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Domestic Manners of the Americans by Fanny Trollope

Part 4 out of 7

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especially among the men, who, if they were so implicit in their
obedience to the clergy, would certainly be more constant in
their attendance at the churches; nor would they, moreover, deem
the theatre more righteous because an English actor, or a French
dancer, performed there; yet on such occasions the theatres
overflow. The cause, I think, is in the character of the people.
I never saw a population so totally divested of gaiety; there is
no trace of this feeling from one end of the Union to the other.
They have no fetes, no fairs, no merry makings, no music in the
streets, no Punch, no puppet-shows. If they see a comedy or a
farce, they may laugh at it; but they can do very well without
it; and the consciousness of the number of cents that must be
paid to enter a theatre, I am very sure turns more steps from its
door than any religious feeling. A distinguished publisher of
Philadelphia told me that no comic publication had ever yet been
found to answer in America.

We arrived at Baltimore at the season of the "Conference." I
must be excused from giving any very distinct explanation of
this term, as I did not receive any. From what I could learn,
it much resembles a Revival. We entered many churches, and
heard much preaching, and not one of the reverend orators could
utter the reproach,

"Peut-on si bien precher qu'elle ne dorme au sermon?"

for I never even dosed at any. There was one preacher whose
manner and matter were so peculiar, that I took the liberty of
immediately writing down a part of his discourse as a specimen.
I confess I began writing in the middle of a sentence, for I
waited in vain for a beginning. It was as follows:-

"Nevertheless, we must not lose sight of the one important,
great, and only object; for the Lord is mighty, his works are
great, likewise wonderful, likewise wise, likewise merciful; and,
moreover, we must ever keep in mind, and close to our hearts, all
his precious blessings, and unspeakable mercies, and
overflowings; and moreover we must never lose sight of, no, never
lose sight of, nor ever cease to remember, nor ever let our souls
forget, nor ever cease to dwell upon, and to reverence, and to
welcome, and to bless, and to give thanks, and to sing hosanna,
and give praise,"--and here my fragment of paper failed, but
this strain continued, without a shadow of meaning that I could
trace, and in a voice inconceivably loud, for more than an hour.
After he had finished his sermon, a scene exactly resembling that
at the Cincinnati Revival, took place. Two other priests
assisted in calling forward the people, and in whispering comfort
to them. One of these men roared out in the coarsest accents,
"Do you want to go to hell tonight?" The church was almost
entirely filled with women, who vied with each other in howlings
and contortions of the body; many of them tore their clothes
nearly off. I was much amused, spite of the indignation and
disgust the scene inspired, by the vehemence of the negro part of
the congregation; they seemed determined to bellow louder than
all the rest, to shew at once their piety and their equality.

At this same chapel, a few nights before, a woman had fallen in
a fit of ecstasy from the gallery, into the arms of the people
below, a height of twelve feet. A young slave who waited upon
us at table, when this was mentioned, said, that similar
accidents had frequently happened, and that once she had seen
it herself. Another slave in the house told us, that she "liked
religion right well, but that she never took fits in it, 'cause
she was always fixed in her best, when she went to chapel, and
she did not like to have all her best clothes broke up."

We visited the infant school, instituted in this city by Mr.
Ibbertson, an amiable and intelligent Englishman. It was the
first infant school, properly so called, which I had ever seen,
and I was greatly pleased with all the arrangements, and the
apparent success of them. The children, of whom we saw about a
hundred, boys and girls, were between eighteen months and six
years. The apartment was filled with all sorts of instructive
and amusing objects; a set of Dutch toys, arranged as a cabinet
of natural history, was excellent; a numerous collection of large
wooden bricks filled one corner of the room; the walls were hung
with gay papers of different patterns, each representing some
pretty group of figures; large and excellent coloured engravings
of birds and beasts were exhibited in succession as the theme of
a little lesson; and the sweet flute of Mr. Ibbertson gave tune
and time to the prettiest little concert of chirping birds that I
ever listened to.

A geographical model, large enough to give clear ideas of
continent, island, cape, isthmus, et cetera, all set in water, is
placed before the children, and the pretty creatures point their
little rosy fingers with a look of intense interest, as they are
called upon to shew where each of them is to be found. The
dress, both of boys and girls, was elegantly neat, and their
manner, when called upon to speak individually, was well-bred,
intelligent, and totally free from the rude indifference, which
is so remarkably prevalent in the manners of American children.
Mr. Ibbertson will be benefactor to the Union, if he become the
means of spreading the admirable method by which he had polished
the manner, and awakened the intellect of these beautiful little
Republicans. I have conversed with many American ladies on the
total want of discipline and subjection which I observed
universally among children of all ages, and I never found any who
did not both acknowledge and deplore the truth of the remark. In
the state of Ohio they have a law (I know not if it exist
elsewhere), that if a father strike his son, he shall pay a fine
of ten dollars for every such offence. I was told by a gentleman
of Cincinnati, that he had seen this fine inflicted there, at the
requisition of a boy of twelve years of age, whose father, he
proved, had struck him for lying. Such a law, they say,
generates a spirit of freedom. What else may it generate?

Mr. Ibbertson, who seems perfectly devoted, heart and head to
the subject, told me that he was employed in organizing
successive schools that should receive the pupils as they
advanced in age. If he prove himself as capable of completing
education, as he appears to be of beginning it, his institution
will be a very valuable one. It would, indeed, be valuable any
where; but in America, where discipline is not, where, from the
shell, they are beings "that cannot rule, nor ever will be
ruled," it is invaluable.

About two miles from Baltimore is a fort, nobly situated on the
Patapsco, and commanding the approach from the Chesapeak bay. As
our visit was on a Sunday we were not permitted to enter it. The
walk to this fort is along a fine terrace of beautiful verdure,
which commands a magnificent view of the city, with its columns,
towers, domes, and shipping; and also of the Patapsco river,
which is here so wide as to present almost a sea view. This
terrace is ornamented with abundance of evergreens, and wild
roses innumerable, but, the whole region has the reputation of
being unhealthy, and the fort itself most lamentably so. Before
leaving the city of monuments, I must not omit naming one reared
to the growing wealth of the country; Mr. Barham's hotel is said
to be the most splendid in the Union, and it is certainly
splendid enough for a people more luxurious than the citizens of
the republic appear yet to be. I heard different, and, indeed,
perfectly contradictory accounts of the success of the
experiment; but at least every one seemed to agree that the
liberal projector was fully entitled to exclaim,

"'Tis not in mortals to command success;
I have done more, Jonathan, I've deserved it."

After enjoying a very pleasant fortnight, the greater part of
which was passed in rambling about this pretty city and its
environs, we left it, not without regret, and all indulging the
hope that we should be able to pay it another visit.


Voyage to Washington--Capitol--City of Washington--Congress--
Indians--Funeral of a Member of Congress

By far the shortest route to Washington, both as to distance and
time, is by land; but I much wished to see the celebrated
Chesapeak bay, and it was therefore decided that we should take
our passage in the steam-boat. It is indeed a beautiful little
voyage, and well worth the time it costs; but as to the beauty of
the bay, it must, I think, be felt only by sailors. It is, I
doubt not, a fine shelter for ships, from the storms of the
Atlantic, but its very vastness prevents its striking the eye as
beautiful: it is, in fact, only a fine sea view. But the
entrance from it into the Potomac river is very noble, and is one
of the points at which one feels conscious of the gigantic
proportions of the country, without having recourse to a
graduated pencil-case.

The passage up this river to Washington is interesting, from many
objects that it passes, but beyond all else, by the view it
affords of Mount Vernon, the seat of General Washington. It is
there that this truly great man passed the last years of his
virtuous life, and it is there that he lies buried: it was easy
to distinguish, as we passed, the cypress that waves over his

The latter part of the voyage shews some fine river scenery; but
I did not discover this till some months afterwards, for we now
arrived late at night.

Our first object the next morning was to get a sight of the
capitol, and our impatience sent us forth before breakfast. The
mists of morning still hung around this magnificent building when
first it broke upon our view, and I am not sure that the effect
produced was not the greater for this circumstance. At all
events, we were struck with admiration and surprise. None of us,
I believe, expected to see so imposing a structure on that side
of the Atlantic. I am ill at describing buildings, but the
beauty and majesty of the American capitol might defy an abler
pen than mine to do it justice. It stands so finely too, high,
and alone.

The magnificent western facade is approached from the city by
terraces and steps of bolder proportions than I ever before saw.
The elegant eastern front, to which many persons give the
preference, is on a level with a newly-planted but exceedingly
handsome inclosure, which, in a few years, will offer the shade
of all the most splendid trees which flourish in the Union, to
cool the brows and refresh the spirits of the members. The view
from the capitol commands the city and many miles around, and it
is itself an object of imposing beauty to the whole country

We were again fortunate enough to find a very agreeable family to
board with; and soon after breakfast left our comfortless hotel
near the water, for very pleasant apartments in F. street. [The
streets that intersect the great avenues in Washington are
distinguished by the letters of the alphabet.]

I was delighted with the whole aspect of Washington; light,
cheerful, and airy, it reminded me of our fashionable watering
places. It has been laughed at by foreigners, and even by
natives, because the original plan of the city was upon an
enormous scale, and but a very small part of it has been as yet
executed. But I confess I see nothing in the least degree
ridiculous about it; the original design, which was as beautiful
as it was extensive, has been in no way departed from, and all
that has been done has been done well. From the base of the hill
on which the capitol stands extends a street of most magnificent
width, planted on each side with trees, and ornamented by many
splendid shops. This street, which is called Pennsylvania
Avenue, is above a mile in length, and at the end of it is the
handsome mansion of the President; conveniently near to his
residence are the various public offices, all handsome, simple,
and commodious; ample areas are left round each, where grass and
shrubs refresh the eye. In another of the principal streets is
the general post-office, and not far from it a very noble town-
hall. Towards the quarter of the President's house are several
handsome dwellings, which are chiefly occupied by the foreign
ministers. The houses in the other parts of the city are
scattered, but without ever losing sight of the regularity of the
original plan; and to a person who has been travelling much
through the country, and marked the immense quantity of new
manufactories, new canals, new railroads, new towns, and new
cities, which are springing, as it were, from the earth in every
part of it, the appearance of the metropolis rising gradually
into life and splendour, is a spectacle of high historic

Commerce had already produced large and handsome cities in
America before she had attained to an individual political
existence, and Washington may be scorned as a metropolis, where
such cities as Philadelphia and New York exist; but I considered
it as the growing metropolis of the growing population of the
Union, and it already possesses features noble enough to sustain
its dignity as such.

