Domestic Manners of the Americans
by Fanny Trollope
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After breakfast, being much in want of amusement, I seated myself by her, and entered into conversation. I found her nothing loth, and in about a minute and a half she put a card into my hand, setting forth, that she taught the art of painting upon velvet in all its branches.

She stated to me, with great volubility, that no one but herself and her daughter knew any thing of this invaluable branch of art; but that for twenty-five dollars they were willing to communicate all they knew.

In five minutes more she informed me that she was the author of some of the most cutting satires in the language; and then she presented me a paper, containing a prospectus, as she called it, of a novel, upon an entirely new construction. I was strangely tempted to ask her if it went by steam, but she left me no time to ask any thing, for, continuing the autobiography she had so obligingly begun, she said, "I used to write against all the Adams faction. I will go up stairs in a moment and fetch you down my sat-heres against that side. But oh! my dear madam! it is really frightful to think how talent is neglected in this country. Ah! I know what you are going to say, my dear madam, you will tell me that it is not so in yours. I know it! but alas! the Atlantic! However, I really must tell you how I have been treated: not only did I publish the most biting sat-heres against the Adams faction, but I wrote songs and odes in honour of Jackson; and my daughter, Cordelia, sang a splendid song of my writing, before eight hundred people, entirely and altogether written in his praise; and would you believe it, my dear madam, he has never taken the slightest notice of me, or made me the least remuneration. But you can't suppose I mean to bear it quietly? No! I promise him that is not my way. The novel I have just mentioned to you was began as a sentimental romance (that, perhaps, after all, is my real forte), but after the provocation I received at Washington, I turned it into a sat-herical novel, and I now call it Yankee Doodle Court. By the way my dear madam, I think if I could make up my mind to cross that terrible Atlantic, I should be pretty well received, after writing Yankee Doodle Court!"

I took the opportunity of a slight pause to ask her to what party she now belonged, since she had forsworn both Adams and Jackson.

"Oh Clay! Clay for ever! he is a real true-hearted republican; the others are neither more nor less than tyrants."

When next I entered the sitting-room she again addressed me, to deplore the degenerate taste of the age.

"Would you believe it? I have at this moment a comedy ready for representation; I call it 'The Mad Philosopher.' It is really admirable, and its success certain, if I could get it played. I assure you the neglect I meet with amounts perfectly to persecution. But I have found out how to pay them, and to make my own fortune. Sat-here, (as she constantly pronounced satire) sat-here is the only weapon that can revenge neglect, and I flatter myself I know how to use it. Do me the favour to look at this,"

She then presented me with a tiny pamphlet, whose price, she informed me, was twenty-five cents, which I readily paid to become the possessor of this chef d'oeuvre. The composition was pretty nearly such as I anticipated, excepting that the English language was done to death by her pen still more than by her tongue. The epigraph, which was subscribed "original," was as follows:

"Your popularity's on the decline: You had your triumph! now I'll have mine."

These are rather a favourable specimen of the verses that follow.

In a subsequent conversation she made me acquainted with another talent, informing me that she had played the part of Charlotte, in Love a la mode, when General Lafayette honoured the theatre at Cincinnati with his presence.

She now appeared to have run out the catalogue of her accomplishments; and I came to the conclusion that my new acquaintance was a strolling player: but she seemed to guess my thoughts, for she presently added. "It was a Thespian corps that played before the General."


Departure for the mountains in the Stage—Scenery of the Alleghany—Haggerstown

The weather was bleak and disagreeable during the two days we were obliged to remain at Wheeling. I had got heartily tired of my gifted friend; we had walked up every side of the rugged hill, and I set off on my journey towards the mountains with more pleasure than is generally felt in quitting a pillow before daylight, for a cold corner in a rumbling stage-coach.

