Young Americans Abroad - Vacation in Europe: Travels in England, France, Holland, - Belgium, Prussia and Switzerland
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Berne is a large town, with a population of nearly thirty thousand. It lies on the banks of the Aar, which goes almost round the city. The great elevation of the city—seventeen hundred feet above the sea—gives it quite an appearance on approaching it. Then the houses are all built upon arched pathways, and they form arcades, very much like the old city of Chester, in England. We noticed several watch towers, evidently very ancient; and one in the town, near our hotel, has a queer clock, which, like that at Strasburg, is mechanical. On striking, out comes a cock and flaps away with his wings, and then little images appear, and bears pass by a puppet, seated on a throne. Bears seem to be the guardian angels of the place, and are the arms of the town. We were very much pleased with an extensive prospect of the Bernese Alps, from a terrace overhanging the rapid river. I cannot tell you how many peaks we saw covered with snow. Our panorama, purchased here, enumerates more than a dozen; and among these are the Wetterhorn, Stockhorn, and Jungfrau. We greatly enjoyed a fine sunset from this spot. The Cathedral is a noble structure, built between 1421 and 1573, and from designs by the son of the architect of the Cathedral at Strasburg. Some of the work here is exceedingly fine. The great entrance is very imposing, and has rich sculptures. Here, too, are some beautifully-painted windows—one describing the pope grinding the four evangelists in a mill, out of which comes wafers, is very curious. The organ is very fine, and the case one of the richest in Europe. It has four rows of keys and sixty-six stops. The font is of black granite, and has the date of 1525, which is three years previous to the church reformation in this canton. It has some finely-sculptured images of the Trinity, Virgin Mary, and St. Vincent, the patron saint of the church. We were pointed out the communion table, of marble, which is an immense block, and before the reformation it was an altar at Lausanne. There are some fine monuments, having great antiquity.

In the choir we were delighted with the old prebendal stalls, over which were figures of Christ and his apostles, and on the opposite side prophets, all in carved wood. One of the prophets was a capital likeness of Luther.

As we were leaving this noble edifice, we met a minister coming in; he wore a short, black gown, and had a deep white ruff on his shoulders.

The library of the town embraces about forty-five thousand volumes—and well assorted, too. What a reproach it is to us that, excepting in Providence, hardly any small city has what can be called a library!

The Museum we could not examine. I spoke of bears: well, the town keeps several of these fellows at a place called the Baerengraben.

Much did we long to take a trip into the Bernese Oberland, but it was not practicable; so we started for Lausanne by diligence, a distance of fifty-six miles, and were eleven hours on the way. We saw much fine scenery, but nothing that would compare with the Munster Thal or Valley of Moutiers, and which I think would pay any lover of nature to come from America to look at and travel through. The places we went through were Morat, famous for its battle in 1476; Avenches, the Roman Aventicum; Payerne, &c. The last few miles were of great labor in ascent; and as it was pitch dark for some miles, I cannot tell much about what is said to be beautiful.

At Lausanne we went to the Hotel Gibbon, and a lovelier spot than the rear of this mansion eye never rested upon. Again we were weary, and found good beds very inviting.

Yours, &c.,


Letter 46.



We are staying in one of the most romantic and beautiful spots that I ever had the pleasure to visit. The population is seventeen thousand, and on the increase. It is the favorite resort of the English; and no wonder, for here are displays of the glory and of the power of the Creator rarely to be seen. The town stands on a mount, and descends gradually to the lake. On every side are most precipitous ravines; and the streets are the most break-neck-looking highways I ever saw. Putnam's Leap would be thought nothing of at Lausanne.

Our hotel overlooks Gibbon's garden, and we saw his trees and seat. Here he composed his eloquent work on the Roman empire. His portrait is in the hotel dining-room. The prospect surpasses in richness all that I had fancied. Before us lie the Alps, with snowy tops; between us and these is the glassy lake, and on its waters we notice a regatta, the boats all adorned with flags and the crews with ribbons. There are, I should think, from fifty to seventy-five boats in sight. Up in the Alps there is a fire in the woods; and the volume of smoke and flashing of flame form a fine addition to the scene.

The temperature of the climate is very favorable to health; and now, in June, it reminds us of our finest clear days at Newport.

On Sabbath morning we repaired to a charming little Episcopal church, near the lake; and the walk of a mile down hill was delightful. On both sides of the road were fine villas, and on the left one estate had its long wall defended by a hedge of roses in full bloom; such a hedge is rarely to be witnessed. We heard a prosy sermon from the old gentleman who has officiated there for some years. I noticed a lady and four sweet little girls who sat in the next pew to us, and was convinced that she was an English lady; and when we overtook her ascending the hill, on our return, I took the liberty to ask a question about the church. She very politely gave me the information, and a conversation commenced. She told me, as a stranger, what I ought to see; and when we were leaving her, she politely offered us an invitation to join her family in the evening, to take a walk to the mountain overhanging Lausanne, known as the Signal, and from whence, in olden time, the watch-fire used to be kindled when the cantons were called to arm for liberty, or danger was expected. This kindness we accepted; and when she gave me her address, I found I had to call at the Hotel de Ville. Well, at half past six, the lads and I repaired to the mansion, a very venerable pile, and we found that our kind friend was no less a personage than the wife of the syndic, or mayor of the city. We were most kindly received and introduced to his honor—a fine-looking, elderly gentleman, who spoke no English; but his family conversed generally in our language. We sallied forth, and took a walk up, up, up,—never will the boys forget that tramp; indeed, Charley, it was the hardest affair I ever went through; but after the ascent was achieved, the recompense was ample. Such a survey of lake, shore, Alps, city, villages, vineyards, cannot be enjoyed elsewhere. It was very cold in these upper regions; and as we descended, the shades of night were over us, and a beautiful moon made its appearance. When parting from our friends, they urged our joining them at seven o'clock to visit the Cathedral, with the mayor as our guide. I accepted the polite offer, but the boys were frightened at the thought of another ascent; for the minster is perched upon a cliff, and you ascend some hundreds of steps to reach the platform.

At seven we were on hand, and with the syndic and his sweet little girl we visited the finest Gothic pile in Switzerland, which was built in 1275, and consecrated by Gregory X. The form is that of the Latin cross. Formerly it had two towers; but one was destroyed by lightning, in 1825. Here are several fine monuments and tombs of interest; one an effigy in mail armor of Otho of Grandeson, and another of Pope Felix V., who resigned the papacy and became a monk, and a very beautiful one to the wife of Stratford Canning; the figures of which are eight in number, and two of them are by Canova; also the tomb of Bernard de Menthon, founder of the St. Bernard Hospice.

We returned to the Hotel de Ville and took breakfast with Madame Gadaud, for whom and her kind family we shall long cherish grateful recollections.

From Lausanne we took boat for Vevay. The port of Lausanne is the little village of Ouchy. I ought to tell you that John Philip Kemble, the great tragedian, is buried two miles from this place. We found the excursion on the lake very agreeable, and passed many pretty villages on the left shore till we came to Vevay, a sweet little town, of five thousand inhabitants, and is embowered in vineyards. It is about one mile and a quarter from the foot of the Alps. Here we had a view of the Castle of Chillon, and Byron was on our tongues at once. My great object in coming here was to see St Martin's Church, for here are buried Ludlow, the regicide, and Broughton, who read the sentence of Charles I. Charles II. could never get the Swiss to deliver these patriots into his hands. In the afternoon we took another boat and went to Geneva in about five hours, and stopped at Ouchy, Morges, Rolle, Nyon, and Coppet. At Morges is a fine old castle, in good condition. Nearly opposite Rolle we saw the hoary head of Mont Blanc, towering above the giant brotherhood of Alpine heights. We did not see Lake Leman in a storm, and though certainly beautiful in its adjuncts, not more so than Lake Erie. At Coppet was the residence of Madame De Stael.

We reached Geneva in the evening at seven, and went to the Hotel L'Eou. Here we were delighted to meet again with the Rev. Dr. Murray and Dr. Chetwood, and also to find the Rev. Mr. Chickering and Rev. Mr. Jacobus, with his family, and other valued friends.

The approach to Geneva from the lake is very imposing; but I was less pleased with the town itself than I expected to be. Its position is very grand. Its history is every thing, however. The Cathedral Church of St. Peter is a fine specimen of the Gothic of the eleventh century. The sounding board is the same under which Calvin preached.

The population is about forty thousand, including the suburbs, and thousands of tourists are every year residents for a few days. We had a pleasant morning at the Museum, where are some good pictures and many curiosities. In the library are Calvin's letters in MS., forty or fifty volumes of MS. sermons, &c. This same Calvin and this old town of Geneva have had much to do with our own blessed country; and we feel the agency of this man and this town in all our ten thousand joys and comforts.

