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

Part 7 out of 10

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ratified that instinct that it had become a "known fact." An intelligent
American, sitting at the feet of a quadruped Gamaliel, humbly learning
from his instincts, should teach the bigots of every class and clime to
let their prejudices hang more loosely upon them. But half an hour has
passed, and Jehu is again on the box, the nags as fresh as daisies, and
as full as a corncob. Half an hour more lands us at Niagara. Avoiding
the hum of men, I took refuge for the night in a snug little cottage
handy to the railway, and, having deposited my traps, started on a
moonlight trip. I need scarce say whither.

Men of the highest and loftiest minds, men of the humblest and simplest
minds, the poet and the philosopher, the shepherd and the Christian,
have alike borne testimony to the fact, that the solitude of night tends
to solemnize and elevate the thoughts. How greatly must this effect be
increased when aided by the contemplation of so grand a work of nature
as Niagara! In the broad blaze of a noonday sun, the power of such
contemplation is weakened by the forced admixture of the earthly
element, interspersed as the scene is with the habitations and works of
man. But, in the hushed repose of night, man stands, as it were, more
alone with his Maker. The mere admirer of the picturesque or the grand
will find much to interest and charm him; but may there not arise in the
Christian's mind far deeper and higher thoughts to feed his
contemplation? In the cataract's mighty roar may he not hear a voice
proclaiming the anger of an unreconciled God? May not the soft beams of
the silvery moon above awaken thoughts of the mercies of a pardoning
God? And as he views those beams, veiled, as it wore, in tears by the
rising spray, may he not think of Him and his tears, through whom alone
those mercies flow to man? May not yon mist rising heavenward recal his
glorious hopes through an ascended Saviour; and as it falls again
perpetually and imperceptibly, may it not typify the dew of the Holy
Spirit--ever invisible, ever descending--the blessed fruit of that Holy
Ascension? And if the mind be thus insensibly led into such a train of
thought, may not the deep and rugged cliff, worn away by centuries
unnumbered by man, shadow forth to him ideas of that past Eternity,
compared to which they are but as a span; and may not the rolling
stream, sweeping onward in rapid and unceasing flight into the abyss
beneath his feet, fill his soul with the contemplation of Time's flight,
which, alike rapid and continuous, is ever bearing him nearer and nearer
to the brink of that future Eternity in which all his highest and
brightest hopes will be more than realized in the enjoyment of a
happiness such as "eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither hath it
entered into the heart of man to conceive." Say, then, reader, is not
every element of thought which can arise between a Christian and his
Creator symbolled forth here in equal beauty and grandeur? One, indeed,
is wanting, which, alas! none of Nature's works but man can supply--that
sad element, which those who search their own hearts the deepest will
feel the most.--I feel I have departed from the legitimate subject of
travels; let the majesty of the scene plead my excuse.

Adieu, Niagara.

Early next morning I put myself into a railway car, and in due time
reached Batavia. On my arrival, being rather hungry, I made a modest
request for a little brandy and some biscuits; fancy my astonishment
when the "help" said, "I guess we only give meals at the fixed hours."
As I disapproved very much of such an unreasonable and ridiculous
refusal, I sought out the chief, and, preferring my modest request to
him, was readily supplied with my simple luncheon. In the meantime a
light fly had been prepared, and off I started for Geneseo. The road
presented the usual features of rich cultivated land, a dash of wild
forest, a bit of bog, and ruts like drains; and each hamlet or village
exhibited a permanent or an ambulating daguerreotype shop. Four hours
housed me with my kind and hospitable friends at Geneseo.

As the chances of travel had brought me to a small country village at
the time of the annual celebration of the 4th of July, I was unable to
witness the ceremony on the grand scale in which it is conducted in the
large cities of the Union; and, as I think it is frequently accompanied
with circumstances which are entitled to some consideration, I shall
revert, in a subsequent chapter, to those points which appear to me
calculated to act upon the national character. On the present occasion I
was delighted to find that, although people all "liquored" freely, there
was scarcely any drunkenness; at all events, they had their little bit
of fun, such as we see at fairs at home. By way of enabling those who
have a turn for the facetious to share in their jokes, I insert a couple
of specimens:--


"The vast multitude will be assembled on the Public Square, in rear of
the Candy Factory, under the direction of Marshal JOHN A. DITTO, where
they will be formed in procession in the following order:

"1. Officers of the Day, in their stocking feet.

"2. Revolutionary Relics, under the direction of the venerable G.W.S.

"3. Soldiers of the last War, looking for Bounty Land Warrants.

"4. The Mayor and Common Council, drawn in a Willow Wagon, by the
Force of Habit.

"5. Officers of the Hoodoos, drawn by 13 Shanghai Chickens, and driven
by Joe Garlinghouse's Shanghai Quail.

"6. The Bologna Guards, in new dress, counting their money.

"7. The Ancient Fire Company expecting their treasurer to chuck 42$ 50
under their windows.

"The procession will then march to the grove in rear of Smith
Scovell's barn, where the following exercises will take place:--

"1. The reading of the Declaration of Independence--by the Tinker,

"2. Oration--by Bill Garrison.

"3. Hymn--There was three Crows sit on a Tree--by the Hoodo Choir.

"4. Benediction--by Elder Bibbins.

"After which the multitude will repair to Charley Babcock's old stand
for Refreshments.

"_Bill of Fare.--_1. Mud Turtle Soup. 2. Boiled Eggs, hard. 3.
Pea-nuts. 4. Boiled Eggs, soft. 5. More Pea-nuts.

"_Dessert._--Scotch Herring, dried. 2. Do. do., dead. 3. Do., done
brown. 4. Sardines, by special request.

"_Wines and Liquors_.--Hugh Doty's Rattle-Belly Pop. 2.
Hide-and-go-Seek (a new brand).

"Precisely at 4 o'clock, P.M., the Double Oven Air Calorie Engine,
attached to a splendidly decorated Wheel barrow, will make an
excursion, on the

_Conhocton Valley Switch_,

to the old Hemp Factory and back. It is expected that the President
and Directors will go over the Road, and they are to have the first
chance, strictly under the direction of the '_Rolling Stock_.'

"Hail, ye freeborn Sons of Happy America. 'Arouse, Git up, and Git!'
_Music_--Loud Fifing during the day.

"June, 1853.

"By Order of COMMITTEE."

* * * * *


"From Perry to Geneseo and back in a Flash.


"--Having bought out the valuable rights of young Master James Howard
in this Line, the subscriber will streak it daily between Perry and
Geneseo, for the conveyance of Uncle Sam's Mails and Family; leaving
Perry before the Crows wake up in the morning, and arriving at the
first house on this side Geneseo about the same time; returning,
leave Geneseo after the Crows have gone to roost, and reach Perry in
time to join them. Passengers will please to keep their mouths shut
for fear they should lose their teeth. No Smoking allowed for fear of
fretting the Horses; no Talking lest it wake the Driver. Fare to suit

"The public's very much obliged servant, &c. &c."

A quiet and simple stage of rough wood was put up at one end of the
village, close to the Court-house, from whence the Declaration of
Independence was read, after which a flowery orator--summoned for the
occasion, and who travels about to different villages in different years
with his well-digested oration--addressed the multitude. Of course
similes and figures of rhetoric were lugged in by the heels in every
sentence, as is the all but universal practice on such occasions in
every part of the world. The moral of his speech was in the main
decidedly good, and he urged upon his audience strongly, "the undying
advantages of cultivating pluck and education" in preference to "dollars
and shrewdness." All went off in a very orderly manner, and in the
evening there were fireworks and a village ball. It was at once a wild
and interesting sight during the fireworks; the mixture of men, women,
and children, some walking, some carried, some riding, some driving;
empty buggies, some with horses, some without, tied all round; stray
dogs looking for masters as hopelessly as old maids seeking for their
spectacles when raised above their eyes and forgotten. Fire companies
parading ready for any emergency; the son of mine host tugging away at
the rope of the engine in his red shirt, like a juvenile Atlas, as proud
as Lucifer, as pleased as Punch. All busy, all excited, all happy; no
glimpse of poverty to mar the scene; all come with one voice and one
heart to celebrate the glorious anniversary of the birth of a nation,
whose past gigantic strides, unparalleled though they be, are
insufficient to enable any mind to realize what future is in store for
her, if she only prove true to herself.

Leave-takings do not interest the public, so the reader will be
satisfied to know that two days after found me in an open carriage on my
way to Rochester. The road lay entirely through cultivated land, and had
no peculiar features. The only thing I saw worth noticing, was two men
in a light four-wheel one-horse shay, attached to which were at least a
dozen others, some on two wheels, some on four. I of course thought
they were some country productions going to a city manufacturer. What
was my astonishment at finding upon inquiry, that it was merely an
American phase of hawking. The driver told me that these people will go
away from home for weeks together, trying to sell their novel ware at
hamlet, village, farm-house, &c., and that some of the shrewdest of
them, the genuine Sam Slick breed, manage to make a good thing of it.

The shades of evening closed in upon me as I alighted at a very
comfortable hotel at Rochester. The amiable Morpheus soon claimed me as
his own, nor was I well pleased when ruthlessly dragged from his soft
embrace at 6-1/2 A.M. the following morning; but railways will not wait
for Morpheus or any other deity of fancy or fiction; so, making the best
use I could of a tub of water and a beefsteak, and calming my temper
with a fragrant weed, I was soon ensconced in one of their cars, a
passenger to New York.

On reaching Albany, we crossed the river and threw ourselves into the
cars of the Hudson River Railway, which, running close to the margin
nearly all the way, gives you an ever-varying view of the charming
scenery of this magnificent stream. Yankee industry was most
disagreeably prominent at several of the stations, in the shape of a
bevy of unwashed urchins parading the cars with baskets of the eternal
pea-nut and various varieties of lollipop, lemonade, &c., all crying out
their wares, and finding as ready a sale for them as they would at any
school in England. The baiting-place was not very tempting; we all
huddled into one room, where everything was hurry and confusion: besides
which, the appetite was not strengthened by the sight of hands--whose
owners seemed to have "registered a vow in heaven," to forego the use of
soap--turning over the sandwiches, one after another, until they had
made their selection. However, the majority approve of the system; and
as no thought is given to the minority, "if you don't like it, you may
lump it."

But the more permanent inconvenience of this railroad is one for which
the majority cannot be held responsible, i.e., it runs three-fourths
of the way over a bed of granite, and often between cuts in the solid
granite rock, the noise therefore is perfectly stunning; and when to
this you add the echoing nature of their long wooden cars, destitute of
anything to check the vibrations of sound, except the human cargo and
the cushions they sit upon, and when you add further the eternal
slamming of the doors at each end by the superintending conductor and
the inquisitive portion of the passengers, you may well conceive that
this combination is enough to rouse the slumbers of the dead, and rack
the brains of the living. At the same time, I must allow that this line
runs the best pace and keeps the best time of any in the Union.

On reaching the outskirts of New York, I asked, "Is this the proper
place for me to get out at?" And being answered in the affirmative, I
alighted, and found myself in a broad open street. Scarce had I set my
foot on the ground, when I saw the train going on again, and therefore
asked for my luggage. After a few questions and answers, I ascertained
it had gone on in the train about three miles further; and the only
consolation I got, was being told, "I guess you'd best have gone on
too." However, all troubles must have an end; so getting into a hackney,
I drove to my hospitable friend Phelps' house, where, under the
influence of glorious old Madeira--P. had just finished dinner--and most
undeniable claret, the past was soon buried in the present; and by the
time I had knocked the first ash off one of his best "_prensados_," the
stray luggage returned from the involuntary trip it had made on its own
account. What a goodly cheery thing is hospitality, when it flows pure
from a warm heart; nor does it lose aught in my estimation when viewed
through the medium of a first-rate cellar and the social "Havana."

