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Waterton's Wanderings.
The Wanderings - The Fourth Journey, 1824.
Chapter 1

The fourth journey in 1824 was to the United States and the Antilles. It was to be his last journey outside Europe, save for a brief visit to Madeira.

Chapter 1 Pages

• 1  • 2  • 3  • 4  • 5 • 6 • 7 • 8 • 9

⮞⯈ Chapter 2

FOURTH JOURNEY in Waterton's own words

▼ Chapter 1, p. 1.

"Nunc huc, nunc illuc et utrinque sine ordine curro. "

Three years in England. - Sail for New York. - Nomenclature. - Alteration of scenery. - A sprained ankle. - Magnificent cure. - Feats of climbing. - Quebec. - Irish emigrants. - Ticonderago. - Saratoga. - Philadelphia. - White-headed Eagle. - Form and fashion. - Climate. - Forebodings of the civil war. - Sail for Antigua.

Courteous reader, when I bade thee last farewell I thought these wanderings were brought to a final close; afterwards I often roved in imagination through distant countries famous for natural history, but felt no strong inclination to go thither, as the last adventure had terminated in such unexpected vexation. The departure of the cuckoo and swallow and summer birds of passage for warmer regions, once so interesting to me, now scarcely caused me to turn my face to the south; and I continued in this cold and dreary climate for three years. During this period I seldom or never mounted my hobby-horse; indeed, it may be said, with the old song,

"The saddle and bridle were laid on the shelf,"

and only taken down once, on the night that I was induced to give a lecture in the Philosophical Hall of Leeds. A little after this Wilson's Ornithology of the United States fell into my hands.

The desire I had of seeing that country, together with the animated description which Wilson had given of the birds, fanned up the almost- expiring flame. I forgot the vexations already alluded to, and set off for New York in the beautiful packet John Wells, commanded by Captain Harris. The passage was long and cold, but the elegant accommodations on board and the polite attention of the commander rendered it very agreeable; and I landed in health and merriment in the stately capital of the New World.

We will soon pen down a few remarks on this magnificent city, but not just now. I want to venture into the north-west country, and get to their great canal, which the world talks so much about, though I fear it will be hard work to make one's way through bugs, bears, brutes and buffaloes, which we Europeans imagine are so frequent and ferocious in these never-ending western wilds.

I left New York on a fine morning in July, without one letter of introduction, for the city of Albany, some hundred and eighty miles up the celebrated Hudson. I seldom care about letters of introduction, for I am one of those who depend much upon an accidental acquaintance. Full many a face do I see as I go wandering up and down the world whose mild eye and sweet and placid features seem to beckon to me and say, as it were, "Speak but civilly to me, and I will do what I can for you." Such a face as this is worth more than a dozen letters of introduction; and such a face, gentle reader, I found on board the steamboat from New York to the city of Albany.

There was a great number of well-dressed ladies and gentlemen in the vessel, all entire strangers to me. I fancied I could see several whose countenances invited an unknown wanderer to come and take a seat beside them; but there was one who encouraged me more than the rest. I saw clearly that he was an American, and I judged by his manners and appearance that he had not spent all his time upon his native soil. I was right in this conjecture, for he afterwards told me that he had been in France and England. I saluted him as one stranger gentleman ought to salute another when he wants a little information; and soon after I dropped in a word or two by which he might conjecture that I was a foreigner, but I did not tell him so; I wished him to make the discovery himself.

He entered into conversation with the openness and candour which is so remarkable in the American, and in a little time observed that he presumed I was from the old country. I told him that I was, and added that I was an entire stranger on board. I saw his eye brighten up at the prospect he had of doing a fellow-creature a kind turn or two, and he completely won my regard by an affability which I shall never forget. This obliging gentleman pointed out everything that was grand and interesting as the steamboat plied her course up the majestic Hudson. Here the Catskill Mountains raised their lofty summit; and there the hills came sloping down to the water's edge. Here he pointed to an aged and venerable oak which, having escaped the levelling axe of man, seemed almost to defy the blasting storm and desolating hand of Time; and there he bade me observe an extended tract of wood by which I might form an idea how rich and grand the face of the country had once been. Here it was that, in the great and momentous struggle, the colonists lost the day; and there they carried all before them:

"They closed full fast, on every side
     No slackness there was found;
And many a gallant gentleman
     Lay gasping on the ground."

