Part 1 out of 10
Produced by PG Distributed Proofreaders
LANDS OF THE
SLAVE AND THE FREE:
Cuba, the United States, and Canada.
CAPTAIN THE HON. HENRY A. MURRAY, R.N.
[Illustration: Entrance to a Coffee Planter's Residence.]
"He gave us only over beast, fish, fowl,
Dominion absolute; that right we hold
By his donation; but man over man
He made not lord."
"Gone, gone--sold and gone,
To the rice-swamp, dank and lone;
There no mother's eye is near them,
There no mother's ear can hear them;
Never, when the torturing lash
Seams their backs with many a gash,
Shall a mother's kindness bless them,
Or a mother's arms caress them."
"LA CURIOSIDAD NUNCA SE ENFADA DE SABER."[A]
"Oh, give me liberty!
For were even Paradise my prison,
Still I would long to leap the crystal walls."
"A happy bit hame this arrld[*] warld wad be,
If men, whan they're here, would make shift to agree,
And ilk said to his neebor in cottage an' hall,
'Come, gie me your hand, we are brethren all.'"
[Transcribers note *: illegible]
TO NIF, NASUS, AND CO.,
AS A TOKEN OF THE SINCERE AND AFFECTIONATE REGARD
OF THEIR OBEDIENT SERVANT,
HENRY A. MURRAY.
LONDON, JUNE 1ST, 1855.
SECOND AND CHEAP EDITION.
* * * * *
The encouragement of friends, and the opinions expressed by a large
majority of those publications that considered the former edition worthy
of notice, have induced me to cut out many passages which might possibly
not interest the general reader, in order that I might send it forth to
the public in a more cheap and popular form.
Writing upon such a subject as the United States, her constitution, and
her institutions, there was necessarily some danger of a taint of
political partisanship. I trust, however, I may he considered to have
redeemed the pledge I made of writing "free from political bias," when I
have found favour in the pages of two publications so opposite in their
politics as the _Westminster Review_ and the _Press_.
One weekly paper with pretensions to literary criticism (the
_Athenaeum_, September 15, 1855) did me the honour of making me the
object of its unmeasured censure; but, as I was forewarned that my
success would interfere with the prospects of one of its contributors, I
was prepared for its animadversions, though most certainly I did not
anticipate the good fortune of a zeal so totally void of discretion,
that the animus which guided the critic's pen should be too transparent
to impose upon even a child.
Conceive a would-be critic, after various spasmodic efforts at severity,
selecting from among many _comprehensive_ measures suggested by me for
the future emancipation, and for the present benefit, of the slave, the
proposition of "a proper instrument for flogging, to be established by
law," and _that_ with the evident intention of throwing ridicule on the
idea. If the critic were occasionally subject to the discipline of the
various instruments used for the punishment of the negro, his instinct
would soon teach him that which appears to be at present beyond the
grasp of his intellect, viz., the difference between a cow-hide and a
dog-whip; and if he knew anything of his own country, he could scarcely
be ignorant that the instruments used for corporal punishment in army,
navy, and prisons, are established by law or by a custom, as strong as
law. But enough of this Athenian Reviewer, I offer for his reflection
the old story, "Let her alone, poor thing; it amuses her, and does me no
harm." The next time he tries to sling a stone, I hope he will not again
crack his own skull in the clumsy endeavour.
"Ill nature blended-with cold blood
Will make a critic sound and good.
This useful lesson hence we learn,
Bad wine to good sound vinegar will turn."
I now launch my barque upon a wider ocean than before. The public must
decide whether her sails shall flap listlessly against the masts, or
swell before a stiff and prosperous breeze.
A CHAPTER GRATIS AND EXPLANATORY
FROM LONDON TO NEW YORK.
Scenes on Board
_Land of Stars and Stripes_.
AT NEW YORK.
The First View
Bar and Barbers
Streets and Buildings
Loafing in Broadway
_Sights and Amusements_.
AT NEW YORK.
Yacht Club and Dinner.
Railway Society to LONG ISLAND
Hack Cabs and Drivers
City Railway Cars
Travelling Railway Cars
Tickets for Luggage
Suggestions for Railway Companies
_A Day on the North River_.
FROM NEW YORK TO GENESEO.
Embark in Steamer on Hudson
Passengers and Anecdotes
Scenery of River
A Hint for Travellers
Population and Prosperity
Railway through Town
Professor of Soap
Drive across Country--Snake Fences and Scenery
Churches--a Hint for the Highlands
Absence of Animal Life--Early Rising
View from the Terrace--Work of the Pioneer
Farm and System, Wages, &c.
A Drive--Family Scene
Plank road. Toll gates, &c.
_Stirring Scenes and Strange Sights_.
FROM GENESEO TO NEW YORK.
A Drive to BATAVIA--Railway Warning
Buffalo Railway Station and Yankee Cabby
Prosperity and Contrast
A Live Bloomer
Advantage proved by Contrast
Reflections on Old Fashions
_Construction and Destruction_.
AT NEW YORK.
Cutter Yacht, "Black Maria"
Dinner on Board
Toddy and Chowder
Destruction of Dogs
Drive on the Bloomingdale Road
_South and West_.
FROM NEW YORK TO LOUISVILLE.
Luggage left behind
Tolling for Ducks
Start by Rail--A Fix
HARRISBURGH--The Whittling Colonel
Start again. Pleasant Company
Inclined Planes--Canal Boat
Railing through Forest, and Reflections
To Sleep or not to Sleep
CINCINNATI--Statistics and Education
Porkopolis and Pigs
A bloody Scene
Ships at Marietta
OHIO--Levee and Literature
Embark on Steamer--Black Stewardess
Ibrahim Pacha and Fat
_Scenes Ashore and Afloat_.
FROM LOUISVILLE TO ST. LOUIS.
Fabrication of the Republican Bonbon
A Nine-inside Coach
Breakfast and Cigar _versus_ Foetor
Ferry Crossing--Travelling Beasts
Old Bell's and Old Bell
Cross Country Drive--Scenery
The Mammoth Cave
Old Bell and the Mail
Fat Boy and Circus Intelligence
LOUISVILLE and Advice
Ohio--A Bet at the Bar
A Dinner Scene and a Lady
Dessert and Toothpicks
ST. LOUIS--Its Prosperity
FROM ST. LOUIS TO NEW ORLEANS.
Mississippi _v_. Missouri
Stale Anecdote revived
Folly--Description of Steamer
Inspection Farce described
Captain of Mizen Top _v_. White Nigger
Screecher & Burster--A Race
Captain leaves us
Wrecks, Causes and Remedies
Anecdotes of Blood
FROM NEW ORLEANS TO HAVANA.
Situation and Bustle
Cotton, Tobacco and Sugar
Steamers, and Wages
Streets, Hotels, &c
A Friend in Need. Neighbourhood, Shell-road
Society and Remarks
A Presbyterian Church
The Gold Man
Autocracy of the Police
Law--Boys and Processions
Duel Penalties--Stafford House Address
Spanish Consul and Passport
Sneezing Dangerous--Selecting a Companion
_The Queen of the Antilles_.
A Light to a Cigar
Trip to MATANZAS--El Casero
Punic Faith and Cuban Cruelty
Cigars and Manufactory
Laws of Domicile--Police and Slavery
Increase of Slaves and Produce
Tobacco, Games, and Lotteries
Sketch of Governors
The Future of Cuba?
_Change of Dynasty_.
FROM CUBA TO BALTIMORE.
Night and Morning
Congress and Inauguration
General Jackson and Changes
Cabmen and City
Shopman and Drinking
Levees and Buildings
BALTIMORE and Terrapin
_Philadelphia and Richmond_.
FROM BALTIMORE TO RICHMOND.
PHILADELPHIA and Hospitality.
A Jail and a Cure for the Turbulent
NEW YORK and Embark
A Wild Paddy
Hotel and Hospitality
Climate and Buildings
Miniature WEST POINT (_Vide_ Note)
WILMINGTON Railway Accident
PETERBOROUGH and my Hat
RICHMOND Scenery and Prosperity
Powhattan's Tree, an Episode
A Lady Friend
Fire and Folly
Fire Company, Frolic and Reflections
_From a River to a Race-course_.
FROM RICHMOND TO NEW YORK.
Down the River
WILLIAMSBURG. Old Palace
A Governor and a Paddy
Uncle Ben and his Inn
SHIRLEY, Hospitality, &c.
BEANDON, Hospitality, &c.
Rural Election--A Cruise in a Calm
Choral Warblers and Family Altar
NORFOLK, Dockyard, &c.
Slave Servants, a Hint to the Foreign Office
_Via_ BALTIMORE to PHILADELPHIA--A Confession.
Race--Mac and Tac
_Home of the Pilgrim Fathers_.
FROM NEW YORK TO BOSTON.