Time progresses--small hours approach--the front door shuts behind some
of the guests--six-foot-two of animal life may be seen going up-stairs
with a bed-candle; the latter is soon out, and your humble servant is
snug in the former.--Reader, good-night!


_Education, Civil and Military_.

Having said so much of education in other cities, I will only observe,
that in regard to common schools, New York is on a par with most of her
rivals in this noble strife for superiority; but I must ask those who
are interested in the subject to give me their attention while I enter
into a few details connected with their admirable Free Academy. The
object of this institution is to combine--under one system and under one
roof--high school, academy, polytechnic, and college, and to furnish as
good an education as can be obtained by passing through each of those
places of instruction separately. All this free of cost!

A sum of 10,000l. was authorized for the building, and 4000l.
annually for its support. The course of instruction is divided into
thirteen departments, with a professor at the head of each, aided by
tutors where necessary; the whole under a principal, with a salary of
500l. a year, who is at the same time professor of moral,
intellectual, and political philosophy. The salaries of the other
professors average 300l. a year, those of the tutors 100l. The
course of study embraces all that is taught at the four different places
of education before-named. The student is allowed to make his selection
between the classical languages and the modern--French, Spanish, and
German. The whole course occupies five years. The requisites for
admission are, that the applicant be thirteen years old, living in the
city of New York, and have attended the common schools for eighteen
months; besides which he is required to pass a moderate examination. The
number of students at present is about 350, but they will doubtless
increase. If to the annual expenses of the institution be added the
interest at six per cent, on the outlay, the instruction given will be
found to cost the inconceivably small sum of 13l. 5s. per scholar,
including books, stationery, and etceteras.

Mr. S.B. Ruggles was kind enough to introduce me to Mr. Horace Webster,
by whom I was shown over the whole establishment. The cleanliness and
good ventilation certainly exceeded that of any other similar
establishment which I had visited in the United States. There is a very
good library containing 3000 volumes, besides 8000 which are used as
text-books, or books of reference. Many publishers supplied the
requisite books at reduced prices, which, as long as they retain the
ignominious position of the literary pirates of the world, I suppose
they can afford to do without inconvenience. There is also a fine
studio, full of casts from the best models, and copies of the Elgin
marbles presented by Mr. Leap. Instruments of the best quality abound
for the explanation of all the sciences taught.

In one of the rooms which I entered there was an examination going on.
The subject was astronomy, and it was the first class. I was
particularly struck with the very clear manner in which the lad under
examination replied to the questions put to him, and I began to suspect
it was merely something he had learnt by rote; but the professor dodged
him about in such a heartless manner with his "whys" and his
"wherefores," his "how do you knows" and "how do you proves," that I
quite trembled for the victim. Vain fears on my part; nothing could put
him out; he seemed as much at home as the professor, and answered all
the questions propounded to him in language as clear and simple as that
which the great Faraday employs to instruct his eager listeners at the
Royal Institution. Not once could the professor make him trip during the
long half-hour of his searching examination. Having remarked that the
appearance of the student was rather that of a labouring than of a
wealthy stock, I asked the principal who he was. "That, sir," replied
Mr. Webster, "is one of our best students, and he is the son of a poor
journeyman blacksmith."

New York may point with just pride to her Free Academy, and say, "In
our city the struggling efforts of genius are never cramped by the chill
blast of poverty, for within those walls the avenues to the highest
branches of literature and science are opened without charge to the
humblest and most destitute of our citizens." I spent several hours in
this most admirable and interesting institution, so ably presided over
by Mr. Horace Webster, through whose kindness I was provided with the
full details of all its workings. It would seem that the best class of
schools for young ladies are not very numerous, for the papers announced
the other day that Mrs. Okill had realized 250,000 dollars by her
establishment, which could hardly have been the case in the face of good

A few days afterwards Mr. Ruggles offered to accompany me in a visit I
wished to make to the National Military College of West Point. I gladly
accepted his proffered kindness, and in due time we were rattling away
over the granite-bottomed railroad, along the banks of the Hudson. Close
to the station we found a small ferry-boat, ready to take us across to
the southern bank. On landing at West Point, "my pipe was immediately
put out" by a summary order from a sentry on the wharf. Dropping a tear
of sorrow through a parting whiff, and hurling the precious stump into
the still waters of the little bay, I followed my cicerone up the hill,
and soon found myself in the presence of one of the professors, through
whose assistance we were enabled thoroughly to lionize every department.
As many of my military friends who have visited West Point have spoken
to me in terms of the highest admiration of the institution, I propose
entering more into detail than I otherwise might have thought requisite;
and I trust that, as military education is engaging a great deal of
public interest, the following observations may be found worthy of

The candidates for admission are nominated by the members of Congress,
one for each congressional district, in addition to which the President
of the United States has the nomination of forty from the Republic at
large.[AV] The requisites for admission are--the passing a very easy
examination, being a bachelor between the ages of sixteen and
twenty-one, and having no physical defect. The pay of each cadet is
about five pounds a month, of which his board takes two pounds, and
8s. 6d. is laid aside monthly, whereby to form a fund to assist him
in the expenses of equipment upon leaving. The balance provides for his
dress and other expenses, and a treasurer is appointed to superintend
and keep the accounts. The routine of duty prescribed is the
following:--Rise at 5 A.M. in summer, and 5-1/2 in winter; double up bed
and mattress, &c., and study till 7; then fall in and go to breakfast;
at 7-1/2, guard-mounting--twenty-four cadets are on guard every day; at
8, study; at 1 o'clock, break up, fall in, and go to dinner, which they
rise from at the word of command, and are then free till 2. From 2 P.M.
to 4, study; at 4, drill for one hour and a half, after which they are
free till sunset; at sunset, parade in front of the barracks, and
delinquents' names called over; then follows supper, after which the
cadets are free till 8, at which time there is a call to quarters, and
every cadet is required to retire to his own room and study till 9-1/2,
when the tattoo is beat; at 10, there is a roll of the drum, at sound
whereof every light must be out and every student in bed.

The cadets are organized into a battalion of four companies; the
officers and non-commissioned officers are all appointed by the
superintendent, from a list submitted to him by the commandant of
cadets, the selection being made from those most advanced in their
studies and most exemplary in their conduct; they perform in every
particular the same duties as those of the officers and privates of a
regiment; they have divisions and sub-divisions, with superintendent
cadets attached to each, regular orderlies who sweep and clean out the
room, furniture, &c.: guards are regularly mounted, an officer of the
day duly appointed, and all the duties of a regular barrack punctually
performed, even to the sentinels being supplied with ball-cartridge at
night. Their uniform is of grey cloth, and their hair is kept a close
crop; neither whiskers nor moustache are tolerated, and liquor and
tobacco are strictly prohibited. The punishments consist of privation of
recreation, extra duty, reprimand, arrest or confinement to room or
tent, confinement to light or dark prison, dismission with privilege of
resigning, and public dismission; the former of these are at the will of
the superintendent--confinement to prison and dismission are by sentence
of a court-martial.

The course of studies pursued are classed under twelve heads:--1.
Infantry tactics and military police; 2. Mathematics; 3. French; 4.
Drawing; 5. Chemistry, mineralogy, and geology; 6. Natural and
experimental philosophy; 7. Artillery tactics, science of gunnery, and
the duties of the military laboratory; 8. Cavalry tactics; 9. The use
of the sword; 10. Practical military engineering; 11. Grammar,
geography, ethics, &c.; 12. Military and civil engineering, and the
science of war.

In the preceding pages we have seen that ten hours are daily devoted to
study, besides an hour and a half to drill; and thus, while the brain is
severely taxed, but little leisure is left to get into those minor
scrapes so prevalent at most public schools.

There is a most minute system of merit and demerit established;
everything good and everything bad has a specific value in numbers and
decimals, which is accurately recorded against the owners thereof in the
reports made for each year. The cadet appears to be expected to improve
in conduct as well as knowledge; for, according to the rules, after his
first year is completed, the number expressing his absolute demerit is
increased by one-sixth during the second year, by one-third during the
third year, and by one-half during the fourth year. Thus, suppose a
certain number of faults to be represented by the sum of 36, if faults
which those figures represent are committed during the second year of
the cadet's course, one-sixth would be added, and his name appear on the
demerit list with 42 against it; if in the third year, one-third would
be added to the 36, and 48 would be placed against his name; and if
during the fourth year, one-half would be added, and 54 would appear
against it. It will thus be seen that, supposing offences of equal value
to be committed by the cadet in his first year and by another in his
fourth year, the figures of demerit against the latter would be one-half
more than those placed against the name of the cadet in his first year.
A demerit conduct roll is made out each year, and a copy sent to the War

There is also a general merit roll of proficiency and good conduct sent
to the same department, an abstract whereof, with demerit added, is sent
to the parents or guardians in a printed book containing the names of
all the cadets, by which they can at once see the relative position of
their son or ward. The following tables will explain the system adopted
for ascertaining the merit, demerit, and qualifications of the


_Degree of Criminality of Offences, arranged in Classes_.

1. Mutinous conduct 10
2. Disobedience of orders of military superior 8
3. Visiting in study hours 5
4. Absence from drill 4
5. Idleness in academy 3
6. Inattention under arms 2
7. Late at roll call 1

_Form of Conduct Roll made up for the yearly examination_.

The column marked "Class" indicates number of years student has been in
the academy.

Name. Class. Demerit.

H.L. 1 5
C.P. 3 10
W.K.M. 2 192

_A particular case to exemplify the manner of obtaining the numbers in
the column of demerit_:--

Cadet W.K.M. was charged with 48 delinquencies, to wit:
of the second class of offences, 2, which being multiplied
by 8, the number expressing the degree of criminality
of an offence of that class, is 16
Of the 3rd class 3 multiplied by 5 15
4th " 13 " 4 52
5th " 10 " 3 30
6th " 11 " 2 22
7th " 9 " 1 9

The Cadet being a member of the
2nd class, add 1/3 48
Total demerit 192

The following list of Cadets is attached to the Army Register in
conformity with a regulation for the Government of the United States
Military Academy, requiring the names of the most distinguished Cadets,
not exceeding five in each class, to be reported for this purpose at
each annual examination:--

_Reported at the Examination in June_, 18--.

No. Names. Appointed Science and Art in which each Cadet
from particularly excels.

1 First Class. Mass. Civil and Military Engineering, Ethics,
G.L.A. Mineralogy and Geology, Infantry
Tactics, Artillery, Natural and
Experimental Philosophy, Chemistry,
Drawing, Mathematics, French and
English Studies.

2 J.St.C.M. Pa. Civil and Military Engineering, Ethics,
Mineralogy and Geology, Infantry
Tactics, Artillery, Natural and
Experimental Philosophy, Chemistry,
Drawing, Mathematics, and French.

