Diary in America, Series One
by Frederick Marryat (AKA Captain Marryat)
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After you have passed through the river St Clair, and entered the Huron lake, the fertility of the country gradually disappears. Here and there indeed, especially on the Canadian side, a spot more rich than the soil in general is shewn by the large growth of the timber; but the northern part of the Lake Huron shores is certainly little fit for cultivation. The spruce fir now begins to be plentiful; for, until you come to the upper end of the lake, they are scarce, although very abundant in Upper Canada. The country wears the same appearance all the way up to the Sault St Marie, shewing maple and black poplar intermingled with fir: the oak but rarely appearing. The whole lake from Mackinaw to the Detour is studded with islands. A large one at the entrance of the river is called St Joseph's. The Hudson Bay Company had a station there, which is now abandoned, and the island has been purchased, or granted, to an English officer, who has partly settled it. It is said to be the best land in this region, but still hardly fit for cultivation. It was late before our arrival at the Sault, and we were obliged to have recourse to our paddles, for the wind had died away. As the sun went down, we observed a very curious effect from the refraction of tints, the water changing to a bright violet every time that it was disturbed by the paddles. I have witnessed something like this just after sunset on the Lake of Geneva.

We landed at dusk, much fatigued; but the Aurora Borealis flashed in the heavens, spreading out like a vast plume of ostrich feathers across the sky, every minute changing its beautiful and fanciful forms. Tired as we were, we watched it for hours before we could make up our minds to go to bed.


Sault St Marie—Our landlord is a very strange being. It appears that he has been annoyed by some traveller, who has published a work in which he has found fault with the accommodations at Sault St Marie, and spoken very disrespectfully of our host's beds and bed-furniture. I have never read the work, but I am so well aware how frequently travellers fill up their pages with fleas, and "such small gear," that I presume the one in question was short of matter to furnish out his book; yet it was neither just nor liberal on his part to expect at Sault St Marie, where, perhaps, not five travellers arrive in the course of a year, the same accommodations as at New York. The bedsteads certainly were a little rickety, but every thing was very clean and comfortable. The house was not an inn, nor, indeed, did it pretend to be one, but the fare was good and well cooked, and you were waited upon by the host's two pretty modest daughters—not only pretty, but well-informed girls; and, considering that this village is the Ultima Thule of this portion of America, I think that a traveller might have been very well content with things as they were. In two instances, I found in the log-houses of this village complete editions of Lord Byron's works.

Sault St Marie contains, perhaps, fifty houses, mostly built of logs, and has a palisade put up to repel any attack of the Indians.

There are two companies of soldiers quartered here. The rapids from which the village takes its name are just above it; they are not strong or dangerous, and the canoes descend them twenty times a day. At the foot of the rapids the men are constantly employed in taking the white fish in scoop nets, as they attempt to force their way up into Lake Superior. The majority of the inhabitants here are half-breeds. It is remarkable that the females generally improve, and the males degenerate, from the admixture of blood. Indian wives are here preferred to white, and perhaps with reason—they make the best wives for poor men; they labour hard, never complain, and a day of severe toil is amply recompensed by a smile from their lord and master in the evening. They are always faithful and devoted, and very sparing of their talk, all which qualities are considered as recommendations in this part of the world.

It is remarkable, that although the Americans treat the negro with contumely, they have a respect for the red Indian: a well-educated half-bred Indian is not debarred from entering into society; indeed, they are generally received with great attention. The daughter of a celebrated Indian chief brings heraldry into the family, for the Indians are as proud of their descent (and with good reason) as we, in Europe, are of ours. The Randolph family in Virginia still boast of their descent from Pocahontas, the heroine of one of the most remarkable romances in real life which was ever heard of.

The whole of this region appears to be incapable of cultivation, and must remain in its present state, perhaps, for centuries to come. The chief produce is from the lakes; trout and white fish are caught in large quantities, salted down, and sent to the west and south. At Mackinaw alone they cure about two thousand barrels, which sell for ten dollars the barrel; at the Sault, about the same quantity; and on Lake Superior, at the station of the American Fur Company, they have commenced the fishing, to lessen the expenses of the establishment, and they now salt down about four thousand barrels; but this traffic is still in its infancy, and will become more profitable as the west becomes more populous. Be it here observed that, although the Canadians have the same rights and the same capabilities of fishing, I do not believe that one barrel is cured on the Canadian side. As the American fish is prohibited in England, it might really become an article of exportation from the Canadas to a considerable amount.

There is another source of profit, which is the collecting of the maple sugar; and this staple, if I may use the term, is rapidly increasing. At an average, the full grown maple-tree will yield about five pounds of sugar each tapping, and, if carefully treated, will last forty years. All the State of Michigan is supplied from this quarter with this sugar, which is good in quality, and refines well. At Mackinaw they receive about three hundred thousand pounds every year. It may be collected in any quantity from their vast wildernesses of forests, and although the notion may appear strange, it is not impossible that one day the Northern sugar may supersede that of the Tropics. The island of St Joseph, which I have mentioned, is covered with large maple trees, and they make a great quantity upon that spot alone.

I was amused by a reply given me by an American in office here. I asked how much his office was worth, and his answer was six hundred dollars, besides stealings. This was, at all events, frank and honest; in England the word would have been softened down to perquisites. I afterwards found that it was a common expression in the States to say a place was worth so much besides cheatage.

In all this country, from Mackinaw to the Sault, hay is very scarce; and, during the short summer season, the people go twenty or thirty miles in their canoes to any known patch of prairie or grass land to collect it. Nevertheless, they are very often obliged, during the winter, to feed their cattle upon fish, and, strange to say, they acquire a taste for it. You will see the horses and cows disputing for the offal; and our landlord told me that he has often witnessed a particular horse wait very quietly while they were landing the fish from the canoes, watch his opportunity, dart in, steal one, and run away with it in his mouth.

A mutiny among our lazzaroni of half-breeds, they refuse to work today, because they are tired, they say, and we are obliged to procure others. Carried our canoe over the pasturage into the canal, and in five minutes were on the vast inland sea of Lake Superior. The waters of this lake are, if possible, more transparent than those of the Huron, or rather the variety and bright colours of the pebbles and agates which lie at the bottom, make them appear so. The appearance of the coast, and the growth of timber, are much the same as on Lake Huron, until you arrive at Gros Cape, a bold promontory, about three hundred feet high. We ascended this cape, to have a full view of the expanse of water: this was a severe task, as it was nearly perpendicular, and we were forced to cling from tree to tree to make the ascent. In addition to this difficulty, we were unremittingly pursued by the mosquitoes, which blinded us so as to impede our progress, being moreover assisted in their malevolent attacks by a sort of sand-fly, that made triangular incisions behind our ears, exactly like a small leech bite, from which the blood trickled down two or three inches as soon as the little wretch let go his hold. This variety of stinging made us almost mad, and we descended quite exhausted, the blood trickling down our faces and necks. We threw off our clothes, and plunged into the lake; the water was too cold; the agates at the bottom cut our feet severely, and thus were we phlebotomised from head to foot.

There is a singular geological feature at this cape; you do not perceive it until you have forced your way through a belt of firs, which grow at the bottom and screen it from sight. It is a ravine in which the rocks are pouring down from the top to the bottom, all so equal in size, and so arranged, as to wear the appearance of a cascade of stones; and when, half blinded by the mosquitoes, you look upon them, they appear as if they are actually in motion, and falling down in one continued stream. We embarked again, and after an hour's paddling landed upon a small island, where was the tomb of an Indian chief or warrior. It was in a beautiful spot, surrounded by the wild rose, blue peas, and campanellas. The kinnakinnee, or weed which the Indians smoke as tobacco, grew plentifully about it. The mound of earth was surrounded by a low palisade, about four feet wide and seven feet long, and at the head of it was the warrior's pole, with eagle feathers, and notches denoting the number of scalps he had taken from the enemy.

The Hudson Bay and American Fur Companies both have stations on Lake Superior, on their respective sides of the lake, and the Americans have a small schooner which navigates it. There is one question which the traveller cannot help asking himself as he surveys the vast mass of water, into which so many rivers pour their contributions, which is—In what manner is all this accumulation of water carried off? Except by a very small evaporation in the summer time, and the outlet at Sault St Marie, where the water which escapes is not much more than equal to two or three of the rivers which feed the lake, there is no apparent means by which the water is carried off. The only conclusion that can be arrived at is, that when the lake rises above a certain height, as the soil around is sandy and porous, the surplus waters find their way through it; and such I believe to be the case.

We saw no bears. They do not come down to the shores, (or travel, as they term it here,) until the huckleberries are ripe. We were told that a month later there would be plenty of them. It is an ascertained fact, that the bears from this region migrate to the west every autumn, but it is not known when they return. They come down to the eastern shores of the Lakes Superior and Huron, swim the lakes and rivers from island to island, never deviating from their course, till they pass through by Wisconsin to the Missisippi. Nothing stops them; the sight of a canoe will not prevent their taking the water; and the Indians in the River St Marie have been known to kill fifteen in one day. It is singular that the bears on the other side of the Missisippi are said to migrate to the east, exactly in the contrary direction. Perhaps the Missisippi is their fashionable watering-place.

A gathering storm induced us to return, instead of continuing our progress on the lake. A birch canoe in a gale of wind on Lake Superior, would not be a very insurable risk. On our return, we found our half-breeds very penitent, for had we not taken them back, they would have stood a good chance of wintering there. But we had had advice as to the treatment of these lazy gluttonous scoundrels, who swallowed long pieces of raw pork the whole of the day, and towards evening were, from repletion, hanging their heads over the sides of the canoe and quite ill. They had been regaled with pork and whisky going up; we gave them salt fish and a broomstick by way of variety on their return, and they behaved very well under the latter fare.

