, and a great variety of kitchen vegetables. There were two small
piers with little barks alongside, and piles of wood for the
steam-boats. Some way to the right stood the quadrangle of missionary
buildings, and the white mission church. Still further to the right was
a shrubby precipice down to the lake; and beyond, the blue waters. While
we were gazing at all this, a pretty schooner sailed into the harbour
after us, in fine style, sweeping round our bows so suddenly as nearly
to swamp a little fleet of canoes, each with its pair of half-breed

We had been alarmed by a declaration from the captain that he should
stay only three hours at the island. He seemed to have no intention of
taking us ashore this evening. The dreadful idea occurred to us that we
might be carried away from this paradise, without having set foot in it.
We looked at each other in dismay. Mr. D. stood our friend. He had some
furs on board which were to be landed. He said this should not be done
till the morning; and he would take care that his people did it with the
utmost possible slowness. He thought he could gain us an additional hour
in this way. Meantime, thunder-clouds were coming up rapidly from the
west, and the sun was near its setting. After much consultation, and an
assurance having been obtained from the captain that we might command
the boat at any hour in the morning, we decided that Dr. F. and Charley
should go ashore, and deliver our letters, and accept any arrangements
that might be offered for our seeing the best of the scenery in the

Scarcely any one was left in the ship but Mrs. F. and myself. We sat on
deck, and gazed as if this were to be the last use we were ever to have
of our eyes. There was growling thunder now, and the church bell, and
Charley's clear voice from afar: the waters were so still. The Indians
lighted a fire before their lodge; and we saw their shining red forms
as they bent over the blaze. We watched Dr. F. and Charley mounting to
the garrison; we saw them descend again with the commanding officer, and
go to the house of the Indian agent. Then we traced them along the
shore, and into the Indian lodge; then to the church; then, the parting
with the commandant on the shore, and lastly, the passage of the dark
boat to our ship's side. They brought news that the commandant and his
family would be on the watch for us before five in the morning, and be
our guides to as much of the island as the captain would allow us time
to see.

Some pretty purchases of Indian manufactures were brought on board this
evening; light matting of various colours, and small baskets of
birch-bark, embroidered with porcupine-quills, and filled with maple

The next morning all was bright. At five o'clock we descended the ship's
side, and from the boat could see the commandant and his dog hastening
down from the garrison to the landing-place. We returned with him up the
hill, through the barrack-yard; and were joined by three members of his
family on the velvet green slope behind the garrison. No words can give
an idea of the charms of this morning walk. We wound about in a vast
shrubbery, with ripe strawberries under foot, wild flowers all around,
and scattered knolls and opening vistas tempting curiosity in every
direction. "Now run up," said the commandant, as we arrived at the foot
of one of these knolls. I did so, and was almost struck backwards by
what I saw. Below me was the Natural Bridge of Mackinaw, of which I had
heard frequent mention. It is a limestone arch, about one hundred and
fifty feet high in the centre, with a span of fifty feet; one pillar
resting on a rocky projection in the lake, the other on the hill. We
viewed it from above, so that the horizon line of the lake fell behind
the bridge, and the blue expanse of waters filled the entire arch. Birch
and ash grew around the bases of the pillars, and shrubbery tufted the
sides, and dangled from the bridge. The soft rich hues in which the
whole was dressed seemed borrowed from the autumn sky.

But even this scene was nothing to one we saw from the fort, on the
crown of the island; old Fort Holmes, called Fort George when in the
possession of the British. I can compare it to nothing but to what Noah
might have seen, the first bright morning after the deluge. Such a
cluster of little paradises rising out of such a congregation of waters,
I can hardly fancy to have been seen elsewhere. The capacity of the
human eye seems here suddenly enlarged, as if it could see to the verge
of the watery creation. Blue, level waters appear to expand for
thousands of miles in every direction; wholly unlike any aspect of the
sea. Cloud shadows, and specks of white vessels, at rare intervals,
alone diversify it. Bowery islands rise out of it; bowery promontories
stretch down into it; while at one's feet lies the melting beauty which
one almost fears will vanish in its softness before one's eyes; the
beauty of the shadowy dells and sunny mounds, with browsing cattle, and
springing fruit and flowers. Thus, and no otherwise, would I fain think
did the world emerge from the flood. I was never before so unwilling to
have objects named. The essential unity of the scene seemed to be marred
by any distinction of its parts. But this feeling, to me new, did not
alter the state of the case; that it was Lake Huron that we saw
stretching to the eastward; Lake Michigan opening to the west; the
island of Bois Blanc, green to the brink in front; and Round Island and
others interspersed. I stood now at the confluence of those great
northern lakes, the very names of which awed my childhood; calling up,
as they did, images of the fearful red man of the deep pine-forest, and
the music of the moaning winds, imprisoned beneath the ice of winter.
How different from the scene, as actually beheld, dressed in verdure,
flowers, and the sunshine of a summer's morning!

It was breakfast-time when we descended to the barracks; and we
despatched a messenger to the captain to know whether we might breakfast
with the commandant. We sat in the piazza, and overlooked the village,
the harbour, the straits, and the white beach, where there were now four
Indian lodges. The island is so healthy that, according to the
commandant, people who want to die must go somewhere else. I saw only
three tombstones in the cemetery. The commandant has lost but one man
since he has been stationed at Mackinaw; and that was by drowning. I
asked about the climate; the answer was, "We have nine months winter,
and three months cold weather."

It would have been a pity to have missed the breakfast at the garrison,
which afforded a strong contrast with any we had seen for a week. We
concealed, as well as we could, our glee at the appearance of the rich
cream, the new bread and butter, fresh lake trout, and pile of
snow-white eggs.

There is reason to think that the mission is the least satisfactory part
of the establishment on this island. A great latitude of imagination or
representation is usually admitted on the subject of missions to the
heathen. The reporters of this one appear to be peculiarly imaginative.
I fear that the common process has here been gone through of attempting
to take from the savage the venerable and the true which he possessed,
and to force upon him something else which is to him neither venerable
nor true.

The Indians have been proved, by the success of the French among them,
to be capable of civilisation. Near Little Traverse, in the north-west
part of Michigan, within easy reach of Mackinaw, there is an Indian
village, full of orderly and industrious inhabitants, employed chiefly
in agriculture. The English and Americans have never succeeded with the
aborigines so well as the French; and it may be doubted whether the
clergy have been a much greater blessing to them than the traders.

It was with great regret that we parted with the commandant and his
large young family, and stepped into the boat to return to the ship. The
captain looked a little grave upon the delay which all his passengers
had helped to achieve. We sailed about nine. We were in great delight at
having seen Mackinaw, at having the possession of its singular imagery
for life: but this delight was at present dashed with the sorrow of
leaving it. I could not have believed how deeply it is possible to
regret a place, after so brief an acquaintance with it. We watched the
island as we rapidly receded, trying to catch the aspect of it which had
given it its name--the Great Turtle. Its flag first vanished: then its
green terraces and slopes, its white barracks, and dark promontories
faded, till the whole disappeared behind a headland and light-house of
the Michigan shore.

Lake Huron was squally, as usual. Little remarkable happened while we
traversed it. We enjoyed the lake trout. We occasionally saw the faint
outline of the Manitouline Islands and Canada. We saw a sunset which
looked very like the general conflagration having begun: the whole
western sky and water being as if of red flame and molten lead. This was
succeeded by paler fires. A yellow planet sank into the heaving waters
to the south; and the northern lights opened like a silver wheat-sheaf,
and spread themselves half over the sky. It is luxury to sail on Lake
Huron, and watch the northern lights.

On the 7th we were only twenty miles from the river St. Clair: but the
wind was "right ahead," and we did not reach the mouth of the river till
the evening of the 8th. The approach and entrance kept us all in a state
of high excitement, from the captain down to Charley. On the afternoon
of the 8th, Fort Gratiot and the narrow mouth of the St. Clair, became
visible. Our scope for tacking grew narrower, every turn. The captain
did not come to dinner; he kept the lead going incessantly. Two vessels
were trying with us for the mouth of the river. The American schooner
got in first, from being the smallest. The British vessel and ours
contested the point stoutly for a long while, sweeping round and
crossing each other, much as if they were dancing a minuet. A squall
came, and broke one of our chains, and our rival beat us. In the midst
of the struggle, we could not but observe that the sky was black as
night to windward; and that the captain cast momentary glances thither,
as if calculating how soon he must make all tight for the storm. The
British vessel was seen to have come to an anchor. Our sails were all
taken in, our anchor dropped, and a grim, silence prevailed. The waters
were flat as ice about the ship. The next moment, the sky-organ began to
blow in our rigging. Fort Gratiot was blotted out; then the woods; then
the other ship; then came the orderly march of the rain over the
myrtle-green waters; then the storm seized us. We could scarcely see
each others' faces, except for the lightning; the ship groaned, and
dragged her anchor, so that a second was dropped.

In twenty minutes, the sun gilded the fort, the woods, and the green,
prairie-like, Canada shore. On the verge of this prairie, under the
shelter of the forest, an immense herd of wild horses were seen
scampering, and whisking their long tails. A cloud of pigeons, in
countless thousands, was shadowing alternately the forests, the lake,
and the prairie; and an extensive encampment of wild Indians was
revealed on the Michigan shore. It was a dark curtain lifted up on a
scene of wild and singular beauty.

Then we went to the anxious work of tacking again. We seemed to be
running aground on either shore, as we approached each. Our motions were
watched by several gazers. On the Canada side, there were men on the
sands, and in a canoe, with a sail which looked twice as big as the
bark. The keepers of the Gratiot light-house looked out from the
lantern. A party of squaws, in the Indian encampment, seated on the
sands, stopped their work of cleaning fish, to see how we got through
the rapids. A majestic personage, his arms folded in his blanket, stood
on an eminence in the midst of the camp; and behind him, on the brow of
the hill, were groups of unclothed boys and men, looking so demon-like,
as even in that scene to remind me of the great staircase in the ballet
of Faust. Our ship twisted round and round in the eddies, as helplessly
as a log, and stuck, at last, with her stem within a stone's throw of
the Indians. Nothing more could be done that night. We dropped anchor,
and hoped the sailors would have good repose after two days of tacking
to achieve a progress of twenty miles. Two or three of them went ashore,
to try to get milk. While they were gone, a party of settlers stood on
the high bank, to gaze at us; and we were sorry to see them, even down
to the little children, whisking boughs without ceasing. This was a
threat of mosquitoes which was not to be mistaken. When the sailors
returned, they said we were sure to have a good watch kept, for the
mosquitoes would let no one sleep. We tried to shut up our cabin from
them; but they were already there: and I, for one, was answerable for
many murders before I closed my eyes. In the twilight, I observed
something stirring on the high bank; and on looking closely, saw a party
of Indians, stepping along, in single file, under the shadow of the
wood. Their simplest acts are characteristic; and, in their wild state,
I never saw them without thinking of ghosts or demons.

In the morning, I found we were floating down the current, stern
foremost, frequently swinging round in the eddies, so as to touch the
one shore or the other. There seemed to be no intermission of settlers'
houses; all at regular distances along the bank. The reason of this
appearance is a good old French arrangement, by which the land is
divided into long, narrow strips, that each lot may have a water
frontage. We were evidently returning to a well-settled country. The
more comfortable houses on the Canada side were surrounded by spacious
and thriving fields: the poorer by dreary enclosures of swamp. We saw a
good garden, with a white paling. Cows were being milked. Cow-bells, and
the merry voices of singing children, were heard from under the clumps;
and piles of wood for the steam-boats, and large stocks of shingles for
roofing were laid up on either hand. The Gratiot steamer puffed away
under the Michigan bank. Canoes shot across in a streak of light; and a
schooner came down the clear river, as if on the wing between the sky
and the water. I watched two horsemen on the shore, for many miles,
tracing the bay pony and the white horse through the woody screen, and
over the brooks, and along the rickety bridges. I could see that they
were constantly chatting, and that they stopped to exchange salutations
with every one they met or overtook. These, to be sure, were few enough.
I was quite sorry when the twilight drew on, and hid them from me. I saw
a little boy on a log, with a paddle, pushing himself off from a bank of
wild roses, and making his way in the sunshine, up the river. It looked
very pretty, and very unsafe; but I dare say he knew best. The captain
and mate were both ill to-day. The boat was sent ashore for what could
be had. The men made haste, and rowed bravely; but we were carried down
four miles before we could "heave to," for them to overtake us. They
brought brandy for the captain; and for us, butter just out of the
churn. The mosquitoes again drove us from the deck, soon after dark.

The next morning, the 10th, the deck was in great confusion. The captain
was worse: the mate was too ill to command; and the second mate seemed
to be more efficient in swearing, and getting the men to swear, than at
anything else. After breakfast, there was a search made after a
pilferer, who had abstracted certain small articles from our cabin;
among which was Charley's maple-sugar basket, which had been seen in the
wheel-house, with a tea-spoon in it. This seemed to point out one of the
juniors in the forecastle as the offender; the steward, however, offered
to clear himself by taking an oath, "on a bible as big as the ship,"
that he knew nothing of the matter. As we did not happen to have such a
bible on board, we could not avail ourselves of his offer. A comb and
tooth-brush, which had been missing, were found, restored to their
proper places: but Charley's pretty basket was seen no more.

It was a comfortless day. We seemed within easy reach of Detroit; but
the little wind we had was dead ahead; the sun was hot; the mosquitoes
abounded; the captain was downcast, and the passengers cross. There was
some amusement, however. Dr. F. went ashore, and brought us milk, of
which we each had a draught before it turned sour. He saw on shore a
sight which is but too common. An hotel-keeper let an Indian get drunk;
and then made a quarrel between him and another, for selfish purposes.
The whites seem to have neither honour nor mercy towards the red men.

A canoe full of Indians,--two men and four children,--came alongside,
this afternoon, to offer to traffic. They had no clothing but a coarse
shirt each. The smallest child had enormous ear-ornaments of blue and
white beads. They were closely packed in their canoe, which rocked with
every motion. They sold two large baskets for a quarter dollar and two
loaves of bread. Their faces were intelligent, and far from solemn. The
children look merry, as children should. I saw others fishing afar off,
till long after dark. A dusky figure stood, in a splendid attitude, at
the bow of a canoe, and now paddled with one end of his long lance, now
struck at a fish with the other. He speared his prey directly through
the middle; and succeeded but seldom. At dark, a pine torch was held
over the water; and by its blaze, I could still see something of his

The groaning of our ship's timbers told us, before we rose, that we were
in rapid motion. The wind was fair; and we were likely to reach Detroit,
forty miles, to dinner. Lake St. Clair, with its placid waters and low
shores, presents nothing to look at. The captain was very ill, and
unable to leave his berth. No one on board knew the channel of the
Detroit river but himself; and, from the time we entered it, the lead
was kept going. When we were within four miles of Detroit, hungry, hot,
tired of the disordered ship, and thinking of friends, breezes, and a
good dinner at the city, we went aground,--grinding, grinding, till the
ship trembled in every timber. The water was so shallow that one might
have touched the gravel on either side with a walking-stick. There was
no hope of our being got off speedily. The cook applied himself to
chopping wood, in order to lighting a fire, in order to baking some
bread, in order to give us something to eat; for not a scrap of meat, or
an ounce of biscuit, was left on board.

It occurred to me that our party might reach the city, either by paying
high for one of the ship's boats, or by getting the mate to hail one of
the schooners that were in the river. The boats could not be spared. The
mate hoisted a signal for a schooner; and one came alongside, very fully
laden with shingles. Fifteen of us, passengers, with our luggage, were
piled on the top of the cargo, and sailed gently up to the city. The
captain was too ill, and the mate too full of vexation, to bid us
farewell; and thus we left our poor ship. We were glad, however, to pass
her in the river, the next day, and to find that she had been got off
the shoal before night.

As we drew near, Charley, in all good faith, hung out his little
handkerchief to show the people of Detroit that we were come back. They
did not seem to know us, however. "What!" cried some men on a raft, to
the master of our schooner, "have you been robbing a steam-boat?" "No,"
replied the master, gravely; "it is a boat that has gone to the bottom
in the lakes." We expected that some stupendous alarm would arise out of
this. When we reached New York, a fortnight after, we found that our
friends there had been made uneasy by the news that a steam-boat had
sunk on the Lakes, and that eight hundred passengers were drowned.
Catastrophes grow as fast as other things in America.

Though our friends did not happen to see Charley's pocket-handkerchief
from the river, they were soon about us, congratulating us on having
made the circuit of the Lakes. It was indeed matter of congratulation.

I have now given sketches of some of the most remarkable parts of the
country, hoping that a pretty distinct idea might thus be afforded of
their primary resources, and of the modes of life of their inhabitants.
I have said nothing of the towns, in this connection; town-life in
America having nothing very peculiar about it, viewed in the way of
general survey. The several departments of industry will now be
particularly considered.


[8] I know not why I should suppress a name that I honour.

[9] Isaiah xvi. 3.

[10] It is possible that this term may not yet be familiar to some of my
English readers. It means summary punishment. The modes now in use among
those who take the law into their own hands in the United States, are
tarring and feathering, scourging with a cow-hide, banishing, and
hanging. The term owes its derivation to a farmer of the name of Lynch,
living on the Mississippi, who, in the absence of court and lawyers,
constituted himself a judge, and ordered summary punishment to be
inflicted on an offender. He little foresaw the national disgrace which
would arise from the extension of the practice to which he gave his

[11] I preserve the original name, which is that of the first French
missionary who visited these parts. The place is now commonly called
Juliet; and a settlement near has actually been named Romeo: so that I
fear there is little hope of a restoration of the honourable primitive



     "Plus un peuple nombreux se rapproche, moins le gouvernement peut
     usurper sur le Souverain. L'avantage d'un gouvernement tyrannique
     est donc en ceci, d'agir à grandes distances. A l'aide des points
     d'appui qu'il se donne, sa force augmente au loin, comme celle des
     léviers. Celle du peuple, au contraire, n'agit que concentrée: elle
     s'évapore et se perd en s'étendant, comme l'effet de la poudre
     éparse à terre, et qui ne prend feu que grain à grain. Les pays les
     moins peuplés sont ainsi les plus propres à la tyrannie. Les bêtes
     féroces ne règnent que dans les déserts."


The pride and delight of Americans is in their quantity of land. I do
not remember meeting with one to whom it had occurred that they had too
much. Among the many complaints of the minority, this was never one. I
saw a gentleman strike his fist on the table in an agony at the country
being so "confoundedly prosperous:" I heard lamentations over the spirit
of speculation; the migration of young men to the back country; the
fluctuating state of society from the incessant movement westwards; the
immigration of labourers from Europe; and the ignorance of the sparse
population. All these grievances I heard perpetually complained of; but
in the same breath I was told in triumph of the rapid sales of land; of
the glorious additions which had been made by the acquisition of
Louisiana and Florida, and of the probable gain of Texas. Land was
spoken of as the unfailing resource against over manufacture; the great
wealth of the nation; the grand security of every man in it.

On this head, the two political parties seem to be more agreed than on
any other. The federalists are the great patrons of commerce; but they
are as proud of the national lands as the broadest of the democrats. The
democrats, however, may be regarded as the patrons of agriculture, out
of the slave States. There seems to be a natural relation between the
independence of property and occupation enjoyed by the agriculturist,
and his watchfulness over State Rights and the political importance of
individuals. The simplicity of country life, too, appears more congenial
with the workings of democratic institutions, than the complex
arrangements of commerce and manufactures.

The possession of land is the aim of all action, generally speaking, and
the cure for all social evils, among men in the United States. If a man
is disappointed in politics or love, he goes and buys land. If he
disgraces himself, he betakes himself to a lot in the west. If the
demand for any article of manufacture slackens, the operatives drop into
the unsettled lands. If a citizen's neighbours rise above him in the
towns, he betakes himself where he can be monarch of all he surveys. An
artisan works, that he may die on land of his own. He is frugal, that he
may enable his son to be a landowner. Farmers' daughters go into
factories that they may clear off the mortgage from their fathers'
farms; that they may be independent landowners again. All this is
natural enough in a country colonised from an old one, where land is so
restricted in quantity as to be apparently the same thing as wealth. It
is natural enough in a young republic, where independence is of the
highest political value. It is natural enough in a country where
political economy has never been taught by its only effectual
propounder--social adversity. And, finally, it falls out well for the
old world, in prospect of the time when the new world must be its

The democratic party are fond of saying that the United States are
intended to be an agricultural country. It seems to me that they are
intended to be everything. The Niagara basin, the Mississippi valley,
and the South, will be able to furnish the trading world with
agricultural products for ever,--for aught we can see. But it is clear
that there are other parts of the country which must have recourse to
manufactures and commerce.