_"General Merit Roll," sent also to the War Office._

Names A B C
Mathematics 300.0 295.3 276.7
French 98.7 97.5 69.1
English Studies 100.0 89.5 98.9
Philosophy 300.0 295.6 278.2
Chemistry 150.0 147.5 145.1
Drawing 91.3 100.0 94.2
Engineering 300.0 285.3 290.2
Ethics 200.0 193.4 186.9
Mineralogy &
Geology 100.0 96.7 98.2
Infantry Tactics 150.0 147.5 137.8
Artillery 158.0 145.1 147.5
Conduct 297.3 293.8 294.5
General Merit 2237.3 2187.2 2117.3

_"Official Register of the Cadets" at West Point, printed yearly._

Order of general merit 1 2 3
Names T.L.C. N.C.A. G.H.M.
State At large Tenn. Pa.
Date of Admission July 1, 1848 do. do.
Age at date of admission
Years / Months 17 / 1 18 / 7 16 / 8
Order of merit in their
respective Studies
Engineering 1 2 3
Ethics 3 4 2
Mineral. & Geol. 1 2 4
Infantry Tactics 1 2 5
Artillery 2 1 3
Demerit of the Year 39 18 73

A board with the marks of demerit is always publicly hung up, so that
each cadet may know the exact length of his tether, for if the numbers
amount to 200 he is dismissed. I have dwelt very lengthily upon the
system adopted of recording and publishing the merit and demerit of the
students, because I was informed of the admirable effect produced by it.
As far as I can judge, it certainly appears not only an admirable means
of enabling the War-office to estimate character, but the great
publicity given to it must act as a powerful stimulus to exertion and
good conduct.

A portion of the cadets are instructed every day in fencing and riding.
When well advanced in the latter, they are taught spearing rings or
stuffed heads at the gallop, and the same with the sword. The
riding-school is perfectly abominable, being dark, full of pillars, and
most completely out of harmony with all the rest of the establishment,
which is excellent in every detail. On Sundays all the cadets attend
church, unless excused on conscientious motives, and with the approval
of their parents. The minister is selected by the President, and may be
of any denomination. I was told that an Episcopalian had been most
frequently chosen. The present minister is, I believe, a Presbyterian.
During the months of July and August the cadets all turn out of their
barracks, pitch their tents, and live regular camp life--only going to
the barracks to eat their meals. During the time they are tented, the
education is exclusively military practice; the same hours are kept as
in the barracks; the tents are boarded, and two cadets sleep in each.
They are all pitched with scrupulous accuracy, and they are obliged to
keep their camp as clean as a new pin--performing among themselves every
duty of a complete regiment--cleaning their own shoes, fetching their
own water, &c. They were all in tents at the time of my visit, and I
fear not particularly comfortable, for there had been two days and
nights' hard rain, and the wet mattresses were courting the warm rays of
the afternoon sun. Whatever jobbery is attempted in the selection of
candidates for admission to the Academy, is soon corrected by the
Academy itself; for, though the entrance examination is simple to a
degree, the subsequent examinations are very severe, and those who
cannot come up to the mark get notice to quit; and the unerring
tell-tale column of demerit soon obliges the turbulent to "clear out."

The result of this system is, that when I saw them under arms, their
soldierlike appearance struck me very much; and the effect produced upon
them by discipline was very marked. You might almost guess the time they
had been there by their gentlemanly bearing, a quality which they do not
readily lose; for the officers of the American army who have been
educated at West Point, enjoy a universal reputation for intelligence
and gentlemanly bearing wherever they are to be met with.

The discipline here is no fiction; they do not play at soldiers; they
all work their way up from the ranks, performing every duty of each
rank, and the most rigid obedience is exacted. In the calculations for
demerit, while idleness in the Academy obtains a mark of three,
disobedience to a superior officer is marked eight. There is no bullying
thought of here; the captain of his company would as soon think of
bullying the cadet private as a captain of a regiment of the line would
of bullying any private under his command. An officer who had been for
many years connected with West Point, told me that among all the duels
which unfortunately are so prevalent in the United States, he had never
either known or heard of one between any two gentlemen who had received
their education at this Academy--tricks, of course, are sometimes
played, but nothing oppressive is ever thought of.

I did hear a story of a cadet, who, by way of a joke, came and tried to
take away the musket of a wiry young Kentuckian, who was planted sentry
for the first time; but he found a military ardour he had little
anticipated; for the novice sentry gave him a crack on the side of the
head that turned him round, and before he could recover himself, he felt
a couple of inches of cold steel running into the bank situated at the
juncture of the hips and the back-bone; and thus not only did he suffer
total defeat and an ignominious wound, but he earned a large figure on
the demerit roll. From the way the story was told to me, I imagine it is
a solitary instance of such an outrage being attempted; for one of the
first things they seek to inculcate is a military spirit, and the young
Kentuckian at all events proved that he had caught the spirit; nor can
it be denied that the method he took to impress it upon his assailant,
as a fundamental principle of action, was equally sharp and striking.

Happening to be on the ground at the hour of dinner, I saw them all
marched off to their great dining-ball, where the table was well
supplied with meat, vegetables, and pudding; it was all substantial and
good, but the _tout-ensemble_ was decidedly very rough. If the intention
is to complete the soldier life by making them live like well-fed
privates of the line, the object is attained; but I should be disposed
to think, they might dispense with a good deal of the roughness of the
style with great advantage; though doubtless, where the general
arrangements are so good, they have their own reasons for keeping it as
it is. I paid a visit in the course of the afternoon to the
fencing-room; but being the hour of recreation, I found about thirty
lusty cadets, votaries to Terpsichore, all waltzing and polking merrily
to a fiddle, ably wielded by their instructor: as their capabilities
were various, the confusion was great, and the master bewildered; but
they all seemed heartily enjoying themselves.

The professors and military instructors, &c., have each a small
comfortable house with garden attached, and in the immediate vicinity of
the Academy. There is a comfortable hotel, which in the summer months is
constantly filled with the friends and relatives of the cadets; and
occasionally they get permission to give a little _soiree dansante_ in
the fencing-room. The hotel is prohibited from selling any spirituous
liquors, wines, &c.

The Government property at West Point consists of about three thousand
acres: the Academy, professors' houses, hotel, &c., are built upon a
large plateau, commanding a magnificent view of the Hudson both ways.
The day I was there, the scene was quite lovely; the noble stream was as
smooth as a mirror; a fleet of rakish schooners lay helpless, their
snow-white sails hanging listlessly in the calm; and, as the clear
waters reflected everything with unerring truthfulness, another fleet
appeared beneath, lying keel to keel with those that floated on the
surface. With such beautiful scenery, and so far removed from the bustle
and strife of cities, I cannot conceive any situation better adapted
for health and study, pleasure and exercise.

The great day of the year is that of the annual review of the cadets by
a board of gentlemen belonging to the different States of the Union, and
appointed by the Secretary of War; it takes place early in June, I
believe, and consequently before the cadets take the tented field. The
examination goes on in the library hall, which is a very fine room, and
hung with portraits of some of their leading men; the library is a very
fair one, and the cadets have always easy access to it, to assist them
in their studies. I could have spent many more hours here with much
pleasure, but the setting sun warned us no time was to be lost if we
wished to save the train; so, bidding adieu, to the friends who had so
kindly afforded me every assistance in accomplishing the object of my
visit, I returned to the great Babylon, after one of the most
interesting and gratifying days I had spent in America.[AW]


[Footnote AV: By the published class-list the numbers at present are

[Footnote AW: An account of a visit to this Academy, from the pen of Sir
J. Alexander, is published in Golburn's _United Service Magazine,_
September, 1854.]


_Watery Highways and Metallic Intercourse._

There is perhaps scarcely any feature in which the United States differ
more from the nations of the Old World, than in the unlimited extent of
their navigable waters, the value of which has been incalculably
increased by the introduction of steam. By massing these waters
together, we shall be the better able to appreciate their importance;
but in endeavouring to do this, I can only offer an approximation as to
the size of the lakes, from the want of any official information, in the
absence of which I am forced to take my data from authorities that
sometimes differ widely. I trust the following statement will be found
sufficiently accurate to convey a tolerably correct idea.

The seaboard on each ocean may be estimated at 1500 miles; the
Mississippi and its tributaries, at 17,000 miles; Lake Ontario, at 190
miles by 50; Lake Erie, at 260 miles by 60; Lake Huron, at 200 miles by
70; the Georgian Bay, at 160 miles, one half whereof is about 50 broad;
Lake Michigan, at 350 miles by 60; and Lake Superior, at 400 miles by
160, containing 32,000 square miles, and almost capable of floating
England, if its soil were as buoyant as its credit. All the lakes
combined contain about 100,000 square miles. The rate at which the
tonnage upon them is increasing, appears quite fabulous. In 1840 it
amounted to 75,000 tons, from which it had risen in 1850 to 216,000
tons. Besides the foregoing, there are the eastern rivers, and the deep
bays on the ocean board. Leaving, however, these latter out of the
question, let us endeavour to realize in one sum the extent of soil
benefited by this bountiful provision of Providence; to do which it is
necessary to calculate both sides of the rivers and the shores of the
lakes, which, of course, must be of greater extent than double the
length of the lakes: nevertheless, if we estimate them at only double,
we shall find that there are 40,120 miles washed by their navigable
waters; and by the constitution of the Union these waters are declared
to be "common property, for ever free, without any tax, duty, or impost

The Americans are not free from the infirmities of human nature; and
having got a "good thing" among them, in process of time it became a
bone of contention, which it still remains: the Whigs contending that
the navigable waters having been declared by the constitution "for ever
free," are national waters, and as such, entitled to have all necessary
improvements made at the expense of the Union; their opponents
asserting, that rivers and harbours are not national, but local, and
that their improvements should be exclusively committed to the
respective States. This latter opinion sounds strange indeed, when it is
remembered that the Mississippi and its tributaries bathe the shores of
some thirteen States, carrying on their bosoms produce annually valued
at 55,000,000l. sterling, of which 500,000l. is utterly destroyed
from the want of any sufficient steps to remove the dangers of

Mr. Ruggles has always been a bold and able advocate of the Whig
doctrine of nationality; and, in a lecture delivered by him upon the
subject, he states that during the recent struggle to pass the River and
Harbour Bill through the Senate, Mr. Douglas, a popular democrat from
Illinois, offered as a substitute an amendment giving the consent of
Congress "to the levy of local tonnage dues, not only by each of the
separate States, but even by the authorities of any city or town." One
can hardly conceive any man of the most ordinary intellect deliberately
proposing to inflict upon his country the curse of an unlimited legion
of custom-houses, arresting commerce in every bend of the river and in
every bay of the sea; yet such was the case, though happily the
proposition was not carried. How inferior does the narrow mind which
made the above proposition in 1848 appear, when placed beside the
prescient mind which in 1787 proposed and carried, "That navigable
waters should be for ever free from any tax or impost whatever!"

One of the most extraordinary instances of routine folly which I ever
read or heard of, and which, among so practical and unroutiney a
people as the Americans, appears all but incredible, is the
following:--Congress having resisted the Harbour Improvement Bill, but
acknowledged its duties as to certain lights and beacons, "Ordered, that
a beacon should be placed on a rock in the harbour of New Haven. The
engineer reported, that the cost of removing the rock would be less than
the cost of erecting the beacon; but the President was firm--a great
party doctrine was involved, and the rock remains to uphold the
beacon--a naked pole, with an empty barrel at its head--a suitable type
of the whole class of constitutional obstructions."[AY]

The State of New York may fairly claim the credit of having executed one
of the most--if not the most--valuable public works in the Union--the
Erie Canal. At the time of its first proposal, it received the most
stubborn opposition, especially from that portion of the democratic
party known by the appellation of "Barn-burners," whose creed is thus
described in a pamphlet before me:--"All accumulations of wealth or
power, whether in associations, corporate bodies, public works, or in
the state itself, are anti-democratic and dangerous.... The construction
of public works tends to engender a race of demagogues, who are sure to
lead the people into debt and difficulty," &c. The origin of their name
I have not ascertained.

