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Lands of the Slave and the Free by Henry A. Murray

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own sponge for such purposes, and my ire subsided gradually as he wrung
out the sponge by an endless succession of vigorous squeezes,
accompanying each with a word of apology. So much for my first night at

We will pass over breakfast, and away to the Capitol. There it stands,
on a rising knoll, commanding an extensive panoramic view of the town
and surrounding country. The building is on a grand scale, and faced
with marble, which, glittering in the sunbeams, gives it a very imposing
appearance; but the increasing wants of this increasing Republic have
caused two wings to be added, which are now in the course of
construction. Entrance to the Senate and House of Representatives was
afforded to us with that readiness and courtesy which strangers
invariably experience. But, alas! the mighty spirits who had, by their
power of eloquence, so often charmed and spell-bound the tenants of the
senate chamber--where were they? The grave had but recently closed over
the last of those giant spirits; Webster was no more! Like all similar
bodies, they put off and put off, till, in the last few days of the
session, a quantity of business is hustled through, and thus no scope is
left for eloquent speeches; all is matter of fact, and a very
business-looking body they appeared, each senator with his desk and
papers before him; and when anything was to be said, it was expressed in
plain, unadorned language, and free from hesitation. The only
opportunity offered for eloquence was, after the inauguration, on the
discussion of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty. I will not say that the
venerable senator for Delaware--Mr. Clayton--was eloquent, but he was
very clear both in language and delivery, and his bearing altogether
showed the honest conviction of a man who knew he was in the right, and
was certain he would be ultimately so judged. His principal antagonist
was the senator for Illinois--Mr. Douglas--one of the stars of the Young
American party, and an aspirant to the presidential honours of the
Republic. He is a stout-built man, rather short, with a massive
overhanging forehead. When he rose, he did so with the evident
consciousness that the gallery above him was filled with many of his
political school, and thrusting both hands well into the bottom of his
breeches pockets, he commenced his oration with an air of great
self-confidence, occasionally drawing one hand from its concealment to
aid his oratory by significant gesture. He made an excellent
clap-trap--or, as they term it in America, Buncombe--speech, aiding and
emphasizing, by energetic shakings of the forefinger, such passages as
he thought would tell in the gallery above; his voice was loud and
clear, his language blunt and fluent, and amusingly replete with "dares
and daren't;" "England's in the wrong, and she knows it;" if the
original treaty, by which America was to have had the canal exclusively,
had been concluded, "America would have had a rod to hold over all the
nations." Then came "manifest destiny;" then the mare's nest called
"Monroe doctrine;" then more Buncombe about England; and then ... he sat
down--satisfied, no doubt, that he had very considerably increased his
chances for the "tenancy of the White House."

I regretted much not being able to hear Mr. Everett speak, for I believe
he is admitted on all hands to be the most eloquent and classical orator
within the precincts of the senate at the present moment; but I was
obliged to leave Washington before he addressed the assembly. The
absence of all signs of approbation or disapprobation, while a senator
is addressing the House, gives a coldness to the debate, and I should
think must have a damping effect upon the enthusiasm of the speaker. The
"Hear hears" and "cheers" of friends, and the "Oh ohs" or "laughter" of
opponents, certainly give an air of much greater excitement to the
scene, and act as an encouragement to the orator. But such exclamations
are not allowed either in the Senate or the House of Representatives.
The chamber of the latter is of course much larger than that of the
Senators, and, as far as I can judge, a bad room to hear in. When the
new wings are finished, they will move into one of them, and their
present chamber is, I believe, to be a library. I had no opportunity of
hearing any of the oratory of this house, as they were merely hustling a
few money and minor bills through, previous to the inauguration, which
closed their session. They also have each a desk and chair; but with
their increasing numbers I fear that any room large enough to afford
them such accommodation must be bad for speaking in.--Let us now turn to
the great event of the day, i.e., the Inauguration.

The senators are all in their places; ministers of foreign Powers and
their suites are seated on the row of benches under the gallery; the
expectant masses are waiting outside; voices are suddenly hushed, and
all eyes turned towards the door of the senate-chamber; the herald walks
in, and says, "The President Elect of the United States." The chosen of
his country appears with as little form or ceremony as a gentleman
walking into an ordinary drawing-room. All rise as he enters.

I watched the man of the day as he proceeded to his seat on the floor
of the senate. There was neither pride in his eye nor nervousness in his
step, but a calm and dignified composure, well fitted to his high
position, as though gratified ambition were duly tempered by a deep
sense of responsibility. The procession moved out in order to a platform
in front of the Capitol, the late able president walking side by side
with his untried successor, and apparently as calm in resigning office
as his successor appeared to be in entering upon it. Of the inaugural
speech I shall say nothing, as all who care to read it have done so long
since. But one thing should always be remembered, and that is, that the
popular candidates here are all compelled to "do a little Buncombe," and
therefore, under the circumstances, I think it must be admitted there
was as little as was possible. That speech tolled the knell, for the
present at least, of the Whig party, and ushered in the reign of General
Pierce and the Democrats.

Since these lines were penned, the "chosen of the nation" has passed
through his ordeal of four years' administration; and, whatever private
virtues may have adorned his character, I imagine the unanimous voice of
his countrymen would unhesitatingly declare, that so utterly inefficient
a man never filled the presidential chair. He has been succeeded by Mr.
Buchanan, who was well known as the accredited Minister to the Court of
St. James's, and who also made himself ludicrously conspicuous as one of
the famous Ostend manifesto party. However, his talents are undoubted,
and his public career renders it probable that, warned by the failure of
his predecessor, his presidency will reflect more credit upon the
Republic than that of Mr. Pierce. Mr. B.'s inaugural address has been
published in this country, and is, in its way, a contradictory
curiosity. He urges, in diplomacy, "frankness and clearness;" while, to
his fellow-citizens, he offers some very wily diplomatic sentences.
Munroe doctrine and manifest destiny are not named; but they are
shadowed forth in language worthy of a Talleyrand. First, he glories in
his country having never extended its territory by the sword(?); he then
proceeds to say--what everybody says in anticipation of conquest,
annexation, or absorption--"Our past history forbids that, in future, we
should acquire territory, unless this be sanctioned by the laws of
justice and honour" (two very elastic laws among nations). "Acting on
this principle, no nation will have a right to interfere, or to
complain if, in the progress of events, we shall still further extend
our possessions." Leaving these frank and clear sentences to the
consideration of the reader, we return from the digression.

The crowd outside was very orderly, but by no means so numerous as I had
expected; I estimated them at 8000; but a friend who was with me, and
well versed in such matters, calculated the numbers at nearly 10,000,
but certainly, he said, not more. The penny Press, by way of doing
honour to their new ruler, boldly fixed the numbers at 40,000--that was
their bit of Buncombe. One cause, probably, of the crowd not being
greater, was the drizzling snow, which doubtlessly induced many to be
satisfied with seeing the procession pass along Pennsylvania Avenue.

I cannot help remarking here, how little some of their eminent men know
of England. A senator, of great and just reputation, came to me during
the ceremony, and said, "There is one thing which must strike you as
very remarkable, and that is, that we have no soldiers here to keep
order upon an occasion of such political importance." He was evidently
unaware that, not only was such the case invariably in England, but that
soldiers are confined to barracks, or even removed during the excitement
of elections. There is no doubt that the falsehoods and exaggerations
with which the Press here teems, in matters referring to England, are
sufficiently glaring to be almost self-confuting; but if they can so
warp the mind of an enlightened senator, how is it to be wondered at
that, among the masses, many suck in all such trash as if it were Gospel
truth, and look upon England as little else than a land of despotism;
but of that, more anon. The changing of presidents in this country
resembles, practically speaking, the changing of a premier in England;
but, thank Heaven! the changing of a premier in England does not involve
the same changes as does the changing of a president here.

I believe it was General Jackson who first introduced the practice of a
wholesale sweeping out of opponents from all situations, however small;
and this bright idea has been religiously acted upon by all succeeding
presidents. The smallest clerkships, twopenny-halfpenny postmasterships
in unheard-of villages--all, all that can be dispensed with, must make
way for the friends of the incomers to power. Fancy a new premier in
England making a clean sweep of nine-tenths of the clerks, &c., at the
Treasury, Foreign-office, Post-office, Custom-house, Dockyards, &c., &c.
Conceive the jobbing such a system must lead to, not to mention the
comparative inefficiency it must produce in the said departments, and
the ridiculous labour it throws upon the dispensers of these gifts of
place. The following quotation may be taken as a sample:--

OUR CUSTOM-HOUSE--WHAT A HAUL.--The _New Hampshire Patriot_, in an
article on proscription, thus refers to the merciless decapitation of
the Democrats of our Custom-house, by Mr. Collector Maxwell:--

"Take the New York Custom-house as a sample. There are 626 officers
there, exclusive of labourers; and it appears from the records that,
since the Whigs came into power, 427 removals have been there made.
And to show the greediness of the Whig applicants for the spoils, it
need only be stated that, on the very day the collector was sworn into
office he made forty-two removals. He made six before he was sworn. In
thirty days from the time of his entrance upon his duties he removed
220 persons; and, in the course of a few months, he had made such a
clean sweep, that only sixty-two Democrats remained in office, with
564 Whigs! A like sweep was made in other custom-houses; and so clean
work did this 'anti-proscription' administration make in the offices,
that a Democrat could scarcely be found in an office which a Whig
could be found to take."

This is ominous, for the 564 Whigs to be turned over to the charity of
the new collector. Alas! the Democrats are hungry--hard shells and
soft shells--and charity begins at home. In the course of the coming
month we may anticipate a large emigration from the custom-house to
California and Australia. What a blessing to ejected office-holders
that they can fall back upon the gold mines! Such is the beautiful
working of our beneficent institutions! What a magnificent country!

As a proof of the excitement which these changes produce, I remember
perfectly there being ten to one more fuss and telegraphing between
Washington and New York, as to who should be collector at the latter
port, than would exist between London and Paris if a revolution was in
full swing at the latter. To this absurd system may no doubt be partly
attributed the frequent irregularities of their inland postage; but it
is an evil which, as far as I can judge from observation and
conversation, will continue till, with an increasing population and
increase of business, necessity re-establishes the old and better order
of things. Political partisanship is so strong that nothing but
imperative necessity can alter it.

The cabmen here, as in every other place I ever visited, make strenuous
efforts to do the new comers. They tried it on me; so, to show them how
knowing I was, I quoted their legitimate fares. "Ah, sir," says Cabby,
"that's very well; but, you see, we charges more at times like these." I
replied, "You've no right to raise your charges; by what authority do
you do it?" "Oh, sir, we meet together and agree what is the proper
thing." "But," says I, "the authorities are the people to settle those
things." "The authorities don't know nothing at all about it; we can
manage our own matters better than they." And they all stoutly stuck to
their own charges, the effect of which was that I scarcely saw a dozen
cabs employed during the ten days I was there.

Nothing could exceed the crowd in the streets, in the hotels, and
everywhere; the whole atmosphere was alive with the smoke of the
fragrant weed, and all the hotels were afloat with the juice thereof.
The city has repeatedly been called the City of Magnificent Distances;
but anything so far behind its fellow cities cannot well be imagined. It
sounds incredible--nevertheless, it is a fact--that, except from the
Capitol to the "White House," there is not a street-light of any kind,
or a watchman. I lost my way one evening, and wandered all over the town
for two hours, without seeing light or guardian of any kind. I suppose
this is intended as a proof of the honest and orderly conduct of the
inhabitants, but I fear it must also be taken as a proof of their
poverty or want of energy. Whatever the reason may be, it certainly is a
reflection on the liberality of the Government, that the capital of this
Great Union should be the worst paved, worst lit, and worst guarded in
the whole Republic.

The system of sweeping changes on the election of a new president tends
materially to stop any increase of householders, the uncertain tenure of
office making the _employes_ prefer clustering in hotels and
boarding-houses to entering on a short career of housekeeping, which
will, of course, militate against any steady increase of the city, and
thus diminish the tax-payers. There are several hotels, but they will
not stand the least comparison with those in any of the leading towns of
the Union. Like the hotels in London, they are crammed during the
season--i.e., session--and during the rest of the year are
comparatively empty, and consequently do not pay very well; but they
are not the only establishments that make hay during the session; if
report speaks truly, the bars and gambling-houses reap an immense
harvest from the representatives of the people in both houses of

I amused myself here, as I often had done in other towns, by taking a
cigar in some decent-looking shop, and then having a chat with the
owner. On this occasion the subject of conversation was drinking in the
States. He said, in reply to a question I put to him, "Sir, a gentleman
must live a long time in the country before he can form the slightest
idea of the frightful extent to which drinking is carried, even by the
decently educated and well-to-do classes. I do not say that nine-tenths
of the people die drunk, but I firmly believe that with that proportion
death has been very materially hastened from perpetual drinks. It is one
of the greatest curses of this country, and I cannot say that I believe
it to be on the decrease." One reason, doubtless, why it is so
pernicious, is the constant habit of drinking before breakfast. That he
was correct in his per-centage, I do not pretend to say; but I certainly
have seen enough of the practice to feel sure it must have a most
pernicious effect on very many. To what extent it is carried on by the
lowest classes I had no opportunity of judging.

