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Lands of the Slave and the Free by Henry A. Murray

Part 4 out of 10

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think--equally outrageous. A man hard pressed by creditors, who had
assembled at his house and were urgent in their demands, called to them
to keep back, and upon their still pressing on, he seized a bowie-knife
in each hand, and rushed among them, stabbing and ripping right and
left, till checked in his mad career of assassination by a creditor, in
self-defence, burying a cleaver in his skull.

In a Natchez paper I read as follows:--"Levi Tarver, formerly a resident
of Atala county, was recently killed in Texas. Tarver interrupted a
gentleman on the highway; high words ensued, when Tarver gave the
gentleman the lie; whereupon the latter drew a bowie-knife, and
completely severed, at one blow, Levi's head from his body."

In a St. Louis paper, I read of a German, Hoffman by name, who was
supposed by Baker to be too intimate with his wife, and who was
consequently desired to discontinue his visits. Hoffman remonstrated in
his reply, assuring the husband that his suspicions were groundless. A
short time after he received a letter from Mrs. Baker, requesting him to
call upon her: he obeyed the summons, and was shown into her bedroom at
the hotel. The moment he got there, Mrs. Baker pulled two pistols from
under the pillow, and discharged both at his head. Hoffman rushed out of
the house; scarce was he in the street, when Mr. Baker and three other
ruffians pounced upon him, dragged him back to the hotel, and placed
guards at the door to prevent any further ingress from the street. They
then stripped him perfectly naked, lashed him with cow-hides till there
was scarce a sound piece of flesh in his body, dashing cold water over
him at intervals, and then recommencing their barbarities. When tired of
this brutality, they emasculated their wretched victim with a common
table-knife. And who were these ruffians? Were they uneducated villains,
whom poverty and distress had hardened into crime? Far from it. Mr.
Baker was the owner of a grocery store; of the others, one was the
proprietor of the St. Charles hotel, New Bremen; the second was a young
lawyer, the third was a clerk in the "Planter's House." Can the sinks of
ignorance and vice in any community present a more bloody scene of
brutality than was here deliberately enacted, by educated people in
respectable positions, in the middle of the day? What can be thought of
the value of human life, when I add that all these miscreants were

These are merely the accounts which have met my eye in the natural
course of reading the newspaper, for I can most truthfully declare I
have not taken the slightest trouble to hunt them up. The following,
which bears upon the same point, was related to me in the course of
conversation at dinner, and it occurred in New Orleans. Mr. A. treads on
Mr. B.'s too several times; Mr. B. kicks Mr. A. down stairs, and this at
a respectable evening party. Now what does Mr. A. do? He goes outside
and borrows a bowie-knife from a hack-cabman, then returns to the party,
watches and follows Mr. B. to the room where the hats and cloaks were
placed, seizes a favourable moment, and rips Mr. B.'s bowels open. He is
tried for murder, with evidence sufficient to hang a dozen men; and, to
the astonishment of even the Westerns themselves, he is acquitted. These
facts occurred not many years since, and they were narrated to me by a
gentleman who was at the party.

When two members of the Legislature disgraced the halls at Washington,
by descending into the political arena with pistols and bowie-knives,
and there entering into deadly conflict, were they not two Western
members? Now, what do these occurrences prove? Certainly not that all
Westerns are bloodthirsty, for many of them are the most kind, quiet,
and amiable men I have ever met; but, when taken in connexion with the
free use of the bowie-knife, they afford strong evidence that there is a
general and extraordinary recklessness of human life; and surely, common
sense and experience would both endorse the assertion, that habituating
men to bloody disputes or fatal accidents has a tendency to harden both
actors and spectators into utter indifference. And what is the whole of
the Western river navigation but one daily--I might almost say,
continual--scene of accidents and loss of life, tending to nourish those
very feelings which it is the duty of every government to use all
possible means to allay and humanize?

The heartless apathy with which all classes of society, with scarce
individual exceptions, speak of these events is quite revolting to a
stranger, and a manifest proof of the injurious moral effect of
familiarizing people with such horrors. The bowie-knife, the revolver,
and the river accidents, mutually act and react upon each other, and no
moral improvement can reasonably be expected until some great change be
effected. Government can interfere with the accidents;--deadly weapons
are, to a certain extent, still necessary for self-protection. Let us
hope, then, that something will ore long be done to prevent disasters
pregnant with so many evils to the community, and reflecting so strongly
on the United States as a nation.[S] Having gone off at a tangent, like
a boomerang, I had better, like the same weapon, return whence I
started--in military language, "as you was."


[Footnote P: On the Mississippi a cord contains one definite quantity,
being a pile 1 feet high, 4 feet broad, and 8 feet long, and does not
vary in size in the same absurd manner as it does in various parts of
England: the price paid is from eight to thirteen shillings, increasing
as you descend the river.]

[Footnote Q: A committee of the United States calculated that, in 1846,
the losses on the Mississippi amounted to 500,000l.; and as commerce has
increased enormously, while precautions have remained all but stagnant,
I think it may be fairly estimated, that the annual losses at the
present day amount to at least 750,000l.]

[Footnote R: _Vide_ chapter on "Watery Highways."]

[Footnote S: Since writing the above, some more stringent regulations as
to inspection have appeared, similar to those advocated in the text; but
they contain nothing respecting loading, steering, &c. In fact, they are
general laws, having 110 especial bearing on Western waters.]


_New Orleans_.

New Orleans is a surprising evidence of what men will endure, when
cheered by the hopes of an ever-flowing tide of all-mighty dollars and
cents. It is situated on a marsh, and bounded by the river on one side,
and on the other by a continuation of the marsh on which it is built,
beyond which extends a forest swamp. All sewerage and drainage is
superficial--more generally covered in, but in very many places dragging
its sluggish stream, under the broad light of day, along the edges of
the footway. The chief business is, of course, in those streets skirting
the river; and at this season--December--when the cotton and sugar mania
is at its height, the bustle and activity is marvellous. Streets are
piled in every direction with mounds of cotton, which rise as high as
the roofs; storehouses are bursting with bales; steam and hydraulic
presses hiss in your ear at every tenth step, and beneath their power
the downy fibre is compressed into a substance as hard as Aberdeen
granite, which semi-nude negroes bind, roll, and wheel in all
directions, the exertion keeping them in perpetual self-supplying animal
steam-baths. Gigantic mules arrive incessantly, dragging fresh freight
for pressure; while others as incessantly depart, bearing freight for
embarkation to Europe. If a pair of cotton socks could be made vocal,
what a tale of sorrow and labour their history would reveal, from the
nigger who picked with a sigh to the maiden who donned with a smile.

Some idea may be formed of the extent of this branch of trade, from the
statistical fact that last year the export amounted to 1,435,815
bales[T]--or, in round numbers, one and a half millions--which was an
increase of half a million upon the exports of the preceding twelve
months. Tobacco is also an article of great export, and amounted last
year to 94,000 hogsheads, being an increase of two-thirds upon the
previous twelve months. The great staple produce of the neighbourhood is
sugar and molasses. In good years, fifty gallons of molasses go to a
thousand pounds of sugar; but, when the maturity of the cane is impeded
by late rains, as was the case last year, seventy gallons go to the
thousand pounds of sugar. Thus, in 1853, 10,500,000 gallons of molasses
were produced, representing 210,000,000 pounds of sugar; while, in 1854,
18,300,000 gallons of molasses were produced, being nearly double the
produce of the preceding year, but representing only 261,500,000 pounds
of sugar,--owing, as before explained, to the wet weather. Some general
idea of the commercial activity of New Orleans may be formed from the
following statistics for 1853:--2266 vessels, representing 911,000 tons,
entered New Orleans; and 2202 vessels, representing 930,000 tons,

Now, of course, the greater portion--or I might almost say the whole--of
the goods exported reach New Orleans by the Mississippi, and therefore
justify the assertion that the safe navigation of that river is, in the
fullest sense of the term, a national and not a local interest, bearing
as it does on its bosom an essential portion of the industrial produce
of eleven different States of the Union.

It is quite astounding to see the legions of steamers from the upper
country which are congregated here; for miles and miles the levee forms
one unbroken line of them, all lying with their noses on shore--no room
for broadsides. On arriving, piled up with goods mountain high, scarce
does a bow touch the levee, when swarms of Irish and niggers rush down,
and the mountainous pile is landed, and then dragged off by sturdy mules
to its destination. Scarce is she cleared, when the same hardy sons of
toil build another mountainous pile on board; the bell rings, passengers
run, and she is facing the current and the dangers of the snaggy
Mississippi. The labour of loading and unloading steamers is, as you may
suppose, very severe, and is done for the most part by niggers and
Irishmen. The average wages are from 7l. to 8l. per month; but, in
times of great pressure from sudden demand, &c., they rise as high as
from. 12l. to 14l. per month, which was the case just before my
arrival. The same wages are paid to those who embark in the steamers to
load and unload at the different stations on the river. Every day is
a working day; and as, by the law, the slave has his Sunday to himself
to earn what he can, the master who hires him out on the river is
supposed to give him one-seventh of the wages earned; but I believe they
only receive one-seventh of the ordinary wages--i.e., 1l. per month.


Let us now turn from the shipping to the town. In the old, or French
part, the streets are generally very narrow; but in the American, or the
La Fayette quarter, they are very broad, and, whether from indolence or
some other reason, badly paved and worse cleansed; nevertheless, if the
streets are dirty and muddy, the houses have the advantage of being
airy. There are no buildings of any importance except the new
Custom-house, and, of course, the hotels. The St. Louis is at present
the largest; but the St. Charles, which is being rebuilt, was, and will
again be, the hotel pride of New Orleans.[U] They are both enormous
establishments, well arranged, and, with the locomotive propensities of
the people, sure to be well filled during the winter months, at which
period only they are open. When I arrived at the St. Louis, it was so
full that the only room I could get was like a large Newfoundland dog's
kennel, with but little light and less air. The hotel was originally
built for an Exchange, and the rotundo in the centre is one of the
finest pieces of architecture in the States. It is a lofty, vaulted
hall, eighty feet in diameter, with an aisle running all round,
supported by a row of fine pillars fifty feet in height; the dome rises
nearly as many-feet more, and has a large skylight in the centre; the
sides thereof are ornamented by well-executed works in _chiaroscuro_,
representing various successful actions gained during the struggle for
independence, and several of the leading men who figured during that
eventful period. A great portion of the aisle is occupied by the
all-important bar, where drinks flow as freely as the river outside; but
there is another feature in the aisles which contrasts strangely with
the pictorial ornaments round the dome above--a succession of platforms
are to be seen, on which human flesh and blood is exposed to public
auction, and the champions of the equal rights of man are thus made to
endorse, as it were, the sale of their fellow-creatures.

I had only been in the hotel one day when a gentleman to whom I had a
letter kindly offered me a room in his house. The offer was too
tempting, so I left my kennel without delay, and in my new quarters
found every comfort and a hearty welcome, rendered more acceptable from
the agreeable society which it included, and the tender nursing I
received at the hands of one of the young ladies during the week I was
confined to the house by illness. Among all the kind and hospitable
friends I met with in my travels, none have a stronger claim on my
grateful recollection than Mr. Egerton and his family. When able to get
out, I took a drive with mine host: as you may easily imagine, there is
not much scenery to be found in a marsh bounded by a forest swamp, but
the effect is very curious; all the trees are covered with Spanish moss,
a long, dark, fibrous substance which hangs gracefully down from every
bough and twig; it is often used for stuffing beds, pillows, &e. This
most solemn drapery gave the forest the appearance of a legion of mute
mourners attending the funeral of some beloved patriarch, and one felt
disposed to admire the patience with which they stood, with their feet
in the wet, their heads nodding to and fro as if distracted with grief,
and their fibrous weeds quivering, as though convulsed with the
intensity of agony. The open space around is a kind of convalescent
marsh; that is, canals and deep ditch drains have been opened all
through it, and into these the waters of the marsh flow, as a token of
gratitude for the delicate little attention; at the same time, the
adjacent soil, freed from its liquid encumbrance, courts the attractive
charms of the sun, and has already risen from two and a half to three
and a half feet above its marshy level.

The extremity of this open space furthest from the town has been
appropriately fixed upon as the site of various cemeteries. The
lugubrious forest is enough to give a man the blue devils, and the
ditches and drains into which the sewers, &c., of the town are pumped,
dragging their sluggish and all but stagnant course under a broiling
summer gun, are sufficient to prepare most mortals for the calm repose
towards which the cypress and the cenotaph beckon them with greedy
welcome. The open space I have been describing is the "Hyde Park" and
"Rotten Row" of New Orleans, and the drive round it is one of the best
roads I ever travelled; it is called the "Shell Road," from the
top-dressing thereof being entirely composed of small shells, which soon
bind together and make it as smooth as a bowling-green. The Two-forty
trotters--when there are any--come out here in the afternoon, and show
off their paces, and if you fail in finding any of that first flight, at
all events you are pretty sure to see some good teams, that can hug the
three minutes very closely. Custom is second nature, and necessity is
the autocrat of autocrats, which even the free and enlightened must
obey; the consequence is, that the inhabitants of New Orleans look
forward to the Shell-road ride, or drive, with as much interest and
satisfaction as our metropolitan swells do to the Serpentine or the Row.