This was the first time we had got into an American stage, though we had traversed above two thousand miles of the country, and we had all the satisfaction in it, which could be derived from the conviction that we were travelling in a foreign land. This vehicle had no step, and we climbed into it by a ladder; when that was removed I remembered, with some dismay, that the females at least were much in the predicament of sailors, who, "in danger have no door to creep out," but when a misfortune is absolutely inevitable, we are apt to bear it remarkably well; who would utter that constant petition of ladies on rough roads, "let me get out," when compliance would oblige the pleader to make a step of five feet before she could touch the ground?

The coach had three rows of seats, each calculated to hold three persons, and as we were only six, we had, in the phrase of Milton, to "inhabit lax" this exalted abode, and, accordingly, we were for some miles tossed about like a few potatoes in a wheelbarrow. Our knees, elbows, and heads required too much care for their protection to allow us leisure to look out of the windows; but at length the road became smoother, and we became more skilful in the art of balancing ourselves, so as to meet the concussion with less danger of dislocation.

We then found that we were travelling through a very beautiful country, essentially different in its features from what we had been accustomed to round Cincinnati: it is true we had left "la belle riviere" behind us, but the many limpid and rapid little streams that danced through the landscape to join it, more than atoned for its loss.

The country already wore an air of more careful husbandry, and the very circumstance of a wide and costly road (though not a very smooth one), which in theory might be supposed to injure picturesque effect, was beautiful to us, who, since we had entered the muddy mouth of the Mississippi, had never seen any thing except a steam-boat and the levee professing to have so noble an object as public accommodation. Through the whole of the vast region we had passed, excepting at New Orleans itself, every trace of the art of man appeared to be confined to the individual effort of "getting along," which, in western phrase, means contriving to live with as small a portion of the incumbrances of civilized society as possible.

This road was made at the expense of the government as far as Cumberland, a town situated among the Alleghany mountains, and, from the nature of the ground, must have been a work of great cost. I regretted not having counted the number of bridges between Wheeling and Little Washington, a distance of thirty-four miles; over one stream only there are twenty-five, all passed by the road. They frequently occurred within a hundred yards of each other, so serpentine is its course; they are built of stone, and sometimes very neatly finished.

Little Washington is in Pennsylvania, across a corner of which the road runs. This is a free state, but we were still waited upon by Negroes, hired from the neighbouring state of Virginia. We arrived at night, and set off again at four in the morning; all, therefore, that we saw of Little Washington was its hotel, which was clean and comfortable. The first part of the next day's journey was through a country much less interesting: its character was unvaried for nearly thirty miles, consisting of an uninterrupted succession of forest-covered hills. As soon as we had wearily dragged to the top of one of these, we began to rumble down the other side as rapidly as our four horses could trot; and no sooner arrived at the bottom than we began to crawl up again; the trees constantly so thick and so high as to preclude the possibility of seeing fifty yards in any direction.

The latter part of the day, however, amply repaid us. At four o'clock we began to ascend the Alleghany mountains: the first ridge on the western side is called Laurel Hill, and takes its name from the profuse quantity of evergreens with which it is covered; not any among them, however, being the shrub to which we give the name of laurel.

The whole of this mountain region, through ninety miles of which the road passes, is a garden. The almost incredible variety of plants, and the lavish profusion of their growth, produce an effect perfectly enchanting. I really can hardly conceive a higher enjoyment than a botanical tour among the Alleghany mountains, to any one who had science enough to profit by it.

The magnificent rhododendron first caught our eyes; it fringes every cliff, nestles beneath every rock, and blooms around every tree. The azalia, the shumac, and every variety of that beautiful mischief, the kalmia, are in equal profusion. Cedars of every size and form were above, around, and underneath us; firs more beautiful and more various than I had ever seen, were in equal abundance, but I know not whether they were really such as I had never seen in Europe, or only in infinitely greater splendour and perfection of growth; the species called the hemlock is, I think, second to the cedar only, in magnificence. Oak and beech, with innumerable roses and wild vines, hanging in beautiful confusion among their branches, were in many places scattered among the evergreens. The earth was carpeted with various mosses and creeping plants, and though still in the month of March, not a trace of the nakedness of winter could be seen. Such was the scenery that shewed us we were indeed among the far-famed Alleghany mountains.