Another party, possessing the equally euphonical name of "Old Hunkers,"
are thus described:--"Standing midway between this wing of the Democracy
and the Whig party, is that portion who have taken upon themselves the
comfortable title of 'Old Hunkers.' The etymological origin of this
epithet is already lost in obscurity. They embrace a considerable
portion of our citizens who are engaged in banking and other active
business, but at the same time decided lovers of political place and
power. At heart they believe in progress, and are in favour of a liberal
prosecution of works of improvement, but most generally disguise it, in
order to win the Barn-burners' votes. They are by no means deficient
in intelligence or private worth, but are deeply skilled in political
tactics; and their creed, if it is rightly understood, is that public
works ought to be 'judiciously' prosecuted, provided they themselves can
fill all the offices of profit or honour connected with their

Such is the description given of these two parties by the pen of a
political opponent, who found in them the greatest obstacles to the
enlargement of the canal.

The name of De Witt Clinton will ever be associated with this great and
useful work, by which the whole commerce of the ocean lakes is poured
into the Hudson, and thence to the Atlantic. After eight years' hard
struggle, and the insane but undivided opposition of the city of New
York, the law for the construction of the canal was passed in the year
1817. One opponent to the undertaking, when the difficulty of supplying
water was started as an objection, assisted his friend by the
observation, "Give yourself no trouble--the tears of our constituents
will fill it." Many others opposed the act on the ground that, by
bringing the produce of the States on the lake shores so easily to New
York, the property of the State would be depreciated; which appears to
me, in other words, to be--they opposed it on the ground of its utility.
Others again grounded their objections on the doubt that the revenue
raised by the tolls would be sufficient to justify the expense.
Fortunately, however, the act was carried; and in seven years, the
canal, though not quite completed, was receiving tolls to the amount of
upwards of 50,000l. In 1836 the canal debt was paid, and produce
valued at 13,000,000l.--of which 10,000,000l. belonged to the State
of New York--was carried through it; the tolls had risen to 320,000l.
per annum, and 80,000l. of that sum was voted to be appropriated to
the general purposes of the State, the total cost having been under one
and a half million sterling.

One might imagine that such triumphant success would have made the State
ready to vote any reasonable sum of money to enlarge it if required;
but the old opponents took the field in force when the proposition was
made. Even after a certain sum had been granted, and a contract entered
into, they rescinded the grant and paid a forfeit to the contractor of
15,000l. It was in vain that the injury to commerce, resulting from
the small dimensions of the canal,[BA] was represented to them; it was
in vain that statistics were laid before them, showing that the
7,000,000 miles traversed by the 4500 canal-boats might, if the proposed
enlargement took place, reduce the distance traversed to two millions of
miles, and the boats employed to 1500; Barn-burners triumphed, and it
was decided that the enlargements should only be made out of the surplus
proceeds of the tolls and freight; by which arrangement this vast
commercial advantage will be delayed for many years, unless the fruits
of the canal increase more rapidly than even their present wonderful
strides can lead one to anticipate, although amounting at this present
day to upwards of 1,000,000l. yearly.[BB] Such is a short epitome of a
canal through which, when the Sault St. Marie Channel between Lakes
Superior and Huron is completed, an unbroken watery highway will bear
the rich produce of the West from beyond the 90 deg. meridian of longitude
to the Atlantic Ocean.[BC]

Although the Erie is perhaps the canal which bears the most valuable
freight, it is by no means the greatest undertaking of the kind in the
Union. The Chesapeake and Ohio canal, uniting Washington and Pittsburg,
has nearly 400 locks, and is tunnelled four miles through the
Alleghanies; and the Pennsylvania canal, as we have already seen in a
former chapter, runs to the foot of the same ridge, and being unable to
tunnel, uses boats in compartments, and drags them by stationary engines
across the mountains. Nothing daunts American energy. If the people are
once set upon having a canal, go ahead it must; "can't" is an unknown

However important the works we have been considering may be to the
United States, there can be no doubt that railways are infinitely more
so; I therefore trust the following remarks upon them may have some

By the statement of the last Census, it appears that there are no less
than 13,266 miles of railroad in operation, and 12,681 in progress,
giving a total of nearly 26,000 miles; the cost of those which are
completed amounts to a little less than 75,000,000l., and the estimate
for those in progress is a little above 44,000,000l. We thus see that
the United States will possess 26,000 miles of railroad, at the cost of
about 120,000,000l. In England we have 8068 miles of railway, and the
cost of these amounts to 273,860,000l., or at the rate of 34,020l.
per mile. This extraordinary difference between the results produced and
the expenses incurred requires some little explanation. By the Census
report, I learn that the average expense of the railways varies in
different parts of the Union; those in the northern, or New England
States, costing 9250l. per mile; those in the middle States, 8000l.;
and those in the southern and western States, 4000l. per mile. The
railway from Charleston to Augusta, on the Savannah River, only cost
1350l. per mile. From the above we see clearly that the expenses of
their railways are materially affected by density of population and the
consequent value of land, by the comparative absence of forest to supply
material, and by the value of labour. If these three causes produce such
material differences in a country comparatively unoccupied like the
United States, it is but natural to expect that they should be felt with
infinitely more force in England. Moreover, as it has been well observed
by Captain D. Galton, R.E.,[BE] "railways originated in England, and
therefore the experience which is always required to perfect a new
system has been chiefly acquired in this country, and has increased the
cost of our own railways for the benefit of our neighbours."--Some
conception may be formed of the irregular nature of the expense on the
lines in England from the statement subjoined, also taken from the same
paper, viz.:--

Name of Railway. Land and Total Cost
Compensation. Works. Rails. per Mile.

London }
and } 113,500 98,000 1,000 253,000[BF]
Blackwall }

Leicester }
and } 1,000 5,700 700 8,700[BF]
Swannington }

From the table on the opposite page, it will be seen that the cost of
construction and engineering expenses amounted to 35,526,535l. out of
45,051,217l. Taking the railways quoted as representing a fair average
of the whole, we ascertain that more than one-fourth of the expense of
our railways is incurred for extras comparatively unknown in the United
States. At a general meeting of the London and North Western, in 1854,
Mr. Glyn mentioned as a fact, that a chairman of a certain line, in
giving evidence, had stated that a competition for the privilege of
making 28 miles of railway had cost 250,000l. Such an item of
expenditure can hardly enter into the cost of a railway in a country as
thinly populated as the Republic. There are also two other important
facts which are apt to be overlooked: first, that a great portion of the
railways in the United States are single lines; and secondly, that the
labour performed is of a far less solid and enduring character. A most
competent civil engineer told me that the slovenly and insecure nature
of many of the railway works in the United States was perfectly
inconceivable, and most unquestionably would not stand the inspection
required in England. A friend of mine has travelled upon a railway in
America, between Washington and Virginia, of which a great portion was
composed of merely a wooden rail with a bar of iron screwed on to the
surface.[BG] The carriages are also far less expensive and comfortable;
a carriage in the United States, which carries fifty people, weighs
twelve tons, and costs 450l.; in England it may be fairly asserted,
that for every fifty people in a mixed train there is a carriage weight
of eighteen tons, at a cost of 1500l.

The following Table, extracted from a Return moved for by Lord
Brougham, may help to give a better general idea of the reason why our
Railroads have been so costly:--

Name of London & Great Midland, South Eastern Total
Railway. North Western, and 12 and 6
Western, and 3 branches branches
and 12 branches

Length/Miles 433 215-3/4 449-1/4 198-1/2 1296-1/2

Cost of Con-
struction. L 13,302,313 6,961,011 9,064,089 5,375,366 34,702,779

and Law
Charges. L 143,479 105,269 119,344 138,034 506,128

Cost of
Land. L 3,153,226 1,132,964 1,764,582 1,458,627 7,509,399

Expenses. L 555,698 245,139 287,853 420,467 1,509,157

and Sur-
veying. L 289,698 201,909 216,110 116,039 823,756

Cost. L 17,444,414 8,646,292 11,451,978 7,508,533 45,051,217

When all the foregoing facts are taken into consideration, it must
appear clear to the reader, that until the efficiency of the work done,
the actual number of miles of rail laid down, and the comfort enjoyed
are ascertained, any comparison of the relative expenses of the
respective railways must be alike useless and erroneous; at the same
time, it can scarcely be denied that it is impossible to give the
Republic too much credit for the energy, engineering skill, and economy
with which they have railway-netted the whole continent. Much remains
for them to do in the way of organizing the corps of officials, and in
the erection of proper stations, sufficient at all events, to protect
travellers from the weather, for which too common neglect the abundance
of wood and their admirable machinery leave them without excuse; not
that we are without sin ourselves in this last particular. The uncovered
station at Warrington is a disgrace to the wealthy London and North
Western Company, and the inconveniences for changing trains at Gretna
junction is even more disreputable; but these form the rare exceptions,
and as a general rule, there cannot be the slightest comparison between
the admirably arranged corps of railway servants in England, and the
same class of men in the States; nor between the excellent stations in
this country, and the wretched counterpart thereof in the Republic.
Increased intercourse with Europe will, it is to be hoped, gradually
modify these defects; but as long as they continue the absurd system of
running only one class of carriage, the incongruous hustling together of
humanities must totally prevent the travelling in America being as
comfortable as that in the Old World.

Let us now turn from that which carries our bodies at the rate of
forty miles an hour, to that last giant stride of science by which our
words are carried quick as thought itself--the Telegraph. The Americans
soon discovered that this invention was calculated to be peculiarly
useful to them, owing to their enormous extent of territory; and having
come to this conclusion, their energy soon stretched the electric
messenger throughout the length and breadth of the land, and by the last
Census the telegraphic lines extend 16,735 miles, and the length of
wires employed amounts to 23,281. _The Seventh Census_ gives the expense
of construction as 30l. per mile.[BH] The systems in use are Morse's,
House's, and Bain's; the two former of American invention, the latter
imported from this country. Of these three the system most generally
employed is Morse's, the others being only worked upon about 2000 miles
each. It would be out of place to enter into any scientific explanation
of their different methods in these pages; suffice it to say, that all
three record their messages on ribands of paper; Morse employing a kind
of short-hand symbol which indents the paper; Bain, a set of symbols
which by chemical agency discolour the paper instead of indenting it;
and House printing Roman letters in full by the discolouring process.
Those who wish for details and explanations, will find them in the works
of Dr. Lardner and others on the Telegraph.

The following anecdote will give some idea of the rapidity with which
they work. A house in New York expected a synopsis of commercial news by
the steamer from Liverpool. A swift boat was sent down to wait for the
steamer at the quarantine ground. Immediately the steamer arrived, the
synopsis was thrown into the boat, and away she went as fast as oars and
sails could carry her to New York. The news was immediately telegraphed
to New Orleans and its receipt acknowledged back in three hours and five
minutes, and before the steamer that brought it was lashed alongside her
wharf. The distance to New Orleans by telegraph is about 2000 miles. The
most extensive purchases are frequently made at a thousand miles
distance by the medium of the telegraph. Some brokers in Wall-street
average from six to ten messages per day throughout the year. I remember
hearing of a young officer, at Niagara Falls, who, finding himself low
in the purse, telegraphed to New York for credit, and before he had
finished his breakfast the money was brought to him. Cypher is very
generally used for two reasons; first, to obtain the secrecy which is
frequently essential to commercial affairs; and secondly, that by
well-organized cypher a few words are sufficient to convey a long

Among other proposed improvements is one to transmit the signature of
individuals, maps and plans, and even the outlines of the human face, so
as to aid in the apprehension of rogues, &c. By a table of precedence,
Government messages, and messages for the furtherance of justice and
detection of criminals, are first attended to; then follow notices of
death, or calls to a dying bed; after which, is the Press, if the news
be important; if not, it takes its turn with the general, commercial,
and other news. The wires in America scorn the railway apron-strings in
which they are led about in this country. They thread their independent
course through forests, along highways and byways, through streets, over
roofs of houses,--everybody welcomes them,--appearance bows down at the
shrine of utility, and in the smallest villages these winged messengers
are seen dropping their communicative wires into the post-office, or
into some grocer's shop where a 'cute lad picks up all the passing
information--which is not in cypher--and probably retails it with an
amount of compound interest commensurate with the trouble he has taken
to obtain it. There is no doubt that many of these village stations are
not sure means of communication, partly perhaps from carelessness, and
partly from the trunk arteries having more important matter to transmit,
and elbowing their weaker neighbours out of the field. Their gradual
increase is, however, a sufficient proof that the population find them
useful, despite the disadvantages they labour under. In some instances,
they have shown a zeal without discretion, for a friend of mine, lately
arrived from the Far West, informs me, that in many places the wires may
be seen broken, and the poles tumbling down for miles and miles
together, the use of the telegraph not being sufficient even to pay for
the keeping up. This fact should be borne in mind when we give them the
full benefit of the 16,735 miles according to their own statement in
_The Seventh Census_.

