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galleries, except a little one for the singers. When we arrived, a small Sabbath-school was being conducted in the body of the chapel. About fifty children were present, of whom not one was coloured. One of the teachers kindly led us to a pew. It was the third or fourth from the door. The school, which occupied the part next to the pulpit, was about to be dismissed. The superintendent got into the “table-pew” to address the scholars. It was the first time I had had an opportunity of hearing an address to children in America. In the land of the Todds, the Abbotts, and the Gallaudets, I expected something very lively and interesting. But grievous was my disappointment. The address was dull and lifeless. There was in it neither light nor heat. When the superintendent had done, an elderly gentleman, shrewd and busy-looking, having in his hand a black walking-stick and on his neck a black stock, with shirt-collar turned over it like a white binding (the national fashion of the Americans), came up, and told the school that the proprietor of the splendid picture, “The Departure of the Israelites from Egypt,” had requested him to deliver a lecture upon it; that he had engaged to do so on Monday a-week; and that the scholars and teachers of that school would be admitted free. I should like (said I to myself) to hear you: a lecture on the emancipation of those poor slaves cannot fail to be interesting in the slave-holding city of New Orleans. The school was now dismissed, and the scholars left to enjoy their full swing of lawless liberty.

The elderly gentleman descended from his elevation, and walked about the “church,” backwards and forwards, whispering a few words to one, and then to another, in a very bustling manner. As I looked down the aisle, I saw on one side of it, near the pulpit end, a leg projecting about eighteen inches, in a pendent position, at an angle of about forty-five degrees. This leg attracted my notice by its strange and solitary appearance. It seemed as if it had got astray from its owner. In America gentlemen’s legs do get sometimes most strangely astray,–on the chair arms, on the tables, on the chimney-pieces, and into all sorts of out-of-the-way places. While other people generally try how high they can carry their heads, the ambition of the Americans is to try how high they can carry their heels! Observing the leg in question a little more attentively, I found that behind it (in the adjoining pew), and in close and intimate connection with it, was a man dressed in black. The bustling old gentleman came by, tapped him on the shoulder, and beckoned him forward, along with himself, to the rostrum. Here they were met by a tall man of grave appearance, about thirty years of age, with a pale face and bald forehead, wearing a white cravat, with corners about ten inches long, stretching out on either side towards the shoulders. He was made to take the central position at the desk; while the man with the leg took the right, and the elderly gentleman the left.

The elderly gentleman (who, from his I’m-at-home kind of air, was evidently the pastor) offered up a short prayer, and then gave out a hymn, which some few friends in the gallery (standing up) sang; all the rest of the congregation sitting down, and very few joining at all in the psalmody. This exercise over, the central gentleman arose, and, having first read a few verses of Scripture, offered up a very suitable prayer about eight or ten minutes long. The man on the right then gave out another hymn, which was sung as before.

The central gentleman now, in a very low don’t- care-whether-you-hear-or-not tone of voice, gave out a text. It was John iii. 7: “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” I will give you a sketch of his sermon. He observed that of all subjects on which men might be addressed, religious subjects were the most important; and that of all religious subjects, that to which the text referred was the most momentous. Having noticed the context, he proposed to inquire, first, into the necessity of being born again. This change (he observed) was necessary, in order to enjoy heaven. It was a common observation, that “society seeks its level.” The Indian, for example, could not be happy amidst the refinements of civilization. The gambler and the swearer could not be happy in the society of the pious and devout. If so in this world, amidst imperfect holiness, how much more so in the pure society of the celestial state!

During these remarks, I was much annoyed by the cracking of nuts not very far off. I looked around, and actually found it was a mother cracking them for her two boys, one of whom might be seven and the other five years of age,–one by her side, and the other in the next pew behind. To the latter she deliberately handed over the kernels in a pocket-handkerchief; and yet, to look at her, you would have thought her a woman of sense and piety!

The preacher noticed, in the second place, the nature of this change. It was spiritual, not physical,–a “revolution” (!) of the mind, rather than a mere change of opinion or of outward deportment. The third observation related to the evidence of the change. Its existence might be ascertained by our own experience, and by the Word of God. The former was not to be trusted without a reference to the latter. This change destroyed the love of the world. It led man to abandon his favourite sins, and to live and labour to do good. It also created in him new desires and enjoyments. These topics were variously and suitably illustrated, and the whole was a very good sermon on the subject.

At the close the man on the right offered an appropriate prayer. The pastor then made several announcements; among them, that a meeting to pray for the success of Sabbath-schools would be held on the morrow evening. In connection with that announcement, he said: “I am a very plain man, and my God is a very plain God. He is so in all his dealings with men. He always acts on the plain common-sense principle, that, if a favour is worth bestowing, it is worth asking for.” He also intimated that there would be a Church-meeting immediately after the service, preparatory to the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper in the afternoon, inviting at the same time any members of other Baptist Churches who might be present to participate with them in that privilege. This form of invitation led me to understand that they were “close communionists;” and such I have ascertained to be the case, not only with them, but also with all the regular Baptists in America. The influence of Robert Hall and others was not felt so powerfully on that side of the Atlantic as on this. I suppose that, while this worthy pastor would have freely admitted to the Lord’s Supper any immersed slave-holder, he would have sternly refused that privilege to me–a sprinkled missionary from a distant land. You will readily believe, however, that the anti-slavery missionary–the pastor of a large congregation of black and coloured people–was not very ambitious of Christian fellowship with slave-holders.

LETTER X.

Interview with a Baptist Minister–Conversation with a Young Man in the Baptist Church–The Presbyterian Church, and Dr. Scott again–A Peep at the House of Representatives of Louisiana–Contrast between the French and the Americans in the Treatment of their Slaves–Dinner Table in New Orleans–American Manners.

The decided part acted by the Baptist missionaries in the British Colonies, in reference to slavery, made me anxious to know the whereabouts of the Baptist minister in New Orleans on that subject; and I therefore visited his place of worship again in the afternoon. They were engaged in celebrating the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper. A very clean and neatly-dressed black woman was standing in the portico, looking in, and watching the proceedings with deep interest. She evidently wished to enter, but dared not. At the close I introduced myself to the minister as Davies, from British Guiana, attached to the ministry of the missionaries of the London Society. He was very kind and cordial, and pressed my wife and myself to go home with him to tea. We accepted the invitation. Among other questions, he asked how our negroes worked, now that they were free? I told him, “Very well indeed; and you may very safely venture to emancipate your slaves as soon as you please.” This led us at once _in medias res_. His views I found to be simply as follows: how pious! how plausible! how convenient! how extensively prevalent in reference to other evils than slavery! “Slavery is a political institution. As a Christian minister, I have nothing to do with politics. My business is to preach the Gospel, and try to save men’s souls. In this course I am sanctioned by the example of the Apostle Paul. Slavery existed in his day; but he turned not aside from the great object to attempt its overthrow. He simply told masters and slaves their duty, without at all interfering with the relation subsisting between them. Besides, the opposite of this course would render us and our churches unpopular, and thereby destroy our usefulness.” He also seemed very sore at the idea of the Christianity of slave-holders being at all called in question. “People,” said he, or words to the same effect, “may spare themselves the trouble to pass resolutions of non-fellowship with us; we wish for no fellowship with those who are so uncharitable as to question our piety.” I began now to understand why the Abolitionists call the American churches “the bulwark of slavery.”

Subsequently, on the same day, I had conversation with a young man, whom I had that afternoon seen sitting down at the Lord’s Table in the Baptist Church. He told me that there were in New Orleans two Baptist Churches of coloured people, presided over by faithful and devoted pastors of their own colour. “And does your pastor,” I inquired, “recognise them, and have fellowship with them?” “Oh! yes, he has often preached to them. He feels very anxious, I can assure you, for the conversion of the slaves.” “And do those coloured preachers ever occupy your pulpit?” “Oh, dear me, no!” with evident alarm. “Why not? You say they are good men, and sound in doctrine.” “Oh! they would not be tolerated. Besides, they are accustomed to speak in broken English, and in very familiar language; otherwise the slaves could not understand them. The slaves, you know, cannot read, and are not allowed to learn.” This he said in a tone of voice which indicated an entire acquiescence in that state of things, as if he thought the arrangement perfectly right. But what iniquity! To come between the Word of God and his rational creature! To interpose between the light of Heaven and the soul of man! To withhold the lamp of life from one-sixth of the entire population! Of all the damning features of American slavery, this is the most damning!

“I suppose,” continued I, “if any of the black people come to your churches, they have to sit by themselves?”

_Young Man._–“Of course: I have never seen it otherwise.”

_Myself._–“And I have never before seen it so. With us, in British Guiana, blacks and whites mingle together indiscriminately in the worship of our common Father.”

_Young Man._ (with amazement).–“There must be a a great change here before it comes to that. It must appear very strange.”

_Myself._–“Very much like heaven where they shall come together from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south, &c. Why, we have black deacons, who, at the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, carry the bread and wine, and give them even to white people.”

_Young Man._ (with more astonishment than ever, and in a tone of offended dignity).–“I don’t think I could stand that–I don’t! A great change must take place in my feelings before I could. I don’t like to mingle Ham and Japhet together for my part–I don’t!”

_Myself._–“Why, they were mingled together in the ark.”

_Young Man._–“Yes; but old Noah quarrelled with Ham soon after he came out, and cursed him.”

_Myself._–“Granted; but you and your pastor profess to be anxious for the slaves’ conversion to God, and thereby to roll away the curse.” Here the dialogue ended.

In the evening I was desirous of hearing Dr. Hawkes, an Episcopalian minister, of whose talents and popularity I had heard much in New Orleans; but, finding that he did not preach in the evening, I went again to hear Dr. Scott at the Presbyterian Church. Having stood a considerable time at the door inside, and receiving no encouragement to advance, I ventured, along with my wife, to enter the pew next to the door. This proved a most unfortunate position. There was not light enough to take any notes; while the incessant opening and shutting of the door, with its rusty hinges, made it extremely difficult to hear. The discourse, however, which was again addressed to young men in great cities, was characterized by all the power and piety which distinguished the one of the previous Sabbath. I retired deeply impressed with the value of such a ministry in such a place. Dr. Scott was one of the American delegates to the Conference for the formation of the Evangelical Alliance in 1846. He is a Southern man, born and bred amidst the wilds of Tennessee, whose early educational advantages were very small. He is, in a great measure, a self-made man. Brought up in the midst of slavery, he is (I rejoice to hear) a cordial hater of the system. As a minister, he is “thoroughly furnished–a workman that needeth not to be ashamed.” His knowledge of the world, as well as of the Word of God and of the human heart, is extensive, and is turned to the best account in his ministrations. In leaving New Orleans I felt no regret, but that I had not called upon this good man.