Here, in fine, stood a noted regiment; there moved their great captain; here the fleets fired their broadsides; and there the whole force rushed on to battle:

"Hic Dolopum manus, hic magnus tendebat Achilles,
Classibus hic locus, hic acies certare solebat."

▲ Chapter 1, p. 1.

▼ Chapter 1, p. 2.

At teatime we took our tea together, and the next morning this worthy American walked up with me to the inn in Albany, shook me by the hand, and then went his way. I bade him farewell and again farewell, and hoped that Fortune might bring us together again once more. Possibly she may yet do so; and should it be in England, I will take him to my house as an old friend and acquaintance, and offer him my choicest cheer. It is at Albany that the great canal opens into the Hudson and joins the waters of this river to those of Lake Erie. The Hudson, at the city of Albany, is distant from Lake Erie about 360 miles. The level of the lake is 564 feet higher than the Hudson, and there are eighty-one locks on the canal. It is to the genius and perseverance of De Witt Clinton that the United States owe the almost incalculable advantages of this inland navigation: "Exegit monumentum ære perennius." You may either go along it all the way to Buffalo on Lake Erie or by the stage; or sometimes on one and then in the other, just as you think fit. Grand indeed is the scenery by either route and capital the accommodations. Cold and phlegmatic must he be who is not warmed into admiration by the surrounding scenery, and charmed with the affability of the travellers he meets on the way.

This is now the season of roving and joy and merriment for the gentry of this happy country. Thousands are on the move from different parts of the Union for the springs and lakes and the Falls of Niagara. There is nothing haughty or forbidding in the Americans; and wherever you meet them they appear to be quite at home. This is exactly what it ought to be, and very much in favour of the foreigner who journeys amongst them. The immense number of highly-polished females who go in the stages to visit the different places of amusement and see the stupendous natural curiosities of this extensive country incontestably proves that safety and convenience are ensured to them, and that the most distant attempt at rudeness would by common consent be immediately put down.

By the time I had got to Schenectady I began strongly to suspect that I had come into the wrong country to look for bugs, bears, brutes and buffaloes. It is an enchanting journey from Albany to Schenectady, and from thence to Lake Erie. The situation of the city of Utica is particularly attractive: the Mohawk running close by it, the fertile fields and woody mountains, and the Falls of Trenton forcibly press the stranger to stop a day or two here before he proceeds onward to the lake.

At some far distant period, when it will not be possible to find the place where many of the celebrated cities of the East once stood, the world will have to thank the United States of America for bringing their names into the western regions. It is, indeed, a pretty thought of these people to give to their rising towns the names of places so famous and conspicuous in former times.

As I was sitting one evening under an oak in the high grounds behind Utica, I could not look down upon the city without thinking of Cato and his misfortunes. Had the town been called Crofton, or Warmfield, or Dewsbury, there would have been nothing remarkable in it; but Utica at once revived the scenes at school long past and half-forgotten, and carried me with full speed back again to Italy, and from thence to Africa. I crossed the Rubicon with Cæsar; fought at Pharsalia; saw poor Pompey into Larissa, and tried to wrest the fatal sword from Cato's hand in Utica. When I perceived he was no more, I mourned over the noble-minded man who took that part which he thought would most benefit his country. There is something magnificent in the idea of a man taking by choice the conquered side. The Roman gods themselves did otherwise.

"Victrix causa Diis placuit, sed victa Catoni."

"In this did Cato with the gods divide,
They chose the conquering, he the conquer'd side."

The whole of the country from Utica to Buffalo is pleasing; and the intervening of the inland lakes, large and deep and clear, adds considerably to the effect. The spacious size of the inns, their excellent provisions, and the attention which the traveller receives in going from Albany to Buffalo, must at once convince him that this country is very much visited by strangers; and he will draw the conclusion that there must be something in it uncommonly interesting to cause so many travellers to pass to and fro.