As our noble terrace-road, the Semplon of America, rose higher and higher, all that is noblest in nature was joined to all that is sweetest. The blue tops of the higher ridges formed the outline; huge masses of rock rose above us on the left, half hid at intervals by the bright green shrubs, while to the right we looked down upon the tops of the pines and cedars which clothed the bottom.

I had no idea of the endless variety of mountain scenery. My notions had been of rocks and precipices, of torrents and of forest trees, but I little expected that the first spot which should recall the garden scenery of our beautiful England would be found among the moutains: yet so it was. From the time I entered America I had never seen the slightest approach to what we call pleasure-grounds; a few very worthless and scentless flowers were all the specimens of gardening I had seen in Ohio; no attempt at garden scenery was ever dreamed of, and it was with the sort of delight with which one meets an old friend, that we looked on the lovely mixture of trees, shrubs, and flowers, that now continually met our eyes. Often, on descending into the narrow vallies, we found a little spot of cultivation, a garden or a field, hedged round with shumacs, rhododendrons, and azalias, and a cottage covered with roses. These vallies are spots of great beauty; a clear stream is always found running through them, which is generally converted to the use of the miller, at some point not far from the road; and here, as on the heights, great beauty of colouring is given to the landscape, by the bright hue of the vegetation, and the sober grey of the rocks.

The first night we passed among the mountains recalled us painfully from the enjoyment of nature to all the petty miseries of personal discomfort. Arrived at our inn, a forlorn parlour, filled with the blended fumes of tobacco and whiskey, received us; and chilled, as we began to feel ourselves with the mountain air, we preferred going to our cold bedrooms rather than sup in such an atmosphere. We found linen on the beds which they assured us had only been used a few nights; every kind of refreshment we asked for we were answered, "We do not happen to have that article." We were still in Pennsylvania, and no longer waited upon by slaves; it was, therefore, with great difficulty that we procured a fire in our bedrooms from the surly-looking young lady who condescended to officiate as chambermaid, and with much more, that we extorted clean linen for our beds; that done, we patiently crept into them supperless, while she made her exit muttering about the difficulty of "fixing English folks."

The next morning cheered our spirits again; we now enjoyed a new kind of alpine witchery; the clouds were floating around, and below us, and the distant peaks were indistinctly visible as through a white gauze veil, which was gradually lifted up, till the sun arose, and again let in upon us the full glory of these interminable heights.

We were told before we began the ascent, that we should find snow four inches deep on the road; but as yet we had seen none, and indeed it was with difficulty we persuaded ourselves that we were not travelling in the midst of summer. As we proceeded, however, we found the northern declivities still covered with it, and at length, towards the summit, the road itself had the promised four inches. The extreme mildness of the air, and the brilliant hue of the evergreens, contrasted strangely with this appearance of winter; it was difficult to understand how the snow could help melting in such an atmosphere.

Again and again we enjoyed all the exhilarating sensations that such scenes must necessarily inspire, but in attempting a continued description of our progress over these beautiful mountains, I could only tell again of rocks, cedars, laurels, and running streams, of blue heights, and green vallies, yet the continually varying combinations of these objects afforded us unceasing pleasure. From one point, pre-eminently above any neighbouring ridge, we looked back upon the enormous valley of the West. It is a stupendous view; but having gazed upon it for some moments, we turned to pursue our course, and the certainty that we should see it no more, raised no sigh of regret.