The residence of the foreign legations and their families gives a
tone to the society of this city which distinguishes it greatly
from all others. It is also, for a great part of the year, the
residence of the senators and representatives, who must be
presumed to be the _elite_ of the entire body of citizens, both
in respect to talent and education. This cannot fail to make
Washington a more agreeable abode than any other city in the

The total absence of all sights, sounds, or smells of commerce,
adds greatly to the charm. Instead of drays you see handsome
carriages; and instead of the busy bustling hustle of men,
shuffling on to a sale of "dry goods" or "prime broad stuffs,"
you see very well-dressed personages lounging leisurely up and
down Pennsylvania Avenue.

Mr. Pishey Thompson, the English bookseller, with his pretty
collection of all sorts of pretty literature, fresh from London,
and Mr. Somebody, the jeweller, with his brilliant shop full of
trinkets, are the principal points of attraction and business.
What a contrast to all other American cities! The members, who
pass several months every year in this lounging easy way, with no
labour but a little talking, and with the _douceur_ of eight
dollars a day to pay them for it, must feel the change sadly when
their term of public service is over.

There is another circumstance which renders the evening parties
at Washington extremely unlike those of other places in the
Union; this is the great majority of gentlemen. The expense, the
trouble, or the necessity of a ruling eye at home, one or all of
these reasons, prevents the members' ladies from accompanying
them to Washington; at least, I heard of very few who had their
wives with them. The female society is chiefly to be found among
the families of the foreign ministers, those of the officers of
state, and of the few members, the wealthiest and most
aristocratic of the land, who bring their families with them.
Some few independent persons reside in or near the city, but this
is a class so thinly scattered that they can hardly be accounted
a part of the population.

But, strange to say, even here a theatre cannot be supported for
more than a few weeks at a time. I was told that gambling is the
favourite recreation of the gentlemen, and that it is carried to
a very considerable extent; but here, as elsewhere within the
country, it is kept extremely well out of sight. I do not think
I was present with a pack of cards a dozen times during more than
three years that I remained in the country. Billiards are much
played, though in most places the amusement is illegal. It often
appeared to me that the old women of a state made the laws, and
the young men broke them.

Notwithstanding the diminutive size of the city, we found much to
see, and to amuse us.

The patent office is a curious record of the fertility of the
mind of man when left to its own resources; but it gives ample
proof also that it is not under such circumstances it is most
usefully employed. This patent office contains models of all the
mechanical inventions that have been produced in the Union, and
the number is enormous. I asked the man who shewed these, what
proportion of them had been brought into use, he said about one
in a thousand; he told me also, that they chiefly proceeded from
mechanics and agriculturists settled in remote parts of the
country, who had began by endeavouring to hit upon some
contrivance to enable them to _get along_ without sending some
thousand and odd miles for the thing they wanted. If the
contrivance succeeded, they generally became so fond of this
offspring of their ingenuity, that they brought it to Washington
for a patent.

At the secretary of state's office we were shewn autographs of
all the potentates with whom the Union were in alliance; which, I
believe, pretty well includes all. To the parchments bearing
these royal signs manual were appended, of course, the official
seals of each, enclosed in gold or silver boxes of handsome
workmanship: I was amused by the manner in which one of their
own, just prepared for the court of Russia, was displayed to us,
and the superiority of their decorations pointed out. They were
superior, and in much better taste than the rest; and I only wish
that the feeling that induced this display would spread to every
corner of the Union, and mix itself with every act and with every
sentiment. Let America give a fair portion other attention to
the arts and the graces that embellish life, and I will make her
another visit, and write another book as unlike this as possible.

Among the royal signatures, the only ones which much interested
me were two from the hand of Napoleon. The earliest of these,
when he was first consul, was a most illegible scrawl, and, as
the tradition went, was written on horseback; but his writing
improved greatly after he became an emperor, the subsequent
signature being firmly and clearly written.--I longed to steal

The purity of the American character, formed and founded on the
purity of the American government, was made evident to our senses
by the display of all the offerings of esteem and regard which
had been presented by various sovereigns to the different
American ministers who had been sent to their courts. The object
of the law which exacted this deposit from every individual so
honoured, was, they told us, to prevent the possibility of
bribery being used to corrupt any envoy of the Republic. I
should think it would be a better way to select for the office
such men as they felt could not be seduced by a sword or a
snuff-box. But they, doubtless, know their own business best.

The bureau for Indian affairs contains a room of great interest:
the walls are entirely covered with original portraits of all the
chiefs who, from time to time, have come to negotiate with their
great father, as they call the President.

These portraits are by Mr. King, and, it cannot be doubted, are
excellent likenesses, as are all the portraits I have ever seen
from the hands of that gentleman. The countenances are full of
expression, but the expression in most of them is extremely
similar; or rather, I should say that they have but two sorts of
expression; the one is that of very noble and warlike daring, the
other of a gentle and naive simplicity, that has no mixture of
folly in it, but which is inexpressibly engaging, and the more
touching, perhaps, because at the moment we were looking at them,
those very hearts which lent the eyes such meek and friendly
softness, were wrung by a base, cruel, and most oppressive act of
their _great father_.

We were at Washington at the time that the measure for chasing
the last of several tribes of Indians from their forest homes,
was canvassed in congress, and finally decided upon by the FIAT
of the President. If the American character may be judged by
their conduct in this matter, they are most lamentably deficient
in every feeling of honour and integrity. It is among
themselves, and from themselves, that I have heard the statements
which represent them as treacherous and false almost beyond
belief in their intercourse with the unhappy Indians. Had I,
during my residence in the United States, observed any single
feature in their national character that could justify their
eternal boast of liberality and the love of freedom, I might have
respected them, however much my taste might have been offended by
what was peculiar in their manners and customs. But it is
impossible for any mind of common honesty not to be revolted by
the contradictions in their principles and practice. They
inveigh against the governments of Europe, because, as they say,
they favour the powerful and oppress the weak. You may hear this
declaimed upon in Congress, roared out in taverns, discussed in
every drawing-room, satirized upon the stage, nay, even
anathematized from the pulpit: listen to it, and then look at
them at home; you will see them with one hand hoisting the cap of
liberty, and with the other flogging their slaves. You will see
them one hour lecturing their mob on the indefeasible rights of
man, and the next driving from their homes the children of the
soil, whom they have bound themselves to protect by the most
solemn treaties.

In justice to those who approve not this treacherous policy, I
will quote a paragraph from a New York paper, which shews that
there are some among them who look with detestation on the bold
bad measure decided upon at Washington in the year 1830.

"We know of no subject, at the present moment, of more importance
to the character of our country for justice and integrity than
that which relates to the Indian tribes in Georgia and Alabama,
and particularly the Cherokees in the former state. The Act
passed by Congress, just at the end of the session, co-operating
with the tyrannical and iniquitous statute of Georgia, strikes a
formidable blow at the reputation of the United States, in
respect to their faith, pledged in almost innumerable instances,
in the most solemn treaties and compacts."

There were many objects of much interest shewn us at this Indian
bureau; but, from the peculiar circumstances of this most unhappy
and ill-used people, it was a very painful interest.

The dresses worn by the chiefs when their portraits were taken,
are many of them splendid, from the embroidery of beads and other
ornaments: and the room contains many specimens of their
ingenuity, and even of their taste. There is a glass case in the
room, wherein are arranged specimens of worked muslin, and other
needlework, some very excellent handwriting, and many other
little productions of male and female Indians, all proving
clearly that they are perfectly capable of civilization. Indeed,
the circumstance which renders their expulsion from their own,
their native lands, so peculiarly lamentable, is, that they were
yielding rapidly to the force of example; their lives were no
longer those of wandering hunters, but they were becoming
agriculturists, and the tyrannical arm of brutal power has not
now driven them, as formerly, only from their hunting grounds,
their favourite springs, and the sacred bones of their fathers,
but it has chased them from the dwellings their advancing
knowledge had taught them to make comfortable; from the
newly-ploughed fields of their pride; and from the crops their
sweat had watered. And for what? to add some thousand acres of
territory to the half-peopled wilderness which borders them.

The Potomac, on arriving at Washington, makes a beautiful sweep,
which forms a sort of bay, round which the city is built. Just
where it makes the turn, a wooden bridge is thrown across,
connecting the shores of Maryland and Virginia. This bridge is
a mile and a quarter in length, and is ugly enough. [It has
since been washed away by the breaking up of the frost of
February, 1831.] The navy-yard, and arsenal, are just above it,
on the Maryland side, and make a handsome appearance on the edge
of the river, following the sweep above mentioned. Near the
arsenal (much too near) is the penitentiary, which, as it was
just finished, and not inhabited, we examined in every part. It
is built for the purpose of solitary confinement for life. A
gallows is a much less nerve-shaking spectacle than one of these
awful cells, and assuredly, when imprisonment therein for life
is substituted for death, it is no mercy to the criminal; but if
it be a greater terror to the citizen, it may answer the purpose
better. I do not conceive, that out of a hundred human beings
who had been thus confined for a year, one would be found at the
end of it who would continue to linger on there, _certain it was
for ever_, if the alternative of being hanged were offered to
them. I had written a description of these horrible cells, but
Captain Hall's picture of a similar building is so accurate, and
so clear, that it is needless to insert it.

Still following the sweep of the river, at the distance of two
miles from Washington, is George Town, formerly a place of
considerable commercial importance, and likely, I think, to
become so again, when the Ohio and Chesapeake canals, which there
mouths into the Potomac, shall be in full action. It is a very
pretty town, commanding a lovely view, of which the noble Potomac
and the almost nobler capitol, are the great features. The
country rises into a beautiful line of hills behind Washington,
which form a sort of undulating terrace on to George Town; this
terrace is almost entirely occupied by a succession of
gentlemen's seats. At George Town the Potomac suddenly contracts
itself, and begins to assume that rapid, rocky and irregular
character which marks it afterwards, and renders its course, till
it meets the Shenandoah at Harper's Ferry, a series of the most
wild and romantic views that are to be found in America.

Attending the debates in Congress was, of course, one of our
great objects; and, as an English woman, I was perhaps the more
eager to avail myself of the privilege allowed. It was
repeatedly observed to me that, at least in this instance, I must
acknowledge the superior gallantry of the Americans, and that
they herein give a decided proof of surpassing the English in a
wish to honour the ladies, as they have a gallery in the House of
Representatives erected expressly for them, while in England they
are rigorously excluded from every part of the House of Commons.

