Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

Domestic Manners of the Americans by Fanny Trollope

Part 1 out of 7

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.7 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

Produced by David G Johnson

Domestic Manners of the Americans by Fanny Trollope

Frances Milton Trollope (known as Fanny Trollope)
(Mother of the author Anthony Trollope)

First published in 1832


Entrance of the Mississippi--Balize

On the 4th of November, 1827, I sailed from London, accompanied
by my son and two daughters; and after a favourable, though
somewhat tedious voyage, arrived on Christmas-day at the mouth of
the Mississippi.

The first indication of our approach to land was the appearance
of this mighty river pouring forth its muddy mass of waters, and
mingling with the deep blue of the Mexican Gulf. The shores of
this river are so utterly flat, that no object upon them is
perceptible at sea, and we gazed with pleasure on the muddy ocean
that met us, for it told us we were arrived, and seven weeks of
sailing had wearied us; yet it was not without a feeling like
regret that we passed from the bright blue waves, whose varying
aspect had so long furnished our chief amusement, into the murky
stream which now received us.

Large flights of pelicans were seen standing upon the long masses
of mud which rose above the surface of the waters, and a pilot
came to guide us over the bar, long before any other indication
of land was visible.

I never beheld a scene so utterly desolate as this entrance of
the Mississippi. Had Dante seen it, he might have drawn images
of another Bolgia from its horrors. One only object rears itself
above the eddying waters; this is the mast of a vessel long since
wrecked in attempting to cross the bar, and it still stands, a
dismal witness of the destruction that has been, and a boding
prophet of that which is to come.

By degrees bulrushes of enormous growth become visible, and a few
more miles of mud brought us within sight of a cluster of huts
called the Balize, by far the most miserable station that I ever
saw made the dwelling of man, but I was told that many families
of pilots and fishermen lived there.

For several miles above its mouth, the Mississippi presents no
objects more interesting than mud banks, monstrous bulrushes, and
now and then a huge crocodile luxuriating in the slime. Another
circumstance that gives to this dreary scene an aspect of
desolation, is the incessant appearance of vast quantities of
drift wood, which is ever finding its way to the different mouths
of the Mississippi. Trees of enormous length, sometimes still
bearing their branches, and still oftener their uptorn roots
entire, the victims of the frequent hurricane, come floating down
the stream. Sometimes several of these, entangled together,
collect among their boughs a quantity of floating rubbish, that
gives the mass the appearance of a moving island, bearing a
forest, with its roots mocking the heavens; while the dishonoured
branches lash the tide in idle vengeance: this, as it approaches
the vessel, and glides swiftly past, looks like the fragment of a
world in ruins.

As we advanced, however, we were cheered, notwithstanding the
season, by the bright tints of southern vegetation. The banks
continue invariably flat, but a succession of planless villas,
sometimes merely a residence, and sometimes surrounded by their
sugar grounds and negro huts, varied the scene. At no one point
was there an inch of what painters call a second distance; and
for the length of one hundred and twenty miles, from the Balize
to New Orleans, and one hundred miles above the town, the land is
defended from the encroachments of the river by a high embankment
which is called the Levee; without which the dwellings would
speedily disappear, as the river is evidently higher than the
banks would be without it. When we arrived, there had been
constant rains, and of long continuance, and this appearance was,
therefore, unusually striking, giving to "this great natural
feature" the most unnatural appearance imaginable; and making
evident, not only that man had been busy there, but that even the
mightiest works of nature might be made to bear his impress; it
recalled, literally, Swift's mock heroic,

"Nature must give way to art;"

yet, she was looking so mighty, and so unsubdued all the time,
that I could not help fancying she would some day take the matter
into her own hands again, and if so, farewell to New Orleans.

It is easy to imagine the total want of beauty in such a
landscape; but yet the form and hue of the trees and plants, so
new to us, added to the long privation we had endured of all
sights and sounds of land, made even these swampy shores seem
beautiful. We were, however, impatient to touch as well as see
the land; but the navigation from the Balize to New Orleans is
difficult and tedious, and the two days that it occupied appeared
longer than any we had passed on board.

In truth, to those who have pleasure in contemplating the
phenomena of nature, a sea voyage may endure many weeks without
wearying. Perhaps some may think that the first glance of ocean
and of sky shew all they have to offer; nay, even that that first
glance may suggest more of dreariness than sublimity; but to me,
their variety appeared endless, and their beauty unfailing. The
attempt to describe scenery, even where the objects are prominent
and tangible, is very rarely successful; but where the effect is
so subtile and so varying, it must be vain. The impression,
nevertheless, is perhaps deeper than any other; I think it
possible I may forget the sensations with which I watched the
long course of the gigantic Mississippi; the Ohio and the Potomac
may mingle and be confounded with other streams in my memory, I
may even recall with difficulty the blue outline of the Alleghany
mountains, but never, while I remember any thing, can I forget
the first and last hour of light on the Atlantic.

The ocean, however, and all its indescribable charm, no longer
surrounded us; we began to feel that our walk on the quarter-deck
was very like the exercise of an ass in a mill; that our books
had lost half their pages, and that the other half were known by
rote; that our beef was very salt, and our biscuits very hard; in
short, that having studied the good ship, Edward, from stem to
stern till we knew the name of every sail, and the use of every
pulley, we had had enough of her, and as we laid down, head to
head, in our tiny beds for the last time, I exclaimed with no
small pleasure,

"Tomorrow to fresh fields and pastures new."


New Orleans--Society--
Creoles and Quadroons Voyage up the Mississippi

On first touching the soil of a new land, of a new continent, of
a new world, it is impossible not to feel considerable excitement
and deep interest in almost every object that meets us. New
Orleans presents very little that can gratify the eye of taste,
but nevertheless there is much of novelty and interest for a
newly arrived European. The large proportion of blacks seen in
the streets, all labour being performed by them; the grace and
beauty of the elegant Quadroons, the occasional groups of wild
and savage looking Indians, the unwonted aspect of the
vegetation, the huge and turbid river, with its low and slimy
shore, all help to afford that species of amusement which
proceeds from looking at what we never saw before.

The town has much the appearance of a French Ville de Province,
and is, in fact, an old French colony taken from Spain by France.
The names of the streets are French, and the language about
equally French and English. The market is handsome and well
supplied, all produce being conveyed by the river. We were much
pleased by the chant with which the Negro boatmen regulate and
beguile their labour on the river; it consists but of very few
notes, but they are sweetly harmonious, and the Negro voice is
almost always rich and powerful.

By far the most agreeable hours I passed at New Orleans were
those in which I explored with my children the forest near
the town. It was our first walk in "the eternal forests of
the western world," and we felt rather sublime and poetical.
The trees, generally speaking, are much too close to be either
large or well grown; and, moreover, their growth is often
stunted by a parasitical plant, for which I could learn no
other name than "Spanish moss;" it hangs gracefully from the
boughs, converting the outline of all the trees it hangs upon
into that of weeping willows. The chief beauty of the forest
in this region is from the luxuriant undergrowth of palmetos,
which is decidedly the loveliest coloured and most graceful
plant I know. The pawpaw, too, is a splendid shrub, and in
great abundance. We here, for the first time, saw the wild
vine, which we afterwards found growing so profusely in every
part of America, as naturally to suggest the idea that the
natives ought to add wine to the numerous production of their
plenty-teeming soil. The strong pendant festoons made safe and
commodious swings, which some of our party enjoyed, despite the
sublime temperament above-mentioned.

Notwithstanding it was mid-winter when we were at New Orleans,
the heat was much more than agreeable, and the attacks of the
mosquitos incessant, and most tormenting; yet I suspect that, for
a short time, we would rather have endured it, than not have seen
oranges, green peas, and red pepper, growing in the open air at
Christmas. In one of our rambles we ventured to enter a garden,
whose bright orange hedge attracted our attention; here we saw
green peas fit for the table, and a fine crop of red pepper
ripening in the sun. A young Negress was employed on the steps
of the house; that she was a slave made her an object of interest
to us. She was the first slave we had ever spoken to, and I
believe we all felt that we could hardly address her with
sufficient gentleness. She little dreamed, poor girl, what deep
sympathy she excited; she answered us civilly and gaily, and
seemed amused at our fancying there was something unusual in red
pepper pods; she gave us several of them, and I felt fearful lest
a hard mistress might blame her for it. How very childish does
ignorance make us! and how very ignorant we are upon almost every
subject, where hearsay evidence is all we can get!

I left England with feelings so strongly opposed to slavery, that
it was not without pain I witnessed its effects around me. At
the sight of every Negro man, woman, and child that passed, my
fancy wove some little romance of misery, as belonging to each of
them; since I have known more on the subject, and become better
acquainted with their real situation in America, I have often
smiled at recalling what I then felt.

The first symptom of American equality that I perceived, was
my being introduced in form to a milliner; it was not at a
boarding-house, under the indistinct outline of "Miss C--," nor
in the street through the veil of a fashionable toilette, but in
the very penetralia of her temple, standing behind her counter,
giving laws to ribbon and to wire, and ushering caps and bonnets
into existence. She was an English woman, and I was told that
she possessed great intellectual endowments, and much
information; I really believe this was true. Her manner was easy
and graceful, with a good deal of French tournure; and the
gentleness with which her fine eyes and sweet voice directed the
movements of a young female slave, was really touching: the way,
too, in which she blended her French talk of modes with her
customers, and her English talk of metaphysics with her friends,
had a pretty air of indifference in it, that gave her a
superiority with both.

I found with her the daughter of a judge, eminent, it was said,
both for legal and literary ability, and I heard from many
quarters, after I had left New Orleans, that the society of this
lady was highly valued by all persons of talent. Yet were I,
traveller-like, to stop here, and set it down as a national
peculiarity, or republican custom, that milliners took the lead
in the best society, I should greatly falsify facts. I do not
remember the same thing happening to me again, and this is one
instance among a thousand, of the impression every circumstance
makes on entering a new country, and of the propensity, so
irresistible, to class all things, however accidental, as
national and peculiar. On the other hand, however, it is certain
that if similar anomalies are unfrequent in America, they are
nearly impossible elsewhere.

In the shop of Miss C-- I was introduced to Mr. M'Clure, a
venerable personage, of gentlemanlike appearance, who in the
course of five minutes propounded as many axioms, as "Ignorance
is the only devil;" "Man makes his own existence;" and the like.
He was of the New Harmony school, or rather the New Harmony
school was of him. He was a man of good fortune, (a Scotchman, I
believe), who after living a tolerably gay life, had "conceived
high thoughts, such as Lycurgus loved, who bade flog the little
Spartans," and determined to benefit the species, and immortalize
himself, by founding a philosophical school at New Harmony.
There was something in the hollow square legislations of Mr.
Owen, that struck him as admirable, and he seems, as far as I can
understand, to have intended aiding his views, by a sort of
incipient hollow square drilling; teaching the young ideas of all
he could catch, to shoot into parallelogramic form and order.
This venerable philosopher, like all of his school that I ever
heard of, loved better to originate lofty imaginings of faultless
systems, than to watch their application to practice. With much
liberality he purchased and conveyed to the wilderness a very
noble collection of books and scientific instruments; but not
finding among men one whose views were liberal and enlarged as
his own, he selected a woman to put into action the machine he
had organized. As his acquaintance with this lady had been of
long standing, and, as it was said, very intimate, he felt sure
that no violation of his rules would have place under her sway;
they would act together as one being: he was to perform the
functions of the soul, and will everything; she, those of the
body, and perform everything.

