“ Saturday, June 21st.
“ UP by 5. Walk to wharf, whence boat for Phila. starts, to see if —— were coming aboard. Vain. At six, to Cathedral, to see mass — of which that is the hour. The sexton (husband of yesterday’s old woman) — a little, spare old man, with a long, thin, blood-red nose, that seems put on by Taliacotius — opened me the door.
“ Passed by and examined The City spring — a beautiful fountain, most neatly enclosed and regulated. At the hotel bar found from Miss —— a letter to Professor Felton, of Harvard. After breakfast, called to see Dr. Stewart. Found him at his door, just mounting his gig, for a professional drive. A cordial reception — for my introducer was his old college crony, J. M. — Promised to call at the hotel for me at 4 p. m., the hour of my own fixing ; and to shew me the city and its environs.
“ Visited several merchants, with letters of introduction. Many civilities. Every one violent against Jackson, for his course towards the Bank ; especially Archd. Hart, of Spottsylvania, the most fluent of them all. Practised on a resolve formed for this tour, — not to let party politics withdraw my thoughts a moment from the ten thousand objects of curiosity which it is my errand to explore: so, just informing each disputant that I differed with him, I contrived to change the topic. They then gave me some valuable information.
“ Virginia Bank notes at par now, in Baltimore. Those of the Bk. of Maryland at 35 cents to the dollar.
“ Savings Banks here are mere depositories of money, which they lend out by discounting notes, &c. like other banks ; and pay no interest on deposits. Savings Institutions pay interest on deposit, varying from 2 to 5 per cent, according to the length of notice which the depositor agrees to give, before he withdraws the deposit. If 6 months’ notice, 5 per cent: if 10 days’ notice, only 2 per cent — and so, of intermediate times. This is wholly unlike the Richmond Savings Institutions — they give always 5 per cent, and require but 14 days’ notice of withdrawal. — Expressing surprise at the small interest allowed on the shortest notice of withdrawal, I was told by one of my new merchant-friends, Mr. Hall, that the prompt command of capital is here so important, that its owners often prefer 2 per cent with 10 days’, to 5 per cent with 6 months’ notice.
“At 4, Dr. Stewart called; and in his chaise we drove first round the Washington Monument — he pointing out the most remarkable objects, near and remote. Then, across Jones’ Falls’ Creek, to the Hospital — chiefly for the insane, but not solely. This hospital is a decided pet of Dr. S., who is its physician, and superintendent, or president. Its plan is new to me, and rather new in the world — an entire departure from the English and Virginia (Wmsburg) methods, of treating lunatics, with ducking, strait-jackets, irongrated cells, and the lash. Moral Influence is the passe-partout of the system here. Kindness — engaging the patient’s affections and thoughts — amusing him — affording him exercise, by light labor, walking, riding, music, dancing — with wholesome diet, and cheerful conversation — these are the chief materia viedtca. Here, and wherever else this method has been tried, it has proved successful, beyond precedent, in working cures. Dr. Stewart’s own character and manners — the very incarnation of softness and humanity — make him the man of men for his place : and as aids, in nursing, watching, and keeping the establishment in order, he has I know not how many of the Sisters of Charity — so illustrious for their adventurous beneficence in the cholera-time. Met several of them in going through the rooms — Dr. S. introduced me to two, — ‘ Sister Isabella’ and ‘ Sister Catherine.’ In my delight with the neatness, order, and comfort which reigned, and with the half-angelic looks of my new sisters themselves, I said with energy, ‘ I like it better than the cathedral.’ Their gratification was manifest.
“ Returning from our drive, we had a view of the battle-ground at North Point, and of Fort McHenry. The latter disappointed me, by presenting a group of slight-looking edifices, more like dwelling-houses than a fort ; situated upon a low beach : and without a single feature to justify Mr. Key’s epithet, ‘the towering steep,’ in his song.
“ Baltimore has 5 catholic churches. Its rapid growth. In 1780 it had but 2,000 inhabitants — now, 90,000.
“ Sunday, June 22d.