But the inference I draw from this is precisely the reverse of
the suggested. It is well known that the reason why the House of
Commons was closed against ladies was, that their presence was
found too attractive, and that so many members were tempted to
neglect the business before the House, that they might enjoy the
pleasure of conversing with the fair critics in the galleries,
that it became a matter of national importance to banish
them--and they were banished. It will be long ere the American
legislature will find it necessary to pass the same law for the
same reason. A lady of Washington, however, told me an anecdote
which went far to shew that a more intellectual turn in the
women, would produce a change in the manners of the men. She
told me, that when the Miss Wrights were in Washington, with
General Lafayette, they very frequently attended the debates, and
that the most distinguished members were always crowding round
them. For this unwonted gallantry they apologized to their
beautiful countrywomen by saying, that if they took equal
interest in the debates, the galleries would be always thronged
by the members.

The privilege of attending these debates would be more valuable
could the speakers be better heard from the gallery; but, with
the most earnest attention, I could only follow one or two of the
orators, whose voices were peculiarly loud and clear. This made
it really a labour to listen; but the extreme beauty of the
chamber was of itself a reason for going again and again. It
was, however, really mortifying to see this splendid hall, fitted
up in so stately and sumptuous a manner, filled with men, sitting
in the most unseemly attitudes, a large majority with their hats
on, and nearly all, spitting to an excess that decency forbids me
to describe.

Among the crowd, who must be included in this description, a
few were distinguished by not wearing their hats, and by sitting
on their chairs like other human beings, without throwing their
legs above their heads. Whenever I enquired the name of one of
these exceptions, I was told that it was Mr. This, or Mr. That,
_of Virginia_.

One day we were fortunate enough to get placed on the sofas
between the pillars, on the floor of the House; the galleries
being shut up, for the purpose of making some alterations, which
it was hoped might improve the hearing in that part of the House
occupied by the members, and which is universally complained of,
as being very defective.* But in our places on the sofas we
found we heard very much better than up stairs, and well enough
to be extremely amused by the rude eloquence of a thorough horse
and alligator orator from Kentucky, who entreated the house
repeatedly to "go the whole hog."

*(As a proof of this defective hearing in the Hall of
(Congress, I may quote a passage from a newspaper report of
(a debate on improvements. It was proposed to suspend a
(ceiling of glass fifteen feet above the heads of the
(members. A member, speaking in favour of this proposal,
(said, "Members would then, at least, be able to understand
(what was the question before the House, an advantage which
(most of them did not now possess, respecting more than
(half the propositions upon which they voted."

If I mistake not, every debate I listened to in the American
Congress was upon one and the same subject, namely, the entire
independence of each individual state, with regard to the federal
government. The jealousy on this point appeared to me to be the
very strangest political feeling that ever got possession of the
mind of man. I do not pretend to judge the merits of this
question. I speak solely of the very singular effect of seeing
man after man start eagerly to his feet, to declare that the
greatest injury, the basest injustice, the most obnoxious tyranny
that could be practised against the state of which he was a
member, would be a vote of a few million dollars for the purpose
of making their roads or canals; or for drainage; or, in short,
for any purpose of improvement whatsoever.

During the month we were at Washington, I heard a great deal of
conversation respecting a recent exclusion from Congress of a
gentleman, who, by every account, was one of the most esteemed
men in the house, and, I think, the father of it. The crime for
which this gentleman was out-voted by his own particular friends
and admirers was, that he had given his vote for a grant of
public money for the purpose of draining a most lamentable and
unhealthy district, called "_the dismal swamp!_"

One great boast of the country is, that they have no national
debt, or that they shall have none in two years. This seems not
very wonderful, considering their productive tariff, and that the
income paid to their president is 6,000_L. per annum_; other
government salaries being in proportion, and all internal
improvements, at the expense of the government treasury, being
voted unconstitutional.

The Senate-chamber is, like the Hall of Congress, a semicircle,
but of very much smaller dimensions. It is most elegantly fitted
up, and what is better still, the senators, generally speaking,
look like gentlemen. They do not wear their hats, and the
activity of youth being happily past, they do not toss their
heels above their heads. I would I could add they do not spit;
but, alas! "I have an oath in heaven," and may not write an

A very handsome room, opening on a noble stone balcony is fitted
up as a library for the members. The collection, as far as a
very cursory view could enable me to judge, was very like that of
a private English gentleman, but with less Latin, Greek, and
Italian. This room also is elegantly furnished; rich Brussels
carpet; library tables, with portfolios of engravings; abundance
of sofas, and so on. The view from it is glorious, and it looks
like the abode of luxury and taste.

I can by no means attempt to describe all the apartments of this
immense building, but the magnificent rotunda in the centre must
not be left unnoticed. It is, indeed, a noble hall, a hundred
feet in diameter, and of an imposing loftiness, lighted by an
ample dome.

Almost any pictures (excepting the cartoons) would look paltry in
this room, from the immense height of the walls; but the subjects
of the four pictures which are placed there, are of such high
historic interest that they should certainly have a place
somewhere, as national records. One represents the signing of
the declaration of independence; another the resignation of the
presidency by the great Washington; another the celebrated
victory of General Gates at Saratoga; and the fourth....I do not
well remember, but I think it is some other martial scene,
commemorating a victory; I rather think that of York Town.

One other object in the capitol must be mentioned, though it
occurs in so obscure a part of the building, that one or two
members to whom I mentioned it, were not aware of its existence.
The lower part of the edifice, a story below the rotunda, &c.,
has a variety of committee rooms, courts, and other places of
business. In a hall leading to some of these rooms, the ceiling
is supported by pillars, the capitals of which struck me as
peculiarly beautiful. They are composed of the ears and leaves
of the Indian corn, beautifully arranged, and forming as graceful
an outline as the acanthus itself. This was the only instance I
saw, in which America has ventured to attempt national
originality; the success is perfect. A sense of fitness always
enhances the effect of beauty. I will not attempt a long essay
on the subject, but if America, in her vastness, her immense
natural resources, and her remote grandeur, would be less
imitative, she would be infinitely more picturesque and

The President has regular evening parties, every other Wednesday,
which are called his _levees_; the last syllable is pronounced by
every one as long as possible, being exactly the reverse of the
French and English manner of pronouncing the same word. The
effect of this, from the very frequent repetition of the word in
all companies is very droll, and for a long time I thought people
were quizzing these public days. The reception rooms are
handsome, particularly the grand saloon, which is elegantly, nay,
splendidly furnished; this has been done since the visit of
Captain Hall, whose remarks upon the former state of this room
may have hastened its decoration; but there are a few anomalies
in some parts of the entertainment, which are not very courtly.
The company are about as select as that of an Easter-day ball at
the Mansion-house.

The churches at Washington are not superb; but the Episcopalian
and Catholic were filled with elegantly dressed women. I
observed a greater proportion of gentlemen at church at
Washington than any where else.

The Presbyterian ladies go to church three times in the day,
but the general appearance of Washington on a Sunday is much
less puritanical than that of most other American towns; the
people walk about, and there are no chains in the streets, as
at Philadelphia, to prevent their riding or driving, if they
like it.

The ladies dress well, but not so splendidly as at Baltimore. I
remarked that it was not very unusual at Washington for a lady to
take the arm of a gentleman, who was neither her husband, her
father, nor her brother. This remarkable relaxation of American
decorum has been probably introduced by the foreign legations.

At about a mile from the town, on the high terrace ground above
described, is a very pretty place, to which the proprietor has
given the name Kaleirama. It is not large, or in any way
magnificent, but the view from it is charming; and it has a
little wood behind, covering about two hundred acres of broken
ground, that slopes down to a dark cold little river, so closely
shut in by rocks and evergreens, that it might serve as a
noon-day bath for Diana and her nymphs. The whole of this wood
is filled with wild flowers, but such as we cherish fondly in
our gardens.

A ferry at George Town crosses the Potomac, and about two miles
from it, on the Virginian side, is Arlington, the seat of Mr.
Custis, who is the grandson of General Washington's wife. It is
a noble looking place, having a portico of stately white columns,
which, as the mansion stands high, with a background of dark
woods, forms a beautiful object in the landscape. At George Town
is a nunnery, where many young ladies are educated, and at a
little distance from it, a college of Jesuits for the education
of young men, where, as their advertisements state, "the
humanities are taught." We attended mass at the chapel of the
nunnery, where the female voices that performed the chant were
very pleasing. The shadowy form of the veiled abbess in her
little sacred parlour, seen through a grating and a black
curtain, but rendered clearly visible by the light of a Gothic
window behind her, drew a good deal of our attention; every act
of genuflection, even the telling her beads, was discernible, but
so mistily that it gave her, indeed, the appearance of a being
who had already quitted this life, and was hovering on the
confines of the world of shadows.

The convent has a considerable inclosure attached to it, where I
frequently saw from the heights above it, dark figures in awfully
thick black veils, walking solemnly up and down.

The American lady, who was the subject of one of Prince
Hohenlohe's celebrated miracles, was pointed out to us at
Washington. All the world declare that her recovery was

There appeared to be a great many foreigners at Washington,
particularly French. In Paris I have often observed that it was
a sort of fashion to speak of America as a new Utopia, especially
among the young liberals, who, before the happy accession of
Philip, fancied that a country without a king, was the land of
promise; but I sometimes thought that, like many other fine
things, it lost part of its brilliance when examined too nearly;
I overheard the following question and answer pass between two
young Frenchmen, who appeared to have met for the first time.

"Eh bien. Monsieur, comment trouvez-vous la liberte et l'egalite
mises en action?"

"Mais, Monsieur, je vous avoue que ie beau ideal que nous autres,
nous avons concu de tout cela a Paris, avait quelque chose de
plus poetique que ce que nous trouvons ici!"

On another occasion I was excessively amused by the tone in
which one of these young men replied to a question put to him
by another Frenchman. A pretty looking woman, but exceedingly
deficient in _tournure_, was standing alone at a little distance
from them and close at their elbows stood a very awkward
looking gentleman. "Qui est cette dame?" said the enquirer.
"Monsieur," said my young _fat_, with an indescribable grimace,
"c'est la femelle de ce male, " indicating his neighbour by
an expressive curl of his upper lip.

The theatre was not open while we were in Washington, but we
afterwards took advantage of our vicinity to the city, to visit
it. The house is very small, and most astonishingly dirty and
void of decoration, considering that it is the only place of
public amusement that the city affords. I have before mentioned
the want of decorum at the Cincinnati theatre, but certainly that
of the capital at least rivalled it in the freedom of action and
attitude; a freedom which seems to disdain the restraints of
civilized manners. One man in the pit was seized with a violent
fit of vomiting, which appeared not in the least to annoy or
surprise his neighbours; and the happy coincidence of a physician
being at that moment personated on the stage, was hailed by many
of the audience as an excellent joke, of which the actor took
advantage, and elicited shouts of applause by saying, "I expect
my services are wanted elsewhere."