Nature is losing fast her ancient garb and putting on a new dress in these extensive regions. Most of the stately timber has been carried away; thousands of trees are lying prostrate on the ground; while meadows, cornfields, villages and pastures are ever and anon bursting upon the traveller's view as he journeys on through the remaining tracts of wood. I wish I could say a word or two for the fine timber which is yet standing. Spare it, gentle inhabitants, for your country's sake. These noble sons of the forest beautify your landscapes beyond all description; when they are gone, a century will not replace their loss; they cannot, they must not fall; their vernal bloom, their summer richness, and autumnal tints, please and refresh the eye of man; and even when the days of joy and warmth are fled, the wintry blast soothes the listening ear with a sublime and pleasing melancholy as it howls through their naked branches.

"Around me trees unnumber'd rise,
Beautiful in various dyes.
The gloomy pine, the poplar blue,
The yellow beech, the sable yew;
The slender fir, that taper grows,
The sturdy oak, with broad-spread boughs."

▲ Chapter 1, p. 2.

▼ Chapter 1, p. 3.

A few miles before you reach Buffalo the road is low and bad, and in stepping out of the stage I sprained my foot very severely; it swelled to a great size, and caused me many a day of pain and mortification, as will be seen in the sequel.

Buffalo looks down on Lake Erie, and possesses a fine and commodious inn. At a little distance is the Black Rock, and there you pass over to the Canada side. A stage is in waiting to convey you some sixteen or twenty miles down to the falls. Long before you reach the spot you hear the mighty roar of waters and see the spray of the far-famed Falls of Niagara rising up like a column to the heavens and mingling with the passing clouds.

At this stupendous cascade of Nature the waters of the lake fall 176 feet perpendicular. It has been calculated, I forget by whom, that the quantity of water discharged down this mighty fall is 670,255 tons per minute. There are two large inns on the Canada side; but after you have satisfied your curiosity in viewing the falls, and in seeing the rainbow in the foam far below where you are standing, do not, I pray you, tarry long at either of them. Cross over to the American side, and there you will find a spacious inn which has nearly all the attractions: there you meet with great attention and every accommodation.

The day is passed in looking at the falls and in sauntering up and down the wooded and rocky environs of the Niagara; and the evening is often enlivened by the merry dance.

Words can hardly do justice to the unaffected ease and elegance of the American ladies who visit the Falls of Niagara. The traveller need not rove in imagination through Circassia in search of fine forms, or through England, France and Spain to meet with polished females. The numbers who are continually arriving from all parts of the Union confirm the justness of this remark.

I was looking one evening at a dance, being unable to join in it on account of the accident I had received near Buffalo, when a young American entered the ballroom with such a becoming air and grace that it was impossible not to have been struck with her appearance.

"Her bloom was like the springing flower
That sips the silver dew,
The rose was budded in her cheek,
Just opening to the view."

I could not help feeling a wish to know where she had

"Into such beauty spread, and blown so fair."

Upon inquiry I found that she was from the city of Albany. The more I looked at the fair Albanese the more I was convinced that in the United States of America may be found grace and beauty and symmetry equal to anything in the Old World.

I now for good and all (and well I might) gave up the idea of finding bugs, bears, brutes and buffaloes in this country, and was thoroughly satisfied that I had laboured under a great mistake in suspecting that I should ever meet with them.

I wished to join in the dance where the fair Albanese was "to brisk notes in cadence beating," but the state of my unlucky foot rendered it impossible; and as I sat with it reclined upon a sofa, full many a passing gentleman stopped to inquire the cause of my misfortune, presuming at the same time that I had got an attack of gout. Now this surmise of theirs always mortified me; for I never had a fit of gout in my life, and, moreover, never expect to have one.

In many of the inns in the United States there is an album on the table in which travellers insert their arrival and departure, and now and then indulge in a little flash or two of wit.

▲Chapter 1, p. 3.

▼ Chapter 1, p. 4.

I thought under existing circumstances that there would be no harm in briefly telling my misadventure; and so taking up the pen I wrote what follows, and was never after asked a single question about the gout.

C. Waterton, of Walton Hall, in the county of York, England, arrived at the Falls of Niagara in July 1824, and begs leave to pen down the following dreadful accident:

"He sprained his foot, and hurt his toe,
On the rough road near Buffalo.
It quite distresses him to stagger a-
Long the sharp rocks of famed Niagara.
So thus he's doomed to drink the measure
Of pain, in lieu of that of pleasure.
On Hope's delusive pinions borne
He came for wool, and goes back shorn.
N.B.--Here he alludes to nothing but
Th' adventure of his toe and foot;
Save this,--he sees all that which can
Delight and charm the soul of man,
But feels it not,--because his toe
And foot together plague him so."

