Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

An Englishman's Travels in America by John Benwell

Part 1 out of 3

Adobe PDF icon
Download An Englishman's Travels in America pdf
File size: 0.3 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

Produced by Dave Morgan and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team


His Observations Of Life and Manners in the Free and Slave States.




Personal narrative and adventure has, of late years, become so
interesting a subject in the mind of the British public, that the author
feels he is not called upon to apologize for the production of the
following pages.

It was his almost unremitting practice, during the four years he resided
on the North American continent, to keep a record of what he considered
of interest around him; not with a view to publishing the matter thus
collected, for this was far from his thoughts at the time, but through a
long contracted habit of dotting down transpiring events, for the
future amusement, combined, perhaps, with instruction, of himself and
friends. It therefore became necessary, to fit it for publication, to
collate the accumulated memoranda, and select such portions only as
might be supposed to prove interesting to the general reader. In doing
this he has been careful to preserve the phraseology as much as
possible, with a view to give, as far as he could, something like a
literal transcript of the sentiments that gave rise to the original
minutes, and avoid undue addition or interpolation.

It was the wish and intention of the writer, before leaving England, to
extend his travels by visiting some of the islands in the Caribbean Sea,
a course which he regrets not having been able to follow, from
unforeseen circumstances, which are partially related in the following
pages. He laments this the more, as it would have added considerably to
the interest of the work, and enabled him to enlarge upon that fertile
subject, the relative position at the time of the negro race in those
islands, and the demoralized condition of their fellow-countrymen, under
the iniquitous system of slavery, as authorized by statute law, in the
southern states of America. As it was, he was enabled to travel through
the most populous parts of the states of New York and Ohio, proceeding,
_via_ Cincinnati, to the Missouri country; after a brief stay at St.
Louis, taking the direct southern route down the Missouri and
Mississippi rivers, to New Orleans in Louisiana, passing Natchez on the
way. The whole tour comprising upwards of three thousand miles.

From New Orleans he crossed an arm of the Gulf of Mexico to the
Floridas, and after remaining in that territory for a considerable time,
and taking part under a sense of duty in a campaign (more to scatter
than annihilate), against the Seminole and Cherokee tribes of Indians,
who, in conjunction with numberless fugitive slaves, from the districts
a hundred miles round, were devastating the settlements, and
indiscriminately butchering the inhabitants, he returned to Tallahassee,
taking stage at that town to Macon in the state of Georgia, and from
thence by the Greensborough Railway to Charleston in South Carolina,
sailing after rather a prolonged stay, from that port to England.

Some of the incidents related in the following pages will be found to
bear upon, and tend forcibly to corroborate, the miseries so patiently
endured by the African race, in a vaunted land of freedom and
enlightenment, whose inhabitants assert, with ridiculous tenacity, that
their government and laws are based upon the principle, "That all men in
the sight of God are equal," and the wrongs of whose victims have of
late been so touchingly and truthfully illustrated by that eminent
philanthropist, Mrs. Stowe, to the eternal shame of the upholders of the
system, and the fearful incubus of guilt and culpability that will
render for ever infamous, if the policy is persisted in, the nationality
of America.

Well may the benevolent Doctor Percival in his day have said, when
writing on the iniquitous system of slave holding and traffic, that
"Life and liberty with the powers of enjoyment dependent on them are the
common and inalienable gifts of bounteous heaven. To seize them by force
is rapine; to exchange for them the wares of Manchester or Birminghan is
improbity, for it is to barter without reciprocal gain, to give the
stones of the brook for the gold of Ophir."



"Adieu, adieu! my native shore
Fades o'er the waters blue,
The night-winds sigh, the breakers roar,
And shrieks the wild sea-mew.
Yon sun that sets upon the sea
We follow in his flight;
Farewell awhile to him and thee,
My native Land--Good night!"--BYRON.

Late in the fall of the year 18--, I embarked on board the ship _Cosmo_,
bound from the port of Bristol to that of New York. The season was
unpropitious, the lingering effects of the autumnal equinox rendering it
more than probable that the passage would be tempestuous. The result
soon proved the correctness of this surmise, for soon after the vessel
departed from Kingroad, and before she got clear of the English coast,
we experienced boisterous weather, which was followed by a succession
of gales, that rendered our situation perilous. But a partial
destruction of the rigging, the loss of some sheep on the deck of the
vessel, and a slight indication of leakage, which was soon remedied by
the carpenter of the ship and his assistants, were happily the only
detrimental consequences arising from the weather.

Our progress on the whole was satisfactory, although, when we arrived
between 48 and 52 degrees north latitude, we narrowly escaped coming in
contact with an enormous iceberg, two of which were descried at daybreak
by the "look-out," floundering majestically a little on the ship's
larboard quarter, not far distant, the alarm being raised by an uproar
on deck that filled my mind with dire apprehension, the lee bulwarks of
the vessel were in five minutes thronged with half-naked passengers, who
had been roused unexpectedly from their slumbers, staring in terror at
the frigid masses which we momentarily feared would overwhelm the ship.
The helm being put up, we were soon out of the threatened danger of a
collision, which would have consigned us to a grave in the wide wide
waters, without the remotest chance of escape. This consideration was,
to all on board, a matter of deep thankfulness to the mighty Author of
such stupendous wonders, who had so miraculously preserved our lives.
Had the adventure occurred in the night, our destruction must have been
inevitable, as the ship was sailing under heavy canvas, within a single
point of the wake of one of the icebergs, which was drifting before a
stiff breeze.

Although this encounter proved harmless, we shortly after had another to
dread of a fearful nature. The number of fishing-boats off the coast of
Newfoundland, makes the navigation perilous at almost any time to
vessels approaching too near the banks, and after night-fall, the vessel
going at the rate of ten knots an hour with a smacking breeze, we passed
many of these at anchor, or rather, I suppose, riding on the waves; they
displayed lights, or serious consequences might have ensued. Some of the
skiffs were so near to us, that as I leaned over the ship's
quarter-rail, dreading, and every moment expecting, that we should run
one down, I could distinctly hear the crews hailing us to shorten sail
and keep off. By adopting this course our vessel cleared the danger, and
after slightly touching the banks, which caused the vessel to heel, and
created a momentary panic on board amongst the passengers, she was
steered more out to sea, and by the following morning nothing was to be
seen but a boundless waste of waters, extending as far as the eye could

After these temporary alarms, with the exception of baffling winds,
which impeded the progress of the ship, and lengthened the duration of
our confinement ten days or a fortnight, our voyage was prosperous,
little occurring to break the monotony of confinement on ship-board that
is experienced in sea-passages in general; the only excitement being a
fracas between the captain and cook, owing to complaints made by the
middle-cabin and steerage passengers, which nearly ended fatally to the
former, who would have been stabbed to a certainty, but for a by-stander
wresting the knife from the hand of the enraged subordinate, who had
been supplied too liberally with spirits by the passengers; a
predominating evil on board all emigrant ships, from the drawback of
duty allowed on spirits shipped as stores, and which are retailed on the
voyage to the passengers. The culprit was confined below during the
remainder of the voyage, and when we arrived at New York presented a
pitiable sight, having been rigidly debarred by the captain's orders of
many of the commonest necessaries, I believe, the whole time. Here he
was released and discharged from the ship, glad enough to escape further
punishment, "prosecution" having been, since the occurrence, held _in
terrorem_ over him.

It was late in the afternoon of an intensely cold day, which caused the
spray to congeal as it dashed against the bulwarks and cordage of the
vessel, that we descried with great pleasure looming indistinctly in the
distance, the shores of Sandy Hook, a desolate-looking island, near the
coast of New Jersey, about seven miles south of Long Island Sound. This
the captain informed me was formerly a peninsula, but the isthmus was
broken through by the sea in 1767, the year after the declaration of
American independence, an occurrence which was at the time deemed
ominous of the severance of the colonies from the mother country, and
which proved in reality to be the precursor of that event.

The sight of _terra firma_, though at a distance and but gloomy in
aspect, put all on board in buoyant spirits; but these were but
transitory, our enthusiasm being soon damped by a dense fog, resembling
those the Londoners are so accustomed to see in the winter, and which in
an incredibly short space of time, in this instance, obscured everything
around. Our proximity to the shore rendered the circumstance hazardous
to us, and it appeared necessary that the vessel's head should be again
put seaward; but this the captain was evidently anxious to avoid, as it
involved the risk of protracting the voyage. A general rummage for
ammunition was therefore ordered, and a supply of this necessary having
been obtained, the ship's carronade was after considerable delay put in
order, and minute guns were fired. After discharging some thirty rounds
or more, we were relieved from the state of anxiety we were in by a
pilot hailing the ship, and in a minute after he was on deck issuing
orders with great pertinacity.

It is impossible for any one unaccustomed to sea voyages to form a just
conception of the relief afforded by the presence of that important
functionary, a pilot. Perhaps a captain's greatest anxiety is, when his
vessel, having braved a thousand perils on the deep, is about to enter
on the termination of its voyage. On the broad expanse of ocean, or, in
nautical phrase, with plenty of sea-room, if his bark is in good
condition, he fears little or nothing, but when his vessel approaches
its goal, visions of disaster arise before him, and he becomes anxious,
thoughtful, and taciturn.

The pilot informed us that he had kept our vessel in chase for a
considerable time, and had burnt a number of newspapers on the deck of
his cutter to attract attention, but all his efforts proved unavailing,
when just as he was about to abandon the pursuit, he descried and hailed
the ship. This being the first specimen of an American whom many of the
passengers had seen in his native climate, their curiosity was aroused,
and they crowded round him, regarding every word and movement with the
greatest attention and interest. The pilot was evidently displeased with
being made "a lion" of, and gave vent to his feelings rather freely,
while there was a curl of hauteur on his lip, that indicated a species
of contempt for the company he was in. This disposition did not convey a
very favourable idea of his countrymen, and was, to say the least of it,
an ill-judged display before strangers; coming, however, as it did, from
an illiterate man, belonging, as I knew from previous inquiry, to rather
an exceptional class of individuals in America, I did not suffer my mind
to be biassed, although I could see that many of the passengers were not
disposed to view the matter in the same light. He was a brusque and
uncouth man, of swaggering gait, about forty years of age, above the
middle stature, and soon let the captain and crew know, by his
authoritative manner and volubility of tongue, that he was chief in
command on the occasion. No one seemed, however, to dispute this, for
the passengers looked on him as a sort of divinity sent to their rescue;
the ship's hands were implicitly obedient, and the captain very soon
after his arrival retired into the cabin, glad to be relieved from a
heavy responsibility.

The following morning, the haze having cleared off, we could again see
the Jersey shore. The sea in every direction was now darkened with
millions of black gulls, wild ducks, and other aquatic birds; we shot
many of these from the ship's deck, but were, much to our mortification,
obliged to see them drift away, the pilot, seconded by our austere
captain, strenuously objecting to a boat being lowered; this was very
discouraging, as such a change in our diet would, after a rather
prolonged voyage, have been acceptable.

A favourable breeze soon carried our good ship to the quarantine ground,
where we dropped anchor, in no little anxiety lest we should be
detained. The medical officers from the college, or rather sanatory
establishment, on shore, almost immediately came on board. All hands
were mustered on deck, and ranged like soldiers on parade ground by
these important functionaries, who, I may remark by the way, appeared
like our pilot to be possessed of considerable notions of power and
authority. After taking a rather cursory inspection they left the
vessel, and we, to our great joy (a case of small pox having occurred
during the passage), were allowed to proceed towards New York, which we
did under easy sail, the breeze rendering a steam-tug unnecessary.

The scenery as we passed up the river was calculated to give a good
impression of the country, the zest being, however, without doubt,
greatly heightened by the monotonous dreariness of a tempestuous voyage.
The highlands and valleys, as we sailed up, had a verdant woody
appearance, and were interspersed with rural and chateau scenery; herds
of cattle remarkable for length of horn, and snow-white sheep, were
grazing placidly in the lowlands. The country, as far as I could judge,
seemed in a high state of culture, and the farms, to use an expression
of the celebrated Washington Irving's, when describing, I think, a
farm-yard view in England, appeared "redolent of pigs, poultry, and
sundry other good things appertaining to rural life."