We started again down with the stream, and the first night took up our quarters on a prairie spot, where they had been making hay, which was lying in cocks about us. To have a soft bed we carried quantities into our tent, forgetting that we disturbed the mosquitoes who had gone to bed in the hay. We smoked the tent to drive them out again; but in smoking the tent we set fire to the hay, and it ended in a conflagration. We were burnt out, and had to re-pitch our tent.

I was sauntering by the side of the river when I heard a rustling in the grass, and perceived a garter snake, an elegant and harmless little creature, about a foot and a half long. It had a small toad in its mouth, which it had seized by the head: but it was much too large for the snake to swallow, without leisure and preparation. I was amused at the precaution, I may say invention of the toad, to prevent its being swallowed: it had inflated itself, till it was as round as a bladder, and upon this, issue was joined—the snake would not let go, the toad would not be swallowed. I lifted up the snake by the tail and threw them three or four yards into the river. The snake rose to the surface, as majestic as the great sea serpent in miniature, carrying his head well out of the water, with the toad still in his mouth, reminding me of Caesar with his Commentaries. He landed close to my feet; I threw him in again, and this time he let go the toad, which remained floating and inanimate an the water; but after a time he discharged his superfluous gas, and made for the shore; while the snake, to avoid me, swam away down with the current.

The next morning it blew hard, and as we opened upon Lake Huron, we had to encounter a heavy sea; fortunately, the wind was fair for the island of Mackinaw, or we might have been delayed for some days. As soon as we were in the Lake we made sail, having fifty-six miles to run before it was dark. The gale increased, but the canoe flew over the water, skimming it like a sea bird. It was beautiful, but not quite so pleasant, to watch it, as, upon the least carelessness on the part of the helmsman, it would immediately have filled. As it was, we shipped some heavy seas, but the blankets at the bottom being saturated, gave us the extra ballast which we required. Before we were clear of the islands, we were joined by a whole fleet of Indian canoes, with their dirty blankets spread to the storm, running, as we were, for Mackinaw, being on their return from Maniton Islands, where they had congregated to receive presents from the Governor of Upper Canada. Their canoes were, most of them, smaller than ours, which had been built for speed, but they were much higher in the gunnel. It was interesting to behold so many hundreds of beings trusting themselves to such fragile conveyances, in a heavy gale and running sea; but the harder it blew, the faster we went; and at last, much to my satisfaction, we found ourselves in smooth water again, alongside of the landing wharf at Mackinaw. I had had some wish to see a freshwater gale of wind, but in a birch canoe I never wish to try the experiment again.


Mackinaw.—I mentioned that, in my trip to Lake Superior, I was accompanied by a gentleman attached to the American Fur Company, who have a station at this island. I was amusing myself in their establishment, superintending the unpacking and cleaning of about forty or fifty bales of skins, and during the time collected the following information. It is an average computation of the furs obtained every year, and the value of each to the American Fur Company. The Hudson Bay Company are supposed to average about the same quantity, or rather more; and they have a larger proportion of valuable furs, such as beaver and sable, but they have few deer and no buffalo. When we consider how sterile and unfit for cultivation are these wild northern regions, it certainly appears better that they should remain as they are:—

========================================== YSkins. Y YAverage value. Y —————————————-—————————— YDeer, four varietiesY150,000Y45 cents per lb. Y —————————————-—————————— YBuffalo Y 35,000Y5 dollars per skin Y —————————————-—————————— YElk Y 200Y Y —————————————-—————————— YBeaver Y 15,000Y4.5 dollars per lb. Y —————————————-—————————— YMusk Rat Y500,000Y12 cents per skin Y —————————————-—————————— YOtters Y 5,000Y6.5 dollars per skinY —————————————-—————————— Y Y 2,500Y2 do. Y —————————————-—————————— YMartin or Sable Y 12,000Y2 do. or more Y —————————————-—————————— YMink Y 10,000Y Y —————————————-—————————— YSilver and Black FoxY 15Y Y —————————————-—————————— YCrop Fox Y 100Y4 dollars per skin Y —————————————-—————————— YRed Fox Y 3,000Y1 do. Y —————————————-—————————— YGrey Fox Y 1,000Y1.5 do. Y —————————————-—————————— YPrairie Fox Y 5,000Y.5 do. Y —————————————-—————————— YBears Y 4,000Y4.5 do. Y —————————————-—————————— YLynx Y 500Y2.5 do. Y —————————————-—————————— YWild Cat Y 2,000Y2.5 do. Y —————————————-—————————— YRacoon Y 70,000Y.5 do. Y —————————————-—————————— YWolves Y 12,000Y.5 do. Y —————————————-—————————— YWolverein Y 50Y2.5 do. Y —————————————-—————————— YPanthers Y 50Y Y —————————————-—————————— YBadgers Y 250Y.25 do. Y ======================================

besides skunks, ground-hogs, hares, and many others. These are priced at the lowest: in proportion as the skins are finer, so do they yield higher profit. The two companies may be said to receive, between them, skins yearly to the amount of from two to three millions of dollars.


A hare and a fox met one day on the vast prairie, and after a long conversation, they prepared to start upon their several routes. The hare, pleased with the fox, lamented that they would in all probability separate for ever. "No, no," replied the fox, "we shall meet again, never fear." "Where?" inquired his companion. "In the hatter's shop, to be sure," rejoined the fox, tripping lightly away.

Detroit.—There are some pleasant people in this town, and the society is quite equal to that of the eastern cities. From the constant change and transition which take place in this country, go where you will you are sure to fall in with a certain portion of intelligent, educated people. This is not the case in the remoter portions of the Old Continent, where every thing is settled, and generation succeeds generation, as in some obscure country town. But in America, where all is new, and the country has to be peopled from the other parts, there is a proportion of intelligence and education transplanted with the inferior classes, either from the Eastern States or from the Old World, in whatever quarter you may happen to find yourself.

Left my friends at Detroit with regret, and returned to Buffalo. There is a marked difference between the behaviour of the lower people of the eastern cities and those whom you fall in with in this town: they are much less civil in their behaviour here; indeed, they appear to think rudeness a proof of independence. I went to the theatre, and the behaviour of the majority of the company just reminded me of the Portsmouth and Plymouth theatres. I had forgotten that Buffalo was a fresh-water sea-port town.

Returning to Niagara, I took possession of the roof of the rail-coach, that I might enjoy the prospect. I had not travelled three miles before I perceived a strong smell of burning; at last the pocket of my coat, which was of cotton, burst out into flames, a spark having found its way into it: fortunately (not being insured) there was no property on the premises.

When the celebrated Colonel David Crocket first saw a locomotive, with the train smoking along the rail-road, he exclaimed, as it flew past him, "Hell in harness, by the 'tarnel!"

I may, in juxtaposition with this, mention an Indian idea. Nothing surprised the Indians so much at first, as the percussion for guns: they thought them the ne plus ultra of invention: when, therefore, an Indian was first shewn a locomotive, he reflected a little while, and then said, "I see—percussion."

There is a beautiful island, dividing the Falls of Niagara, called Goat Island: they have thrown a bridge across the rapids, so that you can now go over. A mill has already been erected there, which is a great pity; it is a contemptible disfigurement of nature's grandest work.

At the head of the island, which is surrounded by the rapids, exactly where the waters divide to run on each side of it, there is a small triangular portion of still or slack water. I perceived this, and went in to bathe. The line of the current on each side of it is plainly marked, and runs at the speed of nine or ten miles an hour; if you put your hand or foot a little way outside this line, they are immediately borne away by its force; if you went into it yourself, nothing could prevent your going down the falls. As I returned, I observed an ugly snake in my path, and I killed it. An American, who came up, exclaimed, "I reckon that's a copper-head, stranger! I never knew that they were in this island." I found out that I had killed a snake quite as venomous, if not more so, than a rattlesnake.

One never tires with these falls; indeed, it takes a week at least to find out all their varieties and beauties. There are some sweet spots on Goat Island, where you can meditate and be alone.

I witnessed, during my short stay here, that indifference to the destruction of life, so very remarkable in this country. The rail-car crushed the head of a child of about seven years old, as it was going into the engine-house; the other children ran to the father, a blacksmith, who was at work at his forge close by, crying out, "Father, Billy killed." The man put down his hammer, walked leisurely to where the boy lay, in a pool of his own blood, took up the body, and returned with it under his arm to his house. In a short time, the hammer rang upon the anvil as before.

The game of nine-pins is a favourite game in America, and very superior to what it is in England. In America, the ground is always covered properly over, and the balls are rolled upon a wooden floor, as correctly levelled as a billiard table. The ladies join in the game, which here becomes an agreeable and not too fatiguing [an] exercise. I was very fond of frequenting their alleys, not only for the exercise, but because, among the various ways of estimating character, I had made up my mind that there was none more likely to be correct, than the estimate formed by the manner in which people roll the balls, especially the ladies. There were some very delightful specimens of American females when I was this time at Niagara. We sauntered about the falls and wood in the day time, or else played at nine-pins; in the evening we looked at the moon, spouted verses, and drank mint juleps. But all that was too pleasant to last long: I felt that I had not come to America to play at nine-pins; so I tore myself away, and within the next twenty-four hours found myself at Toronto, in Upper Canada.