The very low tariff of charge renders the use of the telegraph universal
throughout the Union. In Messrs. Whitworth's and Wallis's report, they
mention an instance of a manufacturer in New York, who had his office in
one part of the town and his works in an opposite direction, and who, to
keep up a direct communication between the two, erected a telegraph at
his own expense, obtaining leave to carry it along over the tops of the
intervening houses without any difficulty. The tariff alluded to above
will of course vary according to the extent of the useful pressure of
competition. I subjoin two of their charges as an example. From
Washington to Baltimore is forty miles, and the charge is 10d. for ten
words. From New York to New Orleans is two thousand miles, and the
charge for ten words is ten shillings. It must be remembered that these
ten words are exclusive of the names and addresses of the parties
sending and receiving the message.

The extent to which the telegraph is used in the United States, induced
those interested in the matter in England to send over for the most
competent and practical person that could be obtained, with the view of
ascertaining how far any portion of the system employed by them might be
beneficially introduced into our country. The American system is that of
the complete circuit, and therefore requiring only one wire; and the
patent of Bain was the one experimented with, as requiring the slightest
intensity of current. After considerable expense incurred in trials, the
American system was found decidedly inferior to our own, solely owing to
the humidity of our climate, which, after repeated trials, has been
found to require a far more perfect insulation than is necessary either
in the United States or on the Continent, and therefore requiring a
greater outlay of capital in bringing the telegraphic wire into a
practical working state; 260 miles is the greatest length that a battery
is equal to working in this country in the worst weather.

Bain's system was formerly not sufficiently perfected to work
satisfactorily in our climate; recent improvements are removing those
objections, and the employment of it is now rapidly increasing. The
advantages that Bain's possesses over Morse's are twofold: first, the
intensity of current required to work it is lighter; and secondly, the
discoloration it produces is far more easily read than the indentations
of Morse's. The advantage Morse's possesses over Bain's is, that the
latter requires damp paper to be always ready for working, which the
former does not. The advantage Cook and Wheatstone's[BI] possesses over
both the former is, that it does not demand the same skilled hands to
wind and adjust the machine and prepare the paper; it is always ready at
hand, and only needs attention at long intervals, for which reasons it
is more generally employed at all minor and intermediate stations; its
disadvantages are, that it does not trace the message, and consequently
leaves no telegraphic record for reference, and it requires two wires,
while Bain's or Morse's employs but one; the intensity of the current
required to work it is the same as Bain's, and rather less than Morse's.
All three admit of messages going the whole length of the line being
read at all intermediate stations. The proportion of work capable of
being done by Bain's, as compared with Cook and Wheatstone's, is: Bain's
and one wire = 3; Cook and Wheatstone's and two wires = 5. But if Bain's
had a second wire, a second set of clerks would be requisite to attend
to it. The errors from the tracing telegraph are less than those from
the magnetic needle; but the difference is very trifling. No extra clerk
is wanted by Cook and Wheatstone's, as all messages are written out by a
manifold writer. Every message sent by telegraph in England has a
duplicate copy sent by rail to the "Clearing Office," at Lothbury, to be
compared with the original; thanks to which precaution, clerks keep
their eyes open, and the public are efficiently protected from errors.

How strange it is, that with the manifest utility of the telegraph in
case of fire, and the ease with which it could be adapted to that
purpose--as it has now been for some years in Boston--the authorities
take no steps to obtain its invaluable services. The alarm of fire can
be transmitted to every district of London at the small cost of 350l.
a-year. The most competent parties are ready to undertake the contract;
but it is too large a sum for a poor little village, with only 2,500,000
of inhabitants, and not losing more than 500,000l. annually by fires,
to expend. The sums spent at St. Stephen's in giving old gentlemen
colds, and in making those of all ages sneeze from underfoot snuff--in
other words, the attempt at ventilation, which is totally useless--has
cost the country more than would be necessary to supply this vast
metropolis with telegraphic wire communication for a century.

In conclusion, I must state that in this country several establishments
and individuals have their own private telegraphs, in a similar manner
to that referred to at New York, and many more would do the same, did
not vested interests interfere.


[Footnote AX: _Vide_ observations on this subject in Chapter X.]

[Footnote AY: Extract from lecture delivered by S.B. Ruggles, at New
York, October, 1852.]

[Footnote AZ: This extract is from a lecture by S.B. Ruggles to the
citizens of Rochester, October, 1849.]

[Footnote BA: The neighbouring colony "whips" the Republic in canals.
Vessels from 350 to 400 tons can pass the St. Lawrence and Welland
Canals. Nothing above 75 tons can use the Erie Canal.]

[Footnote BB: The governor of the State, in his annual message, 1854,
calls attention to the fact, that the toll on the canals is rapidly
decreasing, and will be seriously imperilled if steps are not taken to
enlarge it.]

[Footnote BC: By the Illinois and Michigan Canal the ocean lakes
communicate with the Mississippi; and when the channel is made by Lake
Nipissing, there will be an unbroken watercourse between New Orleans,
New York, Bytown, and Quebec.]

[Footnote BD: There are upwards of 5000 miles of canal in America.]

[Footnote BE: _Vide_ an able paper on railways, written by that officer
and published in that valuable work, _Aide Memoire to the Military
Sciences_; or for fuller particulars the reader is referred to Report on
the Railways of the United States, by Capt. Douglas Galton, R.N.,
recently issued.]

[Footnote BF: This is without the expenses arising from law and
parliamentary proceedings.]

[Footnote BG: I believe the railway from Charleston to Savannah was
entirely laid down on this plan.]

[Footnote BH: Mr. Jones, in his _Historical Sketch of the Electric
Telegraph_, makes the calculation 40l. a mile, and estimates that, to
erect them durably, would cost 100l. a mile.]

[Footnote BI: Having alluded in the text to the systems of Morse, Bain,
and House, I must apologize for omitting to add, that the system of Cook
and Wheatstone consists simply of a deflecting needle--or needles--which
being acted upon by the currents, are, according to the manipulations of
the operator, made to indicate the required letters by a certain number
of ticks to the right or left.]


_America's Press and England's Censor._

In treating of a free country, the Press must ever be considered as
occupying too important an influence to be passed over in silence. I
therefore propose dedicating a few pages to the subject. The following
Table, arranged from information given in the Census Report of 1850, is
the latest account within my reach:--

_Newspapers Published._

Daily Tri-Weekly Semi-Weekly Weekly
254 115 31 1902

Printed Printed Printed Printed
Annually Annually Annually Annually
235,119,966 11,811,140 5,565,176 153,120,708

Semi-Monthly Monthly Quarterly
95 100 19

Printed Printed Printed
Annually Annually Annually
11,703,480 8,887,803 103,500

_General Classification._

Literary and Neutral and Political Religious Scientific
Miscellaneous Independent
568 88 1630 191 53

Printed Printed Printed Printed Printed
Annually Annually Annually Annually Annually
77,877,276 88,023,953 221,844,133 33,645,484 4,893,932

Total number of newspapers and periodicals, 2526; and copies printed
annually, 426,409,978.

The minute accuracy of the number of copies issued annually is a piece
of startling information: the Republic is most famous for statistics,
but how, without any stamp to test the accuracy of the issues, they have
ascertained the units while dealing with hundreds of millions is a
statistical prodigy that throws the calculating genius of a Babbage and
the miraculous powers of Herr Doebler and Anderson into the shade. I can
therefore no more pretend to explain the method they employ for
statistics, than I can the system adopted by Herr Doebler to mend plates
by firing pistols at them. The exact quantity of reliance that can be
placed upon them, I must leave to my reader's judgment.

As a general rule, it may be said that the literary, religious, and
scientific portions of the Press are printed on good paper, and provided
with useful matter, reflecting credit on the projectors and
contributors. I wish I could say the same of the political Press; but
truth compels me to give a far different account of their publications:
they certainly partake more of the "cheap and nasty" style. The paper is
generally abominable, the type is so small as to be painful to the eyes,
and would almost lead one to suppose it had been adopted at the
suggestion of a conclave of 'cute oculists: the style of language in
attacking adversaries is very low: the terms employed are painfully
coarse, and there is a total absence of dignity; besides which they are
profuse caterers to the vanity of the nation. I do not say there are no
exceptions; I merely speak generally, and as they came under my own eye,
while travelling through the whole length of the States. At the same
time, in justice, it must be stated, that they contain a great deal of
commercial information for the very small price they cost, some of them
being as low as one halfpenny in price.

I do not endorse the following extract, nor do I give it as the opinion
which editors entertain generally of each other, but rather to show the
language in which adverse opinions are expressed. It is taken from the
columns of the _The Liberator_:--"We have been in the editorial harness
for more than a quarter of a century, and, during that period, have had
every facility to ascertain the character of the American Press, in
regard to every form that has struggled for the ascendency during that
period; and we soberly aver, as our conviction, that a majority of the
proprietors and editors of public journals more justly deserve a place
in the penitentiaries of the land than the inmates of those places
generally. No felons are more lost to shame, no liars are so
unscrupulous, no calumniators are so malignant and satanic."--The
language of the foregoing is doubtless unmistakeably clear, but I think
the style can hardly be thought defensible. On general topics of
interest, if nothing occurs to stir the writer's bile, or if the theme
be not calculated to excite the vanity of their countrymen, the language
usually employed is perhaps a little metaphorical, but is at the same
time grammatical and sufficiently clear; and, I believe, that as a
general principle they expend liberally for information, and
consequently the whole Republic may be said to be kept well informed on
all passing events of interest.

If we turn for a moment from considering the American Press, to take a
slight glimpse at our own, how startling does the difference appear!
Great Britain, Ireland, and the Channel Islands, with a population
exceeding that of the United States, and with wealth immeasurably
greater, produce 624 papers, and of these comparatively few are daily;
only 180 issue above 100,000 copies annually, only 32 circulate above
500,000, and only 12 above 1,000,000. It has further been stated, that
there are 75 towns returning 115 members, and representing 1,500,000 of
the population, without any local paper at all.

The information respecting the Press in England is derived from _The
Sixth Annual Report of the Association for promoting the Repeal of the
Taxes on Knowledge_, and _The Newspaper Press Directory_. The issues
subjoined are taken from the Return ordered by the House of Commons, of
newspaper stamps, which is "_A Return of the Number of Newspaper Stamps
at one penny, issued to Newspapers in England, Wales, Scotland and
Ireland, for the year_ 1854."