On arriving at the approach to the entrance or mouth of the river
Hudson, which is formed by an arm of the estuary, we turned the
promontory, leaving Jersey on the left, the battery as we entered the
harbour being in the foreground. The guns-bristled from this fortress
with menacing aspect, and the sentinels, in light blue uniforms and
Kosciusko caps, silently paced the ramparts with automatic regularity.
This fortification, though formidable in appearance, and certainly in a
commanding position, I was subsequently informed is little more than a
mimic fort; this arises from the want of attention paid to defences of
the kind in America, the little existing chance of invasion, perhaps,
causing the indifference to the subject. If, however, the spirit of
aggressive conquest shown by the federal government, of late years, of
which the invasion of Mexico is a fair specimen, should continue to
develop itself, it is not difficult to foresee that it will be necessary
policy to pay greater attention to the subject, and to keep in a more
effective state the seaboard defences of the country, as well as their
army, which is at present miserably deficient. This has heretofore been
so far neglected, as regards the marine, that not long before I arrived
the commander of a French ship of war was much chagrined, on firing a
salute as he passed the battery at New York, to find that his courtesy
was not returned in the customary way. He complained of the omission as
either a mark of disrespect to himself, or an insult to his nation, when
it came out in explanation that the garrison was in such a defective
state that there were not the appliances at hand to observe this
national etiquette.

The city of New York is built almost close to the water's edge, with a
broad levee or wharf running round a great portion of it. Its general
appearance gives to a stranger an impression of its extent and
importance. It has been aptly and accurately described as a dense pack
of buildings, comprising every imaginable variety, and of all known
orders of modernized architecture. The tide flows close up to the
wharves which run outside of the city, and differs so little in height
at ebb or flow, that vessels of the largest class ride, I believe, at
all times as safely as in the West India docks in London, or the
imperial docks of Liverpool. Here was assembled an incalculable number
of vessels of all sizes and all nations, forming a beautiful and
picturesque view of commercial enterprise and grandeur, perhaps outvying
every other port in the world, not excepting Liverpool itself.

As our vessel could not at once be accommodated with a berth, owing to
the crowded state of the harbour, she was moored in the middle of the
stream, and being anxious to go on shore, I availed myself of the
captain's offer to take me to the landing-place in his gig. We went on
shore in an alcove, at the foot of Wall-street, and I experienced the
most delightful sensation on once more setting foot on _terra firma_,
after our dreary voyage. The day, notwithstanding it was now October,
was intensely hot (although a severe frost for two or three days before
gave indications of approaching winter), and the streets being
unmacadamized, had that arid look we read of in accounts of the plains
of Arabia, the dust being quite deep, and exceeding in quantity anything
of the kind I had ever seen in European cities: clouds of it
impregnated the air, and rendered respiration and sight difficult.

Hundreds of rudely-constructed drays were passing to and fro, heavily
laden with merchandize, many of them drawn by mules, and the remainder
by very light horses of Arabian build; the heavy English dray horse was
nowhere to be seen, the breed as I afterwards learned not being
cultivated, from a dislike to its ponderousness.

The lower part of Wall-street presented a busy mart-like appearance,
every description of goods being piled heterogeneously before the
warehouse-doors of their respective owners in the open thoroughfare,
which is at this part very wide. Auctioneers were here busily engaged in
the disposal of their merchandise, which comprised every variety of
produce and manufacture, home and foreign, from a yard of
linsey-woolsey, "hum spun" as they termed it, to a bale of Manchester
long cloth, or their own Sea-Island cotton. The auctioneer in America is
a curious specimen of the biped creation. He is usually a swaggering,
consequential sort of fellow, and drives away at his calling with
wondrous impudence and pertinacity, dispensing, all the while he is
selling, the most fulsome flattery or the grossest abuse on those who
stand around. One of these loquacious animals was holding forth to a
crowd, just below the _Courier and Inquirer_ newspaper office, where
the street widens, as a preliminary introduction to the sale of a
quantity of linen goods that had been damaged at a recent fire in the
neighbourhood. I could not help admiring the man's tact. Fixing his eyes
on an individual in a white dress, with an enormous Leghorn hat on his
head, who was apparently eagerly listening, while smoking a cigar, to
the harangue, he suddenly exclaimed, "There now is Senator Huff, from
the State of Missouri, he heerd of this vendue a thousand mile up river,
and wall knows I'm about to offer somethin woth having; look at him, he
could buy up the fust five hunderd folks hed cum across anywhar in this
city, and what's more, he's a true patriot, made o' the right kinder
stuff, I guess."

He followed up the eulogium at great length, and after liberally
dispensing "soft soap" on the listeners, declared the auction had
commenced. I stood by for some minutes, gazing around and watching the
operations, and was not long in discovering that Senator Huff kept
running up the articles by pretended bids, and was evidently in league
with him, in fact a confederate. This auctioneer was the very emblem of
buffoonery and blackguardism; the rapidity with which he repeated the
sums, supposed by the bystanders to be bid, the curt yet extravagant
praise bestowed on his wares, and his insulting and unsparing remarks if
a comment were made on the goods he offered, or if the company did not
respond in bidding, stamped him as one of the baser sort of vulgarians.

Sales of this description were going on in every direction, and the
street rang with the stentorian voices of the sellers. Many of these
were mock auctions, as an observer of any intelligence would detect, and
as I ascertained beyond doubt almost directly after leaving this man's
stand; for, stepping into an open store close at hand, of which there
are ranges on either side of the street, a sale of jewellery and watches
was going on. A case of jewellery, containing, among other things, a
gold watch and chain, apparently of exquisite workmanship, was put up
just as I entered, and was started at six cents per article. Bid after
bid succeeded, until, at last, the lot was knocked down to a southern
gentleman present at fifty cents per item. On making the purchase, he
naturally wished to know how many articles the box contained. This
information, on the plea that it would delay the sale, was withheld. The
auctioneer, however, insisted on the payment of a deposit of fifty
dollars, in compliance with the published conditions of the sale, which
sum, after a demur on the part of the purchaser, was paid. I could see,
however, that he was now sensible he had been duped, and I afterwards
learnt that some forty or fifty articles, of almost every fancy
description, many of them worthless, such as pins, knives, tweezers, and
a variety of other knick-knacks, were artfully concealed from view, by
means of a false bottom to the case; this being lifted up revealed the
truth. The man was greatly enraged on finding he had been cheated, but
was treated with the most audacious coolness, and after some altercation
left the store, as he said, to seek redress elsewhere, but I have no
doubt he went off with the intention of losing his deposit.

This occurrence put me on my guard, and made me very wary of buying
articles at such auctions during my stay in New York, although the
apparent beauty and cheapness of many of the articles I saw offered,
especially of French manufacture, were sufficient to decoy the most
wary, and I did not wonder at people being victimized at such places.
Emigrants are the chief sufferers, I was told, by such transactions,
from their want of caution, and ignorance of the arts of the
accomplished deceivers who conduct them.

Proceeding up Wall-street in the direction of Broadway, I reached that
portion of it frequented by stock and real-estate brokers. Here crowds
of gentlemanly-looking men, dressed mostly in black, and of busy mien,
crowded the thoroughfare with scrip in hand. Each appeared intensely
absorbed in business, and as I gazed on the assemblage, I could
discover unmistakable symptoms of great excitement and mental anxiety,
the proportion of rueful countenances being much greater than is usually
seen in similar places of resort in England; a sudden depression in the
market at the time might, however, account for much of this, although it
is well known that brokers and speculators on the American continent
engage in the pursuit with the avidity of professed gamblers.

Hundreds of Negroes were hurrying to and fro through the streets, these
were chiefly labourers, decently dressed, and employed either as draymen
or porters. They looked happier than labourers in England; and, being
bathed in a profuse perspiration from the heat of the weather, their
faces shone almost like black satin or patent leather.

After a few days' rest at my boarding-house, to which I was recommended
by a touter, and which was in Canal-street, and was kept by a "cute"
Down-easter, or native of the New England States, with whom I engaged
for bed and board for eight dollars per week, I sallied forth to make my
intended observations, preparatory to leaving for the west. Everything
wore a novel aspect. The number of foreigners seen in the thoroughfares,
the tawdry flimsily-built carriages, which strangely contrast with the
more substantial ones seen in England, and the dresses of the people,
all seemed strange to me. The habiliments of one or two in particular
rivetted my attention. The first was a Kentuckian, who was dressed in a
suit of grey home-spun cloth, and wore on his head a fantastical cap,
formed of a racoon-skin, beautifully striped, the ears projecting just
above his forehead on each side, while the forefeet of the animal,
decorated with red cloth, formed the ear-laps, and the tail depended
over his back like a quieu, producing a ludicrous effect. His appearance
as he passed along attracted little notice, such vagaries being common
in America. My attention was also arrested by a person who was arrayed
in a hunting suit of buck-skin, curiously wrought with strips of dyed
porcupine-quill, and who wore an otter-skin cap and Indian moccasins.
There, is, however, little novelty in this costume, which I frequently
saw afterwards. Caps of the description I have mentioned are commonly
worn in the interior. I subsequently donned one myself, and found it an
admirable adjunct to easy travelling.

During my stay at New York, I found the heat almost overpowering, the
Indian summer (as the period between autumn and winter is there termed)
having set in. An umbrella was quite a necessary appendage at times, to
avoid its effects, which are often fatal to Europeans at the time of the
summer solstice.

In perambulating the city of New York, its appearance is prepossessing
to a visitor; the streets are well laid out, and are wide and regular,
the houses being for the most part of the better class. The white or red
paint (the latter predominates), and the green and white jalousie,
venetian, and siesta blinds, giving a picturesqueness to the scene.
Handsome mats lie outside the doors of many of the better description of

Broadway is the principal place of attraction in New York, but it has so
often been described by visitors, that it is a work of supererogation to
comment much upon it here; as, however, every tourist can see and
describe differently the same objects, I must not pass it in silence,
especially as it ranks in the view of the New Yorkers, something as
Bond-street and Regent-street do in the metropolis of England. It is,
however, far inferior to these; it is not one, but a continuous line of
streets, and, including Canal-street, extends about three miles in
length. The Haarlem Railway comes down a considerable portion of the
upper part, the rails being laid in the centre of the street The lower
end of Broadway merges into the Battery Park, which is situated at the
water's edge. In Broadway are to be seen magnificent hotels, theatres,
magazines-de-mode, and all the etceteras of a fashionable mart, not
omitting to mention crowds of elegantly dressed ladies and exquisitely
attired gentlemen, including many of colour; the latter appearing in the
extreme of the fashion, with a redundancy of jewellery which,
contrasting with their sable colour, produces to the eye of a stranger
an unseemly effect. The shops and stores are fitted up in the Parisian
style, appear well attended by customers, and are crowded with the
choicest description of goods.

Astor's Hotel, built by the so-called millionaire of that name, is a
large but rather heavy-looking pile of building, and forms a conspicuous
object in the park. Here many of the elite from the provinces sojourn on
visiting the city. The accommodations are stated to be of the first
order, and, from a cursory inspection, I should imagine this to be true,
the only drawback being the enormous prices charged, exceeding, I was
told, the ordinary run of first-class houses of that description.
Noticing from the opposite side of the street that the entrance was much
crowded, curiosity led me to cross over and ascend the steps and listen
to what was going on, supposing it some political demonstration; in
this, however, I was mistaken, for I found that the cause of the
commotion was the recent arrival and presence of the celebrated
statesman and lawyer, Daniel Webster, _en route_ to Washington, whither
he was called by Congressional duties. I pressed forward to shake hands
with this great expounder of American laws, as he is called by the
citizens, who seemed, by the way, on the occasion I refer to, to regard
him as a sort of divinity. I could not, however, succeed in getting near
enough to accomplish my object, although I strove hard for it. It was
quite amusing to see the anxiety shown by some of those present to
effect the same purpose. The senator kept shaking hands with all around,
repeating over and over again, "Glad to see you, citizens, glad to see
you." Amongst others, a gentlemanly-dressed negro with a gold-headed
cane pressed forward and held out his hand. There was, however, no
chance for him in the throng, for he was rudely pushed back, and I heard
several angry exclamations of disapprobation from the crowd, at the
liberty he had taken, one individual in particular crying out, "Kick
that nigger off, what has he to do here." These exclamations caught the
ear of the negro gentleman, and he shrunk back in an instant, as if
electrified. Mr. Webster was a yeoman-like looking person, of rather a
muscular-build, and at one time of life was, no doubt, as I have heard,
possessed of great physical powers; he had a heavy and rather downcast
turn of features, which were not improved by a pair of enormous black
eyebrows; there was, however, an expression in his physiognomy that
indicated deep thought, and a degree of intelligence above the
mediocrity. In addition to this, there was also a pleasing urbanity in
his manner that was certainly contrary to what might have been expected
from his personal appearance and known burly character in business. He
gradually retreated up the steps towards the interior of the hotel, the
excessive attentions paid by the crowd appearing troublesome to him. He
was closely followed, however, by his admirers, whose boisterous
behaviour savoured much more of enthusiasm than deference or politeness.
I had heard that the Americans profess never to do things by halves, and
so set this instance down as a proof of their propensity to "go the
whole hog," as they are wont to term their extremes and eccentricities.