The principal feature of the scheme was, that (the first liberal
outfit of the institution having been furnished by Mr. M'Clure,)
the expense of keeping it up should be defrayed by the profits
arising from the labours of the pupils, male and female, which
was to be performed at stated intervals of each day, in regular
rotation with learned study and scientific research. But
unfortunately the soul of the system found the climate of Indiana
uncongenial to its peculiar formation, and, therefore, took its
flight to Mexico, leaving the body to perform the operations of
both, in whatever manner it liked best; and the body, being a
French body, found no difficulty in setting actively to work
without troubling the soul about it; and soon becoming conscious
that the more simple was a machine, the more perfect were its
operations, she threw out all that related to the intellectual
part of the business, (which to do poor soul justice, it had laid
great stress upon), and stirred herself as effectually as ever
body did, to draw wealth from the thews and sinews of the youths
they had collected. When last I heard of this philosophical
establishment, she, and a nephew-son were said to be reaping a
golden harvest, as many of the lads had been sent from a distance
by indigent parents, for gratuitous education, and possessed no
means of leaving it.

Our stay in New Orleans was not long enough to permit our
entering into society, but I was told that it contained two
distinct sets of people, both celebrated, in their way, for their
social meetings and elegant entertainments. The first of these
is composed of Creole families, who are chiefly planters and
merchants, with their wives and daughters; these meet together,
eat together, and are very grand and aristocratic; each of their
balls is a little Almack's, and every portly dame of the set is
as exclusive in her principles as the excluded but amiable
Quandroons, and such of the gentlemen of the former class as can
by any means escape from the high places, where pure Creole blood
swells the veins at the bare mention of any being tainted in the
remotest degree with the Negro stain.

Of all the prejudices I have ever witnessed, this appears to me
the most violent, and the most inveterate. Quadroon girls, the
acknowledged daughters of wealthy American or Creole fathers,
educated with all of style and accomplishments which money can
procure at New Orleans, and with all the decorum that care and
affection can give; exquisitely beautiful, graceful, gentle, and
amiable, these are not admitted, nay, are not on any terms
admissable, into the society of the Creole families of Louisiana.
They cannot marry; that is to say, no ceremony can render an
union with them legal or binding; yet such is the powerful effect
of their very peculiar grace, beauty, and sweetness of manner,
that unfortunately they perpetually become the objects of choice
and affection. If the Creole ladies have privilege to exercise
the awful power of repulsion, the gentle Quadroon has the sweet
but dangerous vengeance of possessing that of attraction. The
unions formed with this unfortunate race are said to be often
lasting and happy, as far as any unions can be so, to which a
certain degree of disgrace is attached.

There is a French and an English theatre in the town; but we were
too fresh from Europe to care much for either; or, indeed, for
any other of the town delights of this city, and we soon became
eager to commence our voyage up the Mississippi.

Miss Wright, then less known (though the author of more than one
clever volume) than she has since become, was the companion of
our voyage from Europe; and it was my purpose to have passed some
months with her and her sister at the estate she had purchased in
Tennessee. This lady, since become so celebrated as the advocate
of opinions that make millions shudder, and some half-score
admire, was, at the time of my leaving England with her,
dedicated to a pursuit widely different from her subsequent
occupations. Instead of becoming a public orator in every town
throughout America, she was about, as she said, to seclude
herself for life in the deepest forests of the western world,
that her fortune, her time, and her talents might be exclusively
devoted to aid the cause of the suffering Africans. Her first
object was to shew that nature had made no difference between
blacks and whites, excepting in complexion; and this she expected
to prove by giving an education perfectly equal to a class of
black and white children. Could this fact be once fully
established, she conceived that the Negro cause would stand on
firmer ground than it had yet done, and the degraded rank which
they have ever held amongst civilized nations would be proved to
be a gross injustice.

This question of the mental equality, or inequality between us,
and the Negro race, is one of great interest, and has certainly
never yet been fairly tried; and I expected for my children and
myself both pleasure and information from visiting her
establishment, and watching the success of her experiment.

The innumerable steam boats, which are the stage coaches and fly
waggons of this land of lakes and rivers, are totally unlike any
I had seen in Europe, and greatly superior to them. The fabrics
which I think they most resemble in appearance, are the floating
baths (les bains Vigier) at Paris. The annexed drawing will give
a correct idea of their form. The room to which the double line
of windows belongs, is a very handsome apartment; before each
window a neat little cot is arranged in such a manner as to give
its drapery the air of a window curtain. This room is called the
gentlemen's cabin, and their exclusive right to it is somewhat
uncourteously insisted upon. The breakfast, dinner, and supper
are laid in this apartment, and the lady passengers are permitted
to take their meals there.

On the first of January, 1828, we embarked on board the
Belvidere, a large and handsome boat; though not the largest or
handsomest of the many which displayed themselves along the
wharfs; but she was going to stop at Memphis, the point of the
river nearest to Miss Wright's residence, and she was the first
that departed after we had got through the customhouse, and
finished our sight-seeing. We found the room destined for the
use of the ladies dismal enough, as its only windows were below
the stem gallery; but both this and the gentlemen's cabin were
handsomely fitted up, and the former well carpeted; but oh! that
carpet! I will not, I may not describe its condition; indeed it
requires the pen of a Swift to do it justice. Let no one who
wishes to receive agreeable impressions of American manners,
commence their travels in a Mississippi steam boat; for myself,
it is with all sincerity I declare, that I would infinitely
prefer sharing the apartment of a party of well conditioned pigs
to the being confined to its cabin.

I hardly know any annoyance so deeply repugnant to English
feelings, as the incessant, remorseless spitting of Americans.
I feel that I owe my readers an apology for the repeated use of
this, and several other odious words; but I cannot avoid them,
without suffering the fidelity of description to escape me. It
is possible that in this phrase, "Americans," I may be too
general. The United States form a continent of almost distinct
nations, and I must now, and always, be understood to speak only
of that portion of them which I have seen. In conversing with
Americans I have constantly found that if I alluded to anything
which they thought I considered as uncouth, they would assure me
it was local, and not national; the accidental peculiarity of a
very small part, and by no means a specimen of the whole. "That
is because you know so little of America," is a phrase I have
listened to a thousand times, and in nearly as many different
places. _It may be so_--and having made this concession, I
protest against the charge of injustice in relating what I have


Company on board the Steam Boat--Scenery of the Mississippi--
Crocodiles--Arrival at Memphis--Nashoba

The weather was warm and bright, and we found the guard of the
boat, as they call the gallery that runs round the cabins, a very
agreeable station; here we all sat as long as light lasted, and
sometimes wrapped in our shawls, we enjoyed the clear bright
beauty of American moonlight long after every passenger but
ourselves had retired. We had a full complement of passengers on
board. The deck, as is usual, was occupied by the Kentucky
flat-boat men, returning from New Orleans, after having disposed
of the boat and cargo which they had conveyed thither, with no
other labour than that of steering her, the current bringing her
down at the rate of four miles an hour. We had about two hundred
of these men on board, but the part of the vessel occupied by
them is so distinct from the cabins, that we never saw them,
except when we stopped to take in wood; and then they ran, or
rather sprung and vaulted over each other's heads to the shore,
whence they all assisted in carrying wood to supply the steam
engine; the performance of this duty being a stipulated part of
the payment of their passage.

From the account given by a man servant we had on board, who
shared their quarters, they are a most disorderly set of persons,
constantly gambling and wrangling, very seldom sober, and never
suffering a night to pass without giving practical proof of the
respect in which they hold the doctrines of equality, and
community of property. The clerk of the vessel was kind enough
to take our man under his protection, and assigned him a berth in
his own little nook; but as this was not inaccessible, he told
him by no means to detach his watch or money from his person
during the night. Whatever their moral characteristics may be,
these Kentuckians are a very noble-looking race of men; their
average height considerably exceeds that of Europeans, and their
countenances, excepting when disfigured by red hair, which is not
unfrequent, extremely handsome.

The gentlemen in the cabin (we had no ladies) would certainly
neither, from their language, manners, nor appearance, have
received that designation in Europe; but we soon found their
claim to it rested on more substantial ground, for we heard them
nearly all addressed by the titles of general, colonel, and
major. On mentioning these military dignities to an English
friend some time afterwards, he told me that he too had made the
voyage with the same description of company, but remarking that
there was not a single captain among them; he made the
observation to a fellow-passenger, and asked how he accounted for
it. "Oh, sir, the captains are all on deck," was the reply.

Our honours, however, were not all military, for we had a
judge among us. I know it is equally easy and invidious to
ridicule the peculiarities of appearance and manner in people of
a different nation from ourselves; we may, too, at the same
moment, be undergoing the same ordeal in their estimation; and,
moreover, I am by no means disposed to consider whatever is new
to me as therefore objectionable; but, nevertheless, it was
impossible not to feel repugnance to many of the novelties that
now surrounded me.

The total want of all the usual courtesies of the table, the
voracious rapidity with which the viands were seized and
devoured, the strange uncouth phrases and pronunciation; the
loathsome spitting, from the contamination of which it was
absolutely impossible to protect our dresses; the frightful
manner of feeding with their knives, till the whole blade seemed
to enter into the mouth; and the still more frightful manner of
cleaning the teeth afterwards with a pocket knife, soon forced us
to feel that we were not surrounded by the generals, colonels,
and majors of the old world; and that the dinner hour was to be
any thing rather than an hour of enjoyment.

The little conversation that went forward while we remained in
the room, was entirely political, and the respective claims of
Adams and Jackson to the presidency were argued with more oaths
and more vehemence than it had ever been my lot to hear. Once a
colonel appeared on the verge of assaulting a major, when a huge
seven-foot Kentuckian gentleman horse-dealer, asked of the
heavens to confound them both, and bade them sit still and be
d--d. We too thought we should share this sentence; at least
sitting still in the cabin seemed very nearly to include the rest
of it, and we never tarried there a moment longer than was
absolutely necessary to eat.

The unbroken flatness of the banks of the Mississippi continued
unvaried for many miles above New Orleans; but the graceful and
luxuriant palmetto, the dark and noble ilex, and the bright
orange, were every where to be seen, and it was many days before
we were weary of looking at them. We occasionally used the
opportunity of the boat's stopping to take in wood for a ten
minutes' visit to the shore; we in this manner explored a field
of sugar canes, and loaded ourselves with as much of the sweet
spoil as we could carry. Many of the passengers seemed fond of
the luscious juice that is easily expressed from the canes, but
it was too sweet for my palate. We also visited, in the same
rapid manner, a cotton plantation. A handsome spacious building
was pointed out to us as a convent, where a considerable number
of young ladies were educated by the nuns.