On Monday morning, the 8th of February, I had a peep at the House of Representatives of the State of Louisiana, then in session at New Orleans. The room, a dark and dingy-looking place, was fitted up with desks and seats in the form of the letter D. A desk and a spittoon were allowed to each honourable member,–the latter article being deemed as necessary as the former. Whether smoking was suffered during the hours of business or not I cannot tell, but the room smelt horribly of stale tobacco. Between fifty and sixty members were present, and never certainly, either in the Old World or in the New, did I see an assemblage of worse-looking men. They seemed fitted for any deeds of robbery, blood, and death. Several distinguished duellists were pointed out to me; among them Colonel Crane, an old man, who had repeatedly fought with Mr. Bowie, the inventor of the “Bowie knife,” and had killed several men in personal combat! The motion before the house just at that time was for the release from prison of a Mr. Simms, who a few days before had violently assaulted one of the members in the lobby. He was released accordingly. Who will not pity the 200,000 slaves of this State, who are at the “tender mercies” of these sanguinary men? Nor let it be said, as it often is, that New Orleans and Louisiana are not a fair specimen of things even in the South,–that they are more French than American, &c. This is not the case. Nothing in New Orleans struck me more forcibly than its thoroughly American character. American usages, American influence, American laws, and American religion are there predominant. Things were much better for the black and coloured people when it was not so. The French treated their slaves incomparably kinder than the Americans do. They often married coloured women, and invariably treated their own coloured offspring, whether legitimate or illegitimate, with tenderness and regard. They had them suitably educated and adequately provided for; so that, at the present moment, a large portion of the city of New Orleans is the freehold property of coloured persons. Not so act the Americans. They indulge in the grossest licentiousness with coloured women, but would shudder at the idea of marrying one of them; and, instead of giving any property to their coloured offspring, they do not scruple to sell them as slaves! Had I gone to the Roman Catholic cathedral in that city, which is attended chiefly by the French and their descendants, I should have found no negro pew, but persons of all colours intermingled together in religious observances. The Southerners seem to have no heart–no feeling, except that of love to the almighty dollar.

The population of New Orleans is about 90,000. On this mass of people are brought to bear the labours of at least thirteen ministers of the Methodist Episcopal Church, seven Presbyterians, four Episcopalians, and three Baptists,–all professedly evangelical;–besides a considerable number of Roman Catholics, and other non-evangelical teachers. But Satan has there a large array of synagogues.

I omitted, at the proper time, to describe the scene we witnessed at our “private” lodgings the first day we sat down to dinner. Though it was called a “private” boarding-house, and we had taken the apartments as such, we found ourselves surrounded by about thirty boarders! These were all respectable men, or rather men whom, from their position in society, you would expect to be respectable. Doctors, lieutenants in the army, captains, merchants, editors, clerks of the senate, and so forth, were among them. My wife was the only lady besides the mistress of the house.

We were all waiting in an ante-room for the summons to dinner. It came. The door of the dining-room was thrown open; and before you could have said “Jack Robinson,” the whole had rushed through, were seated at table, and sending forth a forest of forks in the direction of the various dishes! I had often heard of this wolfish habit, but thought our cousins were caricatured. Here, however, was the reality. Had I not been an eye-witness, I could not have believed it. Not a single seat had been kept vacant for the only lady who had to be accommodated, and we were both left to console ourselves in the ante-room! The landlady, however, having “an eye to business,” arranged for our accommodation at the table. There had been on the table a turkey, a piece of beef, some fish, and pastry,–all ready carved. Most of these things had instantly disappeared,–the knives and forks had borne them away in triumph. There was no waiting to be served: every one stuck his fork in what he liked best, or what was most within his reach. It was a regular scramble. The principle seemed to be to _begin_ to eat as soon as possible, no matter what! Some began with nothing but potatoes, some with a bit of bread, some with a piece of beef, some with a limb of the turkey. Some, I noticed, beginning with fowl, then taking roast beef, then boiled mutton, then fish, and then some pastry,–all on the same plate, and–faugh!–portions of most of them there at the same time! No change of plate,–that would have been extravagant, and would have savoured of aristocracy. Freedom, it seemed, allowed every one to help himself; and that with his own knife and fork, which he had before used for all sorts of purposes. Such luxuries as salt-spoons and mustard-spoons are very rare south of the Ohio. My wife asked the lady of the house for a small slice of the ham she had before her, when the latter very politely begged Mrs. Davies to lend her her knife to cut it with! This was good society in New Orleans. Things improved as we advanced towards the North; but in most places, though the Americans provide bountifully, the cooking is not good, and they make a strange jumble of things at table. They have the appearance of a people suddenly raised in the world, and able to afford themselves nice things, but very ignorant and awkward in the use of them. With so much hurry to begin, the time occupied in eating by our company was very short. We Britishers had scarcely begun, when one and another got up from table, finishing his dinner as he walked away. They cannot bear to sit at table a moment longer than is absolutely necessary. While we remained seated, they passed before us on their way out,–one eating, one picking his teeth, one scraping his throat, one spitting on the floor. Of course, we seldom made a hearty meal under such circumstances.

LETTER XI.

Farewell to New Orleans–Revolting Bargain–“The Anglo Saxon” Steam-boat–Moderate Fare–Steam Navigation of the Mississippi–Steam boat and Railway Literature–Parting View of the “Crescent City”–Slave Advertisements–Baton Rouge–A Sugar Estate–Fellow-Passengers–The Ladies’ Cabin–A Baptist Minister–A Reverend Slave-holder.

Preparing to leave New Orleans, on the evening of the 8th of February, we called for our bill, and found, for the nine days of our stay, a charge of eight dollars more than we had agreed for. Unwilling to be imposed upon, I remonstrated; and we split the difference with our “smart” landlady. We turned our backs upon the city, with a hearty wish that we might never see it again. It is a horrid place. Bowie knives, revolving pistols, and other deadly weapons, are exposed for sale on every side,–a pretty clear proof of an extensive demand.

Shall I tell you of a most revolting abomination, which I know, on good authority, occurred about the time we were there? A large importer of slaves from the “slave-breeding” States, having on board a considerable number of young women, made an offer of the use of their persons to a volunteer regiment of soldiers, then waiting to be conveyed to Mexico. The offer was accepted; and the wretch boasted that he had made 700 dollars, or 150_l._ sterling, by the transaction! The laws of this _great_ and _free_ country had, however, consigned these helpless young women to his absolute disposal! Alas! for Freedom, had she no holier home than the Southern States of the American Union! And yet of the country in which this licentious bargain was made, even John Todd, the excellent author of “Lectures to Children,” thus writes,–“This land is free. The mind is here free,–and the child is to be born–if indeed he ever will be born–whose powers and faculties may not be called out and cultivated. There is no bondage to forms or precedents; but the whole mass may be seasoned, leavened, and moved, and is at liberty to do what is great and good in the way that is most convenient.”

Four o’clock in the afternoon found us safely on board the “Anglo-Saxon,” a fine new steam-boat, bound for Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. We booked ourselves for Cincinnati in Ohio, a distance of 1,550 miles. The fare was 12 dollars each; and the captain said we should be from six to ten days in getting to our destination. (We were, however, twelve days.) Twelve dollars, or about 2_l._ 10_s._, for the occupation of splendid apartments, sitting down at a well-furnished table, and being conveyed 1,550 miles! Scarcely believing that there was not some mistake, I asked a fellow-passenger if the 12 dollars really did include board, and was told that most certainly it did,–it was the regular fare. Travelling at this rate was literally cheaper than staying at home. It was just one dollar a day each for food, lodgings, and locomotion! This “Anglo-Saxon”–forge below and palace above, as all these boats appear to be–is a noble vessel. The dimensions, as given me by the “clerk” or purser, are–length of keel 182 feet, breadth of beam 26 feet, depth of hull 6 feet, length of cabin 140 feet; two engines 6-1/2 feet stroke; two cylinders 18-1/2 inches in diameter; height between decks 9-1/2 feet; having a fire-engine and hose; berth accommodation for 73 cabin-passengers, but often has more. Unexpectedly, we had got on board the only temperance vessel on the river–the only one that kept no “bar.” It belonged chiefly to Quakers. The captain and the clerk, both part-proprietors, had married sisters. The engineer also was connected with them by marriage. These circumstances encouraged the hope that we had fallen into good steady hands, who would do all in their power to avoid explosion.

The number of steam-boats which puff, and groan, and paddle up and down the Mississippi, is amazing,–probably not fewer than 1,200. Only in the year 1812 was the _first_ seen on these western waters! The view of a long range of these splendid vessels lying against the landing-place is magnificent. Though not very substantial, they are extremely showy. Lightness of construction and elegance of accommodation are chiefly studied. The “Anglo-Saxon” is not by any means one of the largest class. These vessels are doubtless well adapted for their purpose as _river_ boats; in the sea, they could do nothing but capsize and sink.

In no portion of the globe should the invention of steam-boats be more highly appreciated than in the valley of the Mississippi; for nowhere else has the triumph of art over the obstacles of nature been more complete. But for this gigantic application of the power of steam, thousands of boatmen would have been slowly and laboriously _warping_, and rowing, and _poling_, and _cordelling_ their boats, in a three months’ trip up this mighty stream, which (thanks to Watt) is now ascended in ten days. This “go-a-head” country advances more in five years with steam-boats, than it could have done in fifty without them. The principal points in the Ohio and the Mississippi, which nature had separated by distances and other obstacles more formidable than attend the crossing of the Atlantic, art has brought into practical juxtaposition.

On embarking on the “Anglo-Saxon,” we found that we could not get off that night, and therefore made ourselves comfortable on board till morning.

February 9.–This morning, while the boat was being got ready, hawkers of light literature flocked on board. Baskets full of trashy novels were continually offered to us. Why should not the same facilities be afforded for obtaining better publications? Truly, “the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light.” This reproach is not peculiar to Americans. Why should there not be in England the same facilities for obtaining publications of real value and utility, as for obtaining works of mere amusement, if not something worse?

At noon our engine began to puff, and our paddles to move. The “crescent city” soon vanished in the distance, not, however, till we had enjoyed a striking view of it, and especially of the harbour. An area of many acres, covered with a grotesque variety of flat boats, keel boats, and water craft of every description, that had floated down from the valley above, lined the upper part of the shore. Steam-boats, rounding to, or (like our own) sweeping away, cast long horizontal streams of smoke behind them; while barques and brigs, schooners and sloops, ranged below each other in order of size, and showing a forest of masts, occupied the wharfs. These and a thousand other objects, seen as they were under a brilliant sun, presented a picture of surpassing splendour; but the curse and blight of slavery were upon it!

Being now fairly under weigh, let me glance at a New Orleans paper of this morning, which I bought from one of the hawkers. How consoling the following paragraph!

“STEAM-BOAT EXPLOSION.–Captain Duncan, of the ‘Swan,’ reports that the tow-boat, ‘Daniel Webster,’ burst her larboard boiler on the 6th instant, while towing in a vessel over the South-west Bar. Mr. William Taylor, one of the Balize pilots, and one of the firemen were instantly killed. The rest of the crew of the ‘Daniel Webster’ were slightly scalded.”

These explosions are of daily occurrence; and though we had a fresh boat, and good steady men to manage it, our feeling of security was very small.

The six following advertisements I found in succession in the same paper, besides many more of a like character interspersed throughout the sheet. How _manly_ and how _mysterious_ is the first!

“To PLANTERS–For Sale, a splendid Virginia woman-servant, thirty years old, who has been in this country twenty-four years; speaks French and English; good cook, washer, and ironer, and has kept store. She is of a strong constitution; has never been sick, and never had a child. She is for sale for no fault, but on account of domestic trouble. _She is not for sale for any one in this city. No one but a planter need apply_. For particulars apply at No. 189, Common-street.

“F 9–t.”

“MECHANICS AT PRIVATE SALE.–We have for sale 3 good Carpenters, 1 good Plasterer, 1 Plantation Blacksmith, 1 excellent Tailor, 1 superior Cabinetmaker. The above slaves are well recommended, and can be sent on trial at their respective trades.

“BEARD, CALHOUN & CO.,

“8, Bank’s Arcade.”

“F 3–10t.”

“NEGROES FOR SALE.–A young Negro man, first-rate field hand, 19 or 20 years old; also a very likely girl, good house-servant and tolerable seamstress. Apply to

“McMAHON & PEARSALL,

“29, Natchez-street.”