The Town-hall, situate at the base of the Park, which is a triangular
piece of land, well laid out and neatly kept, is a light edifice of some
taste and architectural merit, its chief attraction being the white
marble of which it is constructed, and which is brought from the
quarries at Sing-Sing, some miles up the river Hudson. The effect,
however, is not good; its exposure to the elements having given it a
blurred or chalky appearance. It is surmounted by a small but elevated
cupola, constructed of wood, which some time ago, I was informed by a
citizen, caught fire at a pyrotechnic exhibition, and endangered the
whole edifice, since which, displays of fire-works have been prohibited
in the Park by the civic authorities. At the entrance there is a
spacious vestibule, but this, as well as the interior, though elegant in
its simplicity of style, is meagre of ornament. Proceeding to the
interior, I reached the criminal court, where a squalid-looking prisoner
was undergoing trial for murder. The judges and officers of the court
were almost entirely without insignia of office, and the counsel
employed, I thought, evinced much tact in their proceedings, especially
in the cross-examination of witnesses, although they manifested great
acerbity of feeling towards each other, and their acrimonious remarks
would not, I imagine, have been allowed to pass without remonstrance in
an English court of justice. I was told by a by-stander, with whom I
entered into conversation, that if found guilty, the prisoner would be
conducted to an underground apartment used for the purpose, and
privately executed, the law of the State of New York, from motives that
ought to be appreciated in England, prohibiting public executions. It is
also customary there to allow criminals more time than in England, to
prepare for the awful change they are doomed to undergo.

I was informed by a friend that there are some very astute lawyers in
America, and I subsequently had opportunities to test the accuracy of
the remark. Their code, however, differs materially from the English,
although professing to be based upon its principles; and has the
preeminent advantage of being pretty free from the intricacies and
incongruities that so often tend to defeat justice in the
mother-country, and render proceedings at law so expensive and
perplexing. The slave laws (called the "_codenoir_"), adapted for the
Southern States, must, however, be excepted, for it is notorious, that
to subserve the ends of interested parties, they have been framed so as
to present what may with propriety be termed a concatenation of
entanglement and injustice to the slave subjects; the very wording of
many of these enactments, carrying unmistakable evidence of their being
concocted for the almost sole protection of the slave-owners.

Adjoining the Town-hall, or separated only by an avenue, is a heavy,
monastic-looking building, used as a bridewell, and called the City
Penitentiary. Having remained a considerable time in the hall where the
trial was going on, the agonized state of the prisoner and sickening
details of the murder caused a disinclination for the present to
continue my perambulations, so I stepped into the Cafe de
l'Independence, in Broadway, and called for a port-wine sangaree,
endeavouring, while I sipped it, smoked a cigar, and read the _Courier
and Inquirer_, to forget the scene I had just witnessed. Leaving soon
after, I pursued my way down Broadway, passing Peel's Museum and the
Astor House, to the Battery Marine Promenade. This is a delightful spot,
the finest in point of situation (although not in extent) of the kind I
ever saw, the Esplanade at Charleston in South Carolina, of which I
shall have by-and-by to speak more particularly, being excepted.

Ladies and gentlemen were promenading up and down, under the umbrageous
foliage of the lofty trees which skirt the Battery Park, and which were
as yet unscathed by the recent frosts, forming a delightful retreat from
the scorching rays of an American sun. The sea view from this point,
with the adjacent scenery, is interesting and attractive; the broad
expanse of ocean in the distance, the highlands looming in the
perspective, the numerous aquatic birds skimming the surface of the
estuary, and the picturesque fort and woody shores of New Jersey, all
tending to diversify the scene and add to its natural beauty. I
afterwards visited this place over and over again, and every succeeding
visit added to my admiration and enhanced its attractions. To the left
lies, in panoramic grandeur, the harbour, literally teeming with ships
of all sizes and all nations; while, on the right, the entrance of the
majestic Hudson or north river, with crowds of magnificent steamers,
traders to Troy, Albany, and the West, forms a prominent feature in that
direction. The passing and repassing of steamers and other vessels of
home-traffic, and the more exciting arrival of ships from foreign parts,
give a zest to the scene which must be witnessed to be fully

A day or two after, having obtained, through a friend, leave of
admission, I crossed over to Brooklyn, and visited the Navy-yard. The
docks of this establishment contained, at this time, many specimens of
American naval architecture of choice description; amongst the rest, a
frigate and several other ships of war lying in ordinary. Everything
appeared to indicate good management and efficiency, as far as a
landsman could judge. This was very discernible on board the vessels we
were allowed to inspect, where the utmost order and cleanliness
prevailed. The officers, I thought, seemed to exact great deference from
the men, and their martinet bearing ill accorded with a republican
service, being decidedly more marked than on board British ships of war
which I had visited at Deptford, Chatham, and elsewhere in England.
Probably a stricter discipline may be found necessary, on account of the
equality that exists in America, which might operate to render those
under command more difficult of control, if such independence were
allowed to be manifested.

I found that the army and navy, in America, are chiefly manned by
English, Dutch and Irish, not a few Poles being in the ranks of the
former: these are impelled, through lack of employment, and the
additional inducement of a tolerably liberal pay, to join the service.
The Americans themselves are too sensible of the inconveniences
attending public services, as well as too acute, to follow such
occupations in time of peace, though when danger has threatened, they
have always shown themselves at the instant service of the State, and as
citizen soldiers are not, perhaps, to be equalled in any other country.

From the Navy-yard I proceeded to Hoboken; this is a place of great
resort in fine weather, and is situate nearly opposite the city of New
York, or rather the eastern part of it. Here I found assembled a large
company of pleasure-seekers in holiday attire, some lounging under the
trees, others in groups at pic-nic, and not a small proportion of the
gentlemen regaling themselves at the refreshment stalls or temporary
cafes, erected on the grounds, on mint juleps and iced sangarees. The
grounds are interspersed with park, woodland, and forest scenery, and
are kept in admirable order, the managers studying to maintain the
appearance of original nature, and to impress on the mind of the
visitor, that he is ruralizing, far from city life, amongst primeval
forest shades; the contiguous scenery is not, however, calculated to
carry out the idea. It is quite the custom for American husbands to
leave their families for the day, and enjoy relaxation in their own way,
a practice that I apprehend would not be sanctioned by our English
ladies, any more than it would be resorted to by English gentlemen, from
motives of kindly and very proper feeling. Here, in a retired spot, is
the duelling ground, which has attained no little notoriety in that
latitude, as the spot where many a knotty point has been quietly solved
by the aid of a pair of pistols or Colt's rifles; although, for the
credit of the citizens of New York and its neighbourhood, it must be
recorded that they are not so ready to fly to this disgraceful
alternative as their ensanguined brethren in the Southern or Slave

My stay in New York being limited by previous arrangements, I was
anxious to get back to the city, although a day might well be taken up
in ruralizing, and exploring the Arcadian beauties of Hoboken, the
favourite resort of the citizens of New York. So, after a pretty general
though cursory survey of its attractions, I recrossed, as I had come, in
a ferry propelled by steam. The construction of this boat, a whole fleet
of which description were busily plying to and fro, being unique, and
unlike any I had seen before, I must not pass it over without remark. In
principle it consisted of two barge-like vessels placed side by side, a
platform being laid on the top, for the engine, passengers, and
steersman; the latter, as in all American steam-vessels, of whatever
size, being perched in an elevated round-house on deck. The stem and
stern of this vessel were alike, the necessity of turning being thus
altogether obviated, as in some of the steam-boats on the Thames.

A practice prevails amongst newspaper publishers in America, which is, I
believe, only resorted to in England in cases of public emergency or
unusual excitement, and that but seldom; I mean that of posting on large
placards the latest arrival of news, home or foreign: thus, whenever you
return home after a sojourn in the city, the eager inquiry is sure to
be, "Any news up town?" This custom keeps up a lively interest in
passing events, and disseminates amongst the citizens at large, the
current news of the day, and if it has no other beneficial effects,
prevents rumours, that commonly circulate in times of public excitement
to the detriment often of many individuals in crowded communities. I
noticed the walls of New York thickly posted with placards chiefly of an
inflammatory political character. Many of these breathed agrarian
principles, that would in Europe have been inadmissible, and would,
without doubt, have led to the immediate arrest and imprisonment of the
authors. Here, however, they are but little noticed by the populace, and
not at all, I believe, by the authorities. Cheap newspapers are pushed
into the face of the passer-by, at the corner of every principal
thoroughfare, the prices varying from two to six cents. These, as may be
supposed, contain, together with the current news, every description of
scandal and trash imaginable, their personality being highly offensive,
injurious, and reprehensible. Thus the freedom of the press is abused in
every part of America, and this powerful engine of "good or ill"
converted from a benefit (as it is if managed with propriety) into a
public nuisance.

One peculiarity, exceedingly annoying to an Englishman, which is
observable even in good society in New York and elsewhere in America, is
a prying curiosity as to the affairs of those with whom they converse.
Their habits at table also often fill one with disgust, and the want of
good-breeding I witnessed on more than one occasion would have been
resented in England. This is the more remarkable, as the Americans
entertain high notions of refinement, and yet, paradoxical as it may
appear, seem to glory in their contempt of good manners. I do not,
however, include the ladies in this remark; on the contrary, I must
unequivocally assert, that I always observed in them, not only in New
York, but in every other part of the North American continent which I
visited, the greatest disposition to cover the misdoings of the opposite
sex, and a great degree of cultivation and politeness; although they are
perfectly freezing in their manners before formal introduction, I do not
doubt that there are many among them of great refinement and powers of
intellect, their personal appearance being also consonant with their
known amiability.

The bustle and drive in the trading quarters of the city is very great.
The merchants and their assistants have a hurried manner of doing
business, discernible in a moment to a stranger, which is much to be
deprecated, and too often leads, as I afterwards found, to disastrous
results. Business with these men is in general quite a "go-a-head" sort
of affair, and not being accompanied with method, in many cases leads to
an embarrassed state of circumstances. Thus it frequently happens, that
on investigation, the assets of a merchant who has stopped payment and
is a supposed bankrupt, realize more than enough to pay the creditors,
and the party finds to his agreeable surprise, that his position is not
so bad after all.

The churches and other places of public worship in New York have a
temporary appearance, the steeples of the former being, when I visited
the city, chiefly of painted-wood. This, I believe, is partly the reason
why bells are not used, although a friend in whose presence I noticed
this, stated that contempt for so English a custom had much to do with
their disuse. If so, the prejudice is not confined to New York alone,
for I was not cheered by the inspiriting sound of a peal in any other
part of the Union I visited, although I think I have heard they are in
use in Philadelphia and some of the eastern cities.

The time I had allotted to remain in New York having expired, and being
anxious to proceed on my route before the close of navigation, I
reluctantly bade adieu to my kind friends in that city, and made
preparations to pursue my way to the more western part of the Union,
hoping to reach the Mississippi country before the season when the
rivers and canals leading to it would be locked up in ice.


"See how yon flaming herald treads
The ridged and rolling waves,
As, crashing o'er their crested heads,
She bows her surly slaves;
With foam before and fire behind,
She rends the clinging sea,
That flies before the roaring wind,
Beneath her hissing lea."
HOLMES--_The Steam Boat_.

My first stage, in proceeding to the interior of the country, was to
Albany, 160 miles north of New York. To effect this, I took passage, on
board a splendidly-equipped steamer, called the _Narraganset_, and
esteemed at the time the swiftest boat on the Hudson River. I must
confess I was rather timid when I did so, for the reckless manner in
which the crack boats are run, in order to maintain their character for
celerity, is proverbial, and, as may be supposed, is little consonant
with safe travelling. The almost constant recurrence of steam-boat
explosions and consequent sacrifice of life, reports of which are daily
to be seen in the newspapers, weighed somewhat heavily on my mind, and
the latent fear was not lessened by seeing four barrels of pitch rolled
on board, the very moment I set foot on the deck of the _Narraganset_. I
had to console myself, however, as I best could under the circumstances,
and trust to Providence; but had it not been for the payment of my fare,
which had previously been arranged, and its inevitable loss if I stopped
behind, I believe I should have declined the passage, from my horror of
a race. Although, before the boat got under weigh, my lurking fears of
explosion were great, they were much enhanced just after starting, in
consequence of an opposition boat being loosed from her moorings at the
same minute that our vessel got clear of the levee. This accounted for
the barrels of pitch I had seen on deck, the heads of which were knocked
out just as we entered the Hudson, and a portion of the contents thrown
with the fuel into the roaring furnaces; this powerful generator of
caloric of course gave increased rapidity to the motion of the engines,
and in a couple of hours we left our opponent far behind.