The spitting was incessant; and not one in ten of the male part
of the illustrious legislative audiences sat according to the
usual custom of human beings; the legs were thrown sometimes over
the front of the box, sometimes over the side of it; here and
there a senator stretched his entire length along a bench, and in
many instances the front rail was preferred as a seat.

I remarked one young man, whose handsome person, and most
elaborate toilet, led me to conclude he was a first-rate
personage, and so I doubt not he was; nevertheless, I saw him
take from the pocket of his silk waistcoat a lump of tobacco,
and daintily deposit it within his cheek.

I am inclined to think this most vile and universal habit of
chewing tobacco is the cause of a remarkable peculiarity in the
male physiognomy of Americans; their lips are almost uniformly
thin and compressed. At first I accounted for this upon
Lavater's theory, and attributed it to the arid temperament of
the people; but it is too universal to be explained; whereas the
habit above mentioned, which pervades all classes (excepting the
literary) well accounts for it, as the act of expressing the
juices of this loathsome herb, enforces exactly that position
of the lips, which gives this remarkable peculiarity to the
American countenance.

A member of Congress died while we were at Washington, and I was
surprised by the ceremony and dignity of his funeral. It seems
that whenever a senator or member of Congress dies during the
session, he is buried at the expense of the government, (the
ceremony not coming under the head of internal improvement), and
the arrangements for the funeral are not interfered with by his
friends, but become matters of State. I transcribed the order of
the procession as being rather grand and stately.

Chaplains of both Houses.
Physicians who attend the deceased.
Committee of arrangement.
(Pall borne by six members.)
The Relations of the deceased, with the
Senators and Representatives of the State
to which he belonged, as Mourners.
Sergeant at arms of the House of Representatives.
The House of Representatives,
Their Speaker and Clerk preceding.
The Senate of the United States.
The Vice-president and Secretary preceding,

The procession was of considerable extent, but not on foot, and
the majority of the carriages were hired for the occasion. The
body was interred in an open "grave yard" near the city. I did
not see the monument erected on this occasion, but I presume it
was in the same style as several others I had remarked in the
same burying-ground, inscribed to the memory of members who had
died at Washington. These were square blocks of masonry without
any pretension to splendour.


Stonington--Great Falls of the Potomac

The greatest pleasure I had promised myself in visiting
Washington was the seeing a very old friend, who had left
England many years ago, and married in America; she was now a
widow, and, as I believed, settled in Washington. I soon had
the mortification of finding that she was not in the city; but
ere long I learnt that her residence was not more than ten miles
from it. We speedily met, and it was settled that we should
pass the summer with her in Maryland, and after a month devoted
to Washington, we left it for Stonington.

We arrived there the beginning of May, and the kindness of our
reception, the interest we felt in becoming acquainted with the
family of my friend, the extreme beauty of the surrounding
country, and the lovely season, altogether, made our stay there
a period of great enjoyment.

I wonder not that the first settlers in Virginia, with the bold
Captain Smith of chivalrous memory at their head, should have
fought so stoutly to dispossess the valiant father of Pocohantas
of his fair domain, for I certainly never saw a more tempting
territory. Stonington is about two miles from the most romantic
point of the Potomac River, and Virginia spreads her wild, but
beautiful, and most fertile Paradise, on the opposite shore. The
Maryland side partakes of the same character, and perfectly
astonished us by the profusion of her wild fruits and flowers.

We had not been long within reach of the great falls of the
Potomac before a party was made for us to visit them; the walk
from Stonington to these falls is through scenery that can hardly
be called forest, park, or garden; but which partakes of all
three. A little English girl accompanied us, who had but lately
left her home; she exclaimed, "Oh! how many English ladies would
glory in such a garden as this!" and in truth they might; cedars,
tulip-trees, planes, shumacs, junipers, and oaks of various
kinds, most of them new to us, shaded our path. Wild vines, with
their rich expansive leaves, and their sweet blossom, rivalling
the mignionette in fragrance, clustered round their branches.
Strawberries in full bloom, violets, anemonies, heart's-ease, and
wild pinks, with many other, and still lovelier flowers, which my
ignorance forbids me to name, literally covered the ground. The
arbor judae, the dog-wood, in its fullest glory of star-like
flowers, azalias, and wild roses, dazzled our eyes whichever way
we turned them. It was the most flowery two miles I ever walked.

The sound of the falls is heard at Stonington, and the gradual
increase of this sound is one of the agreeable features of this
delicious walk. I know not why the rush of waters is so
delightful to the ear; all other monotonous sounds are wearying,
and harass the spirits, but I never met any one who did not love
to listen to a waterfall. A rapid stream, called the "Branch
Creek," was to be crossed ere we reached the spot where the falls
are first visible. This rumbling, turbid, angry little rivulet,
flows through evergreens and flowering underwood, and is crossed
_a plusieures reprises_, by logs thrown from rock to rock. The
thundering noise of the still unseen falls suggests an idea of
danger while crossing these rude bridges, which hardly belongs to
them; having reached the other side of the creek, we continued
under the shelter of the evergreens for another quarter of a
mile, and then emerged upon a sight that drew a shout of wonder
and delight from us all. The rocky depths of an enormous river
were opened before our eyes and so huge are the black crags that
inclose it, that the thundering torrents of water rushing
through, over, and among the rocks of this awful chasm, appear
lost and swallowed up in it.

The river, or rather the bed of it, is here of great width, and
most frightful depth, lined on all sides with huge masses of
black rock of every imaginable form. The flood that roars
through them is seen only at intervals; here in a full heavy
sheet of green transparent water, falling straight and unbroken;
there dashing along a narrow channel, with a violence that makes
one dizzy to see and hear. In one place an unfathomed pool shows
a mirror of inky blackness, and as still as night; in another the
tortured twisted cataract tumbles headlong in a dozen different
torrents, half hid by the cloud of spray they send high into the
air. Despite this uproar, the slenderest, loveliest shrubs, peep
forth from among these hideous rocks, like children smiling in
the midst of danger. As we stood looking at this tremendous
scene, one of our friends made us remark, that the poison alder,
and the poison vine, threw their graceful, but perfidious
branches, over every rock, and assured us also that innumerable
tribes of snakes found their dark dwellings among them.

To call this scene beautiful would be a strange abuse of terms,
for it is altogether composed of sights and sounds of terror.
The falls of the Potomac are awfully sublime: the dark deep gulf
which yawns before you, the foaming, roaring cataract, the
eddying whirlpool, and the giddy precipice, all seem to threaten
life, and to appal the senses. Yet it was a great delight to sit
upon a high and jutting crag, and look and listen.

I heard with pleasure that it was to the Virginian side of the
Potomac that the "felicity hunters" of Washington resorted to see
this fearful wonder, for I never saw a spot where I should less
have liked the annoying "how d'ye," of a casual rencontre. One
could not even give or receive the exciting "is it not charming,"
which Rousseau talks of, for if it were uttered, it could not be
heard, or, if heard, would fall most earthly dull on the spirit,
when rapt by the magic of such a scene. A look, or the silent
pressure of the arm, is all the interchange of feeling that such
a scene allows, and in the midst of my terror and my pleasure, I
wished for the arm and the eye of some few from the other side of
the Atlantic.

The return from such a scene is more soberly silent than the
approach to it; but the cool and quiet hour, the mellowed tints
of some gay blossoms, and the closed bells of others, the drowsy
hum of the insects that survive the day, and the moist freshness
that forbids the foot to weary in its homeward path, have all
enjoyment in them, and seem to harmonize with the half wearied,
half excited state of spirits, that such an excursion is sure to
produce: and then the entering the cool and moonlit portico, the
well-iced sangaree, or still more refreshing coffee, that waits
you, is all delightful; and if to this be added the happiness of
an easy sofa, and a friend like my charming Mrs. S--, to soothe
you with an hour of Mozart the most fastidious European might
allow that such a day was worth waking for.


Small Landed Proprietors--Slavery

I now, for the first time since I crossed the mountains, found
myself sufficiently at leisure to look deliberately round, and
mark the different aspects of men and things in a region which,
though bearing the same name, and calling itself the same land,
was, in many respects, as different from the one I had left, as
Amsterdam from St. Petersburg. There every man was straining,
and struggling, and striving for himself (heaven knows!) Here
every white man was waited upon, more or less, by a slave.
There, the newly-cleared lands, rich with the vegetable manure
accumulated for ages, demanded the slightest labour to return the
richest produce; where the plough entered, crops the most
abundant followed; but where it came not, no spot of native
verdure, no native fruits, no native flowers cheered the eye;
all was close, dark, stifling forest. Here the soil had long
ago yielded its first fruits; much that had been cleared and
cultivated for tobacco (the most exhausting of crops) by the
English, required careful and laborious husbandry to produce any
return; and much was left as sheep-walks. It was in these spots
that the natural bounty of the soil and climate was displayed by
the innumerable wild fruits and flowers which made every dingle
and bushy dell seem a garden.

On entering the cottages I found also a great difference in the
manner of living. Here, indeed, there were few cottages without
a slave, but there were fewer still that had their beefsteak and
onions for breakfast, dinner, and supper. The herrings of the
bountiful Potomac supply their place. These are excellent
"relish," as they call it, when salted, and, if I mistake not,
are sold at a dollar and a half per thousand. Whiskey, however,
flows every where at the same fatally cheap rate of twenty cents
(about one shilling) the gallon, and its hideous effects are
visible on the countenance of every man you meet.

The class of people the most completely unlike any existing in
England, are those who, farming their own freehold estates, and
often possessing several slaves, yet live with as few of the
refinements, and I think I may say, with as few of the comforts
of life, as the very poorest English peasant. When in Maryland,
I went into the houses of several of these small proprietors,
and remained long enough, and looked and listened sufficiently,
to obtain a tolerably correct idea of their manner of living.

One of these families consisted of a young man, his wife, two
children, a female slave, and two young lads, slaves also. The
farm belonged to the wife, and, I was told, consisted of about
three hundred acres of indifferent land, but all cleared. The
house was built of wood, and looked as if the three slaves might
have overturned it, had they pushed hard against the gable end.
It contained one room, of about twelve feet square, and another
adjoining it, hardly larger than a closet; this second chamber
was the lodging-room of the white part of the family. Above
these rooms was a loft, without windows, where I was told the
"staying company" who visited them, were lodged. Near this
mansion was a "shanty," a black hole, without any window, which
served as kitchen and all other offices, and also as the lodging
of the blacks.

We were invited to take tea with this family, and readily
consented to do so. The furniture of the room was one heavy huge
table, and about six wooden chairs. When we arrived the lady was
in rather a dusky dishabille, but she vehemently urged us to be
seated, and then retired into the closet-chamber above mentioned,
whence she continued to address to us from behind the door, all
kinds of "genteel country visiting talk," and at length emerged
upon us in a smart new dress.

