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American Notes for General Circulation by Charles Dickens

American Notes for General Circulation by Charles Dickens


IT is nearly eight years since this book was first published. I present it, unaltered, in the Cheap Edition; and such of my opinions as it expresses, are quite unaltered too.

My readers have opportunities of judging for themselves whether the influences and tendencies which I distrust in America, have any existence not in my imagination. They can examine for themselves whether there has been anything in the public career of that country during these past eight years, or whether there is anything in its present position, at home or abroad, which suggests that those influences and tendencies really do exist. As they find the fact, they will judge me. If they discern any evidences of wrong- going in any direction that I have indicated, they will acknowledge that I had reason in what I wrote. If they discern no such thing, they will consider me altogether mistaken.

Prejudiced, I never have been otherwise than in favour of the United States. No visitor can ever have set foot on those shores, with a stronger faith in the Republic than I had, when I landed in America.

I purposely abstain from extending these observations to any length. I have nothing to defend, or to explain away. The truth is the truth; and neither childish absurdities, nor unscrupulous contradictions, can make it otherwise. The earth would still move round the sun, though the whole Catholic Church said No.

I have many friends in America, and feel a grateful interest in the country. To represent me as viewing it with ill-nature, animosity, or partisanship, is merely to do a very foolish thing, which is always a very easy one; and which I have disregarded for eight years, and could disregard for eighty more.

LONDON, JUNE 22, 1850.


MY readers have opportunities of judging for themselves whether the influences and tendencies which I distrusted in America, had, at that time, any existence but in my imagination. They can examine for themselves whether there has been anything in the public career of that country since, at home or abroad, which suggests that those influences and tendencies really did exist. As they find the fact, they will judge me. If they discern any evidences of wrong-going, in any direction that I have indicated, they will acknowledge that I had reason in what I wrote. If they discern no such indications, they will consider me altogether mistaken - but not wilfully.

Prejudiced, I am not, and never have been, otherwise than in favour of the United States. I have many friends in America, I feel a grateful interest in the country, I hope and believe it will successfully work out a problem of the highest importance to the whole human race. To represent me as viewing AMERICA with ill- nature, coldness, or animosity, is merely to do a very foolish thing: which is always a very easy one.


I SHALL never forget the one-fourth serious and three-fourths comical astonishment, with which, on the morning of the third of January eighteen-hundred-and-forty-two, I opened the door of, and put my head into, a 'state-room' on board the Britannia steam- packet, twelve hundred tons burthen per register, bound for Halifax and Boston, and carrying Her Majesty's mails.

That this state-room had been specially engaged for 'Charles Dickens, Esquire, and Lady,' was rendered sufficiently clear even to my scared intellect by a very small manuscript, announcing the fact, which was pinned on a very flat quilt, covering a very thin mattress, spread like a surgical plaster on a most inaccessible shelf. But that this was the state-room concerning which Charles Dickens, Esquire, and Lady, had held daily and nightly conferences for at least four months preceding: that this could by any possibility be that small snug chamber of the imagination, which Charles Dickens, Esquire, with the spirit of prophecy strong upon him, had always foretold would contain at least one little sofa, and which his lady, with a modest yet most magnificent sense of its limited dimensions, had from the first opined would not hold more than two enormous portmanteaus in some odd corner out of sight (portmanteaus which could now no more be got in at the door, not to say stowed away, than a giraffe could be persuaded or forced into a flower-pot): that this utterly impracticable, thoroughly hopeless, and profoundly preposterous box, had the remotest reference to, or connection with, those chaste and pretty, not to say gorgeous little bowers, sketched by a masterly hand, in the highly varnished lithographic plan hanging up in the agent's counting-house in the city of London: that this room of state, in short, could be anything but a pleasant fiction and cheerful jest of the captain's, invented and put in practice for the better relish and enjoyment of the real state-room presently to be disclosed:- these were truths which I really could not, for the moment, bring my mind at all to bear upon or comprehend. And I sat down upon a kind of horsehair slab, or perch, of which there were two within; and looked, without any expression of countenance whatever, at some friends who had come on board with us, and who were crushing their faces into all manner of shapes by endeavouring to squeeze them through the small doorway.

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We had experienced a pretty smart shock before coming below, which, 
but that we were the most sanguine people living, might have 
prepared us for the worst.  The imaginative artist to whom I have 
already made allusion, has depicted in the same great work, a 
chamber of almost interminable perspective, furnished, as Mr. 
Robins would say, in a style of more than Eastern splendour, and 
filled (but not inconveniently so) with groups of ladies and 
gentlemen, in the very highest state of enjoyment and vivacity.  
Before descending into the bowels of the ship, we had passed from 
the deck into a long narrow apartment, not unlike a gigantic hearse 
with windows in the sides; having at the upper end a melancholy 
stove, at which three or four chilly stewards were warming their 
hands; while on either side, extending down its whole dreary 
length, was a long, long table, over each of which a rack, fixed to 
the low roof, and stuck full of drinking-glasses and cruet-stands, 
hinted dismally at rolling seas and heavy weather.  I had not at 
that time seen the ideal presentment of this chamber which has 
since gratified me so much, but I observed that one of our friends 
who had made the arrangements for our voyage, turned pale on 
entering, retreated on the friend behind him., smote his forehead 
involuntarily, and said below his breath, 'Impossible! it cannot 
be!' or words to that effect.  He recovered himself however by a 
great effort, and after a preparatory cough or two, cried, with a 
ghastly smile which is still before me, looking at the same time 
round the walls, 'Ha! the breakfast-room, steward - eh?'  We all 
foresaw what the answer must be:  we knew the agony he suffered.  
He had often spoken of THE SALOON; had taken in and lived upon the 
pictorial idea; had usually given us to understand, at home, that 
to form a just conception of it, it would be necessary to multiply 
the size and furniture of an ordinary drawing-room by seven, and 
then fall short of the reality.  When the man in reply avowed the 
truth; the blunt, remorseless, naked truth; 'This is the saloon, 
sir' - he actually reeled beneath the blow.

In persons who were so soon to part, and interpose between their 
else daily communication the formidable barrier of many thousand 
miles of stormy space, and who were for that reason anxious to cast 
no other cloud, not even the passing shadow of a moment's 
disappointment or discomfiture, upon the short interval of happy 
companionship that yet remained to them - in persons so situated, 
the natural transition from these first surprises was obviously 
into peals of hearty laughter, and I can report that I, for one, 
being still seated upon the slab or perch before mentioned, roared 
outright until the vessel rang again.  Thus, in less than two 
minutes after coming upon it for the first time, we all by common 
consent agreed that this state-room was the pleasantest and most 
facetious and capital contrivance possible; and that to have had it 
one inch larger, would have been quite a disagreeable and 
deplorable state of things.  And with this; and with showing how, - 
by very nearly closing the door, and twining in and out like 
serpents, and by counting the little washing slab as standing-room, 
- we could manage to insinuate four people into it, all at one 
time; and entreating each other to observe how very airy it was (in 
dock), and how there was a beautiful port-hole which could be kept 
open all day (weather permitting), and how there was quite a large 
bull's-eye just over the looking-glass which would render shaving a 
perfectly easy and delightful process (when the ship didn't roll 
too much); we arrived, at last, at the unanimous conclusion that it 
was rather spacious than otherwise:  though I do verily believe 
that, deducting the two berths, one above the other, than which 
nothing smaller for sleeping in was ever made except coffins, it 
was no bigger than one of those hackney cabriolets which have the 
door behind, and shoot their fares out, like sacks of coals, upon 
the pavement.

Having settled this point to the perfect satisfaction of all 
parties, concerned and unconcerned, we sat down round the fire in 
the ladies' cabin - just to try the effect.  It was rather dark, 
certainly; but somebody said, 'of course it would be light, at 
sea,' a proposition to which we all assented; echoing 'of course, 
of course;' though it would be exceedingly difficult to say why we 
thought so.  I remember, too, when we had discovered and exhausted 
another topic of consolation in the circumstance of this ladies' 
cabin adjoining our state-room, and the consequently immense 
feasibility of sitting there at all times and seasons, and had 
fallen into a momentary silence, leaning our faces on our hands and 
looking at the fire, one of our party said, with the solemn air of 
a man who had made a discovery, 'What a relish mulled claret will 
have down here!' which appeared to strike us all most forcibly; as 
though there were something spicy and high-flavoured in cabins, 
which essentially improved that composition, and rendered it quite 
incapable of perfection anywhere else.

There was a stewardess, too, actively engaged in producing clean 
sheets and table-cloths from the very entrails of the sofas, and 
from unexpected lockers, of such artful mechanism, that it made 
one's head ache to see them opened one after another, and rendered 
it quite a distracting circumstance to follow her proceedings, and 
to find that every nook and corner and individual piece of 
furniture was something else besides what it pretended to be, and 
was a mere trap and deception and place of secret stowage, whose 
ostensible purpose was its least useful one.

God bless that stewardess for her piously fraudulent account of 
January voyages!  God bless her for her clear recollection of the 
companion passage of last year, when nobody was ill, and everybody 
dancing from morning to night, and it was 'a run' of twelve days, 
and a piece of the purest frolic, and delight, and jollity!  All 
happiness be with her for her bright face and her pleasant Scotch 
tongue, which had sounds of old Home in it for my fellow-traveller; 
and for her predictions of fair winds and fine weather (all wrong, 
or I shouldn't be half so fond of her); and for the ten thousand 
small fragments of genuine womanly tact, by which, without piecing 
them elaborately together, and patching them up into shape and form 
and case and pointed application, she nevertheless did plainly show 
that all young mothers on one side of the Atlantic were near and 
close at hand to their little children left upon the other; and 
that what seemed to the uninitiated a serious journey, was, to 
those who were in the secret, a mere frolic, to be sung about and 
whistled at!  Light be her heart, and gay her merry eyes, for 

The state-room had grown pretty fast; but by this time it had 
expanded into something quite bulky, and almost boasted a bay-
window to view the sea from.  So we went upon deck again in high 
spirits; and there, everything was in such a state of bustle and 
active preparation, that the blood quickened its pace, and whirled 
through one's veins on that clear frosty morning with involuntary 
mirthfulness.  For every gallant ship was riding slowly up and 
down, and every little boat was splashing noisily in the water; and 
knots of people stood upon the wharf, gazing with a kind of 'dread 
delight' on the far-famed fast American steamer; and one party of 
men were 'taking in the milk,' or, in other words, getting the cow 
on board; and another were filling the icehouses to the very throat 
with fresh provisions; with butchers'-meat and garden-stuff, pale 
sucking-pigs, calves' heads in scores, beef, veal, and pork, and 
poultry out of all proportion; and others were coiling ropes and 
busy with oakum yarns; and others were lowering heavy packages into 
the hold; and the purser's head was barely visible as it loomed in 
a state, of exquisite perplexity from the midst of a vast pile of 
passengers' luggage; and there seemed to be nothing going on 
anywhere, or uppermost in the mind of anybody, but preparations for 
this mighty voyage.  This, with the bright cold sun, the bracing 
air, the crisply-curling water, the thin white crust of morning ice 
upon the decks which crackled with a sharp and cheerful sound 
beneath the lightest tread, was irresistible.  And when, again upon 
the shore, we turned and saw from the vessel's mast her name 
signalled in flags of joyous colours, and fluttering by their side 
the beautiful American banner with its stars and stripes, - the 
long three thousand miles and more, and, longer still, the six 
whole months of absence, so dwindled and faded, that the ship had 
gone out and come home again, and it was broad spring already in 
the Coburg Dock at Liverpool.

I have not inquired among my medical acquaintance, whether Turtle, 
and cold Punch, with Hock, Champagne, and Claret, and all the 
slight et cetera usually included in an unlimited order for a good 
dinner - especially when it is left to the liberal construction of 
my faultless friend, Mr. Radley, of the Adelphi Hotel - are 
peculiarly calculated to suffer a sea-change; or whether a plain 
mutton-chop, and a glass or two of sherry, would be less likely of 
conversion into foreign and disconcerting material.  My own opinion 
is, that whether one is discreet or indiscreet in these 
particulars, on the eve of a sea-voyage, is a matter of little 
consequence; and that, to use a common phrase, 'it comes to very 
much the same thing in the end.'  Be this as it may, I know that 
the dinner of that day was undeniably perfect; that it comprehended 
all these items, and a great many more; and that we all did ample 
justice to it.  And I know too, that, bating a certain tacit 
avoidance of any allusion to to-morrow; such as may be supposed to 
prevail between delicate-minded turnkeys, and a sensitive prisoner 
who is to be hanged next morning; we got on very well, and, all 
things considered, were merry enough.

When the morning - THE morning - came, and we met at breakfast, it 
was curious to see how eager we all were to prevent a moment's 
pause in the conversation, and how astoundingly gay everybody was:  
the forced spirits of each member of the little party having as 
much likeness to his natural mirth, as hot-house peas at five 
guineas the quart, resemble in flavour the growth of the dews, and 
air, and rain of Heaven.  But as one o'clock, the hour for going 
aboard, drew near, this volubility dwindled away by little and 
little, despite the most persevering efforts to the contrary, until 
at last, the matter being now quite desperate, we threw off all 
disguise; openly speculated upon where we should be this time to-
morrow, this time next day, and so forth; and entrusted a vast 
number of messages to those who intended returning to town that 
night, which were to be delivered at home and elsewhere without 
fail, within the very shortest possible space of time after the 
arrival of the railway train at Euston Square.  And commissions and 
remembrances do so crowd upon one at such a time, that we were 
still busied with this employment when we found ourselves fused, as 
it were, into a dense conglomeration of passengers and passengers' 
friends and passengers' luggage, all jumbled together on the deck 
of a small steamboat, and panting and snorting off to the packet, 
which had worked out of dock yesterday afternoon and was now lying 
at her moorings in the river.

And there she is! all eyes are turned to where she lies, dimly 
discernible through the gathering fog of the early winter 
afternoon; every finger is pointed in the same direction; and 
murmurs of interest and admiration - as 'How beautiful she looks!' 
'How trim she is!' - are heard on every side.  Even the lazy 
gentleman with his hat on one side and his hands in his pockets, 
who has dispensed so much consolation by inquiring with a yawn of 
another gentleman whether he is 'going across' - as if it were a 
ferry - even he condescends to look that way, and nod his head, as 
who should say, 'No mistake about THAT:' and not even the sage Lord 
Burleigh in his nod, included half so much as this lazy gentleman 
of might who has made the passage (as everybody on board has found 
out already; it's impossible to say how) thirteen times without a 
single accident!  There is another passenger very much wrapped-up, 
who has been frowned down by the rest, and morally trampled upon 
and crushed, for presuming to inquire with a timid interest how 
long it is since the poor President went down.  He is standing 
close to the lazy gentleman, and says with a faint smile that he 
believes She is a very strong Ship; to which the lazy gentleman, 
looking first in his questioner's eye and then very hard in the 
wind's, answers unexpectedly and ominously, that She need be.  Upon 
this the lazy gentleman instantly falls very low in the popular 
estimation, and the passengers, with looks of defiance, whisper to 
each other that he is an ass, and an impostor, and clearly don't 
know anything at all about it.

But we are made fast alongside the packet, whose huge red funnel is 
smoking bravely, giving rich promise of serious intentions.  
Packing-cases, portmanteaus, carpet-bags, and boxes, are already 
passed from hand to hand, and hauled on board with breathless 
rapidity.  The officers, smartly dressed, are at the gangway 
handing the passengers up the side, and hurrying the men.  In five 
minutes' time, the little steamer is utterly deserted, and the 
packet is beset and over-run by its late freight, who instantly 
pervade the whole ship, and are to be met with by the dozen in 
every nook and corner:  swarming down below with their own baggage, 
and stumbling over other people's; disposing themselves comfortably 
in wrong cabins, and creating a most horrible confusion by having 
to turn out again; madly bent upon opening locked doors, and on 
forcing a passage into all kinds of out-of-the-way places where 
there is no thoroughfare; sending wild stewards, with elfin hair, 
to and fro upon the breezy decks on unintelligible errands, 
impossible of execution:  and in short, creating the most 
extraordinary and bewildering tumult.  In the midst of all this, 
the lazy gentleman, who seems to have no luggage of any kind - not 
so much as a friend, even - lounges up and down the hurricane deck, 
coolly puffing a cigar; and, as this unconcerned demeanour again 
exalts him in the opinion of those who have leisure to observe his 
proceedings, every time he looks up at the masts, or down at the 
decks, or over the side, they look there too, as wondering whether 
he sees anything wrong anywhere, and hoping that, in case he 
should, he will have the goodness to mention it.

What have we here?  The captain's boat! and yonder the captain 
himself.  Now, by all our hopes and wishes, the very man he ought 
to be!  A well-made, tight-built, dapper little fellow; with a 
ruddy face, which is a letter of invitation to shake him by both 
hands at once; and with a clear, blue honest eye, that it does one 
good to see one's sparkling image in.  'Ring the bell!'  'Ding, 
ding, ding!' the very bell is in a hurry.  'Now for the shore - 
who's for the shore?' - 'These gentlemen, I am sorry to say.'  They 
are away, and never said, Good b'ye.  Ah now they wave it from the 
little boat.  'Good b'ye! Good b'ye!'  Three cheers from them; 
three more from us; three more from them:  and they are gone.

To and fro, to and fro, to and fro again a hundred times!  This 
waiting for the latest mail-bags is worse than all.  If we could 
have gone off in the midst of that last burst, we should have 
started triumphantly:  but to lie here, two hours and more in the 
damp fog, neither staying at home nor going abroad, is letting one 
gradually down into the very depths of dulness and low spirits.  A 
speck in the mist, at last!  That's something.  It is the boat we 
wait for!  That's more to the purpose.  The captain appears on the 
paddle-box with his speaking trumpet; the officers take their 
stations; all hands are on the alert; the flagging hopes of the 
passengers revive; the cooks pause in their savoury work, and look 
out with faces full of interest.  The boat comes alongside; the 
bags are dragged in anyhow, and flung down for the moment anywhere.  
Three cheers more:  and as the first one rings upon our ears, the 
vessel throbs like a strong giant that has just received the breath 
of life; the two great wheels turn fiercely round for the first 
time; and the noble ship, with wind and tide astern, breaks proudly 
through the lashed and roaming water.


WE all dined together that day; and a rather formidable party we 
were:  no fewer than eighty-six strong.  The vessel being pretty 
deep in the water, with all her coals on board and so many 
passengers, and the weather being calm and quiet, there was but 
little motion; so that before the dinner was half over, even those 
passengers who were most distrustful of themselves plucked up 
amazingly; and those who in the morning had returned to the 
universal question, 'Are you a good sailor?' a very decided 
negative, now either parried the inquiry with the evasive reply, 
'Oh! I suppose I'm no worse than anybody else;' or, reckless of all 
moral obligations, answered boldly 'Yes:' and with some irritation 
too, as though they would add, 'I should like to know what you see 
in ME, sir, particularly, to justify suspicion!'

Notwithstanding this high tone of courage and confidence, I could 
not but observe that very few remained long over their wine; and 
that everybody had an unusual love of the open air; and that the 
favourite and most coveted seats were invariably those nearest to 
the door.  The tea-table, too, was by no means as well attended as 
the dinner-table; and there was less whist-playing than might have 
been expected.  Still, with the exception of one lady, who had 
retired with some precipitation at dinner-time, immediately after 
being assisted to the finest cut of a very yellow boiled leg of 
mutton with very green capers, there were no invalids as yet; and 
walking, and smoking, and drinking of brandy-and-water (but always 
in the open air), went on with unabated spirit, until eleven 
o'clock or thereabouts, when 'turning in' - no sailor of seven 
hours' experience talks of going to bed - became the order of the 
night.  The perpetual tramp of boot-heels on the decks gave place 
to a heavy silence, and the whole human freight was stowed away 
below, excepting a very few stragglers, like myself, who were 
probably, like me, afraid to go there.

To one unaccustomed to such scenes, this is a very striking time on 
shipboard.  Afterwards, and when its novelty had long worn off, it 
never ceased to have a peculiar interest and charm for me.  The 
gloom through which the great black mass holds its direct and 
certain course; the rushing water, plainly heard, but dimly seen; 
the broad, white, glistening track, that follows in the vessel's 
wake; the men on the look-out forward, who would be scarcely 
visible against the dark sky, but for their blotting out some score 
of glistening stars; the helmsman at the wheel, with the 
illuminated card before him, shining, a speck of light amidst the 
darkness, like something sentient and of Divine intelligence; the 
melancholy sighing of the wind through block, and rope, and chain; 
the gleaming forth of light from every crevice, nook, and tiny 
piece of glass about the decks, as though the ship were filled with 
fire in hiding, ready to burst through any outlet, wild with its 
resistless power of death and ruin.  At first, too, and even when 
the hour, and all the objects it exalts, have come to be familiar, 
it is difficult, alone and thoughtful, to hold them to their proper 
shapes and forms.  They change with the wandering fancy; assume the 
semblance of things left far away; put on the well-remembered 
aspect of favourite places dearly loved; and even people them with 
shadows.  Streets, houses, rooms; figures so like their usual 
occupants, that they have startled me by their reality, which far 
exceeded, as it seemed to me, all power of mine to conjure up the 
absent; have, many and many a time, at such an hour, grown suddenly 
out of objects with whose real look, and use, and purpose, I was as 
well acquainted as with my own two hands.

My own two hands, and feet likewise, being very cold, however, on 
this particular occasion, I crept below at midnight.  It was not 
exactly comfortable below.  It was decidedly close; and it was 
impossible to be unconscious of the presence of that extraordinary 
compound of strange smells, which is to be found nowhere but on 
board ship, and which is such a subtle perfume that it seems to 
enter at every pore of the skin, and whisper of the hold.  Two 
passengers' wives (one of them my own) lay already in silent 
agonies on the sofa; and one lady's maid (MY lady's) was a mere 
bundle on the floor, execrating her destiny, and pounding her curl-
papers among the stray boxes.  Everything sloped the wrong way:  
which in itself was an aggravation scarcely to be borne.  I had 
left the door open, a moment before, in the bosom of a gentle 
declivity, and, when I turned to shut it, it was on the summit of a 
lofty eminence.  Now every plank and timber creaked, as if the ship 
were made of wicker-work; and now crackled, like an enormous fire 
of the driest possible twigs.  There was nothing for it but bed; so 
I went to bed.

It was pretty much the same for the next two days, with a tolerably 
fair wind and dry weather.  I read in bed (but to this hour I don't 
know what) a good deal; and reeled on deck a little; drank cold 
brandy-and-water with an unspeakable disgust, and ate hard biscuit 
perseveringly:  not ill, but going to be.

It is the third morning.  I am awakened out of my sleep by a dismal 
shriek from my wife, who demands to know whether there's any 
danger.  I rouse myself, and look out of bed.  The water-jug is 
plunging and leaping like a lively dolphin; all the smaller 
articles are afloat, except my shoes, which are stranded on a 
carpet-bag, high and dry, like a couple of coal-barges.  Suddenly I 
see them spring into the air, and behold the looking-glass, which 
is nailed to the wall, sticking fast upon the ceiling.  At the same 
time the door entirely disappears, and a new one is opened in the 
floor.  Then I begin to comprehend that the state-room is standing 
on its head.

Before it is possible to make any arrangement at all compatible 
with this novel state of things, the ship rights.  Before one can 
say 'Thank Heaven!' she wrongs again.  Before one can cry she IS 
wrong, she seems to have started forward, and to be a creature 
actually running of its own accord, with broken knees and failing 
legs, through every variety of hole and pitfall, and stumbling 
constantly.  Before one can so much as wonder, she takes a high 
leap into the air.  Before she has well done that, she takes a deep 
dive into the water.  Before she has gained the surface, she throws 
a summerset.  The instant she is on her legs, she rushes backward.  
And so she goes on staggering, heaving, wrestling, leaping, diving, 
jumping, pitching, throbbing, rolling, and rocking:  and going 
through all these movements, sometimes by turns, and sometimes 
altogether:  until one feels disposed to roar for mercy.

A steward passes.  'Steward!'  'Sir?'  'What IS the matter? what DO 
you call this?'  'Rather a heavy sea on, sir, and a head-wind.'

A head-wind!  Imagine a human face upon the vessel's prow, with 
fifteen thousand Samsons in one bent upon driving her back, and 
hitting her exactly between the eyes whenever she attempts to 
advance an inch.  Imagine the ship herself, with every pulse and 
artery of her huge body swollen and bursting under this 
maltreatment, sworn to go on or die.  Imagine the wind howling, the 
sea roaring, the rain beating:  all in furious array against her.  
Picture the sky both dark and wild, and the clouds, in fearful 
sympathy with the waves, making another ocean in the air.  Add to 
all this, the clattering on deck and down below; the tread of 
hurried feet; the loud hoarse shouts of seamen; the gurgling in and 
out of water through the scuppers; with, every now and then, the 
striking of a heavy sea upon the planks above, with the deep, dead, 
heavy sound of thunder heard within a vault; - and there is the 
head-wind of that January morning.

I say nothing of what may be called the domestic noises of the 
ship:  such as the breaking of glass and crockery, the tumbling 
down of stewards, the gambols, overhead, of loose casks and truant 
dozens of bottled porter, and the very remarkable and far from 
exhilarating sounds raised in their various state-rooms by the 
seventy passengers who were too ill to get up to breakfast.  I say 
nothing of them:  for although I lay listening to this concert for 
three or four days, I don't think I heard it for more than a 
quarter of a minute, at the expiration of which term, I lay down 
again, excessively sea-sick.

Not sea-sick, be it understood, in the ordinary acceptation of the 
term:  I wish I had been:  but in a form which I have never seen or 
heard described, though I have no doubt it is very common.  I lay 
there, all the day long, quite coolly and contentedly; with no 
sense of weariness, with no desire to get up, or get better, or 
take the air; with no curiosity, or care, or regret, of any sort or 
degree, saving that I think I can remember, in this universal 
indifference, having a kind of lazy joy - of fiendish delight, if 
anything so lethargic can be dignified with the title - in the fact 
of my wife being too ill to talk to me.  If I may be allowed to 
illustrate my state of mind by such an example, I should say that I 
was exactly in the condition of the elder Mr. Willet, after the 
incursion of the rioters into his bar at Chigwell.  Nothing would 
have surprised me.  If, in the momentary illumination of any ray of 
intelligence that may have come upon me in the way of thoughts of 
Home, a goblin postman, with a scarlet coat and bell, had come into 
that little kennel before me, broad awake in broad day, and, 
apologising for being damp through walking in the sea, had handed 
me a letter directed to myself, in familiar characters, I am 
certain I should not have felt one atom of astonishment:  I should 
have been perfectly satisfied.  If Neptune himself had walked in, 
with a toasted shark on his trident, I should have looked upon the 
event as one of the very commonest everyday occurrences.

Once - once - I found myself on deck.  I don't know how I got 
there, or what possessed me to go there, but there I was; and 
completely dressed too, with a huge pea-coat on, and a pair of 
boots such as no weak man in his senses could ever have got into.  
I found myself standing, when a gleam of consciousness came upon 
me, holding on to something.  I don't know what.  I think it was 
the boatswain:  or it may have been the pump:  or possibly the cow.  
I can't say how long I had been there; whether a day or a minute.  
I recollect trying to think about something (about anything in the 
whole wide world, I was not particular) without the smallest 
effect.  I could not even make out which was the sea, and which the 
sky, for the horizon seemed drunk, and was flying wildly about in 
all directions.  Even in that incapable state, however, I 
recognised the lazy gentleman standing before me:  nautically clad 
in a suit of shaggy blue, with an oilskin hat.  But I was too 
imbecile, although I knew it to be he, to separate him from his 
dress; and tried to call him, I remember, PILOT.  After another 
interval of total unconsciousness, I found he had gone, and 
recognised another figure in its place.  It seemed to wave and 
fluctuate before me as though I saw it reflected in an unsteady 
looking-glass; but I knew it for the captain; and such was the 
cheerful influence of his face, that I tried to smile:  yes, even 
then I tried to smile.  I saw by his gestures that he addressed me; 
but it was a long time before I could make out that he remonstrated 
against my standing up to my knees in water - as I was; of course I 
don't know why.  I tried to thank him, but couldn't.  I could only 
point to my boots - or wherever I supposed my boots to be - and say 
in a plaintive voice, 'Cork soles:' at the same time endeavouring, 
I am told, to sit down in the pool.  Finding that I was quite 
insensible, and for the time a maniac, he humanely conducted me 

There I remained until I got better:  suffering, whenever I was 
recommended to eat anything, an amount of anguish only second to 
that which is said to be endured by the apparently drowned, in the 
process of restoration to life.  One gentleman on board had a 
letter of introduction to me from a mutual friend in London.  He 
sent it below with his card, on the morning of the head-wind; and I 
was long troubled with the idea that he might be up, and well, and 
a hundred times a day expecting me to call upon him in the saloon.  
I imagined him one of those cast-iron images - I will not call them 
men - who ask, with red faces, and lusty voices, what sea-sickness 
means, and whether it really is as bad as it is represented to be.  
This was very torturing indeed; and I don't think I ever felt such 
perfect gratification and gratitude of heart, as I did when I heard 
from the ship's doctor that he had been obliged to put a large 
mustard poultice on this very gentleman's stomach.  I date my 
recovery from the receipt of that intelligence.

It was materially assisted though, I have no doubt, by a heavy gale 
of wind, which came slowly up at sunset, when we were about ten 
days out, and raged with gradually increasing fury until morning, 
saving that it lulled for an hour a little before midnight.  There 
was something in the unnatural repose of that hour, and in the 
after gathering of the storm, so inconceivably awful and 
tremendous, that its bursting into full violence was almost a 

The labouring of the ship in the troubled sea on this night I shall 
never forget.  'Will it ever be worse than this?' was a question I 
had often heard asked, when everything was sliding and bumping 
about, and when it certainly did seem difficult to comprehend the 
possibility of anything afloat being more disturbed, without 
toppling over and going down.  But what the agitation of a steam-
vessel is, on a bad winter's night in the wild Atlantic, it is 
impossible for the most vivid imagination to conceive.  To say that 
she is flung down on her side in the waves, with her masts dipping 
into them, and that, springing up again, she rolls over on the 
other side, until a heavy sea strikes her with the noise of a 
hundred great guns, and hurls her back - that she stops, and 
staggers, and shivers, as though stunned, and then, with a violent 
throbbing at her heart, darts onward like a monster goaded into 
madness, to be beaten down, and battered, and crushed, and leaped 
on by the angry sea - that thunder, lightning, hail, and rain, and 
wind, are all in fierce contention for the mastery - that every 
plank has its groan, every nail its shriek, and every drop of water 
in the great ocean its howling voice - is nothing.  To say that all 
is grand, and all appalling and horrible in the last degree, is 
nothing.  Words cannot express it.  Thoughts cannot convey it.  
Only a dream can call it up again, in all its fury, rage, and 

And yet, in the very midst of these terrors, I was placed in a 
situation so exquisitely ridiculous, that even then I had as strong 
a sense of its absurdity as I have now, and could no more help 
laughing than I can at any other comical incident, happening under 
circumstances the most favourable to its enjoyment.  About midnight 
we shipped a sea, which forced its way through the skylights, burst 
open the doors above, and came raging and roaring down into the 
ladies' cabin, to the unspeakable consternation of my wife and a 
little Scotch lady - who, by the way, had previously sent a message 
to the captain by the stewardess, requesting him, with her 
compliments, to have a steel conductor immediately attached to the 
top of every mast, and to the chimney, in order that the ship might 
not be struck by lightning.  They and the handmaid before 
mentioned, being in such ecstasies of fear that I scarcely knew 
what to do with them, I naturally bethought myself of some 
restorative or comfortable cordial; and nothing better occurring to 
me, at the moment, than hot brandy-and-water, I procured a tumbler 
full without delay.  It being impossible to stand or sit without 
holding on, they were all heaped together in one corner of a long 
sofa - a fixture extending entirely across the cabin - where they 
clung to each other in momentary expectation of being drowned.  
When I approached this place with my specific, and was about to 
administer it with many consolatory expressions to the nearest 
sufferer, what was my dismay to see them all roll slowly down to 
the other end!  And when I staggered to that end, and held out the 
glass once more, how immensely baffled were my good intentions by 
the ship giving another lurch, and their all rolling back again!  I 
suppose I dodged them up and down this sofa for at least a quarter 
of an hour, without reaching them once; and by the time I did catch 
them, the brandy-and-water was diminished, by constant spilling, to 
a teaspoonful.  To complete the group, it is necessary to recognise 
in this disconcerted dodger, an individual very pale from sea-
sickness, who had shaved his beard and brushed his hair, last, at 
Liverpool:  and whose only article of dress (linen not included) 
were a pair of dreadnought trousers; a blue jacket, formerly 
admired upon the Thames at Richmond; no stockings; and one slipper.

Of the outrageous antics performed by that ship next morning; which 
made bed a practical joke, and getting up, by any process short of 
falling out, an impossibility; I say nothing.  But anything like 
the utter dreariness and desolation that met my eyes when I 
literally 'tumbled up' on deck at noon, I never saw.  Ocean and sky 
were all of one dull, heavy, uniform, lead colour.  There was no 
extent of prospect even over the dreary waste that lay around us, 
for the sea ran high, and the horizon encompassed us like a large 
black hoop.  Viewed from the air, or some tall bluff on shore, it 
would have been imposing and stupendous, no doubt; but seen from 
the wet and rolling decks, it only impressed one giddily and 
painfully.  In the gale of last night the life-boat had been 
crushed by one blow of the sea like a walnut-shell; and there it 
hung dangling in the air:  a mere faggot of crazy boards.  The 
planking of the paddle-boxes had been torn sheer away.  The wheels 
were exposed and bare; and they whirled and dashed their spray 
about the decks at random.  Chimney, white with crusted salt; 
topmasts struck; storm-sails set; rigging all knotted, tangled, 
wet, and drooping:  a gloomier picture it would be hard to look 

I was now comfortably established by courtesy in the ladies' cabin, 
where, besides ourselves, there were only four other passengers.  
First, the little Scotch lady before mentioned, on her way to join 
her husband at New York, who had settled there three years before.  
Secondly and thirdly, an honest young Yorkshireman, connected with 
some American house; domiciled in that same city, and carrying 
thither his beautiful young wife to whom he had been married but a 
fortnight, and who was the fairest specimen of a comely English 
country girl I have ever seen.  Fourthy, fifthly, and lastly, 
another couple:  newly married too, if one might judge from the 
endearments they frequently interchanged:  of whom I know no more 
than that they were rather a mysterious, run-away kind of couple; 
that the lady had great personal attractions also; and that the 
gentleman carried more guns with him than Robinson Crusoe, wore a 
shooting-coat, and had two great dogs on board.  On further 
consideration, I remember that he tried hot roast pig and bottled 
ale as a cure for sea-sickness; and that he took these remedies 
(usually in bed) day after day, with astonishing perseverance.  I 
may add, for the information of the curious, that they decidedly 

The weather continuing obstinately and almost unprecedentedly bad, 
we usually straggled into this cabin, more or less faint and 
miserable, about an hour before noon, and lay down on the sofas to 
recover; during which interval, the captain would look in to 
communicate the state of the wind, the moral certainty of its 
changing to-morrow (the weather is always going to improve to-
morrow, at sea), the vessel's rate of sailing, and so forth.  
Observations there were none to tell us of, for there was no sun to 
take them by.  But a description of one day will serve for all the 
rest.  Here it is.

The captain being gone, we compose ourselves to read, if the place 
be light enough; and if not, we doze and talk alternately.  At one, 
a bell rings, and the stewardess comes down with a steaming dish of 
baked potatoes, and another of roasted apples; and plates of pig's 
face, cold ham, salt beef; or perhaps a smoking mess of rare hot 
collops.  We fall to upon these dainties; eat as much as we can (we 
have great appetites now); and are as long as possible about it.  
If the fire will burn (it WILL sometimes) we are pretty cheerful.  
If it won't, we all remark to each other that it's very cold, rub 
our hands, cover ourselves with coats and cloaks, and lie down 
again to doze, talk, and read (provided as aforesaid), until 
dinner-time.  At five, another bell rings, and the stewardess 
reappears with another dish of potatoes - boiled this time - and 
store of hot meat of various kinds:  not forgetting the roast pig, 
to be taken medicinally.  We sit down at table again (rather more 
cheerfully than before); prolong the meal with a rather mouldy 
dessert of apples, grapes, and oranges; and drink our wine and 
brandy-and-water.  The bottles and glasses are still upon the 
table, and the oranges and so forth are rolling about according to 
their fancy and the ship's way, when the doctor comes down, by 
special nightly invitation, to join our evening rubber:  
immediately on whose arrival we make a party at whist, and as it is 
a rough night and the cards will not lie on the cloth, we put the 
tricks in our pockets as we take them.  At whist we remain with 
exemplary gravity (deducting a short time for tea and toast) until 
eleven o'clock, or thereabouts; when the captain comes down again, 
in a sou'-wester hat tied under his chin, and a pilot-coat:  making 
the ground wet where he stands.  By this time the card-playing is 
over, and the bottles and glasses are again upon the table; and 
after an hour's pleasant conversation about the ship, the 
passengers, and things in general, the captain (who never goes to 
bed, and is never out of humour) turns up his coat collar for the 
deck again; shakes hands all round; and goes laughing out into the 
weather as merrily as to a birthday party.

As to daily news, there is no dearth of that commodity.  This 
passenger is reported to have lost fourteen pounds at Vingt-et-un 
in the saloon yesterday; and that passenger drinks his bottle of 
champagne every day, and how he does it (being only a clerk), 
nobody knows.  The head engineer has distinctly said that there 
never was such times - meaning weather - and four good hands are 
ill, and have given in, dead beat.  Several berths are full of 
water, and all the cabins are leaky.  The ship's cook, secretly 
swigging damaged whiskey, has been found drunk; and has been played 
upon by the fire-engine until quite sober.  All the stewards have 
fallen down-stairs at various dinner-times, and go about with 
plasters in various places.  The baker is ill, and so is the 
pastry-cook.  A new man, horribly indisposed, has been required to 
fill the place of the latter officer; and has been propped and 
jammed up with empty casks in a little house upon deck, and 
commanded to roll out pie-crust, which he protests (being highly 
bilious) it is death to him to look at.  News!  A dozen murders on 
shore would lack the interest of these slight incidents at sea.

Divided between our rubber and such topics as these, we were 
running (as we thought) into Halifax Harbour, on the fifteenth 
night, with little wind and a bright moon - indeed, we had made the 
Light at its outer entrance, and put the pilot in charge - when 
suddenly the ship struck upon a bank of mud.  An immediate rush on 
deck took place of course; the sides were crowded in an instant; 
and for a few minutes we were in as lively a state of confusion as 
the greatest lover of disorder would desire to see.  The 
passengers, and guns, and water-casks, and other heavy matters, 
being all huddled together aft, however, to lighten her in the 
head, she was soon got off; and after some driving on towards an 
uncomfortable line of objects (whose vicinity had been announced 
very early in the disaster by a loud cry of 'Breakers a-head!') and 
much backing of paddles, and heaving of the lead into a constantly 
decreasing depth of water, we dropped anchor in a strange 
outlandish-looking nook which nobody on board could recognise, 
although there was land all about us, and so close that we could 
plainly see the waving branches of the trees.

It was strange enough, in the silence of midnight, and the dead 
stillness that seemed to be created by the sudden and unexpected 
stoppage of the engine which had been clanking and blasting in our 
ears incessantly for so many days, to watch the look of blank 
astonishment expressed in every face:  beginning with the officers, 
tracing it through all the passengers, and descending to the very 
stokers and furnacemen, who emerged from below, one by one, and 
clustered together in a smoky group about the hatchway of the 
engine-room, comparing notes in whispers.  After throwing up a few 
rockets and firing signal guns in the hope of being hailed from the 
land, or at least of seeing a light - but without any other sight 
or sound presenting itself - it was determined to send a boat on 
shore.  It was amusing to observe how very kind some of the 
passengers were, in volunteering to go ashore in this same boat:  
for the general good, of course:  not by any means because they 
thought the ship in an unsafe position, or contemplated the 
possibility of her heeling over in case the tide were running out.  
Nor was it less amusing to remark how desperately unpopular the 
poor pilot became in one short minute.  He had had his passage out 
from Liverpool, and during the whole voyage had been quite a 
notorious character, as a teller of anecdotes and cracker of jokes.  
Yet here were the very men who had laughed the loudest at his 
jests, now flourishing their fists in his face, loading him with 
imprecations, and defying him to his teeth as a villain!

The boat soon shoved off, with a lantern and sundry blue lights on 
board; and in less than an hour returned; the officer in command 
bringing with him a tolerably tall young tree, which he had plucked 
up by the roots, to satisfy certain distrustful passengers whose 
minds misgave them that they were to be imposed upon and 
shipwrecked, and who would on no other terms believe that he had 
been ashore, or had done anything but fraudulently row a little way 
into the mist, specially to deceive them and compass their deaths.  
Our captain had foreseen from the first that we must be in a place 
called the Eastern passage; and so we were.  It was about the last 
place in the world in which we had any business or reason to be, 
but a sudden fog, and some error on the pilot's part, were the 
cause.  We were surrounded by banks, and rocks, and shoals of all 
kinds, but had happily drifted, it seemed, upon the only safe speck 
that was to be found thereabouts.  Eased by this report, and by the 
assurance that the tide was past the ebb, we turned in at three 
o'clock in the morning.

I was dressing about half-past nine next day, when the noise above 
hurried me on deck.  When I had left it overnight, it was dark, 
foggy, and damp, and there were bleak hills all round us.  Now, we 
were gliding down a smooth, broad stream, at the rate of eleven 
miles an hour:  our colours flying gaily; our crew rigged out in 
their smartest clothes; our officers in uniform again; the sun 
shining as on a brilliant April day in England; the land stretched 
out on either side, streaked with light patches of snow; white 
wooden houses; people at their doors; telegraphs working; flags 
hoisted; wharfs appearing; ships; quays crowded with people; 
distant noises; shouts; men and boys running down steep places 
towards the pier:  all more bright and gay and fresh to our unused 
eyes than words can paint them.  We came to a wharf, paved with 
uplifted faces; got alongside, and were made fast, after some 
shouting and straining of cables; darted, a score of us along the 
gangway, almost as soon as it was thrust out to meet us, and before 
it had reached the ship - and leaped upon the firm glad earth 

I suppose this Halifax would have appeared an Elysium, though it 
had been a curiosity of ugly dulness.  But I carried away with me a 
most pleasant impression of the town and its inhabitants, and have 
preserved it to this hour.  Nor was it without regret that I came 
home, without having found an opportunity of returning thither, and 
once more shaking hands with the friends I made that day.

It happened to be the opening of the Legislative Council and 
General Assembly, at which ceremonial the forms observed on the 
commencement of a new Session of Parliament in England were so 
closely copied, and so gravely presented on a small scale, that it 
was like looking at Westminster through the wrong end of a 
telescope.  The governor, as her Majesty's representative, 
delivered what may be called the Speech from the Throne.  He said 
what he had to say manfully and well.  The military band outside 
the building struck up "God save the Queen" with great vigour 
before his Excellency had quite finished; the people shouted; the 
in's rubbed their hands; the out's shook their heads; the 
Government party said there never was such a good speech; the 
Opposition declared there never was such a bad one; the Speaker and 
members of the House of Assembly withdrew from the bar to say a 
great deal among themselves and do a little:  and, in short, 
everything went on, and promised to go on, just as it does at home 
upon the like occasions.

The town is built on the side of a hill, the highest point being 
commanded by a strong fortress, not yet quite finished.  Several 
streets of good breadth and appearance extend from its summit to 
the water-side, and are intersected by cross streets running 
parallel with the river.  The houses are chiefly of wood.  The 
market is abundantly supplied; and provisions are exceedingly 
cheap.  The weather being unusually mild at that time for the 
season of the year, there was no sleighing:  but there were plenty 
of those vehicles in yards and by-places, and some of them, from 
the gorgeous quality of their decorations, might have 'gone on' 
without alteration as triumphal cars in a melodrama at Astley's.  
The day was uncommonly fine; the air bracing and healthful; the 
whole aspect of the town cheerful, thriving, and industrious.

We lay there seven hours, to deliver and exchange the mails.  At 
length, having collected all our bags and all our passengers 
(including two or three choice spirits, who, having indulged too 
freely in oysters and champagne, were found lying insensible on 
their backs in unfrequented streets), the engines were again put in 
motion, and we stood off for Boston.

Encountering squally weather again in the Bay of Fundy, we tumbled 
and rolled about as usual all that night and all next day.  On the 
next afternoon, that is to say, on Saturday, the twenty-second of 
January, an American pilot-boat came alongside, and soon afterwards 
the Britannia steam-packet, from Liverpool, eighteen days out, was 
telegraphed at Boston.

The indescribable interest with which I strained my eyes, as the 
first patches of American soil peeped like molehills from the green 
sea, and followed them, as they swelled, by slow and almost 
imperceptible degrees, into a continuous line of coast, can hardly 
be exaggerated.  A sharp keen wind blew dead against us; a hard 
frost prevailed on shore; and the cold was most severe.  Yet the 
air was so intensely clear, and dry, and bright, that the 
temperature was not only endurable, but delicious.

How I remained on deck, staring about me, until we came alongside 
the dock, and how, though I had had as many eyes as Argus, I should 
have had them all wide open, and all employed on new objects - are 
topics which I will not prolong this chapter to discuss.  Neither 
will I more than hint at my foreigner-like mistake in supposing 
that a party of most active persons, who scrambled on board at the 
peril of their lives as we approached the wharf, were newsmen, 
answering to that industrious class at home; whereas, despite the 
leathern wallets of news slung about the necks of some, and the 
broad sheets in the hands of all, they were Editors, who boarded 
ships in person (as one gentleman in a worsted comforter informed 
me), 'because they liked the excitement of it.'  Suffice it in this 
place to say, that one of these invaders, with a ready courtesy for 
which I thank him here most gratefully, went on before to order 
rooms at the hotel; and that when I followed, as I soon did, I 
found myself rolling through the long passages with an involuntary 
imitation of the gait of Mr. T. P. Cooke, in a new nautical 

'Dinner, if you please,' said I to the waiter.

'When?' said the waiter.

'As quick as possible,' said I.

'Right away?' said the waiter.

After a moment's hesitation, I answered 'No,' at hazard.

'NOT right away?' cried the waiter, with an amount of surprise that 
made me start.

I looked at him doubtfully, and returned, 'No; I would rather have 
it in this private room.  I like it very much.'

At this, I really thought the waiter must have gone out of his 
mind:  as I believe he would have done, but for the interposition 
of another man, who whispered in his ear, 'Directly.'

'Well! and that's a fact!' said the waiter, looking helplessly at 
me:  'Right away.'

I saw now that 'Right away' and 'Directly' were one and the same 
thing.  So I reversed my previous answer, and sat down to dinner in 
ten minutes afterwards; and a capital dinner it was.

The hotel (a very excellent one) is called the Tremont House.  It 
has more galleries, colonnades, piazzas, and passages than I can 
remember, or the reader would believe.


IN all the public establishments of America, the utmost courtesy 
prevails.  Most of our Departments are susceptible of considerable 
improvement in this respect, but the Custom-house above all others 
would do well to take example from the United States and render 
itself somewhat less odious and offensive to foreigners.  The 
servile rapacity of the French officials is sufficiently 
contemptible; but there is a surly boorish incivility about our 
men, alike disgusting to all persons who fall into their hands, and 
discreditable to the nation that keeps such ill-conditioned curs 
snarling about its gates.

When I landed in America, I could not help being strongly impressed 
with the contrast their Custom-house presented, and the attention, 
politeness and good humour with which its officers discharged their 

As we did not land at Boston, in consequence of some detention at 
the wharf, until after dark, I received my first impressions of the 
city in walking down to the Custom-house on the morning after our 
arrival, which was Sunday.  I am afraid to say, by the way, how 
many offers of pews and seats in church for that morning were made 
to us, by formal note of invitation, before we had half finished 
our first dinner in America, but if I may be allowed to make a 
moderate guess, without going into nicer calculation, I should say 
that at least as many sittings were proffered us, as would have 
accommodated a score or two of grown-up families.  The number of 
creeds and forms of religion to which the pleasure of our company 
was requested, was in very fair proportion.

Not being able, in the absence of any change of clothes, to go to 
church that day, we were compelled to decline these kindnesses, one 
and all; and I was reluctantly obliged to forego the delight of 
hearing Dr. Channing, who happened to preach that morning for the 
first time in a very long interval.  I mention the name of this 
distinguished and accomplished man (with whom I soon afterwards had 
the pleasure of becoming personally acquainted), that I may have 
the gratification of recording my humble tribute of admiration and 
respect for his high abilities and character; and for the bold 
philanthropy with which he has ever opposed himself to that most 
hideous blot and foul disgrace - Slavery.

To return to Boston.  When I got into the streets upon this Sunday 
morning, the air was so clear, the houses were so bright and gay:  
the signboards were painted in such gaudy colours; the gilded 
letters were so very golden; the bricks were so very red, the stone 
was so very white, the blinds and area railings were so very green, 
the knobs and plates upon the street doors so marvellously bright 
and twinkling; and all so slight and unsubstantial in appearance - 
that every thoroughfare in the city looked exactly like a scene in 
a pantomime.  It rarely happens in the business streets that a 
tradesman, if I may venture to call anybody a tradesman, where 
everybody is a merchant, resides above his store; so that many 
occupations are often carried on in one house, and the whole front 
is covered with boards and inscriptions.  As I walked along, I kept 
glancing up at these boards, confidently expecting to see a few of 
them change into something; and I never turned a corner suddenly 
without looking out for the clown and pantaloon, who, I had no 
doubt, were hiding in a doorway or behind some pillar close at 
hand.  As to Harlequin and Columbine, I discovered immediately that 
they lodged (they are always looking after lodgings in a pantomime) 
at a very small clockmaker's one story high, near the hotel; which, 
in addition to various symbols and devices, almost covering the 
whole front, had a great dial hanging out - to be jumped through, 
of course.

The suburbs are, if possible, even more unsubstantial-looking than 
the city.  The white wooden houses (so white that it makes one wink 
to look at them), with their green jalousie blinds, are so 
sprinkled and dropped about in all directions, without seeming to 
have any root at all in the ground; and the small churches and 
chapels are so prim, and bright, and highly varnished; that I 
almost believed the whole affair could be taken up piecemeal like a 
child's toy, and crammed into a little box.

The city is a beautiful one, and cannot fail, I should imagine, to 
impress all strangers very favourably.  The private dwelling-houses 
are, for the most part, large and elegant; the shops extremely 
good; and the public buildings handsome.  The State House is built 
upon the summit of a hill, which rises gradually at first, and 
afterwards by a steep ascent, almost from the water's edge.  In 
front is a green enclosure, called the Common.  The site is 
beautiful:  and from the top there is a charming panoramic view of 
the whole town and neighbourhood.  In addition to a variety of 
commodious offices, it contains two handsome chambers; in one the 
House of Representatives of the State hold their meetings:  in the 
other, the Senate.  Such proceedings as I saw here, were conducted 
with perfect gravity and decorum; and were certainly calculated to 
inspire attention and respect.

There is no doubt that much of the intellectual refinement and 
superiority of Boston, is referable to the quiet influence of the 
University of Cambridge, which is within three or four miles of the 
city.  The resident professors at that university are gentlemen of 
learning and varied attainments; and are, without one exception 
that I can call to mind, men who would shed a grace upon, and do 
honour to, any society in the civilised world.  Many of the 
resident gentry in Boston and its neighbourhood, and I think I am 
not mistaken in adding, a large majority of those who are attached 
to the liberal professions there, have been educated at this same 
school.  Whatever the defects of American universities may be, they 
disseminate no prejudices; rear no bigots; dig up the buried ashes 
of no old superstitions; never interpose between the people and 
their improvement; exclude no man because of his religious 
opinions; above all, in their whole course of study and 
instruction, recognise a world, and a broad one too, lying beyond 
the college walls.

It was a source of inexpressible pleasure to me to observe the 
almost imperceptible, but not less certain effect, wrought by this 
institution among the small community of Boston; and to note at 
every turn the humanising tastes and desires it has engendered; the 
affectionate friendships to which it has given rise; the amount of 
vanity and prejudice it has dispelled.  The golden calf they 
worship at Boston is a pigmy compared with the giant effigies set 
up in other parts of that vast counting-house which lies beyond the 
Atlantic; and the almighty dollar sinks into something 
comparatively insignificant, amidst a whole Pantheon of better 

Above all, I sincerely believe that the public institutions and 
charities of this capital of Massachusetts are as nearly perfect, 
as the most considerate wisdom, benevolence, and humanity, can make 
them.  I never in my life was more affected by the contemplation of 
happiness, under circumstances of privation and bereavement, than 
in my visits to these establishments.

It is a great and pleasant feature of all such institutions in 
America, that they are either supported by the State or assisted by 
the State; or (in the event of their not needing its helping hand) 
that they act in concert with it, and are emphatically the 
people's.  I cannot but think, with a view to the principle and its 
tendency to elevate or depress the character of the industrious 
classes, that a Public Charity is immeasurably better than a 
Private Foundation, no matter how munificently the latter may be 
endowed.  In our own country, where it has not, until within these 
later days, been a very popular fashion with governments to display 
any extraordinary regard for the great mass of the people or to 
recognise their existence as improvable creatures, private 
charities, unexampled in the history of the earth, have arisen, to 
do an incalculable amount of good among the destitute and 
afflicted.  But the government of the country, having neither act 
nor part in them, is not in the receipt of any portion of the 
gratitude they inspire; and, offering very little shelter or relief 
beyond that which is to be found in the workhouse and the jail, has 
come, not unnaturally, to be looked upon by the poor rather as a 
stern master, quick to correct and punish, than a kind protector, 
merciful and vigilant in their hour of need.

The maxim that out of evil cometh good, is strongly illustrated by 
these establishments at home; as the records of the Prerogative 
Office in Doctors' Commons can abundantly prove.  Some immensely 
rich old gentleman or lady, surrounded by needy relatives, makes, 
upon a low average, a will a-week.  The old gentleman or lady, 
never very remarkable in the best of times for good temper, is full 
of aches and pains from head to foot; full of fancies and caprices; 
full of spleen, distrust, suspicion, and dislike.  To cancel old 
wills, and invent new ones, is at last the sole business of such a 
testator's existence; and relations and friends (some of whom have 
been bred up distinctly to inherit a large share of the property, 
and have been, from their cradles, specially disqualified from 
devoting themselves to any useful pursuit, on that account) are so 
often and so unexpectedly and summarily cut off, and reinstated, 
and cut off again, that the whole family, down to the remotest 
cousin, is kept in a perpetual fever.  At length it becomes plain 
that the old lady or gentleman has not long to live; and the 
plainer this becomes, the more clearly the old lady or gentleman 
perceives that everybody is in a conspiracy against their poor old 
dying relative; wherefore the old lady or gentleman makes another 
last will - positively the last this time - conceals the same in a 
china teapot, and expires next day.  Then it turns out, that the 
whole of the real and personal estate is divided between half-a-
dozen charities; and that the dead and gone testator has in pure 
spite helped to do a great deal of good, at the cost of an immense 
amount of evil passion and misery.

The Perkins Institution and Massachusetts Asylum for the Blind, at 
Boston, is superintended by a body of trustees who make an annual 
report to the corporation.  The indigent blind of that state are 
admitted gratuitously.  Those from the adjoining state of 
Connecticut, or from the states of Maine, Vermont, or New 
Hampshire, are admitted by a warrant from the state to which they 
respectively belong; or, failing that, must find security among 
their friends, for the payment of about twenty pounds English for 
their first year's board and instruction, and ten for the second.  
'After the first year,' say the trustees, 'an account current will 
be opened with each pupil; he will be charged with the actual cost 
of his board, which will not exceed two dollars per week;' a trifle 
more than eight shillings English; 'and he will be credited with 
the amount paid for him by the state, or by his friends; also with 
his earnings over and above the cost of the stock which he uses; so 
that all his earnings over one dollar per week will be his own.  By 
the third year it will be known whether his earnings will more than 
pay the actual cost of his board; if they should, he will have it 
at his option to remain and receive his earnings, or not.  Those 
who prove unable to earn their own livelihood will not be retained; 
as it is not desirable to convert the establishment into an alms-
house, or to retain any but working bees in the hive.  Those who by 
physical or mental imbecility are disqualified from work, are 
thereby disqualified from being members of an industrious 
community; and they can be better provided for in establishments 
fitted for the infirm.'

I went to see this place one very fine winter morning:  an Italian 
sky above, and the air so clear and bright on every side, that even 
my eyes, which are none of the best, could follow the minute lines 
and scraps of tracery in distant buildings.  Like most other public 
institutions in America, of the same class, it stands a mile or two 
without the town, in a cheerful healthy spot; and is an airy, 
spacious, handsome edifice.  It is built upon a height, commanding 
the harbour.  When I paused for a moment at the door, and marked 
how fresh and free the whole scene was - what sparkling bubbles 
glanced upon the waves, and welled up every moment to the surface, 
as though the world below, like that above, were radiant with the 
bright day, and gushing over in its fulness of light:  when I gazed 
from sail to sail away upon a ship at sea, a tiny speck of shining 
white, the only cloud upon the still, deep, distant blue - and, 
turning, saw a blind boy with his sightless face addressed that 
way, as though he too had some sense within him of the glorious 
distance:  I felt a kind of sorrow that the place should be so very 
light, and a strange wish that for his sake it were darker.  It was 
but momentary, of course, and a mere fancy, but I felt it keenly 
for all that.

The children were at their daily tasks in different rooms, except a 
few who were already dismissed, and were at play.  Here, as in many 
institutions, no uniform is worn; and I was very glad of it, for 
two reasons.  Firstly, because I am sure that nothing but senseless 
custom and want of thought would reconcile us to the liveries and 
badges we are so fond of at home.  Secondly, because the absence of 
these things presents each child to the visitor in his or her own 
proper character, with its individuality unimpaired; not lost in a 
dull, ugly, monotonous repetition of the same unmeaning garb:  
which is really an important consideration.  The wisdom of 
encouraging a little harmless pride in personal appearance even 
among the blind, or the whimsical absurdity of considering charity 
and leather breeches inseparable companions, as we do, requires no 

Good order, cleanliness, and comfort, pervaded every corner of the 
building.  The various classes, who were gathered round their 
teachers, answered the questions put to them with readiness and 
intelligence, and in a spirit of cheerful contest for precedence 
which pleased me very much.  Those who were at play, were gleesome 
and noisy as other children.  More spiritual and affectionate 
friendships appeared to exist among them, than would be found among 
other young persons suffering under no deprivation; but this I 
expected and was prepared to find.  It is a part of the great 
scheme of Heaven's merciful consideration for the afflicted.

In a portion of the building, set apart for that purpose, are work-
shops for blind persons whose education is finished, and who have 
acquired a trade, but who cannot pursue it in an ordinary 
manufactory because of their deprivation.  Several people were at 
work here; making brushes, mattresses, and so forth; and the 
cheerfulness, industry, and good order discernible in every other 
part of the building, extended to this department also.

On the ringing of a bell, the pupils all repaired, without any 
guide or leader, to a spacious music-hall, where they took their 
seats in an orchestra erected for that purpose, and listened with 
manifest delight to a voluntary on the organ, played by one of 
themselves.  At its conclusion, the performer, a boy of nineteen or 
twenty, gave place to a girl; and to her accompaniment they all 
sang a hymn, and afterwards a sort of chorus.  It was very sad to 
look upon and hear them, happy though their condition 
unquestionably was; and I saw that one blind girl, who (being for 
the time deprived of the use of her limbs, by illness) sat close 
beside me with her face towards them, wept silently the while she 

It is strange to watch the faces of the blind, and see how free 
they are from all concealment of what is passing in their thoughts; 
observing which, a man with eyes may blush to contemplate the mask 
he wears.  Allowing for one shade of anxious expression which is 
never absent from their countenances, and the like of which we may 
readily detect in our own faces if we try to feel our way in the 
dark, every idea, as it rises within them, is expressed with the 
lightning's speed and nature's truth.  If the company at a rout, or 
drawing-room at court, could only for one time be as unconscious of 
the eyes upon them as blind men and women are, what secrets would 
come out, and what a worker of hypocrisy this sight, the loss of 
which we so much pity, would appear to be!

The thought occurred to me as I sat down in another room, before a 
girl, blind, deaf, and dumb; destitute of smell; and nearly so of 
taste:  before a fair young creature with every human faculty, and 
hope, and power of goodness and affection, inclosed within her 
delicate frame, and but one outward sense - the sense of touch.  
There she was, before me; built up, as it were, in a marble cell, 
impervious to any ray of light, or particle of sound; with her poor 
white hand peeping through a chink in the wall, beckoning to some 
good man for help, that an Immortal soul might be awakened.