It is remarkable that, although the Americans, as a people, travel
more, perhaps, than any other nation, so little attention is paid by
them to safety in transit. It is openly avowed that nothing is more
common than steam-boat explosions and steam disasters of various kinds
throughout this vast continent; and where boats are constructed to carry
1000 or 1200 passengers, as is usual on the American rivers, the loss of
life, in case of accident, is fearful to contemplate. I am aware that
the subject has been discussed in Congress, and that the question of
remedial measures has occupied the attention of the Executive during
several successive Presidentships; but still the evil remains, and the
public mind in America is almost daily agitated by disasters of this
nature. As long as the rampant spirit of competition and desire to
outvie their fellows, which prevails amongst a large class of Americans,
is tacitly, if not openly, encouraged by the governing powers, such a
state of things must exist, and will probably increase; but it is a
positive disgrace to a country possessing great natural attractions,
and, on this account, visited by many foreigners, that they should by
this system be exposed to daily peril of their lives. The acts of
Congress lately promulgated, although apparently stringent, are
virtually a dead letter, in consequence of the facilities for evasion,
and the ingenuity of the offenders. The effort to outrun a rival is
attended by an insane excitement, too often participated in by the
passengers, who forget for the time that they are in a similar situation
to a man sitting on a barrel of gunpowder within a few feet of a raging
furnace. I frequently found myself in such a position, in consequence of
this dangerous propensity, and the remedy suggested to my mind, and
which I recommend to others, was never to take a passage, on American
waters, in a first-class steam-boat, as the principle acted upon is to
maintain the character of a first-rater at all hazards, regardless of
the life or limbs of the helpless passengers.

The _Narraganset_, like most of the large river steamers, was
constructed with three decks, and fitted up in sumptuous style. One
large saloon, with a portion partitioned off for the ladies, serving as
a cabin and dining apartment. There is no professed distinction of class
in the passengers on board steam-boats in America. I found, however,
that the higher grades, doubtless from the same causes that operate in
other parts of the world, kept aloof from those beneath them.

The scene from the upper or hurricane deck (as it is called) was very
attractive. Flowing, as the river Hudson does, through a fine
mountainous country, the magnificent scenery on the banks strikes the
observer with feelings allied to awe. The stream being broad and
tortuous, beetling crags, high mountains and bluffs, and dense forests,
burst suddenly and unexpectedly into view; fearful precipices abound
here and there, amidst luxuriant groves and uncouth pine barrens,
forming altogether a diversity that gives the whole the character of a
stupendous panorama.

Before we were out of the tide, which for miles flows up the river, our
vessel grounded three times, but after puffing and straining for a
considerable time, she got off without damage and pursued her onward
course. Most of my fellow-voyagers were disposed to be distant and
taciturn, and so I enjoyed the grandeurs of the scene in solitary
musings, to which the steamers, sloops under sail, and other vessels
proceeding up and down the river, gave a pleasant enlivenment. The
promenade deck, crowded with lady passengers and beautiful children,
under a gay awning, added to the cheerfulness of the surrounding aspect,
and the fineness of the weather, but for the fear of collapsing boilers,
would have made the trip one of great enjoyment.

Another drawback I had nearly forgotten, and as it serves to illustrate
steam-boat and indeed all other travelling inconveniences in America, I
must not pass it over; I refer to the vulgarity of the men passengers,
who, in default of better occupation, chew tobacco incessantly, and, to
the great annoyance of those who do not practise the vandalism, eject
the impregnated saliva over everything under foot. The deck of the
vessel was much defaced by the noxious stains; and even in converse with
ladies the unmannerly fellows expectorated without sense of decency. The
ladies, however, seemed not to regard it, and one bright-eyed houri I
saw looking into the face of a long sallow-visaged young man, who had
the juice oozing out at each angle of his mouth with disgusting effect,
so that enunciation was difficult.

Some miles up the Hudson, on a high piece of table-land, amidst romantic
scenery, stands in prominent relief the military college of West Point.
It commands an extensive view, and, was, I believe, an important outpost
during the late war. The young graduates were exercising in parties on
the parade ground under officers, and appeared dressed in dark jackets
with silver-coloured buttons, and light blue trowsers. We saw the
targets used by the graduates in artillery, who practise on the river
banks; at least, it was so stated by a fellow-passenger, who either was,
or pretended to be, acquainted with all the affairs of that college.

Beneath the summit of a high bluff, covered with wood, contiguous to
the college, I observed a monument or obelisk, which I ascertained to
have been erected to the memory of Kosciusko, a Polish patriot, who took
a prominent part in the annihilation of British rule in America. It had
a very picturesque effect, and was regarded with feelings of veneration
by many of the American passengers, one of whom paid a tribute to the
departed hero, which he wound up by observing with nasal emphasis and
lugubrious countenance, "If twarnt for that ere man, wher'd we be, I
waunt to know; not here I guess." This sentiment, although I could
scarcely see the point of it myself, elicited half-a-dozen "do tells"
and "I waunt to knows" from those around; expressions which, foolish as
they sound to English ears, are in common use in the northern and
eastern states, when an individual acquiesces in, or is anxious to know
more about, what is stated.

As the scenery on the Hudson, although picturesque and highly romantic,
savours somewhat of sameness, I shall forbear any further description of
it. No one visiting America should omit, if possible, a passage to
Albany, in order to enjoy, perhaps, the finest natural scenery in the

The individual who delivered the eulogium I have noted on Kosciusko,
stated, that at the time of the war, an immense chain cable was thrown
across the river at West Point, to prevent the British vessels
proceeding to the interior, and this they in vain tried to destroy by
firing chain or bar shots.

After a favourable passage, we at length reached Albany, which is an
extensive city, and the depot for produce, especially wheat, brought
_via_ the Erie Canal from the interior; being, in fact, the storehouse
of the trade to and from the interior States of the Union, west, as well
as from Canada and the Lakes. It is finely situated on the west bank of
the Hudson; many of its inhabitants are descended from the first
colonists, especially the adventurous and persevering Dutch, who, like
the Scotch, cling with tenacity to the spot they fix upon, and quickly
accumulate property. This city is continually growing in importance,
from the vast number of small capitalists who flock there and settle;
and it will eventually, no doubt, vie with New York itself in wealth and
importance. As I determined to make no stay here, but to proceed up the
Erie Canal to Buffalo, I did not see much of this place, and must
therefore omit any lengthened description of it. From what I did see, it
appeared a densely-populated, well-built city, laid out with much
regularity, and boasting of many substantial buildings, several of the
edifices being constructed of white marble.

Having secured a passage on board a canal packet about to start, I at
once embarked, and in a few hours after was running up the Erie Canal
at the rate of six miles an hour, the boat being towed by four light
horses of high mettle. The trappings of these animals were of a novel
description, bells being appended to various parts of the harness, and
streamers, or plumes of white hair and gaudy ribbons, floating in the
air from the bridle of each. A postilion, in a suit of grey, with an
otter-skin cap, rode on the rearmost or saddle horse, and his
_nonchalance_ and perfect command of his team were surprising. This boat
was some sixty yards in length, and constructed only for passengers and
their luggage. The interior formed a long saloon in miniature, fitted up
with lounges, and tastefully decorated; a promenade on the deck or top
furnishing a good place for exercise. At night our saloon was converted
into a general dormitory, a portion being partitioned off for the
ladies, by ranges of shelves being suspended from the sides, on which
were laid the mattresses, &c. Owing to the number of locks and stoppages
at the miserable towns and villages on the canal banks, our passage to
Buffalo took several days; and the country being flat and uninteresting,
although divided into farms, which in general appeared to be in a state
of tolerable cultivation, I was not a little relieved when we began to
approach the city.

The formation of the Erie Canal was one of those grand internal
improvements frequently to be met with in that country, and which have
contributed to its general prosperity in no small degree. The projector
of this vast undertaking, De Witt Clinton, is justly esteemed by
American citizens, who regard him as a public benefactor, and his name
ranks with the founders of their independence. The canal runs, for a
considerable distance before it reaches Buffalo, parallel with the lake,
but separated from it by a sort of artificial sea-wall. As we merged
into the vicinity of this magnificent inland sea, the sun was shining
brightly, and gave it the appearance of molten silver. As far as the eye
could reach, a wide expanse of water presented itself, and the distant
shores of Canada gave beauty to the scene. At Black-rock we could
distinguish the sites of the British fortifications, from which in the
last war red-hot cannon-balls were ejected, to the dismay of the
terrified Americans, and the destruction of many of their houses.

Buffalo is a flourishing city on the border of Lake Erie, and about
twenty miles south of the Falls of Niagara. It is within the boundary of
the state of New York, and has of late years greatly increased in
extent, wealth, and population. The old town, quite an inconsiderable
place, on the site of which the present city has risen, phoenix-like,
was burnt to the ground during the late war, by some British officers,
who made a sortie from the Canada shores; which circumstance, having
been handed down from father to son, still rankles in the bosoms of many
of the older inhabitants, who do not fail to state their belief that
retributive justice will eventually be administered by the entire
subjugation of Canada. During my rather prolonged stay in Buffalo, I had
frequent opportunities of discovering that the most rancorous feelings
exist on the subject; and in proof of this it may be remembered by the
reader that the Canadian insurgents were assisted at the late
insurrection by supplies of stores from this city. These were conveyed
to Navy Island by the steamer _Caroline_, which was subsequently seized,
and sent over the Falls of Niagara by the British troops, a number of
the crew being cruelly massacred.

From inquiries made of parties well informed on the subject, both in
Canada and the United States, I am convinced that the public act of Sir
John Colborne, before quitting the governorship of the province, in
1835, viz., the allotment or appropriation of 346,252 acres of the soil,
as a clergy reserve, and the institution of the fifty-seven rectories,
was the chief predisposing cause of the insurrection. By this Act a
certain portion of land in every township was set apart for the
maintenance of "a Protestant clergy," under which ambiguous term, the
clergy of the Church of England have always claimed the sole enjoyment
of the funds arising from the sale of such portions of land. This is
looked upon by dissenters of all denominations as a direct infringement
of the original intention of the Act, which they maintain was for the
purpose of aiding the Protestant cause at large against the innovations
of the Roman Catholic Church. Much ill-will and sectarian prejudice are
the natural consequence; in fact, the Act is a perfect apple of discord
throughout the Canadas, and has engendered more animosity and resentment
than any one legislative act, sanctioned by the Home Government, since
the acquisition (if so it can he called) of the country. It is an
indelible disgrace to England, that such a manifestly bigoted and
narrow-minded policy should have been allowed to continue so long; and I
am fully persuaded that this enactment, which, there is little doubt,
originated in sectarianism, perpetuates a degree of rancorous feeling in
the minds of people there, that is sufficient to account for the
disaffection and tendency to rebellion that ever and anon displays
itself; and that to remove this blister, and allow the application of
these funds to all creeds alike, would be to restore peace, and convert
doubtfully-affected communities to allegiance. If there is one
consideration that ought to weigh in the minds of the British as a
people, to endeavour to rivet the affections of the Canadians, more than
another, and prevent the ultimate cession of that country to the
Americans, it is, that the dependency affords now the only asylum for
those persecuted outcasts of humanity, the slaves of the United States.
Canada, the land of freedom, is associated in their minds with
paradisaical thoughts of happiness--and many a heart-stricken creature
in the Southern States of America, as I had many opportunities of
ascertaining, toils on in content, with "Canada" in view, as the
ultimatum of his hopes and the land of his redemption.