We dined, on the second day, at a beautiful spot, which we were told was the highest point on the road, being 2,846 feet above the level of the sea. We were regaled luxuriously on wild turkey and mountain venison; which latter is infinitely superior to any furnished by the forests of the Mississippi, or the Ohio. The vegetables also were extremely fine, and we were told by a pretty girl, who superintended the slaves that waited on us, (for we were again in Virginia), that the vegetables of the Alleghany were reckoned the finest in America. She told us also, that wild strawberries were profusely abundant, and very fine; that their cows found for themselves, during the summer, plenty of flowery food, which produced a copious supply of milk; that their spring gave them the purest water, of icy coldness in the warmest seasons; and that the climate was the most delicious in the world, for though the thermometer sometimes stood at ninety, their cool breeze never failed them. What a spot to turn hermit in for a summer! My eloquent mountaineer gave me some specimens of ground plants, far unlike any thing I had ever seen. One particularly, which she called the ground pine, is peculiar as she told me, to the Alleghany, and in some places runs over whole acres of ground; it is extremely beautiful. The rooms were very prettily decorated with this elegant plant, hung round it in festoons.

In many places the clearing has been considerable; the road passes through several fine farms, situated in the sheltered hollows; we were told that the wolves continue to annoy them severely, but that panthers, the terror of the West, are never seen, and bears very rarely. Of snakes, they confessed they had abundance, but very few that were considered dangerous.

In the afternoon we came in sight of the Monongehala river; and its banks gave us for several miles a beautiful succession of wild and domestic scenery. In some points, the black rock rises perpendicularly from its margin, like those at Chepstow; at others, a mill, with its owner's cottage, its corn-plat, and its poultry, present a delightful image of industry and comfort.

Brownsville is a busy looking little town built upon the banks of this river; it would be pretty, were it not stained by the hue of coal. I do not remember in England to have seen any spot, however near a coal mine, so dyed in black as Wheeling and Brownsville. At this place we crossed the Monongehala, in a flat ferry-boat, which very commodiously received our huge coach and four horses.

On leaving the black little town, we were again cheered by abundance of evergreens, reflected in the stream, with fantastic piles of rock, half visible through the pines and cedars above, giving often the idea of a vast gothic castle. It was a folly, I confess, but I often lamented they were not such; the travelling for thousands of miles, without meeting any nobler trace of the ages that are passed, than a mass of rotten leaves, or a fragment of fallen rock, produces a heavy, earthly matter-of-fact effect upon the imagination, which can hardly be described, and for which the greatest beauty of scenery can furnish only an occasional and transitory remedy.

Our second night in the mountains was past at a solitary house of rather forlorn appearance; but we fared much better than the night before, for they gave us clean sheets, a good fire, and no scolding. We again started at four o'clock in the morning, and eagerly watched for the first gleam of light that should show the same lovely spectacle we had seen the day before; nor were we disappointed, though the show was somewhat different. The vapours caught the morning ray, as it first darted over the mountain top, and passing it to the scene below, we seemed enveloped in a rainbow.

We had now but one ridge left to pass over, and as we reached the top, and looked down on the new world before us, I hardly knew whether most to rejoice that

"All the toil of the long-pass'd way"

was over, or to regret that our mountain journey was drawing to a close.

The novelty of my enjoyment had doubtless added much to its keenness. I have never been familiar with mountain scenery. Wales has shewn me all I ever saw, and the region of the Alleghany Alps in no way resembles it. It is a world of mountains rising around you in every direction, and in every form; savage, vast, and wild; yet almost at every step, some lovely spot meets your eye, green, bright and blooming, as the most cherished nook belonging to some noble Flora in our own beautiful land. It is a ride of ninety miles through kalmies, rhododendrons, azalias, vines and roses; sheltered from every blast that blows by vast masses of various coloured rocks, on which

"Tall pines and cedars wave their dark green crests."

While in every direction you have a background of blue mountain tops, that play at bo-peep with you in the clouds.

After descending the last ridge we reached Haggerstown, a small neat place, between a town and a village; and here by the piety of the Presbyterian coach-masters, we were doomed to pass an entire day, and two nights, "as the accommodation line must not run on the sabbath."