Toronto, which is the present capital and seat of government of Upper Canada, is, from its want of spires and steeples, by no means an imposing town, as you view it on entering the harbour. The harbour itself is landlocked, and when deepened will be very good. A great deal of money has been expended by the English government upon the Canadian provinces, but not very wisely. The Rideau and Willend canals are splendid works; they have nothing to compare with them in the United States; but they are too much in advance of the country, and will be of but little use for a long period, if the provinces do not go a-head faster than they do now. One half the money spent in making good roads through the provinces would have done more good, and would have much increased the value of property. The proposed rail-road from Hamilton to Detroit would be of greater importance; and if more money is to be expended on Upper Canada, it cannot be better disposed of than in this undertaking.

The minute you put your foot on shore, you feel that you are no longer in the United States; you are at once struck with the difference between the English and the American population, systems, and ideas. On the other side of the Lake you have much more apparent property, but much less real solidity and security. The houses and stores at Toronto are not to be compared with those of the American towns opposite. But the Englishman has built according to his means—the American, according to his expectations. The hotels and inns at Toronto are very bad; at Buffalo they are splendid: for the Englishman travels little; the American is ever on the move. The private houses of Toronto are built, according to the English taste and desire of exclusiveness, away from the road, and are embowered in trees; the American, let his house be ever so large, or his plot of ground however extensive, builds within a few feet of the road, that he may see and know what is going on. You do not perceive the bustle, the energy, and activity at Toronto, that you do at Buffalo, nor the profusion of articles in the stores; but it should be remembered that the Americans procure their articles upon credit, whilst at Toronto they proceed more cautiously. The Englishman builds his house and furnishes his store according to his means and fair expectations of being able to meet his acceptances. If an American has money sufficient to build a two-story house, he will raise it up to four stories on speculation. We must not, on one side, be dazzled with the effects of the credit system in America, nor yet be too hasty in condemning it. It certainly is the occasion of much over-speculation; but if the parties who speculate are ruined, provided the money has been laid out, as it usually is in America, upon real property—such as wharfs, houses, etcetera.—a new country becomes a gainer, as the improvements are made and remain, although they fall into other hands. And it should be further pointed out, that the Americans are justified in their speculations from the fact, that property improved rises so fast in value, that they are soon able to meet all claims and realise a handsome profit. They speculate on the future; but the future with them is not distant as it is with us, ten years in America being, as I have before observed, equal to a century in Europe: they are therefore warranted in so speculating. The property in Buffalo is now worth one hundred times what it was when the first speculators commenced; for as the country and cities become peopled, and the communication becomes easy, so does the value of every thing increase.

Why, then, does not Toronto vie with Buffalo? Because the Canadas cannot obtain the credit which is given to the United States, and of which Buffalo has her portion. America has returns to make to England in her cotton crops: Canada has nothing; for her timber would be nothing, if it were not protected. She cannot, therefore, obtain credit as America does. What, then, do the Canadas require, in order to become prosperous? Capital!

I must not, however, omit to inform my readers that at Toronto I received a letter from a "Brother Author," who was polite enough to send me several specimens of his poetry; stating the remarkable fact, that he had never written a verse until he was past forty-five years of age; and that, as to the unfair accusation of his having plagiarised from Byron, it was not true, for he never had read Byron in his life. Having put the reader in possession of these facts, I shall now select one of his printed poems for his gratification:—

From the Regard the Author has for the LADIES OF TORONTO, He presents them with the following ODE. To the Ladies of the City of Toronto.

1. How famed is our city For the beauty and talents Of our ladies, that's pretty And chaste in their sentiments.

2. The ladies of Toronto Are fine, noble, and charming, And are a great memento To all, most fascinating.

3. Our ladies are the best kind, Of all others the most fine; In their manners and their minds Most refined and genuine.

4. We are proud of our ladies, For they are superior To all other beauties And others are inferior.

5. How favoured is our land To be honoured with the fair, That is so majestic grand! And to please them is our care.

6. Who would not choose them before All others that's to be found, And think of others no more? Their like is not in the world round.

TS TORONTO, 21st Jan. 1837.


Through Lake Ontario to Montreal, by rail road to Lake Champlain, and then by steamboat to Burlington.

Burlington is a pretty county town on the border of the Lake Champlain; there is a large establishment for the education of boys kept here by the Bishop of Vermont, a clever man: it is said to be well conducted, and one of the best in the Union. The bishop's salary, as bishop, is only five hundred dollars; as a preacher of the established church he receives seven hundred; whilst as a schoolmaster his revenue becomes very handsome. The bishop is just now in bad odour with the majority, for having published some very sensible objections to the Revivals and Temperance Societies.

Plattsburg.—This was the scene of an American triumph. I was talking with a States officer, who was present during the whole affair, and was much amused with his description of it. There appeared to be some fatality attending almost all our attacks upon America during the last war; and it should be remarked, that whenever the Americans entered upon our territory, they met with similar defeat. Much allowance must at course be made for ignorance of the country, and of the strength and disposition of the enemy's force; but certainly there was no excuse for the indecision shewn by the British general, with such a force as he had under his command.

Now that the real facts are known, one hardly knows whether to laugh or feel indignant. The person from whom I had the information is of undoubted respectability. At the time that our general advanced with an army of 7,000 Peninsular troops, there were but 1,000 militia at Plattsburg, those ordered out from the interior of the State not having arrived. It is true that there were 2,000 of the Vermont militia at Burlington opposite to Plattsburg, but when they were sent for, they refused to go there; they were alarmed at the preponderating force of the British, and they stood upon their State rights—i.e., militia raised in a State are not bound to leave it, being raised for the defence of that State alone. The small force at Plattsburg hardly knew whether to retreat or not; they expected large reinforcements under General McCoomb, but did not know when they would come. At last it was proposed and agreed to that they should spread themselves and keep up an incessant firing, but out of distance, so as to make the British believe they had a much larger force than they really possessed; and on this judicious plan they acted, and succeeded.

In the mean time, the British general was anxious for the assistance of the squadron on the lakes, under Commodore Downie, and pressed him to the attack of the American squadron then off Plattsburg. Some sharp remarks from the General proved fatal to our cause by water. Downie, stung by his insinuations, rushed inconsiderately into a close engagement. Now, Commodore Downie's vessels had all long guns. McDonough's vessels had only carronades. Had, therefore, Downie not thrown away this advantage, by engaging at close quarters, there is fair reason to suppose that the victory would have been ours, as he could have chosen his distance, and the fire of the American vessels would have been comparatively harmless; but he ran down close to McDonough's fleet, and engaged them broadside to broadside, and then the carronades of the Americans, being of heavy calibre, threw the advantage on their side. Downie was killed by the wind of a shot a few minutes after the commencement of the action. Still it was the hardest contested action of the war; Pring being well worthy to take Downie's place.

It was impossible to have done more on either side; and the gentleman who gave me this information added, that McDonough told him that so nicely balanced were the chances, that he took out his watch just before the British colours were hauled down, and observed, "If they hold out ten minutes more, it will be more than, I am afraid, we can do." As soon as the victory was decided on the part of the Americans, the British general commenced his retreat, and was followed by this handful of militia. In a day or two afterwards, General McCoomb came up, and a large force was poured in from all quarters.

There was something very similar and quite as ridiculous in the affair at Sackett's harbour. Our forces advancing would have cut off some hundreds of the American militia, who were really retreating, but by a road which led in such a direction as for a time to make the English commandant suppose that they were intending to take him in flank. This made him imagine that they must be advancing in large numbers, when, the fact was, they were running away from his superior force. He made a retreat; upon ascertaining which, the Americans turned back and followed him, harassing his rear.

I was told, at Baltimore, that had the English advanced, the American militia was quite ready to run away, not having the idea of opposing themselves to trained soldiers. It really was very absurd; but in many instances during the war, which have come to my knowledge, it was exactly this,—"If you don't run, I will; but if you will, I won't!"

The name given by the French to Vermont, designates the features of the country, which is composed of small mountains, covered with verdure to their summits; but the land is by no means good.

At the bottoms, on the banks of the rivers, the alluvial soil is rich, and, generally speaking, the land in this State admits of cultivation about half-way up the mountains; after which, it is fit for nothing but sheep-walks, or to grow small timber upon. I have travelled much in the Eastern States, and have been surprised to find how very small a portion of all of them is under cultivation, considering how long they have been settled; nor will there be more of the land taken up, I presume, for a long period; that is to say, not until the West is so over-peopled that a reflux is compelled to fall back into the Eastern States, and the crowded masses, like the Gulf-stream, find vent to the northward and eastward.

Set off by coach, long before day-light. There is something very gratifying when once you are up, in finding yourself up before the sun; you can repeat to yourself, "How doth the little busy bee," with such satisfaction. Some few stars still twinkled in the sky, winking like the eyelids of tired sentinels, but soon they were relieved, one after another, by the light of morning.

It was still dark when we started, and off we went, up hill and down hill—short steep pitches, as they term them here—at a furious rate. There was no level ground; it was all undulating, and very trying to the springs. But an American driver stops at nothing; he will flog away with six horses in hand; and it is wonderful how few accidents happen: but it is very fatiguing, and one hundred miles of American travelling by stage, is equal to four hundred in England.

There is much amusement to be extracted from the drivers of these stages, if you will take your seat with them on the front, which few Americans do, as they prefer the inside. One of the drivers, soon after we had changed our team, called out to the off-leader, as he flanked her with his whip. "Go along, you no-tongued crittur!"