The population of Buffalo is fluctuating, owing to the vast number of
emigrants who are constantly arriving, _en route_ to Ohio, Michigan, and
the far West. It averages in population, about ten thousand. The city is
not of great extent, and consists in chief of one principal
thoroughfare, called Maine-street, which is wide, the lower part
terminating at the water's edge, along which spacious stores are erected
for the reception of wheat and goods in transit. The harbour is formed
by an arm of Lake Erie uniting with Buffalo river. Here are always
congregated a large fleet of steamers, many of them of leviathan
dimensions, which are employed in running to and from Detroit, in
Michigan, and the intermediate ports, as well as in the Upper Lake
trade. Being quite a depot, Buffalo bids fair, ere the lapse of many
years, to be the grand emporium of the West. The public buildings do not
deserve much notice; the Eagle Theatre, a joint-stock concern, being the
only building of much interest. There are, however, several spacious
hotels, and two or three banks, that boast some architectural merit,
although much, I believe, cannot be said as to their stability. The
lateral streets are rather obscure, and, not being regularly built upon,
give the city an unfinished look. These are, however, dotted here and
there with chateaux, having good gardens well arranged. The Niagara
Railway station is situated to the left of Maine-street, about half-way
up that premier thoroughfare.

At night the distant moan of the Niagara falls was audible, and this,
together with what I had heard and read, made me very anxious to visit
the spot. Accordingly, one splendid morning I started by train for the
purpose. For some miles before we reached Niagara, we constantly heard
the roar of the rushing waters, and were thus prepared for the
stupendous scene that burst upon the view, as we alighted at the doors
of that _ne plus ultra_ of modern hostelries, the Pavilion Hotel.

My powers of description will fall short of conveying to the mind of
the reader the awful grandeur of this cataract, so often commented upon
by travellers. The first impression felt by me was, that the whole
substratum on which I stood, which seemed to tremble, was about to be
swept away by the vast inundation. It was not the height of the falls,
but the immense body of water, which comprehends, with constant
accumulations from the tributaries on the way, the overflowings of Lakes
Erie, Superior, Michigan, and Huron. The astonishing effect of such a
body of water, dashed abruptly over a precipice of 150 perpendicular
feet, may be conceived; such is the momentum of this immense volume of
fluid, that, when it strikes the rocky bed at the base of the cataract,
it rebounds in a thick cloud of vapour--and when the sun's rays
intercept it, as was the case when I arrived there, a beautiful rainbow
of vivid colours encircles the area of the chasm, and, together with the
natural curiosities and situation of the entire scene, presents to the
amazed beholder, the effect of a highly-executed picture in a frame of
sun-light, although far surpassing the productions of human skill, which
may well be said, in comparison, to sink into utter insignificance.

A large company of visitors were assembled at the time of my arrival,
probably from all parts of the world--so that I found it impossible to
get a bed, unless I penetrated into the interior with a view to obtain
accommodation at some farm-house, or crossed to the Canada side; but,
feeling too tired, after the day's excitement, to pursue either such
course, I took an evening train and returned to Buffalo the same day,
where I arrived at 9 P.M.

About three miles from Buffalo is an Indian village, called Tonawanda. I
frequently saw parties of the inhabitants, who resort to the city to
dispose of their wares and produce. Some of the warriors were fine
athletic fellows, of great stature, the lowest I saw being over six feet
in height. They were clothed in tanned buck-skin, curiously fringed and
ornamented with porcupine-quills richly dyed; their squaws (wives) being
enveloped in fine Canadian blue broad cloth, their favourite costume;
the crimson or other gaudy-coloured selvedge forming a conspicuous

Like all the aborigines of America, they cling with tenacity to primeval
habits and customs, resisting every attempt made by the white
population, to make or persuade them to conform to civilized life. The
ill-usage they have been subjected to by the Americans, may, however,
account for this in a great measure. They were described to me by one of
the residents as a dissipated set of fellows, who squandered all they
got in "fire-water," as they term ardent spirits, and when inebriated
are so quarrelsome that it is dangerous in the highest degree to
irritate them.

Not very long after I arrived, a circumstance occurred that threatened
most fearful consequences. The Indians whom I have before referred to
were in the frequent habit, when they came to the city, to dispose of
their produce (for many of them followed husbandry) of getting so tipsy,
that there was continual danger of bloodshed; their natural animosity on
such occasions being roused with fearful vehemence, so that the
authorities were compelled to adopt some steps to remedy the evil. It
was no uncommon occurrence to see an Indian waggon by the road-side,
with its pair of horses _sans_ driver, who might have been found either
drunk or quarreling at the other end of the city. And although the
horses were always impounded, and a fine inflicted, still the nuisance
continued without abatement, in fact, was rather on the increase. The
new Mayor, being a man more alive than his predecessor to this evil,
caused a regulation to be passed by the Civic Council, that any Indian
found so far the worse for liquor in the streets of Buffalo as to be
incapable of taking care of himself, should be punished by being made to
work on the high roads for a short period, with an iron ball and chain
attached to his leg. When this law was promulgated, there was a strong
impression that the Indians would show resistance. This was soon found
to be a correct view of the case, for not a week had elapsed before two
warriors were brought before the Mayor, and sentenced to ten days'
probation at road-mending, in pursuance of the decree. They had,
however, only been at work two days in the upper part of Maine-street,
in charge of two constables, when a large body of their fraternity,
armed _cap-a-pie,_ entered the city, and, with horrid yells and
brandished tomahawks, rescued the culprits, knocked off their chains,
and carried them in triumph to the Indian village, amidst fearful
threats of fire and blood. As this attack was unexpected, no resistance
was offered; and although there was much discussion afterwards, about
the laws being vindicated and an example being made, the matter, from
motives, no doubt, of public safety, was allowed to drop, and for the
future the red men had it all their own way, although there were
certainly signs of amendment, and the evil decreased to a very great
extent. The Indian maxim being, "Firm in friendship but ruthless in
war," there is little doubt that the course pursued on this occasion by
the city authorities, was the best under such circumstances.

Lake Erie is a fine piece of water, being 265 miles long, from Buffalo
to Detroit, the two extreme ends, and averaging about 60 miles broad. At
its north-east end it communicates with Lake Ontario and the Canadian
shores, by the gut or strait of Niagara. Towards the west end are
numerous islands and banks, which are furnished with light-houses for
the guidance of the mariner. Its waters wash the foot of Maine-street
(Buffalo) where they meet the river from which that city takes its name.
It is frequently visited by furious gales, which play havoc with the
steamers, many of which are annually wrecked.

While I remained in Buffalo, I took several excursions to the towns that
skirt this beautiful inland sea. On one of these occasions, the steamer
was driven by stress of weather to take shelter in the small harbour of
Huron, some distance up the lake; this we reached with much difficulty,
the violence of the sea threatening every moment the total destruction
of the vessel. As we entered the harbour, the air rang with a shout of
welcome from the inhabitants of the place, who had been watching our
perilous progress in great anxiety, and were assembled at the end of the
little pier. Here we remained for two days and nights, the wind blowing
all that time with the fury of a hurricane; the lake, during the storm,
presenting the appearance of the sea in a stiff north-wester, the
white-crested waves rising in violent commotion to a fearful height.

Huron is but a small and uninteresting place, situate in a most
unwholesome locality, lying opposite to a murky swamp, whose poisonous
vapours spread disease and death around. It is the highway to Sandusky
city, an inland border town, rendered famous for the obstinacy with
which the inhabitants and a body of U.S. Infantry defended a fort there
against the attacks of the British troops in 1812. Having ascertained
the captain's intention not to sail until the day following, and it
being described as a very attractive spot, I hired a horse, and, after a
seven miles' ride through a country dotted with farm houses, which had a
desolate look, and the lands appertaining to which were subdivided by
zigzag log fences (hedges being unknown in the back settlements), I
reached the so-called city, which is built in nearly the form of a
parallelogram, the area of greensward having a pretty effect. Here are
some good hotels, and a seminary or college for young ladies, which is
much patronized by the better classes of the northern and eastern
states, especially New York. I looked in vain for the Fort, which has,
since the war, been demolished; but the landlord of the hotel at which
I afterwards dined, took me to its site, and related several incidents
that occurred in connection with the fortress, and the struggle between
the belligerent parties at the time. As, however, I considered these
somewhat apocryphal, from several of his relations failing to hang
together, and his decided bias against the Britishers, as he called the
English, I shall not trouble the reader with the details. After viewing
the place and its suburbs to my satisfaction, and after an excellent
dinner of green maize and venison, I rode back to the steamer.

It was towards evening when I arrived; and, as I approached Huron, by
the banks of the creek that divides the swamp I have mentioned, and
which was unusually swollen, I noticed a canoe that had broken loose
from its moorings, drifting down the current; a moment afterwards the
owner arrived in breathless haste, to endeavour to save it from
destruction; his exertions were, however, useless, and, finding there
was no alternative, he hailed the bystanders, and offered the reward of
a dollar to any one who would swim to and paddle the canoe on shore;
this offer was eagerly caught at by a tall man, of great muscular power,
who was amongst the crowd, and who at once threw off his coat and
plunged into the stream. This was very rapid, and, after a few moments
battling with the turbid current, he was overpowered; uttering a loud
cry for assistance, which I shall never forget and which rang in my ears
like a death knell, he disappeared from the view of the spectators, and,
being probably entangled in the trees and debris that were floating down
the torrent, he did not rise again. A loud wail arose from the terrified
assemblage, who were unable to render the poor fellow any assistance,
and who ran about in frantic excitement. The canoe was lost, being
carried at a rapid rate into the open lake, where it capsized, and sunk
immediately. After dragging for the body for upwards of an hour, it was
fished up from under some logs of timber moored some distance below
where the catastrophe occurred. The body being landed and placed on the
bank, a loud altercation ensued as to the means to be used to attempt
resuscitation--a vain hope--but still persisted in by those assembled.
Some wanted to roll it on a barrel, others to suspend it by the heels,
that the water might be voided. At length a doctor arrived, and, after
some inquiry, pronounced effort useless, from the time the body had been
under water. This at once damped the ardour of the crowd, although it
did not discourage a female, who had taken a prominent part in the
operations, and who, with that true womanly tenderness and solicitude
which do honour to her sex, and which are nowhere more conspicuous than
in America, insisted upon the corpse being taken to a neighbouring
house, where, like a ministering angel, she persevered in her efforts
for a considerable time, although of course without effect.

The banks of Lake Erie, in the vicinity of Huron, are thickly studded
with small trees and coppice wood. This scenery, being interspersed with
open natural meadow-land, gives it a park-like aspect, and several spots
would, graced with a mansion, have formed an estate any nobleman in
Europe might have been proud of, the shores of Canada, looming in the
hazy distance, giving a fine effect to the scene.

The noise and disagreeable odour arising from the bull-frogs and other
reptiles that infest the swamp opposite the village at night, filled the
air, and rendered it impossible for me to sleep. As I lay restless on my
bed, I suddenly heard a gun fired, and, starting up in some alarm, I
hastily put on my clothes and descended to the bar of the hotel. Here
several of the inmates were assembled, and were preparing to cross the
creek with lanterns, to explore the swamp, cries of distress having been
distinctly heard, as of some benighted traveller who had lost his way.
After listening intently, and firing several rifles to guide the
wanderer or apprize him that assistance was at hand, the party crossed
the creek in a canoe, and moved along the skirts of the morass,
hallooing loudly all the time; the cries, however, heard only at
intervals at the commencement, became gradually indistinct, and at last
ceased altogether. After an ineffectual search for an hour or more, the
party again turned towards Huron, strongly impressed with the belief,
that the unfortunate being had sunk with his horse in the soft bed of
the swamp, which is some miles in extent, and had perished miserably.
The day following, I visited the nearest point from which the cries were
heard, but I could discern no sign of the sufferer, nor could I even
trace footmarks; this, however, is not remarkable, as they would
speedily be obliterated by the many reptiles nurtured in the morass. It
was afterwards questioned, whether the supposed wanderer was only a
catamount, a species of jaguar that emits doleful cries at night.

The storm having abated, I soon after returned on board, and in due
course reached Buffalo, where I had the pleasure of meeting with an old
acquaintance, from whom I had long been separated, and who had delayed
his intended voyage up the lake, to await my return. A large proportion
of the population of Buffalo are people of colour, and one quarter of
the town is almost exclusively inhabited by them; many of these, I
regret to add, are living in a state of degradation pitiable to behold,
apparently without the least endeavour being made by their white
fellow-citizens to improve their condition. Some of these coloured
people keep eating-houses, for the accommodation of those of their own
complexion, but the greater number are employed as stokers and
steam-boat hands. A few of these men, despite the prejudice that exists
(and it is nowhere in the Union more marked than in Buffalo), rise above
the common level, and by that probity of character and untiring energy,
which I believe to be inherent in the race, become men of substance.