Having had our drive, let us now say a few words about the society. In
the first place, you will not see such grand houses as in New York; but
at the same time it is to be observed, that the tenants here occupy and
enjoy all their houses, while in New York, as I have before observed,
the owners of many of the finest residences live almost exclusively in
the basements thereof. This more social system at New Orleans, I am
inclined to attribute essentially to the French--or Creole--habits with
which society is leavened, and into which, it appears to me, the
Americans naturally and fortunately drop. On the other hand, the rivalry
which too often taints a money-making community has found its way here.
If A. gives a party which costs 200l., B. will try and get up one at
300l., and so on. This false pride--foolish enough anywhere--is more
striking in New Orleans, from the fact that the houses are not
calculated for such displays, and when they are attempted, it involves
unfurnishing bed-rooms and upsetting the whole establishment. I should
add they are comparatively rare, perhaps as rare as those parties which
are sometimes given in London at the expense of six weeks' fasting, in
order that the donor's name and the swells who attended the festive
scene may go forth to the world in the fashionable column of the
_Morning Post_. Whenever they do occur, they are invariably attended
with some such observations as the following:--

"What did Mrs. B.'s party cost last night?"

"Not less than 300l."

"Well, I'm sure they have not the means to afford such extravagant
expense; and I suppose the bed-rooms upstairs were all cleared out?"

"Oh, yes! three of them."

"Well I know that house, and, fix it how you will, if they cleared out
three bed-rooms, I'm sure they must have slept on the sofas or the
tables. I declare it's worse than foolish--it's wicked to have so much
pride," &c.

If those who thus indulged their vanity, only heard one-half of the
observations made by those who accent their hospitalities, or who strive
to get invitations and cannot, they would speedily give up their folly;
but money is the great Juggernaut, at the feet of which all the nations
of the earth fall down and worship; whether it be the coronets that
bowed themselves down in the temple of the Railway King in Hyde Park,
who could afford the expense; or the free and enlightened who do homage
in Mrs. ----'s temple at New Orleans, though perhaps she could not
afford the expense; one thing is clear--where the money is spent, there
will the masses be gathered together. General society is, however, more
sober and sociable, many families opening their houses one day in the
week to all their friends. The difference of caste is going out fast:
the Creoles found that their intermarriages were gradually introducing a
race as effete as the Bourbons appear to be in France; they are now
therefore very sensibly seeking alliances with the go-ahead blood of the
Anglo-Saxon, which will gradually absorb them entirely, and I expect
that but little Trench will be spoken in New Orleans by the year 1900.
Another advantage of the Creole element, is the taste it appears to have
given for French wines. As far as I am capable of judging, the claret,
champagne, and sauterne which I tasted here were superior in quality and
more generally in use than I ever found them in any other city. The
hours of dinner vary from half-past three to half-past five, and an
unostentatious hospitality usually prevails.

Servants here are expensive articles. In the hotels you find Irishmen
almost exclusively, and their wages vary from 2l. 8s. to 10l. per
month. In private houses, women's wages range from 2l. 8s. to 4l.
and men's from 6l. to 8l. the month. The residents who find it
inconvenient to go to the north during the summer, cross the lake to
their country villas at Passe Christianne, a pretty enough little place,
far cooler and more shady than the town, and where they get bathing, &c.
A small steamer carries you across in a few hours; but competition is
much wanted, for their charges are treble those of the boats in the
north, and the accommodation poor in comparison.

When crossing over in the steamer, I overheard a conversation which
showed how early in life savage ideas are imbibed here. Two lads, the
eldest about fifteen, had gone over from New Orleans to shoot ducks.
They were both very gentlemanly-looking boys, and evidently attending
some school. Their conversation of course turned upon fighting--when did
schoolboys meet that it was not so? At last, the younger lad said--

"Well, what do you think of Mike Maloney?", "Oh! Mike is very good with
his fists; but I can whip him right off at rough-and-tumble."

Now, what is "rough-and-tumble?" It consists of clawing, scratching,
kicking, hair-pulling, and every other atrocity, for which, I am happy
to think, a boy at an English school would be well flogged by the
master, and sent to Coventry by his companions. Yet, here was as nice a
looking lad as one could wish to see, evidently the son of well-to-do
parents, glorying in this savage, and, as we should call it, cowardly
accomplishment. I merely mention this to show how early the mind is
tutored to feelings which doubtless help to pave the way for the
bowie-knife in more mature years.

The theatres at New Orleans are neat and airy. Lola Montez succeeded in
creating a great _furore_, at last. I say "at last," because, as there
really is nothing in her acting above mediocrity, she received no
especial encouragement at first, although she had chosen her own career
in Bavaria as the subject in which to make her _debut._ She waited with
considerable tact till she was approaching those scenes in which the mob
triumph over order; and then, pretending to discover a cabal in the
meagre applause she was receiving, she stopped in the middle of her
acting, and, her eyes flashing fire, her face beaming brass, and her
voice wild with well-assumed indignation, she cried--"I'm anxious to do
my best to please the company; but if this cabal continues, I must
retire!" The effect was electric. Thunders of applause followed, and
"Bravo, Lolly!" resounded through the theatre, from the nigger-girl in
the upper gallery to the octogenarian in the pit. When the clamour had
subsided, some spicy attacks on kingcraft and the nobles followed most
opportunely; the shouts were redoubled; her victory was complete. When
the piece was over, she came forward to assure the company that the
scenes she had been enacting were all facts in which she had, in
reality, played the same part she had been representing that evening.
Thunders of "Go it, Lolly! you're a game 'un, and nurthin' else!" rang
all through the house as she retired, bowing. She did not appear in the
character of "bowie-knifing a policeman at Berlin;" and of course she
omitted some scenes said to have taken place during interviews with the
king, and in which her conduct might not have been considered, strictly
speaking, quite correct. She obtained further notoriety after my
departure, by kicking and cuffing a prompter, and calling the proprietor
a d--d scoundrel, a d--d liar, and a d--d thief, for which she was
committed for trial. I may as well mention here, that the theatre was
well attended by ladies. This fact must satisfy every unprejudiced mind
how utterly devoid of foundation is the rumour of the ladies of America
putting the legs of their pianofortes in petticoats, that their
sensitive delicacy may not receive too rude a shock. Besides the
theatres here, there is also an opera, the music of which, vocal and
instrumental, is very second-rate. Nevertheless, I think it is highly to
the credit of New Orleans that they support one at all, and sincerely do
I wish them better success.

The town is liberally supplied with churches of all denominations. I
went one Sunday to a Presbyterian church, and was much struck on my
entry at seeing all the congregation reading newspapers. Seating myself
in my pew, I found a paper lying alongside of me, and, taking it up, I
discovered it was a religious paper, full of anecdotes and experiences,
&c., and was supplied _gratis_ to the congregation. There were much
shorter prayers than in Scotland, more reading of the Bible, the same
amount of singing, but performed by a choir accompanied by an organ, the
congregation joining but little. The sermon was about the usual length
of one in Scotland, lasting about an hour, and extemporized from notes.
The preacher was eloquent, and possessed of a strong voice, which he
gave the reins to in a manner which would have captivated the wildest
Highlander. The discourse delivered was in aid of foreign missions, and
the method he adopted in dealing with it was--first, powerfully to
attack monarchical forms of government and priestly influence, by which
soft solder he seemed to win his way to their republican hearts; and
from this position, he secondly set to work and fed their vanity freely,
by glowing encomiums on their national deeds and greatness, and the
superior perfections of their glorious constitution; whence he deduced,
thirdly, that the Almighty had more especially committed to them the
great work of evangelizing mankind. This discourse sounded like the
political essay of an able enthusiast, and fell strangely on my ears
from the lips of a Christian minister, whose province, I had always been
taught to consider, was rather to foster humility than to inflame
vanity. It is to be presumed he knew his congregation well, and felt
that he was treading the surest road to their dollars and cents.

Among other curiosities in this town is a human one, known as the Golden
Man, from the quantity of that metal with which he bedizens waistcoat,
fingers, &c. During my stay at New Orleans, he appeared decked with such
an astounding gem, that it called forth the following notice from the

ANOTHER RING.--The "gold" individual who exhibits himself and any
quantity of golden ornaments, of Sunday mornings, in the vicinity of
the Verandah and City Hotels, will shortly appear with a new wonder
wherewith to astonish the natives. One would think that he had already
ornaments enough to satisfy any mortal; but he, it appears, is not of
the stuff every-day people are made of, and he could not rest
satisfied until his fingers boasted another ring. The new prodigy is,
like its predecessors, of pure solid gold. It is worth 500 dollars,
and weighs nearly, if not quite, a pound. This small treasure is
intended for the owner's "little" finger. It is the work of Mr. Melon,
jeweller and goldsmith, on Camp-street, and is adorned with small
carved figures, standing out in bold relief, and of very diminutive
size, yet distinct and expressive. The right outer surface represents
the flight of Joseph, the Virgin, and the infant Jesus into Egypt.
Joseph, bearing a palm-branch, leads the way, the Virgin follows,
seated on a donkey, and holding the Saviour in her lap. On the left
outer edge of the ring is seen the prophet Daniel, standing between
two lions. The prophet has not got a blue umbrella under his arm to
distinguish him from the lions. The face of the ring exhibits an
excellent design of the crucifixion, with the three crosses and the
Saviour and the two thieves suspended thereto. This ring is certainly
a curiosity.

There is a strong body of police here, and some of their powers are
autocratically autocratic: thus, a person once committed as a vagrant is
liable to be re-imprisoned by them if met in the street unemployed. Now,
as it is impossible to expect that people in business will take the
trouble to hunt up vagrants, what can be conceived more cruelly
arbitrary than preventing them from hunting up places for themselves?
Yet such is the law in this democratic city.[V] A gentleman told me of a
vagrant once coming to him and asking for employment, and, on his
declining to employ him, begging to be allowed to lie concealed in his
store during the day, lest the police should re-imprison him before he
could get on board one of the steamers to take him up the river to try
his fortunes elsewhere. At the same time, a person in good circumstances
getting into difficulties can generally manage to buy his way out.

The authorities, on the return of Christmas, having come to the
conclusion that the letting off of magazines of crackers in the streets
by the juvenile population was a practice attended with much
inconvenience and danger to those who were riding and driving, gave
orders that it should be discontinued. The order was complied with in
some places, but in others the youngsters set it at defiance. It will
hardly be credited that, in a nation boasting of its intelligence and
proud of its education, the press should take part with the youngsters,
and censure the magistrates for their sensible orders. Yet such was the
case at New Orleans. The press abused the authorities for interfering
with the innocent amusements of the children, and expressed their
satisfaction at the latter having asserted their independence and
successfully defied the law. The same want of intelligence was exhibited
by the press in censuring the authorities for discontinuing the
processions on the anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans--"a ceremony
calculated to excite the courage and patriotism of the people." They
seem to lose sight of the fact, that it is a reflection on the courage
of their countrymen to suppose that they require such processions to
animate their patriotism, and that the continuance of such public
demonstrations parading the streets betokens rather pride of past deeds
than confidence in their power to re-enact them. Although such
demonstrations may be readily excused, or even reasonably encouraged, in
an infant community struggling for liberty, they are childish and
undignified in a powerful nation. What would be more ridiculous than
Scotland having grand processions on the anniversary of Bannockburn, or
England on that of Waterloo? Moreover, in a political point of view, it
should not be lost sight of, that if such demonstrations have any effect
at all on the community, it must be that of reviving hostile feelings
towards those to whom they are united most closely by the ties of blood,
sense, and--though last, not least--cents. I merely mention these
trivial things to show the punyizing effects which the democratic
element has on the press.

Formerly, duels were as innumerable here as bales of cotton; they have
considerably decreased latterly, one cause of which has been, the State
of Louisiana passing a law by which any person engaging in a duel is at
once deprived of his vote, and disabled from holding any state
employment. John Bull may profit by this hint.