“F4–6t.”

“TEN DOLLARS REWARD.–Left the steam-boat ‘Little Rock,’ on Monday morning, the 1st instant, a Mulatto _boy_, named Bob Malane, _about_ 40 _years of age_, 5 feet 4 or 5 inches high. Any information respecting _said boy_ will be thankfully received at the office of Williams, Phillips & Co., No. 62, Gravier-street.

“WILLIAM ARNOLD.”

“F7–3t.”

“FIFTY DOLLARS REWARD.–Ran away from Mrs. Shall’s, in Canal-street, on the 6th instant, at 3 o’clock, P.M., the Negro-girl Eliza, aged 16 years, rather small size, very black, with a handsome face. Had on when she left a dark-coloured calico dress, low quartered shoes, and stockings; took no other clothing. It is believed she was decoyed away by a free coloured man, well known on several steam-boats, now in the city. Captains of vessels going to St. Louis are cautioned not to receive the girl on board. The above reward will be given for the apprehension of said slave, if found in the possession of any white or free coloured person, under circumstances that would lead to a conviction at law; or 30 dollars if delivered at 28, Canal-street, New Orleans, with any reasonable expenses incurred in so doing.

“RICHARD KING.”

“F 7–2t.”

“ONE DOLLAR REWARD.–Will be given for the apprehension of the Negro-woman Sarah, aged 31 years, 5 feet 2 inches high, stout built; has good teeth; no scars or blemishes about her face, or marks upon her person. Speaks French, English, and Spanish.

“JOSE ANTONIO LANONDO,

“Corner St. Thomas and Basins Streets.”

“F2–6t.”

Against the powerful current of the “father of waters” we advanced at the rate of more than 200 miles a day! It was consequently dark when we passed Baton Rouge, 140 miles from New Orleans. Baton Rouge, now the capital of Louisiana, is situated on the first “bluff,” or elevation, to be met with in ascending the river. The United States’ Barracks there are built, I am told, in a very fine style.

February 10.–We began to feel the cold very keenly: the thermometer was down at 46. In the middle of the day, we had to stop at an estate to take in a large quantity of sugar and molasses. The upper parts of the valley send down flour and provisions, getting from the lower sugar and molasses in return. This stoppage affording an opportunity of going ashore, I went to see the estate buildings; and though such buildings as existing in Guiana were quite familiar to me, I was interested in observing the difference. Those of Guiana are incomparably superior; but _these_ are the result of a better policy. Ours are too large and too expensive; these are rude, simple, and cheap, and yet answer the purpose. Seeing slaves at work, I addressed several questions to one of them relative to the cultivation and manufacture of sugar, and received very sensible and even _polite_ answers.

By this time we had received an impression of the character of our fellow-passengers. The mass of the “gentlemen” were rude and filthy beyond expression. The promenade or gallery outside, which might be very pleasant, was bespattered all over with vile expectoration. No lady could venture there with safety. The men will persist in spitting on the floor, when it would be quite as convenient to spit into the water. Many of the names of places on the route ending in _ville_,–as Donaldsonville, Francisville, Iberville, Nashville, &c.,–I could not help asking if we had not many passengers from _Spitville_. But this was not the worst feature in the character of our fellow-travellers, who comprised gamblers, fighters, swearers, drunkards, “soul drivers,” and everything base and bad. Of these, we had about fifty as cabin passengers; but there were upwards of a hundred deck passengers below–not above,–and they were ten times worse. Among men so much resembling demons I had never before been. However, my wife being with me, I had the _entree_ of the ladies’ cabin. This was the abode of quiet and decency, there being but three other ladies besides. Of these, one had her husband with her, a respectable farmer from Pennsylvania, who shipped all his last year’s produce in a flat boat, came down in it with his wife, sold his cargo in New Orleans, bought there what he might want during the year, and was now on his way home again by steam. Another lady, who was from Philadelphia, had come all the way to New Orleans in the hope of having a last glance of her husband before he was ordered off to Mexico,–was just too late,–and was returning home alone, with a heavy heart and an anxious mind. The third lady was a German girl from Baden, who had lived in New Orleans for three years, and was now on her way to Cincinnati to see her brother. We had also the boat’s washer-woman, an old lady from New England, who sat in the ladies’ cabin with as much composure as if she thought herself quite as good as any of the rest. Such is American society! So terribly afraid are they of anything that looks like aristocracy, except towards the coloured people!

I found on board a Baptist minister from the State of Maine, in New England, a thorough anti-slavery man. His testimony against the South on this subject was strong. He had lately been on a visit to a brother minister of his own denomination in North Carolina. At first, whenever the New Englander desired to go into the yard, it was necessary for his reverend brother to accompany him, and introduce him to a number of large dogs; otherwise they would have worried him.

These animals were kept to prevent his reverence’s slaves from running away, and to hunt them if they did. And yet, as my travelling companion assured me, this reverend slave-holder gravely and pathetically complained of the reluctance of the slaves to attend family worship!

LETTER XII.

Voyage up the Mississippi (continued)–“Patriarchal” Establishments–The Red River–Elder Wright–Lynch-Law administered by a Preacher–Natchez –Story of Mary Brown–The Flat Boats of the Mississippi.

On the 10th of February we passed a great many sugar estates on both sides of the river, which would be agreeable objects but for the curse of slavery. For who can look with pleasure upon the foul abodes of lust, oppression, and cruelty? At the outer gate, in front of one of these “patriarchal” establishments, was a small octagonal building about 6 or 8 feet in mean diameter. The basement was of brick, pierced by small air holes, barred with iron, at the height of about 8 feet from the ground; and the upper part was of wood, terminating in a pigeon-house. Making a short stay there to take in fire-wood, we inquired into the use of the building; but all the answer we could get was, that it was a “pigeon-house.” The Baptist minister from Maine asked a negro, who was helping to bring wood on board; and from him he learned the real truth,–that it was a place of punishment and torture for the oppressed slave. We have since ascertained that such buildings are very common, and generally pass under the euphemistic name of “pigeon-houses.”

On the 11th of February–a fine frosty day–we came to Red River, branching on our left in the direction of Texas, with which country it forms an important means of communication. This river, even where it pours its waters into the Mississippi, is not more than from 300 to 500 feet wide, and yet is navigable by steamers for about 1,200 miles. My Baptist friend had recently been on a visit to Elder Wright, a planter and a slave-holder on that river. This Wright was a New-England man, had graduated at Yale College, and boasted that he was “a Northern man with Southern feelings.” He was called Elder Wright because he was a preacher,–the Baptists here calling all preachers “elders.” Now, this Elder Wright told my friend that a few years ago there was great fear in his district of the slaves rising up against their masters. To this they were supposed to be instigated by the presence and influence of some strangers. Under this apprehension, a secret committee was formed to seize and try every suspected stranger, and, if he could not clear himself to their satisfaction, to “hang him up quietly.” Of this secret and murderous committee Elder Wright–an _alumnus_ of Yale College, a professor of religion, and a preacher of the gospel–was chosen chairman; and the statement I have just made came in the way described from his own lips! It is notorious that in the South they think nothing of taking away a man’s life, if he be even suspected of sympathy with the slave; and a country so thinly inhabited affords abundant opportunities of doing it as “quietly” as can be desired. America is indeed a land of “liberty!”

At night we came to Natchez, a town beautifully situated on the top of a hill, about 300 feet above the level of the river, and for this reason called “Natchez-on-the-Hill.” Its population is about 5,000; and it is the largest town in the State of Mississippi. Its distance from New Orleans is 300 miles. Darkness had set in when we approached it; yet the numerous lights on shore, rising row above row to a great elevation, gave it a lively and interesting appearance. But, alas! Natchez also is a great slave market; and I can never think of it without remembering the sufferings of poor Mary Brown. Let me narrate her painful story. It may waken in some breast a feeling of sympathy for the American slave.

Mary Brown, a coloured girl, was the daughter of _free_ parents in Washington city–the capital of the freest nation under heaven! She lived with her parents till the death of her mother. One day, when she was near the Potomac Bridge, the sheriff overtook her, and told her that she must go with him. She inquired what for? He made no reply, but told her to come along, and took her immediately to a slave-auction. Mary told him she was free; but he contradicted her, and the sale proceeded. The auctioneer soon sold her for 350 dollars to a Mississippi trader. She was first taken to jail; and after a few hours was handcuffed, chained to a _man-slave_, and started in a drove of about forty for New Orleans. Her handcuffs made her wrists swell so much that at night they were obliged to take them off, and put fetters round her ankles. In the morning the handcuffs were again put on. Thus they travelled for two weeks, wading rivers, whipped up all day, and beaten at night if they had not performed the prescribed distance. She frequently waded rivers in her chains, with water up to her waist. The month was October, and the air cold and frosty. After she had travelled thus twelve or fifteen days, her arms and ankles had become so swollen that she felt as if she could go no further. They had no beds, usually sleeping in barns, sometimes out on the naked ground; and such were her misery and pain that she could only lie and cry all night. Still she was driven on for another week; and every time the trader caught her crying he beat her, uttering fearful curses. If he caught her praying, he said, he would “give her _hell_.” Mary was a member of the Methodist Church in Washington. There were several pious people in the company; and at night, when the driver found them melancholy and disposed to pray, he had a fiddle brought, and made them dance in their chains, whipping them till they complied. Mary at length became so weak that she really could travel on foot no further. Her feeble frame was exhausted, and sank beneath accumulated sufferings. She was seized with a burning fever; and the diabolical trader–not moved with pity, but only fearing he should lose her–placed her for the remainder of the way in a waggon. Arriving at Natchez, they were all offered for sale. Mary, being still sick, begged she might be sold to a kind master. Sometimes she made this request in the hearing of purchasers, but was always insulted for it, and afterwards punished by her cruel master for her presumption. On one occasion he tied her up by the hands so that she could barely touch the floor with her toes. He kept her thus suspended a whole day, whipping her at intervals. In any other country this inhuman beast would have been tried for the greatest crime, short of murder, that man can commit against woman, and transported for life. Poor Mary Brown was at length sold, at 450 dollars, as a house-servant to a wealthy man of Vicksburgh, who compelled her to cohabit with him, and had children by her,–most probably filling up the measure of his iniquity by selling his own flesh. Wrongs like these must have inspired our poet when he exclaimed,–

“To think that man–them just and gentle God–Should stand before Thee with a tyrant’s rod O’er creatures like himself, with souls from Thee, Yet dare to boast of perfect liberty! Away! away! I ‘d rather hold my neck In doubtful tenure from a sultan’s beck, In climes where Liberty has scarce been named, Nor any right but that of ruling claimed, Than thus to live where bastard Freedom waves Her fustian flag in mockery over slaves!”

As we advanced, we continually met with flat boats, laden with produce, and floating sluggishly down. In the vernacular phrase, these boats are called “Kentucky flats,” or “broad-horns.” They are curiously constructed. At a distance, they appear like large chests or trunks afloat. They are from 50 to 100 feet long, and generally about 15 or 20 feet wide. The timbers of the bottom are massive beams. The sides are boarded up square to the height of 6 feet above the water; the roof being slightly curved, like a trunk lid, to throw off rain. They are adapted to carry from 200 to 400 barrels. Great numbers of cattle, hogs, and horses are conveyed to market in them. Coals, too, are thus brought down from the upper parts of the valley. Some of these barges have apartments fitted up for the accommodation of a family, with a stove, beds, tables, &c. You may sometimes see in them ladies, servants, cows, horses, sheep, dogs, and poultry,–all floating on the same bottom. It was precisely in this fashion that the Pennsylvanian farmer and his wife had reached New Orleans. Indeed, most of our fellow-passengers had come as captains or crews of flat boats. Of course, no attempt is made to get these unwieldy boats back against the current. It would be impracticable. The flat boat makes but one trip during its individual existence. Arrived at New Orleans, it is sold for “lumber,” and taken to pieces. In short, by this arrangement timber and produce are brought to market at the same time, the “stuff” of which the float is composed being but little injured. One cannot look at these temporary structures without being impressed with the vast importance of those water-powers which the Americans, with a wonderful tact, bring to bear in the way of saw-mills on the exhaustless resources of the forest. The very first thing looked for in settling a new district is water-power.