I could not forget that here was the home of Merle D'Aubigne, the historian of the Protestant reformation, and that here, too, is the residence of the learned Gaussen, the author of Theopneusty, and of the venerable Caesar Malan. Calling upon this last-named gentleman, I was delighted to find that the Evangelical Association of Geneva was in annual session. This is the great Protestant body with which the American Evangelical Union is in alliance, and for whose operations our friend Dr. Baird has awakened so lively an interest. I went to the church where the meeting was convened, and was introduced to Count George, a very pious Frenchman of fortune, who resides here and devotes himself to the cause of the Protestant religion. He is a Baptist, but is connected with the church which embraces several evangelical denominations. The count presided with great ability; he is a very elegant man, about thirty-four, I should imagine.

I had the pleasure to hear D'Aubigne give a report of his visit to Great Britain. He spoke for two hours. He is quite the orator, and had entire command of the audience, who wept and laughed as he proceeded. The historian is a very noticeable man, and strongly reminded us all of President Wayland, to whom his resemblance is very striking.

Dr. Murray made a few remarks on behalf of his brethren, and we were all invited to a soiree at the assembly-rooms in the evening. Perhaps two hundred and fifty ladies and gentlemen were present. Several addresses and prayers were made. I was announced for an address, but came late on the list; and having no fancy to be translated by a man at my elbow, I quietly withdrew at the fitting time. I was much pleased with Professor Gaussen, who is a very accomplished gentleman. He looks about forty-five, but told me he was very much older.

The clergy present at this convocation were from various parts of France and all the Swiss cantons, and I never saw a finer set of men in any clerical assembly. Pastor Malan is exceedingly venerable in his appearance. He is about sixty-eight years of age, his hair gray, and worn long in the neck, with a good deal of curl to it. His gait is quick, and he has much the manner of the venerable Dr. Beecher. This patriarch of Geneva is very cheerful, knows every one, and has a word for every one. He told me that he loved Americans, but that they had spoiled his habitation by stealing two of his daughters, who, he explained to me, were married to excellent clergymen in the United States.

We met with great kindness in this city from Mr. Delorme, a gentleman who once resided in New York. He invited us to accompany his family on an excursion to the summit of the Saleve, a mountain in Savoy, which is three thousand one hundred and fifty feet above the lake. We went in two carriages, and stopped at a village on the mountain side, where we had cakes, coffee, and wine. Here, in a sweet little arbor, surrounded with roses, we gazed at Mont Blanc, and on a near summit could very clearly trace the profile of Napoleon. He looks "like a warrior taking his sleep." The illusion surpasses in accuracy of expression any thing that I know of that is similar; there are chin, nose, eye, and the old cocked hat, while the eternal vapor over the summit of the peak forms the feather.

We looked down in a ravine and saw the Aar with its icy stream. The carriages went round to meet the party, and the ascent was made. The mountain seems to hang over Geneva, though several miles off. We were greatly pleased with a few good houses, in fine positions; but Savoy is not Switzerland. Here Popery is rampant and pauperism evident. Beggars beset our carriages, and the people looked squalid.

I forgot to tell you how much we were pleased with the cottages in Switzerland; they are quite cheerful looking,—some very fine affairs,—but many are not very unlike our western log-houses.

We returned to Geneva at about ten, and found at our friend's house a most sumptuous repast provided for our entertainment. I never sat down at a more elegant supper table. Every luxury seemed placed before us, including the richest wines of the Rhine.

The Roman salad, a peculiar kind of lettuce, which we saw in France, and here again, seemed to us all as quite different from our ordinary kinds; and I have at Genera obtained four or five varieties of the seed for home cultivation.

While at this city we procured some good specimens of wooden ware, Swiss cottages, &c., and the boys bought watches, jewelry, &c., for presents.

We were all delighted with a little island in the centre of a bridge which goes across the lake; it was a favorite retreat of Rousseau, and there is a statue to his memory.

Calvin's residence is still to be seen, No. 116 Rue des Chanoins. We saw the place where Servetus was burnt. The place and prospect were too beautiful for such a foul desecration. But Calvin's virtues were his own, and the faults he fell into belonged to the influence of the age. It was much so with those greatest and best of men, the New England Pilgrim Fathers. I know they had faults, but they were only spots upon the polished mirror. God reared them up, a rare race of men, for a rare purpose; and I do not like to hear them abused because they were not perfect. If Laud had come to Plymouth Rock instead of Brewster, Bonner instead of Carver, what kind of a community would have been established and handed down?

In Geneva, too, we had the pleasure to meet a valued friend, Mr. B., from Providence, who has been travelling extensively, and gathering up the treasures of other cities to enrich the one of his birth.

To-morrow we are off for Paris, and go by diligence to Dijon; thence by railroad.

Yours affectionately,


Letter 47.



We started from Geneva in the diligence for Dijon, a long drag of one hundred and twenty miles. The weather was oppressively hot, and certainly the roads could not well be more dusty. We had two very gentlemanly companions, Swiss, who were going to London to visit the exhibition. We entered France about four miles on our way, and came to Ferney, where Voltaire so long resided. We passed Gex, and ascended the Jura; then to La Vattay. The view from the mountain of the lake and Mont Blanc, together with the Alpine range, is never to be forgotten by one who has the good fortune to see it. I feel that I am acquiring new emotions and gathering up new sources of thought in this journey, and that I cannot be a trifler and waster away of life in such a world as that I live in. I find in every place so much to read about, and study over, and think upon, that I now feel as if life itself would not be long enough to do all I should like to effect. One thing is certain, Charley; I cannot be indolent without feeling that, with the motives and stimulus of this tour pressing upon me, I shall be very guilty.

The scenery of this journey has set me thinking; and so I have written rather sentimentally, but truly.

At St. Laurent we came to the French custom-house, and a pretty thorough overhauling they made. I believe the fellows hooked some of our engravings, which they carried out of the room.

Still up, till we reached Morez, the Jura's greatest elevation. The last half was travelled in the night; so I cannot give you the line of march. We got to Dijon about eight in the morning, and only had time to get a hasty breakfast at the railroad station; but we had quite a look at the city before entering the cars for Paris.

Dijon is the capital town of the old Burgundy, and is a fine old place, with nearly thirty thousand inhabitants. Here is a great show of churches, and they seem built for all ages. The Cathedral is a noble-looking edifice. We had no time to see the old ducal palace, which has so many historical events connected with it. We saw some beautiful promenades, but only glanced at them. Bossuet was born here, and St. Bernard only a mile outside the walls, in a castle yet standing.

The new railroad had just been opened to Paris, and is one hundred and ninety-six miles and a half of most capital track. We went through Verrey, Montbard, Nuits, Tonnerre, La Roche, Joigny, Sens, Montereau, Fontainebleau, Melun, to Paris. Montbard gave birth to Buffon, the naturalist. Nuits is famous for the vintage of its own name, Romanee, and other choice wines of Burgundy. Near Tonnerre is the chateau of Coligny d'Audelot, brother to the admiral massacred on St. Bartholomew's night. Sens is famous for its Cathedral, which is apparently very splendid; and here are the vestments of Thomas a Becket, and the very altar at which he knelt, all of which I wanted to see. Fontainebleau is beautifully placed in the midst of a forest. Here is a palace, and at this place Napoleon bade farewell to the Old Guard, in 1814. This place is celebrated for its grapes, raised in the vicinity. Melun was known in Caesar's time, and in 1520 was taken by Henry V., of England, and held ten years. We reached Paris on the evening of Saturday, and again occupied our old quarters at the Hotel Windsor. I went off to my favorite bathing-house at the Seine, and felt wondrously refreshed after the heat and dust of more than three hundred miles and two days' journeying.

Yours affectionately,


Letter 48.