I was much amused, during my stay at New Orleans, by hearing the remarks
of the natives upon the anti-slavery meeting at Stafford House, of which
the papers were then full. If the poor duchess and her lady allies had
been fiends, there could scarcely have been more indignation at her
"presumptuous interference" and "mock humility." Her "sisters, indeed!
as if she would not be too proud to stretch out her hand to any one of
them," &c. Then another would break out with, "I should like to know by
what right she presumes to interfere with us and offer advice? If she
wants to do good, she has opportunities enough of exercising her charity
in London. Let any one read _The Times_, and then visit a plantation
here, and say whether the negroes are not happier and better off than
one-half of the lower classes in England," &c. If every animadversion
which the duchess and her colleagues' kind intentions and inoffensive
wording of them called forth in America had been a pebble, and if they
had all been gathered together, the monument of old Cheops at Ghizeh
would have sunk into insignificance when contrasted with the gigantic
mass; in short, no one unacquainted with the sensitiveness of the
American character can form a conception of the violent state of
indignation which followed the perusal of the proceedings of that small
conclave of English lady philanthropists. Mrs. Jones, Smith, Adams, and
Brown might have had their meeting on the same subject without producing
much excitement; but when the aristocratic element was introduced, it
acted as a spark in a barrel of gunpowder. As an illustration of the
excitement produced, I subjoin an extract from one of their daily
papers, under the heading of "Mrs. Stowe in Great Britain:"--

"The principles of free government developed here, and urging our
people on with unexampled rapidity in the career of wealth and
greatness, have always been subjects of alarm to monarchs and
aristocracies--of pleasure and hope to the people. It has, of course,
been the object of the former to blacken us in every conceivable way,
and to make us detestable in the eyes of the world. There has been
nothing since the revolution so well calculated to advance this end,
as the exhibition which Mrs. Stowe is making in England.

"It is because they have a deep and abiding hostility to this country,
and to republicanism in general, that the aristocracy, not only of
England, but of all Europe, have seized with so much avidity upon
_Uncle Tom_, and have been at so much pains to procure a triumphal
march for its author through all the regions she may choose to visit.
They are delighted to see a native of the United States--of that
republic which has taught that a people can flourish without an
aristocracy or a monarch--of that republic, the example of whose
prosperity was gradually undermining thrones and digging a pit for
privileged classes--describing her country as the worst, the most
abandoned, the most detestable that ever existed. Royalty draws a long
breath, and privilege recovers from its fears. Among the people of the
continent, especially among the Germans, Italians, and Russians, there
are thousands who believe that murder is but a pastime here--that the
bowie-knife and pistol are used upon any provocation--that, in fact,
we are a nation of assassins, without law, without morality, and
without religion. They are taught to believe these things by their
newspapers, which, published under the eye of Government, allow no
intelligence but of murders, bowie-knife fights, &c., coming from
America, to appear in their columns. By these, therefore, only is
America known to their readers; and they are very careful to instil
the belief, that if America is a land of murderers, it is so because
it has had the folly to establish a republican form of government.

"These ideas are very general in England, even where the hostility is
greater than it is on the Continent. To British avarice we owe slavery
in this country. To British hatred we owe the encouragement of
anti-slavery agitation now. The vile hypocrisy which has
characterised the whole proceeding is not the least objectionable part
of it. The English care not one farthing about slavery. If they did,
why do they keep it up in such a terrific form in their own country?
Where was there ever true charity that did not begin at home? It is
because there is a deep-rooted hostility to this country pervading the
whole British mind, that these things have taken place."

The wounded sensitiveness, however, which the foregoing paragraph
exhibits, found some consolation from an article which appeared in _The
Times_. They poured over its lines with intense delight, soothing
themselves with each animadversion it made upon the meeting, and
deducing from the whole--though how, I could never understand--that they
had found in the columns of that journal a powerful advocate for
slavery. Thus was peace restored within their indignant breasts, and
perhaps a war with the ladies of the British aristocracy averted. Of two
facts, however, I feel perfectly certain; one is, that the
animadversions made in America will not in the least degree impair her
Grace's healthy condition; and the other is, that the meeting held at
Stafford House will in no way improve the condition of the negro.

There are two or three clubs established here, into one of which
strangers are admitted as visitors, but the one which is considered the
"first chop" does not admit strangers, except by regular ballot; one
reason, I believe, for their objecting to strangers, is the immense
number of them, and the quality of the article. Their ideas of an
English gentleman, if formed from the mass of English they see in this
city, must be sufficiently small: there is a preponderating portion of
the "cotton bagman," many of whom seek to make themselves important by
talking large. Although probably more than nine out of ten never have
"thrown their leg" over anything except a bale of cotton, since the
innocent days of the rocking-horse, they try to impress Jonathan by
pulling up their shirt-collar consequentially, and informing him,--"When
I was in England, I was used to 'unt with the Dook's 'ounds; first-rate,
sir, first-rate style--no 'ats, all 'unting-caps." Then, passing his
left thumb down one side of his cheek, his fingers making a parallel
course down the opposite cheek, with an important air and an expression
indicative of great intimacy, he would condescendingly add,--"The Dook
wasn't a bad chap, after all: he used to give me a capital weed now and
then." With this style of John Bull in numerical ascendency, you cannot
wonder at the club-doors not being freely opened to "the Dook's
friends," or at the character of an English gentleman being imperfectly

Time hurries on, a passport must be obtained, and that done, it must be
_vised_ before the Spanish consul, as Cuba is my destination. The
Filibusteros seem to have frightened this functionary out of his
proprieties. A Spaniard is proverbially proud and courteous--the present
specimen was neither; perhaps the reason may have been that I was an
Englishman, and that the English consul had done all his work for him
_gratis_ when the Filibustero rows obliged him to fly. Kindness is a
thing which the Spaniards as a nation find it very difficult to forgive.
However, I got his signature, which was far more valuable than his
courtesy; most of his countrymen would have given me both, but the one
sufficed on the present occasion. Portmanteaus are packed--my time is

Adieu, New Orleans!--adieu, kind host and amiable family, and a thousand
thanks for the happy days I spent under your roof. Adieu, all ye
hospitable friends, not forgetting my worthy countryman the British
consul. The ocean teapot is hissing, the bell rings, friends cry, kiss,
and smoke--handkerchiefs flutter in the breeze, a few parting gifts are
thrown on board by friends who arrive just too late; one big-whiskered
fellow with bushy moustache picks up the parting _cadeau_--gracious me!
he opens it, and discloses a paper bag of lollipops; another unfolds a
precious roll of chewing tobacco. Verily, extremes do meet. The
"Cherokee" is off, and I'm aboard. Down we go, sugar plantations
studding either shore; those past, flat dreary banks succeed; ships of
all nations are coming up and going down by the aid of tugboats; two
large vessels look unpleasantly "fixed"--they are John Bull and
Jonathan, brothers in misfortune and both on a bank.

"I guess the pilots will make a good thing out of that job!" says my

"Pilots!" I exclaimed, "how can that be? I should think they stood a
fair chance of losing their licence."

"Ah! sir, we don't fix things that way here; the pilots are too 'cute,
sir." Upon inquiry, I found that, as the banks were continually
shifting, it was, as my friend said, very difficult "to fix the
pilots,"--a fact which these worthies take every advantage of, for the
purpose of driving a most profitable trade in the following manner.
Pilot goes to tug and says, "What do you charge for getting a ship off?"
The price understood, a division of the spoil is easily agreed upon.
Away goes the pilot, runs the ship on shore on the freshest sandbank,
curses the Mississippi and everything else in creation; a tug comes up
very opportunely, a tidy bargain is concluded; the unfortunate pilot
forfeits 100l., his pilotage from the ship, and consoles himself the
following evening by pocketing 500l. from the tugman as his share of the
spoil, and then starts off again in search of another victim. Such, I
was informed by practical people, is a common feature in the pilotage of
these waters, and such it appears likely to continue.

The "Cherokee" is one of those vessels which belong to Mr. Law, of whom
I could get no information, expect that he had sprung up like a mushroom
to wealth and Filibustero notoriety. He is also the custodian, I
believe, of the three hundred thousand stand of arms ordered by Kossuth
for the purpose of "whipping" Russia and Austria, and establishing the
Republic of Hungary, unless by accident he found brains enough to become
a Hungarian Louis Napoleon; but Mr. Law's other vessel, called the
"Crescent City," and the Cuban Black Douglas, yclept "Purser Smith," are
perhaps better known. Peradventure, you imagine this latter to be a wild
hyena-looking man, with radiant red hair, fiery ferret eyes, and his
pockets swelled out with revolutionary documents for the benefit of the
discontented Cubans; but I can inform you, on the best authority, such
is not the case, for he was purser of the "Cherokee" this voyage. He
looks neither wild nor rabid, and is a grey-headed man, about fifty
years of age, with a dash of the Israelite in his appearance: he may or
he may not have Filibustero predilections--I did not presume to make
inquiry on the subject. And here I cannot but remark upon the childish
conduct of the parties concerned in the ridiculous "Crescent City and
Cuba question," although, having taken the view they did, the Spaniards
were of course perfectly right in maintaining it. It was unworthy of
the Spanish nation to take notice of the arrival of so uninfluential a
person as Purser Smith; and it was imprudent, inasmuch as it made him a
person of importance, and gave the party with whom he was supposed to be
connected a peg to hang grievances upon, and thus added to their
strength. It was equally unworthy of Mr. Law, when objection was made,
and a notification sent that Mr. Smith would not be admitted nor the
vessel that carried him, to persist in a course of conduct obnoxious to
a friendly power; and it was imprudent, when it must have been obvious
that he could not carry his point; thereby eventually adding strength to
the Spanish authority. When, all the fuss and vapour was made by Mr. Law
and his friends, they seemed to have forgotten the old adage, "People
who live in glass houses should not throw stones." President Filmore, in
his statesmanlike observations, when the subject was brought before him,
could not help delicately alluding to Charleston, a city of America.
Americans at Charleston claim to exercise the right--what a prostitution
of the term right!--of imprisoning any of the free subjects of another
nation who may enter their ports, if they are men of colour. Thus, if a
captain arrives in a ship with twenty men, of whom ten are black, he is
instantly robbed of half his crew during his whole stay in the harbour;
and on what plea is this done? Is any previous offence charged against
them? None whatever. The only plea is that it is a municipal regulation
which their slave population renders indispensable. In other words, it
is done lest the sacred truth should spread, that man has no right to
bind his fellow-man in the fetters of slavery.[W]

Was there ever such a farce as for a nation that tolerates such a
municipal regulation as this to take umbrage at any of their citizens
being, on strong suspicions of unfriendly feeling, denied entry into any
port? Why, if there was a Chartist riot in monarchical England, and the
ports thereof were closed against the sailors of republican America,
they could have no just cause of offence, so long as the present
municipal law of Charleston exists. What lawful boast of freedom can
there ever be, where contact with freemen is dreaded, be their skins
black or any colour of the rainbow? Why can England offer an asylum to
the turbulent and unfortunate of all countries and climes?--Because she
is perfectly free! Don't be angry, my dear Anglo-Saxon brother; you
know, "if what I say bayn't true, there's no snakes in Warginny." I feel
sure you regret it; but then why call forth the observations, by
supporting the childish obstinacy in the "Crescent City" affair.
However, as the housemaids say, in making up quarrels, "Let bygones be
bygones." Spain has maintained her rights; you have satisfied her, and
quiet Mr. Smith enters the Havana periodically, without disturbing the
Governor's sleep or exciting the hopes of the malcontents. May we never
see the Great Empire States in such an undignified position again!

Here we are still in the "Cherokee;" she is calculated to hold some
hundreds of passengers. Thank God! there are only some sixty on board;
but I do not feel equally grateful for their allowing me to pay double
price for a cabin to myself when two-thirds of them are empty, not to
mention that the single fare is eight guineas. She is a regular old tub
of a boat; the cabins are profitably fitted with three beds in each, one
above the other; the consequence is, that if you wish to sneeze at
night, you must turn on your side, or you'll break your nose against the
bed above you in the little jerk that usually accompanies the
sternutatory process. The feeding on board is the worst I ever
saw--tough, cold, and greasy, the whole unpleasantly accompanied with

Having parted from my travelling companion at New Orleans, one of my
first endeavours was, by the aid of physiognomy, to discover some
passenger on whom it might suit me to inflict my society. Casting my
eyes around, they soon lit upon a fair-haired youth with a countenance
to match, the expression thereof bespeaking kindness and intelligence;
and when, upon further examination, I saw the most indubitable and
agreeable evidence that his person and apparel were on the most
successful and intimate terms with soap and water, I pounced upon him
without delay, and soon found that he was a German gentleman travelling
with his brother-in-law, and they both had assumed an _incognito_, being
desirous of avoiding that curious observation which, had their real
position in life been known, they would most inevitably have been
subject to. Reader, be not you too curious, for I cannot withdraw the
veil they chose to travel under; suffice it to know, their society added
much to my enjoyment, both on the passage and at the Havana. The sailing
of the vessel is so ingeniously managed, that you arrive at the
harbour's mouth just after sunset, and are consequently allowed the
privilege of waiting outside all night, no vessels except men-of-war
being allowed to enter between sunset and daybreak. The hopes of the
morrow were our only consolation, until at early dawn we ran through the
narrow battery-girt entrance, and dropped anchor in the land-locked
harbour of Havana.