These flats, though destined for but a single voyage, sometimes do not reach their port,–seldom without more or less of danger,–and never without infinite toil’ They usually carry but three or four hands. Their form and gravity render them very unmanageable. Lying flat and dead in the water, with square timbers below their bottom planks, they often run on a sandbank with a strong head-way, and bury their timbers in the soil. To get them afloat again is a great labour. Sometimes they run upon a “snag,” and are instantly swallowed up with all their crew and all their cargo. Sometimes a steamer runs into one of them, and produces a catastrophe equally fatal to both. But all the toils, and dangers, and exposures connected with the long and perilous voyage of a flat boat, do not appear to the passer-by. As you cut along by the power of steam, the flat boat seems anything but a place of toil or care. One of the hands scrapes a violin, while the others dance. Affectionate greetings, or rude defiances, or trials of wit, or proffers of love to the girls on shore, or saucy messages pass between them and the spectators along the bank, or on the steam-boat. Yet, knowing the dangers to which they were really exposed, the sight of them often brought to my remembrance an appropriate verse of Dr. Watts:–

“Your streams were floating me along
Down to the gulf of black despair; And, whilst I listened to your song,
Your streams had e’en conveyed me there.”

These boats, however, do not venture to travel by night; consequently, at any good landing-place on the Mississippi, you may see towards evening a large number of them assembled. They have come from regions thousands of miles apart. They have never met before,–they will probably never meet again. The fleet of flats covers, perhaps, a surface of several acres. “Fowls are fluttering over the roofs as invariable appendages. The piercing note of the chanticleer is heard. The cattle low. The horses trample as in their stables. The swine scream, and fight with each other. The turkeys jobble. The dogs of a hundred regions become acquainted. The boatmen travel about from boat to boat, to make inquiries and form acquaintances.” It is a world in miniature.

LETTER XIII.

Voyage up the Mississippi (continued)–Grand Gulph and Big Black River–Snags–“I belong to myself, Sir”–Vicksburg and Lynch Law–A Man Overboard–“Drove of Horses, Mules, and Niggers”–Character of Fellow-Passengers–The Sabbath–Disobedience to Conscience.

We came on the 12th of February to the Grand Gulph and “Big Black River.” The former is situated at the base of a bold and solitary “bluff.” Here, a few years ago, “a negro man was condemned by the _mob_ to be _burned alive over a slow fire_, which was put into execution, for murdering a black woman and her master Mr. Green, a respectable citizen of that place, who attempted to save her from the clutches of this monster.” Such is the newspaper version of the affair. Had the real truth been stated, it would have appeared that this Green was the “_monster_,” who had seduced the wretched negro’s wife!

The “Big Black River” is not so very “big” after all. It is extremely narrow, although navigable for some hundreds of miles.

Besides the danger of explosion–which, I apprehend, arises from “racing” and carelessness more than from any other cause–steam-boats on the “father of waters” are exposed to “snags.” These snags are trunks of large trees that have become fastened in the bed of the river, and are often found lying against the stream at angles of from 30 to 40 degrees. As the river varies much with regard to the quantity of water in its channel,–frequently rising or falling from 6 to 12 feet in a few hours,–these snags are sometimes so deep in the water that they can be passed over with safety; at other times, however, they are but just covered. If a boat coming–especially down the stream–with high pressure and at full speed, making between twenty and thirty miles an hour, runs against one of these firmly-fixed, immoveable snags, it sustains a fearful shock. Not unfrequently a large hole is thus made in the bottom; and boat, cargo, crew, passengers, and all, sink in an instant. The danger is greatly increased by fogs, often so dense that the helmsman, though situated on the hurricane-deck and over the fore part of the vessel, can see nothing before him. In such a case, wise and cautious men “lie to,” and wait till the mist has cleared off.

May not these “snags” serve to remind us of certain characters and circumstances with which we meet on the voyage of life? Who cannot call to mind many snags–men, rugged, stubborn, and contentious,–snags by all means to be avoided? D’Israeli was the snag of Peel–Russia was the snag of Napoleon–Slavery is the snag of the Evangelical Alliance.

On board our steamer was a fine black young man, who acted as barber, waiter, and man-of-all-work. Curious to know whether he was a slave or not, I requested my friend from Maine to sound him. “To whom do you belong?” said the Baptist. “I belong to myself, sir,” was the prompt and dignified reply. “That’s right,” I involuntarily exclaimed; “he is free!” In answer to further questions, he told us that he was from New Orleans, and had bought himself about two years before for 600 dollars. He could therefore truly say, “I belong to myself, sir!” Oh! that every slave in America could say the same! But how monstrous, that a man should have to pay to one of his fellow-men upwards of 120_l._ sterling in order to “own himself!” Land of liberty, forsooth!

In the evening we reached Vicksburg. This place, like nearly all other places in this region, is deeply stained with deeds of violence and blood. A few years ago, a set of thieves and gamblers were here put to death by Lynch law. “Gentlemen of property and standing laughed the law (the constitutional law) to scorn, rushed to the gamblers’ house, put ropes round their necks, dragged them through the streets, hanged them in the public square, and thus saved the sum they had not yet paid. Thousands witnessed this wholesale murder; yet of the scores of legal officers present, not a soul raised a finger to prevent it: the whole city consented to it, and thus aided and abetted it. How many hundreds of them helped to commit the murders with their own hands does not appear; but not one of them has been indicted for it, and no one made the least effort to bring them to trial. Thus, up to the present hour, the blood of those murdered men rests on that whole city; and it will continue to be a CITY OF MURDERERS so long as its citizens agree together to shield those felons from punishment.”

Darkness had covered the city of blood when we arrived, and therefore we could not see it. One of the passengers, in stepping on a plank to go ashore, fell into the water. It was a frightful sight to see the dark figure of a fellow-man splattering and holloing in so perilous a position. Seldom can a person be saved who falls into the Mississippi, so rapid is the current; and, moreover, the banks are so steep that, though he be a good swimmer, he cannot get up. The knowledge of these facts generally destroys in the person who falls in all hope and self-command. Fortunately, however, in the present instance a rope was instantly thrown out, and the individual was saved. He assured us, afterwards, that some one had designedly pushed him from the plank into the water.

On the 13th of February we breasted a small settlement on our left, called Providence, in Louisiana. We observed on the river’s bank what a man at my elbow (a professor of religion, who had discovered a great propensity to talk about his religious experience before gamblers) coolly designated “a drove of horses, mules, and niggers.” Observe the order of his enumeration! Of the “niggers” there were about 100, small and great, young and old, and of both sexes. The whole “drove” were waiting to be shipped for the New Orleans market, and were jealously guarded by several large dogs. From individual instances like this, one may form a clearer notion of the internal slave-trade of America. Thousands every year are thus brought down the Mississippi to supply the Natchez and New Orleans markets. “Those who are transported down the Mississippi,” says a manual of American slavery, “are stowed away on the decks of steam-boats, males and females, old and young, usually chained, subject to the jeers and taunts of the passengers and navigators, and often by bribes or threats, or by the lash, made subject to abominations not to be named.” On the same deck, you may see horses and human beings tenants of the same apartments, and going to supply the same market. The _dumb_ beasts, being less manageable, are allowed the first place; while the _human_ are forced into spare corners and vacant places. My informant saw one trader who was taking down to New Orleans 100 horses, some sheep, and between fifty and sixty slaves. The sheep and the slaves occupied the same deck. Many interesting and intelligent women were of the number. I could relate facts concerning the brutal treatment of these defenceless females, while on the downward passage, which would kindle the hot indignation of every mother, and daughter, and sister in Old England. The slaves are carried down in companies, varying in number from 20 to 500. Men of considerable capital are engaged in the traffic. Go into the principal towns on the Mississippi, and you will find these negro traders in the bar-rooms boasting of their adroitness in driving human flesh, and describing the process by which they succeed in “_taming down_ the spirit of a _refractory_ negro.” Here, then, were human beings, children of our common Father, bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh, classed with the brutes that perish,–nay, degraded below them, and placed under the surveillance of dogs. The horrors of such a system it is impossible to exaggerate.

The majority of our fellow-passengers did nothing but gamble, eat, drink, smoke, and spit, from morning till night. In the afternoon a dispute arose between two of them about ten dollars, which the one maintained he had won from the other. One of the two quickly drew out his Bowie knife, and would certainly have stabbed the other but for the intervention of the boat’s officers. When the whites have so little hesitation in shedding each other’s blood, we cannot be surprised at the indifference with which negro life is put an end to. “A rencontre took place last week,” says the _New Orleans Delta_, “between the overseer of Mr. A. Collins (a planter in our vicinity) and one of the negroes. It seems the overseer wished to chastise the negro for some offence, and the negro resisted and struck the overseer with a spade. The overseer grappled with him, and called some of the negroes to his assistance; but, perceiving that the negroes were not willing to assist him, he drew his knife, and stabbed the negro to the heart. A coroner’s inquest has been held, and a verdict given in accordance with the circumstances, declaring the overseer justifiable.”

The 14th of February was Sunday. My Baptist friend, when engaging his passage, had given the captain a hint that, when the Sabbath came, he should like to have divine service on board. Nothing, however, was now said about it. Not, I think, that the officers of the boat would have disliked it; but, considering the general character of their passengers, they perhaps thought it would have been only “casting pearls before swine.” One passenger indeed, who _said_ he was a Congregationalist, expressed to my friend a wish to have worship; but he was playing at cards every day, and was in other respects no great credit to Congregationalism. The Baptist assured me that his countrymen too generally, when they travel, leave their religion behind!

The Baptist related to me an awful story respecting a captain with whom he had sailed from New England to Guadaloupe, and thence to New Orleans. This man belonged to my friend’s congregation, and professed to have been “converted” under his ministry. His pastor had frequent occasion to reprove him for his disregard of the Sabbath at sea. In New Orleans he engaged to take a cargo of Government stores to Tampico, for the supply of the army. He had to sign a bond to take in the cargo, and sail before a certain day, or forfeit the sum of 500 dollars. The Sabbath came. The pastor was at that time absent, on his visit to “Elder Wright” before mentioned, on the Red River. An agent of the “Bethel Union,” who was going round to invite seamen to the “Bethel” worship, invited the said captain and his men. He excused himself and his crew on the plea that they had no time–were under contract–had signed a bond–and might forfeit 500 dollars, &c. “What!” said the agent, “not afford time to attend the worship of God” on his own day! “No, I really cannot–very sorry–what I have never done before–should like to go”–was the faltering reply. “Well,” replied the agent with great solemnity, “God will soon call you to account for this.” “I know He will,” rejoined the captain with a downcast eye. The interview ended. The agent proceeded on his pious mission, and the captain to take in his cargo. The next morning, as he was looking over the side of the vessel to see how deep she was in the water, he fell overboard. His body was never found. His watch, which had been left in the cabin, and a few other personal articles, the pastor was now taking with him to the afflicted widow and family.