Her female slave set out the great table, and placed upon it cups
of the very coarsest blue ware, a little brown sugar in one, and
a tiny drop of milk in another, no butter, though the lady
assured us she had a "_deary_" and two cows. Instead of butter,
she "hoped we would fix a little relish with our crackers," in
ancient English, eat salt meat and dry biscuits. Such was the
fare, and for guests that certainly were intended to be honoured.
I could not help recalling the delicious repasts which I
remembered to have enjoyed at little dairy farms in England, not
_possessed_, but rented, and at high rents too; where the clean,
fresh-coloured, bustling mistress herself skimmed the delicious
cream, herself spread the yellow butter on the delightful brown
loaf, and placed her curds, and her junket, and all the delicate
treasures other dairy before us, and then, with hospitable pride,
placed herself at her board, and added the more delicate "relish"
of good tea and good cream. I remembered all this, and did not
think the difference atoned for, by the dignity of having my cup
handed to me by a slave. The lady I now visited, however,
greatly surpassed my quondam friends in the refinement of her
conversation. She ambled through the whole time the visit
lasted, in a sort of elegantly mincing familiar style of gossip,
which, I think, she was imitating from some novel, for I was told
she was a great novel reader, and left all household occupations
to be performed by her slaves. To say she addressed us in a tone
of equality, will give no adequate idea of her manner; I am
persuaded that no misgiving on the subject ever entered her head.
She told us that their estate was her divi-_dend_ of her father's
property. She had married a first cousin, who was as fine a
gentleman as she was a lady, and as idle, preferring hunting (as
they called shooting) to any other occupation. The consequence
was, that but a very small portion of the dividend was
cultivated, and their poverty was extreme. The slaves,
particularly the lads, were considerably more than half naked,
but the air of dignity with which, in the midst of all this
misery, the lanky lady said to one of the young negroes, "Attend
to your young master, Lycurgus," must have been heard to be
conceived in the full extent of its mock heroic.

Another dwelling of one of these landed proprietors was a hovel
as wretched as the one above described, but there was more
industry within it. The gentleman, indeed, was himself one of
the numerous tribe of regular whiskey drinkers, and was rarely
capable of any work; but he had a family of twelve children, who,
with their skeleton mother, worked much harder than I ever saw
negroes do. They were, accordingly, much less elegant and much
less poor than the heiress; yet they lived with no appearance of
comfort, and with, I believe, nothing beyond the necessaries of
life. One proof of this was, that the worthless father would not
suffer them to raise, even by their own labour, any garden
vegetables, and they lived upon their fat pork, salt fish, and
corn bread, summer and winter, without variation. This, I found,
was frequently the case among the farmers. The luxury of whiskey
is more appreciated by the men than all the green delicacies from
the garden, and if all the ready money goes for that and their
darling chewing tobacco, none can be spent by the wife for garden
seeds; and as far as my observation extended, I never saw any
American _menage_ where the toast and no toast question, would
have been decided in favour of the lady.

There are some small farmers who hold their lands as tenants, but
these are by no means numerous: they do not pay their rent in
money, but by making over a third of the produce to the owner; a
mode of paying rent, considerably more advantageous to the tenant
than the landlord; but the difficulty of obtaining _money_ in
payment, excepting for mere retail articles, is very great in all
American transactions. "I can pay in pro-_duce_," is the offer
which I was assured is constantly made on all occasions, and if
rejected, "Then I guess we can't deal," is the usual rejoinder.
This statement does not, of course, include the great merchants
of great cities, but refers to the mass of the people scattered
over the country; it has, indeed, been my object, in speaking of
the customs of the people, to give an idea of what they are

The effect produced upon English people by the sight of slavery
in every direction is very new, and not very agreeable, and it is
not the less painfully felt from hearing upon every breeze the
mocking words, "All men are born free and equal." One must be in
the heart of American slavery, fully to appreciate that
wonderfully fine passage in Moore's Epistle to Lord Viscount
Forbes, which describes perhaps more faithfully, as well as more
powerfully, the political state of America, than any thing that
has ever been written upon it.

Oh! Freedom, Freedom, how I hate thy cant!
Not eastern bombast, nor the savage rant
Of purpled madmen, were they numbered all
From Roman Nero, down to Russian Paul,
Could grate upon my ear so mean, so base,
As the rank jargon of that factious race,
Who, poor of heart, and prodigal of words,
Born to be slaves, and struggling to be lords,
But pant for licence, while they spurn controul,
And shout for rights, with rapine in their soul!
Who can, with patience, for a moment see
The medley mass of pride and misery,
Of whips and charters, manacles and rights,
Of slaving blacks, and democratic whites,
Of all the pyebald polity that reigns
In free confusion o'er Columbia's plains?
To think that man, thou just and gentle God!
Should stand before thee with a tyrant's rod,
O'er creatures like himself, with soul from thee,
Yet dare to boast of perfect liberty:
Away, away, I'd rather hold my neck
By doubtful tenure from a Sultan's beck,
In climes where liberty has scarce been named,
Nor any right, but that of ruling, claimed,
Than thus to live, where bastard freedom waves
Her fustian flag in mockery o'er slaves;
Where (motley laws admitting no degree
Betwixt the vilely slaved, and madly free)
Alike the bondage and the licence suit,
The brute made ruler, and the man made brute!

The condition of domestic slaves, however, does not generally
appear to be bad; but the ugly feature is, that should it be so,
they have no power to change it. I have seen much kind attention
bestowed upon the health of slaves; but it is on these occasions
impossible to forget, that did this attention fail, a valuable
piece of property would be endangered. Unhappily the slaves,
too, know this, and the consequence is, that real kindly feeling
very rarely can exist between the parties. It is said that
slaves born in a family are attached to the children of it, who
have grown up with them. This may be the case where the petty
acts of infant tyranny have not been sufficient to conquer the
kindly feeling naturally produced by long and early association;
and this sort of attachment may last as long as the slave can be
kept in that state of profound ignorance which precludes
reflection. The law of Virginia has taken care of this. The
State legislators may truly be said to be "wiser in their
generation than the children of light," and they ensure their
safety by forbidding light to enter among them. By the law of
Virginia it is penal to teach any slave to read, and it is penal
to be aiding and abetting in the act of instructing them. This
law speaks volumes. Domestic slaves are, generally speaking,
tolerably well fed, and decently clothed; and the mode in which
they are lodged seems a matter of great indifference to them.
They are rarely exposed to the lash, and they are carefully
nursed in sickness. These are the favourable features of their
situation. The sad one is, that they may be sent to the south
and sold. This is the dread of all the slaves north of
Louisiana. The sugar plantations, and more than all, the rice
grounds of Georgia and the Carolinas, are the terror of American
negroes; and well they may be, for they open an early grave to
thousands; and to _avoid loss_ it is needful to make their
previous labour pay their value.

There is something in the system of breeding and rearing negroes
in the Northern States, for the express purpose of sending them
to be sold in the South, that strikes painfully against every
feeling of justice, mercy, or common humanity. During my
residence in America I became perfectly persuaded that the state
of a domestic slave in a gentleman's family was preferable to
that of a hired American "help," both because they are more cared
for and valued, and because their condition being born with them,
their spirits do not struggle against it with that pining
discontent which seems the lot of all free servants in America.
But the case is widely different with such as, in their own
persons, or those of their children, "loved in vain," are exposed
to the dreadful traffic above mentioned. In what is their
condition better than that of the kidnapped negroes on the coast
of Africa? Of the horror in which this enforced migration is
held I had a strong proof during our stay in Virginia. The
father of a young slave, who belonged to the lady with whom we
boarded, was destined to this fate, and within an hour after it
was made known to him, he sharpened the hatchet with which he had
been felling timber, and with his right hand severed his left
from the wrist.

But this is a subject on which I do not mean to dilate; it has
been lately treated most judiciously by a far abler hand. [See
Captain Hall's Travels in America.] Its effects on the moral
feelings and external manners of the people are all I wish to
observe upon, and these are unquestionably most injurious. The
same man who beards his wealthier and more educated neighbour
with the bullying boast, "I'm as good as you," turns to his
slave, and knocks him down, if the furrow he has ploughed, or the
log he has felled, please not this stickler for equality. There
is a glaring falsehood on the very surface of such a man's
principles that is revolting. It is not among the higher classes
that the possession of slaves produces the worst effects. Among
the poorer class of landholders, who are often as profoundly
ignorant as the negroes they own, the effect of this plenary
power over males and females is most demoralising; and the kind
of coarse, not to say brutal, authority which is exercised,
furnishes the most disgusting moral spectacle I ever witnessed.
In all ranks, however, it appeared to me that the greatest and
best feelings of the human heart were paralyzed by the relative
positions of slave and owner. The characters, the hearts of
children, are irretrievably injured by it. In Virginia we
boarded for some time in a family consisting of a widow and her
four daughters, and I there witnessed a scene strongly indicative
of the effect I have mentioned. A young female slave, about
eight years of age, had found on the shelf of a cupboard a
biscuit, temptingly buttered, of which she had eaten a
considerable portion before she was observed. The butter had
been copiously sprinkled with arsenic for the destruction of
rats, and had been thus most incautiously placed by one of the
young ladies of the family. As soon as the circumstance was
known, the lady of the house came to consult me as to what had
best be done for the poor child; I immediately mixed a large cup
of mustard and water (the most rapid of all emetics) and got the
little girl to swallow it. The desired effect was instantly
produced, but the poor child, partly from nausea, and partly from
the terror of hearing her death proclaimed by half a dozen voices
round her, trembled so violently that I thought she would fall.
I sat down in the court where we were standing, and, as a matter
of course, took the little sufferer in my lap. I observed a
general titter among the white members of the family, while the
black stood aloof, and looked stupified. The youngest of the
family, a little girl about the age of the young slave, after
gazing at me for a few moments in utter astonishment, exclaimed
"My! If Mrs. Trollope has not taken her in her lap, and wiped her
nasty mouth! Why I would not have touched her mouth for two
hundred dollars!"

The little slave was laid on a bed, and I returned to my own
apartments; some time afterwards I sent to enquire for her, and
learnt that she was in great pain. I immediately went myself to
enquire farther, when another young lady of the family, the one
by whose imprudence the accident had occurred, met my anxious
enquiries with ill-suppressed mirth--told me they had sent for
the doctor--and then burst into uncontrollable laughter. The
idea of really sympathising in the sufferings of a slave appeared
to them as absurd as weeping over a calf that had been
slaughtered by the butcher. The daughters of my hostess were as
lovely as features and complexion could make them; but the
neutralizing effect of this total want of feeling upon youth and
beauty, must be witnessed, to be conceived.