The first settlers in New England got land, and thought themselves rich.
Their descendants have gone on to do the same; and they now find
themselves poor. With the exception of some Southerners, ruined by
slavery, who cannot live within their incomes, I met with no class in
the United States so anxious about the means of living as the farmers of
New England. In the seventeenth century, curious purchases of land were
made, and the fathers were wealthy. In those days, a certain farmer
Dexter bought the promontory of Nahant, which stretches out into
Massachusetts Bay, of Black Willey, an Indian chief, for a suit of
clothes; the part of the promontory called Great Nahant measuring a mile
and a half in circuit. Others, who held land in similar or larger
quantities, divided it equally among their children, whose portions had
not been subdivided below the point of comfort, when the great west on
the one hand, and the commerce of the seas on the other, opened new
resources. From this time, the consolidation of estates has gone on,
nearly as fast as the previous division. The members of a family
dispose of their portions of land to one, and go to seek better fortunes
elsewhere than the rocky soil of New England can afford. Still, while
the population of Massachusetts is scarcely above half that of London,
its number of landowners is greater than that of all England.

The Massachusetts farmers were the first to decline; but now the
comparative adversity of agriculture has extended even into Vermont. A
few years ago, lenders of money into Vermont received thirty per cent.
interest from farmers: now they are glad to get six per cent.; and this
does not arise from the farmers having saved capital of their own. They
have but little property besides their land. Their daughters, and even
their sons, resort to domestic service in Boston for a living. Boston
used to be supplied from Vermont with fowls, butter, and eggs: but the
supply has nearly ceased. This is partly owing to an increased attention
to the growth of wool for the manufacturers; but partly also to the
decrease of capital and enterprise among the farmers.

In Massachusetts the farmers have so little property besides their land,
that they are obliged to mortgage when they want to settle a son or
daughter, or make up for a deficient crop. The great Insurance Company
at Boston is the formidable creditor to many. This Company will not wait
a day for the interest. If it is not ready, loss or ruin ensues. Many
circumstances are now unfavourable to the old-fashioned Massachusetts
farmer. Domestic manufactures, which used to employ the daughters, are
no longer worth while, in the presence of the factories. The young men,
who should be the daughters' husbands, go off to the west. The idea of
domestic service is not liked. There is an expensive family at home,
without sufficient employment; and they may be considered poor. These
are evils which may be shaken off any day. I speak of them, not as
demanding much compassion, but as indicating a change in the state of
affairs; and especially that New England is designed to be a
manufacturing and commercial region. It is already common to see
agriculture joined with other employments. The farmers of the coast are,
naturally, fishermen also. They bring home fish, manure their land with
the offal; sow their seed, and go out again to fish while it is growing.
Shoemaking is now joined with farming. In the long winter evenings, all
the farmers' families around Lynn are busy shoe-making; and in the
spring, they turn out into the fields again. The largest proportion of
factory girls too is furnished by country families.

The traveller may see, by merely passing through the country, without
asking information, how far New England ought to be an agricultural
country, if the object of its society be to secure the comfort of its
members, rather than the continuance of old customs. The valleys, like
that of the Connecticut river, whose soil is kept rich by annual
inundations, and whose fields have no fences, gladden the eye of the
observer. So it is with particular spots elsewhere, where, it may be
remarked, the fences are of the ordinary, slovenly kind, and too much
care does not seem to have been bestowed on the arrangements and economy
of the estate. Elsewhere, may be seen stony fields, plots of the
greenest pasture, with grey rocks standing up in the midst, and barberry
bushes sprinkled all about: trim orchards, and fences on which a great
deal of spare time must have been bestowed. Instead of the ugly, hasty
snake-fence, there is a neatly built wall, composed of the stones which
had strewed the fields: sometimes the neatest fence of all; a wall of
stones and sods, regularly laid, with a single rail along the top:
sometimes a singular fence, which would be perfect, but for the expense
of labour required; roots of trees, washed from the soil, and turned
side upwards, presenting a complete chevaux-de-frise, needing no
mending, and lasting the "for ever" of this world. About these
farm-houses, a profusion of mignonette may be seen; and in the season,
the rich major convolvulus, or scarlet runners, climbing up to the
higher windows. The dove-cotes are well looked to. There has evidently
been time and thought for everything. This is all very pretty to look
at,--even bewitching to those who do not see beneath the surface, nor
know that hearts may be aching within doors about perilous mortgages,
and the fate of single daughters; but, it being known that such worldly
anxieties do exist, it is not difficult to perceive that these are the
places in which they abide.

There is, of course, a knowledge of the difficulty on the spot; but not
always a clear view of coming events, which include a remedy. The
commonest way of venting any painful sensibility on the subject, is
declamation against luxury; or rather, against the desire for it in
those who are supposed unable to afford it. This will do no good. If the
Pilgrim Fathers themselves had had luxury before their eyes, they would
have desired to have it; and they would have been right. Luxury is, in
itself, a great good. Luxury is _delicious fare_,--of any and every
kind: and He who bestowed it meant all men to have it. The evil of
luxury is in its restriction; in its being made a cause of separation
between men, and a means of encroachment by some on the rights of
others. Frugality is a virtue only when it is required by justice and
charity. Luxury is vicious only when it is obtained by injustice, and
carried on into intemperance. It is a bad thing that a Massachusetts
farmer should mortgage his farm, in order that his wife and daughters
may dress like the ladies of Boston; but the evil is not in the dress;
it is rather in his clinging to a mode of life which does not enable him
to pay his debts. The women desire dress, not only because it is
becoming, but because they revolt from sinking, even outwardly, into a
lower station of life than they once held: and this is more than
harmless; it is honourable. What they have to do is to make up their
minds to be consistent. They must either go down with their farm, for
love of it, and the ways which belong to it: or they must make a better
living in some other manner. They cannot have the old farm and its ways,
and luxury too. Nobody has a right to decide for them which they ought
to choose; and declaiming against luxury will therefore do no good. It
is, however, pretty clear which they will choose, while luxury and
manufactures are growing before their eyes; and, in that case,
declaiming against luxury can do little but harm: it will only destroy
sympathy between the declaimers and those who may find the cap fit.

One benevolent lady strongly desires and advises that manufactures
should be put down; and the increased population all sent away
somewhere, that New England may be as primitive and sparsely peopled as
in days when it was, as she supposes, more virtuous than now. Whenever
she can make out what virtue is, so as to prove that New England was
ever more virtuous than now, her plans may find hearers; but not till
then. I mention these things merely to show how confirmed is the
tendency of New England to manufactures, in preference to agriculture.

There is one certain test of the permanent fitness of any district of
country for agricultural purposes; the settlement of any large number of
Germans in it. The Germans give any price for good land, and use it
all. They are much smiled at by the vivacious and enterprising Americans
for their plodding, their attachment to their own methods, and the odd
direction taken by their pride.[12] The part of Pennsylvania where they
abound is called the Boeotia of America. There is a story current
against them that they were seen to parade with a banner, on which was
inscribed "No schools," when the State legislature was about
establishing a school system. On the other hand, it is certain that they
have good German newspapers prepared among themselves: that their
politics do them high honour, considering the very short political
education they have had: and that they know more of political economy
than their native neighbours. They show by their votes that they
understand the tariff and bank questions; and they are staunch
supporters of democratic principles.

Nothing can be more thriving than the settlements of Germans, when they
have once been brought into order. Their fields are well fenced; their
implements of the most substantial make; and their barns a real
curiosity. While the family of the farmer is living in a poor log-house,
or a shabby, unpainted frame-house, the barn has all the pains of its
owner lavished upon it. I saw several, freshly painted with red, with
eleven glass windows, with venetian blinds, at each end, and twelve in
front. They keep up the profitable customs of their country. The German
women are the only women seen in the fields and gardens in America,
except a very few Dutch, and the slaves in the south. The stores of
pumpkins, apples, and onions in the stoup (piazza) are edifying to
behold. Under them sits the old dame of the house, spinning at her large
wheel; and her grand-children, all in grey homespun, look as busy as

The German settlers always contrive to have a market, either by placing
themselves near one, or bestirring themselves to make one. They have no
idea of sitting down in a wilderness, and growing wild in it. A great
many of them are market-gardeners near the towns.[13]

It is scarcely possible to foresee, with distinctness, the destination
of the southern States, east of the Alleghanies, when the curse of
slavery shall be removed. Up to that period, continual deterioration is
unavoidable. Efforts are being made to compensate for the decline of
agriculture by pushing the interests of commerce. This is well; for the
"opening" of every new rail-road, of every new pier, is another blow
given to slavery. The agriculture of Virginia continues to decline; and
her revenue is chiefly derived from the rearing of slaves as stock for
the southern market. In the north and west parts of this State, where
there is more farming than planting, it has long been found that slavery
is ruinous; and when I passed through, in the summer of 1835, I saw
scarcely any but whites, for some hundreds of miles along the road,
except where a slave trader was carrying down to the south the remains
that he had bought up. Unless some new resource is introduced, Virginia
will be almost impoverished when the traffic in slaves comes to an end;
which, I have a strong persuasion, will be the case before very long.
The Virginians themselves are, it seems, aware of their case. I saw a
factory at Richmond, worked by black labour, which was found, to the
surprise of those who tried the experiment, to be of very good quality.

The shores of the south, low and shoaly, are unfavourable to foreign
commerce. The want of a sufficiency of good harbours will probably impel
the inhabitants of the southern States to renew their agricultural
pursuits, and merely confine themselves to internal commerce. The
depression of agriculture is only temporary, I believe. It began from
slavery, and is aggravated by the opening of the rich virgin soils of
the south-west. But the time will come when improved methods of tillage,
with the advantage of free labour, will renew the prosperity of
Virginia, and North and South Carolina.

No mismanagement short of employing slaves will account for the
deterioration of the agricultural wealth of these States. When the
traveller observes the quality of some of the land now under
cultivation, he wonders how other estates could have been rendered so
unprofitable as they are. The rich Congaree bottoms, in South Carolina,
look inexhaustible; but some estates, once as fine, now lie barren and
deserted. I went over a plantation, near Columbia, South Carolina, where
there were four thousand acres within one fence, each acre worth fifteen
hundred dollars. This land has been cropped yearly with cotton since
1794, and is now becoming less productive; but it is still very fine.
The cotton seed is occasionally returned to the soil; and this is the
only means of renovation used. Four hundred negroes work this estate. We
saw the field trenched, ready for sowing. The sowing is done by hand,
thick, and afterwards thinned. I saw the cotton elsewhere, growing like
twigs. I saw also some in pod. There are three or four pickings of pods
in a season; of which the first gathering is the best. Each estate has
its cotton press. In the gin, the seed is separated from the cotton; and
the latter is pressed and packed for sale.

There seems nothing to prevent the continuance or renovation of the
growth of this product, under more favourable circumstances. Whether the
rice swamps will have to be given up, or whether they may be tilled by
free black labour, remains to be seen. The Chinese grow rice; and so do
the Italians, without the advantage of free black labour. If, in the
worst case, the rice swamps should have to be relinquished, the loss
would be more than compensated by the improvement which would take place
in the farming districts; land too high for planting. The western,
mountainous parts of these States would thus become the most valuable.

It was amusing to hear the praises of corn (Indian corn) in the midst of
the richest cotton, rice, and tobacco districts. The Indian looks with
silent wonder upon the settler, who becomes visibly a capitalist in nine
months, on the same spot where the red man has remained equally poor,
all his life. In February, both are alike bare of all but land, and a
few utensils. By the end of the next November, the white settler has his
harvest of corn; more valuable to him than gold and silver. It will
procure him many things which they could not. A man who has corn, may
have everything. He can sow his land with it; and, for the rest,
everything eats corn, from slave to chick. Yet, in the midst of so much
praise of corn, I found that it cost a dollar a bushel; that every one
was complaining of the expenses of living; that, so far from mutton
being despised, as we have been told, it was much desired, but not to be
had; and that milk was a great rarity. Two of us, in travelling, asked
for a draught of milk. We had each a very small tumbler-full, and were
charged a quarter-dollar. The cultivation of land is as exclusively for
exportable products, as in the West Indies, in the worst days of their
slavery; when food, and even bricks for building, were imported from
England. The total absence of wise rural economy, under the present
system, opens great hope of future improvement. The forsaken plantations
are not so exhausted of their resources as it is supposed, from their
producing little cotton, that they must be. The deserted fields may yet
be seen, some day, again fruitful in cotton, with corn-fields,
pasturage, and stock, (not human,) flourishing in appropriate spots.

Adversity is the best teacher of economy here, as elsewhere. In the
first flush of prosperity, when a proprietor sits down on a rich virgin
soil, and the price of cotton is rising, he buys bacon and corn for his
negroes, and other provisions for his family, and devotes every rod of
his land to cotton-growing. I knew of one in Alabama, who, like his
neighbours, paid for his land and the maintenance of his slaves with the
first crop, and had a large sum over, wherewith to buy more slaves and
more land. He paid eight thousand dollars for his land, and all the
expenses of the establishment, and had, at the end of the season, eleven
thousand dollars in the bank. It was thought, by a wise friend of this
gentleman's, that it was a great injury, instead of benefit to his
fortune, that his labourers were not free. To use this wise man's
expression, "it takes two white men to make a black man work;" and he
was confident that it was not necessary, on any pretence whatever, to
have a single slave in Alabama. Where all the other elements of
prosperity exist, as they do in that rich new State, any quality and
amount of labour might be obtained, and the permanent prosperity of the
country might be secured. If matters go on as they are, Alabama will in
time follow the course of the south-eastern States, and find her
production of cotton declining; and she will have to learn a wiser
husbandry by vicissitude. But matters will not go on as they are to that
point. Cotton-growing is advancing rapidly in other parts of the world
where there is the advantage of cheap, free labour; and the southern
States of America will find themselves unable to withstand the
competition of rivals whom they now despise, but by the use of free
labour, and of the improved management which will accompany it. There is
already a great importation of mules for field work from the higher
western States. Who knows but that in time there may be cattle-shows,
(like those of the more prosperous rural districts of the north,) where
there are now slave markets; or at least agricultural societies, whereby
the inhabitants may be put in the way of obtaining tender "sheep's
meat," while cotton may be grown more plentifully than even at present?

I saw at Charleston the first great overt act of improvement that I am
aware of in South Carolina. One step has been taken upwards; and when I
saw it, I could only wish that the slaves in the neighbourhood could
see, as clearly as a stranger could, the good it portended to them. It
is nothing more than that an enterprising gentleman has set up a
rice-mill, and that he avails himself to the utmost of its capabilities;
but this is made much of in that land of small improvement; as it ought
to be. The chaff is used to enrich the soil: and the proprietor has made
lot after lot of bad land very profitable for sale with it, and is thus
growing rapidly rich. The sweet flour, which lies between the husk and
the grain, is used for fattening cattle. The broken rice is sold cheap;
and the rest finds a good market. There are nine persons employed in the
mill, some white and some black; and many more are busy in preparing the
lots of land, and in building on them. Clusters of houses have risen up
around the mill.

Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, present the extreme case of the
fertility of the soil, the prosperity of proprietors, and the woes of
slaves. I found the Virginians spoke with sorrow and contempt of the
treatment of slaves in North and South Carolina: South Carolina and
Georgia, of the treatment of slaves in the richer States to the west:
and, in these last, I found the case too bad to admit of aggravation. It
was in these last that the most heart-rending disclosures were made to
me by the ladies, heads of families, of the state of society, and of
their own intolerable sufferings in it. As I went further north again, I
found an improvement. There was less wealth in the hands of individuals,
a better economy, more intelligent slaves, and more discussion how to
get rid of slavery. Tennessee is, in some sort, naturally divided on the
question. The eastern part of the State is hilly, and fit for farming;
for which slave labour does not answer. The western part is used for
cotton-planting; and the planters will not yet hear of free labour. The
magnificent State of Kentucky has no other drawback to its prosperity
than slavery; and its inhabitants are so far convinced of this that they
will, no doubt, soon free themselves from it. They cannot look across
the river, and witness the prosperity of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio,
without being aware that, with their own unequalled natural advantages,
they could not be so backward as they are, from any other cause.

Kentucky is equally adapted for agriculture and commerce. She may have
ports on the rivers, along her whole northern and western boundary; and
she has already roads superior to almost any in the United States. She
is rich in stone, and many other minerals; in mineral waters, and in a
soil of unsurpassed fertility. The State is more thickly settled than is
evident to the passing traveller; and the effect will appear when more
markets, or roads to existing markets, are opened. In one small county
which I visited, my host and his brother had farms of fifteen hundred
acres each; and there were two hundred and fifty other farms in the
county. Sometimes these farms are divided among the children. More
commonly, all the sons but one go elsewhere to settle. In this case, the
homestead is usually left to the youngest son, who is supposed likely to
be the most attached to the surviving parent.

The estates of the two brothers, mentioned above, comprising three
thousand acres, were bought of the Indians for a rifle. We passed a
morning in surveying the one which is a grazing farm. There is a good
red-brick house for the family: and the slave-quarter is large. Nothing
can be more beautiful than the aspect of the estate, from the richness
of its vegetation, and the droves of fine cattle that were to be seen
everywhere. I never saw finer cattle. The owner had just refused sixty
dollars apiece for fourteen of them. Fifteen acres of the forest are
left for shade; and there, and under single oaks in the cleared pasture,
were herds of horses and mules, and three donkeys; the only ones I saw
in the United States.

We passed an unshaded meadow, where the grass had caught fire every day
at eleven o'clock, the preceding summer. This demonstrates the necessity
of shade.

We passed "a spontaneous rye-field." I asked what "spontaneous" meant
here; and found that a fine crop of rye had been cut the year before;
and that the nearly equally fine one now before us had grown up from the
dropped seed.

We enjoyed the thought of the abundance of milk here, after the dearth
we had suffered in the South. Forty cows are milked for the use of the
family and the negroes, and are under the care of seven women. The
proprietor declared to me that he believed his slaves would drive him
mad. Planters, who grow but one product, suffer much less from the
incapacity and perverse will of their negroes: the care of stock is
quite another matter; and for any responsible service, slaves are
totally unfit.

Instead of living being cheaper on country estates, from the necessaries
of life being raised on them, it appears to be much more expensive. This
is partly owing to the prevailing pride of having negroes to show. One
family, of four persons, of my acquaintance, in South Carolina, whose
style of living might be called homely, cannot manage to live for less
than three thousand dollars a year. They have a carriage and eleven
negroes. It is cheaper in Kentucky. In the towns, a family may live in
good style for two thousand five hundred dollars a year; and for no
great deal more in the country. A family entered upon a good house, near
a town, with one hundred and twenty acres of land, a few years ago, at a
rent of three hundred dollars. They bought house and land, and brought
their slaves, and now live, exclusive of rent and hire of servants, for
two thousand dollars a year, in greater numbers and much higher style
than the South Carolina family.

The prospects of agriculture in the States north-west of the Ohio are
brilliant. The stranger who looks upon the fertile prairies of Illinois
and Indiana, and the rich alluvions of Ohio, feels the iniquity of the
English corn laws as strongly as in the alleys of Sheffield and
Manchester. The inhuman perverseness of taxing food is there evident in
all its enormity. The world ought never to hear of a want of food,--no
one of the inhabitants of its civilised portions ought ever to be
without the means of obtaining his fill, while the mighty western valley
smiles in its fertility. If the aristocracy of England, for whom those
laws were made, and by whom they are sustained, could be transported to
travel, in open wagons, the boundless prairies, and the shores of the
great rivers which would bring down the produce, they would groan to see
from what their petty, selfish interests had shut out the thousands of
half-starved labourers at home. If they could not be convinced of the
very plain truth, of how their own fortunes would be benefited by
allowing the supply and demand of food to take their natural course,
they would, for the moment, wish their rent-rolls at the bottom of the
sea, rather than that they should stand between the crowd of labourers
and the supply of food which God has offered them. The landlords of
England do not go and see the great western valley; but, happily, some
of the labourers of England do. Far off as that valley is, those
labourers will make themselves heard from thence, by those who have
driven them there; and will teach the brethren whom they have left
behind where the blame of their hunger lies. Every British settler who
ploughs a furrow in the prairie, helps to plough up the foundations of
the British Corn Laws.