We have again arrived at this charming city, and hope to pass a few pleasant days, which will be chiefly devoted to purchases of clothing and some of the beautiful articles which are so abundant in the shops of this metropolis. Besides, we have some few places to visit before we return to England. On Sabbath day we went to the Methodist Chapel, near the Church of the Madeleine, and heard a capital sermon from Dr. Ritchie, the president of the Canadian Conference. In the evening I preached. The congregations were very good, and the preacher of the chapel seems a very gentlemanly and pleasant man. In the congregation I had the pleasure to meet with our eloquent countryman and my old friend, the Rev. James Alexander, D.D., of New York, and I announced that he would preach on Wednesday evening. We went into the Madeleine and spent nearly an hour. The house is very splendid; but it does not appear devotional, or likely to inspire suitable feelings. I prefer the Gothic pile, or a plainer temple. It is all painting, gilding, flowers, and form. Here Popery shows her hand, and outdoes every thing that she dares yet show in New England. The music was exquisite, and the voices of the boys very sweet. Many of the people seemed in earnest. The priests appeared to me devoid of interest. We went one morning to the Pantheon. This noble church was formerly known as St. Genevieve, and was rebuilt, in 1764, by a lottery under the auspices of Louis XV. The portico is an imitation of the one at Rome on its namesake, and consists of Corinthian columns nearly sixty feet high, and five feet in diameter. The interior form is that of a Greek cross. Every thing here is grand and majestically simple. Above the centre of the cross rises a dome of great beauty, with a lantern above. In this building are one hundred and thirty columns. The church is three hundred and two feet by two hundred and fifty-five. In this building are the tombs and monuments of some of the great men of France. Voltaire, Rousseau, Mirabeau, and Marat were here buried, but were taken up by the Bourbons, at the restoration. La Grange and Lannes also rest here. Here we saw seven copies of the famous frescoes of Angelo and Raphael, in the Vatican, and several pieces of statuary. The vaults extend beneath the church to a great length. I believe this is the highest spot in Paris. On leaving the place, I looked again at the dome, which greatly pleased me. It is three hundred feet above the floor of the church; and the painting, by Gros, is very fine. I think we have seen nothing of the kind that is so beautiful. It is principally historical; and among the figures are Clovis, Clotilda, Charlemagne, St. Louis, Louis XVIII., and the Duchess d'Angouleme, with the infant Duke of Bourdeaux; and above all these, as in heaven, are Louis XVI., Marie Antoinette, Louis XVII., and Madame Elizabeth.

We were all thankful enough to find that the Louvre is at last open. We walked there, looking with interest at the Tuileries, which I cannot help admiring, although some think it devoid of architectural merit. Its wide-spread pavilions of one thousand feet, looming up with time-darkened walls, always please me. The palace of the Louvre is an older edifice than the Tuileries; the newer portion was the work of the reign of Louis XIV. The quadrangle is very fine, and the proportions of the entire building admirable. Our business was with that part called the Musee Royal, and here are the paintings and statues which have given such a renown to Paris. You must recollect, my dear fellow, that we cannot tell you all about these pictures, for the gallery is nearly one third of a mile in length, and each side is filled up with canvas, and the rooms are lofty. There was a time when almost all that continental Europe thought exquisite in art was to be found here. Bonaparte levied contributions on all the capitals he conquered, and here he deposited his ill-gotten spoils. Once were seen in this place the great masterpieces of Raphael, Guido, Titian, Domenichino, Murillo, Rubens, Rembrandt, Potter, and a host of other artists who created beauty; but when right overcame might, these pictures were returned to their original owners. The catalogue we bought was a volume of five hundred pages, and was only of statuary; and what could we do but walk, wonder, and admire? To examine would be a task and pleasure for three months. The department of statuary is very large; and here we saw surprising fragments of the Grecian and Roman schools. The paintings by Rubens here are numerous, but by no means as fine as those we saw at Antwerp and in the museums of Holland. All the great masters are here, and their works are finely arranged. We saw some of Claude Lorraine's that were beautiful; and some pictures that I missed, since I was here in 1836, have been transferred, I learn, by Louis Philippe, to Versailles and other palaces. The gallery has been thoroughly painted and beautified; and I never saw a place more radiant with gilding and frescoes. The ceilings are very gorgeous.

We selected a fine day for an excursion to Versailles; and, that we might have our pleasure consulted as to sight-seeing, we preferred a private carriage to the railroad. Versailles is about twelve miles from Paris, and has some twenty-five or thirty thousand inhabitants. Henry IV. used to resort here for hunting. Louis XIII. had a lodge here for his comfort when following the chase. Louis XIV. turned the lodge into a palace, and began operations in 1664. In 1681, he removed with his court to this place. The Chapel was begun in 1699, and finished in 1710. The Theatre was inaugurated at the marriage of Louis XVI., in 1770. A new wing was built by Louis XVIII. Louis Philippe made great additions, and devoted the palace to the noble purpose of a national depot of all that is glorious in the history of France. What Louis Philippe did here you may imagine, when I tell you that on the restoration and improvement of Versailles he expended fifteen millions of francs. Why, Charley, the stables are like mansions, and fine ones, too. The grand court is three hundred and eighty feet wide, and the Place d'Armes, which leads to it, is eight hundred feet wide. The iron railings which divide these are very richly gilt. On either side the court are ranges of buildings intended for the ministers of the king; and here are sixteen colossal marble statues, which I well remember, at the Pont de la Concorde, in Paris. They are great names of old and modern renown. In the centre of the court is a colossal equestrian statue of Louis XIV. Now comes another court devoted to royalty; and north and south are wings and pavilions, one built by Louis XV., and the other by Louis Philippe. Next we see the Cour de Marbre, around which is the old palace of Louis XIII., crowned with balustrades, vases, trophies, and statues. South of the Cour Royale is a small court called Cour des Princes, and divides the wing built by Louis XVIII. from the main body of the southern wing. The Grand Commun is a vast square edifice, enclosing a court. It has one thousand rooms; and when Louis XIV. lived here, three thousand people lodged: in this building. The chapel is exceedingly beautiful. It is in Corinthian style, and is one hundred and forty-eight feet by seventy-five, and ninety feet high. The front of the palace is magnificent in the highest degree. "It presents a large projecting mass of building, with two immense wings, and consists of a ground floor, first floor of the Ionic style, and attic. The wings exceed five hundred feet in length. The central front is three hundred and twenty feet long, and each of its retiring sides two hundred and sixty feet. The number of windows and doors of this front are three hundred and seventy-five." To describe the paintings and statuary would require a volume. Let me say that here on the walls is all the history of France that conduces to her glory. Every battle by land or sea, that she ever won, is here; but not an allusion to her defeats. I looked hard for Agincourt and Cressy; to say nothing of later conflicts, but they were not to be seen. Some of these pictures have great merit, while others are coarsely designed and executed. The historical series begins with the Baptism of Clovis, in 495, and comes down to the present period, with the illustration of about eleven hundred subjects. Then there are about one hundred views of royal palaces, and series as follows: Portraits of the kings of France, of French admirals, of constables of France, and of marshals of France, to the number of some two hundred and fifty; of French warriors, of personages who became celebrated in different ways, which amount to nearly eighteen hundred; and here we found several Americans. We noticed the likeness of Mr. Webster, by Healy; but the canvas is too small, and the picture has faded. It is not equal to the noble painting by Harding, which we saw just before we left home. These last portraits afforded us a great treat; and here we saw fine likenesses of the great ones of the earth. All the old pictures have dates of death, and many of birth. The sculpture gallery is very rich. There are more than six hundred figures, some of them exceedingly expressive and beautiful. I should think that more than two hundred and fifty of the historical paintings relate to events and persons connected with the power of Napoleon.

A very conspicuous feature is the series illustrating the conquest of Algiers. These are four in number, and are immense as to size—I should think thirty or forty feet in length. They are by Horace Vernet, and are very effective. The apartments of the palace are perfectly regal. They quite come up to one's preconceived ideas of the days of Louis le Grand. I looked with interest at the door through which Marie Antoinette made her escape, and whence she was dragged by the mob. The chamber of Louis XIV. is just as it was in his time. Here the grand monarch died upon that bed. There is the balustrade which fenced off the bed of majesty. The ceiling of this room has the noblest painting in France. It is Jove launching his bolts against the Titans, and was done by Paul Veronese. Napoleon brought it from Venice. There seemed no end to the apartments. We saw those of Madame Maintenon, the royal confessional, and the dining-room of Louis XIV., which was the cabinet of Louis XVI. In this room Louis XIV. entertained Moliere when he had been ill treated or neglected by his ministers and courtiers. "I am told that the officers of my household do not find that you were made to eat with them. Sit down at this table, and let them serve us up breakfast." This was his language to the great poet, when he had called him to his presence. The king then helped him to a fowl's wing, and treated him in the most gracious manner. He knew the worth of genius. The king could make a marshal, but he could not make a poet. All the innumerable rooms have beautiful paintings and works of art. One room, called the Saloon of the Crusades, was delightfully interesting; and the great pictures of that apartment did much to impress the events of the holy wars upon our minds.

George was in ecstasies with the souvenirs of his idol the emperor; and as we shall leave him for five or six months in Paris, I expect that, in addition to the vast amount of knowledge which he really possesses of the history of Napoleon, he will return home posted up with all the on dits of the worshippers of the emperor.

The Theatre is very fine. It is quite large, and would be admired in any capital. It was built by Louis XV., at the instance of Madame Pompadour. It was Used by Louis Philippe, and we saw his seat.