One instance of this deserves especial notice, as the subject of it had,
entirely by the good qualities mentioned, amassed a fortune, and had
married a woman of English birth. I was introduced to this individual
some time after my arrival in Buffalo, and his singularly correct views
and uprightness of character made me partial to his company. His wife
was a notable, well-informed, good-looking woman, about forty years of
age. Irrespective of colour, I certainly admired her discrimination in
the choice of a partner, although she was looked down upon by the wives
of the white citizens, and, in common with her husband, was almost
entirely shunned by them. There may, perhaps, have been a higher
consideration than that of a good settlement to cause an English woman
in this instance to marry a dark mulatto; but I was always of opinion,
and she confirmed this by hints dropped casually, that the consideration
of a fortune had more to do with the alliance than love. This gentleman
kept a good house, and had many servants. His wife being fond of
amusements, he hired a box for her use at the Eagle Theatre, which she
always attended alone, the etiquette of the white citizens not
permitting his attendance with her. He appeared almost always in a
desponding mood, a tendency arising entirely from the insulting
demeanour used towards him by the citizens; and he frequently talked of
removing to Canada, or the far West, to avoid the treatment he was
subjected to at the hands of a pack of young scoundrels, who took every
opportunity to annoy and treat him with indignity for marrying a white
woman. The consequence was, that neither he nor his wife scarcely ever
ventured out. If they did so, it was never in company, and usually after
dark. I was politely offered the use of their box at the theatre during
my stay, and on one occasion availed myself of the offer. But I never
ventured again--the box was evidently marked, and during the performance
I was subjected to the most disgusting remarks and behaviour from the
audience. Indeed, this was carried so far, that I retired long before
the curtain dropped. So intent were his fellow-citizens on annoying
this inoffensive man, that soon after he was mobbed in Maine-street by
the young desperadoes I have referred to, who, from their determined
opposition to intermixed marriages, were known in the place as
"anti-amalgamists." On this occasion poor P---- nearly lost his life,
and, but for running, would, no doubt, have done so; as it was, he was
much burnt about the head and neck, the ruffians in the scuffle having
set fire to his frock-coat, which was of linen.

It is rather remarkable that, at St. Louis, on the Missouri, some ten
months afterwards, I met this very man, he having purchased some
government land in a remote part of that state. Our meeting was quite
accidental, for I crossed the street and accosted him as he was hurrying
along. In the course of our interview he pressed me earnestly to go up
the country with him; but this I declined from motives of prudence, the
route lying through a slave-holding state, where a white and coloured
man travelling on terms of equality, would be sure to excite suspicion.
He had a small bundle of papers under his arm, and on my remarking he
appeared intent on business, he stated they were his free papers, and
that not ten minutes before he had been challenged to produce them; but
this, he said, would not have prevented his arrest and detention in the
city gaol until the authorities of Buffalo had been written to under
suspicion of his being a fugitive, had he not taken the precaution,
before he left that city, to obtain from the mayor a certificate of his
intention to proceed to the Missouri country, and the object of his
visit. He told me that if he liked his purchase, he should build a house
on it, and cultivate the land as a farm, as his continued residence in
Buffalo, after the disposition to annoy him shown by the citizens,
rendered his stay there out of the question. I afterwards dined with him
at his "hotel," which was an obscure tavern in an unfrequented part of
the city, in and about which I saw several coloured people. I afterwards
ascertained that this was what is there derisively termed a "nigger
boarding-house," and that the keepers of superior hotels would not think
of accommodating a coloured person even for a night. From subsequent
experience in such matters, I have no doubt that this version was a true

The hotels and cafes in the Slave States are all frequented by slave
owners and dealers; these would not think of putting up at quarters
where "coloured folks" were entertained. This distinction is so marked,
that no negro would attempt to apply for refreshment at the bar of such
places, as the inevitable consequence of such a liberty would be
refusal, if not summary ejectment. It is therefore the custom, in all
southern towns and cities, for the negro population to resort to places
kept expressly for the accommodation of coloured people. These are not
always kept by men of their own complexion, but often by white men, who,
having become friendly with them, have lost caste with the whites, and
are in fact discarded by them.

In the harbour of Buffalo, I saw two brigs, that during the war in 1812
had been captured by the Americans, and sunk somewhere up the lake on
the American side. These had recently been raised by means of apparatus
invented by an ingenious American. They were strong, substantially-built
brigs, of about 250 tons burden each. I was surprised to find what a
preserving effect the lake water had upon the timber, the wood being
almost black in colour, and so hard that it was difficult to make an
impression upon it even with an axe. These vessels had been sold to a
shipping company, and were at the time employed, I think, in the Chicago
or Upper Lake trade.

I had frequently heard of the number of rattle and other snakes to be
met with on the banks of the lake, but these have been nearly
exterminated by the settlers. During my stay in the suburbs I only found
a few water-snakes, basking in the sun amongst the wilderness of
aquatic plants that cover the surface of the water in the creeks.

The superstitious dread of inhaling the east wind blowing from the mouth
of the lake, is now exploded, and is considered in the light of a
by-gone tale; although, for three-quarters of a century, it was
considered baneful even to the healthy. Consumptive patients are,
however, soon carried off, the biting blasts from the Canadian shores
proving very fatal in pulmonary complaints, and the winters being very

A plentiful supply of excellent fish of various sorts, is procured from
the lake. These are salted in barrels, and find a ready market in the
northern and eastern states.

My abode in the city of Buffalo extended over the greater part of a
year, and during this period I had frequent opportunities of witnessing
that tendency to overreach that has, perhaps, with some justice, been
called a disposition in the generality of Americans to defraud. I do not
mean to stygmatize any particular class of men in this imputation, but I
must record my decided conviction, arising from transactions with them,
that business with the mass of citizens there is not that upright system
that obtains with such successful results in the mother country, amongst
those engaged in commercial relations. Perhaps it would be but fair to
make some excuse for men of this class, in a country whose heterogeneous
population, and consequent exposure to competition, renders it a
struggle to obtain a livelihood. It is notorious that thousands of men
in America are obliged, as it were, to succumb to this influence or
become paupers, and are thus driven out of the paths of strict rectitude
and honesty of purpose, and compelled to resort to all sorts of
chicanery to enable them to make two ends meet. In no instance is this
more observable than in the "selling" propensities of the Americans.
"For sale" seems to be the national motto, and would form an admirable
addendum to the inscription displayed on the coins, "_E pluribus unum_."
Everything a man possesses is voluntarily subjected to the law of
interchange. The farmer, the land speculator, and the keeper of the
meanest grocery or barber's stall, are alike open to "a trade," that is,
an exchange of commodities, in the hope or prospect of some profit,
honestly or dishonestly, being attached to the transaction. This induces
a loose, gambling propensity, which, indulged in to excess, often leads
to ruin and involvement, and, if absolute beggary is deferred, causes
numerous victims to be perpetually floundering in debt, difficulty, and


"Then blame mo not that I should seek, although I know not thee,
To waken in thy heart its chords of holiest sympathy,
It is for woman's bleeding heart, for woman's humbled form,
O'er which the reeking lash is swung, with life's red current warm."

On a fine morning in June, I took my departure from Buffalo, in the lake
steamer _Governor Porter_, for the port of Cleveland in the state of
Ohio. The sun was shining on the silvery bosom of the lake, which in a
dead calm gave it a refulgent glassy appearance. We had not, however,
been two hours at sea before the clouds began to collect, and a heavy
gale came on with rapidity. This continued to increase until the day
following, during which the vessel had passed Cleveland, the place of
my destination, and was driving before a furious north-wester towards
Detroit, at the head of the lake. The captain stated that all his
endeavours to make the landing-place at Cleveland had been unavailing,
but if those passengers whom he had engaged to land there would proceed
with him on the voyage to his destination, he would land them on his
return, which he said would probably be in three or four days. As this
offer necessarily included board, the three passengers, who were in the
same predicament as myself, after a short consultation agreed to accept
it; and as time was not an object to me, I did not demur, for I much
wished to have a view of the country in that direction. Had either of us
dissented, the captain would, probably, have landed us at the next port,
a result that would have involved the expense and inconvenience of a
thirty miles' ride, or thereabouts, to Cleveland, in a rough stage, over
rougher roads.

The weather moderated towards sunset, and we had a very favourable
passage to the head of the lake, and entering Detroit harbour, which
lies at the foot of the town, I soon after landed, and took a stroll
into it. It is not a very populous place, the inhabitants being, I
should say, under 4000. The houses are in general, heavy dirty-looking
buildings, though the streets are tolerably wide, and built with
regularity. It is, I believe, peopled principally by French and Dutch,
who appeared to be in low circumstances, and who follow the usual town

This town, which is essentially Gaelic in appearance, is situated on the
west side of the strait, between Lakes St. Clare and Erie, and is within
sight of Malden in Canada, with the shores of which province a constant
trade or communication is kept up by steam. Here is situated an
extensive government agency for the sale of land in Michigan; whither,
at the time, vast numbers of new settlers were daily proceeding in
search of homes and happiness. I saw many of these on their way, and as
they toiled to their new homes, they looked haggard, forlorn, and
abject; and I thought I could distinguish in almost all, especially the
women, an aspect of grief that indicated they were exiles, who had left
behind all that tended to make life joyous and happy, to seek a
precarious existence in an unknown wilderness. As the town afforded few
attractions, the only place of amusement being a temporary theatrical
exhibition, I was not a little rejoiced when the vessel again started
down the lake, which she did with every advantage of favourable weather.
In due course we reached Cleveland, and, as I was anxious to proceed
onwards, I took but a cursory view of the place, which is, like
Detroit, situated on a somewhat rising ground. It appeared a thriving
town, and the hotels were in general superbly fitted up.

As I was strolling towards the canal to take my passage to the Ohio
river, a little incident occurred, which, as it illustrates a very old
adage, I will not omit. Passing some low-built houses near the canal, my
attention was arrested by the screams of a female, who uttered loud
cries for assistance.

Hastening to the door of the house from which the alarm proceeded, I
lifted the latch in great trepidation, when I saw a man just about to
strike a woman (who proved to be his wife) with an uplifted chair. The
fellow was vociferating loudly, and appeared in a towering passion. My
first impulse was to cry out "Drop it!" when, lo! as if I had, like
Katerfelto, the by-gone professor of legerdemain, cried "Presto," the
scene changed, and both man and woman, who were Americans of the lower
class, commenced bullying me in right earnest. I made my retreat with
some difficulty, as they seemed, both of them, inclined to serve me
roughly for my well-intentioned, though, perhaps, mistimed interference.
As I made my escape, however, I intimated, pretty loudly, that I should
at once apply to a magistrate on the subject, a threat, by-the-bye, that
was little regarded, and only increased the showers of abuse levelled
at me. As my appealing to a magistrate would be of little avail in the
case of a family jar, and would certainly have entailed inconvenience
and delay, I did not carry my threat into execution, wondering, at the
same time, at my temerity in interfering in a quarrel between man and
wife, which I now practically learnt, for the first time in my life, was
to incur the unmitigated anger of both, and to learn how true it is that

"Those who in quarrels interpose,
Must oft expect a bloody nose."

I visited the portion of the town appropriated by the Mormons as a
residence. Here, in the midst of their dwellings, they had erected a
temple for worship, which, on their emigrating west, their arch-leader,
Smith, prophesied would, by the interposition of heaven, be destroyed by
fire. The prophecy was verified as to the fact, but heaven had, it
appeared, little to do with it; for it was ascertained to be the work of
an incendiary of their sect, who was detected and brought to condign

I was afterwards informed by an American gentleman, to whom I had a
letter of introduction, and who had been a great sufferer by these
impostors, that some time before the great body of Mormons migrated to
the interior, they started a bank. Having managed to put a vast number
of their notes in circulation, for which they received produce, they
closed the doors, and left the public to be losers by their nefarious
schemes. I had the misfortune myself, in my ignorance, to take from a
dishonest store-keeper a ten-dollar bill of this spurious currency, and
did not detect the imposture until I offered it to the captain of the
boat I had engaged a passage in to _La Belle Riviere_, as the Ohio is
called. I must mention, however, that I took it previously to the
interview with the gentleman I have adverted to, and actually, without
knowing it, had the note in my pocket-book when he mentioned the default
of these pseudo bankers. I paid ten dollars for a useful lesson.