[Footnote T: This was written in January, 1853.--The bale may be roughly
estimated at 450 lbs.]

[Footnote U: This hotel has long since been re-opened.]

[Footnote V: All large cities in America must of necessity be

[Footnote W: I have since heard that the Charleston authorities allow
the captains of vessels to keep their coloured crew on board, under
penalty of a heavy fine in case they land.]


_The Queen of the Antilles_.

It was a lovely morning, not a cloud in the sky; the harbour was as
smooth as a mirror, and bright with the rays of a sun which had reached
that height at which--in tropical climates--it gilds and gladdens the
scene without scorching the spectator; the quay was lined with ships
loading and unloading; small boats were flying about in every direction;
all around was gay and fresh, but the filthy steamer was still beneath
me. I lost no time in calling a skiff alongside; then, shaking the dust
from off my feet, I was soon pulling away for the shore.

As a matter of course, the Custom-house is the landing-place, and the
great object of search seems to be for Filibustero papers, or books
which advocate that cause. Having passed this ordeal, you take your
first drive in the national vehicle of the island, which rejoices in the
appellation of a "Volante," a name given it, I suppose, in bitter
sarcasm; a "Tortugante" would have been far more appropriate, inasmuch
as the pace resembles that of a tortoise far more than that of a bird. I
may here as well describe one of the best, of which, in spite of its gay
appearance, I feel sure the bare sight would have broken the heart of
"Humanity Dick of Galway."

From the point of the shaft to the axle of the wheel measures fifteen
feet, and as the wheel varies in diameter from six to seven feet, it of
course extends three feet beyond the axle. The body is something like a
swell private cab, the leather at the back being moveable, so as to
admit air, and a curtain is fitted in front joining the head of the cab
and the splash-board, for the sake of shade, if needed; this body is
suspended on strong leather springs, attached to the axle at one end,
and to a strengthening-piece across the shafts, seven and a half feet
distance from the axle, at the other. The point of the shaft is fitted
with rings, by which it hangs on the back-pad of the horse, whose head
necessarily extends about four feet beyond; thus you will observe, that
from the outer tire of the wheel to the horse's nose occupies at least
twenty-two feet, and that the poor little animal has the weight of the
carriage lying on him at the end of a lever fifteen feet long. Owing to
their great length, it is excessively difficult to turn them; a "Tommy
Onslow" would cut in and out with a four-in-hand fifteen miles an hour,
where the poor Volante would come to a regular fix--if the horses in
Cuba came into power, they would burn every one of them the next minute.
It must however be admitted that they are excessively easy to ride in,
and peculiarly suited to a country with bad roads, besides being the
gayest-looking vehicles imaginable; the boxes of the wheels, the ends of
the axle, the springs for the head, the bar to keep the feet off the
splash-board, the steps, the points of the fastenings of carriage and
harness are all silvered and kept bright. Nor does the use of the
precious metal stop here; the niggers who bestride the poor horses are
put into high jack-boots fitted with plated buckles and huge spurs, both
equally brilliant. These niggers have a most comical appearance; they
wear a skull-cap, or a handkerchief under a gold-banded hat; some wear a
red short-tailed jacket, the seams and the front of the collar covered
with bright yellow, on which are dispersed innumerable emblazonments of
heraldry, even to the very tails, which I should hardly have expected to
find thus gaily decorated,--it may have been from this practice we have
derived the expression of the seat of honour. The jack-boots they wear
sometimes fit very tight to the legs, in which case poor Sambo has to
roll up his pants till they assume the appearance of small bolsters tied
round the knee, presenting a most ludicrous caricature. The poor little
horses are all hog-maned, and their tails are neatly plaited down the
whole length, the point thereof being then tied up to the crupper, so
that they are as badly off as a certain class of British sheep-dog. This
is probably an ancient custom, originating from a deputation of flies
waiting upon the authorities, and binding themselves by treaty to leave
the bipeds in peace if they would allow them the unmolested torture of
the quadruped.

If the owner wishes to "make a splash," another horse, equally silvered,
is harnessed abreast, something like the Russian Furieux; and in the
country, where the roads on the plantations are execrable, and quite
impassable for any spring carriage, a third horse is often added, the
postilion always riding the near, or left-hand horse. The body of the
carriage is comfortably cushioned, and lined with bright gay colours,
and generally has a stunning piece of carpet for a rug. Such is the
Cuban Volante, in which the Hidalgos and the Corazoncitas with glowing
lustrous eyes roll about in soft undulating motion from place to place;
and, believe me, such a Volante, tenanted by fairy forms lightly and
gaily dressed, with a pleasant smile on their lips and an encyclopedia
of language beaming from the orbs above, would arrest the attention of
the most inveterate old bachelor that ever lived; nay, it might possibly
give birth to a deep penitential sigh and a host of good and sensible
resolutions. Ordinary Volantes are the same style of thing, only not so
gay, and the usual pace is from three to five and a half miles an hour,
always allowing five minutes for turning at the corner of every street.
If you are curious to know why I am in such a hurry to describe a
Volante, as if it were the great feature of Cuba, the reason is, simply,
that my first act on landing was to get into one of the said vehicles
and drive to the hotel.

The horses are generally very neat and compact, and about the size of a
very small English hack. For riding there are two kinds--the Spanish,
which goes at the "rack" or amble pace, and the American, which goes the
regular pace; the broad foreheads, short heads, and open nostrils show
plenty of good breeding. The charges both for horses and Volante, if you
wish to go out of the town, are, like everything else in Cuba,
ridiculously exorbitant. An American here is doing a tolerably good
business in letting horses and carriages. For a short evening drive, we
had the pleasure of paying him thirty-five shillings. He says his best
customers are a gang of healthy young priests, whom he takes out nearly
daily to a retired country village famous for the youth and beauty of
its fair sex, and who appear to be very dutiful daughters of the Church,
as they are said to appreciate and profit by the kind visits of these
excellent young men and their zealous labours of love.

There is a very good view of the town from the top of the hotel[X]. Most
of the houses have both flat and sloping roofs, the latter covered with
concave red tiles, cemented together with white, thus giving them a
strange freckled appearance; while in many cases the dust and dew have
produced a little soil, upon which a spontaneous growth of shrubbery has
sprung up; the flat roofs have usually a collection of little urn-shaped
turrets round the battlement, between which are stretched clothes-lines.
Here the ebony daughters of Eve, with their bullet-heads and polished
faces and necks, may be seen at all hours hanging up washed clothes,
their capacious mouths ornamented with long cigars, at which they puff
away like steam-engines.

One of the first sights I witnessed was a funeral, but not the solemn,
imposing ceremony which that word conveys to English ears. The sides of
the hearse and the upper part of the coffin were made of glass; inside
lay a little girl, six or seven years old, dressed as if going to a
wedding, and decorated with gay flowers. Volantes followed, bearing the
mourners--or the rejoicers; I know not which is the more correct term.
One or two were attired in black, but generally the colours were gay;
some were quietly smoking cigars, which it is to be hoped they did that
the ashes at the end thereof might afford them food for profitable
reflection. Custom is said to be second nature, and I suppose,
therefore, one could get habituated to this system if brought up under
it; but, seen for the first time, it is more calculated to excite
feelings of curiosity than solemnity. Doubtless, some fond parent's
heart was bleeding deeply, and tears such as a mother only can shed were
flowing freely, despite the gay bridal appearance of the whole ceremony.

On my return to the hotel, I found the Press--if the slavish tool of a
government can justly be designated by such a term--full of remarks upon
the new British Ministry[Y], many of which were amusing enough; they
showed a certain knowledge of political parties in England, and laughed
good-humouredly at the bundling together in one faggot of such
differently-seasoned sticks. Even the name of the Secretary of the
Admiralty was honoured by them with a notice, in which they scorned to
look upon him as a wild democrat. They criticised the great Peel's tail
going over in a body to the enemy's camp and placing themselves at the
head of the troops; but what puzzled them most was, how _aquellos Grey's
tan famosos por el nepotismo_ had not formed part of the ministry. I
confess they were not more puzzled than I was to account for the
mysterious combination; the only solution whereof which presented itself
to my mind, was the supposition that power has the same influence on
public men that lollipops have on the juvenile population, and that the
one and the other are ready to sacrifice a great deal to obtain
possession of the luscious morsel. However, as we live in an age of
miracles, we may yet see even a rope of sand, mud, and steel-filings,
hold together.--Pardon this digression, and let us back to Cuba.

The Cubans usually dine about half-past three; after dinner some go to
the _Paseo_ in their Volantes, others lounge on the quay or gather round
the military band before the Governor-General's palace. Look at that man
with swarthy countenance, dark hair, and bright eyes--he is seated on a
stone bench listening to the music; a preserved bladder full of
tobacco is open before him, a small piece of thin paper is in his hand;
quick as thought a cigarette is made, and the tobacco returned to his
pocket. Now he rises, and walks towards a gentleman who is smoking; when
close, he raises his right hand, which holds the cigarette, nearly level
with his chin, then gracefully throwing his hand forward, accompanies
the act with the simple word _Favor_; having taken his light, the same
action is repeated, followed by a courteous inclination of the head as a
faintly expressed _Gracias_ escapes his lips. In this man you have a
type of a very essential portion of the male population. Reader, it is
no use your trying to imitate him; the whole scene, is peculiar to the
Spaniard, in its every act, movement and expression. Old Hippo at the
Zoological might as well try to rival the grace of a Taglioni.

The promenade over, many spend their evenings at billiards, dominoes,
&c., adjourning from time to time to some _cafe_ for the purpose of
eating ices or sucking goodies, and where any trifling conversation or
dispute is carried on with so much vivacity, both of tongue and of
fingers, that the uninitiated become alarmed with apprehensions of some
serious quarrel. Others again, who are ladies' men, or of domestic
habits, either go home or meet at some friend's house, where they all
sit in the front room on the ground-floor, with the windows wide open to
the street, from which they are separated only by a few perpendicular
iron bars. Yankee rocking-chairs and cane chairs are placed abreast of
these windows, and facing each other like lines of sentinels; there they
chat, smoke cigars, or suck their fingers, according to their sex and
fancy. Occasionally a merry laugh is heard, but I cannot say it is very
general. Sometimes they dance, which with them is a slow undulating
movement, suited to a marble floor and a thermometer at eighty degrees.
At a small village in the neighbourhood I saw a nigger hall,--the dance
was precisely the same, being a mixture of country-dance and waltz; and
I can assure you, Sambo and his ebony partner acquitted themselves
admirably: they were all well dressed, looked very jolly and
comfortable, and were by no means uproarious.

You must not imagine, from my observations on the fair tenant of the
Volante, that this is a land of beauty--far from it: one feature of
beauty, and one only, is general--good eyes: with that exception, it
is rare; but there are some few lovely daughters of Eve that would make
the mouth of a marble statue water. Old age here is anything but
attractive, either producing a mountainous obesity, or a skeleton on
which the loose dried skin hangs in countless wrinkles. But such is
generally the case in warm climates, as far as my observation goes. Any
one wishing to verify these remarks, has only to go on the Paseo a
little before sunset upon a Sunday evening, when he will be sure to meet
nine-tenths of the population and the Volantes all in gayest attire. The
weather on my arrival was very wet, and I was therefore unable to go
into the country for some days; but having cleared up, I got my passport
and took a trip into the interior.


The railway cars are built on the American models, i.e., long cars,
capable of containing about forty or fifty people; but they have had the
good sense to establish first, second, and third-class carriages; and,
at the end of each first-class carriage, there is a partition, shutting
off eight seats, so that any party wishing to be private can easily be
so. They travel at a very fair pace, but waste much time at the
stopping-places, and whole hours at junctions. By one of these
conveyances I went to Matanzas, which is very prettily situated in a
lovely bay. There is a ridge, about three miles from the town, which is
called the Cumbre, from the summit whereof you obtain a beautiful view
of the valley of the Yumuri, so called from a river of that name, and
concerning which there is a legend that it is famous for the slaughter
of the Indians by the Spaniards; a legend which, too probably, rests on
the foundation of truth, if we are to judge by the barbarities which
dimmed the brilliancy of all their western conquests. The valley is now
fruitful in sugar-canes, and surrounded with hills and woods; and the
_coup-d'oeil,_ when seen in the quick changing lights and shadows of the
setting sun, is quite, enchanting. Continuing our ride, we crossed the
valley as the moon was beginning to throw her dubious and silvery light
upon the cane fields. A light breeze springing up, their flowery heads
swayed to and fro like waving plumes, while their long leaves, striking
one against the other, swept like a mournful sigh across the vale, as
though Nature were offering its tribute of compassion to the fettered
sons of Adam that had helped to give it birth.