Off by rail--Foxhunting Fire
BOSTON. Buildings and Hospitality
Neighbourhood and Names
Spirit-rapping and Gulls
_Teaching of Youth and a Model Jail_.
A Model Jail--Telegraph and Fire--Dockyard
Water Supply, Prosperity, &c.
FROM BOSTON TO QUEBEC.
Railroad and Scenery
MONTREAL, and a Welcome Face
QUEBEC and Neighbourhood Mrs. Paul and Miss Paddy
Ferry-boat and Friends
Rebellion Losses Bill
Moral Courage and Administrative Ability evidenced and acknowledged
Hint for Militia
_A Trip to the Uttawa_.
FROM QUEBEC TO TORONTO.
Mr. Hincks--Mr. Drummond--MONTREAL
Up the OTTAWAY to LACHINE, ST. ANNE'S to BYTOWN and AYLMER
The CHATS FALLS
Conflagration, Rafts, Lumberers, and Teetotallers
The Struggle, the Goal, and the Return
BYTOWN. Scenery and Advantages
Slides for Lumber--Mr. Mackay
Object of Councillor's Visit
Drive across Country
PRESCOTT and OGDENSBURG
LAKE ONTARIO and a Nice Bed
_Colonial Education and Prosperity_.
TORONTO. Population, Prosperity and Buildings
The Normal School
Education generally Canadian Prospects and Prosperity
_A Cataract and a Celebration_.
FROM TORONTO TO NEW YORK.
Embark in Steamer
QUEENSTOWN & LEWISTOWN
A Drive, a Bait, and a Lesson
NIAGARA and Moonlight
BATAVIA, GENESEO, and 4th July
ALBANY--Hands and Sandwiches
Dropped outside--NEW YORK
_Education, Civil and Military_.
NEW YORK AND WEST POINT.
WEST POINT. Military Academy
* * * * *
Here travelling ceases, and the remaining Chapters are devoted to the
discussion of subjects which I trust may interest the reader.
_Watery Highways and Metallic Intercourse_.
Area of Lakes, and Tonnage thereon
Mississippi--Produce borne and destroyed
Mr. Douglas and Custom Houses
A Great Party Doctrine
Erie Canal--Barn-burners and Hunkers
Railways--United States and England
Systems of Telegraph
_America's Press and England's Censor_.
Issues of the Press
Character of the Press
Great Britain's Press
Low Literature of America
Barefaced Robbery--_Northwood_ Specimen
_English Items_ Specimen
The Author of _English Items_
Relations with England
Army Commissions--English Writers
English Church and Heraldry
Devotion to Dinner
Subsequent Career of Mr. Ward--The Offence--The Scene and the Death
Acquittal and Effects
_The Institution of Slavery_.
Northern Friendship questioned
Grounds of Southerners' Objections to the Abolitionists
Mrs. Stowe's Ovation
Treatment of Slaves
Irresponsible Power and Public Opinion
Sources of Opinion as to Treatment of Slaves--Law--Self-interest
Causes of Indignation
Evidence from Authors--Press and Canada
Review of Progress of Slavery
Slave Population and Value
Question of Freedom
_Hints for Master and Hopes for Slave_.
Territory of Refuge
Forfeiture and Testimony
System for Ultimate Freedom
The Blackest Feature in Slavery
Touchy Slaveholder, and Swaggering Bully
Clerical Slave Advocate
Abolitionist and Intelligent Slaveholder
A frightful Question
Nebraska--The Christian and the Mussulman
_Constitution of the United States_.
Government and Qualification for Office
Frequency of Elections
Effects of Elections under the Ballot
John Randolph, Sydney Smith, and Clubs
Payment of Members and its Effects
Scene in Congress
Exclusion of Cabinet from Seats
Power of President
Election of President
Governors of States, and Power of Pardon
Conclusion and Testimony of Bishop Hopkins
_The Church, the School, and the Law_.
American Episcopal Prayer-Book
Methodist Episcopacy and Presbyterian Music
What exists at Home
Education Statistics and College Expenses
Pray read this--Law for Conveyance of Land
_Inventions and Inveighings_.
What is a Bay?
Dr. King--Fulton and Steam
Telegraph and American Modesty
Opinion of a Borderer
Fire-arms and Militia
The 4th July
Mr. Douglas and Congress
Miss Willard and John Mitchell
Who are the Antipathists?
Territory and Population
Effect of Early Education
Phases of Liberty
'Cuteness and Eggs
Lord Holland, Hope, and Farewell
EXTENT OF TELEGRAPH IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
A SHORT SKETCH OF THE PROGRESS OF FIRE-ARMS
"THE INQUIRING MIND WEARIES NOT IN THE PURSUIT OF KNOWLEDGE."
ANTONIO PEREZ. (_Translation_)]
EXPLANATORY LIST OF PLATES.
VIGNETTE OF THE ENTRANCE TO A COFFEE PLANTER'S RESIDENCE
CUTTER YACHT "MARIA"
The following are the dimensions referred to in the text as being on
the original engraving:--
Tonnage by displacement 137 tons
Length on deck 110 feet
Breadth of beam 26-1/2 "
Depth of hold 8-1/4 "
Length of mast 91 "
Length of boom 95 "
Length of gaff 50 feet
Length of jibboom 70 "
Length of bowsprit on board 27 "
Diameter of bowsprit 24 in.
Diameter of boom 26 in.
MAP OF CROTON AQUEDUCT
This map is accurately copied from Mr. Schramke's scientific work, but
the reader is requested to understand that the lines drawn at right
angles over the whole of Manhattan Island represent what the city of
New York is intended to be. At present its limits scarcely pass _No.
1. Distributing Reservoir_.
STEWARDESS OF THE "LADY FRANKLIN"
This print may possibly be a little exaggerated.
A MISSISSIPPI STEAMER
This print is raised out of all proportion, for the purpose of giving
a better idea of the scenes on board, than the limits of the sheet
would otherwise have permitted. If the cabin on the deck of the Hudson
River steamer were raised upon pillars about 15 or 20 feet high, it
would convey a tolerably accurate impression of the proper
THE NEW ST. CHARLES HOTEL, NEW ORLEANS
EL CASERO, OR THE PARISH HAWKER IN CUBA
THE GERARD COLLEGE, PHILADELPHIA
NORMAL SCHOOL, TORONTO
A great portion of the ground adjoining is now given up to
agricultural experimental purposes.
HUDSON RIVER STEAMER, 1200 TONS
The dimensions are:--
Length 325 feet
Breadth 38 "
Depth of hold 11 "
Width of cylinder. 5 ft. 10 in.
Length of stroke. 14 feet
Diameter of wheel. 40 "
MAP OF THE UNITED STATES
_Gratis and Explanatory_.
What is the use of a preface? Who wants a preface? Nay, more--what is a
preface? Who can define it? That which it is most unlike is the
mathematical myth called a point, which may be said to have neither
length nor breadth, and consequently no existence; whereas a preface
generally has extreme length, all the breadth the printer can give it,
and an universal existence.
But if prefaces cannot be described with mathematical accuracy, they
admit of classification with most unmathematical inaccuracy. First, you
have a large class which may be called CLAIMERS. Ex.: One claims a
certain degree of consideration, upon the ground that it is the author's
first effort; a second claims indulgence, upon the ground of haste; a
third claims attention, upon the ground of the magnitude and importance
of the subject, &c. &c. Another large class may be termed MAKERS. Ex.:
One makes an excuse for tediousness; a second makes an apology for
delay; a third makes his endeavours plead for favourable reception, &c.
Then again you have the INTERROGATOR, wherein a reader is found before
the work is printed, convenient questions are put into his mouth, and
ready replies are given, to which no rejoinder is permitted. This is
very astute practice.--Then again there is the PUFFER AND CONDENSER,
wherein, if matter be wanting in the work, a prefacial waggon is put
before the chapteral pony, the former acting the part of pemican, or
concentrated essence, the latter representing the liquid necessary for
cooking it; the whole forming a _potage au lecteur_, known among
professional men as "soldier's broth."
My own opinion on this important point is, that a book is nothing more
nor less than a traveller; he is born in Fact or Fancy; he travels along
a goose-quill; then takes a cruise to a printer's. On his return thence
his health is discovered to be very bad; strong drastics are applied; he
is gradually cooked up; and when convalescent, he puts on his Sunday
clothes, and struts before the public. At this critical juncture up
comes the typish master of the ceremonies, Mr. Preface, and commences
introducing him to them; but knowing that both man and woman are
essentially inquisitive, he follows the example of that ancient and
shrewd traveller who, by way of saving time and trouble, opened his
address to every stranger he accosted, in some such manner as the
following:--"Sir, I am Mr. ----, the son of Mr. ----, by ----, his wife
and my mother. I left ---- two days ago. I have got ---- in my
carpet-bag. I am going to ---- to see Mr. ----, and to try and purchase
some ----." Then followed the simple question for which an answer was
wanted, "Will you lend me half-a-crown?" "Tell me the road;" "Give me a
pinch of snuff;" or "Buy my book," as the case might be. The stranger,
gratified with his candour, became immediately prepossessed in his
favour. I will endeavour to follow the example of that 'cute traveller,
and forestall those questions which I imagine the reader--if there be
one--might wish to ask.