The following observations, however, made by so high an authority as Mr.
Everett, must be admitted as a convincing proof that education has not
been able to cope effectually with drunkenness. Speaking of ardent
spirits, he says:--

"What has it done in ten years in the States of America? First, it has
cost the nation a direct expense of 120,000,000l. Secondly, it has
cost the nation an indirect expense of 120,000,000l. Thirdly, it has
destroyed 300,000 lives. Fourthly, it has sent 100,000 children to the
poor-house. Fifthly, it has consigned at least 150,000 persons to
jails and penitentiaries. Sixthly, it has made at least a thousand
maniacs. Seventhly, it has instigated to the commission of at least
fifteen hundred murders. Eighthly, it has caused 2000 persons to
commit suicide. Ninthly, it has burnt or otherwise destroyed property
to the amount of 2,000,000l. Tenthly, it has made 200,000 widows,
and 1,000,000 of orphan children."

When I turn from the contemplation of this sad picture, and think how
many fall victims to the same vice in my own country, I cannot help
feeling that the "myriad-minded poet" wrote the following lines as an
especial warning and legacy to the Anglo-Saxon and the Celt:--

"Oh, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their
brains! that we should, with joy, pleasance, revel, and applause,
transform ourselves into beasts!"

I was very sorry time did not admit of my witnessing one of the new
president's levees, as I much wished to see the olla podrida of
attendants. It must be a quaint scene; the hack-cabman who drives you to
the door will get a boy to look after his shay, and go in with you;
tag-rag and bob-tail, and all their family, go in precisely as they
like; neither soap nor brush is a necessary prelude. By late accounts
from America, it appears that at Mr. Pierce's last levee a gentleman
charged another with picking his pocket: the latter went next day with a
friend to explain the mistake, which the former refusing to accept, he
was struck by the accused, and, in return, shot him dead on the spot. A
pleasant state of society for the metropolis of a civilized community!
How changed since the days of Washington and knee-breeches! It should
however be mentioned as highly creditable to the masses, that they
rarely take advantage of their rights. The building is the size of a
moderately wealthy country gentleman's house in England, and has one or
two fine reception-rooms; between it and the water a monument is being
raised to Washington. I fear it will be a sad failure; the main shaft or
column suggests the idea of a semaphore station, round the base whereof
the goodly things of sculpture are to be clustered. As far as I could
glean from conversation with Americans, they seem themselves to
anticipate anything but success.

The finest buildings here are the Capitol, Patent-office, and
Post-office. Of these the Patent-office, which is modelled after the
Parthenon, is the only one that has any pretensions to architecture. I
fear the Anglo-Saxon of these later days, whether in the old country or
here, is destined to leave no solid traces of architectural
taste--_vide_ National Gallery, London, and Post-office, Washington.

Having seen the lions of Washington, and enjoyed the hospitalities of
our able and agreeable minister, I again trusted myself to the iron
horse, and started for Baltimore. During my residence in Washington, I
had revelled latterly in the comfort of a lodging free from the horrors
of American inns. Profiting by this experience, I had applied to a
friend at Baltimore to engage me rooms in some quiet place there; by
this precaution I got into Guy's, in Monument-square. He keeps a
restaurant, but has a few beds for friends or old customers. I found
myself most comfortably housed, and the living of the cleanest and the
best; besides which, my kind friends gave me the _entree_ of the Club,
which was almost next door. The hospitalities of which I had enjoyed a
foretaste in November last, now thickened upon me, and though the season
of Lent had put a stop to large and general parties, enough was still
left to make my stay very agreeable.

The town is beautifully situated on undulating ground, commanding a
lovely view of the hay; the streets are of a rational breadth, the town
is rapidly increasing, the new buildings are all large and airy, and
everything indicates prosperity. The cuisine of Baltimore has a very
high, and, as far as I can judge, a very just reputation; not merely
Maxwell Point canvas-back ducks, but the famous Terrapin also, lend
their aid to the enjoyment of the inner man. In fact, so famous is the
Terrapin, that a wicked wag detailed to me an account of a highly
improper scene which he said took place once in the Episcopal Church
here, viz., a gentleman who had a powerful voice and generally led the
responses, had his heart and mind so full of the luscious little animal,
that by a sad fatality he substituted "Terrapin" for "Seraphin" in the
response; and so far was any one from remarking it, that the whole
congregation repeated the mistake after him. The curly twinkle in the
eye with which my friend told me the story, leaves an impression in my
mind that it may be an exaggeration.

While here, I observed a play-bill with "The White Slave of England"
printed on it, evidently intended as a set-off against the dramatizing
of "Uncle Tom" in London, at some of our penny theatres. Of course I
went to see it, and never laughed more in all my life.

The theatre was about the size of a six-stalled stable, and full of
rowdies, &c.--no ladies; our party had a private-box. The tragedy opens
by revealing the under-ground of a coal-pit in England, where is seen a
fainting girl, &c. &c.: the girl is, of course, well licked by a driver;
an explosion takes place; dead and dying bodies are heaped together,
the driver says, "D---- 'em, let 'em lie; we'll get plenty more from the
poor-house." These mines belong to a Lord Overstone; an American arrives
with a negro servant, whom he leaves to seek his own amusement. He then
calls on Lord Overstone, and obtains permission to visit the mines;
there he finds the girl alluded to above all but dying, and, of course,
rescues her. In the meantime, the nigger calls on Lord Overstone as a
foreign prince, is immensely _feted_, the Duchess of Southernblack and
her friend Lady Cunning are invited to meet his Royal Highness; the
rescued girl is claimed as a slave by Lord Overstone; philanthropic
Jonathan, after some difficulty, succeeds in keeping her, having first
ordered Lord Overstone's servants to the right-about with all the
swagger of a northern negro-driver. It appears that Jonathan was
formerly a boy in the mines himself, and had conceived an affection for
this girl. Lord Overstone finds out that Jonathan has papers requisite
for him to prove his right to his property; he starts with his family
for America, to visit him on his plantation. There the niggers exhibit a
paradise such as never was; nearly the first person is his Royal
Highness the nigger servant. Lady Overstone faints when he comes up to
shake hands. Business proceeds; Lord Overstone bullies,--Jonathan is the
milk of mildness. At last it turns out the girl is a daughter of Lord
Overstone, and that the Yankee is the owner by right of Lord Overstone's
property. He delivers a Buncombe speech, resigning his rights, and
enlarging on the higher privilege of being in the land of true
freedom--a slave plantation. The audience scream frantically, Lord and
Lady Overstone go back humbled, and the curtain falls on one of the most
absurd farces I ever saw; not the least absurd part being Jonathan
refusing to take possession of his inheritance of 17,000l. a-year.
Truly, "Diogenes in his tub" is nothing to "Jonathan in his sugar-cask."

The population of Maryland has increased in whites and free negroes, and
decreased in slaves, between the years 1800 and 1852, in the following

Whites. Free Negroes. Slaves.
1800 216,000 8,000 103,000
1852 500,000 74,008 90,000.

The state has nearly a thousand educational establishments; and there
are sixty daily and weekly papers for the instruction of the community.
Baltimore has a population of 140,000 whites, 25,000 free blacks, 3000
slaves. Among this population are nearly 30,000 Germans and 20,000
Irish. The value of the industrial establishments of the city is
estimated at considerably above 4,000,000l. From the above, I leave
the reader to judge of its prosperity.

The people in Baltimore who enjoy the widest--if not the most
enviable--reputation, are the fire companies. They are all volunteer,
and their engines are admirable. They are all jealous as Kilkenny cats
of one another, and when they come together, they scarcely ever lose an
opportunity of getting up a bloody fight. They are even accused of doing
occasionally a little bit of arson, so as to get the chance of a row.
The people composing the companies are almost entirely rowdies, and
apparently of any age above sixteen: when extinguishing fires, they
exhibit a courage and reckless daring that cannot be surpassed, and they
are never so happy as when the excitement of danger is at its highest.
Their numbers are so great, that they materially affect the elections of
all candidates for city offices; the style of persons chosen, may hence
be easily guessed. The cup of confusion is fast filling up; and unless
some knowing hands can make a hole in the bottom and drain off the
dregs, the overflow will be frightful.


[Footnote AC: I had had the good fortune to pick up an agreeable
companion on board the "Isabel"--the brother of one of our most
distinguished members of the House of Commons--who, like myself, had
been visiting Cuba, and was hastening to Washington, to be present at
the inauguration of the President Elect, and with him I spent many very
pleasant days.]


_Philadelphia and Richmond_.

Having spent a very pleasant time at Baltimore, I took rail for
Philadelphia, the city of "loving brotherhood," being provided with
letters to several most amiable families in that town. I took up my
abode at Parkinson's--a restaurant in Chestnut-street--where I found the
people very civil and the house very clean; but I saw little of the
inside of the house, except at bed and breakfast time. The hospitality
for which this city is proverbial soon made me as much at home as if I
had been a resident there all my life. Dinner-party upon dinner-party
succeeded each other like waves of the ocean; the tables groaned under
precious vintages of Madeira, dating back all but to the Flood. I have
never before or since tasted such delicious wine, and in such profusion,
and everybody stuck to it with such leech-like tenacity. On one
occasion, having sat down to dinner at two o'clock, I found myself
getting up from table half an hour after midnight, and quite as fresh as
when I had sat down. There was no possibility of leaving the hospitable
old General's mahogany.[AD] One kind friend, Mr. C.H. Fisher, insisted
that I must make his house my hotel, either he or his wife were always
at dinner at four o'clock, and my cover was always laid. The society of
his amiable lady and himself made it too tempting an offer to refuse,
and I need scarcely say, it added much to the pleasure of my stay in
Philadelphia. The same kind friend had also a seat for me always in his
box at the opera, where that most charming and lady-like of actresses,
the Countess Rossi,[AE] with her sweet voice, was gushing forth
soft melody to crammed houses. On every side I met nothing but
kindness. Happening one day at dinner to mention incidentally, that I
thought the butter unworthy of the reputation of Philadelphia--for it
professes to stand pre-eminent in dairy produce--two ladies present
exclaimed, "Well!" and accompanied the expression by a look of active
benevolence. The next morning, as I was sitting down to breakfast, a
plate arrived from each of the rivals in kindness; the dew of the
morning was on the green leaf, and underneath, such butter as my mouth
waters at the remembrance of, and thus it continued during my whole
stay. The club doors, with all its conveniences--and to a solitary
stranger they are very great--were thrown open to me: in short, my
friends left me nothing to wish, except that my time had permitted me a
longer enjoyment of their hospitalities.

The streets of Philadelphia, which run north and south from the
Schuylkill to the Delaware, are named after the trees, a row whereof
grow on each side; but whether from a poetic spirit, or to aid the
memory, some of the names are changed, that the following couplet,
embracing the eight principal ones, may form a handy guide to the
stranger or the resident:--

"Chestnut, walnut, spruce, and pine,
Market, arch, race, and vine."

Mulberry, and sassafras, and juniper, would have dished the poetry. The
cross-streets are all called by numbers; thus any domicile is readily
found. The principal traverse street is an exception, being called
"Broad;" it looks its name well, and extends beyond the town into the
country: strange as it may seem to those who associate stiff white
bonnets, stiff coat-collars, and broad-brimmed hats, with Philadelphia,
on the extremity of this street every Sunday afternoon, all the famous
trotters may be seen dashing along at three-minute pace. The country
round about is pretty and undulating, and the better-to-do inhabitants
of Philadelphia have very snug little country places, in which they
chiefly reside during the summer, and to which, at other seasons, they
often adjourn upon the Saturday, to enjoy the quiet of Sunday in the

One of the first objects of interest I went to visit was the Mint, the
labours of which are of course immensely increased since the working of
the Californian mines. Men are coming in every day with gold in greater
or lesser quantities; it is first assayed, and the per-centage for this
work being deducted, the value is paid in coin to the owner. While I was
there, I saw a wiry-looking fellow arrive, in bright hat and brighter
satin waistcoat, with a beard as bushy as an Indian jungle, and as red
as the furnace into which his precious burden was to be thrown. Two
small leather bags were carefully taken out of a waist-belt, their
contents emptied into a tin can, a number placed in the can, and a
corresponding number given him--no words spoken: in two days he would
return, and, producing his number, receive value in coin. The dust would
all have gone into a good-sized coffee-cup. I asked the officer about
the value. "400l., sir." He had left a New England state some eight
months previous, and was going home to invest in land.