I must, however, mention, that this day of enforced rest was not Sunday. Saturday evening we had taken in at Cumberland a portly passenger, whom we soon discovered to be one of the proprietors of the coach. He asked us, with great politeness, if we should wish to travel on the sabbath, or to delay our journey. We answered that we would rather proceed; "The coach, then, shall go on tomorrow," replied the liberal coach-master, with the greatest courtesy; and accordingly we travelled all Sunday, and arrived at Haggerstown on Sunday night. At the door of the inn our civil proprietor left us; but when we enquired of the waiter at what hour we were to start on the morrow, he told us that we should be obliged to pass the whole of Monday there, as the coach which was to convey us forward would not arrive from the east, till Tuesday morning.

Thus we discovered that the waiving the sabbath-keeping by the proprietor, was for his own convenience, and not for ours, and that we were to be tied by the leg for four-and-twenty hours notwithstanding. This was quite a Yankee trick.

Luckily for us, the inn at Haggerstown was one of the most comfortable I ever entered. It was there that we became fully aware that we had left Western America behind us. Instead of being scolded, as we literally were at Cincinnati, for asking for a private sitting-room, we here had two, without asking at all. A waiter, quite comme il faut, summoned us to breakfast, dinner, and tea, which we found prepared with abundance, and even elegance. The master of the house met us at the door of the eating-room, and, after asking if we wished for any thing not on the table, retired. The charges were in no respect higher than at Cincinnati.

A considerable creek, called Conococheque Creek, runs near the town, and the valley through which it passes is said to be the most fertile in America.

On leaving Haggerstown we found, to our mortification, that we were not to be the sole occupants of the bulky accommodation, two ladies and two gentlemen appearing at the door ready to share it with us. We again started, at four o'clock, by the light of a bright moon, and rumbled and nodded through the roads considerably worse than those over the mountains.

As the light began to dawn we discovered our ladies to be an old woman and her pretty daughter.

Soon after daylight we found that our pace became much slower than usual, and that from time to time our driver addressed to his companion on the box many and vehement exclamations. The gentlemen put their heads out, to ask what was the matter, but could get no intelligence, till the mail overtook us, when both vehicles stopped, and an animated colloquy of imprecations took place between the coachmen. At length we learnt that one of our wheels was broken in such a manner as to render it impossible for us to proceed. Upon this the old lady immediately became a principal actor in the scene. She sprung to the window, and addressing the set of gentlemen who completely filled the mail, exclaimed "Gentlemen! can't you make room for two? only me and my daughter?" The naive simplicity of this request set both the coaches into an uproar of laughter. It was impossible to doubt that she acted upon the same principle as the pious Catholic, who addressing heaven with a prayer for himself alone, added "pour ne pas fatiguer ta misericorde." Our laugh, however, never daunted the old woman, or caused her for a moment to cease the reiteration of her request, "only for two of us, gentlemen! can't you find room for two?"

Our situation was really very embarrassing, but not to laugh was impossible. After it was ascertained that our own vehicle could not convey us, and that the mail had not even room for two, we decided upon walking to the next village, a distance, fortunately, of only two miles, and awaiting there the repair of the wheel. We immediately set off, at the brisk pace that six o'clock and a frosty morning in March were likely to inspire, leaving our old lady and her pretty daughter considerably in the rear; our hearts having been rather hardened by the exclusive nature of her prayer for aid.

When we had again started upon our new wheel, the driver, to recover the time he had lost, drove rapidly over a very rough road, in consequence of which, our self-seeking old lady fell into a perfect agony of terror, and her cries of "we shall be over! oh, Lord! we shall be over! we must over! we shall be over!" lasted to the end of the stage which with laughing, walking, and shaking, was a most fatiguing one.


Baltimore—Catholic Cathedral—St. Mary's—College Sermons— Infant School

As we advanced towards Baltimore the look of cultivation increased, the fences wore an air of greater neatness, the houses began to look like the abodes of competence and comfort, and we were consoled for the loss of the beautiful mountains by knowing that we were approaching the Atlantic.