At one or two points the wearisome level line of forest is
relieved by _bluffs_, as they call the short intervals of high
ground. The town of Natches is beautifully situated on one of
these high spots; the climate here, in the warm season, is as
fatal as that of New Orleans; were it not for this, Natches would
have great attractions to new settlers. The beautiful contrast
that its bright green hill forms with the dismal line of black
forest that stretches on every side, the abundant growth of
pawpaw, palmetto and orange, the copious variety of sweet-scented
flowers that flourish there, all make it appear like an oasis in
the desert. Natches is the furthest point to the north at which
oranges ripen in the open air, or endure the winter without
shelter. With the exception of this sweet spot, I thought all
the little towns and villages we passed, wretched looking, in the
extreme. As the distance from New Orleans increased, the air of
wealth and comfort exhibited in its immediate neighbourhood
disappeared, and but for one or two clusters of wooden houses,
calling themselves towns, and borrowing some pompous name,
generally from Greece or Rome, we might have thought ourselves
the first of the human race who had ever penetrated into this
territory of bears and alligators. But still from time to time
appeared the hut of the wood-cutter, who supplies the steam-boats
with fuel, at the risk, or rather with the assurance of early
death, in exchange for dollars and whiskey. These sad dwellings
are nearly all of them inundated during the winter, and the best
of them are constructed on piles, which permit the water to reach
its highest level without drowning the wretched inhabitants.
These unhappy beings are invariably the victims of ague, which
they meet recklessly, sustained by the incessant use of ardent
spirits. The squalid look of the miserable wives and children of
these men was dreadful, and often as the spectacle was renewed I
could never look at it with indifference. Their complexion is of
a blueish white, that suggests the idea of dropsy; this is
invariable, and the poor little ones wear exactly the same
ghastly hue. A miserable cow and a few pigs standing knee-deep
in water, distinguish the more prosperous of these dwellings, and
on the whole I should say that I never witnessed human nature
reduced so low, as it appeared in the wood-cutters' huts on the
unwholesome banks of the Mississippi.

It is said that at some points of this dismal river, crocodiles
are so abundant as to add the terror of their attacks to the
other sufferings of a dwelling there. We were told a story of
a squatter, who having "located" himself close to the river's
edge, proceeded to build his cabin. This operation is soon
performed, for social feeling and the love of whiskey bring all
the scanty neighbourhood round a new corner, to aid him in
cutting down trees, and in rolling up the logs, till the mansion
is complete. This was done; the wife and five young children
were put in possession of their new home, and slept soundly after
a long march. Towards daybreak the husband and father was
awakened by a faint cry, and looking up, beheld relics of three
of his children scattered over the floor, and an enormous
crocodile, with several young ones around her, occupied in
devouring the remnants of their horrid meal. He looked round for
a weapon, but finding none, and aware that unarmed he could do
nothing, he raised himself gently on his bed, and contrived to
crawl from thence through a window, hoping that his wife, whom he
left sleeping, might with the remaining children rest
undiscovered till his return. He flew to his nearest neighbour
and besought his aid; in less than half an hour two men returned
with him, all three well armed; but alas! they were too late! the
wife and her two babes lay mangled on their bloody bed. The
gorged reptiles fell an easy prey to their assailants, who, upon
examining the place, found the hut had been constructed close to
the mouth of a large hole, almost a cavern, where the monster had
hatched her hateful brood.

Among other sights of desolation which mark this region,
condemned of nature, the lurid glare of a burning forest was
almost constantly visible after sunset, and when the wind so
willed, the smoke arising from it floated in heavy vapour over
our heads. Not all the novelty of the scene, not all its
vastness, could prevent its heavy horror wearying the spirits.
Perhaps the dinners and suppers I have described may help to
account for this; but certain it is, that when we had wondered
for a week at the ceaseless continuity of forest; had first
admired, and then wearied of the festooned drapery of Spanish
moss; when we had learned to distinguish the different masses of
timber that passed us, or that we passed, as a "snag," a "log" or
a "sawyer;" when we had finally made up our minds that the
gentlemen of the Kentucky and Ohio military establishments, were
not of the same genus as those of the Tuilleries and St. James's,
we began to wish that we could sleep more hours away. As we
advanced to the northward we were no longer cheered by the
beautiful border of palmettos; and even the amusement of
occasionally spying out a sleeping crocodile was over.

Just in this state, when we would have fain believed that every
mile we went, carried us two towards Memphis, a sudden and
violent shock startled us frightfully.

"It is a sawyer!" said one.

"It is a snag!" cried another.

"We are aground!" exclaimed the captain.

"Aground? Good heavens! and how long shall we stay here?"

"The Lord in his providence can only tell, but long enough to
tire my patience, I expect."

And the poor English ladies, how fared they the while?

Two breakfasts, two dinners, and a supper did they eat, with the
Ohio and Kentucky gentlemen, before they moved an inch. Several
steam-boats passed while we were thus enthralled; but some were
not strong enough to attempt drawing us off, and some attempted
it, but were not strong enough to succeed; at length a vast and
mighty "thing of life" approached, threw out grappling irons; and
in three minutes the business was done; again we saw the trees
and mud slide swiftly past us; and a hearty shout from every
passenger on deck declared their joy.

At length we had the pleasure of being told that we had arrived
at Memphis; but this pleasure was considerably abated by the hour
of our arrival, which was midnight, and by the rain, which was
falling in torrents.

Memphis stands on a high bluff, and at the time of our arrival
was nearly inaccessible. The heavy rain which had been falling
for many hours would have made any steep ascent difficult, but
unfortunately a new road had been recently marked out, which
beguiled us into its almost bottomless mud, from the firmer
footing of the unbroken cliff. Shoes and gloves were lost in the
mire, for we were glad to avail ourselves of all our limbs, and
we reached the grand hotel in a most deplorable state.

Miss Wright was well known there, and as soon as her arrival was
announced, every one seemed on the alert to receive her, and we
soon found ourselves in possession of the best rooms in the
hotel. The house was new, and in what appeared to me a very
comfortless condition, but I was then new to Western America, and
unaccustomed to their mode of "getting along," as they term it.
This phrase is eternally in use among them, and seems to mean
existing with as few of the comforts of life as possible.

We slept soundly however, and rose in the hope of soon changing
our mortar-smelling-quarters for Miss Wright's Nashoba.

But we presently found that the rain which had fallen during the
night would make it hazardous to venture through the forests of
Tennessee in any sort of carriage; we therefore had to pass the
day at our queer comfortless hotel. The steam-boat had wearied
me of social meals, and I should have been thankful to have eaten
our dinner of hard venison and peach-sauce in a private room; but
this, Miss Wright said was impossible; the lady of the house
would consider the proposal as a personal affront, and, moreover,
it would be assuredly refused. This latter argument carried
weight with it, and when the great bell was sounded from an upper
window of the house, we proceeded to the dining-room. The table
was laid for fifty persons, and was already nearly full. Our
party had the honour of sitting near "the lady," but to check the
proud feelings to which such distinction might give birth, my
servant, William, sat very nearly opposite to me. The company
consisted of all the shop-keepers (store-keepers as they are
called throughout the United States) of the little town. The
mayor also, who was a friend of Miss Wright's, was of the party;
he is a pleasing gentlemanlike man, and seems strangely misplaced
in a little town on the Mississippi. We were told that since the
erection of this hotel, it has been the custom for all the male
inhabitants of the town to dine and breakfast there. They ate in
perfect silence, and with such astonishing rapidity that their
dinner was over literally before our's was began; the instant
they ceased to eat, they darted from the table in the same moody
silence which they had preserved since they entered the room, and
a second set took their places, who performed their silent parts
in the same manner. The only sounds heard were those produced by
the knives and forks, with the unceasing chorus of coughing, &c.
No women were present except ourselves and the hostess; the good
women of Memphis being well content to let their lords partake of
Mrs. Anderson's turkeys and venison, (without their having the
trouble of cooking for them), whilst they regale themselves on
mash and milk at home.

The remainder of the day passed pleasantly enough in rambling
round the little town, which is situated at the most beautiful
point of the Mississippi; the river is here so wide as to give it
the appearance of a noble lake; an island, covered with lofty
forest trees divides it, and relieves by its broad mass of shadow
the uniformity of its waters. The town stretches in a rambling
irregular manner along the cliff, from the Wolf River, one of the
innumerable tributaries to the Mississippi, to about a mile below
it. Half a mile more of the cliff beyond the town is cleared of
trees, and produces good pasture for horses, cows, and pigs;
sheep they had none. At either end of this space the forest
again rears its dark wall, and seems to say to man, "so far shalt
thou come, and no farther!" Courage and industry, however, have
braved the warning. Behind this long street the town straggles
back into the forest, and the rude path that leads to the more
distant log dwellings becomes wilder at every step. The ground
is broken by frequent water-courses, and the bridges that lead
across them are formed by trunks of trees thrown over the stream,
which support others of smaller growth, that are laid across
them. These bridges are not very pleasant to pass, for they
totter under the tread of a man, and tremble most frightfully
beneath a horse or a waggon; they are, however, very picturesque.
The great height of the trees, the quantity of pendant vine
branches that hang amongst them; and the variety of gay plumaged
birds, particularly the small green parrot, made us feel we were
in a new world; and a repetition of our walk the next morning
would have pleased us well, but Miss Wright was anxious to get
home, and we were scarcely less so to see her Nashoba. A clumsy
sort of caravan drawn by two horses was prepared for us; and we
set off in high spirits for an expedition of fifteen miles
through the forest. To avoid passing one of the bridges above
described, which was thought insecure, our negro driver took us
through a piece of water, which he assured us was not deep "to
matter" however we soon lost sight of our pole, and as we were
evidently descending, we gently remonstrated with him on the
danger of proceeding, but he only grinned, and flogged in reply;
we soon saw the front wheels disappear, and horses began to
plunge and kick most alarmingly, but still without his looking at
all disturbed. At length the splinter-bar gave way, upon which
the black philosopher said very composedly, "I expect you'll best
be riding out upon the horses, as we've got into an unhandsome
fix here." Miss Wright, who sat composedly smiling at the scene,
said, "Yes, Jacob, that is what we must do;" and with some
difficulty we, in this manner, reached the shore, and soon found
ourselves again assembled round Mrs. Anderson's fire.

It was soon settled that we must delay our departure till the
waters had subsided, but Miss Wright was too anxious to reach
home to endure this delay and she set off again on horseback,
accompanied by our man servant, who told me afterwards that they
rode through places that might have daunted the boldest hunter,
but that "Miss Wright took it quite easy."