_In England._

The Times 15,975,739
The News of the World 5,673,525
Illustrated London News 5,627,866
Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper 5,572,897
Weekly Times 3,902,169
Reynold's Weekly 2,496,256
Morning Advertiser 2,392,780
Weekly Dispatch 1,982,933
Daily News 1,485,099
Bell's Life in London 1,161,000
Morning Herald 1,159,000
Manchester Guardian 1,066,575
Liverpool Mercury 912,000
Morning Chronicle 873,500
The Globe 850,000
The Express 841,342
Morning Post 832,500
The Sun 825,000
Evening Mail 800,000
Leeds Mercury 735,500
Stamford Mercury 689,000
Birmingham Journal 650,750
Shipping Gazette 628,000
Weekly Messenger 625,500

_In Scotland._

North British Advertiser 802,000
Glasgow Saturday Post 727,000
North British Mail 565,000
Glasgow Herald 541,000

_In Ireland._

The Telegraph 959,000
Saunders's News Letter 756,000
Daily Express 748,000
General Advertiser 598,000

Various reasons may be given for this great difference between the Press
of the two countries. Many are disposed to attribute it, very naturally,
to the Government stamp, and the securities which are required; some, to
the machinery of Government of this country being necessarily so
complicated by ancient rights and privileges, and the difficulties of
raising a revenue, whereof the item of interest on the national debt
alone amounts to nearly 30,000,000l.; while others, again planting one
foot of the Press compass in London, show that a half circle with a
radius of five hundred miles brings nearly the whole community within
twenty-four hours' post of the metropolis, in which the best information
and the most able writers are to be found, thereby rendering it
questionable if local papers, in any numbers, would obtain sufficient
circulation to enable the editors to retain the services of men of
talent, or to procure valuable general information, without wholesale
plagiarism from their giant metropolitan rivals. Besides, it must he
remembered that in America, each State, being independent, requires a
separate press of its own, while the union of all the States renders it
necessary that the proceedings in each of the others should be known, in
order that the constitutional limits within which they are permitted to
exercise their independence, may be constantly and jealously watched;
from which cause it will be seen that there is a very simple reason for
the Republic requiring comparatively far more papers than this country,
though by no means accounting for the very great disproportion existing.

While, however, I readily admit that the newspapers of Great Britain
are greatly inferior in numbers, I am bound in justice to add, that they
are decidedly superior in tone and character. I am not defending the
wholesale manner in which, when it suits their purpose, they drag an
unfortunate individual before the public, and crucify him on the
anonymous editorial WE, which is at one and the same time their
deadliest weapon and their surest shield. Such acts all honest men must
alike deplore and condemn; but it must be admitted that the language
they employ is more in accordance with the courtesies of civilized life,
than that used by the Press of the Republic under similar circumstances;
and if, in a time of excitement and hope, they do sometimes cater for
the vanity of John Bull, they more generally employ their powers to
"take him down a peg;" and every newspaper which has sought for
popularity in the muddy waters of scurrility, has--to use an Oriental
proverb--"eaten its own dirt, and died a putrid death."

Let me now turn from the Press to the literature of the United States.
Of the higher order of publications, it is needless to say anything in
these pages. Irving, Prescott, Ticknor, Stephens, Longfellow, Hawthorne,
and writers of that stamp, are an honour to any country, and are as well
known in England as they are in America, consequently any encomium from
my pen is as unnecessary as it would be presumptuous.

The literature on which I propose to comment, is that which I may
reasonably presume to be the popular literature of the masses, because
it is the staple commodity for sale on all railways and steamboats. I
need not refer again to the most objectionable works, inasmuch as the
very fact of their being sold by stealth proves that, however numerous
their purchasers, they are at all events an outrage on public opinion. I
made a point of always purchasing whatever books appeared to me to be
selling most freely among my fellow-travellers, and I am sorry to say
that the mass of trash I thus became possessed of was perfectly
inconceivable, and the most vulgar abuse of this country was decidedly
at a premium. But their language was of itself so penny-a-liny, that
they might have lain for weeks on the book-shelf at an ordinary
railway-station in England--price, _gratis_--and nobody but a trunkmaker
or a grocer would have been at the trouble of removing them.

Not content, however, with writing trash, they do not scruple to
deceive the public in the most barefaced way by deliberate falsehood. I
have in my possession two of these specimens of honesty, purchased
solely from seeing my brother's name as the author, which of course I
knew perfectly well to be false, and which they doubtless put there
because the American public had received favourably the volumes he
really had written. Of the contents of these works attributed to him I
will only say, the rubbish was worthy of the robber. I would not convey
the idea that all the books offered for sale are of this calibre; there
are also magazines and other works, some of which are both interesting
and well-written. If I found no quick sale going on, I generally
selected some work treating of either England or the English, so as to
ascertain the popular shape in which my countrymen were represented.

One work which I got hold of, called _Northwood_, amused me much: I
there found the Englishman living under a belief that the Americans were
little better than savages and Pagans, and quite overcome at the
extraordinary scene of a household meeting together for domestic
worship, which of course was never heard of in England. This little
scene affords a charming opportunity for "buttering up" New England
piety at the cheap expense of a libel upon the old country. He then is
taken to hear a sermon, where for his special benefit, I suppose, the
preacher expatiates on the glorious field of Bunker's Hill, foretells
England's decline, and generously promises our countrymen a home in
America when they are quite "used up." The Englishman is quite overcome
with the eloquence and sympathy of the Church militant preacher, whose
discourse being composed by the authoress, I may fairly conclude is
given as a model of New England oratory in her estimation. Justice
requires I should add, that the sermons I heard during my stay in those
States were on religious topics, and not on revolutionary war.

Perhaps it may be said that _Northwood_ was written some years ago, I
will therefore pass from it to what at the present day appears to be
considered a _chef d'oeuvre_ among the popular style of works of which I
have been speaking. I ground my opinion of the high estimation in which
it is held from the flattering encomiums passed upon it by the Press
throughout the whole Republic from Boston to New Orleans. Boston styles
it a "_vigorous volume;"_ Philadelphia, a "_delightful treat;"_ New
York, "_interesting and instructive;"_ Albany admires the Author's
"_keen discriminating powers;"_ Detroit, "a _lively and racy style;" The
Christian Advocate_ styles it "_a skinning operation"_ and then adds, it
is a "_retort courteous"_ to Uncle Tommyism; Rochester honours the
author with the appellation of "_the most chivalrous American that ever
crossed the Atlantic."_ New Orleans winds up a long paragraph with the
following magnificent burst of editorial eloquence:--"_The work is
essentially American. It is the type, the representative,_ THE AGGREGATE
OUTBURST OF THE GREAT AMERICAN HEART, _so well expressed, so admirably
revealing the sentiment of our whole people_--_with the exception of
some puling lovers he speaks of-_--_that it will find sympathy in the
mind of every true son of the soil."_ The work thus heralded over the
Republic with such perfect _e pluribus unum_ concord is entitled
_English Items;_ and the embodiment of the "_aggregate outburst of the
great American heart"_ is a Mr. Matthew F. Ward, whose work is sent
forth to the public from one of the most respectable publishers in New
York--D. Appleton and Co., Broadway.

Before I present the reader specimens of ore from this valuable mine I
must make a few observations. The author is the son of one of the
wealthiest families in Kentucky, a man of education and travel, and has
appeared before the public in a work entitled _The Three Continents:_ I
have given extracts from the opinions of the Press at greater length
than I otherwise should have done, because I think after the reader has
followed me through a short review of _English Items,_ he will see what
strong internal testimony they bear to the truth of my previous
observations. I would also remark that I am not at all thin-skinned as
to travellers giving vent to their true feelings with regard to my own
country. All countries have their weaknesses, their follies, and their
wickednesses. Public opinion in England, taken as a whole, is decidedly
good, and therefore the more the wrong is laid bare the more hope for
its correction; but, while admitting this right in its fullest extent,
it is under two conditions: one that the author speak the truth, the
other that his language be not an outrage on decency or good manners.
Now then, come forth, _thou aggregate outburst of the great American
heart_![BJ] Speak for thyself--let the public be thy judge.

The following extracts are from the chapter on "Our Individual Relations
with England," the chaste style whereof must gratify the reader:--"I am
sorry to observe that it is becoming more and more the fashion,
especially among travelled Americans, to pet the British beast; ...
instead of treating him like other refractory brutes, they
pusillanimously strive to soothe him by a forbearance he cannot
appreciate; ... beasts are ruled through fear, not kindness: they
submissively lick the hand that wields the lash." Then follow
instructions for his treatment, so terrible as to make future tourists
to America tremble:--"Seize him fearlessly by the throat, and once
strangle him into involuntary silence, and the British lion will
hereafter be as fawning as he has been hitherto spiteful." He then
informs his countrymen that the English "cannot appreciate the retiring
nature of true gentility ... nor can they realize how a nation can fail
to be blustering except from cowardice." Towards the conclusion of the
chapter he explains that "hard blows are the only logic the English
understand;" and then, lest the important fact should be forgotten, he
clothes the sentiment in the following burst of genuine _American_
eloquence:--"To affect their understandings, we must punch their heads."
So much for the chapter on "Our Individual Relations with England,"
which promise to be of so friendly a nature that future travellers had
better take with them a supply of bandages, lint, and diachylon plaster,
so as to be ready for the new _genuine American_ process of intellectual

Another chapter is dedicated to "Sixpenny Miracles in England," which is
chiefly composed of _rechauffees_ from our own press, and with which the
reader is probably familiar; but there are some passages sufficiently
amusing for quotation:--"English officials are invariably impertinent,
from the policeman at the corner to the minister in Downing-street ...
a stranger might suppose them paid to insult, rather than to oblige ...
from the clerk at the railway depot to the secretary of the office where
a man is compelled to go about passports, the same laconic rudeness is
observable." How the _American mind_ must have been galled, when a
cabinet minister said, "not at home" to a free and enlightened citizen,
who, on a levee day at the White House, can follow his own
hackney-coachman into the august presence of the President elect.
Conceive him strolling up Charing Cross, then suddenly stopping in the
middle of the pavement, wrapt in thought as to whether he should cowhide
the insulting minister, or give him a chance at twenty yards with a
revolving carbine. Ere the knotty point is settled in his mind, a voice
from beneath a hat with an oilskin top sounds in his ear, "Move on, sir,
don't stop the pathway!" Imagine the sensations of a sovereign citizen
of a sovereign state, being subject to such indignities from stipendiary
ministers and paid police. Who can wonder that he conceives it the duty
of government so to regulate public offices, &c., "as to protect not
only its own subjects, but strangers, from the insults of these
impertinent hirelings." The bile of the author rises with his subject,
and a few pages further on he throws it off in the following beautiful
sentence:--"Better would it be for the honour of the English nation if
they had been born in the degradation, as they are endued with the
propensities, of the modern Egyptians."

At last, among other "sixpenny miracles," he arrives at the Zoological
Gardens,--the beauty of arrangement, the grandness of the scale, &c.,
strike him forcibly; but his keen inquiring mind, and his accurately
recording pen, have enabled him to afford his countrymen information
which most of my co-members in the said Society were previously
unconscious of. He tells them, "It is under control of the English
Government, and subject to the same degradation as Westminster, St.
Paul's, &c."--Starting from this basis, which only wants truth to make
it solid, he complains of "the meanness of reducing the nation to the
condition of a common showman;" the trifling mistake of confounding
public and private property moves his democratic _chivalry_, and he
takes up the cudgels for the masses. I almost fear to give the sentence
publicity, lest it should shake the Ministry, and be a rallying-point
for Filibustero Chartists. My anticipation of but a moderate circulation
for this work must plead my excuse for not withholding it. "The
Government basely use, without permission, the authority of the people's
name, to make them sharers in a disgrace for which they alone are
responsible. A stranger, in paying his shilling for admission into an
exhibition, which has been dubbed nation (by whom?) in contradistinction
from another in the Surrey Gardens, very naturally suspects that the
people are partners in this contemptible transaction.... The English
people are compelled to pay for the ignominy with which their despotic
rulers have loaded them." Having got his foot into this mare's nest, he
finds an egg a little further on, which he thus hatches for the American
public: "Englishmen not only regard eating as the most inestimable
blessing of life, when they enjoy it themselves, but they are always
intensely delighted to see it going on. The Government charge an extra
shilling at the Zoological Gardens on the days that the animals are fed
in public; but, as much as an Englishman dislikes spending money, the
extraordinary attraction never fails to draw," &c.