“ Off at 6 a. m. for Philadelphia, in a steamboat belonging to the railroad line. Race with opposition boat. Breakfast on board. Transfer from steamboat to Rl Road cars, at Elkton. My car was No. 8. Each contained 20, or 24 passengers, besides 3 cars for baggage. Our speed, by my watch, a mile in 3 minutes, and sometimes in 2′, 50″. Our railroad was about 18 miles, across the State of Delaware. Land, flat and poor. View of Delaware Bay and River. Embarked in another steamboat on D. River. View of Wilmington. Greenwich. The Lazaretto, where ships whose health is questionable are examined, and ride a quarantine, before going to Philadelphia. Mud Island, and its fort. Red Bank, where the British and Hessians, headed by Count Donop, were repulsed with dreadful slaughter in 1778 or ’9. The spot (nearly) where Donop fell, was shown me by a passenger. Philadelphia now came full in sight. The scene was exciting to me in the extreme — so vast an extent of buildings — such a wilderness of water-craft — ships of war, merchantmen, steamboats, coasting vessels, and small rivercraft, from the sloop of 40 tons down to the skiff of half a ton — all alive. A gallant steamboat, hurrying down the stream, met us just below the city — her decks crowded with men and women. Several men of war not yet finished, — among them the 120 gun ship Pennsylvania, — lie at the lower corner of Philada., each cased in a huge wooden house, to preserve it until ready for service. For miles past, servants on board have been treating with the passengers for the carrying of their trunks from the steamboat landing to their various resting places in the city. I have engaged mine to a white boy of remarkably fine countenance and manners — Samuel.
“ Upon landing at Chestnut street wharf, I walked, accompanied by the boy with my trunk, to the U. S. Hotel — about 5 or 6 streets from the river.
“ As we walked along, the pavements were thronged with people, going some up, and some down ; so that I took for granted that the church services were just over, and the congregations going home, though it was 2 or 3 o’clock p. m. To my surprise, however, the throng continued all that afternoon, and all of every day ! It was the unceasing tide of population, thus for ever pouring itself along the walks of this vast human hive.
till the wealth and numbers of Philadelphia shall be sunk as those of bygone cities have sunk.
At the U. S. Hotel, which is called the first here, I found Dr. Wallace of Fredg. with whom I came thence to Washington. Being comparatively at home here, he kindly took on him to guide me for the present. We drove in an omnibus to Fairmount waterworks, on the Schuylkill. Having admired them, the jets d’eau, reservoir, flights of steps, bridges, and adjacent landscapes, for an hour or two, we returned. Vast numbers were found like us, so heedless of the Sabbath as thus to spend a part of it in a jaunt of pleasure. Some were drinking ; and many, by their conduct or appearance, made me ashamed of being in their category. Franklin Square is a space of perhaps 300 yards square, enclosed with iron palings, laid off beautifully with walks and planted with trees ; where the citizens of Philada. are allowed to walk at leisure times. The city contains 4 or 5 such squares, thus dedicated to innocent recreation ; and they conduce much to the health. On the trees are posted small printed cautions to all persons, not to walk upon the grass, upon pain of being fined a dollar.
“ After our return to the Hotel, Dr. Wallace and I walked to the Merchants’ Exchange ; a new and splendid building. Besides an Exchange, it contains the city post office.
“ Monday, June 23d, PHILADA.
“ After breakfast, called at the lodgings of Lieut. Blake, of the navy, to whom I bore a letter of introdn. from Blackford. Found him, and Lieut. Pendegrast — both of them sons-inlaw of Com. Barron. Lt. B. very desirous to have admirals in our navy. For want of them, arise many chafings and misunderstandings, connected with salutes at sea, and other occasions of etiquette.
“ Call on Condy Raguet, editor of the Examiner, a free-trade paper much read by me. He is a lank, frosty and thin-haired, French looking man of 60 or 65, not shewing in his face or conversation the abilities which my fancy had ascribed. Made an allusion to one of my communications, flattering à ma vanité d’auteur. Invitation to tea this evening, with Col. Clement Biddle, a prominent State Rts. man. Agreed.
“ Sought and found Mr. Thomas Kite. He was a publisher of law books, but has now left off business — a hale, and kindly quaker, of some 65. Offers me his guidance all this afternoon, to the lions of Philada, Accepted it, thankfully. At dinner, were Govr. Duval of Florida, Patrick H. Pope, (a young congressman from Ky.) and WASHINGTON IRVING ! — Duval and Irving seem very intimate. The latter is rather short, stoutly built, with a bull-neck, and not an amiable expression of countenance.