Long before I looked upon her, the help had come.  Her face was 
radiant with intelligence and pleasure.  Her hair, braided by her 
own hands, was bound about a head, whose intellectual capacity and 
development were beautifully expressed in its graceful outline, and 
its broad open brow; her dress, arranged by herself, was a pattern 
of neatness and simplicity; the work she had knitted, lay beside 
her; her writing-book was on the desk she leaned upon. - From the 
mournful ruin of such bereavement, there had slowly risen up this 
gentle, tender, guileless, grateful-hearted being.

Like other inmates of that house, she had a green ribbon bound 
round her eyelids.  A doll she had dressed lay near upon the 
ground.  I took it up, and saw that she had made a green fillet 
such as she wore herself, and fastened it about its mimic eyes.

She was seated in a little enclosure, made by school-desks and 
forms, writing her daily journal.  But soon finishing this pursuit, 
she engaged in an animated conversation with a teacher who sat 
beside her.  This was a favourite mistress with the poor pupil.  If 
she could see the face of her fair instructress, she would not love 
her less, I am sure.

I have extracted a few disjointed fragments of her history, from an 
account, written by that one man who has made her what she is.  It 
is a very beautiful and touching narrative; and I wish I could 
present it entire.

Her name is Laura Bridgman.  'She was born in Hanover, New 
Hampshire, on the twenty-first of December, 1829.  She is described 
as having been a very sprightly and pretty infant, with bright blue 
eyes.  She was, however, so puny and feeble until she was a year 
and a half old, that her parents hardly hoped to rear her.  She was 
subject to severe fits, which seemed to rack her frame almost 
beyond her power of endurance:  and life was held by the feeblest 
tenure:  but when a year and a half old, she seemed to rally; the 
dangerous symptoms subsided; and at twenty months old, she was 
perfectly well.

'Then her mental powers, hitherto stinted in their growth, rapidly 
developed themselves; and during the four months of health which 
she enjoyed, she appears (making due allowance for a fond mother's 
account) to have displayed a considerable degree of intelligence.

'But suddenly she sickened again; her disease raged with great 
violence during five weeks, when her eyes and ears were inflamed, 
suppurated, and their contents were discharged.  But though sight 
and hearing were gone for ever, the poor child's sufferings were 
not ended.  The fever raged during seven weeks; for five months she 
was kept in bed in a darkened room; it was a year before she could 
walk unsupported, and two years before she could sit up all day.  
It was now observed that her sense of smell was almost entirely 
destroyed; and, consequently, that her taste was much blunted.

'It was not until four years of age that the poor child's bodily 
health seemed restored, and she was able to enter upon her 
apprenticeship of life and the world.

'But what a situation was hers!  The darkness and the silence of 
the tomb were around her:  no mother's smile called forth her 
answering smile, no father's voice taught her to imitate his 
sounds:- they, brothers and sisters, were but forms of matter which 
resisted her touch, but which differed not from the furniture of 
the house, save in warmth, and in the power of locomotion; and not 
even in these respects from the dog and the cat.

'But the immortal spirit which had been implanted within her could 
not die, nor be maimed nor mutilated; and though most of its 
avenues of communication with the world were cut off, it began to 
manifest itself through the others.  As soon as she could walk, she 
began to explore the room, and then the house; she became familiar 
with the form, density, weight, and heat, of every article she 
could lay her hands upon.  She followed her mother, and felt her 
hands and arms, as she was occupied about the house; and her 
disposition to imitate, led her to repeat everything herself.  She 
even learned to sew a little, and to knit.'

The reader will scarcely need to be told, however, that the 
opportunities of communicating with her, were very, very limited; 
and that the moral effects of her wretched state soon began to 
appear.  Those who cannot be enlightened by reason, can only be 
controlled by force; and this, coupled with her great privations, 
must soon have reduced her to a worse condition than that of the 
beasts that perish, but for timely and unhoped-for aid.

'At this time, I was so fortunate as to hear of the child, and 
immediately hastened to Hanover to see her.  I found her with a 
well-formed figure; a strongly-marked, nervous-sanguine 
temperament; a large and beautifully-shaped head; and the whole 
system in healthy action.  The parents were easily induced to 
consent to her coming to Boston, and on the 4th of October, 1837, 
they brought her to the Institution.

'For a while, she was much bewildered; and after waiting about two 
weeks, until she became acquainted with her new locality, and 
somewhat familiar with the inmates, the attempt was made to give 
her knowledge of arbitrary signs, by which she could interchange 
thoughts with others.

'There was one of two ways to be adopted:  either to go on to build 
up a language of signs on the basis of the natural language which 
she had already commenced herself, or to teach her the purely 
arbitrary language in common use:  that is, to give her a sign for 
every individual thing, or to give her a knowledge of letters by 
combination of which she might express her idea of the existence, 
and the mode and condition of existence, of any thing.  The former 
would have been easy, but very ineffectual; the latter seemed very 
difficult, but, if accomplished, very effectual.  I determined 
therefore to try the latter.

'The first experiments were made by taking articles in common use, 
such as knives, forks, spoons, keys, &c., and pasting upon them 
labels with their names printed in raised letters.  These she felt 
very carefully, and soon, of course, distinguished that the crooked 
lines SPOON, differed as much from the crooked lines KEY, as the 
spoon differed from the key in form.

'Then small detached labels, with the same words printed upon them, 
were put into her hands; and she soon observed that they were 
similar to the ones pasted on the articles.'  She showed her 
perception of this similarity by laying the label KEY upon the key, 
and the label SPOON upon the spoon.  She was encouraged here by the 
natural sign of approbation, patting on the head.

'The same process was then repeated with all the articles which she 
could handle; and she very easily learned to place the proper 
labels upon them.  It was evident, however, that the only 
intellectual exercise was that of imitation and memory.  She 
recollected that the label BOOK was placed upon a book, and she 
repeated the process first from imitation, next from memory, with 
only the motive of love of approbation, but apparently without the 
intellectual perception of any relation between the things.

'After a while, instead of labels, the individual letters were 
given to her on detached bits of paper:  they were arranged side by 
side so as to spell BOOK, KEY, &c.; then they were mixed up in a 
heap and a sign was made for her to arrange them herself so as to 
express the words BOOK, KEY, &c.; and she did so.

'Hitherto, the process had been mechanical, and the success about 
as great as teaching a very knowing dog a variety of tricks.  The 
poor child had sat in mute amazement, and patiently imitated 
everything her teacher did; but now the truth began to flash upon 
her:  her intellect began to work:  she perceived that here was a 
way by which she could herself make up a sign of anything that was 
in her own mind, and show it to another mind; and at once her 
countenance lighted up with a human expression:  it was no longer a 
dog, or parrot:  it was an immortal spirit, eagerly seizing upon a 
new link of union with other spirits!  I could almost fix upon the 
moment when this truth dawned upon her mind, and spread its light 
to her countenance; I saw that the great obstacle was overcome; and 
that henceforward nothing but patient and persevering, but plain 
and straightforward, efforts were to be used.

'The result thus far, is quickly related, and easily conceived; but 
not so was the process; for many weeks of apparently unprofitable 
labour were passed before it was effected.

'When it was said above that a sign was made, it was intended to 
say, that the action was performed by her teacher, she feeling his 
hands, and then imitating the motion.

'The next step was to procure a set of metal types, with the 
different letters of the alphabet cast upon their ends; also a 
board, in which were square holes, into which holes she could set 
the types; so that the letters on their ends could alone be felt 
above the surface.

'Then, on any article being handed to her, for instance, a pencil, 
or a watch, she would select the component letters, and arrange 
them on her board, and read them with apparent pleasure.

'She was exercised for several weeks in this way, until her 
vocabulary became extensive; and then the important step was taken 
of teaching her how to represent the different letters by the 
position of her fingers, instead of the cumbrous apparatus of the 
board and types.  She accomplished this speedily and easily, for 
her intellect had begun to work in aid of her teacher, and her 
progress was rapid.

'This was the period, about three months after she had commenced, 
that the first report of her case was made, in which it was stated 
that "she has just learned the manual alphabet, as used by the deaf 
mutes, and it is a subject of delight and wonder to see how 
rapidly, correctly, and eagerly, she goes on with her labours.  Her 
teacher gives her a new object, for instance, a pencil, first lets 
her examine it, and get an idea of its use, then teaches her how to 
spell it by making the signs for the letters with her own fingers:  
the child grasps her hand, and feels her fingers, as the different 
letters are formed; she turns her head a little on one side like a 
person listening closely; her lips are apart; she seems scarcely to 
breathe; and her countenance, at first anxious, gradually changes 
to a smile, as she comprehends the lesson.  She then holds up her 
tiny fingers, and spells the word in the manual alphabet; next, she 
takes her types and arranges her letters; and last, to make sure 
that she is right, she takes the whole of the types composing the 
word, and places them upon or in contact with the pencil, or 
whatever the object may be."

'The whole of the succeeding year was passed in gratifying her 
eager inquiries for the names of every object which she could 
possibly handle; in exercising her in the use of the manual 
alphabet; in extending in every possible way her knowledge of the 
physical relations of things; and in proper care of her health.

'At the end of the year a report of her case was made, from which 
the following is an extract.

'"It has been ascertained beyond the possibility of doubt, that she 
cannot see a ray of light, cannot hear the least sound, and never 
exercises her sense of smell, if she have any.  Thus her mind 
dwells in darkness and stillness, as profound as that of a closed 
tomb at midnight.  Of beautiful sights, and sweet sounds, and 
pleasant odours, she has no conception; nevertheless, she seems as 
happy and playful as a bird or a lamb; and the employment of her 
intellectual faculties, or the acquirement of a new idea, gives her 
a vivid pleasure, which is plainly marked in her expressive 
features.  She never seems to repine, but has all the buoyancy and 
gaiety of childhood.  She is fond of fun and frolic, and when 
playing with the rest of the children, her shrill laugh sounds 
loudest of the group.

'"When left alone, she seems very happy if she have her knitting or 
sewing, and will busy herself for hours; if she have no occupation, 
she evidently amuses herself by imaginary dialogues, or by 
recalling past impressions; she counts with her fingers, or spells 
out names of things which she has recently learned, in the manual 
alphabet of the deaf mutes.  In this lonely self-communion she 
seems to reason, reflect, and argue; if she spell a word wrong with 
the fingers of her right hand, she instantly strikes it with her 
left, as her teacher does, in sign of disapprobation; if right, 
then she pats herself upon the head, and looks pleased.  She 
sometimes purposely spells a word wrong with the left hand, looks 
roguish for a moment and laughs, and then with the right hand 
strikes the left, as if to correct it.

'"During the year she has attained great dexterity in the use of 
the manual alphabet of the deaf mutes; and she spells out the words 
and sentences which she knows, so fast and so deftly, that only 
those accustomed to this language can follow with the eye the rapid 
motions of her fingers.

'"But wonderful as is the rapidity with which she writes her 
thoughts upon the air, still more so is the ease and accuracy with 
which she reads the words thus written by another; grasping their 
hands in hers, and following every movement of their fingers, as 
letter after letter conveys their meaning to her mind.  It is in 
this way that she converses with her blind playmates, and nothing 
can more forcibly show the power of mind in forcing matter to its 
purpose than a meeting between them.  For if great talent and skill 
are necessary for two pantomimes to paint their thoughts and 
feelings by the movements of the body, and the expression of the 
countenance, how much greater the difficulty when darkness shrouds 
them both, and the one can hear no sound.

'"When Laura is walking through a passage-way, with her hands 
spread before her, she knows instantly every one she meets, and 
passes them with a sign of recognition:  but if it be a girl of her 
own age, and especially if it be one of her favourites, there is 
instantly a bright smile of recognition, a twining of arms, a 
grasping of hands, and a swift telegraphing upon the tiny fingers; 
whose rapid evolutions convey the thoughts and feelings from the 
outposts of one mind to those of the other.  There are questions 
and answers, exchanges of joy or sorrow, there are kissings and 
partings, just as between little children with all their senses."

'During this year, and six months after she had left home, her 
mother came to visit her, and the scene of their meeting was an 
interesting one.

'The mother stood some time, gazing with overflowing eyes upon her 
unfortunate child, who, all unconscious of her presence, was 
playing about the room.  Presently Laura ran against her, and at 
once began feeling her hands, examining her dress, and trying to 
find out if she knew her; but not succeeding in this, she turned 
away as from a stranger, and the poor woman could not conceal the 
pang she felt, at finding that her beloved child did not know her.

'She then gave Laura a string of beads which she used to wear at 
home, which were recognised by the child at once, who, with much 
joy, put them around her neck, and sought me eagerly to say she 
understood the string was from her home.

'The mother now sought to caress her, but poor Laura repelled her, 
preferring to be with her acquaintances.

'Another article from home was now given her, and she began to look 
much interested; she examined the stranger much closer, and gave me 
to understand that she knew she came from Hanover; she even endured 
her caresses, but would leave her with indifference at the 
slightest signal.  The distress of the mother was now painful to 
behold; for, although she had feared that she should not be 
recognised, the painful reality of being treated with cold 
indifference by a darling child, was too much for woman's nature to 

'After a while, on the mother taking hold of her again, a vague 
idea seemed to flit across Laura's mind, that this could not be a 
stranger; she therefore felt her hands very eagerly, while her 
countenance assumed an expression of intense interest; she became 
very pale; and then suddenly red; hope seemed struggling with doubt 
and anxiety, and never were contending emotions more strongly 
painted upon the human face:  at this moment of painful 
uncertainty, the mother drew her close to her side, and kissed her 
fondly, when at once the truth flashed upon the child, and all 
mistrust and anxiety disappeared from her face, as with an 
expression of exceeding joy she eagerly nestled to the bosom of her 
parent, and yielded herself to her fond embraces.

'After this, the beads were all unheeded; the playthings which were 
offered to her were utterly disregarded; her playmates, for whom 
but a moment before she gladly left the stranger, now vainly strove 
to pull her from her mother; and though she yielded her usual 
instantaneous obedience to my signal to follow me, it was evidently 
with painful reluctance.  She clung close to me, as if bewildered 
and fearful; and when, after a moment, I took her to her mother, 
she sprang to her arms, and clung to her with eager joy.

'The subsequent parting between them, showed alike the affection, 
the intelligence, and the resolution of the child.

'Laura accompanied her mother to the door, clinging close to her 
all the way, until they arrived at the threshold, where she paused, 
and felt around, to ascertain who was near her.  Perceiving the 
matron, of whom she is very fond, she grasped her with one hand, 
holding on convulsively to her mother with the other; and thus she 
stood for a moment:  then she dropped her mother's hand; put her 
handkerchief to her eyes; and turning round, clung sobbing to the 
matron; while her mother departed, with emotions as deep as those 
of her child.

* * * * * *

'It has been remarked in former reports, that she can distinguish 
different degrees of intellect in others, and that she soon 
regarded, almost with contempt, a new-comer, when, after a few 
days, she discovered her weakness of mind.  This unamiable part of 
her character has been more strongly developed during the past 

'She chooses for her friends and companions, those children who are 
intelligent, and can talk best with her; and she evidently dislikes 
to be with those who are deficient in intellect, unless, indeed, 
she can make them serve her purposes, which she is evidently 
inclined to do.  She takes advantage of them, and makes them wait 
upon her, in a manner that she knows she could not exact of others; 
and in various ways shows her Saxon blood.

'She is fond of having other children noticed and caressed by the 
teachers, and those whom she respects; but this must not be carried 
too far, or she becomes jealous.  She wants to have her share, 
which, if not the lion's, is the greater part; and if she does not 
get it, she says, "MY MOTHER WILL LOVE ME."

'Her tendency to imitation is so strong, that it leads her to 
actions which must be entirely incomprehensible to her, and which 
can give her no other pleasure than the gratification of an 
internal faculty.  She has been known to sit for half an hour, 
holding a book before her sightless eyes, and moving her lips, as 
she has observed seeing people do when reading.

'She one day pretended that her doll was sick; and went through all 
the motions of tending it, and giving it medicine; she then put it 
carefully to bed, and placed a bottle of hot water to its feet, 
laughing all the time most heartily.  When I came home, she 
insisted upon my going to see it, and feel its pulse; and when I 
told her to put a blister on its back, she seemed to enjoy it 
amazingly, and almost screamed with delight.

'Her social feelings, and her affections, are very strong; and when 
she is sitting at work, or at her studies, by the side of one of 
her little friends, she will break off from her task every few 
moments, to hug and kiss them with an earnestness and warmth that 
is touching to behold.

'When left alone, she occupies and apparently amuses herself, and 
seems quite contented; and so strong seems to be the natural 
tendency of thought to put on the garb of language, that she often 
soliloquizes in the FINGER LANGUAGE, slow and tedious as it is.  
But it is only when alone, that she is quiet:  for if she becomes 
sensible of the presence of any one near her, she is restless until 
she can sit close beside them, hold their hand, and converse with 
them by signs.

'In her intellectual character it is pleasing to observe an 
insatiable thirst for knowledge, and a quick perception of the 
relations of things.  In her moral character, it is beautiful to 
behold her continual gladness, her keen enjoyment of existence, her 
expansive love, her unhesitating confidence, her sympathy with 
suffering, her conscientiousness, truthfulness, and hopefulness.'

Such are a few fragments from the simple but most interesting and 
instructive history of Laura Bridgman.  The name of her great 
benefactor and friend, who writes it, is Dr. Howe.  There are not 
many persons, I hope and believe, who, after reading these 
passages, can ever hear that name with indifference.

A further account has been published by Dr. Howe, since the report 
from which I have just quoted.  It describes her rapid mental 
growth and improvement during twelve months more, and brings her 
little history down to the end of last year.  It is very 
remarkable, that as we dream in words, and carry on imaginary 
conversations, in which we speak both for ourselves and for the 
shadows who appear to us in those visions of the night, so she, 
having no words, uses her finger alphabet in her sleep.  And it has 
been ascertained that when her slumber is broken, and is much 
disturbed by dreams, she expresses her thoughts in an irregular and 
confused manner on her fingers:  just as we should murmur and 
mutter them indistinctly, in the like circumstances.

I turned over the leaves of her Diary, and found it written in a 
fair legible square hand, and expressed in terms which were quite 
intelligible without any explanation.  On my saying that I should 
like to see her write again, the teacher who sat beside her, bade 
her, in their language, sign her name upon a slip of paper, twice 
or thrice.  In doing so, I observed that she kept her left hand 
always touching, and following up, her right, in which, of course, 
she held the pen.  No line was indicated by any contrivance, but 
she wrote straight and freely.

She had, until now, been quite unconscious of the presence of 
visitors; but, having her hand placed in that of the gentleman who 
accompanied me, she immediately expressed his name upon her 
teacher's palm.  Indeed her sense of touch is now so exquisite, 
that having been acquainted with a person once, she can recognise 
him or her after almost any interval.  This gentleman had been in 
her company, I believe, but very seldom, and certainly had not seen 
her for many months.  My hand she rejected at once, as she does 
that of any man who is a stranger to her.  But she retained my 
wife's with evident pleasure, kissed her, and examed her dress with 
a girl's curiosity and interest.

She was merry and cheerful, and showed much innocent playfulness in 
her intercourse with her teacher.  Her delight on recognising a 
favourite playfellow and companion - herself a blind girl - who 
silently, and with an equal enjoyment of the coming surprise, took 
a seat beside her, was beautiful to witness.  It elicited from her 
at first, as other slight circumstances did twice or thrice during 
my visit, an uncouth noise which was rather painful to hear.  But 
of her teacher touching her lips, she immediately desisted, and 
embraced her laughingly and affectionately.

I had previously been into another chamber, where a number of blind 
boys were swinging, and climbing, and engaged in various sports.  
They all clamoured, as we entered, to the assistant-master, who 
accompanied us, 'Look at me, Mr. Hart!  Please, Mr. Hart, look at 
me!' evincing, I thought, even in this, an anxiety peculiar to 
their condition, that their little feats of agility should be SEEN.  
Among them was a small laughing fellow, who stood aloof, 
entertaining himself with a gymnastic exercise for bringing the 
arms and chest into play; which he enjoyed mightily; especially 
when, in thrusting out his right arm, he brought it into contact 
with another boy.  Like Laura Bridgman, this young child was deaf, 
and dumb, and blind.

Dr. Howe's account of this pupil's first instruction is so very 
striking, and so intimately connected with Laura herself, that I 
cannot refrain from a short extract.  I may premise that the poor 
boy's name is Oliver Caswell; that he is thirteen years of age; and 
that he was in full possession of all his faculties, until three 
years and four months old.  He was then attacked by scarlet fever; 
in four weeks became deaf; in a few weeks more, blind; in six 
months, dumb.  He showed his anxious sense of this last 
deprivation, by often feeling the lips of other persons when they 
were talking, and then putting his hand upon his own, as if to 
assure himself that he had them in the right position.

'His thirst for knowledge,' says Dr. Howe, 'proclaimed itself as 
soon as he entered the house, by his eager examination of 
everything he could feel or smell in his new location.  For 
instance, treading upon the register of a furnace, he instantly 
stooped down, and began to feel it, and soon discovered the way in 
which the upper plate moved upon the lower one; but this was not 
enough for him, so lying down upon his face, he applied his tongue 
first to one, then to the other, and seemed to discover that they 
were of different kinds of metal.

'His signs were expressive:  and the strictly natural language, 
laughing, crying, sighing, kissing, embracing, &c., was perfect.

'Some of the analogical signs which (guided by his faculty of 
imitation) he had contrived, were comprehensible; such as the 
waving motion of his hand for the motion of a boat, the circular 
one for a wheel, &c.

'The first object was to break up the use of these signs and to 
substitute for them the use of purely arbitrary ones.

'Profiting by the experience I had gained in the other cases, I 
omitted several steps of the process before employed, and commenced 
at once with the finger language.  Taking, therefore, several 
articles having short names, such as key, cup, mug, &c., and with 
Laura for an auxiliary, I sat down, and taking his hand, placed it 
upon one of them, and then with my own, made the letters KEY.  He 
felt my hands eagerly with both of his, and on my repeating the 
process, he evidently tried to imitate the motions of my fingers.  
In a few minutes he contrived to feel the motions of my fingers 
with one hand, and holding out the other he tried to imitate them, 
laughing most heartily when he succeeded.  Laura was by, interested 
even to agitation; and the two presented a singular sight:  her 
face was flushed and anxious, and her fingers twining in among ours 
so closely as to follow every motion, but so slightly as not to 
embarrass them; while Oliver stood attentive, his head a little 
aside, his face turned up, his left hand grasping mine, and his 
right held out:  at every motion of my fingers his countenance 
betokened keen attention; there was an expression of anxiety as he 
tried to imitate the motions; then a smile came stealing out as he 
thought he could do so, and spread into a joyous laugh the moment 
he succeeded, and felt me pat his head, and Laura clap him heartily 
upon the back, and jump up and down in her joy.

'He learned more than a half-dozen letters in half an hour, and 
seemed delighted with his success, at least in gaining approbation.  
His attention then began to flag, and I commenced playing with him.  
It was evident that in all this he had merely been imitating the 
motions of my fingers, and placing his hand upon the key, cup, &c., 
as part of the process, without any perception of the relation 
between the sign and the object.

'When he was tired with play I took him back to the table, and he 
was quite ready to begin again his process of imitation.  He soon 
learned to make the letters for KEY, PEN, PIN; and by having the 
object repeatedly placed in his hand, he at last perceived the 
relation I wished to establish between them.  This was evident, 
because, when I made the letters PIN, or PEN, or CUP, he would 
select the article.

'The perception of this relation was not accompanied by that 
radiant flash of intelligence, and that glow of joy, which marked 
the delightful moment when Laura first perceived it.  I then placed 
all the articles on the table, and going away a little distance 
with the children, placed Oliver's fingers in the positions to 
spell KEY, on which Laura went and brought the article:  the little 
fellow seemed much amused by this, and looked very attentive and 
smiling.  I then caused him to make the letters BREAD, and in an 
instant Laura went and brought him a piece:  he smelled at it; put 
it to his lips; cocked up his head with a most knowing look; seemed 
to reflect a moment; and then laughed outright, as much as to say, 
"Aha!  I understand now how something may be made out of this."

'It was now clear that he had the capacity and inclination to 
learn, that he was a proper subject for instruction, and needed 
only persevering attention.  I therefore put him in the hands of an 
intelligent teacher, nothing doubting of his rapid progress.'

Well may this gentleman call that a delightful moment, in which 
some distant promise of her present state first gleamed upon the 
darkened mind of Laura Bridgman.  Throughout his life, the 
recollection of that moment will be to him a source of pure, 
unfading happiness; nor will it shine less brightly on the evening 
of his days of Noble Usefulness.

The affection which exists between these two - the master and the 
pupil - is as far removed from all ordinary care and regard, as the 
circumstances in which it has had its growth, are apart from the 
common occurrences of life.  He is occupied now, in devising means 
of imparting to her, higher knowledge; and of conveying to her some 
adequate idea of the Great Creator of that universe in which, dark 
and silent and scentless though it be to her, she has such deep 
delight and glad enjoyment.

Ye who have eyes and see not, and have ears and hear not; ye who 
are as the hypocrites of sad countenances, and disfigure your faces 
that ye may seem unto men to fast; learn healthy cheerfulness, and 
mild contentment, from the deaf, and dumb, and blind!  Self-elected 
saints with gloomy brows, this sightless, earless, voiceless child 
may teach you lessons you will do well to follow.  Let that poor 
hand of hers lie gently on your hearts; for there may be something 
in its healing touch akin to that of the Great Master whose 
precepts you misconstrue, whose lessons you pervert, of whose 
charity and sympathy with all the world, not one among you in his 
daily practice knows as much as many of the worst among those 
fallen sinners, to whom you are liberal in nothing but the 
preachment of perdition!

As I rose to quit the room, a pretty little child of one of the 
attendants came running in to greet its father.  For the moment, a 
child with eyes, among the sightless crowd, impressed me almost as 
painfully as the blind boy in the porch had done, two hours ago.  
Ah! how much brighter and more deeply blue, glowing and rich though 
it had been before, was the scene without, contrasting with the 
darkness of so many youthful lives within!

* * * * * *

At SOUTH BOSTON, as it is called, in a situation excellently 
adapted for the purpose, several charitable institutions are 
clustered together.  One of these, is the State Hospital for the 
insane; admirably conducted on those enlightened principles of 
conciliation and kindness, which twenty years ago would have been 
worse than heretical, and which have been acted upon with so much 
success in our own pauper Asylum at Hanwell.  'Evince a desire to 
show some confidence, and repose some trust, even in mad people,' 
said the resident physician, as we walked along the galleries, his 
patients flocking round us unrestrained.  Of those who deny or 
doubt the wisdom of this maxim after witnessing its effects, if 
there be such people still alive, I can only say that I hope I may 
never be summoned as a Juryman on a Commission of Lunacy whereof 
they are the subjects; for I should certainly find them out of 
their senses, on such evidence alone.

Each ward in this institution is shaped like a long gallery or 
hall, with the dormitories of the patients opening from it on 
either hand.  Here they work, read, play at skittles, and other 
games; and when the weather does not admit of their taking exercise 
out of doors, pass the day together.  In one of these rooms, 
seated, calmly, and quite as a matter of course, among a throng of 
mad-women, black and white, were the physician's wife and another 
lady, with a couple of children.  These ladies were graceful and 
handsome; and it was not difficult to perceive at a glance that 
even their presence there, had a highly beneficial influence on the 
patients who were grouped about them.

Leaning her head against the chimney-piece, with a great assumption 
of dignity and refinement of manner, sat an elderly female, in as 
many scraps of finery as Madge Wildfire herself.  Her head in 
particular was so strewn with scraps of gauze and cotton and bits 
of paper, and had so many queer odds and ends stuck all about it, 
that it looked like a bird's-nest.  She was radiant with imaginary 
jewels; wore a rich pair of undoubted gold spectacles; and 
gracefully dropped upon her lap, as we approached, a very old 
greasy newspaper, in which I dare say she had been reading an 
account of her own presentation at some Foreign Court.

I have been thus particular in describing her, because she will 
serve to exemplify the physician's manner of acquiring and 
retaining the confidence of his patients.

'This,' he said aloud, taking me by the hand, and advancing to the 
fantastic figure with great politeness - not raising her suspicions 
by the slightest look or whisper, or any kind of aside, to me:  
'This lady is the hostess of this mansion, sir.  It belongs to her.  
Nobody else has anything whatever to do with it.  It is a large 
establishment, as you see, and requires a great number of 
attendants.  She lives, you observe, in the very first style.  She 
is kind enough to receive my visits, and to permit my wife and 
family to reside here; for which it is hardly necessary to say, we 
are much indebted to her.  She is exceedingly courteous, you 
perceive,' on this hint she bowed condescendingly, 'and will permit 
me to have the pleasure of introducing you:  a gentleman from 
England, Ma'am:  newly arrived from England, after a very 
tempestuous passage:  Mr. Dickens, - the lady of the house!'

We exchanged the most dignified salutations with profound gravity 
and respect, and so went on.  The rest of the madwomen seemed to 
understand the joke perfectly (not only in this case, but in all 
the others, except their own), and be highly amused by it.  The 
nature of their several kinds of insanity was made known to me in 
the same way, and we left each of them in high good humour.  Not 
only is a thorough confidence established, by those means, between 
the physician and patient, in respect of the nature and extent of 
their hallucinations, but it is easy to understand that 
opportunities are afforded for seizing any moment of reason, to 
startle them by placing their own delusion before them in its most 
incongruous and ridiculous light.

Every patient in this asylum sits down to dinner every day with a 
knife and fork; and in the midst of them sits the gentleman, whose 
manner of dealing with his charges, I have just described.  At 
every meal, moral influence alone restrains the more violent among 
them from cutting the throats of the rest; but the effect of that 
influence is reduced to an absolute certainty, and is found, even 
as a means of restraint, to say nothing of it as a means of cure, a 
hundred times more efficacious than all the strait-waistcoats, 
fetters, and handcuffs, that ignorance, prejudice, and cruelty have 
manufactured since the creation of the world.

In the labour department, every patient is as freely trusted with 
the tools of his trade as if he were a sane man.  In the garden, 
and on the farm, they work with spades, rakes, and hoes.  For 
amusement, they walk, run, fish, paint, read, and ride out to take 
the air in carriages provided for the purpose.  They have among 
themselves a sewing society to make clothes for the poor, which 
holds meetings, passes resolutions, never comes to fisty-cuffs or 
bowie-knives as sane assemblies have been known to do elsewhere; 
and conducts all its proceedings with the greatest decorum.  The 
irritability, which would otherwise be expended on their own flesh, 
clothes, and furniture, is dissipated in these pursuits.  They are 
cheerful, tranquil, and healthy.

Once a week they have a ball, in which the Doctor and his family, 
with all the nurses and attendants, take an active part.  Dances 
and marches are performed alternately, to the enlivening strains of 
a piano; and now and then some gentleman or lady (whose proficiency 
has been previously ascertained) obliges the company with a song:  
nor does it ever degenerate, at a tender crisis, into a screech or 
howl; wherein, I must confess, I should have thought the danger 
lay.  At an early hour they all meet together for these festive 
purposes; at eight o'clock refreshments are served; and at nine 
they separate.

Immense politeness and good breeding are observed throughout.  They 
all take their tone from the Doctor; and he moves a very 
Chesterfield among the company.  Like other assemblies, these 
entertainments afford a fruitful topic of conversation among the 
ladies for some days; and the gentlemen are so anxious to shine on 
these occasions, that they have been sometimes found 'practising 
their steps' in private, to cut a more distinguished figure in the 

It is obvious that one great feature of this system, is the 
inculcation and encouragement, even among such unhappy persons, of 
a decent self-respect.  Something of the same spirit pervades all 
the Institutions at South Boston.

There is the House of Industry.  In that branch of it, which is 
devoted to the reception of old or otherwise helpless paupers, 
these words are painted on the walls:  'WORTHY OF NOTICE.  SELF-
and taken for granted that being there they must be evil-disposed 
and wicked people, before whose vicious eyes it is necessary to 
flourish threats and harsh restraints.  They are met at the very 
threshold with this mild appeal.  All within-doors is very plain 
and simple, as it ought to be, but arranged with a view to peace 
and comfort.  It costs no more than any other plan of arrangement, 
but it speaks an amount of consideration for those who are reduced 
to seek a shelter there, which puts them at once upon their 
gratitude and good behaviour.  Instead of being parcelled out in 
great, long, rambling wards, where a certain amount of weazen life 
may mope, and pine, and shiver, all day long, the building is 
divided into separate rooms, each with its share of light and air.  
In these, the better kind of paupers live.  They have a motive for 
exertion and becoming pride, in the desire to make these little 
chambers comfortable and decent.

I do not remember one but it was clean and neat, and had its plant 
or two upon the window-sill, or row of crockery upon the shelf, or 
small display of coloured prints upon the whitewashed wall, or, 
perhaps, its wooden clock behind the door.

The orphans and young children are in an adjoining building 
separate from this, but a part of the same Institution.  Some are 
such little creatures, that the stairs are of Lilliputian 
measurement, fitted to their tiny strides.  The same consideration 
for their years and weakness is expressed in their very seats, 
which are perfect curiosities, and look like articles of furniture 
for a pauper doll's-house.  I can imagine the glee of our Poor Law 
Commissioners at the notion of these seats having arms and backs; 
but small spines being of older date than their occupation of the 
Board-room at Somerset House, I thought even this provision very 
merciful and kind.

Here again, I was greatly pleased with the inscriptions on the 
wall, which were scraps of plain morality, easily remembered and 
understood:  such as 'Love one another' - 'God remembers the 
smallest creature in his creation:' and straightforward advice of 
that nature.  The books and tasks of these smallest of scholars, 
were adapted, in the same judicious manner, to their childish 
powers.  When we had examined these lessons, four morsels of girls 
(of whom one was blind) sang a little song, about the merry month 
of May, which I thought (being extremely dismal) would have suited 
an English November better.  That done, we went to see their 
sleeping-rooms on the floor above, in which the arrangements were 
no less excellent and gentle than those we had seen below.  And 
after observing that the teachers were of a class and character 
well suited to the spirit of the place, I took leave of the infants 
with a lighter heart than ever I have taken leave of pauper infants 

Connected with the House of Industry, there is also an Hospital, 
which was in the best order, and had, I am glad to say, many beds 
unoccupied.  It had one fault, however, which is common to all 
American interiors:  the presence of the eternal, accursed, 
suffocating, red-hot demon of a stove, whose breath would blight 
the purest air under Heaven.

There are two establishments for boys in this same neighbourhood.  
One is called the Boylston school, and is an asylum for neglected 
and indigent boys who have committed no crime, but who in the 
ordinary course of things would very soon be purged of that 
distinction if they were not taken from the hungry streets and sent 
here.  The other is a House of Reformation for Juvenile Offenders.  
They are both under the same roof, but the two classes of boys 
never come in contact.

The Boylston boys, as may be readily supposed, have very much the 
advantage of the others in point of personal appearance.  They were 
in their school-room when I came upon them, and answered correctly, 
without book, such questions as where was England; how far was it; 
what was its population; its capital city; its form of government; 
and so forth.  They sang a song too, about a farmer sowing his 
seed:  with corresponding action at such parts as ''tis thus he 
sows,' 'he turns him round,' 'he claps his hands;' which gave it 
greater interest for them, and accustomed them to act together, in 
an orderly manner.  They appeared exceedingly well-taught, and not 
better taught than fed; for a more chubby-looking full-waistcoated 
set of boys, I never saw.

The juvenile offenders had not such pleasant faces by a great deal, 
and in this establishment there were many boys of colour.  I saw 
them first at their work (basket-making, and the manufacture of 
palm-leaf hats), afterwards in their school, where they sang a 
chorus in praise of Liberty:  an odd, and, one would think, rather 
aggravating, theme for prisoners.  These boys are divided into four 
classes, each denoted by a numeral, worn on a badge upon the arm.  
On the arrival of a new-comer, he is put into the fourth or lowest 
class, and left, by good behaviour, to work his way up into the 
first.  The design and object of this Institution is to reclaim the 
youthful criminal by firm but kind and judicious treatment; to make 
his prison a place of purification and improvement, not of 
demoralisation and corruption; to impress upon him that there is 
but one path, and that one sober industry, which can ever lead him 
to happiness; to teach him how it may be trodden, if his footsteps 
have never yet been led that way; and to lure him back to it if 
they have strayed:  in a word, to snatch him from destruction, and 
restore him to society a penitent and useful member.  The 
importance of such an establishment, in every point of view, and 
with reference to every consideration of humanity and social 
policy, requires no comment.

One other establishment closes the catalogue.  It is the House of 
Correction for the State, in which silence is strictly maintained, 
but where the prisoners have the comfort and mental relief of 
seeing each other, and of working together.  This is the improved 
system of Prison Discipline which we have imported into England, 
and which has been in successful operation among us for some years 

America, as a new and not over-populated country, has in all her 
prisons, the one great advantage, of being enabled to find useful 
and profitable work for the inmates; whereas, with us, the 
prejudice against prison labour is naturally very strong, and 
almost insurmountable, when honest men who have not offended 
against the laws are frequently doomed to seek employment in vain.  
Even in the United States, the principle of bringing convict labour 
and free labour into a competition which must obviously be to the 
disadvantage of the latter, has already found many opponents, whose 
number is not likely to diminish with access of years.

For this very reason though, our best prisons would seem at the 
first glance to be better conducted than those of America.  The 
treadmill is conducted with little or no noise; five hundred men 
may pick oakum in the same room, without a sound; and both kinds of 
labour admit of such keen and vigilant superintendence, as will 
render even a word of personal communication amongst the prisoners 
almost impossible.  On the other hand, the noise of the loom, the 
forge, the carpenter's hammer, or the stonemason's saw, greatly 
favour those opportunities of intercourse - hurried and brief no 
doubt, but opportunities still - which these several kinds of work, 
by rendering it necessary for men to be employed very near to each 
other, and often side by side, without any barrier or partition 
between them, in their very nature present.  A visitor, too, 
requires to reason and reflect a little, before the sight of a 
number of men engaged in ordinary labour, such as he is accustomed 
to out of doors, will impress him half as strongly as the 
contemplation of the same persons in the same place and garb would, 
if they were occupied in some task, marked and degraded everywhere 
as belonging only to felons in jails.  In an American state prison 
or house of correction, I found it difficult at first to persuade 
myself that I was really in a jail:  a place of ignominious 
punishment and endurance.  And to this hour I very much question 
whether the humane boast that it is not like one, has its root in 
the true wisdom or philosophy of the matter.

I hope I may not be misunderstood on this subject, for it is one in 
which I take a strong and deep interest.  I incline as little to 
the sickly feeling which makes every canting lie or maudlin speech 
of a notorious criminal a subject of newspaper report and general 
sympathy, as I do to those good old customs of the good old times 
which made England, even so recently as in the reign of the Third 
King George, in respect of her criminal code and her prison 
regulations, one of the most bloody-minded and barbarous countries 
on the earth.  If I thought it would do any good to the rising 
generation, I would cheerfully give my consent to the disinterment 
of the bones of any genteel highwayman (the more genteel, the more 
cheerfully), and to their exposure, piecemeal, on any sign-post, 
gate, or gibbet, that might be deemed a good elevation for the 
purpose.  My reason is as well convinced that these gentry were as 
utterly worthless and debauched villains, as it is that the laws 
and jails hardened them in their evil courses, or that their 
wonderful escapes were effected by the prison-turnkeys who, in 
those admirable days, had always been felons themselves, and were, 
to the last, their bosom-friends and pot-companions.  At the same 
time I know, as all men do or should, that the subject of Prison 
Discipline is one of the highest importance to any community; and 
that in her sweeping reform and bright example to other countries 
on this head, America has shown great wisdom, great benevolence, 
and exalted policy.  In contrasting her system with that which we 
have modelled upon it, I merely seek to show that with all its 
drawbacks, ours has some advantages of its own.

The House of Correction which has led to these remarks, is not 
walled, like other prisons, but is palisaded round about with tall 
rough stakes, something after the manner of an enclosure for 
keeping elephants in, as we see it represented in Eastern prints 
and pictures.  The prisoners wear a parti-coloured dress; and those 
who are sentenced to hard labour, work at nail-making, or stone-
cutting.  When I was there, the latter class of labourers were 
employed upon the stone for a new custom-house in course of 
erection at Boston.  They appeared to shape it skilfully and with 
expedition, though there were very few among them (if any) who had 
not acquired the art within the prison gates.

The women, all in one large room, were employed in making light 
clothing, for New Orleans and the Southern States.  They did their 
work in silence like the men; and like them were over-looked by the 
person contracting for their labour, or by some agent of his 
appointment.  In addition to this, they are every moment liable to 
be visited by the prison officers appointed for that purpose.

The arrangements for cooking, washing of clothes, and so forth, are 
much upon the plan of those I have seen at home.  Their mode of 
bestowing the prisoners at night (which is of general adoption) 
differs from ours, and is both simple and effective.  In the centre 
of a lofty area, lighted by windows in the four walls, are five 
tiers of cells, one above the other; each tier having before it a 
light iron gallery, attainable by stairs of the same construction 
and material:  excepting the lower one, which is on the ground.  
Behind these, back to back with them and facing the opposite wall, 
are five corresponding rows of cells, accessible by similar means:  
so that supposing the prisoners locked up in their cells, an 
officer stationed on the ground, with his back to the wall, has 
half their number under his eye at once; the remaining half being 
equally under the observation of another officer on the opposite 
side; and all in one great apartment.  Unless this watch be 
corrupted or sleeping on his post, it is impossible for a man to 
escape; for even in the event of his forcing the iron door of his 
cell without noise (which is exceedingly improbable), the moment he 
appears outside, and steps into that one of the five galleries on 
which it is situated, he must be plainly and fully visible to the 
officer below.  Each of these cells holds a small truckle bed, in 
which one prisoner sleeps; never more.  It is small, of course; and 
the door being not solid, but grated, and without blind or curtain, 
the prisoner within is at all times exposed to the observation and 
inspection of any guard who may pass along that tier at any hour or 
minute of the night.  Every day, the prisoners receive their 
dinner, singly, through a trap in the kitchen wall; and each man 
carries his to his sleeping cell to eat it, where he is locked up, 
alone, for that purpose, one hour.  The whole of this arrangement 
struck me as being admirable; and I hope that the next new prison 
we erect in England may be built on this plan.

I was given to understand that in this prison no swords or fire-
arms, or even cudgels, are kept; nor is it probable that, so long 
as its present excellent management continues, any weapon, 
offensive or defensive, will ever be required within its bounds.

Such are the Institutions at South Boston!  In all of them, the 
unfortunate or degenerate citizens of the State are carefully 
instructed in their duties both to God and man; are surrounded by 
all reasonable means of comfort and happiness that their condition 
will admit of; are appealed to, as members of the great human 
family, however afflicted, indigent, or fallen; are ruled by the 
strong Heart, and not by the strong (though immeasurably weaker) 
Hand.  I have described them at some length; firstly, because their 
worth demanded it; and secondly, because I mean to take them for a 
model, and to content myself with saying of others we may come to, 
whose design and purpose are the same, that in this or that respect 
they practically fail, or differ.

I wish by this account of them, imperfect in its execution, but in 
its just intention, honest, I could hope to convey to my readers 
one-hundredth part of the gratification, the sights I have 
described, afforded me.

* * * * * *

To an Englishman, accustomed to the paraphernalia of Westminster 
Hall, an American Court of Law is as odd a sight as, I suppose, an 
English Court of Law would be to an American.  Except in the 
Supreme Court at Washington (where the judges wear a plain black 
robe), there is no such thing as a wig or gown connected with the 
administration of justice.  The gentlemen of the bar being 
barristers and attorneys too (for there is no division of those 
functions as in England) are no more removed from their clients 
than attorneys in our Court for the Relief of Insolvent Debtors 
are, from theirs.  The jury are quite at home, and make themselves 
as comfortable as circumstances will permit.  The witness is so 
little elevated above, or put aloof from, the crowd in the court, 
that a stranger entering during a pause in the proceedings would 
find it difficult to pick him out from the rest.  And if it chanced 
to be a criminal trial, his eyes, in nine cases out of ten, would 
wander to the dock in search of the prisoner, in vain; for that 
gentleman would most likely be lounging among the most 
distinguished ornaments of the legal profession, whispering 
suggestions in his counsel's ear, or making a toothpick out of an 
old quill with his penknife.

I could not but notice these differences, when I visited the courts 
at Boston.  I was much surprised at first, too, to observe that the 
counsel who interrogated the witness under examination at the time, 
did so SITTING.  But seeing that he was also occupied in writing 
down the answers, and remembering that he was alone and had no 
'junior,' I quickly consoled myself with the reflection that law 
was not quite so expensive an article here, as at home; and that 
the absence of sundry formalities which we regard as indispensable, 
had doubtless a very favourable influence upon the bill of costs.

In every Court, ample and commodious provision is made for the 
accommodation of the citizens.  This is the case all through 
America.  In every Public Institution, the right of the people to 
attend, and to have an interest in the proceedings, is most fully 
and distinctly recognised.  There are no grim door-keepers to dole 
out their tardy civility by the sixpenny-worth; nor is there, I 
sincerely believe, any insolence of office of any kind.  Nothing 
national is exhibited for money; and no public officer is a 
showman.  We have begun of late years to imitate this good example.  
I hope we shall continue to do so; and that in the fulness of time, 
even deans and chapters may be converted.

In the civil court an action was trying, for damages sustained in 
some accident upon a railway.  The witnesses had been examined, and 
counsel was addressing the jury.  The learned gentleman (like a few 
of his English brethren) was desperately long-winded, and had a 
remarkable capacity of saying the same thing over and over again.  
His great theme was 'Warren the ENGINE driver,' whom he pressed 
into the service of every sentence he uttered.  I listened to him 
for about a quarter of an hour; and, coming out of court at the 
expiration of that time, without the faintest ray of enlightenment 
as to the merits of the case, felt as if I were at home again.

In the prisoner's cell, waiting to be examined by the magistrate on 
a charge of theft, was a boy.  This lad, instead of being committed 
to a common jail, would be sent to the asylum at South Boston, and 
there taught a trade; and in the course of time he would be bound 
apprentice to some respectable master.  Thus, his detection in this 
offence, instead of being the prelude to a life of infamy and a 
miserable death, would lead, there was a reasonable hope, to his 
being reclaimed from vice, and becoming a worthy member of society.

I am by no means a wholesale admirer of our legal solemnities, many 
of which impress me as being exceedingly ludicrous.  Strange as it 
may seem too, there is undoubtedly a degree of protection in the 
wig and gown - a dismissal of individual responsibility in dressing 
for the part - which encourages that insolent bearing and language, 
and that gross perversion of the office of a pleader for The Truth, 
so frequent in our courts of law.  Still, I cannot help doubting 
whether America, in her desire to shake off the absurdities and 
abuses of the old system, may not have gone too far into the 
opposite extreme; and whether it is not desirable, especially in 
the small community of a city like this, where each man knows the 
other, to surround the administration of justice with some 
artificial barriers against the 'Hail fellow, well met' deportment 
of everyday life.  All the aid it can have in the very high 
character and ability of the Bench, not only here but elsewhere, it 
has, and well deserves to have; but it may need something more:  
not to impress the thoughtful and the well-informed, but the 
ignorant and heedless; a class which includes some prisoners and 
many witnesses.  These institutions were established, no doubt, 
upon the principle that those who had so large a share in making 
the laws, would certainly respect them.  But experience has proved 
this hope to be fallacious; for no men know better than the judges 
of America, that on the occasion of any great popular excitement 
the law is powerless, and cannot, for the time, assert its own 

The tone of society in Boston is one of perfect politeness, 
courtesy, and good breeding.  The ladies are unquestionably very 
beautiful - in face:  but there I am compelled to stop.  Their 
education is much as with us; neither better nor worse.  I had 
heard some very marvellous stories in this respect; but not 
believing them, was not disappointed.  Blue ladies there are, in 
Boston; but like philosophers of that colour and sex in most other 
latitudes, they rather desire to be thought superior than to be so.  
Evangelical ladies there are, likewise, whose attachment to the 
forms of religion, and horror of theatrical entertainments, are 
most exemplary.  Ladies who have a passion for attending lectures 
are to be found among all classes and all conditions.  In the kind 
of provincial life which prevails in cities such as this, the 
Pulpit has great influence.  The peculiar province of the Pulpit in 
New England (always excepting the Unitarian Ministry) would appear 
to be the denouncement of all innocent and rational amusements.  
The church, the chapel, and the lecture-room, are the only means of 
excitement excepted; and to the church, the chapel, and the 
lecture-room, the ladies resort in crowds.

Wherever religion is resorted to, as a strong drink, and as an 
escape from the dull monotonous round of home, those of its 
ministers who pepper the highest will be the surest to please.  
They who strew the Eternal Path with the greatest amount of 
brimstone, and who most ruthlessly tread down the flowers and 
leaves that grow by the wayside, will be voted the most righteous; 
and they who enlarge with the greatest pertinacity on the 
difficulty of getting into heaven, will be considered by all true 
believers certain of going there:  though it would be hard to say 
by what process of reasoning this conclusion is arrived at.  It is 
so at home, and it is so abroad.  With regard to the other means of 
excitement, the Lecture, it has at least the merit of being always 
new.  One lecture treads so quickly on the heels of another, that 
none are remembered; and the course of this month may be safely 
repeated next, with its charm of novelty unbroken, and its interest 

The fruits of the earth have their growth in corruption.  Out of 
the rottenness of these things, there has sprung up in Boston a 
sect of philosophers known as Transcendentalists.  On inquiring 
what this appellation might be supposed to signify, I was given to 
understand that whatever was unintelligible would be certainly 
transcendental.  Not deriving much comfort from this elucidation, I 
pursued the inquiry still further, and found that the 
Transcendentalists are followers of my friend Mr. Carlyle, or I 
should rather say, of a follower of his, Mr. Ralph Waldo Emerson.  
This gentleman has written a volume of Essays, in which, among much 
that is dreamy and fanciful (if he will pardon me for saying so), 
there is much more that is true and manly, honest and bold.  
Transcendentalism has its occasional vagaries (what school has 
not?), but it has good healthful qualities in spite of them; not 
least among the number a hearty disgust of Cant, and an aptitude to 
detect her in all the million varieties of her everlasting 
wardrobe.  And therefore if I were a Bostonian, I think I would be 
a Transcendentalist.

The only preacher I heard in Boston was Mr. Taylor, who addresses 
himself peculiarly to seamen, and who was once a mariner himself.  
I found his chapel down among the shipping, in one of the narrow, 
old, water-side streets, with a gay blue flag waving freely from 
its roof.  In the gallery opposite to the pulpit were a little 
choir of male and female singers, a violoncello, and a violin.  The 
preacher already sat in the pulpit, which was raised on pillars, 
and ornamented behind him with painted drapery of a lively and 
somewhat theatrical appearance.  He looked a weather-beaten hard-
featured man, of about six or eight and fifty; with deep lines 
graven as it were into his face, dark hair, and a stern, keen eye.  
Yet the general character of his countenance was pleasant and 
agreeable.  The service commenced with a hymn, to which succeeded 
an extemporary prayer.  It had the fault of frequent repetition, 
incidental to all such prayers; but it was plain and comprehensive 
in its doctrines, and breathed a tone of general sympathy and 
charity, which is not so commonly a characteristic of this form of 
address to the Deity as it might be.  That done he opened his 
discourse, taking for his text a passage from the Song of Solomon, 
laid upon the desk before the commencement of the service by some 
unknown member of the congregation:  'Who is this coming up from 
the wilderness, leaning on the arm of her beloved!'

He handled his text in all kinds of ways, and twisted it into all 
manner of shapes; but always ingeniously, and with a rude 
eloquence, well adapted to the comprehension of his hearers.  
Indeed if I be not mistaken, he studied their sympathies and 
understandings much more than the display of his own powers.  His 
imagery was all drawn from the sea, and from the incidents of a 
seaman's life; and was often remarkably good.  He spoke to them of 
'that glorious man, Lord Nelson,' and of Collingwood; and drew 
nothing in, as the saying is, by the head and shoulders, but 
brought it to bear upon his purpose, naturally, and with a sharp 
mind to its effect.  Sometimes, when much excited with his subject, 
he had an odd way - compounded of John Bunyan, and Balfour of 
Burley - of taking his great quarto Bible under his arm and pacing 
up and down the pulpit with it; looking steadily down, meantime, 
into the midst of the congregation.  Thus, when he applied his text 
to the first assemblage of his hearers, and pictured the wonder of 
the church at their presumption in forming a congregation among 
themselves, he stopped short with his Bible under his arm in the 
manner I have described, and pursued his discourse after this 

'Who are these - who are they - who are these fellows? where do 
they come from?  Where are they going to? - Come from!  What's the 
answer?' - leaning out of the pulpit, and pointing downward with 
his right hand:  'From below!' - starting back again, and looking 
at the sailors before him:  'From below, my brethren.  From under 
the hatches of sin, battened down above you by the evil one.  
That's where you came from!' - a walk up and down the pulpit:  'and 
where are you going' - stopping abruptly:  'where are you going?  
Aloft!' - very softly, and pointing upward:  'Aloft!' - louder:  
'aloft!' - louder still:  'That's where you are going - with a fair 
wind, - all taut and trim, steering direct for Heaven in its glory, 
where there are no storms or foul weather, and where the wicked 
cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest.' - Another walk:  
'That's where you're going to, my friends.  That's it.  That's the 
place.  That's the port.  That's the haven.  It's a blessed harbour 
- still water there, in all changes of the winds and tides; no 
driving ashore upon the rocks, or slipping your cables and running 
out to sea, there:  Peace - Peace - Peace - all peace!' - Another 
walk, and patting the Bible under his left arm:  'What!  These 
fellows are coming from the wilderness, are they?  Yes.  From the 
dreary, blighted wilderness of Iniquity, whose only crop is Death.  
But do they lean upon anything - do they lean upon nothing, these 
poor seamen?' - Three raps upon the Bible:  'Oh yes. - Yes. - They 
lean upon the arm of their Beloved' - three more raps:  'upon the 
arm of their Beloved' - three more, and a walk:  'Pilot, guiding-
star, and compass, all in one, to all hands - here it is' - three 
more:  'Here it is.  They can do their seaman's duty manfully, and 
be easy in their minds in the utmost peril and danger, with this' - 
two more:  'They can come, even these poor fellows can come, from 
the wilderness leaning on the arm of their Beloved, and go up - up 
- up!' - raising his hand higher, and higher, at every repetition 
of the word, so that he stood with it at last stretched above his 
head, regarding them in a strange, rapt manner, and pressing the 
book triumphantly to his breast, until he gradually subsided into 
some other portion of his discourse.

I have cited this, rather as an instance of the preacher's 
eccentricities than his merits, though taken in connection with his 
look and manner, and the character of his audience, even this was 
striking.  It is possible, however, that my favourable impression 
of him may have been greatly influenced and strengthened, firstly, 
by his impressing upon his hearers that the true observance of 
religion was not inconsistent with a cheerful deportment and an 
exact discharge of the duties of their station, which, indeed, it 
scrupulously required of them; and secondly, by his cautioning them 
not to set up any monopoly in Paradise and its mercies.  I never 
heard these two points so wisely touched (if indeed I have ever 
heard them touched at all), by any preacher of that kind before.

Having passed the time I spent in Boston, in making myself 
acquainted with these things, in settling the course I should take 
in my future travels, and in mixing constantly with its society, I 
am not aware that I have any occasion to prolong this chapter.  
Such of its social customs as I have not mentioned, however, may be 
told in a very few words.

The usual dinner-hour is two o'clock.  A dinner party takes place 
at five; and at an evening party, they seldom sup later than 
eleven; so that it goes hard but one gets home, even from a rout, 
by midnight.  I never could find out any difference between a party 
at Boston and a party in London, saving that at the former place 
all assemblies are held at more rational hours; that the 
conversation may possibly be a little louder and more cheerful; and 
a guest is usually expected to ascend to the very top of the house 
to take his cloak off; that he is certain to see, at every dinner, 
an unusual amount of poultry on the table; and at every supper, at 
least two mighty bowls of hot stewed oysters, in any one of which a 
half-grown Duke of Clarence might be smothered easily.

There are two theatres in Boston, of good size and construction, 
but sadly in want of patronage.  The few ladies who resort to them, 
sit, as of right, in the front rows of the boxes.

The bar is a large room with a stone floor, and there people stand 
and smoke, and lounge about, all the evening:  dropping in and out 
as the humour takes them.  There too the stranger is initiated into 
the mysteries of Gin-sling, Cock-tail, Sangaree, Mint Julep, 
Sherry-cobbler, Timber Doodle, and other rare drinks.  The house is 
full of boarders, both married and single, many of whom sleep upon 
the premises, and contract by the week for their board and lodging:  
the charge for which diminishes as they go nearer the sky to roost.  
A public table is laid in a very handsome hall for breakfast, and 
for dinner, and for supper.  The party sitting down together to 
these meals will vary in number from one to two hundred:  sometimes 
more.  The advent of each of these epochs in the day is proclaimed 
by an awful gong, which shakes the very window-frames as it 
reverberates through the house, and horribly disturbs nervous 
foreigners.  There is an ordinary for ladies, and an ordinary for 

In our private room the cloth could not, for any earthly 
consideration, have been laid for dinner without a huge glass dish 
of cranberries in the middle of the table; and breakfast would have 
been no breakfast unless the principal dish were a deformed beef-
steak with a great flat bone in the centre, swimming in hot butter, 
and sprinkled with the very blackest of all possible pepper.  Our 
bedroom was spacious and airy, but (like every bedroom on this side 
of the Atlantic) very bare of furniture, having no curtains to the 
French bedstead or to the window.  It had one unusual luxury, 
however, in the shape of a wardrobe of painted wood, something 
smaller than an English watch-box; or if this comparison should be 
insufficient to convey a just idea of its dimensions, they may be 
estimated from the fact of my having lived for fourteen days and 
nights in the firm belief that it was a shower-bath.


BEFORE leaving Boston, I devoted one day to an excursion to Lowell.  
I assign a separate chapter to this visit; not because I am about 
to describe it at any great length, but because I remember it as a 
thing by itself, and am desirous that my readers should do the 

I made acquaintance with an American railroad, on this occasion, 
for the first time.  As these works are pretty much alike all 
through the States, their general characteristics are easily 

There are no first and second class carriages as with us; but there 
is a gentleman's car and a ladies' car:  the main distinction 
between which is that in the first, everybody smokes; and in the 
second, nobody does.  As a black man never travels with a white 
one, there is also a negro car; which is a great, blundering, 
clumsy chest, such as Gulliver put to sea in, from the kingdom of 
Brobdingnag.  There is a great deal of jolting, a great deal of 
noise, a great deal of wall, not much window, a locomotive engine, 
a shriek, and a bell.

The cars are like shabby omnibuses, but larger:  holding thirty, 
forty, fifty, people.  The seats, instead of stretching from end to 
end, are placed crosswise.  Each seat holds two persons.  There is 
a long row of them on each side of the caravan, a narrow passage up 
the middle, and a door at both ends.  In the centre of the carriage 
there is usually a stove, fed with charcoal or anthracite coal; 
which is for the most part red-hot.  It is insufferably close; and 
you see the hot air fluttering between yourself and any other 
object you may happen to look at, like the ghost of smoke.

In the ladies' car, there are a great many gentlemen who have 
ladies with them.  There are also a great many ladies who have 
nobody with them:  for any lady may travel alone, from one end of 
the United States to the other, and be certain of the most 
courteous and considerate treatment everywhere.  The conductor or 
check-taker, or guard, or whatever he may be, wears no uniform.  He 
walks up and down the car, and in and out of it, as his fancy 
dictates; leans against the door with his hands in his pockets and 
stares at you, if you chance to be a stranger; or enters into 
conversation with the passengers about him.  A great many 
newspapers are pulled out, and a few of them are read.  Everybody 
talks to you, or to anybody else who hits his fancy.  If you are an 
Englishman, he expects that that railroad is pretty much like an 
English railroad.  If you say 'No,' he says 'Yes?' 
(interrogatively), and asks in what respect they differ.  You 
enumerate the heads of difference, one by one, and he says 'Yes?' 
(still interrogatively) to each.  Then he guesses that you don't 
travel faster in England; and on your replying that you do, says 
'Yes?' again (still interrogatively), and it is quite evident, 
don't believe it.  After a long pause he remarks, partly to you, 
and partly to the knob on the top of his stick, that 'Yankees are 
reckoned to be considerable of a go-ahead people too;' upon which 
YOU say 'Yes,' and then HE says 'Yes' again (affirmatively this 
time); and upon your looking out of window, tells you that behind 
that hill, and some three miles from the next station, there is a 
clever town in a smart lo-ca-tion, where he expects you have 
concluded to stop.  Your answer in the negative naturally leads to 
more questions in reference to your intended route (always 
pronounced rout); and wherever you are going, you invariably learn 
that you can't get there without immense difficulty and danger, and 
that all the great sights are somewhere else.