There seems in general a strong feeling throughout America, that
none of the negro race can be trusted, and as fear, according to
their notions, is the only principle by which a slave can be
actuated, it is not wonderful if the imputation be just. But I
am persuaded that were a different mode of moral treatment
pursued, most important and beneficial consequences would result
from it. Negroes are very sensible to kindness, and might, I
think, be rendered more profitably obedient by the practice of it
towards them, than by any other mode of discipline whatever. To
emancipate them entirely throughout the Union cannot, I conceive,
be thought of, consistently with the safety of the country; but
were the possibility of amelioration taken into the consideration
of the legislature, with all the wisdom, justice, and mercy, that
could be brought to bear upon it, the negro population of the
Union might cease to be a terror, and their situation no longer
be a subject either of indignation or of pity.

I observed every where throughout the slave States that all
articles which can be taken and consumed are constantly locked
up, and in large families, where the extent of the establishment
multiplies the number of keys, these are deposited in a basket,
and consigned to the care of a little negress, who is constantly
seen following her mistress's steps with this basket on her arm,
and this, not only that the keys may be always at hand, but
because, should they be out of sight one moment, that moment
would infallibly be employed for purposes of plunder. It seemed
to me in this instance, as in many others, that the close
personal attendance of these sable shadows, must be very
annoying; but whenever I mentioned it, I was assured that no
such feeling existed, and that use rendered them almost
unconscious of their presence.

I had, indeed, frequent opportunities of observing this habitual
indifference to the presence of their slaves. They talk of them,
of their condition, of their faculties, of their conduct, exactly
as if they were incapable of hearing. I once saw a young lady,
who, when seated at table between a male and a female, was
induced by her modesty to intrude on the chair of her female
neighbour to avoid the indelicacy of touching the elbow of a man.
I once saw this very young lady lacing her stays with the most
perfect composure before a negro footman. A Virginian gentleman
told me that ever since he had married, he had been accustomed to
have a negro girl sleep in the same chamber with himself and his
wife. I asked for what purpose this nocturnal attendance was
necessary? "Good heaven!" was the reply, "if I wanted a glass of
water during the night, what would become of me?"


Fruits and Flowers of Maryland and Virginia--Copper-head

Our summer in Maryland, (1830), was delightful. The thermometer
stood at 94, but the heat was by no means so oppressive as what
we had felt in the West. In no part of North America are the
natural productions of the soil more various, or more beautiful.
Strawberries of the richest flavour sprung beneath our feet; and
when these past away, every grove, every lane, every field looked
like a cherry orchard, offering an inexhaustible profusion of
fruit to all who would take the trouble to gather it. Then
followed the peaches; every hedgerow was planted with them, and
though the fruit did not equal in size or flavour those ripened
on our garden walls, we often found them good enough to afford a
delicious refreshment on our long rambles. But it was the
flowers, and the flowering shrubs that, beyond all else, rendered
this region the most beautiful I had ever seen, (the Alleghany
always excepted.) No description can give an idea of the
variety, the profusion, the luxuriance of them. If I talk of
wild roses, the English reader will fancy I mean the pale
ephemeral blossoms of our bramble hedges; but the wild roses of
Maryland and Virginia might be the choicest favourites of the
flower garden. They are rarely very double, but the brilliant
eye atones for this. They are of all shades, from the deepest
crimson to the tenderest pink. The scent is rich and delicate;
in size they exceed any single roses I ever saw, often measuring
above four inches in diameter. The leaf greatly resembles that
of the china rose; it is large, dark, firm, and brilliant. The
sweetbrier grows wild, and blossoms abundantly; both leaves and
flowers are considerably larger than with us. The acacia, or as
it is there called, the locust, blooms with great richness and
profusion; I have gathered a branch less than a foot long, and
counted twelve full bunches of flowers on it. The scent is equal
to the orange flower. The dogwood is another of the splendid
white blossoms that adorn the woods. Its lateral branches are
flat, like a fan, and dotted all over, with star-like blossoms,
as large as those of the gum-cistus. Another pretty shrub, of
smaller size, is the poison alder. It is well that its noxious
qualities are very generally known, for it is most tempting to
the eye by its delicate fringe-like bunches of white flowers.
Even the touch of this shrub is poisonous, and produces violent
swelling. The arbor judae is abundant in every wood, and its
bright and delicate pink is the earliest harbinger of the
American spring. Azalias, white, yellow, and pink; kalmias of
every variety, the too sweet magnolia, and the stately
rhododendron, all grow in wild abundance there. The plant known
in England as the Virginian creeper, is often seen climbing to
the top of the highest forest trees, and bearing a large trumpet-
shaped blossom of a rich scarlet. The sassafras is a beautiful
shrub, and I cannot imagine why it has not been naturalized in
England, for it has every appearance of being extremely hardy.
The leaves grow in tufts, and every tuft contains leaves of five
or six different forms. The fruit is singularly beautiful; it
resembles in form a small acorn, and is jet black; the cup and
stem looking as if they were made of red coral. The graceful and
fantastic grapevine is a feature of great beauty, and its
wandering festoons bear no more resemblance to our well-trained
vines, than our stunted azalias, and tiny magnolias, to their
thriving American kindred.

There is another charm that haunts the summer wanderer in
America, and it is perhaps the only one found in greatest
perfection in the West: but it is beautiful every where. In a
bright day, during any of the summer months, your walk is through
an atmosphere of butterflies, so gaudy in hue, and so varied in
form, that I often thought they looked like flowers on the wing.
Some of them are very large, measuring three or four inches
across the wings; but many, and I think the most beautiful, are
smaller than ours. Some have wings of the most dainty lavender
colour; and bodies of black; others are fawn and rose colour; and
others again are orange and bright blue. But pretty as they are,
it is their number, even more than their beauty, that delights
the eye. Their gay and noiseless movement as they glance through
the air, crossing each other in chequered maze, is very
beautiful. The humming-bird is another pretty summer toy; but
they are not sufficiently numerous, nor do they live enough on
the wing to render them so important a feature in the
transatlantic show, as the rainbow-tinted butterflies. The
fire-fly was a far more brilliant novelty. In moist situations,
or before a storm, they are very numerous, and in the dark sultry
evening of a burning day, when all employment was impossible, I
have often found it a pastime to watch their glancing light, now
here, now there; now seen, now gone; shooting past with the
rapidity of lightning, and looking like a shower of falling
stars, blown about in the breeze of evening.

In one of our excursions we encountered and slew a copperhead
snake. I escaped treading on it by about three inches. While we
were contemplating our conquered foe, and doubting in our
ignorance if he were indeed the deadly copper-head we had so
often heard described, a farmer joined us, who, as soon as he
cast his eyes on our victim, exclaimed, "My! if you have not got
a copper. That's right down well done, they be darnation
beasts." He told us that he had once seen a copper-head bite
himself to death, from being teazed by a stick, while confined in
a cage where he could find no other victim. We often heard
terrible accounts of the number of these desperate reptiles to be
found on the rocks near the great falls of the Potomac; but not
even the terror these stories inspired could prevent our repeated
visits to that sublime scene; Luckily our temerity was never
punished by seeing any there. Lizards, long, large, and most
hideously like a miniature crocodile, I frequently saw, gliding
from the fissures of the rocks, and darting again under shelter,
perhaps beneath the very stone I was seated upon; but every one
assured us they were harmless. Animal life is so infinitely
abundant, and in forms so various, and so novel to European eyes,
that it is absolutely necessary to divest oneself of all the
petty terrors which the crawling, creeping, hopping, and buzzing
tribes can inspire, before taking an American summer ramble. It
is, I conceive, quite impossible for any description to convey an
idea of the sounds which assail the ears from the time the short
twilight begins, until the rising sun scatters the rear of
darkness, and sends the winking choristers to rest.

Be where you will (excepting in the large cities) the appalling
note of the bull-frog will reach you, loud, deep, and hoarse,
issuing from a thousand throats in ceaseless continuity of croak.
The tree-frog adds her chirping and almost human voice; the
kattiedid repeats her own name through the livelong night; the
whole tribe of locusts chirp, chirrup, squeak, whiz, and whistle,
without allowing one instant of interval to the weary ear; and
when to this the mosquito adds her threatening hum, it is
wonderful that any degree of fatigue can obtain for the listener
the relief of sleep. In fact, it is only in ceasing to listen
that this blessing can be found. I passed many feverish nights
during my first summer, literally in listening to this most
astounding mixture of noises, and it was only when they became
too familiar to excite attention, that I recovered my rest.

I know not by what whimsical link of association the
recapitulation of this insect din suggests the recollection of
other discords, at least as harsh and much more troublesome.

Even in the retirement in which we passed this summer, we were
not beyond reach of the election fever which is constantly raging
through the land. Had America every attraction under heaven that
nature and social enjoyment can offer, this electioneering
madness would make me fly it in disgust. It engrosses every
conversation, it irritates every temper, it substitutes party
spirit for personal esteem; and, in fact, vitiates the whole
system of society.

When a candidate for any office starts, his party endow him with
every virtue, and with all the talents. They are all ready to
peck out the eyes of those who oppose him, and in the warm and
mettlesome south-western states, do literally often perform this
operation: but as soon as he succeeds, his virtues and his
talents vanish, and, excepting those holding office under his
appointment, every man Jonathan of them set off again full gallop
to elect his successor. When I first arrived in America Mr. John
Quincy Adams was President, and it was impossible to doubt, even
from the statement of his enemies, that he was every way
calculated to do honour to the office. All I ever heard against
him was, that "he was too much of a gentleman;" but a new
candidate must be set up, and Mr. Adams was out-voted for no
other reason, that I could learn, but because it was "best to
change." "Jackson for ever!" was, therefore, screamed from the
majority of mouths, both drunk and sober, till he was elected;
but no sooner in his place, than the same ceaseless operation
went on again, with "Clay for ever" for its war-whoop.

I was one morning paying a visit, when a party of gentlemen
arrived at the same house on horseback. The one whose air
proclaimed him the chief of his party, left us not long in doubt
as to his business, for he said, almost in entering,

"Mr. P--, I come to ask for your vote."

"Who are you for, sir?" was the reply.

"Clay for ever!" the rejoinder; and the vote was promised.

This gentleman was candidate for a place in the state
representation, whose members have a vote in the presidential

I was introduced to him as an English woman: he addressed me
with, "Well madam, you see we do these things openly and
above-board here; you mince such matters more, I expect."

After his departure, his history and standing were discussed.
"Mr. M. is highly respectable, and of very good standing; there
can be no doubt of his election if he is a thorough-going
Clay-man," said my host.

I asked what his station was.

