Part 1 out of 7
Skip Doughty, Tiffany Vergon, Charles Franks, and the Online Distributed
SUNNY MEMORIES OF FOREIGN LANDS.
BY MRS. HARRIET BEECHER STOWE,
Author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," Etc.
..... "When thou haply seest
Some rare note-worthy object in thy travels,
Make me partake of thy happiness."
IN TWO VOLUMES.
CONTENTS OF THE SECOND VOLUME.
Breakfast.--Macaulay.--Hallam.--Milman.--Sir R. Inglis.--
Lunch at Surrey Parsonage.--Dinner at Sir E. Buxton's.
Dinner at Lord Shaftesbury's.
Stoke Newington.--Exeter Hall.--Antislavery Meeting.
Windsor.--The Picture Gallery.--Eton.--The Poet Gray.
LETTER XXIII. Rev. Mr. Gurney.--Richmond, the Artist.--Kossuth.--
Pembroke Lodge.--Dinner at Lord John Russell's.--Lambeth Palace.
Joseph Sturge.--The "Times" upon Dressmaking.--Duke of Argyle.--
Sir David Brewster.--Lord Mahon.--Mr. Gladstone.
London Milliners.--Lord Shaftesbury.
LETTER XXVII. Archbishop of Canterbury's Sermon to the Ragged
Scholars.--Mr. Cobden.--Miss Greenfield's Concert.--Rev. S. R. Ward.
--Lady Byron.--Mrs. Jameson.--George Thompson.--Ellen Crafts.
Model Lodging Houses.--Lodging House Act.--Washing Houses.
LETTER XXIX. Benevolent Movements.--The Poor Laws.--The Insane.--
Factory Operatives.--Schools, &c.
LETTER XXX. Presentation at Surrey Chapel.--House of Parliament.--
Miss Greenfield's Second Concert.--Sir John Malcolm.--The Charity
London to Paris.--Church Music.--The Shops.--The Louvre.--Music at
the Tuileries.--A Salon.--Versailles.--M. Belloc.
The Louvre.--The Venus de Milon.
M. Belloc's Studio.--M. Charpentier.--Salon Musicale.--Peter
Parley.--Jardin Mabille.--Remains of Nineveh.--The Emperor.--
Versailles.--Sartory.--Père la Chaise.--Adolphe Monod.--Paris to
Lyons.--Diligence to Geneva.--Mont Blanc.--Lake Leman.
Route to Chamouni.--Glaciers.
Chamouni.--Rousse, the Mule.--The Ascent.
The Ice Fields.
Chamouni to Martigny.--Humors of the Mules.
Alpine Flowers.--Pass of the Tête Noir.
Ascent to St. Bernard.--The Dogs.
Castle Chillon.--Bonnevard.--Mont Blanc from Geneva.--Luther and
Calvin.--Madame De Wette.--M. Fazy.
A Serenade.--Lausanne.--Freyburg.--Berne.--The Staubbach.--
Wengern Alps.--Flowers.--Glaciers.--The Eiger.
Glaciers.--Interlachen.--Sunrise in the Mountains.--Monument to the
Swiss Guards of Louis XVI.--Basle.--Strasbourg.
Frankfort.--Lessing's "Trial of Huss."
To Cologne.--The Cathedral.
Cologne.--Church of St. Ursula.--Relics.--Dusseldorf.
To Leipsic.--M. Tauchnitz.--Dresden.--The Gallery.--Berlin.
The Dresden Gallery.--Schoeffer.
Berlin.--The Palace.--The Museum.
Wittenberg.--Luther's House.--Melanchthon's House.
Erfurt.--The Cathedral.--Luther's Cell.--The Wartburg.
The Smoker discomfited.--Antwerp.--The Cathedral Chimes.--To Paris.
Paris.--School of Design.--Egyptian and Assyrian Remains.--Mrs. S. C.
Hall.--The Pantheon.--The Madeleine.--Notre Dame.--Béranger.--French
Character.--Observance of Sunday.
Seasickness on the Channel.
York.--Castle Howard.--Leeds.--Fountains Abbey.--Liverpool.--Irish
This letter I consecrate to you, because I know that the persons and
things to be introduced into it will most particularly be appreciated
In your evening reading circles, Macaulay, Sidney Smith, and Milman
have long been such familiar names that you will be glad to go with me
over all the scenes of my morning breakfast at Sir Charles Trevelyan's
yesterday. Lady Trevelyan, I believe I have said before, is the sister
of Macaulay, and a daughter of Zachary Macaulay--that undaunted
laborer for the slave, whose place in the hearts of all English
Christians is little below saintship.
We were set down at Welbourne Terrace, somewhere, I believe, about
eleven o'clock, and found quite a number already in the drawing room.
I had met Macaulay before, but as you have not, you will of course ask
a lady's first question, "How does he look?"
Well, my dear, so far as relates to the mere outward husk of the soul,
our engravers and daguerreotypists have done their work as well as
they usually do. The engraving that you get in the best editions of
his works may be considered, I suppose, a fair representation of how
he looks, when he sits to have his picture taken, which is generally
very different from the way any body looks at any other time. People
seem to forget, in taking likenesses, that the features of the face
are nothing but an alphabet, and that a dry, dead map of a person's
face gives no more idea how one looks than the simple presentation of
an alphabet shows what there is in a poem.
Macaulay's whole physique gives you the impression of great strength
and stamina of constitution. He has the kind of frame which we usually
imagine as peculiarly English; short, stout, and firmly knit. There is
something hearty in all his demonstrations. He speaks in that full,
round, rolling voice, deep from the chest, which we also conceive of
as being more common in England than America. As to his conversation,
it is just like his writing; that is to say, it shows very strongly
the same qualities of mind.
I was informed that he is famous for a most uncommon memory; one of
those men to whom it seems impossible to forget any thing once read;
and he has read all sorts of things that can be thought of, in all
languages. A gentleman told me that he could repeat all the old
Newgate literature, hanging ballads, last speeches, and dying
confessions; while his knowledge of Milton is so accurate, that, if
his poems were blotted out of existence, they might be restored simply
from his memory. This same accurate knowledge extends to the Latin and
Greek classics, and to much of the literature of modern Europe. Had
nature been required to make a man to order, for a perfect historian,
nothing better could have been put together, especially since there is
enough of the poetic fire included in the composition, to fuse all
these multiplied materials together, and color the historical
crystallization with them.
Macaulay is about fifty. He has never married; yet there are
unmistakable evidences in the breathings and aspects of the family
circle by whom he was surrounded, that the social part is not wanting
in his conformation. Some very charming young lady relatives seemed to
think quite as much of their gifted uncle as you might have done had
he been yours.
Macaulay is celebrated as a conversationalist; and, like Coleridge,
Carlyle, and almost every one who enjoys this reputation, he has
sometimes been accused of not allowing people their fair share in
conversation. This might prove an objection, possibly, to those who
wish to talk; but as I greatly prefer to hear, it would prove none to
me. I must say, however, that on this occasion the matter was quite
equitably managed. There were, I should think, some twenty or thirty
at the breakfast table, and the conversation formed itself into little
eddies of two or three around the table, now and then welling out into
a great bay of general discourse. I was seated between Macaulay and
Milman, and must confess I was a little embarrassed at times, because
I wanted to hear what they were both saying at the same time. However,
by the use of the faculty by which you play a piano with both hands, I
got on very comfortably.
Milman's appearance is quite striking; tall, stooping, with a keen
black eye and perfectly white hair--a singular and poetic contrast. He
began upon architecture and Westminster Abbey--a subject to which I am
always awake. I told him I had not yet seen Westminster; for I was now
busy in seeing life and the present, and by and by I meant to go there
and see death and the past.
Milman was for many years dean of Westminster, and kindly offered me
his services, to indoctrinate me into its antiquities.
Macaulay made some suggestive remarks on cathedrals generally. I said
that I thought it singular that we so seldom knew who were the
architects that designed these great buildings; that they appeared to
me the most sublime efforts of human genius.
He said that all the cathedrals of Europe were undoubtedly the result
of one or two minds; that they rose into existence very nearly
contemporaneously, and were built by travelling companies of masons,
under the direction of some systematic organization. Perhaps you knew
all this before, but I did not; and so it struck me as a glorious
idea. And if it is not the true account of the origin of cathedrals,
it certainly ought to be; and, as our old grandmother used to say,
"I'm going to believe it."
Looking around the table, and seeing how every body seemed to be
enjoying themselves, I said to Macaulay, that these breakfast parties
were a novelty to me; that we never had them in America, but that I
thought them the most delightful form of social life.
He seized upon the idea, as he often does, and turned it playfully
inside out, and shook it on all sides, just as one might play with the
lustres of a chandelier--to see them glitter. He expatiated on the
merits of breakfast parties as compared with all other parties. He
said dinner parties are mere formalities. You invite a man to dinner
because you _must_ invite him; because you are acquainted with
his grandfather, or it is proper you should; but you invite a man to
breakfast because you want to see _him_. You may be sure, if you
are invited to breakfast, there is something agreeable about you. This
idea struck me as very sensible; and we all, generally having the fact
before our eyes that _we_ were invited to breakfast, approved the
"Yes," said Macaulay, "depend upon it; if a man is a bore he never
gets an invitation to breakfast."
"Rather hard on the poor bores," said a lady.
"Particularly," said Macaulay, laughing, "as bores are usually the
most irreproachable of human beings. Did you ever hear a bore
complained of when they did not say that he was the best fellow in the
world? For my part, if I wanted to get a guardian for a family of
defenceless orphans, I should inquire for the greatest bore in the
vicinity. I should know that he would be a man of unblemished honor
The conversation now went on to Milton and Shakspeare. Macaulay made
one remark that gentlemen are always making, and that is, that there
is very little characteristic difference between Shakspeare's women.
Well, there is no hope for that matter; so long as men are not women
they will think so. In general they lump together Miranda, Juliet,
Desdemona, and Viola,
"As matter too soft a lasting mark to bear,
And best distinguished as black, brown, or fair."
It took Mrs. Jameson to set this matter forth in her Characteristics
of Women; a book for which Shakspeare, if he could get up, ought to
make her his best bow, especially as there are fine things ascribed to
him there, which, I dare say, he never thought of, careless fellow
that he was! But, I take it, every true painter, poet, and artist is
in some sense so far a prophet that his utterances convey more to
other minds than he himself knows; so that, doubtless, should all the
old masters rise from the dead, they might be edified by what
posterity has found in their works.