The next day we started again, and the clear air, the bright sun,
the novel wildness of the dark forest, and our keenly awakened
curiosity, made the excursion delightful, and enabled us to bear
without shrinking the bumps and bruises we encountered. We soon
lost all trace of a road, at least so it appeared to us, for the
stumps of the trees, which had been cut away to open a passage,
were left standing three feet high. Over these, the high-hung
Deerborn, as our carriage was called, passed safely; but it
required some miles of experience to convince us that every stump
would not be our last; it was amusing to watch the cool and easy
skill with which the driver wound his horses and wheels among
these stumps. I thought he might have been imported to Bond
street with great advantage. The forest became thicker and more
dreary-looking every mile we advanced, but our ever-grinning
negro declared it was a right good road, and that we should be
sure to get to Nashoba.

And so we did....and one glance sufficed to convince me that
every idea I had formed of the place was as far as possible from
the truth. Desolation was the only feeling--the only word that
presented itself; but it was not spoken. I think, however, that
Miss Wright was aware of the painful impression the sight of her
forest home produced on me, and I doubt not that the conviction
reached us both at the same moment, that we had erred in thinking
that a few months passed together at this spot could be
productive of pleasure to either. But to do her justice, I
believe her mind was so exclusively occupied by the object she
had then in view, that all things else were worthless, or
indifferent to her. I never heard or read of any enthusiasm
approaching her's, except in some few instances, in ages past, of
religious fanaticism.

It must have been some feeling equally powerful which enabled
Miss Wright, accustomed to all the comfort and refinement of
Europe, to imagine not only that she herself could exist in this
wilderness, but that her European friends could enter there, and
not feel dismayed at the savage aspect of the scene. The annexed
plate gives a faithful view of the cleared space and buildings
which form the settlement. Each building consisted of two large
rooms furnished in the most simple manner; nor had they as yet
collected round them any of those minor comforts which ordinary
minds class among the necessaries of life. But in this our
philosophical friend seemed to see no evil; nor was there any
mixture of affectation in this indifference; it was a
circumstance really and truly beneath her notice. Her whole
heart and soul were occupied by the hope of raising the African
to the level of European intellect; and even now, that I have
seen this favourite fabric of her imagination fall to pieces
beneath her feet, I cannot recall the self-devotion with which
she gave herself to it, without admiration.

The only white persons we found at Nashoba were my amiable
friend, Mrs. W--, the sister of Miss Wright, and her husband.
I think they had between thirty and forty slaves, including
children, but when I was there no school had been established.
Books and other materials for the great experiment had been
collected, and one or two professors engaged, but nothing was yet
organized. I found my friend Mrs. W-- in very bad health, which
she confessed she attributed to the climate. This naturally so
much alarmed me for my children, that I decided upon leaving the
place with as little delay as possible, and did so at the end of
ten days.

I do not exactly know what was the immediate cause which induced
Miss Wright to abandon a scheme which had taken such possession
of her imagination, and on which she had expended so much money;
but many months had not elapsed before I learnt, with much
pleasure, that she and her sister had also left it. I think it
probable that she became aware upon returning to Nashoba, that
the climate was too hostile to their health. All I know farther
of Nashoba is, that Miss Wright having found (from some cause or
other) that it was impossible to pursue her object, herself
accompanied her slaves to Hayti, and left them there, free, and
under the protection of the President.

I found no beauty in the scenery round Nashoba, nor can I
conceive that it would possess any even in summer. The trees
were so close to each other as not to permit the growth of
underwood, the great ornament of the forest at New Orleans, and
still less of our seeing any openings, where the varying effects
of light and shade might atone for the absence of other objects.
The clearing round the settlement appeared to me inconsiderable
and imperfect; but I was told that they had grown good crops of
cotton and Indian corn. The weather was dry and agreeable, and
the aspects of the heavens by night surprisingly beautiful. I
never saw moonlight so clear, so pure, so powerful.

We returned to Memphis on the 26th January, 1828, and found
ourselves obliged to pass five days there, awaiting a steam-boat
for Cincinnati, to which metropolis of the west, I was now
determined to proceed with my family to await the arrival of
Mr. Trollope. We were told by everyone we spoke to at Memphis,
that it was in all respects the finest situation west of the
Alleghanies. We found many lovely walks among the broken
forest glades around Memphis, which, together with a morning
and evening enjoyment of the effects of a glowing horizon on
the river, enabled us to wait patiently for the boat that was
to bear us away.


Departure from Memphis--Ohio River Louisville--Cincinnati

On the 1st of February, 1828, we embarked on board the Criterion,
and once more began to float on the "father of waters," as the
poor banished Indians were wont to call the Mississippi. The
company on board was wonderfully like what we had met in coming
from New Orleans; I think they must have all been first cousins;
and what was singular, they too had all arrived at high rank in
the army. For many a wearisome mile above the Wolf River the
only scenery was still forest--forest--forest; the only variety
was produced by the receding of the river at some points, and its
encroaching on the opposite shore. These changes are continually
going on, but from what cause none could satisfactorily explain
to me. Where the river is encroaching, the trees are seen
growing in the water many feet deep; after some time, the water
undermines their roots, and they become the easy victims of the
first hurricane that blows. This is one source of the immense
quantities of drift wood that float into the gulf of Mexico.
Where the river has receded, a young growth of cane-brake is soon
seen starting up with the rapid vegetation of the climate; these
two circumstances in some degree relieve the sameness of the
thousand miles of vegetable wall. But we were now approaching
the river which is emphatically called "the beautiful," La Belle
Riveriere of the New Orleans French; and a few days took us, I
trust for ever, out of that murky stream which is as emphatically
called "the deadly;" and well does it seem to merit the title;
the air of its shores is mephitic, and it is said that nothing
that ever sunk beneath its muddy surface was known to rise again.
As truly does "La Belle Riviere" deserve its name; the Ohio is
bright and clear; its banks are continually varied, as it flows
through what is called a rolling country, which seems to mean a
district that cannot .shew a dozen paces of level ground at a
time. The primaeval forest still occupies a considerable portion
of the ground, and hangs in solemn grandeur from the cliffs; but
it is broken by frequent settlements, where we were cheered by
the sight of herds and flocks. I imagine that this river
presents almost every variety of river scenery; sometimes its
clear wave waters a meadow of level turf; sometimes it is bounded
by perpendicular rocks; pretty dwellings, with their gay porticos
are seen, alternately with wild intervals of forest, where the
tangled bear-brake plainly enough indicates what inhabitants are
native there. Often a mountain torrent comes pouring its silver
tribute to the stream, and were there occasionally a ruined
abbey, or feudal castle, to mix the romance of real life with
that of nature, the Ohio would be perfect.

So powerful was the effect of this sweet scenery, that we ceased
to grumble at our dinners and suppers; nay, we almost learnt to
rival our neighbours at table in their voracious rapidity of
swallowing, so eager were we to place ourselves again on the
guard, lest we might lose sight of the beauty that was passing
away from us.

Yet these fair shores are still unhealthy. More than once we
landed, and conversed with the families of the wood-cutters, and
scarcely was there one in which we did not hear of some member
who had "lately died of the fever."--They are all subject to
ague, and though their dwellings are infinitely better than those
on the Mississippi, the inhabitants still look like a race that
are selling their lives for gold.

Louisville is a considerable town, prettily situated on the
Kentucky, or south side of the Ohio; we spent some hours in
seeing all it had to shew; and had I not been told that a bad
fever often rages there during the warm season, I should have
liked to pass some months there for the purpose of exploring
the beautiful country in its vicinity. Frankfort and Lexington
are both towns worth visiting, though from their being out of
the way places, I never got to either. The first is the seat of
the state government of Kentucky, and the last is, I was told,
the residence of several independent families, who, with more
leisure than is usually enjoyed in America, have its natural
accompaniment, more refinement.

The falls of the Ohio are about a mile below Louisville, and
produce a rapid, too sudden for the boats to pass, except in the
rainy season. The passengers are obliged to get out below them,
and travel by land to Louisville, where they find other vessels
ready to receive them for the remainder of the voyage. We were
spared this inconvenience by the water being too high for the
rapid to be much felt, and it will soon be altogether removed by
the Louisville canal coming into operation, which will permit the
steam-boats to continue their progress from below the falls to
the town.

The scenery on the Kentucky side is much finer than on that of
Indiana, or Ohio. The State of Kentucky was the darling spot of
many tribes of Indians, and was reserved among them as a common
hunting ground; it is said that they cannot yet name it without
emotion, and that they have a sad and wild lament that they still
chaunt to its memory. But their exclusion thence is of no recent
date; Kentucky has been longer settled than the Illinois,
Indiana, or Ohio, and it appears not only more highly cultivated,
but more fertile and more picturesque than either. I have rarely
seen richer pastures than those of Kentucky. The forest trees,
where not too crowded, are of magnificent growth, and the crops
are gloriously abundant where the thriftless husbandry has not
worn out the soil by an unvarying succession of exhausting crops.
We were shewn ground which had borne abundant crops of wheat for
twenty successive years; but a much shorter period suffices to
exhaust the ground, if it were made to produce tobacco without
the intermission of some other crop.

We reached Cincinnati on the 10th of February. It is finely
situated on the south side of a hill that rises gently from
the water's edge; yet it is by no means a city of striking
appearance; it wants domes, towers, and steeples; but its
landing-place is noble, extending for more than a quarter of
a mile; it is well paved, and surrounded by neat, though not
handsome buildings. I have seen fifteen steam-boats lying
there at once, and still half the wharf was unoccupied.

On arriving we repaired to the Washington Hotel, and thought
ourselves fortunate when we were told that we were just in time
for dinner at the table d'hote; but when the dining-room door was
opened, we retreated with a feeling of dismay at seeing between
sixty and seventy men already at table. We took our dinner with
the females of the family, and then went forth to seek a house
for our permanent accommodation.

We went to the office of an advertising agent, who professed to
keep a register of all such information, and described the
dwelling we wanted. He made no difficulty, but told us his boy
should be our guide through the city, and shew us what we sought;
we accordingly set out with him, and he led us up one street, and
down another, but evidently without any determinate object; I
therefore stopped, and asked him whereabout the houses were which
we were going to see. "I am looking for bills," was his reply.

I thought we could have looked for bills as well without him, and
I told him so; upon which he assumed an air of great activity,
and began knocking regularly at every door we passed, enquiring
if the house was to be let. It was impossible to endure this
long, and our guide was dismissed, though I was afterwards
obliged to pay him a dollar for his services.