"Why no-tongued?" enquired I.

"Well, I reckon she has no tongue, having bitten it off herself, I was going to say—but it wasn't exactly that, neither."

"How was it, then?"

"Well now, the fact is, that she is awful ugly," (ill-tempered); "she bites like a badger, and kicks up as high as the church-steeple. She's an almighty crittur to handle. I was trying to hitch her under-jaw like, with the halter, but she worretted so, that I could only hitch her tongue: she ran back, the end of the halter was fast to the ring, and so she left her tongue in the hitch—that's a fact!"

"I wonder it did not kill her; didn't she bleed very much? How does she contrive to eat her corn?"

"Well, now, she bled pretty considerable—but not to speak off. I did keep her one day in the stable, because I thought she might feel queer; since that she has worked in the team every day; and she'll eat her peck of corn with any horse in the stable. But her tongue is out, that's certain—so she'll tell no more lies!"

Not the least doubting my friend's veracity I, nevertheless, took an opportunity, when we changed, of ascertaining the fact; and her tongue was half of it out, that is the fact.

When we stopped, we had to shift the luggage to another coach. The driver, who was a slight man, was, for some time, looking rather puzzled at the trunks which lay on the road, and which he had to put on the coach: he tried to lift one of the largest, let it down again, and then beckoned to me:—

"I say, captain, them four large trunks be rather overmuch for me; but I guess you can master them, so just lift them up on the hind board for me."

I complied; and as I had to lift them as high as my head, they required all my strength.

"Thank ye, captain; don't trouble yourself any more, the rest be all right, and I can manage them myself."

The Americans never refuse to assist each other in such difficulties as this. In a young country they must assist each other, if they wish to be assisted themselves—and there always will be a mutual dependence. If a man is in a fix in America, every one stops to assist him, and expects the same for himself.

Bellows Falls, a beautiful, romantic spot on the Connecticut River, which separates the States of New Hampshire and Vermont. The masses of rocks through which the river forces its way at the Falls, are very grand and imposing; and the surrounding hills, rich with the autumnal tints, rivet the eye. On these masses of rocks are many faces, cut out by the tribe of Pequod Indians, who formerly used to fish in their waters. Being informed that there was to be a militia muster, I resolved to attend it.

The militia service is not in good odour with the Americans just now. Formerly, when they did try to do as well as they could, the scene was absurd enough; but now they do all they can to make it ridiculous. In this muster there were three or four companies, well equipped; but the major part of the men were what they call here flood-wood, that is, of all sizes and heights—a term suggested by the pieces of wood borne down by the freshets of the river, and which are of all sorts, sizes, and lengths. But not only were the men of all sorts and sizes, but the uniforms also, some of which were the most extraordinary I ever beheld, and not unlike the calico dresses worn by the tumblers and vaulters at an English fair. As for the exercise, they either did not, or would not, know any thing about it; indeed, as they are now mustered but once a year, it cannot be expected that they should; but as they faced every way, and made mistakes on purpose, it is evident, from their consistent pertinacity in being wrong, that they did know something. When they marched off single file, quick time, they were one half of them dancing in and out of the ranks to the lively tune which was played—the only instance I saw of their keeping time. But the most amusing part of the ceremony was the speech made by the brigade major, whose patience had certainly been tried, and who wished to impress his countrymen with the importance of the militia. He ordered them to form a hollow square. They formed a circle, proving that if they could not square the circle, at all events they could circle the square, which is coming very near to it. The major found himself, on his white horse, in an arena about as large as that in which Mr Ducrow performs at Astley's. He then commenced a sort of perambulating equestrian speech, riding round and round the circle, with his cocked hat in his hand. As the arena was large, and he constantly turned his head as he spoke to those nearest to him in the circle, it was only when he came to within a few yards of you, that you could distinguish what he was saying; and of course the auditors at the other point were in the same predicament. However, he divided his speech out in portions very equally, and those which came to my share were as follows:

"Yes, gentlemen—the president, senate, and house of representatives, and all others ... you militia, the bones and muscle of the land, and by whom ... Eagle of America shall ruffle her wings, will ever dart ... those days so glorious, when our gallant forefathers ... terrible effect of the use of ardent spirits, and shewing ... Temperance societies, the full benefits of which, I am ... Star-spangled banner, ever victorious, blazing like...."

The last word I heard was glory; but his audience being very impatient for their dinner, cried out loudly for it—preferring it to the mouthfuls of eloquence which fell to their share, but did not stay their stomach. Altogether it was a scene of much fun and good-humour.

Stopped at the pretty village of Charlestown, celebrated for the defence it made during the French war. There is here, running by the river side, a turnpike road, which gave great offence to the American citizens of this State: they declared that to pay toll was monarchical, as they always assert every thing to be which taxes their pockets. So, one fine night, they assembled with a hawser and a team or two of horses, made the hawser fast to the house at the gate, dragged it down to the river, and sent it floating down the stream, with the gate and board of tolls in company with it.

Progressing in the stage, I had a very amusing specimen of the ruling passion of the country—the spirit of barter, which is communicated to the females, as well as to the boys. I will stop for a moment, however, to say, that I heard of an American, who had two sons, and he declared that they were so clever at barter, that he locked them both up together in a room, without a cent in their pockets, and that before they had swopped for an hour, they had each gained two dollars a piece. But now for my fellow-passengers—both young, both good-looking, and both ladies, and evidently were total strangers to each other. One had a pretty pink silk bonnet, very fine for travelling; the other, an indifferent plush one. The young lady in the plush, eyed the pink bonnet for some time: at last Plush observed in a drawling half-indifferent way:

"That's rather a pretty bonnet of your's, miss."

"Why yes, I calculate it's rather smart," replied Pink.

After a pause and closer survey.—"You wouldn't have any objection to part with it, miss?"

"Well now, I don't know but I might; I have worn it but three days, I reckon."

"Oh, my! I should have reckoned that you carried it longer—perhaps it rained on them three days."

"I've a notion it didn't rain, not one.—It's not the only bonnet I have, miss."

"Well now, I should not mind an exchange, and paying you the balance."

"That's an awful thing that you have on, miss!"

"I rather think not, but that's as may be.—Come, miss, what will you take?"

"Why I don't know,—what will you give?"

"I reckon you'll know best when you answer my question."

"Well then, I shouldn't like less than five dollars."

"Five dollars and my bonnet! I reckon two would be nearer the mark—but it's of no consequence."

"None in the least, miss, only I know the value of my bonnet.—We'll say no more about it."

"Just so, miss."

A pause and silence for half a minute, when Miss Plush, looks out of the window, and says, as if talking to herself, "I shouldn't mind giving four dollars, but no more." She then fell back in her seat, when Miss Pink, put her head out of the window, and said:—"I shouldn't refuse four dollars after all, if it was offered," and then she fell back to her former position.

"Did you think of taking four dollars, miss?"

"Well! I don't care, I've plenty of bonnets at home."

"Well," replied Plush, taking out her purse, and offering her the money.

"What bank is this, miss?"

"Oh, all's right there, Safety Fund, I calculate."

The two ladies exchange bonnets, and Pink pockets the balance.

I may here just as well mention the custom of whittling, which is so common in the Eastern States. It is a habit, arising from the natural restlessness of the American when he is not employed, of cutting a piece of stick, or any thing else, with his knife. Some are so wedded to it from long custom, that if they have not a piece of stick to cut, they will whittle the backs of the chairs, or any thing within their reach. A yankee shewn into a room to await the arrival of another, has been known to whittle away nearly the whole of the mantle-piece. Lawyers in court whittle away at the table before them; and judges will cut through their own bench. In some courts, they put sticks before noted whittlers to save the furniture. The Down-Easters, as the yankees are termed generally, whittle when they are making a bargain, as it fills up the pauses, gives them time for reflection, and moreover, prevents any examination of the countenance—for in bargaining, like in the game of brag, the countenance is carefully watched, as an index to the wishes. I was once witness to a bargain made between two respectable yankees, who wished to agree about a farm, and in which whittling was resorted to.

They sat down on a log of wood, about, three or four feet apart from each other, with their faces turned opposite ways—that is, one had his legs on one side of the log with his face to the East, and the other his legs on the other side with his face to the West. One had a piece of soft wood, and was sawing it with his penknife; the other had an unbarked hiccory stick which he was peeling for a walking-stick. The reader will perceive a strong analogy between this bargain and that in the stage between the two ladies.

"Well, good morning—and about this farm?"

"I don't know; what will you take?"

"What will you give?"

Silence, and whittle away.

"Well, I should think two thousand dollars, a heap of money for this farm."

"I've a notion it will never go for three thousand, any how."

"There's a fine farm, and cheaper, on the North side."

"But where's the sun to ripen the corn?"

"Sun shines on all alike."

"Not exactly through a Vermont hill, I reckon. The driver offered me as much as I say, if I recollect right."

"Money not always to be depended upon. Money not always forthcoming!"

"I reckon, I shall make an elegant 'backy stopper of this piece of sycamore."

Silence for a few moments. Knives hard at work.

"I've a notion this is as pretty a hiccory stick as ever came out of a wood."

"I shouldn't mind two thousand five hundred dollars, and time given."

"It couldn't be more than six months then, if it goes at that price."


"Well, that might suit me."

"What do you say, then?"

"Suppose it must be so."

"It's a bargain then," rising up; "come let's liquor on it."