There is a prospect, not very uncertain or remote, of these prairie
lands bringing relief to a yet more suffering class than either English
labourers or landlords; the sugar-growing slaves of the south. Rumours
of the progress of sugar-making from beet in France have, for some time
past, been interesting many persons in the United States; especially
capitalists inclined to speculate, and the vigilant friends of the
slave. Information has been obtained, and some trials made. Individuals
have sown ten acres and upwards each, and manufactured sugar with a
small apparatus. The result has been encouraging; and a large
manufactory was to be opened in Philadelphia on the 1st of November
last. Two large joint-stock companies have been founded, one in New
Jersey and the other in Illinois. Their proceedings have been quickened
by the frosts of several successive seasons, which have so cut off the
canes in the south, as that it cannot supply one quarter of the domestic
consumption: whereas it had previously supplied half. Some of the
southern newspapers have recommended the substitution of beet for canes.
However soon this may be done, the northern sugar planters, with their
free labour, will surely overpower the south in the competition. This is
on the supposition that beet will answer as well as canes; a supposition
which will have Bern granted whenever the south begins to grow beet in
preference to canes.

A heavy blow would be inflicted on slavery by the success of the beet
companies. The condition of the cane-growing slaves cannot be made worse
than it is. I believe that even in the West Indies it has never been so
dreadful as at present in some parts of Louisiana. A planter stated to a
sugar-refiner in New York, that it was found the best economy to _work
off_ the stock of negroes once in seven years.

The interest excited by this subject of beet-growing is very strong
throughout the United States. Some result must ensue which will be an
instigation to further action. The most important would be the inducing
in the south either the use of free labour in sugar-growing, or the
surrender of an object so fatal to decent humanity.

The prettiest amateur farm I saw was that of the late Dr. Hosack, at
Hyde Park, on the Hudson. Dr. Hosack had spared no pains to improve his
stock, and his methods of farming, as well as the beauty of his
pleasure-grounds. His merits in the former departments the agricultural
societies in England are much better qualified to appreciate than I; and
they seem to have valued his exertions; to judge by the medals and other
honourable testimonials from them which he showed to me. As for his
pleasure-grounds, little was left for the hand of art to do. The natural
terrace above the river, green, sweeping, and undulating, is
surpassingly beautiful. Dr. Hosack's good taste led him to leave it
alone, and to spend his pains on the gardens and conservatory behind. Of
all the beautiful country-seats on the Hudson, none can, I think, equal
Hyde Park; though many bear a more imposing appearance from the river.

Though I twice traversed the western part of the State of New York, I
did not see the celebrated farm of Mr. Wadsworth; the finest, by all
accounts, in the United States. The next best thing to seeing it was
hearing Mr. Wadsworth talk about it,--especially of its hospitable
capabilities. This only increased my regret at being unable to visit it.

The most remarkable order of land-owners that I saw in the United States
was that of the Shakers and the Rappites; both holding all their
property in common, and both enforcing celibacy. The interest which
would be felt by the whole of society in watching the results of a
community of property is utterly destroyed by the presence of the other
distinction; or rather of the ignorance and superstition of which it is
the sign.

The moral and economical principles of these societies ought to be most
carefully distinguished by the observer. This being done, I believe it
will be found that whatever they have peculiarly good among them is
owing to the soundness of their economical principles; whatever they
have that excites compassion, is owing to the badness of their moral

I visited two Shaker communities in Massachusetts. The first was at
Hancock, consisting of three hundred persons, in the neighbourhood of
another at Lebanon, consisting of seven hundred persons. There are
fifteen Shaker establishments or "families" in the United States, and
their total number is between five and six thousand. There is no
question of their entire success, as far as wealth is concerned. A very
moderate amount of labour has secured to them in perfection all the
comforts of life that they know how to enjoy, and as much wealth besides
as would command the intellectual luxuries of which they do not dream.
The earth does not show more flourishing fields, gardens, and orchards,
than theirs. The houses are spacious, and in all respects
unexceptionable. The finish of every external thing testifies to their
wealth, both of material and leisure. The floor of their place of
worship, (the scene of their peculiar exercises,) the roofs of their
houses, their stair-carpets, the feet of their chairs, the springs of
their gates, and their spitting-boxes,--for even these neat people have
spitting-boxes--show a nicety which is rare in America. Their table fare
is of the very best quality. We had depended on a luncheon among them,
and were rather alarmed at the refusal we met, when we pleaded our long
ride and the many hours that we should have to wait for refreshment, if
they would not furnish us with some. They urged, reasonably enough, that
a steady rule was necessary, subject as the community was to visits from
the company at Lebanon Springs. They did not want to make money by
furnishing refreshments, and did not desire the trouble. For once,
however, they kindly gave way; and we were provided with delicious
bread, molasses, butter, cheese and wine; all homemade, of course. If
happiness lay in bread and butter, and such things, these people have
attained the _summum bonum_. Their store shows what they can produce for
sale. A great variety of simples, of which they sell large quantities to
London; linen-drapery, knitted wares, sieves, baskets, boxes, and
confectionary; palm and feather fans, pin-cushions, and other such
trifles; all these may be had in some variety, and of the best quality.
If such external provision, with a great amount of accumulated wealth
besides, is the result of co-operation and community of property among
an ignorant, conceited, inert society like this, what might not the same
principles of association achieve among a more intelligent set of
people, stimulated by education, and exhilarated by the enjoyment of all
the blessings which Providence has placed within the reach of man?

The wealth of the Shakers is not to be attributed to their celibacy.
They are receiving a perpetual accession to their numbers from among the
"world's people," and these accessions are usually of the most
unprofitable kind. Widows with large families of young children, are
perpetually joining the community, with the view of obtaining a
plentiful subsistence with very moderate labour. The increase of their
numbers does not lead to the purchase of more land. They supply their
enlarged wants by the high cultivation of the land they have long
possessed; and the superfluity of capital is so great that it is
difficult to conceive what will be done with it by a people so nearly
dead to intellectual enjoyments. If there had been no celibacy among
them, they would probably have been far more wealthy than they are; the
expenses of living in community being so much less, and the produce of
co-operative labour being so much greater than in a state of division
into families. The truth of these last positions can be denied by none
who have witnessed the working of a co-operative system. The problem is
to find the principle by which all shall be induced to labour their
share. Any such principle being found, the wealth of the community
follows of course.

Whether any principle to this effect can be brought to bear upon any
large class of society in the old world, is at present the most
important dispute, perhaps, that is agitating society. It will never now
rest till it has been made matter of experiment. If a very low principle
has served the purpose, for a time at least, in the new world, there
seems much ground for expectation that a far higher one may be found to
work as well in the more complicated case of English society. There is,
at least, every encouragement to try. While there are large classes of
people here whose condition can hardly be made worse; while the present
system (if such it may be called) imposes care on the rich, excessive
anxiety on the middle classes, and desperation on the poor: while the
powerful are thus, as it were, fated to oppress; the strivers after
power to circumvent and counteract; and the powerless to injure, it
seems only reasonable that some section, at least, of this warring
population should make trial of the peaceful principles which are
working successfully elsewhere. The co-operative methods of the Shakers
and Rappites might be tried without any adoption of their spiritual
pride and cruel superstition. These are so far from telling against the
system, that they prompt the observer to remark how much has been done
in spite of such obstacles.

There must be something sound in the principles on which these people
differ from the rest of the world, or they would not work at all; but
the little that is vital is dreadfully encumbered with that which is
dead. Like all religious persuasions from which one differs, that of the
Shakers appears more reasonable in conversation, and in their daily
actions, than on paper and at a distance. In actual life, the absurd and
peculiar recedes before the true and universal; but, I own, I have never
witnessed more visible absurdity than in the way of life of the Shakers.
The sound part of their principle is the same as that which has
sustained all devotees; and with it is joined a spirit of fellowship
which makes them more in the right than the anchorites and friars of
old. This is all. Their spiritual pride, their insane vanity, their
intellectual torpor, their mental grossness, are melancholy to witness.
Reading is discouraged among them. Their thoughts are full of the one
subject of celibacy: with what effect, may be easily imagined. Their
religious exercises are disgustingly full of it. It cannot be otherwise:
for they have no other interesting subject of thought beyond their daily
routine of business; no objects in life, no wants, no hopes, no novelty
of experience whatever. Their life is all dull work and no play.

The women, in their frightful costume, close opaque caps, and drab gowns
of the last degree of tightness and scantiness, are nothing short of
disgusting. They are averse to the open air and exercise; they are
pallid and spiritless. They look far more forlorn and unnatural than the
men. Their soulless stare at us, before their worship began, was almost
as afflicting as that of the lowest order of slaves; and, when they
danced, they were like so many galvanised corpses. I had been rather
afraid of not being able to keep my countenance during this part of
their worship; but there was no temptation to laugh. It was too shocking
for ridicule. Three men stood up, shouting a monotonous tune, and
dangling their crossed hands, with a pawing motion, to keep time, while
the rest danced, except some old women and young children, who sat out.
The men stamped, and the women jerked, with their arms hanging by their
sides; they described perpetually the figure of a square; the men and
boys on one side, the women and girls on the other. There were prayers
besides, and singing, and a sermon. This last was of a better quality
than usual, I understood. It was (of all improbable subjects) on
religious liberty, and contained nothing outrageously uncommon, except
the proposition that the American revolution had drawn the last of the
teeth of the red dragon.

It is not to be supposed that the children who are carried in by their
widowed, or indolent, or poor, or superstitious parents, are always
acquiescent in their destination. I saw many a bright face within the
prim cap-border, which bore a prophecy of a return to the world; and two
of the boys stamped so vigorously in the dance, that it was impossible
to imagine their feelings to be very devotional. The story of one often
serves as an index to the hearts of many. I knew of a girl who was
carried into a Shaker community by her widowed mother, and subjected
early to its discipline. It was hateful to her. One Sunday, when she
was, I believe, about sixteen, she feigned illness, to avoid going to
worship. When she believed every one else gone, she jumped out of a low
window, and upon the back of a pony which happened to be in the field.
She rode round and round the enclosure, without saddle or bridle, and
then re-entered the house. She had been observed, and was duly
reprimanded. She left the community in utter weariness and disgust. A
friend of mine, in a neighbouring village, took the girl into her
service. She never settled well in service, being too proud for the
occupation; and she actually went back to the same community, and is
there still, for no better reason than the saving of her pride. Her old
teachers had, it thus appeared, obtained an influence over her,
notwithstanding the tyranny of their discipline; and it had not been of
a wholesome moral nature. But no more words are necessary to show how
pride, and all other selfishness, must flourish in a community which
religiously banishes all the tenderest charities of life.

The followers of Mr. Rapp are settled at Economy, on the Ohio, eighteen
miles below Pittsburgh. Their number was five hundred when I was there;
and they owned three thousand acres of land. Much of their attention
seems to be given to manufactures. They rear silkworms, and were the
earliest silk-weavers in the United States. At my first visit they were
weaving only a flimsy kind of silk handkerchief; last summer I brought
away a piece of substantial, handsome black satin. They have
sheep-walks, and a large woollen manufactory. Their factory was burnt
down in 1834; the fire occasioning a loss of sixty thousand dollars; a
mere trifle to this wealthy community. Their vineyards, corn-fields,
orchards, and gardens gladden the eye. There is an abundance so much
beyond their need that it is surprising that they work; except for want
of something else to do. The Dutch love of flowers was visible in the
plants that were to be seen in the windows, and the rich carnations and
other sweets that bloomed in the garden and green-house. The whole place
has a superior air to that of either of the Shaker "families" that I
saw. The women were better dressed; more lively, less pallid; but, I
fear, not much wiser. Mr. Rapp exercises an unbounded influence over his
people. They are prevented learning any language but German, and are not
allowed to converse with strangers. The superintendent keeps a close
watch over them in this respect. Probationers must serve a year before
they can be admitted: and the managers own that they dread the entrance
of young people, who might be "unsettled;" that is, not sufficiently

I was curious to learn how five hundred persons could be kept in the
necessary subjection by one. Mr. Rapp's means are such that his task is
not very difficult. He keeps his people ignorant; and he makes them
vain. He preaches to them their own superiority over the rest of the
world so incessantly that they fully believe it; and are persuaded that
their salvation is in his hands. At first I felt, with regard both to
them and the Shakers, a strong respect for the self-conquest which could
enable them to endure the singularity,--the one community, of its
non-intercourse with strangers; the other, of its dancing exhibitions;
but I soon found that my respect was misplaced. One and all, they glory
in the singularity. They feel no awkwardness in it, from first to last.
This vanity is the handle by which they are worked.

Mr. Rapp is now very old. His son is dead. It remains to be seen what
will become of his community, with its immense accumulation of wealth,
when it has lost its dictator. It does not appear that they can go on in
their present state without a dictator. They smile superciliously upon
Mr. Owen's plan, as admitting "a wrong principle,"--marriage. The best
hope for them is that they will change their minds on this point,
admitting the educational improvements which will arise out of the
change, and remaining in community with regard to property. This is the
process now in action among the seceders from their body, settled on the
opposite bank of the river, a short distance below Economy.

These seceders were beguiled by Count Leon, a stranger, who told the
people a great deal that was true about Mr. Rapp, and a great deal that
was false about himself. It is a great pity that Count Leon was a
swindler; for he certainly opened the eyes of the Economy people to many
truths, and might have done all that was wanted, if he had himself been
honest. He drew away seventy of the people, and instigated them to
demand of Mr. Rapp their share of the accumulated property. It was
refused: and a suit was instituted against Mr. Rapp, in whose name the
whole is invested. The lawyers compromised the affair, and Mr. Rapp
disbursed 120,000 dollars. Count Leon obtained, and absconded with
almost the whole, and died in Texas; the burial-place of many more such
men. With the remnant of their funds, the seventy seceders purchased
land, and settled themselves opposite to Beaver, on the Ohio. They live
in community, but abjuring celibacy; and have been joined by some
thorough-bred Americans. It will be seen how they prosper.

Though the members of these remarkable communities are far from being
the only agriculturists in whom the functions of proprietor and labourer
are joined, the junction is in them so peculiar as to make them a
separate class, holding a place between the landowners of whom I have
before spoken, and the labourers of whom I shall have to treat.



The political economists of England have long wondered why the Americans
have not done what older nations would be glad to do, if the opportunity
had not gone by;--reserved government lands, which, as it is the
tendency of rent to rise, might obviate any future increase of taxation.
There are more good reasons than one why this cannot be done in America.

The expenses of the general government are so small that the present
difficulty is to reduce the taxation so as to leave no more than a safe
surplus revenue in the treasury; and there is no prospect of any
increase of taxation; as the taxpayers are likely to grow much faster
than the expenses of the government.

The people of the United States choose to be proprietors of land, not
tenants. No one can yet foresee the time when the relation of landlord
and tenant (except in regard to house property) will be extensively
established in America. More than a billion of acres remain to be
disposed of first.

The weightiest reason of all is that, in the United States, the people
of to-day are the government of to-day; the people of fifty years hence
will be the government of fifty years hence; and it would not suit the
people of to-day to sequestrate their property for the benefit of their
successors, any better than it would suit the people of fifty years
hence to be legislated for by those of to-day. A democratic government
must always be left free to be operated upon by the will of the
majority of the time being. All that the government of the day can do is
to ascertain what now appears to be the best principle by which to
regulate the disposal of land, and then to let the demand and supply
take their natural course.

The methods according to which the disposal of land is carried on are as
good as the methods of government almost invariably are in America. The
deficiency is in the knowledge of the relation which land bears to other
capital and to labour.[14] A few clear-headed men have foreseen the evil
of so great a dispersion of the people as has taken place, and have
consistently advocated a higher price being set upon land than that at
which it is at present sold. Such men are now convinced that evils which
seem to bear no more relation to the price of land than the fall of an
apple to the motions of the planets, are attributable to the reduction
in the price of government lots: that much political blundering, and
religious animosity; much of the illegal violence, and much of the
popular apathy on the slave question, which have disgraced the country,
are owing to the public lands being sold at a minimum price of a dollar
and a-quarter per acre. Many excellent leaders of the democratic party
think the people at large less fit to govern themselves wisely than they
were five-and-twenty years ago. This seems to me improbable; but I
believe there is no doubt that the dispersion has hitherto been too
great; and that the intellectual and moral, and, of course, the
political condition of the people has thereby suffered.

The price of the public lands was formerly two dollars per acre, with
credit. It was found to be a bad plan for the constituents of a
government to be its debtors; and there was a reduction of the price to
a dollar and a quarter, without credit. In forty years, above forty
millions of acres have been sold. The government cannot arbitrarily
raise the price. If any check is given to the process of dispersion, it
must arise from the people perceiving the true state of their own case,
and acting accordingly.

Some circumstances seem at present to favour the process of
enlightenment; others are adverse to it. Those which are favourable are,
the high prosperity of manufactures and commerce, the essential
requisite of which is the concentration of labourers: the increasing
immigration of labourers from Europe, and the happy experience which
they force upon the back settler of the advantage of an increased
proportion of labour to land; and the approaching crisis of the slavery
question; when every one will see the necessity of measures which will
keep the slaves where they are. Of the extraordinary, and I must think,
often wilful error of taking for granted that all the slaves must be
removed, in order to the abolition of slavery, I shall have to speak

The circumstances unfavourable to an understanding of the true state of
the case about the disposal of land are, the deep-rooted persuasion that
land itself is the most valuable wealth, in all places, and under all
circumstances: and the complication of interests connected with the late
acquisition of Louisiana and Florida, and the present usurpation of

Louisiana was obtained from the French, not on account of the fertile
new land which it comprehended, but because it was essential to the very
existence of the United States that the mouth of the Mississippi should
not be in the possession of another people. The Americans obtained the
mouth of the Mississippi; and with it, unfortunately, large tracts of
the richest virgin soil, on which slavery started into new life, and on
which "the perspiration of the eastern States" (as I have heard the
settlers of the west called) rested, and grew barbarous while they grew
rich. A fact has lately transpired in the northern States which was
already well known in the south,--that the purchase of Florida was
effected for the sake of the slave-holders. It is now known that the
President was overwhelmed with letters from slave-owners, complaining
that Florida was the refuge of their runaways; and demanding that this
retreat should be put within their power. Florida was purchased. Many
and great evils have already arisen out of its acquisition. To cover
these, and blind the people to the particular and iniquitous interests
engaged in the affair, the sordid faction benefited raises a perpetual
boast in the ears of the people about their gain of new territory, and
the glory and profit of having added so many square miles to their
already vast possessions.

In the eyes of those of the people who do not yet see the whole case,
the only evil which has arisen out of the possession of Florida, is the
Seminole warfare. They breathe an intense hatred against the Seminole
Indians; and many fine young men have gone down into Florida, and lost
their lives in battle, without being aware that they were fighting for
oppressors against the oppressed. Probably few of the United States
troops who fell in the late Seminole war knew how the strife arose.
According to the laws of the slave States, the children of the slaves
follow the fortunes of the _mother_. It will be seen, at a glance, what
consequences follow from this; how it operates as a premium upon
licentiousness among white men; how it prevents any but mock marriages
among slaves; and also what effect it must have upon any Indians with
whom slave women have taken refuge. The late Seminole war arose out of
this law. The escaped slaves had intermarried with the Indians. The
masters claimed the children. The Seminole fathers would not deliver
them up. Force was used to tear the children from their parents' arms,
and the Indians began their desperate, but very natural work of
extermination. They have carried on the war with eminent success, St.
Augustine, the capital, being now the only place in Florida where the
whites can set their foot. Of course, the poor Indians will ultimately
succumb, however long they may maintain the struggle: but, before that,
the American people may possibly have learned enough of the facts of the
case to silence those who boast of the acquisition of Florida, as an
increase of the national glory.

It would be a happy thing for them if they should know all soon enough
to direct their national reprobation upon the Texan adventurers, and
wash their hands of the iniquity of that business. This would soon be
done, if they could look upon the whole affair from a distance, and see
how the fair fame of their country is compromised by the avarice and
craft of a faction. The probity of their people, their magnanimity in
money matters, have always been conspicuous, from the time of the
cession of their lands by the States to the General Government, till
now: and, now they seem in danger of forfeiting their high character
through the art of the few, and the ignorance of the many. The few are
obtaining their end by flattering the passion of the many for new
territory, as well as by engaging their best feelings on behalf of those
who are supposed to be fighting for their rights against oppressors.
There is yet hope. The knowledge of the real state of the case is
spreading; and, if only time can be gained, the Americans will yet be
saved from the eternal disgrace of adding Texas to their honourable

The brief account which I shall give of what is prematurely called the
acquisition of Texas, is grounded partly on historical facts, open to
the knowledge of all; and partly on what I had the opportunity of
learning at New Orleans, from some leaders and agents in the Texan
cause, who did what they could to enlist my judgment and sympathies on
behalf of their party. I went in entire ignorance of the whole matter.
My first knowledge of it was derived from the persons above-mentioned,
whose objects were to obtain the good-will of such English as they could
win over; to have their affairs well spoken of in London; and to get the
tide of respectable English emigration turned in their direction. With
me they did not succeed: with some others they did. Several English are
already buried in Texas; and there are others whose repentance that they
ever were beguiled into aiding such a cause will be far worse than
death. The more I heard of the case from the lips of its advocates, the
worse I thought of it: and my reprobation of the whole scheme has grown
with every fact which has come out since.