If a lady take a fancy to any male passenger's seat, the gentleman 
who accompanies her gives him notice of the fact, and he 
immediately vacates it with great politeness.  Politics are much 
discussed, so are banks, so is cotton.  Quiet people avoid the 
question of the Presidency, for there will be a new election in 
three years and a half, and party feeling runs very high:  the 
great constitutional feature of this institution being, that 
directly the acrimony of the last election is over, the acrimony of 
the next one begins; which is an unspeakable comfort to all strong 
politicians and true lovers of their country:  that is to say, to 
ninety-nine men and boys out of every ninety-nine and a quarter.

Except when a branch road joins the main one, there is seldom more 
than one track of rails; so that the road is very narrow, and the 
view, where there is a deep cutting, by no means extensive.  When 
there is not, the character of the scenery is always the same.  
Mile after mile of stunted trees:  some hewn down by the axe, some 
blown down by the wind, some half fallen and resting on their 
neighbours, many mere logs half hidden in the swamp, others 
mouldered away to spongy chips.  The very soil of the earth is made 
up of minute fragments such as these; each pool of stagnant water 
has its crust of vegetable rottenness; on every side there are the 
boughs, and trunks, and stumps of trees, in every possible stage of 
decay, decomposition, and neglect.  Now you emerge for a few brief 
minutes on an open country, glittering with some bright lake or 
pool, broad as many an English river, but so small here that it 
scarcely has a name; now catch hasty glimpses of a distant town, 
with its clean white houses and their cool piazzas, its prim New 
England church and school-house; when whir-r-r-r! almost before you 
have seen them, comes the same dark screen:  the stunted trees, the 
stumps, the logs, the stagnant water - all so like the last that 
you seem to have been transported back again by magic.

The train calls at stations in the woods, where the wild 
impossibility of anybody having the smallest reason to get out, is 
only to be equalled by the apparently desperate hopelessness of 
there being anybody to get in.  It rushes across the turnpike road, 
where there is no gate, no policeman, no signal:  nothing but a 
rough wooden arch, on which is painted 'WHEN THE BELL RINGS, LOOK 
OUT FOR THE LOCOMOTIVE.'  On it whirls headlong, dives through the 
woods again, emerges in the light, clatters over frail arches, 
rumbles upon the heavy ground, shoots beneath a wooden bridge which 
intercepts the light for a second like a wink, suddenly awakens all 
the slumbering echoes in the main street of a large town, and 
dashes on haphazard, pell-mell, neck-or-nothing, down the middle of 
the road.  There - with mechanics working at their trades, and 
people leaning from their doors and windows, and boys flying kites 
and playing marbles, and men smoking, and women talking, and 
children crawling, and pigs burrowing, and unaccustomed horses 
plunging and rearing, close to the very rails - there - on, on, on 
- tears the mad dragon of an engine with its train of cars; 
scattering in all directions a shower of burning sparks from its 
wood fire; screeching, hissing, yelling, panting; until at last the 
thirsty monster stops beneath a covered way to drink, the people 
cluster round, and you have time to breathe again.

I was met at the station at Lowell by a gentleman intimately 
connected with the management of the factories there; and gladly 
putting myself under his guidance, drove off at once to that 
quarter of the town in which the works, the object of my visit, 
were situated.  Although only just of age - for if my recollection 
serve me, it has been a manufacturing town barely one-and-twenty 
years - Lowell is a large, populous, thriving place.  Those 
indications of its youth which first attract the eye, give it a 
quaintness and oddity of character which, to a visitor from the old 
country, is amusing enough.  It was a very dirty winter's day, and 
nothing in the whole town looked old to me, except the mud, which 
in some parts was almost knee-deep, and might have been deposited 
there, on the subsiding of the waters after the Deluge.  In one 
place, there was a new wooden church, which, having no steeple, and 
being yet unpainted, looked like an enormous packing-case without 
any direction upon it.  In another there was a large hotel, whose 
walls and colonnades were so crisp, and thin, and slight, that it 
had exactly the appearance of being built with cards.  I was 
careful not to draw my breath as we passed, and trembled when I saw 
a workman come out upon the roof, lest with one thoughtless stamp 
of his foot he should crush the structure beneath him, and bring it 
rattling down.  The very river that moves the machinery in the 
mills (for they are all worked by water power), seems to acquire a 
new character from the fresh buildings of bright red brick and 
painted wood among which it takes its course; and to be as light-
headed, thoughtless, and brisk a young river, in its murmurings and 
tumblings, as one would desire to see.  One would swear that every 
'Bakery,' 'Grocery,' and 'Bookbindery,' and other kind of store, 
took its shutters down for the first time, and started in business 
yesterday.  The golden pestles and mortars fixed as signs upon the 
sun-blind frames outside the Druggists',  appear to have been just 
turned out of the United States' Mint; and when I saw a baby of 
some week or ten days old in a woman's arms at a street corner, I 
found myself unconsciously wondering where it came from:  never 
supposing for an instant that it could have been born in such a 
young town as that.

There are several factories in Lowell, each of which belongs to 
what we should term a Company of Proprietors, but what they call in 
America a Corporation.  I went over several of these; such as a 
woollen factory, a carpet factory, and a cotton factory:  examined 
them in every part; and saw them in their ordinary working aspect, 
with no preparation of any kind, or departure from their ordinary 
everyday proceedings.  I may add that I am well acquainted with our 
manufacturing towns in England, and have visited many mills in 
Manchester and elsewhere in the same manner.

I happened to arrive at the first factory just as the dinner hour 
was over, and the girls were returning to their work; indeed the 
stairs of the mill were thronged with them as I ascended.  They 
were all well dressed, but not to my thinking above their 
condition; for I like to see the humbler classes of society careful 
of their dress and appearance, and even, if they please, decorated 
with such little trinkets as come within the compass of their 
means.  Supposing it confined within reasonable limits, I would 
always encourage this kind of pride, as a worthy element of self-
respect, in any person I employed; and should no more be deterred 
from doing so, because some wretched female referred her fall to a 
love of dress, than I would allow my construction of the real 
intent and meaning of the Sabbath to be influenced by any warning 
to the well-disposed, founded on his backslidings on that 
particular day, which might emanate from the rather doubtful 
authority of a murderer in Newgate.

These girls, as I have said, were all well dressed:  and that 
phrase necessarily includes extreme cleanliness.  They had 
serviceable bonnets, good warm cloaks, and shawls; and were not 
above clogs and pattens.  Moreover, there were places in the mill 
in which they could deposit these things without injury; and there 
were conveniences for washing.  They were healthy in appearance, 
many of them remarkably so, and had the manners and deportment of 
young women:  not of degraded brutes of burden.  If I had seen in 
one of those mills (but I did not, though I looked for something of 
this kind with a sharp eye), the most lisping, mincing, affected, 
and ridiculous young creature that my imagination could suggest, I 
should have thought of the careless, moping, slatternly, degraded, 
dull reverse (I HAVE seen that), and should have been still well 
pleased to look upon her.

The rooms in which they worked, were as well ordered as themselves.  
In the windows of some, there were green plants, which were trained 
to shade the glass; in all, there was as much fresh air, 
cleanliness, and comfort, as the nature of the occupation would 
possibly admit of.  Out of so large a number of females, many of 
whom were only then just verging upon womanhood, it may be 
reasonably supposed that some were delicate and fragile in 
appearance:  no doubt there were.  But I solemnly declare, that 
from all the crowd I saw in the different factories that day, I 
cannot recall or separate one young face that gave me a painful 
impression; not one young girl whom, assuming it to be a matter of 
necessity that she should gain her daily bread by the labour of her 
hands, I would have removed from those works if I had had the 

They reside in various boarding-houses near at hand.  The owners of 
the mills are particularly careful to allow no persons to enter 
upon the possession of these houses, whose characters have not 
undergone the most searching and thorough inquiry.  Any complaint 
that is made against them, by the boarders, or by any one else, is 
fully investigated; and if good ground of complaint be shown to 
exist against them, they are removed, and their occupation is 
handed over to some more deserving person.  There are a few 
children employed in these factories, but not many.  The laws of 
the State forbid their working more than nine months in the year, 
and require that they be educated during the other three.  For this 
purpose there are schools in Lowell; and there are churches and 
chapels of various persuasions, in which the young women may 
observe that form of worship in which they have been educated.

At some distance from the factories, and on the highest and 
pleasantest ground in the neighbourhood, stands their hospital, or 
boarding-house for the sick:  it is the best house in those parts, 
and was built by an eminent merchant for his own residence.  Like 
that institution at Boston, which I have before described, it is 
not parcelled out into wards, but is divided into convenient 
chambers, each of which has all the comforts of a very comfortable 
home.  The principal medical attendant resides under the same roof; 
and were the patients members of his own family, they could not be 
better cared for, or attended with greater gentleness and 
consideration.  The weekly charge in this establishment for each 
female patient is three dollars, or twelve shillings English; but 
no girl employed by any of the corporations is ever excluded for 
want of the means of payment.  That they do not very often want the 
means, may be gathered from the fact, that in July, 1841, no fewer 
than nine hundred and seventy-eight of these girls were depositors 
in the Lowell Savings Bank:  the amount of whose joint savings was 
estimated at one hundred thousand dollars, or twenty thousand 
English pounds.

I am now going to state three facts, which will startle a large 
class of readers on this side of the Atlantic, very much.

Firstly, there is a joint-stock piano in a great many of the 
boarding-houses.  Secondly, nearly all these young ladies subscribe 
to circulating libraries.  Thirdly, they have got up among 
themselves a periodical called THE LOWELL OFFERING, 'A repository 
of original articles, written exclusively by females actively 
employed in the mills,' - which is duly printed, published, and 
sold; and whereof I brought away from Lowell four hundred good 
solid pages, which I have read from beginning to end.

The large class of readers, startled by these facts, will exclaim, 
with one voice, 'How very preposterous!'  On my deferentially 
inquiring why, they will answer, 'These things are above their 
station.'  In reply to that objection, I would beg to ask what 
their station is.

It is their station to work.  And they DO work.  They labour in 
these mills, upon an average, twelve hours a day, which is 
unquestionably work, and pretty tight work too.  Perhaps it is 
above their station to indulge in such amusements, on any terms.  
Are we quite sure that we in England have not formed our ideas of 
the 'station' of working people, from accustoming ourselves to the 
contemplation of that class as they are, and not as they might be?  
I think that if we examine our own feelings, we shall find that the 
pianos, and the circulating libraries, and even the Lowell 
Offering, startle us by their novelty, and not by their bearing 
upon any abstract question of right or wrong.

For myself, I know no station in which, the occupation of to-day 
cheerfully done and the occupation of to-morrow cheerfully looked 
to, any one of these pursuits is not most humanising and laudable.  
I know no station which is rendered more endurable to the person in 
it, or more safe to the person out of it, by having ignorance for 
its associate.  I know no station which has a right to monopolise 
the means of mutual instruction, improvement, and rational 
entertainment; or which has ever continued to be a station very 
long, after seeking to do so.

Of the merits of the Lowell Offering as a literary production, I 
will only observe, putting entirely out of sight the fact of the 
articles having been written by these girls after the arduous 
labours of the day, that it will compare advantageously with a 
great many English Annuals.  It is pleasant to find that many of 
its Tales are of the Mills and of those who work in them; that they 
inculcate habits of self-denial and contentment, and teach good 
doctrines of enlarged benevolence.  A strong feeling for the 
beauties of nature, as displayed in the solitudes the writers have 
left at home, breathes through its pages like wholesome village 
air; and though a circulating library is a favourable school for 
the study of such topics, it has very scant allusion to fine 
clothes, fine marriages, fine houses, or fine life.  Some persons 
might object to the papers being signed occasionally with rather 
fine names, but this is an American fashion.  One of the provinces 
of the state legislature of Massachusetts is to alter ugly names 
into pretty ones, as the children improve upon the tastes of their 
parents.  These changes costing little or nothing, scores of Mary 
Annes are solemnly converted into Bevelinas every session.

It is said that on the occasion of a visit from General Jackson or 
General Harrison to this town (I forget which, but it is not to the 
purpose), he walked through three miles and a half of these young 
ladies all dressed out with parasols and silk stockings.  But as I 
am not aware that any worse consequence ensued, than a sudden 
looking-up of all the parasols and silk stockings in the market; 
and perhaps the bankruptcy of some speculative New Englander who 
bought them all up at any price, in expectation of a demand that 
never came; I set no great store by the circumstance.

In this brief account of Lowell, and inadequate expression of the 
gratification it yielded me, and cannot fail to afford to any 
foreigner to whom the condition of such people at home is a subject 
of interest and anxious speculation, I have carefully abstained 
from drawing a comparison between these factories and those of our 
own land.  Many of the circumstances whose strong influence has 
been at work for years in our manufacturing towns have not arisen 
here; and there is no manufacturing population in Lowell, so to 
speak:  for these girls (often the daughters of small farmers) come 
from other States, remain a few years in the mills, and then go 
home for good.

The contrast would be a strong one, for it would be between the 
Good and Evil, the living light and deepest shadow.  I abstain from 
it, because I deem it just to do so.  But I only the more earnestly 
adjure all those whose eyes may rest on these pages, to pause and 
reflect upon the difference between this town and those great 
haunts of desperate misery:  to call to mind, if they can in the 
midst of party strife and squabble, the efforts that must be made 
to purge them of their suffering and danger:  and last, and 
foremost, to remember how the precious Time is rushing by.

I returned at night by the same railroad and in the same kind of 
car.  One of the passengers being exceedingly anxious to expound at 
great length to my companion (not to me, of course) the true 
principles on which books of travel in America should be written by 
Englishmen, I feigned to fall asleep.  But glancing all the way out 
at window from the corners of my eyes, I found abundance of 
entertainment for the rest of the ride in watching the effects of 
the wood fire, which had been invisible in the morning but were now 
brought out in full relief by the darkness:  for we were travelling 
in a whirlwind of bright sparks, which showered about us like a 
storm of fiery snow.


LEAVING Boston on the afternoon of Saturday the fifth of February, 
we proceeded by another railroad to Worcester:  a pretty New 
England town, where we had arranged to remain under the hospitable 
roof of the Governor of the State, until Monday morning.

These towns and cities of New England (many of which would be 
villages in Old England), are as favourable specimens of rural 
America, as their people are of rural Americans.  The well-trimmed 
lawns and green meadows of home are not there; and the grass, 
compared with our ornamental plots and pastures, is rank, and 
rough, and wild:  but delicate slopes of land, gently-swelling 
hills, wooded valleys, and slender streams, abound.  Every little 
colony of houses has its church and school-house peeping from among 
the white roofs and shady trees; every house is the whitest of the 
white; every Venetian blind the greenest of the green; every fine 
day's sky the bluest of the blue.  A sharp dry wind and a slight 
frost had so hardened the roads when we alighted at Worcester, that 
their furrowed tracks were like ridges of granite.  There was the 
usual aspect of newness on every object, of course.  All the 
buildings looked as if they had been built and painted that 
morning, and could be taken down on Monday with very little 
trouble.  In the keen evening air, every sharp outline looked a 
hundred times sharper than ever.  The clean cardboard colonnades 
had no more perspective than a Chinese bridge on a tea-cup, and 
appeared equally well calculated for use.  The razor-like edges of 
the detached cottages seemed to cut the very wind as it whistled 
against them, and to send it smarting on its way with a shriller 
cry than before.  Those slightly-built wooden dwellings behind 
which the sun was setting with a brilliant lustre, could be so 
looked through and through, that the idea of any inhabitant being 
able to hide himself from the public gaze, or to have any secrets 
from the public eye, was not entertainable for a moment.  Even 
where a blazing fire shone through the uncurtained windows of some 
distant house, it had the air of being newly lighted, and of 
lacking warmth; and instead of awakening thoughts of a snug 
chamber, bright with faces that first saw the light round that same 
hearth, and ruddy with warm hangings, it came upon one suggestive 
of the smell of new mortar and damp walls.

So I thought, at least, that evening.  Next morning when the sun 
was shining brightly, and the clear church bells were ringing, and 
sedate people in their best clothes enlivened the pathway near at 
hand and dotted the distant thread of road, there was a pleasant 
Sabbath peacefulness on everything, which it was good to feel.  It 
would have been the better for an old church; better still for some 
old graves; but as it was, a wholesome repose and tranquillity 
pervaded the scene, which after the restless ocean and the hurried 
city, had a doubly grateful influence on the spirits.

We went on next morning, still by railroad, to Springfield.  From 
that place to Hartford, whither we were bound, is a distance of 
only five-and-twenty miles, but at that time of the year the roads 
were so bad that the journey would probably have occupied ten or 
twelve hours.  Fortunately, however, the winter having been 
unusually mild, the Connecticut River was 'open,' or, in other 
words, not frozen.  The captain of a small steamboat was going to 
make his first trip for the season that day (the second February 
trip, I believe, within the memory of man), and only waited for us 
to go on board.  Accordingly, we went on board, with as little 
delay as might be.  He was as good as his word, and started 

It certainly was not called a small steamboat without reason.  I 
omitted to ask the question, but I should think it must have been 
of about half a pony power.  Mr. Paap, the celebrated Dwarf, might 
have lived and died happily in the cabin, which was fitted with 
common sash-windows like an ordinary dwelling-house.  These windows 
had bright-red curtains, too, hung on slack strings across the 
lower panes; so that it looked like the parlour of a Lilliputian 
public-house, which had got afloat in a flood or some other water 
accident, and was drifting nobody knew where.  But even in this 
chamber there was a rocking-chair.  It would be impossible to get 
on anywhere, in America, without a rocking-chair.  I am afraid to 
tell how many feet short this vessel was, or how many feet narrow:  
to apply the words length and width to such measurement would be a 
contradiction in terms.  But I may state that we all kept the 
middle of the deck, lest the boat should unexpectedly tip over; and 
that the machinery, by some surprising process of condensation, 
worked between it and the keel:  the whole forming a warm sandwich, 
about three feet thick.

It rained all day as I once thought it never did rain anywhere, but 
in the Highlands of Scotland.  The river was full of floating 
blocks of ice, which were constantly crunching and cracking under 
us; and the depth of water, in the course we took to avoid the 
larger masses, carried down the middle of the river by the current, 
did not exceed a few inches.  Nevertheless, we moved onward, 
dexterously; and being well wrapped up, bade defiance to the 
weather, and enjoyed the journey.  The Connecticut River is a fine 
stream; and the banks in summer-time are, I have no doubt, 
beautiful; at all events, I was told so by a young lady in the 
cabin; and she should be a judge of beauty, if the possession of a 
quality include the appreciation of it, for a more beautiful 
creature I never looked upon.

After two hours and a half of this odd travelling (including a 
stoppage at a small town, where we were saluted by a gun 
considerably bigger than our own chimney), we reached Hartford, and 
straightway repaired to an extremely comfortable hotel:  except, as 
usual, in the article of bedrooms, which, in almost every place we 
visited, were very conducive to early rising.

We tarried here, four days.  The town is beautifully situated in a 
basin of green hills; the soil is rich, well-wooded, and carefully 
improved.  It is the seat of the local legislature of Connecticut, 
which sage body enacted, in bygone times, the renowned code of 
'Blue Laws,' in virtue whereof, among other enlightened provisions, 
any citizen who could be proved to have kissed his wife on Sunday, 
was punishable, I believe, with the stocks.  Too much of the old 
Puritan spirit exists in these parts to the present hour; but its 
influence has not tended, that I know, to make the people less hard 
in their bargains, or more equal in their dealings.  As I never 
heard of its working that effect anywhere else, I infer that it 
never will, here.  Indeed, I am accustomed, with reference to great 
professions and severe faces, to judge of the goods of the other 
world pretty much as I judge of the goods of this; and whenever I 
see a dealer in such commodities with too great a display of them 
in his window, I doubt the quality of the article within.

In Hartford stands the famous oak in which the charter of King 
Charles was hidden.  It is now inclosed in a gentleman's garden.  
In the State House is the charter itself.  I found the courts of 
law here, just the same as at Boston; the public institutions 
almost as good.  The Insane Asylum is admirably conducted, and so 
is the Institution for the Deaf and Dumb.

I very much questioned within myself, as I walked through the 
Insane Asylum, whether I should have known the attendants from the 
patients, but for the few words which passed between the former, 
and the Doctor, in reference to the persons under their charge.  Of 
course I limit this remark merely to their looks; for the 
conversation of the mad people was mad enough.

There was one little, prim old lady, of very smiling and good-
humoured appearance, who came sidling up to me from the end of a 
long passage, and with a curtsey of inexpressible condescension, 
propounded this unaccountable inquiry:

'Does Pontefract still flourish, sir, upon the soil of England?'

'He does, ma'am,' I rejoined.

'When you last saw him, sir, he was - '

'Well, ma'am,' said I, 'extremely well.  He begged me to present 
his compliments.  I never saw him looking better.'

At this, the old lady was very much delighted.  After glancing at 
me for a moment, as if to be quite sure that I was serious in my 
respectful air, she sidled back some paces; sidled forward again; 
made a sudden skip (at which I precipitately retreated a step or 
two); and said:

'I am an antediluvian, sir.'

I thought the best thing to say was, that I had suspected as much 
from the first.  Therefore I said so.

'It is an extremely proud and pleasant thing, sir, to be an 
antediluvian,' said the old lady.

'I should think it was, ma'am,' I rejoined.

The old lady kissed her hand, gave another skip, smirked and sidled 
down the gallery in a most extraordinary manner, and ambled 
gracefully into her own bed-chamber.

In another part of the building, there was a male patient in bed; 
very much flushed and heated.

'Well,' said he, starting up, and pulling off his night-cap:  'It's 
all settled at last.  I have arranged it with Queen Victoria.'

'Arranged what?' asked the Doctor.

'Why, that business,' passing his hand wearily across his forehead, 
'about the siege of New York.'

'Oh!' said I, like a man suddenly enlightened.  For he looked at me 
for an answer.

'Yes.  Every house without a signal will be fired upon by the 
British troops.  No harm will be done to the others.  No harm at 
all.  Those that want to be safe, must hoist flags.  That's all 
they'll have to do.  They must hoist flags.'

Even while he was speaking he seemed, I thought, to have some faint 
idea that his talk was incoherent.  Directly he had said these 
words, he lay down again; gave a kind of a groan; and covered his 
hot head with the blankets.

There was another:  a young man, whose madness was love and music.  
After playing on the accordion a march he had composed, he was very 
anxious that I should walk into his chamber, which I immediately 

By way of being very knowing, and humouring him to the top of his 
bent, I went to the window, which commanded a beautiful prospect, 
and remarked, with an address upon which I greatly plumed myself:

'What a delicious country you have about these lodgings of yours!'

'Poh!' said he, moving his fingers carelessly over the notes of his 

I don't think I was ever so taken aback in all my life.

'I come here just for a whim,' he said coolly.  'That's all.'

'Oh!  That's all!' said I.

'Yes.  That's all.  The Doctor's a smart man.  He quite enters into 
it.  It's a joke of mine.  I like it for a time.  You needn't 
mention it, but I think I shall go out next Tuesday!'

I assured him that I would consider our interview perfectly 
confidential; and rejoined the Doctor.  As we were passing through 
a gallery on our way out, a well-dressed lady, of quiet and 
composed manners, came up, and proffering a slip of paper and a 
pen, begged that I would oblige her with an autograph, I complied, 
and we parted.

'I think I remember having had a few interviews like that, with 
ladies out of doors.  I hope SHE is not mad?'


'On what subject?  Autographs?'

'No.  She hears voices in the air.'

'Well!' thought I, 'it would be well if we could shut up a few 
false prophets of these later times, who have professed to do the 
same; and I should like to try the experiment on a Mormonist or two 
to begin with.'

In this place, there is the best jail for untried offenders in the 
world.  There is also a very well-ordered State prison, arranged 
upon the same plan as that at Boston, except that here, there is 
always a sentry on the wall with a loaded gun.  It contained at 
that time about two hundred prisoners.  A spot was shown me in the 
sleeping ward, where a watchman was murdered some years since in 
the dead of night, in a desperate attempt to escape, made by a 
prisoner who had broken from his cell.  A woman, too, was pointed 
out to me, who, for the murder of her husband, had been a close 
prisoner for sixteen years.

'Do you think,' I asked of my conductor, 'that after so very long 
an imprisonment, she has any thought or hope of ever regaining her 

'Oh dear yes,' he answered.  'To be sure she has.'

'She has no chance of obtaining it, I suppose?'

'Well, I don't know:' which, by-the-bye, is a national answer.  
'Her friends mistrust her.'

'What have THEY to do with it?' I naturally inquired.

'Well, they won't petition.'

'But if they did, they couldn't get her out, I suppose?'

'Well, not the first time, perhaps, nor yet the second, but tiring 
and wearying for a few years might do it.'

'Does that ever do it?'

'Why yes, that'll do it sometimes.  Political friends'll do it 
sometimes.  It's pretty often done, one way or another.'

I shall always entertain a very pleasant and grateful recollection 
of Hartford.  It is a lovely place, and I had many friends there, 
whom I can never remember with indifference.  We left it with no 
little regret on the evening of Friday the 11th, and travelled that 
night by railroad to New Haven.  Upon the way, the guard and I were 
formally introduced to each other (as we usually were on such 
occasions), and exchanged a variety of small-talk.  We reached New 
Haven at about eight o'clock, after a journey of three hours, and 
put up for the night at the best inn.

New Haven, known also as the City of Elms, is a fine town.  Many of 
its streets (as its ALIAS sufficiently imports) are planted with 
rows of grand old elm-trees; and the same natural ornaments 
surround Yale College, an establishment of considerable eminence 
and reputation.  The various departments of this Institution are 
erected in a kind of park or common in the middle of the town, 
where they are dimly visible among the shadowing trees.  The effect 
is very like that of an old cathedral yard in England; and when 
their branches are in full leaf, must be extremely picturesque.  
Even in the winter time, these groups of well-grown trees, 
clustering among the busy streets and houses of a thriving city, 
have a very quaint appearance:  seeming to bring about a kind of 
compromise between town and country; as if each had met the other 
half-way, and shaken hands upon it; which is at once novel and 

After a night's rest, we rose early, and in good time went down to 
the wharf, and on board the packet New York FOR New York.  This was 
the first American steamboat of any size that I had seen; and 
certainly to an English eye it was infinitely less like a steamboat 
than a huge floating bath.  I could hardly persuade myself, indeed, 
but that the bathing establishment off Westminster Bridge, which I 
left a baby, had suddenly grown to an enormous size; run away from 
home; and set up in foreign parts as a steamer.  Being in America, 
too, which our vagabonds do so particularly favour, it seemed the 
more probable.

The great difference in appearance between these packets and ours, 
is, that there is so much of them out of the water:  the main-deck 
being enclosed on all sides, and filled with casks and goods, like 
any second or third floor in a stack of warehouses; and the 
promenade or hurricane-deck being a-top of that again.  A part of 
the machinery is always above this deck; where the connecting-rod, 
in a strong and lofty frame, is seen working away like an iron top-
sawyer.  There is seldom any mast or tackle:  nothing aloft but two 
tall black chimneys.  The man at the helm is shut up in a little 
house in the fore part of the boat (the wheel being connected with 
the rudder by iron chains, working the whole length of the deck); 
and the passengers, unless the weather be very fine indeed, usually 
congregate below.  Directly you have left the wharf, all the life, 
and stir, and bustle of a packet cease.  You wonder for a long time 
how she goes on, for there seems to be nobody in charge of her; and 
when another of these dull machines comes splashing by, you feel 
quite indignant with it, as a sullen cumbrous, ungraceful, 
unshiplike leviathan:  quite forgetting that the vessel you are on 
board of, is its very counterpart.

There is always a clerk's office on the lower deck, where you pay 
your fare; a ladies' cabin; baggage and stowage rooms; engineer's 
room; and in short a great variety of perplexities which render the 
discovery of the gentlemen's cabin, a matter of some difficulty.  
It often occupies the whole length of the boat (as it did in this 
case), and has three or four tiers of berths on each side.  When I 
first descended into the cabin of the New York, it looked, in my 
unaccustomed eyes, about as long as the Burlington Arcade.

The Sound which has to be crossed on this passage, is not always a 
very safe or pleasant navigation, and has been the scene of some 
unfortunate accidents.  It was a wet morning, and very misty, and 
we soon lost sight of land.  The day was calm, however, and 
brightened towards noon.  After exhausting (with good help from a 
friend) the larder, and the stock of bottled beer, I lay down to 
sleep; being very much tired with the fatigues of yesterday.  But I 
woke from my nap in time to hurry up, and see Hell Gate, the Hog's 
Back, the Frying Pan, and other notorious localities, attractive to 
all readers of famous Diedrich Knickerbocker's History.  We were 
now in a narrow channel, with sloping banks on either side, 
besprinkled with pleasant villas, and made refreshing to the sight 
by turf and trees.  Soon we shot in quick succession, past a light-
house; a madhouse (how the lunatics flung up their caps and roared 
in sympathy with the headlong engine and the driving tide!); a 
jail; and other buildings:  and so emerged into a noble bay, whose 
waters sparkled in the now cloudless sunshine like Nature's eyes 
turned up to Heaven.

Then there lay stretched out before us, to the right, confused 
heaps of buildings, with here and there a spire or steeple, looking 
down upon the herd below; and here and there, again, a cloud of 
lazy smoke; and in the foreground a forest of ships' masts, cheery 
with flapping sails and waving flags.  Crossing from among them to 
the opposite shore, were steam ferry-boats laden with people, 
coaches, horses, waggons, baskets, boxes:  crossed and recrossed by 
other ferry-boats:  all travelling to and fro:  and never idle.  
Stately among these restless Insects, were two or three large 
ships, moving with slow majestic pace, as creatures of a prouder 
kind, disdainful of their puny journeys, and making for the broad 
sea.  Beyond, were shining heights, and islands in the glancing 
river, and a distance scarcely less blue and bright than the sky it 
seemed to meet.  The city's hum and buzz, the clinking of capstans, 
the ringing of bells, the barking of dogs, the clattering of 
wheels, tingled in the listening ear.  All of which life and stir, 
coming across the stirring water, caught new life and animation 
from its free companionship; and, sympathising with its buoyant 
spirits, glistened as it seemed in sport upon its surface, and 
hemmed the vessel round, and plashed the water high about her 
sides, and, floating her gallantly into the dock, flew off again to 
welcome other comers, and speed before them to the busy port.


THE beautiful metropolis of America is by no means so clean a city 
as Boston, but many of its streets have the same characteristics; 
except that the houses are not quite so fresh-coloured, the sign-
boards are not quite so gaudy, the gilded letters not quite so 
golden, the bricks not quite so red, the stone not quite so white, 
the blinds and area railings not quite so green, the knobs and 
plates upon the street doors not quite so bright and twinkling.  
There are many by-streets, almost as neutral in clean colours, and 
positive in dirty ones, as by-streets in London; and there is one 
quarter, commonly called the Five Points, which, in respect of 
filth and wretchedness, may be safely backed against Seven Dials, 
or any other part of famed St. Giles's.

The great promenade and thoroughfare, as most people know, is 
Broadway; a wide and bustling street, which, from the Battery 
Gardens to its opposite termination in a country road, may be four 
miles long.  Shall we sit down in an upper floor of the Carlton 
House Hotel (situated in the best part of this main artery of New 
York), and when we are tired of looking down upon the life below, 
sally forth arm-in-arm, and mingle with the stream?

Warm weather!  The sun strikes upon our heads at this open window, 
as though its rays were concentrated through a burning-glass; but 
the day is in its zenith, and the season an unusual one.  Was there 
ever such a sunny street as this Broadway!  The pavement stones are 
polished with the tread of feet until they shine again; the red 
bricks of the houses might be yet in the dry, hot kilns; and the 
roofs of those omnibuses look as though, if water were poured on 
them, they would hiss and smoke, and smell like half-quenched 
fires.  No stint of omnibuses here!  Half-a-dozen have gone by 
within as many minutes.  Plenty of hackney cabs and coaches too; 
gigs, phaetons, large-wheeled tilburies, and private carriages - 
rather of a clumsy make, and not very different from the public 
vehicles, but built for the heavy roads beyond the city pavement.  
Negro coachmen and white; in straw hats, black hats, white hats, 
glazed caps, fur caps; in coats of drab, black, brown, green, blue, 
nankeen, striped jean and linen; and there, in that one instance 
(look while it passes, or it will be too late), in suits of livery.  
Some southern republican that, who puts his blacks in uniform, and 
swells with Sultan pomp and power.  Yonder, where that phaeton with 
the well-clipped pair of grays has stopped - standing at their 
heads now - is a Yorkshire groom, who has not been very long in 
these parts, and looks sorrowfully round for a companion pair of 
top-boots, which he may traverse the city half a year without 
meeting.  Heaven save the ladies, how they dress!  We have seen 
more colours in these ten minutes, than we should have seen 
elsewhere, in as many days.  What various parasols! what rainbow 
silks and satins! what pinking of thin stockings, and pinching of 
thin shoes, and fluttering of ribbons and silk tassels, and display 
of rich cloaks with gaudy hoods and linings!  The young gentlemen 
are fond, you see, of turning down their shirt-collars and 
cultivating their whiskers, especially under the chin; but they 
cannot approach the ladies in their dress or bearing, being, to say 
the truth, humanity of quite another sort.  Byrons of the desk and 
counter, pass on, and let us see what kind of men those are behind 
ye:  those two labourers in holiday clothes, of whom one carries in 
his hand a crumpled scrap of paper from which he tries to spell out 
a hard name, while the other looks about for it on all the doors 
and windows.

Irishmen both!  You might know them, if they were masked, by their 
long-tailed blue coats and bright buttons, and their drab trousers, 
which they wear like men well used to working dresses, who are easy 
in no others.  It would be hard to keep your model republics going, 
without the countrymen and countrywomen of those two labourers.  
For who else would dig, and delve, and drudge, and do domestic 
work, and make canals and roads, and execute great lines of 
Internal Improvement!  Irishmen both, and sorely puzzled too, to 
find out what they seek.  Let us go down, and help them, for the 
love of home, and that spirit of liberty which admits of honest 
service to honest men, and honest work for honest bread, no matter 
what it be.

That's well!  We have got at the right address at last, though it 
is written in strange characters truly, and might have been 
scrawled with the blunt handle of the spade the writer better knows 
the use of, than a pen.  Their way lies yonder, but what business 
takes them there?  They carry savings:  to hoard up?  No.  They are 
brothers, those men.  One crossed the sea alone, and working very 
hard for one half year, and living harder, saved funds enough to 
bring the other out.  That done, they worked together side by side, 
contentedly sharing hard labour and hard living for another term, 
and then their sisters came, and then another brother, and lastly, 
their old mother.  And what now?  Why, the poor old crone is 
restless in a strange land, and yearns to lay her bones, she says, 
among her people in the old graveyard at home:  and so they go to 
pay her passage back:  and God help her and them, and every simple 
heart, and all who turn to the Jerusalem of their younger days, and 
have an altar-fire upon the cold hearth of their fathers.

This narrow thoroughfare, baking and blistering in the sun, is Wall 
Street:  the Stock Exchange and Lombard Street of New York.  Many a 
rapid fortune has been made in this street, and many a no less 
rapid ruin.  Some of these very merchants whom you see hanging 
about here now, have locked up money in their strong-boxes, like 
the man in the Arabian Nights, and opening them again, have found 
but withered leaves.  Below, here by the water-side, where the 
bowsprits of ships stretch across the footway, and almost thrust 
themselves into the windows, lie the noble American vessels which 
having made their Packet Service the finest in the world.  They 
have brought hither the foreigners who abound in all the streets:  
not, perhaps, that there are more here, than in other commercial 
cities; but elsewhere, they have particular haunts, and you must 
find them out; here, they pervade the town.

We must cross Broadway again; gaining some refreshment from the 
heat, in the sight of the great blocks of clean ice which are being 
carried into shops and bar-rooms; and the pine-apples and water-
melons profusely displayed for sale.  Fine streets of spacious 
houses here, you see! - Wall Street has furnished and dismantled 
many of them very often - and here a deep green leafy square.  Be 
sure that is a hospitable house with inmates to be affectionately 
remembered always, where they have the open door and pretty show of 
plants within, and where the child with laughing eyes is peeping 
out of window at the little dog below.  You wonder what may be the 
use of this tall flagstaff in the by-street, with something like 
Liberty's head-dress on its top:  so do I.  But there is a passion 
for tall flagstaffs hereabout, and you may see its twin brother in 
five minutes, if you have a mind.

Again across Broadway, and so - passing from the many-coloured 
crowd and glittering shops - into another long main street, the 
Bowery.  A railroad yonder, see, where two stout horses trot along, 
drawing a score or two of people and a great wooden ark, with ease.  
The stores are poorer here; the passengers less gay.  Clothes 
ready-made, and meat ready-cooked, are to be bought in these parts; 
and the lively whirl of carriages is exchanged for the deep rumble 
of carts and waggons.  These signs which are so plentiful, in shape 
like river buoys, or small balloons, hoisted by cords to poles, and 
dangling there, announce, as you may see by looking up, 'OYSTERS IN 
EVERY STYLE.'  They tempt the hungry most at night, for then dull 
candles glimmering inside, illuminate these dainty words, and make 
the mouths of idlers water, as they read and linger.

What is this dismal-fronted pile of bastard Egyptian, like an 
enchanter's palace in a melodrama! - a famous prison, called The 
Tombs.  Shall we go in?

So.  A long, narrow, lofty building, stove-heated as usual, with 
four galleries, one above the other, going round it, and 
communicating by stairs.  Between the two sides of each gallery, 
and in its centre, a bridge, for the greater convenience of 
crossing.  On each of these bridges sits a man:  dozing or reading, 
or talking to an idle companion.  On each tier, are two opposite 
rows of small iron doors.  They look like furnace-doors, but are 
cold and black, as though the fires within had all gone out.  Some 
two or three are open, and women, with drooping heads bent down, 
are talking to the inmates.  The whole is lighted by a skylight, 
but it is fast closed; and from the roof there dangle, limp and 
drooping, two useless windsails.

A man with keys appears, to show us round.  A good-looking fellow, 
and, in his way, civil and obliging.

'Are those black doors the cells?'


'Are they all full?'

'Well, they're pretty nigh full, and that's a fact, and no two ways 
about it.'

'Those at the bottom are unwholesome, surely?'

'Why, we DO only put coloured people in 'em.  That's the truth.'

'When do the prisoners take exercise?'

'Well, they do without it pretty much.'

'Do they never walk in the yard?'

'Considerable seldom.'

'Sometimes, I suppose?'

'Well, it's rare they do.  They keep pretty bright without it.'

'But suppose a man were here for a twelvemonth.  I know this is 
only a prison for criminals who are charged with grave offences, 
while they are awaiting their trial, or under remand, but the law 
here affords criminals many means of delay.  What with motions for 
new trials, and in arrest of judgment, and what not, a prisoner 
might be here for twelve months, I take it, might he not?'

'Well, I guess he might.'

'Do you mean to say that in all that time he would never come out 
at that little iron door, for exercise?'

'He might walk some, perhaps - not much.'

'Will you open one of the doors?'

'All, if you like.'

The fastenings jar and rattle, and one of the doors turns slowly on 
its hinges.  Let us look in.  A small bare cell, into which the 
light enters through a high chink in the wall.  There is a rude 
means of washing, a table, and a bedstead.  Upon the latter, sits a 
man of sixty; reading.  He looks up for a moment; gives an 
impatient dogged shake; and fixes his eyes upon his book again.  As 
we withdraw our heads, the door closes on him, and is fastened as 
before.  This man has murdered his wife, and will probably be 

'How long has he been here?'

'A month.'

'When will he be tried?'

'Next term.'

'When is that?'

'Next month.'

'In England, if a man be under sentence of death, even he has air 
and exercise at certain periods of the day.'


With what stupendous and untranslatable coolness he says this, and 
how loungingly he leads on to the women's side:  making, as he 
goes, a kind of iron castanet of the key and the stair-rail!

Each cell door on this side has a square aperture in it.  Some of 
the women peep anxiously through it at the sound of footsteps; 
others shrink away in shame. - For what offence can that lonely 
child, of ten or twelve years old, be shut up here?  Oh! that boy?  
He is the son of the prisoner we saw just now; is a witness against 
his father; and is detained here for safe keeping, until the trial; 
that's all.

But it is a dreadful place for the child to pass the long days and 
nights in.  This is rather hard treatment for a young witness, is 
it not? - What says our conductor?

'Well, it an't a very rowdy life, and THAT'S a fact!'

Again he clinks his metal castanet, and leads us leisurely away.  I 
have a question to ask him as we go.

'Pray, why do they call this place The Tombs?'

'Well, it's the cant name.'

'I know it is.  Why?'

'Some suicides happened here, when it was first built.  I expect it 
come about from that.'

'I saw just now, that that man's clothes were scattered about the 
floor of his cell.  Don't you oblige the prisoners to be orderly, 
and put such things away?'

'Where should they put 'em?'

'Not on the ground surely.  What do you say to hanging them up?'

He stops and looks round to emphasise his answer:

'Why, I say that's just it.  When they had hooks they WOULD hang 
themselves, so they're taken out of every cell, and there's only 
the marks left where they used to be!'

The prison-yard in which he pauses now, has been the scene of 
terrible performances.  Into this narrow, grave-like place, men are 
brought out to die.  The wretched creature stands beneath the 
gibbet on the ground; the rope about his neck; and when the sign is 
given, a weight at its other end comes running down, and swings him 
up into the air - a corpse.

The law requires that there be present at this dismal spectacle, 
the judge, the jury, and citizens to the amount of twenty-five.  
From the community it is hidden.  To the dissolute and bad, the 
thing remains a frightful mystery.  Between the criminal and them, 
the prison-wall is interposed as a thick gloomy veil.  It is the 
curtain to his bed of death, his winding-sheet, and grave.  From 
him it shuts out life, and all the motives to unrepenting hardihood 
in that last hour, which its mere sight and presence is often all-
sufficient to sustain.  There are no bold eyes to make him bold; no 
ruffians to uphold a ruffian's name before.  All beyond the 
pitiless stone wall, is unknown space.

Let us go forth again into the cheerful streets.

Once more in Broadway!  Here are the same ladies in bright colours, 
walking to and fro, in pairs and singly; yonder the very same light 
blue parasol which passed and repassed the hotel-window twenty 
times while we were sitting there.  We are going to cross here.  
Take care of the pigs.  Two portly sows are trotting up behind this 
carriage, and a select party of half-a-dozen gentlemen hogs have 
just now turned the corner.

Here is a solitary swine lounging homeward by himself.  He has only 
one ear; having parted with the other to vagrant-dogs in the course 
of his city rambles.  But he gets on very well without it; and 
leads a roving, gentlemanly, vagabond kind of life, somewhat 
answering to that of our club-men at home.  He leaves his lodgings 
every morning at a certain hour, throws himself upon the town, gets 
through his day in some manner quite satisfactory to himself, and 
regularly appears at the door of his own house again at night, like 
the mysterious master of Gil Blas.  He is a free-and-easy, 
careless, indifferent kind of pig, having a very large acquaintance 
among other pigs of the same character, whom he rather knows by 
sight than conversation, as he seldom troubles himself to stop and 
exchange civilities, but goes grunting down the kennel, turning up 
the news and small-talk of the city in the shape of cabbage-stalks 
and offal, and bearing no tails but his own:  which is a very short 
one, for his old enemies, the dogs, have been at that too, and have 
left him hardly enough to swear by.  He is in every respect a 
republican pig, going wherever he pleases, and mingling with the 
best society, on an equal, if not superior footing, for every one 
makes way when he appears, and the haughtiest give him the wall, if 
he prefer it.  He is a great philosopher, and seldom moved, unless 
by the dogs before mentioned.  Sometimes, indeed, you may see his 
small eye twinkling on a slaughtered friend, whose carcase 
garnishes a butcher's door-post, but he grunts out 'Such is life:  
all flesh is pork!' buries his nose in the mire again, and waddles 
down the gutter:  comforting himself with the reflection that there 
is one snout the less to anticipate stray cabbage-stalks, at any 

They are the city scavengers, these pigs.  Ugly brutes they are; 
having, for the most part, scanty brown backs, like the lids of old 
horsehair trunks:  spotted with unwholesome black blotches.  They 
have long, gaunt legs, too, and such peaked snouts, that if one of 
them could be persuaded to sit for his profile, nobody would 
recognise it for a pig's likeness.  They are never attended upon, 
or fed, or driven, or caught, but are thrown upon their own 
resources in early life, and become preternaturally knowing in 
consequence.  Every pig knows where he lives, much better than 
anybody could tell him.  At this hour, just as evening is closing 
in, you will see them roaming towards bed by scores, eating their 
way to the last.  Occasionally, some youth among them who has over-
eaten himself, or has been worried by dogs, trots shrinkingly 
homeward, like a prodigal son:  but this is a rare case:  perfect 
self-possession and self-reliance, and immovable composure, being 
their foremost attributes.

The streets and shops are lighted now; and as the eye travels down 
the long thoroughfare, dotted with bright jets of gas, it is 
reminded of Oxford Street, or Piccadilly.  Here and there a flight 
of broad stone cellar-steps appears, and a painted lamp directs you 
to the Bowling Saloon, or Ten-Pin alley; Ten-Pins being a game of 
mingled chance and skill, invented when the legislature passed an 
act forbidding Nine-Pins.  At other downward flights of steps, are 
other lamps, marking the whereabouts of oyster-cellars - pleasant 
retreats, say I:  not only by reason of their wonderful cookery of 
oysters, pretty nigh as large as cheese-plates (or for thy dear 
sake, heartiest of Greek Professors!), but because of all kinds of 
caters of fish, or flesh, or fowl, in these latitudes, the 
swallowers of oysters alone are not gregarious; but subduing 
themselves, as it were, to the nature of what they work in, and 
copying the coyness of the thing they eat, do sit apart in 
curtained boxes, and consort by twos, not by two hundreds.

But how quiet the streets are!  Are there no itinerant bands; no 
wind or stringed instruments?  No, not one.  By day, are there no 
Punches, Fantoccini, Dancing-dogs, Jugglers, Conjurers, 
Orchestrinas, or even Barrel-organs?  No, not one.  Yes, I remember 
one.  One barrel-organ and a dancing-monkey - sportive by nature, 
but fast fading into a dull, lumpish monkey, of the Utilitarian 
school.  Beyond that, nothing lively; no, not so much as a white 
mouse in a twirling cage.

Are there no amusements?  Yes.  There is a lecture-room across the 
way, from which that glare of light proceeds, and there may be 
evening service for the ladies thrice a week, or oftener.  For the 
young gentlemen, there is the counting-house, the store, the bar-
room:  the latter, as you may see through these windows, pretty 
full.  Hark! to the clinking sound of hammers breaking lumps of 
ice, and to the cool gurgling of the pounded bits, as, in the 
process of mixing, they are poured from glass to glass!  No 
amusements?  What are these suckers of cigars and swallowers of 
strong drinks, whose hats and legs we see in every possible variety 
of twist, doing, but amusing themselves?  What are the fifty 
newspapers, which those precocious urchins are bawling down the 
street, and which are kept filed within, what are they but 
amusements?  Not vapid, waterish amusements, but good strong stuff; 
dealing in round abuse and blackguard names; pulling off the roofs 
of private houses, as the Halting Devil did in Spain; pimping and 
pandering for all degrees of vicious taste, and gorging with coined 
lies the most voracious maw; imputing to every man in public life 
the coarsest and the vilest motives; scaring away from the stabbed 
and prostrate body-politic, every Samaritan of clear conscience and 
good deeds; and setting on, with yell and whistle and the clapping 
of foul hands, the vilest vermin and worst birds of prey. - No 

Let us go on again; and passing this wilderness of an hotel with 
stores about its base, like some Continental theatre, or the London 
Opera House shorn of its colonnade, plunge into the Five Points.  
But it is needful, first, that we take as our escort these two 
heads of the police, whom you would know for sharp and well-trained 
officers if you met them in the Great Desert.  So true it is, that 
certain pursuits, wherever carried on, will stamp men with the same 
character.  These two might have been begotten, born, and bred, in 
Bow Street.

We have seen no beggars in the streets by night or day; but of 
other kinds of strollers, plenty.  Poverty, wretchedness, and vice, 
are rife enough where we are going now.

This is the place:  these narrow ways, diverging to the right and 
left, and reeking everywhere with dirt and filth.  Such lives as 
are led here, bear the same fruits here as elsewhere.  The coarse 
and bloated faces at the doors, have counterparts at home, and all 
the wide world over.  Debauchery has made the very houses 
prematurely old.  See how the rotten beams are tumbling down, and 
how the patched and broken windows seem to scowl dimly, like eyes 
that have been hurt in drunken frays.  Many of those pigs live 
here.  Do they ever wonder why their masters walk upright in lieu 
of going on all-fours? and why they talk instead of grunting?

So far, nearly every house is a low tavern; and on the bar-room 
walls, are coloured prints of Washington, and Queen Victoria of 
England, and the American Eagle.  Among the pigeon-holes that hold 
the bottles, are pieces of plate-glass and coloured paper, for 
there is, in some sort, a taste for decoration, even here.  And as 
seamen frequent these haunts, there are maritime pictures by the 
dozen:  of partings between sailors and their lady-loves, portraits 
of William, of the ballad, and his Black-Eyed Susan; of Will Watch, 
the Bold Smuggler; of Paul Jones the Pirate, and the like:  on 
which the painted eyes of Queen Victoria, and of Washington to 
boot, rest in as strange companionship, as on most of the scenes 
that are enacted in their wondering presence.

What place is this, to which the squalid street conducts us?  A 
kind of square of leprous houses, some of which are attainable only 
by crazy wooden stairs without.  What lies beyond this tottering 
flight of steps, that creak beneath our tread? - a miserable room, 
lighted by one dim candle, and destitute of all comfort, save that 
which may be hidden in a wretched bed.  Beside it, sits a man:  his 
elbows on his knees:  his forehead hidden in his hands.  'What ails 
that man?' asks the foremost officer.  'Fever,' he sullenly 
replies, without looking up.  Conceive the fancies of a feverish 
brain, in such a place as this!

Ascend these pitch-dark stairs, heedful of a false footing on the 
trembling boards, and grope your way with me into this wolfish den, 
where neither ray of light nor breath of air, appears to come.  A 
negro lad, startled from his sleep by the officer's voice - he 
knows it well - but comforted by his assurance that he has not come 
on business, officiously bestirs himself to light a candle.  The 
match flickers for a moment, and shows great mounds of dusty rags 
upon the ground; then dies away and leaves a denser darkness than 
before, if there can be degrees in such extremes.  He stumbles down 
the stairs and presently comes back, shading a flaring taper with 
his hand.  Then the mounds of rags are seen to be astir, and rise 
slowly up, and the floor is covered with heaps of negro women, 
waking from their sleep:  their white teeth chattering, and their 
bright eyes glistening and winking on all sides with surprise and 
fear, like the countless repetition of one astonished African face 
in some strange mirror.

Mount up these other stairs with no less caution (there are traps 
and pitfalls here, for those who are not so well escorted as 
ourselves) into the housetop; where the bare beams and rafters meet 
overhead, and calm night looks down through the crevices in the 
roof.  Open the door of one of these cramped hutches full of 
sleeping negroes.  Pah!  They have a charcoal fire within; there is 
a smell of singeing clothes, or flesh, so close they gather round 
the brazier; and vapours issue forth that blind and suffocate.  
From every corner, as you glance about you in these dark retreats, 
some figure crawls half-awakened, as if the judgment-hour were near 
at hand, and every obscene grave were giving up its dead.  Where 
dogs would howl to lie, women, and men, and boys slink off to 
sleep, forcing the dislodged rats to move away in quest of better 

Here too are lanes and alleys, paved with mud knee-deep, 
underground chambers, where they dance and game; the walls bedecked 
with rough designs of ships, and forts, and flags, and American 
eagles out of number:  ruined houses, open to the street, whence, 
through wide gaps in the walls, other ruins loom upon the eye, as 
though the world of vice and misery had nothing else to show:  
hideous tenements which take their name from robbery and murder:  
all that is loathsome, drooping, and decayed is here.

Our leader has his hand upon the latch of 'Almack's,' and calls to 
us from the bottom of the steps; for the assembly-room of the Five 
Point fashionables is approached by a descent.  Shall we go in?  It 
is but a moment.

Heyday! the landlady of Almack's thrives!  A buxom fat mulatto 
woman, with sparkling eyes, whose head is daintily ornamented with 
a handkerchief of many colours.  Nor is the landlord much behind 
her in his finery, being attired in a smart blue jacket, like a 
ship's steward, with a thick gold ring upon his little finger, and 
round his neck a gleaming golden watch-guard.  How glad he is to 
see us!  What will we please to call for?  A dance?  It shall be 
done directly, sir:  'a regular break-down.'

The corpulent black fiddler, and his friend who plays the 
tambourine, stamp upon the boarding of the small raised orchestra 
in which they sit, and play a lively measure.  Five or six couple 
come upon the floor, marshalled by a lively young negro, who is the 
wit of the assembly, and the greatest dancer known.  He never 
leaves off making queer faces, and is the delight of all the rest, 
who grin from ear to ear incessantly.  Among the dancers are two 
young mulatto girls, with large, black, drooping eyes, and head-
gear after the fashion of the hostess, who are as shy, or feign to 
be, as though they never danced before, and so look down before the 
visitors, that their partners can see nothing but the long fringed 

But the dance commences.  Every gentleman sets as long as he likes 
to the opposite lady, and the opposite lady to him, and all are so 
long about it that the sport begins to languish, when suddenly the 
lively hero dashes in to the rescue.  Instantly the fiddler grins, 
and goes at it tooth and nail; there is new energy in the 
tambourine; new laughter in the dancers; new smiles in the 
landlady; new confidence in the landlord; new brightness in the 
very candles.

Single shuffle, double shuffle, cut and cross-cut; snapping his 
fingers, rolling his eyes, turning in his knees, presenting the 
backs of his legs in front, spinning about on his toes and heels 
like nothing but the man's fingers on the tambourine; dancing with 
two left legs, two right legs, two wooden legs, two wire legs, two 
spring legs - all sorts of legs and no legs - what is this to him?  
And in what walk of life, or dance of life, does man ever get such 
stimulating applause as thunders about him, when, having danced his 
partner off her feet, and himself too, he finishes by leaping 
gloriously on the bar-counter, and calling for something to drink, 
with the chuckle of a million of counterfeit Jim Crows, in one 
inimitable sound!

The air, even in these distempered parts, is fresh after the 
stifling atmosphere of the houses; and now, as we emerge into a 
broader street, it blows upon us with a purer breath, and the stars 
look bright again.  Here are The Tombs once more.  The city watch-
house is a part of the building.  It follows naturally on the 
sights we have just left.  Let us see that, and then to bed.

What! do you thrust your common offenders against the police 
discipline of the town, into such holes as these?  Do men and 
women, against whom no crime is proved, lie here all night in 
perfect darkness, surrounded by the noisome vapours which encircle 
that flagging lamp you light us with, and breathing this filthy and 
offensive stench!  Why, such indecent and disgusting dungeons as 
these cells, would bring disgrace upon the most despotic empire in 
the world!  Look at them, man - you, who see them every night, and 
keep the keys.  Do you see what they are?  Do you know how drains 
are made below the streets, and wherein these human sewers differ, 
except in being always stagnant?

Well, he don't know.  He has had five-and-twenty young women locked 
up in this very cell at one time, and you'd hardly realise what 
handsome faces there were among 'em.

In God's name! shut the door upon the wretched creature who is in 
it now, and put its screen before a place, quite unsurpassed in all 
the vice, neglect, and devilry, of the worst old town in Europe.

Are people really left all night, untried, in those black sties? - 
Every night.  The watch is set at seven in the evening.  The 
magistrate opens his court at five in the morning.  That is the 
earliest hour at which the first prisoner can be released; and if 
an officer appear against him, he is not taken out till nine 
o'clock or ten. - But if any one among them die in the interval, as 
one man did, not long ago?  Then he is half-eaten by the rats in an 
hour's time; as that man was; and there an end.

What is this intolerable tolling of great bells, and crashing of 
wheels, and shouting in the distance?  A fire.  And what that deep 
red light in the opposite direction?  Another fire.  And what these 
charred and blackened walls we stand before?  A dwelling where a 
fire has been.  It was more than hinted, in an official report, not 
long ago, that some of these conflagrations were not wholly 
accidental, and that speculation and enterprise found a field of 
exertion, even in flames:  but be this as it may, there was a fire 
last night, there are two to-night, and you may lay an even wager 
there will be at least one, to-morrow.  So, carrying that with us 
for our comfort, let us say, Good night, and climb up-stairs to 

* * * * * *

One day, during my stay in New York, I paid a visit to the 
different public institutions on Long Island, or Rhode Island:  I 
forget which.  One of them is a Lunatic Asylum.  The building is 
handsome; and is remarkable for a spacious and elegant staircase.  
The whole structure is not yet finished, but it is already one of 
considerable size and extent, and is capable of accommodating a 
very large number of patients.

I cannot say that I derived much comfort from the inspection of 
this charity.  The different wards might have been cleaner and 
better ordered; I saw nothing of that salutary system which had 
impressed me so favourably elsewhere; and everything had a 
lounging, listless, madhouse air, which was very painful.  The 
moping idiot, cowering down with long dishevelled hair; the 
gibbering maniac, with his hideous laugh and pointed finger; the 
vacant eye, the fierce wild face, the gloomy picking of the hands 
and lips, and munching of the nails:  there they were all, without 
disguise, in naked ugliness and horror.  In the dining-room, a 
bare, dull, dreary place, with nothing for the eye to rest on but 
the empty walls, a woman was locked up alone.  She was bent, they 
told me, on committing suicide.  If anything could have 
strengthened her in her resolution, it would certainly have been 
the insupportable monotony of such an existence.

The terrible crowd with which these halls and galleries were 
filled, so shocked me, that I abridged my stay within the shortest 
limits, and declined to see that portion of the building in which 
the refractory and violent were under closer restraint.  I have no 
doubt that the gentleman who presided over this establishment at 
the time I write of, was competent to manage it, and had done all 
in his power to promote its usefulness:  but will it be believed 
that the miserable strife of Party feeling is carried even into 
this sad refuge of afflicted and degraded humanity?  Will it be 
believed that the eyes which are to watch over and control the 
wanderings of minds on which the most dreadful visitation to which 
our nature is exposed has fallen, must wear the glasses of some 
wretched side in Politics?  Will it be believed that the governor 
of such a house as this, is appointed, and deposed, and changed 
perpetually, as Parties fluctuate and vary, and as their despicable 
weathercocks are blown this way or that?  A hundred times in every 
week, some new most paltry exhibition of that narrow-minded and 
injurious Party Spirit, which is the Simoom of America, sickening 
and blighting everything of wholesome life within its reach, was 
forced upon my notice; but I never turned my back upon it with 
feelings of such deep disgust and measureless contempt, as when I 
crossed the threshold of this madhouse.

At a short distance from this building is another called the Alms 
House, that is to say, the workhouse of New York.  This is a large 
Institution also:  lodging, I believe, when I was there, nearly a 
thousand poor.  It was badly ventilated, and badly lighted; was not 
too clean; - and impressed me, on the whole, very uncomfortably.  
But it must be remembered that New York, as a great emporium of 
commerce, and as a place of general resort, not only from all parts 
of the States, but from most parts of the world, has always a large 
pauper population to provide for; and labours, therefore, under 
peculiar difficulties in this respect.  Nor must it be forgotten 
that New York is a large town, and that in all large towns a vast 
amount of good and evil is intermixed and jumbled up together.

In the same neighbourhood is the Farm, where young orphans are 
nursed and bred.  I did not see it, but I believe it is well 
conducted; and I can the more easily credit it, from knowing how 
mindful they usually are, in America, of that beautiful passage in 
the Litany which remembers all sick persons and young children.

I was taken to these Institutions by water, in a boat belonging to 
the Island jail, and rowed by a crew of prisoners, who were dressed 
in a striped uniform of black and buff, in which they looked like 
faded tigers.  They took me, by the same conveyance, to the jail 

It is an old prison, and quite a pioneer establishment, on the plan 
I have already described.  I was glad to hear this, for it is 
unquestionably a very indifferent one.  The most is made, however, 
of the means it possesses, and it is as well regulated as such a 
place can be.

The women work in covered sheds, erected for that purpose.  If I 
remember right, there are no shops for the men, but be that as it 
may, the greater part of them labour in certain stone-quarries near 
at hand.  The day being very wet indeed, this labour was suspended, 
and the prisoners were in their cells.  Imagine these cells, some 
two or three hundred in number, and in every one a man locked up; 
this one at his door for air, with his hands thrust through the 
grate; this one in bed (in the middle of the day, remember); and 
this one flung down in a heap upon the ground, with his head 
against the bars, like a wild beast.  Make the rain pour down, 
outside, in torrents.  Put the everlasting stove in the midst; hot, 
and suffocating, and vaporous, as a witch's cauldron.  Add a 
collection of gentle odours, such as would arise from a thousand 
mildewed umbrellas, wet through, and a thousand buck-baskets, full 
of half-washed linen - and there is the prison, as it was that day.