1. Why do I select a subject on which so many abler pens have been
frequently and lately employed?--Because it involves so many important
questions, both socially and politically, in a field where the changes
are scarcely less rapid than the ever-varying hues on the dying dolphin;
and because the eyes of mankind, whether mental or visual, are as
different as their physiognomies; and thus those who are interested in
the subject are enabled to survey it from different points of view.
2. Do I belong to any of those homoeopathic communities called political
parties?--I belong to none of them; I look upon all of them as so many
drugs in a national apothecary's shop. All have their useful qualities,
even the most poisonous; but they are frequently combined so
injudiciously as to injure John Bull's health materially, especially as
all have a strong phlebotomizing tendency, so much so, that I often see
poor John in his prostration ready to cry out, "Throw Governments to the
dogs--I'll none of them!" If in my writings I appear to show on some
points a political bias, it is only an expression of those sentiments
which my own common sense[B] and observation have led me to entertain on
the subject under discussion, and for which I offer neither defence nor
3. Am I an artist?--No; I am an author and a plagiarist. Every sketch in
my book is taken from some other work, except the "Screecher," which is
from the artistic pen of Lady G.M.; and the lovely form and features of
the coloured sylph, for which I am indebted to my friend Mr. J.F.C.--You
must not be too curious.--I consider myself justified in plagiarizing
anything from anybody, if I conceive it will help to elucidate my
subject or amuse my reader, provided always I have a reasonable ground
for believing the source is one with which the general reader is not
likely to be acquainted. But when I do steal, I have the honesty to
4. What is my book about?--It treats of an island, a confederacy and a
colony; and contains events of travel, facts and thoughts concerning
people, telegraphs, railroads, canals, steam, rivers, commercial
prosperity, education, the Press, low literature, slavery, government,
5. What security can I offer for the pretensions advanced being made
good?--None whatever. Who takes me, must take me, like a wife, "for
better for worse," only he is requested to remember I possess three
distinct advantages over that lady.--First, you can look inside me as
well as out: Secondly, you can get me more easily and keep me more
cheaply: Thirdly, if you quarrel with me, you can get a divorce in the
fire-place or at the trunkmaker's, without going to the House of Lords.
I trust I have now satisfied all the legitimate demands of curiosity.
I will only further remark that in some of my observations upon, the
United States, such as travelling and tables-d'hote, the reader must
bear in mind that in a land of so-called equality, whenever that
principle is carried out, no comparison can be drawn accurately between
similar subjects in the Republic and in England.
The society conveyed in one carriage in the States embraces the first,
second, and third-class passengers of Great Britain; and the society fed
at their tables-d'hote contains all the varieties found in this country,
from the pavilion to the pot-house. If we strike a mean between the
extremes as the measure of comfort thus obtained, it is obvious, that in
proportion as the traveller is accustomed to superior comforts in this
country, so will he write disparagingly of their want in the States,
whereas people of the opposite extreme will with equal truth laud their
superior comforts. The middle man is never found, for every traveller
either praises or censures. However unreasonable it might be to expect
the same refinements in a Republic of "Equal rights," as those which
exist in some of the countries of the Old World under a system more
favourable to their development, it is not the less a traveller's duty
to record his impressions faithfully, leaving it to the reader to draw
his own conclusions.
It was suggested to me to read several works lately published, and
treating of the United States; but as I was most anxious to avoid any of
that bias which such reading would most probably have produced, I have
strictly avoiding so doing, even at the risk of repeating what others
may have said before.
I have nothing further to add in explanation.--The horses are to.--The
coach is at the door.--Chapter one is getting in.--To all who are
disposed to accompany me in my journey, I say--Welcome!
D 4, ALBANY, LONDON,
_1st June, 1855_.
[Footnote B: Perhaps "human instinct" might be a more modest
_"Make ready ... Fire!" The Departure._
The preparations for the start of a traveller on a long journey are
doubtless of every variety in quality and quantity, from the poor Arab,
whose wife carries his house as well as all his goods--or perhaps I
should rather say, from Sir Charles Napier of Scinde with his one
flannel waistcoat and his piece of brown soap--up to the owners of the
Dover waggon-looking "_fourgon_" who carry with them for a week's trip
enough to last a century. My weakness, reader, is, I believe, a very
common one, i.e., a desire to have everything, and yet carry scarce
The difficulties of this arrangement are very perplexing to your
servant, if you have one, as in my case. First you put out every
conceivable article on the bed or floor, and then with an air of
self-denial you say, "There, that will be enough;" and when you find an
additional portmanteau lugged out, you ask with an air of astonishment
(which may well astonish the servant), "What on earth are you going to
do with that?" "To put your things into it, sir," is the very natural,
reply; so, after a good deal of "Confound it, what a bore," &c., it ends
in everything being again unpacked, a fresh lot thrown aside, and a new
packing commenced; and believe me, reader, the oftener you repeat this
discarding operation, the more pleasantly you will travel. I speak from
experience, having, during my wanderings, lost everything by shipwreck,
and thus been forced to pass through all the stages of quantity, till I
once more burdened myself as unnecessarily as at starting.
It was a lovely September morning in 1852, when, having put my traps
through the purging process twice, and still having enough for
half-a-dozen people, I took my place in the early train from
Euston-square for Liverpool, where I was soon housed in the Adelphi. A
young American friend, who was going out in the same steamer on the
following morning, proposed a little walk before the shades of evening
closed in, as he had seen nothing of the city. Off we started, full of
intentions never to be realized: I stepped into a cutler's shop to buy a
knife; a nice-looking girl in the middle of her teens, placed one or two
before me; I felt a nudge behind, and a voice whispered in my ear, "By
George, what a pretty hand!" It was perfectly true; and so convinced was
my friend of the fact, that he kept repeating it in my ear. When my
purchase was completed, and the pretty hand retired, my friend exhibited
symptoms of a strong internal struggle: it was too much for him. At last
he burst out with, "Have you any scissors?"--Aside to me, "What a pretty
little hand!"--Then came a demand for bodkins, then for needles, then
for knives, lastly for thimbles, which my friend observed were too
large, and begged might be tried on her taper fingers. He had become so
enthusiastic, and his asides to me were so rapid, that I believe he
would have bought anything which those dear little hands had touched.
Paterfamilias, who, while poring over his ledger, had evidently had his
ears open, now became alarmed at the reduction that was going on in his
stock, and consequently came forward to scrutinize the mysterious
purchaser. I heard a voice muttering "Confound that old fellow!" as the
dutiful daughter modestly gave place to papa; a Bank of England tenner
passed from my friend's smallclothes to the cutler's small till, and a
half-crown _vice versa_. When we got to the door it was pitch dark; and
thus ended our lionizing of the public buildings of Liverpool.
On the way back to the hotel, as my companion was thinking aloud, I
heard him alternately muttering in soft tones, "What a pretty hand," and
then, in harsh and hasty tones, '"Confound," ... "crusty old fellow;"
and reflecting thereon, I came to the conclusion that if the expressions
indicated weakness, they indicated that pardonable civilizing weakness,
susceptibility to the charms of beauty; and I consequently thought more
kindly of my future fellow-traveller. In the evening we were joined by
my brother and a young officer of the Household Brigade, who were to be
fellow-passengers in our trip across the Atlantic.
Early morning witnessed a procession of hackney coaches, laden as though
we were bent on permanent emigration. Arrived at the quay, a small,
wretched-looking steamer was lying alongside, to receive us and our
goods for transport to the leviathan lying in mid-channel, with her
steam up ready for a start.
The operation of disposing of the passengers' luggage in this wretched
little tea-kettle was amusing enough in its way. Everybody wanted
everybody else's traps to be put down, below, and their own little this,
and little that, kept up: one group, a man, wife, and child,
particularly engaged my attention; the age of the child, independent of
the dialogue, showed that the honeymoon was passed.
WIFE.--"Now, William, my dear, _do_ keep that little box up!"
HUSBAND.--"Hi! there; keep that hat-box of mine up!" (_Aside_,) "Never
mind your box, my dear, _it_ wont hurt."
WIFE.--"Oh, William, there's my little cap-box going down! it will be
broken, in pieces."
HUSBAND.--"Oh! don't be afraid, my dear, they'll take care of it. Stop,
my man, that's my desk; give it me here," &c. &c.