The lady of the house told me that his father had been a
merchant, and when this future legislator was a young man, he had
been sent by him to some port in the Mediterranean as his
super-cargo. The youth, being a free-born high-spirited youth,
appropriated the proceeds to his own uses, traded with great
success upon the fund thus obtained, and returned, after an
absence of twelve years, a gentleman of fortune and excellent
standing. I expressed some little disapprobation of this
proceeding, but was assured that Mr. M. was considered by every
one as a very "honourable man."

Were I to relate one-tenth part of the dishonest transactions
recounted to me by Americans, of their fellow-citizens and
friends, I am confident that no English reader would give me
credit for veracity it would, therefore, be very unwise to repeat
them, but I cannot refrain from expressing the opinion that
nearly four years of attentive observation impressed on me,
namely, that the moral sense is on every point blunter than with
us. Make an American believe that his next-door neighbour is a
very worthless fellow, and I dare say (if he were quite sure he
could make nothing by him) he would drop the acquaintance; but as
to what constitutes a worthless fellow, people differ on the
opposite sides of the Atlantic, almost by the whole decalogue.
There is, as it appeared to me, an obtusity on all points of
honourable feeling.

"Cervantes laughed Spain's chivalry away," but he did not laugh
away that better part of chivalry, so beautifully described by
Burke as "the unbought grace of life, the cheap defence of
nations, that chastity of honour, which feels a stain as a wound,
which ennobles whatever it touches, and by which vice itself
loses half its evil, by losing all its grossness." The better
part of chivalry still mixes with gentle blood in every part of
Europe, nor is it less fondly guarded than when sword and buckler
aided its defence. Perhaps this unbought grace of life is not to
be looked for where chivalry has never been. I certainly do not
lament the decadence of knight errantry, nor wish to exchange the
protection of the laws for that of the doughtiest champion who
ever set lance in rest; but I do, in truth, believe that this
knightly sensitiveness of honourable feeling is the best antidote
to the petty soul-degrading transactions of every day life, and
that the total want of it, is one reason why this free-born race
care so very little for the vulgar virtue called probity.


Journey to Philadelphia--Chesapeak and Delaware Canal--City of
Philadelphia--Miss Wright's Lecture

In the latter part of August, 1830, we paid a visit to
Philadelphia, and, notwithstanding the season, we were so
fortunate as to have both bright and temperate weather for the
expedition. The road from Washington to Baltimore, which was our
first day's journey, is interesting in summer from the variety of
luxuriance of the foliage which borders great parts of it.

We passed the night at Baltimore, and embarked next morning on
board a steam-boat for Philadelphia. The scenery of the Elk
river, upon which you enter soon after leaving the port of
Baltimore, is not beautiful. We embarked at six in the morning,
and at twelve reached the Chesapeak and Delaware canal; we then
quitted the steam-boat, and walked two or three hundred yards to
the canal, where we got on board a pretty little decked boat,
sheltered by a neat awning, and drawn by four horses. This canal
cuts across the state of Delaware, and connects the Chesapeak and
Delaware rivers: it has been a work of great expense, though the
distance is not more than thirteen miles; for a considerable part
of this distance the cutting has been very deep, and the banks
are in many parts thatched, to prevent their crumbling. At the
point where the cutting is deepest, a light bridge is thrown
across, which, from its great height, forms a striking object to
the travellers passing below it. Every boat that passes this
canal pays a toll of twenty dollars.

Nothing can be less interesting than that part of the state of
Delaware through which this cut passes, the Mississippi hardly
excepted. At one, we reached the Delaware river, at a point
nearly opposite Delaware Fort, which looks recently built, and
is very handsome. [This fort was destroyed by fire a few months
afterwards.] Here we again changed our vessel, and got on
board another of their noble steam-boats; both these changes
were made with the greatest regularity and dispatch.

There is nothing remarkable in the scenery of the Delaware. The
stream is wide and the banks are flat; a short distance before
you reach Philadelphia two large buildings of singular appearance
strike the eye. On enquiry I learnt that they were erected for
the purpose of sheltering two ships of war. They are handsomely
finished, with very neat roofs, and are ventilated by many
windows. The expense of these buildings must have been
considerable, but, as the construction of the vast machines they
shelter was more so, it may be good economy.

We reached Philadelphia at four o'clock in the afternoon. The
approach to this city is not so striking as that to Baltimore;
though much larger, it does not now show itself so well; it wants
domes and columns: it is, nevertheless, a beautiful city.
Nothing can exceed its neatness; the streets are well paved, the
foot-way, as in all the old American cities, is of brick, like
the old pantile walk at Tunbridge Wells. This is almost entirely
sheltered from the sun by the awnings, which, in all the
principal streets, are spread from the shop windows to the edge
of the pavement.

The city is built with extreme and almost wearisome regularity;
the streets, which run north and south, are distinguished by
numbers, from one to--I know not how many, but I paid a visit in
Twelth Street; these are intersected at right angles by others,
which are known by the names of various trees; Mulberry (more
commonly called Arch-street), Chesnut, and Walnut, appear the
most fashionable: in each of these there is a theatre. This mode
of distinguishing the streets is commodious to strangers, from
the facility it gives of finding out whereabouts you are; if you
ask for the United States Bank, you are told it is in Chesnut,
between Third and Fourth, and as the streets are all divided from
each other by equal distances, of about three hundred feet, you
are sure of not missing your mark. There are many handsome
houses, but none that are very splendid; they are generally of
brick, and those of the better order have white marble steps, and
some few, door frames of the same beautiful material; but, on the
whole, there is less display of it in the private dwellings than
at Baltimore.

The Americans all seem greatly to admire this city, and to give
it the preference in point of beauty to all others in the Union,
but I do not agree with them. There are some very handsome
buildings, but none of them so placed as to produce a striking
effect, as is the case both with the Capitol and the President's
house, at Washington. Notwithstanding these fine buildings, one
or more of which are to be found in all the principal streets,
the _coup d'oeil_ is every where the same. There is no Place de
Louis Quinze or Carrousel, no Regent Street, or Green Park, to
make one exclaim "how beautiful!" all is even, straight, uniform,
and uninteresting.

There is one spot, however, about a mile from the town, which
presents a lovely scene. The water-works of Philadelphia have
not yet perhaps as wide extended fame as those of Marley, but
they are not less deserving it. At a most beautiful point of the
Schuylkill River the water has been forced up into a magnificent
reservoir, ample and elevated enough to send it through the whole
city. The vast yet simple machinery by which this is achieved is
open to the public, who resort in such numbers to see it, that
several evening stages run from Philadelphia to Fair Mount for
their accommodation. But interesting and curious as this
machinery is, Fair Mount would not be so attractive had it not
something else to offer. It is, in truth, one of the very
prettiest spots the eye can look upon. A broad weir is thrown
across the Schuylkill, which produces the sound and look of a
cascade. On the farther side of the river is a gentleman's seat,
the beautiful lawns of which slope to the water's edge, and
groups of weeping-willows and other trees throw their shadows on
the stream. The works themselves are enclosed in a simple but
very handsome building of freestone, which has an extended front
opening upon a terrace, which overhangs the river: behind the
building, and divided from it only by a lawn, rises a lofty wall
of solid limestone rock, which has, at one or two points, been
cut into, for the passage of the water into the noble reservoir
above. From the crevices of this rock the catalpa was every
where pushing forth, covered with its beautiful blossom. Beneath
one of these trees an artificial opening in the rock gives
passage to a stream of water, clear and bright as crystal, which
is received in a stone basin of simple workmanship, having a cup
for the service of the thirsty traveller. At another point, a
portion of the water in its upward way to the reservoir, is
permitted to spring forth in a perpetual _jet d'eau_, that
returns in a silver shower upon the head of a marble _naiad_ of
snowy whiteness. The statue is not the work of Phidias, but its
dark, rocky background, the flowery catalpas which shadow it, and
the bright shower through which it shows itself, altogether make
the scene one of singular beauty; add to which, the evening on
which I saw it was very sultry, and the contrast of this cool
spot to all besides certainly enhanced its attraction; it was
impossible not to envy the nymph her eternal shower-bath.

On returning from this excursion we saw handbills in all parts of
the city announcing that Miss Wright was on that evening to
deliver her parting address to the citizens of Philadelphia, at
the Arch Street theatre, previous to her departure for Europe.
I immediately determined to hear her, and did so, though not
without some difficulty, from the crowds who went thither with
the same intention. The house, which is a very pretty one, was
filled in every part, including the stage, with a well dressed
and most attentive audience. There was a larger proportion of
ladies present than I ever saw on any other occasion in an
American theatre. One reason for this might be, perhaps, that
they were admitted gratis.

Miss Wright came on the stage surrounded by a body guard of
Quaker ladies, in the full costume of their sect. She was, as
she always is, startling in her theories, but powerfully
eloquent, and, on the whole, was much applauded, though one
passage produced great emotion, and some hissing. She stated
broadly, on the authority of Jefferson, furnished by his
posthumous works, that "Washington was not a Christian." One
voice from the crowded pit exclaimed, in an accent of
indignation, "Washington was a Christian." but it was evident
that the majority of the audience considered Mr. Jefferson's
assertion as a compliment to the country's idol, for the hissing
was soon triumphantly clapped down. General Washington himself,
however, gives a somewhat different account of his own
principles, for in his admirable farewell address on declining a
re-election to the Presidency, I find the following passage.

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political
prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.
In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who would
labour to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these
firmest props of the destinies of men and citizens. A volume
could not trace all their connections with private and public
felicity. And let us with caution indulge the supposition that
morality can be maintained without religion, reason and
experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can
prevail in exclusion of religious principle."

Whether Mr. Jefferson or himself knew best what his principles
were, I will not decide, but, at least, it appears fair, when
repeating one statement, to add the other also.


Washington Square--American Beauty--Gallery of Fine Arts--

Our mornings were spent, as all travellers' mornings must be, in
asking questions, and in seeing all that the answers told us it
was necessary to see. Perhaps this can be done in no city with
more facility than in Philadelphia; you have nothing to do but to
walk up one straight street, and down another, till all the
parallelograms have been threaded. In doing this you will see
many things worth looking at. The United States, and
Pennsylvania banks, are the most striking buildings, and are both
extremely handsome, being of white marble, and built after
Grecian models. The State House has nothing externally to
recommend it, but the room shown as that in which the declaration
of independence was signed, and in which the estimable Lafayette
was received half a century after he had shed his noble blood in
aiding to obtain it, is an interesting spot. At one end of this
room is a statue in wood of General Washington; on its base is
the following inscription:-

First in Peace,
First in War,
First in the hearts of his Countrymen.