“ We walked next, 2 miles at least, to the Asylum for the deaf and dumb. Saw there Eliza and Lewis, daughter and son of Mr. Nicholas L., of Albemarle. They seemed rejoiced to see me, a sort of far-away cousin — tho’ we had never met before. We conversed by writing on a slate. An ingenious young man, a deafmute, who seemed overjoyed to meet Mr. Kite, shewed us a model of a steam engine which he had made ; and which, by help of some blazing paper, he set a running round a circular railway of his making, in two adjoining rooms. He capered with inexpressible delight, when he saw his engine work handsomely.
“ It was now after sunset: and taking leave of my kind guide, I repaired to Mr. C. Raguet’s to tea. Col. Biddle was there; the conversation was decidedly interesting ; though Mr. R. still disappoints me, and Col. Biddle is only smart and fluent —not deep, more than Mr. R.
“ The latter advanced, and I rather assent to, this position — (he is absorbed in Political economy) — that currency cannot be fairly equalized over the union by means of any bank : For though I gain by finding my Virginian money current at par in Philadelphia, yet for this advantage to me, the public should not be required to pay all that it must pay, in salaries to Bank officers, profits to the Banking companies, &c. &c. — not to mention the millions of millions which the community sinks occasionally, by disorders which Banks cause. I ought to pay for my advantage myself. — So Mr. R. classes the notion of Bank-equalization of the currency, among humbugs.
“ Tuesday, June 24.
“ At 10, according to yesterday’s appointment, Lt. Blake came to conduct me to the Navy Yard. Went, in an Omnibus.
The Pennsylvania (called a 74, Lt. B. says, but in fact an 136) and the Raritan a large Frigate, are the objects here which first strike the eye : each cased, as I said, in a huge house of painted plank, looking, at a distance, just like stonework. The Pads guns lie in the yard — chiefly 42s, but some 6 and 9 pounds carronades. The largest guns weigh 6400 wt. The largest anchors 9000. Locks, to cannon. Percussion locks not available to them. Why ?
“ Effective distance of 42 and 18 pounders, 1200 yards —must be elevated, to hit that far. The Pa. is now on the stocks — 5 months requisite to fit her for sea. Flights of steps up scaffolding, to reach deck. The height almost made my land lubber brain dizzy. Four decks — 1. upper, or spar deck; 2. main, gun deck ; 3. lower gun deck ; and 4. Berth deck. The cockpit is below the Berth deck. — The portholes are almost 3 1/2 feet square. In them, the guns may be trained (turned obliquely) 45° to either side. The bulwarks on the upper deck consist of 3 layers of timber: the middle one of live oak, 7 inches thick ; the outer and inner of pine, 5 inches thick. On lower decks, somewhat thicker. They are no stop to a cannon ball. A mast of the Constitution 3 1/2 or 4 feet thick, was bored thro’ by a ball entering at a porthole. Decks about 6 1/4 to 6 3/4 feet pitch.
“ Pine timber for ships is docked, or wet-seasoned; i. e. put under water 2 years, then sunned so as merely to dry the outside, and oiled superficially; then handed over to the carpenter. Live oak is used only about the frame, and bulwarks. Heartpine, procured from Va. and the Carolinas. Length of the Pa. 222 feet — breadth of beam, 54 — height of mainmast (all 4 parts) about 200. Live oak weighs 80 odd pounds to the cubic foot; other oak, 50 odd. She is to be of 3400 tons. Her complement of men, about 1200 including 100 marines.
“ Introduced to Com. Barron, commanding at this naval station. A plain spoken, kind mannered old gentleman. — He and Lt. Blake shewed me a gun carriage improved by the commodore. It trains more easily. Also a pump of his invention — worked by 4 men — model of it. Instead of a piston with a bucket and valves at the end, — it has in the tube (which is a long parallelepiped) an upright board, with 2 valves ; and a valve in the fixed plug below.
“ A visit from Elliott Cresson, the benevolent quaker, so distinguished as an ardent and able champion of colonization in Africa. While he and Mr. Chauncey were sitting with me, Lt. Blake came in. It being known that he had been to Liberia, Mr. Cresson drew out of him many particulars of his visit; and a promise of his testimony to refute the statements of Brown, the renegade free negro colonist. Walk home with Mr. Cresson. His zeal and eloquence are electrilying. He speaks of my yesterday’s friend as ' Tommy Kite ’; and expresses a gentle sorrow for ‘ Tommy’s ’ misconceived dislike of the colonization scheme — Tommy being an abolitionist.