The gardens are world renowned; so we must admire them. They did not quite come up to my notions. The fountains, statuary, ponds, orange-trees, are all very grand; but I cannot say that I was as pleased as the boys were. Perhaps I was weary; I know I was anxious. I had an old and valued friend living in Versailles, and was unable to ascertain her residence.

We went to the Grand and Petit Trianon. The great Trianon is a palace with one story, and having two wings. The little Trianon has two stories. Here royalty has loved to loiter when tired of the splendors of the stupendous palace close by. Here are some exquisite paintings, brought by Louis Philippe from the Louvre.

We repaired to a good cafe close by the palace, had a satisfactory dinner with Mr. Hodgson and his family, and then took our carriage for Paris.

Our route to Versailles was through Passy, where our Dr. Franklin lived in 1788, at No. 40 Rue Bass. Beranger resides in this village. It seems a favorite resort for genius; for here have resided the Chancellor D'Aguesseau, Boileau, Moliere, and Condorcet.

We passed through Sevres, where the beautiful china is manufactured, and drove through the Park of St. Cloud, the palace being in sight.

On our return, we drove leisurely through the Bois de Boulogne. These woods afford a fine opportunity to the Parisians for exercise, either on horseback or in carriages, and it is to Paris what Hyde Park is to London and the avenues are to New York, and much pleasanter than either. Here have been fought most of the duels which, in other days, have been so numerous in Paris, but which, I am glad to say, are getting into disrepute. The boys will write you before we leave Paris.

Yours always,


Letter 49.



Our stay here at our present visit will be several days longer than we expected. We have to get clothing and various articles which can be obtained here to more advantage than in England or at home. We have been to some large jewelry establishments and made selections of presents for our absent but remembered friends. One morning we spent very pleasantly at a celebrated depot of glass manufactures. The display was very large, and also brilliant, and we made some pretty selections. The taste of the French is very great, and a large part of this population must live by furnishing the rest of the world with mere matters of bijouterie.

We have had the pleasure to meet several of the doctor's acquaintances from America; and among others whom we have often met have been Rev. Dr. Alexander, Rev. Dr. Ritchie, Hon. H.J. Raymond, Mr. G.P. Putnam, Mr. Bunting, Mr. Herring, Mr. Howard, &c. I have been much gratified in getting acquainted with Mr. Raymond, whom I have met several times. He is quite a young-looking man for one who holds his important position of speaker of the New York House of Assembly. I should not think him to be more than twenty-six or twenty-seven, though perhaps he is thirty. Mr. Putnam is the author of my favorite book, "The World's Progress,"—the book of dates,—and one which I recommend you, Charley, always to keep on your table, within reach, for reference.

If I live to return home, I have much to do that never before appeared to me of so great importance. I want to become thoroughly conversant with English and French history; for, in a certain sense, these countries embody the history of the world. Not to know what happened before we were born, is always to be children; and if my journey has done me no other good, it has very clearly shown me how little I know, and how very much I ought to understand, and must, if I would take my place among intelligent, well-educated men. I am sure, too, that I have acquired on this journey a desire to make improvement. Every where I find the records of intellect and genius, and I cannot, for very shame, be willing to go through life and enjoy the means of improvement, without deriving profit. We have met with very kind attentions from Mr. Hector Bossange, the great bookseller, who invited us to dinner. He is a gentleman of great activity, and seems always engaged; and yet I have noticed that such persons seem to have time for every one and every thing. I have noticed this at home, as well as abroad. Some of these men who have so much to do, and so many persons to see and be polite to, must work very hard at times, or else they understand the way to get through business in a patent method. These busy men seem to have read every thing; and even in new books they keep up with the times. They must do it, I guess, by remembering our old copy, that "spare minutes are the golden sands of life."

George is going to stay here for four or five months, and the doctor is busy in finding him a suitable home and getting him an outfit.

You would perhaps like to hear a little about the Hospital des Invalides, where the old soldiers of France bring up when past labor. It is a vast building, and covers sixteen acres, which, however, enclose fifteen various courts. It is governed and managed by the senior marshal of France, a lieutenant general, commandant of the hotel, a colonel major, three adjutant majors, three sub-adjutant majors, one almoner, two chaplains, one apothecary and ten assistants, twenty-six sisters of charity, and two hundred and sixty servants. There are about one hundred and seventy officers, and about three thousand fire hundred invalids in all. This is a truly magnificent building, both architecturally considered and in its interior arrangements. The council chamber is very fine, and here are some admirable portraits and the best statue of Napoleon that is extant. The dome is very grand, but is at present invisible, on account of the alterations going on to complete the tomb of Napoleon. This will be the grandest tomb, probably, in the world. The sarcophagus is to rest on a platform, to which the access is by steps of green marble.

Here is a good library and some MSS. of the two prime ministers, Sully and Colbert; a good picture of Napoleon and Louis Philippe; the cannon ball which killed Marshal Turenne, and his equestrian statue in gold and silver.

My favorite stroll here is in the Garden of the Tuileries. I am never weary of this place. Here are the finest flowers, the best walks, the gayest company, the prettiest children, and the densest shade, if you please to go into it, in Paris. Then, too, there are groups of statuary, and fountains with lofty jet, and proud swans in the reservoirs. I would like to have you walking in that thick forest growth; there is no underbrush; I can see from one side to the other. After a long walk, you come to the noble portals, guarded by lions couchant, and just beyond is the spot where Louis XVI. was guillotined. I do not believe there is a nobler view in Europe than now opens to the spectator. There before me is the Obelisk of Luxor, which was brought from Egypt, and now stands in the Place de la Concorde, its history, its removal, its present position, all serve to delight me. In itself it is a noble object, and my eye ever rests on it with pleasure.

Just think, Charley, that you are at my side: turn round, and look at the gardens we have left. There, see the long, low Tuileries, the palace of the Bourbons, the home of Napoleon, the residence of the citizen king, and now the Palace National. Off to the right is the Seine and its long line of quays; here is the bridge; and just across it is the Chamber of the Assembly, with twelve Corinthian columns, I like this building exceedingly. To our left is a long, stately range, known as the Rue Rivoli, in which we reside; it has an arched arcade in front; for foot passengers, and some hundreds of columns to support and adorn it. At this end of it are public offices. Now turn and look at our left; and see, a street cuts through this noble row, and at its end you see the pride of the city, the Madeleine. There it is, all white, and its stately columns tell of Greece. Now, if you turn your back upon the Tuileries, you will gaze upon the open space of the Champs Elysees, and look down along through that splendid avenue, and there see the finest thing in France—Bonaparte's triumphal arch. One word about this arch. It is the work of the emperor, who ordered its erection in 1806, when the foundation was laid. In 1814 it was suspended, but in 1823 it was resumed in honor of the Duke d'Angouleme's victories in Spain. In 1830 its original intention was adopted, and in 1836 it was completed, and its cost was nearly eleven millions of francs. It is a vast arch, ninety feet high and forty-five feet wide, with entablature and attic. Its total height is one hundred and fifty-two feet, breadth one hundred and thirty-seven feet, depth sixty-eight feet. On the fronts are colossal groups, in which the figures are eighteen feet. All these are historical, and tell of the great man in his fields of glory. You ascend this wonderful work of art by two hundred and sixty steps, and get the best view of Paris. Close by is the Hippodrome, of which some of us have told you, I suppose, during our last visit.

At less than a mile from this place is the Chapel of St. Ferdinand, built on the spot where the Duke of Orleans died, by a fall from his carriage, in 1842. It is a small building of stone, fifty feet long, and is of Gothic style. Here are many interesting objects—the marble group descriptive of the dying prince, and at his head an angel in supplication; this angel was the sculpture of his sister, the Princess Marie. The painted windows are exquisite representations of the patron saints of the royal family. Behind the altar is the room in which the duke died, now used as the sacristy of the chapel. Here, too, is a picture of the death bed. I am glad that I saw this, as the rest of the party were not able to be there.

The great National Library is in the Rue Vivienne. The building is a dark-looking affair, five hundred and forty feet long and one hundred and thirty feet wide. Inside is a court three hundred feet by ninety, and that is flanked with buildings. The library is in five sections: first, manuscripts; second, printed books; third, engravings; fourth; medals, &c.; fifth, marbles. Perhaps the best collection of early printing that Europe can show is in this place. You will be surprised when I tell you that there are here one million five hundred thousand works. I cannot attempt to tell you the curiosities that are to be seen here—gems, cameos, antiques, swords, armors, models, portraits, busts; and then, as for autographs, why, a collector could not fail to break the tenth commandment when he looked at the letters of this collection in glass cases. The engravings alone are a study for months.