There is a very important personage frequently met with in Cuba, who is
called _El Casero_--in other words, the parish commissariat pedler. He
travels on horseback, seated between two huge panniers, and goes round
to all the cottages collecting what they wish to sell, and selling what
they wish to buy, and every one who addresses him on business he styles,
in reply, _Caserita_. This pedlering system may be very primitive, but
it doubtless is a great convenience to the rural population, especially
in an island which is so deficient in roads and communication. In short,
I consider _El Casero_ the representative of so useful and peculiar a
class of the community, that I have honoured him with a wood-cut wherein
he is seen bargaining with a negress for fowls, or _vice
versa_,--whichever the reader prefers,--for not being the artist, I
cannot undertake to decide which idea he meant to convey.

There is nothing in the town of Matanzas worth seeing except the views
of it and around it. The population amounts to about twenty-five
thousand, and the shipping always helps to give it a gay appearance. My
chief object in visiting these parts was to see something of the sugar
plantations in the island; but as they resemble each other in essential
features, I shall merely describe one of the best, which I visited when
retracing my steps to Havana, and which belongs to one of the most
wealthy men in the island. On driving up to it, you see a large airy
house,--windows and doors all open, a tall chimney rearing its proud
head in another building, and a kind of barrack-looking building round
about. The hospitable owner appears to delight in having an opportunity
of showing kindness to strangers. He speaks English fluently; but alas!
the ladies do not; so we must look up our old rusty armoury of Spanish,
and take the field with what courage we may. Kindness and good-will
smooth all difficulties, and we feel astonished how well we get on; in
short, if we stay here too long we shall get vain, and think we really
can speak Spanish,--we must dine, we must stay, we must make the house
our own, and truly I rejoiced that it was so. The house had every
comfort, the society every charm, and the welcome was as warm as it was
unostentatious. We--for you must know our party was four in number--most
decidedly lit upon our legs, and the cuisine and the cellar lent
effectual aid. The proprietor is an elderly man, and the son, who has
travelled a good deal in Europe, manages the properties, which consist
of several plantations, and employ about twelve hundred slaves. The
sound of the lash is rarely heard, and the negroes are all healthy and
happy-looking; several of them have means to purchase their liberty, but
prefer their present lot. A doctor is kept on the estate for them; their
houses are clean and decent; there is an airy hospital for them if sick,
and there is a large nursery, with three old women who are appointed to
take charge during the day of all children too young to work: at night
they go to their respective families. On the whole property there was
only one man under punishment, and he was placed to work in chains for
having fired one of his master's buildings, which he was supposed to
have been led to do, owing to his master refusing to allow him to take
his infant home to his new wife till it was weaned; his former wife had
died in child-bed, and he wished to rear it on arrowroot, &c. This the
master--having found a good wet nurse for it--would not permit. The man
had generally borne a very good character, and the master, whose
_entourage_ bears strong testimony to his kind rule, seized the
opportunity of my visit to let him free at my request, as he had already
been working four months in chains similar to those convicts sometimes
wear; thus were three parties gratified by this act of grace.

It is well known that there are various ways of making sugar; but as the
method adopted on this plantation contains all the newest improvements,
I may as well give a short detail of the process as I witnessed it. The
cane when brought from the field is placed between two heavy rollers,
worked by steam, and the juice falls into a conductor below--the
squashed cane being carried away to dry for fuel--whence it is raised by
what is termed a "_monte jus_" into a tank above the "clarifier," which
is a copper boiler, with iron jacket and steam between. A proper
proportion of lime is introduced, sufficient to neutralize the acidity.
When brought to the boiling-point the steam is shut off, and the liquid
subsides. This operation is one of the most important in the whole
process; from the clarifier it is run through an animal charcoal
filterer, which, by its chemical properties, purifies it; from the
filterer it runs into a tank, whence it is pumped up above the
condensers, i.e., tubes, about fifteen in number, laid horizontally,
one above the other, and containing the steam from the vacuum pans. The
cold juice in falling over these hot tubes, condenses the steam-therein,
and at the same time evaporates the water, which is always a
considerable ingredient in the juice of the cane; the liquor then passes
into a vacuum pan, which is fitted with a bull's-eye on one side, and a
corresponding bull's-eye with a lamp on the opposite side, by which the
process can be watched. Having boiled here sufficiently, it passes
through a second filtration of animal charcoal, and then returns to a
second vacuum pan, where it is boiled to the point of granulation; it is
then run off into heaters below, whence it is ladled into moulds of an
irregular conical shape, in which it is left to cool and to drain off
any molasses that remain; when cooled it is taken to the purging-house.
The house where the operations which we have been describing were going
on, was two hundred yards long, forty yards broad, and built of solid
cedar and mahogany.

In the purging-house, these moulds are all ranged with the point of the
cone down, and gutters below. A layer of moist clay, about two inches
deep, is then placed upon the sugar at the broad end of the cone, and,
by the gradual percolation of its thick liquid, carries off the
remaining impurities. When this operation is finished, the cones are
brought out, and the sugar contained therein is divided into three
parts, the apex of the cone being the least pure, the middle rather
better, and the base the most pure and looking very white. This latter
portion is then placed upon strong wooden troughs, about six or eight
feet square. There, negroes and negresses break it up with long poles
armed with hard-wood head, trampling it under their delicate pettitoes
to such an extent as to give rise to the question whether sugar-tongs
are not a useless invention. When well smashed and trodden, it is packed
in boxes, and starts forth on its journeys; a very large proportion goes
to Spain. The two least pure portions are sent to Europe, to be there
refined. Such is a rough sketch of the sugar-making process, as I saw
it. All the machinery was English, and the proprietor had a corps of
English engineers, three in number, to superintend the work. In our
roadless trips to various parts of the plantation, we found the
advantage of the Volante, before described; and though three horses
were harnessed, they had in many places enough to do. We stayed a couple
of days with our kind and hospitable friends, and then returned to

No pen can convey the least idea of the wonderful luxuriance of
vegetation which charms the eye at every step. There is a richness of
colour and a fatness of substance in the foliage of every tree and shrub
which I never met with before in any of my travels. The stately palm,
with its smooth white stem glittering in the sunbeams like a column of
burnished silver; the waving bamboo growing in little clumps, and
nodding in the gentle breeze with all the graceful appearance of a
gigantic ostrich plume; groves of the mango, with its deep and dark
foliage defying the sun's rays; the guava, growing at its feet, like an
infant of the same family; the mammee--or _abricot de St.
Domingue_--with its rich green fruit hanging in clusters, and a foliage
rivalling the mango; the dark and feathery tamarind; the light and
graceful indigo; the slow-growing arrowroot, with its palmy and feathery
leaves spreading like a tender rampart round its precious fruit;
boundless fields of the rich sugar-cane; acres of the luscious pine
apple; groves of banana and plantain; forests of cedar and mahogany;
flowers of every hue and shade; the very jungle netted over with the
creeping convolvulus,--these, and a thousand others, of which
fortunately for the reader I know not the names, are continually
bursting on the scene with equal profusion and variety, bearing lovely
testimony to the richness of the soil and the mildness of the climate.

Alas! that this fair isle should be at one and the same time the richest
gem in the crown of Spain, and the foulest blot on her escutcheon. Her
treaties are violated with worse than Punic faith, and here horrors have
been enacted which would make the blood of a Nero curdle in his veins.
Do you ask, how are treaties violated? When slaves are brought here by
our cruisers, Spain is bound by treaty to apprentice them out for three
years, so as to teach them how to earn a living, and then to free them.
My dear John Bull, you will be sorry to hear, that despite the activity
of our squadron for the suppression of slavery, that faithless country
which owes a national existence to oceans of British treasure, and the
blood of the finest army the great Wellington ever led, has the
unparalleled audacity to make us slave carriers to Cuba. Yes, thousands
of those who, if honour and truth were to be found in the Government of
Spain, would now be free, are here to be seen pining away their lives in
the galling and accursed chains of slavery, a living reproach to
England, and a black monument of Spanish faith. Yes, John Bull, I repeat
the fact; thousands of negroes are bound here in hopeless fetters, that
were brought here under the British flag. And, that there may be no
doubt of the wilfulness with which the Cuban authorities disregard their
solemn obligations, it is a notorious fact, that in a country where
passports and police abound in every direction, so that a negro cannot
move from his own home, upwards of a hundred were landed in the last
year, 1852, from one vessel, at a place only thirty-five miles from the
Havana, and marched in three days across the island to--where do you
think?--to some Creole's, or to some needy official's estate? no such
thing; but, as if to stamp infamy on Spain, at the highest step of the
ladder, they were marched to the Queen Mother's estate. If this be not
wickedness in high places, what is? The slave trade flourishes
luxuriantly here with the connivance of authority; and what makes the
matter worse is, that the wealth accumulated by this dishonesty and
national perjury is but too generally--and I think too justly--believed
to be the mainspring of that corruption at home for which Spain stands
pre-eminent among the nations of the earth. I will now give you a sketch
of the cruelties which have been enacted here; and, although an old
story, I do not think it is very generally known.

When General O'Donnell obtained the captain-generalship of Cuba, whether
his object was to obtain honours from Spain for quelling an
insurrection, or whether he was deceived, I cannot decide; but an
imaginary insurrection was got up, and a military court was sent in
every direction throughout the island. These courts were to obtain all
information as to the insurrection, and, of course, to flog the negroes
till they confessed. Unfledged ensigns would come with their guard upon
a plantation, and despite the owner's assurance that there was no
feeling of insubordination among the negroes, they would set to work
flogging right and left, till in agony the poor negro would say
something which would be used to criminate some other, who in turn
would be flogged till in agony he made some assertion; and so it went
on, till the blood-thirsty young officer was satiated. On one plantation
a negro lad had been always brought up with one of the sons of the
proprietor, and was, in fact, quite a pet in the family. One of these
military courts visited the plantation, and insisted upon flogging this
pet slave till he confessed what he never knew. In vain his master
strove to convince the officer of his perfect innocence; he would not
listen, and the poor lad was tied up, and received seven hundred lashes,
during which punishment some remarks he made in the writhings of his
agony were noted down, and he was shot at Matanzas for the same. The
master's son, who was forced to witness this barbarity inflicted upon
the constant companion of his early youth, never recovered the shock,
and died the following year insane.

The streets of Matanzas were in some places running with negro blood. An
eye-witness told me that near the village of Guines he saw a negro
flogged with an aloe-leaf till both hip-bones were perfectly bare; and
there is little doubt that 1500 slaves died under the lash. You will
perhaps be surprised, most excellent John Bull, when I tell you that the
cruelties did not stop at the negroes, but extended even to whites who
claimed British protection. One of them was chained to a log of wood in
the open air for a hundred days and a hundred nights, despite the
strongest remonstrances on the part of the British authorities, and was
eventually unchained, to die two days after in jail. Several others were
imprisoned and cruelly treated; and when this reign of terror, worthy
even of Spain in her bloodiest days, was over, and their case was
inquired into, they were perfectly exonerated, and a compensation was
awarded them. This was in 1844. Some of them have since died from the
treatment they then received; and, if I am correctly informed, Spain--by
way of keeping up her character--has not paid to those who survive one
farthing of the sum awarded. Volumes might be filled with the atrocities
of 1844; but the foregoing is enough of the sickening subject. When I
call to mind the many amiable and high-minded Spaniards I have met, the
national conduct of Spain becomes indeed a mystery. But to return to
present times.

H.M.S. "Vestal," commanded by that active young officer, Captain C.B.
Hamilton, was stationed at Cuba for the suppression of slavery, &c. She
had been watching some suspicious vessels in the harbour for a long
time; but as they showed no symptoms of moving, she unbent sails and
commenced painting, &c. A day or two after, as daylight broke, the
suspicious vessels were missing from the harbour. The "Vestal"
immediately slipped, and, getting the ferry-boat to tow her outside,
commenced a chase, and the next day succeeded in capturing four vessels.
Of course they were brought into Havana, to be tried at the Mixed Court
there; three, I believe, were condemned, but the fourth, called the
"Emilia Arrogante" is the one to which I wish to call your attention,
because she, though the most palpably guilty, belonged to wealthy people
in the island, and therefore, of course, was comparatively safe. When
taken, the slave-deck which she had on board was carefully put into its
place, and every plank and beam exactly fitted, as was witnessed and
testified to by several of the "Vestal's" officers; yet, will you
believe it, when given up to the local authorities, they either burnt or
made away with this only but all-sufficient evidence, so that it became
impossible for the Court to condemn her.