The dialogue was brought to a sudden stop by the frantic yell of the
juvenile pledge of their affections, whose years had not yet reached two
figures; a compact little iron-bound box had fallen on his toe, and the
poor little urchin's pilliloo, pilliloo, was pitiful. Mamma began
hugging and kissing, while papa offered that handy consolation of,
"Never mind, that's a good boy; don't cry." In the meantime, the Jacks
had profited by the squall, and, when it ceased, the happy couple had
the satisfaction of seeing all their precious boxes buried deep in the
The stream of luggage having stopped, and the human cargo being all on
board, we speedily cast off our lashings, and started: fortunately, it
was fine weather, for, had there been rain, our ricketty tea-kettle
would have afforded us no protection whatever. On reaching the
leviathan, the passengers rushed up hastily, and, armed with
walking-sticks or umbrellas, planted themselves like sentries on the
deck. As the Jacks came tumbling up with the luggage, shouts of "Hi!
that's mine," rent the air; and if Jack, in the hurry and confusion, did
not attend to the cry, out would dart one or other with umbrella or
stick, as the case might be, and harpoon him under the fifth rib; for,
with a heavy burden on his head and shoulders, necessarily supported by
both hands, defence was impossible. I must say, Jack took it all in good
humour, and filing a bill "STOMACH _v_. RIBS," left it to Old Neptune to
obtain restitution for injuries inflicted on his sons. I believe those
who have once settled their accounts with that sea-deity are not more
anxious to be brought into his court again, than those who have enjoyed
the prolonged luxury of a suit in Chancery.
Everything must have an end; so, the mail agent arriving with his postal
cargo, on goes the steam, and off goes the "Africa," Captain Harrison.
"Some wave the hand, and some begin to cry,
Some take a weed, and nodding, say good-bye."
I am now fairly off for New York, with a brother and two friends; we
have each pinned our card to the red table-cover in the saloon, to
indicate our permanent positions at the festive board during the voyage.
Unless there is some peculiarity in arrangement or circumstance, all
voyages resemble each other so much, that I may well spare you the
dullness of repetition. Stewards will occasionally upset a soup-plate,
and it will sometimes fall inside the waistcoat of a "swell," who
travelling for the first time, thinks it requisite to "get himself up"
as if going to the Opera. People under the influence of some internal
and irresistible agency, will occasionally spring from the table with an
energy that is but too soon painfully exhausted, upsetting a few side
dishes as their feet catch the corner of the cloth. Others will rise,
and try to look dignified and composed, the hypocrisy whereof is
unpleasantly revealed ere they reach the door of the saloon; others eat
and drink with an ever-increasing vigour, which proves irresistibly the
truth of the saying, "_L'appetit vient en mangeant_." Heads that walked
erect, puffing cigars like human chimneys in the Mersey, hang listless
and 'baccoless in the Channel (Mem., "Pride goes before a fall").
Ladies, whose rosy cheeks and bright eyes, dimmed with the parting tear,
had, as they waved the last adieu, told of buoyant health and spirits,
gather mysteriously to the sides of the vessel, ready for any emergency,
or lie helpless in their berths, resigning themselves to the ubiquitous
stewardess, indifferent even to death itself. Others, again, whose
interiors have been casehardened by Old Neptune, patrol the deck, and,
if the passengers are numerous, congratulate each other in the most
heartless manner by the observation, "There'll be plenty of room in the
saloon, if this jolly breeze continues!"
All these things are familiar to most travellers, suffice it, therefore,
to say, that on the present occasion Old Neptune was in a good humour,
"the jolly breeze" did not last long, nor was it ever very jolly. My
American friend and the Household Brigade-man tried very hard to make
out that they felt sick at first, but I believe I succeeded in
convincing them that it was all imagination, for they both came steadily
to meals, and between them and my brother, who has the appetite of a
Pawnee when at sea, I found that a modest man like myself got but
"monkey's allowance" of the champagne which I had prescribed as a
medicine, erroneously imagining that those internal qualms usually
produced by a sea voyage would have enabled me to enjoy the lion's
We saw nothing during the voyage but a few strange sail and a couple of
icebergs, the latter very beautiful when seen in the distance, with the
sea smooth as a mirror, and the sun's rays striking upon them. I felt
very thankful the picture was not reversed; the idea of running your
nose against an iceberg, in the middle of a dark night, with a heavy
gale blowing and sea running, was anything but pleasant.
In due time we made Cape Race. I merely mention the fact for the purpose
of observing that the captain, and others to whom I have spoken since,
unanimously agree in condemning the position of the lighthouse; first,
as not being placed on the point a vessel from Europe would make,
inasmuch as that point is further north and east; and secondly, because
vessels coasting northwards are not clear of danger if they trend away
westward after passing the light. There may be some advantages to the
immediate neighbourhood, but, for the general purposes of navigation,
its position is a mistake, and has, on more than one occasion, been very
nearly the cause of the wreck of one of our large steamers[C].
Early on the morning of the tenth day I heard voices outside my cabin
saying, "Well, they've got the pilot on board," _ergo_, we must be
nearing our haven. In the Channel at home you know a pilot by a
foul-weather hat, a pea-coat, broad shoulders, and weather-beaten
cheeks; here, the captain had told me that I could always know them by a
polished beaver and a satin or silk waistcoat. When I got on deck, sure
enough there was the beaver hat and the silk vest, but what struck me
most, was the wearer, a slim youth, hardly out of his teens. In the
distance, the New York pilot-boat, a build rendered famous by the
achievements of the "America," at Cowes, lay on the water like a duck,
with her canvas white as snow, and taut as a deal board. The perfect
ease and nonchalance of the young pilot amused me immensely, and all
went on smoothly enough till the shades of evening closed in upon us; at
which time, entering the Narrows, the satin-vested youth felt himself
quite nonplused, despite his taking off his beaver, and trying to
scratch for knowledge; in short, had it not been for Captain Harrison,
who is a first-rate seaman and navigator, as all who ever sail with him
are ready to testify, we might have remained out all night: fortunately,
his superior skill got us safe in, and no easy task I assure you is it,
either to find the channel, or to thread your way through hosts of
shipping, in one of these leviathan steamers.
I confess I formed a very low estimate of New York pilots, which was not
heightened by one of the mates showing me an embossed card, with his
address, which our pilot had presented to him, accompanied with an
invitation to come to a _soiree_. As the mystery was subsequently
solved, I had better give you the solution thereof at once, and not let
the corps of New York pilots lie under the ban of condemnation in your
minds as long as they did in mine. It turned out that the pert little
youth was not an authorized pilot, but merely schooling for it; and
that, when the steamer hove in sight, the true pilots were asleep, and
he would not allow them to be called, but quietly slipped away in the
boat, and came on board of us to try his 'prentice hand; the pilots of
New York are, I believe, a most able and efficient body of men.
Here I am, reader, at New York, a new country, a new hemisphere, and
pitch dark, save the lights reflected in the water from the town on
either side. All of a sudden a single toll of a bell, then another, and
from the lights in the windows you discover a large wooden house is
adrift. On inquiry, you ascertain it is merely one of their mammoth
ferry-boats; that is something to think of, so you go to bed at
midnight, and dream what it will really look like in the morning.
[Footnote C: I believe another lighthouse is to be erected on the proper
_The Land of Stars and Stripes._
The sun had aired the opening day before I appeared on deck. What a
scene! There was scarce a zephyr to ripple the noble Hudson, or the
glorious bay; the latter, land-locked save where lost in the distant
ocean; the former skirted by the great Babylon of America on one side,
and the lovely wooded banks of Hoboken on the other. The lofty western
hills formed a sharp yet graceful bend in the stream, round which a
fleet of small craft, with rakish hulls and snowy sails, were stealing
quietly and softly, like black swans with white wings; the stillness and
repose were only broken by the occasional trumpet blast of some giant
high-pressure steamer, as she dashed past them with lightning speed.
Suddenly a floating island appeared in the bend of the river; closer
examination proved it to be a steamer, with from twenty to twenty-five
large boats secured alongside, many of them laden at Buffalo, and coming
by the Erie Canal to the ocean. Around me was shipping of every kind and
clime; enormous ferry-boats radiating in all directions; forests of
masts along the wharves; flags of every colour and nation flying; the
dingy old storehouses of the wealthy Wall-street neighbourhood, and the
lofty buildings of the newer parts of the town; everything had something
novel in its character, but all was stamped with go-aheadism. This
glorious panorama, seen through the bright medium of a rosy morn and a
cloudless sky, has left an enjoyable impression which time can never
efface. But although everything was strange, I could not feel myself
abroad, so strong is the power of language.
Taking leave of our worthy and able skipper, we landed on the soil of
the giant Republic at Jersey city, where the wharves, &c., of the Cunard
line are established, they not having been able to procure sufficient
space on the New York side. The first thing we ran our heads against
was, of course, the Custom-house; but you must not imagine, gentle
reader, that a Custom-house officer in America is that mysterious
compound of detective police and high-bred ferret which you too often
meet with in the Old World. He did not consider it requisite to tumble
everything out on the floor, and put you to every possible
inconvenience, by way of exhibiting his importance; satisfied on that
point himself, he impressed you with it by simple courtesy, thus gaining
respect where the pompous inquisitive type of the animal would have
excited ill-will and contempt. Thank heaven, the increased
inter-communication, consequent upon steam-power, has very much
civilized that, until lately, barbarian portion of the European family;
nor do I attempt to deny that the contiguity of the nations, and the far
greater number of articles paying duty, facilitating and increasing
smuggling, render a certain degree of ferretishness a little more
requisite on the part of the operator, and a little more patience
requisite on the part of the victim.