What strikes a stranger most on entering the Mint, is the absence of all
extra defence round it; the building appears as open as any London
house. The process is, of course, essentially the same as elsewhere; but
I was astonished when the director told me that the parties employed in
the establishment are never searched on leaving, though the value of
hundreds of thousands of dollars is daily passing through their hands in
every shape. The water in which the workmen wash their hands runs into a
tank below, and from this water, value to the amount of from 60l. to
80l. is extracted annually. The sweepings, &c., after the most careful
sifting, are packed in casks and sold--chiefly, I believe, to European
Jews--for 4000l. annually. The only peculiarity in the Philadelphian
Mint is a frame-work for counting the number of pieces coined, by which
ingenious contrivance--rendered necessary by Californian pressure--one
man does the work of from twenty to thirty. The operation of weighing
the several pieces of coin being of a delicate nature, it is confided to
the hands of the fair sex, who occupy a room to themselves, where each
daughter of Eve sits with the gravity of a Chancellor opposite a
delicate pair of scales. Most parts of the establishment are open to the
public from ten till two, and they are only excluded from those portions
of the building where intrusion would impede the operations in progress.

This city, like most others in America, is liberally supplied with
water. Magnificent basins are built in a natural mound at Fairmount,
nearly opposite an old family mansion of the Barings, and the water is
forced up into these basins from the river by powerful water-wheels,
worked by the said river, which is dammed up for the purpose of
obtaining sufficient fall, as the stream is sometimes very low.

Perhaps the most interesting, and certainly the most imposing sight in
the neighbourhood of Philadelphia, is "The Gerard College." So singular
and successful a career as that of the founder deserves a slight record.

Stephen Gerard was born of French parents, at Bordeaux, the 21st of May,
1750, and his home--owing to his mother's place having soon been filled
by a step-mother--appears to have left no pleasant reminiscences. At
fourteen years of age he took to the sea. Subsequently, as master and
part owner of a small vessel, he arrived, in the year 1777, at
Philadelphia for the first time, and commenced business as a merchant;
but it appears that in 1786, he took command of one of his own vessels,
leaving the management of his mercantile house to his brother. Returning
in 1788, he dissolved partnership with his brother, and bade a final
adieu to the sea. In the year 1793, the yellow fever raged with fury at
Philadelphia; as the ravage increased, the people fled aghast. A
hospital was organized at Bush Hill, in the neighbourhood, but all was
confusion, for none could be found to face the dreaded enemy, till
Stephen Gerard and Peter Helm boldly volunteered their services at the
risk of their lives. Stephen Gerard was married, but his wife was
consigned to an asylum in 1790, after various ineffectual efforts for
her cure; there she remained till her death, in 1815. His mercantile
pursuits prospered in every direction, and he soon became one of the
most wealthy and influential men in the community; he was possessed of a
vigorous constitution, and was extremely regular and abstemious in his
habits. In 1830 he was knocked down by a passing vehicle as he was
crossing the street; by this accident he was severely injured in the
head, from which he was slowly recovering, when, in 1831, he was seized
with violent influenza, and ultimately pneumonia, of which he died, the
26th of December, aged eighty-one.

His character appears to have been a curious compound. The assiduity
with which he amassed wealth, coupled with his abstemious habits, and
his old knee-breeches patched all over--and still to be seen in the
college--strongly bespoke the miser; while his contributions to public
works, and his liberal transactions in money matters, led to an opposite
conclusion; and from his noble conduct during the yellow fever it is
reasonable to infer he was a humane man. I do not wish to judge people
uncharitably, but, I must say, I can allow but little credit to a man
who legacies the bulk of his fortune away from his relations when he can
no longer enjoy it himself. Mr. Gerard had very many relatives; let us
see how he provided for them. The _resume_ of his will may be thus
stated: he died worth 1,500,000l., and thus disposes of it:--

Erection and endowment of college L400,000
Different institutions of charity 23,200
To his relatives and next of kin 28,000
City of Philadelphia, for improvements 100,000
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, for
internal improvements 60,000
Sundry friends, &c. 13,000

The residue left to the city of Philadelphia, for improvement and
maintenance of his college, the establishment of better police, and to
improve the city and diminish taxation. Thus, out of a fortune of one
million and a half, he leaves his relatives 28,000l. Charity, in this
instance, can scarcely be said to have begun at home.

A certain increase of property to the amount of 60,000l. having taken
place since the date of his will, a suit was instituted by the
heirs-at-law to recover the same; in which, I am happy to say, they were

Perhaps one of the most extraordinary clauses in his will is the
following, viz.:--

"_I enjoin and require that no ecclesiastic, missionary, or Minister of
any sect whatsoever, shall ever hold or exercise any station or duty
whatever in the said college; nor shall any such person ever be admitted
for any purpose, or as a visitor, within the premises appropriated to
the purposes of the said college._"

The general design of the college is taken from the Madeleine.
Thirty-four columns surround it, each column six feet in diameter and
fifty feet high, made of marble, and weighing 103 tons, and costing when
placed 2600l. Some idea of the massiveness of the building may be
formed from the fact that, measuring 111 feet by 169 feet, and 59 of
height, the weight of material employed is estimated at 76,594-1/2 tons.
The effect of the whole is grand and graceful; and although as an orphan
asylum much money has been needlessly turned from its charitable uses,
as a building it does credit to the architect and all employed upon it,
and is, beyond all comparison, the best specimen of architecture I have
seen in the States.

[Illustration: Gerard College, Philadelphia]

The number of orphans receiving instruction is three hundred and one;
they are cleanly and comfortably lodged, and well-boarded; their ages
average from ten to fourteen and a half, and the upper classes of the
school are taught conic sections, geometry, chemistry, natural
philosophy, navigation, astronomy, mechanics, physical geography, &c.

While in the school vein, I visited one appropriated to four hundred
free negroes, whom I found of all ages, from five to fifty, males and
females being kept separate. The master told me that he found the boys
tolerably sharp, but very cunning, and always finding some excuse for
irregular attendance. The mistress said she found the girls very docile,
and the parents very anxious, but too soon satisfied with the first
stages of progress. The patience and pains I saw one of the teachers
exhibiting in the process of enlightening the little woolly heads was
most creditable.

Having finished the negro school, I got a letter to the principal of the
High School, Professor Hart, by whom I was kindly shown over that
admirable institution, which is also free; but, before proceeding to any
observations on the High School, it may be interesting to know something
of the entire provision for instruction which exists in the city and
county of Philadelphia. The number of schools is 256, teachers 727,
scholars 45,383. The teachers are principally females--646; of scholars,
the males rather preponderate. The annual expense of these
establishments is 66,500l., and the average cost of each pupil is
26s. No pupil can be admitted into the High School without producing
satisfactory testimonials from the inferior schools, as well as passing
the requisite examination; the consequence of this arrangement is a vast
improvement in the inferior schools, as bad conduct there would
effectually bar their entry to the High School. The average age of
entry is fourteen, and a lad is required to stay five years before he
can take his degree as Master of Arts, one indispensable requisite for
which is moral character. The school numbers about 500 of all kinds and
positions in society, from the hopes of the tinsmith to the heir of the
toga'd judge.

The instruction is of so high an order that no private establishment can
compete with it; in short, it may be said to embrace a very fair college
education. Read the following list of professors: the Principal, who is
also Professor of Moral, Mental, and Political Science; Professor of
Practical Mathematics; of Theoretical Science and Astronomy; of History
and Belles-Lettres; of Natural History; of Latin and Greek; of French
and Spanish; of Drawing, Writing, and Book-keeping; of Chemistry and
Natural Philosophy; and three assistants. The highest salary received by
these professors is 270l. a-year, except that of Mr. Hart the
Principal, which is 400l.; and in him all the responsibilities centre.
This is the only school where I ever knew the old Saxon regularly
taught. Instruction is given in various other studies not enumerated in
the Professors' list; thus, in the class under the Professor of Natural
History, botany, and anatomy, and such medical information as may be
useful on any of the emergencies of every-day life are taught. No books
are brought to this class; the instruction is entirely by lecture, and
the subjects treated are explained by beautifully-executed
transparencies, placed before a window by day, and before a bright jet
of gas by night, and thus visible easily to all. The readiness with
which I heard the pupils in this class answer the questions propounded
to them showed the interest they took in the subject, and was a
conclusive proof of the efficiency of the system of instruction pursued;
they dived into the arcana of human and vegetable life with an ease that
bore the most satisfactory testimony to the skill of the instructor and
the attention of the pupils.

There is a plan adopted at this school which I never saw before, and
which Professor Hart told me was most admirable in its results. At the
end of every three-quarters of an hour all the doors and windows in the
house are opened simultaneously; the bell is then rung twice: at the
first sound, all lectures, recitations, and exercises cease, and the
students put their books, caps, &c., in readiness to move; at the second
sound, all the classes move simultaneously from the room in which they
have been studying to the room in which the next course of study is to
be followed. The building is so arranged, that in passing from one room
to another, they have to pass through the court round the house. This
operation takes three minutes, and is repeated about eight times a-day,
during which intervals all the doors and windows are open, thus
thoroughly ventilating the rooms; but there is a further advantage,
which is thus described in the Report,--"These movements are found very
useful in giving periodically a fresh impulse both to the bodies and to
the minds of the students, and in interrupting almost mechanically the
dull monotony which is apt to befall school hours." The Principal told
me, that, from careful observation, he looked upon this as one of the
most valuable regulations in the establishment, and that it was
difficult to rate its advantages too highly, the freshness of mind which
it brought infinitely outweighing any loss of time, interruption, &c. I
spent three interesting hours in this admirable institution.

The next establishment I visited was of a very different description;
i.e., the jail of solitary confinement. I much wished to have seen
some of the prisoners who had been confined for a length of time, but
from some informality in the letter I brought, the guardian did not feel
authorized to break through the regulations. The prisoners are sometimes
confined here for twelve years; they are kept totally separate, but they
are allowed to occupy themselves at different trades, &c., in their
cells. My guide told me he had never seen any of them become the least
idiotic or light-headed from long confinement. Their cells were clean
and airy, and some had a little eight-feet-square garden attached; their
food was both plentiful and good, and discipline was preserved by the
rod of diet; "but," says the guide, "if they become very troublesome
and obstinate we" ... what d'ye think?... "give them a shower-bath;"
criminals here seem to hate fresh water as much as the tenants of the
poor-houses in England do. The jail seems very well adapted for
escaping; but I suppose the rifle-armed sentries at the angles of the
wall keep them in sufficient awe, as I was told they very rarely get
away. The number confined was two hundred and eighty.

The last place I visited was the Lunatic Asylum, which appears admirably
placed and admirably conducted. The situation commands a view of two
public roads, where the bustle and stir of life are continually passing
before their eyes, and with no visible fence intervening, the ground
being so undulating and wooded as effectually to conceal the barrier.
The grounds are pleasantly laid out in walks, gardens, hothouses, &c.; a
comfortable reading-room and ten-pin alley[AF] are provided on each
side, one for the males, the other for the females. The rooms and
dormitories are large and airy, and carriages and horses are ready for
such as the physician recommends should take that exercise. The comfort
of the inmates appeared fully equal to that of any similar establishment
I have visited, and the position far superior, for there was no visible
barrier between them and the open country.

But Time says to the traveller what the policeman says to the gathering
crowd, "Move on, if you please, sir; move on." Obey is the word. Kind
friends are left behind, the kettle hisses, the iron horse snorts, the
Hudson is passed, New York is gained, the journey is behind me, bread,
butter, and Bohea before me. "Go on," says Time. The Charleston steamer,
"James Adger," is bursting to be off. Introduced to the agents, they
introduced me to the skipper. The skipper seems to think I am his
father; he insists upon my occupying his cabin--a jolly room, big enough
to polka in--fifteen feet square. Thanks, most excellent skipper, "may
your shadow never be less"--it is substantial enough now. Do you ask why
I go to New York from Philadelphia to reach Charleston? The reply is
simple:--to avoid the purgatory of an American railway, and to enjoy the
life-giving breezes "that sweep o'er the ocean wave." The skipper was
a regular trump; the service was clean, and we fed like fighting-cocks.
The weather was fine, the ship a clipping good one, passengers few, but
with just enough 'bacco-juice flying about the decks to remind me where
I was.