LETTER XIV.

Voyage up the Mississippi (continued)–The Arkansas–Treatment of the Indians–M. de Tocqueville–“Napoleon” and Lynch Law–Memphis, and its Advertisements–A Scene witnessed there–The Ohio–Nashville, and Amos Dresser.

At 4 o’clock P.M. of February the 14th, we reached the mouth of the Arkansas. This is a noble river, navigable for 2,000 miles! Not twenty years ago, the remnants of the four great Indian nations of the southern part of what is now the United States, amounting to about 75,000 souls, were urged to remove to the banks of this river, with an assurance of an undisturbed and permanent home. These four nations were the Choctaws, the Chickasaws, the Creeks, and the Cherokees. They were established upon a territory, which they occupied before the settlement of any Europeans in their vicinity, and which had been confirmed to them by solemn treaties again and again. The Anglo-Americans of the States of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi were however annoyed at their proximity, because it was unfavourable to the “peculiar institution” of America. Slaves occasionally made their escape to these children of the forest, and found sympathy and succour. This would not do. The Indians must be removed. But how was it to be accomplished? Annoy them; harass them; wrong them in every possible way, so that they may be sickened with the place. Georgia, accordingly, first attempted to establish a division line for the purpose of limiting the boundaries of the Cherokees. Then, in 1829, the State of Alabama divided the Creek territory into counties, and subjected the Indian population to the power of white magistrates. And, in 1830, the State of Mississippi assimilated the Chocktaws and Chickasaws to the white population, and declared that any one who should take the title of Chief should be punished with a fine of 1,000 dollars and a year’s imprisonment. Under these accumulated annoyances, the Cherokees, on the 18th of December, 1829, addressed to Congress the following powerful and touching appeal:–

“By the will of our Father in heaven, the Governor of the whole world, the red man of America has become small, and the white man great and renowned. When the ancestors of the people of the United States first came to the shores of America, they found the red man strong, though he was ignorant and savage; yet he received them kindly, and gave them dry land to rest their weary feet. They met in peace, and shook hands in token of friendship. Whatever the white man wanted and asked of the Indian, the latter willingly gave. At that time the Indian was the lord, and the white man the suppliant. But now the scene has changed. The strength of the red man has become weakness. As his neighbours increased in numbers, his power became less and less; and now, of the many and powerful tribes who once covered the United States, only a few are to be seen,–a few whom a sweeping pestilence has left. The northern tribes, who were once so numerous and powerful, are now nearly extinct. Thus it has happened to the red man of America. Shall we, who are remnants, share the same fate?”

“Oh, no!” was the response. “Beyond the great river Mississippi,” said the President to them in 1829, “where a part of your nation has gone, your Father has provided a country large enough for all of you; and he advises you to remove to it. There your white brothers will not trouble you: they will have no claim to the land, and you can live upon it, you and your children, as long as the grass grows or the water runs, in peace and plenty. _It will be yours for ever_.”

With this assurance, many left the land of their birth and the homes of their childhood, travelled hundreds of miles, crossed the Mississippi, and settled on the banks of the Arkansas. M. de Tocqueville was “assured, towards the end of the year 1831, that 10,000 Indians had already gone to the shores of the Arkansas, and fresh detachments were constantly following them.” Many, however, were unwilling to be thus expatriated. “The Indians readily discover,” says M. de Tocqueville, “that the settlement which is proposed to them is merely a temporary expedient. Who can assure them that they will at length be allowed to dwell in peace in their new retreat? The United States pledge themselves to the observance of the obligation; but the territory which they at present occupy was formerly secured to them by the most solemn oaths of Anglo-American faith. The American Government does not, indeed, rob them of their land, but it allows perpetual incursions to be made upon them. In a few years the same white population which now flocks around them, will track them to the solitudes of the Arkansas: they will then be exposed to the same evils, without the same remedies; and as the limits of the earth will at last fail them, their only refuge is the grave.”

The views of this keen French philosopher were prophetic. In vain did I strain my eyes, as we passed along, to discover any trace of these Indians. Not one representative of those noble aborigines was to be seen. In 1836 Arkansas was constituted a State, and admitted into the Union; and, if you look at a recent map of the United States, you will see the “location” of these Indians marked, not in the State of Arkansas at all, but far–far beyond, towards the setting sun, in what is called the “Western Territory,” where, indeed, the river Arkansas has its source. Nor will ten years pass away before they will be again disturbed, and pushed further back.

At the mouth of the Arkansas is a village called Napoleon, of which I received, on authority not to be disputed, the following horrible account. A few years ago it was the head quarters of lawless and bloody men. They fabricated base coin, gambled, robbed, murdered. To such a pitch of wickedness had they arrived, and such a terror were they to the whole country, that a party of men from Memphis (a city on the eastern side of the Mississippi, 180 miles up) took the law into their own hands, armed themselves with deadly weapons, came down, scoured the country around, caught about fifty of the ringleaders, and put them to death. Some they shot,–some they hanged,–and some they threw, tied hand and foot, into the river. Of this dreadful tragedy no judicial notice was ever taken!

February 15.–I had an attack of intermittent fever, and consequently saw nothing of the scenery around. At night the fog was so dense that the officers deemed it prudent to “lie to.”

February 16.–At 9 A.M. we were abreast of the city of Memphis, on the Tennessee side of the river. Higher up there is Cairo. These slave-holders, who retain their fellow-men in worse than Egyptian bondage, seem to have a great partiality for Egyptian names. Memphis is pleasantly situated on high “bluffs,” and is a great point for the shipping of cotton. It does not, however, thrive by _honest_ industry. I obtained a copy of the _Daily Inquirer_ of that day, where–among advertisements of pianos, music, bonnets, shawls, &c., for the ladies–I found the following:–

“ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS REWARD.–Ran away from the subscriber, on the 20th of October last, two Negro Fellows of the following description.–To wit,–Evan, 25 years of age, about 5 feet 11 inches high, complexion black, thick bristly beard, low soft voice, and apt to look down when spoken to; has a large scar on the calf of one of his legs, caused by the bite of a dog when he was 8 or 10 years old; some of his jaw-teeth missing or decayed. Ellis, 22 years of age, about 5 feet 11 inches high; complexion dark mulatto, tinged with Indian blood; beard thin and light. From information derived from a brother of these boys, who was caught in Washington County, Miss., it appears they intended to apply for employment as wood-choppers in the upper part of this State, until they could raise money enough to dress fine, then set off for the State of Illinois. It is highly probable they will resort to fictitious names, for the purpose of baffling pursuit.

“The above reward will be paid to any person confining them in any jail, so that I can get them again; or fifty dollars for either of them.

“DUNCAN M’ALPIN.”

“SLAVE MARKET.–The subscribers have now, and will continue to keep on hand throughout the season, a large supply of choice Negroes, suited to every capacity, which they offer at the lowest market rates. They have agents abroad engaged in purchasing for them, which enables them to bid defiance to competition.

“Depot on Adams-street, between Main and Second Streets.

“BOLTON & DICKINS.”

“JAILOR’S NOTICE.–Was committed to the jail of Shelby County, on 25th January, a Negro Boy named Silas. He says he belongs to William Wise, of Fayette, County Tenne. He is about 30 years old, black complexion, about 5 feet 11 inches high; weighs about 165 lbs. The owner of said Negro is requested to come and prove property, and pay charges, or he will be dealt with according to law.

“E. W. HARREL,

“_Jailor_.”

“Feb. 13.–3tW.”

In connection with Memphis, M. de Tocqueville narrates the following touching incident, relative to the expatriation of the Indians, to which I have already referred. “At the end of the year 1831, while I was on the left bank of the Mississippi, at a place named by Europeans Memphis, there arrived a numerous band of Choctaws. These _savages_ [so his American translator renders it] had left their country, and were endeavouring to gain the right bank of the Mississippi, where they hoped to find an asylum which had been promised them by the American Government. It was the middle of winter, and the cold was unusually severe: the snow had frozen hard upon the ground, and the river was drifting huge masses of ice. The Indians had their families with them; and they brought in their train the wounded and the sick, with children newly born, and old men upon the verge of death. They possessed neither tents nor waggons, but only their arms and some provisions. I saw them embark to pass the mighty river, and never will that solemn spectacle fade from my remembrance! No cry, no sob was heard among the assembled crowd: all were silent. Their calamities were of ancient date, and they knew them to be irremediable. The Indians had all stepped into the bark that was to carry them across, but their dogs remained upon the bank. As soon as these animals perceived that their masters were finally leaving the shore, they set up a dismal howl, and, plunging all together into the icy waters of the Mississippi, they swam after the boat.” So much for Memphis and its associations!

February 18th, at 5 A.M., we entered the Ohio River, and at 1 P.M. the mouth of the Tennessee; coming shortly afterwards to Smithland, at the mouth of the Cumberland River, which runs parallel with the Tennessee, and communicates directly with Nashville, the capital of that State. This city also has its association of ideas. I cannot think of it without at the same time thinking of Amos Dresser. He was a student at Lane Seminary (Dr. Beecher’s), and subsequently a missionary to Jamaica. In the vacation of 1835 he undertook to sell Bibles in the State of Tennessee, with a view to raise the means of continuing his studies for the ministry. Under suspicion of being an Abolitionist, he was arrested by the “Vigilance Committee” (a Lynch-law institution), while attending a religious meeting in the neighbourhood of Nashville. After an afternoon and evening’s inquisition, he was condemned to receive twenty lashes with the cow-hide on his naked body. Between 11 and 12 on Saturday night the sentence was executed upon him, in the presence of most of the committee, and of an infuriated and blaspheming mob. The Vigilance Committee consisted of sixty persons. Of these, twenty-seven were members of churches: one was a religious teacher, and others were _elders_ of the Presbyterian Church,–one of whom had a few days before offered Mr. Dresser the bread and wine at the Lord’s Supper. But let Amos Dresser himself describe the scene and the circumstances.

“I knelt down,” says he, “to receive the punishment, which was inflicted by Mr. Braughton, the city officer, with a HEAVY COW-SKIN. When the infliction ceased, an involuntary thanksgiving to God, for the fortitude with which I had been enabled to endure it, arose in my soul, to which I began aloud to give utterance. The death-like silence that prevailed for a moment was suddenly broken with loud exclamations, –‘G–d d–n him! Stop his praying!’ I was raised to my feet by Mr. Braughton, and conducted by him to my lodgings, where it was thought safe for me to remain but a few moments.

“Among my triers was a great portion of the respectability of Nashville; nearly half of the whole number professors of Christianity, the reputed stay of the Church, supporters of the cause of benevolence in the form of tract and missionary societies and Sabbath-schools; several members and _most_ of the elders of the Presbyterian Church, from whose hands but a few days before I had received the emblems of the broken body and shed blood of our blessed Saviour!”

In relating this shameful circumstance, the editor of the _Georgia Chronicle_, a professor of religion, said that Dresser “should have been hung up as high as Haman, to rot upon the gibbet until the wind whistled through his bones. The cry of the whole South should be death, _instant death_, to the Abolitionist, wherever he is caught.” What a great and free country!

LETTER XV.

Voyage up the Ohio (continued)–Illinois–Evansville–Owensborough –Indiana–New Albany–Louisville, and its Cruel Histories–The Grave of President Harrison–Arrival in Cincinnati–First Impressions–The Congregational Minister–A Welsh Service.