We had the good fortune, however, to find a dwelling before
long, and we returned to our hotel, having determined upon
taking possession of it as soon at it could be got ready.
Not wishing to take our evening meal either with the three
score and ten gentlemen of the dining-room, nor yet with the
half dozen ladies of the bar-room, I ordered tea in my own
chamber. A good-humoured Irish woman came forward with a sort
of patronising manner, took my hand, and said, "Och, my honey,
ye'll be from the old country. I'll see you will have your tay
all to yourselves, honey." With this assurance we retired to
my room, which was a handsome one as to its size and bed
furniture, but it had no carpet, and was darkened by blinds of
paper, such as rooms are hung with, which required to be rolled
up, and then fastened with strings very awkwardly attached to
the window-frames, whenever light or air were wished for.
I afterwards met with these same uncomfortable blinds in every
part of America.

Our Irish friend soon reappeared, and brought us tea, together
with the never failing accompaniments of American tea drinking,
hung beef, "chipped up" raw, and sundry sweetmeats of brown
sugar hue and flavour. We took our tea, and were enjoying our
family talk, relative to our future arrangements, when a loud
sharp knocking was heard at our door. My "come in," was answered
by the appearance of a portly personage, who proclaimed himself
our landlord.

"Are any of you ill?" he began.

"No thank you, sir; we are all quite well," was my reply.

"Then, madam, I must tell you, that I cannot accommodate you on
these terms; we have no family tea-drinkings here, and you must
live either with me or my wife, or not at all in my house."

This was said with an air of authority that almost precluded
reply, but I ventured a sort of apologistic hint, that we were
strangers and unaccustomed to the manners of the country.

"Our manners are very good manners, and we don't wish any changes
from England."

I thought of mine host of the Washington afterwards, when reading
Scott's "Anne of Geierstein;" he, in truth, strongly resembled
the inn keeper therein immortalized, who made his guests eat,
drink, and sleep, just where, when, and how he pleased. I made
no farther remonstrance, but determined to hasten my removal.
This we achieved the next day to our great satisfaction.

We were soon settled in our new dwelling, which looked neat and
comfortable enough, but we speedily found that it was devoid of
nearly all the accommodation that Europeans conceive necessary to
decency and comfort. No pump, no cistern, no drain of any kind,
no dustman's cart, or any other visible means of getting rid of
the rubbish, which vanishes with such celerity in London, that
one has no time to think of its existence; but which accumulated
so rapidly at Cincinnati, that I sent for my landlord to know in
what manner refuse of all kinds was to be disposed of.

"Your Help will just have to fix them all into the middle of
the street, but you must mind, old woman, that it is the middle.
I expect you don't know as we have got a law what forbids
throwing such things at the sides of the streets; they must
just all be cast right into the middle, and the pigs soon takes
them off."

In truth the pigs are constantly seen doing Herculean service in
this way through every quarter of the city; and though it is not
very agreeable to live surrounded by herds of these unsavoury
animals, it is well they are so numerous, and so active in
their capacity of scavengers, for without them the streets
would soon be choked up with all sorts of substances in every
stage of decomposition.

We had heard so much of Cincinnati, its beauty, wealth, and
unequalled prosperity, that when we left Memphis to go thither,
we almost felt the delight of Rousseau's novice, "un voyage a
faire, et Paris au bout!" --As soon, therefore, as our little
domestic arrangements were completed, we set forth to view
this "wonder of the west" this "prophet's gourd of magic
growth,"--this "infant Hercules;" and surely no travellers
ever paraded a city under circumstances more favourable to
their finding it fair to the sight. Three dreary months had
elapsed since we had left the glories of London behind us; for
nearly the whole of that time we beheld no other architecture
than what our ship and steam-boats had furnished, and excepting
at New Orleans, had seen hardly a trace of human habitations.
The sight of bricks and mortar was really refreshing, and a
house of three stories looked splendid. Of this splendour we
saw repeated specimens, and moreover a brick church, which,
from its two little peaked spires, is called the two-horned
church. But, alas! the flatness of reality after the imagination
has been busy! I hardly know what I expected to find in this
city, fresh risen from the bosom of the wilderness, but certainly
it was not a little town, about the size of Salisbury, without
even an attempt at beauty in any of its edifices, and with only
just enough of the air of a city to make it noisy and bustling.
The population is greater than the appearance of the town would
lead one to expect. This is partly owing to the number of free
Negroes who herd together in an obscure part of the city, called
little Africa; and partly to the density of the population round
the paper-mills and other manufactories. I believe the number of
inhabitants exceeds twenty thousand.

We arrived in Cincinnati in February, 1828, and I speak of the
town as it was then; several small churches have been built
since, whose towers agreeably relieve its uninteresting mass of
buildings. At that time I think Main street, which is the
principal avenue, (and runs through the whole town, answering to
the High street of our old cities), was the only one entirely
paved. The _troittoir_ is of brick, tolerably well laid, but it
is inundated by every shower, as Cincinnati has no drains
whatever. What makes this omission the more remarkable is, that
the situation of the place is calculated both to facilitate their
construction and render them necessary. Cincinnati is built on
the side of a hill that begins to rise at the river's edge, and
were it furnished with drains of the simplest arrangement, the
heavy showers of the climate would keep them constantly clean; as
it is, these showers wash the higher streets, only to deposit
their filth in the first level spot; and this happens to be in
the street second in importance to Main street, running at right
angles to it, and containing most of the large warehouses of the
town. This deposit is a dreadful nuisance, and must be
productive of miasma during the hot weather.

The town is built, as I believe most American towns are, in
squares, as they call them; but these squares are the reverse of
our's, being solid instead of hollow. Each consists, or is
intended to consist, when the plan of the city is completed, of
a block of buildings fronting north, east, west, and south; each
house communicating with an alley, furnishing a back entrance.
This plan would not be a bad one were the town properly drained,
but as it is, these alleys are horrible abominations, and must, I
conceive, become worse with every passing year.

To the north, Cincinnati is bounded by a range of forest-covered
hills, sufficiently steep and rugged to prevent their being built
upon, or easily cultivated, but not sufficiently high to command
from their summits a view of any considerable extent. Deep and
narrow water-courses, dry in summer, but bringing down heavy
streams in winter, divide these hills into many separate heights,
and this furnishes the only variety the landscape offers for many
miles round the town. The lovely Ohio is a beautiful feature
wherever it is visible, but the only part of the city that has
the advantage of its beauty is the street nearest to its bank.
The hills of Kentucky, which rise at about the same distance from
the river, on the opposite side, form the southern boundary to
the basin in which Cincinnati is built.

On first arriving, I thought the many tree covered hills around,
very beautiful, but long before my departure, I felt so weary of
the confined view, that Salisbury Plain would have been an
agreeable variety. I doubt if any inhabitant of Cincinnati ever
mounted these hills so often as myself and my children; but it
was rather for the enjoyment of a freer air than for any beauty
of prospect, that we took our daily climb. These hills afford
neither shrubs nor flowers, but furnish the finest specimens of
millepore in the world; and the water courses are full of fossil

The forest trees are neither large nor well grown, and so close
as to be nearly knotted together at top; even the wild vine here
loses its beauty, for its graceful festoons bear leaves only when
they reach the higher branches of the tree that supports them,
both air and light being too scantily found below to admit of
their doing more than climbing with a bare stem till they reach a
better atmosphere. The herb we call pennyroyal was the only one
I found in abundance, and that only on the brows, where the
ground had been partially cleared; vegetation is impossible
elsewhere, and it is this circumstance which makes the "eternal
forests" of America so detestable. Near New Orleans the
undergrowth of Palmetto and pawpaw is highly beautiful, but in
Tennessee, Indiana, and Ohio, I never found the slightest beauty
in the forest scenery. Fallen trees in every possible stage of
decay, and congeries of leaves that have been rotting since the
flood, cover the ground and infect the air. The beautiful
variety of foliage afforded by evergreens never occurs, and in
Tennessee, and that part of Ohio that surrounds Cincinnati, even
the sterile beauty of rocks is wanting. On crossing the water to
Kentucky the scene is greatly improved; beech and chestnut, of
magnificent growth, border the beautiful river; the ground has
been well cleared, and the herbage is excellent; the pawpaw grows
abundantly, and is a splendid shrub, though it bears neither
fruit nor flowers so far north. The noble tulip tree flourishes
here, and blooms profusely.

The river Licking flows into the Ohio nearly opposite Cincinnati;
it is a pretty winding stream, and two or three miles from its
mouth has a brisk rapid, dancing among white stones, which, in
the absence of better rocks, we found very picturesque.


Cincinnati--Forest Farm--Mr. Bullock

Though I do not quite sympathise with those who consider
Cincinnati as one of the wonders of the earth, I certainly think
it a city of extraordinary size and importance, when it is
remembered that thirty years ago the aboriginal forest occupied
the ground where it stands; and every month appears to extend its
limits and its wealth.

Some of the native political economists assert that this rapid
conversion of a bear-brake into a prosperous city, is the result
of free political institutions; not being very deep in such
matters, a more obvious cause suggested itself to me, in the
unceasing goad which necessity applies to industry in this
country, and in the absence of all resource for the idle.
During nearly two years that I resided in Cincinnati, or its
neighbourhood, I neither saw a beggar, nor a man of sufficient
fortune to permit his ceasing his efforts to increase it; thus
every bee in the hive is actively employed in search of that
honey of Hybla, vulgarly called money; neither art, science,
learning, nor pleasure can seduce them from its pursuit. This
unity of purpose, backed by the spirit of enterprise, and joined
with an acuteness and total absence of probity, where interest is
concerned, which might set canny Yorkshire at defiance, may well
go far towards obtaining its purpose.

The low rate of taxation, too, unquestionably permits a more
rapid accumulation of individual wealth than with us; but till I
had travelled through America, I had no idea how much of the
money collected in taxes returns among the people, not only in
the purchase of what their industry furnishes, but in the actual
enjoyment of what is furnished. Were I an English legislator,
instead of sending sedition to the Tower, I would send her to
make a tour of the United States. I had a little leaning towards
sedition myself when I set out, but before I had half completed
my tour I was quite cured.

I have read much of the "few and simple wants of rational man,"
and I used to give a sort of dreamy acquiescence to the reasoning
that went to prove each added want an added woe. Those who
reason in a comfortable London drawing-room know little about the
matter. Were the aliments which sustain life all that we wanted,
the faculties of the hog might suffice us; but if we analyze an
hour of enjoyment, we shall find that it is made up of agreeable
sensations occasioned by a thousand delicate impressions on
almost as many nerves; where these nerves are sluggish from never
having been awakened, external objects are less important, for
they are less perceived; but where the whole machine of the human
frame is in full activity, where every sense brings home to
consciousness its touch of pleasure or of pain, then every object
that meets the senses is important as a vehicle of happiness or
misery. But let no frames so tempered visit the United States,
or if they do, let it be with no longer pausing than will store
the memory with images, which, by the force of contrast, shall
sweeten the future.

"Guarda e passa (e poi) ragiam di lor."