A very few minutes polished our party off, and found us on board of the
ferry-boat; none of your little fiddling things, where a donkey-cart and
an organ-boy can hardly find standing-room, but a good clear
hundred-feet gangway, twelve or fourteen feet broad, on each side of the
engine, and a covered cabin outside each gangway, extending half the
length of the vessel; a platform accommodating itself to the rise and
fall of the water, enables you to drive on board with perfect ease,
while the little kind of basin into which you run on either side, being
formed of strong piles fastened only at the bottom, yields to the vessel
as she strikes, and entirely does away with any concussion. I may here
add, that during my whole travels in the States, I found nothing more
perfect in construction and arrangement than the ferries and their
boats, the charges for which are most moderate, varying according to
distances, and ranging from one halfpenny upwards.
It is difficult to say what struck me most forcibly on landing at New
York; barring the universality of the Saxon tongue, I should have been
puzzled to decide in what part of the world I was. The forest of masts,
and bustle on the quays, reminded me of the great sea-port of Liverpool:
but scarce had I left the quays, when the placards of business on the
different stories reminded me of Edinburgh. A few minutes more, and I
passed one of their large streets, justly called "Avenues," the rows of
trees on each side reminding me of the _Alamedas_ in the Spanish towns;
but the confusion of my ideas was completed when the hackney coach was
brought to a standstill, to allow a huge railway carriage to cross our
bows, the said carriage being drawn by four horses, and capable of
containing fifty people.
At last, with my brain in a whirl, I alighted at Putnam's hotel, where
my kind friend, Mr. W. Duncan, had prepared rooms for our party; nor did
his zeal in our behalf stop here, for he claimed the privilege of being
the first to offer hospitality, and had already prepared a most
excellent spread for us at the far-famed _Cafe Delmonico_, where we
found everything of the best: oysters, varying from the "native" size up
to the large American oyster, the size of a small leg of Welsh
mutton--mind, I say a small leg--the latter wonderful to look at, and
pleasant to the taste, though far inferior to the sweet little "native."
Here I saw for the first time a fish called "the sheep's head," which is
unknown, I believe, on our side of the Atlantic. It derives its name
from having teeth exactly like those of a sheep, and is a most excellent
fish wherewith to console themselves for the want of the turbot, which
is never seen in the American waters. Reader, I am not going to inflict
upon you a bill of fare; I merely mention the giant oyster and the
sheep's head, because they are peculiar to the country; and if nearly my
first observations on America are gastronomic, it is not because I
idolize my little interior, though I confess to having a strong
predilection in favour of its being well supplied; but it is because
during the whole time I was in the United States,--from my friend D.,
who thus welcomed me on my arrival, to Mr. R. Phelps, in whose house
I lived like a tame cat previous to re-embarking for old
England,--wherever I went I found hospitality a prominent feature in the
Having enjoyed a very pleasant evening, and employed the night in
sleeping off the fumes of sociability, I awoke, for the first time, in
one of the splendid American hotels; and here, perhaps, it may be as
well to say a few words about them, as their enormous size makes them
almost a national peculiarity.
The largest hotel in New York, when I arrived, was the Metropolitan, in
the centre of which is a theatre; since then, the St. Nicholas has been
built, which is about a hundred yards square, five stories high, and
will accommodate, when completed, about a thousand people. Generally
speaking, a large hotel has a ladies' entrance on one side, which is
quite indispensable, as the hall entrance is invariably filled with
smokers; all the ground floor front, except this hall and a
reading-room, is let out as shops: there are two dining-saloons, one of
which is set apart for ladies and their friends, and to this the vagrant
bachelor is not admitted, except he be acquainted with some of the
ladies, or receive permission from the master of the house. The great
entrance is liberally supplied with an abundance of chairs, benches,
&c., and decorated with capacious spittoons, and a stove which glows
red-hot in the winter. Newspapers, of the thinnest substance and the
most microscopic type, and from every part of the Union, are scattered
about in profusion; the human species of every kind may be seen
variously occupied--groups talking, others roasting over the stove, many
cracking peanuts, many more smoking, and making the pavement, by their
united labours, an uncouth mosaic of expectoration and nutshells, varied
occasionally with cigar ashes and discarded stumps. Here and there you
see a pair of Wellington-booted legs dangling over the back of one
chair, while the owner thereof is supporting his centre of gravity on
another. One feature is common to them all--busy-ness; whether they are
talking, or reading, or cracking nuts, a peculiar energy shows the mind
is working. Further inside is the counter for the clerks who appoint the
rooms to the travellers, as they enter their names in a book; on long
stools close by is the corps of servants, while in full sight of all
stands the "Annunciator," that invaluable specimen of American
mechanical ingenuity, by which, if any bell is pulled in any room, one
loud stroke is heard, and the number of the room disclosed, in which
state it remains until replaced; so that if everybody had left the hall,
the first person returning would see at once what bells had been rung
during his absence, and the numbers of the rooms they belonged to. Why
this admirable contrivance has not been introduced into this country, I
The bar is one of the most--if not the most--important departments in
the hotel; comparatively nothing is drunk at dinner, but the moment the
meal is over, the bar becomes assailed by applicants; moreover, from
morning to midnight, there is a continuous succession of customers; not
merely the lodgers and their friends, but any parties passing along the
street, who feel disposed, walk into the bar of any hotel, and get "a
drink." The money taken at a popular bar in the course of a day is, I
believe, perfectly fabulous.
Scarcely less important than the bar is the barber's shop. Nothing
struck me more forcibly than an American under the razor or brush: in
any and every other circumstance of life full of activity and energy,
under the razor or brush he is the picture of indolence and
helplessness. Indifferent usually to luxury, he here exhausts his
ingenuity to obtain it; shrinking usually from the touch of a nigger as
from the venomed tooth of a serpent, he here is seen resigning his nose
to the digital custody of that sable operator, and placing his throat at
his mercy, or revelling in titillary ecstasy from his manipulations with
the hog's bristles;--all this he enjoys in a semi-recumbent position,
obtained from an easy chair and a high stool, wherein he lies
with a steadiness which courts prolongation--life-like, yet
immoveable--suggesting the idea of an Egyptian corpse newly embalmed.
Never shaving myself more than once a fortnight, and then requiring no
soap and water, and having cut my own hair for nearly twenty years, I
never thought of going through the experiment, which I have since
regretted; for, many a time and oft have I stood, in wonder, gazing at
this strange anomaly of character, and searching in vain for a first
cause. The barber's shop at the St. Nicholas is the most luxurious in
New York, and I believe every room has its own brush, glass, &c.,
similarly numbered in the shop.
The crowning peculiarity of the new hotels is "The Bridal Chamber;" the
want of delicacy that suggested the idea is only equalled by the want of
taste with which it is carried out. Fancy a modest girl, having said
"Yes," and sealed the assertion in the solemn services of the Church,
retiring to the bridal chamber of the St. Nicholas! In the first place,
retiring to an hotel would appear to her a contradiction in terms; but
what would be her feelings when she found the walls of her apartment
furnished with fluted white silk and satin, and in the centre of the
room a matrimonial couch, hung with white silk curtains, and blazing
with a bright jet of gas from each bed-post! The doors of the
sleeping-rooms are often fitted with a very ingenious lock, having a
separate bolt and keyhole on each side, totally disconnected, and
consequently, as they can only be opened from the same side they are
fastened, no person, though possessed of a skeleton key, is able to
enter. The ominous warning, "Lock your door at night," which is usually
hung up, coupled with the promiscuous society frequently met in large
hotels, renders it most advisable to use every precaution.
Many hotels have a Bible in each bed-room, the gift of some religious
community in the city; those that I saw during my travels were most
frequently from the Presbyterians.
Having given you some details of an American first-class hotel in a
large city, you will perhaps be better able to realize the gigantic
nature of these establishments when I tell you that in some of them,
during the season, they consume, in one way and another, DAILY, from
fifteen hundred to two thousand pounds of meats, and from forty-five to
fifty pounds of tea, coffee, &c., and ice by the ton, and have a corps
of one hundred and fifty servants of all kinds. Washing is done in the
hotel with a rapidity little short of marvellous. You can get a shirt
well washed, and ready to put on, in nearly the same space of time as an
American usually passes under the barber's hands. The living at these
hotels is profuse to a degree, but, generally speaking, most
disagreeable: first, because the meal is devoured with a rapidity which
a pack of fox-hounds, after a week's fast, might in vain attempt to
rival; and, secondly, because it is impossible to serve up dinners for
hundreds without nine-tenths thereof being cold. The best of the large
hotels I dined at in New York, as regards _cuisine_, &c., was decidedly
the New York Hotel; but by far the most comfortable was the one I lived
in--Putnam's, Union-square--which was much smaller and quite new,
besides being removed from the racket of Broadway.