Texas, late a province of Mexico, and then one of its confederated
States, lies adjacent to Louisiana. The old Spanish government seem to
have had some foresight as to what might happen, to judge by the
jealousy with which they guarded this part of their country from
intrusion by the Americans. The Spanish Captain-general of the internal
provinces, Don Nemisio Salcedo, used to say that he would, if he could,
stop the birds from flying over the boundary between Texas and the
United States. Prior to 1820, however, a few adventurers, chiefly Indian
traders, had dropped over the boundary line and remained unmolested in
the eastern corner of Texas. In 1820, Moses Austin, of Missouri, was
privileged by the Spanish authorities to introduce three hundred
orderly, industrious families, professing the Catholic religion, as
settlers into Texas. Moses Austin died; and his son Stephen prosecuted
the scheme. Before possession of the land was obtained, the Mexican
Revolution occurred; but the new government confirmed the privilege
granted by the old one, with some modifications. The chief of the
settlers and his followers were liberally enriched with lands, gratis;
on the conditions of their occupying them; of their professing the
Catholic religion; and of their being obedient to the laws of the

Other persons were tempted by Austin's success to apply for grants. Many
obtained them, and disposed of their grants to joint stock companies; so
that Texas became the scene of much land-speculation. The companies
began to be busy about "stock" and "scrip," which they proffered as
preparatory titles to land; and a crowd of ignorant and credulous
persons, and of gamblers, thus became greedy after lands which no more
belonged to any Americans than Ireland.

Leave was given to the actual settlers by the Mexican Government to
introduce, for ten years, duty free, all articles, not contraband, that
were necessary for their use and comfort. Under this permission, much
smuggling went on: and many adventurers settled in Texas for the very
purpose of supplying the neighbouring Indian tribes with contraband
articles. Arms and ammunition were plentifully furnished to the savages;
and slaves to the settlers; though slavery had been abolished in the
country, by whose laws the settlers had engaged to live.

The next step was, an offer on the part of the United States Government
to purchase Texas, in order to incorporate it with the Union. The offer
was instantly and indignantly rejected by the Mexicans. It may seem
surprising that even with the passion for territory that the people of
the United States have, they should desire to purchase Texas, while
above a billion of acres of land at home were still unoccupied. Slavery
is found to be the solution of this, as of almost every other absurdity
and unpleasant mystery there. Slavery answers only on a virgin soil, and
under certain conditions of the supply of labour. It is destined to die
out of the States which it has impoverished, and which come most closely
into contrast with those which are flourishing under free labour. It is
evidently destined soon to be relinquished by Missouri, Kentucky,
Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware; and not very long afterwards, by the
Carolinas, and perhaps Tennessee. The proprietors of slaves have a
double purpose in acquiring new territory: to obtain a fresh field for
the labour of the slaves they possess; and, (what is at least as
important,) to keep up the equality of the representation of the slave
and free States in Congress. We have before seen that there is a
provision against the introduction of slavery into the lands north-west
of the Ohio. When to the representation of the new States of this
region, shall be joined that of the old States which relinquish slavery,
the remaining slave States will be in a hopeless minority in Congress,
unless a representation from new slave regions can be provided. Texas is
to be obtained first; and, if desirable, to be divided into several
States; and afterwards, the aggressions on the Mexican territory will
doubtless be repeated, as often as a new area for slave labour is
wanted; and an accession of representation, for the support of slavery,
is needed in Congress. Thus it happens that a host of land-speculators,
adventurers and slave-owners have, for a long series of years, been
interested in the acquisition of Texas.

On the refusal of the Mexican Government to sell Texas, the newspapers
of the slave-holding portion of the United States began to indicate
methods of obtaining the territory, and to advocate the use of any means
for so desirable an object. The agent of the United States at the
Mexican capital is believed to have been instigated by his government to
intrigue for the purpose which could not be obtained by negotiation. The
settlers in Texas made it known along the Mississippi that they might
soon be strong enough to establish slavery openly, in defiance of
Mexico. This brought in an accession of slave-holding settlers, who
evaded the Mexican laws, by calling their slaves "apprentices for
ninety-nine years." The Mexicans took alarm; decreed in the State
Legislature of Texas that no apprenticeship should, on any pretence, be
for a longer term than ten years; forbade further immigration from the
United States; and sent a small body of troops to enforce the
prohibition. This was in 1829 and 1830.

In 1832, the Mexican troops were unfortunately wanted near the capital,
and called in from the frontiers and colonies. The settlers shut up the
custom-houses in their part of the country, and defied the laws as much
as they pleased. Then a great number of restless, bad spirits began to
pour into Texas from the whole of the United States; men who had to fly
from their creditors, or from the pursuit of justice. There was probably
never seen a more ferocious company of ruffians than Texas contains at
this moment. These men, who had nothing to lose, now set to work to
wrench the territory from the hands of the Mexicans. They actually
proceeded, in 1833, to organize a State Government; opposed earnestly
but feebly by the honest, original settlers, who were satisfied with the
contract under which they had settled, and had everything to lose by the
breach of it. A Convention was called, to prepare a State Constitution,
which Stephen Austin had the audacity to carry to the Mexican capital,
to pray for its ratification by the Mexican Congress. After some time,
he was committed to prison on a charge of treasonable conspiracy. He was
still in prison when I was at New Orleans, in May, 1835; and no one of
the persons who conversed with me on Texan affairs alluded to the fact.
They spoke of him as if living and acting among the settlers. He wrote
to the colonists from his prison, advising strict obedience to the
Mexican laws; and, finally, gave his promise to the government to
promote order in the colonies; and was dismissed, by the clemency of the
administration, without further punishment than an imprisonment of
nearly two years.

The wilder adventurers among the settlers had chafed at his advice, but
found it necessary to be quiet for a time. The Mexican government put
too much trust in them on this account, and restored, during Austin's
imprisonment, the freedom of immigration, on the old conditions. The
liberty was again shamelessly abused. Slaves were imported _from
Africa_, via Cuba, and illegal land speculations were carried on with
more vigour than ever. Troops were again sent from the capital to
re-open the custom-houses, and enforce their regulations. But it was now
too late.

It had long been a settled agreement between the Texan adventurers and
many slave-holders of the south, that if slavery could no otherwise be
perpetuated in Texas, it should be done by the seizure of that province;
all possible aid being given by the residents in the United States, who
were a party to the agreement. This was avowed by the adventurers in
Texas; and the avowal has been justified by the subscriptions of money,
arms, and stores, which have been sent through New Orleans; the
companies of volunteers that have given their strength to the bad cause;
and the efforts of members of Congress from the south to hurry on the
recognition of the independence of Texas by the United States
Government. It was with shame and grief that I heard, while I was in New
York, last spring, of the public meeting there, which had been got up by
men who should have put the influence of their names to a better use,--a
public meeting in behalf of the Texan adventurers, where high-sounding
common-places had been played off about patriotism, fighting for the
dearest rights of man, and so forth. The purpose was, I believe,
answered for the time. The price of stock rose; and subscriptions were
obtained. The Texan cause was then in the lowest state of depression. It
soon revived, in consequence of an unfortunate defeat of the Mexicans,
and the capture of the President of their republic, Santa Anna. This,
again, was made to serve as the occasion of a public dinner at New York,
when some eminent members of Congress were passing through, to the
Springs, in the summer. The time will come when those gentlemen will
look back upon their speeches at that dinner as among the deeds which,
dying, they would most wish to blot. By this time, however, the true
character of the struggle was beginning to be extensively recognised:
and, day by day, the people of the United States have been since
awakening to the knowledge of how they have been cheated in having their
best sympathies called forth in behalf of the worst of causes. The great
fear is, lest this should prove to be too late; lest, the United States
having furnished the means by which the usurpation of Texas has been
achieved, the people of the Union should be persuaded that they must
follow their common, and otherwise fair rule, of acknowledging the
independence of all States that are _de facto_ independent, without
having anything to do with the question _de jure_.

What has been the national conduct of the United States on this great
question? The government has been very nearly impartial. It must be
allowed that factions and individuals were already doing so much that,
if the government wished all possible success to the Texans, it could
hardly do better than be quiet while they were receiving the aid of its
constituents. While the theft of Texas has been achieved, (if it be
achieved,) by United States men, money and arms, the general government
has been officially regarding it as ostensibly and actually a foreign
affair. However much may be true of the general belief in the interest
of its members in the success of the Texan aggression, the government
has preserved a cool and guarded tone throughout; and the only act that
I know of for which it can be blamed is for not removing General Gaines
from his command on the frontier, on his manifestation of partisanship
on the Texan side. General Gaines was ordered to protect the settlers on
the south-western frontier, who might be in danger from the Mexicans,
and from the fierce Indians who were engaged on the Mexican side of the
quarrel. General Gaines wrote to head quarters of his intentions of
crossing, to attack the Mexicans, not only the inner bounds of the
United States territory, but the disputed boundary, claimed by the
United States, and disallowed by Mexico. Immediate orders were
despatched to him to do no such thing; to confine himself, except in a
strong emergency, to the inner boundary; and on no account whatever to
cross the disputed line. This was not enough. An officer who had shown
himself so indisposed to the neutrality professed by his government,
should have been sent where he could indulge his partialities with less
hazard to the national honour.

Some senators from the south pressed, last session, with indecent haste,
for the recognition of the independence of Texas. The speech of
Ex-President Adams remains as an eternal rebuke to such.[15] This speech
was the most remarkable individual act of the session; and no session
has been distinguished by one more honourable. There was no attempt at a
reply to it, in or out of either House. Mr. Adams left no resource to
the advocates of the Texan cause but abuse of himself: the philosophy of
which he, no doubt, understood as well as other people. Various public
men, in various public assemblies, have declared their desire for the
success of the Texans; and have joined with this the avowal that the
value of slaves will rise fifty per cent, as soon as the independence of
Texas is acknowledged.

The war is not yet over. The vicissitudes have been so great,--each
party has appeared at times in so hopeless a condition, that the friends
of American honour, and the foes of slavery, do not yet despair of the
ultimate expulsion of the aggressors, and the restoration of Texas to
Mexico. If these hopes must be surrendered,--if slavery is to be
re-established on a constitutional basis, in a vast territory where it
had been actually abolished,--if a new impulse is thus to be given to
the traffic in native Africans,[16]--if the fair fame of the
Anglo-Americans is to be thus early, and thus deeply stained, good men
must rouse themselves the more to enlighten the ignorance through which
the misfortune has happened. They must labour to exhibit the truth,
keeping unshaken their faith in the theory of their constitution that
"the majority will be in the right."

It is much to be feared that, even if Texas were acknowledged to-morrow
to be a Mexican State, an injury would be found to have been done to the
American people, which it will take a long time and much experience to
repair. No pains have been spared to confirm the delusion, that the
possession of more and more land is the only thing to be desired, alike
by the selfish and the patriotic; by those who would hastily build up
their own fortunes, and by those who desire the aggrandisement of their
country. No one mourned with me more earnestly over this popular
delusion than a member of Congress, who has since been one of the most
vehement advocates of the Texan cause, and has thereby done his best to
foster the delusion. He told me that the metaphysics of society in the
south afford a curious study to the observer; and that they are
humbling to a resident. He told me that, so far from the honour and
happiness of any region being supposed to lie in the pursuit of the
higher objects of life, any man would be pronounced "imbecile" who,
having enough for his moderate wants, should prefer the enjoyment of his
patrimony, his family relations, and intercourse with the society in
which he was brought up, to wandering away in pursuit of more land. He
complained that he was heart-sick when he heard of American books: that
there was no character of permanence in anything;--all was fluctuation,
except the passion for land, which, under the name of enterprise, or
patriotism; or something else that was creditable, would last till his
countrymen had pushed their out-posts to the Pacific. He insisted that
the only consolation arose from what was to be hoped when pioneering
must, perforce, come to a stop. He told me of one and another of his
intelligent and pleasant young neighbours, who were quitting their homes
and civilised life, and carrying their brides "as bondwomen" into the
wilderness, because fine land was cheap there. If all this be true of
the young gentry of the south, as I believe it is, what hope is there
that the delusion will not long remain among those who have no other
guides than Experience;--that slowest of all teachers?

The people of the United States have, however, kept their eyes open to
one great danger, arising from this love of land. They have always had
in view the disadvantage of rich men purchasing tracts larger than they
could cultivate. They saw that it was contrary to the public interest
that individuals should be allowed to interpose a desert between other
settlers whose welfare depends much on their having means of free
communication, and a peopled neighbourhood; and that it is inconsistent
with republican modes that overgrown fortunes should arise by means of
an early grasping of large quantities of a cheap kind of property, which
must inevitably become of the highest value in course of time. The
reduction in the price of land would probably have been greater, but for
the temptation which the cheapening would hold out to capitalists.
Another reason assigned for not still further lowering the price is, the
danger of depreciating a kind of property held by the largest proportion
of the people. This is obviously unsound; since the property held by
this large proportion of the people is improved land, whose relation in
value to other kinds of property is determined by quite other
circumstances than the amount of the original purchase-money. The number
of people who sell again unimproved land is so small as not to be worthy
to enter into the account.

Large grants of land have been made to schools and colleges. Upwards of
eight millions of acres have, I believe, been thus disposed of. There
seems no objection to this, at the time it was done; as there can be no
doubt that grants will be cultivated that have such an interest hanging
on their cultivation. These grants were made while there was a national
debt. Now, there is a surplus revenue; and appropriations of this kind
had better be made henceforth from the money which has arisen from the
sale of land than in a way which would force more land into the market.
It is to be hoped, too, that no more recompenses for public service will
be offered in land, like the large grants which were made to soldiers
after the revolutionary war. The soldiers have disposed of their lands
much under the governmental price, in order to obtain a sale; and the
hurtful dispersion of settlers, and the sale of tracts too large to be
well-cultivated, have been thereby assisted.

The great question incessantly repeated throughout the United States
is, what is to be done with the immense amount of land remaining unsold;
and with the perpetually increasing revenue arising from the sale, as it
proceeds? Various propositions are afloat,--none of which appear to me
so wise as some which remain to be offered. One proposition is to divide
the lands again among the States, apportioning the amount according to
the representation in Congress, or to the population as given by the
last census. Besides the difficulty of making the apportionment fairly,
this plan would afford fatal inducements to a greater dispersion of
people than has yet taken place. It is also argued that no
constitutional power exists by which the cession of 1787 can be

Another proposition is, to let the sale of lands go on as it does now,
and divide the proceeds among the several States, for purposes of
Education, Colonisation of the coloured race, and Internal Improvements.
Under such a plan, there would be endless disputes about the amounts to
be paid over to the different States. The general government would have
a new and dangerous function assigned to it. Besides, as much of the
surplus revenue is derived from duties, it seems a shorter and more
natural method to leave off levying money that is not wanted, than to
levy it, use it, and make a distribution of other funds among the
States. This subject will, however, come under consideration hereafter.

Others propose that nothing should be done: that the lands should go on
being sold according to the present demand, and the proceeds to
accumulate, till some accident happens,--a war, or other expensive
adventure,--to help to dissipate them. The first part of the proposition
will probably stand good: for it seems a difficult thing to raise the
price of land again:--an impossible thing, till the people shall show
that they understand the case by demanding an increase of price: but the
second part of the proposition cannot be acceded to. It is inconsistent
with the first principles of democracy that large sums of money should
accumulate in the hands of the general government. The accumulation must
be disposed of, and the sources of revenue restrained.

There are modes of advantageously disposing of the surplus revenue which
are obvious to those whose economical experience is precisely the
reverse of that of the people of the United States. They are not likely
to be at present assented to,--perhaps even to be tolerated by the
inhabitants of the new world. Such as they are, they will be presented
in the next section.

The lowest price given of late for land, that I heard of, was a
quarter-dollar per acre; (for these are not times when three thousand
acres are to be had for a rifle; and a whole promontory for a suit of
clothes.) Some good land may be still had, at a distance from roads and
markets, from those who want to turn their surplus land into money, for
a quarter-dollar per acre. Some that I saw in New Hampshire under these
circumstances has advanced in five years to a dollar and a half per
acre: and some of about equal quality, about fifteen miles nearer to a
market, sold at the same time for ten dollars per acre. I saw some low
land, on the banks of the river, near Pittsburg, which would not sell at
any price a few years ago, when salt was brought over the mountains on
pack-horses, and sold at a dollar a quart. Now salt is obtained in any
quantity by digging near this land; and the meadow is parted into lots
of ten acres each, which sell at the rate of one thousand dollars per
acre. This is, no doubt, in prospect of the salt-works which are
destined to flourish here. The highest price I heard of being given
(unless in a similar case in New York) was for street lots in Mobile;
one hundred and ten dollars per foot frontage.

For agricultural purposes, the price of land varies, according to its
fertility, and, much more, to its vicinity to a market, in a manner
which cannot easily be specified. I think the highest price I heard of
was fifteen hundred dollars per acre. This was in the south. In the
north and west, I heard of prices varying from thirty to one hundred
dollars, even in somewhat retired situations. One thing seems to be
granted on all hands: that a settler cannot fail of success, if he takes
good land, in a healthy situation, at the government price. If he
bestows moderate pains on his lot, he may confidently reckon on its
being worth at least double at the end of the year: much more, if there
are growing probabilities of a market.

The methods according to which the sales of the public lands in the
United States are conducted are excellent. The lots are so divided as to
preclude all doubt and litigation about boundaries. There is a general
land-office at Washington, and a subordinate one in each district, where
all business can be transacted with readiness and exactitude. Periodical
sales are made of lands which it is desirable to bring into the market.
These are disposed of to the highest bidder. The advance of the
population into the wilderness is thus made more regular than it would
be if there were not a rendezvous in each district, where it could be
ascertained how the settlement of the neighbouring country was going on;
titles are made more secure; and less impunity is allowed to fraud.

The pre-emption laws, originally designed for the benefit of poor
settlers, have been the greatest provocatives to fraud. It seemed hard
that a squatter, who had settled himself on unoccupied land, and done
it nothing but good, should be turned off without remuneration, or
compelled to purchase his own improvements; and in 1830, a bill was
therefore passed, granting a pre-emption right to squatters who had
taken such possession of unsold lands. It provided that when two
individuals had cultivated a quarter section of land, (one hundred and
sixty acres,) each should have a pre-emption right with regard to half
the cultivated portion: and each also to a pre-emption of eighty acres
anywhere else in the same land district. Of course, abundance of persons
took advantage of this law to get the best land very cheap. Two men, by
merely cutting down, or blazing a few trees, or "camping out" for a
night or two, on a good quarter-section, have secured it at the minimum
price. A Report to Congress states that there is reason to believe that
"large companies have been founded, who procure affidavits of
improvements to be made, get the warrants issued upon them, and whenever
a good tract of land is ready for sale, cover it over with their
_floats_, (warrants of the required habitation,) and thus put down
competition. The frauds upon the public, within the past year, (1835,)
from this single source, have arisen to many millions of dollars." Such
errors in matters of detail are sure to be corrected soon after being
discovered. The means will speedily be found of showing a due regard to
the claims of squatters, without precipitating the settlement of land by
unfairly reducing its price in the market. Whatever methods may tend to
lessen rather than to increase the facilities for occupying new land,
must, on the whole, be an advantage, while the disproportion between
land and labour is so great as it now is in the western regions of the
United States.



English farmers settling in the United States used to be a joke to their
native neighbours. The Englishman began with laughing, or being shocked,
at the slovenly methods of cultivation employed by the American
settlers: he was next seen to look grave on his own account; and ended
by following the American plan.

The American ploughs round the stumps of the trees he has felled, and is
not very careful to measure the area he ploughs, and the seed he sows.
The Englishman clears half the quantity of land,--clears it very
thoroughly; ploughs deep, sows thick, raises twice the quantity of grain
on half the area of land, and points proudly to his crop. But the
American has, meantime, fenced, cleared, and sown more land, improved
his house and stock, and kept his money in his pocket. The Englishman
has paid for the labour bestowed on his beautiful fields more than his
fine crop repays him. When he has done thus for a few seasons, till his
money is gone, he learns that he has got to a place where it answers to
spend land to save labour; the reverse of his experience in England; and
he soon becomes as slovenly a farmer as the American, and begins
immediately to grow rich.