The Ohio, the “beautiful river,” is a magnificent stream formed by the confluence at Pittsburg of the Allegany and Monongahela Rivers, and is 1,008 miles long, constituting the boundary of six States: Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois on the north,–all free States; and Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee on the south,–all slave States. A trip on this river, therefore, affords a fine opportunity for observing the contrast between slavery and freedom.

The Ohio is the great artery through which the inland commerce of the Eastern States flows into the valley of the Mississippi. In ascending this river, we had first on our left the State of Illinois. This territory, which contains an area of 60,000 square miles, was settled by the French in 1720, and was admitted into the Union in 1818. Its population in 1810 was 12,300; in 1840, 476,180. It is now, probably, not far short of 1,000,000!

On the 19th of February, about noon, we arrived at Evansville, on the Indiana side of the river. This was the prettiest place we had yet seen; and its charms were enhanced by the assurance that it was free from the taint of slavery. The rise of this little town has been rapid. Its population is about 3,000. Three “churches,” with their neat and graceful spires, rising above the other buildings, were conspicuous in the distance.

At 5 P.M. we passed Owensborough, on the Kentucky side of the river. This, too, is a neat little town, with a proportionate number of places of worship. Indeed, on every hand, places of worship appear to rise simultaneously with the young settlement. The free and efficient working of the voluntary principle is the glory of America. In reference to “church” accommodation, it everywhere appears to decided advantage compared to the most favoured parts of England. On this subject Dr. Baird’s book on Religion in America is very truthful.

The fever left me on entering the Ohio, and returned no more,–a clear proof that this river is healthier than the Mississippi. The latter has much fog and malaria, which tell quickly upon a constitution like mine, already predisposed by residence among the swamps of Guiana to fever and ague.

As I have already intimated, we had now Indiana, a free State, on our left. This State is rapidly advancing in wealth and population. It was settled by the French in 1730, and became an independent State in 1816. It has an area of 36,840 square miles, being by two-fifths less than its neighbour Illinois. Its population at the beginning of this century was only 5,640; in 1840 it was 685,860. It is now above a million! In 1840 it produced upwards of four millions of bushels of wheat, and twenty-eight millions of corn!

February 20.–The scenery was diversified. Hills covered with trees rose on either side. In the summer, when all is fresh and green, there must be here scenes of loveliness and grandeur unsurpassed. At present the country had a cold and winterly aspect. It rained, too, the whole day. At 3 P.M. we approached New Albany, on the Indiana side. It is a flourishing place, with from 5,000 to 6,000 inhabitants. Just above this town are some falls in the Ohio, that can seldom be ascended by steamers, which therefore pass through a side canal, with locks, formed (through the superior influence of the slave-power) on the Kentucky or slave bank of the river. We had to pass through three locks, which have been very foolishly made too small to receive steamers of the largest class in the navigation of the Ohio. Ours fortunately, not being of that class, could “go a-head.”

At 5 P.M. we got to Louisville, a city of about 30,000 or 40,000 inhabitants, on the Kentucky side. This city is a great depot for slaves, whence they are shipped for the New Orleans market. By this means it has acquired a detestable notoriety.

“A trader was about to start from Louisville, Kentucky,” says the _Anti-Slavery Record_, “with one hundred slaves for New Orleans. Among them were two women, with infants at the breast. Knowing that these infants would depreciate the value of the mothers, the trader sold them for _one dollar each_. Another mother was separated from her sick child about four or five years old. Her anguish was so great that she sickened and died before reaching her destination.”

Take another instance, on the same authority:–

“Not very long ago, in Lincoln County, Kentucky, a female slave was sold to a Southern slaver under most afflicting circumstances. She had at her breast an infant boy three months old. The slaver did not want the child on any terms. The master sold the mother, and retained the child. She was hurried away immediately to the depot at Louisville, to be sent down the river to the Southern market. The last news my informant had of her was that she was lying _sick_, in the most miserable condition, her breast having risen, inflamed, and _burst_!”

Let another case, testified by the Rev. C.S. Renshaw, add to the fame of this _infamous_ city.

“Hughes and Neil traded in slaves down the river: they had bought up a part of their stock in the upper counties of Kentucky, and brought them down to Louisville, where the remainder of their drove was in jail waiting their arrival. Just before the steam-boat put off for the lower country, two negro women were offered for sale, each of them having a child at the breast. The traders bought them, took their babes from their arms, and offered them to the highest bidder; and they were sold for one dollar a piece, whilst the stricken parents were driven on board the boats, and in an hour were on their way to the New Orleans market. You are aware that a young babe diminishes the value of a field hand in the lower country, while it enhances her value in the breeding States.”

February 21.–Another dreary Sabbath on board. The principal objects of interest pointed out to us on that day were the residence and the tomb of the late President Harrison. The latter is a plain brick erection, in the midst of a field on the top of a hill, about half a mile in the rear of the former. The recollection of that man, so highly elevated, and so quickly cut down, could hardly fail to suggest a train of not unprofitable reflections. He was, I suppose, a moral and well-meaning man, distinguished for qualities not often to be found in high places; but I was sorry to be obliged to infer that much of what I had heard respecting the _religiousness_ of his character wanted confirmation.

At half-past 4 P.M. we arrived at the long-wished-for Cincinnati–the “Queen of the West.” Our voyage from New Orleans had thus occupied twelve days, during which time we had been boarded and lodged, as well as conveyed over a space of 1,550 miles, for 12 dollars each, or one dollar per diem! It was the cheapest, and (apart from the companionships) the most pleasant mode of travelling we had ever experienced. As the boat stayed but a couple of hours at Cincinnati, we had to land without delay. Being a stranger in a strange land, I inquired for the Congregational minister, and was told that his name was Boynton. In perambulating the streets in search of his house, I was pleased to see but one shop open. It was a tailor’s, and, as I afterwards learned, belonged to a Jew, who closed it on Saturdays, the law of the State compelling all to close their shops one day in the week. In every street, we were struck with the glorious liberty enjoyed by the pigs. On all hands, the swinish multitude were seen luxuriating in unrestricted freedom. Mr. Boynton, who received us kindly, did not know of any place where we could be accommodated with private board and lodging, but promised to make inquiry that evening. He was a man of about forty years of age, wearing on the Sabbath, and even in the pulpit (as most American ministers do), a black neckerchief, and shirt-collar turned down over it. That night we had to go to an hotel, and were recommended to the Denison House, which we found pretty cheap and comfortable. But the American hotels are not, in point of comfort, to be compared for a moment to those of Old England. My wife was too tired to go out in the evening; and unwilling for my own part to close the Sabbath without going to some place of public worship, I thought I would try to find the sanctuary of “my brethren–my kinsmen according to the flesh”–the Welsh. Following the directions I had received, I arrived at the top of a certain street, when I heard the sound of sacred song; but I could not tell whether it was Welsh or not, nor exactly whence it came. As I stood listening, an overgrown boy came by, of whom I inquired, “Where does that singing come from?”–“I _guess_ it comes from a church down below there.” “Is it a Welsh Church?”–“I can’t tell, but I _guess_ it is.” “Well, then,” I rejoined, “I _guess_ I will go and see.” I turned, and the youth “guessed” he would follow me. I got to the door. The singing had not ceased. It _was_ Welsh–the language in which I had first heard “_Am Geidwad i’r Colledig!_”[1] How interesting in the “Far West” to hear sounds so sweet and so familiar to my childhood! None but those who have experienced can tell the charm of such an incident. The minister was in the pulpit. His dress and hair were very plain, and his complexion was extremely dark. He was evidently a Welshman: there was no mistake about it: his gravity, plainness, attitude–all told the fact. I ventured forward, and walked along to the stove, which to me was an object of agreeable attraction. Around the stove were two or three chairs. A big aristocratic-looking Welshman, a sort of a “Blaenor,” who occupied one of these chairs, invited me to take another that was vacant. The eyes of all in the synagogue were upon me. My “guessing” informant had followed me even there, though he evidently understood not a word of Welsh. The building was about 40 feet by 35, without galleries, and was about two-thirds full. The pulpit was fitted up in the platform style–the “genuine” American mode. The text was, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation?” The sermon was good and faithful. The audience–the men on one side of the chapel, and the women on the other–did not excite much interest. The men, especially, were among the worst hearers I had ever seen. I felt ashamed of my countrymen. The spitting was incessant, and attended with certain unmentionable circumstances which render it most disgusting and offensive. What a contrast to my own clean and comely congregation of black and coloured people in New Amsterdam! In about twenty minutes after the preacher had begun his sermon, one-half of the men had their heads down, resting on both arms folded on the tops of the pews before them. Whether they were asleep or not, the attitude was that of deep sleep. This behaviour was grossly rude,–to say nothing of the apathetic state of mind which it indicated. I wondered how the preacher could get on at all, with such hearers before him. I am sorry to say that the Welsh too frequently manifest a great want of decorum and devotion in their religious assemblies. This is telling, and will tell, against dissent in the Principality.

[Footnote 1: Literally, “Of a Saviour for the lost.”]

LETTER XVI.

Stay at Cincinnati (continued)–Close of the Welsh Service–The Governor of Ohio and his Relatives–The “Black Laws”–Governor Bebb’s Hostility to them–Dr. Weed and American Versatility–Private Lodgings–Introduction to Dr. Beecher and others–A Peep at a Democratic Meeting.

The Welsh service being ended, my big friend on the next chair asked me, in the same language, if I was a _llafarwr_ (preacher). I answered him in the usual Welsh phrase, “_Byddaf yn dweyd ychydig weithiau_,” which means that I did a little in that way. On learning this, he desired my “_cyhoeddiad_” (publication–another Welsh phrase) to preach there some night during the coming week; and he wished it to be announced there and then, to which I would not consent. He introduced me to Mr. Jones, the minister. After most of the congregation were gone, a groupe, including my big friend and Mr. Jones, collected around me, and most earnestly pressed for my “publication.” I told them I had never been a Welsh preacher, that it was nearly five-and-twenty years since I had left the Principality, and that, moreover, _I could not_ preach at all to men who put down their heads in the sluggish and sleepy manner in which most of their men had done that night. “Oh! but they won’t do so when you, a stranger, preach,” was the reply. “Then,” I said, “there must be a great want of true devotion among them, if that would make all the difference.” However, being much pressed, I promised at last to give them, before I left the city, a little missionary information in Welsh.

The name of my big friend was Bebb, a near relative, as I subsequently learned, of His Excellency W. Bebb, the present Governor of the State of Ohio. The history of this Governor deserves a passing notice. He is the nephew of the late Rev. John Roberts, of Llanbrynmair, a man of great worth and usefulness, whose praise is in all the Congregational Churches of North Wales. Mr. Roberts, when a young man, joined the Church at Llanbrynmair, began to preach under its sanction, became its pastor, sustained that office for thirty-six years, and is succeeded by his two excellent sons, Samuel and John, as co-pastors! Towards the close of last century, Mr. Roberts’s sister, married to a Mr. Bebb, emigrated to America; as did also his brother George, who still survives, and of whom Dr. Matheson gives an interesting account in the seventh letter of the second volume of “Reed and Matheson’s Narrative,” calling him “_Judge_ Roberts, the _Pastor_ of the Congregational Church!” at Ebensburg, in Pennsylvania.