The increased intercourse with this country is evidently producing a
most improving effect in many of the necessary and unmentionable
comforts of this civilized age, which you find to predominate chiefly in
those cities that have most direct intercourse with us; but as you go
further west, these comforts are most disagreeably deficient. One point
in which the hotels fail universally is attendance; it is their
misfortune, not their fault; for the moment a little money is realized
by a servant, he sets up in some business, or migrates westward. The
consequence is, that the field of service is left almost entirely to the
Irish and the negro, and between the two--after nearly a year's
experience thereof--I am puzzled to say in whose favour the balance is.
I remember poor Paddy, one morning, having answered the Household
Brigade man's bell, was told to get some warm water. He went away, and
forgot all about it. Of course, the bell rang again; and, on Paddy
answering it, he was asked--
"Did I not tell you to get me some warm water?"
"You did, your honour."
"Then, why have you not brought it?"
"Can't tell, your honour."
"Well, go and get it at once."
Paddy left the room, and waited outside the door scratching his head. In
about a quarter of an hour a knock was heard:--
Paddy's head appeared, and, with a most inquiring voice, he said--
"Is it warm water to dhrink you want, your honour?" _Ex uno_, &c.
Another inconvenience in their hotels is the necessity of either living
at the public table, or going to the enormous expense of private rooms;
the comfort of a quiet table to yourself in a coffee-room is quite
unknown. There is no doubt that sitting down at a table-d'hote is a
ready way to ascertain the manners, tone of conversation, and, partly,
the habits of thought, of a nation, especially when, as in the United
States, it is the habitual resort of everybody; but truth obliges me to
confess that, after a very short experience of it, I found the old adage
applicable, "A little of it goes a great way;" and I longed for the
cleanliness, noiselessness, and comfort of an English coffee-room,
though its table be not loaded with equal variety and profusion.
The American system is doubtless the best for the hotelkeeper, as there
are manifest advantages in feeding masses at once, over feeding the same
number in detail. A mess of twenty officers, on board a man-of-war, will
live better on two pounds each a month than one individual could on
three times that sum. It is the want of giving this difference due
consideration which raises, from time to time, a crusade against the
hotels at home, by instituting comparisons with those of the United
States. If people want to have hotels as cheap as they are in America,
they must use them as much, and submit to fixed hours and a mixture of
every variety of cultivation of mind and cleanliness of person--which
change is not likely, I trust, to take place in my day. It is a curious
fact, that when the proprietor of the Adelphi, at Liverpool--in
consequence of a remonstrance made by some American, gentlemen as to his
charges--suggested to them that they should name their own hour and dine
together, in which case his charges would be greatly diminished, they
would not hear of such a thing, and wanted to know why they should be
forced to dine either all together, or at one particular hour. An
American gentleman, with whom I am acquainted, told me that, when he
first came over to England, the feeling of solitude, while breakfasting
alone, at his table in Morley's coffee-room, was quite overpowering.
"Now," he added, "I look forward to my quiet breakfast and the paper
every morning with the greatest pleasure, and only wonder how I can have
lived so long, and been so utterly ignorant of such simple enjoyment." I
have thought it better to make these observations thus early, although
it must be obvious they are the results of my subsequent experience, and
I feel I ought to apologize for their lengthiness.
There is comparatively little difficulty in finding your way about New
York, or, indeed, most American towns, except it be in the old parts
thereof, which are as full of twists, creeks, and names as our own. The
newer part of the town is divided into avenues running nearly parallel
with the Hudson; the streets cross them at right angles, and both are
simply numbered; the masses of buildings which these sections form are
very nearly uniform in area, and are termed blocks. The great place for
lounging, or loafing, as they term it--is Broadway, which may be said to
bisect New York longitudinally; the shops are very good, but, generally
speaking, painfully alike, wearying the eye with sameness, when the
novelty has worn off: the rivalry which exists as to the _luxe_ of
fitting up some of these shops is inconceivable.
I remember going into an ice-saloon, just before I embarked for England;
the room on the ground-floor was one hundred and fifty feet long by
forty broad; rows of pillars on each side were loaded to the most
outrageous extent with carving and gilding, and the ceiling was to
match; below that was another room, a little smaller, and rather less
gaudy; both were crowded with the most tag-rag and bob-tail mixture of
The houses are built of brick, and generally have steps up to them, by
which arrangement the area receives much more light; and many people
with very fine large houses live almost exclusively in these basements,
only using the other apartments for some swell party: the better class
of houses, large hotels, and some of the shops, have their fronts faced
with stone of a reddish brown, which has a warm and pleasant appearance.
The famous "Astor House" is faced with granite, and the basement is of
solid granite. The most remarkable among the new buildings is the
magnificent store of Mr. Stewart--one of the largest, I believe, in the
world: it has upwards of one hundred and fifty feet frontage on
Broadway, and runs back nearly the same distance: is five stories high,
besides the basement; its front is faced with white marble, and it
contains nearly every marketable commodity except eatables. If you want
anything, in New York, except a dinner, go to Stewart's, and it is ten
to one you find it, and always of the newest kind and pattern; for this
huge establishment clears out every year, and refills with everything of
the newest and best. Goods are annually sold here to the amount of
upwards of a million sterling--a sum which I should imagine was hardly
exceeded by any establishment of a similar nature except Morison's in
London, which, I believe, averages one and a half million. Some idea of
the size of this store may be formed, from the fact that four hundred
gas burners are required to light it up. Mr. Stewart, I was informed,
was educated for a more intellectual career than the keeper of a store,
on however grand a scale; but circumstances induced him to change his
pursuits, and as he started with scarce any capital, the success which
has attended him in business cannot but make one regret that the world
has lost the benefit which might have been anticipated from the same
energy and ability, if it had been applied to subjects of a higher
I will now offer a few observations on the state of the streets. The
assertion has been made by some writer--I really know not who--that New
York is one of the dirtiest places in the world. To this I must give a
most unqualified denial. No person conversant with many of the large
provincial towns in England and Scotland, can conscientiously "throw a
very large stone" at New York; for though much is doing among us to
improve and sweeten--chiefly, thanks to the scourge of epidemics--I fear
that in too many places we are still on this point "living in glass
houses." Doubtless, New York is infinitely dirtier than London, as
London at present is far less clean than Paris has become under the rule
of the Third Napoleon. I fully admit that it is not so clean as it
should be, considering that the sum nominally spent on cleansing the
streets amounts to very nearly sixty thousand pounds a year, a sum equal
to one pound for every ten inhabitants; but the solution of this problem
must be looked for in the system of election to the corporation offices,
on which topic I propose to make a few observations in some future
portion of these pages. While on the subject of streets, I cannot help
remarking that it always struck me as very curious that so intelligent a
people as the Americans never adopted the simple plan of using sweeping
carts, which many of their countrymen must have seen working in London.
If not thoroughly efficient, their ingenuity might have made them so;
and, at all events, they effect a great saving of human labour. But
there is a nuisance in the streets of New York, especially in the lower
and business part of the town, which must be palpable to every
visitor--I mean the obstructions on the pavement; and that, be it
observed, in spite of laws passed for the prevention thereof, but
rendered nugatory from maladministration. In many places, you will see a
man occupying the whole pavement opposite his store with leviathan boxes
and bales, for apparently an indefinite period, inasmuch as I have seen
the same things occupying the same place day after day, and forcing
every passer-by off the pavement. This information may console some of
our own communities who are labouring under the gnawing and painful
disease of a similar corrupt and inefficient administration.
Amid the variety of shops, the stranger cannot fail to be struck with
the wonderful number of oyster-saloons stuck down on the basement, and
daguerreotypists perched in the sky-line: their name is legion;
everybody eats oysters, and everybody seems to take everybody else's
portrait. To such an extent is this mania for delineating the 'human
face divine' carried, that a hatter in Chatham-street has made no small
profit by advertising that, in addition to supplying hats at the same
price as his rivals, he will take the portrait of the purchaser, and fix
it inside thereof gratis. This was too irresistible; so off I went, and,
selecting my two dollar beaver on the ground-floor, walked up to a six
foot square garret room, where the sun did its work as quick as light,
after which the liberal artist, with that flattering propensity which
belongs to the profession, threw in the roseate hues of youth by the aid
of a little brick-dust. I handed him my dust in return, and walked away
with myself on my head, where myself may still be daily seen, a
travelled and travelling advertisement of Chatham-street enterprise.