“ To Mr. Kite’s at 1/2 past six, to tea. His wife — father — brother James — son William — daughter Rebecca. I am bewitched with the beautiful simplicity of the house and all that it inhabit. The father must be above So, and wears a little brown wig, not intended as a cheat, for the gray hairs appear round its edges. Rebecca is a pretty and affable lass, of some 22. We sat round a table to sup. As we seated ourselves, Tommy Kite said to me with a quiet, benignant, half-smile, ‘ We don’t say grace, but we try to think a good thought.’ Being seated, all remained still as death, lookingdown, silent, as if in meditation, for about one or two minutes; and then began to help one another, and eat. No courtly prayer that I ever heard, over a table loaded with dainties, impressed me half so much with devotional feeling, as this silent grace.
“ At sunset, we walked down to the Walnut street wharf, distant 5 or 600 yards, to see the Liverpool packet Monongahela, of which Mr. Kite is part owner. Surveying the deck, I saw a small carronade, a two pounder, which Mr. K. told me was kept only to give and return salutes at sea. ‘ But you would use it also to fight, if necessary ?’ ‘No no — that is against our principles : we never fight.’ ‘ But suppose you were attacked by a pirate — you would defend yourselves, I suppose ? ’ ‘No — we should not. Our principles forbid us to fight at all.’ No further explanation of his sect’s views occurred. This was by far the most striking instance ever presented to me, of the length to which the Quakers carry their non-resistance. We passed upward to Mr. K.’s house. A shower drove us into the market house, which extends nearly 3/4 of a mile along Arch street. Some very old houses shown me. The house built by Penn himself, about 1686 or ’90. House where the widow Todd, now Mrs. Madison, lived. The first court house of Philadelphia, Its vane is inscribed 1709. Whitefield’s voice ; — when he was here, his preaching from that court house was heard upon the Delaware, fully 1/4 of a mile.
“ At Mr. K.’s : various talk. My tour. Quaker manners — Rebecca’s especially— frank, cordial, simple, delightful. She, and all, call me ‘ Lucian.’ As Mr. K. walks the streets, he receives from negroes the most marked tokens of kindness and respect: some of which are extended to me, because I am seen with him.
“Wednesday, June 25.
“ At 10 a. m. called on Mr. Chauncey, and with him visited West s great picture. It is indeed great.
“ Thence went to see a mammoth Sycamore, exhibited and advertised as a show. It is the lowest cut, of one which grew near Utica, N. Y. 33 feet around. Its hollow forms a snug apartment, 14 feet by 10 or 11 ; nicely papered. A large Harp was there, which (the exhibitor said) had cost $ 1000.
“ Thursday, June 26.
“ At night, attracted (in a saunter along Chestnut street) by lights and music, and a showy sign, to go up a stairs into what the sign called The Hall of Industry. It was a lightly constructed, and most ingenious machine for spinning and weaving cotton ; moved by Dogs ! — They imparted the motion by trying (apparently) to walk forward upon a sort of lattice floor, which yielded to their tread, and proved to be only the surface of a large wheel. It was exactly the principle of the treadmill. The plodding, steady, patient gait at which the faithful creatures plied their laborious task was admirable and piteous to behold. They had on yokes, and yet pulled in traces.
“ Friday, June 27.
“ Call on Mr. Cresson. There met Capt. Abels, a Dutchman, who has been (as captain of a ship) 3 times to Liberia. A thin, monkey-mouthed, duskyskinned mynheer. Mr. C. gave me (what I called for) a pamphlet, containing the evidence of John C. Brown, the returned Liberia emigrant, who is traducing the Colony, among the abolitionists. I wanted it for Lt. Blake — that he might know the number and measure of Brown’s falsehoods, and duly gainsay them in the statement which he (Lt. Blake) is going to prepare. Carried it to him. He is averse to appearing in print; fearful of a grapple with Garrison. But on hearing some of Brown’s assertions read, which Lt. B. knew to be false ; and after a few incitements urged ; — he seemed to consent. He read me some extracts from his journal while at Liberia, in Febry. 1831. They are sensible and just — confirm, remarkably, the favorable account of Capt. Kennedy, with whom Lt. B, was there.
“ Tea with Mr. Cresson. He lives with his mother, on Sansom street. — to whom, now for the first time, he has introduced me. From her uprightness, and fresh appearance, I took her for his elder sister. Mrs. Maybury, a lady from Rockbridge, in Va., here also. Capt. Abels again. Gives a highly favorable account of Liberia, but says he made it a rule (indispensable to every white man’s safety from the coast-fever) never to stay one night ashore. On shipboard, the sea breeze dispels the danger. Spoke in warm praise of the settlement at New Georgia (recaptured Africans), moral, industrious, religious.