From the Gardens he visits Chelsea Hospital, where his _keen
discriminating powers_ having been sharpened by the demand for a
shilling--the chief object of which demand is to protect the pensioners
from perpetual intrusion--he bursts forth in a sublime magnifico
Kentuckyo flight of eloquence: "Sordid barbarians might degrade the
wonderful monuments of their more civilized ancestors by charging
visitors to see them; but to drag from their lowly retreat these maimed
and shattered victims of national ambition, to be stared at, and
wondered at, like caged beasts, is an outrage against humanity that even
savages would shrink from." And then, a little further on, he makes the
following profound reflection, which no doubt appears to the _American
mind_ peculiarly appropriate to Chelsea Hospital: "Cringing to the
great, obsequious to the high, the dwarfed souls of Englishmen have no
wide extending sympathy for the humble, no soothing pity for the lowly,"
&c. It would probably astonish some of the readers who have been gulled
by his book, could they but know that the sum paid by Great Britain for
the support and pension of her veterans by sea and land costs annually
nearly enough to buy, equip, and pay the whole army and navy of the
United States.[BK]

The next "sixpenny miracle" he visits is Chatsworth, which calls forth
the following _vigorous_ attack on sundry gentlemen, clothed in the
author's peculiarly _lively and racy_ language: "The showy magnificence
of Chatsworth, Blenheim, and the gloomy grandeur of Warwick and Alnwick
Castles, serve to remind us, like the glittering shell of the tortoise,
what worthless and insignificant animals often inhabit the most splendid
mansions." He follows up this general castigation of the owners of the
above properties with the infliction of a special cowhiding upon the
Duke of Devonshire, who, he says, "would, no doubt, be very reluctant
frankly to confess to the world, that although he had the vanity to
affect liberality, he was too penurious to bear the expense of it. Like
the ostrich, he sticks his head in the sand, and imagines himself in the
profoundest concealment." He then begs the reader to understand, that he
does not mean to intimate "that any portion of the large amounts
collected at the doors of Chatsworth actually goes into the pocket of
His Grace, but they are, nevertheless, remarkably convenient in
defraying the expense of a large household of servants.... The idea of a
private gentleman of wealth and rank deriving a profit from the
exhibition of his grounds must be equally revolting to all classes."
These truthful observations are followed by a description of the
gardens; and the whole is wound up in the following _chivalrous and
genuine American_ reflection: "Does it not appear extraordinary that a
man dwelling in a spot of such fairy loveliness should retain and
indulge the most grovelling instincts of human nature's lowest grade?"
What a _delightful treat_ these passages must be to the rowdy
Americans, and how the Duke must writhe under--what _The Christian
Advocate_ lauds as--the _skinning operation _of the renowned American

The Press-bespattered author then proceeds to make some observations on
various subjects, in a similar vein of chaste language, lighting at last
upon the system of the sale of army commissions. His vigour is so great
upon this point, that had he only been in the House of Commons when the
subject was under consideration, his eloquence must have hurled the
"hireling ministers" headlong from the government. I can fancy them
sitting pale and trembling as the giant orator thus addressed the House:
"She speculates in glory as a petty hucksterer does in rancid cheese;
but the many who hate, and the few who despise England, cannot exult
over her baseness in selling commissions in her own army. There is a
degree of degradation which changes scorn into pity, and makes us
sincerely sympathize with those whom we most heartily despise." The
annexed extract from his observations on English writers on America is
an equally elegant specimen of _genuine American feeling:_--"When the
ability to calumniate is the only power which has survived the gradual
encroachment of bowels upon intellect in Great Britain, it would be a
pity to rob the English even of this miserable evidence of mind ... she
gloats over us with that sort of appetizing tenderness which might be
supposed to have animated a sow that had eaten her nine farrow." The
subjoined sentiment, if it rested with the author to verify, would
doubtless be true; and I suppose it is the paragraph which earned for
his work the laudations of _The Christian Advocate:_--"Mutual enmity is
the only feeling which can ever exist between the two nations.... She
gave us no assistance in our rise.... She must expect none from us in
her decline." How frightful is the contemplation of this omnipotent and
_Christian_ threat! It is worthy of the consideration of my countrymen
whether they had not better try and bribe the great Matt. Ward to use
his influence in obtaining them recognition as American territory. The
honour of being admitted as a sovereign state is too great to be hoped
for. He has already discovered signs of our decay, and therefore informs
the reader that "the weaker rival ever nurses the bitterest hate." This
information is followed by extracts from various English writers
commenting upon America, at one of whom he gets so indignant, that he
suggests as an appropriate _American_ translation of the F.R.S. which is
added to the author's name, "First Royal Scavenger."

He then gets into a fever about the remarks made by travellers upon what
they conceive to be the filthy practice of indiscriminate spitting. He
becomes quite furious because he has never found any work in which "an
upstart inlander has ever preached a crusade against the Turks because
they did not introduce knives and forks at their tables," &c. Even
Scripture--and this, be it remembered, by the sanction of _The Christian
Advocate_--is blasphemously quoted to extenuate the American practice of
expectoration. "What, after all, is there so unbearably revolting about
spitting? Our Saviour, in one of his early miracles, 'spat upon the
ground and made clay of the spittle, and anointed the eyes of the blind
man with the clay. And he said unto him, Go wash in the pool of Siloam.
He went his way therefore and washed, and came seeing.' I have with a
crowd of pilgrims gone down to drink from this very pool, for the water
had borrowed new virtue from the miracle." He then states his strong
inclination to learn to chew tobacco in order to show his contempt for
the opinions of travellers. What a beautiful picture to contemplate--a
popular author with a quid of Virginia before him; Nausea drawing it
back with one hand, and Vengeance bringing it forward with the other!
Suddenly a bright idea strikes him: others may do what he dare not; so
he makes the following stirring appeal to his countrymen: "Let us spit
out courageously before the whole world ... let us spit fearlessly and
profusely. Spitting on ordinary occasions may be regarded by a portion
of my countrymen as a luxury: it becomes a duty in the presence of an
Englishman. Let us spit around him--above him--beneath him--everywhere
but on him, that he may become perfectly familiar with the habit in all
its phases. I would make it the first law of hospitality to an
Englishman, that every tobacco-twist should be called into requisition,
and every spittoon be flooded, in order thoroughly to initiate him into
the mysteries of chewing. Leave no room for imagination to work. Only
spit him once into a state of friendly familiarity with the barbarous
custom," &c. What a splendid conception!--the population of a whole
continent organized under the expectorating banner of the illustrious
Matt. Ward: field-days twice a week; ammunition supplied _gratis;_
liberal prizes to the best marksmen. The imagination is perfectly
bewildered in the contemplation of so majestic an _aggregate outburst of
the great American_ mouth. I would only suggest that they should gather
round the margin of Lake Superior, lest in their hospitable
entertainment of the "upstart islanders" they destroyed the vegetation
of the whole continent.

In another chapter he informs his countrymen that the four hundred and
thirty nobles in England speak and act for the nation; his knowledge of
history, or his love of truth, ignoring that little community called the
House of Commons. Bankers and wealthy men come under the ban of his
condemnation, as having no time for "enlightened amusements;" he then,
with that truthfulness which makes him so safe a guide to his readers,
adds that "they were never known to manifest a friendship, except for
the warehouse cat; they have no time to talk, and never write except on
business; all hours are office-hours to them, except those they devote
to dinner and sleep; they know nothing, they love nothing, and hope for
nothing beyond the four walls of their counting-room; nobody knows them,
nobody loves them; they are too mean to make friends, and too silent to
make acquaintances," &c. What very interesting information this must be
for Messrs. Baring and their co-fraternity!

In another part of this volume, the author becomes suddenly impressed
with deep reverence for the holy localities of the East, and he falls
foul of Dr. Clarke for his scepticism on these points, winding up his
remarks in the following beautiful Kentucky vein:--"A monster so
atrocious could only have been a Goth or an Englishman." How fortunate
for his countryman, Dr. Robinson, that he had never heard of his three
learned tomes on the same subject! though, perhaps, scepticism in an
American, in his discriminating mind, would have been deep erudition
correcting the upstart islanders. The great interest which he evinces
for holy localities--accompanied as it is by an expression of horror at
some English traveller, who, he asserts, thought that David picked up
his pebbles in a brook between Jordan and the Dead Sea, whereas he knew
it was in an opposite direction--doubtless earned for him the patronage
of _The Christian Advocate_; and the pious indignation he expresses at
an Englishman telling him he would get a good dinner at Mount Carmel, is
a beautiful illustration of his religious feelings.

The curious part of this portion of Mr. Ward's book is, that having
previously informed his countrymen, in every variety of American
phraseology, that the English are composed of every abominable compound
which can exist in human nature, he selects them as his companions, and
courts their friendship to enjoy the pleasure of betraying it. Of
course, if one is to judge by former statements made in the volume,
which are so palpably and ridiculously false, one may reasonably
conclude that truth is equally disregarded here; but it looks to me
rather as if my countrymen had discovered his cloven hoof, as well as
his overweening vanity and pretensions, and, when he got pompously
classical, in his trip through Greece, they amused themselves at his
expense by suggesting that the Acropolis "was a capital place for
lunch;" Parnassus, "a regular sell;" Thermopylae, "great for
water-cresses." Passing on from his companions--one of whom was a fellow
of Oxford, and the other a captain in Her Majesty's service--he becomes
grandly Byronic, and consequently quite frantic at the idea of Mr. A.
Tennyson supplanting him! "Byron and Tennyson!--what an unholy alliance
of names!--what sinful juxtaposition! He who could seriously compare the
insipid effusions of Mr. Tennyson with the mighty genius of Byron, might
commit the sacrilege of likening the tricks of Professor Anderson to the
miracles of Our Saviour."

Having delivered himself of this pious burst, he proceeds to a
castigation of the English for their observations on the nasal twang of
his countrymen, and also for their criticism upon the sense in which
sundry adjectives are used; and, to show the superior purity of the
American language, he informs the reader that in England "the most
elegant and refined talk constantly of "fried 'am" ... they seem very
reluctant to _h_acknowledge this peculiarly _h_exceptionable 'abit, and
_h_insist that _h_it _h_is confined to the low and _h_ignorant of the
country." He then gets indignant that we call "stone" "stun," and
measure the gravity of flesh and blood thereby. "To unsophisticated
ears, 21 stone 6 pounds sounds infinitely less than three hundred
pounds, which weight is a fair average of the avoirdupois density of the
Sir Tunbelly Clumsies of the middle and upper classes."