I have to see my tailor, Mr. Woodman, who is a capital one; and then I must go to Forr, the boot-maker, of whom let me tell you a story. The doctor went to be measured, when we first arrived, and the man told him it was not necessary, as he had his measure. "How so?" he inquired. "Why, sir," replied the man, "I remember you fifteen years ago, at the Hotel Windsor;" and taking down his book, showed him his name, number of his room, &c. This I think a pretty considerable proof of memory, and equal to what we are told of some of our American landlords, who are said never to forget a face.

These engagements discharged, and I am ready to pack up. We all feel sad at leaving George, who has been a kind and amiable companion; but we hope soon to see him again.

Let me tell you that we are to have a new teacher. Dr. C. has engaged M. Oudin, a graduate of the University of Paris, to return with us. This gentleman is married; and we are all pleased with him and expect, of course, to profit under his instructions.

M. Oudin has taken us to see a very curious manufactory of fruits, fishes, &c. They certainly are lifelike. Then, too, there is a branch of this establishment devoted to the preparation of medical representations of disease, and the skill exhibited is very great. Our next letter will, I fancy, be from Old England. I feel sad at leaving France, for I do like her capital; and then I cannot help a fear that she has dark days not very far off. She talks of liberty at all her corners, but she seems to have none in her conduct of the daily press. There are too many soldiers here to please an American. At home we have all the blessings of government, and do not see the machinery. We have no soldiers to keep us moving along. I shall always think with pleasure of our month in this city; and if I ever come again, I have work chalked out for three months, at least.

Yours affectionately,


Letter 50.



We had a pleasant time from Paris to Calais; and here we determined to pass a day, and look at a city which has been so celebrated both in the history of France and England. We put up at Quillac's. The population is about thirteen thousand. The town is strongly fortified, and has very few external attractions. The gate built by Richelieu in 1685, and delineated by Hogarth, still stands. You know that England held this town from 1347 to 1558; and, as a result, you can find several specimens of English Tudor architecture, especially the Hotel de Guise. The walks upon the fortifications are fine, and afford commanding views of the cliffs of the south coast of England. The place generally has some three or four thousand English, many of whom are refugees on account of debt. At eleven at night we went on board a French steamer for Dover; and the instant that she got outside the pier, she jumped like a mad thing. O, Charley, that was a horrid night! We were all sick, very sick indeed. It took us about three hours to get over, and we were thankful to land and take refuge for three or four hours in the quiet of our bedrooms. At eight we took the cars for London, and were at the Golden Cross, quietly settled down in our old quarters, by twelve o'clock. I ought to tell you that we hurried over in order to be here at the great entertainment which Mr. George Peabody gives to his excellency Abbott Lawrence and his lady, on the evening of the 4th of July. We were invited, and felt anxious to be there; as, in addition to the other notable characters, "the duke" was to be present. All that day the subject of the evening was the great topic with Americans; and as more than nine hundred acceptances were received to invitations issued, it was expected that the party would be interesting, and that many, who failed to obtain tickets, would be disappointed. The entertainment was given at Almack's, Willis's Room, St. James's, and upon a scale of great magnificence. It consisted of a concert at half past nine, a ball at eleven, and supper at one. The idea of celebrating our national independence in London, under the peculiar circumstances which London presents at this moment, was a happy one; and though some wise men doubted the wisdom of the measure, yet the result proved the prudence and practical good sense of its originator; and perhaps few men possess more of this admirable quality than Mr. Peabody. The rooms at Almack's are very spacious, so that there was ample space for the one thousand who proved to be present. At one end of the room were seen the portraits of the queen and Washington, surrounded by the flags of England and the United States; and around were placed busts of her majesty, Washington, Prince Albert, Franklin, Webster, and other celebrated men of both countries. Each lady was presented, on her entrance, with a fine bouquet. At half past nine the seats for the concert were entirely filled. The programme de concert was as follows:—



GLEE, Messrs. Lee, Geuge, Hill, Smith, and Howe.

DUO, "Al perigli." {Signor Gardoni, } {Signor F. Lablache,} Donizetti.

SOLO, Violin. Signor Sivori, Sivori.

MELODIE, "Jusqu'a toi." Signor Gardoni Schubert.

ARIA, "Non piu audrai." Signor Lablache, Mozart.

ROMANCE, "Ah, mon fils." Miss C. Hayes, Meyerbeer.

DUO, "Ah t inebria nell' {Ma'mselle Cruvelli,} amplesso." {Signor Gardoni, } Verdi.


TRIO, "Qual volutta." {Miss Hayes, } {Signor Gardoni, } {Signor Lablache,} Verdi.

ARIA, "Nel dolce incanto." Mademoiselle Cruveli De Beriot.

SOLO, Violin. Signor Sivori, Sivori.

SERENADE, "Qual Suon." {Miss C. Hayes, } {Signor Gardoni,} Alary.

DUO, "Un Segreta." {Signor Lablache,} {F. Lablache,} Rossini.

TRIO, "Zitti, Zitti." {Miss C. Hayes, } {Signor Gardoni, } {Signor Lablache,} Rossini.

PIANO FORTE, Signor Alary.

The glees and madrigals were by the first-named artists; and the pieces were, "Spring's Delight," "Come, let us join the Roundelay," "Foresters sound the cheerful Horn," and "The Winds whistle cold."

The band for the ball was Coote & Tinney's. The concert was very fine. I was most pleased with Miss Hayes,—and next with Lablache, whose voice is the finest I ever heard. The duke came just at the close of the concert, as the seats were being removed for the dancing. Mr. Peabody met him in the reception-room, and led him to the upper end of the ball-room, where he was cordially greeted by Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence. The band struck up, "See, the conquering hero comes," and I really felt that such a reception to such a man, and under such circumstances, was something for an American boy to see; and, if I live thirty or forty years, it will be something to tell about. There were but few comparatively who danced. The company were in groups, in the different rooms, taking refreshments. At one, supper was announced on the ground floor of the house; and here the press was felt to be greater than up stairs. The tables were most gorgeously laid out with every delicacy that unlimited outlay of expense could secure. Perhaps you would like to know some of the company who were present, belonging to England, and who certainly were present for the first time to celebrate the anniversary of American independence. There were the Duke of Wellington, Marquises of Ely and Clanricarde, Lord Glenelg, Lord Charles Manners, Lord Charles Russell, Lord Mayor of London and Lady Mayoress, Viscount Canning, Lord and Lady Dormer, Lord Hill, Lord Stuart, Baron and Lady Alderson, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Lady Mary Wood; Mr. Justice and Lady Coleridge, the Governor of the Bank of England, Joseph Hume, M.P., and family, Lady Morgan, Miss Burdett Coutts, Admiral Watkins, the Countess of Eglinton, Countess Powlett, Lady Talbot Mala hide, and a very long et cetera. Mr. Peabody could not have served his country better than by affording an opportunity for the great and distinguished of England to meet a large party of his countrymen on an occasion dear to Americans, and especially dear when they are far away from their country, and feel that, under the broad flag of the stars and stripes they are every where as safe as if they were in New York or Boston. It was very clear that hostile feeling had ceased, and that the great Anglo-Saxon family can now meet any where and display the brotherhood which they ought ever to feel. Such a meeting could not have taken place twenty years ago; and perhaps this beautiful demonstration would never have been afforded, if the thought had not presented itself to our host, who had the means to carry out the idea with a nobleness that did honor to himself and his country. We left the rooms on a bright, starlight morning, just as day was opening her eye, and were soon comfortably housed at our pleasant home. I write in haste, for we have much to do before we leave London.

Yours affectionately,


Letter 51.



We have had one of the most agreeable days that I have spent in England. We received a kind invitation from his excellency Baron Vanderweyer, the Belgian minister, to attend a party given by his lady to the young nobility. The invitations were for five o'clock. We found the finest collection of children and young people, from about four years old up to sixteen, that I ever saw gathered together. I should think there were two hundred and fifty. More beautiful children cannot probably be found; and they were dressed in fine taste, and some very richly. One little fellow, about six years old, was, I think, the noblest-looking boy my eyes ever rested upon. Dr. C. inquired of two or three persons whom he knew, who the lad was; and just then an elegant and fashionable-looking lady expressed how much she felt flattered by the kind things said of the little fellow, and told him that it was her son, the eldest son of the Marquis of O——d, and then called him out of the dance, and introduced the little Lord Ossory to him. Among the illustrious juveniles was the future Duke of Wellington, and grandson of the Iron Duke. He is now about four or five years old. I think the sight was one of the prettiest I ever had the pleasure to witness. A few of the parents and older friends of the children were present; and in the company was Mr. Bates, whose kindness to us has been very great.