One of our company was a charming rarity in his way. He was an Irish
Yankee, aged eighty-three. A more perfect Paddy never existed; and so,
of course, he talked about fighting, and began detailing to me the
various frays in which "we whipt the Britishers." By way of chaffing
him, I said, "No wonder; they were Anglo-Saxon blood, brought their
courage from England, and were not only fighting at home, but with a
halter round their necks." The old veteran got furious, cursed England
and the Saxon blood, from Harold to the present hour; he then proved to
his own satisfaction that all the great men in America, and all the
soldiers, were Celts. "It was the Celts, sir, that whipt the Britishers;
and, ould as I am, sure I'd like to take 20,000 men over to the ould
counthree, and free it from the bloodthirsty villins, the Saxon brutes."
If poor O'Brien had had half the fire of this old Yankee Paddy, he never
would have been caught snoozing among the old widow's cabbages. I really
thought the old gentleman would have burst outright, or collapsed from
reaction; but it passed over like a white squall, and left the original
octogenarian calm behind. The darkness of the third evening has closed
in upon us, the struggling stream is bellowing for release, hawsers are
flying about, boys running from them, and men after them; the good
"James Adger" is coquetting about with those well-known young ladies,
the Misses "Bakkur and Ternahed;" James seems determined to enjoy it for
an unusually prolonged period this evening; but, like everything else,
it must have an end, and at last good James lies snugly in his berth,
alongside the wharf at Charleston. Cabmen and touters offer an infinity
of services; passengers radiate--my Yankee Paddy, it is to be hoped,
went to an ice-saloon. Your humble servant went to a boarding-house kept
by a most worthy old lady, but where flies occupied one half the house,
and the filthiest negro-boys the other. Several respectable people, out
of regard to the old lady, were performing the penance of residing in
her house: a trip on hot ashes from Dan to Beersheba would have been
luxury by comparison. I resigned myself and got reconciled, as I saw the
sincere desire of the dear old girl to make me as comfortable as she
could; and by learning to eat my meals with my eyes shut, I got on
tolerably well. But scarce had I set foot in this establishment which I
have been describing, ere kind friends sprang up to greet me and offer
me the use of their club-room, which was just opposite my
boarding-house; and as this was only the prelude to endless other
civilities, my lodging saw very little of me; which may be easily
imagined, when it is recollected how famous Charleston is, not only for
the good living which it affords, but for the liberal hospitality with
which it is dispensed. A letter to one gentleman becomes, like magic, an
"Open Sesame" to all the cellars and society in the place; and the only
point in dispute is, who can show you most kindness.

The town is conveniently situated between the Ashley and Cooper rivers,
with a population of 25,000 whites and the same number of blacks; it is
a mixture of all that is lovely and annoying. The houses have mostly
little gardens attached to them, sparkling with tropical flowers, and
the streets are shaded with avenues of trees. This is all very lovely to
look upon; but when you go out to enjoy a stroll, if the air is still, a
beefsteak would frizzle on the crown of your hat; and if there is the
slightest breeze, the sandy dust, like an Egyptian _khamseen_, laughs at
all precautions, blinding your eyes, stuffing your nose, filling your
mouth, and bringing your hide to a state which I can find no other
comparison for but that of a box intended to represent a stone pedestal,
and which, when the paint has half dried, is sprinkled with sand to
perfect the delusion. Thus you can understand the lovely and the
annoying of which I have spoken. When the inhabitants wish to take a
drive, there is a plank road about six miles long, which enables them to
enjoy this luxury. If they are not content with this road, they must
seek their pleasure with the carriages up to their axles in sand. There
are three old royalist buildings still standing--viz., the Episcopal
church, the Court-house, and the Exchange. The first reminds one warmly
of the dear old parish church in England, with its heavy oak pulpit and
the square family pews, and it sobers the mind as it leads the memory to
those days when, if the church was not full of activity, it was not full
of strife--when parishioners were not brought to loggerheads as to the
colour of the preacher's gown--when there was no triangular duel (_vide_
Marryat) as to candles, no candles, and lit candles--when, in short, if
there was but moderate zeal about the substance, there was no
quarrelling about the shadows of religion; and if we were not blessed
with the zeal of a Bennet, we were not cursed with the strife of a
Barnabas. At the time the colonists kicked us out of this place, by way
of not going empty-handed, we bagged the church-bells as a
trophy--(query, is not robbing a church sacrilege?)--and they eventually
found their way into a merchant's store in England, where they remained
for years. Not long since, having been ferreted out, they were replaced
in their original position, and now summon the Republicans of the
nineteenth century to their devotions as lustily as they did the
Royalists in the eighteenth. There is nothing remarkable in the two
other buildings, except their antiquity, and the associations arising

One of the most striking sights here is the turn-out of the Fire
Companies on any gala day. They consist of eight companies, of one
hundred each; their engines are brilliantly got up, and decorated
tastefully with flowers; banners flying; the men, in gay but
business-like uniform, dragging their engines about, and bands playing
away joyously before them. The peculiarity of the Charleston firemen is
that, instead of being composed of all the rowdies of the town, as is
often the case in the large eastern cities, they are, generally
speaking, the most respectable people in the community. This may partly
be accounted for by the militia service being so hard, and the fines
for the neglect of the same so heavy, from which all those serving in
the Fire Companies are exempt.[AH] The South Carolinians, in
anticipation of any insurrection among the negroes, or in case of being
driven into secession by success attending the efforts of the
Abolitionists, have very prudently established a little miniature West
Point institution,[AI] where lads from fifteen to twenty receive a
thorough military education, and then retire into private life and
follow any pursuits they choose. By this means the nucleus of military
officers requisite for an army is obtained, and the frequent drilling of
the militia forms a solid groundwork for that latter, should the hour of
necessity unfortunately arrive. The gay time of Charleston is during the
races, which take place in February, and have a considerable reputation,
although, perhaps, not quite so high as they had some few years back. I
have never seen any of their racing studs; but, as they import from
England some of the finest stallions that come into the market, and as
the breed of horse in America is very active and enduring, their racers,
it is to be presumed, make a very good show.

Having impregnated my system with turtle, terrapin, mint-julep, and
Madeira--the latter such as only America can show--I bade adieu to my
kind and hospitable friends, and started for Virginia. The first part of
the journey--i.e., as far as Wilmington--I performed in a wretched
little steamer, anything but seaworthy, with horrid cribs, three one
above the other, to sleep in, and a motley mixture of passengers, as
usual. No particular incident occurred; and having fine weather, we
escaped wrecking or putting back. On ascending the river to Wilmington,
you see royal--I beg pardon, republican--sturgeons jumping about in all
directions, and of all sizes, from three to five feet in length. We
reached the town in time to catch the train, and off we started. When
about six miles on our journey, a curious motion of the carriages, added
to their "slantingdicular" position and accompanied by a slight scream,
proclaimed that we were off the rails. Thank God! no lives were lost or
limbs broken. The first person that I saw jump from the train was a
Spanish colonel, who shot out with an activity far beyond his years,
hugging to his bosom a beloved fiddle, which was the joy of his heart,
and about the safety of which he was evidently as anxious as about his
own. He sat down by the side of the carriages, a ludicrous picture of
alarm and composure combined. He was on his way to England with the
intention of presenting some musical compositions to the Queen, and
possibly had a floating idea he might do a bit of Paganini before Her
Gracious Majesty. Gradually, all the party unkenneled; and it was then
discovered that, had we run off the rails a few yards further on, we
should have had a nasty cropper down a thirty-feet bank; fortunately, we
ran off on the level, and merely stuck in the sand.

Upon inquiry as to the cause of the accident, I ascertained that it was
in consequence of a point for turning off on to another set of rails
being broken. Upon examining the said point, I found it was as worn and
rotten as time could make it. I mentioned this to the engineer, who told
me he was perfectly aware of it, and had reported it to the
superintendent a fortnight before, but that he--the superintendent--had
guessed it would do very well for some time yet; consequently, the
engineer always went slower when approaching the spot, to avoid, if
possible, an accident. By this precaution we had been saved the capsize
over the bank, which otherwise would inevitably have been our fate.
Thus, for the sake of twenty shillings, they had smashed an engine,
doing damage to the amount of twenty pounds at least, besides risking
the lives of all the passengers. What was to be done? There was nothing
for it but to go back to Wilmington, chew the cud of disgust, and hope
the rascally superintendent might break every bone in his body the first
favourable opportunity. This done, and a night's rest over, we again
tempted fate, and continued our journey, which for a long time ran
through large pine-forests, every member of which community was a victim
of laceration, inflicted on him for the purpose of drawing off his
life's blood, which dribbled into a box at the root, and, when full, was
carried off to make turpentine.

Arrived at Peterborough, we found the population so far behind the
American age, that they would not allow a railroad to pass through their
town; we were consequently constrained to shift into omnibuses, and
drive some three miles to the station on the other side. As this trip
was peculiarly barren of incident, it may gratify the reader to be
informed, that in the confusion of shifting from one station to the
other I lost my best and only hat. I hope this simple record will be
received as conclusive evidence of the monotony and dullness of the
journey. I do not mention it to excite sympathy, for I am happy to say
that I have since purchased a new and a better one; and in case my old
one is found, I hereby will and bequeath the same to the mayor of
Peterborough, his heirs and successors, hoping that they may wear no
other until a railroad round or through the town connects the termini.
Again we mount the iron horse--time flies--light mingles with
darkness--and at nine o'clock I alight at the Royal Exchange Hotel,
Richmond. Soap and water, tea and bed, follow in quick succession, and
then comes the land of dreams and oblivion.

Richmond is a lovely spot, situated on the northern bank of James River,
one hundred and fifty miles from the sea, and is the capital of
Virginia. It contains nearly 30,000 inhabitants of whom 1000 are slaves.
Being built upon several hills, it is free from the eternal sameness of
level and regularity of lines which tire the eye so much in New York,
Philadelphia, &c., and its site resembles more that of Boston or
Baltimore. The James River is navigable for small vessels as high as
Richmond; but just above the town there is a barrier which arrests alike
the navigator's course and the traveller's eye. This barrier is called
the Rapids, and is a most beautiful feature in the scenery.

The Rapids are about three-quarters of a mile in extent, having a fall
of more than one hundred feet in that distance. The stream is broad, and
interspersed with endless little wooded islands and rocks, around and
above which it dashes the spray and foam in its impetuous descent. The
climate is lovely, the atmosphere pearly; and when, from the height
above, you look down upon the panorama spread beneath your feet, it
recalls to the mind the beautiful view so many of us must have
frequently been entranced with, while inhaling the meditative weed and
strolling along Richmond-terrace on a summer afternoon, gazing on old
Father Thames glowing in the rays of a setting sun, and looking doubly
bright from the sombre shade of the venerable timber which fringes the
margin of this sluggish stream. Pardon this digression; those only who
have wandered so far away can feel the indefinite, indescribable
pleasure with which one grasps at anything that recals the home of one's
affections, the scenes of early days, and the dear friends who are still
enjoying them.

The best place for reviewing the Rapids is from the drive leading to the
Cemetery, which here, as in most large American towns, is one of the
prettiest spots in the neighbourhood; but the Rapids are not only
ornamental, they are eminently useful. They afford a water-power to
several mills, one of which, the Gallego Flour-Mill, is a splendid
establishment, six stories high, nearly one hundred feet square, and
capable of sending out daily 1200 barrels of flour. The flour is of very
superior quality, the brand fetching a higher price than that of most
others in the country. There are also rolling-mills, cotton and tobacco
factories; the latter of course in great quantities, as tobacco is one
of the chief products of the state, and rapidly increasing. The produce
entered in Richmond, which in 1851 was under 16,000 hogsheads, in 1852
amounted to more than 24,000, and is now very probably above 30,000.
Virginia has the honour of being the first State that raised cotton, the
cultivation whereof was commenced in the year 1662.

Let us pass on to the hill at the eastern extremity of the city,
commanding a panoramic view of the river below the town, and all the
surrounding country. One spot arrests the attention, a spot closed with
the deepest and most romantic interest. A solitary tree, to which no
sacrilegious hand has yet dared to apply the axe, stands a few miles
down the river, on the same side as the town, and marks the site of the
lodge of the venerable old chieftain, Powhattan, when as yet the colony
was in its infancy, and when the Indian and the white man--the spoiler
and the spoiled--were looking at each other with mutual distrust, deep
fear on one side and dark foreboding on the other. The Indian is no
more; and nought remains as a memorial of this chief who once ruled this
fertile land with absolute sway, except this solitary tree;--and what an
episode in the history of colonization does that tree recal! Who can
forget that, when despair was the Colonists' daily bread, when nought
but the energy and genius of Smith--a man of very ordinary name, but of
no ordinary character--kept hope flickering in its socket, an attack of
Indians made him a prisoner, and left them hopeless. Then, how romantic
the tale of his captivity! He betrayed no fear, but retained perfect
self-possession; and remembering how easy their superstitious minds
could be worked upon, he drew forth, and with great solemnity commenced
looking steadily at his pocket-compass, and thence to heaven,
alternating between the two, until he impressed them with a feeling of
awe, as though he were a superior being communing with the Great Spirit.
This feeling gradually wearing off, the captors insisted upon his death,
as an expiation for the many injuries they had experienced at the hands
of the whites. The tribe meet, the block is prepared, the captive's neck
is laid ready, the upraised tomahawk, held by a brawny Indian arm, whose
every muscle quivers with revenge, glitters in the sunbeams; swarthy
figures around, thirsting for blood, anxiously await the sacrifice of
the victim, already too long delayed. Hope has fled from the captive's
breast, and he is communing in earnest with the Great Spirit into whose
presence he is about to be so sadly and speedily ushered. Suddenly a
shriek is heard! At that well-known voice the savage arm falls helpless
at its side, as, stretched upon the neck of the despairing captive, lies
the lovely daughter of Powhattan, with tearful eye, and all the wild
energy of her race, vowing she will not survive the butchery of her
kindest friend. Ruthless hands would tear her away, and complete the
bloody tragedy. Who dares lay even a finger upon the noble daughter of
their adored chief? They stand abashed, revenge and doubt striving in
their hearts; the eloquence of love and mercy pleading irresistibly from
the eyes of Pocahontas. The tomahawk, upraised by man's revenge for the
work of a captive's death, descends, when moved by woman's tears, to cut
a captive's bonds.