I remember once to have sprained my ankle very violently many years ago, and that the doctor ordered me to hold it under the pump two or three times a day. Now in the United States of America all is upon a grand scale, except taxation; and I am convinced that the traveller's ideas become much more enlarged as he journeys through the country. This being the case, I can easily account for the desire I felt to hold my sprained foot under the Fall of Niagara. I descended the winding-staircase which has been made for the accommodation of travellers, and then hobbled on to the scene of action. As I held my leg under the fall I tried to meditate on the immense difference there was betwixt a house-pump and this tremendous cascade of Nature, and what effect it might have upon the sprain; but the magnitude of the subject was too overwhelming, and I was obliged to drop it.

Perhaps, indeed, there was an unwarrantable tincture of vanity in an unknown wanderer wishing to have it in his power to tell the world that he had held his sprained foot under a fall of water which discharges 670,255 tons per minute. A gentle purling stream would have suited better. Now it would have become Washington to have quenched his battle-thirst in the Fall of Niagara; and there was something royal in the idea of Cleopatra drinking pearl-vinegar made from the grandest pearl in Egypt; and it became Caius Marius to send word that he was sitting upon the ruins of Carthage. Here we have the person suited to the thing, and the thing to the person.

If, gentle reader, thou wouldst allow me to indulge a little longer in this harmless pen-errantry, I would tell thee that I have had my ups and downs in life as well as other people: for I have climbed to the point of the conductor above the cross on the top of St. Peter's in Rome and left my glove there; I have stood on one foot upon the Guardian Angel's head on the Castle of St. Angelo; and, as I have just told thee, I have been low down under the Fall of Niagara. But this is neither here nor there; let us proceed to something else.

When the pain of my foot had become less violent, and the swelling somewhat abated, I could not resist the inclination I felt to go down Ontario, and so on to Montreal and Quebec, and take Lakes Champlain and George in my way back to Albany.

Just as I had made up my mind to it, a family from the Bowling-Green in New York, who was going the same route, politely invited me to join their party. Nothing could be more fortunate. They were highly accomplished. The young ladies sang delightfully; and all contributed their portion to render the tour pleasant and amusing.

▲ Chapter 1, p. 4.

▼ Chapter 1, p. 5.

Travellers have already filled the world with descriptions of the bold and sublime scenery from Lake Erie to Quebec:

"The fountain's fall, the river's flow,
The woody valleys, warm and low;
The windy summit, wild and high,
Roughly rushing to the sky."

And there is scarce one of them who has not described the achievements of former and latter times on the different battle-grounds. Here great Wolfe expired. Brave Montcalm was carried, mortally wounded, through yonder gate. Here fell the gallant Brock; and there General Sheaffee captured all the invaders. And in yonder harbour may be seen the mouldering remnants of British vessels. Their hour of misfortune has long passed away. The victors have now no use for them in an inland lake. Some have already sunk, while others, dismantled and half-dismasted, are just above the water, waiting in shattered state that destiny which must sooner or later destroy the fairest works of man.

The excellence and despatch of the steamboats, together with the company which the traveller is sure to meet with at this time of the year, render the trip down to Montreal and Quebec very agreeable.

The Canadians are a quiet and apparently a happy people. They are very courteous and affable to strangers. On comparing them with the character which a certain female traveller, a journalist, has thought fit to give them, the stranger might have great doubts whether or not he were amongst the Canadians.

Montreal, Quebec and the Falls of Montmorency are well worth going to see. They are making tremendous fortifications at Quebec. It will be the Gibraltar of the New World. When one considers its distance from Europe, and takes a view of its powerful and enterprising neighbour, Virgil's remark at once rushes into the mind:

"Sic vos non vobis nidificatis aves."

I left Montreal with regret. I had the good fortune to be introduced to the Professors of the College. These fathers are a very learned and worthy set of gentlemen, and on my taking leave of them I felt a heaviness at heart in reflecting that I had not more time to cultivate their acquaintance.