From this elegant sentence he passes on to the evils of idleness, in
treating of which he supplies _The Christian Advocate_ with the true
cause of original sin. "Does any one imagine that the forbidden fruit
would ever have been tasted if Adam had been daily occupied in tilling
the earth, and Eve, like a good housewife, in darning fig-leaf aprons
for herself and her husband? Never!" The observation would lead one to
imagine that the Bible was a scarce article in Kentucky. He passes on
from Adam to the banker and merchant of the present day, and informs the
reader that they command a high respect in society, but it would be
deemed a shocking misapplication of terms to speak of any of them as
gentlemen. After which truthful statement, he enters into a long
definition of a gentleman, as though he thought his countrymen totally
ignorant on that point: he gets quite _chivalrous_ in his description:
"He ought to touch his hat to his opponent with whom he was about to
engage in mortal combat."[BM] After which remark he communicates two
pieces of information--the one as true as the other is modest:
"Politeness is deemed lessening to the position of a gentleman in
England; in America it is thought his proudest boast." Of course he only
alludes to manner; his writings prove at every page that _genuine
American feeling_ dispenses with it in language. His politeness, I
suppose, may be described in the words Junius applied to
friendship:--"The insidious smile upon the cheek should warn you of the
canker in the heart." By way of encouraging civility, he informs the
reader that an Englishman "never appears so disgusting as when he
attempts to be especially kind; ...in affecting to oblige, he becomes
insulting." He confesses, however, "I have known others in America whom
you would never suspect of being Englishmen--they were such good
fellows; but they had been early transplanted from England. If the sound
oranges be removed from a barrel in which decay has commenced, they may
be saved; but if suffered to remain, they are all soon reduced to the
same disgusting state."

His discriminating powers next penetrate some of the deep mysteries of
animal nature: he discovers that the peculiarities of the bullock and
the sheep have been gradually absorbed into the national character, as
far as conversation is concerned. "They have not become woolly, nor do
they wear horns, but the nobility are eternally bellowing forth the
astounding deeds of their ancestors, whilst the muttonish middle classes
bleat a timorous approval.... Such subjects constitute their fund of
amusing small talk," &c. From the foregoing elegant description of
conversation, he passes onwards to the subject of gentility, and
describes a young honourable, on board a steamer, who refused to shut a
window when asked by a sick and suffering lady, telling the husband, "he
could not consent to be suffocated though his wife was sick." And having
cooked up the story, he gives the following charming reason for his
conduct: "He dreaded the possibility of compromising his own position
and that of his noble family at home by obliging an ordinary person." He
afterwards touches upon English visitors to America, who, he says,
"generally come among us in the undisguised nakedness of their
vulgarity. Wholly freed from the restraints imposed upon them at home by
the different grades in society, they indolently luxuriate in the
inherent brutality of their nature. They constantly violate not only all
rules of decorum, but the laws of decency itself.... They abuse our
hospitality, insult our peculiar institutions, set at defiance all the
refinements of life, and return home, lamenting the social anarchy of
America, and retailing their own indecent conduct as the ordinary
customs of the country.... The pranks which, in a backwoods American,
would be stigmatized as shocking obscenity, become, when perpetrated by
a rich Englishman, charming evidence of sportive humour," &c.

A considerable portion of the volume is dedicated to Church matters; for
which subject the meek and lowly style which characterizes his writing
pre-eminently qualifies him, and to which, doubtless, he is indebted for
the patronage of _The Christian Advocate_. I shall only indulge the
reader with the following beautiful description of the Established
Church:--"It is a bloated, unsightly mass of formalities, hypocrisy,
bigotry, and selfishness, without a single charitable impulse or pious
aspiration." After this touching display of _genuine American feeling_,
he draws the picture of a clergyman in language so opposite, that one is
reminded of a certain mysterious personage, usually represented with
cloven feet, and who is said to be very apt at quoting Scripture.

Heraldry and ancestry succeed the Church in gaining a notice from his
pen; and his researches have gone so deep, that one is led to
imagine--despite his declarations of contempt--that he looks forward to
becoming some day The Most Noble the Duke of Arkansas and Mississippi,
with a second title of Viscount de' Tucky and Ohio;[BN] the "de"
suggestive of his descent from _The Three Continents_. One of the most
remarkable discoveries he has made, is, that "the soap-makers and the
brewers are the compounders of the great staple commodities of
consumption in Great Britain, and therefore surpass even Charles himself
in the number of their additions to the Peerage." This valuable hint
should not be lost upon those employed in these useful occupations, as
hope is calculated to stimulate zeal and ambition.

The last quotations I propose making from this _vigorous volume_ are
taken from the seventh chapter, headed, "English Devotion to Dinner." On
this subject the author seems to have had his _keen discriminating
powers_ peculiarly sharpened; and the observations made are in most
_lively and racy style_, and--according to the Press--perfectly
_courteous_. The Englishman "is never free till armed with a knife and
fork; indeed, he is never completely himself without them[BO] ... which
may he as properly considered integral portions of an Englishman, as
claws are of a cat; ... they are not original even in their gluttony;
... they owe to a foreign nation the mean privilege of bestial
indulgence; ... they make a run into Scotland for the sake of oatmeal
cakes, and sojourn amongst the wild beauties of Switzerland in order to
be convenient to goat's milk.... Like other carnivorous animals, an
Englishman is always surly over his meals. Morose at all times, he
becomes unbearably so at that interesting period of the day, when his
soul appears to cower among plates and dishes; ... though he gorges his
food with the silent deliberation of the anaconda, yet, in descanting
upon the delicacies of the last capital dinner, he makes an approach to
animation altogether unusual to him; ... when, upon such auspicious
occasions, he does go off into something like gaiety, there is such
fearful quivering of vast jelly mounds of flesh, something so
supernaturally tremendous in his efforts, that, like the recoil of an
overloaded musket, he never fails to astound those who happen to be near
him." But his _keen observation_ has discovered a practice before
dinner, which, being introduced into the centre of various censures, may
also be fairly supposed to be considered by him and his friends of the
Press as most objectionable, and as forming one of the aggregate _Items_
which constitute the English beast. "For dinner, he bathes, rubs, and
dresses." How filthy! Yet be not too hard upon him, reader, for this
observation; I have travelled in his neighbourhood, on the Mississippi
steamers, and I can, therefore, well understand how the novelty of the
operation must have struck him with astonishment, and how repugnant the
practice must have been to his habits.

Among other important facts connected with this great question, his
_discriminating_ mind has ascertained that an Englishman "makes it a
rule to enjoy a dinner at his own expense as little as possible." Armed
with this important discovery, he lets drive the following American
shell, thus shivering to atoms the whole framework of our society. The
nation may tremble as it reads these withering words of Kentucky
eloquence:--"When it is remembered that of all the vices, avarice is
most apt to corrupt the heart, and gluttony has the greatest tendency to
brutalize the mind, it no longer continues surprising that an
Englishman has become a proverb of meanness from Paris to Jerusalem. The
hatred and contempt of all classes of society as necessarily attend him
in his wanderings as his own shadow.... Equally repulsive to every grade
of society, he stands isolated and alone, a solitary monument of the
degradation of which human nature is capable."

Feeling that ordinary language is insufficient to convey his _courteous_
and _chivalrous_ sentiments, he ransacks natural history in search of a
sublime metaphor: his triumphant success he records in this beautifully
expressed sentence--"The dilating power of the anaconda and the gizzard
of the cassowary are the highest objects of his ambition." But neither
ordinary language nor metaphor can satisfy his lofty aspirations: it
requires something higher, it requires an embodiment of _genuine
American feeling, vigorous yet courteous_; his giant intellect rises
equal to the task. He warns my countrymen "to use expletives oven with
the danger of being diffuse, rather than be so blunt and so vulgar;" and
then--by way, I suppose, of showing them how to be sarcastic without
being either blunt or vulgar--he delivers himself of the following
magnificent bursts:--"If guts could perform the function of brains,
Greece's seven wise men would cease to be proverbial, for England would
present to the world twenty-seven millions of sages.... To eat, to
drink, to look greasy, and to grow fat, appear to constitute, in their
opinion, the career of a worthy British subject.... The lover never asks
his fair one if she admires Donizetti's compositions, but tenderly
inquires if she loves beef-steak pies. This sordid vice of greediness is
rapidly brutalizing natures not originally spiritual; every other
passion is sinking, oppressed by flabby folds of fat, into helplessness.
All the mental energies are crushed beneath the oily mass. Sensibility
is smothered in, the feculent steams of roast beef, and delicacy stained
by the waste drippings of porter. The brain is slowly softening into
blubber, and the liver is gradually encroaching upon the heart. All the
nobler impulses of man are yielding to those animal propensities which
must soon render Englishmen beasts in all save form alone."

I have now finished my _Elegant Extracts_ from the work of Mr. Ward. The
reader can judge for himself of Boston's "_vigorous volume_," of
Philadelphia's "_delightful treat_," of Rochester's "_chivalrous and
genuine Amercan feeling_," of The Christian Advocate's "_retort
courteous_," and of New Orleans' "_aggregate outburst of the great
American heart_," &c. These compliments from the Press derive additional
value from the following passage in the work they eulogize. Pages 96,
97, Mr. Ward writes: "It is the labour of every author so to adapt his
style and sentiments to the tastes of his readers, as most probably to
secure their approbation.... The consciousness that his success is so
wholly dependent on their approval, will make him, without his being
aware of it, adapt his ideas to theirs." And the New Orleans Press
endorses all the author's sentiments, and insults American gentlemen and
American intelligence, by asserting that it "_admirably reveals the
sentiments of the whole people, and will find sympathy in the mind of
every true son of the soil_."

Before taking a final leave of _English Items_, I owe some apology to
the reader for the length at which I have quoted from it. My only excuse
is, that I desired to show the grounds upon which I spoke disparagingly
of a portion of the Press, and of the low popular literature of the
country. I might have quoted from various works instead of one; but if I
had done so, it might fairly have been said that I selected an isolated
passage for a particular purpose; or else, had I quoted largely, I might
have been justly charged with being tedious. Besides which, to
corroborate my assertions regarding the Press, I should have been bound
to give their opinion also upon each book from which I quoted; and,
beyond all these reasons, I felt that the generality of the works of low
literature which I came across were from the pen of people with far less
education than the author I selected, who, as I have before remarked,
belongs to one of the wealthiest families in Kentucky, and for whom,
consequently, neither the want of education nor the want of
opportunities of mixing in respectable society--had he wished to do
so--can be offered as the slightest extenuation.[BP]

I feel also that I owe some apology to my American friends for dragging
such a work before the public; but I trust they will find sufficient
excuse for my doing so, in the explanation thus afforded, of the way the
mind of Young America gets poisoned, and which will also partly account
for the abuse of this country that is continually appearing in their
Press. I feel sure there is hardly a gentleman in America, whose
acquaintance I had the pleasure of making, who would read even the first
twenty pages of the book; and I am in justice hound to say, that among
all the works of a similar class which I saw, _English Items_ enjoys
unapproachable pre-eminence in misrepresentation and vulgarity, besides
being peculiarly contemptible, from the false being mixed up with many
true statements of various evils and iniquities still existing in
England, and which, being quoted from our own Press, are calculated to
give the currency of truth to the whole work, among that mass of his
countrymen who, with all their intelligence, are utterly ignorant of
England, either socially or politically.

The subsequent career of this censor of English manners and morals is
too remarkable to be passed over in silence. I therefore now proceed to
give you a short epitome of it, as a specimen of morals and manners in
Kentucky, as exhibited by him, and his trial. My information is taken
from the details of the trial published at full length, a copy of which
I obtained in consequence of the extraordinary accounts of the
transaction which I read in the papers. Professor Butler had formerly
been tutor in the family of the Wards, and was equally esteemed by them
and the public of Louisville generally. At the time of the following
occurrence the Professor was Principal of the High School in that city.

One of the boys at the school was William--brother of Mr. Matt. F. Ward:
it appears that in the opinion of the Professor the boy had been guilty
of eating nuts in the school and denying it, for which offence he was
called out and whipped, as the master told him, for telling a lie.
Whether the charge or the punishment was just is not a point of any
moment, though I must say the testimony goes far to justify both.
William goes home, complains to his brother Matt. F., not so much of the
severity of the punishment, as of being called a liar. The elder brother

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