From the time of quitting the Ohio river, though, unquestionably, it merits its title of "the beautiful," especially when compared with the dreary Mississippi, I strongly felt the truth of an observation I remembered to have heard in England, that little rivers were more beautiful than great ones. As features in a landscape, this is assuredly the case. Where the stream is so wide that the objects on the opposite shore are indistinct, all the beauty must be derived from the water itself; whereas, when the stream is narrow, it becomes only a part of the composition. The Monongahela, which is in size between the Wye and the Thames, is infinitely more picturesque than the Ohio.

To enjoy the beauty of the vast rivers of this vast country you must be upon the water; and then the power of changing the scenery by now approaching one shore, and now the other, is very pleasing; but travelling as we now did, by land, the wild, rocky, narrow, rapid little rivers we encountered, were a thousand times more beautiful. The Potapsco, near which the road runs, as you approach Baltimore, is at many points very picturesque. The large blocks of grey rock, now close upon its edge, and now retiring to give room for a few acres of bright green herbage, give great interest and variety to its course.

Baltimore is, I think, one of the handsomest cities to approach in the Union. The noble column erected to the memory of Washington, and the Catholic Cathedral, with its beautiful dome, being built on a commanding eminence, are seen at a great distance. As you draw nearer, many other domes and towers become visible, and as you enter Baltimore-street, you feel that you are arrived in a handsome and populous city.

We took up our quarters at an excellent hotel, where the coach stopped, and the next day were fortunate enough to find accommodation in the house of a lady, well known to many of my European friends. With her and her amiable daughter, we spent a fortnight very agreeably, and felt quite aware that if we had not arrived in London or Paris, we had, at least, left far behind the "half-horse, half-alligator" tribes of the West, as the Kentuckians call themselves.

Baltimore is in many respects a beautiful city; it has several handsome buildings, and even the private dwelling-houses have a look of magnificence, from the abundance of white marble with which many of them are adorned. The ample flights of steps, and the lofty door frames, are in most of the best houses formed of this beautiful material.

This has been called the city of monuments, from its having the stately column erected to the memory of General Washington, and which bears a colossal statue of him at the top; and another pillar of less dimensions, recording some victory; I forget which. Both these are of brilliant white marble. There are also several pretty marble fountains in different parts of the city, which greatly add to its beauty. These are not, it is true, quite so splendid as that of the Innocents, or many others at Paris, but they are fountains of clear water, and they are built of white marble. There is one which is sheltered from the sun by a roof supported by light columns; it looks like a temple dedicated to the genius of the spring. The water flows into a marble cistern, to which you descend by a flight of steps of delicate whiteness, and return by another. These steps are never without groups of negro girls, some carrying the water on their heads, with that graceful steadiness of step, which requires no aid from the hand; some tripping gaily with their yet unfilled pitchers; many of them singing in the soft rich voice, peculiar to their race; and all dressed with that strict attention to taste and smartness, which seems the distinguishing characteristic of the Baltimore females of all ranks.

The Catholic Cathedral is considered by all Americans as a magnificent church, but it can hardly be so classed by any one who has seen the churches of Europe; its interior, however, has an air of neatness that amounts to elegance. The form is a Greek cross, having a dome in the centre; but the proportions are ill- preserved; the dome is too low, and the arches which support it are flattened, and too wide for their height. On each side of the high altar are chapels to the Saviour and the Virgin. The altars in these, as well as the high altar, are of native marble of different colours, and some of the specimens are very beautiful. The decorations of the altar are elegant and costly. The prelate is a cardinal, and bears, moreover, the title of "Archbishop of Baltimore."

There are several paintings in different parts of the church, which we heard were considered as very fine. There are two presented by Louis XVIII; one of these is the Descent from the Cross, by Paulin Guirin; the other a copy from Rubens, (as they told us) of a legend of St. Louis in the Holy Land; but the composition of the picture is so abominably bad, that I conceive the legend of its being after Rubens, must be as fabulous as its subject. The admiration in which these pictures are held, is an incontestable indication of the state of art in the country.