The passengers from Cleveland formed a motley group; for, irrespective
of French, Dutch, Americans, and Canadians, we had on board eight or ten
families of the Mormon sect, following in the wake of their leaders,
Smith and Rigdon, to their new settlement in the far west. These people
were very reserved, and seemed inclined to keep aloof from their
fellow-passengers. This, however, may be accounted for by the prejudice
so justly existing at the time against them, as a body, from the causes
I have already mentioned; in fact, the indignation of the people could
hardly be kept in check by the authorities, and lynching was resorted
to on more than one occasion. The men were clothed in drab broad-cloth,
and wore large white hats; their garb altogether resembling that of the
more respectable Society of Friends, in America. The resemblance,
however, ceases with the dress, for, if reports speak true, and they are
many-tongued, they are very exceptionable in their morality and general
principles, amongst other peculiarities, polygamy being allowed, for the
avowed purpose of extending and perpetuating the sect.

Our progress was pretty rapid, though it lay through an uninteresting
country, in many parts uncultivated and barren-looking. Massillon is a
very flourishing town, with some good stores and two or three hotels. As
the captain was obliged to make a short stay here, I went into the town
and, stepping into an hotel to procure a cigar, I found a company
engaged in earnest conversation, interrupted at intervals by loud
laughter. On inquiry, I was told that the landlord had that morning been
played a Yankee trick by a travelling pedlar, who had stopped the
previous night at his house. It appeared that the same man had some
months before practised on the landlord; but, either supposing the
matter blown over and forgotten, or, what is more likely, with a view to
put another of his arts into exercise, he again put up at the same
house. The proprietor, however, at once recognized the pedlar, and
after taxing him with the cheat he had practised on the former occasion,
wound up his lecture by stating, in true American style, that if he
again succeeded in cheating him he would forego the amount of his tavern
expenses. The man exclaimed, "Done," and at once it appeared set his
wits to work to obtain the object. A few hours after the conversation,
the fellow brought in from his waggon some boxes of fancy goods, and
endeavoured to induce the landlady to purchase. This, however, no doubt
prompted by her husband, she resolutely refused, and he had them removed
to his room upstairs, as is customary. After breakfast, the following
morning, he called the landlady aside and said he forgot the day before
to show her a fancy quilt of superior workmanship, and if she would only
look at it he would be satisfied, as it was one of great beauty. She
consented to this, and the man at once went to his waggon, which was now
at the door, he being about to start, and brought in a box which
contained, amongst numerous other articles, the quilt he had been
eulogizing. The landlady was much taken with its appearance, and after
some little persuasion consented to become the purchaser. Accordingly,
the bargain was concluded, and the balance between his tavern bill and
the article in question was handed over at the hotel bar to the pedlar,
who at once started from the house, the landlord on his doing so
jocosely remarking on the conversation of the previous day, in reply to
which the wily pedlar observed, that "he guessed it was all right." Soon
after the man left, the landlady called her spouse to the inner room,
and showing him her bargain, said she had been induced to buy the quilt,
because it was an exact match for the one in the large room up-stairs.
This led to a female help (as servants are there called), being
despatched to the room to fetch and compare the original with that newly
purchased. The girl speedily returned in the greatest consternation,
saying it had vanished. The truth now became apparent; the artful pedlar
had actually sold the landlady her own quilt!

This ludicrous circumstance led to the confusion I had noticed when I
arrived; the man had gone they knew not whither, and had it been
possible to overtake him, I question whether he would have been pursued,
the cleverness of the trick being highly applauded by the company, and
the landlord feeling, perhaps, ashamed of being outwitted a second time,
after himself giving the challenge. The ingenuity of American pedlars in
cozening their countrymen, has long been proverbial, and in general,
people are wary of them; they have, however, I suppose by long
practice, become such adepts at roguery, that however alive to their
propensities, folks are daily victimized by such men. It was nothing new
to hear a roguish action applauded, but on this occasion the company
were vociferous in his praise, and declared they would certainly
patronize him when he came that way again, for he deserved

After strolling through the town, which presented little worth
recording, I again returned to the boat, which proceeded on its way. I
had frequently heard and read of those vast flocks of wild pigeons which
periodically pursue their flight to milder latitudes: and, as the boat
was now approaching the centre of the state of Ohio, where myriads of
these birds were seen the year before, I anxiously watched the horizon
for their appearance. For several days, however, I was doomed to
disappointment, and gave it up in despair; but a day or two after, when
in the vicinity of the Tuscarawas river, it being about noon, the
helmsman suddenly called out, "A field of pigeons." This announcement
called all hands to the promenade deck of the packet. Looking in the
direction indicated, a heavy black cloud appeared in the far horizon;
this seemed to extend from right to left, and was so dense that the
novices amongst us at once pronounced it, either a mistake or a hoax.
The helmsman declared that it was neither, and that we should soon be
convinced of it. The cloud seemed now gradually and visibly to spread;
in truth, the whole firmament in that direction was totally obscured. By
this time a general rummage had commenced in the boat for fire-arms; the
captain hailed the driver on the towing path, who pulled up, and the
boat was moored by the canal side. We now landed, intending to replenish
the larder of the vessel with what, to most of the passengers, was a
rare treat. On the left bank of the canal, and on the banks of the
river, which here ran parallel with it, was a forest of gigantic trees;
and, as the birds were evidently making in that direction, it was
decided that all those who wished to take part in the expected sport,
should proceed, and wait their passing this spot, in the hope that some
would settle on the branches of the trees. Accordingly, after crossing
the river by a rude bridge, which was very nearly half a quarter of a
mile in length, we reached the intended spot after wading up to our
knees in a swamp or turbary, and getting miserably bemauled by the
briars and cane vines. We had not to wait long; the birds, wearied by a
long flight, were evidently attracted by the favourable resting-place,
and in less than a quarter of an hour, the air was darkened with the
hosts hovering over our heads; the sound of their wings defies
description, those of my readers who remember the peculiar noise made by
a single pigeon in its flight, may form a faint idea by multiplying the
sound a million times. It in fact filled the air, and produced a
startling effect. Thousands of the birds alighted on the trees, the
branches of which snapped and crackled fearfully under the
superincumbent load; those of our party who were armed, continued to
fire and load as fast as they possibly could. They brought hundreds to
the ground, but still, through weariness, perhaps, the rest kept their
station on the branches, and did not appear to heed the attack
much--shifting their position or only flying off for a moment and then
again alighting. By this time many of the settlers from the surrounding
districts had arrived to share in the quarry. Thousands of birds were
brought to the ground; in fact, every discharge of the guns and rifles
brought down showers to our feet; and the noise seemed to resemble our
being engaged in action with a foe; without, however, the dire effects
of such a rencontre to ourselves. After bagging our game, of which we
secured nearly two hundred brace, we returned to the boat, leaving the
rest of the sport to those who chose to continue it. We had enough, and,
for the remainder of the passage, were completely surfeited with pigeon
fare, administered by the boat's cook in all sorts of outlandish forms.
In our progress onward through the state, we saw many carcases of these
birds outside the villages, such numbers having been destroyed, that the
inhabitants could not consume them, and they were accordingly thrown out
as refuse. These birds were in good condition, and were excellent

As the packet was likely to be detained for some hours at Zoar, a
settlement about two miles beyond Bolivar, owing to a dispute between
the captain and some officers connected with the canal, I availed myself
of the opportunity, on the invitation of a very gentlemanly
fellow-passenger from Connecticut, to visit a farm a few miles in the
interior, where resided a celebrated character, named Adam Poe, surnamed
by the inhabitants, the "Indian-killer," who had acquired the summit of
a backwoods-man's fame, by some forty years ago shooting "Black-foot," a
formidable Indian marauder, who, for a long period, spread consternation
and alarm among the early settlers. As this exploit (whether justified
by the circumstances and times or not, I cannot pretend to say) was one
that restored security among the settlers, and dispersed a body of
Indians, who destroyed every white inhabitant they encountered, and laid
waste their farms, it is no wonder that Adam Poe was regarded as a great
man. On arriving at the farm-house, which was one of the better
description in that region, we were kindly welcomed by the son of the
hero I have mentioned, who bore the father's patronymic, and after the
usual hospitality, were ushered into an adjoining apartment, and
introduced to the object of our visit. He was sitting in an armchair by
the side of his wife, who, like himself, was far advanced in years,
their united ages numbering 173. The old man, who was so feeble as to be
unable to rise when we entered, saluted us with the usual "Glad to see
you, strangers," his spouse at the same time advancing towards us to
shake hands. He was evidently used to such intrusions; for, after
inquiry where we came from and whither bound, he began, in a tremulous
voice, which, from his extreme age, was scarcely intelligible, to
narrate his early adventures. It was absolutely shocking, as he became
more animated by the subject, to hear the coolness with which the
veteran related some of his bloody combats; so much so, indeed, that I
and my companion at once cut short his narration, being horrified at the
turpitude of the aged sinner, who, although gasping for breath, and
evidently on the verge of the unseen world, talked of his deeds of
violence with an ardour that befitted a better cause.

The old man dwelt at great length on his hair-breadth escapes and deeds
of prowess; but the destruction of the implacable "Black-foot," was the
absorbing subject. This chief, it appeared, had, with a small party,
been hovering round Poe's farm for several nights, and the inmates were
in great terror of a midnight attack; the principal aim of the chief,
being, it is supposed to despatch a man, whose activity had rendered him
particularly obnoxious to his tribe, and whose bravery was acknowledged
by the settlers far and near.

After several nights passed in anxiety, every little circumstance, any
unusual noise, the baying of a dog, a disturbance in the hog-pens,
exciting the greatest apprehension, Poe determined on stealthily
watching the enemy under covert of a hillock or embankment on the farm.
He accordingly sallied out with his Indian rifle, in the haze of the
evening, taking with him a supply of _aqua vitae,_ as he facetiously
said, to keep up his "dander." After watching a considerable time, every
now and then applying his ear to the ground to listen for approaching
footsteps (a plan invariably followed by Indians themselves), he
ascertained that an Indian was in the vicinity; again intently
listening, he soon satisfied himself that the alarm he had experienced
was occasioned by one individual only. Instantly on the _qui-vive,_ he
first cocked his rifle, and, just as he descried the Indian's head
above the embankment he pulled with unerring aim the fatal trigger, when
with an agonizing howl, the Indian toppled backwards down the
embankment, and all was silent. Poe now sprang forward, and with his
knife severed the "war scalp" from the head of the savage, and after
securing his knife and rifle, returned to his home in high glee to
announce the horrid achievement. It was, however, deemed unsafe to
venture out again that night, for fear of other Indians of Black-foot's
band, who it was well known were in the neighbourhood.

In the morning Poe sallied out to the place of reconnoitre with some of
the inmates of the farm. Here they found, stretched on the ground,
weltering in gore, the vanquished warrior, who was now, for the first
time, from a plume he wore, and some other peculiarity in his
equipments, identified as the veritable "Sachem," who had for months
kept that settlement in a state of alarm. Poe was soon complimented by
the settlers around, and from that day forward became a celebrated

I was subsequently told on board the canal packet, that the Indian
referred to, was not the notorious chief of that name, but a second-rate
warrior, who, having headed a band of marauders, ***med the soubriquet.
How far this may be the fact, I cannot determine. I, however,
frequently heard Poe's name mentioned as a brave defender of the
hearths and homes of the early settlers in the remote districts of Ohio.

I could perceive that his son's wife (a matronly dame of about sixty),
was adverse to such interviews, as, to use her expression, "they brought
the old man back to this world again, when he should be pondering on the
next," and that she was grieved at the recital of them; indeed, she
several times checked his expressions, when they bordered, as they not
unfrequently did, on impiety. She acted rightly, for there was evidently
much more of the soldier than the Christian about the old man, and
before we left I expressed a hope that such visits would be discouraged,
a suggestion that was received in a kindly spirit.

After inspecting the farm, which was well stocked, and appeared to be
cultivated in the most approved modern style, and was well fenced with
the usual rails, we started on our return to Zoar, where the packet had
halted. On our way thither, we passed through a hamlet of primitive
appearance, consisting of some half-dozen houses built of logs, at one
end of which was a rudely-constructed meeting-house, belonging to the
sect of Whitfieldite Methodists. The congregation was assembled, and the
horses and vehicles belonging to those who resided at a distance, were
tethered and my companion passed, the occupants were chanting a hymn
previous to the discourse, which it appeared was a valedictory one, the
minister being about to leave this for a more extensive field of
pastoral labour. Having time to spare, and such an assembly on a
week-day attracting our attention, from its rarity, we stepped in, and
remained during the whole of the service, arriving at Zoar a few minutes
before the boat started.