“ Mr. Cresson enthusiastic, and eloquent, upon his darling subject. Many inquiries about the condition and characters of the Free negroes in Va. When I described to him John Pearce, a well known and much respected mulatto man of Goochland, Mr. C. was anxious that I should urge him to emigrate to Liberia, and take command of a colonial vessel for trading voyages. At 8, Mr. C. was called away by a meeting of the Managers of the Pennsylvania Young men’s colonization Society.
Washington Irving and Govr. Duval are gone. Not one word of conversation, not the smallest approach towards acquaintance, with Irving, during the 6 days that we have been under the same roof, eaten at the same end of the same table, read the same newspapers (not quite at the same time) in the same parlor. This incorrigible mauvaise honte of mine ! Irving is not even 5 feet 7 1/2 — inclined to corpulence — weighing, probably 175 — eyes blue, and like his whole countenance, rather lifeless and heavy. His voice is tenor; too thin a tenor, for a man’s voice. He is courteous, tho’ not affable — else I should have scraped an acquaintance with him. His reserve may be only the shyness natural to studious men.
“ Called on Mr. Cresson. He dealt me a severe stroke of satire in disguise, by expressing his fear that he encroached too much on my ‘ valuable time.’ My valuable time ! Offers to conduct me to church to-morrow afternoon — having engagements for the morning. Recited the names, places of preaching, and characters oratorical and doctrinal, of the chief Presbyterian ministers of Phila. Three divisions among the Presbyterians — Old Calvinistic — Newlights, rather evangelical — and a third, whose characteristic Mr. C. did not know. He wrote me down their names and churches. 12 Presbyterian houses of worship in the city — 5, of the Friends.
“ After supper, a visit to Mr. Kite. His son and daughter not at home. His young brother, James, accompanied me to see the Apprentices’ Library— one of the beneficent institutions of this noble city — established by the merchants, and master mechanics, to keep their boys out of mischief. 1500 boys enjoy it. There are 10000 books. The parents or masters guarantee their return, uninjured, when taken out. This was the weekly night for delivering out books, and the room was crowded with boys. Manner of giving out the books. Their choices — Robinson Crusoe — Juvenile Port Folio— Depping’s Evening Entertainments — Barlow’s Columbiad, &c., &c. One little mulatto, 8 or 9 years old, had taken out a small life of Washington. There were several mulatto boys ; and all, of all colors, manifested extreme eagerness to get books. The keeper and my guide told me it had been so for, now, 7 years.
“ Sunday, June 29.
“ Forenoon, to church, Methodist. The preacher, Dr. D——, President of Dickenson College, Carlisle. Admirable sermon, in a great degree marred by a feeble, drawling voice. Afternoon, to hear Mr. Boardman, a rather awkward young Presbyterian, of considerable talent, however.
“ An interesting conversation with Mr. Cresson, whose whole soul is absorbed by Colonization. His zeal is fervid — feverish. His championship of the Cause is powerful. How important is a concentration of faculties upon some one pursuit, to him who would attain either distinction or usefulness ! Poor me — puffing under the toil of as many studies and aims as would employ all the hands of Briareus ! And to what purpose ? Re-spondeant rugæ, et prœcani capilli ! oculi rutili — vita infructuosa, et ignota !
“ Mr. Cresson devotes himself exclusively to one object — He will exalt, if not immortalize himself, and bless mankind. — I could not help recommending to him, however, to aim more at operating upon masses of men, instead of exhausting his time and powers in efforts to proselyte individuals.
“ Monday, June 30.
“ Up at 5. — Call on Mr. Kite after breakfast, for the last time. He gives me a letter of introduction to Arthur Tappan of N. Y., the arch-abolitionist. Wonder if it will be delivered ? — Mr. K.’s, and his wife’s, and father’s cordial, soft “ Fare thee well ! ” — may it dwell forever in my memory.