Some how or other, we found ourselves next talking about Sidney Smith;
and it was very pleasant to me, recalling the evenings when your
father has read and we have laughed over him, to hear him spoken of as
a living existence, by one who had known him. Still, I have always had
a quarrel with Sidney, for the wicked use to which he put his wit, in
abusing good old Dr. Carey, and the missionaries in India; nay, in
some places he even stooped to be spiteful and vulgar. I could not
help, therefore, saying, when Macaulay observed that he had the most
agreeable wit of any literary man of his acquaintance, "Well, it was
very agreeable, but it could not have been very agreeable to the
people who came under the edge of it," and instanced his treatment of
Dr. Carey. Some others who were present seemed to feel warmly on this
subject, too, and Macaulay said,--
"Ah, well, Sidney repented of that, afterwards." He seemed to cling to
his memory, and to turn from every fault to his joviality, as a thing
he could not enough delight to remember.
Truly, wit, like charity, covers a multitude of sins. A man who has
the faculty of raising a laugh in this sad, earnest world is
remembered with indulgence and complacency, always.
There were several other persons of note present at this breakfast,
whose conversation I had not an opportunity of hearing, as they sat at
a distance from me. There was Lord Glenelg, brother of Sir Robert
Grant, governor of Bombay, whose beautiful hymns have rendered him
familiar in America. The favorite one, commencing "When gathering
clouds around I view," was from his pen. Lord Glenelg, formerly Sir
Charles Grant, himself has been the author of several pieces of
poetry, which were in their time quite popular.
The historian Hallam was also present, whose Constitutional History,
you will remember, gave rise to one of Macaulay's finest reviews; a
quiet, retiring man, with a benignant, somewhat sad, expression of
countenance. The loss of an only son has cast a shadow over his life.
It was on this son that Tennyson wrote his "_In Memoriam_."
Sir Robert H. Inglis was also present, and Mr. S. held considerable
conversation with him. Knowing that he was both high tory and high
church, it was an agreeable surprise to find him particularly gentle
and bland in manners, earnest and devout in religious sentiment. I
have heard him spoken of, even among dissenters, as a devout and
earnest man. Another proof this of what mistakes we fall into when we
judge the characters of persons at a distance, from what we suppose
likely to be the effect of their sentiments. We often find the
professed aristocrat gentle and condescending, and the professed
supporter of forms spiritual.
I think it very likely there may have been other celebrities present,
whom I did not know. I am always finding out, a day or two after, that
I have been with somebody very remarkable, and did not know it at the
After breakfast we found, on consulting our list, that we were to
lunch at Surrey parsonage.
Of all the cities I was ever in, London is the most absolutely
unmanageable, it takes so long to get any where; wherever you want to
go it seems to take you about two hours to get there. From the West
End down into the city is a distance that seems all but interminable.
London is now more than ten miles long. And yet this monster city is
stretching in all directions yearly, and where will be the end of it
nobody knows. Southey says, "I began to study the map of London,
though dismayed at its prodigious extent. The river is no assistance
to a stranger in finding his way; there is no street along its banks,
and no eminence from whence you can look around and take your
You may take these reflections as passing through my mind while we
were driving through street after street, and going round corner after
corner, towards the parsonage.
Surrey Chapel and parsonage were the church and residence of the
celebrated Kowland Hill. At present the incumbent is the Rev. Mr.
Sherman, well known to many of our American clergy by the kind
hospitalities and attentions with which he has enriched their stay in
London. The church maintains a medium rank between Congregationalism
and Episcopacy, retaining part of the ritual, but being independent in
its government. The kindness of Mr. Sherman had assembled here a very
agreeable company, among whom were Farquhar Tupper, the artist
Cruikshank, from whom I received a call the other morning, and Mr.
Pilatte, M. P. Cruikshank is an old man with gray hair and eyebrows,
strongly marked features, and keen eyes. He talked to me something
about the promotion of temperance by a series of literary sketches
illustrated by his pencil.
I sat by a lady who was well acquainted with Kingsley, the author of
Alton Locke, Hypatia, and other works, with whom I had some
conversation with regard to the influence of his writings.
She said that he had been instrumental in rescuing from infidelity
many young men whose minds had become unsettled; that he was a devoted
and laborious clergyman, exerting himself, without any cessation, for
the good of his parish.
After the company were gone I tried to get some rest, as my labors
were not yet over, we being engaged to dine at Sir Edward Buxton's.
This was our most dissipated day in London. We never tried the
experiment again of going to three parties in one day.
By the time I got to my third appointment I was entirely exhausted. I
met here some, however, whom I was exceedingly interested to see;
among them Samuel Gurney, brother of Elizabeth Fry, with his wife and
family. Lady Edward Buxton is one of his daughters. All had that air
of benevolent friendliness which is characteristic of the sect.
Dr. Lushington, the companion and venerable associate of Wilberforce
and Clarkson, was also present. He was a member of Parliament with
Wilberforce forty or fifty years ago. He is now a judge of the
admiralty court, that is to say, of the law relating to marine
affairs. This is a branch of law which the nature of our government in
America makes it impossible for us to have. He is exceedingly
brilliant and animated in conversation.
Dr. Cunningham, the author of World without Souls, was present. There
was there also a master of Harrow School.
He told me an anecdote, which pleased me for several reasons; that
once, when the queen visited the school, she put to him the inquiry,
"whether the educational system of England did not give a
disproportionate attention to the study of the ancient classics." His
reply was, "that her majesty could best satisfy her mind on that point
by observing what men the public schools of England had hitherto
produced;" certainly a very adroit reply, yet one which would be
equally good against the suggestion of any improvement whatever. We
might as well say, see what men we have been able to raise in America
without any classical education at all; witness Benjamin Franklin,
George Washington, and Roger Sherman.
It is a curious fact that Christian nations, with one general consent,
in the early education of youth neglect the volume which they consider
inspired, and bring the mind, at the most susceptible period, under
the dominion of the literature and mythology of the heathen world; and
that, too, when the sacred history and poetry are confessedly superior
in literary quality. Grave doctors of divinity expend their forces in
commenting on and teaching things which would be utterly scouted, were
an author to publish them in English as original compositions. A
Christian community has its young men educated in Ovid and Anacreon,
but is shocked when one of them comes out in English with Don Juan;
yet, probably, the latter poem is purer than either.
The English literature and poetry of the time of Pope and Dryden
betray a state of association so completely heathenized, that an old
Greek or Roman raised from the dead could scarce learn from them that
any change had taken place in the religion of the world; and even
Milton often pains one by introducing second-hand pagan mythology into
the very shadow of the eternal throne. In some parts of the Paradise
Lost, the evident imitations of Homer are to me the poorest and most
The adoration of the ancient classics has lain like a dead weight on
all modern art and literature; because men, instead of using them
simply for excitement and inspiration, have congealed them into fixed,
imperative rules. As the classics have been used, I think, wonderful
as have been the minds educated under them, there would have been more
variety and originality without them.
With which long sermon on a short text, I will conclude my letter.
Thursday, May 12. My dear I.:--
Yesterday, what with my breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I was, as the
fashionable saying is, "fairly knocked up." This expression, which I
find obtains universally here, corresponds to what we mean by being
"used up." They talk of Americanisms, and I have a little innocent
speculation now and then concerning Anglicisms. I certainly find
several here for which I can perceive no more precedent in the well of
"English undefiled," than for some of ours; for instance, this being
"knocked up," which is variously inflected, as, for example, in the
form of a participial adjective, as a "knocking up" affair; in the
form of a noun, as when they say "such a person has got quite a
knocking up," and so on.
The fact is, if we had ever had any experience in London life we
should not have made three engagements in one day. To my simple eye it
is quite amusing to see how they manage the social machine here.
People are under such a pressure of engagements, that they go about
with their lists in their pockets. If A wants to invite B to dinner,
out come their respective lists. A says he has only Tuesday and
Thursday open for this week. B looks down his list, and says that the
days are all closed. A looks along, and says that he has no day open
till next Wednesday week. B, however, is going to leave town Tuesday;
so that settles the matter as to dining; so they turn back again, and
try the breakfasting; for though you cannot dine in but one place a
day, yet, by means of the breakfast and the lunch, you can make three
social visits if you are strong enough.
Then there are evening parties, which begin at ten o'clock. The first
card of the kind that was sent me, which was worded, "At home at ten
o'clock," I, in my simplicity, took to be ten in the morning.
But here are people staying out night after night till two o'clock,
sitting up all night in Parliament, and seeming to thrive upon it.
There certainly is great apology for this in London, if it is always
as dark, drizzling, and smoky in the daytime as it has been since I
have been here. If I were one of the London people I would live by
gaslight as they do, for the streets and houses are altogether
pleasanter by gaslight than by daylight. But to ape these customs
under our clear, American skies, so contrary to our whole social
system, is simply ridiculous.
This morning I was exceedingly tired, and had a perfect longing to get
but of London into some green fields--to get somewhere where there was
nobody. So kind Mrs. B. had the carriage, and off we drove together.
By and by we found ourselves out in the country, and then I wanted to
get out and walk.
After a while a lady came along, riding a little donkey. These donkeys
have amused me so much since I have been here! At several places on
the outskirts of the city they have them standing, all girt up with
saddles covered with white cloth, for ladies to ride on. One gets out
of London by means of an omnibus to one of these places, and then, for
a few pence, can have a ride upon one of them into the country. Mrs.
B. walked by the side of the lady, and said to her something which I
did not hear, and she immediately alighted and asked me with great
kindness if I wanted to try the saddle; so I got upon the little
beast, which was about as large as a good-sized calf, and rode a few
paces to try him. It is a slow, but not unpleasant gait, and if the
creature were not so insignificantly small, as to make you feel much
as if you were riding upon a cat, it would be quite a pleasant affair.
After dismounting I crept through a hole in a hedge, and looked for
some flowers; and, in short, made the most that I could of my
interview with nature, till it came time to go home to dinner, for our
dinner hour at Mr. B.'s is between one and two; quite like home. In
the evening we were to dine at Lord Shaftesbury's.
After napping all the afternoon we went to Grosvenor Square. There was
only a small, select party, of about sixteen. Among the guests were
Dr. McAll, Hebrew professor in King's College, Lord Wriothesley
Russell, brother of Lord John, and one of the private chaplains of the
queen, and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Dr. McAll is a millenarian.
He sat next to C. at table, and they had some conversation on that
subject. He said those ideas had made a good deal of progress in the
While I was walking down to dinner with Lord Shaftesbury, he pointed
out to me in the hall the portrait of his distinguished ancestor,
Antony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury, whose name he bears. This
ancestor, notwithstanding his sceptical philosophy, did some good
things, as he was the author of the habeas corpus act.
After dinner we went back to the drawing rooms again; and while tea
and coffee were being served, names were constantly being announced,
till the rooms were quite full.
Among the earliest who arrived was Mr.----, a mulatto gentleman,
formerly British consul at Liberia. I found him a man of considerable
cultivation and intelligence, evincing much good sense in his
I overheard some one saying in the crowd, "Shaftesbury has been about
the chimney sweepers again in Parliament." I said to Lord Shaftesbury,
"I thought that matter of the chimney sweepers had been attended to
long ago, and laws made about it."
"So we have made laws," said he, "but people won't keep them unless we
follow them up."
He has a very prompt, cheerful way of speaking, and throws himself
into every thing he talks about with great interest and zeal. He
introduced me to one gentleman, I forget his name now, as the patron
of the shoeblacks. On my inquiring what that meant, he said that he
had started the idea of providing employment for poor street boys, by
furnishing them with brushes and blacking, and forming them into
regular companies of shoeblacks. Each boy has his' particular stand,
where he blacks the shoes of every passer by who chooses to take the
trouble of putting up his foot and paying his twopence. Lord
Shaftesbury also presented me to a lady who had been a very successful
teacher in the ragged schools; also to a gentleman who, he said, had
been very active in the London city missions. Some very ingenious work
done in the ragged schools was set on the table for the company to
examine, and excited much interest.
I talked a little while with Lord Wriothesley Russell. From him we
derived the idea that the queen was particularly careful in the
training and religious instruction of her children. He said that she
claimed that the young prince should be left entirely to his parents,
in regard to his religious instruction, till he was seven years of
age; but that, on examining him at that time, they were equally
surprised and delighted with his knowledge of the Scriptures. I must
remark here, that such an example as the queen sets in the education
of her children makes itself felt through all the families of the
kingdom. Domesticity is now the fashion in high life. I have had
occasion to see, in many instances, how carefully ladies of rank
instruct their children. This argues more favorably for the
continuance of English institutions than any thing I have seen. If the
next generation of those who are born to rank and power are educated,
in the words of Fenelon, to consider these things "as a ministry,"
which they hold for the benefit of the poor, the problem of life in
England will become easier of solution. Such are Lord Shaftesbury's
views, and as he throws them out with unceasing fervor in his
conversation and conduct, they cannot but powerfully affect not only
his own circle, but all circles through the kingdom. Lady Shaftesbury
is a beautiful and interesting woman, and warmly enters into the
benevolent plans of her husband. A gentleman and lady with whom I
travelled said that Lord and Lady Shaftesbury had visited in person
the most forlorn and wretched parts of London, that they might get, by
their own eyesight, a more correct gauge of the misery to be relieved.
I did not see Lord Shaftesbury's children; but, from the crayon
likenesses which hung upon the walls, they must be a family of
I talked a little while with the Bishop of Tuam. I was the more
interested to do so because he was from that part of Ireland which
Sibyl Jones has spoken of as being in so particularly miserable a
condition. I said, "How are you doing now, in that part of the
country? There has been a great deal of misery there, I hear." He said
"There has been, but we have just turned the corner, and now I hope we
shall see better days. The condition of the people has been improved
by emigration and other causes, till the evils have been brought
within reach, and we feel that there is hope of effecting a permanent
While I was sitting talking, Lord Shaltesbury brought a gentleman and
lady, whom he introduced as Lord Chief Justice Campbell and Lady
Strathheden. Lord Campbell is a man of most dignified and imposing
personal presence; tall, with a large frame, a fine, high forehead,
and strongly marked features. Naturally enough, I did not suppose them
to be husband and wife, and when I discovered that they were so,
expressed a good deal of surprise at their difference of titles; to
which she replied, that she did not wonder we Americans were sometimes
puzzled among the number of titles. She seemed quite interested to
inquire into our manner of living and customs, and how they struck me
as compared with theirs. The letter of Mrs. Tyler was much talked of,
and some asked me if I supposed Mrs. Tyler really wrote it, expressing
a little civil surprise at the style. I told them that I had heard it
said that it must have been written by some of the gentlemen in the
family, because it was generally understood that Mrs. Tyler was a very
ladylike person. Some said, "It does us no harm to be reminded of our
deficiencies; we need all the responsibility that can be put upon us."
Others said, "It is certain we have many defects;" but Lord John
Campbell said, "There is this difference between our evils and those
of slavery: ours exist contrary to law; those are upheld by law."
I did not get any opportunity of conversing with the Archbishop of
Canterbury, though this is the second time I have been in company with
him. He is a most prepossessing man in his appearance--simple,
courteous, mild, and affable. He was formerly Bishop of Chester, and
is now Primate of all England.
It is some indication of the tendency of things in a country to notice
what kind of men are patronized and promoted to the high places of the
church. Sumner is a man refined, gentle, affable, scholarly,
thoroughly evangelical in sentiment; to render him into American
phraseology, he is in doctrine what we should call a moderate New
School man. He has been a most industrious writer; one of his
principal works is his Commentary on the New Testament, in several
volumes; a work most admirably adapted for popular use, combining
practical devotion with critical accuracy to an uncommon degree. He
has also published a work on the Evidences of Christianity, in which
he sets forth some evidences of the genuineness of the gospel
narrative, which could only have been conceived by a mind of peculiar
delicacy, and which are quite interesting and original. He has also
written a work on Biblical Geology, which is highly spoken of by Sir
Charles Lyell and others. If I may believe accounts that I hear, this
mild and moderate man has shown a most admirable firmness and facility
in guiding the ship of the establishment in some critical and perilous
places of late years. I should add that he is warmly interested in all
the efforts now making for the good of the poor.
Among other persons of distinction, this evening, I noticed Lord and
A lady asked me this evening what I thought of the beauty of the
ladies of the English aristocracy: she was a Scotch lady, by the by;
so the question was a fair one. I replied, that certainly report had
not exaggerated their charms. Then came a home question--how the
ladies of England compared with the ladies of America. "Now for it,
patriotism," said I to myself; and, invoking to my aid certain fair
saints of my own country, whose faces I distinctly remembered, I
assured her that I had never seen more beautiful women than I had in
America. Grieved was I to be obliged to add, "But your ladies keep
their beauty much later and longer." This fact stares one in the face
in every company; one meets ladies past fifty, glowing, radiant, and
blooming, with a freshness of complexion and fulness of outline
refreshing to contemplate. What can be the reason? Tell us, Muses and
Graces, what can it be? Is it the conservative power of sea fogs and
coal smoke--the same cause that keeps the turf green, and makes the
holly and ivy flourish? How comes it that our married ladies dwindle,
fade, and grow thin--that their noses incline to sharpness, and their
elbows to angularity, just at the time of life when their island
sisters round out into a comfortable and becoming amplitude and
fulness? If it is the fog and the sea coal, why, then, I am afraid we
never shall come up with them. But perhaps there may be other causes
why a country which starts some of the most beautiful girls in the
world produces so few beautiful women. Have not our close-heated stove
rooms something to do with it? Have not the immense amount of hot
biscuits, hot corn cakes, and other compounds got up with the acrid
poison of saleratus, something to do with it? Above all, has not our
climate, with its alternate extremes of heat and cold, a tendency to
induce habits Of in-door indolence? Climate, certainly, has a great
deal to do with it; ours is evidently more trying and more exhausting;
and because it is so, we should not pile upon its back errors of dress
and diet which are avoided by our neighbors. They keep their beauty,
because they keep their health. It has been as remarkable as any thing
to me, since I have been here, that I do not constantly, as at home,
hear one and another spoken of as in miserable health, as very
delicate, &c. Health seems to be the rule, and not the exception. For
my part, I must say, the most favorable omen that I know of for female
beauty in America is, the multiplication of water cure establishments,
where our ladies, if they get nothing else, do gain some ideas as to
the necessity of fresh air, regular exercise, simple diet, and the
laws of hygiene in general.
There is one thing more which goes a long way towards the continued
health of these English ladies, and therefore towards their beauty;
and that is, the quietude and perpetuity of their domestic
institutions. They do not, like us, fade their cheeks lying awake
nights ruminating the awful question who shall do the washing next
week, or who shall take the chambermaid's place, who is going to be
married, or that of the cook, who has signified her intention of
parting with the mistress. Their hospitality is never embarrassed by
the consideration that their whole kitchen cabinet may desert at the
moment that their guests arrive. They are not obliged to choose
between washing their own dishes, or having their cut glass, silver,
and china left to the mercy of a foreigner, who has never done any
thing but field work. And last, not least, they are not possessed with
that ambition to do the impossible in all branches, which, I believe,
is the death of a third of the women in America. What is there ever
read of in books, or described in foreign travel, as attained by
people in possession of every means and appliance, which our women
will not undertake, single-handed, in spite of every providential
indication to the contrary? Who is not cognizant of dinner parties
invited, in which the lady of the house has figured successively as
confectioner, cook, dining-room girl, and, lastly, rushed up stairs to
bathe her glowing cheeks, smooth her hair, draw on satin dress and kid
gloves, and appear in the drawing room as if nothing were the matter?
Certainly the undaunted bravery of our American females can never
enough be admired. Other women can play gracefully the head of the
establishment; but who, like them, could be head, hand, and foot, all
As I have spoken of stoves, I will here remark that I have not yet
seen one in England; neither, so far as I can remember, have I seen a
house warmed by a furnace. Bright coal fires, in grates of polished
steel, are as yet the lares and penates of old England. If I am
inclined to mourn over any defection in my own country, it is the
closing up of the cheerful open fire, with its bright lights and
dancing shadows, and the planting on our domestic hearth of that
sullen, stifling gnome, the air-tight. I agree with Hawthorne in
thinking the movement fatal to patriotism; for who would fight for an
I have run on a good way beyond our evening company; so good by for
May 13. Dear father:--
To-day we are to go out to visit your Quaker friend, Mr. Alexander, at
Stoke Newington, where you passed so many pleasant hours during your
sojourn in England. At half past nine we went into the Congregational
Union, which is now in session. I had a seat upon the platform, where
I could command a view of the house. It was a most interesting
assemblage to me, recalling forcibly our New England associations, and
impressing more than ever on my mind how much of one blood the two
countries are. These earnest, thoughtful, intelligent-looking men
seemed to transport me back to my own country. They received us with
most gratifying cordiality and kindness. Most naturally
Congregationalism in England must turn with deep interest and sympathy
to Congregationalism in America. In several very cordial addresses
they testified their pleasure at seeing us among them, speaking most
affectionately of you and your labors, and your former visit to
England. The wives and daughters of many of them present expressed in
their countenances the deepest and most affectionate feeling. It is
cheering to feel that an ocean does not divide our hearts, and that
the Christians of America and England are one.
In the afternoon we drove out to Mr. Alexander's. His place is called
Paradise, and very justly, being one more of those home Edens in which
England abounds, where, without ostentation or display, every
appliance of rational enjoyment surrounds one.
We were ushered into a cheerful room, opening by one glass door upon a
brilliant conservatory of flowers, and by another upon a neatly-kept
garden. The air was fresh and sweet with the perfume of blossoming
trees, and every thing seemed doubly refreshing from the contrast with
the din and smoke of London. Our chamber looked out upon a beautiful
park, shaded with fine old trees. While contemplating the white
draperies of our windows, and the snowy robings of the bed, we could
not but call to mind the fact, of which we were before aware, that not
an article was the result of the unpaid oil of the slave; neither did
this restriction, voluntarily assumed, fetter at all the bountifulness
of the table, where free-grown sugar, coffee, rice, and spices seemed
to derive a double value to our friends from this consideration.
Some of the Quakers carry the principle so far as to refuse money in a
business transaction which they have reason to believe has been gained
by the unpaid toil of the slave. A Friend in Edinburgh told me of a
brother of his in the city of Carlisle, who kept a celebrated biscuit
bakery, who received an order from New Orleans for a thousand dollars
worth of biscuit. Before closing the bargain he took the buyer into
his counting room, and told him that he had conscientious objections
about receiving money from slaveholders, and that in case he were one
he should prefer not to trade with him. Fortunately, in this case,
consistency and interest were both on one side.
Things like these cannot but excite reflection in one's mind, and the
query must arise, if all who really believe slavery to be a wrong
should pursue this course, what would be the result? There are great
practical difficulties in the way of such a course, particularly in
America, where the subject has received comparatively little
attention. Yet since I have been in England, I am informed by the
Friends here, that there has been for many years an association of
Friends in Philadelphia, who have sent their agents through the entire
Southern States, entering by them into communication with quite a
considerable number scattered through the states, who, either from
poverty or principle, raise their cotton by free labor; that they have
established a depot in Philadelphia, and also a manufactory, where the
cotton thus received is made into various household articles; and
thus, by dint of some care and self-sacrifice, many of them are
enabled to abstain entirely from any participation with the results of
As soon as I heard this fact, it flashed upon my mind immediately,
that the beautiful cotton lands of Texas are as yet unoccupied to a
great extent; that no law compels cotton to be raised there by slave
labor, and that it is beginning to be raised there to some extent by
the labor of free German emigrants. [Footnote: One small town in Texas
made eight hundred bales last year by free labor.] Will not something
eventually grow out of this? I trust so. Even the smallest chink of
light is welcome in a prison, if it speak of a possible door which
courage and zeal may open. I cannot as yet admit the justness of the
general proposition, that it is an actual sin to eat, drink, or wear
any thing which has been the result of slave labor, because it seems
to me to be based upon a principle altogether too wide in extent. To
be consistent in it, we must extend it to the results of all labor
which is not conducted on just and equitable principles; and in order
to do this consistently we must needs, as St. Paul says, go out of the
world. But if two systems, one founded on wrong and robbery, and the
other on right and justice, are competing with each other, should we
not patronize the right?
I am the more inclined to think that some course of this kind is
indicated to the Christian world, from the reproaches and taunts which
proslavery papers are casting upon us, for patronizing their cotton.
At all events, the Quakers escape the awkwardness of this dilemma.
In the evening quite a large circle of friends came to meet us. We
were particularly interested in the conversation of Mr. and Mrs.
Wesby, missionaries from Antigua. Antigua is the only one of the
islands in which emancipation was immediate, without any previous
apprenticeship system; and it is the one in which the results of
emancipation have been altogether the most happy. They gave us a very
interesting account of their schools, and showed us some beautiful
specimens of plain needlework, which had been wrought by young girls
in them. They confirmed all the accounts which I have heard from other
sources of the peaceableness, docility, and good character of the
negroes; of their kindly disposition and willingness to receive
After tea Mr. S. and I walked out a little while, first to a large
cemetery, where repose the ashes of Dr. Watts. This burying ground
occupies the site of the dwelling and grounds formerly covered by the
residence of Sir T. Abney, with whom Dr. Watts spent many of the last
years of his life. It has always seemed to me that Dr. Watts's rank as
a poet has never been properly appreciated. If ever there was a poet
born, he was that man; he attained without study a smoothness of
versification, which, with Pope, was the result of the intensest
analysis and most artistic care. Nor do the most majestic and
resounding lines of Dryden equal some of his in majesty of volume. The
most harmonious lines of Dryden, that I know of, are these:--
"When Jubal struck the chorded shell,
His listening brethren stood around,
And wondering, on their faces fell,
To worship that celestial sound.
Less than a God they thought there could not dwell
Within the hollow of that shell,
That spoke so sweetly and so well."
The first four lines of this always seem to me magnificently
harmonious. But almost any verse at random in Dr. Watts's paraphrase
of the one hundred and forty-eighth Psalm exceeds them, both in melody
and majesty. For instance, take these lines:--
"Wide as his vast dominion lies,
Let the Creator's name be known;
Loud as his thunder shout his praise,
And sound it lofty as his throne.
Speak of the wonders of that love
Which Gabriel plays on every chord:
From all below and all above,
Loud hallelujahs to the Lord."
Simply as a specimen of harmonious versification, I would place this
paraphrase by Dr. Watts above every thing in the English language, not
even excepting Pope's Messiah. But in hymns, where the ideas are
supplied by his own soul, we have examples in which fire, fervor,
imagery, roll from the soul of the poet in a stream of versification,
evidently spontaneous. Such are all those hymns in which he describes
the glories of the heavenly state, and the advent of the great events
foretold in prophecy; for instance, this verse from the opening of one
of his judgment hymns:--
"Lo, I behold the scattered shades;
The dawn of heaven appears;
The sweet immortal morning sheds
Its blushes round the spheres."
Dr. Johnson, in his Lives of the Poets, turns him off with small
praise, it is true, saying that his devotional poetry is like that of
others, unsatisfactory; graciously adding that it is sufficient for
him to have done better than others what no one has done well; and,
lastly, that he is one of those poets with whom youth and ignorance
may safely be pleased. But if Dr. Johnson thought Irene was poetry, it
is not singular that he should think the lyrics of Watts were not.
Stoke Newington is also celebrated as the residence of De foe. We
passed by, in our walk, the ancient mansion in which he lived. New
River, which passes through the grounds of our host, is an artificial
stream, which is said to have been first suggested by his endlessly
fertile and industrious mind, as productive in practical projects as
It always seemed to me that there are three writers which every one
who wants to know how to use the English language effectively should
study; and these are Shakspeare, Bunyan, and Defoe. One great secret
of their hold on the popular mind is their being so radically and
thoroughly English. They have the solid grain of the English oak, not
veneered by learning and the classics; not inlaid with arabesques from
other nations, but developing wholly out of the English nationality.
I have heard that Goethe said the reason for the great enthusiasm with
which his countrymen regarded him was, that he _did know how to
write German,_ and so also these men knew how to write English. I
think Defoe the most suggestive writer to an artist of fiction that
the English language affords. That power by which he wrought fiction
to produce the impression of reality, so that his Plague in London was
quoted by medical men as an authentic narrative, and his Life of a
Cavalier recommended by Lord Chatham as an historical authority, is
certainly worth an analysis. With him, undoubtedly, it was an
One anecdote, related to us this evening by our friends, brought to
mind with new power the annoyances to which the Quakers have been
subjected in England, under the old system of church rates. It being
contrary to the conscientious principles of the Quakers to pay these
church rates voluntarily, they allowed the officers of the law to
enter their houses and take whatever article he pleased in
satisfaction of the claim. On one occasion, for the satisfaction of a
claim of a few pounds, they seized and sold a most rare and costly
mantel clock, which had a particular value as a choice specimen of
mechanical skill, and which was worth four or five times the sum owed.
A friend afterwards repurchased and presented it to the owner.
We were rejoiced to hear that these church rates are now virtually
abolished. The liberal policy pursued in England for the last
twenty-five years is doing more to make the church of England, and the
government generally, respectable and respected than the most
extortionate exactions of violence.
We parted from our kind friends in the morning; came back and I sat a
while to Mr. Burnard, the sculptor, who entertained me with various
anecdotes. He had taken the bust of the Prince of Wales; and I
gathered from his statements that young princes have very much the
same feelings and desires that other little boys have, and that he has
a very judicious mother.
In the afternoon, Mr. S., Mrs. B., and I had a pleasant drive in Hyde
Park, as I used to read of heroines of romance doing in the old
novels. It is delightful to get into this fairyland of parks, so green
and beautiful, which embellish the West End.
In the evening we had an engagement at two places--at a Highland
School dinner, and at Mr. Charles Dickens's. I felt myself too much
exhausted for both, and so it was concluded that I should go to
neither, but try a little quiet drive into the country, and an early
retirement, as the most prudent termination of the week. While Mr. S.
prepared to go to the meeting of the Highland School Society, Mr. and
Mrs. B. took me a little drive into the country. After a while they
alighted before a new Gothic Congregational college, in St. John's
Wood. I found that there had been a kind of tea-drinking there by the
Congregational ministers and their families, to celebrate the opening
of the college.
On returning, we called for Mr. S., at the dinner, and went for a few
moments into the gallery, the entertainment being now nearly over.
Here we heard some Scottish songs, very charmingly sung; and, what
amused me very much, a few Highland musicians, dressed in full
costume, occasionally marched through the hall, playing on their
bagpipes, as was customary in old Scottish entertainments. The
historian Sir Archibald Alison, sheriff of Lanarkshire, sat at the
head of the table--a tall, fine-looking man, of very commanding
About nine o'clock we retired.
May 15. Heard Mr. Binney preach this morning. He is one of the
strongest men among the Congregationalists, and a very popular
speaker. He is a tall, large man, with a finely-built head, high
forehead, piercing, dark eye, and a good deal of force and
determination in all his movements. His sermon was the first that I
had heard in England which seemed to recognize the existence of any
possible sceptical or rationalizing element in the minds of his
hearers. It was in this respect more like the preaching that I had
been in the habit of hearing at home. Instead of a calm statement of
certain admitted religious facts, or exhortations founded upon them,
his discourse seemed to be reasoning with individual cases, and
answering various forms of objections, such as might arise in
different minds. This mode of preaching, I think, cannot exist unless
a minister cultivates an individual knowledge of his people.
Mr. Binney's work, entitled How to make the best of both Worlds, I
have heard spoken of as having had the largest sale of any religious
writing of the present day.
May 16. This evening is the great antislavery meeting at Exeter Hall.
Lord Shaftesbury in the chair. Exeter Hall stands before the public as
the representation of the strong democratic, religious element of
England. In Exeter Hall are all the philanthropies, foreign and
domestic; and a crowded meeting there gives one perhaps a better idea
of the force of English democracy--of that kind of material which goes
to make up the mass of the nation--than any thing else.
When Macaulay expressed some sentiments which gave offence to this
portion of the community, he made a defence in which he alluded
sarcastically to the bray of Exeter Hall.
The expression seems to have been remembered, for I have often heard
it quoted; though I believe they have forgiven him for it, and
concluded to accept it as a joke.
The hall this night was densely crowded, and, as I felt very unwell, I
did not go in till after the services had commenced--a thing which I
greatly regretted afterwards, as by this means I lost a most able
speech by Lord Shaftesbury.
The Duchess of Sutherland entered soon after the commencement of the
exercises, and was most enthusiastically cheered. When we came in, a
seat had been reserved for us by her grace in the side gallery, and
the cheering was repeated. I thought I had heard something of the sort
in Scotland, but there was a vehemence about this that made me
tremble. There is always something awful to my mind about a dense
crowd in a state of high excitement, let the nature of that excitement
be what it will.
I do not believe that there is in all America more vehemence of
democracy, more volcanic force of power, than comes out in one of
these great gatherings in our old fatherland. I saw plainly enough
where Concord, Lexington, and Bunker Hill came from; and it seems to
me there is enough of this element of indignation at wrong, and
resistance to tyranny, to found half a dozen more republics as strong
as we are.
A little incident that occurred gave me an idea of what such a crowd
might become in a confused state of excitement. A woman fainted in a
distant part of the house, and a policeman attempted to force a way
through the densely-packed crowd. The services were interrupted for a
few moments, and there were hoarse surgings and swellings of the
mighty mass, who were so closely packed that they moved together like
waves. Some began to rise in their seats, and some cried "Order!
order!" And one could easily see, that were a sudden panic or
overwhelming excitement to break up the order of the meeting, what a
terrible scene might ensue.
"What is it?" said I to a friend who sat next to me.
"A pickpocket, perhaps," said she. "I am afraid we are going to have a
row. They are going to give you one of our genuine Exeter Hall
I felt a good deal fluttered; but the Duchess of Sutherland, who knew
the British lion better than I did, seemed so perfectly collected that
I became reassured.
The character of the speeches at this meeting, with the exception of
Lord Shaftesbury's, was more denunciatory, and had more to pain the
national feelings of an American, than any I had ever attended. It was
the real old Saxon battle axe of Brother John, swung without fear or
favor. Such things do not hurt me individually, because I have such a
radical faith in my country, such a genuine belief that she will at
last right herself from every wrong, that I feel she can afford to
have these things said.
Mr. S. spoke on this point, that the cotton trade of Great Britain is
the principal support to slavery, and read extracts from Charleston
papers in which they boldly declare that they do not care for any
amount of moral indignation wasted upon them by nations who, after
all, must and will buy the cotton which they raise.
The meeting was a very long one, and I was much fatigued when we
To-morrow we are to make a little run out to Windsor.
I can compare the embarrassment of our London life, with its
multiplied solicitations and infinite stimulants to curiosity and
desire, only to that annual perplexity which used to beset us in our
childhood on thanksgiving day. Having been kept all the year within
the limits which prudence assigns to well-regulated children, came at
last the governor's proclamation, and a general saturnalia of dainties
for the little ones. For one day the gates of license were thrown
open, and we, plumped down into the midst of pie and pudding exceeding
all conception but that of a Yankee housekeeper, were left to struggle
our way out as best we might.
So here, beside all the living world of London, its scope and range of
persons and circles of thought, come its architecture, its arts, its
localities, historic, poetic, all that expresses its past, its
present, and its future. Every day and every hour brings its'
conflicting allurements, of persons to be seen, places to be visited,
things to be done, beyond all computation. Like Miss Edgeworth's
philosophic little Frank, we are obliged to make out our list of what
man _must_ want, and of what he _may_ want; and in our list
of the former we set down, in large and decisive characters, one quiet
day for the exploration and enjoyment of Windsor.
We were solicited, indeed, to go in another direction; a party was
formed to go down the Thames with the Right Hon. Sidney Herbert,
secretary at war, and visit an emigrant ship just starting for
Australia. I should say here, that since Mrs. Chisholm's labors have
awakened the attention of the English public to the wants and
condition of emigrants, the benevolent people of England take great
interest in the departing of emigrant ships. A society has been formed
called the Family Colonization Loan Society, and a fund raised by
which money can be loaned to those desiring to emigrate. This society
makes it an object to cultivate acquaintance and intimacy among those
about going out by uniting them into groups, and, as far as possible,
placing orphan children and single females under the protection of
families. Any one, by subscribing six guineas towards the loan, can
secure one passage. Each individual becomes responsible for refunding
his own fare, and, furthermore, to pay a certain assessment in case
any individual of the group fails to make up the passage money. The
sailing of emigrant ships, therefore, has become a scene of great
interest. Those departing do not leave their native shore without
substantial proofs of the interest and care of the land they are
In the party who were going down to-day were Mr. and Mrs. Binney, Mr.
Sherman, and a number of distinguished names; among whom I recollect
to have heard the names of Lady Hatherton, and Lady Byron, widow of
the poet. This would have been an exceedingly interesting scene to us,
but being already worn with company and excitement, we preferred a
quiet day at Windsor.
For if we took Warwick as the representative feudal estate, we took
Windsor as the representative palace, that which imbodies the English
idea of royalty. Apart from this, Windsor has been immortalized by the
Merry Wives; it has still standing in its park the Herne oak, where
the mischievous fairies played their pranks upon old Falstaff.
And the castle still has about it the charm of the poet's
"Search Windsor Castle, elves, within, without,
Strew good luck, ouphes, on every sacred room,
That it may stand till the perpetual doom
In state as wholesome as in state 'tis fit,
Worthy the owner, and the owner it.
The several chairs of order, look you, scour
With juice of balm and every precious flower,
Each fair instalment, coat, and several crest,
With loyal blazon evermore be blest.
And nightly, meadow fairies, look you, sing
Like to the garter's compass, in a ring.
The expressure that it bears, green let it be,
More fertile, fresh, than all the field to see,
And Honi soit qui mal y pense, write
In emerald tufts, flowers, purple, blue, and white,
Like sapphire, pearl, and rich embroidery,
Fairies use flowers for their charactery."
As if for the loyal purpose of recommending old Windsor, the English
skies had cleared up into brightness. About nine o'clock we found
ourselves in the cars, riding through a perpetual garden of blooming
trees and blossoming hedges; birds in a perfect fury of delight. Our
spirits were all elated. Good, honest, cackling Mrs. Quickly herself
was not more disposed to make the best of every thing and every body
than were we. Mr. S., in particular, was so joyous that I was afraid
he would break out into song, after the fashion of Sir Hugh Evans,--
"Melodious birds sung madrigals:
Whenas I sat in Babylon," &c.
By the by, the fishing ground of Izaak Walton is one of the localities
connected with Windsor.
The ride was done all too soon. One should not whirl through such a
choice bit of England in the cars; one should rather wish to amble
over the way after a sleepy, contemplative old horse, as we used to
make rural excursions in New England ere yet railroads were. However,
all that's bright must fade, and this among the rest.
About eleven o'clock we found ourselves going up the old stone steps
to the castle. It was the last day of a fair which had been holden in
this part of the country, and crowds of the common people were
flocking to the castle, men, women, and children pattering up the
stairs before and after us.
We went first through the state apartments. The principal thing that
interested me was the ball room, which was a perfect gallery of
Vandyke's paintings. Here was certainly an opportunity to know what
Vandyke is. I should call him a true court painter--a master of
splendid conventionalities, whose portraits of kings are the most
powerful arguments for the divine right I know of. Nevertheless,
beyond conventionality and outward magnificence, his ideas have no
range. He suggests nothing to the moral and ideal part of us. Here
again was the picture of King Charles on horseback, which had
interested me at Warwick. It had, however, a peculiar and romantic
charm from its position at the end of that long, dim corridor,
vis-a-vis with the masque of Cromwell, which did not accompany it
here, where it was but one among a set of pictures.
There was another, presenting the front side and three quarters face
of the same sovereign, painted by Vandyke for Benini to make a bust
from. There were no less than five portraits of his wife, Henrietta
Maria, in different dresses and attitudes, and two pictures of their
children. No sovereign is so profusely and perseveringly represented.
The queen's audience chamber is hung with tapestry representing scenes
from the book of Esther. This tapestry made a very great impression
upon me. A knowledge of the difficulties to be overcome in the
material part of painting is undoubtedly an unsuspected element of
much of the pleasure we derive from it; and for this reason, probably,
this tapestry appeared to us better than paintings executed with equal
spirit in oils. We admired it exceedingly, entirely careless what
critics might think of us if they knew it.
Another room was hung with Gobelin tapestry representing the whole of
the tragedy of Medea. First you have Jason cutting down the golden
fleece, while the dragon lies slain, and Medea is looking on in
admiration. In another he pledges his love to Medea. In a third, the
men sprung from the dragon's teeth are seen contending with each
other. In another the unfaithful lover espouses Creusa. In the next
Creusa is seen burning in the poisoned shirt, given her by Medea. In
another Medea is seen in a car drawn by dragons, bearing her two
children by Jason, whom she has stabbed in revenge for his desertion.
Nothing can exceed the ghastly reality of death, as shown in the
stiffened limbs and sharpened features of those dead children. The
whole drawing and grouping is exceedingly spirited and lifelike, and
has great power of impression.
I was charmed also by nine landscapes of Zuccarelli, which adorn the
state drawing room. Zuccarelli was a follower of Claude, and these
pictures far exceed in effect any of Claude's I have yet seen. The
charm of them does not lie merely in the atmospheric tints and
effects, as those of Cuyp, but in the rich and fanciful combination of
objects. In this respect they perform in painting what the first part
of the Castle of Indolence, or Tennyson's Lotus Eaters, do in poetry--
evoke a fairyland. There was something peculiar about their charm for
Who can decide how much in a picture belongs to the idiosyncrasies and
associations of the person who looks upon it. Artists undoubtedly
powerful and fine may have nothing in them which touches the nervous
sympathies and tastes of some persons: who, therefore, shall establish
any authoritative canon of taste? who shall say that Claude is finer
than Zuccarelli, or Zuccarelli than Claude? A man might as well say
that the woman who enchants him is the only true Venus for the world.
Then, again, how much in painting or in poetry depends upon the frame
of mind in which we see or hear! Whoever looks on these pictures, or
reads the Lotus Eaters or Castle of Indolence, at a time when soul and
body are weary, and longing for retirement and rest, will receive an
impression from them such as could never be made on the strong nerves
of our more healthful and hilarious seasons.
Certainly no emotions so rigidly reject critical restraints, and
disdain to be bound by rule, as those excited by the fine arts. A man
unimpressible and incapable of moods and tenses, is for that reason an
incompetent critic; and the sensitive, excitable man, how can he know
that he does not impose his peculiar mood as a general rule?
From the state rooms we were taken to the top of the Hound Tower,
where we gained a magnificent view of the Park of Windsor, with its
regal avenue, miles in length, of ancient oaks; its sweeps of
greensward; clumps of trees; its old Herne oak, of classic memory; in
short, all that constitutes the idea of a perfect English landscape.
The English tree is shorter and stouter than ours; its foliage dense
and deep, lying with a full, rounding outline against the sky. Every
thing here conveys the idea of concentrated vitality, but without that
rank luxuriance seen in our American growth. Having unfortunately
exhausted the English language on the subject of grass, I will not
repeat any ecstasies upon that topic.
After descending from the tower we filed off to the proper quarter, to
show our orders for the private rooms. The state apartments, which we
had been looking at, are open at all times, but the private apartments
can only be seen in the queen's absence, and by a special permission,
which had been procured for us on this occasion by the kindness of the
Duchess of Sutherland.
One of the first objects that attracted my attention when entering the
vestibule was a baby's wicker wagon, standing in one corner; it was
much such a carriage as all mothers are familiar with; such as figures
largely in the history of almost every family. It had neat curtains
and cushions of green merino, and was not royal, only maternal. I
mused over the little thing with a good deal of interest. It is to my
mind one of the providential signs of our times, that, at this stormy
and most critical period of the world's history, the sovereignty of
the most powerful nation on earth is represented by a woman and a
mother. How many humanizing, gentle, and pacific influences constantly
emanate from this centre!
One of the most interesting apartments was a long corridor, hung with
paintings and garnished along the sides with objects of art and _virtu_.
Here C. and I renewed a dispute which had for some time been pending,
in respect to Canaletto's paintings. This Canaletto was a Venetian
painter, who was born about 1697, and died in London in 1768, and was
greatly in vogue with the upper circles in those days. He delighted in
architectural paintings, which he represents with the accuracy of a
daguerreotype, and a management of perspective, chiaro oscuro, and all
the other mysteries of art, such as make his paintings amount to about
the same as the reality.
Well, here, in this corridor, we had him in full force. Here was
Venice served up to order--its streets, palaces, churches, bridges,
canals, and gondolas made as real to our eye as if we were looking at
them out of a window. I admired them very warmly, but I could not go
into the raptures that C. did, who kept calling me from every thing
else that I wanted to see to come and look at this Canaletto. "Well, I
see it," said I; "it is good--it is perfect--it cannot be bettered;
but what then? There is the same difference between these and a
landscape of Zuccarelli as there is between a neatly-arranged
statistical treatise and a poem. The latter suggests a thousand
images, the former gives you only information."
We were quite interested in a series of paintings which represented
the various events of the present queen's history. There was the
coronation in Westminster Abbey--that national romance which, for once
in our prosaic world, nearly turned the heads of all the sensible
people on earth. Think of vesting the sovereignty of so much of the
world in a fair young girl of seventeen! The picture is a very pretty
one, and is taken at the very moment she is kneeling at the feet of
the Archbishop of Canterbury to receive her crown. She is represented
as a fair-haired, interesting girl, the simplicity of her air
contrasting strangely with the pomp and gorgeous display around. The
painter has done justice to a train of charming young ladies who
surround her; among the faces I recognized the blue eyes and noble
forehead of the Duchess of Sutherland.
Then followed, in due order, the baptism of children, the reception of
poor old Louis Philippe in his exile, and various other matters of the
sort which go to make up royal pictures.
In the family breakfast room we saw some fine Gobelin tapestry,
representing the classical story of Meleager. In one of the rooms, on
a pedestal, stood a gigantic china vase, a present from the Emperor of
Russia, and in the state rooms before we had seen a large malachite
vase from the same donor. The toning of this room, with regard to
color, was like that of the room I described in Stafford House--the
carpet of green ground, with the same little leaf upon it, the walls,
chairs, and sofas covered with green damask. Around the walls of the
room, in some places, were arranged cases of books about three feet
high. I liked this arrangement particularly, because it gives you the
companionship of books in an apartment without occupying that space of
the wall which is advantageous for pictures. Moreover, books placed
high against the walls of a room give a gloomy appearance to the
The whole air of these rooms was very charming, suggestive of refined
taste and domestic habits. The idea of home, which pervades every
thing in England, from the cottage to the palace, was as much
suggested here as in any apartments I have seen. The walls of the
different rooms were decorated with portraits of the members of the
royal family, and those of other European princes.
After this we went through the kitchen department--saw the silver and
gold plate of the table; among the latter were some designs which I
thought particularly graceful. To conclude all, we went through the
stables. The man who showed them told us that several of the queen's
favorite horses were taken to Osborne; but there were many beautiful
creatures left, which I regarded with great complacency. The stables
and stalls were perfectly clean, and neatly kept; and one, in short,
derives from the whole view of the economics of Windsor that
satisfaction which results from seeing a thing thoroughly done in the
best conceivable manner.
The management of the estate of Windsor is, I am told, a model for all
landholders in the kingdom. A society has been formed there, within a
few years, under the patronage of the queen, Prince Albert, and the
Duchess of Kent, in which the clergy and gentry of the principal
parishes in this vicinity are interested, for improving the condition
of the laboring classes in this region. The queen and Prince Albert
have taken much interest in the planning and arranging of model houses
for the laboring people, which combine cheapness, neatness,
ventilation, and all the facilities for the formation of good personal
habits. There is a school kept on the estate at Windsor, in which the
queen takes a very practical interest, regulating the books and
studies, and paying frequent visits to it during the time of her
sojourn here. The young girls are instructed in fine needlework; but
the queen discourages embroidery and ornamental work, meaning to make
practical, efficient wives for laboring men. These particulars, with
regard to this school, were related to me by a lady living in the
vicinity of Windsor.
We went into St. George's Chapel, and there we were all exceedingly
interested and enchained in view of the marble monument to the
Princess Charlotte. It consists of two groups, and is designed to
express, in one view, both the celestial and the terrestrial aspect of
death--the visible and the invisible part of dying. For the visible
part, you have the body of the princess in all the desolation and
abandonment of death. The attitude of the figure is as if she had
thrown herself over in a convulsion, and died. The body is lying
listless, simply covered with a sheet, through every fold of which you
can see the utter relaxation of that moment when vitality departs, but
the limbs have not yet stiffened. Her hand and a part of the arm are
hanging down, exposed to view beneath the sheet.
Four figures, with bowed heads, covered with drapery, are represented
as sitting around in mute despair. The idea meant to be conveyed by
the whole group is that of utter desolation and abandonment. All is
over; there is not even heart enough left in the mourners to
straighten the corpse for the burial. The mute marble says, as plainly
as marble can speak, "Let all go; 'tis no matter now; there is no more
use in living--nothing to be done, nothing to be hoped!"
Above this group rises the form of the princess, springing buoyant and
elastic, on angel wings, a smile of triumph and aspiration lighting up
her countenance. Her drapery floats behind her as she rises. Two
angels, one carrying her infant child and the other with clasped hands
of exultant joy, are rising with her, in serene and solemn triumph.
Now, I simply put it to you, or to any one who can judge of poetry, if
this is not a poetical conception. I ask any one who has a heart, if
there is not pathos in it. Is there not a high poetic merit in the
mere conception of these two scenes, thus presented? And had we seen
it rudely chipped and chiselled out by some artist of the middle ages,
whose hand had not yet been practised to do justice to his
conceptions, should we not have said this sculptor had a glorious
thought within him? But the chiselling of this piece is not unworthy
the conception. Nothing can be more exquisite than the turn of the
head, neck, and shoulders; nothing more finely wrought than the
triumphant smile of the angel princess; nothing could be more artistic
than the representation of death in all its hopelessness, in the lower
figure. The poor, dead hand, that shows itself beneath the sheet, has
an unutterable pathos and beauty in it. As to the working of the
drapery,--an inferior consideration, of course,--I see no reason why
it should not compare advantageously with any in the British Museum.
Well, you will ask, why are you going on in this argumentative style?
Who doubts you? Let me tell you, then, a little fragment of my
experience. We saw this group of statuary the last thing before
dinner, after a most fatiguing forenoon of sightseeing, when we were
both tired and hungry,--a most unpropitious time, certainly,--and yet
it enchanted our whole company; what is more, it made us all cry--a
fact of which I am not ashamed, yet. But, only the next day, when I
was expressing my admiration to an artist, who is one of the
authorities, and knows all that is proper to be admired, I was met
"O, you have seen that, have you? Shocking thing! Miserable
"Dear me," said I, with apprehension, "what is the matter with it?"
"0," said he, "melodramatic, melodramatic--terribly so!"
I was so appalled by this word, of whose meaning I had not a very
clear idea, that I dropped the defence at once, and determined to
reconsider my tears. To have been actually made to cry by a thing that
was melodramatic, was a distressing consideration. Seriously, however,
on reconsidering the objection, I see no sense in it. A thing may be
melodramatic, or any other _atic_ that a man pleases; so that it
be strongly suggestive, poetic, pathetic, it has a right to its own
peculiar place in the world of art. If artists had had their way in
the creation of this world, there would have been only two or three
kinds of things in it; the first three or four things that God created
would have been enacted into fixed rules for making all the rest.
But they let the works of nature alone, because they know there is no
hope for them, and content themselves with enacting rules in
literature and art, which make all the perfection and grace of the
past so many impassable barriers to progress in future. Because the
ancients kept to unity of idea in their groups, and attained to most
beautiful results by doing so, shall no modern make an antithesis in
marble? And why has not a man a right to dramatize in marble as well
as on canvas, if he can produce a powerful and effective result by so
doing? And even if by being melodramatic, as the terrible word is, he
can shadow forth a grand and comforting religious idea--if he can
unveil to those who have seen only the desolation of death, its glory,
and its triumph--who shall say that he may not do so because he
violates the lines of some old Greek artist? Where would Shakspeare's
dramas have been, had he studied the old dramatic unities?
So, you see, like an obstinate republican, as I am, I defend my right
to have my own opinion about this monument, albeit the guide book,
with its usual diplomatic caution, says, "It is in very questionable
We went for our dinner to the White Hart, the very inn which
Shakspeare celebrates in his Merry Wives, and had a most overflowing,
merry time of it. The fact is, we had not seen each other for so long
that to be in each other's company for a whole day was quite a
After dinner we had a beautiful drive, passing the colleges at Eton,
and seeing the boys out playing cricket; had an excellent opportunity
to think how true Gray's poem on the Prospect of Eton is to boy-nature
then, now, and forever. We were bent upon looking up the church which
gave rise to his Elegy in a Country Churchyard, intending, when we got
there, to have a little scene over it; Mr. S., in all the conscious
importance of having been there before, assuring us that he knew
exactly where it was. So, after some difficulty with our coachman, and
being stopped at one church which would not answer our purpose in any
respect, we were at last set down by one which looked authentic;
embowered in mossy elms, with a most ancient and goblin yew tree, an
ivy-mantled tower, all perfect as could be.
There had been a sprinkle of rain,--an ornament which few English days
want,--and the westering beams of the sun twinkled through innumerable
drops. In fact, it was a pretty place; and I felt such "dispositions
to melancholies," as Sir Hugh Evans would have it, that I half
resented Mr. S.'s suggestion that the cars were waiting. However, as
he was engaged to speak at a peace meeting in London, it was agreed he
should leave us there to stroll, while he took the cars. So away he
went; and we, leaning on the old fence, repeated the Elegy, which
certainly applies here as beautifully as language could apply.
What a calm, shady, poetical nature is expressed in these lines! Gray
seems to have been sent into the world for nothing but to be a poem,
like some of those fabulous, shadowy beings which haunted the cool
grottoes on Grecian mountains; creatures that seem to have no
practical vitality--to be only a kind of voice, an echo, heard for a
little, and then lost in silence. He seemed to be in himself a kind of
From thence we strolled along, enjoying the beautiful rural scenery.
Having had a kind invitation to visit Labouchère Park that day, which
we were obliged to decline for want of time, we were pleased to
discover that we had two more hours, in which we could easily
accomplish a stroll there. By a most singular infelicity, our party
became separated; and, misunderstanding each other, we remained
waiting for W. till it was too late for us to go, while he, on the
other hand, supposing us to have walked before him, was redoubling his
speed all the while, hoping to overtake us. In consequence of this, he
accomplished the walk to Labouchère Park, and we waited in the dismal
depot till it was too late to wait any longer, and finally went into
London without him.
After all, imagine our chagrin on being informed that we had not been
to the genuine churchyard. The gentleman who wept over the scenes of
his early days on the wrong doorstep was not more grievously
disappointed. However, he and we could both console ourselves with the
reflection that the emotion was admirable, and wanted only the right
place to make it the most appropriate in the world. The genuine
country churchyard, however, was that at Stoke Pogis, which we should
have seen had not the fates forbidden our going to Labouchère Park.
The evening after our return from Windsor was spent with our kind
friends, Mr. and Mrs. Gurney. Mr. Gurney is rector of Mary-le-Bone
parish, one of the largest districts in London; and he is, I have been
told, one of the court chaplains; a man of the most cultivated and
agreeable manners, earnestly and devoutly engaged in the business of
his calling. As one of the working men of the church establishment, I
felt a strong interest in his views and opinions, and he seemed to
take no less interest in mine, as coming from a country where there is
and can be no church establishment. He asked many questions about
America; the general style of our preaching; the character of our
theology; our modes of religious action; our revivals of religion; our
theories of sudden and instantaneous conversion, as distinguished from
the gradual conversion of education; our temperance societies, and the
stand taken by our clergy in behalf of temperance.
He wished to know how the English style of preaching appeared to me in
comparison with that of America. I told him one principal difference
that struck me was, that the English preaching did not recognize the
existence of any element of inquiry or doubt in the popular mind; that
it treated certain truths as axioms, which only needed to be stated to
be believed; whereas in American sermons there is always more or less
time employed in explaining, proving, and answering objections to, the
truths enforced. I quoted Baptist Noel's sermon in illustration of
what I meant.
I asked him to what extent the element of scepticism, with regard to
religious truth, had pervaded the mind of England? adding that I had
inferred its existence there from such novels as those of Kingsley. He
thought that there was much of this element, particularly in the
working classes; that they were coming to regard the clergy with
suspicion, and to be less under their influence than in former times;
and said it was a matter of much solicitude to know how to reach them.
I told him that I had heard an American clergyman, who had travelled
in England, say, that dissenters were treated much as free negroes
were in America, and added that my experience must have been very
exceptional, or the remark much overstated, as I had met dissenting
clergymen in all circles of society. He admitted that there might be a
good deal of bigotry in this respect, but added that the infrequency
of association was more the result of those circumstances which would
naturally draw the two parties to themselves, than to superciliousness
on the side of the establishment, adding that where a court and
aristocracy were in the established church, there would necessarily be
a pressure of fashion in its favor, which might at times bring
The children were sitting by studying their evening lessons, and I
begged Mrs. Gurney to allow me to look over their geographies and
atlases; and on her inquiring why, I told her that well-informed
people in England sometimes made such unaccountable mistakes about the
geography of our country as were quite surprising to me, and that I
did not understand how it was that our children should know so much
more about England than they about us. I found the children, however,
in possession of a very excellent and authentic map of our country. I
must say also that the most highly educated people I have met in
England have never betrayed any want of information on this subject.
The next morning we had at breakfast two clergymen, members of the
established church. They appeared to be most excellent, devout,
practical men, anxious to do good, and thoughtfully seeking for
suggestions from any quarter which might assist them in their labors.
They renewed many of the inquiries which Mr. Gurney had made the
After breakfast I went with Mr. Gurney and Mr. S. to Richmond's studio
to sit for a likeness, which is to be presented to Mr. S. by several
friends. Richmond's name is one which in this London sphere has only
to be announced to explain itself; not to know him argues yourself
unknown. He is one of the most successful artists in a certain line of
portrait painting that the present day affords. He devotes himself
principally to crayon and water-color sketches. His crayon heads are
generally the size of life; his water-colors of a small size. He often
takes full-lengths in this way, which render not merely the features,
but the figure, air, manner, and what is characteristic about the
dress. These latter sketches are finished up very highly, with the
minuteness of a miniature. His forte consists in seizing and fixing
those fleeting traits of countenance, air, and movement, which go so
far towards making up our idea of a person's appearance. Many of the
engravings of distinguished persons, with which we are familiar, have
come from his designs, such as Wilberforce, Sir Powell Buxton,
Elizabeth Fry, and others. I found his studio quite a gallery of
notabilities, almost all the _distingués_ of the day having sat
to him; so I certainly had the satisfaction of feeling myself in good
company. Mr. Richmond looks quite youthful, (but I never can judge of
any one's age here,) is most agreeable in conversation, full of
anecdote in regard to all the moving life of London. I presume his
power of entertaining conversation is one secret of his successful
likenesses. Some portrait painters keep calling on you for expression
all the while, and say nothing in the world to awaken it.
From Richmond's, Mr. S., C., and I drove out to call upon Kossuth. We
found him in an obscure lodging on the outskirts of London. I would
that some of the editors in America, who have thrown out insinuations
about his living in luxury, could have seen the utter bareness and
plainness of the reception room, which had nothing in it beyond the
simplest necessaries. Here dwells the man whose greatest fault is an
undying love of his country. We all know that if Kossuth would have
taken wealth and a secure retreat, with a life of ease for himself,
America would gladly have laid all these at his feet. But because he
could not acquiesce in the unmerited dishonor of his country, he lives
a life of obscurity, poverty, and labor. All this was written in his
pale, worn face, and sad, thoughtful blue eye. But to me the unselfish
patriot is more venerable for his poverty and his misfortunes.
Have we, among the thousands who speak loud of patriotism in America,
many men, who, were she enfeebled, despised, and trampled, would
forego self, and suffer as long, as patiently for her? It is even
easier to die for a good cause, in some hour of high enthusiasm, when
all that is noblest in us can be roused to one great venture, than to
live for it amid wearing years of discouragement and hope delayed.
There are those even here in England who delight to get up slanders
against Kossuth, and not long ago some most unfounded charges were
thrown out against him in some public prints. By way of counterpoise
an enthusiastic public meeting was held, in which he was presented
with a splendid set of Shakspeare.
He entered into conversation with us with cheerfulness, speaking
English well, though with the idioms of foreign languages. He seemed
quite amused at the sensation which had been excited by Mr. S.'s
cotton speech in Exeter Hall. C. asked him if he had still hopes for
his cause. He answered, "I hope still, because I work still; my hope
is in God and in man."
I inquired for Madame Kossuth, and he answered, "I have not yet seen
her to-day," adding, "she has her family affairs, you know, madam; we
are poor exiles here;" and, fearing to cause embarrassment, I did not
press an interview.
When we parted he took my hand kindly, and said, "God bless you, my
I would not lose my faith in such men for any thing the world could
give me. There are some people who involve in themselves so many of
the elements which go to make up our confidence in human nature
generally, that to lose confidence in them seems to undermine our
faith in human virtue. As Shakspeare says, their defection would be
like "another fall of man."
We went back to Mr. Gurney's to lunch, and then, as the afternoon was
fine, Mr. and Mrs. Gurney drove with us in their carriage to Pembroke
Lodge, the country seat of Lord John Russell. It was an uncommonly
beautiful afternoon, and the view from Richmond Hill was as perfect a
specimen of an English landscape, seen under the most benignant
auspices, as we could hope to enjoy. Orchards, gardens, villas,
charming meadows enamelled with flowers, the silver windings of the
Thames, the luxuriant outlines of the foliage, varied here and there
by the graceful perpendicular of the poplars, all formed one of the
richest of landscapes. The brow of the hill is beautifully laid out
with tufts of trees, winding paths, diversified here and there with
arbors and rustic seats.
Richmond Park is adorned with clumps of ancient trees, among which
troops of deer were strolling. Pembroke Lodge is a plain,
unostentatious building, rising in the midst of charming grounds. We
were received in the drawing room by the young ladies, and were sorry
to learn that Lady Russell was so unwell as to be unable to give us
her company at dinner. Two charming little boys came in, and a few
moments after, their father, Lord John. I had been much pleased with
finding on the centre table a beautiful edition of that revered friend
of my childhood, Dr. Watts's Divine Songs, finely illustrated. I
remarked to Lord John that it was the face of an old friend. He said
it was presented to his little boys by their godfather, Sir George
Grey; and when, taking one of the little boys on his knee, he asked
him if he could repeat me one of his hymns, the whole thing seemed so
New England-like that I began to feel myself quite at home. I hope I
shall some day see in America an edition of Dr. Watts, in which the
illustrations do as much justice to the author's sentiments as in
this, for in all our modern religious works for children there is
nothing that excels these divine songs.
There were only a few guests; among them Sir George Grey and lady; he
is nephew to Earl Grey, of reform memory, and she is the eldest
daughter of the pious and learned Bishop Ryder, of Lichfield. Sir
George is a man of great piety and worth, a liberal, and much
interested in all benevolent movements. There was also the Earl of
Albemarle, who is a colonel in the army, and has served many years
under Wellington, a particularly cheerful, entertaining, conversable
man, full of anecdote. He told several very characteristic and comical
stories about the Duke of Wellington.
At dinner, among other things, the conversation turned upon hunting.
It always seemed to me a curious thing, that in the height of English
civilization this vestige of the savage state should still remain. I
told Lord Albemarle that I thought the idea of a whole concourse of
strong men turning out to hunt a poor fox or hare, creatures so feeble
and insignificant, and who can do nothing to defend themselves, was
hardly consistent with manliness; that if they had some of our
American buffaloes, or a Bengal tiger, the affair would be something
more dignified and generous. Thereupon they only laughed, and told
stories about fox hunters. It seems that killing a fox, except in the
way of hunting, is deemed among hunters an unpardonable offence, and a
man who has the misfortune to do it would be almost as unwilling to
let it be known as if he had killed a man.
They also told about deer stalking in the highlands, in which exercise
I inferred Lord John had been a proficient. The conversation reminded
me of the hunting stories I had heard in the log cabins in Indiana,
and I amused myself with thinking how some of the narrators would
appear among my high-bred friends. There is such a quaint vivacity and
droll-cry about that half-savage western life, as always gives it a
charm in my recollection. I thought of the jolly old hunter who always
concluded the operations of the day by discharging his rifle at his
candle after he had snugly ensconced himself in bed; and of the
celebrated scene in which Henry Clay won an old hunter's vote in an
election, by his aptness in turning into a political simile some
points in the management of a rifle.
Now there is, to my mind, something infinitely more sublime about
hunting in real earnest amid the solemn shadows of our interminable
forests, than in making believe hunt in parks.
It is undoubtedly the fact, that these out-of-door sports of England
have a great deal to do with the firm health which men here enjoy.
Speaking of this subject, I could not help expressing my surprise to
Lord John at the apparently perfect health enjoyed by members of
Parliament, notwithstanding their protracted night labors. He thinks
that the session of Parliament this year will extend nearly to August.
Speaking of breakfasts, he said they often had delightful breakfasts
about three o'clock in the day; this is a total reverse of all our
ideas in regard to time.
After dinner Lord and Lady Ribblesdale came in, connections of Lord
John by a former marriage. I sat by Lord John on the sofa, and
listened with great interest to a conversation between him and Lady
Grey, on the working of the educational system in England; a subject
which has particularly engaged the attention of the English government
since the reign of the present queen. I found a difficulty in
understanding many of the terms they used, though I learned much that
After a while I went to Lady Russell's apartment, and had an hour of
very pleasant conversation with her. It greatly enlarges our
confidence in human nature to find such identity of feeling and
opinion among the really good of different countries, and of all
different circles in those countries. I have never been more impressed
with this idea than during my sojourn here in England. Different as
the institutions of England and America are, they do not prevent the
formation of a very general basis of agreement in so far as radical
ideas of practical morality and religion are concerned; and I am
increasingly certain that there is a foundation for a lasting unity
between the two countries which shall increase constantly, as the
increasing facilities of communication lessen the distance between us.
Lady Russell inquired with a good deal of interest after Prescott, our
historian, and expressed the pleasure which she and Lord John had
derived from his writings.
We left early, after a most agreeable evening. The next day at eleven
o'clock we went to an engagement at Lambeth Palace, where we had been
invited by a kind note from its venerable master, the Archbishop of
Canterbury. Lambeth is a stately pile of quaint, antique buildings,
rising most magnificently on the banks of the Thames. It is surrounded
by beautiful grounds, laid out with choice gardening. Through an
ancient hall, lighted by stained-glass windows, we were ushered into
the drawing room, where the guests were assembling. There was quite a
number of people there, among others the lady and eldest son of the
Bishop of London, the Earl and Countess Waldegrave, and the family
friends of the archbishop.
The good archbishop was kind and benign, as usual, and gave me his arm
while we explored the curiosities of the palace. Now, my dear, if you
will please to recollect that the guide book says, "this palace
contains all the gradations of architecture from early English to late
perpendicular," you will certainly not expect me to describe it in one
letter. It has been the residence of the archbishops of Canterbury
from time immemorial, both in the days before the reformation and
The chapel was built between the years 1200 and 1300, and there used
to be painted windows in it, as Archbishop Laud says, which contained
the whole history of the world, from the creation to the day of
judgment. Unfortunately these comprehensive windows were destroyed in
the civil wars.
The part called the Lollards' Tower is celebrated as having been the
reputed prison of the Lollards. These Lollards, perhaps you will
remember, were the followers of John Wickliffe, called Lollards as
Christ was called a "Nazarene," simply because the word was a term of
reproach. Wickliffe himself was summoned here to Lambeth to give an
account of his teachings, and in 1382, William Courtnay, Archbishop of
Canterbury, called a council, which condemned his doctrines. The
tradition is, that at various times these Lollards were imprisoned
In order to get to the tower we had to go through a great many
apartments, passages, and corridors, and terminate all by climbing a
winding staircase, steeper and narrower than was at all desirable for
any but wicked heretics, who ought to be made as uncomfortable as
possible. However, by reasonable perseverance, the archbishop, the
bishop's lady, and all the noble company present found themselves
safely at the top. Our host remarked, I think, that it was the second
time he had ever been there.
The room is thirteen feet by twelve, and about eight feet high,
wainscotted with oak, which is scrawled over with names and
inscriptions. There are eight large iron rings in the wall, to which
the prisoners were chained; for aught we know, Wickliffe himself may
have been one. As our kind host moved about among us with his placid
face, we could not but think that times had altered since the days
when archbishops used to imprison heretics, and preside over grim,
inquisitorial tribunals. We all agreed, however, that, considering the
very beautiful prospect this tower commands up and down the Thames,
the poor Lollards in some respects might have been worse lodged.
We passed through the guard room, library, and along a corridor where
hung a row of pictures of all the archbishops from the very earliest
times; and then the archbishop took me into his study, which is a most
charming room, containing his own private library: after that we all
sat down to lunch in a large dining hall. I was seated between the
archbishop and a venerable admiral in the navy. Among other things,
the latter asked me if there were not many railroad and steamboat
accidents in America. O my countrymen, what trouble do you make us in
foreign lands by your terrible carelessness! I was obliged, in candor,
to say that I thought there was a shocking number of accidents of that
sort, and suggested the best excuse I could think of--our youth and
inexperience; but I certainly thought my venerable friend had touched
a very indefensible point.
Among other topics discussed in the drawing room, I heard some more
_on dits_ respecting spiritual rappings. Every body seems to be
wondering what they are, and what they are going to amount to.
We took leave of our kind host and his family, gratefully impressed
with the simplicity and sincere cordiality of our reception. There are
many different names for goodness in this world; but, after all, true
brotherly kindness and charity is much the same thing, whether it show
itself by a Quaker's fireside or in an archbishop's palace.
Leaving the archbishop's I went to Richmond's again, where I was most
agreeably entertained for an hour or two. We have an engagement for
Playford Hall to-morrow, and we breakfast with Joseph Sturge: it being
now the time of the yearly meeting of the Friends, he and his family
are in town.
MY DEAR S.:--
The next morning C. and I took the cars to go into the country, to
Playford Hall. "And what's Playford Hall?" you say. "And why did you
go to see it?" As to what it is, here is a reasonably good picture
before you. As to why, it was for many years the residence of Thomas
Clarkson, and is now the residence of his venerable widow and her
Playford Hall is considered, I think, the oldest of the fortified
houses in England, and is, I am told, the only one that has water in
the moat. The water which is seen girdling the wall, in the picture,
is the moat: it surrounds the place entirely, leaving no access except
across the bridge, which is here represented.
After crossing this bridge, you come into a green court yard filled
with choice plants and flowering shrubs, and carpeted with that thick,
soft, velvet-like grass which is to be found nowhere else in so
perfect a state as in England.
The water is fed by a perpetual spring, whose current is so sluggish
as scarcely to be perceptible, but which yet has the vitality of a
It has a dark and glassy stillness of surface, only broken by the
forms of the water plants, whose leaves float thickly over it.
The walls of the moat are green with ancient moss, and from the
crevices springs an abundant flowering vine, whose delicate leaves and
bright yellow flowers in some places entirely mantle the stones with
their graceful drapery.
[Illustration: _of Playford Hall._]
The picture I have given you represents only one side of the moat. The
other side is grown up with dark and thick shrubbery and ancient
trees, rising and embowering the entire place, adding to the retired
and singular effect of the whole. The place is a specimen of a sort of
thing which does not exist in America. It is one of those significant
landmarks which unite the present with the past, for which we must
return to the country of our origin.
Playford Hall is peculiarly English, and Thomas Clarkson, for whose
sake I visited it, was as peculiarly an Englishman--a specimen of the
very best kind of English mind and character, as this is of
characteristic English architecture.
We Anglo-Saxons have won a hard name in the world. There are
undoubtedly bad things which are true about us.
Taking our developments as a race, both in England and America, we may
be justly called the Romans of the nineteenth century. We have been
the race which has conquered, subdued, and broken in pieces other
weaker races, with little regard either to justice or mercy. With
regard to benefits by us imparted to conquered nations, I think a
better story, on the whole, can be made out for the Romans than for
us. Witness the treatment of the Chinese, of the tribes of India, and
of our own American Indians.
But still there is in Anglo-Saxon blood, a vigorous sense of justice,
as appears in our habeas corpus, our jury trials, and other features