We attended mass in this church the Sunday after our arrival, and I was perfectly astonished at the beauty and splendid appearance of the ladies who filled it. Excepting on a very brilliant Sunday at the Tuilleries, I never saw so shewy a display of morning costume, and I think I never saw any where so many beautiful women at one glance. They all appeared to be in full dress, and were really all beautiful.

The sermon (I am very attentive to sermons) was a most extraordinary one. The priest began by telling us, that he was about to preach upon a vice that he would not "mention or name" from the beginning of his sermon to the end.

Having thus excited the curiosity of his hearers, by proposing a riddle to them, he began.

Adam, he said, was most assuredly the first who had committed this sin, and Cain the next; then, following the advice given by the listener, in the Plaideurs, "Passons au deluge, je vous prie;" he went on to mention the particular propriety of Noah's family on this point; and then continued, "Now observe, what did God shew the greatest dislike to? What was it that Jesus was never even accused of? What was it Joseph hated the most? Who was the disciple that Jesus chose for his friend?" and thus he went on for nearly an hour, in a strain that was often perfectly unintelligible to me, but which, as far as I could comprehend it, appeared to be a sort of expose and commentary upon private anecdotes which he had found, or fancied he had found in the Bible. I never saw the attention of a congregation more strongly excited, and I really wished, in Christian charity, that something better had rewarded it.

There are a vast number of churches and chapels in the city, in proportion to its extent, and several that are large and well- built; the Unitarian church is the handsomest I have ever seen dedicated to that mode of worship. But the prettiest among them is a little bijou of a thing belonging to the Catholic college. The institution is dedicated to St. Mary, but this little chapel looks, though in the midst of a city, as if it should have been sacred to St. John of the wilderness. There is a sequestered little garden behind it, hardly large enough to plant cabbages in, which yet contains a Mount Calvary, bearing a lofty cross. The tiny path which leads up to this sacred spot, is not much wider than a sheep-track, and its cedars are but shrubs, but all is in proportion; and notwithstanding its fairy dimensions, there is something of holiness, and quiet beauty about it, that excites the imagination strangely. The little chapel itself has the same touching and impressive character. A solitary lamp, whose glare is tempered by delicately painted glass, hangs before the altar. The light of day enters dimly, yet richly, through crimson curtains, and the silence with which the well-lined doors opened from time to time, admitting a youth of the establishment, who, with noiseless tread, approached the altar, and kneeling, offered a whispered prayer, and retired, had something in it more calculated, perhaps, to generate holy thoughts, than even the swelling anthem heard beneath the resounding dome of St. Peter's.

Baltimore has a handsome museum, superintended by one of the Peale family, well known for their devotion to natural science, and to works of art. It is not their fault if the specimens which they are enabled to display in the latter department are very inferior to their splendid exhibitions in the former.

The theatre was closed when we were in Baltimore, but we were told that it was very far from being a popular or fashionable amusement. We were, indeed, told this every where throughout the country, and the information was generally accompanied by the observation, that the opposition of the clergy was the cause of it. But I suspect that this is not the principal cause, especially among the men, who, if they were so implicit in their obedience to the clergy, would certainly be more constant in their attendance at the churches; nor would they, moreover, deem the theatre more righteous because an English actor, or a French dancer, performed there; yet on such occasions the theatres overflow. The cause, I think, is in the character of the people. I never saw a population so totally divested of gaiety; there is no trace of this feeling from one end of the Union to the other. They have no fetes, no fairs, no merry makings, no music in the streets, no Punch, no puppet-shows. If they see a comedy or a farce, they may laugh at it; but they can do very well without it; and the consciousness of the number of cents that must be paid to enter a theatre, I am very sure turns more steps from its door than any religious feeling. A distinguished publisher of Philadelphia told me that no comic publication had ever yet been found to answer in America.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Stonington—Great Falls of the Potomac

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Small Landed Proprietors—Slavery

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

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