Callous indeed must that man's heart be, who can gaze upon the spot
where the noble Pocahontas--reared among savages, 'mid the solemn
grandeur of the forest, and beneath, the broad canopy of heaven, with no
Gospel light to guide and soften--received the holy impulses of love and
mercy fresh from her Maker's hand; and how gratifying to remember, that
she who had thus early imbibed these sacred feelings, became soon after
a convert to Christianity. Alas! how short her Christian career.
Marrying Mr. J. Rolfe, she died in childbirth ere she had reached her
twenty-fifth year, and from her many of the oldest families in Virginia
at this day have their origin. Virginia, as is well known, has always
been considered an aristocratic State; and it is a kind of joke--in
allusion to this Indian origin--for other States to speak disparagingly
of the F.F.Vs.--_alias_ first families of Virginia. Let those who sneer,
seek carefully amid their musty ancestral rolls for a nobler heart than
that of Pocahontas, the joy of Powhattan's house and the pride of all
his tribe. How strange, that a scene so well known as the foregoing, and
a life so adventurous as that of Smith, has never yet engaged the pen of
a Cooper or a Bulwer!

One of my friends in New York had given me a letter to a gentleman in
Richmond, at whose house I called soon after my arrival, as my stay was
necessarily short. He was out in the country, at his plantation. This
disappointment I endeavoured to rectify by enclosing the letter; but
when I had done so, Sambo could not tell me how to address it, as he was
in ignorance both of the place and its distance. In this dilemma, and
while ransacking my brain-box how to remedy the difficulty, a lady came
in, and having passed me, Sambo--grinning through a _chevaux-de-frise_
of snow-white ivories--informed me that was "his Missus." I instantly
sent the letter in to her to receive its direction, and in lieu of my
letter received an immediate summons to walk in. Nothing could be more
lady-like and cordial than the reception she gave me. Shy as I am, she
immediately put me quite at my ease; in less than a quarter of an hour I
felt I was in the society of an old friend; and during my stay in
Richmond, each day found me in the same snug corner of the sofa, near
the fire, enjoying the society of one of the most amiable and agreeable
ladies it has ever been my good fortune to meet. The husband soon
returned from the plantation, and then all the hospitalities of the
house were as much at my disposal as if it had been my own, and one or
the other of these kind friends, if not both, daily lionized me over
Richmond or its neighbourhood. I feel sure, that any of my countrymen
who have visited this city when Mr. and Mrs. Stanard were staying in
town, will readily hear testimony to their kind hospitality and
agreeable society.

There are various public buildings here, among the most conspicuous of
which is the Capitol, built in the great public square, and from its
summit commanding a splendid panoramic view. There are also about thirty
churches, one of which, the Monumental Church--which is
Episcopalian--stands upon ground of melancholy recollections; for here,
in 1811, stood the theatre, which during that year was utterly consumed
by a fire, in which the governor and scores of other human beings
perished. One great cause of the destruction of life was, having the
doors of the building fitted to open inwards--a custom, the folly of
which is only equalled by its universality. At the cry of fire, the rush
to the doors was so great that it was impossible to open them, owing to
the pressure. The only avenues of escape were the windows, in retreating
through which, the greater number of those few who succeeded in escaping
suffered the most serious injuries. How is this absurd practice of doors
opening inwards to be stopped? What think you if Insurance Companies
would combine, and make people forfeit their insurance if they entered
any public building whose doors were so fitted; or perhaps the
Chancellor of the Exchequer might bring in a bill to levy a very heavy
tax on all public buildings the doors of which opened in this dangerous
manner, and containing a stringent clause compelling managers and all
parties concerned to support the widows and orphans, and pay the
doctors' fees, arising from accidents caused therefrom. Alas! I fear
until--as Sydney Smith would say--we reduce a few cabinet ministers and
a leading member or two of the House of Peers to cinders, we shall go on
in our folly, because our ancestors did so before us.

Among other places I went to was the public billiard-room, and on
entering, my sympathies were immediately aroused by seeing a lad about
thirteen or fourteen, with a very extensive flaming choker on, above
which was a frightful large swelling. Not being a medical man, I was
very much puzzled when I saw the said swelling move about like a penny
roll in a monkey's cheek; presently the sympathy fled, and the puzzle
was solved, as a shower of 'bacco juice deluged the floor. Poor boy! it
must have taken him an hour's hard work to have got the abominable mass
in, and it could only have been done by instalments: the size it had
reached would have broken any jaw to remove in the lump; but he seemed
to have no idea of parting with his treasure, which, to do him justice,
he rolled about with as much ease as if he had had a monkey-teacher
before him from his cradle; nor did it prevent his betting away in a
style that quite astonished a steady old gentleman like myself.

The State of Virginia, like all the other States of the Union, is
undergoing the increasing pressure of democracy:[AJ] one of its
features--which is peculiarly obnoxious to the more sober-minded of the
community--is the new arrangement for the division of the electoral
districts, and which goes by the name of "Gerymander." In the early days
of the Republic, all divisions were made by straight lines, or as near
straight as possible; but that fair and natural mode of division is not
considered by the autocratic democracy as sufficiently favourable to
their views; and the consequence is, that other divisions have been
substituted, most irregular in shape, so as if possible to annihilate
entirely the already weakened opposition. This operation, my informant
told me, acquired a kind of celebrity in Massachusetts some years ago;
and, in the discussions upon the subject in their State legislature, one
of the speakers is said to have compared some of these arbitrary
divisions to a salamander which, in their outline they somewhat
resembled. The governor of the State was of the democratic party, and
therefore supporting and encouraging these changes, and his name was
"Gery;" so a wag interrupted the speaker, exclaiming, "Don't say
salamander; call it Gerymander,"--by which name it has been known since
that day.

I may here as well mention a little occurrence I witnessed, which,
however pleasant it may have been to the democratic rowdies enacting it,
must have been anything but agreeable to those operated upon. A fire
company was out trying its engine and hoses, and followed of course by a
squad of the idle and unwashed. Arrived at the market-place, they tried
its range; that appeared satisfactory enough; but the idea seems to
have struck the man who held the hose-end, that range without good aim
was useless: he accordingly looked round for a target, and a glass coach
passing by at the time, it struck him as peculiarly suited for his
experiment. Two elderly females were inside, and a white Jehu on the
box. In the most deliberate manner he pointed his weapon, amidst
encouraging shouts from bystanders, and increasing zeal on the part of
the pumpers; lucidly the windows were closed, or the ladies would have
been drenched; as it was, the gushing stream rattled against the
carriage, then fixed itself steadily upon poor Jehu, frightening the
horses and nearly knocking him off the box. Naturally enough Jehu was
highly incensed, and pulled up; then getting off the box, he walked up
to his assailants, who received him with shouts of laughter; the horses,
left without a ruler, started off at a gallop, Jehu ran after them, but
luckily another person and myself rushed up, and stopped them before any
accident occurred.

All this took place at noonday, and not a voice was raised against it.
If I had presumed to interfere with this liberty of the subject, the
chances are I should have been tied to one of the posts of the
market-place and made to stand target for an hour. It must be a charming
thing when the masses rule supreme. Fancy St. James's-street, upon a
drawing-room day, full of a pleasant little water-dispensing community
such as this;--what cheers they would raise as a good shot took off some
Jarvy's cocked-hat and bob-wig, or sent his eighteen-inch-diameter
bouquet flying into the street!--then what fun to play upon the padded
calves and silk stockings of Patagonian John, as he stood behind!--and
only imagine the immense excitement, if by good luck they could smash
some window and deluge a live aristocrat! What a nice thing a pure
democracy must be! how the majority must enjoy themselves! how the
minority must rejoice at the mild rule of bone over brain! What a
glorious idea, equality! only excelled by that gigantic conception of
Messrs. Cobden and Co., yclept the Peace Society, upon which such a
bloody comment was enacted before Sevastopol.


[Footnote AD: General Cadwallader, whose hospitality is well known to
all strangers visiting Philadelphia.]

[Footnote AE: Alas! she has since met a melancholy death, being
accidentally poisoned in Mexico, on the 18th of June, 1854; but her fame
is as imperishable as her life was stainless.]

[Footnote AF: The origin of ten-pins is amusing enough, and is as
follows:--The State having passed an act, during a time when religious
fervour was at high pressure, prohibiting nine-pin alleys, a tenth pin
was added, and the law evaded. In the meantime, high pressure went below
the boiling point, and the ten-pin alley remains to this day, an
amusement for the people, and a warning to indiscreet legislators.]

[Footnote AG: The commercial prosperity of South Carolina appears to be
increasing steadily, if not rapidly. The cotton produce was--

In 1847. In 1852.
Bales, main land 336,562 472,338
Ditto, sea islands 13,529 20,500
------- -------
Total 350,091 492,838
------- -------

Rice in 1847 146,260 tierces.
Do. in 1852 137,497 ditto.

The average value of the bale (450lbs.) of main land cotton is from
6l. to 8l. sterling; of the sea-island cotton, from 30_l_ to 36l.
sterling. The average price of a tierce of rice (600lbs.) is from 3l.
5s. to 4l.]

[Footnote AH: Independent of the enormous charge of fifty per cent. on
the taxes you pay, there is also a small fine for each parade missed.]

[Footnote AI: _Vide_ chapter on "Military Education."]

[Footnote AJ: _Vide_ chapter on "The Constitution."]


_From a River to a Racecourse_.

Having enjoyed as much of the hospitalities of my kind friends as time
permitted, I obtained a letter of introduction, and, embarking in a
steamer, started for Williamsburg, so called after King William III. On
our way down, we picked up as healthy and jolly a set of little ducks in
their 'teens as one could wish to see. On inquiring what this aggregate
of rosy cheeks and sunny smiles represented, I was informed they were
the sum total of a ladies' school at Williamsburg--and a very charming
sum total they were. Having a day's holiday, they had come up by the
early steamer to pic-nic on the banks, and were now returning to
chronology and crotchet-work, or whatever else their studies might be.
Landing at King's Mills, a "'bus" took us all up to Williamsburg, a
distance of three or four miles, one half of which was over as dreary a
road as need be, and the other through a shady forest grove.

This old city is composed of a straight street, at one end of which is
the establishment occupied by the rosy cheeks of whom we have been
speaking, and which is very neat and clean-looking; at the other
end--only with half a mile of country intervening--is the college. On
each side of the said street is a crescent of detached houses, with a
common before them. The population is 1500, and has not varied--as far
as I could learn--in the memory of the oldest inhabitant. I naturally
felt very much interest in visiting this place, as it was originally the
seat of the royal government, and my grandfather had been the last
governor of the state. The body of the old palace was burnt down by
accident, while occupied by French troops, in 1782. The foundations,
which were six feet thick, are still traceable, although most of the
bricks have been used for the buildings in the neighbourhood. The
outlines of the old garden and its terraces may also be traced, and a
very charming spot it must have been. There are two beautiful
lime-trees in a thriving state, which, I was told, he had planted
himself from seeds he had brought from home. His thoughts were evidently
on that far-off home when he planted them; for, as to position
relatively to each other and distance from the old palace, they
precisely coincide with two beneath which many of my early days were
passed, at the old family mansion of Glenfinarl, on Loch Fine, which has
since become the property of Mr. Douglas.