The farmers on the banks of the Connecticut river are the richest in the Eastern States. The majestic growth of the timber certified that the soil is generally good, although the crops were off the ground. They grow here a large quantity of what is called the broom corn: the stalk and leaves are similar to the maize or Indian corn, but, instead of the ear, it throws out, at top and on the sides, spiky plumes on which seed is carried. These plumes are cut off, and furnish the brooms and whisks of the country; it is said to be a very profitable crop. At Brattleboro' we stopped at an inn kept by one of the State representatives, and, as may be supposed, had very bad fare in consequence, the man being above his business. We changed horses at Bloody Brook, so termed in consequence of a massacre of the settlers by the Indians. But there are twenty Bloody Brooks in America, all records of similar catastrophes.

Whether the Blue laws of Connecticut are supposed to be still in force I know not, but I could not discover that they had ever been repealed. At present there is no theatre in Connecticut, nor does anybody venture to propose one. The proprietors of one of the equestrian studs made their appearance at the confines of the State, and intimated that they wished to perform, but were given to understand that their horses would be confiscated if they entered the State. The consequence is that Connecticut is the dullest, most disagreeable State in the Union; and, if I am to believe the Americans themselves, so far from the morals of the community being kept uncontaminated by this rigour, the very reverse is the case—especially as respects the college students, who are in the secret practice of more vice than is to be found in any other establishment of the kind in the Union. But even if I had not been so informed by creditable people, I should have decided in my own mind that such was the case. Human nature is everywhere the same.

It may be interesting to make a few extracts from a copy of the records and of the Blue laws which I have in my possession, as it will show that if these laws were still in force how hard they would now bear upon the American community. In the extracts from the records which follow I have altered a word or two, so as to render them fitter for perusal, but the sense remains the same:

"(13.) If any childe or children above sixteene yeares old, and of suffitient understanding, shall curse or smite their naturall father or mother, hee or they shall bee put to death; unless it can be sufficiently testified that the parents have been very unchristianly negligent in the education of such children, or so provoke them by extreme and cruell correction that they have been forced thereunto to preserve themselves from death, maiming.—Exo., xxi., 17. Levit., xx. Ex., xxi., 15.

"(14.) If any man have a stubborne and rebellious sonne of sufficient yeares and understanding, viz., sixteene yeares of age, which will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and that when they have chastened him will not hearken unto them, then may his father and mother, being his naturall parents, lay hold on him, and bring him to the magistrates assembled in courte, and testifie unto them that their sonne is stubborne and rebellious, and will not obey theire voice and chastisement, but lives in sundry notorious crimes—such a sonne shall bee put to death.—Deut., xxi, 20, 21.

"(Lyinge.) That every person of the age of discretion, which is accounted fourteene yeares, who shall wittingly and willingly make, or publish, any lye which may be pernicious to the publique weal, or tending to the dammage or injury of any perticular person, to deceive and abuse the people with false news or reportes, and the same duly prooved in any courte, or before any one magistrate, who hath hereby power granted to heare and determine all offences against this lawe, such person shall bee fyned—for the first offence, ten shillings, or if the party bee unable to pay the same, then to be sett in the stocks so long as the said courte or magistrate shall appointe, in some open place, not exceeding three houres; for the second offence in that kinde, whereof any shall bee legally convicted, the summe of twenty shillings, or be whipped uppon the naked body, not exceeding twenty stripes; and for the third offence that way, forty shillings, or if the party be unable to pay, then to be whipped with more stripes, not exceeding thirtye; and if yet any shall offend in like kinde, and be legally convicted thereof, such person, male or female, shall bee fyned ten shillings at a time more than formerly, or if the party so offending bee unable to pay, then to be whipped with five or six stripes more then formerly, not exceeding forty at any time.

"(Ministers' Meintenance.)—Whereas the most considerable persons in the land came into these partes of America, that they might enjoye Christe in his ordinances without disturbance; and whereas, amongst many other pretious meanes, the ordinances have beene, and are, dispensed amongst us, with much purity and power, they tooke it into their serious consideration, that a due meintenance, according to God, might bee provided and settled, both for the present and future, for the encouragement of the ministers' work therein; and doe order, that those who are taught in the word, in the severall plantations, bee called together, that every man voluntarily sett downe what he is willing to allow to that end and use; and if any man refuse to pay a meete proportion, that then hee bee rated by authority in some just and equal way; and if after this, any man withhold or delay due payment, the civill power to be exercised as in other just debts.

"(Profane Swearing.)—That if any person within this jurisdiction shall sweare rashly and vainely, either by the holy name of God, or any other oath, and shall sinfully and wickedly curse any, hee shall forfeitt to the common treasure, for every such severe offence, ten shillings: and it shall be in the power of any magistrate, by warrant to the constable, to call such persons before him, and uppon just proofe to pass a sentence, and levye the said penalty, according to the usual order of justice; and if such persons bee not able, or shall utterly refuse to pay the aforesaid fyne, hee shall bee committed to the stocks, there to continue, not exceeding three hours, and not less than one houre.

"(Tobacko.)—That no person under the age of twenty-one years, nor any other that hath not already accustomed himselfe to the use therof, shall take any tobacko, untill hee hath brought a certificate under the hands of some who are approved for knowledge and skill in phisick, that it is usefull for him, and allso that he hath received a lycense from the courte, for the same.

"It is ordered—That no man within this colonye, shall take any tobacko publiquely, in the streett, highwayes or any barne, yardes, or uppon training dayes, in any open places, under the penalty of sixpence for each offence against this order," etcetera, etcetera.

Among the records we have some curious specimens:—

"At a Court, held May 1, 1660.

"Jacob M Murline and Sarah Tuttle being called, appeared, concerning whom the governor declared, that the business for which they were warned to this Court, he had heard in private at his house, which he related thus:—On the day that John Potter was married, Sarah Tuttle went to Mistress Murline's house for some thredd; Mistress Murline bid her go to her daughters in the other roome, where she felle into speeche of John Potter and his wife, that they were both lame; upon which Sarah Tuttle said, how very awkward it would be. Whereupon Jacob came in, and tooke up, or tooke away her gloves. Sarah desired him to give her the gloves, to which he answered, he would do so if she would give him a kysse; upon which they sat down together, his arme being about her waiste, and her arme upon his shoulder, or about his neck, and he kissed her, and she kissed him, or they kissed one another, continuing in this posture about half an hour, as Marian and Susan testified, which Marian, now in Court, affirmed to be so.

"Mistress Murline, now in Court, said that she heard Sarah say, how very awkward it would be; but it was matter of sorrow and shame unto her.

"Jacob was asked what he had to say to these things; to which he answered, that he was in the other roome, and when he heard Sarah speak those words, he went in, when shee having let fall her gloves, he tooke them up, and she asked him for them; he told her he would, if she would kisse him. Further said, hee took her by the hand, and they both sat down upon a chest, but whether his arme were about her waiste, and her arme upon his shoulder, or about his neck, he knows not, for he never thought of it since, till Mr Raymond told him of it at Mannatos, for which he was blamed, and told he had not layde it to heart as he ought. But Sarah Tuttle replied, that shee did not kysse him. Mr Tuttle replied, that Marian hath denied it, and he doth not looke upon her as a competent witness. Thomas Tuttle said, that he asked Marian if his sister kyssed Jacob, and she said not. Moses Mansfield testified, that he told Jacob Murline that he heard Sarah kyssed him, but he denied it. But Jacob graunted not what Moses testified.

"Mr Tuttle pleaded that Jacob had endeavoured to steal away his daughter's affections. But Sarah being asked, if Jacob had inveigled her, she said no. Thomas Tuttle said, that he came to their house two or three times before he went to Holland, and they two were together, and to what end he came he knows not, unless it were to inveigle her: and their mother warned Sarah not to keep company with him: and to the same purpose spake Jonathan Tuttle. But Jacob denied that he came to their house with any such intendment, nor did it appear so to the Court.

"The governor told Sarah that her miscarriage is the greatest, that a virgin should be so bold in the presence of others, to carry it as she had done, and to speake suche corrupt words; most of the things charged against her being acknowledged by herself, though that about kyssing is denied, yet the thing is proved.

"Sarah professed that she was sorry that she had carried it so sinfully and foolishly, which she saw to be hateful: she hoped God would help her to carry it better for time to come.

"The governor also told Jacob that his carriage hath been very evil and sinful, so to carry it towards her, and to make such a light matter of it as not to think of it, (as he exprest) doth greatly aggravate; and for Marian, who was a married woman, to suffer her brother and a man's daughter to sit almost half an hour in such a way as they have related, was a very great evil. She was told that she should have showed her indignation against it, and have told her mother, that Sarah might have been shut out of doors. Mrs Murline was told, that she, hearing such words, should not have suffered it. Mrs Tuttle and Mrs Murline being asked if they had any more to say, they said, no.

"Whereupon the Court declared, that we have heard in the publique ministry, that it is a thing to be lamented, that young people should have their meetings, to the corrupting of themselves and one another. As for Sarah Tuttle, her miscarriages are very great, that she should utter so corrupt a speeche as she did, concerning the persons to be married; and that she should carry it in such a wanton, uncivil, immodest, and lacivious manner as hath been proved. And for Jacob, his carriage hath been very corrupt and sinful, such as brings reproach upon the family and place.

"The sentence, therefore, concerning them is, that they shall pay either of them as a fine, twenty shillings to the treasurer."


"Isaiah, Captain Turner's man, fined 5 pounds for being drunk on the Lord's-day.

"William Broomfield, Mr Malbon's man, was set in the stocks, for profaning the Lord's-day, and stealing wine from his master, which he drunk and gave to others.