“ Waited on Miss S. at her boarding house — and on our way to the wharf, tho’ much hurried, we ascended the Ct. House stairs, to snatch a look into Independence Hall. Then walked rapidly to the st. Boat, at 1/2 past 10.— Throng of passengers — probably 2 or 300. As the boat ran out, a poor one of them lost his light, cheap, summer hat, — blown off into the river. He was a ludicrous image of surprise and distress — evidently looked about for the captain to stop the boat: and then his air of half resignation, half despair ! As we ascended the Delaware, — seats and views beautiful, tho’ too level. — Burlington, — Bordentown, where we took the Rl. Rd.
“ The jarring and clatter of the cars enforced on me and my immediate companions a silence for 20 miles. At last, a merchant-looking man, (of Boston, as Miss S. guessed) after many visible tokens of restlessness under such restraint upon his tongue, — oped his jaws, and spake. He had been to Virginia — to Europe — round the Cape of Good Hope — to the East Indies — to China — to Cantón ! These facts, and a multitude less momentous, he contrived to impart as we sped over the wastes of New Jersey. Nor did he seem displeased, that we told him nothing of ourselves in return. So ungrudging is a tattler, of his wordy store. — At Amboy, near the mouth of Raritan R, —embarked upon Amboy Bay, in a st. Boat, direct for N. Y. — Here again encountered Mrs. Ellsworth, attended now by a Mr. Clay of Philada., to whom she introduced me.
“ Our route lay along a strait, on the W. of Staten island. Coasted round that island, several miles.
“ Amidst the press of coachmen and porters, we landed near the Battery : and committing our baggage to a wheelbarrow man, walked to Bunker’s Hotel, not far up Broadway, where Miss S. expected a brother to meet her. It was sunset. Her brother, the rev. Mr. S——, (a Unitarian) soon appeared. Incredible as it may seem to some unco guid friends of mine, he had neither horns, nor tail (except his coat tail), that I could discover, though I scanned him sharply — he being the first Unitarian professed, that I had ever seen. I conversed with him, and found him quite a civil, gentlemanlike person. He is staying a week or two in N. Y., to preach for a brother minister who is elsewhere.
“ After tea, I strolled half a mile up Broadway, the crowded mainstreet ; now lighted with gas lamps, and flashing with brilliant gleams from a thousand reflectors in windows, and about doors. A dazzling and magnificent spectacle indeed.
“ Tuesday, July 1st.
“ Before 6, walked half a mile or more, to see a merchant in Maiden Lane, upon business for B——d. Found the lubber’s doors closed, and no human being astir, tho’ the sun was an hour high ! So I had to return to the Hotel, re infectâ.
“ At 7, my fair charge and I were on board the good steam boat ——, for New Haven. Genl. Cocke and his family gratified me by appearing on the deck just after. — We ran by Brooklyn, now a fine city of 20 or 30000 people — and the village of Williamsburg, near which is a charity school filled mostly if not entirely with the children of victims to the cholera. The scholars were assembled, to the number of 50 or 100, on the beach as we passed, and greeted us with loud huzzas. Why, I know not. This was on Long Island. Presently, we reached Hellgate, — corrupted, by the mealy-mouthed, into Hurlgate. Whatever terrors it may have had to the little craft of early navigators (see Knickerbocker), they are annihilated by steam. A considerable rush of the tide, and waves of respectable size, made the Boat rock somewhat : but we lost not a moment, and strained not a plank, or a beam, or a joint.
“ Now we were out in Long Island sound, widening continually before us, and exhibiting, on either shore, sights novel, picturesque, and interesting. Dwellings, gardens, farms, bold hills, masses of dark rock, promontories, capes, and light houses, were perpetually enlivening the scene. Then the balmy air, moving just in a delightful breeze, — the rolling waves, — the bounding boat, freighted with so much life and joy, — all these things gladdened every pulse in my frame, and made me feel a present happiness which, in its mid-career, I checked for a moment, by a thought on the mutability of human affairs. The Bard’s warning crossed my mind —
While, proudly riding o’er the azure realm,
In gallant time the gilded vessel goes,
Youth on the prow, and pleasure at the helm, —
Regardless of the sweeping whirlwind’s sway,
That, hush’d in grim repose, expects his evening prey.’
The presentiment did not abate a grain of the quiet ecstasy (shall I give it so strong a name ?) that thrilled through my veins : and I am not sure that to admit such a presentiment of ill amidst pleasure, at all assuages the sting of that ill, when it comes. Let the philosophers decide.