It is curious to hear the open way people speak of the bribery of the
officials in the island, and the consequent endless smuggling that goes
on. A captain of a merchant-vessel told me that in certain articles,
which, for obvious reasons, I omit to mention, it is impossible to trade
except by smuggling; so universal is the practice, that he would be
undersold fifty per cent. He mentioned an instance, when the proper
duties amounted to 1200l., the broker went to the official and
obtained a false entry by which he only paid 400l. duty, and this
favour cost him an additional 400l. bribe to the official, thus saving
400l. This he assured me, after being several years trading to Cuba,
was the necessary practice of the small traders; nobody in Cuba is so
high that a bribe does not reach him, from the Captain-General, who is
handsomely paid for breaking his country's plighted faith in permitting
the landing of negroes, down to the smallest unpaid official. With
two-thirds the excuse is, "We are so ill-paid, we must take bribes;"
with the other third the excuse is, "It is the custom of the island."
Spain could formerly boast pre-eminence in barbarity--she has now
attained to pre-eminence in official corruption; but the day must come,
though it may yet be distant, when her noble sons of toil will burst the
fetters of ignorance in which they are bound, and rescue their fair land
from the paltry nothingness of position which it occupies among the
nations of Europe, despite many generous and noble hearts which even
now, in her degradation, are to be found blushing over present realities
and striving to live on past recollections.

There were some British men-of-war lying in the harbour; and as my two
German friends were anxious to see the great-gun exercise, I went on
board with these gentlemen to witness the drill, with which they were
much pleased. After it was over, and the ship's company had gone to
dinner, they wished to smoke a cigar, the whiffs of Jack's pipe having
reached their olfactories. Great was their astonishment, and infinite my
disgust, when we were walked forward to the galley to enjoy our weed, to
find the crew smoking on the opposite side. It is astonishing to think
that, with so much to be improved and attended to in the Navy, the
authorities in Whitehall-place should fiddle-faddle away precious time
in framing regulations about smoking, for the officers; and, instead of
leaving the place to be fixed by the captain of each vessel, and holding
him responsible, should name a place which, it is not too much to say,
scarce one captain in ten thinks of confining his officers to, for the
obvious reason that discipline is better preserved by keeping the
officers and men apart during such occupations,--and, moreover, that
sending officers to the kitchen to smoke is unnecessarily offensive.
These same orders existed thirty years ago; and, as it was well known
they were never attended to, except by some anti-smoking captain, who
used them as an excuse, the Admiralty very wisely rescinded an order
which, by being all but universally disregarded, tended to weaken the
weight and authority of all other orders; and after the word "galley,"
they then added, "or such other place as the captain shall appoint."
After some years, however, so little was there of greater importance to
engage their attention in naval affairs, that this sensible order was
rescinded, and the original one renewed in full force, and, of course,
with similar bad effect, as only those captains who detest smoking--an
invisible minority--or those who look for promotion from scrupulous
obedience to insignificant details--an equally invisible minority--act
up to the said instructions. Nevertheless, so important an element in
naval warfare is smoking now considered, that in the printed form
supplied to admirals for the inspection of vessels under their command,
as to "State and Preparation for Battle," one of the first questions is,
"Are the orders relative to smoking attended to?" If I am not much
misinformed, when Admiral Collier was appointed to the Channel squadron,
he repaired to the Admiralty, and told the First Lord that he had smoked
in his own cabin for twenty years, and that he could not forego that
pleasure. The First Lord is said to have laughed, and made the sensible
remark, "Of course you'll do as you like;" thereby showing, in my
opinion, his just sense of the ridiculousness of such a childish
regulation. So much for folly _redivivus_.

While on the subject of smoking, I may as well say a few words upon
cigar manufacture. In the first place, all the best tobacco grows at the
lower end of the island, and is therefore called "_Vuelta abajo_." An
idea has found its way into England, that it is impossible to make
cigars at home as well as at the Havana; and the reason given is, the
tobacco is made up at Havana during its first damping, and that, having
to be re-damped in England, it loses thereby its rich flavour and aroma.
Now, this is a most egregious mistake; for in some of the best houses
here you will find tobacco two and even four years old, which is not yet
worked up into cigars, and which, consequently, has to be re-damped for
that purpose. If this be so, perhaps you will ask how is it that
British-made cigars are never so good as those from Havana? There are
two very good reasons for this--the one certain, the other probable. The
probable one is, that the best makers in Havana, whose brand is their
fortune--such as Cabanos y Carvajal--will be jealous of sending the
best tobacco out of the country, lest, being forced to use inferior
tobacco, they might lose their good name; and the other reason is, that
cigars improve in flavour considerably by a sea voyage. So fully is this
fact recognised here, that many merchants pay the duty of three
shillings a thousand to embark their cigars in some of the West India
steamers, and then have them carried about for a month or so, thereby
involving a further payment for freight; and they all express
themselves as amply repaid by the improvement thereby effected in their
cigars. Nevertheless, many old Cubans prefer smoking cigars the same
week that they are made. At the same time, if any honest tobacconist in
England chose to hoist the standard of "small profit and plenty of it,"
he might make very good Havana tobacco cigars, at 50 per cent. profit,
under 16s. per 100. Thus--duty, 3s. 6_d_; tobacco, 5s.; freight and
dues, &c., 6d.; making up, 1s. 6d.--absolute cost of cigars, 10s.
6d. per 100; 50 per cent. profit thereon, 5s. 3d.; total, 15s. 9d.
For this sum a better article could be supplied than is ordinarily
obtained at prices varying from 25s. to 30s.

But 50 per cent. profit will not satisfy the British tobacconist when he
finds John Bull willing to give him 100 per cent. He therefore makes the
cigars at the prices above-mentioned, puts them into old boxes with some
pet brand upon them, and sells them as the genuine article. John Bull is
indebted for this extortionate charge to the supreme wisdom of the
Legislature, which has established a 3s. 6d. duty on the pound of
unmanufactured tobacco, and a 9s. duty on manufactured; instead of
fixing one duty for manufactured and unmanufactured, and making the
difference thereof depend upon the quality--lowering the duty upon the
tobacco used by the poor to 2s. 6d., and establishing on all the
better kinds a uniform rate, say 6s. or 7s. The revenue, I believe,
would gain, and the public have a better protection against the fraud of
which they are now all but universal victims. But to return to Havana.

The price paid for making cigars varies from 8s. to 80s. a thousand,
the average being about 15s. A certain quality of tobacco is made up
into cigars, and from time to time they are handed over to the examiner,
who divides them into three separate classes, the difference being
merely in the make thereof. A second division then takes place,
regulated by the colour of the outside wrapper, making the distinction
of "light" or "brown." Now, the three classes first noticed, you will
observe, are precisely the same tobacco; but knowing how the public are
gulled by the appearance, the prices are very different. Thus, taking
the brand of Cabanos y Carvajal _Prensados_, his first, or prettiest,
are 6l. 8s. per 1000; his second are 5l. 12s.; and his third are
5l.; and yet no real difference of quality exists. The cigars of which
I speak are of the very best quality, and the dearest brand in Havana.
Now, let us see what they cost put into the tobacconist's shop in
London:--32 dollars is 180s.; duty, 90s.; export at Havana, 3s.;
freight and extra expenses, say 7s.--making 230s. a thousand, or
23s. a hundred, for the dearest and best Havana cigars, London size.
But three-fourths of the cigars which leave the Havana for England do
not cost more than 3l. 4s. per thousand, which would bring their
cost price to the tobacconist down to 16s. 5d. The public know what
they pay, and can make their own reflections.

There is another class of cigar known in England as "Plantations," here
called "Vegueros." They are of the richest tobacco, and are all made in
the country by the sable ladies of the island, who use no tables to work
at, if report speaks truth; and as both hands are indispensable in the
process of rolling, what they roll upon must be left to the imagination.
It will not do to be too fastidious in this world. Cooks finger the
dainty cutlets, and keep dipping their fingers into the rich sauces, and
sucking them, to ascertain their progress, and yet the feasters relish
the savoury dish not one whit the less; so smokers relish the Veguero,
though on what rolled modesty forbids me to mention,--nor do they
hesitate to press between their lips the rich "Regalia," though its
beautifully-finished point has been perfected by an indefinite number of
passages of the negro's forefinger from the fragrant weed to his own
rosy tongue. Men must not be too nice; but I think in the above
description a fair objection is to be found to ladies smoking.

With regard to the population of Cuba, the authorities, of course, wish
to give currency to the idea that the whites are the most numerous.
Having asked one of these officials who had the best means of knowing,
he told me there were 550,000 whites and 450,000 negroes; but
prosecuting my inquiries in a far more reliable quarter, I found there
were 600,000 slaves, 200,000 free, and only 500,000 whites,--thus making
the coloured population as eight to five. The military force in the
island consists of 20,000, of which 18,000 are infantry, 1000 cavalry,
and 1000 artillery[Z]. The demand for labour in the island is so great,
that a speculation has been entered into by a mercantile house here to
bring 6000 Chinese. The speculator has already disposed of them at
24l. a-head; they are to serve for five years, and receive four
shillings a day, and they find their own way back. The cost of bringing
them is calculated at 10l. a head,--thus leaving 14l. gain on each,
which, multiplied by 6000, gives 84,000l. profit to the
speculator,--barring, of course, losses from deaths and casualties on
the journey. Chinese have already been tried here, and they prove
admirably suited to all the mechanical labour, but far inferior to the
negroes in the fields.

I find that people in the Havana can he humbugged as well as John Bull.
A Chinese botanist came here, and bethought him of trying his skill as a
doctor. Everybody became mad to consult him; no street was ever so
crowded as the one he lived in, since Berners-street on the day of the
hoax. He got a barrel of flour, or some other innocuous powder, packed
up in little paper parcels, and thus armed he received his patients. On
entering, he felt the pulse with becoming silence and gravity; at last
he said, "Great fire." He then put his hand on the ganglionic centre,
from which he radiated to the circumjacent parts, and then, frowning
deep thought, he observed, "Belly great swell; much wind; pain all
round." His examination being thus accomplished, he handed the patient a
paper of the innocuous powder, pocketed sixteen shillings, and dismissed
him. This scene, without any variety in observation, examination,
prescription, or fee, was going on for two months, at the expiration of
which time he re-embarked for China with 8000l.

As I believe that comparatively little is known in England of the laws
existing in Cuba with respect to domicile, police, slavery, &c., I shall
devote a few pages to the subject, which, in some of its details, is
amusing enough. No person is allowed to land on the island without a
passport from the place whence he arrives, and a _fiador_, or surety, in
the island, who undertakes to supply the authorities with information of
the place of his residence for one year; nor can he remain in the island
more than three months without a "domiciliary ticket." People of colour
arriving in any vessel are to be sent to a government deposit; if the
master prefers to keep them on board he may, but in that case he is
liable to a fine of 200l. if any of them land on the island; after a
certain hour in the evening all gatherings in the street are put a stop
to, and everybody is required to carry a lantern about with him; the
hierarchy and "swells"--_personas de distincion_--being alone exempt.
All purchases made from slaves or children or doubtful parties are at
the risk of the purchaser, who is liable not merely to repay the price
given, but is further subject to a heavy fine: no bad law either. Any
boy between the ages of ten and sixteen who may be found in the streets
as a vagrant may be taken before the president of the _Seccion de
Industria de la Real Sociedad Economica_, by whom he is articled out to
a master of the trade he wishes to learn. No place of education can be
opened without the teacher thereof has been duly licensed. No game of
chance is allowed in any shop or tavern, except in billiard-saloons and
coffee-houses, where draughts and dominoes, chess and backgammon are
tolerated. After a certain fixed hour of the night, no person is allowed
to drive about in a Volante with the head up, unless it rains or the
sitter be an invalid; the penalty is fifteen shillings. No private
individual is allowed to give a ball or a concert without permission of
the authorities. Fancy Londonderry House going to the London
police-office to get permission for a quadrille or a concert. How
pleasant! The specific gravity of milk is accurately calculated, and but
a moderate margin allowed for pump mixture; should that margin be
exceeded, or any adulteration discovered, the whole is forfeited to some
charitable institution. If such a salutary law existed in London, pigs'
brains would fall in the market, and I should not see so many milk-pails
at the spring during my early morning walks to the Serpentine.