"John Fenner, accused for being drunke with strong waters, was acquitted, it appearing to be of infirmity, and occasioned by the extremity of the cold.

"Mr Moulend, accused of being drunke, but not clearly proved, was respited."

Here comes a very disorderly reprobate, called Will Harding.

"1st of 1st month, 1643.

"John Lawrence and Valentine, servants to Mr Malbon, for imbezilling their master's goods, and keeping disorderly night meetings with Will Harding, a lewd and disorderly person, plotting with him to carry their master's daughters to the farmes in the night, concealing divers dalliances; all which they confessed, and were whipped.

"Ruth Acie, a covenant-servant to Mr Malbon, for stubornes, lyeing, stealing from her mistress, and yielding to dalliance with Will Harding, was whipped.

"Martha Malbon, for consenting to goe in the night to the farmes, with Will Harding, to a venison feast; for stealing things from her parents, and dalliance with the said Harding, was whipped.

"Goodman Hunt and his wife, for keeping the councells of the said Will Harding, bakeing him a pastry and plum cakes, and keeping company with him on the Lord's-day; and she suffering Harding to kisse her, they being only admitted to sojourn in this plantation upon their good behaviour, was ordered to be sent out of this towne within one month after the date hereof."

Will Harding, however, appears to have met with his deserts.

"Dec. 3rd, 1651.

"Will Harding, being convicted of a great deal of base carriage with divers yonge girls, together with enticing and corrupting divers men-servants in this plantation, haunting with them at night meetings and junketings, etcetera, was sentenced to be severely whipped, and fined 5 pounds to Mr Malbon, and 5 pounds to Will Andrews, whose famylyes and daughters he hath so much wronged; and presently to depart the plantation."

Thus winds up the disgraceful end of our Colonial Don Juan of 1643.


The articles of the Blue laws, which I have extracted, are from a portion which appears to have been drawn up more in detail; but, generally, they are much more pithy and concise, as the following examples will show:—

"No. 13. No food and lodgings shall be allowed a Quaker, Adamite, or other heretic.

"No. 14. If any person turns Quaker, he shall be banished, and not suffered to return, on pain of death."

I was walking in Philadelphia, when I perceived the name of Buffum, Hatter. Wishing to ascertain whether it was an English name or not, I went in, and entered into conversation with Mr Buffum, who was dressed as what is termed a wet Quaker. He told me that his was an English name, and that his ancestor had been banished from Salem for a heinous crime—which was, as the sentence worded it, for being a damned Quaker. The reason why Quakers were banished by the Puritans, was because they would not; go out to shoot the Indians! To continue:—

"No. 17. No one shall run of a Sabbath-day, or walk in his garden or elsewhere, except reverently to and from church.

"No. 18. No one shall travel, cook victuals, make beds, sweep houses, cut hair or shave on Sabbath-day.

"No. 19. No husband shall kiss his wife, and no mother shall kiss her child upon the Sabbath day.

"No. 31. No one shall read Common Prayer, keep Christmas or saints'-day, make mince-pies, dance, or play on any instrument of music, except the drum, the trumpet, and the jews-harp."


I do not know any thing that disgusts me so much as cant. Even now we continually hear, in the American public orations, about the stern virtues of the pilgrim fathers. Stern, indeed! The fact is, that these pilgrim fathers were fanatics and bigots, without charity or mercy, wanting in the very essence of Christianity. Witness their conduct to the Indians when they thirsted for their territory. After the death (murder, we may well call it) of Alexander, the brother of the celebrated Philip, the latter prepared for war. "And now," says a reverend historian of the times, "war was begun by a fierce nation of Indians upon an honest, harmless Christian generation of English, who might very truly have said to the aggressors, as it was said of old unto the Ammonites, 'I have not sinned against thee; but thou doest me wrong to war against me.'" Fanaticism alone—deep, incurable fanaticism— could have induced such a remark. Well may it be said, "We deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."

And when the war was brought to a close by the death of the noble-minded, high-spirited Philip; when the Christians had slaked their revenge in his blood, exposed his head in triumph on a pike, and captured his helpless innocent child of nine years old; would it be credited, that there was council held to put this child to death, and that the clergy were summoned to give their opinion? And the clergy quoted Scripture, that the child must die! Dr Increase Mather compared it with the child of Hadid, and recommended, with his brother apostles, that it be murdered. But these pious men were overruled; and, with many others, it was sent to the Bermudas, and sold as a slave. Stern virtues!! Call them rather diabolical vices. God of Heaven! when shall we learn to call things by their right names? The next time Governor Everett is called up for an oration at Bloody Brook, let him not talk quite so much of the virtues of the pilgrim fathers.

This reminds me of a duty towards this gentleman, which I have great pleasure in performing. Every one who is acquainted with him must acknowledge his amiable manners, and his high classical attainments and power of eloquence. His orations and speeches are printed, and are among the best specimens of American talent. Miss Martineau, in her work upon America, states that she went up to hear the orator at Bloody Brook; and, in two pages of very coarse, unmeasured language, states "that all her sympathies were baffled, and that she was deeply disgusted;" that the orator "offered them shreds of tawdry sentiment, without the intermixture of one sound thought or simple and natural feeling, simply and naturally expressed." I have the Address of Governor Everett before me. To insert the whole of it would be inconvenient; but I do most unequivocally deny this, as I must, I am afraid, to many of Miss Martineau's assertions. To prove, in this one instance alone, the very contrary to what she states, I will merely quote the peroration of Governor Everett's Address:—

"Yon simple monument shall rise a renewed memorial of their names on this sacred spot, where the young, the brave, the patriotic, poured out their life-blood in defence of that heritage which has descended to us. We this day solemnly bring our tribute of gratitude. Ages shall pass away; the majestic tree which overshadows us shall wither and sink before the blast, and we who are now gathered beneath it shall mingle with the honoured dust we eulogise; but the 'Flowers of Essex' shall bloom in undying remembrance; and, with every century, these rites of commemoration shall be repeated, as the lapse of time shall continually develope, in rich abundance, the fruits of what was done and suffered by our forefathers!"

I can, however, give the reader a key to Miss Martineau's praise or condemnation of every person mentioned in her two works: you have but to ask the question, "Is he, or is he not, an abolitionist?"

Governor Everett is not.


Montreal, next to Quebec, is the oldest looking and most aristocratic city in all North America. Lofty houses, with narrow streets, prove antiquity. After Quebec and Montreal, New Orleans is said to take the next rank, all three of them having been built by the French. It is pleasant to look upon any structure in this new hemisphere which bears the mark of time upon it. The ruins of Fort Putnam are one of the curiosities of America.

Montreal is all alive—mustering here, drilling there, galloping every where; and, moreover, Montreal is knee-deep in snow, and the thermometer below zero. Every hour brings fresh intelligence of the movements of the rebels, or patriots—the last term is doubtful, yet it may be correct. When they first opened the theatre at Botany Bay, Barrington spoke the prologue, which ended with these two lines:—

"True Patriots we, for be it understood, We left our country, for our country's good."

In this view of the case, some of them, it is hoped, will turn out patriots before they die, if they have not been made so already.

Every hour comes in some poor wretch, who, for refusing to join the insurgents, has been made a beggar; his cattle, sheep, and pigs driven away; his fodder, his barns, his house, all that he possessed, now reduced to ashes. The cold-blooded, heartless murder of Lieutenant Weir has, however, sufficiently raised the choler of the troops, without any further enormities on the part of the insurgents being requisite to that end: when an English soldier swears to shew no mercy, he generally keeps his word. Of all wars, a civil war is the most cruel, the most unrelenting, and the most exterminating; and deep indeed must be the responsibility of those, who, by their words or their actions, have contrived to set countryman against countryman, neighbour against neighbour, and very often brother against brother, and father against child.

On the morning of the — the ice on the branch of the Ottawa river, which we had to cross, being considered sufficiently strong to bear the weight of the artillery, the whole force marched out, under the command of Sir John Colborne in person, to reduce the insurgents, who had fortified themselves at St Eustache and St Benoit, two towns of some magnitude in the district of Bois Brule. The snow, as I before observed, lay very deep; but by the time we started, the road had been well beaten down by the multitudes which had preceded us.

The effect of the whole line of troops, in their fur caps and great-coats, with the trains of artillery, ammunition, and baggage-waggons, as they wound along the snow-white road, was very beautiful. It is astonishing how much more numerous the force, and how much larger the men and horses appeared to be, from the strong contrast of their colours with the wide expanse of snow.

As we passed one of the branches of the Ottawa, one of the ammunition-waggons falling through the ice, the horses were immediately all but choaked by the drivers—a precaution which was novel to me, and a singular method of saving their lives: but such was the case: the air within them, rarified by heat, inflated their bodies like balloons, and they floated high on the water. In this state they were easily disengaged from their traces, and hauled out upon the ice; the cords which had nearly strangled them were then removed, and, in a few minutes, they recovered sufficiently to be led to the shore.

Let it not be supposed that I am about to write a regular dispatch. I went out with the troops, but was of about as much use as the fifth wheel of a coach; with the exception, that as I rode one of Sir John Colborne's horses, I was, perhaps, so far supplying the place of a groom who was better employed.