As we passed through a densely-wooded district between Bolivar and
Chillicothe, I observed that for many miles the trees were denuded of
every green leaf, from the devastating effects of millions of locusts,
which periodically visit the western states of the Union, to the dismay
of the settlers. The trees in many places were at the time covered with
these destructive insects. I went on shore and procured several, with
the intention of preserving them. They were beautiful creatures, about
ten times the size of an ordinary field grasshopper, and, except that
their hind legs were longer in proportion to their size, the exact shape
of that harmless little insect. Their colours are brilliant green,
slate, and flamingo red, beautifully lined and variegated. The humming
noise produced by these insects is very disagreeable, and fills the
surrounding air with murmurs, while the wilderness look of the scene of
their depredations has a depressing effect on the mind of the
traveller. Their visits are much dreaded, as they are followed by the
total destruction of foliage in the district, and in many instances, the
young saplings die in consequence of their attacks.

After a pleasant passage of four or five days, the packet arrived at the
river junction; and taking passage at once in a steamer which was
waiting its arrival in the Ohio river, I was soon rapidly on my way to
that fairy city of the west, Cincinnati. This is the largest city in the
state of Ohio, and is the capital of Hamilton county. Fort Washington, a
defence of some renown during the war, is two miles above, and opposite
to the mouth of the Licking river. The broad bosom of the Ohio was here
covered with steam-boats, employed in the Virginia, Missouri, and New
Orleans trade. The wharves are commodious, and a broad inclined plane,
from the city to the water's edge, gives the former a fine appearance,
as it rests majestically in the background.

As I was anxious to proceed to the State of Missouri, with as little
delay as possible, I at once engaged a passage to St. Louis, and the
following morning was steaming in the direction of the falls of St.
Anthony. The passengers in this boat employed themselves nearly the
whole of the route at games of cards, _faro_ being the favourite. This
predilection for gambling, which is generally carried to great extremes
on board southern boats, was not, however, confined to the cabin, for I
noticed the crew, at every spare interval, sitting about on deck, with
packs of cards, completely absorbed in the game. The negro hands were
particularly addicted to this vice, and a gentleman who was proceeding
in the boat informed me that but a trifle of the earnings of boat-hands
in general was spared from their devotedness to this ruinous practice.
The effect of association with, and the example set by, white men given
to gambling, will account, perhaps, for the habit. This moral pestilence
is in vain prohibited by the state, and is pursued by all classes in the
south with frenzied avidity.

After twice running on shore, and meeting with sundry other stoppages
and minor mishaps, through the mismanagement of the two engineers, we
reached the city of St. Louis, to the gratification of myself and
fellow-passengers. This is a place of considerable extent, although
awkwardly built, and for the most part irregularly laid out. It is a
considerable fur depot of the Hudson Bay Company; and there is a
recruiting station, from whence start expeditions of trappers to the
Rocky Mountains. I saw a large party of these adventurers, who were
about to start on an expedition to these remote confines. It consisted
entirely of young Frenchmen and Hollanders, who are preferred for the
service by the company. They were of slight make, and little calculated,
from their appearance, to encounter the hardships of such a life; but I
was told they soon become hardened, and return strong, athletic men. The
employment is, however, beset with danger, from the hostile dispositions
of the various tribes of Indians in the western wilds, who view their
intrusion with vindictive feelings, and seize every opportunity of
attacking and annihilating small parties, notwithstanding their
professions of friendship. Not long after my arrival, a party of
trappers arrived from the Upper Missouri in two boats, which were loaded
with buffalo and other furs. The stalwart look of these hardy
mountaineers proved the hardening effect of their mode of life. They
were brawny fellows of a ruddy brown complexion, of the true Indian hue,
and habited in skins. These men, I ascertained, had been in the
mountains for four or five years, during which time they had subsisted
entirely on Buffalo and other meat, bread not being used or cared for.
Their healthy look under such circumstances completely shook my faith in
the Brahminical vegetarian theory, and goes far, I think, to prove that
man was intended by his Maker to be a carnivorous animal.

Just before the steamer approached the city, a circumstance occurred on
board that filled me and my fellow-passengers with horror. We were
taking breakfast in the cabin, congratulating each other on the near
termination of our tedious passage, when a sudden shriek, followed by
shouts from the deck-hands of the vessel, disturbed our meal. Hastening
in great perturbation to the deck, we soon discovered the cause of the
disturbance. One of the white waiters was lying on the deck, with a
frightful gash in his side, from which the blood was fast oozing. Our
first care was to attend to the sufferer, and a surgeon being
fortunately amongst the passengers, the hemorrhage was soon abated, but
the wound was pronounced to be of a fatal character. The poor fellow,
who was a lad of about eighteen years of age, moaned piteously. Every
attention that skill and kindness could suggest was paid to him. He was
immediately carried to a state-room in the cabin, where he remained in
great agony until the vessel was moored alongside the levee, when he was
carefully removed on a litter to a hospital on shore. The perpetrator of
the savage act proved to be a negro, filling the office of assistant
cook. The passengers were very clamorous, and would, without doubt, have
hanged the culprit immediately, had it not been for the interference of
the captain, who, after a curt examination, had him pinioned and taken
below. From the version given of the affair by the negroes who witnessed
it (but which was contradicted by two white men who were on the spot), I
was inclined to think the crime was committed under feelings of great
provocation, the negro, as is commonly the case on board steam-boats,
having been for a long time browbeaten by the victim of the sad
catastrophe, and subjected to very insolent and overbearing treatment at
his hands. The culprit, who was a very sullen, stolid-looking, full-bred
negro, refused to answer the questions put to him on the subject, and
certainly manifested a careless indifference to consequences that was
not in his favour; his fierce scowl denoting great ferocity, in all
probability induced by long ill-treatment. As soon as convenience
allowed, some officers from the shore came on board and secured the
prisoner, who was conveyed by them to the city gaol, to await the
investigation of the outrage by the civic authorities and the result of
the injury committed. The victim of revenge died a few days after the
occurrence in excruciating agony. It will scarcely be believed that the
perpetrator of the deed, after a short confinement, was spirited away up
the country, no doubt at the connivance of the authorities, and sold!

Thus, justice is often defeated, from pecuniary considerations in the
Slave States of America, where, if a slave commits even the heinous
crime of murder, the ordinary course of the law is interfered with to
save the owner from loss. This of itself is sufficient to stamp for ever
as infamous the social cancer of slavery, and brands as ridiculous, the
boasted regard for justice, so pragmatically urged in the southern
states of the American continent.

A mile or two from St. Louis, on the Carondelet road, are situated
spacious infantry barracks, named after Jefferson, one of the former
presidents of the Union, where troops are stationed in readiness to act
against the various tribes of Indians in the Upper Missouri country, who
sometimes show a disposition to be hostile. A reserve of troops is more
particularly needful for the protection of the inhabitants; for, either
from mismanagement or an aggressive spirit, the Government is
continually embroiled with the aboriginal tribes in harassing and
expensive warfare. This state of things acts as a perpetual blister, and
has engendered a rancorous enmity between the Indians and their white
neighbours, to the great detriment of peaceful agricultural pursuits by
the latter, and the periodical perplexity of the Chancellor of the
American Exchequer; whereas, a conciliating policy would not only keep
the tribes in close friendship, but secure their services as valuable
allies in case of emergency--a point that may possibly suggest itself
eventually to the executive, if the rampant spirit of aggrandisement now
abroad continues to govern the public mind in America.

Soon after landing, I was accosted by a middle-aged gentlemanly man, on
the subject of the outrage on board the boat, and as he appeared to have
less of that swaggering air about him than most men in the south
possess, I entered freely into conversation with him, and in a very
short time our interchange of sentiments created a mutual partiality,
that led to his inviting me to pass the following evening at his house,
a result I rather wished for, as he manifested a disposition to inform
me fully on several questions I put to him relative to the state I was
now in and my future movements; moreover, he seemed somewhat attached to
the English, or rather was not strong in his prejudices against them.

I accordingly repaired to his residence at the time appointed. This was
situated in one of the lateral streets of the city leading to the
outskirts, and, although not large, was furnished with great taste and
elegance. His lady, who was, I think, from Illinois, made herself very
agreeable, her kind attentions tending to confirm the impression I
already entertained of her countrywomen; they had no children, and the
husband was engaged in some way with the Fur Company established in St.
Louis. I was entertained with great hospitality; my kind host materially
assisting me by information, &c. in my intention to pursue my route

He was the son of a New Englander, or native of one of the eastern
states; his father having fought at Bunker's Hill, and otherwise taken
an active part in the struggle for independence, between the years 1776
and 1785. This made it the more extraordinary that he should treat an
Englishman with the courtesy he showed to me, especially as under such
circumstances a bias is in general handed down from father to son, which
operates prejudicially to my countrymen.

After putting a variety of questions, as to the "old country" as he
termed Great Britain, on which I readily satisfied his curiosity, he
entered into a detail of some of the stirring events relating to the
period of his father's career in arms against the British; some of these
were of a thrilling character, and strongly depicted the miseries of
war, presenting a lamentable picture of the debasing influence of
sanguinary struggles on the human mind. The barbarous mode of harassing
the British troops, by picking off stragglers, which the lower orders of
Americans pursued, in most instances for the sake of the wretched
clothing and accoutrements of the victims, the former being dyed of a
dark colour, and sold for a dollar per set (as he called the military
suit), to the American citizen-soldiers, fairly made my blood creep; one
instance in particular filled me with horror, for it was a cold-blooded
murder of the deepest dye I must, however, do the narrator the justice
to say that he viewed the atrocity in the same light as I did.

The occurrence I am about to relate, took place somewhere on the banks
of the Hudson, below West Point, where a force of British troops were
encamped or pursuing their operations under the protection of some
vessels of war lying in the stream, he mentioned the exact spot where it
occurred, but I have forgotten it. It appeared that this force was
harassed and beset by parties of citizens, who, by pursuing a guerilla
system of warfare, surprising small parties, and firing entirely in
ambush, made great havoc amongst the rank and file of the invaders,
almost every straggler falling a victim. One evening, during this state
of things, two of the citizens, whilst prowling in a coppice, within a
few miles of the camp, on the look-out, came suddenly upon an infantry
soldier, who was off his guard at the moment, and whose firelock was
resting against a tree; the foremost of the Americans darted forward and
seized the weapon, while the second captured the wretched soldier. Under
ordinary circumstances, and in more honourable hands, the man would
have been conveyed as a prisoner of war to the American camp, but
plunder being their object, this would not answer the purpose of the
miscreants, the most resolute of whom ordered the captive (who was a lad
of seventeen or eighteen), to take off his jacket. Knowing this was a
preliminary step to his being shot, he fell on his knees and implored
mercy. His captors were, however, inexorable, and he began to cry
bitterly, and besought them to spare his life; these manifestations had,
however, no effect on his deadly foes, who now threatened to fell him
with the butt end of a fusee if he did not comply: this had the effect,
and the poor captive reluctantly pulled off the jacket and threw it on
the ground; this was immediately picked up by one of the party, to avoid
its being stained with the life-blood of the victim. Withdrawing now a
few paces, one of the Americans took a deliberate aim; the young soldier
instantly turned to run, but as he wheeled round for the purpose (for
his enemies were facing him), a ball entered his left side, just under
the armpit, and springing frantically several feet into the air, he fell
dead to the ground. He was then stripped, and left on the spot.

This horrid relation I should have thought, for the credit of his
country, an American would have kept secret; but as I before observed,
he was by no means disposed to take the part of these so-called
patriots, although he stated that many atrocities were committed by the
British, some of which he related, and which were, he said, never
recorded; these, I fear, if exposed, would not much redound to their
credit with the present generation.

At first I could not understand why the soldier was ordered before being
shot to pull his jacket off; this he explained by saying, that a rent in
the garment made by the ball of a fusee, would have lessened its value;
and further, that the American soldiers were averse, from superstitious
fear at the time, to wearing any article of dress in which an enemy had
yielded his breath; notwithstanding which repugnance, the American
soldiers not long after dismissed the objection, from the extreme
scantiness of the clothing afforded them.

On my intimating the abhorrence I felt at the relation, my entertainer
informed me that it was impossible at the time to prevent such
occurrences, the annihilation of the invaders was the _primum mobile_ of
all Americans, and many citizens harassed the enemy on their own
account, the principle being the same on which European vessels bearing
letters of marque, are suffered to waylay and seize, for the purpose of
private gain, the merchant vessels belonging to the country with which
they are at war. Such atrocities, as he remarked, however horrifying in

Facebook Google Reddit Twitter Pinterest