Mrs. Bebb was soon left a widow, with two sons, William and Evan. But “the Judge of the widow” and “the Father of the fatherless” did not forsake her. She is a woman of a strong mind and great piety, and a thorough hater of slavery and oppression in all their forms. Her own principles she endeavoured to instil into the minds of her sons, sparing no efforts to fit them for acting a useful and honourable part in society. William was brought up to the law, and Evan to commerce. And now, in the evening of her days, the pious old Welsh-woman has the gratification of seeing Evan an enterprising and successful merchant in New York, while William enjoys the highest honour that his fellow-citizens of Ohio can confer upon him! He is the Governor of a territory of nearly 40,000 square miles, and a population of 2,000,000. Mr. Jones, the minister, is intimately acquainted with Mrs. Bebb, who carefully instructed her distinguished son in the good old language of Wales, so that, at the time of his recent canvass for office, he was able to address the Cambrian portion of his constituency in their mother tongue.

On entering into office, he declared his determined opposition to the “black laws” of Ohio. Those “black laws” are black indeed. They are the foul blot of this otherwise honoured State. One of them is intended to prevent the coloured citizens of other States from removing to Ohio. It was enacted in 1807, and is to this effect,–that within twenty days after the entrance of an emigrant into the State, he is to find two freehold sureties in the sum of 500 dollars for his _good behaviour_, and likewise for his _maintenance_, should he, at any future period, be unable to maintain himself. The Legislature well knew that it would be utterly impossible, generally speaking, for a _black_ or _coloured_ stranger to find such securities. In 1800 there were only 337 free blacks in the territory; but in 1830, notwithstanding the “black laws,” there were 9,500. A large portion of them entered in entire ignorance of this iniquitous law, and some perhaps in bold defiance of it. But it has by no means remained a dead letter. In 1829 a very general effort was made to enforce it,–about 1,000 free blacks being driven from the State, to take refuge in the more free and Christian country of Canada. Sir J. Colebrook, the Governor of Upper Canada, said to the coloured deputation that waited upon him, “Tell the _Republicans_ on your side of the line that we Royalists do not know men by their colour. Should you come to us, you will be entitled to all the privileges of the rest of His Majesty’s subjects.” A noble sentiment! and one calculated to make a “_Britisher_” proud of his country, particularly since the abolition of slavery in our other colonies. At the time these people were thus driven away, the State of Ohio contained but 23 inhabitants to one square mile!

In 1838 official notice was given to the inhabitants of the town of Fairfield, in Ohio, that all “black or mulatto persons” residing there were to comply with the requirements of the law of 1807 within twenty days, or it would be enforced against them. The proclamation addresses the _white_ inhabitants in the following remarkable terms: “Whites, look out! If any person or persons _employing_ any black or mulatto person, contrary to the 3rd section of this law, you may look out for the breakers!”

At the very time I was in Ohio an attempt was made, in Mercer County, to eject by force a number of inoffensive black people. Originally slaves in Virginia, they had been liberated by the will of their late master, and located on a suitable quantity of land which he had secured for them. But the magnanimous and liberty-boasting Americans would not allow them to enjoy their little settlement unmolested; and it was extremely doubtful whether the Governor would be able to protect them from outrage.

In 1839 a number of coloured inhabitants of Ohio addressed a respectful petition to the Legislature, praying for the removal of certain legal disabilities under which they were labouring. The answer was a denial, not merely of the _prayer_ of the petition, but of the very _right_ of petition! “Resolved, that the blacks and mulattoes who may be residents within this State have no constitutional right to present their petitions to the General Assembly for any purpose whatsoever; and that any reception of such petitions on the part of the General Assembly is a mere act of privilege or policy, and not imposed by any expressed or implied power of the Constitution!”

But the _blackest_ of these black laws is the following: “That no black or mulatto person or persons shall hereafter be permitted to be sworn, or give evidence in any court of record or elsewhere in this State, in any cause depending, or matter of controversy, when either party to the same is a _white_ person; or in any prosecution of the State against any _white_ person!”

Under such a law a white man may with perfect impunity defraud or abuse a negro to any extent, provided that he is careful to avoid the presence of any of his own caste at the execution of his contract, or the commission of his crime!

To these “black laws” Governor Bebb has avowed an uncompromising hostility; but the first session of the State Legislature after his election had just closed, and the black laws were still in force. Mr. Bebb was not sufficiently supported in his just and humane intentions to enable him to carry those intentions out. I was assured, however, by those who knew him well, that he was only “biding his time,” being as determined as ever to wipe away from the statute-book every remnant of these foul enactments. If he succeed, the poor old Welsh-woman, in her obscurity and widowhood, will have rendered an important service to the cause of humanity and justice. Let mothers think of this, and be encouraged!

The day after our arrival in Cincinnati, being the 22nd of February, we obtained, by the aid of Dr. Weed (one of Mr. Boynton’s deacons), a suitable private lodging. Dr. Weed in early life studied for the medical profession, and graduated in physic. Afterwards he spent some years as a missionary among the Indians. Now he is a bookseller, publisher, and stationer in Cincinnati, affording an illustration of that versatility for which the Americans are distinguished. “Men are to be met with,” says M. de Tocqueville, (and the present writer has himself seen many instances,) “who have successively been barristers, farmers, merchants, ministers of the Gospel, and physicians. If the American be less perfect in each craft than the European, at least there is scarcely any trade with which he is utterly unacquainted.” I have heard of a man in New York, who, having tried the ministry and completely failed, wisely judged that that was not the way in which he could best serve God, and turned to commerce. He is now a substantial merchant, and supports five other men to preach the Gospel; each of whom, he is wont to say, does it much better than he could ever have done.

The lodging which Dr. Weed kindly found us was at the house of the Misses M’Pherson, five Quaker sisters, living together. It was clean and respectable,–the cheapest and most comfortable lodging we had hitherto met with. The table was bountifully supplied with excellent and well-cooked provisions; for which the charge was only 4 dollars each per week, and half-a-dollar for fuel, making altogether only 9 dollars for us both. Of the kindness and hospitality of these ladies we shall always retain a grateful remembrance.

In the afternoon I had the honour of being introduced to Dr. Beecher, Dr. Stowe, Professor Allen, and several other Presbyterian ministers of the New School. They were assembled for fraternal intercourse in the vestry of one of the “churches.” I was struck with the sallowness of their complexions, and the want of polish in their manners. Dr. Beecher invited me to go up some day to see Lane Seminary, about two miles off. To this invitation I readily acceded. I was greatly interested in this veteran, of whose fame I had so often heard.

February 23rd.–In the evening, I went to a meeting of the Democratic party in the town-hall, thinking it would afford me a good opportunity for observing American manners. The place was full; and when I arrived, a gentleman was addressing the meeting with great vehemence of tone and gesture. His speech consisted of innumerable changes rung on the sentiment–“There must be a vigorous prosecution of the war against Mexico.” But I must reserve any further account of this meeting for my next letter.

LETTER XVII.

Stay at Cincinnati (continued)–The Democratic Meeting–A Visit to Lane Seminary–“Public Declamation”–Poem on War–Essay on Education.

In resuming my notice of the Democratic meeting, let me observe that the Democratic party in America is not very reputable. It is the war party, the pro-slavery party, the mob party, and, at present, the dominant party,–the party, in fine, of President Polk. It had just been aroused to the highest pitch of indignation, by a telling speech delivered in Congress against the Mexican War by Thomas Corwin, Esq., one of the Ohio senators. This meeting, then, was intended as a demonstration in favour of Polk and his policy; but it turned out a miserable failure.

When the blustering speaker who “had the floor” when I entered sat down, the “president” (for they do not say the chairman) rose, amidst a tremendous storm of favourite names, uttered simultaneously by all present at the top of their voices, and, as soon as he could be heard, said it had been moved and seconded that So-and-so, Esq., be requested to address the meeting: those who were in favour of that motion were to say “Ay,”–those against it, “No.” One great “Ay” was then uttered by the mass, and a few “Noes” were heard. The “_Ayes”_ had it. But an unforeseen difficulty occurred. So-and-so, Esq., either was not there, or would not speak. Amidst deafening noise again, the president rose, and said it had been moved and seconded that John Brough, Esq., be requested to address the meeting. “Ay”–“No;” but the “Ayes” had it. “Now, John Brough,” said a droll-looking Irishman, apparently a hod-carrier, who was at my elbow,–

“Now, John Brough,
Out with the stuff.”

Here was Paddy on the western side of the Allegany Mountains, with his native accent and native wit as fresh and unimpaired as if he had but just left his green isle, and landed on one of the quays at Liverpool. But John Brough again declined the honour conferred upon him! Then it was moved and seconded and “ayed” that So-and-so, Esq., be requested to address the meeting, but _he_ also was not forthcoming! _Nil desperandum_. It was moved and seconded and “ayed” that–Callaghan, Esq., be requested to address the meeting. After some hesitation, and a reference to his own “proverbial modesty,” he proceeded to foam, and stamp, and thump, and bluster for “the vigorous prosecution of the war,” till the American eagle should “stretch his wings over the halls of the Montezumas.” At this stage of the proceedings, the spitting and smoke had become so offensive that I was compelled to retire; and I did so with no very high notions of the intelligence and respectability of the American democrats.

The next day being fine and frosty, and the roads hard, I set off in the morning to pay my intended visit to Lane Seminary. I found it a long two miles, all up hill. The seminary itself, the building in which the students are accommodated, is a large plain brick edifice, four stories high, besides the basement-story, and has very much the appearance of a small Lancashire factory. It is 100 feet long by about 40 feet wide, and contains 84 rooms for students. The situation is pleasant, and at a nice distance from the roadside. A large bell was being tolled awkwardly when I arrived. It was 11 o’clock A.M. I found the front door thrown wide open, with every indication of its being entered by all comers without the least ceremony–not even that of wiping the shoes. There was neither door-bell nor knocker, scraper nor mat; and the floor of the lobby seemed but slightly acquainted with the broom,–to say nothing of the scrubbing-brush. It looked like the floor of a corn or provision warehouse. I had no alternative but to venture in. Immediately after, there entered a young man with a fowling-piece, whom before I had seen at a little distance watching the movements of a flock of wild pigeons. I took him for a sportsman; but he was a young divine! I asked him if Dr. Beecher was about. He replied that he guessed not, but he would be at the lecture-room in a few minutes, for the bell that had just tolled was a summons to that room. “Does the Doctor, then,” said I, “deliver a lecture this morning?”–“No, it is _declamation_ this morning.” “Is it such an exercise,” I continued, “as a stranger may attend?”–“Oh, yes!” he replied; “it is _public_ declamation.” He then directed me to the lecture-room. It was across the yard, and under the chapel belonging to the institution. This chapel is a very neat building, after the model of a Grecian temple, having the roof in front carried out and supported by six well-proportioned columns in the form of a portico. In a part of the basement-story was the lecture-room in question. The students were mustering. By-and-by Dr. Stowe entered. He invited me to take a chair by his side, on a kind of platform. Professor Allen then came in, and after him Dr. Beecher. The exercise began with a short prayer by Mr. Allen. He then called upon a Mr. Armstrong, one of the students, to ascend the platform. The young man obeyed; and, somewhat abruptly and vehemently, rehearsed from memory a Poem on War. Suiting the action to the words, he began–

“_On_–to the glorious conflict–ON!”

It quite startled me! Soon afterwards I heard,–

“And Montezuma’s halls shall _ring_.”

What! (reasoned I) is this the sequel to the Democratic meeting of last night? Has Mars, who presided at the town-hall, a seat in the lecture-room of this Theological Seminary? As the young man proceeded, however, I perceived that his poem was, in fact, a denunciation of the horrors of war,–not, as I had supposed, the composition of another person committed to memory, and now rehearsed as an exercise in elocution, but entirely his own. It was altogether a creditable performance. The Professors at the close made their criticisms upon it, which were all highly favourable. Dr. Beecher said, “My only criticism is, _Print it, print it_.” The venerable Doctor, with the natural partiality of a tutor, afterwards observed to me he had never heard anything against war that took so strong a hold of his feelings as that poem. Dr. Stowe also told me that Mr. Armstrong was considered a young man of fine talents and great devotion; and that some of the students had facetiously said, “Brother Armstrong was so pious that even the dogs would not bark at him!”