Among the regulations for health, the following are to be found. No
private hospital or infirmary is to be opened without a government
licence. All keepers of hotels, coffee or eating houses, &c., are bound
to keep their kitchen "battery" well tinned inside, under a heavy
penalty of 3l. 10s. for every utensil which may be found
insufficiently tinned, besides any further liabilities to which they may
be subject for accidents arising from neglect thereof. Every shop is
obliged to keep a vessel with water at the threshold of the outer door,
to assist in avoiding hydrophobia. All houses that threaten to tumble
down must be rebuilt, and if the owner is unable to bear the expense,
he must sell the house to some one who can bear it. Another clause,
after pointing out the proper places for bathing, enjoins a pair of
bathing breeches, under a penalty of fifteen shillings for each offence;
the particular cut is not specified. Let those who object to put convex
fig-leaves over the little cherubs, and other similar works of art at
the Crystal Palace, take a lesson from the foregoing, and clothe them
all in Cuba pants as soon as possible; scenes are generally more
interesting when the imagination is partially called into play. Boys,
both little and big, are kept in order by a fine of fifteen shillings
for every stone they throw, besides paying in full for all damage caused
thereby. No one is allowed to carry a stick more than one inch in
diameter under a penalty of twelve shillings; but all white people are
allowed to carry swords, provided they are carried openly and in their

The foregoing are sufficient to convey to the reader some idea of the
ban of pains and penalties under which a resident is placed; at the same
time it may be as well to inform him, that, except those enactments
which bear upon espionage, they are about as much attended to as the
laws with regard to the introduction of slaves, respecting which latter
I will now give you a few of the regulations.

Slave owners are bound to give their slaves three meals a-day, and the
substance thereof must be eleven ounces of meat or salt-fish, four
ounces of bread, and farinaceous vegetables equal to six plantains;
besides this, they are bound to give them two suits of clothes--all
specified--yearly. Alas! how appropriate is the slang phrase "Don't you
wish you may get 'em?" So beautifully motherly is Spain regarding her
slaves, that the very substance of infants' clothes under three years of
age is prescribed; another substance from three to six; then comes an
injunction that from six to fourteen the girls are to be shirted and the
boys breeched. I am sure this super-parental solicitude upon the part of
the Government must be admitted to be most touching. By another
regulation, the working time is limited from nine to ten hours daily,
except in the harvest or sugar season, during which time the working
hours are eighteen a-day. No slave under sixteen or over sixty can be
employed on task-work, or at any age at a work not suited to his or her
strength and sex.

Old slaves must be kept by their master, and cannot be freed for the
purpose of getting rid of the support of them. Upon a plantation, the
houses must be built on a dry position, well ventilated, and the sexes
kept apart, and a proper hospital provided for them. By another law,
marriage is inculcated on moral grounds, and the master of the slave is
required to purchase the wife, so that they may both be under one roof;
if he declines the honour, then the owner of the wife is to purchase the
husband; and if that fails, a third party is to buy both: failing all
these efforts, the law appears non-plused, and leaves their fate to
Providence. If the wife has any children under three years of age, they
must be sold with her. The law can compel an owner to sell any slave
upon whom he may be proved to have exercised cruelty; should any party
offer him the price he demands, he may close the bargain at once, but if
they do not agree, his value is to be appraised by two arbiters, one
chosen by each party, and if either decline naming an arbiter, a law
officer acts _ex officio_. Any slave producing fifty dollars (ten
pounds) as a portion of his ransom-money, the master is obliged to fix a
price upon him, at which his ransom may be purchased; he then becomes a
_coartado_, and whatever sums he can save his master is bound to receive
in part payment, and, should he be sold, the price must not exceed the
price originally named, after subtracting therefrom the amount he has
advanced for his ransom. Each successive purchaser must buy him subject
to these conditions. In all disputes as to original price or completion
of the ransom, the Government appoints a law officer on behalf of the
slave. The punishments of the slave are imprisonment, stocks, &c.; when
the lash is used, the number of stripes is limited to twenty-five.

The few regulations I have quoted are sufficient to show how carefully
the law has fenced-in the slave from bad treatment. I believe the laws
of no other country in regard to slaves are so merciful, excepting
always Peru; but, alas! though the law is as fair as the outside of the
whited sepulchre, the practice is as foul as the inside thereof; nor can
one ever expect that it should be otherwise, when we see that, following
the example of the treaty-breaking, slave-importing Queen Mother, every
official, from the highest government authority down to the lowest petty
custom-house officer, exposes his honesty daily in the dirty market of

A short summary of the increase of slave population may be interesting,
as showing that the charges made against the Cubans of only keeping up
the numbers of the slaves by importation is not quite correct. In the
year 1835 a treaty was made with Spain, renewing the abolition of slave
traffic, to which she had assented in 1817 by words which her subsequent
deeds belied. At this latter date, the slave population amounted to
290,000, since which period she has proved the value of plighted faith
by introducing upwards of 100,000 slaves, which would bring the total up
to 390,000. The present slave population, I have before remarked,
amounts to 600,000, which would give as the increase by births during
nearly twenty years, 210,000. If we take into consideration the ravages
of epidemics, and the serious additional labour caused by the long
duration of the sugar harvest, we may fairly conclude, as far as
increase by birth is admitted as evidence, that the treatment of slaves
in Cuba will stand comparison with that of the slave in the United
States, especially when it is borne in mind that the addition of slave
territory in the latter has made the breeding of slaves a regular

The increase of the produce of Cuba may very naturally be ascribed to
the augmentation of slave labour, and to the improvements in machinery;
but there is another cause which is very apt to be overlooked, though I
think there can be no doubt it has exercised the most powerful influence
in producing that result: I allude to the comparative monopoly of the
sugar trade, which the events of late years have thrown into her hands.

When England manumitted the 750,000 slaves in the neighbouring islands,
the natural law of reaction came into play, and the negro who had been
forced to work hard, now chose to take his ease, and his absolute
necessities were all that he cared to supply: a little labour sufficed
for that, and he consequently became in his turn almost the master. The
black population, unprepared in any way for the sudden change, became
day by day more idle and vicious, the taxes of the islands increased,
and the circulation issued by the banks decreased in an equally fearful
ratio. When sugar the produce of slave labour was admitted into England,
a short time after the emancipation, upon the same terms as the produce
of the free islands, as a natural consequence, the latter, who could
only command labour at high wages and for uncertain time, were totally
unable to compete with the cheap labour and long hours of work in Cuba;
nearly every proprietor in our West India colonies feel into deep
distress,--some became totally ruined. One property which had cost
118,000l., so totally lost its value, owing to these changes in the
law, that its price fell to 16,000l. In Demerara, the sugar produce
sank from 104,000,000 lbs. to 61,000,000 lbs., and coffee from 9,000,000
lbs. to 91,000 lbs., while 1,500,000 lbs. of cotton disappeared

These are no fictions, they are plain facts, borne testimony to in many
instances by the governors of the colonies; and I might quote an
infinite number of similar statements, all tending to prove the rapid
growth of idleness and vice in the emancipated slaves, and the equally
rapid ruin of the unfortunate proprietor. The principles upon which we
legislated when removing the sugar duties is a mystery to me, unless I
accept the solution, so degrading to the nation, "that humanity is a
secondary consideration to _L s.d._, and that justice goes for nothing."
If such were not the principles on which we legislated, there never was
a more complete failure. Not content with demoralizing the slave and
ruining the owner, by our hasty and ill-matured plan of emancipation, we
gave the latter a dirty kick when he was falling, by removing the little
protection we had all put pledged our national faith that he should
retain; and thus it was we threw nearly the whole West India sugar trade
into the hands of Cuba, stimulating her energy, increasing her produce,
and clinching the fetters of the slave with that hardest holding of all
rivets--the doubled value of his labour.

Perhaps my reader may say I am taking a party and political view of the
question. I repudiate the charge _in toto_: I have nothing to do with
politics: I merely state facts, which I consider it requisite should be
brought forward, in order that the increase of Cuban produce may not be
attributed to erroneous causes. For this purpose it was necessary to
show that the ruin we have brought upon the free West Indian colonies is
the chief cause of the increased and increasing prosperity of their
slave rival; at the same time, it is but just to remark, that the
establishment of many American houses in Cuba has doubtless had some
effect in adding to the commercial activity of the island.

I have, in the preceding pages, shown the retrogression of some parts of
the West Indies, since the passing of the Emancipation and Sugar-Duty
Acts. Let me now take a cursory view of the progression of Cuba during
the same period.--Annual produce--

Previous to Emancipation. 1852.

Sugar 300,000,000 lbs. -- 620,000,000 lbs.
Molasses 125,000,000 " -- 220,000,000 "
Leaf Tobacco 6,000,000 " -- 10,000,000 "
Coffee 30,000,000 " -- 19,000,000 "

The sugar manufactories during that time had also increased from eight
hundred to upwards of sixteen hundred. Can any one calmly compare this
marvellous progression of Cuba with the equally astounding retrogression
of our Antilles, and fail to come to the irresistible conclusion that
the prosperity of the one is intimately connected with the distress of
the other.

While stating the annual produce of tobacco, I should observe that
upwards of 180,000,000 of cigars, and nearly 2,000,000 boxes of
cigarettes, were exported in 1852, independent of the tobacco-leaf
before mentioned. Professor J.F.W. Johnston, in that curious and able
work entitled _Chemistry of Common Life_, styles tobacco "the first
subject in the vegetable kingdom in the power of its service to
man,"--some of my lady friends, I fear, will not approve of this
opinion,--and he further asserts that 4,500,000,000 lbs. thereof are
annually dispersed throughout the earth, which, at twopence the pound,
would realize the enormous sum of 37,000,000l.

If smoking may be called the popular enjoyment of the island, billiards
and dominoes may be called the popular games, and the lottery the
popular excitement. There are generally fifteen ordinary lotteries, and
two extraordinary, every year. The ordinary consist of 32,000l. paid,
and 24,000l. thereof as prizes. There are 238 prizes, the highest
being 600l., and the lowest 40l. The extraordinary consist of
54,400l. paid, of which 40,800l. are drawn as prizes. There are 206
prizes, the highest of which is 20,000l., and the lowest 40l.; from
which it will appear, according to Cocker, that the sums drawn annually
as prizes are very nearly 150,000l. less than the sums paid. Pretty
pickings for Government! As may naturally be supposed, the excitement
produced by this constitutional gambling--which has its nearest
counterpart in our own Stock Exchange--is quite intense; and as the time
for drawing approaches, people may be seen in all the _cafes_ and public
places, hawking and auctioning the billets at premium, like so many
Barnums with Jenny Lind tickets. One curious feature in the lotteries
here is the interest the niggers take in them. To understand this, I
must explain to you that the coloured population are composed of various
African tribes, and each tribe keeps comparatively separate from the
others; they then form a kind of club among their own tribe, for the
purpose of purchasing the freedom of some of their enslaved brethren,
who, I believe, receive assistance in proportion as they contribute to
the funds, and bear such a character as shall interpose no obstacle to
their ransom being permitted. A portion of their funds is frequently
employed in the purchase of lottery-tickets, and a deep spirit of
gambling is the natural consequence; for though the stake entered is
dollars, the prize, if won, is freedom. These lotteries date back to
1812; and if they have always been kept up as before explained, they
must have contributed something like ten millions sterling to the
Government during their forty years' working.

A friend told me of a shameful instance of injustice connected with
these lotteries. A poor slave who had saved enough money to buy a
ticket, did so; and, drawing a small prize, immediately went off to his
master, and presented it to him as a part of his redemption-money. The
master having ascertained how he obtained it, explained to him that, as
a slave, he could not hold property; he then quietly pocketed it, and
sent poor Sambo about his business. What a beautiful commentary this is
on the law respecting Coartados, which I inserted a few pages back. I
must, however, remark that, from the inquiries I made, and from my own
observations of their countenances and amusements, the impression left
on my mind is, that the slaves are quite as happy here as in the United
States; the only disadvantage that they labour under being, that the
sugar harvest and manufacture last much longer in Cuba, and the labour
thereof is by far the hardest drain upon the endurance of the slave. The
free negroes I consider fully as well off as those in the Southern
States, and immeasurably more comfortable than those who are domiciled
in the Northern or Free States of the Union. The number of free negroes
in Cuba amounts to one-fourth of the whole coloured population, while in
the United States it only amounts to one-ninth--proving the great
facilities for obtaining freedom which the island offers, or the higher
cultivation of the negro, which makes him strive for it more
laboriously. I will not attempt to draw any comparison between the
scenes of horror with which, doubtless, both parties are chargeable, but
which, for obvious reasons, are carefully concealed from the traveller's

Among the curious anomalies of some people, is that of a dislike to be
called by the national name, if they have a local one. The islanders
feel quite affronted if you call them Espanoles; and a native of Old
Spain would feel even more affronted if you called him a Cubano or an
Havanero. The appellations are as mutually offensive as were in the
olden times those of Southron and Scot, although Cuba is eternally
making a boast of her loyalty. The manner of a Cuban is as stiff and
hidalgoish as that of any old Spaniard; in fact, so far as my short
acquaintance with the mother country and the colony enables me to judge,
I see little or no difference. Some of them, however, have a dash of fun
about them, as the two following little squibs will show.