In all the way from Buffalo to Quebec I only met with one bug; and I cannot even swear that it belonged to the United States. In going down the St. Lawrence in the steamboat I felt something crossing over my neck, and on laying hold of it with my finger and thumb it turned out to be a little half-grown, ill-conditioned bug. Now whether it were going from the American to the Canada side, or from the Canada to the American, and had taken the advantage of my shoulders to ferry itself across, I could not tell. Be this as it may, I thought of my Uncle Toby and the fly; and so, in lieu of placing it upon the deck, and then putting my thumb-nail vertically upon it, I quietly chucked it amongst some baggage that was close by and recommended it to get ashore by the first opportunity.

When we had seen all that was worth seeing in Quebec and at the Falls of Montmorency, and had been on board the enormous ship Columbus, we returned for a day or two to Montreal, and then proceeded to Saratoga by Lakes Champlain and George.

The steamboat from Quebec to Montreal had above five hundred Irish emigrants on board. They were going "they hardly knew whither," far away from dear Ireland. It made one's heart ache to see them all huddled together, without any expectation of ever revisiting their native soil. We feared that the sorrow of leaving home for ever, the miserable accommodations on board the ship which had brought them away, and the tossing of the angry ocean in a long and dreary voyage would have rendered them callous to good behaviour. But it was quite otherwise. They conducted themselves with great propriety. Every American on board seemed to feel for them. And then "they were so full of wretchedness. Need and oppression starved in their eyes. Upon their backs hung ragged misery. The world was not their friend." Poor dear Ireland, exclaimed an aged female as I was talking to her, I shall never see it any more! and then her tears began to flow. Probably the scenery on the banks of the St. Lawrence recalled to her mind the remembrance of spots once interesting to her:

"The lovely daughter,--lovelier in her tears,
The fond companion of her father's years,
Here silent stood,--neglectful of her charms.
And left her lover's for her father's arms.
With louder plaints the mother spoke her woes,
And blessed the cot where every pleasure rose;
And pressed her thoughtless babes, with many a tear,
And clasped them close, in sorrow doubly dear.
While the fond husband strove to lend relief.
In all the silent manliness of grief."

▲Chapter 1, p. 5.


▼ Chapter 1, p. 6.

We went a few miles out of our route to take a look at the once formidable fortress of Ticonderoga. It has long been in ruins, and seems as if it were doomed to moulder quite away.

"Ever and anon there falls
Huge heaps of hoary moulder'd walls.
But time has seen, that lifts the low
And level lays the lofty brow,
Has seen this ruin'd pile complete,
Big with the vanity of state,
But transient is the smile of Fate."

The scenery of Lake George is superb, the inn remarkably spacious and well attended, and the conveyances from thence to Saratoga very good. He must be sorely afflicted with spleen and jaundice who, on his arrival at Saratoga, remarks there is nothing here worth coming to see. It is a gay and fashionable place; has four uncommonly fine hotels; its waters for medicinal virtues are surpassed by none in the known world; and it is resorted to throughout the whole of the summer by foreigners and natives of the first consideration. Saratoga pleased me much; and afforded a fair opportunity of forming a pretty correct idea of the gentry of the United States.

There is a pleasing frankness and ease and becoming dignity in the American ladies, and the good humour and absence of all haughtiness and puppyism in the gentlemen must, no doubt, impress the traveller with elevated notions of the company who visit this famous spa.

During my stay here all was joy and affability and mirth. In the mornings the ladies played and sang for us; and the evenings were generally enlivened with the merry dance. Here I bade farewell to the charming family in whose company I had passed so many happy days, and proceeded to Albany.

The stage stopped a little while in the town of Troy. The name alone was quite sufficient to recall to the mind scenes long past and gone. Poor King Priam! Napoleon's sorrows, sad and piercing as they were, did not come up to those of this ill-fated monarch. The Greeks first set his town on fire and then began to bully:

"Incensâ Danai dominantur in urbe."