The prison for the State at Sing Sing is, on the other hand, a 
model jail.  That, and Auburn, are, I believe, the largest and best 
examples of the silent system.

In another part of the city, is the Refuge for the Destitute:  an 
Institution whose object is to reclaim youthful offenders, male and 
female, black and white, without distinction; to teach them useful 
trades, apprentice them to respectable masters, and make them 
worthy members of society.  Its design, it will be seen, is similar 
to that at Boston; and it is a no less meritorious and admirable 
establishment.  A suspicion crossed my mind during my inspection of 
this noble charity, whether the superintendent had quite sufficient 
knowledge of the world and worldly characters; and whether he did 
not commit a great mistake in treating some young girls, who were 
to all intents and purposes, by their years and their past lives, 
women, as though they were little children; which certainly had a 
ludicrous effect in my eyes, and, or I am much mistaken, in theirs 
also.  As the Institution, however, is always under a vigilant 
examination of a body of gentlemen of great intelligence and 
experience, it cannot fail to be well conducted; and whether I am 
right or wrong in this slight particular, is unimportant to its 
deserts and character, which it would be difficult to estimate too 

In addition to these establishments, there are in New York, 
excellent hospitals and schools, literary institutions and 
libraries; an admirable fire department (as indeed it should be, 
having constant practice), and charities of every sort and kind.  
In the suburbs there is a spacious cemetery:  unfinished yet, but 
every day improving.  The saddest tomb I saw there was 'The 
Strangers' Grave.  Dedicated to the different hotels in this city.'

There are three principal theatres.  Two of them, the Park and the 
Bowery, are large, elegant, and handsome buildings, and are, I 
grieve to write it, generally deserted.  The third, the Olympic, is 
a tiny show-box for vaudevilles and burlesques.  It is singularly 
well conducted by Mr. Mitchell, a comic actor of great quiet humour 
and originality, who is well remembered and esteemed by London 
playgoers.  I am happy to report of this deserving gentleman, that 
his benches are usually well filled, and that his theatre rings 
with merriment every night.  I had almost forgotten a small summer 
theatre, called Niblo's, with gardens and open air amusements 
attached; but I believe it is not exempt from the general 
depression under which Theatrical Property, or what is humorously 
called by that name, unfortunately labours.

The country round New York is surpassingly and exquisitely 
picturesque.  The climate, as I have already intimated, is somewhat 
of the warmest.  What it would be, without the sea breezes which 
come from its beautiful Bay in the evening time, I will not throw 
myself or my readers into a fever by inquiring.

The tone of the best society in this city, is like that of Boston; 
here and there, it may be, with a greater infusion of the 
mercantile spirit, but generally polished and refined, and always 
most hospitable.  The houses and tables are elegant; the hours 
later and more rakish; and there is, perhaps, a greater spirit of 
contention in reference to appearances, and the display of wealth 
and costly living.  The ladies are singularly beautiful.

Before I left New York I made arrangements for securing a passage 
home in the George Washington packet ship, which was advertised to 
sail in June:  that being the month in which I had determined, if 
prevented by no accident in the course of my ramblings, to leave 

I never thought that going back to England, returning to all who 
are dear to me, and to pursuits that have insensibly grown to be a 
part of my nature, I could have felt so much sorrow as I endured, 
when I parted at last, on board this ship, with the friends who had 
accompanied me from this city.  I never thought the name of any 
place, so far away and so lately known, could ever associate itself 
in my mind with the crowd of affectionate remembrances that now 
cluster about it.  There are those in this city who would brighten, 
to me, the darkest winter-day that ever glimmered and went out in 
Lapland; and before whose presence even Home grew dim, when they 
and I exchanged that painful word which mingles with our every 
thought and deed; which haunts our cradle-heads in infancy, and 
closes up the vista of our lives in age.


THE journey from New York to Philadelphia, is made by railroad, and 
two ferries; and usually occupies between five and six hours.  It 
was a fine evening when we were passengers in the train:  and 
watching the bright sunset from a little window near the door by 
which we sat, my attention was attracted to a remarkable appearance 
issuing from the windows of the gentleman's car immediately in 
front of us, which I supposed for some time was occasioned by a 
number of industrious persons inside, ripping open feather-beds, 
and giving the feathers to the wind.  At length it occurred to me 
that they were only spitting, which was indeed the case; though how 
any number of passengers which it was possible for that car to 
contain, could have maintained such a playful and incessant shower 
of expectoration, I am still at a loss to understand:  
notwithstanding the experience in all salivatory phenomena which I 
afterwards acquired.

I made acquaintance, on this journey, with a mild and modest young 
quaker, who opened the discourse by informing me, in a grave 
whisper, that his grandfather was the inventor of cold-drawn castor 
oil.  I mention the circumstance here, thinking it probable that 
this is the first occasion on which the valuable medicine in 
question was ever used as a conversational aperient.

We reached the city, late that night.  Looking out of my chamber-
window, before going to bed, I saw, on the opposite side of the 
way, a handsome building of white marble, which had a mournful 
ghost-like aspect, dreary to behold.  I attributed this to the 
sombre influence of the night, and on rising in the morning looked 
out again, expecting to see its steps and portico thronged with 
groups of people passing in and out.  The door was still tight 
shut, however; the same cold cheerless air prevailed:  and the 
building looked as if the marble statue of Don Guzman could alone 
have any business to transact within its gloomy walls.  I hastened 
to inquire its name and purpose, and then my surprise vanished.  It 
was the Tomb of many fortunes; the Great Catacomb of investment; 
the memorable United States Bank.

The stoppage of this bank, with all its ruinous consequences, had 
cast (as I was told on every side) a gloom on Philadelphia, under 
the depressing effect of which it yet laboured.  It certainly did 
seem rather dull and out of spirits.

It is a handsome city, but distractingly regular.  After walking 
about it for an hour or two, I felt that I would have given the 
world for a crooked street.  The collar of my coat appeared to 
stiffen, and the brim of my bat to expand, beneath its quakery 
influence.  My hair shrunk into a sleek short crop, my hands folded 
themselves upon my breast of their own calm accord, and thoughts of 
taking lodgings in Mark Lane over against the Market Place, and of 
making a large fortune by speculations in corn, came over me 

Philadelphia is most bountifully provided with fresh water, which 
is showered and jerked about, and turned on, and poured off, 
everywhere.  The Waterworks, which are on a height near the city, 
are no less ornamental than useful, being tastefully laid out as a 
public garden, and kept in the best and neatest order.  The river 
is dammed at this point, and forced by its own power into certain 
high tanks or reservoirs, whence the whole city, to the top stories 
of the houses, is supplied at a very trifling expense.

There are various public institutions.  Among them a most excellent 
Hospital - a quaker establishment, but not sectarian in the great 
benefits it confers; a quiet, quaint old Library, named after 
Franklin; a handsome Exchange and Post Office; and so forth.  In 
connection with the quaker Hospital, there is a picture by West, 
which is exhibited for the benefit of the funds of the institution.  
The subject is, our Saviour healing the sick, and it is, perhaps, 
as favourable a specimen of the master as can be seen anywhere.  
Whether this be high or low praise, depends upon the reader's 

In the same room, there is a very characteristic and life-like 
portrait by Mr. Sully, a distinguished American artist.

My stay in Philadelphia was very short, but what I saw of its 
society, I greatly liked.  Treating of its general characteristics, 
I should be disposed to say that it is more provincial than Boston 
or New York, and that there is afloat in the fair city, an 
assumption of taste and criticism, savouring rather of those 
genteel discussions upon the same themes, in connection with 
Shakspeare and the Musical Glasses, of which we read in the Vicar 
of Wakefield.  Near the city, is a most splendid unfinished marble 
structure for the Girard College, founded by a deceased gentleman 
of that name and of enormous wealth, which, if completed according 
to the original design, will be perhaps the richest edifice of 
modern times.  But the bequest is involved in legal disputes, and 
pending them the work has stopped; so that like many other great 
undertakings in America, even this is rather going to be done one 
of these days, than doing now.

In the outskirts, stands a great prison, called the Eastern 
Penitentiary:  conducted on a plan peculiar to the state of 
Pennsylvania.  The system here, is rigid, strict, and hopeless 
solitary confinement.  I believe it, in its effects, to be cruel 
and wrong.

In its intention, I am well convinced that it is kind, humane, and 
meant for reformation; but I am persuaded that those who devised 
this system of Prison Discipline, and those benevolent gentlemen 
who carry it into execution, do not know what it is that they are 
doing.  I believe that very few men are capable of estimating the 
immense amount of torture and agony which this dreadful punishment, 
prolonged for years, inflicts upon the sufferers; and in guessing 
at it myself, and in reasoning from what I have seen written upon 
their faces, and what to my certain knowledge they feel within, I 
am only the more convinced that there is a depth of terrible 
endurance in it which none but the sufferers themselves can fathom, 
and which no man has a right to inflict upon his fellow-creature.  
I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the 
brain, to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body:  and 
because its ghastly signs and tokens are not so palpable to the eye 
and sense of touch as scars upon the flesh; because its wounds are 
not upon the surface, and it extorts few cries that human ears can 
hear; therefore I the more denounce it, as a secret punishment 
which slumbering humanity is not roused up to stay.  I hesitated 
once, debating with myself, whether, if I had the power of saying 
'Yes' or 'No,' I would allow it to be tried in certain cases, where 
the terms of imprisonment were short; but now, I solemnly declare, 
that with no rewards or honours could I walk a happy man beneath 
the open sky by day, or lie me down upon my bed at night, with the 
consciousness that one human creature, for any length of time, no 
matter what, lay suffering this unknown punishment in his silent 
cell, and I the cause, or I consenting to it in the least degree.

I was accompanied to this prison by two gentlemen officially 
connected with its management, and passed the day in going from 
cell to cell, and talking with the inmates.  Every facility was 
afforded me, that the utmost courtesy could suggest.  Nothing was 
concealed or hidden from my view, and every piece of information 
that I sought, was openly and frankly given.  The perfect order of 
the building cannot be praised too highly, and of the excellent 
motives of all who are immediately concerned in the administration 
of the system, there can be no kind of question.

Between the body of the prison and the outer wall, there is a 
spacious garden.  Entering it, by a wicket in the massive gate, we 
pursued the path before us to its other termination, and passed 
into a large chamber, from which seven long passages radiate.  On 
either side of each, is a long, long row of low cell doors, with a 
certain number over every one.  Above, a gallery of cells like 
those below, except that they have no narrow yard attached (as 
those in the ground tier have), and are somewhat smaller.  The 
possession of two of these, is supposed to compensate for the 
absence of so much air and exercise as can be had in the dull strip 
attached to each of the others, in an hour's time every day; and 
therefore every prisoner in this upper story has two cells, 
adjoining and communicating with, each other.

Standing at the central point, and looking down these dreary 
passages, the dull repose and quiet that prevails, is awful.  
Occasionally, there is a drowsy sound from some lone weaver's 
shuttle, or shoemaker's last, but it is stifled by the thick walls 
and heavy dungeon-door, and only serves to make the general 
stillness more profound.  Over the head and face of every prisoner 
who comes into this melancholy house, a black hood is drawn; and in 
this dark shroud, an emblem of the curtain dropped between him and 
the living world, he is led to the cell from which he never again 
comes forth, until his whole term of imprisonment has expired.  He 
never hears of wife and children; home or friends; the life or 
death of any single creature.  He sees the prison-officers, but 
with that exception he never looks upon a human countenance, or 
hears a human voice.  He is a man buried alive; to be dug out in 
the slow round of years; and in the mean time dead to everything 
but torturing anxieties and horrible despair.

His name, and crime, and term of suffering, are unknown, even to 
the officer who delivers him his daily food.  There is a number 
over his cell-door, and in a book of which the governor of the 
prison has one copy, and the moral instructor another:  this is the 
index of his history.  Beyond these pages the prison has no record 
of his existence:  and though he live to be in the same cell ten 
weary years, he has no means of knowing, down to the very last 
hour, in which part of the building it is situated; what kind of 
men there are about him; whether in the long winter nights there 
are living people near, or he is in some lonely corner of the great 
jail, with walls, and passages, and iron doors between him and the 
nearest sharer in its solitary horrors.

Every cell has double doors:  the outer one of sturdy oak, the 
other of grated iron, wherein there is a trap through which his 
food is handed.  He has a Bible, and a slate and pencil, and, under 
certain restrictions, has sometimes other books, provided for the 
purpose, and pen and ink and paper.  His razor, plate, and can, and 
basin, hang upon the wall, or shine upon the little shelf.  Fresh 
water is laid on in every cell, and he can draw it at his pleasure.  
During the day, his bedstead turns up against the wall, and leaves 
more space for him to work in.  His loom, or bench, or wheel, is 
there; and there he labours, sleeps and wakes, and counts the 
seasons as they change, and grows old.

The first man I saw, was seated at his loom, at work.  He had been 
there six years, and was to remain, I think, three more.  He had 
been convicted as a receiver of stolen goods, but even after his 
long imprisonment, denied his guilt, and said he had been hardly 
dealt by.  It was his second offence.

He stopped his work when we went in, took off his spectacles, and 
answered freely to everything that was said to him, but always with 
a strange kind of pause first, and in a low, thoughtful voice.  He 
wore a paper hat of his own making, and was pleased to have it 
noticed and commanded.  He had very ingeniously manufactured a sort 
of Dutch clock from some disregarded odds and ends; and his 
vinegar-bottle served for the pendulum.  Seeing me interested in 
this contrivance, he looked up at it with a great deal of pride, 
and said that he had been thinking of improving it, and that he 
hoped the hammer and a little piece of broken glass beside it 
'would play music before long.'  He had extracted some colours from 
the yarn with which he worked, and painted a few poor figures on 
the wall.  One, of a female, over the door, he called 'The Lady of 
the Lake.'

He smiled as I looked at these contrivances to while away the time; 
but when I looked from them to him, I saw that his lip trembled, 
and could have counted the beating of his heart.  I forget how it 
came about, but some allusion was made to his having a wife.  He 
shook his head at the word, turned aside, and covered his face with 
his hands.

'But you are resigned now!' said one of the gentlemen after a short 
pause, during which he had resumed his former manner.  He answered 
with a sigh that seemed quite reckless in its hopelessness, 'Oh 
yes, oh yes!  I am resigned to it.'  'And are a better man, you 
think?'  'Well, I hope so:  I'm sure I hope I may be.'  'And time 
goes pretty quickly?'  'Time is very long gentlemen, within these 
four walls!'

He gazed about him - Heaven only knows how wearily! - as he said 
these words; and in the act of doing so, fell into a strange stare 
as if he had forgotten something.  A moment afterwards he sighed 
heavily, put on his spectacles, and went about his work again.

In another cell, there was a German, sentenced to five years' 
imprisonment for larceny, two of which had just expired.  With 
colours procured in the same manner, he had painted every inch of 
the walls and ceiling quite beautifully.  He had laid out the few 
feet of ground, behind, with exquisite neatness, and had made a 
little bed in the centre, that looked, by-the-bye, like a grave.  
The taste and ingenuity he had displayed in everything were most 
extraordinary; and yet a more dejected, heart-broken, wretched 
creature, it would be difficult to imagine.  I never saw such a 
picture of forlorn affliction and distress of mind.  My heart bled 
for him; and when the tears ran down his cheeks, and he took one of 
the visitors aside, to ask, with his trembling hands nervously 
clutching at his coat to detain him, whether there was no hope of 
his dismal sentence being commuted, the spectacle was really too 
painful to witness.  I never saw or heard of any kind of misery 
that impressed me more than the wretchedness of this man.

In a third cell, was a tall, strong black, a burglar, working at 
his proper trade of making screws and the like.  His time was 
nearly out.  He was not only a very dexterous thief, but was 
notorious for his boldness and hardihood, and for the number of his 
previous convictions.  He entertained us with a long account of his 
achievements, which he narrated with such infinite relish, that he 
actually seemed to lick his lips as he told us racy anecdotes of 
stolen plate, and of old ladies whom he had watched as they sat at 
windows in silver spectacles (he had plainly had an eye to their 
metal even from the other side of the street) and had afterwards 
robbed.  This fellow, upon the slightest encouragement, would have 
mingled with his professional recollections the most detestable 
cant; but I am very much mistaken if he could have surpassed the 
unmitigated hypocrisy with which he declared that he blessed the 
day on which he came into that prison, and that he never would 
commit another robbery as long as he lived.

There was one man who was allowed, as an indulgence, to keep 
rabbits.  His room having rather a close smell in consequence, they 
called to him at the door to come out into the passage.  He 
complied of course, and stood shading his haggard face in the 
unwonted sunlight of the great window, looking as wan and unearthly 
as if he had been summoned from the grave.  He had a white rabbit 
in his breast; and when the little creature, getting down upon the 
ground, stole back into the cell, and he, being dismissed, crept 
timidly after it, I thought it would have been very hard to say in 
what respect the man was the nobler animal of the two.

There was an English thief, who had been there but a few days out 
of seven years:  a villainous, low-browed, thin-lipped fellow, with 
a white face; who had as yet no relish for visitors, and who, but 
for the additional penalty, would have gladly stabbed me with his 
shoemaker's knife.  There was another German who had entered the 
jail but yesterday, and who started from his bed when we looked in, 
and pleaded, in his broken English, very hard for work.  There was 
a poet, who after doing two days' work in every four-and-twenty 
hours, one for himself and one for the prison, wrote verses about 
ships (he was by trade a mariner), and 'the maddening wine-cup,' 
and his friends at home.  There were very many of them.  Some 
reddened at the sight of visitors, and some turned very pale.  Some 
two or three had prisoner nurses with them, for they were very 
sick; and one, a fat old negro whose leg had been taken off within 
the jail, had for his attendant a classical scholar and an 
accomplished surgeon, himself a prisoner likewise.  Sitting upon 
the stairs, engaged in some slight work, was a pretty coloured boy.  
'Is there no refuge for young criminals in Philadelphia, then?' 
said I.  'Yes, but only for white children.'  Noble aristocracy in 

There was a sailor who had been there upwards of eleven years, and 
who in a few months' time would be free.  Eleven years of solitary 

'I am very glad to hear your time is nearly out.'  What does he 
say?  Nothing.  Why does he stare at his hands, and pick the flesh 
upon his fingers, and raise his eyes for an instant, every now and 
then, to those bare walls which have seen his head turn grey?  It 
is a way he has sometimes.

Does he never look men in the face, and does he always pluck at 
those hands of his, as though he were bent on parting skin and 
bone?  It is his humour:  nothing more.

It is his humour too, to say that he does not look forward to going 
out; that he is not glad the time is drawing near; that he did look 
forward to it once, but that was very long ago; that he has lost 
all care for everything.  It is his humour to be a helpless, 
crushed, and broken man.  And, Heaven be his witness that he has 
his humour thoroughly gratified!

There were three young women in adjoining cells, all convicted at 
the same time of a conspiracy to rob their prosecutor.  In the 
silence and solitude of their lives they had grown to be quite 
beautiful.  Their looks were very sad, and might have moved the 
sternest visitor to tears, but not to that kind of sorrow which the 
contemplation of the men awakens.  One was a young girl; not 
twenty, as I recollect; whose snow-white room was hung with the 
work of some former prisoner, and upon whose downcast face the sun 
in all its splendour shone down through the high chink in the wall, 
where one narrow strip of bright blue sky was visible.  She was 
very penitent and quiet; had come to be resigned, she said (and I 
believe her); and had a mind at peace.  'In a word, you are happy 
here?' said one of my companions.  She struggled - she did struggle 
very hard - to answer, Yes; but raising her eyes, and meeting that 
glimpse of freedom overhead, she burst into tears, and said, 'She 
tried to be; she uttered no complaint; but it was natural that she 
should sometimes long to go out of that one cell:  she could not 
help THAT,' she sobbed, poor thing!

I went from cell to cell that day; and every face I saw, or word I 
heard, or incident I noted, is present to my mind in all its 
painfulness.  But let me pass them by, for one, more pleasant, 
glance of a prison on the same plan which I afterwards saw at 

When I had gone over that, in the same manner, I asked the governor 
if he had any person in his charge who was shortly going out.  He 
had one, he said, whose time was up next day; but he had only been 
a prisoner two years.

Two years!  I looked back through two years of my own life - out of 
jail, prosperous, happy, surrounded by blessings, comforts, good 
fortune - and thought how wide a gap it was, and how long those two 
years passed in solitary captivity would have been.  I have the 
face of this man, who was going to be released next day, before me 
now.  It is almost more memorable in its happiness than the other 
faces in their misery.  How easy and how natural it was for him to 
say that the system was a good one; and that the time went 'pretty 
quick - considering;' and that when a man once felt that he had 
offended the law, and must satisfy it, 'he got along, somehow:' and 
so forth!

'What did he call you back to say to you, in that strange flutter?' 
I asked of my conductor, when he had locked the door and joined me 
in the passage.

'Oh!  That he was afraid the soles of his boots were not fit for 
walking, as they were a good deal worn when he came in; and that he 
would thank me very much to have them mended, ready.'

Those boots had been taken off his feet, and put away with the rest 
of his clothes, two years before!

I took that opportunity of inquiring how they conducted themselves 
immediately before going out; adding that I presumed they trembled 
very much.

'Well, it's not so much a trembling,' was the answer - 'though they 
do quiver - as a complete derangement of the nervous system.  They 
can't sign their names to the book; sometimes can't even hold the 
pen; look about 'em without appearing to know why, or where they 
are; and sometimes get up and sit down again, twenty times in a 
minute.  This is when they're in the office, where they are taken 
with the hood on, as they were brought in.  When they get outside 
the gate, they stop, and look first one way and then the other; not 
knowing which to take.  Sometimes they stagger as if they were 
drunk, and sometimes are forced to lean against the fence, they're 
so bad:- but they clear off in course of time.'

As I walked among these solitary cells, and looked at the faces of 
the men within them, I tried to picture to myself the thoughts and 
feelings natural to their condition.  I imagined the hood just 
taken off, and the scene of their captivity disclosed to them in 
all its dismal monotony.

At first, the man is stunned.  His confinement is a hideous vision; 
and his old life a reality.  He throws himself upon his bed, and 
lies there abandoned to despair.  By degrees the insupportable 
solitude and barrenness of the place rouses him from this stupor, 
and when the trap in his grated door is opened, he humbly begs and 
prays for work.  'Give me some work to do, or I shall go raving 

He has it; and by fits and starts applies himself to labour; but 
every now and then there comes upon him a burning sense of the 
years that must be wasted in that stone coffin, and an agony so 
piercing in the recollection of those who are hidden from his view 
and knowledge, that he starts from his seat, and striding up and 
down the narrow room with both hands clasped on his uplifted head, 
hears spirits tempting him to beat his brains out on the wall.

Again he falls upon his bed, and lies there, moaning.  Suddenly he 
starts up, wondering whether any other man is near; whether there 
is another cell like that on either side of him:  and listens 

There is no sound, but other prisoners may be near for all that.  
He remembers to have heard once, when he little thought of coming 
here himself, that the cells were so constructed that the prisoners 
could not hear each other, though the officers could hear them.

Where is the nearest man - upon the right, or on the left? or is 
there one in both directions?  Where is he sitting now - with his 
face to the light? or is he walking to and fro?  How is he dressed?  
Has he been here long?  Is he much worn away?  Is he very white and 
spectre-like?  Does HE think of his neighbour too?

Scarcely venturing to breathe, and listening while he thinks, he 
conjures up a figure with his back towards him, and imagines it 
moving about in this next cell.  He has no idea of the face, but he 
is certain of the dark form of a stooping man.  In the cell upon 
the other side, he puts another figure, whose face is hidden from 
him also.  Day after day, and often when he wakes up in the middle 
of the night, he thinks of these two men until he is almost 
distracted.  He never changes them.  There they are always as he 
first imagined them - an old man on the right; a younger man upon 
the left - whose hidden features torture him to death, and have a 
mystery that makes him tremble.

The weary days pass on with solemn pace, like mourners at a 
funeral; and slowly he begins to feel that the white walls of the 
cell have something dreadful in them:  that their colour is 
horrible:  that their smooth surface chills his blood:  that there 
is one hateful corner which torments him.  Every morning when he 
wakes, he hides his head beneath the coverlet, and shudders to see 
the ghastly ceiling looking down upon him.  The blessed light of 
day itself peeps in, an ugly phantom face, through the unchangeable 
crevice which is his prison window.

By slow but sure degrees, the terrors of that hateful corner swell 
until they beset him at all times; invade his rest, make his dreams 
hideous, and his nights dreadful.  At first, he took a strange 
dislike to it; feeling as though it gave birth in his brain to 
something of corresponding shape, which ought not to be there, and 
racked his head with pains.  Then he began to fear it, then to 
dream of it, and of men whispering its name and pointing to it.  
Then he could not bear to look at it, nor yet to turn his back upon 
it.  Now, it is every night the lurking-place of a ghost:  a 
shadow:- a silent something, horrible to see, but whether bird, or 
beast, or muffled human shape, he cannot tell.

When he is in his cell by day, he fears the little yard without.  
When he is in the yard, he dreads to re-enter the cell.  When night 
comes, there stands the phantom in the corner.  If he have the 
courage to stand in its place, and drive it out (he had once:  
being desperate), it broods upon his bed.  In the twilight, and 
always at the same hour, a voice calls to him by name; as the 
darkness thickens, his Loom begins to live; and even that, his 
comfort, is a hideous figure, watching him till daybreak.

Again, by slow degrees, these horrible fancies depart from him one 
by one:  returning sometimes, unexpectedly, but at longer 
intervals, and in less alarming shapes.  He has talked upon 
religious matters with the gentleman who visits him, and has read 
his Bible, and has written a prayer upon his slate, and hung it up 
as a kind of protection, and an assurance of Heavenly 
companionship.  He dreams now, sometimes, of his children or his 
wife, but is sure that they are dead, or have deserted him.  He is 
easily moved to tears; is gentle, submissive, and broken-spirited.  
Occasionally, the old agony comes back:  a very little thing will 
revive it; even a familiar sound, or the scent of summer flowers in 
the air; but it does not last long, now:  for the world without, 
has come to be the vision, and this solitary life, the sad reality.

If his term of imprisonment be short - I mean comparatively, for 
short it cannot be - the last half year is almost worse than all; 
for then he thinks the prison will take fire and he be burnt in the 
ruins, or that he is doomed to die within the walls, or that he 
will be detained on some false charge and sentenced for another 
term:  or that something, no matter what, must happen to prevent 
his going at large.  And this is natural, and impossible to be 
reasoned against, because, after his long separation from human 
life, and his great suffering, any event will appear to him more 
probable in the contemplation, than the being restored to liberty 
and his fellow-creatures.

If his period of confinement have been very long, the prospect of 
release bewilders and confuses him.  His broken heart may flutter 
for a moment, when he thinks of the world outside, and what it 
might have been to him in all those lonely years, but that is all.  
The cell-door has been closed too long on all its hopes and cares.  
Better to have hanged him in the beginning than bring him to this 
pass, and send him forth to mingle with his kind, who are his kind 
no more.

On the haggard face of every man among these prisoners, the same 
expression sat.  I know not what to liken it to.  It had something 
of that strained attention which we see upon the faces of the blind 
and deaf, mingled with a kind of horror, as though they had all 
been secretly terrified.  In every little chamber that I entered, 
and at every grate through which I looked, I seemed to see the same 
appalling countenance.  It lives in my memory, with the fascination 
of a remarkable picture.  Parade before my eyes, a hundred men, 
with one among them newly released from this solitary suffering, 
and I would point him out.

The faces of the women, as I have said, it humanises and refines.  
Whether this be because of their better nature, which is elicited 
in solitude, or because of their being gentler creatures, of 
greater patience and longer suffering, I do not know; but so it is.  
That the punishment is nevertheless, to my thinking, fully as cruel 
and as wrong in their case, as in that of the men, I need scarcely 

My firm conviction is that, independent of the mental anguish it 
occasions - an anguish so acute and so tremendous, that all 
imagination of it must fall far short of the reality - it wears the 
mind into a morbid state, which renders it unfit for the rough 
contact and busy action of the world.  It is my fixed opinion that 
those who have undergone this punishment, MUST pass into society 
again morally unhealthy and diseased.  There are many instances on 
record, of men who have chosen, or have been condemned, to lives of 
perfect solitude, but I scarcely remember one, even among sages of 
strong and vigorous intellect, where its effect has not become 
apparent, in some disordered train of thought, or some gloomy 
hallucination.  What monstrous phantoms, bred of despondency and 
doubt, and born and reared in solitude, have stalked upon the 
earth, making creation ugly, and darkening the face of Heaven!

Suicides are rare among these prisoners:  are almost, indeed, 
unknown.  But no argument in favour of the system, can reasonably 
be deduced from this circumstance, although it is very often urged.  
All men who have made diseases of the mind their study, know 
perfectly well that such extreme depression and despair as will 
change the whole character, and beat down all its powers of 
elasticity and self-resistance, may be at work within a man, and 
yet stop short of self-destruction.  This is a common case.

That it makes the senses dull, and by degrees impairs the bodily 
faculties, I am quite sure.  I remarked to those who were with me 
in this very establishment at Philadelphia, that the criminals who 
had been there long, were deaf.  They, who were in the habit of 
seeing these men constantly, were perfectly amazed at the idea, 
which they regarded as groundless and fanciful.  And yet the very 
first prisoner to whom they appealed - one of their own selection 
confirmed my impression (which was unknown to him) instantly, and 
said, with a genuine air it was impossible to doubt, that he 
couldn't think how it happened, but he WAS growing very dull of 

That it is a singularly unequal punishment, and affects the worst 
man least, there is no doubt.  In its superior efficiency as a 
means of reformation, compared with that other code of regulations 
which allows the prisoners to work in company without communicating 
together, I have not the smallest faith.  All the instances of 
reformation that were mentioned to me, were of a kind that might 
have been - and I have no doubt whatever, in my own mind, would 
have been - equally well brought about by the Silent System.  With 
regard to such men as the negro burglar and the English thief, even 
the most enthusiastic have scarcely any hope of their conversion.

It seems to me that the objection that nothing wholesome or good 
has ever had its growth in such unnatural solitude, and that even a 
dog or any of the more intelligent among beasts, would pine, and 
mope, and rust away, beneath its influence, would be in itself a 
sufficient argument against this system.  But when we recollect, in 
addition, how very cruel and severe it is, and that a solitary life 
is always liable to peculiar and distinct objections of a most 
deplorable nature, which have arisen here, and call to mind, 
moreover, that the choice is not between this system, and a bad or 
ill-considered one, but between it and another which has worked 
well, and is, in its whole design and practice, excellent; there is 
surely more than sufficient reason for abandoning a mode of 
punishment attended by so little hope or promise, and fraught, 
beyond dispute, with such a host of evils.

As a relief to its contemplation, I will close this chapter with a 
curious story arising out of the same theme, which was related to 
me, on the occasion of this visit, by some of the gentlemen 

At one of the periodical meetings of the inspectors of this prison, 
a working man of Philadelphia presented himself before the Board, 
and earnestly requested to be placed in solitary confinement.  On 
being asked what motive could possibly prompt him to make this 
strange demand, he answered that he had an irresistible propensity 
to get drunk; that he was constantly indulging it, to his great 
misery and ruin; that he had no power of resistance; that he wished 
to be put beyond the reach of temptation; and that he could think 
of no better way than this.  It was pointed out to him, in reply, 
that the prison was for criminals who had been tried and sentenced 
by the law, and could not be made available for any such fanciful 
purposes; he was exhorted to abstain from intoxicating drinks, as 
he surely might if he would; and received other very good advice, 
with which he retired, exceedingly dissatisfied with the result of 
his application.

He came again, and again, and again, and was so very earnest and 
importunate, that at last they took counsel together, and said, 'He 
will certainly qualify himself for admission, if we reject him any 
more.  Let us shut him up.  He will soon be glad to go away, and 
then we shall get rid of him.'  So they made him sign a statement 
which would prevent his ever sustaining an action for false 
imprisonment, to the effect that his incarceration was voluntary, 
and of his own seeking; they requested him to take notice that the 
officer in attendance had orders to release him at any hour of the 
day or night, when he might knock upon his door for that purpose; 
but desired him to understand, that once going out, he would not be 
admitted any more.  These conditions agreed upon, and he still 
remaining in the same mind, he was conducted to the prison, and 
shut up in one of the cells.

In this cell, the man, who had not the firmness to leave a glass of 
liquor standing untasted on a table before him - in this cell, in 
solitary confinement, and working every day at his trade of 
shoemaking, this man remained nearly two years.  His health 
beginning to fail at the expiration of that time, the surgeon 
recommended that he should work occasionally in the garden; and as 
he liked the notion very much, he went about this new occupation 
with great cheerfulness.

He was digging here, one summer day, very industriously, when the 
wicket in the outer gate chanced to be left open:  showing, beyond, 
the well-remembered dusty road and sunburnt fields.  The way was as 
free to him as to any man living, but he no sooner raised his head 
and caught sight of it, all shining in the light, than, with the 
involuntary instinct of a prisoner, he cast away his spade, 
scampered off as fast as his legs would carry him, and never once 
looked back.


WE left Philadelphia by steamboat, at six o'clock one very cold 
morning, and turned our faces towards Washington.

In the course of this day's journey, as on subsequent occasions, we 
encountered some Englishmen (small farmers, perhaps, or country 
publicans at home) who were settled in America, and were travelling 
on their own affairs.  Of all grades and kinds of men that jostle 
one in the public conveyances of the States, these are often the 
most intolerable and the most insufferable companions.  United to 
every disagreeable characteristic that the worst kind of American 
travellers possess, these countrymen of ours display an amount of 
insolent conceit and cool assumption of superiority, quite 
monstrous to behold.  In the coarse familiarity of their approach, 
and the effrontery of their inquisitiveness (which they are in 
great haste to assert, as if they panted to revenge themselves upon 
the decent old restraints of home), they surpass any native 
specimens that came within my range of observation:  and I often 
grew so patriotic when I saw and heard them, that I would 
cheerfully have submitted to a reasonable fine, if I could have 
given any other country in the whole world, the honour of claiming 
them for its children.

As Washington may be called the head-quarters of tobacco-tinctured 
saliva, the time is come when I must confess, without any disguise, 
that the prevalence of those two odious practices of chewing and 
expectorating began about this time to be anything but agreeable, 
and soon became most offensive and sickening.  In all the public 
places of America, this filthy custom is recognised.  In the courts 
of law, the judge has his spittoon, the crier his, the witness his, 
and the prisoner his; while the jurymen and spectators are provided 
for, as so many men who in the course of nature must desire to spit 
incessantly.  In the hospitals, the students of medicine are 
requested, by notices upon the wall, to eject their tobacco juice 
into the boxes provided for that purpose, and not to discolour the 
stairs.  In public buildings, visitors are implored, through the 
same agency, to squirt the essence of their quids, or 'plugs,' as I 
have heard them called by gentlemen learned in this kind of 
sweetmeat, into the national spittoons, and not about the bases of 
the marble columns.  But in some parts, this custom is inseparably 
mixed up with every meal and morning call, and with all the 
transactions of social life.  The stranger, who follows in the 
track I took myself, will find it in its full bloom and glory, 
luxuriant in all its alarming recklessness, at Washington.  And let 
him not persuade himself (as I once did, to my shame) that previous 
tourists have exaggerated its extent.  The thing itself is an 
exaggeration of nastiness, which cannot be outdone.

On board this steamboat, there were two young gentlemen, with 
shirt-collars reversed as usual, and armed with very big walking-
sticks; who planted two seats in the middle of the deck, at a 
distance of some four paces apart; took out their tobacco-boxes; 
and sat down opposite each other, to chew.  In less than a quarter 
of an hour's time, these hopeful youths had shed about them on the 
clean boards, a copious shower of yellow rain; clearing, by that 
means, a kind of magic circle, within whose limits no intruders 
dared to come, and which they never failed to refresh and re-
refresh before a spot was dry.  This being before breakfast, rather 
disposed me, I confess, to nausea; but looking attentively at one 
of the expectorators, I plainly saw that he was young in chewing, 
and felt inwardly uneasy, himself.  A glow of delight came over me 
at this discovery; and as I marked his face turn paler and paler, 
and saw the ball of tobacco in his left cheek, quiver with his 
suppressed agony, while yet he spat, and chewed, and spat again, in 
emulation of his older friend, I could have fallen on his neck and 
implored him to go on for hours.

We all sat down to a comfortable breakfast in the cabin below, 
where there was no more hurry or confusion than at such a meal in 
England, and where there was certainly greater politeness exhibited 
than at most of our stage-coach banquets.  At about nine o'clock we 
arrived at the railroad station, and went on by the cars.  At noon 
we turned out again, to cross a wide river in another steamboat; 
landed at a continuation of the railroad on the opposite shore; and 
went on by other cars; in which, in the course of the next hour or 
so, we crossed by wooden bridges, each a mile in length, two 
creeks, called respectively Great and Little Gunpowder.  The water 
in both was blackened with flights of canvas-backed ducks, which 
are most delicious eating, and abound hereabouts at that season of 
the year.

These bridges are of wood, have no parapet, and are only just wide 
enough for the passage of the trains; which, in the event of the 
smallest accident, wound inevitably be plunged into the river.  
They are startling contrivances, and are most agreeable when 

We stopped to dine at Baltimore, and being now in Maryland, were 
waited on, for the first time, by slaves.  The sensation of 
exacting any service from human creatures who are bought and sold, 
and being, for the time, a party as it were to their condition, is 
not an enviable one.  The institution exists, perhaps, in its least 
repulsive and most mitigated form in such a town as this; but it IS 
slavery; and though I was, with respect to it, an innocent man, its 
presence filled me with a sense of shame and self-reproach.

After dinner, we went down to the railroad again, and took our 
seats in the cars for Washington.  Being rather early, those men 
and boys who happened to have nothing particular to do, and were 
curious in foreigners, came (according to custom) round the 
carriage in which I sat; let down all the windows; thrust in their 
heads and shoulders; hooked themselves on conveniently, by their 
elbows; and fell to comparing notes on the subject of my personal 
appearance, with as much indifference as if I were a stuffed 
figure.  I never gained so much uncompromising information with 
reference to my own nose and eyes, and various impressions wrought 
by my mouth and chin on different minds, and how my head looks when 
it is viewed from behind, as on these occasions.  Some gentlemen 
were only satisfied by exercising their sense of touch; and the 
boys (who are surprisingly precocious in America) were seldom 
satisfied, even by that, but would return to the charge over and 
over again.  Many a budding president has walked into my room with 
his cap on his head and his hands in his pockets, and stared at me 
for two whole hours:  occasionally refreshing himself with a tweak 
of his nose, or a draught from the water-jug; or by walking to the 
windows and inviting other boys in the street below, to come up and 
do likewise:  crying, 'Here he is!'  'Come on!'  'Bring all your 
brothers!' with other hospitable entreaties of that nature.

We reached Washington at about half-past six that evening, and had 
upon the way a beautiful view of the Capitol, which is a fine 
building of the Corinthian order, placed upon a noble and 
commanding eminence.  Arrived at the hotel; I saw no more of the 
place that night; being very tired, and glad to get to bed.

Breakfast over next morning, I walk about the streets for an hour 
or two, and, coming home, throw up the window in the front and 
back, and look out.  Here is Washington, fresh in my mind and under 
my eye.

Take the worst parts of the City Road and Pentonville, or the 
straggling outskirts of Paris, where the houses are smallest, 
preserving all their oddities, but especially the small shops and 
dwellings, occupied in Pentonville (but not in Washington) by 
furniture-brokers, keepers of poor eating-houses, and fanciers of 
birds.  Burn the whole down; build it up again in wood and plaster; 
widen it a little; throw in part of St. John's Wood; put green 
blinds outside all the private houses, with a red curtain and a 
white one in every window; plough up all the roads; plant a great 
deal of coarse turf in every place where it ought NOT to be; erect 
three handsome buildings in stone and marble, anywhere, but the 
more entirely out of everybody's way the better; call one the Post 
Office; one the Patent Office, and one the Treasury; make it 
scorching hot in the morning, and freezing cold in the afternoon, 
with an occasional tornado of wind and dust; leave a brick-field 
without the bricks, in all central places where a street may 
naturally be expected:  and that's Washington.

The hotel in which we live, is a long row of small houses fronting 
on the street, and opening at the back upon a common yard, in which 
hangs a great triangle.  Whenever a servant is wanted, somebody 
beats on this triangle from one stroke up to seven, according to 
the number of the house in which his presence is required; and as 
all the servants are always being wanted, and none of them ever 
come, this enlivening engine is in full performance the whole day 
through.  Clothes are drying in the same yard; female slaves, with 
cotton handkerchiefs twisted round their heads are running to and 
fro on the hotel business; black waiters cross and recross with 
dishes in their hands; two great dogs are playing upon a mound of 
loose bricks in the centre of the little square; a pig is turning 
up his stomach to the sun, and grunting 'that's comfortable!'; and 
neither the men, nor the women, nor the dogs, nor the pig, nor any 
created creature, takes the smallest notice of the triangle, which 
is tingling madly all the time.

I walk to the front window, and look across the road upon a long, 
straggling row of houses, one story high, terminating, nearly 
opposite, but a little to the left, in a melancholy piece of waste 
ground with frowzy grass, which looks like a small piece of country 
that has taken to drinking, and has quite lost itself.  Standing 
anyhow and all wrong, upon this open space, like something meteoric 
that has fallen down from the moon, is an odd, lop-sided, one-eyed 
kind of wooden building, that looks like a church, with a flag-
staff as long as itself sticking out of a steeple something larger 
than a tea-chest.  Under the window is a small stand of coaches, 
whose slave-drivers are sunning themselves on the steps of our 
door, and talking idly together.  The three most obtrusive houses 
near at hand are the three meanest.  On one - a shop, which never 
has anything in the window, and never has the door open - is 
painted in large characters, 'THE CITY LUNCH.'  At another, which 
looks like a backway to somewhere else, but is an independent 
building in itself, oysters are procurable in every style.  At the 
third, which is a very, very little tailor's shop, pants are fixed 
to order; or in other words, pantaloons are made to measure.  And 
that is our street in Washington.

It is sometimes called the City of Magnificent Distances, but it 
might with greater propriety be termed the City of Magnificent 
Intentions; for it is only on taking a bird's-eye view of it from 
the top of the Capitol, that one can at all comprehend the vast 
designs of its projector, an aspiring Frenchman.  Spacious avenues, 
that begin in nothing, and lead nowhere; streets, mile-long, that 
only want houses, roads and inhabitants; public buildings that need 
but a public to be complete; and ornaments of great thoroughfares, 
which only lack great thoroughfares to ornament - are its leading 
features.  One might fancy the season over, and most of the houses 
gone out of town for ever with their masters.  To the admirers of 
cities it is a Barmecide Feast:  a pleasant field for the 
imagination to rove in; a monument raised to a deceased project, 
with not even a legible inscription to record its departed 

Such as it is, it is likely to remain.  It was originally chosen 
for the seat of Government, as a means of averting the conflicting 
jealousies and interests of the different States; and very 
probably, too, as being remote from mobs:  a consideration not to 
be slighted, even in America.  It has no trade or commerce of its 
own:  having little or no population beyond the President and his 
establishment; the members of the legislature who reside there 
during the session; the Government clerks and officers employed in 
the various departments; the keepers of the hotels and boarding-
houses; and the tradesmen who supply their tables.  It is very 
unhealthy.  Few people would live in Washington, I take it, who 
were not obliged to reside there; and the tides of emigration and 
speculation, those rapid and regardless currents, are little likely 
to flow at any time towards such dull and sluggish water.

The principal features of the Capitol, are, of course, the two 
houses of Assembly.  But there is, besides, in the centre of the 
building, a fine rotunda, ninety-six feet in diameter, and ninety-
six high, whose circular wall is divided into compartments, 
ornamented by historical pictures.  Four of these have for their 
subjects prominent events in the revolutionary struggle.  They were 
painted by Colonel Trumbull, himself a member of Washington's staff 
at the time of their occurrence; from which circumstance they 
derive a peculiar interest of their own.  In this same hall Mr. 
Greenough's large statue of Washington has been lately placed.  It 
has great merits of course, but it struck me as being rather 
strained and violent for its subject.  I could wish, however, to 
have seen it in a better light than it can ever be viewed in, where 
it stands.

There is a very pleasant and commodious library in the Capitol; and 
from a balcony in front, the bird's-eye view, of which I have just 
spoken, may be had, together with a beautiful prospect of the 
adjacent country.  In one of the ornamented portions of the 
building, there is a figure of Justice; whereunto the Guide Book 
says, 'the artist at first contemplated giving more of nudity, but 
he was warned that the public sentiment in this country would not 
admit of it, and in his caution he has gone, perhaps, into the 
opposite extreme.'  Poor Justice! she has been made to wear much 
stranger garments in America than those she pines in, in the 
Capitol.  Let us hope that she has changed her dress-maker since 
they were fashioned, and that the public sentiment of the country 
did not cut out the clothes she hides her lovely figure in, just 

The House of Representatives is a beautiful and spacious hall, of 
semicircular shape, supported by handsome pillars.  One part of the 
gallery is appropriated to the ladies, and there they sit in front 
rows, and come in, and go out, as at a play or concert.  The chair 
is canopied, and raised considerably above the floor of the House; 
and every member has an easy chair and a writing desk to himself:  
which is denounced by some people out of doors as a most 
unfortunate and injudicious arrangement, tending to long sittings 
and prosaic speeches.  It is an elegant chamber to look at, but a 
singularly bad one for all purposes of hearing.  The Senate, which 
is smaller, is free from this objection, and is exceedingly well 
adapted to the uses for which it is designed.  The sittings, I need 
hardly add, take place in the day; and the parliamentary forms are 
modelled on those of the old country.

I was sometimes asked, in my progress through other places, whether 
I had not been very much impressed by the HEADS of the lawmakers at 
Washington; meaning not their chiefs and leaders, but literally 
their individual and personal heads, whereon their hair grew, and 
whereby the phrenological character of each legislator was 
expressed:  and I almost as often struck my questioner dumb with 
indignant consternation by answering 'No, that I didn't remember 
being at all overcome.'  As I must, at whatever hazard, repeat the 
avowal here, I will follow it up by relating my impressions on this 
subject in as few words as possible.

In the first place - it may be from some imperfect development of 
my organ of veneration - I do not remember having ever fainted 
away, or having even been moved to tears of joyful pride, at sight 
of any legislative body.  I have borne the House of Commons like a 
man, and have yielded to no weakness, but slumber, in the House of 
Lords.  I have seen elections for borough and county, and have 
never been impelled (no matter which party won) to damage my hat by 
throwing it up into the air in triumph, or to crack my voice by 
shouting forth any reference to our Glorious Constitution, to the 
noble purity of our independent voters, or, the unimpeachable 
integrity of our independent members.  Having withstood such strong 
attacks upon my fortitude, it is possible that I may be of a cold 
and insensible temperament, amounting to iciness, in such matters; 
and therefore my impressions of the live pillars of the Capitol at 
Washington must be received with such grains of allowance as this 
free confession may seem to demand.

Did I see in this public body an assemblage of men, bound together 
in the sacred names of Liberty and Freedom, and so asserting the 
chaste dignity of those twin goddesses, in all their discussions, 
as to exalt at once the Eternal Principles to which their names are 
given, and their own character and the character of their 
countrymen, in the admiring eyes of the whole world?

It was but a week, since an aged, grey-haired man, a lasting honour 
to the land that gave him birth, who has done good service to his 
country, as his forefathers did, and who will be remembered scores 
upon scores of years after the worms bred in its corruption, are 
but so many grains of dust - it was but a week, since this old man 
had stood for days upon his trial before this very body, charged 
with having dared to assert the infamy of that traffic, which has 
for its accursed merchandise men and women, and their unborn 
children.  Yes.  And publicly exhibited in the same city all the 
while; gilded, framed and glazed hung up for general admiration; 
shown to strangers not with shame, but pride; its face not turned 
towards the wall, itself not taken down and burned; is the 
Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America, 
which solemnly declares that All Men are created Equal; and are 
endowed by their Creator with the Inalienable Rights of Life, 
Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness!

It was not a month, since this same body had sat calmly by, and 
heard a man, one of themselves, with oaths which beggars in their 
drink reject, threaten to cut another's throat from ear to ear.  
There he sat, among them; not crushed by the general feeling of the 
assembly, but as good a man as any.

There was but a week to come, and another of that body, for doing 
his duty to those who sent him there; for claiming in a Republic 
the Liberty and Freedom of expressing their sentiments, and making 
known their prayer; would be tried, found guilty, and have strong 
censure passed upon him by the rest.  His was a grave offence 
indeed; for years before, he had risen up and said, 'A gang of male 
and female slaves for sale, warranted to breed like cattle, linked 
to each other by iron fetters, are passing now along the open 
street beneath the windows of your Temple of Equality!  Look!'  But 
there are many kinds of hunters engaged in the Pursuit of 
Happiness, and they go variously armed.  It is the Inalienable 
Right of some among them, to take the field after THEIR Happiness 
equipped with cat and cartwhip, stocks, and iron collar, and to 
shout their view halloa! (always in praise of Liberty) to the music 
of clanking chains and bloody stripes.

Where sat the many legislators of coarse threats; of words and 
blows such as coalheavers deal upon each other, when they forget 
their breeding?  On every side.  Every session had its anecdotes of 
that kind, and the actors were all there.

Did I recognise in this assembly, a body of men, who, applying 
themselves in a new world to correct some of the falsehoods and 
vices of the old, purified the avenues to Public Life, paved the 
dirty ways to Place and Power, debated and made laws for the Common 
Good, and had no party but their Country?

I saw in them, the wheels that move the meanest perversion of 
virtuous Political Machinery that the worst tools ever wrought.  
Despicable trickery at elections; under-handed tamperings with 
public officers; cowardly attacks upon opponents, with scurrilous 
newspapers for shields, and hired pens for daggers; shameful 
trucklings to mercenary knaves, whose claim to be considered, is, 
that every day and week they sow new crops of ruin with their venal 
types, which are the dragon's teeth of yore, in everything but 
sharpness; aidings and abettings of every bad inclination in the 
popular mind, and artful suppressions of all its good influences:  
such things as these, and in a word, Dishonest Faction in its most 
depraved and most unblushing form, stared out from every corner of 
the crowded hall.

Did I see among them, the intelligence and refinement:  the true, 
honest, patriotic heart of America?  Here and there, were drops of 
its blood and life, but they scarcely coloured the stream of 
desperate adventurers which sets that way for profit and for pay.  
It is the game of these men, and of their profligate organs, to 
make the strife of politics so fierce and brutal, and so 
destructive of all self-respect in worthy men, that sensitive and 
delicate-minded persons shall be kept aloof, and they, and such as 
they, be left to battle out their selfish views unchecked.  And 
thus this lowest of all scrambling fights goes on, and they who in 
other countries would, from their intelligence and station, most 
aspire to make the laws, do here recoil the farthest from that 

That there are, among the representatives of the people in both 
Houses, and among all parties, some men of high character and great 
abilities, I need not say.  The foremost among those politicians 
who are known in Europe, have been already described, and I see no 
reason to depart from the rule I have laid down for my guidance, of 
abstaining from all mention of individuals.  It will be sufficient 
to add, that to the most favourable accounts that have been written 
of them, I more than fully and most heartily subscribe; and that 
personal intercourse and free communication have bred within me, 
not the result predicted in the very doubtful proverb, but 
increased admiration and respect.  They are striking men to look 
at, hard to deceive, prompt to act, lions in energy, Crichtons in 
varied accomplishments, Indians in fire of eye and gesture, 
Americans in strong and generous impulse; and they as well 
represent the honour and wisdom of their country at home, as the 
distinguished gentleman who is now its Minister at the British 
Court sustains its highest character abroad.

I visited both houses nearly every day, during my stay in 
Washington.  On my initiatory visit to the House of 
Representatives, they divided against a decision of the chair; but 
the chair won.  The second time I went, the member who was 
speaking, being interrupted by a laugh, mimicked it, as one child 
would in quarrelling with another, and added, 'that he would make 
honourable gentlemen opposite, sing out a little more on the other 
side of their mouths presently.'  But interruptions are rare; the 
speaker being usually heard in silence.  There are more quarrels 
than with us, and more threatenings than gentlemen are accustomed 
to exchange in any civilised society of which we have record:  but 
farm-yard imitations have not as yet been imported from the 
Parliament of the United Kingdom.  The feature in oratory which 
appears to be the most practised, and most relished, is the 
constant repetition of the same idea or shadow of an idea in fresh 
words; and the inquiry out of doors is not, 'What did he say?' but, 
'How long did he speak?'  These, however, are but enlargements of a 
principle which prevails elsewhere.

The Senate is a dignified and decorous body, and its proceedings 
are conducted with much gravity and order.  Both houses are 
handsomely carpeted; but the state to which these carpets are 
reduced by the universal disregard of the spittoon with which every 
honourable member is accommodated, and the extraordinary 
improvements on the pattern which are squirted and dabbled upon it 
in every direction, do not admit of being described.  I will merely 
observe, that I strongly recommend all strangers not to look at the 
floor; and if they happen to drop anything, though it be their 
purse, not to pick it up with an ungloved hand on any account.

It is somewhat remarkable too, at first, to say the least, to see 
so many honourable members with swelled faces; and it is scarcely 
less remarkable to discover that this appearance is caused by the 
quantity of tobacco they contrive to stow within the hollow of the 
cheek.  It is strange enough too, to see an honourable gentleman 
leaning back in his tilted chair with his legs on the desk before 
him, shaping a convenient 'plug' with his penknife, and when it is 
quite ready for use, shooting the old one from his mouth, as from a 
pop-gun, and clapping the new one in its place.

I was surprised to observe that even steady old chewers of great 
experience, are not always good marksmen, which has rather inclined 
me to doubt that general proficiency with the rifle, of which we 
have heard so much in England.  Several gentlemen called upon me 
who, in the course of conversation, frequently missed the spittoon 
at five paces; and one (but he was certainly short-sighted) mistook 
the closed sash for the open window, at three.  On another 
occasion, when I dined out, and was sitting with two ladies and 
some gentlemen round a fire before dinner, one of the company fell 
short of the fireplace, six distinct times.  I am disposed to 
think, however, that this was occasioned by his not aiming at that 
object; as there was a white marble hearth before the fender, which 
was more convenient, and may have suited his purpose better.

The Patent Office at Washington, furnishes an extraordinary example 
of American enterprise and ingenuity; for the immense number of 
models it contains are the accumulated inventions of only five 
years; the whole of the previous collection having been destroyed 
by fire.  The elegant structure in which they are arranged is one 
of design rather than execution, for there is but one side erected 
out of four, though the works are stopped.  The Post Office is a 
very compact and very beautiful building.  In one of the 
departments, among a collection of rare and curious articles, are 
deposited the presents which have been made from time to time to 
the American ambassadors at foreign courts by the various 
potentates to whom they were the accredited agents of the Republic; 
gifts which by the law they are not permitted to retain.  I confess 
that I looked upon this as a very painful exhibition, and one by no 
means flattering to the national standard of honesty and honour.  
That can scarcely be a high state of moral feeling which imagines a 
gentleman of repute and station, likely to be corrupted, in the 
discharge of his duty, by the present of a snuff-box, or a richly-
mounted sword, or an Eastern shawl; and surely the Nation who 
reposes confidence in her appointed servants, is likely to be 
better served, than she who makes them the subject of such very 
mean and paltry suspicions.

At George Town, in the suburbs, there is a Jesuit College; 
delightfully situated, and, so far as I had an opportunity of 
seeing, well managed.  Many persons who are not members of the 
Romish Church, avail themselves, I believe, of these institutions, 
and of the advantageous opportunities they afford for the education 
of their children.  The heights of this neighbourhood, above the 
Potomac River, are very picturesque:  and are free, I should 
conceive, from some of the insalubrities of Washington.  The air, 
at that elevation, was quite cool and refreshing, when in the city 
it was burning hot.

The President's mansion is more like an English club-house, both 
within and without, than any other kind of establishment with which 
I can compare it.  The ornamental ground about it has been laid out 
in garden walks; they are pretty, and agreeable to the eye; though 
they have that uncomfortable air of having been made yesterday, 
which is far from favourable to the display of such beauties.

My first visit to this house was on the morning after my arrival, 
when I was carried thither by an official gentleman, who was so 
kind as to charge himself with my presentation to the President.

We entered a large hall, and having twice or thrice rung a bell 
which nobody answered, walked without further ceremony through the 
rooms on the ground floor, as divers other gentlemen (mostly with 
their hats on, and their hands in their pockets) were doing very 
leisurely.  Some of these had ladies with them, to whom they were 
showing the premises; others were lounging on the chairs and sofas; 
others, in a perfect state of exhaustion from listlessness, were 
yawning drearily.  The greater portion of this assemblage were 
rather asserting their supremacy than doing anything else, as they 
had no particular business there, that anybody knew of.  A few were 
closely eyeing the movables, as if to make quite sure that the 
President (who was far from popular) had not made away with any of 
the furniture, or sold the fixtures for his private benefit.

After glancing at these loungers; who were scattered over a pretty 
drawing-room, opening upon a terrace which commanded a beautiful 
prospect of the river and the adjacent country; and who were 
sauntering, too, about a larger state-room called the Eastern 
Drawing-room; we went up-stairs into another chamber, where were 
certain visitors, waiting for audiences.  At sight of my conductor, 
a black in plain clothes and yellow slippers who was gliding 
noiselessly about, and whispering messages in the ears of the more 
impatient, made a sign of recognition, and glided off to announce 

We had previously looked into another chamber fitted all round with 
a great, bare, wooden desk or counter, whereon lay files of 
newspapers, to which sundry gentlemen were referring.  But there 
were no such means of beguiling the time in this apartment, which 
was as unpromising and tiresome as any waiting-room in one of our 
public establishments, or any physician's dining-room during his 
hours of consultation at home.

There were some fifteen or twenty persons in the room.  One, a 
tall, wiry, muscular old man, from the west; sunburnt and swarthy; 
with a brown white hat on his knees, and a giant umbrella resting 
between his legs; who sat bolt upright in his chair, frowning 
steadily at the carpet, and twitching the hard lines about his 
mouth, as if he had made up his mind 'to fix' the President on what 
he had to say, and wouldn't bate him a grain.  Another, a Kentucky 
farmer, six-feet-six in height, with his hat on, and his hands 
under his coat-tails, who leaned against the wall and kicked the 
floor with his heel, as though he had Time's head under his shoe, 
and were literally 'killing' him.  A third, an oval-faced, bilious-
looking man, with sleek black hair cropped close, and whiskers and 
beard shaved down to blue dots, who sucked the head of a thick 
stick, and from time to time took it out of his mouth, to see how 
it was getting on.  A fourth did nothing but whistle.  A fifth did 
nothing but spit.  And indeed all these gentlemen were so very 
persevering and energetic in this latter particular, and bestowed 
their favours so abundantly upon the carpet, that I take it for 
granted the Presidential housemaids have high wages, or, to speak 
more genteelly, an ample amount of 'compensation:' which is the 
American word for salary, in the case of all public servants.

We had not waited in this room many minutes, before the black 
messenger returned, and conducted us into another of smaller 
dimensions, where, at a business-like table covered with papers, 
sat the President himself.  He looked somewhat worn and anxious, 
and well he might; being at war with everybody - but the expression 
of his face was mild and pleasant, and his manner was remarkably 
unaffected, gentlemanly, and agreeable.  I thought that in his 
whole carriage and demeanour, he became his station singularly 

Being advised that the sensible etiquette of the republican court 
admitted of a traveller, like myself, declining, without any 
impropriety, an invitation to dinner, which did not reach me until 
I had concluded my arrangements for leaving Washington some days 
before that to which it referred, I only returned to this house 
once.  It was on the occasion of one of those general assemblies 
which are held on certain nights, between the hours of nine and 
twelve o'clock, and are called, rather oddly, Levees.

I went, with my wife, at about ten.  There was a pretty dense crowd 
of carriages and people in the court-yard, and so far as I could 
make out, there were no very clear regulations for the taking up or 
setting down of company.  There were certainly no policemen to 
soothe startled horses, either by sawing at their bridles or 
flourishing truncheons in their eyes; and I am ready to make oath 
that no inoffensive persons were knocked violently on the head, or 
poked acutely in their backs or stomachs; or brought to a 
standstill by any such gentle means, and then taken into custody 
for not moving on.  But there was no confusion or disorder.  Our 
carriage reached the porch in its turn, without any blustering, 
swearing, shouting, backing, or other disturbance:  and we 
dismounted with as much ease and comfort as though we had been 
escorted by the whole Metropolitan Force from A to Z inclusive.

The suite of rooms on the ground-floor were lighted up, and a 
military band was playing in the hall.  In the smaller drawing-
room, the centre of a circle of company, were the President and his 
daughter-in-law, who acted as the lady of the mansion; and a very 
interesting, graceful, and accomplished lady too.  One gentleman 
who stood among this group, appeared to take upon himself the 
functions of a master of the ceremonies.  I saw no other officers 
or attendants, and none were needed.

The great drawing-room, which I have already mentioned, and the 
other chambers on the ground-floor, were crowded to excess.  The 
company was not, in our sense of the term, select, for it 
comprehended persons of very many grades and classes; nor was there 
any great display of costly attire:  indeed, some of the costumes 
may have been, for aught I know, grotesque enough.  But the decorum 
and propriety of behaviour which prevailed, were unbroken by any 
rude or disagreeable incident; and every man, even among the 
miscellaneous crowd in the hall who were admitted without any 
orders or tickets to look on, appeared to feel that he was a part 
of the Institution, and was responsible for its preserving a 
becoming character, and appearing to the best advantage.

That these visitors, too, whatever their station, were not without 
some refinement of taste and appreciation of intellectual gifts, 
and gratitude to those men who, by the peaceful exercise of great 
abilities, shed new charms and associations upon the homes of their 
countrymen, and elevate their character in other lands, was most 
earnestly testified by their reception of Washington Irving, my 
dear friend, who had recently been appointed Minister at the court 
of Spain, and who was among them that night, in his new character, 
for the first and last time before going abroad.  I sincerely 
believe that in all the madness of American politics, few public 
men would have been so earnestly, devotedly, and affectionately 
caressed, as this most charming writer:  and I have seldom 
respected a public assembly more, than I did this eager throng, 
when I saw them turning with one mind from noisy orators and 
officers of state, and flocking with a generous and honest impulse 
round the man of quiet pursuits:  proud in his promotion as 
reflecting back upon their country:  and grateful to him with their 
whole hearts for the store of graceful fancies he had poured out 
among them.  Long may he dispense such treasures with unsparing 
hand; and long may they remember him as worthily!

* * * * * *

The term we had assigned for the duration of our stay in Washington 
was now at an end, and we were to begin to travel; for the railroad 
distances we had traversed yet, in journeying among these older 
towns, are on that great continent looked upon as nothing.

I had at first intended going South - to Charleston.  But when I 
came to consider the length of time which this journey would 
occupy, and the premature heat of the season, which even at 
Washington had been often very trying; and weighed moreover, in my 
own mind, the pain of living in the constant contemplation of 
slavery, against the more than doubtful chances of my ever seeing 
it, in the time I had to spare, stripped of the disguises in which 
it would certainly be dressed, and so adding any item to the host 
of facts already heaped together on the subject; I began to listen 
to old whisperings which had often been present to me at home in 
England, when I little thought of ever being here; and to dream 
again of cities growing up, like palaces in fairy tales, among the 
wilds and forests of the west.

The advice I received in most quarters when I began to yield to my 
desire of travelling towards that point of the compass was, 
according to custom, sufficiently cheerless:  my companion being 
threatened with more perils, dangers, and discomforts, than I can 
remember or would catalogue if I could; but of which it will be 
sufficient to remark that blowings-up in steamboats and breakings-
down in coaches were among the least.  But, having a western route 
sketched out for me by the best and kindest authority to which I 
could have resorted, and putting no great faith in these 
discouragements, I soon determined on my plan of action.

This was to travel south, only to Richmond in Virginia; and then to 
turn, and shape our course for the Far West; whither I beseech the 
reader's company, in a new chapter.


WE were to proceed in the first instance by steamboat; and as it is 
usual to sleep on board, in consequence of the starting-hour being 
four o'clock in the morning, we went down to where she lay, at that 
very uncomfortable time for such expeditions when slippers are most 
valuable, and a familiar bed, in the perspective of an hour or two, 
looks uncommonly pleasant.

It is ten o'clock at night:  say half-past ten:  moonlight, warm, 
and dull enough.  The steamer (not unlike a child's Noah's ark in 
form, with the machinery on the top of the roof) is riding lazily 
up and down, and bumping clumsily against the wooden pier, as the 
ripple of the river trifles with its unwieldy carcase.  The wharf 
is some distance from the city.  There is nobody down here; and one 
or two dull lamps upon the steamer's decks are the only signs of 
life remaining, when our coach has driven away.  As soon as our 
footsteps are heard upon the planks, a fat negress, particularly 
favoured by nature in respect of bustle, emerges from some dark 
stairs, and marshals my wife towards the ladies' cabin, to which 
retreat she goes, followed by a mighty bale of cloaks and great-
coats.  I valiantly resolve not to go to bed at all, but to walk up 
and down the pier till morning.

I begin my promenade - thinking of all kinds of distant things and 
persons, and of nothing near - and pace up and down for half-an-
hour.  Then I go on board again; and getting into the light of one 
of the lamps, look at my watch and think it must have stopped; and 
wonder what has become of the faithful secretary whom I brought 
along with me from Boston.  He is supping with our late landlord (a 
Field Marshal, at least, no doubt) in honour of our departure, and 
may be two hours longer.  I walk again, but it gets duller and 
duller:  the moon goes down:  next June seems farther off in the 
dark, and the echoes of my footsteps make me nervous.  It has 
turned cold too; and walking up and down without my companion in 
such lonely circumstances, is but poor amusement.  So I break my 
staunch resolution, and think it may be, perhaps, as well to go to 

I go on board again; open the door of the gentlemen's cabin and 
walk in.  Somehow or other - from its being so quiet, I suppose - I 
have taken it into my head that there is nobody there.  To my 
horror and amazement it is full of sleepers in every stage, shape, 
attitude, and variety of slumber:  in the berths, on the chairs, on 
the floors, on the tables, and particularly round the stove, my 
detested enemy.  I take another step forward, and slip on the 
shining face of a black steward, who lies rolled in a blanket on 
the floor.  He jumps up, grins, half in pain and half in 
hospitality; whispers my own name in my ear; and groping among the 
sleepers, leads me to my berth.  Standing beside it, I count these 
slumbering passengers, and get past forty.  There is no use in 
going further, so I begin to undress.  As the chairs are all 
occupied, and there is nothing else to put my clothes on, I deposit 
them upon the ground:  not without soiling my hands, for it is in 
the same condition as the carpets in the Capitol, and from the same 
cause.  Having but partially undressed, I clamber on my shelf, and 
hold the curtain open for a few minutes while I look round on all 
my fellow-travellers again.  That done, I let it fall on them, and 
on the world:  turn round:  and go to sleep.

I wake, of course, when we get under weigh, for there is a good 
deal of noise.  The day is then just breaking.  Everybody wakes at 
the same time.  Some are self-possessed directly, and some are much 
perplexed to make out where they are until they have rubbed their 
eyes, and leaning on one elbow, looked about them.  Some yawn, some 
groan, nearly all spit, and a few get up.  I am among the risers:  
for it is easy to feel, without going into the fresh air, that the 
atmosphere of the cabin is vile in the last degree.  I huddle on my 
clothes, go down into the fore-cabin, get shaved by the barber, and 
wash myself.  The washing and dressing apparatus for the passengers 
generally, consists of two jack-towels, three small wooden basins, 
a keg of water and a ladle to serve it out with, six square inches 
of looking-glass, two ditto ditto of yellow soap, a comb and brush 
for the head, and nothing for the teeth.  Everybody uses the comb 
and brush, except myself.  Everybody stares to see me using my own; 
and two or three gentlemen are strongly disposed to banter me on my 
prejudices, but don't.  When I have made my toilet, I go upon the 
hurricane-deck, and set in for two hours of hard walking up and 
down.  The sun is rising brilliantly; we are passing Mount Vernon, 
where Washington lies buried; the river is wide and rapid; and its 
banks are beautiful.  All the glory and splendour of the day are 
coming on, and growing brighter every minute.

At eight o'clock, we breakfast in the cabin where I passed the 
night, but the windows and doors are all thrown open, and now it is 
fresh enough.  There is no hurry or greediness apparent in the 
despatch of the meal.  It is longer than a travelling breakfast 
with us; more orderly, and more polite.

Soon after nine o'clock we come to Potomac Creek, where we are to 
land; and then comes the oddest part of the journey.  Seven stage-
coaches are preparing to carry us on.  Some of them are ready, some 
of them are not ready.  Some of the drivers are blacks, some 
whites.  There are four horses to each coach, and all the horses, 
harnessed or unharnessed, are there.  The passengers are getting 
out of the steamboat, and into the coaches; the luggage is being 
transferred in noisy wheelbarrows; the horses are frightened, and 
impatient to start; the black drivers are chattering to them like 
so many monkeys; and the white ones whooping like so many drovers:  
for the main thing to be done in all kinds of hostlering here, is 
to make as much noise as possible.  The coaches are something like 
the French coaches, but not nearly so good.  In lieu of springs, 
they are hung on bands of the strongest leather.  There is very 
little choice or difference between them; and they may be likened 
to the car portion of the swings at an English fair, roofed, put 
upon axle-trees and wheels, and curtained with painted canvas.  
They are covered with mud from the roof to the wheel-tire, and have 
never been cleaned since they were first built.

The tickets we have received on board the steamboat are marked No. 
1, so we belong to coach No. 1.  I throw my coat on the box, and 
hoist my wife and her maid into the inside.  It has only one step, 
and that being about a yard from the ground, is usually approached 
by a chair:  when there is no chair, ladies trust in Providence.  
The coach holds nine inside, having a seat across from door to 
door, where we in England put our legs:  so that there is only one 
feat more difficult in the performance than getting in, and that 
is, getting out again.  There is only one outside passenger, and he 
sits upon the box.  As I am that one, I climb up; and while they 
are strapping the luggage on the roof, and heaping it into a kind 
of tray behind, have a good opportunity of looking at the driver.

He is a negro - very black indeed.  He is dressed in a coarse 
pepper-and-salt suit excessively patched and darned (particularly 
at the knees), grey stockings, enormous unblacked high-low shoes, 
and very short trousers.  He has two odd gloves:  one of parti-
coloured worsted, and one of leather.  He has a very short whip, 
broken in the middle and bandaged up with string.  And yet he wears 
a low-crowned, broad-brimmed, black hat:  faintly shadowing forth a 
kind of insane imitation of an English coachman!  But somebody in 
authority cries 'Go ahead!' as I am making these observations.  The 
mail takes the lead in a four-horse waggon, and all the coaches 
follow in procession:  headed by No. 1.

By the way, whenever an Englishman would cry 'All right!' an 
American cries 'Go ahead!' which is somewhat expressive of the 
national character of the two countries.

The first half-mile of the road is over bridges made of loose 
planks laid across two parallel poles, which tilt up as the wheels 
roll over them; and IN the river.  The river has a clayey bottom 
and is full of holes, so that half a horse is constantly 
disappearing unexpectedly, and can't be found again for some time.

But we get past even this, and come to the road itself, which is a 
series of alternate swamps and gravel-pits.  A tremendous place is 
close before us, the black driver rolls his eyes, screws his mouth 
up very round, and looks straight between the two leaders, as if he 
were saying to himself, 'We have done this often before, but NOW I 
think we shall have a crash.'  He takes a rein in each hand; jerks 
and pulls at both; and dances on the splashboard with both feet 
(keeping his seat, of course) like the late lamented Ducrow on two 
of his fiery coursers.  We come to the spot, sink down in the mire 
nearly to the coach windows, tilt on one side at an angle of forty-
five degrees, and stick there.  The insides scream dismally; the 
coach stops; the horses flounder; all the other six coaches stop; 
and their four-and-twenty horses flounder likewise:  but merely for 
company, and in sympathy with ours.  Then the following 
circumstances occur.

BLACK DRIVER (to the horses).  'Hi!'

Nothing happens.  Insides scream again.

BLACK DRIVER (to the horses).  'Ho!'

Horses plunge, and splash the black driver.

GENTLEMAN INSIDE (looking out).  'Why, what on airth -

Gentleman receives a variety of splashes and draws his head in 
again, without finishing his question or waiting for an answer.

BLACK DRIVER (still to the horses).  'Jiddy!  Jiddy!'

Horses pull violently, drag the coach out of the hole, and draw it 
up a bank; so steep, that the black driver's legs fly up into the 
air, and he goes back among the luggage on the roof.  But he 
immediately recovers himself, and cries (still to the horses),


No effect.  On the contrary, the coach begins to roll back upon No. 
2, which rolls back upon No. 3, which rolls back upon No. 4, and so 
on, until No. 7 is heard to curse and swear, nearly a quarter of a 
mile behind.

BLACK DRIVER (louder than before).  'Pill!'

Horses make another struggle to get up the bank, and again the 
coach rolls backward.

BLACK DRIVER (louder than before).  'Pe-e-e-ill!'

Horses make a desperate struggle.

BLACK DRIVER (recovering spirits).  'Hi, Jiddy, Jiddy, Pill!'

Horses make another effort.

BLACK DRIVER (with great vigour).  'Ally Loo!  Hi.  Jiddy, Jiddy.  
Pill.  Ally Loo!'

Horses almost do it.

BLACK DRIVER (with his eyes starting out of his head).  'Lee, den.  
Lee, dere.  Hi.  Jiddy, Jiddy.  Pill.  Ally Loo.  Lee-e-e-e-e!'

They run up the bank, and go down again on the other side at a 
fearful pace.  It is impossible to stop them, and at the bottom 
there is a deep hollow, full of water.  The coach rolls 
frightfully.  The insides scream.  The mud and water fly about us.  
The black driver dances like a madman.  Suddenly we are all right 
by some extraordinary means, and stop to breathe.

A black friend of the black driver is sitting on a fence.  The 
black driver recognises him by twirling his head round and round 
like a harlequin, rolling his eyes, shrugging his shoulders, and 
grinning from ear to ear.  He stops short, turns to me, and says:

'We shall get you through sa, like a fiddle, and hope a please you 
when we get you through sa.  Old 'ooman at home sa:' chuckling very 
much.  'Outside gentleman sa, he often remember old 'ooman at home 
sa,' grinning again.

'Ay ay, we'll take care of the old woman.  Don't be afraid.'

The black driver grins again, but there is another hole, and beyond 
that, another bank, close before us.  So he stops short:  cries (to 
the horses again) 'Easy.  Easy den.  Ease.  Steady.  Hi.  Jiddy.  
Pill.  Ally.  Loo,' but never 'Lee!' until we are reduced to the 
very last extremity, and are in the midst of difficulties, 
extrication from which appears to be all but impossible.

And so we do the ten miles or thereabouts in two hours and a half; 
breaking no bones, though bruising a great many; and in short 
getting through the distance, 'like a fiddle.'

This singular kind of coaching terminates at Fredericksburgh, 
whence there is a railway to Richmond.  The tract of country 
through which it takes its course was once productive; but the soil 
has been exhausted by the system of employing a great amount of 
slave labour in forcing crops, without strengthening the land:  and 
it is now little better than a sandy desert overgrown with trees.  
Dreary and uninteresting as its aspect is, I was glad to the heart 
to find anything on which one of the curses of this horrible 
institution has fallen; and had greater pleasure in contemplating 
the withered ground, than the richest and most thriving cultivation 
in the same place could possibly have afforded me.

In this district, as in all others where slavery sits brooding, (I 
have frequently heard this admitted, even by those who are its 
warmest advocates:) there is an air of ruin and decay abroad, which 
is inseparable from the system.  The barns and outhouses are 
mouldering away; the sheds are patched and half roofless; the log 
cabins (built in Virginia with external chimneys made of clay or 
wood) are squalid in the last degree.  There is no look of decent 
comfort anywhere.  The miserable stations by the railway side, the 
great wild wood-yards, whence the engine is supplied with fuel; the 
negro children rolling on the ground before the cabin doors, with 
dogs and pigs; the biped beasts of burden slinking past:  gloom and 
dejection are upon them all.

In the negro car belonging to the train in which we made this 
journey, were a mother and her children who had just been 
purchased; the husband and father being left behind with their old 
owner.  The children cried the whole way, and the mother was 
misery's picture.  The champion of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit 
of Happiness, who had bought them, rode in the same train; and, 
every time we stopped, got down to see that they were safe.  The 
black in Sinbad's Travels with one eye in the middle of his 
forehead which shone like a burning coal, was nature's aristocrat 
compared with this white gentleman.

It was between six and seven o'clock in the evening, when we drove 
to the hotel:  in front of which, and on the top of the broad 
flight of steps leading to the door, two or three citizens were 
balancing themselves on rocking-chairs, and smoking cigars.  We 
found it a very large and elegant establishment, and were as well 
entertained as travellers need desire to be.  The climate being a 
thirsty one, there was never, at any hour of the day, a scarcity of 
loungers in the spacious bar, or a cessation of the mixing of cool 
liquors:  but they were a merrier people here, and had musical 
instruments playing to them o' nights, which it was a treat to hear 

The next day, and the next, we rode and walked about the town, 
which is delightfully situated on eight hills, overhanging James 
River; a sparkling stream, studded here and there with bright 
islands, or brawling over broken rocks.  Although it was yet but 
the middle of March, the weather in this southern temperature was 
extremely warm; the peech-trees and magnolias were in full bloom; 
and the trees were green.  In a low ground among the hills, is a 
valley known as 'Bloody Run,' from a terrible conflict with the 
Indians which once occurred there.  It is a good place for such a 
struggle, and, like every other spot I saw associated with any 
legend of that wild people now so rapidly fading from the earth, 
interested me very much.

The city is the seat of the local parliament of Virginia; and in 
its shady legislative halls, some orators were drowsily holding 
forth to the hot noon day.  By dint of constant repetition, 
however, these constitutional sights had very little more interest 
for me than so many parochial vestries; and I was glad to exchange 
this one for a lounge in a well-arranged public library of some ten 
thousand volumes, and a visit to a tobacco manufactory, where the 
workmen are all slaves.

I saw in this place the whole process of picking, rolling, 
pressing, drying, packing in casks, and branding.  All the tobacco 
thus dealt with, was in course of manufacture for chewing; and one 
would have supposed there was enough in that one storehouse to have 
filled even the comprehensive jaws of America.  In this form, the 
weed looks like the oil-cake on which we fatten cattle; and even 
without reference to its consequences, is sufficiently uninviting.

Many of the workmen appeared to be strong men, and it is hardly 
necessary to add that they were all labouring quietly, then.  After 
two o'clock in the day, they are allowed to sing, a certain number 
at a time.  The hour striking while I was there, some twenty sang a 
hymn in parts, and sang it by no means ill; pursuing their work 
meanwhile.  A bell rang as I was about to leave, and they all 
poured forth into a building on the opposite side of the street to 
dinner.  I said several times that I should like to see them at 
their meal; but as the gentleman to whom I mentioned this desire 
appeared to be suddenly taken rather deaf, I did not pursue the 
request.  Of their appearance I shall have something to say, 

On the following day, I visited a plantation or farm, of about 
twelve hundred acres, on the opposite bank of the river.  Here 
again, although I went down with the owner of the estate, to 'the 
quarter,' as that part of it in which the slaves live is called, I 
was not invited to enter into any of their huts.  All I saw of 
them, was, that they were very crazy, wretched cabins, near to 
which groups of half-naked children basked in the sun, or wallowed 
on the dusty ground.  But I believe that this gentleman is a 
considerate and excellent master, who inherited his fifty slaves, 
and is neither a buyer nor a seller of human stock; and I am sure, 
from my own observation and conviction, that he is a kind-hearted, 
worthy man.

The planter's house was an airy, rustic dwelling, that brought 
Defoe's description of such places strongly to my recollection.  
The day was very warm, but the blinds being all closed, and the 
windows and doors set wide open, a shady coolness rustled through 
the rooms, which was exquisitely refreshing after the glare and 
heat without.  Before the windows was an open piazza, where, in 
what they call the hot weather - whatever that may be - they sling 
hammocks, and drink and doze luxuriously.  I do not know how their 
cool rejections may taste within the hammocks, but, having 
experience, I can report that, out of them, the mounds of ices and 
the bowls of mint-julep and sherry-cobbler they make in these 
latitudes, are refreshments never to be thought of afterwards, in 
summer, by those who would preserve contented minds.

There are two bridges across the river:  one belongs to the 
railroad, and the other, which is a very crazy affair, is the 
private property of some old lady in the neighbourhood, who levies 
tolls upon the townspeople.  Crossing this bridge, on my way back, 
I saw a notice painted on the gate, cautioning all persons to drive 
slowly:  under a penalty, if the offender were a white man, of five 
dollars; if a negro, fifteen stripes.

The same decay and gloom that overhang the way by which it is 
approached, hover above the town of Richmond.  There are pretty 
villas and cheerful houses in its streets, and Nature smiles upon 
the country round; but jostling its handsome residences, like 
slavery itself going hand in hand with many lofty virtues, are 
deplorable tenements, fences unrepaired, walls crumbling into 
ruinous heaps.  Hinting gloomily at things below the surface, 
these, and many other tokens of the same description, force 
themselves upon the notice, and are remembered with depressing 
influence, when livelier features are forgotten.

To those who are happily unaccustomed to them, the countenances in 
the streets and labouring-places, too, are shocking.  All men who 
know that there are laws against instructing slaves, of which the 
pains and penalties greatly exceed in their amount the fines 
imposed on those who maim and torture them, must be prepared to 
find their faces very low in the scale of intellectual expression.  
But the darkness - not of skin, but mind - which meets the 
stranger's eye at every turn; the brutalizing and blotting out of 
all fairer characters traced by Nature's hand; immeasurably outdo 
his worst belief.  That travelled creation of the great satirist's 
brain, who fresh from living among horses, peered from a high 
casement down upon his own kind with trembling horror, was scarcely 
more repelled and daunted by the sight, than those who look upon 
some of these faces for the first time must surely be.

I left the last of them behind me in the person of a wretched 
drudge, who, after running to and fro all day till midnight, and 
moping in his stealthy winks of sleep upon the stairs 
betweenwhiles, was washing the dark passages at four o'clock in the 
morning; and went upon my way with a grateful heart that I was not 
doomed to live where slavery was, and had never had my senses 
blunted to its wrongs and horrors in a slave-rocked cradle.

It had been my intention to proceed by James River and Chesapeake 
Bay to Baltimore; but one of the steamboats being absent from her 
station through some accident, and the means of conveyance being 
consequently rendered uncertain, we returned to Washington by the 
way we had come (there were two constables on board the steamboat, 
in pursuit of runaway slaves), and halting there again for one 
night, went on to Baltimore next afternoon.

The most comfortable of all the hotels of which I had any 
experience in the United States, and they were not a few, is 
Barnum's, in that city:  where the English traveller will find 
curtains to his bed, for the first and probably the last time in 
America (this is a disinterested remark, for I never use them); and 
where he will be likely to have enough water for washing himself, 
which is not at all a common case.

This capital of the state of Maryland is a bustling, busy town, 
with a great deal of traffic of various kinds, and in particular of 
water commerce.  That portion of the town which it most favours is 
none of the cleanest, it is true; but the upper part is of a very 
different character, and has many agreeable streets and public 
buildings.  The Washington Monument, which is a handsome pillar 
with a statue on its summit; the Medical College; and the Battle 
Monument in memory of an engagement with the British at North 
Point; are the most conspicuous among them.

There is a very good prison in this city, and the State 
Penitentiary is also among its institutions.  In this latter 
establishment there were two curious cases.

One was that of a young man, who had been tried for the murder of 
his father.  The evidence was entirely circumstantial, and was very 
conflicting and doubtful; nor was it possible to assign any motive 
which could have tempted him to the commission of so tremendous a 
crime.  He had been tried twice; and on the second occasion the 
jury felt so much hesitation in convicting him, that they found a 
verdict of manslaughter, or murder in the second degree; which it 
could not possibly be, as there had, beyond all doubt, been no 
quarrel or provocation, and if he were guilty at all, he was 
unquestionably guilty of murder in its broadest and worst 

The remarkable feature in the case was, that if the unfortunate 
deceased were not really murdered by this own son of his, he must 
have been murdered by his own brother.  The evidence lay in a most 
remarkable manner, between those two.  On all the suspicious 
points, the dead man's brother was the witness:  all the 
explanations for the prisoner (some of them extremely plausible) 
went, by construction and inference, to inculcate him as plotting 
to fix the guilt upon his nephew.  It must have been one of them:  
and the jury had to decide between two sets of suspicions, almost 
equally unnatural, unaccountable, and strange.

The other case, was that of a man who once went to a certain 
distiller's and stole a copper measure containing a quantity of 
liquor.  He was pursued and taken with the property in his 
possession, and was sentenced to two years' imprisonment.  On 
coming out of the jail, at the expiration of that term, he went 
back to the same distiller's, and stole the same copper measure 
containing the same quantity of liquor.  There was not the 
slightest reason to suppose that the man wished to return to 
prison:  indeed everything, but the commission of the offence, made 
directly against that assumption.  There are only two ways of 
accounting for this extraordinary proceeding.  One is, that after 
undergoing so much for this copper measure he conceived he had 
established a sort of claim and right to it.  The other that, by 
dint of long thinking about, it had become a monomania with him, 
and had acquired a fascination which he found it impossible to 
resist; swelling from an Earthly Copper Gallon into an Ethereal 
Golden Vat.

After remaining here a couple of days I bound myself to a rigid 
adherence to the plan I had laid down so recently, and resolved to 
set forward on our western journey without any more delay.  
Accordingly, having reduced the luggage within the smallest 
possible compass (by sending back to New York, to be afterwards 
forwarded to us in Canada, so much of it as was not absolutely 
wanted); and having procured the necessary credentials to banking-
houses on the way; and having moreover looked for two evenings at 
the setting sun, with as well-defined an idea of the country before 
us as if we had been going to travel into the very centre of that 
planet; we left Baltimore by another railway at half-past eight in 
the morning, and reached the town of York, some sixty miles off, by 
the early dinner-time of the Hotel which was the starting-place of 
the four-horse coach, wherein we were to proceed to Harrisburg.

This conveyance, the box of which I was fortunate enough to secure, 
had come down to meet us at the railroad station, and was as muddy 
and cumbersome as usual.  As more passengers were waiting for us at 
the inn-door, the coachman observed under his breath, in the usual 
self-communicative voice, looking the while at his mouldy harness 
as if it were to that he was addressing himself,

'I expect we shall want THE BIG coach.'

I could not help wondering within myself what the size of this big 
coach might be, and how many persons it might be designed to hold; 
for the vehicle which was too small for our purpose was something 
larger than two English heavy night coaches, and might have been 
the twin-brother of a French Diligence.  My speculations were 
speedily set at rest, however, for as soon as we had dined, there 
came rumbling up the street, shaking its sides like a corpulent 
giant, a kind of barge on wheels.  After much blundering and 
backing, it stopped at the door:  rolling heavily from side to side 
when its other motion had ceased, as if it had taken cold in its 
damp stable, and between that, and the having been required in its 
dropsical old age to move at any faster pace than a walk, were 
distressed by shortness of wind.

'If here ain't the Harrisburg mail at last, and dreadful bright and 
smart to look at too,' cried an elderly gentleman in some 
excitement, 'darn my mother!'

I don't know what the sensation of being darned may be, or whether 
a man's mother has a keener relish or disrelish of the process than 
anybody else; but if the endurance of this mysterious ceremony by 
the old lady in question had depended on the accuracy of her son's 
vision in respect to the abstract brightness and smartness of the 
Harrisburg mail, she would certainly have undergone its infliction.  
However, they booked twelve people inside; and the luggage 
(including such trifles as a large rocking-chair, and a good-sized 
dining-table) being at length made fast upon the roof, we started 
off in great state.

At the door of another hotel, there was another passenger to be 
taken up.

'Any room, sir?' cries the new passenger to the coachman.

'Well, there's room enough,' replies the coachman, without getting 
down, or even looking at him.

'There an't no room at all, sir,' bawls a gentleman inside.  Which 
another gentleman (also inside) confirms, by predicting that the 
attempt to introduce any more passengers 'won't fit nohow.'

The new passenger, without any expression of anxiety, looks into 
the coach, and then looks up at the coachman:  'Now, how do you 
mean to fix it?' says he, after a pause:  'for I MUST go.'

The coachman employs himself in twisting the lash of his whip into 
a knot, and takes no more notice of the question:  clearly 
signifying that it is anybody's business but his, and that the 
passengers would do well to fix it, among themselves.  In this 
state of things, matters seem to be approximating to a fix of 
another kind, when another inside passenger in a corner, who is 
nearly suffocated, cries faintly, 'I'll get out.'

This is no matter of relief or self-congratulation to the driver, 
for his immovable philosophy is perfectly undisturbed by anything 
that happens in the coach.  Of all things in the world, the coach 
would seem to be the very last upon his mind.  The exchange is 
made, however, and then the passenger who has given up his seat 
makes a third upon the box, seating himself in what he calls the 
middle; that is, with half his person on my legs, and the other 
half on the driver's.

'Go a-head, cap'en,' cries the colonel, who directs.

'Go-lang!' cries the cap'en to his company, the horses, and away we 

We took up at a rural bar-room, after we had gone a few miles, an 
intoxicated gentleman who climbed upon the roof among the luggage, 
and subsequently slipping off without hurting himself, was seen in 
the distant perspective reeling back to the grog-shop where we had 
found him.  We also parted with more of our freight at different 
times, so that when we came to change horses, I was again alone 

The coachmen always change with the horses, and are usually as 
dirty as the coach.  The first was dressed like a very shabby 
English baker; the second like a Russian peasant:  for he wore a 
loose purple camlet robe, with a fur collar, tied round his waist 
with a parti-coloured worsted sash; grey trousers; light blue 
gloves:  and a cap of bearskin.  It had by this time come on to 
rain very heavily, and there was a cold damp mist besides, which 
penetrated to the skin.  I was glad to take advantage of a stoppage 
and get down to stretch my legs, shake the water off my great-coat, 
and swallow the usual anti-temperance recipe for keeping out the 

When I mounted to my seat again, I observed a new parcel lying on 
the coach roof, which I took to be a rather large fiddle in a brown 
bag.  In the course of a few miles, however, I discovered that it 
had a glazed cap at one end and a pair of muddy shoes at the other 
and further observation demonstrated it to be a small boy in a 
snuff-coloured coat, with his arms quite pinioned to his sides, by 
deep forcing into his pockets.  He was, I presume, a relative or 
friend of the coachman's, as he lay a-top of the luggage with his 
face towards the rain; and except when a change of position brought 
his shoes in contact with my hat, he appeared to be asleep.  At 
last, on some occasion of our stopping, this thing slowly upreared 
itself to the height of three feet six, and fixing its eyes on me, 
observed in piping accents, with a complaisant yawn, half quenched 
in an obliging air of friendly patronage, 'Well now, stranger, I 
guess you find this a'most like an English arternoon, hey?'

The scenery, which had been tame enough at first, was, for the last 
ten or twelve miles, beautiful.  Our road wound through the 
pleasant valley of the Susquehanna; the river, dotted with 
innumerable green islands, lay upon our right; and on the left, a 
steep ascent, craggy with broken rock, and dark with pine trees.  
The mist, wreathing itself into a hundred fantastic shapes, moved 
solemnly upon the water; and the gloom of evening gave to all an 
air of mystery and silence which greatly enhanced its natural 

We crossed this river by a wooden bridge, roofed and covered in on 
all sides, and nearly a mile in length.  It was profoundly dark; 
perplexed, with great beams, crossing and recrossing it at every 
possible angle; and through the broad chinks and crevices in the 
floor, the rapid river gleamed, far down below, like a legion of 
eyes.  We had no lamps; and as the horses stumbled and floundered 
through this place, towards the distant speck of dying light, it 
seemed interminable.  I really could not at first persuade myself 
as we rumbled heavily on, filling the bridge with hollow noises, 
and I held down my head to save it from the rafters above, but that 
I was in a painful dream; for I have often dreamed of toiling 
through such places, and as often argued, even at the time, 'this 
cannot be reality.'

At length, however, we emerged upon the streets of Harrisburg, 
whose feeble lights, reflected dismally from the wet ground, did 
not shine out upon a very cheerful city.  We were soon established 
in a snug hotel, which though smaller and far less splendid than 
many we put up at, it raised above them all in my remembrance, by 
having for its landlord the most obliging, considerate, and 
gentlemanly person I ever had to deal with.

As we were not to proceed upon our journey until the afternoon, I 
walked out, after breakfast the next morning, to look about me; and 
was duly shown a model prison on the solitary system, just erected, 
and as yet without an inmate; the trunk of an old tree to which 
Harris, the first settler here (afterwards buried under it), was 
tied by hostile Indians, with his funeral pile about him, when he 
was saved by the timely appearance of a friendly party on the 
opposite shore of the river; the local legislature (for there was 
another of those bodies here again, in full debate); and the other 
curiosities of the town.

I was very much interested in looking over a number of treaties 
made from time to time with the poor Indians, signed by the 
different chiefs at the period of their ratification, and preserved 
in the office of the Secretary to the Commonwealth.  These 
signatures, traced of course by their own hands, are rough drawings 
of the creatures or weapons they were called after.  Thus, the 
Great Turtle makes a crooked pen-and-ink outline of a great turtle; 
the Buffalo sketches a buffalo; the War Hatchet sets a rough image 
of that weapon for his mark.  So with the Arrow, the Fish, the 
Scalp, the Big Canoe, and all of them.

I could not but think - as I looked at these feeble and tremulous 
productions of hands which could draw the longest arrow to the head 
in a stout elk-horn bow, or split a bead or feather with a rifle-
ball - of Crabbe's musings over the Parish Register, and the 
irregular scratches made with a pen, by men who would plough a 
lengthy furrow straight from end to end.  Nor could I help 
bestowing many sorrowful thoughts upon the simple warriors whose 
hands and hearts were set there, in all truth and honesty; and who 
only learned in course of time from white men how to break their 
faith, and quibble out of forms and bonds.  I wonder, too, how many 
times the credulous Big Turtle, or trusting Little Hatchet, had put 
his mark to treaties which were falsely read to him; and had signed 
away, he knew not what, until it went and cast him loose upon the 
new possessors of the land, a savage indeed.

Our host announced, before our early dinner, that some members of 
the legislative body proposed to do us the honour of calling.  He 
had kindly yielded up to us his wife's own little parlour, and when 
I begged that he would show them in, I saw him look with painful 
apprehension at its pretty carpet; though, being otherwise occupied 
at the time, the cause of his uneasiness did not occur to me.

It certainly would have been more pleasant to all parties 
concerned, and would not, I think, have compromised their 
independence in any material degree, if some of these gentlemen had 
not only yielded to the prejudice in favour of spittoons, but had 
abandoned themselves, for the moment, even to the conventional 
absurdity of pocket-handkerchiefs.

It still continued to rain heavily, and when we went down to the 
Canal Boat (for that was the mode of conveyance by which we were to 
proceed) after dinner, the weather was as unpromising and 
obstinately wet as one would desire to see.  Nor was the sight of 
this canal boat, in which we were to spend three or four days, by 
any means a cheerful one; as it involved some uneasy speculations 
concerning the disposal of the passengers at night, and opened a 
wide field of inquiry touching the other domestic arrangements of 
the establishment, which was sufficiently disconcerting.

However, there it was - a barge with a little house in it, viewed 
from the outside; and a caravan at a fair, viewed from within:  the 
gentlemen being accommodated, as the spectators usually are, in one 
of those locomotive museums of penny wonders; and the ladies being 
partitioned off by a red curtain, after the manner of the dwarfs 
and giants in the same establishments, whose private lives are 
passed in rather close exclusiveness.

We sat here, looking silently at the row of little tables, which 
extended down both sides of the cabin, and listening to the rain as 
it dripped and pattered on the boat, and plashed with a dismal 
merriment in the water, until the arrival of the railway train, for 
whose final contribution to our stock of passengers, our departure 
was alone deferred.  It brought a great many boxes, which were 
bumped and tossed upon the roof, almost as painfully as if they had 
been deposited on one's own head, without the intervention of a 
porter's knot; and several damp gentlemen, whose clothes, on their 
drawing round the stove, began to steam again.  No doubt it would 
have been a thought more comfortable if the driving rain, which now 
poured down more soakingly than ever, had admitted of a window 
being opened, or if our number had been something less than thirty; 
but there was scarcely time to think as much, when a train of three 
horses was attached to the tow-rope, the boy upon the leader 
smacked his whip, the rudder creaked and groaned complainingly, and 
we had begun our journey.


AS it continued to rain most perseveringly, we all remained below:  
the damp gentlemen round the stove, gradually becoming mildewed by 
the action of the fire; and the dry gentlemen lying at full length 
upon the seats, or slumbering uneasily with their faces on the 
tables, or walking up and down the cabin, which it was barely 
possible for a man of the middle height to do, without making bald 
places on his head by scraping it against the roof.  At about six 
o'clock, all the small tables were put together to form one long 
table, and everybody sat down to tea, coffee, bread, butter, 
salmon, shad, liver, steaks, potatoes, pickles, ham, chops, black-
puddings, and sausages.

'Will you try,' said my opposite neighbour, handing me a dish of 
potatoes, broken up in milk and butter, 'will you try some of these 

There are few words which perform such various duties as this word 
'fix.'  It is the Caleb Quotem of the American vocabulary.  You 
call upon a gentleman in a country town, and his help informs you 
that he is 'fixing himself' just now, but will be down directly:  
by which you are to understand that he is dressing.  You inquire, 
on board a steamboat, of a fellow-passenger, whether breakfast will 
be ready soon, and he tells you he should think so, for when he was 
last below, they were 'fixing the tables:' in other words, laying 
the cloth.  You beg a porter to collect your luggage, and he 
entreats you not to be uneasy, for he'll 'fix it presently:' and if 
you complain of indisposition, you are advised to have recourse to 
Doctor So-and-so, who will 'fix you' in no time.

One night, I ordered a bottle of mulled wine at an hotel where I 
was staying, and waited a long time for it; at length it was put 
upon the table with an apology from the landlord that he feared it 
wasn't 'fixed properly.' And I recollect once, at a stage-coach 
dinner, overhearing a very stern gentleman demand of a waiter who 
presented him with a plate of underdone roast-beef, 'whether he 
called THAT, fixing God A'mighty's vittles?'

There is no doubt that the meal, at which the invitation was 
tendered to me which has occasioned this digression, was disposed 
of somewhat ravenously; and that the gentlemen thrust the broad-
bladed knives and the two-pronged forks further down their throats 
than I ever saw the same weapons go before, except in the hands of 
a skilful juggler:  but no man sat down until the ladies were 
seated; or omitted any little act of politeness which could 
contribute to their comfort.  Nor did I ever once, on any occasion, 
anywhere, during my rambles in America, see a woman exposed to the 
slightest act of rudeness, incivility, or even inattention.

By the time the meal was over, the rain, which seemed to have worn 
itself out by coming down so fast, was nearly over too; and it 
became feasible to go on deck:  which was a great relief, 
notwithstanding its being a very small deck, and being rendered 
still smaller by the luggage, which was heaped together in the 
middle under a tarpaulin covering; leaving, on either side, a path 
so narrow, that it became a science to walk to and fro without 
tumbling overboard into the canal.  It was somewhat embarrassing at 
first, too, to have to duck nimbly every five minutes whenever the 
man at the helm cried 'Bridge!' and sometimes, when the cry was 
'Low Bridge,' to lie down nearly flat.  But custom familiarises one 
to anything, and there were so many bridges that it took a very 
short time to get used to this.

As night came on, and we drew in sight of the first range of hills, 
which are the outposts of the Alleghany Mountains, the scenery, 
which had been uninteresting hitherto, became more bold and 
striking.  The wet ground reeked and smoked, after the heavy fall 
of rain, and the croaking of the frogs (whose noise in these parts 
is almost incredible) sounded as though a million of fairy teams 
with bells were travelling through the air, and keeping pace with 
us.  The night was cloudy yet, but moonlight too:  and when we 
crossed the Susquehanna river - over which there is an 
extraordinary wooden bridge with two galleries, one above the 
other, so that even there, two boat teams meeting, may pass without 
confusion - it was wild and grand.

I have mentioned my having been in some uncertainty and doubt, at 
first, relative to the sleeping arrangements on board this boat.  I 
remained in the same vague state of mind until ten o'clock or 
thereabouts, when going below, I found suspended on either side of 
the cabin, three long tiers of hanging bookshelves, designed 
apparently for volumes of the small octavo size.  Looking with 
greater attention at these contrivances (wondering to find such 
literary preparations in such a place), I descried on each shelf a 
sort of microscopic sheet and blanket; then I began dimly to 
comprehend that the passengers were the library, and that they were 
to be arranged, edge-wise, on these shelves, till morning.

I was assisted to this conclusion by seeing some of them gathered 
round the master of the boat, at one of the tables, drawing lots 
with all the anxieties and passions of gamesters depicted in their 
countenances; while others, with small pieces of cardboard in their 
hands, were groping among the shelves in search of numbers 
corresponding with those they had drawn.  As soon as any gentleman 
found his number, he took possession of it by immediately 
undressing himself and crawling into bed.  The rapidity with which 
an agitated gambler subsided into a snoring slumberer, was one of 
the most singular effects I have ever witnessed.  As to the ladies, 
they were already abed, behind the red curtain, which was carefully 
drawn and pinned up the centre; though as every cough, or sneeze, 
or whisper, behind this curtain, was perfectly audible before it, 
we had still a lively consciousness of their society.

The politeness of the person in authority had secured to me a shelf 
in a nook near this red curtain, in some degree removed from the 
great body of sleepers:  to which place I retired, with many 
acknowledgments to him for his attention.  I found it, on after-
measurement, just the width of an ordinary sheet of Bath post 
letter-paper; and I was at first in some uncertainty as to the best 
means of getting into it.  But the shelf being a bottom one, I 
finally determined on lying upon the floor, rolling gently in, 
stopping immediately I touched the mattress, and remaining for the 
night with that side uppermost, whatever it might be.  Luckily, I 
came upon my back at exactly the right moment.  I was much alarmed 
on looking upward, to see, by the shape of his half-yard of sacking 
(which his weight had bent into an exceedingly tight bag), that 
there was a very heavy gentleman above me, whom the slender cords 
seemed quite incapable of holding; and I could not help reflecting 
upon the grief of my wife and family in the event of his coming 
down in the night.  But as I could not have got up again without a 
severe bodily struggle, which might have alarmed the ladies; and as 
I had nowhere to go to, even if I had; I shut my eyes upon the 
danger, and remained there.

One of two remarkable circumstances is indisputably a fact, with 
reference to that class of society who travel in these boats.  
Either they carry their restlessness to such a pitch that they 
never sleep at all; or they expectorate in dreams, which would be a 
remarkable mingling of the real and ideal.  All night long, and 
every night, on this canal, there was a perfect storm and tempest 
of spitting; and once my coat, being in the very centre of the 
hurricane sustained by five gentlemen (which moved vertically, 
strictly carrying out Reid's Theory of the Law of Storms), I was 
fain the next morning to lay it on the deck, and rub it down with 
fair water before it was in a condition to be worn again.

Between five and six o'clock in the morning we got up, and some of 
us went on deck, to give them an opportunity of taking the shelves 
down; while others, the morning being very cold, crowded round the 
rusty stove, cherishing the newly kindled fire, and filling the 
grate with those voluntary contributions of which they had been so 
liberal all night.  The washing accommodations were primitive.  
There was a tin ladle chained to the deck, with which every 
gentleman who thought it necessary to cleanse himself (many were 
superior to this weakness), fished the dirty water out of the 
canal, and poured it into a tin basin, secured in like manner.  
There was also a jack-towel.  And, hanging up before a little 
looking-glass in the bar, in the immediate vicinity of the bread 
and cheese and biscuits, were a public comb and hair-brush.

At eight o'clock, the shelves being taken down and put away and the 
tables joined together, everybody sat down to the tea, coffee, 
bread, butter, salmon, shad, liver, steak, potatoes, pickles, ham, 
chops, black-puddings, and sausages, all over again.  Some were 
fond of compounding this variety, and having it all on their plates 
at once.  As each gentleman got through his own personal amount of 
tea, coffee, bread, butter, salmon, shad, liver, steak, potatoes, 
pickles, ham, chops, black-puddings, and sausages, he rose up and 
walked off.  When everybody had done with everything, the fragments 
were cleared away:  and one of the waiters appearing anew in the 
character of a barber, shaved such of the company as desired to be 
shaved; while the remainder looked on, or yawned over their 
newspapers.  Dinner was breakfast again, without the tea and 
coffee; and supper and breakfast were identical.

There was a man on board this boat, with a light fresh-coloured 
face, and a pepper-and-salt suit of clothes, who was the most 
inquisitive fellow that can possibly be imagined.  He never spoke 
otherwise than interrogatively.  He was an embodied inquiry.  
Sitting down or standing up, still or moving, walking the deck or 
taking his meals, there he was, with a great note of interrogation 
in each eye, two in his cocked ears, two more in his turned-up nose 
and chin, at least half a dozen more about the corners of his 
mouth, and the largest one of all in his hair, which was brushed 
pertly off his forehead in a flaxen clump.  Every button in his 
clothes said, 'Eh?  What's that?  Did you speak?  Say that again, 
will you?'  He was always wide awake, like the enchanted bride who 
drove her husband frantic; always restless; always thirsting for 
answers; perpetually seeking and never finding.  There never was 
such a curious man.

I wore a fur great-coat at that time, and before we were well clear 
of the wharf, he questioned me concerning it, and its price, and 
where I bought it, and when, and what fur it was, and what it 
weighed, and what it cost.  Then he took notice of my watch, and 
asked me what THAT cost, and whether it was a French watch, and 
where I got it, and how I got it, and whether I bought it or had it 
given me, and how it went, and where the key-hole was, and when I 
wound it, every night or every morning, and whether I ever forgot 
to wind it at all, and if I did, what then?  Where had I been to 
last, and where was I going next, and where was I going after that, 
and had I seen the President, and what did he say, and what did I 
say, and what did he say when I had said that?  Eh?  Lor now! do 

Finding that nothing would satisfy him, I evaded his questions 
after the first score or two, and in particular pleaded ignorance 
respecting the name of the fur whereof the coat was made.  I am 
unable to say whether this was the reason, but that coat fascinated 
him afterwards; he usually kept close behind me as I walked, and 
moved as I moved, that he might look at it the better; and he 
frequently dived into narrow places after me at the risk of his 
life, that he might have the satisfaction of passing his hand up 
the back, and rubbing it the wrong way.

We had another odd specimen on board, of a different kind.  This 
was a thin-faced, spare-figured man of middle age and stature, 
dressed in a dusty drabbish-coloured suit, such as I never saw 
before.  He was perfectly quiet during the first part of the 
journey:  indeed I don't remember having so much as seen him until 
he was brought out by circumstances, as great men often are.  The 
conjunction of events which made him famous, happened, briefly, 

The canal extends to the foot of the mountain, and there, of 
course, it stops; the passengers being conveyed across it by land 
carriage, and taken on afterwards by another canal boat, the 
counterpart of the first, which awaits them on the other side.  
There are two canal lines of passage-boats; one is called The 
Express, and one (a cheaper one) The Pioneer.  The Pioneer gets 
first to the mountain, and waits for the Express people to come up; 
both sets of passengers being conveyed across it at the same time.  
We were the Express company; but when we had crossed the mountain, 
and had come to the second boat, the proprietors took it into their 
beads to draft all the Pioneers into it likewise, so that we were 
five-and-forty at least, and the accession of passengers was not at 
all of that kind which improved the prospect of sleeping at night.  
Our people grumbled at this, as people do in such cases; but 
suffered the boat to be towed off with the whole freight aboard 
nevertheless; and away we went down the canal.  At home, I should 
have protested lustily, but being a foreigner here, I held my 
peace.  Not so this passenger.  He cleft a path among the people on 
deck (we were nearly all on deck), and without addressing anybody 
whomsoever, soliloquised as follows:

'This may suit YOU, this may, but it don't suit ME.  This may be 
all very well with Down Easters, and men of Boston raising, but it 
won't suit my figure nohow; and no two ways about THAT; and so I 
tell you.  Now!  I'm from the brown forests of Mississippi, I am, 
and when the sun shines on me, it does shine - a little.  It don't 
glimmer where I live, the sun don't.  No.  I'm a brown forester, I 
am.  I an't a Johnny Cake.  There are no smooth skins where I live.  
We're rough men there.  Rather.  If Down Easters and men of Boston 
raising like this, I'm glad of it, but I'm none of that raising nor 
of that breed.  No.  This company wants a little fixing, IT does.  
I'm the wrong sort of man for 'em, I am.  They won't like me, THEY 
won't.  This is piling of it up, a little too mountainous, this 
is.'  At the end of every one of these short sentences he turned 
upon his heel, and walked the other way; checking himself abruptly 
when he had finished another short sentence, and turning back 

It is impossible for me to say what terrific meaning was hidden in 
the words of this brown forester, but I know that the other 
passengers looked on in a sort of admiring horror, and that 
presently the boat was put back to the wharf, and as many of the 
Pioneers as could be coaxed or bullied into going away, were got 
rid of.

When we started again, some of the boldest spirits on board, made 
bold to say to the obvious occasion of this improvement in our 
prospects, 'Much obliged to you, sir;' whereunto the brown forester 
(waving his hand, and still walking up and down as before), 
replied, 'No you an't.  You're none o' my raising.  You may act for 
yourselves, YOU may.  I have pinted out the way.  Down Easters and 
Johnny Cakes can follow if they please.  I an't a Johnny Cake, I 
an't.  I am from the brown forests of the Mississippi, I am' - and 
so on, as before.  He was unanimously voted one of the tables for 
his bed at night - there is a great contest for the tables - in 
consideration for his public services:  and he had the warmest 
corner by the stove throughout the rest of the journey.  But I 
never could find out that he did anything except sit there; nor did 
I hear him speak again until, in the midst of the bustle and 
turmoil of getting the luggage ashore in the dark at Pittsburg, I 
stumbled over him as he sat smoking a cigar on the cabin steps, and 
heard him muttering to himself, with a short laugh of defiance, 'I 
an't a Johnny Cake, - I an't.  I'm from the brown forests of the 
Mississippi, I am, damme!'  I am inclined to argue from this, that 
he had never left off saying so; but I could not make an affidavit 
of that part of the story, if required to do so by my Queen and 

As we have not reached Pittsburg yet, however, in the order of our 
narrative, I may go on to remark that breakfast was perhaps the 
least desirable meal of the day, as in addition to the many savoury 
odours arising from the eatables already mentioned, there were 
whiffs of gin, whiskey, brandy, and rum, from the little bar hard 
by, and a decided seasoning of stale tobacco.  Many of the 
gentlemen passengers were far from particular in respect of their 
linen, which was in some cases as yellow as the little rivulets 
that had trickled from the corners of their mouths in chewing, and 
dried there.  Nor was the atmosphere quite free from zephyr 
whisperings of the thirty beds which had just been cleared away, 
and of which we were further and more pressingly reminded by the 
occasional appearance on the table-cloth of a kind of Game, not 
mentioned in the Bill of Fare.

And yet despite these oddities - and even they had, for me at 
least, a humour of their own - there was much in this mode of 
travelling which I heartily enjoyed at the time, and look back upon 
with great pleasure.  Even the running up, bare-necked, at five 
o'clock in the morning, from the tainted cabin to the dirty deck; 
scooping up the icy water, plunging one's head into it, and drawing 
it out, all fresh and glowing with the cold; was a good thing.  The 
fast, brisk walk upon the towing-path, between that time and 
breakfast, when every vein and artery seemed to tingle with health; 
the exquisite beauty of the opening day, when light came gleaming 
off from everything; the lazy motion of the boat, when one lay idly 
on the deck, looking through, rather than at, the deep blue sky; 
the gliding on at night, so noiselessly, past frowning hills, 
sullen with dark trees, and sometimes angry in one red, burning 
spot high up, where unseen men lay crouching round a fire; the 
shining out of the bright stars undisturbed by noise of wheels or 
steam, or any other sound than the limpid rippling of the water as 
the boat went on:  all these were pure delights.

Then there were new settlements and detached log-cabins and frame-
houses, full of interest for strangers from an old country:  cabins 
with simple ovens, outside, made of clay; and lodgings for the pigs 
nearly as good as many of the human quarters; broken windows, 
patched with worn-out hats, old clothes, old boards, fragments of 
blankets and paper; and home-made dressers standing in the open air 
without the door, whereon was ranged the household store, not hard 
to count, of earthen jars and pots.  The eye was pained to see the 
stumps of great trees thickly strewn in every field of wheat, and 
seldom to lose the eternal swamp and dull morass, with hundreds of 
rotten trunks and twisted branches steeped in its unwholesome 
water.  It was quite sad and oppressive, to come upon great tracts 
where settlers had been burning down the trees, and where their 
wounded bodies lay about, like those of murdered creatures, while 
here and there some charred and blackened giant reared aloft two 
withered arms, and seemed to call down curses on his foes.  
Sometimes, at night, the way wound through some lonely gorge, like 
a mountain pass in Scotland, shining and coldly glittering in the 
light of the moon, and so closed in by high steep hills all round, 
that there seemed to be no egress save through the narrower path by 
which we had come, until one rugged hill-side seemed to open, and 
shutting out the moonlight as we passed into its gloomy throat, 
wrapped our new course in shade and darkness.

We had left Harrisburg on Friday.  On Sunday morning we arrived at 
the foot of the mountain, which is crossed by railroad.  There are 
ten inclined planes; five ascending, and five descending; the 
carriages are dragged up the former, and let slowly down the 
latter, by means of stationary engines; the comparatively level 
spaces between, being traversed, sometimes by horse, and sometimes 
by engine power, as the case demands.  Occasionally the rails are 
laid upon the extreme verge of a giddy precipice; and looking from 
the carriage window, the traveller gazes sheer down, without a 
stone or scrap of fence between, into the mountain depths below.  
The journey is very carefully made, however; only two carriages 
travelling together; and while proper precautions are taken, is not 
to be dreaded for its dangers.

It was very pretty travelling thus, at a rapid pace along the 
heights of the mountain in a keen wind, to look down into a valley 
full of light and softness; catching glimpses, through the tree-
tops, of scattered cabins; children running to the doors; dogs 
bursting out to bark, whom we could see without hearing:  terrified 
pigs scampering homewards; families sitting out in their rude 
gardens; cows gazing upward with a stupid indifference; men in 
their shirt-sleeves looking on at their unfinished houses, planning 
out to-morrow's work; and we riding onward, high above them, like a 
whirlwind.  It was amusing, too, when we had dined, and rattled 
down a steep pass, having no other moving power than the weight of 
the carriages themselves, to see the engine released, long after 
us, come buzzing down alone, like a great insect, its back of green 
and gold so shining in the sun, that if it had spread a pair of 
wings and soared away, no one would have had occasion, as I 
fancied, for the least surprise.  But it stopped short of us in a 
very business-like manner when we reached the canal:  and, before 
we left the wharf, went panting up this hill again, with the 
passengers who had waited our arrival for the means of traversing 
the road by which we had come.

On the Monday evening, furnace fires and clanking hammers on the 
banks of the canal, warned us that we approached the termination of 
this part of our journey.  After going through another dreamy place 
- a long aqueduct across the Alleghany River, which was stranger 
than the bridge at Harrisburg, being a vast, low, wooden chamber 
full of water - we emerged upon that ugly confusion of backs of 
buildings and crazy galleries and stairs, which always abuts on 
water, whether it be river, sea, canal, or ditch:  and were at 

Pittsburg is like Birmingham in England; at least its townspeople 
say so.  Setting aside the streets, the shops, the houses, waggons, 
factories, public buildings, and population, perhaps it may be.  It 
certainly has a great quantity of smoke hanging about it, and is 
famous for its iron-works.  Besides the prison to which I have 
already referred, this town contains a pretty arsenal and other 
institutions.  It is very beautifully situated on the Alleghany 
River, over which there are two bridges; and the villas of the 
wealthier citizens sprinkled about the high grounds in the 
neighbourhood, are pretty enough.  We lodged at a most excellent 
hotel, and were admirably served.  As usual it was full of 
boarders, was very large, and had a broad colonnade to every story 
of the house.

We tarried here three days.  Our next point was Cincinnati:  and as 
this was a steamboat journey, and western steamboats usually blow 
up one or two a week in the season, it was advisable to collect 
opinions in reference to the comparative safety of the vessels 
bound that way, then lying in the river.  One called the Messenger 
was the best recommended.  She had been advertised to start 
positively, every day for a fortnight or so, and had not gone yet, 
nor did her captain seem to have any very fixed intention on the 
subject.  But this is the custom:  for if the law were to bind down 
a free and independent citizen to keep his word with the public, 
what would become of the liberty of the subject?  Besides, it is in 
the way of trade.  And if passengers be decoyed in the way of 
trade, and people be inconvenienced in the way of trade, what man, 
who is a sharp tradesman himself, shall say, 'We must put a stop to 

Impressed by the deep solemnity of the public announcement, I 
(being then ignorant of these usages) was for hurrying on board in 
a breathless state, immediately; but receiving private and 
confidential information that the boat would certainly not start 
until Friday, April the First, we made ourselves very comfortable 
in the mean while, and went on board at noon that day.


THE Messenger was one among a crowd of high-pressure steamboats, 
clustered together by a wharf-side, which, looked down upon from 
the rising ground that forms the landing-place, and backed by the 
lofty bank on the opposite side of the river, appeared no larger 
than so many floating models.  She had some forty passengers on 
board, exclusive of the poorer persons on the lower deck; and in 
half an hour, or less, proceeded on her way.

We had, for ourselves, a tiny state-room with two berths in it, 
opening out of the ladies' cabin.  There was, undoubtedly, 
something satisfactory in this 'location,' inasmuch as it was in 
the stern, and we had been a great many times very gravely 
recommended to keep as far aft as possible, 'because the steamboats 
generally blew up forward.'  Nor was this an unnecessary caution, 
as the occurrence and circumstances of more than one such fatality 
during our stay sufficiently testified.  Apart from this source of 
self-congratulation, it was an unspeakable relief to have any 
place, no matter how confined, where one could be alone:  and as 
the row of little chambers of which this was one, had each a second 
glass-door besides that in the ladies' cabin, which opened on a 
narrow gallery outside the vessel, where the other passengers 
seldom came, and where one could sit in peace and gaze upon the 
shifting prospect, we took possession of our new quarters with much 

If the native packets I have already described be unlike anything 
we are in the habit of seeing on water, these western vessels are 
still more foreign to all the ideas we are accustomed to entertain 
of boats.  I hardly know what to liken them to, or how to describe 

In the first place, they have no mast, cordage, tackle, rigging, or 
other such boat-like gear; nor have they anything in their shape at 
all calculated to remind one of a boat's head, stem, sides, or 
keel.  Except that they are in the water, and display a couple of 
paddle-boxes, they might be intended, for anything that appears to 
the contrary, to perform some unknown service, high and dry, upon a 
mountain top.  There is no visible deck, even:  nothing but a long, 
black, ugly roof covered with burnt-out feathery sparks; above 
which tower two iron chimneys, and a hoarse escape valve, and a 
glass steerage-house.  Then, in order as the eye descends towards 
the water, are the sides, and doors, and windows of the state-
rooms, jumbled as oddly together as though they formed a small 
street, built by the varying tastes of a dozen men:  the whole is 
supported on beams and pillars resting on a dirty barge, but a few 
inches above the water's edge:  and in the narrow space between 
this upper structure and this barge's deck, are the furnace fires 
and machinery, open at the sides to every wind that blows, and 
every storm of rain it drives along its path.

Passing one of these boats at night, and seeing the great body of 
fire, exposed as I have just described, that rages and roars 
beneath the frail pile of painted wood:  the machinery, not warded 
off or guarded in any way, but doing its work in the midst of the 
crowd of idlers and emigrants and children, who throng the lower 
deck:  under the management, too, of reckless men whose 
acquaintance with its mysteries may have been of six months' 
standing:  one feels directly that the wonder is, not that there 
should be so many fatal accidents, but that any journey should be 
safely made.

Within, there is one long narrow cabin, the whole length of the 
boat; from which the state-rooms open, on both sides.  A small 
portion of it at the stern is partitioned off for the ladies; and 
the bar is at the opposite extreme.  There is a long table down the 
centre, and at either end a stove.  The washing apparatus is 
forward, on the deck.  It is a little better than on board the 
canal boat, but not much.  In all modes of travelling, the American 
customs, with reference to the means of personal cleanliness and 
wholesome ablution, are extremely negligent and filthy; and I 
strongly incline to the belief that a considerable amount of 
illness is referable to this cause.

We are to be on board the Messenger three days:  arriving at 
Cincinnati (barring accidents) on Monday morning.  There are three 
meals a day.  Breakfast at seven, dinner at half-past twelve, 
supper about six.  At each, there are a great many small dishes and 
plates upon the table, with very little in them; so that although 
there is every appearance of a mighty 'spread,' there is seldom 
really more than a joint:  except for those who fancy slices of 
beet-root, shreds of dried beef, complicated entanglements of 
yellow pickle; maize, Indian corn, apple-sauce, and pumpkin.