The town of St Eustache is very prettily situated on the high banks of the river, the most remarkable object being the Catholic church, a very large massive building, raised about two hundred yards from the river side, upon a commanding situation. This church the insurgents had turned into a fortress, and perhaps, for a fortress "d'occasion," there never was one so well calculated for a vigorous defence, it being flanked by two long stone-built houses, and protected in the rear by several lines of high and strong palisades, running down into the river. The troops halted about three hundred yards from the town, to reconnoitre; the artillery were drawn up and opened their fire, but chiefly with a view that the enemy, by returning the fire, might demonstrate their force and position. These being ascertained, orders were given by Sir John Colborne, so that in a short time the whole town would be invested by the troops. The insurgents perceiving this, many of them escaped, some through the town, others by the frozen river. Those who crossed on the ice were chased by the volunteer dragoons, and the slipping and tumbling of the pursued and the pursuers, afforded as much merriment as interest; so true it is, that any thing ludicrous will make one laugh, in opposition to the feelings of sympathy, anxiety, and fear. Some of the runaways were cut down, and many more taken prisoners.

As soon as that portion of the troops which had entered the town, and marched up the main street towards the church, arrived within half-musket shot, they were received with a smart volley, which was fired from the large windows of the church, and which wounded a few of the men. The soldiers were then ordered to make their approaches under cover of the houses; and the artillery being brought up, commenced firing upon the church: but the walls of the building were much too solid for the shot to make any impression, and had the insurgents stood firm they certainly might have given a great deal of trouble, and probably have occasioned a severe loss of men; but they became alarmed, and fired one of the houses which abutted upon and flanked the church,— this they did with the view of escaping under cover of the smoke. In a few minutes the church itself was obscured by the volumes of smoke thrown out; and at the same time that the insurgents were escaping, the troops marched up and surrounded the church. The poor wretches attempted to get away, either singly or by twos and threes; but the moment they appeared a volley was discharged, and they fell. Every attempt was made by the officers to make prisoners, but with indifferent success; indeed, such was the exasperation of the troops at the murder of Lieut. Weir, that it was a service of danger to attempt to save the life of one of these poor deluded creatures. The fire from the house soon communicated to the church. Chenier, the leader, with ten others, the remnant of the insurgents who were in the church, rushed out; there was one tremendous volley, and all was over.

By this time many other parts of the town were on fire, and there was every prospect of the whole of it being burnt down, leaving no quarters for the soldiers to protect them during the night. The attention of everybody was therefore turned to prevent the progress of the flames. Some houses were pulled down, so as to cut off the communication with the houses in the centre of the town, and in these houses the troops were billeted off. The insurgents had removed their families, and most of their valuables and furniture, before our arrival; but in one house were the commissariat stores, consisting of the carcases of all the cattle, sheep, pigs, etcetera, which they had taken from the loyal farmers; there was a very large supply, and the soldiers were soon cooking in all directions. The roll was called, men mustered, and order established.

The night was bitterly cold: the sky was clear, and the moon near to her full: houses were still burning in every direction, but they were as mere satellites to the lofty church, which was now one blaze of fire, and throwing out volumes of smoke, which passed over the face of the bright moon, and gave to her a lurid reddish tinge, as if she too had assisted in these deeds of blood. The distant fires scattered over the whole landscape, which was one snow-wreath; the whirling of the smoke from the houses which were burning close to us, and which, from the melting of the snow, were surrounded by pools of water, reflecting the fierce yellow flames, mingled with the pale beams of the bright moon— this, altogether, presented a beautiful, novel, yet melancholy panorama. I thought it might represent, in miniature, the burning of Moscow.

About midnight, when all was quiet, I walked up to the church, in company with one of Sir John Colborne's aides-de-camp: the roof had fallen, and the flames had subsided for want of further aliment. As we passed by a house which had just taken fire we heard a cry, and, on going up, found a poor wounded Canadian, utterly incapable of moving, whom the flames had just reached; in a few minutes he would have been burned alive: we dragged him out, and gave him in charge of the soldiers, who carried him to the hospital.

But what was this compared to the scene which presented itself in the church! But a few weeks back, crowds were there, kneeling in adoration and prayer; I could fancy the Catholic priests in their splendid stoles, the altar, its candlesticks and ornaments, the solemn music, the incense, and all that, by appealing to the senses, is so favourable to the cause of religion with the ignorant and uneducated; and what did I now behold?—nothing but the bare and blackened walls, the glowing beams and rafters, and the window-frames which the flames still licked and flickered through. The floor had been burnt to cinders, and upon and between the sleepers on which the floor had been laid, were scattered the remains of human creatures, injured in various degrees, or destroyed by the fire; some with merely the clothes burnt off, leaving the naked body; some burnt to a deep brown tinge; others so far consumed that the viscera were exposed; while here and there the blackened ribs and vertebra were all that the fierce flames had spared.

Not only inside of the church, but without its walls, was the same revolting spectacle. In the remains of the small building used as a receptacle for the coffins previous to interment, were several bodies, heaped one upon another, and still burning, the trestles which had once supported the coffins serving as fuel; and further off were bodies still unscathed by fire, but frozen hard by the severity of the weather.

I could not help thinking, as I stood contemplating this melancholy scene of destruction, bloodshed, and sacrilege, that if Mr Hume or Mr Roebuck had been by my side, they might have repented their inflammatory and liberal opinions, as here they beheld the frightful effects of them.


Crossing the river St Lawrence at this season of the year is not very pleasant, as you must force your passage through the large masses of ice, and are occasionally fixed among them; so that you are swept down the current along with them. Such was our case for about a quarter of an hour, and, in consequence, we landed about three miles lower down than we had intended. The next day the navigation of the river, such as it was, was stopped, and in eight and forty hours heavy waggons and carts were passing over where we had floated across.

My course lay through what were termed the excited districts; I had promised to pass through them, and supply the folks at Montreal with any information I could collect. The weather was bitterly cold, and all communication was carried on by sleighs, a very pleasant mode of travelling when the roads are smooth, but rather fatiguing when they are uneven, as the sleigh then jumps from hill to hill, like an oyster-shell thrown by a boy to skim the surface of the water. To defend myself from the cold, I had put on, over my coat, and under my cloak, a wadded black silk dressing-gown; I thought nothing of it at the time, but I afterwards discovered that I was supposed to be one of the rebel priests escaping from justice.

Although still in the English dominions, I had not been over on the opposite side more than a quarter of an hour before I perceived that it would be just as well to hold my tongue; and my adherence to this resolution, together with my supposed canonicals, were the cause of not a word being addressed to me by my fellow-travellers. They presumed that I spoke French only, which they did not, and I listened in silence to all that passed.

It is strange how easily the American people are excited, and when excited, they will hesitate at nothing. The coach (for it was the stage-coach although represented by an open sleigh), stopped at every town, large or small, every body eager to tell and to receive the news. I always got out to warm myself at the stove in the bar, and heard all the remarks made upon what I do really believe were the most absurd and extravagant lies ever circulated—lies which the very people who uttered them knew to be such, but which produced the momentary effect intended. They were even put into the newspapers, and circulated every where; and when the truth was discovered, they still remained uncontradicted, except by a general remark that such was the Tory version of the matter, and of course was false. The majority of those who travelled with me were Americans who had crossed the St Lawrence in the same boat, and who must, therefore, have known well the whole circumstances attending the expedition against St Eustache; but, to my surprise, at every place where we stopped they declared that there had been a battle between the insurgents and the King's troops, in which the insurgents had been victorious; that Sir John Colborne had been compelled to retreat to Montreal; that they had themselves seen the troops come back (which was true), and that Montreal was barricaded (which was also true) to prevent the insurgents from marching in. I never said one word; I listened to the exultations—to the declarations of some that they should go and join the patriots, etcetera. One man amused me by saying—"I've a great mind to go, but what I want is a good general to take the command; I want a Julius Caesar, or a Bonaparte, or a Washington—then I'll go."

I stopped for some hours at St Alban's. I was recommended to go to an inn, the landlord of which was said not to be of the democratic party, for the other two inns were the resort of the Sympathisers,—and in these, consequently, scenes of great excitement took place. The landlord put into my hand a newspaper, published that day, containing a series of resolutions, founded upon such falsehoods that I thought it might be advantageous to refute them. I asked the landlord whether I could see the editor of the paper; he replied that the party lived next door; and I requested that he would send for him, telling him that I could give him information relative to the affair of St Eustache.

I had been shewn into a large sitting-room on the ground-floor, which I presumed was a private room, when the editor of the newspaper, attracted by the message I had sent him, came in. I then pointed to the resolutions passed at the meeting, and asked him whether he would allow me to answer them in his paper. His reply was, "Certainly; that his paper was open to all."

"Well, then, call in an hour, and I will by that time prove to you that they can only be excused or accounted for by the parties who framed them being totally ignorant of the whole affair."

He went away, but did not return at the time requested. It was not until late in the evening that he came; and, avoiding the question of the resolutions, begged that I would give him the information relative to St Eustache. As I presumed that, like most other editors in the United States, he dared not put in anything which would displease his subscribers, I said no more on that subject, but commenced dictating to him, while he wrote the particulars attending the St Eustache affair. I was standing by the stove, giving the editor this information, when the door of the room opened, and in walked seven or eight people, who, without speaking, took chairs; in a minute, another party of about the same number was ushered into the room by the landlord, who, I thought, gave me a significant look. I felt surprised at what I thought an intrusion, as I had considered my room to be private; however, I appeared to take no notice of it, and continued dictating to the editor. The door opened again and again, and more chairs were brought in for the accommodation of the parties who entered, until at last the room was so full that I had but just room to walk round the stove. Not a person said a word; they listened to what I was dictating to the editor, and I observed that they all looked rather fierce; but whether this was a public meeting, or what was to be the end of it, I had no idea. At last, when I had finished, the editor took up his papers and left the room, in which I suppose there might have been from one hundred to a hundred and fifty persons assembled. As soon as the door closed, one of them struck his thick stick on the floor (they most of them had sticks), and gave a loud "Hem!"