The "simple" manner of living in Western America was more
distasteful to me from its levelling effects on the manners of
the people, than from the personal privations that it rendered
necessary; and yet, till I was without them, I was in no degree
aware of the many pleasurable sensations derived from the little
elegancies and refinements enjoyed by the middle classes in
Europe. There were many circumstances, too trifling even for my
gossiping pages, which pressed themselves daily and hourly upon
us, and which forced us to remember painfully that we were not at
home. It requires an abler pen than mine to trace the connection
which I am persuaded exists between these deficiencies and the
minds and manners of the people. All animal wants are supplied
profusely at Cincinnati, and at a very easy rate; but, alas!
these go but a little way in the history of a day's enjoyment.
The total and universal want of manners, both in males and
females, is so remarkable, that I was constantly endeavouring to
account for it. It certainly does not proceed from want of
intellect. I have listened to much dull and heavy conversation
in America, but rarely to any that I could strictly call silly,
(if I except the every where privileged class of very young
ladies). They appear to me to have clear heads and active
intellects; are more ignorant on subjects that are only of
conventional value, than on such as are of intrinsic importance;
but there is no charm, no grace in their conversation. I very
seldom during my whole stay in the country heard a sentence
elegantly turned, and correctly pronounced from the lips of an
American. There is always something either in the expression or
the accent that jars the feelings and shocks the taste.

I will not pretend to decide whether man is better or worse off
for requiring refinement in the manners and customs of the
society that surrounds him, and for being incapable of enjoyment
without them; but in America that polish which removes the
coarser and rougher parts of our nature is unknown and undreamed
of. There is much substantial comfort, and some display in the
larger cities; in many of the more obvious features they are as
Paris or as London, being all large assemblies of active and
intelligent human beings--but yet they are wonderfully unlike in
nearly all their moral features. Now God forbid that any
reasonable American, (of whom there are so many millions), should
ever come to ask me what I mean; I should find it very difficult,
nay, perhaps, utterly impossible, to explain myself; but, on the
other hand, no European who has visited the Union, will find the
least difficulty in understanding me. I am in no way competent
to judge of the political institutions of America; and if I
should occasionally make an observation on their effects, as they
meet my superficial glance, they will be made in the spirit, and
with the feeling of a woman, who is apt to tell what her first
impressions may be, but unapt to reason back from effects to
their causes. Such observations, if they be unworthy of much
attention, are also obnoxious to little reproof: but there are
points of national peculiarity of which women may judge as ably
as men,--all that constitutes the external of society may be
fairly trusted to us.

Captain Hall, when asked what appeared to him to constitute the
greatest difference between England and America, replied, like a
gallant sailor, "the want of loyalty." Were the same question put
to me, I should answer, "the want of refinement."

Were Americans, indeed, disposed to assume the plain unpretending
deportment of the Switzer in the days of his picturesque
simplicity, (when, however, he never chewed tobacco), it would
be in bad taste to censure him; but this is not the case.
Jonathan will be a fine gentleman, but it must be in his own way.
Is he not a free-born American? Jonathan, however, must
remember, that if he will challenge competition with the old
world, the old world will now and then look out to see how he
supports his pretensions.

With their hours of business, whether judicial or mercantile,
civil or military, I have nothing to do; I doubt not they are all
spent wisely and profitably; but what are their hours of
recreation? Those hours that with us are passed in the enjoyment
of all that art can win from nature; when, if the elaborate
repast be more deeply relished than sages might approve, it is
redeemed from sensuality by the presence of elegance and beauty.
What is the American pendant to this? I will not draw any
comparisons between a good dinner party in the two countries; I
have heard American gentlemen say, that they could perceive no
difference between them; but in speaking of general manners, I
may observe, that it is rarely they dine in society, except in
taverns and boarding houses. Then they eat with the greatest
possible rapidity, and in total silence; I have heard it said by
American ladies, that the hours of greatest enjoyment to the
gentlemen were those in which a glass of gin cocktail, or egging,
receives its highest relish from the absence of all restraint
whatever; and when there were no ladies to trouble them.

Notwithstanding all this, the country is a very fine country,
well worth visiting for a thousand reasons; nine hundred and
ninety-nine of these are reasons founded on admiration and
respect; the thousandth is, that we shall feel the more contented
with our own. The more unlike a country through which we travel
is to all we have left, the more we are likely to be amused;
every thing in Cincinnati had this newness, and I should have
thought it a place delightful to visit, but to tarry there was
not to feel at home.

My home, however, for a time it was to be. We heard on every
side, that of all the known places on "the globe called earth,"
Cincinnati was the most favourable for a young man to settle in;
and I only awaited the arrival of Mr. T. to fix our son there,
intending to continue with him till he should feel himself
sufficiently established. We accordingly determined upon making
ourselves as comfortable as possible. I took a larger house,
which, however, I did not obtain without considerable difficulty,
as, notwithstanding fourteen hundred new dwellings had been
erected the preceding year, the demand for houses greatly
exceeded the supply. We became acquainted with several amiable
people, and we beguiled the anxious interval that preceded Mr.
T.'s joining us by frequent excursions in the neighbourhood,
which not only afforded us amusement, but gave us an opportunity
of observing the mode of life of the country people.

We visited one farm, which interested us particularly from its
wild and lonely situation, and from the entire dependence of the
inhabitants upon their own resources. It was a partial clearing
in the very heart of the forest. The house was built on the side
of a hill, so steep that a high ladder was necessary to enter the
front door, while the back one opened against the hill side; at
the foot of this sudden eminence ran a clear stream, whose bed
had been deepened into a little reservoir, just opposite the
house. A noble field of Indian-corn stretched away into the
forest on one side, and a few half-cleared acres, with a shed or
two upon them, occupied the other, giving accommodation to cows,
horses, pigs, and chickens innumerable. Immediately before the
house was a small potatoe garden, with a few peach and apple
trees. The house was built of logs, and consisted of two rooms,
besides a little shanty or lean-to, that was used as a kitchen.
Both rooms were comfortably furnished with good beds, drawers,
&c. The farmer's wife, and a young woman who looked like her
sister, were spinning, and three little children were playing
about. The woman told me that they spun and wove all the cotton
and woolen garments of the family, and knit all the stockings;
her husband, though not a shoe-maker by trade, made all the
shoes. She manufactured all the soap and candles they used, and
prepared her sugar from the sugar-trees on their farm. All she
wanted with money, she said, was to buy coffee, tea, and whiskey,
and she could "get enough any day by sending a batch of butter
and chicken to market." They used no wheat, nor sold any of
their corn, which, though it appeared a very large quantity, was
not more than they required to make their bread and cakes of
various kinds, and to feed all their live stock during the
winter. She did not look in health, and said they had all had
ague in "the fall;" but she seemed contented, and proud of her
independence; though it was in somewhat a mournful accent that
she said, "Tis strange to us to see company: I expect the sun may
rise and set a hundred times before I shall see another _human_
that does not belong to the family."

I have been minute in the description of this forest farm, as
I think it the best specimen I saw of the back-wood's
independence, of which so much is said in America.
These people were indeed independent, Robinson Crusoe was
hardly more so, and they eat and drink abundantly; but yet
it seemed to me that there was something awful and almost
unnatural in their loneliness. No village bell ever summoned
them to prayer, where they might meet the friendly greeting of
their fellow-men. When they die, no spot sacred by ancient
reverence will receive their bones--Religion will not breathe
her sweet and solemn farewell upon their grave; the husband or
the father will dig the pit that is to hold them, beneath the
nearest tree; he will himself deposit them within it, and the
wind that whispers through the boughs will be their only requiem.
But then they pay neither taxes nor tythes, are never expected to
pull off a hat or to make a curtsy, and will live and die without
hearing or uttering the dreadful words, "God save the king."

About two miles below Cincinnati, on the Kentucky side of the
river, Mr. Bullock, the well known proprietor of the Egyptian
Hall, has bought a large estate, with a noble house upon it.
He and his amiable wife were devoting themselves to the
embellishment of the house and grounds; and certainly there is
more taste and art lavished on one of their beautiful saloons,
than all Western America can show elsewhere. It is impossible to
help feeling that Mr. Bullock is rather out of his element in
this remote spot, and the gems of art he has brought with him,
shew as strangely there, as would a bower of roses in Siberia, or
a Cincinnati fashionable at Almack's. The exquisite beauty of
the spot, commanding one of the finest reaches of the Ohio, the
extensive gardens, and the large and handsome mansion, have
tempted Mr. Bullock to spend a large sum in the purchase of this
place, and if any one who has passed his life in London could
endure such a change, the active mind and sanguine spirit of Mr.
Bullock might enable him to do it; but his frank, and truly
English hospitality, and his enlightened and enquiring mind,
seemed sadly wasted there. I have since heard with pleasure that
Mr. Bullock has parted with this beautiful, but secluded mansion.


Servants--Society--Evening Parties

The greatest difficulty in organising a family establishment in
Ohio, is getting servants, or, as it is there called, "getting
help," for it is more than petty treason to the Republic, to call
a free citizen a _servant_. The whole class of young women,
whose bread depends upon their labour, are taught to believe that
the most abject poverty is preferable to domestic service.
Hundreds of half-naked girls work in the paper-mills, or in any
other manufactory, for less than half the wages they would
receive in service; but they think their equality is compromised
by the latter, and nothing but the wish to obtain some particular
article of finery will ever induce them to submit to it. A kind
friend, however, exerted herself so effectually for me, that a
tall stately lass soon presented herself, saying, "I be come to
help you." The intelligence was very agreeable, and I welcomed
her in the most gracious manner possible, and asked what I should
give her by the year.

"Oh Gimini!" exclaimed the damsel, with a loud laugh, "you be a
downright Englisher, sure enough. I should like to see a young
lady engage by the year in America! I hope I shall get a husband
before many months, or I expect I shall be an outright old maid,
for I be most seventeen already; besides, mayhap I may want to go
to school. You must just give me a dollar and half a week, and
mother's slave, Phillis, must come over once a week, I expect,
from t'other side the water, to help me clean." I agreed to the
bargain, of course, with all dutiful submission; and seeing she
was preparing to set to work in a yellow dress parseme with red
roses, I gently hinted, that I thought it was a pity to spoil so
fine a gown, and that she had better change it.

"'Tis just my best and my worst," she answered, "for I've got no

And in truth I found that this young lady had left the paternal
mansion with no more clothes of any kind than what she had on.
I immediately gave her money to purchase what was necessary for
cleanliness and decency, and set to work with my daughters to
make her a gown. She grinned applause when our labour was
completed, but never uttered the slightest expression of
gratitude for that, or for any thing else we could do for her.
She was constantly asking us to lend her different articles of
dress, and when we declined it, she said, "Well, I never seed
such grumpy folks as you be; there is several young ladies of my
acquaintance what goes to live out now and then with the old
women about the town, and they and their gurls always lends them
what they asks for; I guess you Inglish thinks we should poison
your things, just as bad as if we was Negurs." And here I beg to
assure the reader, that whenever I give conversations they were
not made A LOISIR, but were written down immediately after they
occurred, with all the verbal fidelity my memory permitted.