Some people fancy all these little dainties together (and sweet 
preserves beside), by way of relish to their roast pig.  They are 
generally those dyspeptic ladies and gentlemen who eat unheard-of 
quantities of hot corn bread (almost as good for the digestion as a 
kneaded pin-cushion), for breakfast, and for supper.  Those who do 
not observe this custom, and who help themselves several times 
instead, usually suck their knives and forks meditatively, until 
they have decided what to take next:  then pull them out of their 
mouths:  put them in the dish; help themselves; and fall to work 
again.  At dinner, there is nothing to drink upon the table, but 
great jugs full of cold water.  Nobody says anything, at any meal, 
to anybody.  All the passengers are very dismal, and seem to have 
tremendous secrets weighing on their minds.  There is no 
conversation, no laughter, no cheerfulness, no sociality, except in 
spitting; and that is done in silent fellowship round the stove, 
when the meal is over.  Every man sits down, dull and languid; 
swallows his fare as if breakfasts, dinners, and suppers, were 
necessities of nature never to be coupled with recreation or 
enjoyment; and having bolted his food in a gloomy silence, bolts 
himself, in the same state.  But for these animal observances, you 
might suppose the whole male portion of the company to be the 
melancholy ghosts of departed book-keepers, who had fallen dead at 
the desk:  such is their weary air of business and calculation.  
Undertakers on duty would be sprightly beside them; and a collation 
of funeral-baked meats, in comparison with these meals, would be a 
sparkling festivity.

The people are all alike, too.  There is no diversity of character.  
They travel about on the same errands, say and do the same things 
in exactly the same manner, and follow in the same dull cheerless 
round.  All down the long table, there is scarcely a man who is in 
anything different from his neighbour.  It is quite a relief to 
have, sitting opposite, that little girl of fifteen with the 
loquacious chin:  who, to do her justice, acts up to it, and fully 
identifies nature's handwriting, for of all the small chatterboxes 
that ever invaded the repose of drowsy ladies' cabin, she is the 
first and foremost.  The beautiful girl, who sits a little beyond 
her - farther down the table there - married the young man with the 
dark whiskers, who sits beyond HER, only last month.  They are 
going to settle in the very Far West, where he has lived four 
years, but where she has never been.  They were both overturned in 
a stage-coach the other day (a bad omen anywhere else, where 
overturns are not so common), and his head, which bears the marks 
of a recent wound, is bound up still.  She was hurt too, at the 
same time, and lay insensible for some days; bright as her eyes 
are, now.

Further down still, sits a man who is going some miles beyond their 
place of destination, to 'improve' a newly-discovered copper mine.  
He carries the village - that is to be - with him:  a few frame 
cottages, and an apparatus for smelting the copper.  He carries its 
people too.  They are partly American and partly Irish, and herd 
together on the lower deck; where they amused themselves last 
evening till the night was pretty far advanced, by alternately 
firing off pistols and singing hymns.

They, and the very few who have been left at table twenty minutes, 
rise, and go away.  We do so too; and passing through our little 
state-room, resume our seats in the quiet gallery without.

A fine broad river always, but in some parts much wider than in 
others:  and then there is usually a green island, covered with 
trees, dividing it into two streams.  Occasionally, we stop for a 
few minutes, maybe to take in wood, maybe for passengers, at some 
small town or village (I ought to say city, every place is a city 
here); but the banks are for the most part deep solitudes, 
overgrown with trees, which, hereabouts, are already in leaf and 
very green.  For miles, and miles, and miles, these solitudes are 
unbroken by any sign of human life or trace of human footstep; nor 
is anything seen to move about them but the blue jay, whose colour 
is so bright, and yet so delicate, that it looks like a flying 
flower.  At lengthened intervals a log cabin, with its little space 
of cleared land about it, nestles under a rising ground, and sends 
its thread of blue smoke curling up into the sky.  It stands in the 
corner of the poor field of wheat, which is full of great unsightly 
stumps, like earthy butchers'-blocks.  Sometimes the ground is only 
just now cleared:  the felled trees lying yet upon the soil:  and 
the log-house only this morning begun.  As we pass this clearing, 
the settler leans upon his axe or hammer, and looks wistfully at 
the people from the world.  The children creep out of the temporary 
hut, which is like a gipsy tent upon the ground, and clap their 
hands and shout.  The dog only glances round at us, and then looks 
up into his master's face again, as if he were rendered uneasy by 
any suspension of the common business, and had nothing more to do 
with pleasurers.  And still there is the same, eternal foreground.  
The river has washed away its banks, and stately trees have fallen 
down into the stream.  Some have been there so long, that they are 
mere dry, grizzly skeletons.  Some have just toppled over, and 
having earth yet about their roots, are bathing their green heads 
in the river, and putting forth new shoots and branches.  Some are 
almost sliding down, as you look at them.  And some were drowned so 
long ago, that their bleached arms start out from the middle of the 
current, and seem to try to grasp the boat, and drag it under 

Through such a scene as this, the unwieldy machine takes its 
hoarse, sullen way:  venting, at every revolution of the paddles, a 
loud high-pressure blast; enough, one would think, to waken up the 
host of Indians who lie buried in a great mound yonder:  so old, 
that mighty oaks and other forest trees have struck their roots 
into its earth; and so high, that it is a hill, even among the 
hills that Nature planted round it.  The very river, as though it 
shared one's feelings of compassion for the extinct tribes who 
lived so pleasantly here, in their blessed ignorance of white 
existence, hundreds of years ago, steals out of its way to ripple 
near this mound:  and there are few places where the Ohio sparkles 
more brightly than in the Big Grave Creek.

All this I see as I sit in the little stern-gallery mentioned just 
now.  Evening slowly steals upon the landscape and changes it 
before me, when we stop to set some emigrants ashore.

Five men, as many women, and a little girl.  All their worldly 
goods are a bag, a large chest and an old chair:  one, old, high-
backed, rush-bottomed chair:  a solitary settler in itself.  They 
are rowed ashore in the boat, while the vessel stands a little off 
awaiting its return, the water being shallow.  They are landed at 
the foot of a high bank, on the summit of which are a few log 
cabins, attainable only by a long winding path.  It is growing 
dusk; but the sun is very red, and shines in the water and on some 
of the tree-tops, like fire.

The men get out of the boat first; help out the women; take out the 
bag, the chest, the chair; bid the rowers 'good-bye;' and shove the 
boat off for them.  At the first plash of the oars in the water, 
the oldest woman of the party sits down in the old chair, close to 
the water's edge, without speaking a word.  None of the others sit 
down, though the chest is large enough for many seats.  They all 
stand where they landed, as if stricken into stone; and look after 
the boat.  So they remain, quite still and silent:  the old woman 
and her old chair, in the centre the bag and chest upon the shore, 
without anybody heeding them all eyes fixed upon the boat.  It 
comes alongside, is made fast, the men jump on board, the engine is 
put in motion, and we go hoarsely on again.  There they stand yet, 
without the motion of a hand.  I can see them through my glass, 
when, in the distance and increasing darkness, they are mere specks 
to the eye:  lingering there still:  the old woman in the old 
chair, and all the rest about her:  not stirring in the least 
degree.  And thus I slowly lose them.

The night is dark, and we proceed within the shadow of the wooded 
bank, which makes it darker.  After gliding past the sombre maze of 
boughs for a long time, we come upon an open space where the tall 
trees are burning.  The shape of every branch and twig is expressed 
in a deep red glow, and as the light wind stirs and ruffles it, 
they seem to vegetate in fire.  It is such a sight as we read of in 
legends of enchanted forests:  saving that it is sad to see these 
noble works wasting away so awfully, alone; and to think how many 
years must come and go before the magic that created them will rear 
their like upon this ground again.  But the time will come; and 
when, in their changed ashes, the growth of centuries unborn has 
struck its roots, the restless men of distant ages will repair to 
these again unpeopled solitudes; and their fellows, in cities far 
away, that slumber now, perhaps, beneath the rolling sea, will read 
in language strange to any ears in being now, but very old to them, 
of primeval forests where the axe was never heard, and where the 
jungled ground was never trodden by a human foot.

Midnight and sleep blot out these scenes and thoughts:  and when 
the morning shines again, it gilds the house-tops of a lively city, 
before whose broad paved wharf the boat is moored; with other 
boats, and flags, and moving wheels, and hum of men around it; as 
though there were not a solitary or silent rood of ground within 
the compass of a thousand miles.

Cincinnati is a beautiful city; cheerful, thriving, and animated.  
I have not often seen a place that commends itself so favourably 
and pleasantly to a stranger at the first glance as this does:  
with its clean houses of red and white, its well-paved roads, and 
foot-ways of bright tile.  Nor does it become less prepossessing on 
a closer acquaintance.  The streets are broad and airy, the shops 
extremely good, the private residences remarkable for their 
elegance and neatness.  There is something of invention and fancy 
in the varying styles of these latter erections, which, after the 
dull company of the steamboat, is perfectly delightful, as 
conveying an assurance that there are such qualities still in 
existence.  The disposition to ornament these pretty villas and 
render them attractive, leads to the culture of trees and flowers, 
and the laying out of well-kept gardens, the sight of which, to 
those who walk along the streets, is inexpressibly refreshing and 
agreeable.  I was quite charmed with the appearance of the town, 
and its adjoining suburb of Mount Auburn:  from which the city, 
lying in an amphitheatre of hills, forms a picture of remarkable 
beauty, and is seen to great advantage.

There happened to be a great Temperance Convention held here on the 
day after our arrival; and as the order of march brought the 
procession under the windows of the hotel in which we lodged, when 
they started in the morning, I had a good opportunity of seeing it.  
It comprised several thousand men; the members of various 
'Washington Auxiliary Temperance Societies;' and was marshalled by 
officers on horseback, who cantered briskly up and down the line, 
with scarves and ribbons of bright colours fluttering out behind 
them gaily.  There were bands of music too, and banners out of 
number:  and it was a fresh, holiday-looking concourse altogether.

I was particularly pleased to see the Irishmen, who formed a 
distinct society among themselves, and mustered very strong with 
their green scarves; carrying their national Harp and their 
Portrait of Father Mathew, high above the people's heads.  They 
looked as jolly and good-humoured as ever; and, working (here) the 
hardest for their living and doing any kind of sturdy labour that 
came in their way, were the most independent fellows there, I 

The banners were very well painted, and flaunted down the street 
famously.  There was the smiting of the rock, and the gushing forth 
of the waters; and there was a temperate man with 'considerable of 
a hatchet' (as the standard-bearer would probably have said), 
aiming a deadly blow at a serpent which was apparently about to 
spring upon him from the top of a barrel of spirits.  But the chief 
feature of this part of the show was a huge allegorical device, 
borne among the ship-carpenters, on one side whereof the steamboat 
Alcohol was represented bursting her boiler and exploding with a 
great crash, while upon the other, the good ship Temperance sailed 
away with a fair wind, to the heart's content of the captain, crew, 
and passengers.

After going round the town, the procession repaired to a certain 
appointed place, where, as the printed programme set forth, it 
would be received by the children of the different free schools, 
'singing Temperance Songs.'  I was prevented from getting there, in 
time to hear these Little Warblers, or to report upon this novel 
kind of vocal entertainment:  novel, at least, to me:  but I found 
in a large open space, each society gathered round its own banners, 
and listening in silent attention to its own orator.  The speeches, 
judging from the little I could hear of them, were certainly 
adapted to the occasion, as having that degree of relationship to 
cold water which wet blankets may claim:  but the main thing was 
the conduct and appearance of the audience throughout the day; and 
that was admirable and full of promise.

Cincinnati is honourably famous for its free schools, of which it 
has so many that no person's child among its population can, by 
possibility, want the means of education, which are extended, upon 
an average, to four thousand pupils, annually.  I was only present 
in one of these establishments during the hours of instruction.  In 
the boys' department, which was full of little urchins (varying in 
their ages, I should say, from six years old to ten or twelve), the 
master offered to institute an extemporary examination of the 
pupils in algebra; a proposal, which, as I was by no means 
confident of my ability to detect mistakes in that science, I 
declined with some alarm.  In the girls' school, reading was 
proposed; and as I felt tolerably equal to that art, I expressed my 
willingness to hear a class.  Books were distributed accordingly, 
and some half-dozen girls relieved each other in reading paragraphs 
from English History.  But it seemed to be a dry compilation, 
infinitely above their powers; and when they had blundered through 
three or four dreary passages concerning the Treaty of Amiens, and 
other thrilling topics of the same nature (obviously without 
comprehending ten words), I expressed myself quite satisfied.  It 
is very possible that they only mounted to this exalted stave in 
the Ladder of Learning for the astonishment of a visitor; and that 
at other times they keep upon its lower rounds; but I should have 
been much better pleased and satisfied if I had heard them 
exercised in simpler lessons, which they understood.

As in every other place I visited, the judges here were gentlemen 
of high character and attainments.  I was in one of the courts for 
a few minutes, and found it like those to which I have already 
referred.  A nuisance cause was trying; there were not many 
spectators; and the witnesses, counsel, and jury, formed a sort of 
family circle, sufficiently jocose and snug.

The society with which I mingled, was intelligent, courteous, and 
agreeable.  The inhabitants of Cincinnati are proud of their city 
as one of the most interesting in America:  and with good reason:  
for beautiful and thriving as it is now, and containing, as it 
does, a population of fifty thousand souls, but two-and-fifty years 
have passed away since the ground on which it stands (bought at 
that time for a few dollars) was a wild wood, and its citizens were 
but a handful of dwellers in scattered log huts upon the river's 


LEAVING Cincinnati at eleven o'clock in the forenoon, we embarked 
for Louisville in the Pike steamboat, which, carrying the mails, 
was a packet of a much better class than that in which we had come 
from Pittsburg.  As this passage does not occupy more than twelve 
or thirteen hours, we arranged to go ashore that night:  not 
coveting the distinction of sleeping in a state-room, when it was 
possible to sleep anywhere else.

There chanced to be on board this boat, in addition to the usual 
dreary crowd of passengers, one Pitchlynn, a chief of the Choctaw 
tribe of Indians, who SENT IN HIS CARD to me, and with whom I had 
the pleasure of a long conversation.

He spoke English perfectly well, though he had not begun to learn 
the language, he told me, until he was a young man grown.  He had 
read many books; and Scott's poetry appeared to have left a strong 
impression on his mind:  especially the opening of The Lady of the 
Lake, and the great battle scene in Marmion, in which, no doubt 
from the congeniality of the subjects to his own pursuits and 
tastes, he had great interest and delight.  He appeared to 
understand correctly all he had read; and whatever fiction had 
enlisted his sympathy in its belief, had done so keenly and 
earnestly.  I might almost say fiercely.  He was dressed in our 
ordinary everyday costume, which hung about his fine figure 
loosely, and with indifferent grace.  On my telling him that I 
regretted not to see him in his own attire, he threw up his right 
arm, for a moment, as though he were brandishing some heavy weapon, 
and answered, as he let it fall again, that his race were losing 
many things besides their dress, and would soon be seen upon the 
earth no more:  but he wore it at home, he added proudly.

He told me that he had been away from his home, west of the 
Mississippi, seventeen months:  and was now returning.  He had been 
chiefly at Washington on some negotiations pending between his 
Tribe and the Government:  which were not settled yet (he said in a 
melancholy way), and he feared never would be:  for what could a 
few poor Indians do, against such well-skilled men of business as 
the whites?  He had no love for Washington; tired of towns and 
cities very soon; and longed for the Forest and the Prairie.

I asked him what he thought of Congress?  He answered, with a 
smile, that it wanted dignity, in an Indian's eyes.

He would very much like, he said, to see England before he died; 
and spoke with much interest about the great things to be seen 
there.  When I told him of that chamber in the British Museum 
wherein are preserved household memorials of a race that ceased to 
be, thousands of years ago, he was very attentive, and it was not 
hard to see that he had a reference in his mind to the gradual 
fading away of his own people.

This led us to speak of Mr. Catlin's gallery, which he praised 
highly:  observing that his own portrait was among the collection, 
and that all the likenesses were 'elegant.'  Mr. Cooper, he said, 
had painted the Red Man well; and so would I, he knew, if I would 
go home with him and hunt buffaloes, which he was quite anxious I 
should do.  When I told him that supposing I went, I should not be 
very likely to damage the buffaloes much, he took it as a great 
joke and laughed heartily.

He was a remarkably handsome man; some years past forty, I should 
judge; with long black hair, an aquiline nose, broad cheek-bones, a 
sunburnt complexion, and a very bright, keen, dark, and piercing 
eye.  There were but twenty thousand of the Choctaws left, he said, 
and their number was decreasing every day.  A few of his brother 
chiefs had been obliged to become civilised, and to make themselves 
acquainted with what the whites knew, for it was their only chance 
of existence.  But they were not many; and the rest were as they 
always had been.  He dwelt on this:  and said several times that 
unless they tried to assimilate themselves to their conquerors, 
they must be swept away before the strides of civilised society.

When we shook hands at parting, I told him he must come to England, 
as he longed to see the land so much:  that I should hope to see 
him there, one day:  and that I could promise him he would be well 
received and kindly treated.  He was evidently pleased by this 
assurance, though he rejoined with a good-humoured smile and an 
arch shake of his head, that the English used to be very fond of 
the Red Men when they wanted their help, but had not cared much for 
them, since.

He took his leave; as stately and complete a gentleman of Nature's 
making, as ever I beheld; and moved among the people in the boat, 
another kind of being.  He sent me a lithographed portrait of 
himself soon afterwards; very like, though scarcely handsome 
enough; which I have carefully preserved in memory of our brief 

There was nothing very interesting in the scenery of this day's 
journey, which brought us at midnight to Louisville.  We slept at 
the Galt House; a splendid hotel; and were as handsomely lodged as 
though we had been in Paris, rather than hundreds of miles beyond 
the Alleghanies.

The city presenting no objects of sufficient interest to detain us 
on our way, we resolved to proceed next day by another steamboat, 
the Fulton, and to join it, about noon, at a suburb called 
Portland, where it would be delayed some time in passing through a 

The interval, after breakfast, we devoted to riding through the 
town, which is regular and cheerful:  the streets being laid out at 
right angles, and planted with young trees.  The buildings are 
smoky and blackened, from the use of bituminous coal, but an 
Englishman is well used to that appearance, and indisposed to 
quarrel with it.  There did not appear to be much business 
stirring; and some unfinished buildings and improvements seemed to 
intimate that the city had been overbuilt in the ardour of 'going-
a-head,' and was suffering under the re-action consequent upon such 
feverish forcing of its powers.

On our way to Portland, we passed a 'Magistrate's office,' which 
amused me, as looking far more like a dame school than any police 
establishment:  for this awful Institution was nothing but a little 
lazy, good-for-nothing front parlour, open to the street; wherein 
two or three figures (I presume the magistrate and his myrmidons) 
were basking in the sunshine, the very effigies of languor and 
repose.  It was a perfect picture of justice retired from business 
for want of customers; her sword and scales sold off; napping 
comfortably with her legs upon the table.

Here, as elsewhere in these parts, the road was perfectly alive 
with pigs of all ages; lying about in every direction, fast 
asleep.; or grunting along in quest of hidden dainties.  I had 
always a sneaking kindness for these odd animals, and found a 
constant source of amusement, when all others failed, in watching 
their proceedings.  As we were riding along this morning, I 
observed a little incident between two youthful pigs, which was so 
very human as to be inexpressibly comical and grotesque at the 
time, though I dare say, in telling, it is tame enough.

One young gentleman (a very delicate porker with several straws 
sticking about his nose, betokening recent investigations in a 
dung-hill) was walking deliberately on, profoundly thinking, when 
suddenly his brother, who was lying in a miry hole unseen by him, 
rose up immediately before his startled eyes, ghostly with damp 
mud.  Never was pig's whole mass of blood so turned.  He started 
back at least three feet, gazed for a moment, and then shot off as 
hard as he could go:  his excessively little tail vibrating with 
speed and terror like a distracted pendulum.  But before he had 
gone very far, he began to reason with himself as to the nature of 
this frightful appearance; and as he reasoned, he relaxed his speed 
by gradual degrees; until at last he stopped, and faced about.  
There was his brother, with the mud upon him glazing in the sun, 
yet staring out of the very same hole, perfectly amazed at his 
proceedings!  He was no sooner assured of this; and he assured 
himself so carefully that one may almost say he shaded his eyes 
with his hand to see the better; than he came back at a round trot, 
pounced upon him, and summarily took off a piece of his tail; as a 
caution to him to be careful what he was about for the future, and 
never to play tricks with his family any more.

We found the steamboat in the canal, waiting for the slow process 
of getting through the lock, and went on board, where we shortly 
afterwards had a new kind of visitor in the person of a certain 
Kentucky Giant whose name is Porter, and who is of the moderate 
height of seven feet eight inches, in his stockings.

There never was a race of people who so completely gave the lie to 
history as these giants, or whom all the chroniclers have so 
cruelly libelled.  Instead of roaring and ravaging about the world, 
constantly catering for their cannibal larders, and perpetually 
going to market in an unlawful manner, they are the meekest people 
in any man's acquaintance:  rather inclining to milk and vegetable 
diet, and bearing anything for a quiet life.  So decidedly are 
amiability and mildness their characteristics, that I confess I 
look upon that youth who distinguished himself by the slaughter of 
these inoffensive persons, as a false-hearted brigand, who, 
pretending to philanthropic motives, was secretly influenced only 
by the wealth stored up within their castles, and the hope of 
plunder.  And I lean the more to this opinion from finding that 
even the historian of those exploits, with all his partiality for 
his hero, is fain to admit that the slaughtered monsters in 
question were of a very innocent and simple turn; extremely 
guileless and ready of belief; lending a credulous ear to the most 
improbable tales; suffering themselves to be easily entrapped into 
pits; and even (as in the case of the Welsh Giant) with an excess 
of the hospitable politeness of a landlord, ripping themselves 
open, rather than hint at the possibility of their guests being 
versed in the vagabond arts of sleight-of-hand and hocus-pocus.

The Kentucky Giant was but another illustration of the truth of 
this position.  He had a weakness in the region of the knees, and a 
trustfulness in his long face, which appealed even to five-feet 
nine for encouragement and support.  He was only twenty-five years 
old, he said, and had grown recently, for it had been found 
necessary to make an addition to the legs of his inexpressibles.  
At fifteen he was a short boy, and in those days his English father 
and his Irish mother had rather snubbed him, as being too small of 
stature to sustain the credit of the family.  He added that his 
health had not been good, though it was better now; but short 
people are not wanting who whisper that he drinks too hard.

I understand he drives a hackney-coach, though how he does it, 
unless he stands on the footboard behind, and lies along the roof 
upon his chest, with his chin in the box, it would be difficult to 
comprehend.  He brought his gun with him, as a curiosity.

Christened 'The Little Rifle,' and displayed outside a shop-window, 
it would make the fortune of any retail business in Holborn.  When 
he had shown himself and talked a little while, he withdrew with 
his pocket-instrument, and went bobbing down the cabin, among men 
of six feet high and upwards, like a light-house walking among 

Within a few minutes afterwards, we were out of the canal, and in 
the Ohio river again.

The arrangements of the boat were like those of the Messenger, and 
the passengers were of the same order of people.  We fed at the 
same times, on the same kind of viands, in the same dull manner, 
and with the same observances.  The company appeared to be 
oppressed by the same tremendous concealments, and had as little 
capacity of enjoyment or light-heartedness.  I never in my life did 
see such listless, heavy dulness as brooded over these meals:  the 
very recollection of it weighs me down, and makes me, for the 
moment, wretched.  Reading and writing on my knee, in our little 
cabin, I really dreaded the coming of the hour that summoned us to 
table; and was as glad to escape from it again, as if it had been a 
penance or a punishment.  Healthy cheerfulness and good spirits 
forming a part of the banquet, I could soak my crusts in the 
fountain with Le Sage's strolling player, and revel in their glad 
enjoyment:  but sitting down with so many fellow-animals to ward 
off thirst and hunger as a business; to empty, each creature, his 
Yahoo's trough as quickly as he can, and then slink sullenly away; 
to have these social sacraments stripped of everything but the mere 
greedy satisfaction of the natural cravings; goes so against the 
grain with me, that I seriously believe the recollection of these 
funeral feasts will be a waking nightmare to me all my life.

There was some relief in this boat, too, which there had not been 
in the other, for the captain (a blunt, good-natured fellow) had 
his handsome wife with him, who was disposed to be lively and 
agreeable, as were a few other lady-passengers who had their seats 
about us at the same end of the table.  But nothing could have made 
head against the depressing influence of the general body.  There 
was a magnetism of dulness in them which would have beaten down the 
most facetious companion that the earth ever knew.  A jest would 
have been a crime, and a smile would have faded into a grinning 
horror.  Such deadly, leaden people; such systematic plodding, 
weary, insupportable heaviness; such a mass of animated indigestion 
in respect of all that was genial, jovial, frank, social, or 
hearty; never, sure, was brought together elsewhere since the world 

Nor was the scenery, as we approached the junction of the Ohio and 
Mississippi rivers, at all inspiriting in its influence.  The trees 
were stunted in their growth; the banks were low and flat; the 
settlements and log cabins fewer in number:  their inhabitants more 
wan and wretched than any we had encountered yet.  No songs of 
birds were in the air, no pleasant scents, no moving lights and 
shadows from swift passing clouds.  Hour after hour, the changeless 
glare of the hot, unwinking sky, shone upon the same monotonous 
objects.  Hour after hour, the river rolled along, as wearily and 
slowly as the time itself.

At length, upon the morning of the third day, we arrived at a spot 
so much more desolate than any we had yet beheld, that the 
forlornest places we had passed, were, in comparison with it, full 
of interest.  At the junction of the two rivers, on ground so flat 
and low and marshy, that at certain seasons of the year it is 
inundated to the house-tops, lies a breeding-place of fever, ague, 
and death; vaunted in England as a mine of Golden Hope, and 
speculated in, on the faith of monstrous representations, to many 
people's ruin.  A dismal swamp, on which the half-built houses rot 
away:  cleared here and there for the space of a few yards; and 
teeming, then, with rank unwholesome vegetation, in whose baleful 
shade the wretched wanderers who are tempted hither, droop, and 
die, and lay their bones; the hateful Mississippi circling and 
eddying before it, and turning off upon its southern course a slimy 
monster hideous to behold; a hotbed of disease, an ugly sepulchre, 
a grave uncheered by any gleam of promise:  a place without one 
single quality, in earth or air or water, to commend it:  such is 
this dismal Cairo.

But what words shall describe the Mississippi, great father of 
rivers, who (praise be to Heaven) has no young children like him!  
An enormous ditch, sometimes two or three miles wide, running 
liquid mud, six miles an hour:  its strong and frothy current 
choked and obstructed everywhere by huge logs and whole forest 
trees:  now twining themselves together in great rafts, from the 
interstices of which a sedgy, lazy foam works up, to float upon the 
water's top; now rolling past like monstrous bodies, their tangled 
roots showing like matted hair; now glancing singly by like giant 
leeches; and now writhing round and round in the vortex of some 
small whirlpool, like wounded snakes.  The banks low, the trees 
dwarfish, the marshes swarming with frogs, the wretched cabins few 
and far apart, their inmates hollow-cheeked and pale, the weather 
very hot, mosquitoes penetrating into every crack and crevice of 
the boat, mud and slime on everything:  nothing pleasant in its 
aspect, but the harmless lightning which flickers every night upon 
the dark horizon.

For two days we toiled up this foul stream, striking constantly 
against the floating timber, or stopping to avoid those more 
dangerous obstacles, the snags, or sawyers, which are the hidden 
trunks of trees that have their roots below the tide.  When the 
nights are very dark, the look-out stationed in the head of the 
boat, knows by the ripple of the water if any great impediment be 
near at hand, and rings a bell beside him, which is the signal for 
the engine to be stopped:  but always in the night this bell has 
work to do, and after every ring, there comes a blow which renders 
it no easy matter to remain in bed.

The decline of day here was very gorgeous; tingeing the firmament 
deeply with red and gold, up to the very keystone of the arch above 
us.  As the sun went down behind the bank, the slightest blades of 
grass upon it seemed to become as distinctly visible as the 
arteries in the skeleton of a leaf; and when, as it slowly sank, 
the red and golden bars upon the water grew dimmer, and dimmer yet, 
as if they were sinking too; and all the glowing colours of 
departing day paled, inch by inch, before the sombre night; the 
scene became a thousand times more lonesome and more dreary than 
before, and all its influences darkened with the sky.

We drank the muddy water of this river while we were upon it.  It 
is considered wholesome by the natives, and is something more 
opaque than gruel.  I have seen water like it at the Filter-shops, 
but nowhere else.

On the fourth night after leaving Louisville, we reached St. Louis, 
and here I witnessed the conclusion of an incident, trifling enough 
in itself, but very pleasant to see, which had interested me during 
the whole journey.

There was a little woman on board, with a little baby; and both 
little woman and little child were cheerful, good-looking, bright-
eyed, and fair to see.  The little woman had been passing a long 
time with her sick mother in New York, and had left her home in St. 
Louis, in that condition in which ladies who truly love their lords 
desire to be.  The baby was born in her mother's house; and she had 
not seen her husband (to whom she was now returning), for twelve 
months:  having left him a month or two after their marriage.

Well, to be sure, there never was a little woman so full of hope, 
and tenderness, and love, and anxiety, as this little woman was:  
and all day long she wondered whether 'He' would be at the wharf; 
and whether 'He' had got her letter; and whether, if she sent the 
baby ashore by somebody else, 'He' would know it, meeting it in the 
street:  which, seeing that he had never set eyes upon it in his 
life, was not very likely in the abstract, but was probable enough, 
to the young mother.  She was such an artless little creature; and 
was in such a sunny, beaming, hopeful state; and let out all this 
matter clinging close about her heart, so freely; that all the 
other lady passengers entered into the spirit of it as much as she; 
and the captain (who heard all about it from his wife) was wondrous 
sly, I promise you:  inquiring, every time we met at table, as in 
forgetfulness, whether she expected anybody to meet her at St. 
Louis, and whether she would want to go ashore the night we reached 
it (but he supposed she wouldn't), and cutting many other dry jokes 
of that nature.  There was one little weazen, dried-apple-faced old 
woman, who took occasion to doubt the constancy of husbands in such 
circumstances of bereavement; and there was another lady (with a 
lap-dog) old enough to moralize on the lightness of human 
affections, and yet not so old that she could help nursing the 
baby, now and then, or laughing with the rest, when the little 
woman called it by its father's name, and asked it all manner of 
fantastic questions concerning him in the joy of her heart.

It was something of a blow to the little woman, that when we were 
within twenty miles of our destination, it became clearly necessary 
to put this baby to bed.  But she got over it with the same good 
humour; tied a handkerchief round her head; and came out into the 
little gallery with the rest.  Then, such an oracle as she became 
in reference to the localities! and such facetiousness as was 
displayed by the married ladies! and such sympathy as was shown by 
the single ones! and such peals of laughter as the little woman 
herself (who would just as soon have cried) greeted every jest 

At last, there were the lights of St. Louis, and here was the 
wharf, and those were the steps:  and the little woman covering her 
face with her hands, and laughing (or seeming to laugh) more than 
ever, ran into her own cabin, and shut herself up.  I have no doubt 
that in the charming inconsistency of such excitement, she stopped 
her ears, lest she should hear 'Him' asking for her:  but I did not 
see her do it.

Then, a great crowd of people rushed on board, though the boat was 
not yet made fast, but was wandering about, among the other boats, 
to find a landing-place:  and everybody looked for the husband:  
and nobody saw him:  when, in the midst of us all - Heaven knows 
how she ever got there - there was the little woman clinging with 
both arms tight round the neck of a fine, good-looking, sturdy 
young fellow! and in a moment afterwards, there she was again, 
actually clapping her little hands for joy, as she dragged him 
through the small door of her small cabin, to look at the baby as 
he lay asleep!

We went to a large hotel, called the Planter's House:  built like 
an English hospital, with long passages and bare walls, and sky-
lights above the room-doors for the free circulation of air.  There 
were a great many boarders in it; and as many lights sparkled and 
glistened from the windows down into the street below, when we 
drove up, as if it had been illuminated on some occasion of 
rejoicing.  It is an excellent house, and the proprietors have most 
bountiful notions of providing the creature comforts.  Dining alone 
with my wife in our own room, one day, I counted fourteen dishes on 
the table at once.

In the old French portion of the town, the thoroughfares are narrow 
and crooked, and some of the houses are very quaint and 
picturesque:  being built of wood, with tumble-down galleries 
before the windows, approachable by stairs or rather ladders from 
the street.  There are queer little barbers' shops and drinking-
houses too, in this quarter; and abundance of crazy old tenements 
with blinking casements, such as may be seen in Flanders.  Some of 
these ancient habitations, with high garret gable-windows perking 
into the roofs, have a kind of French shrug about them; and being 
lop-sided with age, appear to hold their heads askew, besides, as 
if they were grimacing in astonishment at the American 

It is hardly necessary to say, that these consist of wharfs and 
warehouses, and new buildings in all directions; and of a great 
many vast plans which are still 'progressing.'  Already, however, 
some very good houses, broad streets, and marble-fronted shops, 
have gone so far ahead as to be in a state of completion; and the 
town bids fair in a few years to improve considerably:  though it 
is not likely ever to vie, in point of elegance or beauty, with 

The Roman Catholic religion, introduced here by the early French 
settlers, prevails extensively.  Among the public institutions are 
a Jesuit college; a convent for 'the Ladies of the Sacred Heart;' 
and a large chapel attached to the college, which was in course of 
erection at the time of my visit, and was intended to be 
consecrated on the second of December in the next year.  The 
architect of this building, is one of the reverend fathers of the 
school, and the works proceed under his sole direction.  The organ 
will be sent from Belgium.

In addition to these establishments, there is a Roman Catholic 
cathedral, dedicated to Saint Francis Xavier; and a hospital, 
founded by the munificence of a deceased resident, who was a member 
of that church.  It also sends missionaries from hence among the 
Indian tribes.

The Unitarian church is represented, in this remote place, as in 
most other parts of America, by a gentleman of great worth and 
excellence.  The poor have good reason to remember and bless it; 
for it befriends them, and aids the cause of rational education, 
without any sectarian or selfish views.  It is liberal in all its 
actions; of kind construction; and of wide benevolence.

There are three free-schools already erected, and in full operation 
in this city.  A fourth is building, and will soon be opened.

No man ever admits the unhealthiness of the place he dwells in 
(unless he is going away from it), and I shall therefore, I have no 
doubt, be at issue with the inhabitants of St. Louis, in 
questioning the perfect salubrity of its climate, and in hinting 
that I think it must rather dispose to fever, in the summer and 
autumnal seasons.  Just adding, that it is very hot, lies among 
great rivers, and has vast tracts of undrained swampy land around 
it, I leave the reader to form his own opinion.

As I had a great desire to see a Prairie before turning back from 
the furthest point of my wanderings; and as some gentlemen of the 
town had, in their hospitable consideration, an equal desire to 
gratify me; a day was fixed, before my departure, for an expedition 
to the Looking-Glass Prairie, which is within thirty miles of the 
town.  Deeming it possible that my readers may not object to know 
what kind of thing such a gipsy party may be at that distance from 
home, and among what sort of objects it moves, I will describe the 
jaunt in another chapter.


I MAY premise that the word Prairie is variously pronounced 
PARAAER, PAREARER, PAROARER.  The latter mode of pronunciation is 
perhaps the most in favour.

We were fourteen in all, and all young men:  indeed it is a 
singular though very natural feature in the society of these 
distant settlements, that it is mainly composed of adventurous 
persons in the prime of life, and has very few grey heads among it.  
There were no ladies:  the trip being a fatiguing one:  and we were 
to start at five o'clock in the morning punctually.

I was called at four, that I might be certain of keeping nobody 
waiting; and having got some bread and milk for breakfast, threw up 
the window and looked down into the street, expecting to see the 
whole party busily astir, and great preparations going on below.  
But as everything was very quiet, and the street presented that 
hopeless aspect with which five o'clock in the morning is familiar 
elsewhere, I deemed it as well to go to bed again, and went 

I woke again at seven o'clock, and by that time the party had 
assembled, and were gathered round, one light carriage, with a very 
stout axletree; one something on wheels like an amateur carrier's 
cart; one double phaeton of great antiquity and unearthly 
construction; one gig with a great hole in its back and a broken 
head; and one rider on horseback who was to go on before.  I got 
into the first coach with three companions; the rest bestowed 
themselves in the other vehicles; two large baskets were made fast 
to the lightest; two large stone jars in wicker cases, technically 
known as demi-johns, were consigned to the 'least rowdy' of the 
party for safe-keeping; and the procession moved off to the 
ferryboat, in which it was to cross the river bodily, men, horses, 
carriages, and all, as the manner in these parts is.

We got over the river in due course, and mustered again before a 
little wooden box on wheels, hove down all aslant in a morass, with 
'MERCHANT TAILOR' painted in very large letters over the door.  
Having settled the order of proceeding, and the road to be taken, 
we started off once more and began to make our way through an ill-
favoured Black Hollow, called, less expressively, the American 

The previous day had been - not to say hot, for the term is weak 
and lukewarm in its power of conveying an idea of the temperature.  
The town had been on fire; in a blaze.  But at night it had come on 
to rain in torrents, and all night long it had rained without 
cessation.  We had a pair of very strong horses, but travelled at 
the rate of little more than a couple of miles an hour, through one 
unbroken slough of black mud and water.  It had no variety but in 
depth.  Now it was only half over the wheels, now it hid the 
axletree, and now the coach sank down in it almost to the windows.  
The air resounded in all directions with the loud chirping of the 
frogs, who, with the pigs (a coarse, ugly breed, as unwholesome-
looking as though they were the spontaneous growth of the country), 
had the whole scene to themselves.  Here and there we passed a log 
hut:  but the wretched cabins were wide apart and thinly scattered, 
for though the soil is very rich in this place, few people can 
exist in such a deadly atmosphere.  On either side of the track, if 
it deserve the name, was the thick 'bush;' and everywhere was 
stagnant, slimy, rotten, filthy water.

As it is the custom in these parts to give a horse a gallon or so 
of cold water whenever he is in a foam with heat, we halted for 
that purpose, at a log inn in the wood, far removed from any other 
residence.  It consisted of one room, bare-roofed and bare-walled 
of course, with a loft above.  The ministering priest was a swarthy 
young savage, in a shirt of cotton print like bed-furniture, and a 
pair of ragged trousers.  There were a couple of young boys, too, 
nearly naked, lying idle by the well; and they, and he, and THE 
traveller at the inn, turned out to look at us.

The traveller was an old man with a grey gristly beard two inches 
long, a shaggy moustache of the same hue, and enormous eyebrows; 
which almost obscured his lazy, semi-drunken glance, as he stood 
regarding us with folded arms:  poising himself alternately upon 
his toes and heels.  On being addressed by one of the party, he 
drew nearer, and said, rubbing his chin (which scraped under his 
horny hand like fresh gravel beneath a nailed shoe), that he was 
from Delaware, and had lately bought a farm 'down there,' pointing 
into one of the marshes where the stunted trees were thickest.  He 
was 'going,' he added, to St. Louis, to fetch his family, whom he 
had left behind; but he seemed in no great hurry to bring on these 
incumbrances, for when we moved away, he loitered back into the 
cabin, and was plainly bent on stopping there so long as his money 
lasted.  He was a great politician of course, and explained his 
opinions at some length to one of our company; but I only remember 
that he concluded with two sentiments, one of which was, Somebody 
for ever; and the other, Blast everybody else! which is by no means 
a bad abstract of the general creed in these matters.

When the horses were swollen out to about twice their natural 
dimensions (there seems to be an idea here, that this kind of 
inflation improves their going), we went forward again, through mud 
and mire, and damp, and festering heat, and brake and bush, 
attended always by the music of the frogs and pigs, until nearly 
noon, when we halted at a place called Belleville.

Belleville was a small collection of wooden houses, huddled 
together in the very heart of the bush and swamp.  Many of them had 
singularly bright doors of red and yellow; for the place had been 
lately visited by a travelling painter, 'who got along,' as I was 
told, 'by eating his way.'  The criminal court was sitting, and was 
at that moment trying some criminals for horse-stealing:  with whom 
it would most likely go hard:  for live stock of all kinds being 
necessarily very much exposed in the woods, is held by the 
community in rather higher value than human life; and for this 
reason, juries generally make a point of finding all men indicted 
for cattle-stealing, guilty, whether or no.

The horses belonging to the bar, the judge, and witnesses, were 
tied to temporary racks set up roughly in the road; by which is to 
be understood, a forest path, nearly knee-deep in mud and slime.

There was an hotel in this place, which, like all hotels in 
America, had its large dining-room for the public table.  It was an 
odd, shambling, low-roofed out-house, half-cowshed and half-
kitchen, with a coarse brown canvas table-cloth, and tin sconces 
stuck against the walls, to hold candles at supper-time.  The 
horseman had gone forward to have coffee and some eatables 
prepared, and they were by this time nearly ready.  He had ordered 
'wheat-bread and chicken fixings,' in preference to 'corn-bread and 
common doings.'  The latter kind of rejection includes only pork 
and bacon.  The former comprehends broiled ham, sausages, veal 
cutlets, steaks, and such other viands of that nature as may be 
supposed, by a tolerably wide poetical construction, 'to fix' a 
chicken comfortably in the digestive organs of any lady or 

On one of the door-posts at this inn, was a tin plate, whereon was 
inscribed in characters of gold, 'Doctor Crocus;' and on a sheet of 
paper, pasted up by the side of this plate, was a written 
announcement that Dr. Crocus would that evening deliver a lecture 
on Phrenology for the benefit of the Belleville public; at a 
charge, for admission, of so much a head.

Straying up-stairs, during the preparation of the chicken fixings, 
I happened to pass the doctor's chamber; and as the door stood wide 
open, and the room was empty, I made bold to peep in.

It was a bare, unfurnished, comfortless room, with an unframed 
portrait hanging up at the head of the bed; a likeness, I take it, 
of the Doctor, for the forehead was fully displayed, and great 
stress was laid by the artist upon its phrenological developments.  
The bed itself was covered with an old patch-work counterpane.  The 
room was destitute of carpet or of curtain.  There was a damp 
fireplace without any stove, full of wood ashes; a chair, and a 
very small table; and on the last-named piece of furniture was 
displayed, in grand array, the doctor's library, consisting of some 
half-dozen greasy old books.

Now, it certainly looked about the last apartment on the whole 
earth out of which any man would be likely to get anything to do 
him good.  But the door, as I have said, stood coaxingly open, and 
plainly said in conjunction with the chair, the portrait, the 
table, and the books, 'Walk in, gentlemen, walk in!  Don't be ill, 
gentlemen, when you may be well in no time.  Doctor Crocus is here, 
gentlemen, the celebrated Dr. Crocus!  Dr. Crocus has come all this 
way to cure you, gentlemen.  If you haven't heard of Dr. Crocus, 
it's your fault, gentlemen, who live a little way out of the world 
here:  not Dr. Crocus's.  Walk in, gentlemen, walk in!'

In the passage below, when I went down-stairs again, was Dr. Crocus 
himself.  A crowd had flocked in from the Court House, and a voice 
from among them called out to the landlord, 'Colonel! introduce 
Doctor Crocus.'

'Mr. Dickens,' says the colonel, 'Doctor Crocus.'

Upon which Doctor Crocus, who is a tall, fine-looking Scotchman, 
but rather fierce and warlike in appearance for a professor of the 
peaceful art of healing, bursts out of the concourse with his right 
arm extended, and his chest thrown out as far as it will possibly 
come, and says:

'Your countryman, sir!'

Whereupon Doctor Crocus and I shake hands; and Doctor Crocus looks 
as if I didn't by any means realise his expectations, which, in a 
linen blouse, and a great straw hat, with a green ribbon, and no 
gloves, and my face and nose profusely ornamented with the stings 
of mosquitoes and the bites of bugs, it is very likely I did not.

'Long in these parts, sir?' says I.

'Three or four months, sir,' says the Doctor.

'Do you think of soon returning to the old country?' says I.

Doctor Crocus makes no verbal answer, but gives me an imploring 
look, which says so plainly 'Will you ask me that again, a little 
louder, if you please?' that I repeat the question.

'Think of soon returning to the old country, sir!' repeats the 

'To the old country, sir,' I rejoin.

Doctor Crocus looks round upon the crowd to observe the effect he 
produces, rubs his hands, and says, in a very loud voice:

'Not yet awhile, sir, not yet.  You won't catch me at that just 
yet, sir.  I am a little too fond of freedom for THAT, sir.  Ha, 
ha!  It's not so easy for a man to tear himself from a free country 
such as this is, sir.  Ha, ha!  No, no!  Ha, ha!  None of that till 
one's obliged to do it, sir.  No, no!'

As Doctor Crocus says these latter words, he shakes his head, 
knowingly, and laughs again.  Many of the bystanders shake their 
heads in concert with the doctor, and laugh too, and look at each 
other as much as to say, 'A pretty bright and first-rate sort of 
chap is Crocus!' and unless I am very much mistaken, a good many 
people went to the lecture that night, who never thought about 
phrenology, or about Doctor Crocus either, in all their lives 

From Belleville, we went on, through the same desolate kind of 
waste, and constantly attended, without the interval of a moment, 
by the same music; until, at three o'clock in the afternoon, we 
halted once more at a village called Lebanon to inflate the horses 
again, and give them some corn besides:  of which they stood much 
in need.  Pending this ceremony, I walked into the village, where I 
met a full-sized dwelling-house coming down-hill at a round trot, 
drawn by a score or more of oxen.

The public-house was so very clean and good a one, that the 
managers of the jaunt resolved to return to it and put up there for 
the night, if possible.  This course decided on, and the horses 
being well refreshed, we again pushed forward, and came upon the 
Prairie at sunset.

It would be difficult to say why, or how - though it was possibly 
from having heard and read so much about it - but the effect on me 
was disappointment.  Looking towards the setting sun, there lay, 
stretched out before my view, a vast expanse of level ground; 
unbroken, save by one thin line of trees, which scarcely amounted 
to a scratch upon the great blank; until it met the glowing sky, 
wherein it seemed to dip:  mingling with its rich colours, and 
mellowing in its distant blue.  There it lay, a tranquil sea or 
lake without water, if such a simile be admissible, with the day 
going down upon it:  a few birds wheeling here and there:  and 
solitude and silence reigning paramount around.  But the grass was 
not yet high; there were bare black patches on the ground; and the 
few wild flowers that the eye could see, were poor and scanty.  
Great as the picture was, its very flatness and extent, which left 
nothing to the imagination, tamed it down and cramped its interest.  
I felt little of that sense of freedom and exhilaration which a 
Scottish heath inspires, or even our English downs awaken.  It was 
lonely and wild, but oppressive in its barren monotony.  I felt 
that in traversing the Prairies, I could never abandon myself to 
the scene, forgetful of all else; as I should do instinctively, 
were the heather underneath my feet, or an iron-bound coast beyond; 
but should often glance towards the distant and frequently-receding 
line of the horizon, and wish it gained and passed.  It is not a 
scene to be forgotten, but it is scarcely one, I think (at all 
events, as I saw it), to remember with much pleasure, or to covet 
the looking-on again, in after-life.

We encamped near a solitary log-house, for the sake of its water, 
and dined upon the plain.  The baskets contained roast fowls, 
buffalo's tongue (an exquisite dainty, by the way), ham, bread, 
cheese, and butter; biscuits, champagne, sherry; lemons and sugar 
for punch; and abundance of rough ice.  The meal was delicious, and 
the entertainers were the soul of kindness and good humour.  I have 
often recalled that cheerful party to my pleasant recollection 
since, and shall not easily forget, in junketings nearer home with 
friends of older date, my boon companions on the Prairie.

Returning to Lebanon that night, we lay at the little inn at which 
we had halted in the afternoon.  In point of cleanliness and 
comfort it would have suffered by no comparison with any English 
alehouse, of a homely kind, in England.

Rising at five o'clock next morning, I took a walk about the 
village:  none of the houses were strolling about to-day, but it 
was early for them yet, perhaps:  and then amused myself by 
lounging in a kind of farm-yard behind the tavern, of which the 
leading features were, a strange jumble of rough sheds for stables; 
a rude colonnade, built as a cool place of summer resort; a deep 
well; a great earthen mound for keeping vegetables in, in winter 
time; and a pigeon-house, whose little apertures looked, as they do 
in all pigeon-houses, very much too small for the admission of the 
plump and swelling-breasted birds who were strutting about it, 
though they tried to get in never so hard.  That interest 
exhausted, I took a survey of the inn's two parlours, which were 
decorated with coloured prints of Washington, and President 
Madison, and of a white-faced young lady (much speckled by the 
flies), who held up her gold neck-chain for the admiration of the 
spectator, and informed all admiring comers that she was 'Just 
Seventeen:' although I should have thought her older.  In the best 
room were two oil portraits of the kit-cat size, representing the 
landlord and his infant son; both looking as bold as lions, and 
staring out of the canvas with an intensity that would have been 
cheap at any price.  They were painted, I think, by the artist who 
had touched up the Belleville doors with red and gold; for I seemed 
to recognise his style immediately.

After breakfast, we started to return by a different way from that 
which we had taken yesterday, and coming up at ten o'clock with an 
encampment of German emigrants carrying their goods in carts, who 
had made a rousing fire which they were just quitting, stopped 
there to refresh.  And very pleasant the fire was; for, hot though 
it had been yesterday, it was quite cold to-day, and the wind blew 
keenly.  Looming in the distance, as we rode along, was another of 
the ancient Indian burial-places, called The Monks' Mound; in 
memory of a body of fanatics of the order of La Trappe, who founded 
a desolate convent there, many years ago, when there were no 
settlers within a thousand miles, and were all swept off by the 
pernicious climate:  in which lamentable fatality, few rational 
people will suppose, perhaps, that society experienced any very 
severe deprivation.

The track of to-day had the same features as the track of 
yesterday.  There was the swamp, the bush, and the perpetual chorus 
of frogs, the rank unseemly growth, the unwholesome steaming earth.  
Here and there, and frequently too, we encountered a solitary 
broken-down waggon, full of some new settler's goods.  It was a 
pitiful sight to see one of these vehicles deep in the mire; the 
axle-tree broken; the wheel lying idly by its side; the man gone 
miles away, to look for assistance; the woman seated among their 
wandering household gods with a baby at her breast, a picture of 
forlorn, dejected patience; the team of oxen crouching down 
mournfully in the mud, and breathing forth such clouds of vapour 
from their mouths and nostrils, that all the damp mist and fog 
around seemed to have come direct from them.

In due time we mustered once again before the merchant tailor's, 
and having done so, crossed over to the city in the ferry-boat:  
passing, on the way, a spot called Bloody Island, the duelling-
ground of St. Louis, and so designated in honour of the last fatal 
combat fought there, which was with pistols, breast to breast.  
Both combatants fell dead upon the ground; and possibly some 
rational people may think of them, as of the gloomy madmen on the 
Monks' Mound, that they were no great loss to the community.


AS I had a desire to travel through the interior of the state of 
Ohio, and to 'strike the lakes,' as the phrase is, at a small town 
called Sandusky, to which that route would conduct us on our way to 
Niagara, we had to return from St. Louis by the way we had come, 
and to retrace our former track as far as Cincinnati.

The day on which we were to take leave of St. Louis being very 
fine; and the steamboat, which was to have started I don't know how 
early in the morning, postponing, for the third or fourth time, her 
departure until the afternoon; we rode forward to an old French 
village on the river, called properly Carondelet, and nicknamed 
Vide Poche, and arranged that the packet should call for us there.

The place consisted of a few poor cottages, and two or three 
public-houses; the state of whose larders certainly seemed to 
justify the second designation of the village, for there was 
nothing to eat in any of them.  At length, however, by going back 
some half a mile or so, we found a solitary house where ham and 
coffee were procurable; and there we tarried to wait the advent of 
the boat, which would come in sight from the green before the door, 
a long way off.

It was a neat, unpretending village tavern, and we took our repast 
in a quaint little room with a bed in it, decorated with some old 
oil paintings, which in their time had probably done duty in a 
Catholic chapel or monastery.  The fare was very good, and served 
with great cleanliness.  The house was kept by a characteristic old 
couple, with whom we had a long talk, and who were perhaps a very 
good sample of that kind of people in the West.

The landlord was a dry, tough, hard-faced old fellow (not so very 
old either, for he was but just turned sixty, I should think), who 
had been out with the militia in the last war with England, and had 
seen all kinds of service, - except a battle; and he had been very 
near seeing that, he added:  very near.  He had all his life been 
restless and locomotive, with an irresistible desire for change; 
and was still the son of his old self:  for if he had nothing to 
keep him at home, he said (slightly jerking his hat and his thumb 
towards the window of the room in which the old lady sat, as we 
stood talking in front of the house), he would clean up his musket, 
and be off to Texas to-morrow morning.  He was one of the very many 
descendants of Cain proper to this continent, who seem destined 
from their birth to serve as pioneers in the great human army:  who 
gladly go on from year to year extending its outposts, and leaving 
home after home behind them; and die at last, utterly regardless of 
their graves being left thousands of miles behind, by the wandering 
generation who succeed.

His wife was a domesticated, kind-hearted old soul, who had come 
with him, 'from the queen city of the world,' which, it seemed, was 
Philadelphia; but had no love for this Western country, and indeed 
had little reason to bear it any; having seen her children, one by 
one, die here of fever, in the full prime and beauty of their 
youth.  Her heart was sore, she said, to think of them; and to talk 
on this theme, even to strangers, in that blighted place, so far 
from her old home, eased it somewhat, and became a melancholy 

The boat appearing towards evening, we bade adieu to the poor old 
lady and her vagrant spouse, and making for the nearest landing-
place, were soon on board The Messenger again, in our old cabin, 
and steaming down the Mississippi.

If the coming up this river, slowly making head against the stream, 
be an irksome journey, the shooting down it with the turbid current 
is almost worse; for then the boat, proceeding at the rate of 
twelve or fifteen miles an hour, has to force its passage through a 
labyrinth of floating logs, which, in the dark, it is often 
impossible to see beforehand or avoid.  All that night, the bell 
was never silent for five minutes at a time; and after every ring 
the vessel reeled again, sometimes beneath a single blow, sometimes 
beneath a dozen dealt in quick succession, the lightest of which 
seemed more than enough to beat in her frail keel, as though it had 
been pie-crust.  Looking down upon the filthy river after dark, it 
seemed to be alive with monsters, as these black masses rolled upon 
the surface, or came starting up again, head first, when the boat, 
in ploughing her way among a shoal of such obstructions, drove a 
few among them for the moment under water.  Sometimes the engine 
stopped during a long interval, and then before her and behind, and 
gathering close about her on all sides, were so many of these ill-
favoured obstacles that she was fairly hemmed in; the centre of a 
floating island; and was constrained to pause until they parted, 
somewhere, as dark clouds will do before the wind, and opened by 
degrees a channel out.

In good time next morning, however, we came again in sight of the 
detestable morass called Cairo; and stopping there to take in wood, 
lay alongside a barge, whose starting timbers scarcely held 
together.  It was moored to the bank, and on its side was painted 
'Coffee House;' that being, I suppose, the floating paradise to 
which the people fly for shelter when they lose their houses for a 
month or two beneath the hideous waters of the Mississippi.  But 
looking southward from this point, we had the satisfaction of 
seeing that intolerable river dragging its slimy length and ugly 
freight abruptly off towards New Orleans; and passing a yellow line 
which stretched across the current, were again upon the clear Ohio, 
never, I trust, to see the Mississippi more, saving in troubled 
dreams and nightmares.  Leaving it for the company of its sparkling 
neighbour, was like the transition from pain to ease, or the 
awakening from a horrible vision to cheerful realities.

We arrived at Louisville on the fourth night, and gladly availed 
ourselves of its excellent hotel.  Next day we went on in the Ben 
Franklin, a beautiful mail steamboat, and reached Cincinnati 
shortly after midnight.  Being by this time nearly tired of 
sleeping upon shelves, we had remained awake to go ashore 
straightway; and groping a passage across the dark decks of other 
boats, and among labyrinths of engine-machinery and leaking casks 
of molasses, we reached the streets, knocked up the porter at the 
hotel where we had stayed before, and were, to our great joy, 
safely housed soon afterwards.

We rested but one day at Cincinnati, and then resumed our journey 
to Sandusky.  As it comprised two varieties of stage-coach 
travelling, which, with those I have already glanced at, comprehend 
the main characteristics of this mode of transit in America, I will 
take the reader as our fellow-passenger, and pledge myself to 
perform the distance with all possible despatch.

Our place of destination in the first instance is Columbus.  It is 
distant about a hundred and twenty miles from Cincinnati, but there 
is a macadamised road (rare blessing!) the whole way, and the rate 
of travelling upon it is six miles an hour.

We start at eight o'clock in the morning, in a great mail-coach, 
whose huge cheeks are so very ruddy and plethoric, that it appears 
to be troubled with a tendency of blood to the head.  Dropsical it 
certainly is, for it will hold a dozen passengers inside.  But, 
wonderful to add, it is very clean and bright, being nearly new; 
and rattles through the streets of Cincinnati gaily.

Our way lies through a beautiful country, richly cultivated, and 
luxuriant in its promise of an abundant harvest.  Sometimes we pass 
a field where the strong bristling stalks of Indian corn look like 
a crop of walking-sticks, and sometimes an enclosure where the 
green wheat is springing up among a labyrinth of stumps; the 
primitive worm-fence is universal, and an ugly thing it is; but the 
farms are neatly kept, and, save for these differences, one might 
be travelling just now in Kent.

We often stop to water at a roadside inn, which is always dull and 
silent.  The coachman dismounts and fills his bucket, and holds it 
to the horses' heads.  There is scarcely ever any one to help him; 
there are seldom any loungers standing round; and never any stable-
company with jokes to crack.  Sometimes, when we have changed our 
team, there is a difficulty in starting again, arising out of the 
prevalent mode of breaking a young horse:  which is to catch him, 
harness him against his will, and put him in a stage-coach without 
further notice:  but we get on somehow or other, after a great many 
kicks and a violent struggle; and jog on as before again.

Occasionally, when we stop to change, some two or three half-
drunken loafers will come loitering out with their hands in their 
pockets, or will be seen kicking their heels in rocking-chairs, or 
lounging on the window-sill, or sitting on a rail within the 
colonnade:  they have not often anything to say though, either to 
us or to each other, but sit there idly staring at the coach and 
horses.  The landlord of the inn is usually among them, and seems, 
of all the party, to be the least connected with the business of 
the house.  Indeed he is with reference to the tavern, what the 
driver is in relation to the coach and passengers:  whatever 
happens in his sphere of action, he is quite indifferent, and 
perfectly easy in his mind.

The frequent change of coachmen works no change or variety in the 
coachman's character.  He is always dirty, sullen, and taciturn.  
If he be capable of smartness of any kind, moral or physical, he 
has a faculty of concealing it which is truly marvellous.  He never 
speaks to you as you sit beside him on the box, and if you speak to 
him, he answers (if at all) in monosyllables.  He points out 
nothing on the road, and seldom looks at anything:  being, to all 
appearance, thoroughly weary of it and of existence generally.  As 
to doing the honours of his coach, his business, as I have said, is 
with the horses.  The coach follows because it is attached to them 
and goes on wheels:  not because you are in it.  Sometimes, towards 
the end of a long stage, he suddenly breaks out into a discordant 
fragment of an election song, but his face never sings along with 
him:  it is only his voice, and not often that.

He always chews and always spits, and never encumbers himself with 
a pocket-handkerchief.  The consequences to the box passenger, 
especially when the wind blows towards him, are not agreeable.

Whenever the coach stops, and you can hear the voices of the inside 
passengers; or whenever any bystander addresses them, or any one 
among them; or they address each other; you will hear one phrase 
repeated over and over and over again to the most extraordinary 
extent.  It is an ordinary and unpromising phrase enough, being 
neither more nor less than 'Yes, sir;' but it is adapted to every 
variety of circumstance, and fills up every pause in the 
conversation.  Thus:-

The time is one o'clock at noon.  The scene, a place where we are 
to stay and dine, on this journey.  The coach drives up to the door 
of an inn.  The day is warm, and there are several idlers lingering 
about the tavern, and waiting for the public dinner.  Among them, 
is a stout gentleman in a brown hat, swinging himself to and fro in 
a rocking-chair on the pavement.

As the coach stops, a gentleman in a straw hat looks out of the 

STRAW HAT.  (To the stout gentleman in the rocking-chair.)  I 
reckon that's Judge Jefferson, an't it?

BROWN HAT.  (Still swinging; speaking very slowly; and without any 
emotion whatever.)  Yes, sir.

STRAW HAT.  Warm weather, Judge.

BROWN HAT.  Yes, sir.

STRAW HAT.  There was a snap of cold, last week.

BROWN HAT.  Yes, sir.

STRAW HAT.  Yes, sir.

A pause.  They look at each other, very seriously.

STRAW HAT.  I calculate you'll have got through that case of the 
corporation, Judge, by this time, now?

BROWN HAT.  Yes, sir.

STRAW HAT.  How did the verdict go, sir?

BROWN HAT.  For the defendant, sir.

STRAW HAT.  (Interrogatively.)  Yes, sir?

BROWN HAT. (Affirmatively.)  Yes, sir.