One of his sons was slain before his face: "ante ora parentum, concidit." Another was crushed to mummy by boa-constrictors: "immensis orbibus angues." His city was razed to the ground, "jacet Ilion ingens." And Pyrrhus ran him through with his sword, "capulo tenus abdidit ensem." This last may be considered as a fortunate stroke for the poor old king. Had his life been spared at this juncture he could not have lived long. He must have died broken-hearted. He would have seen his son-in-law, once master of a noble stud, now, for want of a horse, obliged to carry off his father up- hill on his own back, "cessi et sublato, montem genitore petivi." He would have heard of his grandson being thrown neck and heels from a high tower, "mittitur Astyanax illis de turribus." He would have been informed of his wife tearing out the eyes of King Odrysius with her finger-nails, "digitos in perfida lumina condit." Soon after this, losing all appearance of woman, she became a bitch,

"Perdidit infelix, hominis post omnia formam,"

and rent the heavens with her howlings,

"Externasque novo latratu terruit auras."

Then, becoming distracted with the remembrance of her misfortunes, "veterum memor illa malorum," she took off howling into the fields of Thrace:

"Tum quoque Sithonios, ululavit moesta per agros."

Juno, Jove's wife and sister, was heard to declare that poor Hecuba did not deserve so terrible a fate:

"Ipsa Jovis conjuxque sororque,
Eventus Hecubam meruisse negaverit illos."

Had poor Priam escaped from Troy, one thing, and only one thing, would have given him a small ray of satisfaction, viz. he would have heard of one of his daughters nobly preferring to leave this world rather than live to become servant-maid to old Grecian ladies:

"Non ego Myrmidonum sedes, Dolopumve superbas,
Adspiciam, aut Graiis servitum matribus ibo."

▲Chapter 1, p. 6.


▼ Chapter 1, p. 7.

At some future period, should a foreign armed force, or intestine broils (all which Heaven avert), raise Troy to the dignity of a fortified city, Virgil's prophecy may then be fulfilled:

"Atque iterum ad Trojam magnus mittetur Achilles."

After leaving Troy I passed through a fine country to Albany, and then proceeded by steam down the Hudson to New York.

Travellers hesitate whether to give the preference to Philadelphia or to New York. Philadelphia is certainly a noble city and its environs beautiful, but there is a degree of quiet and sedateness in it which, though no doubt very agreeable to the man of calm and domestic habits, is not so attractive to one of speedy movements. The quantity of white marble which is used in the buildings gives to Philadelphia a gay and lively appearance, but the sameness of the streets and their crossing each other at right angles are somewhat tiresome. The waterworks which supply the city are a proud monument of the skill and enterprise of its inhabitants, and the market is well worth the attention of the stranger.

When you go to Philadelphia be sure not to forget to visit the museum. It will afford you a great treat. Some of Mr. Peale's family are constantly in it, and are ever ready to show the curiosities to strangers and to give them every necessary information. Mr. Peale has now passed his eightieth year, and appears to possess the vivacity and, I may almost add, the activity of youth.

To the indefatigable exertions of this gentleman is the Western world indebted for the possession of this splendid museum. Mr. Peale is, moreover, an excellent artist. Look attentively, I pray you, at the portrait he has taken of himself, by desire of the State of Pennsylvania. On entering the room he appears in the act of holding up a curtain to show you his curiosities. The effect of the light upon his head is infinitely striking. I have never seen anything finer in the way of light and shade. The skeleton of the mammoth is a national treasure. I could form but a faint idea of it by description until I had seen it. It is the most magnificent skeleton in the world. The city ought never to forget the great expense Mr. Peale was put to, and the skill and energy he showed during the many months he spent in searching the swamps where these enormous bones had been concealed from the eyes of the world for centuries.

The extensive squares of this city are ornamented with well-grown and luxuriant trees. Its unremitting attention to literature might cause it to be styled the Athens of the United States. Here learning and science have taken up their abode. The literary and philosophical associations, the enthusiasm of individuals, the activity of the press and the cheapness of the publications ought to raise the name of Philadelphia to an elevated situation in the temple of knowledge.

From the press of this city came Wilson's famous Ornithology. By observing the birds in their native haunts he has been enabled to purge their history of numberless absurdities which inexperienced theorists had introduced into it. It is a pleasing and a brilliant work. We have no description of birds in any European publication that can come up to this. By perusing Wilson's Ornithology attentively before I left England I knew where to look for the birds, and immediately recognised them in their native land.