This young lady left me at the end of two months, because I
refused to lend her money enough to buy a silk dress to go to a
ball, saying, "Then 'tis not worth my while to stay any longer."

I cannot imagine it possible that such a state of things can be
desirable, or beneficial to any of the parties concerned.
I might occupy a hundred pages on the subject, and yet fail to
give an adequate idea of the sore, angry, ever wakeful pride that
seemed to torment these poor wretches. In many of them it was so
excessive, that all feeling of displeasure, or even of ridicule,
was lost in pity. One of these was a pretty girl, whose natural
disposition must have been gentle and kind; but her good feelings
were soured, and her gentleness turned to morbid sensitiveness,
by having heard a thousand and a thousand times that she was as
good as any other lady, that all men were equal, and women too,
and that it was a sin and a shame for a free-born American to be
treated like a servant.

When she found she was to dine in the kitchen, she turned up her
pretty lip, and said, "I guess that's 'cause you don't think I'm
good enough to eat with you. You'll find that won't do here."
I found afterwards that she rarely ate any dinner at all, and
generally passed the time in tears. I did every thing in my
power to conciliate and make her happy, but I am sure she hated
me. I gave her very high wages, and she staid till she had
obtained several expensive articles of dress, and then, UN BEAU
MATIN, she came to me full dressed, and said, "I must go." "When
shall you return, Charlotte?" "I expect you'll see no more of
me." And so we parted. Her sister was also living with me, but
her wardrobe was not yet completed, and she remained some weeks
longer, till it was.

I fear it may be called bad taste to say so much concerning my
domestics, but, nevertheless, the circumstances are so
characteristic of America that I must recount another history
relating to them. A few days after the departure of my ambitious
belle, my cries for "Help" had been so effectual that another
young lady presented herself, with the usual preface "I'm come to
help you." I had been cautioned never to ask for a reference for
character, as it would not only rob me of that help, but entirely
prevent my ever getting another; so, five minutes after she
entered she was installed, bundle and all, as a member of the
family. She was by no means handsome, but there was an air of
simple frankness in her manner that won us all. For my own part,
I thought I had got a second Jeanie Deans; for she recounted to
me histories of her early youth, wherein her plain good sense and
strong mind had enabled her to win her way through a host of
cruel step-mothers, faithless lovers, and cheating brothers.
Among other things, she told me, with the appearance of much
emotion, that she had found, since she came to town, a cure for
all her sorrows, "Thanks and praise for it, I have got religion!"
and then she asked if I would spare her to go to Meeting every
Tuesday and Thursday evening; "You shall not have to want me,
Mrs. Trollope, for our minister knows that we have all our duties
to perform to man, as well as to God, and he makes the Meeting
late in the evening that they may not cross one another." Who
could refuse? Not I, and Nancy had leave to go to Meeting two
evenings in the week, besides Sundays.

One night, that the mosquitoes had found their way under my net,
and prevented my sleeping, I heard some one enter the house very
late; I got up, went to the top of the stairs, and, by the help
of a bright moon, recognised Nancy's best bonnet. I called to
her: "You are very late." said I. "what is the reason of it?"
"Oh, Mrs. Trollope," she replied, "I am late, indeed! We have
this night had seventeen souls added to our flock. May they live
to bless this night! But it has been a long sitting, and very
warm; I'll just take a drink of water, and get to bed; you shan't
find me later in the morning for it." Nor did I. She was an
excellent servant, and performed more than was expected from her;
moreover, she always found time to read the Bible several times
in the day, and I seldom saw her occupied about any thing without
observing that she had placed it near her.

At last she fell sick with the cholera, and her life was
despaired of. I nursed her with great care, and sat up the
greatest part of two nights with her. She was often delirious,
and all her wandering thoughts seemed to ramble to heaven.
"I have been a sinner," she said, "but I am safe in the Lord
Jesus." When she recovered, she asked me to let her go into the
country for a few days, to change the air, and begged me to lend
her three dollars.

While she was absent a lady called on me, and enquired, with some
agitation, if my servant, Nancy Fletcher, were at home.
I replied that she was gone into the country. "Thank God," she
exclaimed, "never let her enter your doors again, she is the most
abandoned woman in the town: a gentleman who knows you, has been
told that she lives with you, and that she boasts of having the
power of entering your house at any hour of night." She told me
many other circumstances, unnecessary to repeat, but all tending
to prove that she was a very dangerous inmate.

I expected her home the next evening, and I believe I passed the
interval in meditating how to get rid of her without an
_eclaircissement_. At length she arrived, and all my study
having failed to supply me with any other reason than the real
one for dismissing her, I stated it at once. Not the slightest
change passed over her countenance, but she looked steadily at
me, and said, in a very civil tone, "I should like to know who
told you." I replied that it could be of no advantage to her to
know, and that I wished her to go immediately. "I am ready to
go," she said, in the same quiet tone, "but what will you do for
your three dollars?" "I must do without them, Nancy; good
morning to you." "I must just put up my things," she said, and
left the room. About half an hour afterwards, when we were all
assembled at dinner, she entered with her usual civil composed
air, "Well, I am come to wish you all goodbye," and with a
friendly good-humoured smile she left us.

This adventure frightened me so heartily, that, notwithstanding I
had the dread of cooking my own dinner before my eyes, I would
not take any more young ladies into my family without receiving
some slight sketch of their former history. At length I met with
a very worthy French woman, and soon after with a tidy English
girl to assist her; and I had the good fortune to keep them till
a short time before my departure: so, happily, I have no more
misfortunes of this nature to relate.

Such being the difficulties respecting domestic arrangements, it
is obvious, that the ladies who are brought up amongst them
cannot have leisure for any great development of the mind: it
is, in fact, out of the question; and, remembering this, it is
more surprising that some among them should be very pleasing,
than that none should be highly instructed.

Had I passed as many evenings in company in any other town that I
ever visited as I did in Cincinnati, I should have been able to
give some little account of the conversations I had listened to;
but, upon reading over my notes, and then taxing my memory to the
utmost to supply the deficiency, I can scarcely find a trace of
any thing that deserves the name. Such as I have, shall be given
in their place. But, whatever may be the talents of the persons
who meet together in society, the very shape, form, and
arrangement of the meeting is sufficient to paralyze
conversation. The women invariably herd together at one part of
the room, and the men at the other; but, in justice to
Cincinnati, I must acknowledge that this arrangement is by no
means peculiar to that city, or to the western side of the
Alleghanies. Sometimes a small attempt at music produces a
partial reunion; a few of the most daring youths, animated by the
consciousness of curled hair and smart waistcoats, approach the
piano forte, and begin to mutter a little to the half-grown
pretty things, who are comparing with one another "how many
quarters' music they have had." Where the mansion is of
sufficient dignity to have two drawing-rooms, the piano, the
little ladies, and the slender gentlemen are left to themselves,
and on such occasions the sound of laughter is often heard to
issue from among them. But the fate of the more dignified
personages, who are left in the other room, is extremely dismal.
The gentlemen spit, talk of elections and the price of produce,
and spit again. The ladies look at each other's dresses till
they know every pin by heart; talk of Parson Somebody's last
sermon on the day of judgment, on Dr. T'otherbody's new pills for
dyspepsia, till the "tea" is announced, when they all console
themselves together for whatever they may have suffered in
keeping awake, by taking more tea, coffee, hot cake and custard,
hoe cake, johny cake, waffle cake, and dodger cake, pickled
peaches, and preserved cucumbers, ham, turkey, hung beef, apple
sauce, and pickled oysters than ever were prepared in any other
country of the known world. After this massive meal is over,
they return to the drawing-room, and it always appeared to me
that they remained together as long as they could bear it, and
then they rise EN MASSE, cloak, bonnet, shawl, and exit.


Market--Museum--Picture Gallery--Academy of Fine Arts Drawing
School--Phrenological Society--Miss Wright's Lecture.

Perhaps the most advantageous feature in Cincinnati is its
market, which, for excellence, abundance, and cheapness, can
hardly, I should think, be surpassed in any part of the world, if
I except the luxury of fruits, which are very inferior to any I
have seen in Europe. There are no butchers, fishmongers, or
indeed any shops for eatables, except bakeries, as they are
called, in the town; every thing must be purchased at market; and
to accomplish this, the busy housewife must be stirring betimes,
or, 'spite of the abundant supply, she will find her hopes of
breakfast, dinner, and supper for the day defeated, the market
being pretty well over by eight o'clock.

The beef is excellent, and the highest price when we were there,
four cents (about two-pence) the pound. The mutton was inferior,
and so was veal to the eye, but it ate well, though not very fat;
the price was about the same. The poultry was excellent; fowls
or full-sized chickens, ready for table, twelve cents, but much
less if bought alive, and not quite fat; turkeys about fifty
cents, and geese the same. The Ohio furnishes several sorts of
fish, some of them very good, and always to be found cheap and
abundant in the market. Eggs, butter, nearly all kinds of
vegetables, excellent, and at moderate prices. From June till
December tomatoes (the great luxury of the American table in the
opinion of most Europeans) may be found in the highest perfection
in the market for about sixpence the peck. They have a great
variety of beans unknown in England, particularly the lima-bean,
the seed of which is dressed like the French harico; it furnishes
a very abundant crop, and is a most delicious vegetable: could it
be naturalised with us it would be a valuable acquisition. The
Windsor, or broad-bean, will not do well there; Mr. Bullock had
them in his garden, where they were cultivated with much care;
they grew about a foot high and blossomed, but the pod never
ripened. All the fruit I saw exposed for sale in Cincinnati was
most miserable. I passed two summers there, but never tasted a
peach worth eating. Of apricots and nectarines I saw none;
strawberries very small, raspberries much worse; gooseberries
very few, and quite uneatable; currants about half the size of
ours, and about double the price; grapes too sour for tarts;
apples abundant, but very indifferent, none that would be thought
good enough for an English table; pears, cherries, and plums most
miserably bad. The flowers of these regions were at least
equally inferior: whether this proceeds from want of cultivation
or from peculiarity of soil I know not, but after leaving
Cincinnati, I was told by a gentleman who appeared to understand
the subject, that the state of Ohio had no indigenous flowers or
fruits. The water-melons, which in that warm climate furnish a
delightful refreshment, were abundant and cheap; but all other
melons very inferior to those of France, or even of England, when
ripened in a common hot-bed.

From the almost total want of pasturage near the city, it is
difficult for a stranger to divine how milk is furnished for its
supply, but we soon learnt that there are more ways than one of
keeping a cow. A large proportion of the families in the town,
particularly of the poorer class, have one, though apparently
without any accommodation whatever for it. These animals are
fed morning and evening at the door of the house, with a good
mess of Indian corn, boiled with water; while they eat, they are
milked, and when the operation is completed the milk-pail and the
meal-tub retreat into the dwelling, leaving the republican cow to
walk away, to take her pleasure on the hills, or in the gutters,
as may suit her fancy best. They generally return very regularly
to give and take the morning and evening meal; though it more
than once happened to us, before we were supplied by a regular
milk cart, to have our jug sent home empty, with the sad news
that "the cow was not come home, and it was too late to look for
her to breakfast now." Once, I remember, the good woman told us
that she had overslept herself, and that the cow had come and
gone again, "not liking, I expect, to hanker about by herself
for nothing, poor thing."