"I believe, sir, that you are Captain M—-."

"Yes," replied I, "that is my name."

"We are informed, sir, by the gentleman who has just gone out, that you have asserted that our resolutions of yesterday could only be excused or accounted for from our total ignorance." Here he struck his stick again upon the floor, and paused.

"Oh!" thinks I to myself, "the editor has informed against me!"

"Now, sir," continued the spokesman, "we are come to be enlightened; we wish you to prove to us that we are totally ignorant; you will oblige us by an explanation of your assertion."

He was again silent. (Thinks I to myself, I'm in for it now, and if I get away without a broken head, or something worse, I am fortunate; however, here goes.) Whereupon, without troubling the reader with what I did say, I will only observe, that I thought the best plan was to gain time by going back as far as I could. I therefore commenced my oration at the period; when the Canadas were surrendered to the English; remarking upon the system which had been acted upon by our government from that time up to the present; proving, as well as I could, that the Canadians had nothing to complain of, and that if England had treated her other American colonies as well, there never would have been a declaration of independence, etcetera. etcetera. Having spoken for about an hour, and observing a little impatience on the part of some of my company, I stopped. Upon which, one rose and said, that there were several points not fully explained, referring to them one after another, whereupon "the honourable member rose to explain,"—and was again silent. Another then spoke, requesting information as to points not referred to by me. I replied, and fortunately had an opportunity of paying the Americans a just compliment; in gratitude for which their features relaxed considerably. Perceiving this, I ventured to introduce a story or two, which made them laugh. After this, the day was my own; for I consider the Americans, when not excited (which they too often are), as a very good-tempered people: at all events, they won't break your head for making them laugh; at least, such I found was the case. We now entered freely into conversation; some went away, others remained, and the affair ended by many of them shaking hands with me, and our taking a drink at the bar.

I must say, that the first appearances of this meeting were not at all pleasant; but I was rightly served for my own want of caution, in so publicly stating, that the free and enlightened citizens of St Alban's were very ignorant, and for opposing public opinion at a time when the greatest excitement prevailed. I have mentioned this circumstance, as it threws a great deal of light upon the character of the Yankee or American of the Eastern States. They would not suffer opposition to the majority to pass unnoticed (who, in England, would have cared what a stranger may have expressed as his opinion); but, at the same time, they gave me a patient hearing, to knew whether I could shew cause for what I said. Had I refused this, I might have been very roughly handled; but as I defended my observations, although they were not complimentary to them, they gave me fair play. They were evidently much excited when they came into the room, but they gradually cooled down until convinced of the truth of my assertions; and then all animosity was over. The landlord said to me afterwards, "I reckon you got out of that uncommon well, captain." I perfectly agreed with him, and made a resolution to hold my tongue until I arrived at New York.

The next day, as I was proceeding on my journey, I fell in with General Brown, celebrated for running away so fast at the commencement of the fight at St Charles. He had a very fine pair of mustachios. We both warmed our toes at the same stove in solemn silence.

Sunday, at Burlington.—The young ladies are dressing up the church with festoons, and garlands of evergreens for the celebration of Christmas, and have pressed me into the service. Last Sunday I was meditating over the blackened walls of the church at St Eustache, and the roasted corpses lying within its precincts; now I am in another church, weaving laurel and cypress, in company with some of the prettiest creatures in creation. As the copy-book says, variety is charming.


Philadelphia is certainly, in appearance, the most wealthy and imposing city in the Union. It is well built, and ornamented with magnificent public edifices of white marble; indeed there is a great show of this material throughout the whole of the town, all the flights of steps to the doors, door-lintels, and window-sills, being very generally composed of this material. The exterior of the houses, as well as the side pavement, are kept remarkably clean; and there is no intermixture of commerce, as there is at New York, the bustle of business being confined to the Quays, and one or two streets adjoining the river side.

The first idea which strikes you when you arrive at Philadelphia, is that it is Sunday: every thing is so quiet, and there are so few people stirring; but by the time that you have paraded half a dozen streets, you come to a conclusion that it must be Saturday, as that day is, generally speaking, a washing-day. Philadelphia is so admirably supplied with water from the Schuykill water-works, that every house has it laid on from the attic to the basement; and all day long they wash windows, door, marble step, and pavements in front of the houses. Indeed, they have so much water, that they can afford to be very liberal to passers-by. One minute you have a shower-bath from a negress, who is throwing water at the windows on the first floor; and the next you have to hop over a stream across the pavement, occasioned by some black fellow, who, rather than go for a broom to sweep away any small portion of dust collected before his master's door, brings out the leather hose, attached to the hydrants, as they term them here, and fizzes away with it till the stream has forced the dust into the gutter.

Of course, fire has no chance in this city. Indeed, the two elements appear to have arranged that matter between them; fire has the ascendant in New York, while water reigns in Philadelphia. If a fire does break out here, the housekeepers have not the fear of being burnt to death before them; for the water is poured on in such torrents, that the furniture is washed out of the windows, and all that they have to look out for, is to escape from being drowned.

The public institutions, such as libraries, museums, and the private cabinets of Philadelphia, are certainly very superior to those of any other city or town in America, Boston not excepted. Every thing that is undertaken in this city is well done; no expense is spared, although they are not so rapid in their movements as at New York: indeed the affluence and ease pervading the place, with the general cultivation which invariably attend them, are evident to a stranger.

Philadelphia has claimed for herself the title of the most aristocratic city in the Union. If she refers to the aristocracy of wealth, I think she is justified; but if she would say the aristocracy of family, which is much more thought of by the few who can claim it, she must be content to divide that with Boston, Baltimore, Charlestown, and the other cities which can date as far back as herself. One thing is certain, that in no city is there so much fuss made about lineage and descent; in no city are there so many cliques and sets in society, who keep apart from each other; and it is very often difficult to ascertain the grounds of their distinctions. One family will live at No. 1, and another at No. 2 in the same street, both have similar establishments, both keep their carriages, both be well educated, and both may talk of their grandfathers and grandmothers; and yet No. 1 will tell you that No. 2 is nobody, and you must not visit there; and when you enquire why? there is no other answer, but that they are not of the right sort. As long as a portion are rich and a portion are poor, there is a line of demarcation easy to be drawn, even in a democracy; but in Philadelphia, where there are so many in affluent circumstances, that line has been effaced, and they now seek an imaginary one, like the equinoctial, which none can be permitted to pass without going through the ceremonies of perfect ablution. This social contest, as may be supposed, is carried on among those who have no real pretensions; but there are many old and well-connected families in Philadelphia, whose claims are universally, although perhaps unwillingly, acknowledged.

I doubt if the claims of Boston to be the most scientific city in the Union, can be now established. I met a greater number of scientific men in Philadelphia than I did in Boston; and certainly the public and private collections in the former city are much superior. The collection of shells and minerals belonging to Mr Lee, who is well known as an author and a naturalist, is certainly the most interesting I saw in the States, and I passed two days in examining it: it must have cost him much trouble and research.

The Girard College, when finished, will be a most splendid building. It is, however, as they have now planned it, incorrect, according to the rules of architecture, in the number of columns on the sides in proportion to those in front. This is a great pity; perhaps the plan will be re-considered, as there is plenty of time to correct it, as well as money to defray the extra expense.

The water-works at Schuykill are well worth a visit, not only for their beauty, but their simplicity. The whole of the river Schuykill is dammed up, and forms a huge water-power, which forces up the supply of water for the use of the city. As I presume that river has a god as well as others, I can imagine his indignation, not only at his waters being diverted from his channel, but at being himself obliged to do all the work for the benefit of his tyrannical masters.

I have said that the museums of Philadelphia are far superior to most in the States; but I may just as well here observe, that, as in many other things, a great improvement is necessary before they are such as they ought to be. There is not only in these museums, but in all that I have ever entered in the United States, a want of taste and discrimination, of that correct feeling which characterises the real lovers of science, and knowledge of what is worthy of being collected. They are such collections as would be made by school-boys and school-girls, not those of erudite professors and scientific men. Side by side with the most interesting and valuable specimens, such as the fossil mammoth, etcetera, you have the greatest puerilities and absurdities in the world—such as a cherry-stone formed into a basket, a fragment of the boiler of the Moselle steamer, and Heaven knows what besides. Then you invariably have a large collection of daubs, called portraits, of eminent personages, one-half of whom a stranger never heard of—but that is national vanity; and lastly, I do not recollect to have seen a museum that had not a considerable portion of its space occupied by most execrable wax-work, in which the sleeping beauty (a sad misnomer) generally figures very conspicuously. In some, they have models of celebrated criminals in the act of committing a murder, with the very hatchet or the very knife: or such trophies as the bonnet worn by Mrs — when she was killed by her husband; or the shirt, with the blood of his wife on it, worn by Jack Sprat, or whoever he might be, when he committed the bloody deed. The most favourite subject, after the sleeping beauty in the wax-work, is General Jackson, with the battle of New Orleans in the distance. Now all these things are very well in their places: exhibit wax-work as much as you please—it amuses and interests children; but the present collections in the museums remind you of American society—a chaotic mass, in which you occasionally meet what is valuable and interesting, but of which the larger proportion is pretence.

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