There is an old ditch in the neighbourhood, which goes by the name of
Lord Dunmore's Ditch. The history which my informant gave me thereof is
absurd enough, and there is a negro of the name of Isaac still living
who remembers all the circumstances. It appears that Lord Dunmore,
having found fault with an Irish labourer for not doing sufficient work,
Paddy replied, "'Faith, if 'twas yer 'onnur that had the shpade in yer
hand, maybe one-half would satisfy yer 'onnur." The Governor, who
happened to be a man of iron frame, and not at all averse to a joke,
immediately took up Paddy's challenge, and replied, "Paddy, I'll work
four hours against you in a ditch for a month's wages." The combatants
set to work the following morning, and at the end of four hours Paddy
was obliged to confess himself beaten, and the result of my
grandfather's labours goes by the name of Lord Dunmore's Ditch to this

The only parts of the old palace still standing are the two wings, one
of which is now the parsonage, and the other a school, which is kept by
an Englishman, educated at one of our universities, and living here for
his health. This place is both a well-chosen and a favourite locality
for schools, being situated upon a high plateau of land, with James
River on one side and York River on the other; consequently, the air is
peculiarly healthy and pure.

The most imposing, if not the most useful, of the scholastic
establishments is the college, which was founded by William and Mary in
the year 1692. It contains a very fair library of old books, but
comparatively few additions appear to have been made in latter years.
The building bears every internal mark of neglect and dilapidation,
defaced walls, broken plaster, &c. Upon entering the lecture-room, a
quantity of eighteen-inch square boxes full of moisture suggest the idea
of a rainy day and a roofless chamber. Be not deceived: these are
merely receptacles for the discharge of the students' 'bacco juice; and
the surrounding floor gives painful demonstration that their free
spirits scorn the trammels of eighteen-inch boundaries, however
profusely supplied. From what causes I cannot say, but the college has
been all but deserted until lately. The present authorities are striving
to infuse into it a little vitality of usefulness. With these simple
facts before me, it was amusing to read, in an American gazetteer of the
day, that the college "is at present in a flourishing condition."

In front of the college there is an enclosed green, and in the centre a
statue, erected in honour of one of the old royal governors, Berkeley,
Lord Bowtetort. Whether from a desire to exhibit their anti-aristocratic
sentiments, or from innate Vandalism, or from a childish wish to exhibit
independence by doing mischief, the said statue is the pistol-mark for
the students, who have exhibited their skill as marksmen by its total
mutilation, in spite of all remonstrances from the authorities. The
college was formerly surrounded by magnificent elms, but a few years
since a blight came which destroyed every one of them, leaving the
building in a desert-like nakedness. The inn at Williamsburg is a
miserable building, but it is kept by as kind-hearted, jolly old
John-Bull-looking landlord as ever was seen, and who rejoices in the
name of Uncle Ben. Meat is difficult to get at, as there are no
butchers; the cream and butter are, however, both plentiful and
excellent. The house is almost entirely overshadowed by one magnificent
elm, which has fortunately escaped the blight that annihilated nearly
all its fellows.

After the hustle of most American cities, there was to me an unspeakable
charm in the quiet of this place. Sitting at the inn-door, before you
lies the open green, with its daisies and buttercups; horses and cattle
are peaceably grazing; in the background are the remaining wings of the
old palace; to your left stands the old village church, built with
bricks brought from England, and long since mellowed by the hand of
time, around which the clinging ivy throws the venerable mantle of its
dark and massive foliage. Now, the summoning church-bell tolls its
solemn note; school children, with merry laugh and light step, cross the
common; the village is astir, and a human tide is setting towards its
sacred portals: all, all speaks to the heart and to the imagination of
happy days and happy scenes in a far-off land. You close your eyes, the
better to realize the dream which fancy is painting. When they open upon
the reality again, the illusion is dispelled by the sight of a brawny
negro, with a grin on his face which threatens to split his ears,
jogging merrily along the street with a huge piece of sturgeon for his
Sunday feast. My friends, however, left me little time to indulge in a
contemplative mood, for good old Madeira, a hearty welcome, and a stroll
about and around the place, filled up the day; while the fragrant weed
and the social circle occupied no small portion of the evening. Having
spent a few but very pleasant days here, I took leave of my hospitable
friends--not forgetting that jovial soul, Uncle Ben; then embarking in a
steamer, and armed with a solitary letter of introduction, I started off
to visit a plantation on the banks of James River.

A planter's home, like the good Highland laird's, seems made of India
rubber. Without writing to inquire whether the house is full, or your
company agreeable, you consider the former improbable and the latter
certain. When you approach your victim, a signal is thrown out; the
answer is a boat; in you get, bag and baggage; you land at the foot of
his lawn or of some little adjoining pier, and thus apparently force
yourself upon his hospitality. Reader, if it is ever your good fortune
to be dropped with a letter of introduction at Shirley, one glance from
the eye of the amiable host and hostess, accompanied by a real shake of
the hand, satisfy you beyond doubt you are truly and heartily welcome. A
planter's house on James River reminds one in many ways of the old
country. The building is old, the bricks are of the brownest red, and in
many places concealed by ivy of colonial birth; a few venerable monarchs
of the forest throw their ample shade over the greensward, which slopes
gently down to the water. The garden, the stables, the farm-yard, the
old gates, the time-honoured hues of everything,--all is so different
from the new facing and new painting which prevails throughout the
North, that you feel you are among other elements; and if you go inside
the house, the thoughts also turn homeward irresistibly as the eye
wanders from object to object. The mahogany table and the old
dining-room chairs, bright with that dark ebony polish of time which
human ingenuity vainly endeavours to imitate; the solid bookcases, with
their quaint gothic-windowly-arranged glass-doors, behind which, in calm
and dusty repose, lie heavy patriarchal-looking tomes on the lower
shelves, forming a sold basis above which to place lighter and less
scholastic literature; an arm-chair, that might have held the invading
Caesar, and must have been second-hand in the days of the conquering
William; a carpet, over whose chequered face the great Raleigh might
have strolled in deep contemplation; a rug, on whose surface generations
of spinsters might have watched the purrings of their pet Toms or gazed
on the glutinous eyes and inhaled the loaded breeze that came from the
fat and fragrant Pug: whichever way the eye turned, whatever direction
the imagination took, the conviction forced upon the mind was, that you
were in an inheritance, and that what the wisdom and energy of one
generation had gathered together, succeeding generations had not yet
scattered to the winds by the withering blast of infinitesimal division.
With the imagination thus forcibly filled with home and its
associations, you involuntarily feel disposed to take a stroll on the
lawn; but on reaching the door, your ears are assailed by wild shouts of
infantine laughter, and, raising your eyes, you behold a dozen little
black imps skylarking about in every direction, their fat faces, bright
eyes, and sunny smiles beaming forth joyousness and health. Home and its
varying visions fly at the sight, giving place to the reality that you
are on a slave plantation. Of the slaves I shall say nothing here beyond
the general fact that they appeared healthy, well fed, and well clothed
on all the plantations I visited. Having enjoyed the hospitalities of
Shirley for a few days, it was agreed that I should make a descent upon
another property lower down the river. So, bidding adieu to my good
friends at Shirley, I embarked once more on the steamer, and was landed
at the pier of Brandon, in the most deluging rain imaginable. A walk of
a quarter of a mile brought me to the door like a drowned rat, a note
from my Shirley friends secured me an immediate and cordial welcome.

Brandon is perhaps the plantation which is more thoroughly kept up than
any other on the James River, and which consequently has altered less.
I am alluding now to the house and grounds about, not to the plantation
at large; for I believe the proprietor at Shirley is reckoned A1 as a
farmer. I have before alluded to the blight which destroyed so many fine
elms on both shores of the James River. The withering insect appeared at
Brandon; but the lady of the house soon proved that she knew the use of
tobacco as well as the men, by turning a few hogsheads of the said weed
into water, making thereby a murderous decoction, with which, by the
intervention of a fire-engine, she utterly annihilated the countless
hosts of the all-but invisible enemy, and thus saved some of the finest
elms I ever saw in my life, under the shade of which the old family
mansion had enjoyed shelter from many a summer's sun. Brandon is the
only place I visited where the destroyer had not left marks of his
ravages. The lawn is beautifully laid out, and in the style of one of
our country villas of the olden time, giving every assurance of comfort
and every feeling of repose. The tropical richness and brightness of
leaf and flower added an inexpressible charm to them, as they stood out
in bold relief against the pure and cloudless air around, so different
from that indistinct outline which is but too common in our moist
atmosphere. Then there was the graceful and weeping willow, the
trembling aspen, the wild ivy, its white bloom tinged as with maiden's
blush; the broad-leafed catalpa; the magnolia, rich in foliage and in
flower; while scattered around were beds of bright and lovely colours.
The extremes of this charming view were bounded, either by the venerable
mansion over whose roof the patriarchal elms of which we have been
speaking threw their cool and welcome shade, or by the broad stream
whose bosom was ever and anon enlivened with some trim barque or
rapid-gliding steamer, and whose farther shore was wooded to the water's
edge. There is one of the finest China rose-trees here I ever beheld; it
covers a space of forty feet square, being led over on trellis-work, and
it might extend much beyond that distance: it is one mass of flowers
every year. Unfortunately, I was a week too late to see it in its glory;
but the withered flowers gave ample evidence how splendid it must have

In one of my drives, I went to see an election which took place in the
neighbourhood. The road for some distance lay through a forest full of
magnificent timber; but, like most forest timber, that which gives it a
marketable value destroys its picturesque effect. A few noble
stems--however poor their heads--have a fine effect when surrounded by
others which have had elbow-room; but a forest of stems, with
Lilliputian heads--great though the girth of the stem may be--conveys
rather the idea of Brobdingnagian piles driven in by giants, and
exhibiting the last flickerings of vitality in a few puny sprouts at
their summit. The underwood was enlivened by shrubs of every shade and
hue, the wild flowering ivy predominating. The carriage-springs were
tested by an occasional drop of the wheels into a pit-hole, on merging
from which you came sometimes to a hundred yards of rut of dimensions
similar to those of military approaches to a citadel; nevertheless, I
enjoyed my drive excessively. The place of election was a romantic spot
near a saw-mill, at the edge of what, in a gentleman's park in England,
would be called a pretty little lake, styled in America a small pond. As
each party arrived, the horse was hitched to the bough of some tree, and
the company divided itself into various knots; a good deal of tobacco
was expended in smoke and juice; there was little excitement; all were
jolly and friendly; and, in short, the general scene conveyed the idea
of a gathering together for field-preaching; but that was speedily
replaced by the idea of a pleasant pic-nic of country farmers, as a
dashing charge was made by the whole _posse comitatus_ upon a long table
which was placed under a fine old elm, and lay groaning beneath the
weight of substantial meat and drink. As for drunkenness, they were all
as sober as washerwomen. So much for a rural election-scene in Virginia.

By way of making time pass agreeably, it was proposed to take a sail in
a very nice yacht, called "The Breeze," which belonged to a neighbouring
planter. We all embarked, in the cool of the evening, and the merry
laugh would soon have told you the fair sex was fairly represented.
Unfortunately, the night was so still that not a breath rippled the
surface of the river, except as some inquisitive zephyr came curling
along the stream, filling us with hope, and then, having satisfied its
curiosity, suddenly disappeared, as though in mockery of our distress.
The name of the yacht afforded ample field for punning, which was
cruelly taken advantage of by all of us; and if our cruise was not a
long one, at all events it was very pleasant, and full of fun and
frolic. Pale Cinthia was throwing her soft and silvery light over the
eastern horizon before we landed.

Walking up the lawn, the scene was altogether lovely; the fine trees
around were absolutely alive with myriads of fire-flies. These bright
and living lights, darting to and fro 'mid the dark foliage, formed the
most beautiful illumination imaginable--at one time clustering into a
ball of glowing fire, at another streaking away in a line of lightning
flame; then, bursting into countless sparks, they would for a moment
disappear in the depths of their sombre bower, to come forth again in
some more varied and more lovely form.

Pleasant indeed were the hours I passed here; lovely was the climate,
beautiful was the landscape, hearty was the welcome: every day found
some little plan prepared to make their hospitality more pleasant to the
stranger; nature herself seemed to delight in aiding their efforts, for
though I arrived in a deluge, I scarce ever saw a cloud afterwards. As
the morning light stole through my open window in undimmed transparency,
the robin, the blue-bird, the mocking-bird, the hosts of choral
warblers, held their early oratorio in the patriarchal elms. If
unskilled in music's science, they were unfettered by its laws, and
hymned forth their wild and varied notes as though calling upon man to
admire and adore the greatness and the goodness of his Maker, and to

"Shake off dull sloth, and early rise,
To pay his morning sacrifice."

If such were their appeal, it was not made in vain; for both morning and
evening--both here and at Shirley--every member and visitor gathered
round the family altar, the services of which were performed with equal
cheerfulness and reverence. I felt as if I could have lingered on and on
in this charming spot, and amid such warm hospitality, an indefinite
period; it was indeed with sincere regret I was obliged to bid adieu to
my agreeable hosts, and once more embark on board the steamer.