One evening this week Dr. Choules preached at Craven Chapel, near Regent Street, where he had been requested to speak about America, and he took up Education—the voluntary principle—and Slavery. On the last topic he gave some truths that were probably very unpalatable. He stated that the good people here knew next to nothing of the subject; that its treatment amongst us could not be suffered by strangers; and that all interference with it by this nation was as impolitic, and in as bad taste, as it would be for an American to visit England and commence a crusade against the expenditures of the royal household, as a crying sin, while there was misery among the masses in many parts of the kingdom. He spoke of the extreme prejudice which he had met upon the subject, and the rudeness's into which he had found men fall, who seemed to have forgotten every courtesy of life. He gave them many facts, which, though perfectly correct, yet he said he supposed would be interpreted as a special plea on behalf of slavery—although nothing could be more untrue. The prejudice existing here is amusing. They seem to take it for granted that every American raises cotton, sugar, and tobacco, and, therefore, is a slaveholder. However, I find most persons of candor ready to acknowledge that it is questionable whether any good can possibly result from sending English agents to agitate the slavery question in the United States.

There are a great many things which we have seen in London that are less worthy of note than those we have written you about, and yet in themselves are very useful and interesting; and we hope the remembrance of them will be of service to us hereafter. I have been much struck with the prevalence of the same names in the streets as those which are so familiar to me on our signs and boards. We have most clearly a common origin, and there are no two nations in the world between whom there is of necessity so much sympathy on all great questions.

We have visited the exhibition several times since our return, with fresh pleasure on every occasion. In point of show and splendor, we are doing little in competition with the English, French and Belgian exhibitors; but we have a wonderful deal here that proves Jonathan to be a smart chap at invention, and no slouch at labor-saving operations. We cannot afford to spend the labor of freemen, who own their houses and farms and gardens, upon single pieces of furniture that would take six months to complete. Our time is too valuable for this. The pauper labor of Europe will, I hope, long continue to be cheaper, than the toil of American mechanics. I do not want to see a man working for thirty cents a day. The people of England must laugh in their sleeves when they see every steamer bringing out our specie from America, and when they see us sacrificing our true interests to aid the destructive policy of free trade. I have never thought so much about the tariff as since I have been here, and I am now convinced that we ought to give suitable encouragement to all kinds of manufactures in our country, and so afford a regular market for the products of the agriculturist. The English agents that flood our country are placing the land under a constant drain; and our specie must go abroad, instead of circulating at home. It is only in times of great scarcity that England will want much of our wheat or corn; and the English very freely avow that they hope to be able, ere long, to get their cotton from the East. It seems to me that our Southern States will need their New England constant market, and that our true policy is to take care of ourselves. Certainly there is a great variety of opinion here about free trade, and I hear gentlemen debate strongly against it. The reciprocity of England is a queer thing. All this yarn, Charley, grows naturally out of my starting-point about the exhibition.

We go to-night to Bristol, to visit our kind friends once more; thence we run into South Wales, and afterwards set our faces homeward.

Yours, &c.,


Letter 52.



We have been here with the doctor's friends for several days, and had a most delightful time. Nothing can be more kind than their attentions to us; and the young men—I wish you knew them—have been constantly doing every thing in their power to make our visit here agreeable.

We were glad to find Mr. W—— recovering from his accident; and as the family were at Western Super Mare, a watering-place about seven miles off, for his health, we went and passed a couple of days with them. This place is on the banks of the Bristol Channel; the air is thought to be the finest on the western coast of England, and is, we thought, very much like our Newport air. When the tide is in the scenery is pretty, and the Welsh hills; at sunset are beautiful. Off in the Bristol Channel are two islands, called the Flat and Steep Holmes.

The houses here are neat, and the best are lodging-houses. Some of the rows are very pretty, and are sufficiently cosy to accommodate small families.

The true way to enjoy the seaside is to have your own snug quarters. Here the people are wise enough to build close to the sea, and rows of houses are found all round the bay.

We had a charming ride to a lofty hill, about two miles off, and the prospect was very fine.

Here, as on the continent, we found large numbers of donkeys, with drivers, and ladies use them in their little excursions; and many of them are attached to Bath chairs, a small gig, and a very comfortable conveyance, too, as we proved. The vehicle is made for one person.

I cannot say much for the bathing, which is greatly admired here, but was far too muddy for our taste, after an acquaintance with the noble beach at home.

The museum of the Baptist College in Bristol is very fine, and the library is large and one of great value. The collection of Bibles is the best in the kingdom, and here is the only copy of Tindal's New Testament. The miniature of Oliver Cromwell, by Cooper, is valuable, and has been often engraved.

We have several times attended worship at a very beautiful Gothic chapel at Bristol, called Highbury Chapel. It is a perfect gem, built in the Gothic style of the fifteenth century. The edifice is of stone, the roof and wood-work of oak, the pulpit freestone, and over it is a fine painted window. It is one of the prettiest churches we have seen in England; and what gives great interest to the building is the fact that it stands upon the spot where five martyrs were burnt, in the days of Popery, when Queen Mary was on the throne. This burning of Protestants only happens when Catholics have power; they do not advocate the measure in America, although their boast is that their system knows no change. Inquisitions and martyrs' fires are the adult growth of Popery. If I wanted to know how liberal institutions worked, I would look at them where they were established and flourished without hinderance; and if I wanted to know what Popery is, I would go and look at it in its proper territories—Spain, Italy, and Austria. There Popery is intolerant. In France the wings of Romanism are clipped; and if the patronage of the state were withdrawn, as very likely it may before long, the crumbling edifice would fall.

The Rev. Mr. Thomas, the pastor of Highbury Chapel, is a man of superior intellect, and we heard a very fine sermon from him.

I never was in a place where there are so many local charities as I find at Bristol. Every ailment of man seems here to be provided with its needed cure; and as for orphan asylums and refuges for the aged, blind, strangers, &c., they are every where to be found. The Infirmary is a noble institution, and always has two hundred patients in the wards; two thousand were received last year, and eight thousand out-door cases received treatment. A refuge for the houseless poor, opened in winter at eight o'clock, and supported by subscription, has been very useful. I think there are at least thirty different almshouses for the aged and indigent of both sexes; and some of these places are as neat as any thing can be, as to their accommodation.

We like Bristol—its fine old houses, its streets, that tell so plainly of other days, its beautiful environs, and its generous citizens. I wish you could see the prospect from the drawing-room window at a house where we have often visited, and always with pleasure. The house stands on a very high hill; the drawing-room has a large bay window, and outside a balcony. You look down into a charming garden, with fine trees and fountains,—the ground being on a great declivity, I should think a slope of fifty degrees,—and then from the balcony you have the entire city laid out before you, down, down in the valley; while before you, and on either hand, stretch away the hills which adorn this noble city. The towers and steeples of the glorious old churches make the prospect, of a fine, clear summer evening, one never to be forgotten. Go where I may, that room, and the kind faces of those who meet in it will often rise in memory.

I have never had my feelings so enlisted by strangers as at Bristol; and we all feel quite at home here.

We are to go off to-morrow on an excursion to Monmouthshire, and see Chepstow, Tintern Abbey, and Ragland Castle, and expect that this last of our wanderings will be very gratifying.

I have not told you how much we have enjoyed the fruit in England and on the continent. Cherries and strawberries have been daily on our tables, and of the best kinds. I do not think we ever enjoyed a fruit season so much as this summer. In this humid climate the strawberry grows to an immense size; and the gooseberry, which is here in high favor, is a far finer fruit than with us.

Yours affectionately,


Letter 53.



Let me tell you of a charming trip which we have had this week to Chepstow Castle and its neighborhood. We have told you all about the beautiful scenery of Clifton, and the Hot Wells at this place, and the fine old rooks. Well, now we took passage in a little steamer, and went down the Avon between these lofty rocks, and had a new and enlarged view of this wondrous formation. The boat was well filled with tourists, as this is a fashionable trip. The Avon for four miles is quite Rhenish in its aspect; and one or two old castled towers on its crags afford a sort of reminiscence of what we lately saw on the river of rivers.

We soon got out of the Avon into King Road, and there met the tide setting strongly from the Severn—a large river, which divides Monmouthshire from Gloucestershire. We then stretched across the estuary, and were in the Wye—one of the most romantic rivers in the country, the scenery of which will occupy much of this letter.

After going up the river a little way, we saw a town upon the left bank and a noble castle. This is Chepstow. It is finely ensconced in a hollow. The town is irregular, and depends for its prosperity on its commerce. The castle is really a noble ruin and crowns a high bluff which rises from the river. I do not know how any one can ask for a lovelier landscape than is opened to the view off the bridge which spans the river.