Mr. Armstrong was not at all disposed to take his tutor’s advice. But he favoured me with a copy of his poem, on condition that I would not cause it to be printed in America,–in England I might. It contains some turgid expressions, some halting and prosaic lines, and might be improved by a severe revision; but, besides its interest as a Transatlantic college-exercise, I feel it possesses sufficient merit to relieve the tediousness of my own prose.

“‘_On_–to the glorious conflict–ON!’– Is heard throughout the land,
While flashing columns, thick and strong, Sweep by with swelling band.
‘Our country, right or wrong,’ they shout, ‘Shall still our motto he:
With _this_ we are prepared to rout Our foes from sea to sea.
Our own right arms to us shall bring The victory and the spoils;
And Montezuma’s halls shall ring,
When there we end our toils.’
ON, then, ye brave’ like tigers rage, That you may win your crown,
Mowing both infancy and age
In ruthless carnage down.
Where flows the tide of life and light, Amid the city’s hum,
There let the cry, at dead of night, Be heard, ‘They come, they come!’
Mid scenes of sweet domestic bliss, Pour shells of livid fire,
While red-hot balls among them hiss, To make the work entire
And when the scream of agony
Is heard above the din,
_Then_ ply your guns with energy,
And throw your columns in
Thro’ street and lane, thro’ house and church, The sword and faggot hear,
And every inmost recess search,
To fill with shrieks the air
Where waving fields and smiling homes Now deck the sunny plain,
And laughter-loving childhood roams Unmoved by care or pain;
Let famine gaunt and grim despair
Behind you stalk along,
And pestilence taint all the air
With victims from the strong
Let dogs from mangled beauty’s cheeks The flesh and sinews tear,
And craunch the bones around for weeks, And gnaw the skulls till bare
Let vultures gather round the heaps Made up of man and beast,
And, while the widowed mother weeps, Indulge their horrid feast,
Till, startled by wild piteous groans, On dreary wings they rise,
To come again, mid dying moans,
And tear out glazing eyes
_Tho’_ widows’ tears, and orphans’ cries, When starving round the spot
Where much-loved forms once met their eyes Which now are left to rot,
With trumpet-tongue, for vengeance call Upon each guilty head
That drowns, mid revelry and brawls, Remembrance of the dead.
_Tho’_ faint from fighting–wounded–wan, To camp you’ll turn your feet,
And no sweet, smiling, happy home,
Your saddened hearts will greet:
No hands of love–no eyes of light– Will make your wants their care,
Or soothe you thro’ the dreary night, Or smooth your clotted hair.
But crushed by sickness, famine, thirst, You’ll strive in vain to sleep,
Mid corpses mangled, blackened, burst, And blood and mire deep;
While horrid groans, and fiendish yells, And every loathsome stench,
Will kindle images of hell
You’ll strive in vain to quench.
Yet _on_–press on, in all your might, With banners to the field,
And mingle in the glorious fight,
With Satan for your shield:
For marble columns, if you die,
_May_ on them bear your name;
While papers, tho’ they sometimes lie, Will praise you, or will blame.
Yet woe! to those who build a house, Or kingdom, not by right,–
Who in their feebleness propose
Against the Lord to fight.
For when the Archangel’s trumpet sounds, And all the dead shall hear,
And haste from earth’s remotest bounds In judgment to appear,–
When every work, and word, and _thought_, Well known or hid from sight,
Before the Universe is brought
To blaze in lines of light,–
When by the test of _perfect_ law
Your ‘_glorious_’ course is tried, On what resources will you draw?–
In what will you confide?
For know that eyes of awful light
Burn on you from above,
Where nought but kindness meets the sight, And all the air is love.
When all unused to such employ
As charms the angelic hands,
How can you hope to share their joy Who dwell in heavenly lands?”

Such was the poem of Frederick Alexander Armstrong. After its rehearsal, a young gentleman _read_ a prose Essay on Education. It was clever, and indicated a mind of a high order, but was too playful; and the performance was severely criticised. Here ended the “public declamation.”

LETTER XVIII.

Visit to Lane Seminary (continued)–Dr. Beecher and his Gun–The College Library–Dr. Stowe and his Hebrew Class–History of Lane Seminary–Qualifications for Admission–The Curriculum–Manual Labour–Expenses of Education–Results–Equality of Professors and Students.

The “public declamation” ended, Dr. Beecher asked me to accompany him to his house. It was about an eighth of a mile from the institution, over a very bad road, or rather over no road at all. He conducted me into a snug little sitting-room, having no grate; but a wood fire on the floor under the chimney. It looked primitive and homely. This style of fire is not uncommon in America. The logs of wood lie across two horizontal bars of iron, by which they are raised four or six inches from the floor. The Doctor’s first care was to replenish the fire with a few sturdy pieces of wood. All through the States, I have observed that the task of feeding the fire generally devolves on the head of the family. In this little room I was introduced to Mrs. Beecher. She is, I believe, the third lady on whom the Doctor has conferred his name. In one corner of this apartment was a gun, and on the sofa a heap of shot. Thousands of wild pigeons were flying about. The visit of these birds made the Doctor very uneasy. He was ever and anon snatching up his gun, and going out to have a pop at them. Though upwards of seventy years of age, he is an excellent marksman. It was to me a little odd to see a venerable D.D., a Professor of Theology, handling a fowling-piece! The Americans, have by circumstances been trained to great skill in the use of fire-arms. The gun, however, proved a fatal instrument in the hands of one of the Doctor’s sons, a young man of great promise, who was killed by the accidental explosion of one. Nevertheless, Dr. Beecher has five sons, all (like himself) in the ministry! He has a maiden daughter, who has distinguished herself by her literary attainments and active benevolence. The excellent and accomplished wife of Dr. Stowe was also a Miss Beecher.

At 1 o’clock P.M. we dined. The Professors never dine, or take any other meal, with the assembled students. This is a disadvantage. But in America eating, under any circumstances, is not so sociable a matter as in England.

After dinner, I took my leave of Dr. Beecher, and went to see the library of the institution. This is over the chapel, but so arranged as not at all to detract from the just proportions of the building. Indeed, no one would suspect that there was a story above. This library was collected with great care and judgment by Dr. Stowe, in England and on the continent of Europe, and contains 10,000 volumes! The library-room is capable of receiving 30,000 volumes. But even now it is the largest library on this side the Allegany Mountains. It comprises not only the standard works in all the departments of a theological course, but also a very rich variety of authors in general literature and science. The books are arranged in alcoves according to their character,–Theology–Biblical Literature–Classics–History–Philosophy; and so forth.

There is a “Society of Inquiry” in connection with the seminary, which has a distinct library of 326 volumes. “The Reading Room and Athenaeum” is furnished with 21 newspapers, and several of the best literary and theological periodicals.

From the library, my guide (one of the students) led me down into the lecture-room, where Professor Stowe was engaged with a Hebrew class. They were reading in the Song of Solomon. The exhibition did not strike me as much superior to what we used to have at Rotherham College ten or twelve years ago. In point of domestic _comfort_, the latter is incomparably before Lane Seminary, and in literary advantages not far behind. Professor Stowe kindly drove me back to Cincinnati in his buggy, or waggon, or phaeton.

Lane Seminary is an institution devoted entirely to theological education, in connection with the New-School Presbyterians. The building, including chapel and library, cost about 50,000 dollars, or 10,000_l._, and must have been very cheap at that. In 1828-30, Ebenezer Lane, Esq., and his brother Andrew Lane, Esq., made a donation of 4,000 dollars for the purpose of establishing the seminary, whereupon it was incorporated under the name of “Lane Seminary,” and trustees were appointed. To these trustees the Rev. Mr. Kemper and his sons made over, for the benefit of the institution, 60 acres of land, including the site on which the buildings stand. In 1832 Arthur Tappan, Esq., of New York, subscribed 20,000 dollars for the Professorship of Theology. In the same year 15,000 dollars were raised for the Professorship of Ecclesiastical History; the largest contributor to which was Ambrose White, Esq., of Philadelphia: and an equal sum was contributed for the Professorship of Biblical Literature,–Stephen Van Rennselaer, Esq., of Albany, being the chief contributor. In 1835, a fund of 20,000 dollars was raised for the Professorship of Sacred Rhetoric, of which a large portion was given by John Tappan, Esq., of Boston. A literary department was organized in 1829, which was discontinued in 1834; at which period the institution, in its full operation as a Theological Seminary, may be said to have commenced. Since then it has sent forth about 250 ministers!

Candidates for admission must produce satisfactory testimonials, that they are members, in good standing, of some Christian Church; that they possess competent talents; and that they have regularly graduated at some college or university, or have pursued a course of study equivalent to the common college course.

The course of study occupies three years; and every student is expected to enter with the intention of completing the full course. So far as practicable, the different branches are pursued simultaneously. Thus the department of Biblical Literature, during the first year, occupies three days in the week; during the second, two; and during the third, one: Church History, one day in the week: Sacred Rhetoric and Pastoral Theology, one day in the week during the first year, two the second, and three the third. The object of this arrangement is to afford a pleasant variety in study, and to keep up a proper interest in all the departments through the whole course. “Hitherto,” it is stated, “the plan has been pursued with results highly satisfactory to the Faculty.” Theological students may be glad to learn the following particulars of the whole course.

I. BIBLICAL LITERATURE.–This department embraces–1. Biblical Geography and Antiquities. 2. Principles of Biblical Interpretation. 3. General Introduction to the Old and New Testaments, and Particular Introduction to the Pentateuch, Gospels, and Acts. 4. Interpretation of the Gospels in Harmony and of the Acts. 5. Interpretation of the Historical Writings of Moses. 6. Particular Introduction to the several Books of the Old and New Testaments. 7. Hebrew Poetry, including Figurative and Symbolical Language of Scripture. 8. Interpretation of Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes. 9. Epistles to Romans, Corinthians, Timothy, and I Peter. 10. Nature and Fulfilment of Prophecy, particularly in reference to the Messiah. 11. Interpretation of Isaiah, Zechariah, and Nahum. 12. The Revelation, in connection with Daniel.

II. CHURCH HISTORY AND POLITY.–In this department a regular course of lectures is given on the History of Doctrines to all the classes, and on Church Polity to the senior classes.

III. SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY.–In this department are included–1. Cause and Effect. 2. Mental Philosophy. 3. Atheism, its History and Hypothesis, Arguments, Objections, and Folly. 4. The Being, Character, and Attributes of God. 5. Reason, Light of Nature, Necessity of Revelation. 6. The Truth and Inspiration of the Bible. 7. Doctrine of Revelation.

IV. SACRED RHETORIC AND PASTORAL THEOLOGY. _First Year_.–Lectures on Rhetoric and Elocution. Exercises in Reading and Elocution. _Second Year_.–Written Discussions, with Public Criticism in the class. _Third Year_.–Exercises in criticising Skeletons continued. Public and Private Criticism of Sermons. Lectures on Preaching and on Pastoral Duties.

The annual term of study begins on the second Wednesday in September, and closes on the second Wednesday in June, which is the Anniversary. The term closes with a public examination.

Dr. Andrew Reed, who visited Lane Seminary in 1834, refers to it as a _model_ manual-labour institution. With the advancement of society