The river James lacks entirely those features that give grandeur to
scenery; the river, it is true, by its tortuous windings, every now and
then presents a broad sheet of water; the banks are also prettily
wooded; but there is a great sameness, and a total absence of that
mountain scenery so indispensable to grandeur. The only thing that
relieves the eye is a glimpse, from time to time, of some lovely spot
like the one I have just been describing; but such charming villas, like
angel's visits, are "few and far between." Here we are, at Norfolk. How
different is this same Norfolk from the other eastern ports I have
visited!--there all is bustle, activity, and increase,--here all is
dreariness, desolation, and stagnation. It is, without exception, the
most uninteresting town I ever set foot in; the only thing that gives it
a semblance of vitality is its proximity to the dockyard, and the
consequent appearance of officers in uniform; but in spite of this
impression, which a two-days' residence confirmed me in, I was told, on
good authority, that it is thriving and improving. By the statistics
which our consul, Mr. James, was kind enough to furnish me, it appears
that 1847 was the great year of its commercial activity, its imports in
that year valuing 94,000l., and its exports 364,000l. In 1852, the
imports were under 25,000l. and the exports a little more than
81,000l., which is certainly, by a comparison with the average of the
ten years preceding, an evidence of decreasing, rather than increasing,
commercial prosperity. Its population is 16,000; and that small
number--when it is remembered that it is the port of entry for the great
state of Virginia--is a strong argument against its asserted prosperity.
Not long before my arrival they had been visited with a perfect deluge
of rain, accompanied with a waterspout, which evidently had whirled up
some of the ponds in the neighbourhood; for quantities of cat-fish fell
during the storm, one of which, measuring ten inches, a friend told me
he had himself picked up at a considerable distance from any water.

The only real object of interest at Norfolk is the dockyard, which of
course I visited. Mr. James was kind enough to accompany me, and it is
needless to say we were treated with the utmost courtesy, and every
facility afforded us for seeing everything of interest, after which we
enjoyed an excellent lunch at the superintendent's. They were building a
splendid frigate, intended to carry 58-inch guns; her length was 250
feet, and her breadth of beam 48. Whether the manifest advantages of
steam will induce them to change her into a screw frigate, I cannot say.
The dockyard was very clean and the buildings airy. Steam, saw-mills,
&c., were in full play, and anchors forging under Nasmyth's hammer, I
found them making large masts of four pieces--one length and no
scarfings--the root part of the tree forming the mast-head, and a very
large air-hole running up and down the centre. The object of this
air-hole is to allow the mast to season itself; the reader may remember
that the mast of the "Black Maria" is made the same way. As far as I
know, this is a plan we have not yet tried in our dockyards. I find that
they use metallic boats far more than we do. I saw some that had
returned after being four years in commission, which were perfectly
sound. To say that I saw fine boats and spars here, would be like a
traveller remarking he saw a great many coals at Newcastle. All waste
wood not used in the yard is given away every Saturday to any old woman
who will come and take it; and no searching of people employed in the
dockyard is ever thought of. The cattle employed in and for the dockyard
have a most splendid airy stable, and are kept as neat and clean as if
in a drawing-room. Materials are abundant; but naturally there is little
bustle and activity when compared to that which exists in a British
yard. Their small navy can hardly find them enough work to keep their
"hands in;" but doubtless the first knell of the accursed tocsin of war,
while it gave them enough to do, would soon fill their dockyards with
able and willing hands to do it. Commodore Ringold's surveying
expedition, consisting of a corvette, schooner, steamer, &c., was
fitting out for service, and most liberally and admirably were they
supplied with all requisites and comforts for their important duties.

During my stay I enjoyed the kind hospitalities of our consul, Mr.
G.P.E. James, who is so well known to the literary world. He was
indulging the good people of Norfolk with lectures, which seem to be all
the fashion with the Anglo-Saxon race wherever they are gathered
together. The subject which I heard him treat of was "The Novelists,"
handling some favourites with severity and others with a gentler touch,
and winding up with a glowing and just eulogy upon the author of _My
Novel_. Altogether I spent a very pleasant hour and a half.

I may here mention a regulation of the Foreign-office, which, however
necessary it may be considered, every one must admit presses very hardly
on British _employes_ in the Slave States. I allude to the regulation by
which officials are prevented from employing other people's slaves as
their servants. White men soon earn enough money to be enabled to set
up in some trade, business, or farm, and, as service is looked down
upon, they seize the first opportunity of quitting it, even although
their comforts may be diminished by the change. Free negroes won't
serve, and the official must not employ a slave; thus, a gentleman sent
out to look after the interest of his country, and in his own person to
uphold its dignity, must either submit to the dictation and extortion of
his white servant--if even then he can keep him--or he may be called
upon suddenly, some fine morning, to do all the work of housemaid, John,
cook, and knife and button boy, to the neglect of those duties he was
appointed by his country to perform, unless he be a married man with a
large family, in which case he may perhaps delegate to them the
honourable occupations, above named. Surely there is something a little
puritanical in the prohibition. To hold a slave is one thing, but to
employ the labour of one who is a slave, and over whose hopes of freedom
you have no control, is quite another thing; and I hold that, under the
actual circumstances, the employment of another's slave could never he
so distorted in argument as to bring home a charge of connivance in a
system we so thoroughly repudiate.

Go to the East, follow in imagination your ambassadors, ministers, and
consular authorities. Behold them on the most friendly terms--or
striving to be so--with people in high places, who are but too often
revelling in crimes, with the very name of which they would scorn even
to pollute their lips; and I would ask, did such a monstrous absurdity
ever enter into any one's head as to doubt from these amicable relations
whether the Government of this country or its agents repudiated such
abomination of abominations? If for political purposes you submit to
this latter, while for commercial purposes you refuse to tolerate the
former, surely you are straining at a black gnat while swallowing a
beastly camel. Such, good people of the Foreign-office, is my decided
view of the case; and if you profit by the hint, you will do what I
believe no public body ever did yet. Perhaps, therefore, the idea of
setting the fashion may possibly induce you to reconsider and rectify an
absurdity, which, while no inconvenience to you, is often a very great
one to those you employ. It is wonderful, the difference in the view
taken of affairs by actors on the spot and spectators at a distance. A
man who sees a fellow-creature half crushed to death and crippled for
life by some horrible accident, is too often satisfied with little more
than a passing "Good gracious!" but if, on his returning homeward, some
gigantic waggon-wheel scrunch the mere tip of his toes, or annihilate a
bare inch of his nose, his ideas of the reality of an accident become
immensely enlarged.

Let the Foreign Secretary try for a couple of days some such _regime_ as
the following:--

5 A.M. Light fires, fetch water, and put kettle on.
6 " Dust room and make beds.
7 " Clean shoes, polish knives, and sand kitchen.
7:30 " Market for dinner.
8:30 " Breakfast.
9 " To Downing-street, light fires, and dust office.
10 " Sit down comfortably(?) to work.
1:30 P.M. Off to coal-hole for more coals.
4 " Sweep up, and go home.
5 " Off coat, up sleeves, and cook.
6:30 " Eat dinner.
7 " Wash up.
8 " Light your pipe, walk to window, and see your
colleague over the way, with a couple of Patagonian
footmen flying about amid a dozen guests, while, to
give additional zest to your feelings of enjoyment,
a couple of buxom lassies are peeping out of the
attics, and singing like crickets.
9 " Make your own reflections upon the Government
that dooms you to personal servitude, while your
colleague is allowed purchaseable service. Sleep
over the same, and repeat the foregoing _regime_ on
the second day; and, filled with the happy influences
so much cause for gratitude must inspire, give
reflection her full tether, and sleep over her again.
On the third morning, let your heart and brain
dictate a despatch upon the subject of your reflections
to all public servants in slave-holding communities,
and, while repudiating slavery, you will
find no difficulty in employing the services of the
slave, under peculiar circumstances, and with proper

I embarked from Norfolk per steamer for Baltimore, and thence by rail
through Philadelphia to New York. I took a day's hospitality among my
kind friends at Baltimore. At Philadelphia I was in such a hurry to pass
on, that I exhibited what I fear many will consider a symptom of
inveterate bachelorship; but truth bids me not attempt to cloak my
delinquency. Hear my confession:--

My friend Mr. Fisher, whose hospitality I had drawn most largely upon
during my previous stay, invited me to come and pay him and his charming
lady a visit, at a delightful country house of his a few miles out of
town. Oh, no! that was impossible; my time was so limited; I had so much
to see in the north and Canada. In vain he urged, with hearty warmth,
that I should spend only one night: it was quite impossible--quite. That
point being thoroughly settled, he said, "It is a great pity you are so
pressed for time, because the trotting champion, 'Mac,' runs against a
formidable antagonist, 'Tacony,' to-morrow." In half an hour I was in
his waggon, and in an hour and a half I was enjoying the warm greeting
of his amiable wife in their country-house, the blush of shame and a
guilty conscience tinging my cheeks as each word of welcome passed from
her lips or flashed from her speaking eyes. Why did I thus act? Could I
say, in truth, "'Twas not that I love thee less, but that I love Tacony
more?" Far from it. Was it that I was steeped in ingratitude? I trust
not. Ladies, oh, ladies!--lovely creatures that you are--think not so
harshly of a penitent bachelor. You have all read of one of your sex
through whom Evil--which takes its name from, her--first came upon
earth, and you know the motive power of that act was--curiosity. I plead
guilty to that motive power on the present occasion; and, while throwing
myself unreservedly on your clemency, I freely offer myself as a target
for the censure of each one among you who, in the purity of truth can
say, "I never felt such an influence in all my life." Reader, remember
you cannot be one of these, for the simple fact of casting your eyes
over this page affords sufficient presumptive evidence for any court of
law to bring you in guilty of a curiosity to know what the writer has to
say.--To resume.

The race-course at Philadelphia is a road on a perfect level, and a
circle of one mile; every stone is carefully removed, and it looks as
smooth and clean as a swept floor. The stand commands a perfect view of
the course; but its neglected appearance shows clearly that
trotting-matches here are not as fashionable as they used to be, though
far better attended than at New York. Upon the present occasion the
excitement was intense; you could detect it even in the increased vigour
with which the smoking and spitting was carried on. An antagonist had
been found bold enough to measure speed with "Mac"--the great Mac who,
while "Whipping creation," was also said never to have let out his full
speed. He was thorough-bred, about fifteen and a half hands, and lighter
built than my raw-boned friend Tacony, and he had lately been sold for
1600l. So sure did people apparently feel of Mac's easy victory, that
even betting was out of the question. Unlike the Long Island affair, the
riders appeared in jockey attire, and the whole thing was far better got
up. Ladies, however, had long ceased to grace such scenes.

Various false starts were made, all on the part of Mac, who, trusting to
the bottom of blood, apparently endeavoured to ruffle Tacony's temper
and weary him out a little. How futile were the efforts the sequel
plainly showed. At length a start was effected, and away they went,
Tacony with his hind legs as far apart as the centre arch of Westminster
Bridge, and with strides that would almost clear the Bridgewater Canal.
Mac's rider soon found that, in trying to ginger Tacony's temper, he had
peppered his own horse's, for he broke-up into a gallop twice. Old
Tacony and his rider had evidently got intimate since I had seen them at
New York, and they now thoroughly understood each other. On he went,
with giant strides; Mac fought bravely for the van, but could not get
his nose beyond Tacony's saddle-girth at the winning-post--time, 2m.

Then, followed the usual race-course accompaniments of cheers,
squabbles, growling, laughing, betting, drinking, &c. The public were
not convinced. Mac was still the favourite; the champion chaplet was not
thus hastily to be plucked from his hitherto victorious brows. Half an
hour's rest brought them again to the starting-post, where Mac repeated
his old tactics, and with similar bad success. Nothing could ruffle
Tacony, or produce one false step: he flew round the course, every
stride like the ricochet of a 32lb. shot; his adversary broke-up again
and again, losing both his temper and his place, and barely saved his
distance, as the gallant Tacony--his rider with a slack rein, and
patting him on the neck--reached the winning-post--time, 2m. 25s. The
shouts were long and loud; such time had never been made before by fair
trotting, and Tacony evidently could have done it in two, if not three
seconds less. The fastest pacing ever accomplished before was 2m. 13s.,
and the fastest trotting 2m. 26s. The triumph was complete; Tacony nobly
won the victorious garland; and as long as he and his rider go together,
it will take, if not a rum 'un to look at, at all events a d----l to
go, ere he be forced to resign his championship.