It appears that a certain Conde de ----, who had lately been decorated,
was a most notorious rogue; in consequence of which, some wag chalked up
on his door in large letters, during the night, the following lines,
which, of course, were in everybody's mouth soon after the sun had

En el tiempo de las barbaras naciones
A los ladrones se les colgaban en cruces;
Pero hoy en el siglo de las luces
A los ladrones se les cuelgan cruces.

A play upon words is at all times a hopeless task to transfer to another
language; nevertheless, for the benefit of those who are unacquainted
with Spanish, I will convey the idea as well as I can in English;--

Hang the thief on the cross was the ancient decree;
But the cross on the thief now suspended we see.

The idea is of very ancient date, and equally well known in Italy and
Spain; but I believe the Spanish verses given above are original.

The following was written upon a wealthy man who lived like a hermit,
and was reported to be very averse to paying for anything. He had, to
the astonishment of everybody, given a grand entertainment the night
before. On his door appeared--

"El Marquis de C---- Hace lo que debe
Y debe por lo que hace."

It is useless to try and carry this into Saxon. In drawing it from the
Spanish well, the bottom must come out of the translationary bucket. The
best version I can offer is--

"He gives a party, which he ought to do,
But, doing that, he _does_ his tradesmen too."

I am aware my English version is tame and insipid, though, perhaps, not
quite as much so as a translation I once met with of the sentence with
which it was said Timoleon, Duc de Brissac, used to apostrophize himself
before the looking-glass every morning. The original runs thus:--
"Timoleon, Duc de Brissac, Dieu t'a fait gentilhomme, le roi t'a fait
duc, fais toi la barbe, pour faire quelque chose." The translation was
charmingly ridiculous, and ran thus:--"Timoleon, Duke of Brissac,
Providence made you a gentleman; the king gave you a dukedom; shave
yourself by way of doing something."--But I wander terribly. Reader, you
must excuse me.

I one day asked an intelligent friend, long resident in the island,
whether any of the governors had ever done any good to the island, or
whether they were all satisfied by filling their pockets with handsome
bribes. He told me that the first governor-general who had rendered real
service to the people was Tacon. On his arrival, the whole place was so
infested with rogues and villains that neither property nor even life
was secure after dusk. Gambling, drunkenness, and vice of every kind
rode rampant. He gave all evil-doers one week's warning, at the
expiration of which all who could not give a satisfactory account of
themselves were to be severely punished. Long accustomed to idle
threats, they treated his warning with utter indifference; but they soon
found their mistake, to their cost. Inflexible in purpose, iron-handed
in rule, unswerving in justice, he treated nobles, clergy, and commoners
alike, and, before the fortnight was concluded, twelve hundred were in
banishment or in durance vile. Their accomplices in guilt stood aghast
at this new order of things, and, foreseeing their fate, either bolted,
reformed, or fell victims to it, and Havana became as quiet and orderly
as a church-parade. Shops, stores, and houses sprung up in every
direction. A magnificent opera-house was built outside the town, on the
Grand Paseo, and named after the governor-general; nothing can exceed
the lightness, airiness, and taste of the interior. I never saw its
equal in any building of a similar nature, and it is in every respect
most perfectly adapted to this lovely climate.

The next governor-general who seems to have left any permanent mark of
usefulness is Valdes, whom I suppose I may be allowed to call their
modern Lycurgus. It was during his rule that the laws were weeded and
improved, and eventually produced in a clear and simple form. The
patience he must have exhibited in this laborious occupation is
evidenced by the minuteness of the details entered into, descending, as
we have seen, even to the pants of bathers and the bibs of the infant
nigger, but, by some unaccountable omission, giving no instructions as
to the tuckers of their mammas. If Tacon was feared and respected,
Valdes was beloved; and each appears to have fairly earned the
reputation he obtained. Valdes was succeeded by O'Donnell, whose rule
was inaugurated in negro blood. Frightful hurricanes soon followed, and
were probably sent in mercy to purify the island from the pollutions of
suffering and slaughter. During the rule of his successor, Roncali, the
rebel Lopez appears on the stage. The American campaign in Mexico had
stirred up a military ardour which extended to the rowdies, and a
piratical expedition was undertaken, with Lopez at the head. He had
acquired a name for courage in the Spanish army, and was much liked by
many of them, partly from indulging in the unofficer-like practice of
gambling and drinking with officers and men. His first attempt at a
landing was ludicrously hopeless, and he was very glad to re-embark
with a whole skin; but he was not the man to allow one failure to
dishearten him, for, independent of his courage, he had a feeling of
revenge to gratify.[AA] Having recruited his forces, he landed the
following year, 1851, with a stronger and better-equipped force of
American piratical brigands, and succeeded in stirring up a few Cubans
to rebellion. He maintained himself for a few days, struggling with a
courage worthy of a better cause. The pirates were defeated; Lopez was
made prisoner, and died by the garotte, at Havana, on the 1st of
September. Others also of the band paid the penalty of the law; and the
ruffian crew, who escaped to the United States, now constitute a kind of
nucleus for the "Lone Star," "Filibustero," and other such pests of the
community to gather round, being ready at any moment to start on a
buccaneering expedition, if they can only find another Lopez ass enough
to lead them.

Concha became governor-general just before Lopez' last expedition, and
the order for his execution was a most painful task for poor Concha, who
had been for many years an intimate friend of his. Concha appears to
have left an excellent name behind him. I always heard him called "the
honest governor." He introduced a great many reforms into the civil
code, and established a great many schools and scientific and literary
societies. During my stay in the island, his successor, Canedo, was the
governor-general. Whenever I made inquiries about him, the most
favourable answer I could get was, a chuck-up of the head, a slight
"p'tt" with the lips, and an expression of the eyes indicating the sight
of a most unpleasant object. The three combined required no dictionary
of the Academy to interpret.[AB]

The future of this rich and lovely island, who can predict? It is talked
of by its powerful neighbours as "the sick man." Filibustero vultures
hover above it as though it were already a putrid corpse inviting their
descent; young America points to it with the absorbing index of
"manifest destiny;" gold is offered for it; Ostend conferences are held
about it; the most sober senators cry respecting it--"Patience, when the
pear is ripe, it must drop into our lap." Old Spain--torn by faction,
and ruined by corruption--supports its tottering treasury from it. Thus,
plundered by friends, coveted by neighbours, and assailed by pirates, it
lies like a helpless anatomical subject, with the ocean for a
dissecting-table, on one side whereof stands a mother sucking its blood,
and on the other "Lone Stars" gashing its limbs, while in the
background, a young and vigorous republic is seen anxiously waiting for
the whole carcass. If I ask, "Where shall vitality be sought?" Echo
answers "Where?" If I ask, "Where shall I look for hope?" the very
breath of the question extinguishes the flickering taper. Who, then, can
shadow forth the fate that is reserved for this tropical gem of the
ocean, where all around is so dark and louring?... A low voice, borne on
a western breeze, whispers in my ear--"I guess I can."

Cuba, farewell!

[Note: The subsequent squabbles between the Cuban authorities and the
United States have taken place long since my departure, and are too
complicated to enter into without more accurate information than I


[Footnote X: I put up at "The Havana House," where I found everything
very clean, and the proprietor, an American, very civil. It is now kept
by his son.]

[Footnote Y: This was written in January, 1853.]

[Footnote Z: The Filibustero movement in the United States has caused
Spain to increase her military force considerably.]

[Footnote AA: When first suspected of treason, he had been hunted with
dogs like a wild beast, and, with considerable difficulty, escaped to

[Footnote AB: Those who desire more detailed information respecting Cuba
will find it in a work entitled _La Reine des Antilles_. Par LE VICOMTE


_Change of Dynasty_.

The month of February was drawing to a close, when I took my passage on
board the "Isabel," bound for Charleston. A small coin removed all
difficulty about embarking luggage, cigars, &c.; the kettle was boiling,
hands shook violently, bells rang rapidly, non-passengers flew down to
shore-boats; round go the wheels, waving go the kerchiefs, and down fall
the tears. The "Isabel" bounds o'er the ripp'less waters; forts and
dungeons, as we gaze astern, fade from the view; an indistinct shade is
all by which the eye can recal the lovely isle of Cuba; and, lest memory
should fail, the piles of oranges, about four feet square, all round the
upper-deck, are ready to refresh it. How different the "Isabel" from the
"Cherokee!" Mr. Law might do well to take a cruise in the former; and,
if he had any emulation, he would sell all his dirty old tubs for
firewood, and invest the proceeds in the "Isabel" style of vessel. Land
a-head!--a flourishing little village appears, with watch-towers high as
minarets. What can all this mean?

This is a thriving, happy community, fixed on the most dreary and
unhealthy-looking point imaginable, and deriving all their wealth and
happiness from the misfortunes of others. It is Key West, a village of
wreckers, who, doubtless, pray earnestly for a continuance and increase
of the changing currents, which are eternally drifting some ill-fated
barque on the ever-growing banks and coral reefs of these treacherous
and dangerous waters; the lofty watch-towers are their Pisgah, and the
stranded barques their Land of Promise. The sight of one is doubtless as
refreshing to their sight as the clustering grapes of Eschol were to the
wandering Israelites of old. So thoroughly does the wrecking spirit
pervade this little community, that they remind one of the "Old Joe
Miller," which gives an account of a clergyman who, seeing all his
congregation rise from their seats at the joyous cry of, "A wreck! a
wreck!" called them to order with an irresistible voice of thunder, and
deliberately commencing to despoil himself of his surplice, added,
"Gentlemen, a fair start, if you please!"

We picked up a couple of captains here, whose ships had tasted these
bitter waters, and who were on their road to New York to try and make
the best of a bad job. We had some very agreeable companions on board;
but we had others very much the contrary, conspicuous among whom was an
undeniable Hebrew but no Nathanael. He was one of those pompous loud
talkers, whose every word and work bespoke vulgarity in its most
obnoxious form, and whose obtuseness in matters of manners was so great
that nothing short of the point of your shoe could have made him
understand how offensive he was. He spoke of courts in Europe, and of
the Vice-regal court in Ireland, as though he had the _entree_ of them
all; which it was palpable to the most superficial observer he never
could have had, except possibly when, armed with a dingy bag on his
shoulder and an "Ol clo'" on his lips, he sought an investment in
cast-off garments. He was taking cigars, which, from their quantity,
were evidently for sale; and as the American Government is very liberal
in allowing passengers to enter cigars, never--I believe--refusing any
one the privilege of five hundred, he was beating up for friends who had
no cigars to divide his speculations among, so as to avoid the duty; at
last his arrangements were completed, and his mind at ease.

On entering the port of Charleston he got up the box containing his
treasures, and was about to open it, when, to my intense delight and
amusement, an officer of the ship stayed his hasty hand. "What's that
for?" exclaimed the wrathful Israelite. "I guess that box is in the
manifest," was the calm reply, "and you can't touch it till it goes to
the custom-house." Jonathan had "done" the Hebrew; and besides the duty,
he had the pleasure of paying freight on them also; while, to add to his
satisfaction, he enjoyed the sight of all the other passengers taking
their five hundred or so unmolested, while compelled to pay duty on
every cigar himself. But we must leave the Jew, the "Isabel"--ay,
Charleston itself. "Hurry hurry, bubble bubble, toil and trouble!"
Washington must be reached before the 4th of March, or we shall not see
the Senate and the other House in session. Steamer and rail; on we
dash. The boiling horse checks his speed; the inconveniences of the
journey are all forgotten: we are at Washington, and the all-absorbing
thought is, "Where shall we get a bed?"

My companion[AC] and myself drove about from hotel to boarding-house,
from boarding-house to hotel, and from hotel to the Capitol, seeking a
resting-place in vain. Every chink and cranny was crammed; the
reading-rooms of the hotels had from one to two dozen stretcher beds in
each of them. 'Twas getting on for midnight; Hope's taper was flickering
faintly, when a police-officer came to the rescue, and recommended us to
try a small boarding-house at which he was himself lodging. There, as an
especial favour, we got two beds put into a room where another lodger
was already snoring; but fatigue and sleep soon obliterated that fact
from our remembrance. Next morning, while lying in a half doze, I heard
something like the upsetting of a jug near my bedside, and then, a sound
like mopping up; suspicious of my company, I opened my eyes, and lo!
there was the owner of the third bed, deliberately mopping up the
contents of the jug he had upset over the carpet, with--what do you
think? His handkerchief? oh, no--his coat-tails? oh, no--a spare towel?
oh, no; the savage, with the most placid indifference, was mopping it up
with my sponge! He expressed so much astonishment when I remonstrated,
that I supposed the poor man must have been in the habit of using his

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