Cincinnati has not many lions to boast, but among them are
two museums of natural history; both of these contain many
respectable specimens, particularly that of Mr. Dorfeuille,
who has moreover, some highly interesting Indian antiquities.
He is a man of taste and science, but a collection formed
strictly according to their dictates, would by no means satisfy
the western metropolis. The people have a most extravagant
passion for wax figures, and the two museums vie with each other
in displaying specimens of this barbarous branch of art.
As Mr. Dorfeuille cannot trust to his science for attracting the
citizens, he has put his ingenuity into requisition, and this has
proved to him the surer aid of the two. He has constructed a
pandaemonium in an upper story of his museum, in which he has
congregated all the images of horror that his fertile fancy could
devise; dwarfs that by machinery grow into giants before the eyes
of the spectator; imps of ebony with eyes of flame; monstrous
reptiles devouring youth and beauty; lakes of fire, and mountains
of ice; in short, wax, paint and springs have done wonders.
"To give the scheme some more effect," he makes it visible only
through a grate of massive iron bars, among which are arranged
wires connected with an electrical machine in a neighbouring
chamber; should any daring hand or foot obtrude itself with the
bars, it receives a smart shock, that often passes through many
of the crowd, and the cause being unknown, the effect is
exceedingly comic; terror, astonishment, curiosity, are all set
in action, and all contribute to make "Dorfeuille's Hell" one of
the most amusing exhibitions imaginable.

There is also a picture gallery at Cincinnati, and this was a
circumstance of much interest to us, as our friend Mr. H., who
had accompanied Miss Wright to America, in the expectation of
finding a good opening in the line of historical painting,
intended commencing his experiment at Cincinnati. It would be
invidious to describe the picture gallery; I have no doubt, that
some years hence it will present a very different appearance.
Mr. H. was very kindly received by many of the gentlemen of the
city, and though the state of the fine arts there gave him but
little hope that he should meet with much success, he immediately
occupied himself in painting a noble historical picture of the
landing of General Lafayette at Cincinnati.

Perhaps the clearest proof of the little feeling for art that
existed at that time in Cincinnati, may be drawn from the result
of an experiment originated by a German, who taught drawing
there. He conceived the project of forming a chartered academy
of fine arts; and he succeeded in the beginning to his utmost
wish, or rather, "they fooled him to the top of his bent." Three
thousand dollars were subscribed, that is to say, names were
written against different sums to that amount, a house was
chosen, and finally, application was made to the government, and
the charter obtained, rehearsing formally the names of the
subscribing members, the professors, and the officers. So far
did the steam of their zeal impel them, but at this point it was
let off; the affair stood still, and I never heard the academy of
fine arts mentioned afterwards.

This same German gentleman, on seeing Mr. H.'s sketches, was so
well pleased with them, that he immediately proposed his joining
him in his drawing school, with an agreement, I believe that his
payment from it should be five hundred dollars a year. Mr. H.
accepted the proposal, but the union did not last long, and the
cause of its dissolution was too American to be omitted. Mr. H.
prepared his models, and attended the class, which was numerous,
consisting both of boys and girls. He soon found that the "sage
called Decipline" was not one of the assistants, and he
remonstrated against the constant talking, and running from one
part of the room to another, but in vain; finding, however, that
he could do nothing till this was discontinued, he wrote some
rules, enforcing order, for the purpose of placing them at the
door of the academy. When he shewed them to his colleague, he
shook his head, and said, "Very goot, very goot in Europe, but
America boys and gals vill not bear it, dey will do just vat dey
please; Suur, dey vould all go avay next day." "And you will not
enforce these regulations _si necessaires_, Monsieur?" "Olar!
not for de vorld." "_Eh bien_, Monsieur, I must leave the young
republicans to your management."

I heard another anecdote that will help to show the state of art
at this time in the west. Mr. Bullock was shewing to some
gentlemen of the first standing, the very _elite_ of Cincinnati,
his beautiful collection of engravings, when one among them
exclaimed, "Have you really done all these since you came here?
How hard you must have worked!"

I was also told of a gentleman of High Cincinnati, TON and
critical of his taste for the fine arts, who, having a drawing
put into his hands, representing Hebe and the bird, umquhile
sacred to Jupiter, demanded in a satirical tone, "What is this?"
"Hebe," replied the alarmed collector. "Hebe," sneered the man
of taste, "What the devil has Hebe to do with the American

We had not been long at Cincinnati when Dr. Caldwell, the
Spurzheim of America, arrived there for the purpose of delivering
lectures on phrenology. I attended his lectures, and was
introduced to him. He has studied Spurzheim and Combe
diligently, and seems to understand the science to which he has
devoted himself; but neither his lectures nor his conversation
had that delightful truth of genuine enthusiasm, which makes
listening to Dr. Spurzheim so great a treat. His lectures,
however, produced considerable effect. Between twenty and thirty
of the most erudite citizens decided upon forming a phrenological
society. A meeting was called, and fully attended; a respectable
number of subscribers' names was registered, the payment of
subscriptions being arranged for a future day. President, vice-
president, treasurer, and secretary, were chosen; and the first
meeting dissolved with every appearance of energetic perseverance
in scientific research.

The second meeting brought together one-half of this learned
body, and they enacted rules and laws, and passed resolutions,
sufficient, it was said, to have filled three folios.

A third day of meeting arrived, which was an important one, as on
this occasion the subscriptions were to be paid. The treasurer
came punctually, but found himself alone. With patient hope, he
waited two hours for the wise men of the west, but he waited in
vain: and so expired the Phrenological Society of Cincinnati.

I had often occasion to remark that the spirit of enterprise or
improvement seldom glowed with sufficient ardour to resist the
smothering effect of a demand for dollars. The Americans love
talking. All great works, however, that promise a profitable
result, are sure to meet support from men who have enterprise and
capital sufficient to await the return; but where there is
nothing but glory, or the gratification of taste to be expected,
it is, I believe, very rarely that they give any thing beyond
"their most sweet voices."

Perhaps they are right. In Europe we see fortunes crippled by a
passion for statues, or for pictures, or for books, or for gems;
for all and every of the artificial wants that give grace to
life, and tend to make man forget that he is a thing of clay.
They are wiser in their generation on the other side the
Atlantic; I rarely saw any thing that led to such oblivion there.

Soon after Dr. Caldwell's departure, another lecturer appeared
upon the scene, whose purpose of publicly addressing the people
was no sooner made known, than the most violent sensation was

That a lady of fortune, family, and education, whose youth had
been passed in the most refined circles of private life, should
present herself to the people as a public lecturer, would
naturally excite surprise any where, and the nil admirari of the
old world itself, would hardly be sustained before such a
spectacle; but in America, where women are guarded by a seven-
fold shield of habitual insignificance, it caused an effect that
can hardly be described. "Miss Wright, of Nashoba, is going to
lecture at the court-house," sounded from street to street, and
from house to house. I shared the surprise, but not the wonder;
I knew her extraordinary gift of eloquence, her almost unequalled
command of words, and the wonderful power of her rich and
thrilling voice; and I doubted not that if it was her will to
do it, she had the power of commanding the attention, and
enchanting the ear of any audience before whom it was her
pleasure to appear. I was most anxious to hear her, but was
almost deterred from attempting it, by the reports that reached
me of the immense crowd that was expected. After many
consultations, and hearing that many other ladies intended going,
my friend Mrs. P--, and myself, decided upon making the attempt,
accompanied by a party of gentlemen, and found the difficulty
less than we anticipated, though the building was crowded in
every part. We congratulated ourselves that we had had the
courage to be among the number, for all my expectations fell far
short of the splendour, the brilliance, the overwhelming
eloquence of this extraordinary orator.

Her lecture was upon the nature of true knowledge, and it
contained little that could be objected to, by any sect or
party; it was intended as an introduction to the strange and
startling theories contained in her subsequent lectures, and
could alarm only by the hints it contained that the fabric of
human wisdom could rest securely on no other base than that of
human knowledge.

There was, however, one passage from which common-sense revolted;
it was one wherein she quoted that phrase of mischievous
sophistry, "all men are born free and equal." This false and
futile axiom, which has done, is doing, and will do so much harm
to this fine country, came from Jefferson; and truly his life was
a glorious commentary upon it. I pretend not to criticise his
written works, but commonsense enables me to pronounce this, his
favourite maxim, false.

Few names are held in higher estimation in America, than that of
Jefferson; it is the touchstone of the democratic party, and all
seem to agree that he was one of the greatest of men; yet I have
heard his name coupled with deeds which would make the sons of
Europe shudder. The facts I allude to are spoken openly by all,
not whispered privately by a few; and in a country where religion
is the tea-table talk, and its strict observance a fashionable
distinction, these facts are recorded, and listened to, without
horror, nay, without emotion.

Mr. Jefferson is said to have been the father of children by
almost all his numerous gang of female slaves. These wretched
offspring were also the lawful slaves of their father, and worked
in his house and plantations as such; in particular, it is
recorded that it was his especial pleasure to be waited upon by
them at table, and the hospitable orgies for which his Montecielo
was so celebrated, were incomplete, unless the goblet he quaffed
were tendered by the trembling hand of his own slavish offspring.

I once heard it stated by a democratical adorer of this great
man, that when, as it sometimes happened, his children by
Quadroon slaves were white enough to escape suspicion of their
origin, he did not pursue them if they attempted to escape,
saying laughingly, "Let the rogues get off, if they can; I will
not hinder them." This was stated in a large party, as a proof
of his kind and noble nature, and was received by all with
approving smiles.

If I know anything of right or wrong, if virtue and vice be
indeed something more than words, then was this great American
an unprincipled tyrant, and most heartless libertine.

But to return to Miss Wright,--it is impossible to imaging any
thing more striking than her appearance. Her tall and majestic
figure, the deep and almost solemn expression of her eyes, the
simple contour of her finely formed head, unadorned excepting by
its own natural ringlets; her garment of plain white muslin,
which hung around her in folds that recalled the drapery of a
Grecian statue, all contributed to produce an effect, unlike
anything I had ever seen before, or ever expect to see again.


Absence of public and private Amusement--Churches and
Chapels--Influence of the Clergy--A Revival

I never saw any people who appeared to live so much without
amusement as the Cincinnatians. Billiards are forbidden by law,
so are cards. To sell a pack of cards in Ohio subjects the
seller to a penalty of fifty dollars. They have no public balls,
excepting, I think, six, during the Christmas holidays. They
have no concerts. They have no dinner parties.

Book of the day: