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The Englishwoman in America by Isabella Lucy Bird

Part 2 out of 6

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disagreeable preponderance of the "lords of the creation."

Not being inclined to sit in the "parlour" with a very motley company, I
accompanied the hostess into the kitchen, and sat by the fire upon a
chopping-block, the most luxurious seat in the apartment. Two shoeless
Irish girls were my other companions, and one of them, hearing that I was
from England, inquired if I were acquainted with "one Mike Donovan, of
Skibbereen!" The landlady's daughter was also there, a little, sharp-
visaged, precocious torment of three years old, who spilt my ink and lost
my thimble; and then, coming up to me, said, "Well, stranger, I guess
you're kinder tired." She very unceremoniously detached my watch from my
chain, and, looking at it quite with the eye of a _connoisseur_, "guessed
it must have cost a pretty high figure"! After she had filled my purse
with ink, for which misdemeanour her mother offered no apology, I looked
into the tea-room, which presented the curious spectacle of forty men,
including a number of ship-carpenters of highly respectable appearance,
taking tea in the silent, business-like way in which Transatlantic meals
are generally despatched. My own meal, which the landlady evidently
intended should be a very luxurious one, consisted of stewed tea,
sweetened with molasses, soft cheese instead of butter, and dark rye-

The inn was so full that my hostess said she could not give me a bed--
rather an unwelcome announcement to a wayworn traveller--and with
considerable complacency she took me into a large, whitewashed, carpetless
room, furnished with one chair, a small table, and my valise. She gave me
two buffalo robes, and left me, hoping I should be comfortable! Rather
disposed to quarrel with a hardship which shortly afterwards I should have
laughed at, I rolled up my cloak for a pillow, wrapped myself in a
buffalo-skin, and slept as soundly as on the most luxurious couch. I was
roused early by a general thumping and clattering, and, making the hasty
toilette which one is compelled to do when destitute of appliances, I
found the stage at the early hour of six ready at the door; and, to my
surprise, the coachman was muffled up in furs, and the morning was
intensely cold.

This vehicle was of the same construction as that which I have already
described in Nova Scotia; but, being narrower, was infinitely more
uncomfortable. Seven gentlemen and two ladies went inside, in a space
where six would have been disagreeably crowded. Mr. Sandford preferred the
outside, where he could smoke his cigar without molestation. The road was
very hilly, and several times our progress was turned into retrogression,
for the horses invariably refused to go up hill, probably, poor things!
because they felt their inability to drag the loaded wain up the steep
declivities which we continually met with. The passengers were therefore
frequently called upon to get out and walk--a very agreeable recreation,
for the ice was the thickness of a penny; the thermometer stood at 35 ;
there was a piercing north-east wind; and though the sun shone from a
cloudless sky, his rays had scarcely any power. We breakfasted at eight,
at a little wayside inn, and then travelled till midnight with scarcely
any cessation.

The way would have been very tedious had it not been enlivened by the
eccentricities of Mr. Latham, an English passenger. After breakfast the
conversation in the stage was pretty general, led by the individual
aforesaid, who _lectured_ and _preached_, rather than conversed. Few
subjects were untouched by his eloquence; he spoke with equal ease on a
difficult point in theology, and on the conformation of the sun. He
lectured on politics, astronomy, chemistry, and anatomy with great fluency
and equal incorrectness. In describing the circulation of the blood, he
said, "It's a purely metaphysical subject;" and the answering remark, "It
is the most purely physical," made him vehemently angry. He spoke of the
sun by saying, "I've studied the sun; I know it as well as I do this
field; it's a dark body with a luminous atmosphere, and a climate more
agreeable than that of the earth"--thus announcing as a fact what has been
timidly put forward as a theory only by our greatest astronomers.

Politics soon came on the _tapis_, when he attacked British institutions
violently, with an equal amount of ignorance and presumption, making such
glaring misstatements that I felt bound to contradict them; when he, not
liking to be lowered in the estimation of his companions, contested the
points in a way which closely bordered upon rudeness.

He made likewise a very pedantic display of scientific knowledge, in
virtue of an occasional attendance at meetings of mechanics' institutes,
and asked the gentlemen for "We're all gentlemen here"--numerous
questions, to which they could not reply, when one of the party took
courage to ask him why fire burned. "Oh, because of the hydrogen in the
air, of course," was the complacent answer. "I beg your pardon, but there
is no hydrogen in atmospheric air."--"There is; I know the air well: it is
composed one-half of hydrogen, the other half of nitrogen and oxygen."
"You're surely confounding it with water."--"No, I am as well acquainted
with the composition of water as with that of air; it is composed of the
same gases, only in different proportions." This was too monstrous, and
his opponent, while contradicting the statement, could not avoid a hearty
laugh at its absurdity, in which the others joined without knowing why,
which so raised the choler of this irascible gentleman, that it was most
difficult to smooth matters. He contended that he was right and the other
wrong; that his propositions were held by all chemists of eminence on both
sides of the water; that, though he had not verified the elements of these
fluids by analysis, he was perfectly acquainted with their nature; that
the composition of air was a mere theory, but that his opponent's view was
not held by any _savans_ of note. The latter merely replied, "When you
next light a candle you may be thankful that there is no hydrogen in the
air;" after which there was a temporary cessation of hostilities.

But towards night, being still unwarned by the discomfitures of the
morning, he propounded some questions which his companions could not
answer; among which was, "Why are there black sheep?" How he would have
solved this difficult problem in natural history, I do not know.
Mystification sat on all faces, when the individual who had before
attacked Mr. Latham's misstatements, took up the defence of the puzzled
colonists by volunteering to answer the question if he would explain how
"impossible roots enter equations." No reply was given to this, when, on
some of the gentlemen urging him, perhaps rather mischievously, to answer,
he retorted angrily,--"I'm master of mathematics as well as of other
sciences; but I see there's an intention to make fun of me. I don't choose
to be made a butt of, and I'll show you that I can be as savage as other
people." This threat had the effect of producing a total silence for the
remainder of the journey; but Mr. Latham took an opportunity of explaining
to me that in this speech he intended no personal allusion, but had found
it necessary to check the ill-timed mirth in the stage. In spite of his
presumption and pedantry, he never lost an opportunity of showing
kindness. I saw him last in the very extremity of terror, during a violent
gale off the coast of Maine.

For the first fifty miles after leaving the Bend, our road lay through
country as solitary and wild as could be conceived--high hills, covered
with endless forests of small growth. I looked in vain for the gigantic
trees so celebrated by travellers in America. If they ever grew in this
region, they now, in the shape of ships, are to be found on every sea
where England's flag waves. Occasionally the smoke of an Indian wigwam
would rise in a thin blue cloud from among the dark foliage of the
hemlock; and by the primitive habitation one of the aboriginal possessors
of the soil might be seen, in tattered habiliments, cleaning a gun or
repairing a bark canoe, scarcely deigning an apathetic glance at those
whom the appliances of civilisation and science had placed so immeasurably
above him. Then a squaw, with a papoose strapped upon her back, would peep
at us from behind a tree; or a half-clothed urchin would pursue us for
coppers, contrasting strangely with the majesty of _Uncas_, or the
sublimity of _Chingachgook_; portraits which it is very doubtful if Cooper
ever took from life.

In the few places where the land had been cleared the cultivation was
tolerable and the houses comfortable, surrounded generally by cattle-sheds
and rich crops of Tartarian oats. The potatoes appeared to be free from
disease, and the pumpkin crop was evidently abundant and in good
condition. Sussex Valley, along which we passed for thirty miles, is
green, wooded, and smilingly fertile, being watered by a clear rapid
river. The numerous hay-meadows, and the neat appearance of the arable
land, reminded me of England. It is surprising, considering the advantages
possessed by New Brunswick, that it has not been a more favourite resort
of emigrants. It seems to me that one great reason of this must be the
difficulty and expense of land-travelling, as the province is destitute of
the means of internal communication in the shape of railways and canals.
It contains several navigable rivers, and the tracts of country near the
St. John, the Petticodiac, and the Miramichi rivers are very fertile, and
adapted for cultivation. The lakes and minor streams in the interior of
the province are also surrounded by rich land, and the capacious bays
along the coast abound with fish. New Brunswick possesses "responsible
government," and has a Governor, an Executive Council, a Legislative
Council, and a House of Assembly. Except that certain expenses of defence,
&c., are borne by the home government, which would protect the colony in
the event of any predatory incursions on the part of the Americans, it has
all the advantages of being an independent nation; and it is believed that
the Reciprocity Treaty, recently concluded with the United States, will
prove of great commercial benefit.

Yet the number of emigrants who have sought its shores is comparatively
small, and these arrivals were almost exclusively of the labouring
classes, attracted by the extraordinarily high rates of wages, and were
chiefly absorbed by mechanical employments. The numbers landed in 1853
were 3762, and, in 1854, 3618. With respect to the general affairs of New
Brunswick, it is very satisfactory to observe that the provincial revenue
has increased to upwards of 200,000_l._ per annum.

Fredericton, a town of about 9000 inhabitants, on the St. John river, by
which it has a daily communication with the city of St. John, 90 miles
distant, by steamer, is the capital and seat of government. New Brunswick
has considerable mineral wealth; coal and iron are abundant, and the
climate is less foggy than that of Nova Scotia; but these great natural
advantages are suffered to lie nearly dormant. The colonists are very
hardy and extremely loyal; but the vice of drinking, so prevalent in
northern climates, has recently called for legislative interference.

We stopped at the end of every stage of eighteen miles to change horses,
and at one of the little inns an old man brought to the door of the stage
a very pretty, interesting-looking girl of fifteen years old, and placed
her under my care, requesting me to "see her safely to her home in St.
John, and not allow any of the gentlemen to be rude to her." The latter
part of the instructions was very easy to fulfil, as, whatever faults the
colonists possess, they are extremely respectful in their manners to
ladies. But a difficulty arose, or rather what would have been a
difficulty in England, for the stage was full both inside and out, and all
the passengers were desirous to reach Boston as speedily as possible.
However, a gentleman from New England, seeing the anxiety of the young
girl to reach St. John, got out of the stage, and actually remained at the
little roadside inn for one whole day and two nights, in order to
accommodate a stranger. This act of kindness was performed at great
personal inconvenience, and the gentleman who showed it did not appear to
attach the slightest merit to it The novelty of it made a strong
impression upon me, and it fully bore out all that I had read or heard of
the almost exaggerated deference to ladies which custom requires from
American gentlemen.

After darkness came on, the tedium of a journey of twenty hours, performed
while sitting in a very cramped posture, was almost insupportable, and the
monotony of it was only broken by the number of wooden bridges which we
crossed, and the driver's admonition, "Bridge dangerous; passengers get
out and walk." The night was very cold and frosty, and so productive of
aguish chills, that I was not at all sorry for the compelled pedestrianism
entailed upon me by the insecure state of these bridges.

My young charge seemed extremely timid while crossing them, and uttered a
few suppressed shrieks when curious splitting noises, apparently
proceeding from the woodwork, broke the stillness; nor was I altogether
surprised at her emotions when, as we were walking over a bridge nearly
half a mile in length, I was told that a coach and six horses had
disappeared through it a fortnight before, at the cost of several broken

While crossing the St. John, near the pretty town of Hampton, one of our
leaders put both his fore feet into a hole, and was with difficulty

Precisely at midnight the stage clattered down the steep streets of the
city of St. John, to which the ravages of the cholera had recently given
such a terrible celebrity. After a fruitless pilgrimage to three hotels,
we were at length received at Waverley House, having accomplished a
journey of one hundred miles in twenty hours! On ringing my bell, it was
answered by a rough porter, and I soon found that _waiting_ chambermaids
are not essential at Transatlantic hotels; and the female servants, or
rather _helps_, are of a very superior class. A friend of mine, on leaving
an hotel at Niagara, offered a _douceur_ in the shape of half a dollar to
one of these, but she drew herself up, and proudly replied, "American
ladies do not receive money from gentlemen." Having left my keys at the
Bend, I found my valise a useless incumbrance, rather annoying after a
week of travelling.

We spent the Sunday at St. John, and, the opportune arrival of my keys
enabling me to don some habiliments suited to the day, I went to the
church, where the service, with the exception of the sermon, was very well
performed. A solemn thanksgiving for the removal of the cholera was read,
and was rendered very impressive by the fact that most of the congregation
were in new mourning. The Angel of Death had long hovered over the doomed
city, which lost rather more than a tenth of its population from a disease
which in the hot summer of America is nearly as fatal and terrible as the
plague. All who could leave the town fled; but many carried the disease
with them, and died upon the road. The hotels, shipyards, and stores were
closed, bodies rudely nailed up in boards were hurried about the streets,
and met with hasty burial outside the city, before vital warmth had fled;
the holy ties of natural affection were disregarded, and the dying were
left alone to meet the King of Terrors, none remaining to close their
eyes; the ominous clang of the death-bell was heard both night and day,
and a dense brown fog was supposed to brood over the city, which for five
weeks was the abode of the dying and the dead.

A temporary regard for religion was produced among the inhabitants of St.
John by the visit of the pestilence; it was scarcely possible for the most
sceptical not to recognise the overruling providence of God: and I have
seldom seen more external respect for the Sabbath and the ordinances of
religion than in this city.

The preponderance of the rougher sex was very strongly marked at Waverley
House. Fifty gentlemen sat down to dinner, and only three ladies,
inclusive of the landlady. Fifty-three cups of tea graced the table, which
was likewise ornamented with six boiled legs of mutton, numerous dishes of
splendid potatoes, and corn-cobs, squash, and pumpkin-pie, in true
colonial abundance.

I cannot forbear giving a conversation which took place at a meal at this
inn, as it is very characteristic of the style of persons whom one
continually meets with in travelling in these colonies: "I guess you're
from the Old Country?" commenced my _vis-a-vis_; to which recognition of
my nationality I humbly bowed. "What do you think of us here d own east?"
"I have been so short a time in these provinces, that I cannot form any
just opinion." "Oh, but you must have formed some; we like to know what
Old Country folks think of us." Thus asked, I could not avoid making some
reply, and said, "I think there is a great want of systematic enterprise
in these colonies; you do not avail yourselves of the great natural
advantages which you possess." "Well, the fact is, old father Jackey Bull
ought to help us, or let us go off on our own hook right entirely." "You
have responsible government, and, to use your own phrase, you are on 'your
own hook' in all but the name." "Well, I guess as we are; _we're a long
chalk above the Yankees_, though them is fellers as thinks nobody's got
their eye teeth cut but themselves."

The self-complacent ignorance with which this remark was made was
ludicrous in the extreme. He began again: "What do you think of Nova
Scotia and the 'Blue Noses'? Halifax is a grand place, sure_ly_!" "At
Halifax I found the best inn such a one as no respectable American would
condescend to sleep at, and a town of shingles, with scarcely any
sidewalks. The people were talking largely of railways and steamers, yet I
travelled by the mail to Truro and Pictou in a conveyance that would
scarcely have been tolerated in England two centuries ago. The people of
Halifax possess the finest harbour in North America, yet they have no
docks, and scarcely any shipping. The Nova-Scotians, it is known, have
iron, coal, slate, limestone, and freestone, and their shores swarm with
fish, yet they spend their time in talking about railways, docks, and the
House of Assembly, and end by walking about doing nothing."

"Yes," chimed in a Boston sea-captain, who had been our fellow-passenger
from Europe, and prided himself upon being a "thorough-going down-easter,"
"it takes as long for a Blue Nose to put on his hat as for one of our free
and enlightened citizens to go from Bosting to New _Orleens_. If we don't
whip all creation it's a pity! Why, stranger, if you were to go to
Connecticut, and tell 'em what you've been telling this ere child, they'd
guess you'd been with _Colonel Crockett_."

"Well, I proceeded, in answer to another question from the New-
Brunswicker," if you wish to go to the north of your own province, you
require to go round Nova Scotia by sea. I understand that a railway to the
Bay of Chaleur has been talked about, but I suppose it has ended where it
began; and, for want of a railway to Halifax, even the Canadian traffic
has been diverted to Portland."

"We want to invest some of our surplus revenue," said the captain. "It'll
be a good spec when Congress buys these colonies; some of our ten-horse
power chaps will come down, and, before you could whistle 'Yankee Doodle,'
we'll have a canal to Bay Varte, with a town as big as Newhaven at each
end. The Blue Noses will look kinder streaked then, I guess." The New-
Brunswicker retorted, with some fierceness, that the handful of British
troops at Fredericton could "chaw up" the whole American army; and the
conversation continued for some time longer in the same boastful and
exaggerated strain on each side, but the above is a specimen of colonial
arrogance and American conceit.

The population of New Brunswick in 1851 was 193,800; but it is now over
210,000, and will likely increase rapidly, should the contemplated
extension of the railway system to the province ever take place; as in
that case the route to both the Canadas by the port of St. John will
probably supersede every other. The spacious harbour of St. John has a
sufficient depth of water for vessels of the largest class, and its tide-
fall of about 25 feet effectually prevents it from being frozen in the

The timber trade is a most important source of wealth to the colony--the
timber floated down the St. John alone, in the season of 1852, was of the
value of 405,208_l._ sterling. The saw-mills, of which by the last census
there were 584, gave employment to 4302 hands. By the same census there
were 87 ships, with an average burthen of 400 tons each, built in the year
in which it was taken, and the number has been on the increase since.
These colonial-built vessels are gradually acquiring a very high
reputation; some of our finest clippers, including one or two belonging to
the celebrated "White Star" line, are by the St. John builders. Perhaps,
with the single exception of Canada West, no colony offers such varied
inducements to emigrants.

I saw as much of St. John as possible, and on a fine day was favourably
impressed with it. It well deserves its cognomen, "The City of the Rock,"
being situated on a high, bluff, rocky peninsula, backed on the land-side
by steep barren hills. The harbour is well sheltered and capacious, and
the suspension-bridge above the falls very picturesque. The streets are
steep, wide, and well paved, and the stores are more pretentious than
those of Halifax. There is also a very handsome square, with a more
respectable fountain in it than those which excite the ridicule of
foreigners in front of our National Gallery. It is a place where a large
amount of business is done, and the shipyards alone give employment to
several thousand persons.

Yet the lower parts of the town are dirty in the extreme. I visited some
of the streets near the water before the cholera had quite disappeared
from them, nor did I wonder that the pestilence should linger in places so
appropriate to itself; for the roadways were strewn to a depth of several
inches with sawdust, emitting a foul decomposing smell, and in which lean
pigs were _routing_ and fighting.

Yet St. John wears a lively aspect. You see a thousand boatmen, raftmen,
and millmen, some warping dingy scows, others loading huge square-sided
ships; busy gangs of men in fustian jackets, engaged in running off the
newly sawed timber; and the streets bustling with storekeepers, lumber-
merchants, and market-men; all combining to produce a chaos of activity
very uncommon in the towns of our North American colonies. But too often,
murky-looking wharfs, storehouses, and half-dismantled ships, are
enveloped in drizzling fog--the fog rendered yet more impenetrable by the
fumes of coal-tar and sawdust; and the lower streets swarm with a
demoralised population. Yet the people of St. John are so far beyond the
people of Halifax, that I heartily wish them success and a railroad.

The air was ringing with the clang of a thousand saws and hammers, when,
at seven on the morning of a brilliant August day, we walked through the
swarming streets bordering upon the harbour to the _Ornevorg_ steamer,
belonging to the United States, built for Long Island Sound, but now used
as a coasting steamer. All my preconceived notions of a steamer were here
at fault. If it were like anything in nature, it was like Noah's ark, or,
to come to something post-diluvian, one of those covered hulks, or "ships
in ordinary," which are to be seen at Portsmouth and Devonport.

She was totally unlike an English ship, painted entirely white, without
masts, with two small black funnels alongside each other; and several
erections one above another for decks, containing multitudes of windows
about two feet square. The fabric seemed kept together by two large beams,
which added to the top-heavy appearance of the whole affair. We entered by
the paddle-box (which was within the outer casing of the ship), in company
with a great crowd, into a large square uncarpeted apartment, called the
"Hall," with offices at the sides for the sale of railway and dinner
tickets. Separated from this by a curtain is the ladies' saloon, a large
and almost _too_ airy apartment extending from the Hall to the stem of the
ship, well furnished with sofas, rocking-chairs, and marble tables. A row
of berths runs along the side, hung with festooned drapery of satin
damask, the curtains being of muslin, embroidered with rose-coloured

Above this is the general saloon, a large, handsomely furnished room, with
state rooms running down each side, and opening upon a small deck fourteen
feet long, also covered; the roof of this and of the saloon, forming the
real or hurricane deck of the ship, closed to passengers, and twelve feet
above which works the beam of the engine. Below the Hall, running the
whole length of the ship, is the gentlemen's cabin, containing 170 berths.
This is lighted by artificial light, and is used for meals. An enclosure
for the engine occupies the centre, but is very small, as the machinery of
a, high-pressure engine is without the encumbrances of condenser and air-
pump. The engines drove the unwieldy fabric through the calm water at the
rate of fifteen miles an hour. I have been thus minute in my description,
because this one will serve for all the steamers in which I subsequently
travelled in the United States and Canada.

The city of St. John looked magnificent on its lofty steep; and for some
time we had some very fine coast scenery; lofty granite cliffs rising
abruptly from the water, clothed with forests, the sea adjoining them so
deep, that we passed them, as proved by actual demonstration, within a
stone's throw. At one we arrived at Eastport, in Maine, a thriving-looking
place, and dinner was served while we were quiescent at the wharf. The
stewardess hunted up all the females in the ship, and, preceding them down
stairs, placed them at the head of the table; then, and not an instant
before, were the gentlemen allowed to appear, who made a most obstreperous
rush at the viands. There were about 200 people seated in a fetid and
dimly-lighted apartment, at a table covered over with odoriferous viands--
pork stuffed with onions, boiled legs of mutton, boiled chickens and
turkeys, roast geese, beef-steaks, yams, tomatoes, squash, mush, corn-
cobs, johnny cake, and those endless dishes of pastry to which the
American palate is so partial. I was just finishing a plate of soup when a
waiter touched me on the shoulder--"Dinner ticket, or fifty cents"; and
almost before I had comprehended the mysteries of American money
sufficiently to pay, other people were eating their dessert. So simple,
however, is the coinage of the United States, that in two days I
understood it as well as our own. Five dollars equal an English sovereign,
and one hundred cents make a dollar, and with this very moderate amount of
knowledge one can conduct one's pecuniary affairs all over the Union. The
simplicity of the calculation was quite a relief to me after the relative
values of the English sovereign in the colonies, which had greatly
perplexed me: 25_s._ 6_d._ in New Brunswick, 25_s._ in Nova Scotia, and
30_s._ in Prince Edward Island. I sat on deck till five, when I went down
to my berth. As the evening closed in gloomily, the sea grew coarser, and
I heard the captain say, "We are likely to have a very fresh night of it."
At seven a wave went down the companion-way, and washed half the tea-
things off the table, and before I fell asleep, the mate put his head
through the curtain to say, "It's a rough night, ladies, but there's no
danger"; a left-handed way of giving courage, which of course frightened
the timid. About eleven I was awoke by confused cries, and in my dawning
consciousness everything seemed going to pieces. The curtain was undrawn,
and I could see the hall continually swept by the waves.

Everything in our saloon was loose; rocking-chairs were careering about
the floor and coming into collision; the stewardess, half-dressed, was
crawling about from berth to berth, answering the inquiries of terrified
ladies, and the ship was groaning and straining heavily; but I slept
again, till awoke at midnight by a man's voice shouting "Get up, ladies,
and dress, but don't come out till you're called; the gale's very heavy."
Then followed a scene. People, helpless in illness a moment before, sprang
out of their berths and hastily huddled on their clothes; mothers caught
hold of their infants with a convulsive grasp; some screamed, others sat
down in apathy, while not a few addressed agonised supplications to that
God, too often neglected in times of health and safety, to save them in
their supposed extremity.

Crash went the lamp, which was suspended from the ceiling, as a huge wave
struck the ship, making her reel and stagger, and shrieks of terror
followed this event, which left us in almost total darkness. Rush came
another heavy wave, sweeping up the saloon, carrying chairs and stools
before it, and as rapidly retiring. The hall was full of men, clinging to
the supports, each catching the infectious fear from his neighbour. Wave
after wave now struck the ship. I heard the captain say the sea was making
a clean breach over her, and order the deck-load overboard. Shortly after,
the water, sweeping in from above, put out the engine-fires, and, as she
settled down continually in the trough of the sea, and lay trembling there
as though she would never rise again, even in my ignorance I knew that she
had "no way on her" and was at the mercy of the waters. I now understood
the meaning of "blowing great guns." The wind sounded like continual
discharges of heavy artillery, and the waves, as they struck the ship,
felt like cannon-balls. I could not get up and dress, for, being in the
top berth, I was unable to get out in consequence of the rolling of the
ship, and so, being unable to mend matters, I lay quietly, the whole
passing before me as a scene. I had several times been called on to
anticipate death from illness; but here, as I heard the men outside say,
"She's going down, she's water-logged, she can't hold together," there was
a different prospect of sinking down among the long trailing weeds in the
cold, deep waters of the Atlantic. Towards three o'clock, a wave, striking
the ship, threw me against a projecting beam of the side, cutting my head
severely and stunning me, and I remained insensible for three hours. We
continued in great danger for ten hours, many expecting each moment to be
their last, but in the morning the gale moderated, and by most strenuous
exertions at the pumps the water was kept down till assistance was
rendered, which enabled us about one o'clock to reach the friendly harbour
of Portland in Maine, with considerable damage and both our boats stove.
Deep thankfulness was expressed by many at such an unlooked-for
termination of the night's terrors and adventures; many the resolutions
expressed not to trust the sea again.

We were speedily moored to the wharf at Portland, amid a forest of masts;
the stars and stripes flaunted gaily overhead in concert with the American
eagle; and as I stepped upon those shores on which the sanguine suppose
that the Anglo-Saxon race is to renew the vigour of its youth, I felt that
a new era of my existence had begun.


First experiences of American freedom--The "striped pig" and "Dusty Ben"--
A country mouse--What the cars are like--Beauties of New England--The land
of apples--A Mammoth hotel--The rusty inkstand exiled--Eloquent eyes--
Alone in a crowd.

The city of Portland, with its busy streets, and crowded wharfs, and
handsome buildings, and railway depots, rising as it does on the barren
coast of the sterile State of Maine, fully bears out the first part of an
assertion which I had already heard made by Americans, "We're a great
people, the greatest nation on the face of the earth." A polite custom-
house officer asked me if I had anything contraband in my trunks, and on
my reply in the negative they were permitted to pass without even the
formality of being uncorded. "Enlightened citizens" they are truly, I
thought, and, with the pleasant consciousness of being in a perfectly free
country, where every one can do as he pleases, I entered an hotel near the
water and sat down in the ladies' parlour. I had not tasted food for
twenty-five hours, my clothes were cold and wet, a severe cut was on my
temple, and I felt thoroughly exhausted. These circumstances, I thought,
justified me in ringing the bell and asking for a glass of wine. Visions
of the agreeable refreshment which would be produced by the juice of the
grape appeared simultaneously with the waiter. I made the request, and he
brusquely replied, "You can't have it, _it's contrary to law_." In my
half-drowned and faint condition the refusal appeared tantamount to
positive cruelty, and I remembered that I had come in contact with the
celebrated "_Maine Law_." That the inhabitants of the State of Maine are
not "_free_" was thus placed practically before me at once. Whether they
are "_enlightened_" I doubted at the time, but leave the question of the
prohibition of fermented liquors to be decided by abler social economists
than myself.

I was hereafter informed that to those who go down stairs, and ask to see
the "_striped pig_" wine and spirits are produced; that a request to speak
with "_Dusty Ben_" has a like effect, and that, on asking for
"_sarsaparilla_" at certain stores in the town, the desired stimulant can
be obtained. Indeed it is said that the consumption of this drug is
greater in Maine than in all the other States put together. But in justice
to this highly respectable State, I must add that the drunkenness which
forced this stringent measure upon the legislature was among the thousands
of English and Irish emigrants who annually land at Portland. My only
companion here was a rosy-cheeked, simple country girl, who was going to
Kennebunk, and, never having been from home before, had not the slightest
idea what to do. Presuming on my antiquated appearance, she asked me "to
take care of her, to get her ticket for her, for she dare'nt ask those men
for it, and to let her sit by me in the car." She said she was so
frightened with something she'd seen that she didn't know how she should
go in the cars. I asked her what it was. "Oh," she said, "it was a great
thing, bright red, with I don't know how many wheels, and a large black
top, and bright shining things moving about all over it, and smoke and
steam coming out of it, and it made such an awful noise it seemed to shake
the earth."

At half-past three we entered the cars in a long shed, where there were no
officials in uniform as in England, and we found our way in as we could.
"All aboard!" is the signal for taking places, but on this occasion a loud
shout of "Tumble in for your lives!" greeted my amused ears, succeeded by
"Go a-head!" and off we went, the engineer tolling a heavy bell to notify
our approach to the passengers in _the streets along which we passed_.
America has certainly flourished under her motto "Go a-head!" but the
cautious "All right!" of an English guard, who waits to start till he is
sure of his ground being clear, gives one more confidence. I never
experienced the same amount of fear which is expressed by _Bunn_ and other
writers, for, on comparing the number of accidents with the number of
miles of railway open in America, I did not find the disadvantage in point
of safety on her side. The cars are a complete novelty to an English eye.
They are twenty-five feet long, and hold about sixty persons; they have
twelve windows on either side, and two and a door at each end; a passage
runs down the middle, with chairs to hold two each on either side. There
is a small saloon for ladies with babies at one end, and a filter
containing a constant supply of iced water. There are rings along the roof
for a rope which passes through each car to the engine, so that anything
wrong can be communicated instantly to the engineer. Every car has eight
solid wheels, four being placed close together at each end, all of which
can be locked by two powerful breaks. At each end of every car is a
platform, and passengers are "prohibited from standing upon it at their
peril," as also from passing from car to car while the train is in motion;
but as no penalty attaches to this law, it is incessantly and continuously
violated, "free and enlightened citizens" being at perfect liberty to
imperil their own necks; and "poor, ignorant, benighted Britishers" soon
learn to follow their example. Persons are for ever passing backwards and
forwards, exclusive of the conductor whose business it is, and water-
carriers, book, bonbon, and peach venders. No person connected with these
railways wears a distinguishing dress, and the stations, or "depots" as
they are called, are generally of the meanest description, mere wooden
sheds, with a ticket-office very difficult to discover. If you are so
fortunate as to find a man standing at the door of the baggage-car, he
attaches copper plates to your trunks, with a number and the name of the
place you are going to upon them, giving you labels with corresponding
numbers. By this excellent arrangement, in going a very long journey, in
which you are obliged to change cars several times, and cross rivers and
lakes in steamers, you are relieved of all responsibility, and only
require at the end to give your checks to the hotel-porter, who regains
your baggage without any trouble on your part.

This plan would be worthily imitated at our termini in England, where I
have frequently seen "unprotected females" in the last stage of frenzy at
being pushed out of the way, while some persons unknown are running off
with their possessions. When you reach a _depot_, as there are no railway
porters, numerous men clamour to take your effects to an hotel, but, as
many of these are thieves, it is necessary to be very careful in only
selecting those who have hotel-badges on their hats.

An emigrant-car is attached to each train, but there is only one class:
thus it may happen that you have on one side the President of the Great
Republic, and on the other the _gentleman_ who blacked your shoes in the
morning. The Americans, however, have too much respect for themselves and
their companions to travel except in good clothes, and this mingling of
all ranks is far from being disagreeable, particularly to a stranger like
myself, one of whose objects was to see things in their everyday dress. We
must be well aware that in many parts of England it would be difficult for
a lady to travel unattended in a second-class, impossible in a third-class
carriage; yet I travelled several thousand miles in America, frequently
alone, from the house of one friend to another's, and never met with
anything approaching to incivility; and I have often heard it stated that
a lady, no matter what her youth or attractions might be, could travel
alone through every State in the Union, and never meet with anything but
attention and respect.

I have had considerable experience of the cars, having travelled from the
Atlantic to the Mississippi, and from the Mississippi to the St. Lawrence,
and found the company so agreeable in its way, and the cars themselves so
easy, well ventilated, and comfortable, that, were it not for the
disgusting practice of spitting upon the floors in which the lower classes
of Americans indulge, I should greatly prefer them to our own exclusive
carriages, denominated in the States "_'coon sentry-boxes_." Well, we are
seated in the cars; a man shouts "Go a-head!" and we are off, the engine
ringing its heavy bell, and thus begin my experiences of American travel.

I found myself in company with eleven gentlemen and a lady from Prince
Edward Island, whom a strange gregarious instinct had thus drawn together.
The engine gave a hollow groan, very unlike our cheerful whistle, and,
soon moving through the town, we reached the open country.

Fair was the country that we passed through in the States of Maine, New
Hampshire, and Massachusetts. Oh very fair! smiling, cultivated, and
green, like England, but far happier; for slavery which disgraces the New
World, and poverty which desolates the Old, are nowhere to be seen.

There were many farmhouses surrounded by the nearly finished harvest, with
verandahs covered with vines and roses; and patriarchal-looking family
groups seated under them, engaged in different employments, and enjoying
the sunset, for here it was gorgeous summer. And there were smaller houses
of wood painted white, with bright green jalousies, in gardens of
pumpkins, and surrounded by orchards. Apples seemed almost to grow wild;
there were as many orchards as corn-fields, and apple and pear trees grew
in the very hedgerows.

And such apples! not like our small, sour, flavourless _things_, but like
some southern fruit; huge balls, red and yellow, such as are caricatured
in wood, weighing down the fine large trees. There were heaps of apples on
the ground, and horses and cows were eating them in the fields, and rows
of freight-cars at all the stations were laden with them, and little boys
were selling them in the cars; in short, where were they not? There were
smiling fields with verdant hedgerows between them, unlike the untidy
snake-fences of the colonies, and meadows like parks, dotted over with
trees, and woods filled with sumach and scarlet maple, and rapid streams
hurrying over white pebbles, and villages of green-jalousied houses, with
churches and spires, for here all places of worship have spires; and the
mellow light of a declining sun streamed over this varied scene of
happiness, prosperity, and comfort; and for a moment I thought--O
traitorous thought!--that the New England was fairer than the Old.

Nor were the more material evidences of prosperity wanting, for we passed
through several large towns near the coast--Newbury Port, Salem, and
Portsmouth--with populations varying from 30,000 to 50,000 souls. They
seemed bustling, thriving places, with handsome stores, which we had an
opportunity of observing, as in the States the cars run right into the
streets along the carriage-way, traffic being merely diverted from the
track while the cars are upon it.

Most of the railways in the States have only one track or line of rails,
with occasional sidings at the stations for the cars to pass each other. A
fence is by no means a matter of necessity, and two or three animals are
destroyed every day from straying on the line. The engines, which are
nearly twice the size of ours, with a covered enclosure for the engineer
and stoker, carry large _fenders_ or guards in front, to lift incumbrances
from the track. At eight o'clock we found ourselves passing over water,
and between long rows of gas-lights, and shortly afterwards the cars
stopped at Boston, the Athens of America. Giving our baggage-checks to the
porter of the American House, we drove to that immense hotel, where I
remained for one night. It was crammed from the very basement to the most
undesirable locality nearest the moon; I believe it had seven hundred
inmates. I had arranged to travel to Cincinnati, and from thence to
Toronto, with Mr. and Mrs. Walrence, but on reaching Boston I found that
they feared fever and cholera, and, leaving me to travel alone from
Albany, would meet me at Chicago. Under these circumstances I remained
with my island friends for one night at this establishment, a stranger in
a land where I had few acquaintances, though I was well armed with letters
of introduction. One of these was to Mr. Amy, a highly respected merchant
of Boston, who had previously informed me by letter of the best route to
the States, and I immediately despatched a note to him, but he was absent
at his country-house, and I was left to analyse the feeling of isolation
inseparable from being alone in a crowd. Having received the key of my
room, I took my supper in an immense hall, calculated for dining 400
persons. I next went into the ladies' parlour, and felt rather out of
place among so many richly dressed females; for as I was proceeding to
write a letter, a porter came in and told me that writing was not allowed
in that saloon. "Freedom again," thought I. On looking round I did feel
that my antiquated goose-quill and rusty-looking inkstand were rather out
of place. The carpet of the room was of richly flowered Victoria pile,
rendering the heaviest footstep noiseless; the tables were marble on
gilded pedestals, the couches covered with gold brocade. At a piano of
rich workmanship an elegantly dressed lady was seated, singing "And will
you love me always?"--a question apparently satisfactorily answered by the
speaking eyes of a bearded Southerner, who was turning over the pages for
her. A fountain of antique workmanship threw up a _jet d'eau_ of iced
water, scented with _eau de Cologne_; and the whole was lighted by four
splendid chandeliers interminably reflected, for the walls were mirrors
divided by marble pillars. The room seemed appropriate to the purposes to
which it was devoted--music, needlework, conversation, and flirting. With
the single exception of the rule against writing in the ladies' saloon, a
visitor at these immense establishments is at perfect liberty to do as he
pleases, provided he pays the moderate charge of two dollars, or 8_s._ a
day. This includes, even at the best hotels, a splendid _table-d'hote_, a
comfortable bedroom, lights, attendance, and society in abundance. From
the servants one meets with great attention, not combined with deference
of manner, still less with that obsequiousness which informs you by a
suggestive bow, at the end of your visit, that it has been meted out with
reference to the probable amount of half-sovereigns, shillings, and
sixpences at your disposal.

It will not be out of place here to give a sketch of the peculiarities of
the American hotel system, which constitutes such a distinctive feature of
life in the States, and is a requirement arising out of the enormous
extent of their territory, and the nomade life led by vast numbers of the
most restless and energetic people under the sun.

"People will turn hastily over the pages when they corne to this" was the
remark of a lively critic on reading this announcement; but while I
promise my readers that hotels shall only be described _once_, I could not
reconcile it to myself not to give them information on "Things as they are
in America," when I had an opportunity of acquiring it.

The American House at Boston, which is a fair specimen of the best class
of hotels in the States, though more frequented by mercantile men than by
tourists, is built of grey granite, with a frontage to the street of 100
feet. The ground floor to the front is occupied by retail stores, in the
centre of which a lofty double doorway denotes the entrance, marked in a
more characteristic manner by groups of gentlemen smoking before it. This
opens into a lofty and very spacious hall, with a chequered floor of black
and white marble; there are lounges against the wall, covered over with
buffalo-skins; and, except at meal-times, this capacious apartment is a
scene of endless busy life, from two to three hundred gentlemen constantly
thronging it, smoking at the door, lounging on the settees, reading the
newspapers, standing in animated groups discussing commercial matters,
arriving, or departing. Piles of luggage, in which one sees with dismay
one's light travelling valise crushed under a gigantic trunk, occupy the
centre; porters seated on a form wait for orders; peripatetic individuals
walk to and fro; a confused Babel of voices is ever ascending to the
galleries above; and at the door, hacks, like the "_eilwagon_" of Germany,
are ever depositing fresh arrivals. There is besides this a private
entrance for ladies. Opposite the entrance is a counter, where four or
five clerks constantly attend, under the superintendence of a cashier, to
whom all applications for rooms are personally made. I went up to this
functionary, wrote my name in a book, he placed a number against it, and,
giving me a key with a corresponding number attached, I followed a porter
down a long corridor, and up to a small clean room on the third story,
where to all intents and purposes my identity was lost--merged in a mere
numeral. At another side of the hall is the bar, a handsomely decorated
apartment, where lovers of such beverages can procure "toddy," "night-
caps," "mint julep," "gin sling," &c. On the door of my very neat and
comfortable bed-room was a printed statement of the rules, times of meals,
and charge per diem. I believe there are nearly 300 rooms in this house,
some of them being bed-rooms as large and commodious as in a private
mansion in England.

On the level of the entrance is a magnificent eating saloon, principally
devoted to male guests, and which is 80 feet long. Upstairs is a large
room furnished with a rare combination of splendour and taste, called "The
Ladies' Ordinary," where families, ladies, and their invited guests take
their meals. Breakfast is at the early hour of seven, and remains on the
table till nine; dinner is at one, and tea at six. At these meals "every
delicacy of the season" is served in profusion; the daily bill of fare
would do credit to a banquet at the Mansion House; the _chef de cuisine_
is generally French, and an epicure would find ample scope for the
gratification of his palate. If people persist in taking their meals in a
separate apartment, they are obliged to pay dearly for the indulgence of
their exclusiveness. There are more than 100 waiters, and the ladies at
table are always served first, and to the best pieces.

Though it is not part of the hotel system, I cannot forbear mentioning the
rapidity with which the Americans despatch their meals. My next neighbour
has frequently risen from his seat after a substantial and varied dinner
while I was sending away my soup-plate. The effect of this at a _table-
d'hote_, where 400 or 600 sit down to dine, is unpleasant, for the swing-
door is incessantly in motion. Indeed, the utter absence of repose is
almost the first thing which strikes a stranger. The incessant sound of
bells and gongs, the rolling of hacks to and from the door, the arrivals
and departures every minute, the trampling of innumerable feet, the
flirting and talking in every corridor, make these immense hotels more
like a human beehive than anything else.

The drawing-rooms are always kept very hot by huge fires of anthracite
coal, and the doors are left open to neutralise the effect. The
temperance at table filled me with surprise. I very seldom saw any
beverage but pure iced-water. There are conveniences of all descriptions
for the use of the guests. The wires of the electric telegraph, constantly
attended by a clerk, run into the hotel; porters are ever ready to take
your messages into the town; pens, paper, and ink await you in recesses in
the lobbies; a man is ever at hand to clean and brush soiled boots--in
short, there is every contrivance for abridging your labour in mounting up
stairs. But the method of avoiding the confusion and din of two or three
hundred bells must not be omitted. All the wires from the different rooms
centre at one bell, which is located in a case in the lobby, with the
mechanism seen on one side through a sheet of plate-glass. The other side
of the case is covered with numbers in rows. By each number is a small
straight piece of brass, which drops and hangs down when the bell is
sounded, displaying the number to the attention of the clerk, who sends a
waiter to the apartment, and places the piece of brass in its former

Steam laundries are connected with all the large hotels. At American House
the laundry is under the management of a clerk, who records all the minor
details. The linen is cleansed in a churn-like machine moved by steam, and
wrung by a novel application of the principle of centrifugal force; after
which the articles are dried by being passed through currents of hot air,
so that they are washed and ironed in the space of a few minutes. The
charge varies from six to ten shillings a dozen. There are also suites of
hot and cold baths, and barbers' shops.

Before I understood the mysteries of these hotels, I used to be surprised
to see gentlemen travelling without even carpet-bags, but it soon appeared
that razors and hair-brushes were superfluous, and that the possessor of
one shirt might always pass as the owner of half a dozen, for, while
taking a bath, the magic laundry would reproduce the article in its
pristine glories of whiteness and starch. Every attention to the comfort
and luxury of the guest is paid at American House, and its spirited
proprietor, Mr. Rice, deserves the patronage which the travelling public
so liberally bestow upon him. On ringing my bell it was answered by a
garcon, and it is rather curious seldom or never to see a chambermaid.


A suspected bill--A friend in need--All aboard for the Western cars--The
wings of the wind-American politeness--A loquacious conductor--Three
minutes for refreshments--A conversation on politics--A confession--The
emigrant car--Beauties of the woods--A forest on fire--Dangers of the
cars--The Queen City of the West.

I rose the morning after my arrival at five, hoping to leave Boston for
Cincinnati by the _Lightning Express_, which left at eight. But on
summoning the cashier (or rather _requesting_ his attendance, for one
never _summons_ any one in the States), and showing him my hill of
exchange drawn on Barclay and Company of London, he looked at _me_, then
at _it_, suspiciously, as if doubting whether the possessor of such a
little wayworn portmanteau could he the _bona fide_ owner of such a sum as
the figures represented. "There's so much bad paper going about, we can't
possibly accommodate you," was the discouraging reply; so I was compelled
patiently to submit to the detention.

I breakfasted at seven in the ladies' ordinary, without exchanging a
syllable with any one, and soon after my kind friend, Mr. Amy, called upon
me. He proved himself a friend indeed, and his kindness gave me at once a
favourable impression of the Americans. First impressions are not always
correct, but I am happy to say they were fully borne out in this instance
by the uniform kindness and hospitality which I experienced during my
whole tour. Mr. Amy soon procured me the money for my bill, all in five-
dollar notes, and I was glad to find the exchange greatly in favour of
England. He gave me much information about my route, and various cautions
which I found very useful, and then drove me in a light "waggon" round the
antiquated streets of Boston, crowded with the material evidences of
prosperity, to his pretty villa three miles distant, in one of those
villages of ornamental dwelling-houses which render the appearance of the
environs of Boston peculiarly attractive. I saw a good deal of the town in
my drive, but, as I returned to it before leaving the States, I shall
defer my description of it, and request my readers to dash away at once
with me to the "far west," the goal alike of the traveller and the
adventurer, and the El Dorado of the emigrant's misty ideas.

Leaving American House with its hall swarming like a hive of bees, I drove
to the _depot_ in a hack with several fellow-passengers, Mr. Amy, who was
executing a commission for me in the town, having promised to meet me
there, but, he being detained, I arrived alone, and was deposited among
piles of luggage, in a perfect Babel of men vociferating, "Where are you
for?" "Lightning Express!" "All aboard for the Western cars," &c. Some one
pounced upon my trunks, and was proceeding to weigh them, when the stage-
driver stepped forward and said, "It's a lady's luggage," upon which he
relinquished his intention. He also took my ticket for me, handed me to
the cars, and then withdrew, wishing me a pleasant journey, his prompt
civility having assisted me greatly in the chaotic confusion which attends
the departure of a train in America. The cars by which I left were
guaranteed to take people to Cincinnati, a distance of 1000 miles, in 40
hours, allowing time for refreshments! I was to travel by five different
lines of railway, but this part of the railway system is so well arranged
that I only took a ticket once, rather a curious document--a strip of
paper half a yard long, with passes for five different roads upon it;
thus, whenever I came upon a fresh line, the conductor tore off a piece,
giving me a ticket in exchange. Tickets are not only to be procured at the
stations, but at several offices in every town, in all the steamboats, and
in the cars themselves. For the latter _luxury_, for such it must
certainly be considered, as it enables one to step into the cars at the
last moment without any preliminaries, one only pays five cents extra.

The engine tolled its heavy bell, and soon we were amid the beauties of
New England; rocky hills, small lakes, rapid streams, and trees distorted
into every variety of the picturesque. At the next station from Boston the
Walrences joined me. We were to travel together, with our ulterior
destination a settlement in Canada West, but they would not go to
Cincinnati; there were lions in the street; cholera and yellow fever, they
said, were raging; in short, they left me at Springfield, to find my way
in a strange country as best I might; our _rendezvous_ to be Chicago.

At Springfield I obtained the first seat in the car, generally the object
of most undignified elbowing, and had space to admire the beauties among
which we passed. For many miles we travelled through a narrow gorge,
between very high precipitous hills, clothed with wood up to their
summits; those still higher rising behind them, while the track ran along
the very edge of a clear rushing river. The darkness which soon came on
was only enlivened by the sparks from the wood fire of the engine, so
numerous and continuous as to look like a display of fireworks. Just
before we reached Albany a very respectable-looking man got into the car,
and, as his manners were very quiet and civil, we entered into
conversation about the trade and manufactures of the neighbourhood. When
we got out of the cars on the east side of the river, he said he was going
no farther, but, as I was alone, he would go across with me, and see me
safe into the cars on the other side. He also offered to carry my reticule
and umbrella, and look after my luggage. His civility so excited my
suspicions of his honesty, that I did not trust my luggage or reticule out
of my sight, mindful of a notice posted up at all the stations, "Beware of
swindlers, pickpockets, and luggage-thieves."

We emerged from the cars upon the side of the Hudson river, in a sea of
mud, where, had not my friend offered me his arm, as Americans of every
class invariably do to an "unprotected female" in a crowd, I should have
been borne down and crushed by the shoals of knapsack-carrying pedestrians
and truck-pushing porters who swarmed down upon the dirty wharf. The
transit across occupied fully ten minutes, in consequence of the numerous
times the engine had to be reversed, to avoid running over the small craft
which infest this stream. My volunteer escort took me through a crowd
through which I could not have found my way alone, and put me into the
cars which started from the side of a street in Albany, requesting the
conductor, whose countenance instantly prepossessed me in his favour, to
pay me every attention on the route. He remained with me until the cars
started, and told me that when he saw ladies travelling alone he always
made a point of assisting them. I shook hands with him at parting, feeling
real regret at losing so kind and intelligent a companion. This man was a
working engineer.

Some time afterwards, while travelling for two successive days and nights
in an unsettled district in the west, on the second night, fairly overcome
with fatigue, and unable, from the crowded state of the car, to rest my
feet on the seat in front, I tried unsuccessfully to make a pillow for my
head by rolling up my cloak, which attempts being perceived by a working
mechanic, he accosted me thus: "Stranger, I guess you're almost used up?
Maybe you'd be more comfortable if you could rest your head." Without
further parley he spoke to his companion, a man in a similar grade in
society; they both gave up their seats, and rolled a coat round the arm of
the chair, which formed a very comfortable sofa; and these two men stood
for an hour and a half, to give me the advantage of it, apparently without
any idea that they were performing a deed of kindness. I met continually
with these acts of hearty unostentatious good nature. I mention these in
justice to the lower classes of the United States, whose rugged exteriors
and uncouth vernacular render them peculiarly liable to be misunderstood.

The conductor quite verified the good opinion which I had formed of him.
He turned a chair into a sofa, and lent me a buffalo robe (for, hot though
the day had been, the night was intensely cold), and several times brought
me a cup of tea. We were talking on the peculiarities and amount of the
breakage power on the American lines as compared with ours, and the
interest of the subject made him forget to signal the engine-driver to
stop at a station. The conversation concluded, he looked out of the
window. "Dear me," he said, "we ought to have stopped three miles back;
likely there was no one to get out!"

At midnight I awoke shivering with cold, having taken nothing for twelve
hours; but at two we stopped at something called by courtesy a station,
and the announcement was made, "Cars stop three minutes for refreshments."
I got out; it was pitch dark; but I, with a young lady, followed a lantern
into a frame-shed floored by the bare earth. Visions of Swindon and
Wolverton rose before me, as I saw a long table supported on rude
trestles, bearing several cups of steaming tea, while a dirty boy was
opening and frizzling oysters by a wood fire on the floor. I swallowed a
cup of scalding tea; some oysters were put upon my plate; "Six cents" was
shouted by a nasal voice in my ear, and, while hunting for the required
sum, "All aboard" warned me to be quick; and, jumping into the cars just
as they were in motion, I left my untasted supper on my plate. After "Show
your tickets," frequently accompanied by a shake, had roused me several
times from a sound sleep, we arrived at Rochester, an important town on
the Gennessee Falls, surrounded by extensive clearings, then covered with
hoar frost.

Here we were told to get out, as there were twenty minutes for breakfast.
But whither should we go when we had got out? We were at the junction of
several streets, and five engines, with cars attached, were snorting and
moving about. After we had run the gauntlet of all these, I found men
ringing bells, and negroes rushing about, tumbling over each other,
striking gongs, and all shouting "The cheapest house in all the world--
house for all nations--a splenderiferous breakfast for 20 cents!" and the
like. At length, seeing an unassuming placard, "Hot breakfast, 25 cents,"
I ventured in, but an infusion of mint was served instead of the China
leaf; and I should be afraid to pronounce upon the antecedents of the
steaks. The next place of importance we reached was Buffalo, a large
thriving town on the south shore of Lake Erie. There had been an election
for Congress at some neighbouring place the day before, and my _vis-a-
vis_, the editor of a Buffalo paper, was arguing vociferously with a man
on my right.

At length he began to talk to me very vivaciously on politics, and
concluded by asking me what I thought of the late elections. Wishing to
put an end to the conversation, which had become tedious, I replied that I
was from England. "English! you surprise me!" he said; "you've not the
_English accent_ at all." "What do you think of our government?" was his
next question. "Considering that you started free, and had to form your
institutions in an enlightened age, that you had the estimable parts of
our constitution to copy from, while its faults were before you to serve
as beacons, I think your constitution ought to be nearer perfection than
it is." "I think our constitution is as near perfection as anything human
can be; we are the most free, enlightened, and progressive people under
the sun," he answered, rather hotly; but in a few minutes resuming the
conversation with his former companion, I overheard him say, "I think I
shall give up politics altogether; _I don't believe we have a single
public man who is not corrupt_." "A melancholy result of a perfect
constitution, and a humiliating confession for an American," I observed.

The conversations in the cars are well worth a traveller's attention. They
are very frequently on politics, but often one hears stories such as the
world has become familiarised with from the early pages of Barnum's
Autobiography, abounding in racy anecdote, broad humour, and cunning
imposition. At Erie we changed cars, and I saw numerous emigrants sitting
on large blue boxes, looking disconsolately about them; the Irish
physiognomy being the most predominant. They are generally so dirty that
they travel by themselves in a partially lighted van, called the
Emigrants' car, for a most trifling payment. I once got into one by
mistake, and was almost sickened by the smell of tobacco, spirits, dirty
fustian, and old leather, which assailed my olfactory organs. Leaving
Erie, beyond which the lake of the same name stretched to the distant
horizon, blue and calm like a tideless sea, we entered the huge forests on
the south shore, through which we passed, I suppose, for more than 100

My next neighbour was a stalwart, bronzed Kentucky farmer, in a palm-leaf
hat, who, strange to say, never made any demonstrations with his bowie-
knife, and, having been a lumberer in these forests, pointed out all the
objects of interest.

The monotonous sublimity of these primeval woods far exceeded my
preconceived ideas. We were locked in among gigantic trees of all
descriptions, their huge stems frequently rising without a branch for a
hundred feet; then breaking into a crown of the most luxuriant foliage.
There were walnut, hickory, elm, maple, beech, oak, pine, and hemlock
trees, with many others which I did not know, and the only undergrowth, a
tropical-looking plant, with huge leaves, and berries like bunches of
purple grapes. Though it was the noon of an unclouded sun, all was dark,
and still, and lonely; no birds twittered from the branches; no animals
enlivened the gloomy shades; no trace of man or of his works was there,
except the two iron rails on which we flew along, unfenced from the
forest, and those trembling electric wires, which will only cease to speak
with the extinction of man himself.

Very occasionally we would come upon a log shanty, that most picturesque
of human habitations; the walls formed of large logs, with the interstices
filled up with clay, and the roof of rudely sawn boards, projecting one or
two feet, and kept in their places by logs placed upon them. Windows and
doors there were none, but, where a door was _not_, I generally saw four
or five shoeless, ragged urchins, whose light tangled hair and general
aspect were sufficient to denote their nationality. Sometimes these cabins
would be surrounded by a little patch of cleared land, prolific in Indian
corn and pumpkins; the brilliant orange of the latter contrasting with the
charred stumps among which they grew; but more frequently the lumberer
supported himself solely by his axe. These dwellings are suggestive, for
they are erected by the pioneers of civilization; and if the future
progress of America be equal in rapidity to its past, in another fifty
years the forests will have been converted into lumber and firewood--rich
and populous cities will have replaced the cabins and shanties--and the
children of the urchins who gazed vacantly upon the cars will have
asserted their claims to a voice in the councils of the nation.

The rays of the sun never penetrate the forest, and evening was deepening
the gloom of the artificial twilight, when gradually we became enveloped
in a glare, redder, fiercer, than that of moonlight; and looking a head I
saw the forest on fire, and that we were rushing into the flames. "Close
the windows, there's a fire a-head," said the conductor; and after obeying
this _commonplace_ direction, many of the passengers returned to the
slumbers which had been so unseasonably disturbed. On, on we rushed--the
flames encircled us round--we were enveloped in clouds of stifling smoke--
crack, crash went the trees--a blazing stem fell across the line--the
fender of the engine pushed it aside--the flames hissed like tongues of
fire, and then, leaping like serpents, would rush up to the top of the
largest tree, and it would blaze like a pine-knot, There seemed no egress;
but in a few minutes the raging, roaring conflagration was left behind. A
forest on fire from a distance looks very much like 'Punch's' picture of a
naval review; a near view is the height of sublimity.

The dangers of the cars, to my inexperience, seemed by no means over with
the escape from being roasted alive. A few miles from Cleveland they
rushed down a steep incline, apparently into Lake Erie; but in _reality_
upon a platform supported on piles, so narrow that the edges of the cars
hung over it, so that I saw nothing but water. A gale was blowing, and
drove the surf upon the platform, and the spray against the windows,
giving such a feeling of insecurity, that for a moment I wished myself in
one of our "'coon sentry-boxes." The cars were very full after leaving
Cleveland, but I contrived to sleep soundly till awakened by the intense
cold which attends dawn.

It was a glorious morning. The rosy light streamed over hills covered with
gigantic trees, and park-like glades watered by the fair Ohio. There were
bowers of myrtle, and vineyards ready for the vintage, and the rich
aromatic scent wafted from groves of blossoming magnolias told me that we
were in a different clime, and had reached the sunny south. And before us,
placed within a perfect amphitheatre of swelling hills, reposed a huge
city, whose countless spires reflected the beams of the morning sun--the
creation of yesterday--Cincinnati, the "_Queen City of the West_." I drove
straight to Burnet House, almost the finest edifice in the town, and after
travelling a thousand miles in forty-two hours, without either water or a
hair-brush, it was the greatest possible luxury to be able to remove the
accumulations of soot, dust, and cinders of two days and nights. I spent
three days at Clifton, a romantic village three miles from Cincinnati, at
the hospitable house of Dr. Millvaine, the Bishop of Ohio; but it would be
an ill return for the kindness which I there experienced to give details
of my visit, or gratify curiosity by describing family life in one of the
"homes of the New World."


The Queen City continued--Its beauties--Its inhabitants human and equine--
An American church--Where chairs and bedsteads come from--Pigs and pork--A
peep into Kentucky--Popular opinions respecting slavery--The curse of

The important towns in the United States bear designations of a more
poetical nature than might be expected from so commercial a people. New
York is the Empire City--Philadelphia the City of Brotherly Love--
Cleveland the Forest City--Chicago the Prairie City--and Cincinnati the
Queen City of the West. These names are no less appropriate than poetical,
and none more so than that applied to Cincinnati. The view from any of the
terraced heights round the town is magnificent. I saw it first bathed in
the mellow light of a declining sun. Hill beyond hill, clothed with the
rich verdure of an almost tropical clime, slopes of vineyards just ready
for the wine-press, [Footnote: Grapes are grown in such profusion in the
Southern and Western States, that I have seen damaged bunches thrown to
the pigs. Americans find it difficult to understand how highly this fruit
is prized in England. An American lady, when dining at Apsley House,
observed that the Duke of Wellington was cutting up a cluster of grapes
into small bunches, and she wondered that this illustrious man should give
himself such unnecessary trouble. When the servant handed round the plate
containing these, she took them all, and could not account for the amused
and even censuring looks of some of the other guests, till she heard that
it was expected that she should have helped herself to one bunch only of
the hothouse treasure.] magnolias with their fragrant blossoms, and that
queen of trees the beautiful ilanthus, the "tree of heaven" as it is
called; and everywhere foliage so luxuriant that it looked as if autumn
and decay could never come. And in a hollow near us lay the huge city, so
full of life, its busy hum rising to the height where I stood; and 200
feet below, the beautiful cemetery, where its dead await the morning of
the resurrection. Yet, while contrasting the trees and atmosphere here
with the comparatively stunted, puny foliage of England, and the chilly
skies of a northern clime, I thought with Cowper respecting my own dear,
but far distant land--

"England, with all thy faults I love thee still--My country!--
I would not yet exchange thy sullen skies,
And fields without a flower, for warmer France
With all her vines, nor for Ausonia's groves,
Her golden fruitage, or her myrtle bowers."

The change in the climate was great from that in which I had shivered a
week before, with a thermometer at 33 in the sun; yet I did not find it
oppressive here at 105 in the shade, owing to the excessive dryness of
the air. The sallow complexions of the New Englanders were also exchanged
for the fat ruddy faces of the people of Ohio, the "_Buckeyes_," as their
neighbours designate them. The town of Cincinnati, situated on the
navigable stream of the Ohio, 1600 miles from the sea, is one of the most
remarkable monuments of the progress of the West. A second Glasgow in
appearance, the houses built substantially of red brick, six stories high
--huge sign-boards outside each floor denoting the occupation of its owner
or lessee--heavily-laden drays rumbling along the streets--quays at which
steamboats of fairy architecture are ever lying--massive warehouses and
rich stores--the side walks a perfect throng of foot-passengers--the
roadways crowded with light carriages, horsemen with palmetto hats and
high-peaked saddles, galloping about on the magnificent horses of
Kentucky--an air of life, wealth, hustle, and progress--are some of the
characteristics of a city which stands upon ground where sixty years ago
an unarmed white man would have been tomahawked as he stood. The human
aspect is also curious. Palmetto hats, light blouses, and white trowsers
form the prevailing costume, even of the clergy, while Germans smoke
chibouks and luxuriate in their shirt-sleeves--southerners, with the
enervated look arising from residence in a hot climate, lounge about the
streets--dark-browed Mexicans, in _sombreras_ and high slashed boots, dash
about on small active horses with Mamelouk bits--rovers and adventurers
from California and the Far West, with massive rings in their ears,
swagger about in a manner which shows their country and calling, and
females richly dressed are seen driving and walking about, from the fair-
complexioned European to the negress or mulatto. The windows of the stores
are arranged with articles of gaudy attire and heavy jewellery, suited to
the barbaric taste of many of their customers; but inside I was surprised
to find the richest and most elegant manufactures of Paris and London. A
bookseller's store, an aggregate of two or three of our largest, indicated
that the culture of the mind was not neglected.

The number of carriages, invariably drawn by two horses, astonished me.
They were the "_red horses_" of Kentucky and the jet black of Ohio,
splendid, proud looking animals, looking as if they could never tire or
die. Except the "trotting baskets" and light waggons, principally driven
by "swells" or "Young Americans," all the vehicles were covered, to
preserve their inmates from the intense heat of the sun. In the evening
hundreds, if not thousands, of carriages are to be seen in the cemetery
and along the roads, some of the German ladies driving in low dresses and
short sleeves. As everybody who has one hundred yards to go drives or
rides, rings are fastened to all the side walks in the town to tether the
horses to. Many of the streets are planted with the ilanthus-tree, and
frequently one comes upon churches of tasteful architecture, with fretted
spires pointing to heaven.

I went upon the Ohio, lessened by long drought into a narrow stream, in a
most commodious high-pressure steamboat, and deemed myself happy in
returning uninjured; for beautiful and fairy-like as these vessels are,
between their own explosive qualities and the "snags and sawyers" of the
rivers, their average existence is only five years!

Cincinnati in 1800 was a wooden village of 750 inhabitants; it is now a
substantially-built brick town, containing 200,000 people, and thousands
of fresh settlers are added every year. There are nearly 50,000 Germans,
and I believe 40,000 Irish, who distinctly keep up their national
characteristics. The Germans almost monopolise the handicraft trades,
where they find a fruitful field for their genius and industry; the Irish
are here, as everywhere, hewers of wood and drawers of water; they can do
nothing but dig, and seldom rise in the social scale; the Germans, as at
home, are a thinking, sceptical, theorising people: in politics,
Socialists--in religion, Atheists. The Irish are still the willing and
ignorant tools of an ambitious and despotic priesthood. And in a land
where no man is called to account for his principles, unless they proceed
to physical development, these errors grow and luxuriate. The Germans, in
that part of the town almost devoted to themselves, have succeeded in
practically abolishing the Sabbath, as they utterly ignore that divine
institution even as a day of rest, keeping their stores open the whole
day. The creeds which they profess are "Socialism" and "Universalism," and
at stated periods they assemble to hear political harangues, and address
invocations to universal deity. Skilled, educated, and intellectual, they
are daily increasing in numbers, wealth, and political importance, and
constitute an influence of which the Americans themselves are afraid.

The Irish are a turbulent class, for ever appealing to physical force,
influencing the elections, and carrying out their "clan feuds" and
"faction fights." The Germans, finding it a land like their own, of corn
and vineyards, have named the streets in their locality in Cincinnati
after their towns in the Old World, to which in idea one is frequently
carried back.

On Sunday, after passing through this continental portion of the town, I
found all was order and decorum in the strictly American part, where the
whole population seemed to attend worship of one form or another. The
church which I attended was the most beautiful place of worship I ever
saw; it had neither the hallowed but comfortless antiquity of our village
churches, nor the glare and crush of our urban temples; it was of light
Norman architecture, and lighted by windows of rich stained glass. The
pews were wide, the backs low, and the doors and mouldings were of
polished oak; the cushions and linings were of crimson damask, and light
fans for _real use_ were hung in each pew. The pulpit and reading-desk,
both of carved oak and of a tulip shape, were placed in front of the
communion-rails, on a spacious platform ascended by three steps--this, the
steps, and the aisles of the church were carpeted with beautiful
Kidderminster carpeting. The singing and chanting were of a very superior
description, being managed, as also a very fine-toned organ, by the young
ladies and gentlemen of the congregation. The ladies were more richly
dressed and in brighter colours than the English, and many of them in
their features and complexions bore evident traces of African and Spanish
blood. The gentlemen universally wore the moustache and beard, and
generally blue or green frock-coats, the collars turned over with velvet.
The responses were repeated without the assistance of a clerk, and the
whole service was conducted with decorum and effect.

The same favourable description may apply generally to the churches of
different denominations in the United States; coldness and discomfort are
not considered as incentives to devotion; and the houses of worship are
ever crowded with regular and decorous worshippers.

Cincinnati is the outpost of manufacturing civilization, though large,
important, but at present unfinished cities are rapidly springing up
several hundred miles farther to the west. It has regular freight steamers
to New Orleans, St. Louis, and other places on the Missouri and
Mississippi; to Wheeling and Pittsburgh, and thence by railway to the
great Atlantic cities, Philadelphia and Baltimore, while it is connected
with the Canadian lakes by railway and canal to Cleveland. Till I
thoroughly understood that Cincinnati is the centre of a circle embracing
the populous towns of the south, and the increasing populations of the
lake countries and the western territories, with their ever-growing demand
for the fruits of manufacturing industry, I could not understand the
utility of the vast establishments for the production of household goods
which arrest the attention of the visitor to the Queen City. There is a
furniture establishment in Baker Street, London, which employs perhaps
eighty hands, and we are rather inclined to boast of it, but we must keep
silence when we hear of a factory as large as a Manchester cotton-mill,
five stones high, where 260 hands are constantly employed in making
chairs, tables, and bedsteads.

At the factory of Mitchell and Rammelsberg common chairs are the principal
manufacture, and are turned out at the rate of 2500 a week, worth from
1_l._ to 5_l._ a dozen. Rocking-chairs, which are only made in perfection
in the States, are fabricated here, also chests of drawers, of which 2000
are made annually. Baby-rocking cribs, in which the brains of the youth of
America are early habituated to perpetual restlessness, are manufactured
here in surprising quantities. The workmen at this factory (most of whom
are native Americans and Germans, the English and Scotch being rejected on
account of their intemperance) earn from 12 to 14 dollars a week. At
another factory 1000 bedsteads, worth from 1_l._ to 5_l._ each, are
completed every week. There are vast boot and shoe factories, which would
have shod our whole Crimean army in a week, at one of which the owner pays
60,000 dollars or 12,000_l._ in wages annually! It consumes 5000 pounds
weight of boot-nails per annum! The manufactories of locks and guns,
tools, and carriages, with countless other appliances of civilized life,
are on a similarly large scale. Their products are to be found among the
sugar plantations of the south, the diggers of California, the settlers in
Oregon, in the infant cities of the far West, the tent of the hunter, and
the shanty of the emigrant; in one word, wherever demand and supply can be
placed in conjunction.

And while the demand is ever increasing as the tide of emigration rolls
westward, so the inventive brains of the Americans are ever discovering
some mechanical means of abridging manual labour, which seldom or ever
meets the demand. The saws, axes, and indeed all cutting tools made at
respectable establishments in the States, are said to be superior to ours.
On going into a hardware store at Hamilton in Upper Canada, I saw some
English spades and axes, and I suppose my face expressed some of the
admiration which my British pride led me to feel; for the owner, taking up
some spades and cutting-tools of Cincinnati manufacture, said, "We can
only sell these; the others are bad workmanship, and won't stand two days'
hard work."

Articles of English manufacture are not seen in considerable quantities in
the wholesale stores, and even the import of foreign wines has been
considerably diminished by the increasingly successful culture of the
grape in Ohio, 130,000 gallons of wine having been produced in the course
of the year. Wines resembling hock, claret, and champagne are made, and
good judges speak very highly of them.

Cincinnati is famous for its public libraries and reading-rooms. The Young
Men's Mercantile Library Association has a very handsome suite of rooms
opened as libraries and reading-rooms, the number of books amounting to
16,000, these, with upwards of 100 newspapers, being well selected by a
managing committee; none of our English works of good repute being a-
wanting. The facility with which English books are reprinted in America,
and the immense circulation which they attain in consequence of their
cheapness, greatly increases the responsibility which rests upon our
authors as to the direction which they give, whether for good or evil, to
the intelligent and inquiring minds of the youth of America--minds
ceaselessly occupied, both in religion and politics, in investigation and
inquiry--in overturning old systems before they have devised new ones.

I believe that the most important religious denominations in Cincinnati
are the Episcopalian, the Baptist, and the Wesleyan. The first is under
the superintendence of the learned and pious Bishop M'Ilvaine, whose
apostolic and untiring labours have greatly advanced the cause of religion
in the State of Ohio. There is a remarkable absence of sectarian spirit,
and the ministers of all orthodox denominations act in harmonious
combination for the general good. But after describing the beauty of her
streets, her astonishing progress, and the splendour of her shops, I must
not close this chapter without stating that the Queen City bears the less
elegant name of Porkopolis; that swine, lean, gaunt, and vicious-looking,
riot through her streets; and that, on coming out of the most splendid
stores, one stumbles over these disgusting intruders. Cincinnati is the
city of pigs. As there is a railway system and a hotel system, so there is
also a _pig system_, by which this place is marked out from any other.
Huge quantities of these useful animals are reared after harvest in the
corn-fields of Ohio, and on the beech-mast and acorns of its gigantic
forests. At a particular time of year they arrive by thousands--brought in
droves and steamers to the number of 500,000--to meet their doom, when it
is said that the Ohio runs red with blood! There are huge slaughterhouses
behind the town, something on the plan of the _abattoirs_ of Paris--large
wooden buildings, with numerous pens, from whence the pigs march in single
file along a narrow passage, to an apartment where each, on his entrance,
receives a blow with a hammer, which deprives him of consciousness, and in
a short time, by means of numerous hands, and a well-managed caldron
system, he is cut up ready for pickling. The day on which a pig is killed
in England constitutes an era in the family history of the year, and
squeals of a terrific description announce the event to the neighbourhood.
There is not time or opportunity for such a process at Porkopolis, and the
first notification which the inhabitants receive of the massacre is the
thousand barrels of pork on the quays, ready to be conveyed to the
Atlantic cities, for exportation to the European markets. At one
establishment 12,000 pigs are killed, pickled, and packed every fall; and
in the whole neighbourhood, as I have heard in the cars, the "hog crop" is
as much a subject of discussion and speculation as the cotton crop of
Alabama, the hop-picking of Kent, or the harvest in England.

Kentucky, the land, by reputation, of "red horses, bowie-knives, and
gouging," is only separated from Ohio by the river Ohio; and on a day when
the thermometer stood at 103 in the shade I went to the town of
Covington. Marked, wide, and almost inestimable, is the difference between
the free state of Ohio and the slave-state of Kentucky. They have the same
soil, the same climate, and precisely the same natural advantages; yet the
total absence of progress, if not the appearance of retrogression and
decay, the loungers in the streets, and the peculiar appearance of the
slaves, afford a contrast to the bustle on the opposite side of the river,
which would strike the most unobservant. I was credibly informed that
property of the same real value was worth 300 dollars in Kentucky and 3000
in Ohio! Free emigrants and workmen will not settle in Kentucky, where
they would be brought into contact with compulsory slave-labour; thus the
development of industry is retarded, and the difference will become more
apparent every year, till possibly some great changes will be forced upon
the legislature. Few English people will forget the impression made upon
them by the first sight of a slave--a being created in the image of God,
yet the _bona fide_ property of his fellow-man. The first I saw was an
African female, the slave of a lady from Florida, with a complexion black
as the law which held her in captivity. The subject of slavery is one
which has lately been brought so prominently before the British people by
Mrs. Beecher Stowe, that I shall be pardoned for making a few remarks upon
it. Powerfully written as the book is, and much as I admire the benevolent
intentions of the writer, I am told that the effect of the volume has been
prejudical, and this assertion is borne out by persons well acquainted
with the subject in the free states. A gentleman very eminent in his
country, as having devoted himself from his youth to the cause of
abolition, as a steadfast pursuer of one grand principle, together with
other persons, say that "'Uncle Tom's Cabin' had thrown the cause back for
many years!" [Footnote: It must be observed that I do not offer any
opinion of my own upon 'Uncle Tom's Cabin,' or upon the estimation in
which it is held in the United States; but in order to answer questions
which have frequently been put to me upon the subject, I have just given
the substance of the remarks which have been made upon it by abolitionists
in the Northern States.] The excitement on the subject still continues in
England, though it found a safety-valve in the Stafford House manifesto,
and the received impression, which no force of fact can alter, is, that
slave-owners are divided into but two classes--brutalised depraved
"_Legrees_," or enthusiastic, visionary "_St. Clairs_"--the former, of
course, predominating.

Slavery, though under modifications which rendered it little more than the
apprenticeship of our day, was _permitted_ under the Mosaic dispensation;
but it is contrary to the whole tenor of Christianity; and a system which
lowers man as an intellectual and responsible being is no less morally
than politically wrong. That it is a political mistake is plainly
evidenced by the retarded development and apparent decay of the Southern
States, as compared with the ceaseless material progress of the North and
West. It cannot be doubted that in Alabama, Florida, and Louisiana,
"_Legrees_" are to be found, for cruelty is inherent in base natures; we
have "_Legrees_" in our factories and coal-pits; but in England their most
terrible excesses are restrained by the strong arm of law, which, _when
appealed to_, extends its protection to the feeblest and most helpless.
What then must such men become in the isolated cotton or sugar plantations
of the South, distant from the restraints which public opinion exercises,
and where the evidence of a slave is inadmissible in a court of justice?
The full extent of the cruelties practised will never be known, until
revealed at the solemn tribunal of the last day. But we dare not hope that
such men are rare, though circumstances of self-interest combine to form a
class of slave-owners of a higher grade. These are men who look upon their
slaves as we do upon our cows and horses--as mere animal property, of
greater or less value according to the care which is taken of them. The
slaves of these persons are well clothed, lodged, and fed; they are not
overworked, and dancing, singing, and other amusements, which increase
health and cheerfulness, are actively promoted. But the system is one
which has for its object the transformation of reason into instinct the
lowering of a rational being into a machine scarcely more intelligent in
appearance than some of our own ingeniously-contrived steam-engines.
Religious teaching is withheld, reading is forbidden, and the instruction
of a slave in it punished as a crime, lest he should learn that freedom is
his birthright.

A third and very large class of slave-owners is to be found, who, having
inherited their property in slaves, want the means of judiciously
emancipating them. The negroes are not in a condition to receive freedom
in the reckless way in which some abolitionists propose to bestow it upon
them. They must be prepared for it by instruction in the precepts of
religion, by education, and by the reception of those principles of self-
reliance, without which they have not the moral perception requisite to
enable them to appreciate the blessings of freedom; and this very
ignorance and obtuseness is one of the most telling arguments against the
system which produces it. The want of this previous preparation has been
frequently shown, particularly in Kentucky, where whole bodies of
emancipated slaves, after a few days' experience of their new condition,
have entreated for a return to servitude. These slave-owners of whom I now
speak deeply deplore the circumstances under which they are placed, and,
while wanting the spirit of self-sacrifice, and the moral courage, which
would lead them, by manumitting their slaves, to enter into a novel
competition with slave-labour on other estates, do their best to
ameliorate the condition in which the Africans are placed, encouraging
them, by the sale of little articles of their own manufacture, to purchase
their freedom, which is granted at a very reduced rate. I had
opportunities of conversing with several of these freed negroes, and they
all expressed attachment to their late owners, and spoke of the mildness
with which they were treated, saying that the great threat made use of was
to send them "_down south_."

The slaves in the northern slave States are a thoughtless, happy set,
spending their evenings in dancing or singing to the banjo; and 'Oh, carry
me back to Old Virginny,' or 'Susannah, don't you cry for me,' may be
heard on summer evenings rising from the maize and tobacco grounds of
Kentucky. Yet, whether naturally humane instincts may lead to merciful
treatment of the slave, or the same result be accomplished by the rigorous
censorship of public opinion in the border States, apart from the abstract
question of slavery, that system is greatly to be reprobated which gives
_power without responsibility_, and permits the temporal, yes, the eternal
well-being of another to depend upon the will and caprice of a man, when
the victim of his injustice is deprived of the power of appeal to an
earthly tribunal. Instances of severe treatment on one side, and of
kindness on the other, cannot fairly be brought as arguments for or
against the system; it must be justified or condemned by the undeviating
law of moral right as laid down in divine revelation. Slavery existed in
1850 in 15 out of 31 States, the number of slaves being 3,204,345,
connected by sympathy and blood with 433,643 coloured persons, nominally
free, but who occupy a social position of the lowest grade. It is probable
that this number will increase, as it has hitherto done, in a geometrical
ratio, which will give 6,000,000, in 1875, of a people dangerous from
numbers merely, but doubly, trebly so in their consciousness of
oppression, and in the passions which may incite them to a terrible
revenge. America boasts of freedom, and of such a progress as the world
has never seen before; but while the tide of the Anglo-Saxon race rolls
across her continent, and while we contemplate with pleasure a vast nation
governed by free institutions, and professing a pure faith, a hand,
faintly seen at present, but destined ere long to force itself upon the
attention of all, points to the empires of a by-gone civilisation, and
shows that they had their periods in which to rise, flourish, and decay,
and that slavery was the main cause of that decay. The exasperating
reproaches addressed to the Americans, in ignorance of the real
difficulties of dealing with the case, have done much harm in inciting
that popular clamour which hurries on reckless legislation. The problem is
one which occupies the attention of thinking and Christian men on both
sides of the Atlantic, but still remains a gigantic evil for
philanthropists to mourn over, and for politicians to correct.

An unexceptional censure ought not to be pronounced without a more
complete knowledge of the subject than can be gained from novels and
newspapers; still less ought this censure to extend to America as a whole,
for the people of the Northern States are more ardent abolitionists than
ourselves--more consistent, in fact, for they have no white slaves, no
oppressed factory children, the cry of whose wrongs ascends daily into the
ears of an avenging Judge. Still, blame must attach to _them_ for the way
in which they place the coloured people in an inferior social position, a
rigid system of exclusiveness shutting them out from the usual places of
amusement and education. It must not be forgotten that England bequeathed
this system to her colonies, though she has nobly blotted it out from
those which still own her sway; that it is encouraged by the cotton lords
of Preston and Manchester; and that the great measure of negro
emancipation was carried, not by the violent declamation and ignorant
railings of men who sought popularity by exciting the passions of the
multitude, but by the persevering exertions and practical Christian
philanthropy of Mr. Wilberforce and his coadjutors. It is naturally to be
expected that a person writing a book on America would offer some remarks
upon this subject, and raise a voice, however feeble, against so gigantic
an evil. The conclusions which I have stated in the foregoing pages are
derived from a careful comparison and study of facts which I have learned
from eminent speakers and writers both in favour of and against the slave-


The hickory stick--Chawing up ruins--A forest scene--A curious questioner
--Hard and soft shells--Dangers of a ferry--The western prairies--
Nocturnal detention--The Wild West and the Father of Rivers--Breakfast in
a shed--What is an alligator?--Physiognomy, and its uses--The ladies'
parlour--A Chicago hotel, its inmates and its horrors--A water-drinking
people--The Prairie City--Progress of the West.

A bright September sun glittered upon the spires of Cincinnati as I
reluctantly bade it adieu, and set out in the early morning by the cars to
join my travelling companions, meaning to make as long a _detour_ as
possible, or, as a "down-east" lady might say, to "make a pretty
considerable circumlocution." Fortunately I had met with some friends,
well acquainted with the country, who offered to take me round a much
larger circle than I had contemplated; and with a feeling of excitement
such as I had not before experienced, we started for the Mississippi and
the western prairies _en route_ to Detroit.

Bishop M'Ilvaine, anxious that a very valued friend of his in England
should possess something from Ohio, had cut down a small sapling, which,
when divested of its branches and otherwise trimmed, made a very
formidable-looking bludgeon or cudgel, nearly four feet long. This being
too lengthy for my trunks was tied to my umbrella, and on this day in the
cars excited no little curiosity, several persons eyeing it, then me, as
if wondering in what relation we stood to each other. Finally they took it
up, minutely examining it, and tapping it as if to see whether anything
were therein concealed. It caused me much amusement, and, from its size,
some annoyance, till at length, wishing to leave it in my room at a
Toronto hotel while I went for a visit of a few days, the waiter brought
it down to the door, asking me "if I wished to take the _cudgel?_" After
this I had it shortened, and it travelled in my trunk to New York, where
it was given to a carver to be fashioned into a walking-stick; and, unless
the tradesman played a Yankee trick, and substituted another, it is now,
after surviving many dangers by sea and land, in the possession of the
gentleman for whom it was intended.

Some amusing remarks were made upon England by some of the "Buckeyes," as
the inhabitants of Ohio are called. On trying to persuade a lady to go
with me to St. Louis, I observed that it was _only_ five hundred miles.
"Five hundred miles!" she replied; "why, you'd tumble off your paltry
island into the sea before you got so far!" Another lady, who got into the
cars at some distance from Cincinnati, could not understand the value
which we set upon ruins. "We should chaw them up," she said, "make roads
or bridges of them, unless Barnum transported them to his museum: we would
never keep them on our own hook as you do." "You value them yourselves,"
I answered; "any one would be '_lynched_' who removed a stone of
Ticonderoga." It was an unfortunate speech, for she archly replied, "Our
only ruins are British fortifications, and we go to see them because they
remind us that we whipped the nation which whips all the world." The
Americans, however, though they may talk so, would give anything if they
could appropriate a Kenilworth Castle, or a Melrose or a Tintern Abbey,
with its covering of ivy, and make it sustain some episode of their
history. But though they can make railways, ivy is beyond them, and the
purple heather disdains the soil of the New World. A very amusing ticket
was given me on the Mad River line. It bore the command, "Stick this check
in your ----," the blank being filled up with a little engraving of a hat;
consequently I saw all the gentlemen with small pink embellishments to the
covering of their heads.

We passed through a large and very beautiful portion of the State of Ohio;
the soil, wherever cultivated, teeming with crops, and elsewhere with a
vegetation no less beautiful than luxuriant; a mixture of small weed
prairies, and forests of splendid timber. Extensive districts of Ohio are
still without inhabitants, yet its energetic people have constructed
within a period of five years half as many miles of railroad as the whole
of Great Britain contains; they are a "_great people_" they do "_go a-
head_," these Yankees. The newly cleared soil is too rich for wheat for
many years; it grows Indian corn for thirty in succession, without any
manure. Its present population is under three millions, and it is
estimated that it would support a population of ten millions, almost
entirely in agricultural pursuits. We were going a-head, and in a few
hours arrived at Forest, the junction of the Clyde, Mad River, and Indiana

Away with all English ideas which may be conjured up by the word
_junction_--the labyrinth of iron rails, the smart policeman at the
points, the handsome station, and elegant refreshment-rooms. Here was a
dense forest, with merely a clearing round the rails, a small shanty for
the man who cuts wood for the engine, and two sidings for the trains
coming in different directions. There was not even a platform for
passengers, who, to the number of two or three hundred, were standing on
the clearing, resting against the stumps of trees. And yet for a few
minutes every day the bustle of life pervades this lonely spot, for here
meet travellers from east, west, and south; the careworn merchant from the
Atlantic cities, and the hardy trapper from the western prairies. We here
changed cars for those of the Indianapolis line, and, nearly at the same
time with three other trains, plunged into the depths of the forest.

"You're from down east, I guess?" said a sharp nasal voice behind me.--
This was a supposition first made in the Portland cars, when I was at a
loss to know what distinguishing and palpable peculiarity marked me as a
"down-easter." Better informed now, I replied, "I am." "Going west?"--
"Yes." "Travelling alone?"--"No." "Was you raised down east?"--"No, in the
Old Country." "In the little old island? well, you are kinder glad to
leave it, I guess? Are you a widow?"--"No." "Are you travelling on
business?"--"No." "What business do you follow?"--"None." "Well, now, what
are you travelling for?"--"Health and pleasure." "Well, now, I guess
you're pretty considerable rich. Coming to settle out west, I suppose?"--
"No, I'm going back at the end of the fall." "Well, now, if that's not a
pretty tough hickory-nut! I guess you Britishers are the queerest critturs
as ever was raised!" I considered myself quite fortunate to have fallen in
with such a querist, for the Americans are usually too much taken up with
their own business to trouble themselves about yours, beyond such
questions as, "Are you bound west, stranger?" or, "You're from down east,
I guess." "Why do you take me for a down-easier?" I asked once. "Because
you speak like one," was the reply; the frequent supposition that I was a
New Englander being nearly as bad as being told that I "had not the
English accent at all." I was glad to be taken for an American, as it gave
me a better opportunity of seeing things as they really are. An English
person going about staring and questioning, with a note-book in his hand,
is considered "fair game," and consequently is "_crammed_" on all
subjects; stories of petticoated table-legs, and fabulous horrors of the
bowie-knife, being among the smallest of the absurdities swallowed.

Our party consisted of five persons besides myself, two elderly gentlemen,
the niece of one of them, and a young married couple. They knew the
governor of Indiana, and a candidate for the proud position of Senator,
also our fellow travellers; and the conversation assumed a political
character; in fact, they held a long parliament, for I think the
discussion lasted for three hours. Extraordinary, and to me unintelligible
names, were bandied backwards and forwards; I heard of "Silver Grays," but
my companions were not discussing a breed of fowls; and of "Hard Shells,"
and "Soft Shells," but the merits of eggs were not the topic. "Whigs and
Democrats" seemed to be analogous to our Radicals, and "Know-Nothings" to
be a respectable and constitutional party. Whatever minor differences my
companions had, they all seemed agreed in hating the "Nebraska men" (the
advocates of an extension of slavery), who one would have thought, from
the epithets applied to them, were a set of thieves and cut-throats. A
gentleman whose whole life had been spent in opposition to the principles
which they are bringing forward was very violent, and the pretty young
lady, Mrs. Wood, equally so.

After stopping for two hours at a wayside shed, we set out again at dark
for La Fayette, [Footnote: From the frequent recurrence of the same names,
the great distance travelled over, the short halt we made at any place,
and the absence of a railway guide, I have been unable to give, our route
from Cincinnati to Chicago with more than an approximation to
correctness.] which we reached at nine. These Western cars are crammed to
overflowing, and, having to cross a wide stream in a ferryboat, the crush
was so terrible, that I was nearly knocked down; but as American gentlemen
freely use their canes where a lady is in the case, I fared better than
some of my fellow-passengers, who had their coat-tails torn and their toes
barbarously crushed in the crowd. The steam ferry-boat had no parapet, and
the weakest were pushed to the side; the centre was filled up with
baggage, carts, and horses; and vessels were moored along the river, with
the warps crossing each other, to which we had to bow continually to avoid
decapitation. When we reached the wharf, quantities of people were waiting
to go to the other side; and directly the gangway-board was laid, there
was a simultaneous rush of two opposing currents, and, the insecure board
slipping, they were all precipitated into the water. Fortunately it was
not deep, so they merely underwent its cooling influences, which they bore
with admirable equanimity, only one making a bitter complaint, that he had
spoiled his "_go-to-meetins_." The farther west we went, the more
dangerous the neighbourhood became. At all the American stations there are
placards warning people to beware of pickpockets; but from Indiana
westward they bore the caution, "Beware of pickpockets, swindlers, and
luggage-thieves." At many of the depots there is a general rush for the
last car, for the same reason that there is a scramble for the stern
cabins in a steamer,--viz. the explosive qualities of the boilers.

We travelled the whole of that night, our fellow-passengers becoming more
extravagant in appearance at every station, and morning found us on the
prairies. Cooper influences our youthful imaginations by telling us of the
prairies--Mayne Reid makes us long to cross them; botanists tell us of
their flowers, sportsmen of their buffaloes [Footnote: At the present time
no wild animals are to be found east of the Mississippi; so effectually
has civilization changed the character of the ancient hunting-grounds of
the Indians.]--but without seeing them few people can form a correct idea
of what they are really like.

The sun rose over a monotonous plain covered with grass, rank, high, and
silky-looking, blown before the breeze into long, shiny waves. The sky was
blue above, and the grass a brownish green beneath; wild pigeons and
turkeys flew over our heads; the horizontal line had not a single
inequality; all was hot, unsuggestive, silent, and monotonous. This was
the grass prairie.

A belt of low timber would bound the expanse, and on the other side of it
a green sea would open before us, stretching as far as the eye could
reach--stationary billows of earth, covered with short green grass, which,
waving beneath the wind, completed the oceanic illusion. This was the
rolling prairie.

Again a belt of timber, and a flat surface covered with flowers, brilliant
even at this season of the year; though, of the most gorgeous, nothing
remained but the withered stalks. The ground was enamelled with lilies,
the helianthus and cineraria flourished, and the deep-green leaves and
blue blossom of the lupin contrasted with the prickly stem and scarlet
flower of the euphorbia. For what purpose was "the wilderness made so gay
where for years no eye sees it," but to show forth his goodness who does
what he will with his own? This was the weed prairie, more fitly termed
"the Garden of God."

These three kinds of prairie were continually alternating with belts of
timber and small lakes; but few signs of population were apparent during
that long day's journey. We occasionally stopped for water at shanties on
the prairies, and took in two or three men; but this vast expanse of
fertile soil still must remain for many years a field for the enterprise
of the European races.

Towards evening we changed cars again, and took in stores of refreshment
for our night's journey, as little could be procured along the route. What
strange people now crammed the cars! Traders, merchants, hunters, diggers,
trappers, and adventurers from every land, most of them armed to the
teeth, and not without good reason; for within the last few months,
Indians, enraged at the aggressions of the white men, have taken a
terrible revenge upon western travellers. Some of their rifles were of
most costly workmanship, and were nursed with paternal care by their
possessors. On the seat in front of me were two "prairie-men," such as are
described in the 'Scalp-Hunters,' though of an inferior grade to St.
Vrain. Fine specimens of men they were; tall, handsome, broad-chested, and
athletic, with aquiline noses, piercing grey eyes, and brown curling hair
and beards. They wore leathern jackets, slashed and embroidered, leather
smallclothes, large boots with embroidered tops, silver spurs, and caps of
scarlet cloth, worked with somewhat tarnished gold thread, doubtless the
gifts of some fair ones enamoured of the handsome physiognomies and
reckless bearing of the hunters. Dulness fled from their presence; they
could tell stories, whistle melodies, and sing comic songs without
weariness or cessation: fortunate were those near enough to be enlivened
by their drolleries during the tedium of a night detention. Each of them
wore a leathern belt--with two pistols stuck into it--gold earrings, and
costly rings. Blithe, cheerful souls they were, telling racy stories of
Western life, chivalrous in their manners, and free as the winds.

There were Californians dressed for the diggings, with leather pouches for
the gold-dust; Mormons on their way to Utah; and restless spirits seeking
for that excitement and variety which they had sought for in vain in
civilized life! And conveying this motley assortment of human beings, the
cars dashed along, none of their inmates heeding each other, or perhaps

"----who heeds and holds them all
In his large love and boundless thought."

At eleven we came to an abrupt pause upon the prairie. After waiting
quietly for some time without seeing any vestiges of a station, my friends
got out to inquire the cause of the detention, when we found that a
freight-train had broken down in front, and that we might be detenus for
some time, a mark for Indian bullets! Refreshments were produced and
clubbed together; the "prairie-men" told stories; the hunters looked to
their rifles, and polished their already resplendent chasing; some
Mexicans sang Spanish songs, a New Englander 'Yankee Doodle;' some
_guessed_, others _calculated_, till at last all grew sleepy: the trappers
exhausted their stories, the singers their songs, and a Mormon, who had
been setting forth the peculiar advantages of his creed, the patience of
his auditors--till at length sonorous sounds, emitted by numerous nasal
organs, proving infectious, I fell asleep to dream confusedly of 'Yankee
Doodle,' pistols, and pickpockets.

In due time I awoke; we were stopping still, and there was a light on our
right. "We're at Rock Island, I suppose?" I asked sleepily. A laugh from
my friends and the hunters followed the question; after which they
informed me in the most polite tones that we were where we had been for
the last five hours, namely stationary on the prairie. The intense cold
and heavy dew which accompany an American dawn made me yet more amazed at
the characteristic patience with which the Americans submit to an
unavoidable necessity, however disagreeable. It is true that there were
complaints of cold, and heavy sighs, but no blame was imputed to any one,
and the quiescence of my companions made me quite ashamed of my English
impatience. In England we should have had a perfect chorus of complaints,
varied by "rowing" the conductor, abuse of the company, and resolutions to
write to the _Times_, or bring up the subject of railway mismanagement in
the House of Commons. These people sat quietly, ate, slept, and smoked,
and were thankful when the cars at last moved off to their destination.

On we flew to the West, the land of Wild Indians and buffaloes, on the
narrow rims of metal with which this "great people" is girdling the earth.
Evening succeeded noon, and twilight to the blaze of a summer day; the
yellow sun sank cloudless behind the waves of the rolling prairie, yet
still we hurried on, only stopping our headlong course to take in wood and
water at some nameless stations. When the sun set, it set behind the
prairie waves. I was oblivious of any changes during the night, and at
rosy dawn an ocean of long green grass encircled us round. Still on--belts
of timber diversify the prospect--we rush into a thick wood, and, emerging
from it, arrive at Rock Island, an unfinished-looking settlement, which
might bear the name of the Desert City, situated at the confluence of the
Rock River and Mississippi. We stop at a little wharf, where waits a
little steamer of uncouth construction; we step in, a steam-whistle breaks
the silence of that dewy dawn, and at a very rapid rate we run between
high wooded bluff's, down a turbid stream, whirling in rapid eddies. We
steam for three miles, and land at a clearing containing the small
settlement of Davenport. We had come down the Mississippi, mightiest of
rivers! half a mile wide seventeen hundred miles from its mouth, and were
in the _far West_. Waggons with white tilts, thick-hided oxen with heavy
yokes, mettlesome steeds with high peaked saddles, picketed to stumps of
trees, lashing away the flies with their tails; emigrants on blue boxes,
wondering if this were the El Dorado of their dreams; arms, accoutrements,
and baggage surrounded the house or shed where we were to breakfast. Most
of our companions were bound for Nebraska, Oregon, and Utah, the most
distant districts of which they would scarcely reach with their slow-paced
animals for four months: exposed in the mean time to the attacks of the
Sioux, Comanches, and Blackfeet.

There, in a long wooden shed with blackened rafters and an earthen floor,
we breakfasted, at seven o'clock, on johnny-cake, squirrels, buffalo-hump,
dampers, and buckwheat, tea and corn spirit, with a crowd of emigrants,
hunters, and adventurers; and soon after re-embarked for Rock Island, our
little steamer with difficulty stemming the mighty tide of the Father of
Rivers. The machinery, such as it was, was very visible, the boiler
patched in several places, and steam escaped in different directions. I
asked the captain if he were not in the habit of "sitting upon the safety-
valve," but he stoutly denied the charge. The vernacular of this
neighbourhood was rather startling to an English ear. "Who's the alligator
to hum?" asked a broad-shouldered Kentuckian of his neighbour, pointing to
a frame shanty on the shore, which did not look to me like the abode of
that amphibious and carnivorous creature. "Well, old alligator, what's the
time o' day?" asked another man, bringing down a brawny paw, with a
resounding thump, upon the Herculean shoulders of the first querist,
thereby giving me the information that in the West _alligator_ is a
designation of the _genus homo_; in fact, that it is customary for a man
to address his fellow-man as "old alligator," instead of "old fellow." At
eight we left Rock Island, and, turning my unwilling steps eastward from
the land of adventure and romance, we entered the cars for Chicago.

They were extremely crowded, and my friends, securing me the only
comfortable seat in one of them, were obliged to go into the next, much to
their indignation; but protestations were of no use. The engine-bell rang,
a fearful rush followed, which resulted in the passage down the centre
being filled with standing men; the conductor shouted "Go a-head," and we
were off for Lake Michigan in the "Lightning Express," warranted to go
sixty-seven miles an hour! I had found it necessary to study physiognomy
since leaving England, and was horrified by the appearance of my next
neighbour. His forehead was low, his deep-set and restless eyes
significant of cunning, and I at once set him down as a swindler or
pickpocket. My convictions of the truth of my inferences were so strong,
that I removed my purse, in which, however, acting by advice, I never
carried more than five dollars, from my pocket, leaving in it only my
handkerchief and the checks for my baggage, knowing that I could not
possibly keep awake the whole morning. In spite of my endeavours to the
contrary, I soon sank into an oblivious state, from which I awoke to the
consciousness that my companion was withdrawing his hand from my pocket.
My first impulse was to make an exclamation, my second, which I carried
into execution, to ascertain my loss; which I found to be the very
alarming one of my baggage-checks; my whole property being thereby placed
at this vagabond's disposal, for I knew perfectly well, that if I claimed
my trunks without my checks, the acute baggage-master would have set me
down as a bold swindler. The keen-eyed conductor was not in the car, and,
had he been there, the necessity for habitual suspicion, incidental to his
position, would so far have removed his original sentiments of generosity
as to make him turn a deaf ear to my request, and there was not one of my
fellow-travellers whose physiognomy would have warranted me in appealing
to him. So, recollecting that my checks were marked Chicago, and seeing
that the thief's ticket bore the same name, I resolved to wait the chapter
of accidents, or the re-appearance of my friends. I was scarcely able to
decide whether this proof of the reliance to be placed upon physiognomy
was not an adequate compensation for the annoyance I was experiencing, at
the probability of my hoarded treasures falling into the hands of an

During the morning we crossed some prairie-country, and stopped at several
stations, patches of successful cultivation showing that there must be
cultivators, though I rarely saw their habitations. The cars still
continued so full that my friends could not join me, and I began to be
seriously anxious about the fate of my luggage. At mid-day, spires and
trees, and lofty blocks of building, rising from a grass-prairie on one
side, and from the blue waters of Lake Michigan on the other, showed that
we were approaching Chicago. Along beaten tracks through the grass,
waggons with white tilts drawn by oxen were proceeding west, sometimes
accompanied by armed horsemen.

With a whoop like an Indian war-whoop the cars ran into a shed--they
stopped--the pickpocket got up--I got up too--the baggage-master came to
the door: "This gentleman has the checks for my baggage," said I, pointing
to the thief. Bewildered, he took them from his waistcoat-pocket, gave
them to the baggage-master, and went hastily away. I had no inclination to
cry "Stop thief!" and had barely time to congratulate myself on the
fortunate impulse which had led me to say what I did, when my friends
appeared from the next car. They were too highly amused with my recital to
sympathise at all with my feelings of annoyance, and one of them, a
gentleman filling a high situation in the East, laughed heartily, saying,
in a thoroughly American tone, "The English ladies must be 'cute
customers, if they can outwit Yankee pickpockets."

Meaning to stay all night at Chicago, we drove to the two best hotels,
but, finding them full, were induced to betake ourselves to an advertising
house, the name of which it is unnecessary to give, though it will never
be effaced from my memory. The charge advertised was a dollar a day, and
for this every comfort and advantage were promised.

The inn was a large brick building at the corner of a street, with nothing
very unprepossessing in its external appearance. The wooden stairs were
dirty enough, and, on ascending them to the so-called "ladies' parlour," I
found a large, meanly-furnished apartment, garnished with six spittoons,
which, however, to my disgust, did not prevent the floor from receiving a
large quantity of tobacco-juice.

There were two rifles, a pistol, and a powder-flask on the table; two
Irish emigrant women were seated on the floor (which swarmed with black
beetles and ants), undressing a screaming child; a woman evidently in a
fever was tossing restlessly on the sofa; two females in tarnished Bloomer
habiliments were looking out of the window; and other extraordinary-
looking human beings filled the room. I asked for accommodation for the
night, hoping that I should find a room where I could sit quietly. A dirty
chambermaid took me to a room or dormitory containing four beds. In one
part of it three women were affectionately and assiduously nursing a sick
child; in another, two were combing tangled black hair; upon which I
declared that I must have a room to myself.

The chambermaid then took me down a long, darkish passage, and showed me a
small room without a fireplace, and only lighted by a pane of glass in the
door; consequently, it was nearly dark. There was a small bed with a dirty
buffalo-skin upon it; I took it up, and swarms of living creatures fell
out of it, and the floor was literally alive with them. The sight of such
a room made me feel quite ill, and it was with the greatest reluctance
that I deposited my bonnet and shawl in it.

Outside the door were some medicine-bottles and other suspicious signs of
illness, and, after making some cautious inquiries, we found that there
was a case of typhus fever in the house, also one of Asiatic cholera, and
three of ague! My friends were extremely shocked with the aspect of
affairs. I believe that they were annoyed that I should see such a
specimen of an hotel in their country, and they decided, that, as I could
not possibly remain there for the night, I should go on to Detroit alone,
as they were detained at Chicago on business. Though I certainly felt
rather out of my element in this place, I was not at all sorry for the
opportunity, thus accidentally given me, of seeing something of American
society in its lowest grade.

We went down to dinner, and only the fact of not having tasted food for
many hours could have made me touch it in such a room. We were in a long
apartment, with one table down the middle, with plates laid for one
hundred people. Every seat was occupied, these seats being benches of
somewhat uncouth workmanship. The floor had recently been washed, and
emitted a damp fetid odour. At one side was a large fireplace, where, in
spite of the heat of the day, sundry manipulations were going on, coming
under the general name of cookery. At the end of the room was a long
leaden trough or sink, where three greasy scullery-boys without shoes,
were perpetually engaged in washing plates, which they wiped upon their
aprons. The plates, however, were not washed, only superficially rinsed.
There were four brigand-looking waiters with prodigious beards and

There was no great variety at table. There were eight boiled legs of
mutton, nearly raw; six antiquated fowls, whose legs were of the
consistence of guitar-strings; baked pork with "onion fixings," the meat
swimming in grease; and for vegetables, yams, corn-cobs, and squash. A cup
of stewed tea, sweetened with molasses, stood by each plate, and no
fermented liquor of any description was consumed by the company. There
were no carving-knives, so each person _hacked_ the joints with his own,
and some of those present carved them dexterously with bowie-knives taken
out of their belts. Neither were there salt-spoons, so everybody dipped
his greasy knife into the little pewter pot containing salt. Dinner began,
and after satisfying my own hunger with the least objectionable dish,
namely "pork with onion fixings," I had leisure to look round me.

Every quarter of the globe had contributed to swell that motley array,
even China. Motives of interest or adventure had drawn them all together
to this extraordinary outpost of civilisation, and soon would disperse
them among lands where civilisation is unknown.

As far as I could judge, we were the only representatives of England.
There were Scots, for Scots are always to be found where there is any hope
of honest gain--there were Irish emigrants, speaking with a rich brogue--
French traders from St. Louis--Mexicans from Santa Fe--Californians
fitting out, and Californians coming home with fortunes made--keen-eyed

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