There is a very pretty enclosure before the Walnut Street
entrance to the State House, with good well-kept gravel walks,
and many of their beautiful flowering trees. It is laid down in
grass, not in turf; that, indeed, is a luxury I never saw in
America. Near this enclosure is another of much the same
description, called Washington Square. Here there was an
excellent crop of clover; but as the trees are numerous, and
highly beautiful, and several commodious seats are placed beneath
their shade, it is, in spite of the long grass, a very agreeable
retreat from heat and dust. It was rarely, however, that I saw
any of these seats occupied; the Americans have either no
leisure, or no inclination for those moments of _delassement_
that all other people, I believe, indulge in. Even their drams,
so universally taken by rich and poor, are swallowed standing,
and, excepting at church, they never have the air of leisure or
repose. This pretty Washington Square is surrounded by houses on
three sides, but (lasso!) has a prison on the fourth; it is
nevertheless the nearest approach to a London square that is to
be found in Philadelphia.

One evening, while the rest of my party went to visit some
objects which I had before seen, I agreed to await their return
in this square, and sat down under a magnificent catalpa, which
threw its fragrant blossoms in all directions; the other end of
the bench was occupied by a young lady, who was employed in
watching the gambols of a little boy. There was something in her
manner of looking at me, and exchanging a smile when her young
charge performed some extraordinary feat of activity on the
grass, that persuaded me she was not an American. I do not
remember who spoke first, but we were presently in a full flow of
conversation. She spoke English with elegant correctness, but
she was a German, and with an ardour of feeling which gave her a
decidedly foreign air in Philadelphia, she talked to me of her
country, of all she had left, and of all she had found, or rather
of all she had not found, for thus ran her lament:-

"They do not love music. Oh no! and they never amuse
themselves--no; and their hearts are not warm, at least they
seem not so to strangers; and they have no ease, no forgetfulness
of business and of care--no, not for a moment. But I will not
stay long, I think, for I should not live." She told me that
she had a brother settled there as a merchant, and that she had
passed a year with him; but she was hoping soon to return to her
father land.

I never so strongly felt the truth of the remark, that expression
is the soul of beauty, as in looking at, and listening to this
young German. She was any thing but handsome; it is true she had
large eyes, full of gentle expression, but every feature was
irregular; but, oh! the charm of that smile, of that look of deep
feeling which animated every feature when she spoke of her own
Germany! The tone of her voice, the slight and graceful action
which accompanied her words, all struck me as so attractive, that
the half hour I passed with her was continually recurring to my
memory. I had often taxed myself with feeling something like
prejudice against the beautiful American women; but this half
hour set my conscience at rest; it is not prejudice which causes
one to feel that regularity of features is insufficient to
interest, or even to please, beyond the first glance. I
certainly believe the women of America to be the handsomest in
the world, but as surely do I believe that they are the least

We visited the nineteenth annual exhibition of the Pennsylvanian
academy of the fine arts; 431 was the number of objects
exhibited, which were so arranged as to fill three tolerably
large rooms, and one smaller called the director's room. There
were among the number about thirty engravings, and a much larger
proportion of water-colour drawings; about seventy had the P.A.
(Pensylvanian Academician) annexed to the name of the artist.

The principal historical composition was a large scripture piece
by Mr. Washington Alston. This gentleman is spoken of as an
artist of great merit, and I was told that his manner was much
improved since this picture was painted, (it bears date, 1813).
I believe it was for this picture Mr. Alston received a prize at
the British Gallery.

There was a portrait of a lady, which, in the catalogue, is
designated as "the White Plume," which had the reputation of
being the most admired in the collection, and the artist, Mr.
Ingham, is said to rank highest among the portrait-painters of
America. This picture is of very high finish, particularly the
drapery, which is most elaborately worked, even to the pile of
the velvet; the management of the light is much in the manner of
Good; but the drawing is very defective, and the contour, though
the face is a lovely one, hard and unfleshy. From all the
conversations on painting, which I listened to in America, I
found that the finish of drapery was considered as the highest
excellence, and next to this, the resemblance in a portrait; I
do not remember ever to have heard the words _drawing_ or
_composition_ used in any conversation on the subject.

One of the rooms of this academy has inscribed over its door,


The door was open, but just within it was a screen, which
prevented any objects in the room being seen from without. Upon
my pausing to read this inscription, an old woman who appeared to
officiate as guardian of the gallery, hustled up, and addressing
me with an air of much mystery, said, "Now, ma'am, now; this is
just the time for you--nobody can see you--make haste."

I stared at her with unfeigned surprise, and disengaging my arm,
which she had taken apparently to hasten my movements, I very
gravely asked her meaning.

"Only, ma'am, that ladies like to go into that room by
themselves, when there be no gentlemen watching them."

On entering this mysterious apartment, the first thing I
remarked, was written paper, deprecating the disgusting depravity
which had led some of the visitors to mark and deface the casts
in a most indecent and shameless manner. This abomination has
unquestionably been occasioned by the coarse-minded custom which
sends alternate groups of males and females into the room. Were
the antique gallery thrown open to mixed parties of ladies and
gentlemen, it would soon cease. Till America has reached the
degree of refinement which permits of this, the antique casts
should not be exhibited to ladies at all. I never felt my
delicacy shocked at the Louvre, but I was strangely tempted to
resent as an affront the hint I received, that I might steal a
glance at what was deemed indecent. Perhaps the arrangements for
the exhibition of this room, the feelings which have led to them,
and the result they have produced, furnish as good a specimen of
the kind of delicacy on which the Americans pride themselves, and
of the peculiarities arising from it, as can be found. The room
contains about fifty casts, chiefly from the antique.

In the director's room I was amused at the means which a poet had
hit upon for advertising his works, or rather HIS WORK, and not
less at the elaborate notice of it. His portrait was suspended
there, and attached to the frame was a paper inscribed thus:-

The Fredoniad, or Independence Preserved,
a political, naval, and military poem,
on the late war of 1812, in forty cantos;
the whole compressed in four volumes;
each volume averaging more than 305 pages,

I went to the Chesnut Street Theatre to see Mr. Booth, formerly
of Drury Lane, in the character of Lear, and a Mrs. Duff in
Cordelia; but I have seen too many Lears and Cordelias to be
easily pleased; I thought the whole performance very bad. The
theatre is of excellently moderate dimensions, and prettily
decorated. It was not the fashionable season for the theatres,
which I presume must account for the appearance of the company in
the boxes, which was any thing but elegant; nor was there more
decorum of demeanour than I had observed elsewhere; I saw one man
in the lower tier of boxes deliberately take off his coat that he
might enjoy the refreshing coolness of shirt sleeves; all the
gentlemen wore their hats, and the spitting was unceasing.

On another evening we went to the Walnut Street Theatre; the
chief attraction of the night was furnished by the performance of
a young man who had been previously exhibited as "a living
skeleton." He played the part of Jeremiah Thin, and certainly
looked the part well; and here I think must end my praise of the
evening's performances.

The great and most striking contrast between this city and those
of Europe, is perceived after sunset; scarcely a sound is heard;
hardly a voice or a wheel breaks the stillness. The Streets are
entirely dark, except where a stray lamp marks an hotel or the
like; no shops are open, but those of the apothecary, and here
and there a cook's shop; scarcely a step is heard, and for a note
of music, or the sound of mirth, I listened in vain. In leaving
the theatre, which I always did before the afterpiece, I saw not
a single carriage; the night of Miss Wright's lecture, when I
stayed to the end, I saw one. This darkness, this stillness, is
so great, that I almost felt it awful. As we walked home one
fine moonlight evening from the Chestnut Street house, we stopped
a moment before the United States Bank, to look at its white
marble columns by the subdued lights said to be so advantageous
to them; the building did, indeed, look beautiful; the
incongruous objects around were hardly visible, while the
brilliant white of the building, which by daylight is dazzling,
was mellowed into fainter light and softer shadow.

While pausing before this modern temple of Theseus, we remarked
that we alone seemed alive in this great city; it was ten
o'clock, and a most lovely cool evening, after a burning day, yet
all was silence. Regent Street, Bond Street, with their blaze of
gas-light _bijouterie_, and still more the Italian Boulevard of
Paris, rose in strong contrast on the memory; the light, which
outshines that of day--the gay, graceful, laughing throng--the
elegant saloons of Tortoni, with all their varieties of cooling
nectar--were all remembered. Is it an European prejudice to deem
that the solitary dram swallowed by the gentlemen on quitting an
American theatre indicates a lower and more vicious state of
manners, than do the ices so sedulously offered to the ladies on
leaving a French one?

The museum contains a good collection of objects illustrative of
natural history, and some very interesting specimens of Indian
antiquities; both here and at Cincinnati I saw so many things
resembling Egyptian relics, that I should like to see the origin
of the Indian nations enquired into, more accurately than has yet
been done.

The shops, of which there appeared to me to be an unusually large
proportion, are very handsome; many of them in a style of
European elegance. Lottery offices abound, and that species of
gambling is carried to a great extent. I saw fewer carriages in
Philadelphia than either at Baltimore or Washington, but in the
winter I was told they were more numerous.

Many of the best families had left the city for different
watering-places, and others were daily following. Long Branch is
a fashionable bathing place on the Jersey shore, to which many
resort, both from this place and from New York; the description
given of the manner of bathing appeared to me rather
extraordinary, but the account was confirmed by so many different
people, that I could not doubt its correctness. The shore, it
seems, is too bold to admit of bathing machines, and the ladies
have, therefore, recourse to another mode of ensuring the
enjoyment of a sea-bath with safety. The accommodation at Long
Branch is almost entirely at large boarding-houses, where all the
company live at a _table d'hote_. It is customary for ladies on
arriving to look round among the married gentlemen, the first
time they meet at table, and to select the one her fancy leads
her to prefer as a protector in her purposed visits to the realms
of Neptune; she makes her request, which is always graciously
received, that he would lead her to taste the briny wave; but
another fair one must select the same protector, else the
arrangement cannot be complete, as custom does not authorise
_tete a tete_ immersion.


Quakers--Presbyterians--Itinerant Methodist
Preacher--Market--Influence of females in society

I had never chanced, among all my wanderings, to enter a Quaker
Meeting-house; and as I thought I could no where make my first
visit better than at Philadelphia, I went under the protection of
a Quaker lady to the principal _orthodox_ meeting of the city.
The building is large, but perfectly without ornament; the men
and women are separated by a rail which divides it into two
equal parts; the meeting was very full on both sides, and the
atmosphere almost intolerably hot. As they glided in at their
different doors, I spied many pretty faces peeping from the prim
head gear of the females, and as the broad-brimmed males sat
down, the welcome Parney supposes prepared for them in heaven,
recurred to me,

"Entre done, et garde ton chapeau."

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