It would puzzle a philosopher to compute how long some prejudices will
subsist in defiance of, not only evidence, but personal experience.
These same Americans, who laugh (reasonably enough) at the prejudiced
English farmer, seem themselves incapable of being convinced on a point
quite as plain as that between him and themselves. The very ground of
their triumph over him is their knowledge of the much smaller value of
land, and greater value of labour, in America than in England: and yet
there is no one subject on which so many complaints are to be heard from
every class of American society as the immigration of foreigners. The
incapacity of men to recognise blessings in disguise has been the theme
of moralists in all ages: but it might be expected that the Americans,
in this case, would be an exception. It is wonderful, to a stranger, to
see how they fret and toil, and scheme and invent, to supply the
deficiency of help, and all the time quarrel with the one means by which
labour is brought to their door. The immigration of foreigners was the
one complaint by which I was met in every corner of the free States; and
I really believe I did not converse with a dozen persons who saw the
ultimate good through the present apparent evil.

It is not much to be wondered at that gentlemen and ladies, living in
Boston and New York, and seeing, for the first time in their lives,
half-naked and squalid persons in the street, should ask where they come
from, and fear lest they should infect others with their squalor, and
wish they would keep away. It is not much to be wondered at that the
managers of charitable institutions in the maritime cities should be
weary of the claims advanced by indigent foreigners: but it is
surprising that these gentlemen and ladies should not learn by
experience that all this ends well, and that matters are taking their
natural course. It would certainly be better that the emigrants should
be well clothed, educated, respectable people; (except that, in that
case, they would probably never arrive;) but the blame of their bad
condition rests elsewhere, while their arrival is, generally speaking,
almost a pure benefit. Some are intemperate and profligate; and such
are, no doubt, a great injury to the cities where they harbour; but the
greater number show themselves decent and hardworking enough, when put
into employment. Every American acknowledges that few or no canals or
railroads would be in existence now, in the United States, but for the
Irish labour by which they have been completed: and the best cultivation
that is to be seen in the land is owing to the Dutch and Germans it
contains. What would housekeepers do for domestic service without
foreigners? If the American ports had been barred against immigration,
and the sixty thousand foreigners per annum, with all their progeny, had
been excluded, where would now have been the public works of the United
States, the agriculture, the shipping?

The most emphatic complainers of the immigration of foreigners are those
who imagine that the morals of society suffer thereby. My own conviction
is that the morals of society are, on the whole, thereby much improved.
It is candidly allowed, on all hands, that the passion of the Irish for
the education of their children is a great set-off against the bad
qualities some of them exhibit in their own persons; and that the second
and third generations of Irish are among the most valuable citizens of
the republic. The immigrant Germans are more sober and respectable than
the Irish; but there is more difficulty in improving them and their
children. The Scotch are in high esteem. My own opinion is that most of
the evils charged upon the immigrants are chargeable upon the
mismanagement of them in the ports. The atrocious corruption of the New
York elections, where an Irishman, just landed, and employed upon the
drains, perjures himself, and votes nine times over, is chargeable, not
upon immigration, nor yet upon universal suffrage, but upon faults in
the machinery of registration. Again, if the great pauper-palace, over
the Schuylkill, near Philadelphia, be half full of foreigners; if it be
true that an Irish woman was seen to walk round it, and heard to observe
that she should immediately write over for all her relations; the evil
is chargeable upon there being a pauper-palace, with the best of food
and clothing, and no compulsion to work, in a country where there is far
more work and wages than there are hands to labour and earn. There is in
New York a benevolent gentleman who exercises a most useful and
effectual charity. He keeps a kind of registry office for the demand and
supply of emigrant labour; takes charge of the funds of such emigrants
as are fortunate enough to have any; and befriends them in every way. He
declares that he has an average of six situations on his list ready for
every sober, able-bodied man and woman that lands at New York.

The bad moral consequences of a dispersion of agricultural labour, and
the good moral effects of an adequate combination, are so serious as to
render it the duty of good citizens to inform themselves fully of the
bearings of this question before they attempt to influence other minds
upon it. Those who have seen what are the morals and manners of families
who live alone in the wilds, with no human opinion around them, no
neighbours with whom to exchange good offices, no stimulus to mental
activity, no social amusements, no church, _no life_, nothing but the
pursuit of the outward means of living,--any one who has witnessed this
will be ready to agree what a blessing it would be to such a family to
shake down a shower of even poor Irish labourers around them. To such a
family no tidings ought to be more welcome than of the arrival of
ship-load after ship-load of immigrants at the ports, some few of whom
may wander hitherwards, and by entering into a combination of labour to
obtain means of living, open a way to the attainment of the ends. Sixty
thousand immigrants a-year! What are these spread over so many thousand
square miles? If the country could be looked down upon from a balloon,
some large clusters of these would be seen detained in the cities,
because they could not be spared into the country; other clusters would
be seen about the canals and railroads; and a very slight sprinkling in
the back country, where their stations would be marked by the prosperity
growing up around them.

The expedients used in the country settlements to secure a combination
of labour when it is absolutely necessary, show how eminently deficient
it is. Every one has heard of the "frolic" or "bee," by means of which
the clearing of lots, the raising of houses, the harvesting of crops is
achieved. Roads are made, and kept by contributions of labour and teams,
by settlers. For the rest, what can be done by family labour alone is so
done, with great waste of time, material, and toil. The wonderful
effects of a "frolic," in every way, should serve, in contrast with the
toil and difficulty usually expended in producing small results, to
incline the hearts of settlers towards immigrants, and to plan how an
increase of them may be obtained.

Minds are, I hope, beginning to turn in this direction. In New England,
where there is the most combination of labour, and the poorest land, it
is amusing to see the beginning of discoveries on this head. I find, in
the United States' Almanack for 1835, an article on agricultural
improvements, (presupposing a supply of labour as the primary
requisite,) which bears all the marks of freshness and originality, of
having been a discovery of the writer's.

"If such improvements as are possible, or even easy," (where there is
labour at hand,) "were made in the husbandry of this country, many and
great advantages would be found to arise. As twice the number of people
might be supported on the same quantity of land, all our farming towns
would become twice as populous as they are likely to be in the present
state of husbandry. There would be, in general, but half the distance to
travel to visit one's friends and acquaintances. Friends might oftener
see and converse with each other. Half the labour would be saved in
carrying the corn to mill, and the produce to market; half the
journeying saved in attending our courts; and half the expense in
supporting government, and in making and repairing roads; half the
distance saved in going to the smith, weaver, clothier, &c.; half the
distance saved in going to public worship, and most other meetings; for
where steeples are four miles apart, they would be only two or three.
Much time, expense and labour would, on these accounts, be saved; and
civilisation, with all the social virtues, would, perhaps, be
proportionally promoted and increased."

Before this can be done, there must be hands to do it. Steeples must
remain four or fourteen miles apart, till there are beings enough in the
intervening space to draw them together. I saw, on the Mississippi, a
woman in a canoe, paddling up against the stream; probably, as I was
told, to visit a neighbour twenty or thirty miles off. The only comfort
was that the current would bring her back four times as quickly as she
went up. What a blessing would a party of emigrant neighbours be to a
woman who would row herself twenty miles against the stream of the
Mississippi for companionship!

Instead of complaining of the sixty thousand emigrants per annum, and
lowering the price of land, so as to induce dispersion, it would be
wise, if it were possible, in the people of the United States to bring
in sixty thousand more labourers per annum, and raise the price of land.
This last cannot, perhaps, be done: but why should not the other? With a
surplus revenue that they do not know what to do with, and a scarcity of
the labour which they do not know how to do without, why not use the
surplus funds accruing from the lands in carrying labour to the soil?

It is true, Europeans have the same passion for land as the Americans;
and such immigrants would leave their employers, and buy for themselves,
as soon as they had earned the requisite funds: but these, again, would
supply the means of bringing over more labour; and the intermediate
services of the labourers would be so much gained. If the arrangements
were so made as to bring over sober, respectable labourers, without
their being in any way bound to servitude, (as a host of poor Germans
once were made white slaves of,) if, the land and labour being once
brought together, and repayment from the benefited parties being
secured, (if desired,) things were then left to take their natural
course, a greater blessing could hardly befal the United States than
such an importation of labourers.

I was told, in every eastern city, that it was a common practice with
parish officers in England to ship off their paupers to the United
States. I took some pains to investigate the grounds of this charge, and
am convinced that it is a mistake; that the accusation has arisen out of
some insulated case. I was happy to be able to show my American friends
how the supposed surplus population of the English agricultural counties
has shrunk, and in most cases disappeared, under the operation of the
new Poor Law, so that, even if the charge had ever been true, it could
not long remain so. By the time that we shall be enabled to say the same
of the parishes of Ireland, the Americans will, doubtless, have
discovered that they would be glad of all the labourers we had ever been
able to spare; if only we could send them in the form of respectable men
and women, instead of squalid paupers, looking as if they were going
from shore to shore, to rouse the world to an outcry against the sins
and sorrows of our economy.

It will scarcely be credited by those who are not already informed on
the subject, that a proposition has been made to send out of the country
an equal number of persons to the amount brought into it; ship loads of
labourers going to and fro, like buckets in a well: that this
proposition has been introduced into Congress, and has been made the
basis of appropriations in some State legislatures: that itinerant
lecturers are employed to advocate the scheme: that it is preached from
the pulpit, and subscribed for in the churches, and that in its behalf
are enlisted members of the administration, a great number of the
leading politicians, clergy, merchants, and planters, and a large
proportion of the other citizens of the United States. It matters little
how many or how great are the men engaged in behalf of a bad scheme,
which is so unnatural that it cannot but fail:--it matters little, as
far as the scheme itself is concerned; but it is of incalculable
consequence as creating an obstruction. For itself, the miserable
abortion--the Colonisation scheme--might be passed over; for its active
results will be nothing; but it is necessary to refer to it in its
passive character of an obstruction. It is necessary to refer thus to
it, not only as a matter of fact, but because, absurd and impracticable
as the scheme clearly is, when viewed in relation to the whole state of
affairs in America, it is not so easy on the spot to discern its true
character. So many perplexing considerations are mixed up with it by its
advocates; so many of those advocates are men of earnest philanthropy,
and well versed in the details of the scheme, while blind to its general
bearing, that it is difficult to have general principles always in
readiness to meet opposing facts; to help adopting the partial views of
well-meaning and thoroughly persuaded persons; and to know where to
doubt, and what to disbelieve. I went to America extremely doubtful
about the character of this institution. I heard at Baltimore and
Washington all that could be said in its favour, by persons conversant
with slavery, which I had not then seen. Mr. Madison, the President of
the Colonisation Society, gave me his favourable views of it. Mr. Clay,
the Vice-President, gave me his. So did almost every clergyman and other
member of society whom I met for some months. Much time, observation,
and reflection were necessary to form a judgment for myself, after so
much prepossession, even in so clear a case as I now see this to be.
Others on the spot must have the same allowance as was necessary for me:
and, if any pecuniary interest be involved in the question, much more.
But, I am firmly persuaded that any clear-headed man, shutting himself
up in his closet for a day's study of the question, or taking a voyage,
so as to be able to look back upon the entire country he has
left,--being careful to take in the whole of its economical aspect, (to
say nothing, at present, of the moral,) can come to no other conclusion
than that the scheme of transporting the coloured population of the
United States to the coast of Africa is absolutely absurd; and, if it
were not so, would be absolutely pernicious. But, in matters of
economy, the pernicious and the absurd are usually identical.

No one is to be blamed for the origin of slavery. Because it is now,
under conviction, wicked, it does not follow that it was instituted in
wickedness. Those who began it, knew not what they did. It has been
elsewhere[17] ably shown how slavery has always, and, to all appearance,
unavoidably existed, in some form or other, wherever large new tracts of
land have been taken possession of by a few agricultural settlers. Let
it be granted that negro slavery was begun inadvertently in the West
India islands, and continued, by an economical necessity, in the
colonies of North America.

What is now the state of the case? Slavery, of a very mild kind, has
been abolished in the northern parts of the Union, where agricultural
labour can be carried on by whites, and where such employments bear a
very reduced proportion to manufacturing and commercial occupations. Its
introduction into the north-western portions of the country has been
prohibited by those who had had experience of its evils. Slavery,
generally of a very aggravated character, now subsists in thirteen
States out of twenty-six, and those thirteen are the States which grow
the tobacco, rice, cotton and sugar; it being generally alleged that
rice and sugar cannot be raised by white labour, while some maintain
that they may. I found few who doubted that tobacco and cotton may be
grown by white labour, with the assistance from brute labour and
machinery which would follow upon the disuse of human capital; The
amount of the slave population is now above two millions and a half. It
increases rapidly in the States which have been impoverished by slavery;
and is killed off; but not with equal rapidity, on the virgin soils to
which alone it is, in any degree, appropriate. It has become
unquestionably inappropriate in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and
Kentucky. To these I should be disposed to add Missouri, and North
Carolina, and part of Tennessee and South Carolina. The States which
have more slave labour than their deteriorated lands require, sell it to
those which have a deficiency of labour to their rich lands. Virginia,
now in a very depressed condition, derives her chief revenue from the
rearing of slaves, as stock, to be sent to Alabama, Mississippi, and
Louisiana. The march of circumstance has become too obvious to escape
the attention of the most short-sighted. No one can fail to perceive
that slavery, like an army of locusts, is compelled to shift its place,
by the desolation it has made. Its progress is southwards; and now,
having reached the sea there, south-westwards. If there were but an
impassable barrier there, its doom would be certain, and not very
remote. This doom was apparently sealed a while ago, by the abolition of
slavery in Mexico, and the fair chance there seemed of Missouri and
Arkansas being subjected to a restriction of the same purport with that
imposed on the new States, north-west of the Ohio. This doom has been,
for the present, cancelled by the admission of slavery into Missouri and
Arkansas, and by the seizure of Texas by American citizens. The open
question, however, only regards its final limits. Its speedy abolition
in many of the States may be, and is, regarded as certain.

The institution of slavery was a political anomaly at the time of the
Revolution. It has now become an economical one also. Nothing can
prevent the generality of persons from seeing this, however blind a few,
a very few persons on the spot may be to the truth.[18]

It has thus obviously become the interest of all to whom slavery still
is, or is believed to be, a gain; of those who hold the richest lands;
of those who rear slaves for such lands; of all who dread change; of all
who would go quietly through life, and leave it to a future generation
to cope with their difficulty,--it has become the interest of all such
to turn their own attention and that of others from the fact that the
time has come when the slaves ought to be made free labourers. They
cannot put down the fact into utter silence. Some sort of compromise
must be made with it. A tub must be thrown to the whale. A tub has been
found which will almost hold the whale.

It is proposed by the Colonisation Society that free persons of colour
shall be sent to establish and conduct a civilised community on the
shores of Africa. The variety of prospects held out by this proposition
to persons of different views is remarkable. To the imaginative, there
is the picture of the restoration of the coloured race to their paternal
soil: to the religious, the prospect of evangelising Africa. Those who
would serve God and Mammon are delighted at being able to work their
slaves during their own lives, and then leave them to the Colonisation
Society with a bequest of money, (when money must needs be left behind,)
to carry them over to Africa. Those who would be doing, in a small way,
immediately, let certain of their slaves work for wages which are to
carry them over to Africa. Those who have slaves too clever or
discontented to be safe neighbours, can ship them off to Africa. Those
who are afraid of the rising intelligence of their free coloured
neighbours, or suffer strongly under the prejudice of colour, can
exercise such social tyranny as shall drive such troublesome persons to
Africa. The clergy, public lecturers, members of legislatures, religious
societies, and charitable individuals, both in the north and south, are
believed to be, and believe themselves to be, labouring on behalf of
slaves, when they preach, lecture, obtain appropriations, and subscribe,
on behalf of the Colonisation Society. Minds and hearts are laid to
rest,--opiated into a false sleep.

Here are all manner of people associated for one object, which has the
primary advantage of being ostensibly benevolent. It has had Mr. Madison
for its chief officer: Mr. Clay for its second. It has had the aid, for
twenty years, of almost all the presses and pulpits of the United
States, and of most of their politicians, members of government, and
leading professional men and merchants, and almost all the planters of
twelve states, and all the missionary interest. Besides the
subscriptions arising from so many sources, there have been large
appropriations made by various legislatures. What is the
result?--Nothing. _Ex nihilo nihil fit._ Out of a chaos of elements no
orderly creation can arise but by the operation of a sound principle:
and sound principle here, there is none.

In twenty years, the Colonisation Society has removed to Africa between
two and three thousand persons;[19] while the annual increase of the
slave population is, by the lowest computation, sixty thousand; and the
number of free blacks is upwards of three hundred and sixty-two

The chief officers of the Colonisation Society look forward to being
able, in a few years, to carry off the present annual increase, and a
few more; by which time the annual increase will amount to many times
more than the Society will have carried out from the beginning.

The leading Colonisation advocates in the south object to abolition,
invariably on the ground that they should be left without labourers:
whereas it is the Colonisation scheme which would carry away the
labourers, and the abolition scheme which would leave them where they
are. To say nothing of the wilfulness of this often-confuted objection,
it proves that those who urge it are not in earnest in advocating
Colonisation as ultimate emancipation.

As far as I could learn, no leading member of the Colonisation Society
has freed any of his slaves. Its president had sold twelve, the week
before I first saw him. Its vice-president is _obsédé_ by his slaves;
but retains them all. And so it is, through the whole hierarchy.

The avowal of a southern gentleman,--"We have our slaves, and we mean to
keep them,"--is echoed on _political_ occasions by the same gentlemen of
the Colonisation Society, who, on _politic_ or religious occasions,
treat of colonisation as ultimate emancipation.

While labourers are flocking into other parts of the country, at the
rate of sixty thousand per annum, and are found to be far too few for
the wants of society, the Colonisation scheme proposes to carry out more
than this number; and fails of all its ostensible objects till it does
so. A glance at the causes of slavery, and at the present economy of the
United States, shows such a scheme to be a bald fiction.

It alienates the attention and will of the people, (for the purposes of
the few,) from the principle of the abolition of slavery, which would
achieve any honest objects of the Colonisation Society, and many more.
Leaving, for the present, the moral consideration of the case, abolition
would not only leave the land as full of labourers as it is now, but
incalculably augment the supply of labour by substituting willing and
active service, and improved methods of husbandry, for the forced,
inferior labour, and wasteful arrangements which are always admitted to
be co-existent with slavery.

The greater number of eminent Abolitionists,--eminent for talents, zeal
and high principle,--are converted Colonisationists.

This is surely enough.

It appears to me that the Colonisation Society could never have gained
any ground at all, but for the common supposition that the blacks must
go somewhere. It was a long while before I could make anything of this.
The argument always ran thus.

"Unless they remain as they are, Africa is the only place for them.--It
will not do to give them a territory; we have seen enough of that with
the Indians. We are heart-sick of territories: the blacks would all
perish.--Then, the climate of Canada would not suit them: they would
perish there. The Haytians will not take them in: they have a horror of
freed slaves.--There is no rest for the soles of their feet, anywhere
but in Africa!"

"Why should they not stay where they are?"

"Impossible. The laws of the States forbid freed negroes to remain."

"At present,--on account of the slaves who remain. In case of abolition,
such laws would be repealed, of course: and then, why should not the
blacks remain where they are?"

"They could never live among the whites in a state of freedom."

"Why? You are begging the question."

"They would die of vice and misery."

"Why more than the German labourers?"

"They do in the free States. They are dying out there constantly."

"What makes them more vicious than other people?"

"The coloured people always are."

"You mean because their colour is the badge of slavery?"


"Then, when it is no longer so, the degradation, for aught you know,
will cease."

This is the circle, described by those who pity the slaves. There is
another, appropriate to those who pity the masters.

"What is to become of the planters, without any labourers? They must
shut up and go away; for they cannot stay in their houses, without any
labourers on the plantations."

"Are the slaves to be all buried? Or are they to evaporate? or what?"

"O, you know, they would all go away. Nothing would make them stay when
they were once free."

"They would change masters, no doubt. But as many would remain in the
area as before. Why not?"

"The masters could not possibly employ them. They could never manage
them, except as slaves."

"So you think that the masters could not have the labourers, because
they would go away: and the labourers must go away, because the masters
would not have them."