The castle was built by a relation of William the Conqueror. Its style is Norman, with more modern additions. The tide rises here to an elevation of from fifty to sixty feet. This is owing to rooks which stretch into the Severn near the mouth of the Wye, and, by hindering the tide, turn it into this small river.

On landing, we engaged a carriage and pair of horses for the excursion, and were soon off. We stopped for lunch at St. Arvan's, a village one mile off, and a beautiful place it is—a perfect gem of a country street. But the glorious scenery of the region calls off attention from the modest hamlet. How I should like, as in my boyish days, to make head-quarters here for a week, and then strike out for daily explorations.

We passed by the fine mansion at Piercefield, and devoted our time to the glorious points of natural scenery on the banks of this most charming stream—for Americans can hardly call it a river. We walked now about two miles through an oak wood, in which is a sprinkling of ash and elm, till we came to the very edge of a cliff called the "Lover's Leap." It overhangs an awful abyss, the depth of which is softened down by the woods which cover the neighboring rooks. A little off from this we came to the famous Wynd Cliff. Its summit is fringed with wood, and covers its declivities down to the river. To describe the scenery, my dear boy, from this spot, is quite beyond my ability. I wish that Sir Walter Scott had attempted it, and made this region the scene of one of his beautiful creations. From this spot you see all the course of the Wye, with its numerous sinuosities—in one place cutting out a few acres into a horse-shoe peninsula. As the eye follows down the river, you gaze on perpendicular, rocky cliffs, and can hardly persuade yourself that you do not look at the immense fortifications of a town. But that peaceful little peninsula at my feet; it is called Llanicut. Such a farm! such elms! all forming a landscape unrivalled. But look beyond the Wye, and, just away there, is the noble Severn. Ay, that is a river. There it rolls and foams down through the rich county of Gloucestershire, and empties into the Bristol Channel. Then away, beyond to the right are the bold, swelling hills of Somersetshire. I cannot but wish that Claude had seen the Wye and Severn; the noblest of his pictures would have been illustrative of this region.

When we had sufficiently delighted ourselves with the far-spread scene, we descended by a winding path through the woods and down the almost perpendicular rock. The road was a very zigzag. We came down three hundred and sixty steps, and, passing a rustic bridge, entered a moss cottage, the small windows of painted glass, the table the base of a mighty oak, sawn off and polished. The walls are lined with moss. Here we got refreshments, and talked of those who had been here with us on former visits—some in America, others farther off; and yet perhaps not; for we know not how, or where, some of our best friends exist; but we know and feel that they do greatly live.

In approaching Tintern, we passed the iron works, which at night throw a solemn glow over the entire village. The cottages around are very humble residences. The inn is a small but cosy affair, and is not destitute of much real comfort. There is the abbey at the water side, and opposite the rocky hill bank and hanging wood. The access to the abbey is poor, but this is quite forgotten as you enter this glorious sanctuary of other days. There are few ancient edifices in Great Britain, now in ruins, which attract so much attention from the curious traveller as Tintern Abbey, on the Wye.

The beauty of the river is proverbial, yet has never been adequately described; but the best idea of its diversified charms may be gathered from "Gilpin's Picturesque Scenery and Observations upon the Wye."

Tintern was a Cistercian abbey, and was founded in 1131, by Walter de Clare, and dedicated to St. Mary on its completion in 1287. The dress of the Cistercians was a white cassock, with a narrow scapulary, and over that a black gown, when they went abroad, but a white one when they went to church. They were called white monks, from the color of their habit.

The dimensions of this church are as follows: length, two hundred and twenty-eight feet, and the transept one hundred and fifty feet long; breadth of the aisles, each eighteen feet. There are in the sides ten arches; between each column fifteen feet, which is the span of the arches.

The interior of this monastery presents the best specimen of Gothic architecture in England. The east window is a most magnificent affair, sixty-four feet high, and calls forth universal admiration. The very insignificant doorway was, no question, intended by the architect to form a strong contrast with the elevation of the roof. The abbey is cruciform; its ruins are perfect as to the grand outline; and I am sure we should like to pass the entire day within this venerable fane. The walls of the tower are seventy-two feet high, and covered with ivy, moss, and lichens, but show no indications of decay.

Very few Americans visit this region; but I think that they can see nothing in England at all comparable to this ruin.

Among the relics that are to be seen here is the effigy of a knight in chain mail, the remains of a virgin and child, and the head of a shaven friar. Here, too, are several monkish tombstones.

We were obliged to resume our places in the carriage, and ride some twelve miles, in order to visit the finest baronial ruins in the kingdom. We reached the quiet little village of Ragland, and, putting up our horses, gave orders for dinner, and then repaired to the castle, which we found near by, crowning a slight eminence with its stately towers. We approached through a grove of truly venerable oaks and elms, and all at once we were at the warder's gate; and entering into the terrace, formerly the eastern court, a most splendid vision burst upon our sight. Here are three pentagonal towers, with machicolated battlements, and showing all the marks of war. This is the most perfect part of the ruin, and seems likely to stand for ages. The ivy clusters over the towers most gracefully. Off to the left, insulated by a moat, stands the remains of a tower, once the citadel. We advance through the Gothic portal into the second court, and here are shafts and arches, and grooves through which the portcullis used to present itself to the besiegers. Next is the paved court, where once were the men at arms with iron tread; now a velvet lawn is seen, and many a vigorous tree is spreading its roots. Here we get a fine view of the majestic window of the hall of state. Through an arch is the way to the kitchen. The fireplace has a span of thirteen feet, and is made of two stones. Then we come to the baron's hall, of noble dimensions. On the walls are the stone sculptured arms of the Marquis of Worcester. The chapel was a narrow room; and, nearly concealed by ivy, are two effigies. The south-west tower contained the apartments occupied by Charles I. after the battle of Naseby, in 1645. The grand terrace is in tolerable order, and you proceed to it by a bridge. We ascended the towers and gazed on majesty in ruins. We saw nothing on the continent finer than Ragland Castle. The prospect from the great tower is the finest that can be imagined, and I almost fear to tell you its extent.

You may imagine that we felt unusually interested at this place, from the fact that here the Marquis of Worcester invented the steam engine.

The castle was devastated by the parliamentary troops under Fairfax, having surrendered in 1646. The defence was gallant, but unavailing.

The warder of the castle is a very gentlemanly man. He took us into his apartments in one of the towers, and we found that he was a very respectable amateur in painting. Some of his oil paintings were very creditable. An infant girl, of great beauty, his daughter, answered to the name of Blanche Castle May, and was the first-born child under that roof since its desolation.

Here, as well as at Tintern Abbey, I obtained ivy roots for Mr. Hall, and hope to see them flourishing on the walls of his beautiful stone house in Rhode Island.

We retired slowly from this romantic ruin, and at the hotel found an excellent dinner. One dish was fit for a king—sewen, young salmon, or a species of salmon, for there is much dispute among naturalists as to the identity of these fish. Any how, they are fine beyond any fish. They were about two and a quarter pounds each, and are so delicate that they do not well bear transportation.

We returned to Chepstow that evening, having a fine ride through a new piece of scenery, and were quite ready for a sound night's rest. In the morning we looked at the castle in Chepstow, which is remarkably fine, and is of extreme antiquity; some of the arches of the castle chapel indicating clearly a Saxon origin. One of the priestly legends is that this chapel was built by Longinus, a Jew, and father of the soldier who pierced the side of Christ. This was the belief of the ancient population of this charming region.

All around this town Roman coins are frequently turned up; and I obtained from a gentleman a very well-preserved Caesar silver coin, dug up a day or two before.

This castle was for more than twenty years the prison home of Henry Marten, one of the regicides. He is buried in the parish church, and in the north transept is the following acrostical epitaph which he composed for his monument:—

Here, September 9, 1680,

was buried


Who in Berkshire was well known To love his country's freedom 'bove his own; But being immured full twenty year, Had time to write, as doth appear.


Here or elsewhere (all's one to you, to me) Earth, air, or water gripes my ghostly dust None know how soon to be by fire set free; Reader, if you an old-tried rule will trust, you will gladly do and suffer what you must.

My time was spent in serving you, and you, And death's my pay, it seems, and welcome, too; Revenge destroying but itself, while I To birds of prey leave my old cage, and fly; Examples preach t' the eye; care then, (mine says,) Not how you end, but how you spend your days.