BOTH.  (Musingly, as each gazes down the street.)  Yes, sir.

Another pause.  They look at each other again, still more seriously 
than before.

BROWN HAT.  This coach is rather behind its time to-day, I guess.

STRAW HAT.  (Doubtingly.)  Yes, sir.

BROWN HAT.  (Looking at his watch.)  Yes, sir; nigh upon two hours.

STRAW HAT.  (Raising his eyebrows in very great surprise.)  Yes, 

BROWN HAT.  (Decisively, as he puts up his watch.)  Yes, sir.

ALL THE OTHER INSIDE PASSENGERS.  (Among themselves.)  Yes, sir.

COACHMAN.  (In a very surly tone.)  No it an't.

STRAW HAT.  (To the coachman.)  Well, I don't know, sir.  We were a 
pretty tall time coming that last fifteen mile.  That's a fact.

The coachman making no reply, and plainly declining to enter into 
any controversy on a subject so far removed from his sympathies and 
feelings, another passenger says, 'Yes, sir;' and the gentleman in 
the straw hat in acknowledgment of his courtesy, says 'Yes, sir,' 
to him, in return.  The straw hat then inquires of the brown hat, 
whether that coach in which he (the straw hat) then sits, is not a 
new one?  To which the brown hat again makes answer, 'Yes, sir.'

STRAW HAT.  I thought so.  Pretty loud smell of varnish, sir?

BROWN HAT.  Yes, sir.


BROWN HAT.  (To the company in general.)  Yes, sir.

The conversational powers of the company having been by this time 
pretty heavily taxed, the straw hat opens the door and gets out; 
and all the rest alight also.  We dine soon afterwards with the 
boarders in the house, and have nothing to drink but tea and 
coffee.  As they are both very bad and the water is worse, I ask 
for brandy; but it is a Temperance Hotel, and spirits are not to be 
had for love or money.  This preposterous forcing of unpleasant 
drinks down the reluctant throats of travellers is not at all 
uncommon in America, but I never discovered that the scruples of 
such wincing landlords induced them to preserve any unusually nice 
balance between the quality of their fare, and their scale of 
charges:  on the contrary, I rather suspected them of diminishing 
the one and exalting the other, by way of recompense for the loss 
of their profit on the sale of spirituous liquors.  After all, 
perhaps, the plainest course for persons of such tender 
consciences, would be, a total abstinence from tavern-keeping.

Dinner over, we get into another vehicle which is ready at the door 
(for the coach has been changed in the interval), and resume our 
journey; which continues through the same kind of country until 
evening, when we come to the town where we are to stop for tea and 
supper; and having delivered the mail bags at the Post-office, ride 
through the usual wide street, lined with the usual stores and 
houses (the drapers always having hung up at their door, by way of 
sign, a piece of bright red cloth), to the hotel where this meal is 
prepared.  There being many boarders here, we sit down, a large 
party, and a very melancholy one as usual.  But there is a buxom 
hostess at the head of the table, and opposite, a simple Welsh 
schoolmaster with his wife and child; who came here, on a 
speculation of greater promise than performance, to teach the 
classics:  and they are sufficient subjects of interest until the 
meal is over, and another coach is ready.  In it we go on once 
more, lighted by a bright moon, until midnight; when we stop to 
change the coach again, and remain for half an hour or so in a 
miserable room, with a blurred lithograph of Washington over the 
smoky fire-place, and a mighty jug of cold water on the table:  to 
which refreshment the moody passengers do so apply themselves that 
they would seem to be, one and all, keen patients of Dr. Sangrado.  
Among them is a very little boy, who chews tobacco like a very big 
one; and a droning gentleman, who talks arithmetically and 
statistically on all subjects, from poetry downwards; and who 
always speaks in the same key, with exactly the same emphasis, and 
with very grave deliberation.  He came outside just now, and told 
me how that the uncle of a certain young lady who had been spirited 
away and married by a certain captain, lived in these parts; and 
how this uncle was so valiant and ferocious that he shouldn't 
wonder if he were to follow the said captain to England, 'and shoot 
him down in the street wherever he found him;' in the feasibility 
of which strong measure I, being for the moment rather prone to 
contradiction, from feeling half asleep and very tired, declined to 
acquiesce:  assuring him that if the uncle did resort to it, or 
gratified any other little whim of the like nature, he would find 
himself one morning prematurely throttled at the Old Bailey:  and 
that he would do well to make his will before he went, as he would 
certainly want it before he had been in Britain very long.

On we go, all night, and by-and-by the day begins to break, and 
presently the first cheerful rays of the warm sun come slanting on 
us brightly.  It sheds its light upon a miserable waste of sodden 
grass, and dull trees, and squalid huts, whose aspect is forlorn 
and grievous in the last degree.  A very desert in the wood, whose 
growth of green is dank and noxious like that upon the top of 
standing water:  where poisonous fungus grows in the rare footprint 
on the oozy ground, and sprouts like witches' coral, from the 
crevices in the cabin wall and floor; it is a hideous thing to lie 
upon the very threshold of a city.  But it was purchased years ago, 
and as the owner cannot be discovered, the State has been unable to 
reclaim it.  So there it remains, in the midst of cultivation and 
improvement, like ground accursed, and made obscene and rank by 
some great crime.

We reached Columbus shortly before seven o'clock, and stayed there, 
to refresh, that day and night:  having excellent apartments in a 
very large unfinished hotel called the Neill House, which were 
richly fitted with the polished wood of the black walnut, and 
opened on a handsome portico and stone verandah, like rooms in some 
Italian mansion.  The town is clean and pretty, and of course is 
'going to be' much larger.  It is the seat of the State legislature 
of Ohio, and lays claim, in consequence, to some consideration and 

There being no stage-coach next day, upon the road we wished to 
take, I hired 'an extra,' at a reasonable charge to carry us to 
Tiffin; a small town from whence there is a railroad to Sandusky.  
This extra was an ordinary four-horse stage-coach, such as I have 
described, changing horses and drivers, as the stage-coach would, 
but was exclusively our own for the journey.  To ensure our having 
horses at the proper stations, and being incommoded by no 
strangers, the proprietors sent an agent on the box, who was to 
accompany us the whole way through; and thus attended, and bearing 
with us, besides, a hamper full of savoury cold meats, and fruit, 
and wine, we started off again in high spirits, at half-past six 
o'clock next morning, very much delighted to be by ourselves, and 
disposed to enjoy even the roughest journey.

It was well for us, that we were in this humour, for the road we 
went over that day, was certainly enough to have shaken tempers 
that were not resolutely at Set Fair, down to some inches below 
Stormy.  At one time we were all flung together in a heap at the 
bottom of the coach, and at another we were crushing our heads 
against the roof.  Now, one side was down deep in the mire, and we 
were holding on to the other.  Now, the coach was lying on the 
tails of the two wheelers; and now it was rearing up in the air, in 
a frantic state, with all four horses standing on the top of an 
insurmountable eminence, looking coolly back at it, as though they 
would say 'Unharness us.  It can't be done.'  The drivers on these 
roads, who certainly get over the ground in a manner which is quite 
miraculous, so twist and turn the team about in forcing a passage, 
corkscrew fashion, through the bogs and swamps, that it was quite a 
common circumstance on looking out of the window, to see the 
coachman with the ends of a pair of reins in his hands, apparently 
driving nothing, or playing at horses, and the leaders staring at 
one unexpectedly from the back of the coach, as if they had some 
idea of getting up behind.  A great portion of the way was over 
what is called a corduroy road, which is made by throwing trunks of 
trees into a marsh, and leaving them to settle there.  The very 
slightest of the jolts with which the ponderous carriage fell from 
log to log, was enough, it seemed, to have dislocated all the bones 
in the human body.  It would be impossible to experience a similar 
set of sensations, in any other circumstances, unless perhaps in 
attempting to go up to the top of St. Paul's in an omnibus.  Never, 
never once, that day, was the coach in any position, attitude, or 
kind of motion to which we are accustomed in coaches.  Never did it 
make the smallest approach to one's experience of the proceedings 
of any sort of vehicle that goes on wheels.

Still, it was a fine day, and the temperature was delicious, and 
though we had left Summer behind us in the west, and were fast 
leaving Spring, we were moving towards Niagara and home.  We 
alighted in a pleasant wood towards the middle of the day, dined on 
a fallen tree, and leaving our best fragments with a cottager, and 
our worst with the pigs (who swarm in this part of the country like 
grains of sand on the sea-shore, to the great comfort of our 
commissariat in Canada), we went forward again, gaily.

As night came on, the track grew narrower and narrower, until at 
last it so lost itself among the trees, that the driver seemed to 
find his way by instinct.  We had the comfort of knowing, at least, 
that there was no danger of his falling asleep, for every now and 
then a wheel would strike against an unseen stump with such a jerk, 
that he was fain to hold on pretty tight and pretty quick, to keep 
himself upon the box.  Nor was there any reason to dread the least 
danger from furious driving, inasmuch as over that broken ground 
the horses had enough to do to walk; as to shying, there was no 
room for that; and a herd of wild elephants could not have run away 
in such a wood, with such a coach at their heels.  So we stumbled 
along, quite satisfied.

These stumps of trees are a curious feature in American travelling.  
The varying illusions they present to the unaccustomed eye as it 
grows dark, are quite astonishing in their number and reality.  
Now, there is a Grecian urn erected in the centre of a lonely 
field; now there is a woman weeping at a tomb; now a very 
commonplace old gentleman in a white waistcoat, with a thumb thrust 
into each arm-hole of his coat; now a student poring on a book; now 
a crouching negro; now, a horse, a dog, a cannon, an armed man; a 
hunch-back throwing off his cloak and stepping forth into the 
light.  They were often as entertaining to me as so many glasses in 
a magic lantern, and never took their shapes at my bidding, but 
seemed to force themselves upon me, whether I would or no; and 
strange to say, I sometimes recognised in them counterparts of 
figures once familiar to me in pictures attached to childish books, 
forgotten long ago.

It soon became too dark, however, even for this amusement, and the 
trees were so close together that their dry branches rattled 
against the coach on either side, and obliged us all to keep our 
heads within.  It lightened too, for three whole hours; each flash 
being very bright, and blue, and long; and as the vivid streaks 
came darting in among the crowded branches, and the thunder rolled 
gloomily above the tree tops, one could scarcely help thinking that 
there were better neighbourhoods at such a time than thick woods 

At length, between ten and eleven o'clock at night, a few feeble 
lights appeared in the distance, and Upper Sandusky, an Indian 
village, where we were to stay till morning, lay before us.

They were gone to bed at the log Inn, which was the only house of 
entertainment in the place, but soon answered to our knocking, and 
got some tea for us in a sort of kitchen or common room, tapestried 
with old newspapers, pasted against the wall.  The bed-chamber to 
which my wife and I were shown, was a large, low, ghostly room; 
with a quantity of withered branches on the hearth, and two doors 
without any fastening, opposite to each other, both opening on the 
black night and wild country, and so contrived, that one of them 
always blew the other open:  a novelty in domestic architecture, 
which I do not remember to have seen before, and which I was 
somewhat disconcerted to have forced on my attention after getting 
into bed, as I had a considerable sum in gold for our travelling 
expenses, in my dressing-case.  Some of the luggage, however, piled 
against the panels, soon settled this difficulty, and my sleep 
would not have been very much affected that night, I believe, 
though it had failed to do so.

My Boston friend climbed up to bed, somewhere in the roof, where 
another guest was already snoring hugely.  But being bitten beyond 
his power of endurance, he turned out again, and fled for shelter 
to the coach, which was airing itself in front of the house.  This 
was not a very politic step, as it turned out; for the pigs 
scenting him, and looking upon the coach as a kind of pie with some 
manner of meat inside, grunted round it so hideously, that he was 
afraid to come out again, and lay there shivering, till morning.  
Nor was it possible to warm him, when he did come out, by means of 
a glass of brandy:  for in Indian villages, the legislature, with a 
very good and wise intention, forbids the sale of spirits by tavern 
keepers.  The precaution, however, is quite inefficacious, for the 
Indians never fail to procure liquor of a worse kind, at a dearer 
price, from travelling pedlars.

It is a settlement of the Wyandot Indians who inhabit this place.  
Among the company at breakfast was a mild old gentleman, who had 
been for many years employed by the United States Government in 
conducting negotiations with the Indians, and who had just 
concluded a treaty with these people by which they bound 
themselves, in consideration of a certain annual sum, to remove 
next year to some land provided for them, west of the Mississippi, 
and a little way beyond St. Louis.  He gave me a moving account of 
their strong attachment to the familiar scenes of their infancy, 
and in particular to the burial-places of their kindred; and of 
their great reluctance to leave them.  He had witnessed many such 
removals, and always with pain, though he knew that they departed 
for their own good.  The question whether this tribe should go or 
stay, had been discussed among them a day or two before, in a hut 
erected for the purpose, the logs of which still lay upon the 
ground before the inn.  When the speaking was done, the ayes and 
noes were ranged on opposite sides, and every male adult voted in 
his turn.  The moment the result was known, the minority (a large 
one) cheerfully yielded to the rest, and withdrew all kind of 

We met some of these poor Indians afterwards, riding on shaggy 
ponies.  They were so like the meaner sort of gipsies, that if I 
could have seen any of them in England, I should have concluded, as 
a matter of course, that they belonged to that wandering and 
restless people.

Leaving this town directly after breakfast, we pushed forward 
again, over a rather worse road than yesterday, if possible, and 
arrived about noon at Tiffin, where we parted with the extra.  At 
two o'clock we took the railroad; the travelling on which was very 
slow, its construction being indifferent, and the ground wet and 
marshy; and arrived at Sandusky in time to dine that evening.  We 
put up at a comfortable little hotel on the brink of Lake Erie, lay 
there that night, and had no choice but to wait there next day, 
until a steamboat bound for Buffalo appeared.  The town, which was 
sluggish and uninteresting enough, was something like the back of 
an English watering-place, out of the season.

Our host, who was very attentive and anxious to make us 
comfortable, was a handsome middle-aged man, who had come to this 
town from New England, in which part of the country he was 
'raised.'  When I say that he constantly walked in and out of the 
room with his hat on; and stopped to converse in the same free-and-
easy state; and lay down on our sofa, and pulled his newspaper out 
of his pocket, and read it at his ease; I merely mention these 
traits as characteristic of the country:  not at all as being 
matter of complaint, or as having been disagreeable to me.  I 
should undoubtedly be offended by such proceedings at home, because 
there they are not the custom, and where they are not, they would 
be impertinencies; but in America, the only desire of a good-
natured fellow of this kind, is to treat his guests hospitably and 
well; and I had no more right, and I can truly say no more 
disposition, to measure his conduct by our English rule and 
standard, than I had to quarrel with him for not being of the exact 
stature which would qualify him for admission into the Queen's 
grenadier guards.  As little inclination had I to find fault with a 
funny old lady who was an upper domestic in this establishment, and 
who, when she came to wait upon us at any meal, sat herself down 
comfortably in the most convenient chair, and producing a large pin 
to pick her teeth with, remained performing that ceremony, and 
steadfastly regarding us meanwhile with much gravity and composure 
(now and then pressing us to eat a little more), until it was time 
to clear away.  It was enough for us, that whatever we wished done 
was done with great civility and readiness, and a desire to oblige, 
not only here, but everywhere else; and that all our wants were, in 
general, zealously anticipated.

We were taking an early dinner at this house, on the day after our 
arrival, which was Sunday, when a steamboat came in sight, and 
presently touched at the wharf.  As she proved to be on her way to 
Buffalo, we hurried on board with all speed, and soon left Sandusky 
far behind us.

She was a large vessel of five hundred tons, and handsomely fitted 
up, though with high-pressure engines; which always conveyed that 
kind of feeling to me, which I should be likely to experience, I 
think, if I had lodgings on the first-floor of a powder-mill.  She 
was laden with flour, some casks of which commodity were stored 
upon the deck.  The captain coming up to have a little 
conversation, and to introduce a friend, seated himself astride of 
one of these barrels, like a Bacchus of private life; and pulling a 
great clasp-knife out of his pocket, began to 'whittle' it as he 
talked, by paring thin slices off the edges.  And he whittled with 
such industry and hearty good will, that but for his being called 
away very soon, it must have disappeared bodily, and left nothing 
in its place but grist and shavings.

After calling at one or two flat places, with low dams stretching 
out into the lake, whereon were stumpy lighthouses, like windmills 
without sails, the whole looking like a Dutch vignette, we came at 
midnight to Cleveland, where we lay all night, and until nine 
o'clock next morning.

I entertained quite a curiosity in reference to this place, from 
having seen at Sandusky a specimen of its literature in the shape 
of a newspaper, which was very strong indeed upon the subject of 
Lord Ashburton's recent arrival at Washington, to adjust the points 
in dispute between the United States Government and Great Britain:  
informing its readers that as America had 'whipped' England in her 
infancy, and whipped her again in her youth, so it was clearly 
necessary that she must whip her once again in her maturity; and 
pledging its credit to all True Americans, that if Mr. Webster did 
his duty in the approaching negotiations, and sent the English Lord 
home again in double quick time, they should, within two years, 
sing 'Yankee Doodle in Hyde Park, and Hail Columbia in the scarlet 
courts of Westminster!'  I found it a pretty town, and had the 
satisfaction of beholding the outside of the office of the journal 
from which I have just quoted.  I did not enjoy the delight of 
seeing the wit who indited the paragraph in question, but I have no 
doubt he is a prodigious man in his way, and held in high repute by 
a select circle.

There was a gentleman on board, to whom, as I unintentionally 
learned through the thin partition which divided our state-room 
from the cabin in which he and his wife conversed together, I was 
unwittingly the occasion of very great uneasiness.  I don't know 
why or wherefore, but I appeared to run in his mind perpetually, 
and to dissatisfy him very much.  First of all I heard him say:  
and the most ludicrous part of the business was, that he said it in 
my very ear, and could not have communicated more directly with me, 
if he had leaned upon my shoulder, and whispered me:  'Boz is on 
board still, my dear.'  After a considerable pause, he added, 
complainingly, 'Boz keeps himself very close;' which was true 
enough, for I was not very well, and was lying down, with a book.  
I thought he had done with me after this, but I was deceived; for a 
long interval having elapsed, during which I imagine him to have 
been turning restlessly from side to side, and trying to go to 
sleep; he broke out again, with 'I suppose THAT Boz will be writing 
a book by-and-by, and putting all our names in it!' at which 
imaginary consequence of being on board a boat with Boz, he 
groaned, and became silent.

We called at the town of Erie, at eight o'clock that night, and lay 
there an hour.  Between five and six next morning, we arrived at 
Buffalo, where we breakfasted; and being too near the Great Falls 
to wait patiently anywhere else, we set off by the train, the same 
morning at nine o'clock, to Niagara.

It was a miserable day; chilly and raw; a damp mist falling; and 
the trees in that northern region quite bare and wintry.  Whenever 
the train halted, I listened for the roar; and was constantly 
straining my eyes in the direction where I knew the Falls must be, 
from seeing the river rolling on towards them; every moment 
expecting to behold the spray.  Within a few minutes of our 
stopping, not before, I saw two great white clouds rising up slowly 
and majestically from the depths of the earth.  That was all.  At 
length we alighted:  and then for the first time, I heard the 
mighty rush of water, and felt the ground tremble underneath my 

The bank is very steep, and was slippery with rain, and half-melted 
ice.  I hardly know how I got down, but I was soon at the bottom, 
and climbing, with two English officers who were crossing and had 
joined me, over some broken rocks, deafened by the noise, half-
blinded by the spray, and wet to the skin.  We were at the foot of 
the American Fall.  I could see an immense torrent of water tearing 
headlong down from some great height, but had no idea of shape, or 
situation, or anything but vague immensity.

When we were seated in the little ferry-boat, and were crossing the 
swollen river immediately before both cataracts, I began to feel 
what it was:  but I was in a manner stunned, and unable to 
comprehend the vastness of the scene.  It was not until I came on 
Table Rock, and looked - Great Heaven, on what a fall of bright-
green water! - that it came upon me in its full might and majesty.

Then, when I felt how near to my Creator I was standing, the first 
effect, and the enduring one - instant and lasting - of the 
tremendous spectacle, was Peace.  Peace of Mind, tranquillity, calm 
recollections of the Dead, great thoughts of Eternal Rest and 
Happiness:  nothing of gloom or terror.  Niagara was at once 
stamped upon my heart, an Image of Beauty; to remain there, 
changeless and indelible, until its pulses cease to beat, for ever.

Oh, how the strife and trouble of daily life receded from my view, 
and lessened in the distance, during the ten memorable days we 
passed on that Enchanted Ground!  What voices spoke from out the 
thundering water; what faces, faded from the earth, looked out upon 
me from its gleaming depths; what Heavenly promise glistened in 
those angels' tears, the drops of many hues, that showered around, 
and twined themselves about the gorgeous arches which the changing 
rainbows made!

I never stirred in all that time from the Canadian side, whither I 
had gone at first.  I never crossed the river again; for I knew 
there were people on the other shore, and in such a place it is 
natural to shun strange company.  To wander to and fro all day, and 
see the cataracts from all points of view; to stand upon the edge 
of the great Horse-Shoe Fall, marking the hurried water gathering 
strength as it approached the verge, yet seeming, too, to pause 
before it shot into the gulf below; to gaze from the river's level 
up at the torrent as it came streaming down; to climb the 
neighbouring heights and watch it through the trees, and see the 
wreathing water in the rapids hurrying on to take its fearful 
plunge; to linger in the shadow of the solemn rocks three miles 
below; watching the river as, stirred by no visible cause, it 
heaved and eddied and awoke the echoes, being troubled yet, far 
down beneath the surface, by its giant leap; to have Niagara before 
me, lighted by the sun and by the moon, red in the day's decline, 
and grey as evening slowly fell upon it; to look upon it every day, 
and wake up in the night and hear its ceaseless voice:  this was 

I think in every quiet season now, still do those waters roll and 
leap, and roar and tumble, all day long; still are the rainbows 
spanning them, a hundred feet below.  Still, when the sun is on 
them, do they shine and glow like molten gold.  Still, when the day 
is gloomy, do they fall like snow, or seem to crumble away like the 
front of a great chalk cliff, or roll down the rock like dense 
white smoke.  But always does the mighty stream appear to die as it 
comes down, and always from its unfathomable grave arises that 
tremendous ghost of spray and mist which is never laid:  which has 
haunted this place with the same dread solemnity since Darkness 
brooded on the deep, and that first flood before the Deluge - Light 
- came rushing on Creation at the word of God.


I wish to abstain from instituting any comparison, or drawing any 
parallel whatever, between the social features of the United States 
and those of the British Possessions in Canada.  For this reason, I 
shall confine myself to a very brief account of our journeyings in 
the latter territory.

But before I leave Niagara, I must advert to one disgusting 
circumstance which can hardly have escaped the observation of any 
decent traveller who has visited the Falls.

On Table Rock, there is a cottage belonging to a Guide, where 
little relics of the place are sold, and where visitors register 
their names in a book kept for the purpose.  On the wall of the 
room in which a great many of these volumes are preserved, the 
following request is posted:  'Visitors will please not copy nor 
extract the remarks and poetical effusions from the registers and 
albums kept here.'

But for this intimation, I should have let them lie upon the tables 
on which they were strewn with careful negligence, like books in a 
drawing-room:  being quite satisfied with the stupendous silliness 
of certain stanzas with an anti-climax at the end of each, which 
were framed and hung up on the wall.  Curious, however, after 
reading this announcement, to see what kind of morsels were so 
carefully preserved, I turned a few leaves, and found them scrawled 
all over with the vilest and the filthiest ribaldry that ever human 
hogs delighted in.

It is humiliating enough to know that there are among men brutes so 
obscene and worthless, that they can delight in laying their 
miserable profanations upon the very steps of Nature's greatest 
altar.  But that these should be hoarded up for the delight of 
their fellow-swine, and kept in a public place where any eyes may 
see them, is a disgrace to the English language in which they are 
written (though I hope few of these entries have been made by 
Englishmen), and a reproach to the English side, on which they are 

The quarters of our soldiers at Niagara, are finely and airily 
situated.  Some of them are large detached houses on the plain 
above the Falls, which were originally designed for hotels; and in 
the evening time, when the women and children were leaning over the 
balconies watching the men as they played at ball and other games 
upon the grass before the door, they often presented a little 
picture of cheerfulness and animation which made it quite a 
pleasure to pass that way.

At any garrisoned point where the line of demarcation between one 
country and another is so very narrow as at Niagara, desertion from 
the ranks can scarcely fail to be of frequent occurrence:  and it 
may be reasonably supposed that when the soldiers entertain the 
wildest and maddest hopes of the fortune and independence that 
await them on the other side, the impulse to play traitor, which 
such a place suggests to dishonest minds, is not weakened.  But it 
very rarely happens that the men who do desert, are happy or 
contented afterwards; and many instances have been known in which 
they have confessed their grievous disappointment, and their 
earnest desire to return to their old service if they could but be 
assured of pardon, or lenient treatment.  Many of their comrades, 
notwithstanding, do the like, from time to time; and instances of 
loss of life in the effort to cross the river with this object, are 
far from being uncommon.  Several men were drowned in the attempt 
to swim across, not long ago; and one, who had the madness to trust 
himself upon a table as a raft, was swept down to the whirlpool, 
where his mangled body eddied round and round some days.

I am inclined to think that the noise of the Falls is very much 
exaggerated; and this will appear the more probable when the depth 
of the great basin in which the water is received, is taken into 
account.  At no time during our stay there, was the wind at all 
high or boisterous, but we never heard them, three miles off, even 
at the very quiet time of sunset, though we often tried.

Queenston, at which place the steamboats start for Toronto (or I 
should rather say at which place they call, for their wharf is at 
Lewiston, on the opposite shore), is situated in a delicious 
valley, through which the Niagara river, in colour a very deep 
green, pursues its course.  It is approached by a road that takes 
its winding way among the heights by which the town is sheltered; 
and seen from this point is extremely beautiful and picturesque.  
On the most conspicuous of these heights stood a monument erected 
by the Provincial Legislature in memory of General Brock, who was 
slain in a battle with the American forces, after having won the 
victory.  Some vagabond, supposed to be a fellow of the name of 
Lett, who is now, or who lately was, in prison as a felon, blew up 
this monument two years ago, and it is now a melancholy ruin, with 
a long fragment of iron railing hanging dejectedly from its top, 
and waving to and fro like a wild ivy branch or broken vine stem.  
It is of much higher importance than it may seem, that this statue 
should be repaired at the public cost, as it ought to have been 
long ago.  Firstly, because it is beneath the dignity of England to 
allow a memorial raised in honour of one of her defenders, to 
remain in this condition, on the very spot where he died.  
Secondly, because the sight of it in its present state, and the 
recollection of the unpunished outrage which brought it to this 
pass, is not very likely to soothe down border feelings among 
English subjects here, or compose their border quarrels and 

I was standing on the wharf at this place, watching the passengers 
embarking in a steamboat which preceded that whose coming we 
awaited, and participating in the anxiety with which a sergeant's 
wife was collecting her few goods together - keeping one distracted 
eye hard upon the porters, who were hurrying them on board, and the 
other on a hoopless washing-tub for which, as being the most 
utterly worthless of all her movables, she seemed to entertain 
particular affection - when three or four soldiers with a recruit 
came up and went on board.

The recruit was a likely young fellow enough, strongly built and 
well made, but by no means sober:  indeed he had all the air of a 
man who had been more or less drunk for some days.  He carried a 
small bundle over his shoulder, slung at the end of a walking-
stick, and had a short pipe in his mouth.  He was as dusty and 
dirty as recruits usually are, and his shoes betokened that he had 
travelled on foot some distance, but he was in a very jocose state, 
and shook hands with this soldier, and clapped that one on the 
back, and talked and laughed continually, like a roaring idle dog 
as he was.

The soldiers rather laughed at this blade than with him:  seeming 
to say, as they stood straightening their canes in their hands, and 
looking coolly at him over their glazed stocks, 'Go on, my boy, 
while you may! you'll know better by-and-by:' when suddenly the 
novice, who had been backing towards the gangway in his noisy 
merriment, fell overboard before their eyes, and splashed heavily 
down into the river between the vessel and the dock.

I never saw such a good thing as the change that came over these 
soldiers in an instant.  Almost before the man was down, their 
professional manner, their stiffness and constraint, were gone, and 
they were filled with the most violent energy.  In less time than 
is required to tell it, they had him out again, feet first, with 
the tails of his coat flapping over his eyes, everything about him 
hanging the wrong way, and the water streaming off at every thread 
in his threadbare dress.  But the moment they set him upright and 
found that he was none the worse, they were soldiers again, looking 
over their glazed stocks more composedly than ever.

The half-sobered recruit glanced round for a moment, as if his 
first impulse were to express some gratitude for his preservation, 
but seeing them with this air of total unconcern, and having his 
wet pipe presented to him with an oath by the soldier who had been 
by far the most anxious of the party, he stuck it in his mouth, 
thrust his hands into his moist pockets, and without even shaking 
the water off his clothes, walked on board whistling; not to say as 
if nothing had happened, but as if he had meant to do it, and it 
had been a perfect success.

Our steamboat came up directly this had left the wharf, and soon 
bore us to the mouth of the Niagara; where the stars and stripes of 
America flutter on one side and the Union Jack of England on the 
other:  and so narrow is the space between them that the sentinels 
in either fort can often hear the watchword of the other country 
given.  Thence we emerged on Lake Ontario, an inland sea; and by 
half-past six o'clock were at Toronto.

The country round this town being very flat, is bare of scenic 
interest; but the town itself is full of life and motion, bustle, 
business, and improvement.  The streets are well paved, and lighted 
with gas; the houses are large and good; the shops excellent.  Many 
of them have a display of goods in their windows, such as may be 
seen in thriving county towns in England; and there are some which 
would do no discredit to the metropolis itself.  There is a good 
stone prison here; and there are, besides, a handsome church, a 
court-house, public offices, many commodious private residences, 
and a government observatory for noting and recording the magnetic 
variations.  In the College of Upper Canada, which is one of the 
public establishments of the city, a sound education in every 
department of polite learning can be had, at a very moderate 
expense:  the annual charge for the instruction of each pupil, not 
exceeding nine pounds sterling.  It has pretty good endowments in 
the way of land, and is a valuable and useful institution.

The first stone of a new college had been laid but a few days 
before, by the Governor General.  It will be a handsome, spacious 
edifice, approached by a long avenue, which is already planted and 
made available as a public walk.  The town is well adapted for 
wholesome exercise at all seasons, for the footways in the 
thoroughfares which lie beyond the principal street, are planked 
like floors, and kept in very good and clean repair.

It is a matter of deep regret that political differences should 
have run high in this place, and led to most discreditable and 
disgraceful results.  It is not long since guns were discharged 
from a window in this town at the successful candidates in an 
election, and the coachman of one of them was actually shot in the 
body, though not dangerously wounded.  But one man was killed on 
the same occasion; and from the very window whence he received his 
death, the very flag which shielded his murderer (not only in the 
commission of his crime, but from its consequences), was displayed 
again on the occasion of the public ceremony performed by the 
Governor General, to which I have just adverted.  Of all the 
colours in the rainbow, there is but one which could be so 
employed:  I need not say that flag was orange.

The time of leaving Toronto for Kingston is noon.  By eight o'clock 
next morning, the traveller is at the end of his journey, which is 
performed by steamboat upon Lake Ontario, calling at Port Hope and 
Coburg, the latter a cheerful, thriving little town.  Vast 
quantities of flour form the chief item in the freight of these 
vessels.  We had no fewer than one thousand and eighty barrels on 
board, between Coburg and Kingston.

The latter place, which is now the seat of government in Canada, is 
a very poor town, rendered still poorer in the appearance of its 
market-place by the ravages of a recent fire.  Indeed, it may be 
said of Kingston, that one half of it appears to be burnt down, and 
the other half not to be built up.  The Government House is neither 
elegant nor commodious, yet it is almost the only house of any 
importance in the neighbourhood.

There is an admirable jail here, well and wisely governed, and 
excellently regulated, in every respect.  The men were employed as 
shoemakers, ropemakers, blacksmiths, tailors, carpenters, and 
stonecutters; and in building a new prison, which was pretty far 
advanced towards completion.  The female prisoners were occupied in 
needlework.  Among them was a beautiful girl of twenty, who had 
been there nearly three years.  She acted as bearer of secret 
despatches for the self-styled Patriots on Navy Island, during the 
Canadian Insurrection:  sometimes dressing as a girl, and carrying 
them in her stays; sometimes attiring herself as a boy, and 
secreting them in the lining of her hat.  In the latter character 
she always rode as a boy would, which was nothing to her, for she 
could govern any horse that any man could ride, and could drive 
four-in-hand with the best whip in those parts.  Setting forth on 
one of her patriotic missions, she appropriated to herself the 
first horse she could lay her hands on; and this offence had 
brought her where I saw her.  She had quite a lovely face, though, 
as the reader may suppose from this sketch of her history, there 
was a lurking devil in her bright eye, which looked out pretty 
sharply from between her prison bars.

There is a bomb-proof fort here of great strength, which occupies a 
bold position, and is capable, doubtless, of doing good service; 
though the town is much too close upon the frontier to be long 
held, I should imagine, for its present purpose in troubled times.  
There is also a small navy-yard, where a couple of Government 
steamboats were building, and getting on vigorously.

We left Kingston for Montreal on the tenth of May, at half-past 
nine in the morning, and proceeded in a steamboat down the St. 
Lawrence river.  The beauty of this noble stream at almost any 
point, but especially in the commencement of this journey when it 
winds its way among the thousand Islands, can hardly be imagined.  
The number and constant successions of these islands, all green and 
richly wooded; their fluctuating sizes, some so large that for half 
an hour together one among them will appear as the opposite bank of 
the river, and some so small that they are mere dimples on its 
broad bosom; their infinite variety of shapes; and the numberless 
combinations of beautiful forms which the trees growing on them 
present:  all form a picture fraught with uncommon interest and 

In the afternoon we shot down some rapids where the river boiled 
and bubbled strangely, and where the force and headlong violence of 
the current were tremendous.  At seven o'clock we reached 
Dickenson's Landing, whence travellers proceed for two or three 
hours by stage-coach:  the navigation of the river being rendered 
so dangerous and difficult in the interval, by rapids, that 
steamboats do not make the passage.  The number and length of those 
PORTAGES, over which the roads are bad, and the travelling slow, 
render the way between the towns of Montreal and Kingston, somewhat 

Our course lay over a wide, uninclosed tract of country at a little 
distance from the river-side, whence the bright warning lights on 
the dangerous parts of the St. Lawrence shone vividly.  The night 
was dark and raw, and the way dreary enough.  It was nearly ten 
o'clock when we reached the wharf where the next steamboat lay; and 
went on board, and to bed.

She lay there all night, and started as soon as it was day.  The 
morning was ushered in by a violent thunderstorm, and was very wet, 
but gradually improved and brightened up.  Going on deck after 
breakfast, I was amazed to see floating down with the stream, a 
most gigantic raft, with some thirty or forty wooden houses upon 
it, and at least as many flag-masts, so that it looked like a 
nautical street.  I saw many of these rafts afterwards, but never 
one so large.  All the timber, or 'lumber,' as it is called in 
America, which is brought down the St. Lawrence, is floated down in 
this manner.  When the raft reaches its place of destination, it is 
broken up; the materials are sold; and the boatmen return for more.

At eight we landed again, and travelled by a stage-coach for four 
hours through a pleasant and well-cultivated country, perfectly 
French in every respect:  in the appearance of the cottages; the 
air, language, and dress of the peasantry; the sign-boards on the 
shops and taverns:  and the Virgin's shrines, and crosses, by the 
wayside.  Nearly every common labourer and boy, though he had no 
shoes to his feet, wore round his waist a sash of some bright 
colour:  generally red:  and the women, who were working in the 
fields and gardens, and doing all kinds of husbandry, wore, one and 
all, great flat straw hats with most capacious brims.  There were 
Catholic Priests and Sisters of Charity in the village streets; and 
images of the Saviour at the corners of cross-roads, and in other 
public places.

At noon we went on board another steamboat, and reached the village 
of Lachine, nine miles from Montreal, by three o'clock.  There, we 
left the river, and went on by land.

Montreal is pleasantly situated on the margin of the St. Lawrence, 
and is backed by some bold heights, about which there are charming 
rides and drives.  The streets are generally narrow and irregular, 
as in most French towns of any age; but in the more modern parts of 
the city, they are wide and airy.  They display a great variety of 
very good shops; and both in the town and suburbs there are many 
excellent private dwellings.  The granite quays are remarkable for 
their beauty, solidity, and extent.

There is a very large Catholic cathedral here, recently erected 
with two tall spires, of which one is yet unfinished.  In the open 
space in front of this edifice, stands a solitary, grim-looking, 
square brick tower, which has a quaint and remarkable appearance, 
and which the wiseacres of the place have consequently determined 
to pull down immediately.  The Government House is very superior to 
that at Kingston, and the town is full of life and bustle.  In one 
of the suburbs is a plank road - not footpath - five or six miles 
long, and a famous road it is too.  All the rides in the vicinity 
were made doubly interesting by the bursting out of spring, which 
is here so rapid, that it is but a day's leap from barren winter, 
to the blooming youth of summer.

The steamboats to Quebec perform the journey in the night; that is 
to say, they leave Montreal at six in the evening, and arrive at 
Quebec at six next morning.  We made this excursion during our stay 
in Montreal (which exceeded a fortnight), and were charmed by its 
interest and beauty.

The impression made upon the visitor by this Gibraltar of America:  
its giddy heights; its citadel suspended, as it were, in the air; 
its picturesque steep streets and frowning gateways; and the 
splendid views which burst upon the eye at every turn:  is at once 
unique and lasting.

It is a place not to be forgotten or mixed up in the mind with 
other places, or altered for a moment in the crowd of scenes a 
traveller can recall.  Apart from the realities of this most 
picturesque city, there are associations clustering about it which 
would make a desert rich in interest.  The dangerous precipice 
along whose rocky front, Wolfe and his brave companions climbed to 
glory; the Plains of Abraham, where he received his mortal wound; 
the fortress so chivalrously defended by Montcalm; and his 
soldier's grave, dug for him while yet alive, by the bursting of a 
shell; are not the least among them, or among the gallant incidents 
of history.  That is a noble Monument too, and worthy of two great 
nations, which perpetuates the memory of both brave generals, and 
on which their names are jointly written.

The city is rich in public institutions and in Catholic churches 
and charities, but it is mainly in the prospect from the site of 
the Old Government House, and from the Citadel, that its surpassing 
beauty lies.  The exquisite expanse of country, rich in field and 
forest, mountain-height and water, which lies stretched out before 
the view, with miles of Canadian villages, glancing in long white 
streaks, like veins along the landscape; the motley crowd of 
gables, roofs, and chimney tops in the old hilly town immediately 
at hand; the beautiful St. Lawrence sparkling and flashing in the 
sunlight; and the tiny ships below the rock from which you gaze, 
whose distant rigging looks like spiders' webs against the light, 
while casks and barrels on their decks dwindle into toys, and busy 
mariners become so many puppets; all this, framed by a sunken 
window in the fortress and looked at from the shadowed room within, 
forms one of the brightest and most enchanting pictures that the 
eye can rest upon.

In the spring of the year, vast numbers of emigrants who have newly 
arrived from England or from Ireland, pass between Quebec and 
Montreal on their way to the backwoods and new settlements of 
Canada.  If it be an entertaining lounge (as I very often found it) 
to take a morning stroll upon the quay at Montreal, and see them 
grouped in hundreds on the public wharfs about their chests and 
boxes, it is matter of deep interest to be their fellow-passenger 
on one of these steamboats, and mingling with the concourse, see 
and hear them unobserved.

The vessel in which we returned from Quebec to Montreal was crowded 
with them, and at night they spread their beds between decks (those 
who had beds, at least), and slept so close and thick about our 
cabin door, that the passage to and fro was quite blocked up.  They 
were nearly all English; from Gloucestershire the greater part; and 
had had a long winter-passage out; but it was wonderful to see how 
clean the children had been kept, and how untiring in their love 
and self-denial all the poor parents were.

Cant as we may, and as we shall to the end of all things, it is 
very much harder for the poor to be virtuous than it is for the 
rich; and the good that is in them, shines the brighter for it.  In 
many a noble mansion lives a man, the best of husbands and of 
fathers, whose private worth in both capacities is justly lauded to 
the skies.  But bring him here, upon this crowded deck.  Strip from 
his fair young wife her silken dress and jewels, unbind her braided 
hair, stamp early wrinkles on her brow, pinch her pale cheek with 
care and much privation, array her faded form in coarsely patched 
attire, let there be nothing but his love to set her forth or deck 
her out, and you shall put it to the proof indeed.  So change his 
station in the world, that he shall see in those young things who 
climb about his knee:  not records of his wealth and name:  but 
little wrestlers with him for his daily bread; so many poachers on 
his scanty meal; so many units to divide his every sum of comfort, 
and farther to reduce its small amount.  In lieu of the endearments 
of childhood in its sweetest aspect, heap upon him all its pains 
and wants, its sicknesses and ills, its fretfulness, caprice, and 
querulous endurance:  let its prattle be, not of engaging infant 
fancies, but of cold, and thirst, and hunger:  and if his fatherly 
affection outlive all this, and he be patient, watchful, tender; 
careful of his children's lives, and mindful always of their joys 
and sorrows; then send him back to Parliament, and Pulpit, and to 
Quarter Sessions, and when he hears fine talk of the depravity of 
those who live from hand to mouth, and labour hard to do it, let 
him speak up, as one who knows, and tell those holders forth that 
they, by parallel with such a class, should be High Angels in their 
daily lives, and lay but humble siege to Heaven at last.

Which of us shall say what he would be, if such realities, with 
small relief or change all through his days, were his!  Looking 
round upon these people:  far from home, houseless, indigent, 
wandering, weary with travel and hard living:  and seeing how 
patiently they nursed and tended their young children:  how they 
consulted ever their wants first, then half supplied their own; 
what gentle ministers of hope and faith the women were; how the men 
profited by their example; and how very, very seldom even a 
moment's petulance or harsh complaint broke out among them:  I felt 
a stronger love and honour of my kind come glowing on my heart, and 
wished to God there had been many Atheists in the better part of 
human nature there, to read this simple lesson in the book of Life.

* * * * * *

We left Montreal for New York again, on the thirtieth of May, 
crossing to La Prairie, on the opposite shore of the St. Lawrence, 
in a steamboat; we then took the railroad to St. John's, which is 
on the brink of Lake Champlain.  Our last greeting in Canada was 
from the English officers in the pleasant barracks at that place (a 
class of gentlemen who had made every hour of our visit memorable 
by their hospitality and friendship); and with 'Rule Britannia' 
sounding in our ears, soon left it far behind.

But Canada has held, and always will retain, a foremost place in my 
remembrance.  Few Englishmen are prepared to find it what it is.  
Advancing quietly; old differences settling down, and being fast 
forgotten; public feeling and private enterprise alike in a sound 
and wholesome state; nothing of flush or fever in its system, but 
health and vigour throbbing in its steady pulse:  it is full of 
hope and promise.  To me - who had been accustomed to think of it 
as something left behind in the strides of advancing society, as 
something neglected and forgotten, slumbering and wasting in its 
sleep - the demand for labour and the rates of wages; the busy 
quays of Montreal; the vessels taking in their cargoes, and 
discharging them; the amount of shipping in the different ports; 
the commerce, roads, and public works, all made TO LAST; the 
respectability and character of the public journals; and the amount 
of rational comfort and happiness which honest industry may earn:  
were very great surprises.  The steamboats on the lakes, in their 
conveniences, cleanliness, and safety; in the gentlemanly character 
and bearing of their captains; and in the politeness and perfect 
comfort of their social regulations; are unsurpassed even by the 
famous Scotch vessels, deservedly so much esteemed at home.  The 
inns are usually bad; because the custom of boarding at hotels is 
not so general here as in the States, and the British officers, who 
form a large portion of the society of every town, live chiefly at 
the regimental messes:  but in every other respect, the traveller 
in Canada will find as good provision for his comfort as in any 
place I know.

There is one American boat - the vessel which carried us on Lake 
Champlain, from St. John's to Whitehall - which I praise very 
highly, but no more than it deserves, when I say that it is 
superior even to that in which we went from Queenston to Toronto, 
or to that in which we travelled from the latter place to Kingston, 
or I have no doubt I may add to any other in the world.  This 
steamboat, which is called the Burlington, is a perfectly exquisite 
achievement of neatness, elegance, and order.  The decks are 
drawing-rooms; the cabins are boudoirs, choicely furnished and 
adorned with prints, pictures, and musical instruments; every nook 
and corner in the vessel is a perfect curiosity of graceful comfort 
and beautiful contrivance.  Captain Sherman, her commander, to 
whose ingenuity and excellent taste these results are solely 
attributable, has bravely and worthily distinguished himself on 
more than one trying occasion:  not least among them, in having the 
moral courage to carry British troops, at a time (during the 
Canadian rebellion) when no other conveyance was open to them.  He 
and his vessel are held in universal respect, both by his own 
countrymen and ours; and no man ever enjoyed the popular esteem, 
who, in his sphere of action, won and wore it better than this 

By means of this floating palace we were soon in the United States 
again, and called that evening at Burlington; a pretty town, where 
we lay an hour or so.  We reached Whitehall, where we were to 
disembark, at six next morning; and might have done so earlier, but 
that these steamboats lie by for some hours in the night, in 
consequence of the lake becoming very narrow at that part of the 
journey, and difficult of navigation in the dark.  Its width is so 
contracted at one point, indeed, that they are obliged to warp 
round by means of a rope.

After breakfasting at Whitehall, we took the stage-coach for 
Albany:  a large and busy town, where we arrived between five and 
six o'clock that afternoon; after a very hot day's journey, for we 
were now in the height of summer again.  At seven we started for 
New York on board a great North River steamboat, which was so 
crowded with passengers that the upper deck was like the box lobby 
of a theatre between the pieces, and the lower one like Tottenham 
Court Road on a Saturday night.  But we slept soundly, 
notwithstanding, and soon after five o'clock next morning reached 
New York.

Tarrying here, only that day and night, to recruit after our late 
fatigues, we started off once more upon our last journey in 
America.  We had yet five days to spare before embarking for 
England, and I had a great desire to see 'the Shaker Village,' 
which is peopled by a religious sect from whom it takes its name.

To this end, we went up the North River again, as far as the town 
of Hudson, and there hired an extra to carry us to Lebanon, thirty 
miles distant:  and of course another and a different Lebanon from 
that village where I slept on the night of the Prairie trip.

The country through which the road meandered, was rich and 
beautiful; the weather very fine; and for many miles the Kaatskill 
mountains, where Rip Van Winkle and the ghostly Dutchmen played at 
ninepins one memorable gusty afternoon, towered in the blue 
distance, like stately clouds.  At one point, as we ascended a 
steep hill, athwart whose base a railroad, yet constructing, took 
its course, we came upon an Irish colony.  With means at hand of 
building decent cabins, it was wonderful to see how clumsy, rough, 
and wretched, its hovels were.  The best were poor protection from 
the weather the worst let in the wind and rain through wide 
breaches in the roofs of sodden grass, and in the walls of mud; 
some had neither door nor window; some had nearly fallen down, and 
were imperfectly propped up by stakes and poles; all were ruinous 
and filthy.  Hideously ugly old women and very buxom young ones, 
pigs, dogs, men, children, babies, pots, kettles, dung-hills, vile 
refuse, rank straw, and standing water, all wallowing together in 
an inseparable heap, composed the furniture of every dark and dirty 

Between nine and ten o'clock at night, we arrived at Lebanon which 
is renowned for its warm baths, and for a great hotel, well 
adapted, I have no doubt, to the gregarious taste of those seekers 
after health or pleasure who repair here, but inexpressibly 
comfortless to me.  We were shown into an immense apartment, 
lighted by two dim candles, called the drawing-room:  from which 
there was a descent by a flight of steps, to another vast desert, 
called the dining-room:  our bed-chambers were among certain long 
rows of little white-washed cells, which opened from either side of 
a dreary passage; and were so like rooms in a prison that I half 
expected to be locked up when I went to bed, and listened 
involuntarily for the turning of the key on the outside.  There 
need be baths somewhere in the neighbourhood, for the other washing 
arrangements were on as limited a scale as I ever saw, even in 
America:  indeed, these bedrooms were so very bare of even such 
common luxuries as chairs, that I should say they were not provided 
with enough of anything, but that I bethink myself of our having 
been most bountifully bitten all night.

The house is very pleasantly situated, however, and we had a good 
breakfast.  That done, we went to visit our place of destination, 
which was some two miles off, and the way to which was soon 
indicated by a finger-post, whereon was painted, 'To the Shaker 

As we rode along, we passed a party of Shakers, who were at work 
upon the road; who wore the broadest of all broad-brimmed hats; and 
were in all visible respects such very wooden men, that I felt 
about as much sympathy for them, and as much interest in them, as 
if they had been so many figure-heads of ships.  Presently we came 
to the beginning of the village, and alighting at the door of a 
house where the Shaker manufactures are sold, and which is the 
headquarters of the elders, requested permission to see the Shaker 

Pending the conveyance of this request to some person in authority, 
we walked into a grim room, where several grim hats were hanging on 
grim pegs, and the time was grimly told by a grim clock which 
uttered every tick with a kind of struggle, as if it broke the grim 
silence reluctantly, and under protest.  Ranged against the wall 
were six or eight stiff, high-backed chairs, and they partook so 
strongly of the general grimness that one would much rather have 
sat on the floor than incurred the smallest obligation to any of 

Presently, there stalked into this apartment, a grim old Shaker, 
with eyes as hard, and dull, and cold, as the great round metal 
buttons on his coat and waistcoat; a sort of calm goblin.  Being 
informed of our desire, he produced a newspaper wherein the body of 
elders, whereof he was a member, had advertised but a few days 
before, that in consequence of certain unseemly interruptions which 
their worship had received from strangers, their chapel was closed 
to the public for the space of one year.

As nothing was to be urged in opposition to this reasonable 
arrangement, we requested leave to make some trifling purchases of 
Shaker goods; which was grimly conceded.  We accordingly repaired 
to a store in the same house and on the opposite side of the 
passage, where the stock was presided over by something alive in a 
russet case, which the elder said was a woman; and which I suppose 
WAS a woman, though I should not have suspected it.

On the opposite side of the road was their place of worship:  a 
cool, clean edifice of wood, with large windows and green blinds:  
like a spacious summer-house.  As there was no getting into this 
place, and nothing was to be done but walk up and down, and look at 
it and the other buildings in the village (which were chiefly of 
wood, painted a dark red like English barns, and composed of many 
stories like English factories), I have nothing to communicate to 
the reader, beyond the scanty results I gleaned the while our 
purchases were making,

These people are called Shakers from their peculiar form of 
adoration, which consists of a dance, performed by the men and 
women of all ages, who arrange themselves for that purpose in 
opposite parties:  the men first divesting themselves of their hats 
and coats, which they gravely hang against the wall before they 
begin; and tying a ribbon round their shirt-sleeves, as though they 
were going to be bled.  They accompany themselves with a droning, 
humming noise, and dance until they are quite exhausted, 
alternately advancing and retiring in a preposterous sort of trot.  
The effect is said to be unspeakably absurd:  and if I may judge 
from a print of this ceremony which I have in my possession; and 
which I am informed by those who have visited the chapel, is 
perfectly accurate; it must be infinitely grotesque.

They are governed by a woman, and her rule is understood to be 
absolute, though she has the assistance of a council of elders.  
She lives, it is said, in strict seclusion, in certain rooms above 
the chapel, and is never shown to profane eyes.  If she at all 
resemble the lady who presided over the store, it is a great 
charity to keep her as close as possible, and I cannot too strongly 
express my perfect concurrence in this benevolent proceeding.

All the possessions and revenues of the settlement are thrown into 
a common stock, which is managed by the elders.  As they have made 
converts among people who were well to do in the world, and are 
frugal and thrifty, it is understood that this fund prospers:  the 
more especially as they have made large purchases of land.  Nor is 
this at Lebanon the only Shaker settlement:  there are, I think, at 
least, three others.

They are good farmers, and all their produce is eagerly purchased 
and highly esteemed.  'Shaker seeds,' 'Shaker herbs,' and 'Shaker 
distilled waters,' are commonly announced for sale in the shops of 
towns and cities.  They are good breeders of cattle, and are kind 
and merciful to the brute creation.  Consequently, Shaker beasts 
seldom fail to find a ready market.

They eat and drink together, after the Spartan model, at a great 
public table.  There is no union of the sexes, and every Shaker, 
male and female, is devoted to a life of celibacy.  Rumour has been 
busy upon this theme, but here again I must refer to the lady of 
the store, and say, that if many of the sister Shakers resemble 
her, I treat all such slander as bearing on its face the strongest 
marks of wild improbability.  But that they take as proselytes, 
persons so young that they cannot know their own minds, and cannot 
possess much strength of resolution in this or any other respect, I 
can assert from my own observation of the extreme juvenility of 
certain youthful Shakers whom I saw at work among the party on the 

They are said to be good drivers of bargains, but to be honest and 
just in their transactions, and even in horse-dealing to resist 
those thievish tendencies which would seem, for some undiscovered 
reason, to be almost inseparable from that branch of traffic.  In 
all matters they hold their own course quietly, live in their 
gloomy, silent commonwealth, and show little desire to interfere 
with other people.

This is well enough, but nevertheless I cannot, I confess, incline 
towards the Shakers; view them with much favour, or extend towards 
them any very lenient construction.  I so abhor, and from my soul 
detest that bad spirit, no matter by what class or sect it may be 
entertained, which would strip life of its healthful graces, rob 
youth of its innocent pleasures, pluck from maturity and age their 
pleasant ornaments, and make existence but a narrow path towards 
the grave:  that odious spirit which, if it could have had full 
scope and sway upon the earth, must have blasted and made barren 
the imaginations of the greatest men, and left them, in their power 
of raising up enduring images before their fellow-creatures yet 
unborn, no better than the beasts:  that, in these very broad-
brimmed hats and very sombre coats - in stiff-necked, solemn-
visaged piety, in short, no matter what its garb, whether it have 
cropped hair as in a Shaker village, or long nails as in a Hindoo 
temple - I recognise the worst among the enemies of Heaven and 
Earth, who turn the water at the marriage feasts of this poor 
world, not into wine, but gall.  And if there must be people vowed 
to crush the harmless fancies and the love of innocent delights and 
gaieties, which are a part of human nature:  as much a part of it 
as any other love or hope that is our common portion:  let them, 
for me, stand openly revealed among the ribald and licentious; the 
very idiots know that THEY are not on the Immortal road, and will 
despise them, and avoid them readily.

Leaving the Shaker village with a hearty dislike of the old 
Shakers, and a hearty pity for the young ones:  tempered by the 
strong probability of their running away as they grow older and 
wiser, which they not uncommonly do:  we returned to Lebanon, and 
so to Hudson, by the way we had come upon the previous day.  There, 
we took the steamboat down the North River towards New York, but 
stopped, some four hours' journey short of it, at West Point, where 
we remained that night, and all next day, and next night too.

In this beautiful place:  the fairest among the fair and lovely 
Highlands of the North River:  shut in by deep green heights and 
ruined forts, and looking down upon the distant town of Newburgh, 
along a glittering path of sunlit water, with here and there a 
skiff, whose white sail often bends on some new tack as sudden 
flaws of wind come down upon her from the gullies in the hills:  
hemmed in, besides, all round with memories of Washington, and 
events of the revolutionary war:  is the Military School of 

It could not stand on more appropriate ground, and any ground more 
beautiful can hardly be.  The course of education is severe, but 
well devised, and manly.  Through June, July, and August, the young 
men encamp upon the spacious plain whereon the college stands; and 
all the year their military exercises are performed there, daily.  
The term of study at this institution, which the State requires 
from all cadets, is four years; but, whether it be from the rigid 
nature of the discipline, or the national impatience of restraint, 
or both causes combined, not more than half the number who begin 
their studies here, ever remain to finish them.

The number of cadets being about equal to that of the members of 
Congress, one is sent here from every Congressional district:  its 
member influencing the selection.  Commissions in the service are 
distributed on the same principle.  The dwellings of the various 
Professors are beautifully situated; and there is a most excellent 
hotel for strangers, though it has the two drawbacks of being a 
total abstinence house (wines and spirits being forbidden to the 
students), and of serving the public meals at rather uncomfortable 
hours:  to wit, breakfast at seven, dinner at one, and supper at 

The beauty and freshness of this calm retreat, in the very dawn and 
greenness of summer - it was then the beginning of June - were 
exquisite indeed.  Leaving it upon the sixth, and returning to New 
York, to embark for England on the succeeding day, I was glad to 
think that among the last memorable beauties which had glided past 
us, and softened in the bright perspective, were those whose 
pictures, traced by no common hand, are fresh in most men's minds; 
not easily to grow old, or fade beneath the dust of Time:  the 
Kaatskill Mountains, Sleepy Hollow, and the Tappaan Zee.


I NEVER had so much interest before, and very likely I shall never 
have so much interest again, in the state of the wind, as on the 
long-looked-for morning of Tuesday the Seventh of June.  Some 
nautical authority had told me a day or two previous, 'anything 
with west in it, will do;' so when I darted out of bed at daylight, 
and throwing up the window, was saluted by a lively breeze from the 
north-west which had sprung up in the night, it came upon me so 
freshly, rustling with so many happy associations, that I conceived 
upon the spot a special regard for all airs blowing from that 
quarter of the compass, which I shall cherish, I dare say, until my 
own wind has breathed its last frail puff, and withdrawn itself for 
ever from the mortal calendar.

The pilot had not been slow to take advantage of this favourable 
weather, and the ship which yesterday had been in such a crowded 
dock that she might have retired from trade for good and all, for 
any chance she seemed to have of going to sea, was now full sixteen 
miles away.  A gallant sight she was, when we, fast gaining on her 
in a steamboat, saw her in the distance riding at anchor:  her tall 
masts pointing up in graceful lines against the sky, and every rope 
and spar expressed in delicate and thread-like outline:  gallant, 
too, when, we being all aboard, the anchor came up to the sturdy 
chorus 'Cheerily men, oh cheerily!' and she followed proudly in the 
towing steamboat's wake:  but bravest and most gallant of all, when 
the tow-rope being cast adrift, the canvas fluttered from her 
masts, and spreading her white wings she soared away upon her free 
and solitary course.

In the after cabin we were only fifteen passengers in all, and the 
greater part were from Canada, where some of us had known each 
other.  The night was rough and squally, so were the next two days, 
but they flew by quickly, and we were soon as cheerful and snug a 
party, with an honest, manly-hearted captain at our head, as ever 
came to the resolution of being mutually agreeable, on land or 

We breakfasted at eight, lunched at twelve, dined at three, and 
took our tea at half-past seven.  We had abundance of amusements, 
and dinner was not the least among them:  firstly, for its own 
sake; secondly, because of its extraordinary length:  its duration, 
inclusive of all the long pauses between the courses, being seldom 
less than two hours and a half; which was a subject of never-
failing entertainment.  By way of beguiling the tediousness of 
these banquets, a select association was formed at the lower end of 
the table, below the mast, to whose distinguished president modesty 
forbids me to make any further allusion, which, being a very 
hilarious and jovial institution, was (prejudice apart) in high 
favour with the rest of the community, and particularly with a 
black steward, who lived for three weeks in a broad grin at the 
marvellous humour of these incorporated worthies.

Then, we had chess for those who played it, whist, cribbage, books, 
backgammon, and shovelboard.  In all weathers, fair or foul, calm 
or windy, we were every one on deck, walking up and down in pairs, 
lying in the boats, leaning over the side, or chatting in a lazy 
group together.  We had no lack of music, for one played the 
accordion, another the violin, and another (who usually began at 
six o'clock A.M.) the key-bugle:  the combined effect of which 
instruments, when they all played different tunes in differents 
parts of the ship, at the same time, and within hearing of each 
other, as they sometimes did (everybody being intensely satisfied 
with his own performance), was sublimely hideous.

When all these means of entertainment failed, a sail would heave in 
sight:  looming, perhaps, the very spirit of a ship, in the misty 
distance, or passing us so close that through our glasses we could 
see the people on her decks, and easily make out her name, and 
whither she was bound.  For hours together we could watch the 
dolphins and porpoises as they rolled and leaped and dived around 
the vessel; or those small creatures ever on the wing, the Mother 
Carey's chickens, which had borne us company from New York bay, and 
for a whole fortnight fluttered about the vessel's stern.  For some 
days we had a dead calm, or very light winds, during which the crew 
amused themselves with fishing, and hooked an unlucky dolphin, who 
expired, in all his rainbow colours, on the deck:  an event of such 
importance in our barren calendar, that afterwards we dated from 
the dolphin, and made the day on which he died, an era.