Our American friends deal largely in newspaper puffs, and as some of
them are amusing enough, I select the following as specimens of their
"Moses and Son" style:--
ANOTHER DREADFUL ACCIDENT.--OH, MA! I MET WITH A DREADFUL
ACCIDENT!--The other night, while dancing with cousin Frank, I dropped
my Breastpin and Ear-Ring on the floor and broke them all to
pieces--Never mind, my dear. Just take them to ---- Jewellery
Store. You can get them made as good as new again!
GRATIFYING NEWS.--We have just learned, with real pleasure, that the
_seedy_ young man who sprained his back whilst trying to "raise the
wind" is fast recovering, in consequence of judiciously applying the
Mustang Liniment. It is to be hoped he will soon be entirely cured,
and that the next time he undertakes it, he will take an _upright_
position, and not adopt the _stooping_ posture. This precaution, we
have no doubt, will ensure success.
This Liniment can be had of ----.
Even, marriage and death are not exempt from the fantastic advertising
On Friday, June 10, by the Rev. Mr. ----, after a severe and
long-protracted courtship, which they bore with Christian fortitude
and resignation, solely sustained and comforted, under all misgivings,
by their sincere and confiding belief in the promise of a rich, and
living inheritance in another state, Mr. ---- to Miss ----, all of this
On April 4, of congestion of the brain, F---- E----, son of J---- and
M---- C. D----, aged fourteen months.
His remains were taken to G---- for interment yesterday.
List! heard you that angel say,
As he waved his little wing,
"Come, Freddy, come away,
Learn of me a song to sing!"
The most gigantic advertiser--if the _New York Daily Sun_ is to be
trusted for information--is Professor Holloway, so well known in this
country. According to that paper, he advertises in thirteen hundred
papers in the United States, and has expended, in different parts of the
world, the enormous sum of nearly half a million sterling, solely for
But, reader, there are more interesting objects to dwell upon than
these. If you will only "loaf" up and down Broadway on a fine afternoon,
you will see some of the neatest feet, some of the prettiest hands, some
of the brightest eyes, and some of the sweetest smiles the wildest
beauty-dreamer ever beheld in his most rapturous visions; had they but
good figures, they would excite envy on the Alamedas of Andalusia; in
short, they are the veriest little ducks in the world, and dress with
Parisian perfection. No wonder, then, reader, when I tell you that
"loafing" up and down Broadway is a favourite occupation with the young
men who have leisure hours to spare. So attractive did my young friend
of the Household Brigade find it, that it was with difficulty he was
ever induced to forego his daily pilgrimage. Alas! poor fellow, those
days are gone--he has since been "caught," and another now claims his
_Sights and Amusements_.
There is a very pleasant yacht club at New York, the festive assembly
whereof is held at Hoboken. Having received a hospitable invite, I
gladly availed myself of it, and, crossing the Hudson, a short walk
brought me and my chaperon to the club-house--no palatial edifice, but a
rustic cottage, with one large room and a kitchen attached, and
beautifully situated a few yards from the water's edge, on the woody
bank of Hoboken, and on one of the most graceful bends of the river. It
commands a splendid view, while perfectly cozy in itself, and is, "par
excellence," the place for a pic-nic. The property belongs to Commodore
Stevens, who is well known to English yachting gentlemen, not only from
his having "taken the shine out of them" at Cowes, but also for his
amiability and hospitality.
On my arrival, I found a host of bachelors, and wedded men _en garcon_,
ready to greet me with a hearty welcome. The room was very comfortable,
but as unfurnished as those who like to smoke could desire; in fact,
barring the table and its burden, the chairs and their occupiers, the
remainder of the furniture consisted of models of all the yachts of the
club. The only exception was that of the Commodore's triumphant "Black
Maria," of which extraordinary vessel I purpose speaking more fully
hereafter. One of the peculiar customs of the club is, that two members,
whose capabilities are beyond dispute, are appointed, one to make the
soup, called "chowder," the other the punch--or "toddy," as it is here
termed,--both of these being excellent in their way, and different in
many respects from any similar article at home. The proper recipe for
the same shall be forthcoming when I give details of the "Black Maria."
Our party was a very jovial one, as I think parties generally are when
composed of those who are much _on_ the water. Such people naturally
look upon a leak as very lubberly and unprofessional, and therefore
scrupulously avoid letting _in_ any water, supplying its place with
something more cheery, under the enlivening influence whereof, those who
would be puzzled to decide whether a hand-organ was playing "Hail,
Columbia!" or "Pop goes the Weasel," lose all false modesty as to their
musical powers, and become royally (I beg majesty's pardon) vocal.
Choruses receive the additional charm of variety from each vocalist
giving his tongue "universal suffrage" as to power, matter, and melody;
everybody evinces a happy independence, and if, as the chorus is
beginning, an unlucky wight finds his cigar just going out, he takes a
few puffs to save the precious fire, and then starts off Derby pace to
catch up his vocal colleagues, blending ten notes into one in his
To any one who delights in the opera, this description might suggest a
slight idea of discord, but to one who has enjoyed a midshipman's berth
it recals some of the cheeriest days of his life; as I heard the joyous
shouts, I felt my grey lank hairs getting black and curly again (?). Do
not imagine this merry scene was the produce of any excess; we were as
sober as judges, though we felt their gravity would have been out of
place; but when some choice spirit--and there was more than one
such--with the soul of melody in him, took the field, we left him to
make all the running himself, and smoked our cigars with increased
vigour, shrouding him in the curling cloud to prevent any nervous
Everything, however, must have an end, and as the hour for the last
ferry-boat was fast approaching, the voice of melody was hushed in the
hall, to echo through the groves of Hoboken and o'er the waters of the
Hudson, as we strolled from the club-house to the ferry, and thence to
Among other "lions" to be seen, my curiosity was excited by the news of
a trotting match, to come off at Long Island: some friend was ever
ready, so off we started for Brooklyn Ferry, whence we went by railway.
In the olden time these races were as fashionable at New York as Ascot
or Epsom are in England; all the _elite_ of both sexes filled the stand,
and the whole scene was lively and gay. Various circumstances, which all
who know the turf are aware it is liable to, rendered gentlemen so
disgusted with it at Long Island, that they discontinued sending horses
to run, and gradually gave up going themselves, and it is now left all
but entirely to the "rowdies,"--_alias_ mob.
The railway carriage into which we got contained about forty of these
worthies, all with cigars in their mouths, and exhibiting many strange
varieties of features and costume. In the passage up and down the middle
of the carriage; ragged juvenile vendors of lollipops and peanuts kept
patrolling and crying out their respective goods, for which they found a
ready market; suddenly another youth entered, and, dispensing a fly-leaf
right and left as he passed along to each passenger, disappeared at the
other door. At first, I took him for an itinerant advertiser of some
Yankee "Moses and Son," or of some of those medicinal quacks who strive
to rob youth by lies calculated to excite their fears. Judge my
astonishment, then, when on looking at the paper, I found it was hymns
he was distributing. A short ride brought us close to the course, and,
as I alighted, there was the active distributor freely dispensing on
every side, everybody accepting, many reading, but all hurrying on to
Having paid a good round sum as entrance to the stand, I was rather
disappointed at nearly breaking my neck, when endeavouring to take
advantage of my privilege, for my foot well-nigh went through a hole in
the flooring. Never was anything more wretched-looking in this world. It
was difficult to believe, that a few years back, this stand had been
filled with magnates of the "upper ten thousand" and stars of beauty:
there it was before me, with its broken benches, scarce a whole plank in
the floor, and wherever there was one, it was covered with old cigar
stumps, shells of peanuts, orange-peel, &c. When, however, I found that
seven people constituted the number of spectators in the stand, its
dilapidation was more easily explained, especially when I discovered
that access, with a little activity, was easily obtainable at the sides
_gratis_--a fact soon proved by the inroad of a few "rowdies," and the
ubiquitous vendors of lollipops and peanuts, headed by the persevering
distributor of hymns.
Let us turn now from the dreary stand to the scene below. The
race-course is a two-mile distance, perfectly level, on a smooth and
stoneless road, and forming a complete circle--light trotting waggons
are driving about in the centre, taking it easy at sixteen miles an
hour; outside are groups of "rowdies." making their hooks and looking
out for greenhorns--an article not so readily found at Long Island as at
The race is to be "under the saddle," and the long list of competitors
which had been announced has dwindled down to the old and far-famed Lady
Suffolk and the young and unfamed Tacony.