Colonel Henry Marten was one of the noble assertors of English liberty who dared to oppose a weak, but cruel and capricious tyrant. If ever a monarch was a tyrant and despot, it was the first Charles. No American citizen who thinks that Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and George Washington were praiseworthy for the resistance which they offered to the aggressions of George III., can for one moment fail to reverence Eliot, Hampden, Marten, Whalley, Ludlow, Pym, and Cromwell for their noble opposition to Charles and his tormentor general, that incarnation of sanctimonious cruelty, Archbishop Laud. It is one of the signs that a "good time is coming" that public opinion in England, as well as in America, is fast setting in favor of Cromwell and his noble coadjutors. They opposed measures rather than men; and what proves that they were right in expelling the Stuarts from power is the fact that when, by infatuation, "the fated race" was restored, and again played over former pranks, the people had to oust the family in 1688, and thus by another national verdict confirm the wisdom and patriotism of the men who had formerly dared to teach a tyrant the rights of freemen. Marten was a noble spirit, but his morals were not as correct as those of his political associates.

The game now played by the advocates of high church and state notions in England and America is to represent the republican party as illiterate and narrow minded. A viler falsehood was never sworn to at the Old Bailey. The leading men of the party who opposed the royal tyrant were scholars, and ripe ones. If any man doubts it, let him read their speeches, peruse their lives, and study their writings. Prynne did not lose his acquirements nor his brains when Charles and Laud cropped his ears, and, loving the sport, came back for a second harvest, and "grubbed out the stumps" remaining from the first operation. Read his folios, quartoes, and octavoes, and from one of these men estimate the others. If you want to know the real character of Cromwell and his party, as to their knowledge and love of good letters, look at the patronage which the government gave to learning. Owen was chancellor of Oxford, Milton and Thurlow were secretaries, and their friends were called into public life. Were these men barbarians and enemies to learning? The men who were educated at Oxford and Cambridge at this period were the ornaments of learning and religion for the next forty years. The day has gone by forever when Cromwell's name can be used as synonymous with fraud, ignorance, and hypocrisy. Kings and prelates may hate him, but a liberty-loving world will enshrine his character in the sanctuary of grateful hearts and faithful memories.

After crossing the Severn at the old Passage, or Aust, where it is two miles wide, we took carriage to Bristol. This parish of Aust gave a church living to the immortal Wickliffe, who received the appointment from Edward III.

The drive to the city was a rich enjoyment. Every acre is in the highest cultivation, and the charming villas of the merchant princes of Bristol make the eleven miles an entire garden scene.

Four miles from the city we came to Henbury, regarded by the citizens as their finest suburban spot. It is indeed beautiful. There are here about a dozen exquisite cottages, built in 1811, by Mr. Harford, who lives in Blaize Castle. The founder's object was purely benevolent—to provide a comfortable asylum for aged females, who had income enough to support them, if only relieved from house rent. The forms of these cottages are all different, but they were the earliest specimens in our times of the adoption of the old Elizabethan style. They are perfect bijoux, and the taste displayed in the shrubberies is very great.

Blaize Castle is a fine building, and surrounded by noble woods. The castle is a circle, flanked With three round towers.

I ought not to omit that we had on this trip the pleasure of being accompanied by a gentleman from Bristol, whose taste and perfect knowledge of the ground afforded us much gratification. I allude, to Mr. Dix, author of "Pen and Ink Sketches," which formerly appeared in the Boston Atlas. Mr. Dix was with us at Windsor Castle, and when he heard from Weld French or George Vanderbilt that Robinson's birthday would occur shortly, he noted it, and sent James the following pretty lines, which reached him May 15th, in Paris. I think you will be pleased with them.


When wandering neath old Windsor's towers We laughed away the sunny hours, You asked me for a simple rhyme; So now accept this birthday chime. No poet I—the "gift divine" Ne'er was, and never will be, mine; But take these couplets, which impart The anxious wishes of my heart, In place of more aspiring lay, To greet you on your natal day.

Boy of that country of the brave, Beyond the Atlantic's western wave, I, dweller in the motherland, A welcome give with heart and hand; And on your birthday breathe a prayer That you may every blessing share; That your world journey may be blest With all that may prepare you best For the approaching eve of age— The end of mortal pilgrimage.

Upon your brow of youthful bloom I would not cast a shade of gloom; Yet did I say that life will ever Flow onward like a placid river, With only sunshine on its breast, That ne'er 'twill be by storms distressed, I should but flatter to deceive, And but a web of falsehood weave. Yet, checkered though life's path may seem, Life's pleasures are not all a dream.

What shall I wish you? I would fain That earthly greatness you may gain; But if that guerdon is not sent, Be with some humble lot content; And let this truth be understood— Few can be great, all may be good. Power, pomp, ambition, envy, pride, Wrecked barks adown life's stream may glide, Ruined by some fierce passion throe, E'er, reckless, o'er Time's brink they go; But if fair virtue grasps the helm, Nor storm nor wave can overwhelm.

That many happy years be yours: Seek truth which every good insures; Press on, though clouds may intervene And for a moment veil the scene. Think of the great ones of your land, And, like them, strive with heart and hand To leave a name, when you depart, Which shall be dear to many a heart. Determine in life's early morn All good to prize, all ill to scorn, And aim to live and die as one Worthy the land of Washington!

Yours affectionately,


Letter 54.



Well, this looks like the back track; and here we are at the Adelphi, ready to take our passage in the noble Atlantic, which is as good as new again, and will sail on the twenty-third. We left Bristol with much regret, for we there have formed acquaintances which we shall often remember with affection and gratitude; and I wish we could meet them in America, and have an opportunity to reciprocate some of the many kindnesses we met with at their hands. We took the railroad for Cheltenham, and passed through some charming country before we reached the old city of Gloucester. On our left were the flint towers of Berkeley Castle, where the second Edward was so savagely murdered by his wife's command.

Cheltenham is about forty miles from the city of Bristol, and we found it all that Dr. C. had described it—a very nice modern town indeed. It is like our Saratoga, but much more beautiful. The population is about thirty thousand, and the strangers who resort there in the season are probably five thousand more. The waters are in high repute, and are regarded as strongly cathartic. The buildings are very fine, and the entire air of the place is unlike any thing we have seen in England. Other places seem old. This is new, and looks fresh and American in that respect, but vastly more elegant and permanent than our towns usually are. We had very kind attentions here from the Rev. Mr. Gilby, the rector of the parish church, and who strongly urged us to stay over the day; but we resumed the cars, got to Birmingham at ten o'clock, and went to our old quarters at the Hen and Chickens. The next day we devoted to the survey of this vast toy shop. Our greatest gratification was at the royal papier mache and japan works of Jennens & Bettridge. To this firm we had introductions, and we went through every department of the establishment. When we came to the show-rooms we were all tempted by the beauty of the finished wares, and made several purchases. Here, too, are other manufactories for pins and pens; but I must pass them by. We called on the Rev. John Angell James, who has lived here so long, and made a world-wide reputation. He looks very hearty and vigorous, and shows no signs of age. He has lived in his house forty-five years. We obtained his autograph. We also called on Rev. Mr. Swan, an old friend of the doctor in early days, and had a pleasant chat. Mr. Swan was once a professor in the college at Serampore, in India. He is full of life and animation; and it seems to me that people here are more vivacious and sprightly than with us—old folks and middle-aged ones certainly are. We took dinner with Mr. Vanwart, brother-in-law to Washington Irving, and shall not soon forget the elegant hospitality of his mansion. He resides about two miles from the town; and his lawn gave us a fine view of the English thrush and blackbird, of which birds there were plenty on the grass. It was so cold that we had to have fires, although the 19th of July. Mr. Vanwart was one of the saved, when the Atlantic was lost in the Sound, November 26, 1846; and he made the kindest inquiries after you and the family, and said that when he next visited America he should find you out. That evening we reached Liverpool, and had a quiet Sabbath, but a very stormy one. It rained harder than any day since we have been abroad. We attended church in the morning, and heard a very eloquent sermon from Mr. Birrel, and Dr. C. preached for him at night. The Europa arrived on this day, and we met friends from Boston—among others the Rev. Dr. Peck. On Monday we went to Chester, the finest old city in England, with a population of twenty-four thousand. It claims an antiquity equal to any city in the world; for they say it was founded by the grandson of Japhet, two hundred and forty years after the flood! Any how, it was great in Roman days—great in the days of Alfred. No town in the country has a more thorough history; and we have two very interesting octavoes filled with it, and richly illustrated with antique engravings. It is a walled city, and has undergone many sieges and blockades. The castle has great celebrity, and is of Norman origin. Its walls are one mile and three fourths in length, and there are four great gates. The bridge over the Dee has seven arches, and is as old as the Norman conquest. The cathedral was built in the days of Henry VII. and Henry VIII. It is composed of red stone, and has a fine front. The chapter-house in the cloisters is universally admired by antiquarians. We went into one very old church, which was undergoing restoration. The town, like Berne, has rows in front of the houses, supported by pillars so that, in shopping, you walk under covered galleries.

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