The race over, waggons on two wheels and waggons on four wheels, with
trotters in them capable of going the mile in from 2m. 40s. to 3m. 20s.,
began to shoot about in every direction, and your ears were assailed on
all sides with "G'lang, g'lang!" and occasionally a frantic yell, to
which some Jehu would give utterance by way of making some horse that
was passing him "break-up." Thus ended the famous race between Mac and
Tac, which, by the way, gave me an opportunity of having a little fun
with some of my American friends, as I condoled with them on their
champion being beaten by a British subject; for, strange to say, Tac is
a Canadian horse. I therefore of course expressed the charitable wish
that an American horse might be found some day equal to the task of
wearing the champion trotting crown(!)--I beg pardon, not crown, but,
I suppose, cap of liberty. I need scarce say that it is not so much the
horse as the perfect teaming that produces the result; and all Tac's
training is exclusively American, and received in a place not very far
from Philadelphia, from which he gets his name. A friend gave me a lift
into Philadelphia, whence the iron horse speedily bore me to the great
republican Babylon, New York.


_Home of the Pilgrim Fathers_.

Having made the necessary preparations, I again put myself behind the
boiling kettle, _en route_ to the republican Athens. The day was
intensely hot; even the natives required the windows open, and the dust
being very lively, we soon became as powdered as a party going down to
the Derby in the ante-railway days. My curiosity was excited on the way,
by seeing a body of men looking like a regiment of fox-hunters--all well
got up, fine stout fellows--who entered, and filled two of the
carriages. On inquiring who kept the hounds, and if they had good runs,
a sly smile stole across my friend's cheek as he told me they were
merely the firemen of the city going to fraternize with the ditto ditto
of Boston. It stupidly never occurred to me to ask him whether any
provision was made in case of a quiet little fire developing itself
during their absence, for their number was legion, and as active,
daring, orderly-looking fellows as ever I set eyes upon. Jolly apopletic
aldermen of our capital may forsake the green fat of their soup-making
deity, to be feasted by their Parisian fraternity, without inconvenience
to anybody, except it be to their fellow-passengers in the steamer upon
their return, if they have been over-fed and have not tempest-tried
organs of digestion. But a useful body like firemen migrating should, I
confess, have suggested to me the propriety of asking what substitutes
were left to perform, if need be, their useful duties; not having done
so, I am constrained to leave this important point in its present
painful obscurity.

A thundering whistle and a cloud of steam announce the top is off the
kettle, and that we have reached Boston. Wishing to take my own luggage
in a hackney, I found that, however valuable for security the ticketing
system may be, it was, under circumstances like mine at present,
painfully trying to patience. In three-quarters of an hour, however, I
managed to get hold of it, and then, by way of improving my temper, I
ascertained that one of my boxes was in a state of "pretty considerable
all mighty smash." At last I got off with my goods and chattels, and
having seen quite enough of the American palace-hotels and their
bountifully-spread tables, and of the unrivalled energy with which the
meals are despatched; remembering, also, how frequently the drum of my
ears had been distracted by the eternal rattling and crackling of plates
and dishes for a couple of hundred people, and how my olfactories had
suffered from the mixed odours of the kitchen produce, I declined going
to the palatial Revere House, which is one of the best hotels in the
Union, and put up at a house of less pretensions, where I found both
quiet and comfort.

To write a description of Boston, when so many others have done so far
better than I can pretend to do, and when voluminous gazetteers record
almost every particular, would be drawing most unreasonably upon the
patience of a reader, and might further be considered as inferring a
doubt of his acquaintance with, I might almost say, a hackneyed subject.
I shall, therefore, only inflict a few short observations to refresh his
memory. The most striking feature in Boston, to my mind, is the common
or park, inasmuch as it is the only piece of ground in or attached to
any city which I saw deserving the name of a park. It was originally a
town cow-pasture, and called the Tower Fields. The size is about fifty
acres; it is surrounded with an iron fencing, and, although not large,
the lay of the ground is very pretty. It contains some very fine old
trees, which every traveller in America must know are a great rarity in
the neighbourhood of any populous town. It is overlooked by the
State-house, which is built upon Beacon Hill, just outside the highest
extremity of the park, and from the top of which a splendid panoramic
view of the whole town and neighbourhood is obtained. The State-house is
a fine building in itself, and contains one of Chantrey's best
works--the statue of Washington. The most interesting building in
Boston, to the Americans, is, undoubtedly, Faneuil Hall, called also the
"Cradle of Liberty." Within those walls the stern oratory of noble
hearts striving to be free, and daring to strike for it, was listened to
by thousands, in whose breasts a ready response was found, and who,
catching the glowing enthusiasm of the orators, determined rather to be
rebels and free than subjects and slaves: the sequel is matter of

I shall not tax the temper of my reader by going through any further
list of the public buildings, which are sufficiently known to those who
take an interest in this flourishing community; but I must hasten to
apologize for my ingratitude in not sooner acknowledging that most
pleasing feature in every traveller's experience in America, which, I
need hardly say, is hospitality.

Scarce was my half-smashed box landed at the hotel, when my young
American friend, who came from England with our party, appeared to
welcome me--perhaps to atone for the lion's share of champagne he had
enjoyed at our table on board the steamer. Then he introduced me to
another, and another introduced me to another another, and another
another introduced me to another another another, and so on, till I
began to feel I must know the _elite_ of Boston. Club-doors flew open,
champagne-corks flew out, cicerones, pedal and vehicular, were ever
ready to guide me by day and feed me by night; and though there are no
drones in a Yankee hive, so thoroughly did they dedicate themselves to
my comfort and amusement, that a person ignorant of the true state of
things might have fancied they were as idle and occupationless as the
cigar-puffers who adorn some of our metropolitan-club steps, the envy of
passing butcher-boys and the liberal distributors of cigar-ends to
unwashed youths who hang about ready to pounce upon the delicious and
rejected morsels. Among other gentlemen whose acquaintance I had the
pleasure of making, and whose hospitalities, of course, I enjoyed, I may
mention Mr. Prescott and Mr. Ticknor, the former highly appreciated in
the old country, and both so widely known and so justly esteemed in the
world of literature. As I consider such men public property, I make no
apology for using their names, while in so doing I feel I am best
conveying to the reader some idea of the society which a traveller meets
with in Yankee Athens.

The town has one charm to me, which it shares in common with Baltimore.
Not only is it built on undulating ground, but there are old parts
remaining, whereby the eye is relieved from the tiring monotony of broad
and straight streets, while the newer parts form a pleasing variety, and
bear gratifying evidence of the increasing wealth of its intelligent
and industrious population. Then, again, the neighbourhood of the town
has a charm for a wanderer from the old country; the roads are
excellent, the fields and gardens are tidied up, creepers are led up the
cottage walls, suburban villas abound, everything looks more clean, more
_soigne_, more snug, more filled and settled than the neighbourhood of
any other city I visited in America, and thus forces back upon the mind
associations and reflections of dear old home.

Having enjoyed a visit to a friend in one of the suburban villas inland,
to which he drove me in his light waggon, another vehicular cicerone
insisted that I should drive out to his uncle's, and spend a day at his
marine villa, about twelve miles distant. I joyfully assented to so
pleasant a proposition, and, "hitching a three-forty before a light
waggon"--as the term is in America--we were soon bowling away merrily
along a capital road. A pleasant drive of nine miles brought us to a
little town called Lynn, after Lynn Regis in England, from which place
some of the early settlers came. How often has the traveller to regret
the annihilation of the wild old Indian names, and the substitution of
appellatives from every creek and corner of the older continents; with
Poquanum, Sagamore, Wenepoykin, with Susquehanna, Wyoming, Miami, and a
thousand other such of every length and sound, all cut-and-dried to
hand, it is more than a pity to see so great a country plagiarizing in
such a wholesale manner Pekins, Cantons, Turing, Troys, Carmels,
Emmauses, Cairos, and a myriad other such borrowed plumes, plucked from
Europe, Asia, and Africa, and hustled higgledy-piggledy side by side,
without a single element or association to justify the uncalled-for

Forgive me, reader,--all this digression comes from my wishing Lynn had
kept its old Indian name of Saugus; from such little acorns will such
great oak-trees spring.--To resume. The said town of Lynn supplies
understandings to a very respectable number of human beings, and may be
called a gigantic shoemaker's shop, everything being on the gigantic
scale in America. It employs 11,000, out of its total population of
14,000, in that trade, and produces annually nearly 5,000,000 of women's
and children's boots, shoes, and gaiters, investing in the business a
capital amounting to 250,000l. Moses and Son, Hyam and Co., Nicoll
and Co., and the whole of the three-halfpence-a-shirt-paying
capitalists, can show nothing like my shoemakers' shop, "fix it how you
will,"--as they say in the Great Republic.

The three-forty trotter soon left boots, shoes, and all behind, and
deposited us at the door of the uncle's villa, where a friendly hand
welcomed us to its hospitalities. It was very prettily situated upon a
cliff overlooking Massachusetts Bay, in which said cliff a zigzag
stepway was cut down to the water, for the convenience of bathing. The
grounds were nicely laid out and planted, and promised in time to be
well wooded, if the ocean breeze driving upon them did not lay an
embargo upon their growth, in the same heartless manner as it does upon
the west coast of Scotland, where, the moment a tree gets higher than a
mop handle, its top becomes curved over by the gales, with the same
graceful sweep as that which a successful stable-boy gives a birch broom
after a day's soaking. I hope, for my hospitable friend's sake, it may
not prove true in his case; but I saw an ostrich-feathery curve upon the
tops of some of his trees, which looked ominous. Having spent a very
pleasant day, and enjoyed good cheer and good company, Three-forty was
again "hitched to;" joined hands announced the parting moment had
arrived; wreaths of smoke from fragrant Havanas ascended like incense
from the shrine of Adieu; "G'lang"--the note of advance--was sounded;
Three-forty sprang to the word of command; friends, shoes, and
shoemakers were soon tailed of; and ere long your humble servant was
nestling his nose in his pillow at Boston.

Hearing that the drama was investing its talent in Abolitionism, I went
one evening to the theatre, to see if I could extract as much fun from
the metropolis of a free state as I had previously obtained from the
capital of slave-holding Maryland; for I knew the Americans, both North
and South, were as ticklish as young ladies. I found very much the same
style of thing as at Baltimore, except that her abolitionist highness,
the Duchess of Southernblack, did not appear on the stage by deputy; but
as an atonement for the omission, you had a genuine Yankee abolitionist;
poor Uncle Tom and his fraternity were duly licked and bullied by a
couple of heartless Southern nigger-drivers; and while their victims
were writhing in agony, a genuine abolitionist comes on the stage and
whops the two nigger-drivers, amid shouts of applause. The suppliant
Southerners, midst sobs and tears, plead for mercy, and in vain, until
the happy thought occurs to one of them, to break forth into a wondrous
tale of the atrocities inflicted upon the starving and naked slaves of
English mines and factories, proving by contrast the superior happiness
of the nigger and the greater mercifulness of his treatment. The
indignant abolitionist drops the upraised cowhide, the sobs and tears of
the Southerners cease, the whole house thunders forth the ecstasy of its
delight, the curtain drops, and the enchanted audience adjourn to the
oyster saloons, vividly impressed with British brutality, the charms of
slavery, and the superiority of Abolitionism.

How strange, that in a country like this, boasting of its education, and
certainly with every facility for its prosecution--how strange, that in
the very Athens of the Republic, the deluded masses should exhibit as
complete ignorance as you could find in the gallery of any
twopenny-halfpenny metropolitan theatre of the old country!

Another of the lions of Boston which I determined to witness, if
possible, was "spirit-rapping." A friend undertook the arrangement for
me; but so fully were the hours of the exhibitor taken up, that it was
five days before we could obtain a spare hour. At length the time
arrived, and, fortified with a good dinner and a skinful of "Mumm
Cabinet," we proceeded to the witch's den. The witch was a clean and
decent-looking girl about twenty, rather thin, and apparently very
exhausted; gradually a party of ten assembled, and we gathered round the
witch's table. The majority were ladies--those adorers of the
marvellous! The names of friends were called for; the ladies took the
alphabet, and running over it with the point of a pencil, the spirit
rapped as the wished-for letter was reached. John Davis was soon spelt,
each letter probably having been indicated by the tremulous touch of
affectionate hope. Harriet Mercer was then rapped out by the obliging
spirit. The pencil and the alphabet were then handed to me, and the
spirit being asked if it would answer my inquiries, and a most
satisfactory "Yes" being rapped out, I proceeded to put its powers to
the test. I concentrated my thoughts upon a Mr. L---- and his shop in
Fleet-street, with both of which being thoroughly familiar I had no
difficulty in fixing my attention upon them. The pencil was put in
motion, powerful rappings were heard as it touched the D. I kept my
gravity, and went on again and again, till the name of the illustrious
duke, whose death the civilized world was then deploring with every
token of respect, was fully spelt out. The witch was in despair; she
tried again and again to summon the rebellious spirit, but it would not
come. At last, a gentleman present, and who evidently was an _habitue_

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