A stir among the "rowdies" is seen, followed by the appearance "on the
boards" of Lady Suffolk. I gazed in wonder as I saw her--a small
pony-looking animal--moving her legs as though they were in splints, and
as if six miles an hour was far beyond her powers; soon after, Tacony
came forward, the picture of a good bony post-horse, destitute of any
beauty, but looking full of good stuff. The riders have no distinctive
dress; a pair of Wellington boots are pulled on outside the trousers,
sharp spurs are on the heels--rough and ready looking birds these. The
winning-post is opposite the stand, the umpire is there with a deal
board in his hand, a whack on the side of the stand "summons to horse,"
and another summons to "start." The start is from the distance-post, so
as to let the horses get into the full swing of their pace by the time
they reach the winning-post, when, if they are fairly up together, the
cry "Off" is given; if it be not given, they try again. When speaking of
the time in which the mile is completed, the fact of its commencing at
full speed should always be borne in mind: sometimes false starts are
made by one party, on purpose to try and irritate the temper of the
adversary's horse; and in the same way, if a man feels he has full
command of his own horse, he will yell like a wild Indian, as he nears
his adversary, to make him "break up"--or go into a gallop; and, as they
are all trained to speed more by voice than by spur, he very often
succeeds, and of course the adversary loses much ground by pulling up
into a trot again.
On the present occasion there was no false start; the echo of the second
whack was still in the car as they reached the winning-post neck and
neck. "Off" was the word, and away they went. It certainly was
marvellous to see how dear old Lady Suffolk and her stiff legs flew
round the course; one might have fancied she had been fed on lightning,
so quick did she move them, but with wonderfully short steps. Tack, on
the contrary, looked as if he had been dieted on India-rubber balls:
every time he raised a hind leg it seemed to shoot his own length a-head
of himself; if he could have made his steps as quick as the old lady, he
might have done a mile in a minute nearly. Presently, Tacony breaks up,
and, ere he pulls into a trot, a long gap is left. Shouts of "Lady
Suffolk, Lady Suffolk wins!" rend the air; a few seconds more, and the
giant strides of Tacony lessen the gap at every step: they reach the
distance-post neck and neck; "Tacony wins!" is the cry, and true enough
it is--by a length. Young blood beats old blood--India-rubber balls
"whip" lightning. Time, five minutes.
The usual excitement and disputing follow, the usual time elapses--whack
number one is heard, all ready--whack number two, on they come, snaffle
bridles, pulling at their horses' mouths as though they would pull the
bit right through to the tips of their tails. "Off" is the cry: away
they go again; Tacony breaks up--again a gap, which huge strides
speedily close up--again Tacony wins. Time, five minutes five seconds.
All is over, rush to the cars, &c. Remarks:--first, the pace is at the
rate of twenty-four miles an hour; second, the clear old lady, who was
only beaten by a length, is long out of her teens; is it not wonderful,
and is she not glorious in her defeat? Fancy Dowager Lady L---- taking a
pedestrian fit, and running a race along Rotten Row with some "fast
young man;" what would you say, if she clutched his coat-tail as he
touched the winning-post? Truly, that dear old Lady Suffolk is a
marvellous quadruped. Reader, as you do not care to go back again with
the Rowdies and Co., we will suppose ourselves returned to New York, and
I can only hope you have not been bored with your day's amusement.
Among the extraordinary fancies of this extraordinary race--who are ever
panting for something new, even if it be a new territory--the most
strange is the metallic coffin: the grave is no protection against their
mania for novelty. In the windows of a shop in Broadway, this strange,
and to my mind revolting, article may be seen, shaped like a mummy,
fitting hermetically tight, and with a plate of glass to reveal the
features of the inanimate inmate. I have certainly read of the
disconsolate lover who, on the death of her who ungratefully refused to
reciprocate his affection, disinterred her body by stealth, supplied
himself with scanty provision, and embarking in a small boat, launched
forth upon the wide waters, to watch her gradual decomposition till
starvation found them one common grave. I also knew an officer, who,
having stuffed an old and faithful dog, and placed him on the
mantel-piece, when his only child died soon after, earnestly entreated a
surgeon to stuff the child, that he might place it beside the faithful
dog. Nevertheless, I cannot believe that such aberrations of human
intellect are sufficiently frequent to make the Patent Metallic Coffin
Company a popular or profitable affair.
An important feature in a populous town is the means of conveyance,
which here, in addition to hack cabs and omnibuses, includes railway
carriages. I would observe, once for all, that the horses of America, as
a whole, may be classed as enduring, wiry, and active hacks. You do not
see anything to compare with some of the beautiful nags that "Rotten
Row" or Melton exhibits; but, on the other hand, you rarely see the
lumbering, lolloping, heavy brutes so common in this country. Then,
again, a horse in this country is groomed and turned out in a style
which I never saw in America, and therefore shows to much greater
advantage, in spite of the Yankee sometimes ornamenting his head with
hairs from his tail; while on the other hand, though an Englishman
considers a pair of nags that will go a mile in five minutes a great
prize, no man in America who is a horse fancier would look at a pair
that could not do the same distance in four; nor would he think them
worth speaking about, if they could not do the distance in a very few
seconds over three minutes. On one side of the water, pace is almost the
only object; on the other side, shape and appearance are weighty
The habits of the Americans being essentially gregarious, and business
teaching the truism that a cent saved is a cent gained, hackney coaches
are comparatively little used by the men; for it must be remembered that
idlers in this country are an invisible minority of the community! The
natural consequence is, that they are clean and expensive. The drivers
are charmingly independent and undeniably free-and-easy birds, but not
meaning to be uncivil. One of them showed his independence by asking two
dollars one night for a three-mile drive home to the hotel. I inquired
of the master, and found the proper charge was a dollar and a half;
but, on my sending out the same, Jarvey was too proud to confess he was
wrong, and, refusing the money, drove off--nor did I ever hear more of
Their free-and-easiness can never be better exemplified than in the old
anecdote told of so many people, from an ex-prince of France, downward;
viz., the prince having ordered a hack cab, was standing at the door of
the hotel, smoking his cigar, and waiting for its arrival. When Cabby
drove up, judging from the appearance of the prince that he was "the
fare," he said, "Are you the chap that sent for a cab?" And, being
answered with an affirmative smile, he said, "Well, get in; I guess I'm
the gentleman that's to drive you."
The next means of conveyance to be spoken of is the omnibus. I was told
by a friend who had made inquiries on the subject, that there were
upwards of a thousand, and that they pay twenty-two per cent. They are
infinitely better than ours, simply because they are broader: the most
rotund embodiment of an alderman after a turtle-soup dinner, even if he
had--to use the emphatic language of Mr. Weller--been "swellin'
wisibly," could pass up the centre without inconvenience to the
passengers on either side; and as a good dividend is a thing not to be
despised, they do not employ a "cad" behind. The door shuts by a strap
running along the roof, with a noose in the end, which Jehu puts on his
foot. Any one wishing to alight pulls the strap; Jehu stops; and, poking
his nose to a pigeon-hole place in the roof, takes the silver fare; and,
slipping the noose, the door is open to the human "fare." Doubtless,
this effects a very great saving, and, dispensing with a cad in this
country might enable the fares to be lowered; but I question if there be
not very many objections to our adopting the plan; and I should miss
very much that personification of pertness and civility, with his
inquisitive eye, and the eccentric and perpetual gyrations of his fore
finger, which ever and anon stiffens in a skyward point, as though under
the magic influence of some unseen electro-biologist whose decree had
gone forth--"You can't move your finger, sir, you can't; no, you can't."
I have only one grudge against the omnibuses in New York--and that is,
their monopoly of Broadway, which would really have a very fine and
imposing appearance were it not for them: they destroy all the
effect, and you gradually begin to think it is the Strand grown wider,
despite of the magnificent palaces, hotels, &c., which adorn it on each
[Illustration: A RAILWAY CARRIAGE.]
The last means of conveyance to be mentioned is the railway carriage,
which--the city being built on a perfect flat--is admirably adapted for
locomotion. The rails are laid down in a broad avenue on each side of
Broadway, and the cars are drawn by horses, some two, some four. Those
that are used for the simple town business have only two horses, and
will hold about twenty-four passengers; the others run from the lower
end of the town to a place where the engine is waiting for them outside.
The town railway-car may be called a long omnibus, low on the wheels,
broad, airy, and clean inside, and, excessively convenient for getting
in and out. There is a break at both ends, one under the charge of Jehu,
the other under the charge of the guard; so that, though trotting along
at a good pace, they are very easily stopped. When they get to the end
of the journey, the horses change ends, thus avoiding the necessity of
any turning, the space required for which would have made a great
difference in the expense. For a busy, bustling city, on a flat, it is
unquestionably by far the best conveyance, on account of carrying so
many, and being so handy for ingress and egress.
There was a strong push made to get one laid down in Broadway, and
corporation jobbery had nearly succeeded. For my own part, did I live in
Broadway, if they would lay down a single line of rail, with shunters at
intervals, to enable the cars to pass one another, and fix regular hours
for running, I should infinitely prefer it to the unlimited army of
omnibuses that now block up the street; but I fancy the interests of the
latter are too deeply involved to be readily resigned.
Before leaving the subject of railway carriages, I may as well give you
a description of the travelling cars in ordinary use.
They are forty-two feet long, nine and a half wide, from six to six and
a half feet high, and carry from fifty to sixty passengers. Each seat is