“ It is impossible to note the objects and incidents that occurred on this day’s voyage. Having dined on board the Boat, we drew near New Haven. On landing there, we were put into stage coaches, which carried us into the city. Slender opportunity of viewing it was afforded. Some fine churches, more fine trees, and not a few handsome dwelling houses, with the Yale college buildings and their trees and square — were all that I could see of the far famed beauties of New Haven. And these certainly are not to be contemned.
“ I had resolved, in N. York, to attend Miss S. to Northampton, Massachusetts, where her friends reside. We are bound to Hartford, 24 miles further, tonight. The managers of affairs have put us into the mail coach, which goes by Middletown. We drove on, without alighting at the stage house in N. Haven. Passed a salt-marsh : i. e. a meadow, daily inundated by the tide, and producing a coarse grass, which is much impregnated with salt, this makes it very toothsome to cattle : and the hay thus made is much valued.
“ And now I am in Connecticut! not only in Yankee land, but in the very land of steady habits, itself! — I could hardly realize it to myself. Driving on, we were, in a stage very like those in Virginia ; drawn by horses not materially different from ours ; along a road, sometimes muddy, sometimes sandy, sometimes rocky ; bordered by fences, and farms, and trees, shrubs, weeds, grass, and flowers, not strikingly dissimilar to those of my native land. Oxeyed daisies, in plenty. No worm fences — chiefly post - and - rail — (chestnut rails), sometimes staked fences, straight, — and sometimes stone. The houses, too, upon a plan rather different; oftener painted than ours, and more snug. The farms are certainly smaller than with us ; and not so superior in neatness, as I expected.
“ Towards night, we met groups of school children going home. They curtsied and bowed to us in the most mannerly way. This, Miss S. told me, was what N. England children are carefully taught to do.
“ From near N. Haven, two very high peaks — mountains, in fact — appear on either hand, called East Rock, and West Rock. The former towers most naked and pointed ; almost an entire mass of dark, trap rock. It is 800 feet high, I believe. — The fields shewed little wheat; much more rye, and most hay. Some indian corn, which is very small, not averaging above 6 or 8 inches in height. Rye bread, I am told is much used ; commonly mixed with flour, or corn meal. What flour they have, is mostly gotten from N. York, and the South.
“ Our fellow passengers are a civil young student of Yale, and his sister Louisa M., a very pretty girl of 15 or 16 going home from a boarding school in Fairfield; a man from Rochester, N. Y., with a deformed, limping wife, and a coarse, Irish servant girl. In my greenness, I helped the servant girl into the stage, and offered her some other civility, as if she had been a lady; being accustomed to do so to all white women. Something in the looks of my fellow passengers, and the girl’s own drawing back, shewed me the blunder. The student says, Yale college has about 500 students ; viz. 350 academical, and 150 professional (Law, physic, and divinity). Temperance flourishing there — majority of them, members of Total Abstinence Society, even from wine. He and his sister stopped before we reached Middletown, — near their father’s house. ‘ I shall not soon forget that sweet girl,’ said another passenger. Indeed her looks, manners, and discourse with her brother (whom she met that afternoon the first time for several months), all excited interest. I did not learn what the M. stood for, — upon her trunk.
“ Our Rochester companions helped to beguile the time, while Miss S., veiled, was reading. The man is concerned in one of the immense wheat mills there. One of them manufactures into flour, 700000 bushels of wheat, a year. His wife is a genius ; and made some amusing efforts at literary conversation. Among other things, she had read Calebs, and admired Miss More; only thought her books ‘ difficult to read.’ — Passing a village grave yard, enclosed with stone, entirely outside of the village, I asked why it was placed so ? The lady said it was ‘ for the convenience of those who live at a distance.’ — As clear as mud.
“ Entered Middletown, a town of 3 or 4000 inhabitants, near sunset; coming to the western Bank of Connecticut River just below. Took tea there ; and drove on, having still 9 or 10 miles to go. Just above Middletown, on the opposite side of the River, is the village of Chatham, where a large quarry of dark brown rock, soft, and much prized for building, is wrought, out of the high river bank. The grave yard being found to rest over the seam of rock, the quarriers are about to make a stir among the dry bones — i. e. remove them to some other resting place.— Cultivation in some places is carried close to the highwater mark. The river banks are planted with willows, to prevent abrasion by the water.
“ At Rocky Hill, and Wethersfield (famous for its onion fields) we parted with our remaining companions ; and arrived in Hartford about 9, at night. Our hostelrie, the City Hotel, kept by a Mr. Morgan. Hartford and New Haven are regularly incorporated as cities, by the Legislature of Connecticut: having, each, 12 or 13000 people. The legislature meets in them, alternately.
“ Hartford ! how could I sleep here, for thinking of the horrible convention, of 1814 ? Yet sleep I did, and soundly, for 5 or 6 hours.
“ Wednesday, July 2d.
“ Rose before 4. White waiters. They make me feel awkward. Left the city at 5 — several persons in stage besides Miss S. and me. In driving out, saw an elegant church, built of the brown stone dug at Chatham quarry. Several other churches, and other public buildings, of uncommon beauty to the transient eye. A tall pole, nearly as high as a church steeple, presented itself upon a sort of public square. It was a Liberty Pole, such as is described in McFingal! Nothing yet, in N. England, has so excited me.
A pole ascending through the sky,’&c.
Let nobody fail to read the passage — and the poem.
“ Our road lay chiefly along the Connecticut River — its W. bank —great diversity of cliff, woods, field, low ground, and ravine — much pretty country visible, mainly on t’ other side. Hemlock trees, exactly what we in Louisa have called juniper, on river hills. Plenty of a kind of fern, or brake. The country people here call it farn; and an old Scotchwoman with us called it bracken, and said it was common in the mountains of Scotland. So we set it down as the very sort of plant which hid Roderic Dhu’s men on the mountain side, near Coilantogle Ford. Beyond the river, amidst much agricultural richness and beauty, lay the village of East Windsor. A church steeple there had a clock, the hands of which were so large, that I could easily see the hour and minute they told — 6 or 800 yards off. Two or 3 miles higher, on one side of the river, was Windsor (proper), at the junction of Windsor river with the Connecticut.
“ Breakfast at a Tavern 12 miles from Hartford ; at the locks belonging to the Five-mile canal, which leads round the Rapids of C. river. The waiter at breakfast was a right handsome— young lady, I should call her; a blooming rose-and-lily lassie, of 18 or 20 ; quite as genteel-looking as any among 4/5 of the real young ladies that I have met with. Tho’ brisk in her motions around the table, she had an air of nonchalance withal; and at every interval in her services, she sat, half reclining, upon a settee. Her look and manner said that she asked no odds, either of us passengers, or of her employers.
“ In the morning’s drive, patches of tobacco, growing on the river low-lands, repeatedly presented themselves. To my wondering inquiry touching this phenomenon, a facetious old gentleman of Springfield said, it was to make Havana cigars. The villages of Warehouse Point, and Enfield in Connecticut, Long Meadow and Springfield in Massachusetts, appeared on the opposite shore ; Suffield in Conn., and West Springfield in Mass., on the Western side. — Crossed the River on a covered Bridge, into Springfield ; and after a few minutes’ stay, drove back again, and resumed our road to Northampton, now 18 miles distant.
“ Striking landscapes and objects thickened upon us. The River was more unruly — oftener cramped and turned by bluffs and rocks. Mountains rose, both far and near. Mount Tom and Mount Holyoke, especially prominent, engaged the eye — Holyoke, a single, sharp peak ; Mount Tom, more rounded, and giving its name to a whole range. From several points, church steeples and spires lent their beautifying power to the prospect — and beautifiers they truly are ; speaking even more eloquently to the mind than to the eye.
“ In exchange for some of our companions, at Springfield, we took in a lady passenger, evidently single, and of no particular age ; sour-faced, and sour-tempered ; yet at times displaying kind feelings. Very communicative.
“ Before one, we reached Northampton.
“ They gave me dinner at the Hotel, about one. A female, white waiter, again. She was troublesomely assiduous. We had apple-pie, and rhubarbpie, or tart. This was new to me : and it was with difficulty I could understand her question, if I would take some of the r’barrb? expending all the sound upon the last syllable. — After a brief visit to Miss S. at her brother’s —where only her mother was, — he being yet in N. York — I sauntered over the town. The Court House, neat and commodious. Several good churches, many handsome private houses, all of wood, painted white. A well filled bookstore. The afternoon was rainy. Invitation to breakfast with Mrs. and Miss S. tomorrow. Agreed. Tea with them today.
“ A good deal of drinking about the public houses.
“ A gentleman of the town encourages my design of walking among the country people, by telling me of the kind usage to be expected, and that they will not refuse pay for what they afford me. New Englandisms begin to multiply upon my ear. This gentleman says Worcester is ‘ considerable of a place,’ &c., &c.”