To prevent any escape by a nibble in this circle, the other is brought
up round it, to prove that there is no other place than Africa for the
blacks to go to: and thus, the alternative of slavery or colonisation is
supposed to be established.

All action, and all conversation, on behalf of this institution, bears
the same character,--of arguing in a circle. A magic ring seems drawn
round those who live amidst slavery; and it gives a circular character
to all they think and say and do upon the subject. There are but few who
sit within it who distinctly see anything beyond it. If there were but
any one moral giant within, who would heave a blow at it with all the
force of a mighty principle, it would be shattered to atoms in a moment;
and the white and black slaves it encloses would be free at once. This
will be done when more light is poured in under the darkness which
broods over it: and the time cannot now be far off.

Whenever I am particularly strongly convinced of anything, in opposition
to the opinion of any or many others, I entertain a suspicion that there
is more evidence on the other side than I see. I felt so, even on this
subject of slavery, which has been clear to English eyes for so long. I
went into the slave States with this suspicion in my mind; and I
preserved it there as long as possible. I believe that I have heard
every argument that can possibly be adduced in vindication or palliation
of slavery, under any circumstances now existing; and I declare that, of
all displays of intellectual perversion and weakness that I have
witnessed, I have met with none so humbling and so melancholy as the
advocacy of this institution. I declare that I know the whole of its
theory;--a declaration that I dare not make with regard to, I think, any
other subject whatever: the result is that I believe there is nothing
rational to be said in vindication or palliation of the protraction of
slavery in the United States.--Having made this avowal; it will not be
expected that I should fill my pages with a wide superficies of argument
which will no more bear a touch than pond-ice, on the last day of thaw.
As I disposed in my mind the opposite arguments of slave-holders, I
found that they ate one another up, like the two cats that Sheridan told
of; but without leaving so much as an inch of tail.

One mistake, perhaps, deserves notice. Restless slave-holders, whose
uneasiness has urged them to struggle in their toils, and find
themselves unable to get out but by the loss of everything, (but honour
and conscience,) pointed out to me the laws of their States, whereby the
manumission of slaves is rendered difficult or impossible to the master,
remaining on the spot, and prospectively fatal to the freed
slave;--pointed out to me these laws as rendering abolition impossible.
To say nothing of the feebleness of the barriers which human regulations
present to the changes urged on by the great natural laws of
society,--it is a sufficient answer that these State laws present no
obstacle to general, though they do to particular, emancipation. They
will be cancelled or neglected by the same will which created them, when
the occasion expires with which they sprang up, or which they were
designed to perpetuate. The institution of slavery was not formed in
accordance with them: they arose out of the institution. They are an
offset; and, to use the words of one of their advocates, spoken in
another connexion, "they will share the fate of offsets, and perish with
the parent."

It is obvious that all laws which encourage the departure of the blacks
must be repealed, when their slavery is abolished. The one thing
necessary, in the economical view of the case, is that efficient
measures should be taken to prevent an unwise dispersion of these
labourers: measures, I mean, which should in no way interfere with their
personal liberty, but which should secure to them generally greater
advantages on the spot than they could obtain by roaming. It has been
distinctly shown that slavery originated from the difficulty of
concentrating labour in the neighbourhood of capitalists. Where the
people are few in proportion to the land, they are apt to disperse
themselves over it; so that personal coercion has been supposed
necessary, in the first instance, to secure any efficient cultivation of
the land at all. Though the danger and the supposed necessity are past,
in all but the rawest of the slave States, the ancient fact should be so
borne in mind as that what legislation there is should tend to cause a
concentration, rather than a dispersion of the labourers. Any such
tendency will be much aided by the strong local attachments for which
negroes are remarkable. It is not only that slaves dread all change,
from the intellectual and moral dejection to which they are reduced;
fearing even the removal from one plantation to another, under the same
master, from the constant vague apprehension of something dreadful. It
is not only this, (which, however, it would take them some time to
outgrow,) but that all their race show a kind of feline attachment to
places to which they are accustomed, which will be of excellent service
to kind masters when the day of emancipation comes. For the rest,
efficient arrangements can and will doubtless be made to prevent their
wandering further than from one master to another. The abolition of
slavery must be complete and immediate: that is to say, as a man either
is or is not the property of another, as there can be no degrees of
ownership of a human being, there must be an immediate and complete
surrender of all claim to negro men, women, and children as property:
but there may and will doubtless be arrangements made to protect, guide,
and teach these degraded beings, till they have learned what liberty
is, and how to use it. Liberty to change their masters must, under
certain reasonable limitations, be allowed; the education of their
children must be enforced. The amount of wages will be determined by
natural laws, and cannot be foreseen, further than that they must
necessarily be very ample for a long time to come. It will probably be
found desirable to fix the price of the government lands, with a view to
the coloured people, at that amount which will best obviate squatting,
and secure the respectable settlement of some who may find their way to
the west.

Suggestions of this kind excite laughter among the masters of slaves,
who are in the habit of thinking that they know best what negroes are,
and what they are capable of. I have reasons for estimating their
knowledge differently, and for believing that none know so little of the
true character and capabilities of negroes as their owners. They might
know more, but for the pernicious and unnatural secrecy about some of
the most important facts connected with slave-holding, which is induced
partly by pride, partly by fear, partly by pecuniary interest. If they
would do themselves and their slaves the justice of inquiring with
precision what is the state of Hayti; what has taken place in the West
Indies; what the emancipation really was there; what its effects
actually are, they would obtain a clearer view of their own prospects.
So they would, if they would communicate freely about certain facts
nearer home: not only conversing as individuals, but removing the
restrictions upon the press by which they lose far more than they gain,
both in security and fortune,--to say nothing of intelligence. Of the
many families in which I enjoyed intercourse, there was, I believe, none
where I was not told of some one slave of unusual value, for talent or
goodness, either in the present or a former generation. A collection of
these alone, as they stand in my journal, would form no mean testimony
to the intellectual and moral capabilities of negroes: and if to these
were added the tales which I could tell, if I also were not bound under
the laws of mystery of which I have been complaining, many hearts would
beat with the desire to restore to their human rights those whose
fellow-sufferers have given ample proof of their worthiness to enjoy
them. The consideration which binds me to silence upon a rich collection
of facts, full of moral beauty and promise, is regard to the safety of
many whose heroic obedience to the laws of God has brought them into
jeopardy under the laws of slave-holders, and the allies of
slave-holders. Nor would I, by any careless revelations, throw the
slightest obstacle in the way of the escape of any one of the slaves who
may be about to shirk their masters, by methods with which I happen to
be acquainted.

It can, however, do nothing but good to proclaim the truth that slaves
do run away in much greater numbers than is supposed by any but those
who lose them, and those who help them. By which I mean many others
besides the abolitionists _par excellence_. Perhaps I might confine the
knowledge to these last; for I believe no means exist by which the
yearly amount of loss of this kind may be verified and published in the
south. Everybody who has been in America is familiar with the little
newspaper picture of a black man, hieing with his stick and bundle,
which is prefixed to the advertisements of runaways. Every traveller has
probably been struck with the number of these which meets his eye; but
unless he has more private means of information, he will remain unaware
of the streams of fugitives continually passing out of the States. There
is much reserve about this in the south, from pride; and among those
elsewhere who could tell, from far other considerations. The time will
come when the whole story, in its wonder and beauty, may be told by some
who, like myself, have seen more of the matter, from all sides, than it
is easy for a native to do. Suffice it, that the loss by runaways, and
the generally useless attempts to recover them, is a heavy item in the
accounts of the cotton and sugar-growers of the south; and one which is
sure to become heavier till there shall be no more bondage to escape
from. It is obvious that the slaves who run away are among the best: an
escape being usually the achievement of a project early formed;
concealed, pertinaciously adhered to, and endeared by much toil and
sacrifice undergone for its sake, for a long course of years. A weak
mind is incapable of such a series of acts, with a unity of purpose.
They are the choicest slaves who run away. Of the cases known to me, the
greater number of the men, and some of the women, have acted throughout
upon an idea; (called by their owners "a fancy,"--a very different
thing;) while some few of the men have started off upon some sudden
infliction of cruelty; and many women on account of intolerable outrage,
of the grossest kind. Several masters told me of leave given to their
slaves to go away, and of the slaves refusing to avail themselves of it.
If this was meant to tell in favour of slavery, it failed of its effect.
The argument was too shallow to impose upon a child. Of course, they
were the least valuable slaves to whom this permission was given: and
their declining to depart proved nothing so much as the utter
degradation of human beings who could prefer receiving food and shelter
from the hand of an owner to the possession of themselves.

Amidst the mass of materials which accumulated on my hands during the
process of learning from all parties their views on this question, I
hardly know where to turn, and what to select, that will most briefly
and strongly show that the times have outgrown slavery. This is the
point at which every fact and argument issue, whatever may be the
intention of those who adduce it. The most striking, perhaps, is the
treatment of the Abolitionists: a subject to be adverted to hereafter.
The insane fury which vents itself upon the few who act upon the
principles which the many profess, is a sign of the times not to be
mistaken. It is always the precursor of beneficial change. Society in
America seems to be already passing out of this stage into one even more
advanced. The cause of abolition is spreading so rapidly through the
heart of the nation; the sound part of the body politic is embracing it
so actively, that no disinterested observer can fail to be persuaded
that even the question of time is brought within narrow limits. The
elections will, ere long, show the will of the people that slavery be
abolished in the District of Columbia. Then such truckling politicians,
mercenary traders, cowardly clergy, and profligate newspaper corps, as
are now too blind to see the coming change, will have to choose their
part; whether to shrink out of sight, or to boast patriotically of the
righteous revolution which they have striven to retard, even by the
application of the torture to both the bodies and the minds of their
more clear-eyed fellow-citizens.

After giving one or two testimonies to the necessity of a speedy change
of system, I will confine myself to relating a few signs of the times
which I encountered in my travels through the south.

In 1782, Virginia repealed the law against manumission; and in nine
years, there were ten thousand slaves freed in that State. Alarmed for
the institution, her legislature re-enacted the law. What has been the
consequence?--Let us take the testimony of the two leading newspapers
of the capital of Virginia, given at a time when the Virginian
legislature was debating the subject of slavery; and when there was, for
once, an exposure of the truth from those best qualified to reveal it.
In 1832, the following remarks appeared in the "Richmond Enquirer."

"It is probable, from what we hear, that the committee on the coloured
population will report some plan for getting rid of the free people of
colour. But is this all that can be done? Are we for ever to suffer the
greatest evil which can scourge our land not only to remain, but to
increase in its dimensions? 'We may shut our eyes and avert our faces,
if we please,' (writes an eloquent South Carolinian, on his return from
the north a few weeks ago,) 'but there it is, the dark and growing evil,
at our doors: and meet the question we must at no distant day. God only
knows what it is the part of wise men to do on that momentous and
appalling subject. Of _this_ I am very sure, that the
difference--nothing short of frightful--between all that exists on one
side of the Potomac, and all on the other, is owing to _that cause
alone_. The disease is deep seated; it is at the heart's core; it is
consuming, and has all along been consuming, our vitals; and I could
laugh, if I _could_ laugh on such a subject, at the ignorance and folly
of the politician who ascribes that to an act of the government, which
is the inevitable effect of the eternal laws of nature. What is to be
done? O my God, I don't know; but something must be done.'

"Yes, something must be done; and it is the part of no honest man to
deny it; of no free press to affect to conceal it. When this dark
population is growing upon us; when every new census is but gathering
its appalling numbers upon us; when within a period equal to that in
which this federal constitution has been in existence, those numbers
will increase to more than two millions within Virginia; when our sister
States are closing their doors upon our blacks for sale; _and when our
whites are moving westwardly in greater numbers than we like to hear
of_; when this, the fairest land on all this continent, for soil and
climate and situation combined, might become a sort of garden spot if it
were worked by the hands of white men alone, _can we, ought we_ to sit
quietly down, fold our arms, and say to each other, 'well, well, this
thing will not come to the worst in our day? We will leave it to our
children and our grand-children and great-grand-children to take care of
themselves, and to brave the storm. Is this to act like wise men? Heaven
knows we are no fanatics. We detest the madness which actuated the _Amis
des Noirs_. But something ought to be done. Means, sure but gradual,
systematic but discreet, ought to be adopted for reducing the mass of
evil which is pressing upon the south, and will still more press upon
her the longer it is put off. We ought not to shut our eyes, nor avert
our faces. And though we speak almost without a hope that the committee
or the legislature will do anything, at the present session, to meet
this question, yet we say now, in the utmost sincerity of our hearts,
that our wisest men cannot give too much of their attention to this
subject, nor can they give it too soon."

The other paper, the "Richmond Whig," had the same time, the following:

"We affirm that the great mass of Virginia herself triumphs that the
slavery question has been agitated, and reckons it glorious that the
spirit of her sons did not shrink from grappling with the monster. We
affirm that, in the heaviest slave districts of the State, thousands
have hailed the discussion with delight, and contemplate the distant,
but ardently desired result, as the supreme good which Providence could
vouchsafe to their country."

This is doubtless true. One of the signs of the times which struck me
was the clandestine encouragement received by the abolitionists of the
north from certain timid slave-holders of the south, who send money for
the support of abolition publications, and an earnest blessing. They
write, "For God's sake go on! We cannot take your publications; we dare
not countenance you; but we wish you God speed! You are our only hope."
There is nothing to be said for the moral courage of those who feel and
write thus, and dare not express their opinions in the elections. Much
excuse may be made for them by those who know the horrors which await
the expression of anti-slavery sentiments in many parts of the south.
But, on the other hand, the abolitionists are not to be blamed for
considering all slave-holders under the same point of view, as long as
no improved state of opinion is manifested in the representation; the
natural mirror of the minds of the represented.

Chief Justice Marshall, a Virginian, a slave-holder, and a member of the
Colonisation Society, (though regarding this society as being merely a
palliative, and slavery incurable but by convulsion,) observed to a
friend of mine, in the winter of 1834, that he was surprised at the
British for supposing that they could abolish slavery in their colonies
by act of parliament. His friend believed it would be done. The Chief
Justice could not think that such economical institutions could be done
away by legislative enactment. His friend pleaded the fact that the
members of the British House of Commons were pledged, in great numbers,
to their constituents on the question. When it was done, the Chief
Justice remarked on his having been mistaken; and that he rejoiced in
it. He now saw hope for his beloved Virginia, which he had seen sinking
lower and lower among the States. The cause, he said, was that work is
disreputable in a country where a degraded class is held to enforced
labour.[20] He had seen all the young, the flower of the State, who were
not rich enough to remain at home in idleness, betaking themselves to
other regions, where they might work without disgrace. Now there was
hope; for he considered that in this act of the British, the decree had
gone forth against American slavery, and its doom was sealed.

There was but one sign of the times which was amusing to me; and that
was the tumult of opinions and prophecies offered to me on the subject
of the duration of slavery, and the mode in which it would be at last
got rid of; for I never heard of any one but Governor M'Duffie who
supposed that it can last for ever. He declared last year, in his
message to the legislature of South Carolina, that he considers slavery
as the corner-stone of their republican liberties: and that, if he were
dying, his latest prayer should be that his children's children should
live nowhere but amidst the institutions of slavery. This message might
have been taken as a freak of eccentricity merely, if it had stood
alone. But a committee of the legislature, with Governor Hamilton in the
chair, thought proper to endorse every sentiment in it. This converts it
into an indication of the perversion of mind commonly prevalent in a
class when its distinctive pecuniary interest is in imminent peril. I
was told, a few months prior to the appearance of this singular
production, that though Governor M'Duffie was a great ornament to the
State of South Carolina, his opinions on the subject of slavery were
_ultra_, and that he was left pretty nearly alone in them. Within a
year, those who told me so went, _in public_, all lengths with Governor

I believe I might very safely and honourably give the names of those who
prophesied to me in the way I have mentioned; for they rather court
publicity for their opinions, as it is natural and right that they
should, as long as they are sure of them. But it may suffice to mention
that they are all eminent men, whose attention has been strongly fixed,
for a length of years, upon the institution in question.

A. believes that slavery is a necessary and desirable stage in
civilisation: not on the score of the difficulty of cultivating new
lands without it, but on the ground of the cultivation of the negro mind
and manners. He believes the Haytians to have deteriorated since they
became free. He believes the white population destined to absorb the
black, though holding that the two races will not unite after the third
mixture. His expectation is that the black and mulatto races will have
disappeared in a hundred and fifty years. He has no doubt that cotton
and tobacco may be well and easily grown by whites.

B. is confident that the condition of slaves is materially improved, yet
believes that they will die out, and that there will be no earlier
catastrophe. He looks to colonisation, however, as a means of lessening
the number. This same gentleman told me of a recent visit he had paid to
a connexion of his own, who had a large "force," consisting chiefly of
young men and women: not one child had been born on the estate for three
years. This looks very like dying out; but does it go to confirm the
materially improved condition of the slaves?

C. allows slavery to be a great evil; and, if it were now non-existent,
would not ordain it, if he could. But he thinks the slaves far happier
than they would have been at home in Africa, and considers that the
system works perfectly. He pronounces the slaves "the most contented,
happy, industrious peasantry in the world." He believes this virtue and
content would disappear if they were taught anything whatever; and that
if they were free, they would be, naturally and inevitably, the most
vicious and wretched population ever seen. His expectation is that they
will increase to such a degree as to make free labour, "_which always
supersedes slave labour_," necessary in its stead; that the coloured
race will wander off to new regions, and be ultimately "absorbed" by the
white. He contemplates no other than this natural change, which he
thinks cannot take place in less than a century and a half. A year
later, this gentleman told a friend of mine that slavery cannot last
above twenty years. They must be stringent reasons which have induced so
great a change of opinion in twelve months.

D. thinks slavery an enormous evil, but doubts whether something as bad
would not arise in its stead. He is a colonisationist, and desires that
the general government should purchase the slaves, by annual
appropriations, and ship them off to Africa, so as to clear the country
of the coloured people in forty or fifty years. If this is not done, a
servile war, the most horrible that the world has seen, is inevitable.
Yet he believes that the institution, though infinitely bad for the
masters, is better for the slaves than those of any country in Europe
for its working classes. He is convinced that the tillage of all the
crops could be better carried on by whites, with the assistance of
cattle and implements, than by negroes.

E. writes, (October 1835,) "Certain it is that if men of property and
intelligence in the north have that legitimate influence which that
class has here, nothing will come of this abolition excitement. All we
have to say to them is, 'Hands off!' Our _political_ rights[21] are
clear, and shall not be invaded. _We know too much about slavery to be
slaves ourselves._ But I repeat, nothing will come of the present, or
rather recent excitement, for already it is in a great degree passed.
And the time is coming when a struggle between pauperism and property,
or, if you choose, between labour and capital in the north, stimulated
by the spirit of Jacksonism, will occupy the people of that quarter to
the exclusion of our affairs. If any external influence is ever to
affect the institution of slavery in the south, it will not be the
vulgar and ignorant fanaticism of the northern States, intent upon a
cheap charity which is to be done at our expense; but that influence
will be found in English literature, and the gradual operation of public
opinion. Slavery, so to speak, may be evaporated;--it cannot be drawn
off. If it were, the whole land would be poisoned and desolated."

The best reply to this letter will be found in the memorable speech of
Mr. Preston, one of the South Carolina senators, delivered in Congress,
last spring. It may be mentioned, by the way, that the writer of the
above is mistaken in supposing that there is at present, or impending,
any unhappy struggle in the north between pauperism and property, or
labour and capital. It is all property there, and no pauperism, (except
the very little that is superinduced;) and labour and capital were,
perhaps, never before seen to jog on so lovingly together. The "cheap
charity" he speaks of is the cheap charity of the first Christians, with
the addition of an equal ability and will to pay down _money_ for the
abolition of the slaves, for whose sake the abolitionists have already
shown themselves able to bear,--some, hanging;--some, scourging, and
tarring and feathering; some, privation of the means of living; and all,
the being incessantly and deeply wounded in their social relations and
tenderest affections. Martyrdom is ever accounted a "cheap devotion," or
"cheap charity," to God or man, by those who exact it of either
religious or philanthropic principle.

Mr. Preston's speech describes the spread of abolition opinions as being
rapid and inevitable. He proves the rapidity by citing the number of
recently-formed abolition societies in the north; and the
inevitableness, by exhibiting the course which such convictions had run
in England and France. He represents the case as desperate. He
advises,--not yielding, but the absolute exclusion of opinion on the
subject,--exclusion from Congress, and exclusion from the slave States.
This is well. The matter may be considered to be given up, unless this
is merely the opinion of an individual. The proposal is about as hopeful
as it would be to draw a cordon round the Capitol to keep out the four
winds; or to build a wall up to the pole-star to exclude the sunshine.

One more sample of opinions. A gentleman who edits a highly-esteemed
southern newspaper, expresses himself thus. "There is a wild fanaticism
at work to effect the overthrow of the system, although in its fall
would go down the fortunes of the south, and to a great extent those of
the north and east;--in a word, the whole fabric of our Union, in one
awful ruin. What then ought to be done? What measures ought to be taken
to secure the safety of our property and our lives? We answer, let us be
vigilant and watchful to the last degree over all the movements of our
enemies both at _home_ and abroad. Let us declare through the public
journals of our country, that the question of slavery is not, and shall
not be open to discussion;--that the system is deep-rooted amongst us,
and must remain for ever;--that the very moment any private individual
attempts to lecture us upon its evils and immorality, and the necessity
of putting measures into operation to secure us from them, in the same
moment his tongue shall be cut out and cast upon the dung-hill. We are
freemen, sprung from a noble stock of freemen, able to boast as noble a
line of ancestry as ever graced this earth;--we have burning in our
bosoms the spirit of freemen--live in an age of enlightened freedom, and
in a country blessed with its privileges--under a government that has
pledged itself to protect us in the enjoyment of our peculiar domestic
institutions in peace, and undisturbed. We hope for a long continuance
of these high privileges, and have now to love, cherish, and defend,
property, liberty, wives and children, the right to manage our own
matters in our own way, and, what is equally dear with all the rest, the
inestimable right of dying upon our own soil, around our own firesides,
in struggling to put down all those who may attempt to infringe, attack,
or violate any of these sacred and inestimable privileges."

If these opinions of well-prepared persons, dispersed through the slave
States, and entrusted with the public advocacy of their interests, do
not betoken that slavery is tottering to its fall, there are no such
things as signs of the times.

The prohibition of books containing anything against slavery, has
proceeded to a great length. Last year, Mrs. Barbauld's works were sent
back into the north by the southern booksellers, because the "Evenings
at Home" contain a "Dialogue between Master and Slave." Miss Sedgwick's
last novel, "The Linwoods," was treated in the same way, on account of a
single sentence about slavery. The "Tales of the Woods and Fields," and
other English books, have shared the same fate. I had a letter from a
Southern lady, containing some regrets upon the necessity of such an
exclusion of literature, but urging that it was a matter of _principle_
to guard from attacks "an institution ordained by the favour of God for
the happiness of man:" and assuring me that the literary resources of
South Carolina were rapidly improving.--So they had need; for almost all
the books already in existence will have to be prohibited, if nothing
condemnatory of slavery is to be circulated. This attempt to nullify
literature was followed up by a threat to refuse permission to the mails
to pass through South Carolina: an arrangement which would afflict its
inhabitants more than it could injure any one else.

The object of all this is to keep the children in the dark about how
the institution is regarded abroad. This was evident to me at every
step: and I received an express caution not to communicate my
disapprobation of slavery to the children of one family, who could not,
their parents declare, even feel the force of my objections. One of them
was "employed, the whole afternoon, in dressing out little Nancy for an
evening party; and she sees the slaves much freer than herself." Of
course, the blindness of this policy will be its speedy destruction. It
is found that the effect of public opinion on the subject upon young men
who visit the northern States, is tremendous, when they become aware of
it: as every student in the colleges of the north can bear witness. I
know of one, an heir of slaves, who declared, on reading Dr. Channing's
"Slavery," that if it could be proved that negroes are more than a link
between man and brute, the rest follows of course, and he must liberate
all his. Happily, he is in the way of evidence that negroes are actually
and altogether human.

The students of Lane Seminary, near Cincinnati, of which Dr. Beecher is
the president, became interested in the subject, three or four years
ago, and formed themselves into an Abolition Society, debating the
question, and taking in newspapers. This was prohibited by the tutors,
but persevered in by the young men, who conceived that this was a matter
with which the professors had no right to meddle. Banishment was
decreed; and all submitted to expulsion but fourteen. Of course, each of
the dispersed young men became the nucleus of an Abolition Society, and
gained influence by persecution. It was necessary for them to provide
means to finish their education. One of them, Amos Dresser, itinerated,
(as is usual in the sparsely-peopled west,) travelling in a gig, and
selling Scott's Bible, to raise money for his educational purposes. He
reached Nashville, in Tennessee; and there fell under suspicion of
abolition treason; his baggage being searched, and a whole abolition
newspaper, and a part of another being found among the packing-stuff of
his stock of bibles. There was also an unsubstantiated rumour of his
having been seen conversing with slaves. He was brought to trial by the
Committee of Vigilance; seven elders of the presbyterian church at
Nashville being among his judges. After much debate as to whether he
should be hanged, or flogged with more or fewer lashes, he was condemned
to receive twenty lashes, with a cow-hide, in the market-place of
Nashville. He was immediately conducted there, made to kneel down on the
flint pavement, and punished according to his sentence; the mayor of
Nashville presiding, and the public executioner being the agent. He was
warned to leave the city within twenty-four hours: but was told, by some
charitable person who had the bravery to take him in, wash his stripes,
and furnish him with a disguise, that it would not be safe to remain so
long. He stole away immediately, in his dreadful condition, on foot; and
when his story was authenticated, had heard nothing of his horse, gig,
and bibles, which he values at three hundred dollars. Let no one, on
this, tremble for republican freedom. Outrages upon it, like the above,
are but extremely transient signs of the times. They no more betoken the
permanent condition of the republic, than the shivering of one hour of
ague exhibits the usual state of the human body.

The other young men found educational and other assistance immediately;
and a set of noble institutions has grown out of their persecution.
There were professors ready to help them; and a gentleman gave them a
farm in Ohio, on which to begin a manual labour college, called the
Oberlin Institute. It is on a most liberal plan young women who wish to
become qualified for "Christian teaching" being admitted; and there
being no prejudice of colour. They have a sprinkling both of Indians and
of negroes. They do all the farm and house work, and as much study
besides as is good for them. Some of the young women are already fair
Hebrew and Greek scholars. In a little while, the estate was so crowded,
and the new applications were so overpowering, that they were glad to
accept the gift of another farm. When I left the country, within three
years from their commencement, they had either four or five flourishing
institutions in Ohio and Michigan, while the Lane Seminary drags on
feebly with its array of tutors, and dearth of pupils. A fact so full of
vitality as this will overbear a hundred less cheering signs of the
times. A very safe repose may be found in the will of the majority,
wherever it acts amidst light and freedom.

Just before I reached Mobile, two men were burned alive there, in a slow
fire, in the open air, in the presence of the gentlemen of the city
generally. No word was breathed of the transaction in the newspapers:
and this is the special reason why I cite it as a sign of the times; of
the suppression of fact and repression of opinion which, from the
impossibility of their being long maintained, are found immediately to
precede the changes they are meant to obviate. Some months afterwards,
an obscure intimation of something of the kind having happened appeared
in a northern newspaper; but a dead silence was at the time preserved
upon what was, in fact, the deed of a multitude. The way that I came to
know it was this. A lady of Mobile was opening her noble and true heart
to me on the horrors and vices of the system under which she and her
family were suffering in mind, body, and estate. In speaking of her
duties as head of a family, she had occasion to mention the trouble
caused by the licentiousness of the whites, among the negro women. It
was dreadful to hear the facts which had occurred in her own household;
and the bare imagination of what is inflicted on the negro husbands and
fathers was almost too much to be borne. I asked the question, "Does it
never enter the heads of negro husbands and fathers to retaliate?" "Yes,
it does." "What follows?" "They are murdered,--burned alive." And then
followed the story of what had lately happened. A little girl, and her
still younger brother, one day failed to return from school, and never
were seen again. It was not till after all search had been relinquished,
that the severed head of the little girl was found in a brook, on the
borders of a plantation. Circumstances were discovered that left no
doubt that the murders were committed to conceal violence which had been
offered to the girl. Soon after, two young ladies of the city rode in
that direction, and got off their horses to amuse themselves. They were
seized upon by two slaves of the neighbouring plantation; but effected
their escape in safety, though with great difficulty. Their agitation
prevented their concealing the fact; and the conclusion was immediately
drawn that these men were the murderers of the children. The gentlemen
of Mobile turned out; seized the men; heaped up faggots on the margin of
the brook, and slowly burned them to death. No prudish excuses for the
suppression of this story will serve any purpose with those who have
been on the spot, any more than the outcry about "amalgamation," raised
against the abolitionists by those who live in the deepest sinks of a
licentiousness of which the foes of slavery do not dream. No
deprecatory plea regarding propriety or decency will pass for anything
but hypocrisy with those who know what the laws against the press are in
the south-west, and what are the morals of slavery in its palmy state. I
charge the silence of Mobile about this murder on its _fears_; as
confidently as I charge the brutality of the victims upon its crimes.

Notwithstanding the many symptoms of an unmanly and anti-republican fear
which met my observation in these regions, it was long before I could
comprehend the extent of it; especially as I heard daily that the true
enthusiastic love of freedom could exist in a republic, only in the
presence of a servile class. I am persuaded that the southerners verily
believe this; that they actually imagine their northern brethren living
in an exceedingly humdrum way, for fear of losing their equality. It is
true that there is far too much subservience to opinion in the northern
States: particularly in New England. There is there a self-imposed
bondage which must be outgrown. But this is no more like the fear which
prevails in the south than the apprehensiveness of a court-physician is
like the terrors of Tiberius Cæsar.

I was at the French theatre at New Orleans. The party with whom I went
determined to stay for the after-piece. The first scene of the
after-piece was dumb-show; so much noise was made by one single whistle
in the pit. The curtain was dropped, and the piece re-commenced. The
whistling continued; and, at one movement, the whole audience rose and
went home. I was certain that there was something more in this than was
apparent to the observation of a stranger. I resolved to find it out,
and succeeded. The band was wanted from the orchestra, to serenade a
United States senator who was then in the city; and one or two young men
were resolved to break up our amusement for the purpose of releasing
the band. But why were they allowed to do this? Why was the whole
audience to submit to the pleasure of one whistler? Why, in New Orleans
it is thought best to run no risk of any disturbance. People there
always hie home directly when things do not go off quite quietly.

It is the same, wherever the blacks outnumber the whites, or their
bondage is particularly severe. At Charleston, when a fire breaks out,
the gentlemen all go home on the ringing of the alarm-bell; the ladies
rise and dress themselves and their children. It may be the signal of
insurrection: and the fire burns on, for any help the citizens give,
till a battalion of soldiers marches down to put it out.

When we were going to church, at Augusta, Georgia, one Sunday afternoon,
there was smoke in the street, and a cry of fire. When we came out of
church, we were told that it had been very trifling, and easily
extinguished. The next day, I heard the whole. A negro girl of sixteen,
the property of a lady from New England, had set her mistress's house on
fire in two places, by very in-artificially lighting heaps of
combustible stuff piled against the partitions. There were no witnesses,
and all that was known came from her own lips. She was desperately
ignorant; laws having been fully enforced to prevent the negroes of
Georgia being instructed in any way whatever. The girl's account was,
that she was "tired of living there," and had therefore intended to burn
the house in the morning, but was prevented by her mistress having
locked her up for some offence: so she did it in the afternoon. She was
totally ignorant of the gravity of the deed, and was in a state of great
horror when told that she was to be hanged for it. I asked whether it
was possible that, after her being prevented by law from being taught,
she was to be hanged for her ignorance, and merely on her own
confession? The clergyman with whom I was conversing sighed, and said it
was a hard case; but what else could be done, considering that _Augusta
was built of wood_? He told me that there was great excitement among the
negroes in Augusta; and that many had been saying that "a mean white
person" (a white labourer) would not have been hanged; and that the girl
could not help it, as it must have been severity which drove her to it.
In both these sayings, the slaves were partly wrong. A white would have
been hanged; but a white would have known that she was committing crime.
It did not appear that the girl's mistress was harsh. But what does not
the observation convey? I have never learned, nor ever shall, whether
the hanging took place or not. The newspapers do not insert such things.

This burning would be a fearful art for the blacks to learn. There were
four tremendous fires in Charleston, during the summer of 1835; and
divers residents reported to the north that these were supposed to be
the work of slaves.

Wherever I went, in the south, in whatever town or other settlement I
made any stay, some startling circumstance connected with slavery
occurred, which I was assured was unprecedented. No such thing had ever
occurred before, or was likely to happen again. The repetition of this
assurance became, at last, quite ludicrous.

The fear of which I have spoken as prevalent, does not extend to the
discussion of the question of slavery with strangers. My opinions of
slavery were known, through the press, before I went abroad: the
hospitality which was freely extended to me was offered under a full
knowledge of my detestation of the system. This was a great advantage,
in as much as it divested me entirely of the character of a spy, and
promoted the freest discussion, wherever I went. There was a warm
sympathy between myself and very many, whose sufferings under the system
caused me continual and deep sorrow, though no surprise. Neither was I
surprised at their differing from me as widely as they do about the
necessity of immediate action, either by resistance or flight, while
often agreeing, nearly to the full, in my estimate of the evils of the
present state of things. They have been brought up in the system. To
them, the moral deformity of the whole is much obscured by its nearness;
while the small advantages, and slight prettinesses which it is very
easy to attach to it, are prominent, and always in view. These
circumstances prevented my being surprised at the candour with which
they not only discussed the question, but showed me all that was to be
seen of the economical management of plantations; the worst as well as
the best. Whatever I learned of the system, by express showing, it must
be remembered, was from the hands of the slave-holders themselves.
Whatever I learned, that lies deepest down in my heart, of the moral
evils, the unspeakable vices and woes of slavery, was from the lips of
those who are suffering under them on the spot.

It was there that I heard of the massacre in Southampton county, which
has been little spoken of abroad. It happened a few years ago; before
the abolition movement began; for it is remarkable that no insurrections
have taken place since the friends of the slave have been busy afar off.
This is one of the most eloquent signs of the times,--that, whereas
rebellions broke out as often as once a month before, there have been
none since. Of this hereafter. In the Southampton massacre, upwards of
seventy whites, chiefly women and children, were butchered by slaves who
fancied themselves called, like the Jews of old, to "slay and spare

While they were in full career, a Virginian gentleman, who had a friend
from the north staying with him, observed upon its being a mistaken
opinion that planters were afraid of their slaves; and offered the
example of his own household as a refutation. He summoned his
confidential negro, the head of the house establishment of slaves, and
bade him shut the door.

"You hear," said he, "that the negroes have risen in Southampton."

"Yes, massa."

"You hear that they have killed several families, and that they are
coming this way."

"Yes, massa."

"You know that, if they come here, I shall have to depend upon you all
to protect my family."

The slave was silent.

"If I give you arms, you will protect me and my family, will you not?"

"No, massa."

"Do you mean, that if the Southampton negroes come this way, you will
join them?"

"Yes, massa."

When he went out of the room, his master wept without restraint. He
owned that all his hope, all his confidence was gone. Yet, who ever
deserved confidence more than the man who spoke that last "No" and
"Yes?" The more confidence in the man, the less in the system. This is
the philosophy of the story.

I have mentioned the fact that no insurrections have for a long time
taken place. In some parts of the slave regions, the effect has been to
relax the laws relating to slaves; and such relaxation was always
pointed out to me as an indication that slavery would go out of itself,
if it were let alone. In other parts, new and very severe laws were
being passed against the slaves; and this was pointed out to me as a
sign that the condition of the negro was aggravated by the interference
of his friends; and that his best chance lay in slavery being let alone.
Thus the opposite facts were made to yield the same conclusion. A friend
of mine, a slave-holder, observed to me, that both the relaxation and
the aggravation of restrictions upon slaves were an indication of the
tendency of public opinion: the first being done in sympathy with it,
the other in fear of it.

There was an outcry, very vehement, and very general among the friends
of slavery, in both north and south, against the cruelty of
abolitionists in becoming the occasion of the laws against slaves being
made more severe. In my opinion, this affords no argument against
abolition, even if the condition of the slaves of to-day were aggravated
by the stir of opinion. The negroes of the next generation are not to be
doomed to slavery for fear of somewhat more being inflicted on their
parents: and, severe as the laws already are, the consequence of
straining them tighter still would be that they would burst. But the
fact is, that so far from the condition of the slave being made worse by
the efforts of his distant friends, it has been substantially improved.
I could speak confidently of this as a necessary consequence of the
value set upon opinion by the masters; but I know it also from what I
myself saw; and from the lips of many slave-holders. The slaves of South
Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana, have less liberty of
communication with each other; they are deprived of the few means of
instruction that they had; they are shut in earlier in the evening, and
precluded from supping and dancing for half the night, as they used to
do; but they are substantially better treated; they are less worked by
hard masters; less flogged; better fed and clothed. The eyes of the
world are now upon the American slave and his master: the kind master
goes on as he did before: the hard master dares not be so unkind as
formerly. He hates his slave more than ever, for slavery is more
troublesome than ever; but he is kept in order, by the opinion of the
world abroad and the neighbours around; and he dares not vent his hatred
on his human property, as he once could. A slave-holder declared in
Congress, that the slaves of the south knew that Dr. Channing had
written a book on their behalf. No doubt. The tidings of the far-off
movement in their favour come to them on every wind that blows, calming
their desperation, breathing hope into their souls; making the best of
their masters thoughtful and sad, and the worst, desperate and cruel,
though kept within bounds by fear.

The word 'hatred' is not too strong for the feeling of a large
proportion of slave-holders towards particular slaves; or, as they would
call them, (the word 'slave' never being heard in the south,) their
'force,' their 'hands,' their 'negroes,' their 'people.' I was
frequently told of the 'endearing relation' subsisting between master
and slaves; but, at the best, it appeared to me the same 'endearing
relation' which subsists between a man and his horse, between a lady and
her dog. As long as the slave remains ignorant, docile, and contented,
he is taken good care of, humoured, and spoken of with a contemptuous,
compassionate kindness. But, from the moment he exhibits the attributes
of a rational being,--from the moment his intellect seems likely to come
into the most distant competition with that of whites, the most, deadly
hatred springs up;--not in the black, but in his oppressors. It is a
very old truth that we hate those whom we have injured. Never was it
more clear than in this case. I had, from time to time in my life,
witnessed something of human malice; I had seen some of the worst
aspects of domestic service in England; of village scandal; of political
rivalship; and other circumstances provocative of the worst passions;
but pure, unmitigated hatred, the expression of which in eye and voice
makes one's blood run cold, I never witnessed till I became acquainted
with the blacks of America, their friends and oppressors: the blacks and
their friends the objects; their oppressors the far more unhappy
subjects. It so happens that the most remarkable instances of this that
I met with were clergymen and ladies. The cold livid hatred which
deformed, like a mask, the faces of a few, while deliberately
slandering, now the coloured race, and now the abolitionists, could
never be forgotten by me, as a fearful revelation, if the whole country
were to be absolutely christianized to-morrow. Mr. Madison told me, that
if he could work a miracle, he knew what it should be. He would make all
the blacks white; and then he could do away with slavery in twenty-four
hours. So true it is that all the torturing associations of injury have
become so connected with colour, that an institution which hurts
everybody and benefits none, which all rational people who understand it
dislike, despise, and suffer under, can with difficulty be abolished,
because of the hatred which is borne to an irremovable badge.

This hatred is a sign of the times; and so are the alleged causes of it;
both are from their nature so manifestly temporary. The principal cause
alleged is the impossibility of giving people of colour any idea of
duty, from their want of natural affection. I was told in the same
breath of their attachment to their masters, and devotion to them in
sickness; and of their utter want of all affection to their parents and
children, husbands and wives. For "people of colour," read "slaves," and
the account is often correct. It is true that slaves will often leave
their infants to perish, rather than take any trouble about them; that
they will utterly neglect a sick parent or husband; while they will
nurse a white mistress with much ostentation. The reason is obvious.
Such beings are degraded so far below humanity that they will take
trouble, for the sake of praise or more solid reward, after they have
become dead to all but grossly selfish inducements. Circumstances will
fully account for a great number of cases of this sort: but to set
against these, there are perhaps yet more instances of domestic
devotion, not to be surpassed in the annals of humanity. Of these I know
more than I can here set down; partly from their number, and partly from
the fear of exposing to injury the individuals alluded to.

A friend of mine was well acquainted at Washington with a woman who had
been a slave; and who, after gaining her liberty, worked incessantly for
many years, denying herself all but absolute necessaries, in order to
redeem her husband and children. She was a sick-nurse, when my friend
knew her; and, by her merits, obtained good pay. She had first bought
herself; having earned, by extra toil, three or four hundred dollars.
She then earned the same sum, and redeemed her husband; and had bought
three, out of her five, children when my friend last saw her. She made
no boast of her industry and self-denial. Her story was extracted from
her by questions; and she obviously felt that she was doing what was
merely unavoidable. It is impossible to help instituting a comparison
between this woman and the gentlemen who, by their own licentiousness,
increase the number of slave children whom they sell in the market. My
friend formerly carried an annual present from a distant part of the
country to this poor woman: but it is not known what has become of her,
and whether she died before she had completed her object, of freeing all
her family.

There is a woman now living with a lady in Boston, requiring high wages,
which her superior services, as well as her story, enable her to
command. This woman was a slave, and was married to a slave, by whom she
had two children. The husband and wife were much attached. One day, her
husband was suddenly sold away to a distance; and her master, whose
object was to increase his stock as fast as possible, immediately
required her to take another husband. She stoutly refused. Her master
thought her so far worthy of being humoured, that he gave her his
son,--forced him upon her, as her present feelings show. She had two
more children, of much lighter complexion than the former. When the son
left the estate, her master tried again to force a negro husband upon
her. In desperation, she fled, carrying one of her first children with
her. She is now working to redeem the other, a girl; and she has not
given up all hope of recovering her husband. She was asked whether she
thought of doing anything for her two mulatto children. She replied
that, to be sure, they _were_ her children; but that she did not think
she ever _could_ tell her husband that she had had those two children.
If this be not chastity, what is? Where are all the fairest natural
affections, if not in these women?

At a very disorderly hotel in South Carolina, we were waited upon by a
beautiful mulatto woman and her child, a pretty girl of about eight. The
woman entreated that we would buy her child. On her being questioned,
it appeared that it was "a bad place" in which she was: that she had got
her two older children sold away, to a better place; and now, her only
wish was for this child to be saved. On being asked whether she really
desired to be parted from her only remaining child, so as never to see
her again, she replied that "it would be hard to part," but for the
child's sake she did wish that we would buy her.

A kind-hearted gentleman in the south, finding that the laws of his
State precluded his teaching his legacy of slaves according to the usual
methods of education, bethought himself, at length, of the moral
training of task-work. It succeeded admirably. His negroes soon began to
work as slaves are never, under any other arrangement, seen to work.
Their day's task was finished by eleven o'clock. Next, they began to
care for one another: the strong began to help the weak:--first,
husbands helped their wives; then parents helped their children; and, at
length, the young began to help the old. Here was seen the awakening of
natural affections which had lain in a dark sleep.

Of the few methods of education which have been tried, none have
succeeded so well as this task-work. As its general adoption might have
the effect of enabling slavery to subsist longer than it otherwise
could, perhaps it is well that it can be employed only to a very small
extent. Much of the work on the plantations cannot be divided into
tasks. Where it can, it is wise in the masters to avail themselves of
this means of enlisting the will of the slave in behalf of his work.

No other mode of teaching serves this purpose in any degree. The
shutting up of the schools, when I was in the south, struck me as a sign
of the times,--a favourable sign, in as far as it showed the crisis to
be near; and it gave me little regret on account of the slave children.
Reading and writing even (which are never allowed) would be of no use to
beings without minds,--as slaves are prior to experience of life; and
religious teaching is worse than useless to beings who, having no
rights, can have no duties. Their whole notion of religion is of power
and show, as regards God; of subjection to a new sort of reward and
punishment, as regards themselves; and invisible reward and punishment
have no effect on them. A negro, conducting worship, was heard to pray
thus; and broad as the expressions are, they are better than an abject,
unintelligent adoption of the devotional language of whites. "Come down,
O Lord, come down,--on your great white horse, a kickin' and snortin'."
An ordinary negro's highest idea of majesty is of riding a prancing
white horse. As for their own concern in religion, I know of a "force"
where a preacher had just made a strong impression. The slaves had given
up dancing, and sang nothing but psalms: they exhibited the most
ludicrous spiritual pride, and discharged their business more lazily
than ever, taunting their mistress with, "You no holy. We be holy. You
no in state o' salvation." Such was the effect upon the majority. Here
is the effect upon a stronger head.

"Harry," said his master, "you do as badly as ever. You steal and tell
lies. Don't you know you will be punished in hell?"

"Ah, massa, I been thinking 'bout that. I been thinking when Harry's
head is in the ground, there'll be no more Harry,--no more Harry."

"But the clergyman, and other people who know better than you, tell you
that if you steal you will go to hell, and be punished there."

"Been thinking 'bout that too. Gentlemen _be_ wise, and so they tell us
'bout being punished, that we may not steal their things here: and then
we go and find out afterwards how it is." Such is the effect of
religion upon those who have no rights, and therefore no duties. Great
efforts are being now made by the clergy of four denominations[22] to
obtain converts in the south. The fact, pointed out to me by Mr.
Madison, that the "chivalrous" south is growing strict, while the
puritanic north is growing genial, is a very remarkable sign of the
times, as it regards slavery. All sanctions of the institution being now
wanted, religious sanctions are invoked among others. The scene has been
acted before, often enough to make the catastrophe clearly discernible.
There are no true religious sanctions of slavery. There will be no lack
of Harrys to detect the forgeries put forth as such: and, under the most
corrupt presentments of religion, there lives something of its genuine
spirit,--enough to expand, sooner or later, and explode the institution
with which it can never combine. Though I found that the divines of the
four denominations were teaching a compromising Christianity, to
propitiate the masters, and gross superstitions to beguile the
slaves,--vying with each other in the latter respect, that they might
outstrip one another in the number of their converts,--I rejoiced in
their work. Anything is better for the slaves than apathetic subjection;
and, under all this falsification, enough Christian truth has already
come in to blow slavery to atoms.

The testimony of slave-holders was most explicit as to no moral
improvement having taken place, in consequence of the introduction of
religion. There was less singing and dancing; but as much lying,
drinking, and stealing as ever: less docility, and a vanity even
transcending the common vanity of slaves,--to whom the opinion of others
is all which they have to gain or lose. The houses are as dirty as ever,
(and I never saw a clean room or bed but once, within the boundaries of
the slave States;) the family are still contented with their "clean
linen, as long as it does not smell badly." A new set of images has been
presented to the slaves; but there still remains but one idea, by and
for which any of them live; the idea of freedom.

Not for this, however, is the present zeal for religion a less
remarkable sign of the times.

Another is, a proposition lately made in Charleston to remove the
slave-market further from public observation. This acknowledgment, in
such a place, that there is something distasteful, or otherwise
uncomfortable, in the sale of human beings, is portentous. I was in that
Charleston slave-market; and saw the sale of a woman with her children.
A person present voluntarily assured me that there was nothing whatever
painful in the sight. It appears, however, that the rest of Charleston
thinks differently.

I was witness to the occasional discussion of the question whether
Congress has power to prohibit the internal slave trade; and found that
some very eminent men had no doubt whatever of such power being
possessed by Congress, through the clause which authorises it to
"regulate commerce among the several States." Among those who held this
opinion were Mr. Madison and Mr. Webster.

The rapid increase of the suffrage in the north, compared with the
south, affords an indication of some speedy change of circumstances.
Three fifths of the slave population is represented; but this basis of
representation is so narrow in contrast with that of the populous States
where every man has the suffrage, that the south must decrease and the
north increase, in a way which cannot long be borne by the former. The
south has no remedy but in abolishing the institution by which her
prosperity is injured, and her population comparatively confined. She
sees how it is in the two contiguous States of Missouri and Illinois:
that new settlers examine Illinois, pass on into Missouri, where land is
much cheaper, and return to Illinois to settle, because there is no
slavery there: so that the population is advancing incalculably faster
in Illinois than in Missouri. Missouri will soon and easily find her
remedy, in abolishing slavery; when the whites will rush in, as they now
do into the neighbouring States. In the south, the case is more
difficult. It will be long before white labour becomes so reputable
there as elsewhere; and the present white residents cannot endure the
idea of the suffrage being freely given, within any assignable time, to
those who are now their slaves, or to their dusky descendants. Yet this
is what must be done, sooner or later, with more or fewer precautions,
if the south means to hold an important rank in Congress. It is in
contemplation of this difficulty that the loudest threats are heard of
secession from the Union; a movement which, as I have before said, would
be immediately prevented, or signally punished. The abolition of slavery
is the only resource.

Upon the most remarkable of all the signs of the times relating to
slavery, it is not necessary to say much. Those which I have mentioned
are surely enough to show, as plainly as if a ghost had come from the
grave to tell us, that the time is at hand for the destruction of this
monstrous anomaly. What the issue of the coming change will be is, to my
mind, decided by a consideration on which almost every man is
vociferating his opinion,--the character of the abolitionists.

It is obvious enough why this point is discussed so widely and so
constantly, that I think I may say I heard more upon it, while I was in
America, than upon all other American matters together. It is clearly
convenient to throw so weighty a question as that of abolition back upon
the aggregate characters of those who propose it; convenient to
slave-holders, convenient to those in the north whose sympathies are
with slave-holders, or who dread change, or who want an excuse to
themselves for not acting upon the principles which all profess. The
character of the abolitionists of the United States has been the object
of attack for some years,--of daily and hourly attack; and, as far as I
know, there has been no defence; for the plain reason that this is a
question on which there can be no middle party. All who are not with the
abolitionists are against them; for silence and inaction are public
acquiescence in things as they are. The case is, then, that everybody is
against them but their own body, whose testimony would, of course, go
for nothing, if it were offered; which it never is.--I know many of them
well; as every stranger in the country ought to take pains to do. I
first heard everything that could be said against them: and afterwards
became well acquainted with a great number of them.

I think the abolitionists of the United States the most reasonable set
of people that I ever knew to be united together for one object. Among
them may be enjoyed the high and rare luxury of having a reason rendered
for every act performed, and every opinion maintained. The treatment
they have met with compels them to be more thoroughly informed, and more
completely assured on every point on which they commit themselves, than
is commonly considered necessary on the right side of a question, where
there is the strength of a mighty principle to repose upon. The
commonest charge against them is that they are fanatical. I think them,
generally speaking, the most clear-headed, right-minded class I ever
had intercourse with. Their accuracy about dates, numbers, and all such
matters of fact, is as remarkable as their clear perception of the
principles on which they proceed. They are, however, remarkably
deficient in policy,--in party address. They are artless to a fault; and
probably, no party, religious, political, or benevolent, in their
country, ever was formed and conducted with so little dexterity,
shrewdness, and concert. Noble and imperishable as their object is, it
would probably, from this cause, have slipped through their fingers for
the present, if it had not been for some other qualities common among
them. It is needless to say much of their heroism; of the strength of
soul with which they await and endure the inflictions with which they
are visited, day by day. Their position indicates all this. Animating as
it is to witness, it is less touching than the qualities to which they
owe the success which would otherwise have been forfeited through their
want of address and party organisation. A spirit of meekness, of mutual
forbearance, of mutual reverence, runs through the whole body; and by
this are selfish considerations put aside, differences composed, and
distrusts obviated, to a degree which I never hoped to witness among a
society as various as the sects, parties and opinions which are the
elements of the whole community. With the gaiety of heart belonging to
those who have cast aside every weight; with the strength of soul proper
to those who walk by faith; with the child-like unconsciousness of the
innocent; living from hour to hour in the light of that greatest of all
purposes,--to achieve a distant object by the fulfilment of the nearest
duty,--and therefore rooting out from among themselves all aristocratic
tendencies and usages, rarely speaking of their own sufferings and
sacrifices, but in honour preferring one another, how can they fail to
win over the heart of society,--that great heart, sympathising with all
that is lofty and true?[23]

As was said to me, "the Searcher of hearts is passing through the land,
and every one must come forth to the ordeal." This Searcher of hearts
comes now in the form of the mighty principle of human freedom. If a
glance is cast over the assemblage called to the ordeal, how mean and
trivial are the vociferations in defence of property, the threats of
revenge for light, the boast of physical force, the appeal to the
compromises which constitute the defects of human law! How low and how
sad appear the mercenary interests, the social fears, the clerical
blindness or cowardice, the morbid fastidiousness of those who,
professing the same principles with the abolitionists, are bent upon
keeping those principles for ever an abstraction! How inspiring is it to
see that the community is, notwithstanding all this, sound at the core,
and that the soundness is spreading so fast that the health of the whole
community may be ultimately looked for! When a glance shows us all this,
and that the abolitionists are no more elated by their present success
than they were depressed by their almost hopeless degradation, we may
fairly consider the character of the abolitionists a decisive sign of
the times,--a peculiarly distinct prophecy that the coloured race will
soon pass from under the yoke. The Searcher of hearts brings prophecies
in his hand, which those who will may read.[24]

I cannot give much space to the theories which are current as to what
the issue will be if the abolition of slavery should not take place. To
me it seems pretty clear, when the great amount of the mulatto
population is considered. Within an almost calculable time, the
population would be wholly mulatto; and the southern States would be in
a condition so far inferior to the northern, that they would probably
separate, and live under a different form of government. A military
despotism might probably be established when the mixture of colours had
become inconvenient, without being universal: slavery would afterwards
die out, through the general degradation of society; and then the
community would begin again to rise, from a very low point. But it will
be seen that I do not anticipate that there will be room or time for
this set of circumstances to take place. I say this in the knowledge of
the fact that a very perceptible tinge of negro blood is visible in some
of the first families of Louisiana; a fact learned from residents of
high quality on the spot.

How stands the case, finally?--A large proportion of the labour of the
United States is held on principles wholly irreconcilable with the
principles of the constitution: whatever may be true about its origin,
it is now inefficient, wasteful, destructive, to a degree which must
soon cause a change of plan: some who see the necessity of such a
change, are in favour of reversing the original policy;--slavery having
once been begun in order to till the land, they are now for usurping a
new territory in order to employ their slaves: others are for banishing
the labour which is the one thing most needful to their country, in
every way. While all this confusion and mismanagement exist, here is the
labour, actually on the land, ready to be employed to better purpose;
and in the treasury are the funds by which the transmutation of slave
into free labour might be effected,--at once in the District of
Columbia; and by subsequent arrangements in the slave States. Many
matters of detail would have to be settled: the distribution would be
difficult; but it is not impossible. Virginia, whose revenue is derived
from the rearing of slaves for the south, whose property is the beings
themselves, and not their labour, must, in justice, receive a larger
compensation than such States as Alabama and Louisiana, where the labour
is the wealth, and which would be therefore immediately enriched by the
improvement in the quality of the labour which would follow upon
emancipation. Such arrangements may be difficult to make; but "when
there's a will there's a way;" and when it is generally perceived that
the abolition of slavery must take place, the great principle will not
long be allowed to lie in fetters of detail. The Americans have done
more difficult things than this; though assuredly none greater. The
restoration of two millions and a half of people to their human rights
will be as great a deed as the history of the world will probably ever
have to exhibit. In none of its pages are there names more lustrous than
those of the clear-eyed and fiery-hearted few who began and are
achieving the virtuous revolution.


[12] I might add their matter-of-fact credulity, strongly resembling
romance. As a specimen of the _quizzing_ common with regard to the
Germans, I give an anecdote. At the time when the struggle between Adams
and Jackson was very close, a supporter of Adams complained to Mr. W.
that it was provoking that somebody had persuaded the Germans in
Pennsylvania that Mr. Adams had married a daughter of George III.; a
report which would cost him all their votes. Mr. W. said, "Why do not
you contradict it?" "O," replied his friend, "you know nothing of those
people. They will believe everything, and unbelieve nothing. No: instead
of contradicting the report, we must allow that Adams married a daughter
of George III.; but add that Jackson married two."

[13] I heard some interesting facts about the Germans in Pennsylvania
from Mr. Gallatin, who lived among them for some time. A fact regarding
this gentleman shows what the obscurity of country life in the United
States may be. His estate was originally in Virginia. By a new division,
it was thrown into the back of Pennsylvania. He ceased to be heard of,
for some years, in the interval of his engaging in public affairs.
During this time, an advertisement appeared in a newspaper, asking for
tidings of "one Albert Gallatin" and adding that if he were still
living, he might, on making a certain application, hear of something to
his advantage.

[14] I need hardly mention that I read "England and America" before I
set out on my travels. It will appear that I am under obligations to
that valuable work for much guidance.

[15] See Appendix A.

[16] The Texans pretend to deny that the slave-trade will receive, or is
receiving, an impulse from them. The case is this. In the Texan
constitution, the importation of slaves, _except from the United
States_, is declared piracy. A most wealthy slave-owner of Louisiana
told me, in 1835, that the annual importation of native Africans (by
smuggling) was from thirteen thousand to fifteen thousand. This has much
increased since. As long as there is a market for slaves, there will be
the slave-trade, though there were a preventive cruiser to every mile of
the ocean.

An official gentleman, from the British West Indies, informed me that
much mischief has ensued from the withdrawing of two or three small
British schooners, which used to cruise about the islands, and were
broken up on the plea of economy;--it being supposed that vessels so
small could do no good which would compensate for their expense. This is
a mistake. If a slave ship surrenders on summons, the ship and cargo are
forfeited, and that is all. If a gun is fired, in defence, the captain
and crew become thereby liable to be hanged as pirates. Of course, those
who man a slave ship are ready to surrender to a cock-boat, with two men
in it, rather than become liable to hanging for property in which they
can have, at most, but a very small interest. Thus a schooner renders as
good aid, and is as much an object of dread, in this kind of service, as
a larger vessel.

[17] England and America.

[18] It may surprise some that I speak of those who are blind to slavery
being an anomaly in economy as 'few.' Among the many hundreds of persons
in the slave States, with whom I conversed on the subject of slavery, I
met with only one, a lady, who defended the institution altogether: and
with perhaps four or five who defended it as necessary to a purpose
which must be fulfilled, and could not be fulfilled otherwise. All the
rest who vindicated its present existence did so on the ground of the
impossibility of doing it away. A very large number avowed that it was
indefensible in every point of view.

[19] With the condition of the African colony, we have here nothing to
do. We are now considering the Colonisation Society in its professed
relation to American slavery.

[20] Governor M'Duffie's message to the legislature of South Carolina
contains the proposition that freedom can be preserved only in societies
where either work is disreputable, or there is an hereditary
aristocracy, or a military despotism. He prefers the first, as being the
most republican.

[21] The dispute between the abolitionists and their adversaries is
always made to turn on the point of distinction between freedom of
discussion and political interference. With the views now entertained by
the south, she can never be satisfied on this head. She requires nothing
short of a dead silence upon the subject of human rights. This demand is
made by her state governors of the state governors of the north. It
will, of course, never be granted. The course of the abolitionists seems
to themselves clear enough; and they act accordingly. They labour
_politically_ only with regard to the District of Columbia, over which
Congress holds exclusive jurisdiction. Their other endeavour is to
promote the discussion of the moral question throughout the free States.
They use no direct means to this end in the slave States;--in the first
place, because they have no power to do so; and in the next, because the
requisite movement there is sure to follow upon that in the north. It is
wholly untrue that they insinuate their publications into the south.
Their only political transgression (and who will call it a moral one?)
is, helping fugitive slaves. The line between free discussion and
political interference has never yet been drawn to the satisfaction of
both parties, and never will be.

[22] Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Methodists and Baptists.

[23] It may, at the first glance, appear improbable that such a
character as this should belong to any collection of individuals. But
let it be remembered what the object is; an object which selects for its
first supporters the choicest spirits of society. These choice spirits,
again, are disciplined by what they have to undergo for their object,
till they come out such as I have described them. Their's is not a
common charitable institution, whose committees meet, and do creditable
business, and depart homewards in peace. They are the confessors of the
martyr-age of America. As a matter of course, their character will be
less distinctive as their numbers increase. Many are coming in, and more
will come in, who had not strength, or light, or warmth enough to join
them in the days of their insignificance.

[24] While I write, confirmation comes in the shape of Governor
M'Duffie's message to the legislature of South Carolina, in which he
speaks of the vast and accelerated spread of abolition principles; of
the probability that slavery in the District of Columbia will be soon
abolished; and of the pressing occasion that thence arises for South
Carolina to resolve what she shall do, rather than part with her
domestic institutions. He recommends her to declare her intention of
peaceably withdrawing from the Union, in such a case. Time will show
whether the majority of her citizens will prefer sacrificing their
connexion with the Union, or their slavery; whether the separation will
be allowed by the other States to take place; or, if it be, whether
South Carolina will not speedily desire a readmission.



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