Besides all this, when we were five or six days out, there began to 
be much talk of icebergs, of which wandering islands an unusual 
number had been seen by the vessels that had come into New York a 
day or two before we left that port, and of whose dangerous 
neighbourhood we were warned by the sudden coldness of the weather, 
and the sinking of the mercury in the barometer.  While these 
tokens lasted, a double look-out was kept, and many dismal tales 
were whispered after dark, of ships that had struck upon the ice 
and gone down in the night; but the wind obliging us to hold a 
southward course, we saw none of them, and the weather soon grew 
bright and warm again.

The observation every day at noon, and the subsequent working of 
the vessel's course, was, as may be supposed, a feature in our 
lives of paramount importance; nor were there wanting (as there 
never are) sagacious doubters of the captain's calculations, who, 
so soon as his back was turned, would, in the absence of compasses, 
measure the chart with bits of string, and ends of pocket-
handkerchiefs, and points of snuffers, and clearly prove him to be 
wrong by an odd thousand miles or so.  It was very edifying to see 
these unbelievers shake their heads and frown, and hear them hold 
forth strongly upon navigation:  not that they knew anything about 
it, but that they always mistrusted the captain in calm weather, or 
when the wind was adverse.  Indeed, the mercury itself is not so 
variable as this class of passengers, whom you will see, when the 
ship is going nobly through the water, quite pale with admiration, 
swearing that the captain beats all captains ever known, and even 
hinting at subscriptions for a piece of plate; and who, next 
morning, when the breeze has lulled, and all the sails hang useless 
in the idle air, shake their despondent heads again, and say, with 
screwed-up lips, they hope that captain is a sailor - but they 
shrewdly doubt him.

It even became an occupation in the calm, to wonder when the wind 
WOULD spring up in the favourable quarter, where, it was clearly 
shown by all the rules and precedents, it ought to have sprung up 
long ago.  The first mate, who whistled for it zealously, was much 
respected for his perseverance, and was regarded even by the 
unbelievers as a first-rate sailor.  Many gloomy looks would be 
cast upward through the cabin skylights at the flapping sails while 
dinner was in progress; and some, growing bold in ruefulness, 
predicted that we should land about the middle of July.  There are 
always on board ship, a Sanguine One, and a Despondent One.  The 
latter character carried it hollow at this period of the voyage, 
and triumphed over the Sanguine One at every meal, by inquiring 
where he supposed the Great Western (which left New York a week 
after us) was NOW:  and where he supposed the 'Cunard' steam-packet 
was NOW:  and what he thought of sailing vessels, as compared with 
steamships NOW:  and so beset his life with pestilent attacks of 
that kind, that he too was obliged to affect despondency, for very 
peace and quietude.

These were additions to the list of entertaining incidents, but 
there was still another source of interest.  We carried in the 
steerage nearly a hundred passengers:  a little world of poverty:  
and as we came to know individuals among them by sight, from 
looking down upon the deck where they took the air in the daytime, 
and cooked their food, and very often ate it too, we became curious 
to know their histories, and with what expectations they had gone 
out to America, and on what errands they were going home, and what 
their circumstances were.  The information we got on these heads 
from the carpenter, who had charge of these people, was often of 
the strangest kind.  Some of them had been in America but three 
days, some but three months, and some had gone out in the last 
voyage of that very ship in which they were now returning home.  
Others had sold their clothes to raise the passage-money, and had 
hardly rags to cover them; others had no food, and lived upon the 
charity of the rest:  and one man, it was discovered nearly at the 
end of the voyage, not before - for he kept his secret close, and 
did not court compassion - had had no sustenance whatever but the 
bones and scraps of fat he took from the plates used in the after-
cabin dinner, when they were put out to be washed.

The whole system of shipping and conveying these unfortunate 
persons, is one that stands in need of thorough revision.  If any 
class deserve to be protected and assisted by the Government, it is 
that class who are banished from their native land in search of the 
bare means of subsistence.  All that could be done for these poor 
people by the great compassion and humanity of the captain and 
officers was done, but they require much more.  The law is bound, 
at least upon the English side, to see that too many of them are 
not put on board one ship:  and that their accommodations are 
decent:  not demoralising, and profligate.  It is bound, too, in 
common humanity, to declare that no man shall be taken on board 
without his stock of provisions being previously inspected by some 
proper officer, and pronounced moderately sufficient for his 
support upon the voyage.  It is bound to provide, or to require 
that there be provided, a medical attendant; whereas in these ships 
there are none, though sickness of adults, and deaths of children, 
on the passage, are matters of the very commonest occurrence.  
Above all it is the duty of any Government, be it monarchy or 
republic, to interpose and put an end to that system by which a 
firm of traders in emigrants purchase of the owners the whole 
'tween-decks of a ship, and send on board as many wretched people 
as they can lay hold of, on any terms they can get, without the 
smallest reference to the conveniences of the steerage, the number 
of berths, the slightest separation of the sexes, or anything but 
their own immediate profit.  Nor is even this the worst of the 
vicious system:  for, certain crimping agents of these houses, who 
have a percentage on all the passengers they inveigle, are 
constantly travelling about those districts where poverty and 
discontent are rife, and tempting the credulous into more misery, 
by holding out monstrous inducements to emigration which can never 
be realised.

The history of every family we had on board was pretty much the 
same.  After hoarding up, and borrowing, and begging, and selling 
everything to pay the passage, they had gone out to New York, 
expecting to find its streets paved with gold; and had found them 
paved with very hard and very real stones.  Enterprise was dull; 
labourers were not wanted; jobs of work were to be got, but the 
payment was not.  They were coming back, even poorer than they 
went.  One of them was carrying an open letter from a young English 
artisan, who had been in New York a fortnight, to a friend near 
Manchester, whom he strongly urged to follow him.  One of the 
officers brought it to me as a curiosity.  'This is the country, 
Jem,' said the writer.  'I like America.  There is no despotism 
here; that's the great thing.  Employment of all sorts is going a-
begging, and wages are capital.  You have only to choose a trade, 
Jem, and be it.  I haven't made choice of one yet, but I shall 

There was yet another kind of passenger, and but one more, who, in 
the calm and the light winds, was a constant theme of conversation 
and observation among us.  This was an English sailor, a smart, 
thorough-built, English man-of-war's-man from his hat to his shoes, 
who was serving in the American navy, and having got leave of 
absence was on his way home to see his friends.  When he presented 
himself to take and pay for his passage, it had been suggested to 
him that being an able seaman he might as well work it and save the 
money, but this piece of advice he very indignantly rejected:  
saying, 'He'd be damned but for once he'd go aboard ship, as a 
gentleman.'  Accordingly, they took his money, but he no sooner 
came aboard, than he stowed his kit in the forecastle, arranged to 
mess with the crew, and the very first time the hands were turned 
up, went aloft like a cat, before anybody.  And all through the 
passage there he was, first at the braces, outermost on the yards, 
perpetually lending a hand everywhere, but always with a sober 
dignity in his manner, and a sober grin on his face, which plainly 
said, 'I do it as a gentleman.  For my own pleasure, mind you!'

At length and at last, the promised wind came up in right good 
earnest, and away we went before it, with every stitch of canvas 
set, slashing through the water nobly.  There was a grandeur in the 
motion of the splendid ship, as overshadowed by her mass of sails, 
she rode at a furious pace upon the waves, which filled one with an 
indescribable sense of pride and exultation.  As she plunged into a 
foaming valley, how I loved to see the green waves, bordered deep 
with white, come rushing on astern, to buoy her upward at their 
pleasure, and curl about her as she stooped again, but always own 
her for their haughty mistress still!  On, on we flew, with 
changing lights upon the water, being now in the blessed region of 
fleecy skies; a bright sun lighting us by day, and a bright moon by 
night; the vane pointing directly homeward, alike the truthful 
index to the favouring wind and to our cheerful hearts; until at 
sunrise, one fair Monday morning - the twenty-seventh of June, I 
shall not easily forget the day - there lay before us, old Cape 
Clear, God bless it, showing, in the mist of early morning, like a 
cloud:  the brightest and most welcome cloud, to us, that ever hid 
the face of Heaven's fallen sister - Home.

Dim speck as it was in the wide prospect, it made the sunrise a 
more cheerful sight, and gave to it that sort of human interest 
which it seems to want at sea.  There, as elsewhere, the return of 
day is inseparable from some sense of renewed hope and gladness; 
but the light shining on the dreary waste of water, and showing it 
in all its vast extent of loneliness, presents a solemn spectacle, 
which even night, veiling it in darkness and uncertainty, does not 
surpass.  The rising of the moon is more in keeping with the 
solitary ocean; and has an air of melancholy grandeur, which in its 
soft and gentle influence, seems to comfort while it saddens.  I 
recollect when I was a very young child having a fancy that the 
reflection of the moon in water was a path to Heaven, trodden by 
the spirits of good people on their way to God; and this old 
feeling often came over me again, when I watched it on a tranquil 
night at sea.

The wind was very light on this same Monday morning, but it was 
still in the right quarter, and so, by slow degrees, we left Cape 
Clear behind, and sailed along within sight of the coast of 
Ireland.  And how merry we all were, and how loyal to the George 
Washington, and how full of mutual congratulations, and how 
venturesome in predicting the exact hour at which we should arrive 
at Liverpool, may be easily imagined and readily understood.  Also, 
how heartily we drank the captain's health that day at dinner; and 
how restless we became about packing up:  and how two or three of 
the most sanguine spirits rejected the idea of going to bed at all 
that night as something it was not worth while to do, so near the 
shore, but went nevertheless, and slept soundly; and how to be so 
near our journey's end, was like a pleasant dream, from which one 
feared to wake.

The friendly breeze freshened again next day, and on we went once 
more before it gallantly:  descrying now and then an English ship 
going homeward under shortened sail, while we, with every inch of 
canvas crowded on, dashed gaily past, and left her far behind.  
Towards evening, the weather turned hazy, with a drizzling rain; 
and soon became so thick, that we sailed, as it were, in a cloud.  
Still we swept onward like a phantom ship, and many an eager eye 
glanced up to where the Look-out on the mast kept watch for 

At length his long-expected cry was heard, and at the same moment 
there shone out from the haze and mist ahead, a gleaming light, 
which presently was gone, and soon returned, and soon was gone 
again.  Whenever it came back, the eyes of all on board, brightened 
and sparkled like itself:  and there we all stood, watching this 
revolving light upon the rock at Holyhead, and praising it for its 
brightness and its friendly warning, and lauding it, in short, 
above all other signal lights that ever were displayed, until it 
once more glimmered faintly in the distance, far behind us.

Then, it was time to fire a gun, for a pilot; and almost before its 
smoke had cleared away, a little boat with a light at her masthead 
came bearing down upon us, through the darkness, swiftly.  And 
presently, our sails being backed, she ran alongside; and the 
hoarse pilot, wrapped and muffled in pea-coats and shawls to the 
very bridge of his weather-ploughed-up nose, stood bodily among us 
on the deck.  And I think if that pilot had wanted to borrow fifty 
pounds for an indefinite period on no security, we should have 
engaged to lend it to him, among us, before his boat had dropped 
astern, or (which is the same thing) before every scrap of news in 
the paper he brought with him had become the common property of all 
on board.

We turned in pretty late that night, and turned out pretty early 
next morning.  By six o'clock we clustered on the deck, prepared to 
go ashore; and looked upon the spires, and roofs, and smoke, of 
Liverpool.  By eight we all sat down in one of its Hotels, to eat 
and drink together for the last time.  And by nine we had shaken 
hands all round, and broken up our social company for ever.

The country, by the railroad, seemed, as we rattled through it, 
like a luxuriant garden.  The beauty of the fields (so small they 
looked!), the hedge-rows, and the trees; the pretty cottages, the 
beds of flowers, the old churchyards, the antique houses, and every 
well-known object; the exquisite delights of that one journey, 
crowding in the short compass of a summer's day, the joy of many 
years, with the winding up with Home and all that makes it dear; no 
tongue can tell, or pen of mine describe.


THE upholders of slavery in America - of the atrocities of which 
system, I shall not write one word for which I have not had ample 
proof and warrant - may be divided into three great classes.

The first, are those more moderate and rational owners of human 
cattle, who have come into the possession of them as so many coins 
in their trading capital, but who admit the frightful nature of the 
Institution in the abstract, and perceive the dangers to society 
with which it is fraught:  dangers which however distant they may 
be, or howsoever tardy in their coming on, are as certain to fall 
upon its guilty head, as is the Day of Judgment.

The second, consists of all those owners, breeders, users, buyers 
and sellers of slaves, who will, until the bloody chapter has a 
bloody end, own, breed, use, buy, and sell them at all hazards:  
who doggedly deny the horrors of the system in the teeth of such a 
mass of evidence as never was brought to bear on any other subject, 
and to which the experience of every day contributes its immense 
amount; who would at this or any other moment, gladly involve 
America in a war, civil or foreign, provided that it had for its 
sole end and object the assertion of their right to perpetuate 
slavery, and to whip and work and torture slaves, unquestioned by 
any human authority, and unassailed by any human power; who, when 
they speak of Freedom, mean the Freedom to oppress their kind, and 
to be savage, merciless, and cruel; and of whom every man on his 
own ground, in republican America, is a more exacting, and a 
sterner, and a less responsible despot than the Caliph Haroun 
Alraschid in his angry robe of scarlet.

The third, and not the least numerous or influential, is composed 
of all that delicate gentility which cannot bear a superior, and 
cannot brook an equal; of that class whose Republicanism means, 'I 
will not tolerate a man above me:  and of those below, none must 
approach too near;' whose pride, in a land where voluntary 
servitude is shunned as a disgrace, must be ministered to by 
slaves; and whose inalienable rights can only have their growth in 
negro wrongs.

It has been sometimes urged that, in the unavailing efforts which 
have been made to advance the cause of Human Freedom in the 
republic of America (strange cause for history to treat of!), 
sufficient regard has not been had to the existence of the first 
class of persons; and it has been contended that they are hardly 
used, in being confounded with the second.  This is, no doubt, the 
case; noble instances of pecuniary and personal sacrifice have 
already had their growth among them; and it is much to be regretted 
that the gulf between them and the advocates of emancipation should 
have been widened and deepened by any means:  the rather, as there 
are, beyond dispute, among these slave-owners, many kind masters 
who are tender in the exercise of their unnatural power.  Still, it 
is to be feared that this injustice is inseparable from the state 
of things with which humanity and truth are called upon to deal.  
Slavery is not a whit the more endurable because some hearts are to 
be found which can partially resist its hardening influences; nor 
can the indignant tide of honest wrath stand still, because in its 
onward course it overwhelms a few who are comparatively innocent, 
among a host of guilty.

The ground most commonly taken by these better men among the 
advocates of slavery, is this:  'It is a bad system; and for myself 
I would willingly get rid of it, if I could; most willingly.  But 
it is not so bad, as you in England take it to be.  You are 
deceived by the representations of the emancipationists.  The 
greater part of my slaves are much attached to me.  You will say 
that I do not allow them to be severely treated; but I will put it 
to you whether you believe that it can be a general practice to 
treat them inhumanly, when it would impair their value, and would 
be obviously against the interests of their masters.'

Is it the interest of any man to steal, to game, to waste his 
health and mental faculties by drunkenness, to lie, forswear 
himself, indulge hatred, seek desperate revenge, or do murder?  No.  
All these are roads to ruin.  And why, then, do men tread them?  
Because such inclinations are among the vicious qualities of 
mankind.  Blot out, ye friends of slavery, from the catalogue of 
human passions, brutal lust, cruelty, and the abuse of 
irresponsible power (of all earthly temptations the most difficult 
to be resisted), and when ye have done so, and not before, we will 
inquire whether it be the interest of a master to lash and maim the 
slaves, over whose lives and limbs he has an absolute control!

But again:  this class, together with that last one I have named, 
the miserable aristocracy spawned of a false republic, lift up 
their voices and exclaim 'Public opinion is all-sufficient to 
prevent such cruelty as you denounce.'  Public opinion!  Why, 
public opinion in the slave States IS slavery, is it not?  Public 
opinion, in the slave States, has delivered the slaves over, to the 
gentle mercies of their masters.  Public opinion has made the laws, 
and denied the slaves legislative protection.  Public opinion has 
knotted the lash, heated the branding-iron, loaded the rifle, and 
shielded the murderer.  Public opinion threatens the abolitionist 
with death, if he venture to the South; and drags him with a rope 
about his middle, in broad unblushing noon, through the first city 
in the East.  Public opinion has, within a few years, burned a 
slave alive at a slow fire in the city of St. Louis; and public 
opinion has to this day maintained upon the bench that estimable 
judge who charged the jury, impanelled there to try his murderers, 
that their most horrid deed was an act of public opinion, and being 
so, must not be punished by the laws the public sentiment had made.  
Public opinion hailed this doctrine with a howl of wild applause, 
and set the prisoners free, to walk the city, men of mark, and 
influence, and station, as they had been before.

Public opinion! what class of men have an immense preponderance 
over the rest of the community, in their power of representing 
public opinion in the legislature? the slave-owners.  They send 
from their twelve States one hundred members, while the fourteen 
free States, with a free population nearly double, return but a 
hundred and forty-two.  Before whom do the presidential candidates 
bow down the most humbly, on whom do they fawn the most fondly, and 
for whose tastes do they cater the most assiduously in their 
servile protestations?  The slave-owners always.

Public opinion! hear the public opinion of the free South, as 
expressed by its own members in the House of Representatives at 
Washington.  'I have a great respect for the chair,' quoth North 
Carolina, 'I have a great respect for the chair as an officer of 
the house, and a great respect for him personally; nothing but that 
respect prevents me from rushing to the table and tearing that 
petition which has just been presented for the abolition of slavery 
in the district of Columbia, to pieces.' - 'I warn the 
abolitionists,' says South Carolina, 'ignorant, infuriated 
barbarians as they are, that if chance shall throw any of them into 
our hands, he may expect a felon's death.' - 'Let an abolitionist 
come within the borders of South Carolina,' cries a third; mild 
Carolina's colleague; 'and if we can catch him, we will try him, 
and notwithstanding the interference of all the governments on 
earth, including the Federal government, we will HANG him.'

Public opinion has made this law. - It has declared that in 
Washington, in that city which takes its name from the father of 
American liberty, any justice of the peace may bind with fetters 
any negro passing down the street and thrust him into jail:  no 
offence on the black man's part is necessary.  The justice says, 'I 
choose to think this man a runaway:' and locks him up.  Public 
opinion impowers the man of law when this is done, to advertise the 
negro in the newspapers, warning his owner to come and claim him, 
or he will be sold to pay the jail fees.  But supposing he is a 
free black, and has no owner, it may naturally be presumed that he 
is set at liberty.  No:  HE IS SOLD TO RECOMPENSE HIS JAILER.  This 
has been done again, and again, and again.  He has no means of 
proving his freedom; has no adviser, messenger, or assistance of 
any sort or kind; no investigation into his case is made, or 
inquiry instituted.  He, a free man, who may have served for years, 
and bought his liberty, is thrown into jail on no process, for no 
crime, and on no pretence of crime:  and is sold to pay the jail 
fees.  This seems incredible, even of America, but it is the law.

Public opinion is deferred to, in such cases as the following:  
which is headed in the newspapers:-


'An interesting case is now on trial in the Supreme Court, arising 
out of the following facts.  A gentleman residing in Maryland had 
allowed an aged pair of his slaves, substantial though not legal 
freedom for several years.  While thus living, a daughter was born 
to them, who grew up in the same liberty, until she married a free 
negro, and went with him to reside in Pennsylvania.  They had 
several children, and lived unmolested until the original owner 
died, when his heir attempted to regain them; but the magistrate 
before whom they were brought, decided that he had no jurisdiction 

'Cash for negroes,' 'cash for negroes,' 'cash for negroes,' is the 
heading of advertisements in great capitals down the long columns 
of the crowded journals.  Woodcuts of a runaway negro with manacled 
hands, crouching beneath a bluff pursuer in top boots, who, having 
caught him, grasps him by the throat, agreeably diversify the 
pleasant text.  The leading article protests against 'that 
abominable and hellish doctrine of abolition, which is repugnant 
alike to every law of God and nature.'  The delicate mamma, who 
smiles her acquiescence in this sprightly writing as she reads the 
paper in her cool piazza, quiets her youngest child who clings 
about her skirts, by promising the boy 'a whip to beat the little 
niggers with.' - But the negroes, little and big, are protected by 
public opinion.

Let us try this public opinion by another test, which is important 
in three points of view:  first, as showing how desperately timid 
of the public opinion slave-owners are, in their delicate 
descriptions of fugitive slaves in widely circulated newspapers; 
secondly, as showing how perfectly contented the slaves are, and 
how very seldom they run away; thirdly, as exhibiting their entire 
freedom from scar, or blemish, or any mark of cruel infliction, as 
their pictures are drawn, not by lying abolitionists, but by their 
own truthful masters.

The following are a few specimens of the advertisements in the 
public papers.  It is only four years since the oldest among them 
appeared; and others of the same nature continue to be published 
every day, in shoals.

'Ran away, Negress Caroline.  Had on a collar with one prong turned 

'Ran away, a black woman, Betsy.  Had an iron bar on her right 

'Ran away, the negro Manuel.  Much marked with irons.'

'Ran away, the negress Fanny.  Had on an iron band about her neck.'

'Ran away, a negro boy about twelve years old.  Had round his neck 
a chain dog-collar with "De Lampert" engraved on it.'

'Ran away, the negro Hown.  Has a ring of iron on his left foot.  
Also, Grise, HIS WIFE, having a ring and chain on the left leg.'

'Ran away, a negro boy named James.  Said boy was ironed when he 
left me.'

'Committed to jail, a man who calls his name John.  He has a clog 
of iron on his right foot which will weigh four or five pounds.'

'Detained at the police jail, the negro wench, Myra.  Has several 
marks of LASHING, and has irons on her feet.'

'Ran away, a negro woman and two children.  A few days before she 
went off, I burnt her with a hot iron, on the left side of her 
face.  I tried to make the letter M.'

'Ran away, a negro man named Henry; his left eye out, some scars 
from a dirk on and under his left arm, and much scarred with the 

'One hundred dollars reward, for a negro fellow, Pompey, 40 years 
old.  He is branded on the left jaw.'

'Committed to jail, a negro man.  Has no toes on the left foot.'

'Ran away, a negro woman named Rachel.  Has lost all her toes 
except the large one.'

'Ran away, Sam.  He was shot a short time since through the hand, 
and has several shots in his left arm and side.'

'Ran away, my negro man Dennis.  Said negro has been shot in the 
left arm between the shoulder and elbow, which has paralysed the 
left hand.'

'Ran away, my negro man named Simon.  He has been shot badly, in 
his back and right arm.'

'Ran away, a negro named Arthur.  Has a considerable scar across 
his breast and each arm, made by a knife; loves to talk much of the 
goodness of God.'

'Twenty-five dollars reward for my man Isaac.  He has a scar on his 
forehead, caused by a blow; and one on his back, made by a shot 
from a pistol.'

'Ran away, a negro girl called Mary.  Has a small scar over her 
eye, a good many teeth missing, the letter A is branded on her 
cheek and forehead.'

'Ran away, negro Ben.  Has a scar on his right hand; his thumb and 
forefinger being injured by being shot last fall.  A part of the 
bone came out.  He has also one or two large scars on his back and 

'Detained at the jail, a mulatto, named Tom.  Has a scar on the 
right cheek, and appears to have been burned with powder on the 

'Ran away, a negro man named Ned.  Three of his fingers are drawn 
into the palm of his hand by a cut.  Has a scar on the back of his 
neck, nearly half round, done by a knife.'

'Was committed to jail, a negro man.  Says his name is Josiah.  His 
back very much scarred by the whip; and branded on the thigh and 
hips in three or four places, thus (J M).  The rim of his right ear 
has been bit or cut off.'

'Fifty dollars reward, for my fellow Edward.  He has a scar on the 
corner of his mouth, two cuts on and under his arm, and the letter 
E on his arm.'

'Ran away, negro boy Ellie.  Has a scar on one of his arms from the 
bite of a dog.'

'Ran away, from the plantation of James Surgette, the following 
negroes:  Randal, has one ear cropped; Bob, has lost one eye; 
Kentucky Tom, has one jaw broken.'

'Ran away, Anthony.  One of his ears cut off, and his left hand cut 
with an axe.'

'Fifty dollars reward for the negro Jim Blake.  Has a piece cut out 
of each ear, and the middle finger of the left hand cut off to the 
second joint.'

'Ran away, a negro woman named Maria.  Has a scar on one side of 
her cheek, by a cut.  Some scars on her back.'

'Ran away, the Mulatto wench Mary.  Has a cut on the left arm, a 
scar on the left shoulder, and two upper teeth missing.'

I should say, perhaps, in explanation of this latter piece of 
description, that among the other blessings which public opinion 
secures to the negroes, is the common practice of violently 
punching out their teeth.  To make them wear iron collars by day 
and night, and to worry them with dogs, are practices almost too 
ordinary to deserve mention.

'Ran away, my man Fountain.  Has holes in his ears, a scar on the 
right side of his forehead, has been shot in the hind part of his 
legs, and is marked on the back with the whip.'

'Two hundred and fifty dollars reward for my negro man Jim.  He is 
much marked with shot in his right thigh.  The shot entered on the 
outside, halfway between the hip and knee joints.'

'Brought to jail, John.  Left ear cropt.'

'Taken up, a negro man.  Is very much scarred about the face and 
body, and has the left ear bit off.'

'Ran away, a black girl, named Mary.  Has a scar on her cheek, and 
the end of one of her toes cut off.'

'Ran away, my Mulatto woman, Judy.  She has had her right arm 

'Ran away, my negro man, Levi.  His left hand has been burnt, and I 
think the end of his forefinger is off.'

'Ran away, a negro man, NAMED WASHINGTON.  Has lost a part of his 
middle finger, and the end of his little finger.'

'Twenty-five dollars reward for my man John.  The tip of his nose 
is bit off.'

'Twenty-five dollars reward for the negro slave, Sally.  Walks AS 
THOUGH crippled in the back.'

'Ran away, Joe Dennis.  Has a small notch in one of his ears.'

'Ran away, negro boy, Jack.  Has a small crop out of his left ear.'

'Ran away, a negro man, named Ivory.  Has a small piece cut out of 
the top of each ear.'

While upon the subject of ears, I may observe that a distinguished 
abolitionist in New York once received a negro's ear, which had 
been cut off close to the head, in a general post letter.  It was 
forwarded by the free and independent gentleman who had caused it 
to be amputated, with a polite request that he would place the 
specimen in his 'collection.'

I could enlarge this catalogue with broken arms, and broken legs, 
and gashed flesh, and missing teeth, and lacerated backs, and bites 
of dogs, and brands of red-hot irons innumerable:  but as my 
readers will be sufficiently sickened and repelled already, I will 
turn to another branch of the subject.

These advertisements, of which a similar collection might be made 
for every year, and month, and week, and day; and which are coolly 
read in families as things of course, and as a part of the current 
news and small-talk; will serve to show how very much the slaves 
profit by public opinion, and how tender it is in their behalf.  
But it may be worth while to inquire how the slave-owners, and the 
class of society to which great numbers of them belong, defer to 
public opinion in their conduct, not to their slaves but to each 
other; how they are accustomed to restrain their passions; what 
their bearing is among themselves; whether they are fierce or 
gentle; whether their social customs be brutal, sanguinary, and 
violent, or bear the impress of civilisation and refinement.

That we may have no partial evidence from abolitionists in this 
inquiry, either, I will once more turn to their own newspapers, and 
I will confine myself, this time, to a selection from paragraphs 
which appeared from day to day, during my visit to America, and 
which refer to occurrences happening while I was there.  The 
italics in these extracts, as in the foregoing, are my own.

These cases did not ALL occur, it will be seen, in territory 
actually belonging to legalised Slave States, though most, and 
those the very worst among them did, as their counterparts 
constantly do; but the position of the scenes of action in 
reference to places immediately at hand, where slavery is the law; 
and the strong resemblance between that class of outrages and the 
rest; lead to the just presumption that the character of the 
parties concerned was formed in slave districts, and brutalised by 
slave customs.


'By a slip from THE SOUTHPORT TELEGRAPH, Wisconsin, we learn that 
the Hon. Charles C. P. Arndt, Member of the Council for Brown 
county, was shot dead ON THE FLOOR OF THE COUNCIL CHAMBER, by James 
R. Vinyard, Member from Grant county.  THE AFFAIR grew out of a 
nomination for Sheriff of Grant county.  Mr. E. S. Baker was 
nominated and supported by Mr. Arndt.  This nomination was opposed 
by Vinyard, who wanted the appointment to vest in his own brother.  
In the course of debate, the deceased made some statements which 
Vinyard pronounced false, and made use of violent and insulting 
language, dealing largely in personalities, to which Mr. A. made no 
reply.  After the adjournment, Mr. A. stepped up to Vinyard, and 
requested him to retract, which he refused to do, repeating the 
offensive words.  Mr. Arndt then made a blow at Vinyard, who 
stepped back a pace, drew a pistol, and shot him dead.

'The issue appears to have been provoked on the part of Vinyard, 
who was determined at all hazards to defeat the appointment of 
Baker, and who, himself defeated, turned his ire and revenge upon 
the unfortunate Arndt.'


Public indignation runs high in the territory of Wisconsin, in 
relation to the murder of C. C. P. Arndt, in the Legislative Hall 
of the Territory.  Meetings have been held in different counties of 
LEGISLATIVE CHAMBERS OF THE COUNTRY.  We have seen the account of 
the expulsion of James R. Vinyard, the perpetrator of the bloody 
deed, and are amazed to hear, that, after this expulsion by those 
who saw Vinyard kill Mr. Arndt in the presence of his aged father, 
who was on a visit to see his son, little dreaming that he was to 
Miners' Free Press speaks IN TERMS OF MERITED REBUKE at the outrage 
upon the feelings of the people of Wisconsin.  Vinyard was within 
arm's length of Mr. Arndt, when he took such deadly aim at him, 
that he never spoke.  Vinyard might at pleasure, being so near, 
have only wounded him, but he chose to kill him.'


By a letter in a St. Louis paper of the '4th, we notice a terrible 
outrage at Burlington, Iowa.  A Mr. Bridgman having had a 
difficulty with a citizen of the place, Mr. Ross; a brother-in-law 
of the latter provided himself with one of Colt's revolving 
pistols, met Mr. B. in the street, AND DISCHARGED THE CONTENTS OF 
though horribly wounded, and dying, returned the fire, and killed 
Ross on the spot.'


'From the "Caddo Gazette," of the 12th inst., we learn the 
frightful death of Colonel Robert Potter. . . . He was beset in his 
house by an enemy, named Rose.  He sprang from his couch, seized 
his gun, and, in his night-clothes, rushed from the house.  For 
about two hundred yards his speed seemed to defy his pursuers; but, 
getting entangled in a thicket, he was captured.  Rose told him 
THAT HE INTENDED TO ACT A GENEROUS PART, and give him a chance for 
his life.  He then told Potter he might run, and he should not be 
interrupted till he reached a certain distance.  Potter started at 
the word of command, and before a gun was fired he had reached the 
lake.  His first impulse was to jump in the water and dive for it, 
which he did.  Rose was close behind him, and formed his men on the 
bank ready to shoot him as he rose.  In a few seconds he came up to 
breathe; and scarce had his head reached the surface of the water 
when it was completely riddled with the shot of their guns, and he 
sunk, to rise no more!'


'We understand THAT A SEVERE RENCONTRE CAME OFF a few days since in 
the Seneca Nation, between Mr. Loose, the sub-agent of the mixed 
band of the Senecas, Quapaw, and Shawnees, and Mr. James Gillespie, 
of the mercantile firm of Thomas G. Allison and Co., of Maysville, 
Benton, County Ark, in which the latter was slain with a bowie-
knife.  Some difficulty had for some time existed between the 
parties.  It is said that Major Gillespie brought on the attack 
with a cane.  A severe conflict ensued, during which two pistols 
were fired by Gillespie and one by Loose.  Loose then stabbed 
Gillespie with one of those never-failing weapons, a bowie-knife.  
The death of Major G. is much regretted, as he was a liberal-minded 
and energetic man.  Since the above was in type, we have learned 
that Major Allison has stated to some of our citizens in town that 
Mr. Loose gave the first blow.  We forbear to give any particulars, 


The steamer Thames, just from Missouri river, brought us a 
handbill, offering a reward of 500 dollars, for the person who 
assassinated Lilburn W. Baggs, late Governor of this State, at 
Independence, on the night of the 6th inst.  Governor Baggs, it is 
stated in a written memorandum, was not dead, but mortally wounded.

'Since the above was written, we received a note from the clerk of 
the Thames, giving the following particulars.  Gov. Baggs was shot 
by some villain on Friday, 6th inst., in the evening, while sitting 
in a room in his own house in Independence.  His son, a boy, 
hearing a report, ran into the room, and found the Governor sitting 
in his chair, with his jaw fallen down, and his head leaning back; 
on discovering the injury done to his father, he gave the alarm.  
Foot tracks were found in the garden below the window, and a pistol 
picked up supposed to have been overloaded, and thrown from the 
hand of the scoundrel who fired it.  Three buck shots of a heavy 
load, took effect; one going through his mouth, one into the brain, 
and another probably in or near the brain; all going into the back 
part of the neck and head.  The Governor was still alive on the 
morning of the 7th; but no hopes for his recovery by his friends, 
and but slight hopes from his physicians.

'A man was suspected, and the Sheriff most probably has possession 
of him by this time.

'The pistol was one of a pair stolen some days previous from a 
baker in Independence, and the legal authorities have the 
description of the other.'


'An unfortunate AFFAIR took place on Friday evening in Chatres 
Street, in which one of our most respectable citizens received a 
dangerous wound, from a poignard, in the abdomen.  From the Bee 
(New Orleans) of yesterday, we learn the following particulars.  It 
appears that an article was published in the French side of the 
paper on Monday last, containing some strictures on the Artillery 
Battalion for firing their guns on Sunday morning, in answer to 
those from the Ontario and Woodbury, and thereby much alarm was 
caused to the families of those persons who were out all night 
preserving the peace of the city.  Major C. Gally, Commander of the 
battalion, resenting this, called at the office and demanded the 
author's name; that of Mr. P. Arpin was given to him, who was 
absent at the time.  Some angry words then passed with one of the 
proprietors, and a challenge followed; the friends of both parties 
tried to arrange the affair, but failed to do so.  On Friday 
evening, about seven o'clock, Major Gally met Mr. P. Arpin in 
Chatres Street, and accosted him.  "Are you Mr. Arpin?"

'"Yes, sir."

'"Then I have to tell you that you are a - " (applying an 
appropriate epithet).

'"I shall remind you of your words, sir."

'"But I have said I would break my cane on your shoulders."

'"I know it, but I have not yet received the blow."

'At these words, Major Gally, having a cane in his hands, struck 
Mr. Arpin across the face, and the latter drew a poignard from his 
pocket and stabbed Major Gally in the abdomen.

'Fears are entertained that the wound will be mortal.  WE 


'On the 27th ult., in an affray near Carthage, Leake county, 
Mississippi, between James Cottingham and John Wilburn, the latter 
was shot by the former, and so horribly wounded, that there was no 
hope of his recovery.  On the 2nd instant, there was an affray at 
Carthage between A. C. Sharkey and George Goff, in which the latter 
was shot, and thought mortally wounded.  Sharkey delivered himself 
up to the authorities, BUT CHANGED HIS MIND AND ESCAPED!'


'An encounter took place in Sparta, a few days since, between the 
barkeeper of an hotel, and a man named Bury.  It appears that Bury 
had become somewhat noisy, AND THAT THE BARKEEPER, DETERMINED TO 
pistol and shot the barkeeper down.  He was not dead at the last 
accounts, but slight hopes were entertained of his recovery.'


'The clerk of the steamboat TRIBUNE informs us that another duel 
was fought on Tuesday last, by Mr. Robbins, a bank officer in 
Vicksburg, and Mr. Fall, the editor of the Vicksburg Sentinel.  
According to the arrangement, the parties had six pistols each, 
which, after the word "Fire!" THEY WERE TO DISCHARGE AS FAST AS 
THEY PLEASED.  Fall fired two pistols without effect.  Mr. Robbins' 
first shot took effect in Fall's thigh, who fell, and was unable to 
continue the combat.'


'An UNFORTUNATE AFFRAY occurred in Clarke county (MO.), near 
Waterloo, on Tuesday the 19th ult., which originated in settling 
the partnership concerns of Messrs. M'Kane and M'Allister, who had 
been engaged in the business of distilling, and resulted in the 
death of the latter, who was shot down by Mr. M'Kane, because of 
his attempting to take possession of seven barrels of whiskey, the 
property of M'Kane, which had been knocked off to M'Allister at a 
sheriff's sale at one dollar per barrel.  M'Kane immediately fled 

'THIS UNFORTUNATE AFFRAY caused considerable excitement in the 
neighbourhood, as both the parties were men with large families 
depending upon them and stood well in the community.'

I will quote but one more paragraph, which, by reason of its 
monstrous absurdity, may be a relief to these atrocious deeds.


'We have just heard the particulars of a meeting which took place 
on Six Mile Island, on Tuesday, between two young bloods of our 
city:  Samuel Thurston, AGED FIFTEEN, and William Hine, AGED 
THIRTEEN years.  They were attended by young gentlemen of the same 
age.  The weapons used on the occasion, were a couple of Dickson's 
best rifles; the distance, thirty yards.  They took one fire, 
without any damage being sustained by either party, except the ball 
of Thurston's gun passing through the crown of Hine's hat.  THROUGH 
withdrawn, and the difference amicably adjusted.'

If the reader will picture to himself the kind of Board of Honour 
which amicably adjusted the difference between these two little 
boys, who in any other part of the world would have been amicably 
adjusted on two porters' backs and soundly flogged with birchen 
rods, he will be possessed, no doubt, with as strong a sense of its 
ludicrous character, as that which sets me laughing whenever its 
image rises up before me.

Now, I appeal to every human mind, imbued with the commonest of 
common sense, and the commonest of common humanity; to all 
dispassionate, reasoning creatures, of any shade of opinion; and 
ask, with these revolting evidences of the state of society which 
exists in and about the slave districts of America before them, can 
they have a doubt of the real condition of the slave, or can they 
for a moment make a compromise between the institution or any of 
its flagrant, fearful features, and their own just consciences?  
Will they say of any tale of cruelty and horror, however aggravated 
in degree, that it is improbable, when they can turn to the public 
prints, and, running, read such signs as these, laid before them by 
the men who rule the slaves:  in their own acts and under their own 

Do we not know that the worst deformity and ugliness of slavery are 
at once the cause and the effect of the reckless license taken by 
these freeborn outlaws?  Do we not know that the man who has been 
born and bred among its wrongs; who has seen in his childhood 
husbands obliged at the word of command to flog their wives; women, 
indecently compelled to hold up their own garments that men might 
lay the heavier stripes upon their legs, driven and harried by 
brutal overseers in their time of travail, and becoming mothers on 
the field of toil, under the very lash itself; who has read in 
youth, and seen his virgin sisters read, descriptions of runaway 
men and women, and their disfigured persons, which could not be 
published elsewhere, of so much stock upon a farm, or at a show of 
beasts:- do we not know that that man, whenever his wrath is 
kindled up, will be a brutal savage?  Do we not know that as he is 
a coward in his domestic life, stalking among his shrinking men and 
women slaves armed with his heavy whip, so he will be a coward out 
of doors, and carrying cowards' weapons hidden in his breast, will 
shoot men down and stab them when he quarrels?  And if our reason 
did not teach us this and much beyond; if we were such idiots as to 
close our eyes to that fine mode of training which rears up such 
men; should we not know that they who among their equals stab and 
pistol in the legislative halls, and in the counting-house, and on 
the marketplace, and in all the elsewhere peaceful pursuits of 
life, must be to their dependants, even though they were free 
servants, so many merciless and unrelenting tyrants?

What! shall we declaim against the ignorant peasantry of Ireland, 
and mince the matter when these American taskmasters are in 
question?  Shall we cry shame on the brutality of those who 
hamstring cattle:  and spare the lights of Freedom upon earth who 
notch the ears of men and women, cut pleasant posies in the 
shrinking flesh, learn to write with pens of red-hot iron on the 
human face, rack their poetic fancies for liveries of mutilation 
which their slaves shall wear for life and carry to the grave, 
breaking living limbs as did the soldiery who mocked and slew the 
Saviour of the world, and set defenceless creatures up for targets!  
Shall we whimper over legends of the tortures practised on each 
other by the Pagan Indians, and smile upon the cruelties of 
Christian men!  Shall we, so long as these things last, exult above 
the scattered remnants of that race, and triumph in the white 
enjoyment of their possessions?  Rather, for me, restore the forest 
and the Indian village; in lieu of stars and stripes, let some poor 
feather flutter in the breeze; replace the streets and squares by 
wigwams; and though the death-song of a hundred haughty warriors 
fill the air, it will be music to the shriek of one unhappy slave.

On one theme, which is commonly before our eyes, and in respect of 
which our national character is changing fast, let the plain Truth 
be spoken, and let us not, like dastards, beat about the bush by 
hinting at the Spaniard and the fierce Italian.  When knives are 
drawn by Englishmen in conflict let it be said and known:  'We owe 
this change to Republican Slavery.  These are the weapons of 
Freedom.  With sharp points and edges such as these, Liberty in 
America hews and hacks her slaves; or, failing that pursuit, her 
sons devote them to a better use, and turn them on each other.'


THERE are many passages in this book, where I have been at some 
pains to resist the temptation of troubling my readers with my own 
deductions and conclusions:  preferring that they should judge for 
themselves, from such premises as I have laid before them.  My only 
object in the outset, was, to carry them with me faithfully 
wheresoever I went:  and that task I have discharged.

But I may be pardoned, if on such a theme as the general character 
of the American people, and the general character of their social 
system, as presented to a stranger's eyes, I desire to express my 
own opinions in a few words, before I bring these volumes to a 

They are, by nature, frank, brave, cordial, hospitable, and 
affectionate.  Cultivation and refinement seem but to enhance their 
warmth of heart and ardent enthusiasm; and it is the possession of 
these latter qualities in a most remarkable degree, which renders 
an educated American one of the most endearing and most generous of 
friends.  I never was so won upon, as by this class; never yielded 
up my full confidence and esteem so readily and pleasurably, as to 
them; never can make again, in half a year, so many friends for 
whom I seem to entertain the regard of half a life.

These qualities are natural, I implicitly believe, to the whole 
people.  That they are, however, sadly sapped and blighted in their 
growth among the mass; and that there are influences at work which 
endanger them still more, and give but little present promise of 
their healthy restoration; is a truth that ought to be told.

It is an essential part of every national character to pique itself 
mightily upon its faults, and to deduce tokens of its virtue or its 
wisdom from their very exaggeration.  One great blemish in the 
popular mind of America, and the prolific parent of an innumerable 
brood of evils, is Universal Distrust.  Yet the American citizen 
plumes himself upon this spirit, even when he is sufficiently 
dispassionate to perceive the ruin it works; and will often adduce 
it, in spite of his own reason, as an instance of the great 
sagacity and acuteness of the people, and their superior shrewdness 
and independence.

'You carry,' says the stranger, 'this jealousy and distrust into 
every transaction of public life.  By repelling worthy men from 
your legislative assemblies, it has bred up a class of candidates 
for the suffrage, who, in their very act, disgrace your 
Institutions and your people's choice.  It has rendered you so 
fickle, and so given to change, that your inconstancy has passed 
into a proverb; for you no sooner set up an idol firmly, than you 
are sure to pull it down and dash it into fragments:  and this, 
because directly you reward a benefactor, or a public servant, you 
distrust him, merely because he is rewarded; and immediately apply 
yourselves to find out, either that you have been too bountiful in 
your acknowledgments, or he remiss in his deserts.  Any man who 
attains a high place among you, from the President downwards, may 
date his downfall from that moment; for any printed lie that any 
notorious villain pens, although it militate directly against the 
character and conduct of a life, appeals at once to your distrust, 
and is believed.  You will strain at a gnat in the way of 
trustfulness and confidence, however fairly won and well deserved; 
but you will swallow a whole caravan of camels, if they be laden 
with unworthy doubts and mean suspicions.  Is this well, think you, 
or likely to elevate the character of the governors or the 
governed, among you?'

The answer is invariably the same:  'There's freedom of opinion 
here, you know.  Every man thinks for himself, and we are not to be 
easily overreached.  That's how our people come to be suspicious.'

Another prominent feature is the love of 'smart' dealing:  which 
gilds over many a swindle and gross breach of trust; many a 
defalcation, public and private; and enables many a knave to hold 
his head up with the best, who well deserves a halter; though it 
has not been without its retributive operation, for this smartness 
has done more in a few years to impair the public credit, and to 
cripple the public resources, than dull honesty, however rash, 
could have effected in a century.  The merits of a broken 
speculation, or a bankruptcy, or of a successful scoundrel, are not 
gauged by its or his observance of the golden rule, 'Do as you 
would be done by,' but are considered with reference to their 
smartness.  I recollect, on both occasions of our passing that ill-
fated Cairo on the Mississippi, remarking on the bad effects such 
gross deceits must have when they exploded, in generating a want of 
confidence abroad, and discouraging foreign investment:  but I was 
given to understand that this was a very smart scheme by which a 
deal of money had been made:  and that its smartest feature was, 
that they forgot these things abroad, in a very short time, and 
speculated again, as freely as ever.  The following dialogue I have 
held a hundred times:  'Is it not a very disgraceful circumstance 
that such a man as So-and-so should be acquiring a large property 
by the most infamous and odious means, and notwithstanding all the 
crimes of which he has been guilty, should be tolerated and abetted 
by your Citizens?  He is a public nuisance, is he not?'  'Yes, 
sir.'  'A convicted liar?'  'Yes, sir.'  'He has been kicked, and 
cuffed, and caned?'  'Yes, sir.'  'And he is utterly dishonourable, 
debased, and profligate?'  'Yes, sir.'  'In the name of wonder, 
then, what is his merit?'  'Well, sir, he is a smart man.'

In like manner, all kinds of deficient and impolitic usages are 
referred to the national love of trade; though, oddly enough, it 
would be a weighty charge against a foreigner that he regarded the 
Americans as a trading people.  The love of trade is assigned as a 
reason for that comfortless custom, so very prevalent in country 
towns, of married persons living in hotels, having no fireside of 
their own, and seldom meeting from early morning until late at 
night, but at the hasty public meals.  The love of trade is a 
reason why the literature of America is to remain for ever 
unprotected 'For we are a trading people, and don't care for 
poetry:' though we DO, by the way, profess to be very proud of our 
poets:  while healthful amusements, cheerful means of recreation, 
and wholesome fancies, must fade before the stern utilitarian joys 
of trade.

These three characteristics are strongly presented at every turn, 
full in the stranger's view.  But, the foul growth of America has a 
more tangled root than this; and it strikes its fibres, deep in its 
licentious Press.

Schools may be erected, East, West, North, and South; pupils be 
taught, and masters reared, by scores upon scores of thousands; 
colleges may thrive, churches may be crammed, temperance may be 
diffused, and advancing knowledge in all other forms walk through 
the land with giant strides:  but while the newspaper press of 
America is in, or near, its present abject state, high moral 
improvement in that country is hopeless.  Year by year, it must and 
will go back; year by year, the tone of public feeling must sink 
lower down; year by year, the Congress and the Senate must become 
of less account before all decent men; and year by year, the memory 
of the Great Fathers of the Revolution must be outraged more and 
more, in the bad life of their degenerate child.

Among the herd of journals which are published in the States, there 
are some, the reader scarcely need be told, of character and 
credit.  From personal intercourse with accomplished gentlemen 
connected with publications of this class, I have derived both 
pleasure and profit.  But the name of these is Few, and of the 
others Legion; and the influence of the good, is powerless to 
counteract the moral poison of the bad.

Among the gentry of America; among the well-informed and moderate:  
in the learned professions; at the bar and on the bench:  there is, 
as there can be, but one opinion, in reference to the vicious 
character of these infamous journals.  It is sometimes contended - 
I will not say strangely, for it is natural to seek excuses for 
such a disgrace - that their influence is not so great as a visitor 
would suppose.  I must be pardoned for saying that there is no 
warrant for this plea, and that every fact and circumstance tends 
directly to the opposite conclusion.

When any man, of any grade of desert in intellect or character, can 
climb to any public distinction, no matter what, in America, 
without first grovelling down upon the earth, and bending the knee 
before this monster of depravity; when any private excellence is 
safe from its attacks; when any social confidence is left unbroken 
by it, or any tie of social decency and honour is held in the least 
regard; when any man in that free country has freedom of opinion, 
and presumes to think for himself, and speak for himself, without 
humble reference to a censorship which, for its rampant ignorance 
and base dishonesty, he utterly loathes and despises in his heart; 
when those who most acutely feel its infamy and the reproach it 
casts upon the nation, and who most denounce it to each other, dare 
to set their heels upon, and crush it openly, in the sight of all 
men:  then, I will believe that its influence is lessening, and men 
are returning to their manly senses.  But while that Press has its 
evil eye in every house, and its black hand in every appointment in 
the state, from a president to a postman; while, with ribald 
slander for its only stock in trade, it is the standard literature 
of an enormous class, who must find their reading in a newspaper, 
or they will not read at all; so long must its odium be upon the 
country's head, and so long must the evil it works, be plainly 
visible in the Republic.

To those who are accustomed to the leading English journals, or to 
the respectable journals of the Continent of Europe; to those who 
are accustomed to anything else in print and paper; it would be 
impossible, without an amount of extract for which I have neither 
space nor inclination, to convey an adequate idea of this frightful 
engine in America.  But if any man desire confirmation of my 
statement on this head, let him repair to any place in this city of 
London, where scattered numbers of these publications are to be 
found; and there, let him form his own opinion. (1)

It would be well, there can be no doubt, for the American people as 
a whole, if they loved the Real less, and the Ideal somewhat more.  
It would be well, if there were greater encouragement to lightness 
of heart and gaiety, and a wider cultivation of what is beautiful, 
without being eminently and directly useful.  But here, I think the 
general remonstrance, 'we are a new country,' which is so often 
advanced as an excuse for defects which are quite unjustifiable, as 
being, of right, only the slow growth of an old one, may be very 
reasonably urged:  and I yet hope to hear of there being some other 
national amusement in the United States, besides newspaper 

They certainly are not a humorous people, and their temperament 
always impressed me is being of a dull and gloomy character.  In 
shrewdness of remark, and a certain cast-iron quaintness, the 
Yankees, or people of New England, unquestionably take the lead; as 
they do in most other evidences of intelligence.  But in travelling 
about, out of the large cities - as I have remarked in former parts 
of these volumes - I was quite oppressed by the prevailing 
seriousness and melancholy air of business:  which was so general 
and unvarying, that at every new town I came to, I seemed to meet 
the very same people whom I had left behind me, at the last.  Such 
defects as are perceptible in the national manners, seem, to me, to 
be referable, in a great degree, to this cause:  which has 
generated a dull, sullen persistence in coarse usages, and rejected 
the graces of life as undeserving of attention.  There is no doubt 
that Washington, who was always most scrupulous and exact on points 
of ceremony, perceived the tendency towards this mistake, even in 
his time, and did his utmost to correct it.

I cannot hold with other writers on these subjects that the 
prevalence of various forms of dissent in America, is in any way 
attributable to the non-existence there of an established church:  
indeed, I think the temper of the people, if it admitted of such an 
Institution being founded amongst them, would lead them to desert 
it, as a matter of course, merely because it WAS established.  But, 
supposing it to exist, I doubt its probable efficacy in summoning 
the wandering sheep to one great fold, simply because of the 
immense amount of dissent which prevails at home; and because I do 
not find in America any one form of religion with which we in 
Europe, or even in England, are unacquainted.  Dissenters resort 
thither in great numbers, as other people do, simply because it is 
a land of resort; and great settlements of them are founded, 
because ground can be purchased, and towns and villages reared, 
where there were none of the human creation before.  But even the 
Shakers emigrated from England; our country is not unknown to Mr. 
Joseph Smith, the apostle of Mormonism, or to his benighted 
disciples; I have beheld religious scenes myself in some of our 
populous towns which can hardly be surpassed by an American camp-
meeting; and I am not aware that any instance of superstitious 
imposture on the one hand, and superstitious credulity on the 
other, has had its origin in the United States, which we cannot 
more than parallel by the precedents of Mrs. Southcote, Mary Tofts 
the rabbit-breeder, or even Mr. Thorn of Canterbury:  which latter 
case arose, some time after the dark ages had passed away.

The Republican Institutions of America undoubtedly lead the people 
to assert their self-respect and their equality; but a traveller is 
bound to bear those Institutions in his mind, and not hastily to 
resent the near approach of a class of strangers, who, at home, 
would keep aloof.  This characteristic, when it was tinctured with 
no foolish pride, and stopped short of no honest service, never 
offended me; and I very seldom, if ever, experienced its rude or 
unbecoming display.  Once or twice it was comically developed, as 
in the following case; but this was an amusing incident, and not 
the rule, or near it.

I wanted a pair of boots at a certain town, for I had none to 
travel in, but those with the memorable cork soles, which were much 
too hot for the fiery decks of a steamboat.  I therefore sent a 
message to an artist in boots, importing, with my compliments, that 
I should be happy to see him, if he would do me the polite favour 
to call.  He very kindly returned for answer, that he would 'look 
round' at six o'clock that evening.

I was lying on the sofa, with a book and a wine-glass, at about 
that time, when the door opened, and a gentleman in a stiff cravat, 
within a year or two on either side of thirty, entered, in his hat 
and gloves; walked up to the looking-glass; arranged his hair; took 
off his gloves; slowly produced a measure from the uttermost depths 
of his coat-pocket; and requested me, in a languid tone, to 'unfix' 
my straps.  I complied, but looked with some curiosity at his hat, 
which was still upon his head.  It might have been that, or it 
might have been the heat - but he took it off.  Then, he sat 
himself down on a chair opposite to me; rested an arm on each knee; 
and, leaning forward very much, took from the ground, by a great 
effort, the specimen of metropolitan workmanship which I had just 
pulled off:  whistling, pleasantly, as he did so.  He turned it 
over and over; surveyed it with a contempt no language can express; 
and inquired if I wished him to fix me a boot like THAT?  I 
courteously replied, that provided the boots were large enough, I 
would leave the rest to him; that if convenient and practicable, I 
should not object to their bearing some resemblance to the model 
then before him; but that I would be entirely guided by, and would 
beg to leave the whole subject to, his judgment and discretion.  
'You an't partickler, about this scoop in the heel, I suppose 
then?' says he:  'we don't foller that, here.'  I repeated my last 
observation.  He looked at himself in the glass again; went closer 
to it to dash a grain or two of dust out of the corner of his eye; 
and settled his cravat.  All this time, my leg and foot were in the 
air.  'Nearly ready, sir?' I inquired.  'Well, pretty nigh,' he 
said; 'keep steady.'  I kept as steady as I could, both in foot and 
face; and having by this time got the dust out, and found his 
pencil-case, he measured me, and made the necessary notes.  When he 
had finished, he fell into his old attitude, and taking up the boot 
again, mused for some time.  'And this,' he said, at last, 'is an 
English boot, is it?  This is a London boot, eh?'  'That, sir,' I 
replied, 'is a London boot.'  He mused over it again, after the 
manner of Hamlet with Yorick's skull; nodded his head, as who 
should say, 'I pity the Institutions that led to the production of 
this boot!'; rose; put up his pencil, notes, and paper - glancing 
at himself in the glass, all the time - put on his hat - drew on 
his gloves very slowly; and finally walked out.  When he had been 
gone about a minute, the door reopened, and his hat and his head 
reappeared.  He looked round the room, and at the boot again, which 
was still lying on the floor; appeared thoughtful for a minute; and 
then said 'Well, good arternoon.'  'Good afternoon, sir,' said I:  
and that was the end of the interview.

There is but one other head on which I wish to offer a remark; and 
that has reference to the public health.  In so vast a country, 
where there are thousands of millions of acres of land yet 
unsettled and uncleared, and on every rood of which, vegetable 
decomposition is annually taking place; where there are so many 
great rivers, and such opposite varieties of climate; there cannot 
fail to be a great amount of sickness at certain seasons.  But I 
may venture to say, after conversing with many members of the 
medical profession in America, that I am not singular in the 
opinion that much of the disease which does prevail, might be 
avoided, if a few common precautions were observed.  Greater means 
of personal cleanliness, are indispensable to this end; the custom 
of hastily swallowing large quantities of animal food, three times 
a-day, and rushing back to sedentary pursuits after each meal, must 
be changed; the gentler sex must go more wisely clad, and take more 
healthful exercise; and in the latter clause, the males must be 
included also.  Above all, in public institutions, and throughout 
the whole of every town and city, the system of ventilation, and 
drainage, and removal of impurities requires to be thoroughly 
revised.  There is no local Legislature in America which may not 
study Mr. Chadwick's excellent Report upon the Sanitary Condition 
of our Labouring Classes, with immense advantage.

* * * * * *

I HAVE now arrived at the close of this book.  I have little reason 
to believe, from certain warnings I have had since I returned to 
England, that it will be tenderly or favourably received by the 
American people; and as I have written the Truth in relation to the 
mass of those who form their judgments and express their opinions, 
it will be seen that I have no desire to court, by any adventitious 
means, the popular applause.

It is enough for me, to know, that what I have set down in these 
pages, cannot cost me a single friend on the other side of the 
Atlantic, who is, in anything, deserving of the name.  For the 
rest, I put my trust, implicitly, in the spirit in which they have 
been conceived and penned; and I can bide my time.

I have made no reference to my reception, nor have I suffered it to 
influence me in what I have written; for, in either case, I should 
have offered but a sorry acknowledgment, compared with that I bear 
within my breast, towards those partial readers of my former books, 
across the Water, who met me with an open hand, and not with one 
that closed upon an iron muzzle.



AT a Public Dinner given to me on Saturday the 18th of April, 1868, 
in the City of New York, by two hundred representatives of the 
Press of the United States of America, I made the following 
observations among others:

'So much of my voice has lately been heard in the land, that I 
might have been contented with troubling you no further from my 
present standing-point, were it not a duty with which I henceforth 
charge myself, not only here but on every suitable occasion, 
whatsoever and wheresoever, to express my high and grateful sense 
of my second reception in America, and to bear my honest testimony 
to the national generosity and magnanimity.  Also, to declare how 
astounded I have been by the amazing changes I have seen around me 
on every side, - changes moral, changes physical, changes in the 
amount of land subdued and peopled, changes in the rise of vast new 
cities, changes in the growth of older cities almost out of 
recognition, changes in the graces and amenities of life, changes 
in the Press, without whose advancement no advancement can take 
place anywhere.  Nor am I, believe me, so arrogant as to suppose 
that in five and twenty years there have been no changes in me, and 
that I had nothing to learn and no extreme impressions to correct 
when I was here first.  And this brings me to a point on which I 
have, ever since I landed in the United States last November, 
observed a strict silence, though sometimes tempted to break it, 
but in reference to which I will, with your good leave, take you 
into my confidence now.  Even the Press, being human, may be 
sometimes mistaken or misinformed, and I rather think that I have 
in one or two rare instances observed its information to be not 
strictly accurate with reference to myself.  Indeed, I have, now 
and again, been more surprised by printed news that I have read of 
myself, than by any printed news that I have ever read in my 
present state of existence.  Thus, the vigour and perseverance with 
which I have for some months past been collecting materials for, 
and hammering away at, a new book on America has much astonished 
me; seeing that all that time my declaration has been perfectly 
well known to my publishers on both sides of the Atlantic, that no 
consideration on earth would induce me to write one.  But what I 
have intended, what I have resolved upon (and this is the 
confidence I seek to place in you) is, on my return to England, in 
my own person, in my own journal, to bear, for the behoof of my 
countrymen, such testimony to the gigantic changes in this country 
as I have hinted at to-night.  Also, to record that wherever I have 
been, in the smallest places equally with the largest, I have been 
received with unsurpassable politeness, delicacy, sweet temper, 
hospitality, consideration, and with unsurpassable respect for the 
privacy daily enforced upon me by the nature of my avocation here 
and the state of my health.  This testimony, so long as I live, and 
so long as my descendants have any legal right in my books, I shall 
cause to be republished, as an appendix to every copy of those two 
books of mine in which I have referred to America.  And this I will 
do and cause to be done, not in mere love and thankfulness, but 
because I regard it as an act of plain justice and honour.'

I said these words with the greatest earnestness that I could lay 
upon them, and I repeat them in print here with equal earnestness.  
So long as this book shall last, I hope that they will form a part 
of it, and will be fairly read as inseparable from my experiences 
and impressions of America.


MAY, 1868.


(1) NOTE TO THE ORIGINAL EDITION. - Or let him refer to an able, 
and perfectly truthful article, in THE FOREIGN QUARTERLY REVIEW, 
published in the present month of October; to which my attention 
has been attracted, since these sheets have been passing through 
the press.  He will find some specimens there, by no means 
remarkable to any man who has been in America, but sufficiently 
striking to one who has not.

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