Since his time I fear that the white-headed eagles have been much thinned. I was perpetually looking out for them, but saw very few. One or two came now and then and soared in lofty flight over the Falls of Niagara. The Americans are proud of this bird in effigy, and their hearts rejoice when its banner is unfurled. Could they not then be persuaded to protect the white-headed eagle, and allow it to glide in safety over its own native forests? Were I an American I should think I had committed a kind of sacrilege in killing the white-headed eagle. The ibis was held sacred by the Egyptians; the Hollanders protect the stork; the vulture sits unmolested on the top of the houses in the city of Angustura; and Robin Redbreast, for his charity, is cherished by the English:

"No burial these pretty babes
Of any man receives,
Till Robin-red-breast painfully.
Did cover them with leaves."

[Footnote: The fault against grammar is lost in the beauty of the idea.]

▲Chapter 1, p. 7.


▼ Chapter 1, p. 8.

Poor Wilson was smote by the hand of death before he had finished his work. Prince Charles Buonaparte, nephew to the late Emperor Napoleon, aided by some of the most scientific gentlemen of Pennsylvania, is continuing this valuable and interesting publication.

New York, with great propriety, may be called the commercial capital of the new world:

"Urbs augusta potens, nulli cessura."

Ere long it will be on the coast of North America what Tyre once was on that of Syria. In her port are the ships of all nations, and in her streets is displayed merchandise from all parts of the known world. And then the approach to it is so enchanting! The verdant fields, the woody hills, the farms and country-houses form a beautiful landscape as you sail up to the city of New York.

Broadway is the principal street. It is three miles and a half long. I am at a loss to know where to look for a street in any part of the world which has so many attractions as this. There are no steam-engines to annoy you by filling the atmosphere full of soot and smoke; the houses have a stately appearance; while the eye is relieved from the perpetual sameness, which is common in most streets, by lofty and luxuriant trees.

Nothing can surpass the appearance of the American ladies when they take their morning walk from twelve to three in Broadway. The stranger will at once see that they have rejected the extravagant superfluities which appear in the London and Parisian fashions, and have only retained as much of those costumes as is becoming to the female form. This, joined to their own just notions of dress, is what renders the New York ladies so elegant in their attire. The way they wear the Leghorn hat deserves a remark or two. With us the formal hand of the milliner binds down the brim to one fixed shape, and that none of the handsomest. The wearer is obliged to turn her head full ninety degrees before she can see the person who is standing by her side. But in New York the ladies have the brim of the hat not fettered with wire or tape or ribbon, but quite free and undulating; and by applying the hand to it they can conceal or expose as much of the face as circumstances require. This hiding and exposing of the face, by the by, is certainly a dangerous movement, and often fatal to the passing swain. I am convinced, in my own mind, that many a determined and unsuspecting bachelor has been shot down by this sudden manoeuvre before he was aware that he was within reach of the battery.

The American ladies seem to have an abhorrence (and a very just one, too) of wearing caps. When one considers for a moment that women wear the hair long, which Nature has given them both for an ornament and to keep the head warm, one is apt to wonder by what perversion of good taste they can be induced to enclose it in a cap. A mob-cap, a lace-cap, a low cap, a high cap, a flat cap, a cap with ribbons dangling loose, a cap with ribbons tied under the chin, a peak-cap, an angular cap, a round cap and a pyramid cap! How would Canova's Venus look in a mob-cap? If there be any ornament to the head in wearing a cap, it must surely be a false ornament. The American ladies are persuaded that the head can be ornamented without a cap. A rosebud or two, a woodbine, or a sprig of eglantine look well in the braided hair; and if there be raven locks, a lily or a snowdrop may be interwoven with effect.

Now that the packets are so safe, and make such quick passages to the United States, it would be as well if some of our head milliners would go on board of them in lieu of getting into the diligence for Paris. They would bring back more taste and less caricature. And if they could persuade a dozen or two of the farmer's servant-girls to return with them, we should soon have proof-positive that as good butter and cheese may be made with the hair braided up, and a daisy or primrose in it, as butter and cheese made in a cap of barbarous shape, washed, perhaps, in soapsuds last new moon.

New York has very good hotels and genteel boarding-houses. All charges included, you do not pay above two dollars a day. Little enough, when you consider the capital accommodations and the abundance of food.

In this city, as well as in others which I visited, everybody seemed to walk at his ease. I could see no inclination for jostling, no impertinent staring at you, nor attempts to create a row in order to pick your pocket. I would stand for an hour together in Broadway to observe the passing multitude. There is certainly a gentleness in these people both to be admired and imitated. I could see very few dogs, still fewer cats, and but a very small proportion of fat women in the streets of New York. The climate was the only thing that I had really to find fault with; and as the autumn was now approaching I began to think of preparing for warmer regions.

▲Chapter 1, p. 8.


▼ Chapter 1, p. 9.

Strangers are apt to get violent colds on account of the sudden change of the atmosphere. The noon would often be as warm as tropical weather and the close of day cold and chilly. This must sometimes act with severity upon the newly-arrived stranger, and it requires more care and circumspection than I am master of to guard against it. I contracted a bad and obstinate cough which did not quite leave me till I had got under the regular heat of the sun near the equator.

I may be asked, was it all good-fellowship and civility during my stay in the United States? Did no forward person cause offence? Was there no exhibition of drunkenness or swearing or rudeness? or display of conduct which disgraces civilised man in other countries? I answer, very few indeed: scarce any worth remembering, and none worth noticing. These are a gentle and a civil people. Should a traveller now and then in the long run witness a few of the scenes alluded to, he ought not, on his return home, to adduce a solitary instance or two as the custom of the country. In roving through the wilds of Guiana I have sometimes seen a tree hollow at heart, shattered and leafless, but I did not on that account condemn its vigorous neighbours, and put down a memorandum that the woods were bad; on the contrary, I made allowances: a thunderstorm, the whirlwind, a blight from heaven might have robbed it of its bloom and caused its present forbidding appearance. And in leaving the forest I carried away the impression that, though some few of the trees were defective, the rest were an ornament to the wilds, full of uses and virtues, and capable of benefiting the world in a superior degree.

A man generally travels into foreign countries for his own ends, and I suspect there is scarcely an instance to be found of a person leaving his own home solely with the intention of benefiting those amongst whom he is about to travel. A commercial speculation, curiosity, a wish for information, a desire to reap benefit from an acquaintance with our distant fellow-creatures are the general inducements for a man to leave his own fireside. This ought never to be forgotten, and then the traveller will journey on under the persuasion that it rather becomes him to court than expect to be courted, as his own interest is the chief object of his travels. With this in view he will always render himself pleasant to the natives; and they are sure to repay his little acts of courtesy with ample interest, and with a fund of information which will be of great service to him.

While in the United States I found our Western brother a very pleasant fellow; but his portrait has been drawn in such different shades by different travellers who have been through his territory, that it requires a personal interview before a correct idea can be formed of his true colours. He is very inquisitive; but it is quite wrong on that account to tax him with being of an impertinent turn. He merely interrogates you for information, and, when you have satisfied him on that score, only ask him in your turn for an account of what is going on in his own country and he will tell you everything about it with great good humour and in excellent language. He has certainly hit upon the way (but I could not make out by what means) of speaking a much purer English language than that which is in general spoken on the parent soil. This astonished me much; but it is really the case. Amongst his many good qualities he has one unenviable and, I may add, a bad propensity: he is immoderately fond of smoking. He may say that he learned it from his nurse, with whom it was once much in vogue. In Dutch William's time (he was a man of bad taste) the English gentleman could not do without his pipe. During the short space of time that Corporal Trim was at the inn inquiring after poor Lefevre's health, my Uncle Toby had knocked the ashes out of three pipes. "It was not till my Uncle Toby had knocked the ashes out of his third pipe," etc. Now these times have luckily gone by, and the custom of smoking amongst genteel Englishmen has nearly died away with them. It is a foul custom; it makes a foul mouth, and a foul place where the smoker stands. However, every nation has its whims. John Bull relishes stinking venison; a Frenchman depopulates whole swamps in quest of frogs; a Dutchman's pipe is never out of his mouth; a Russian will eat tallow-candles; and the American indulges in the cigar. "De gustibus non est disputandum."

Our Western brother is in possession of a country replete with everything that can contribute to the happiness and comfort of mankind. His code of laws, purified by experience and common-sense, has fully answered the expectations of the public. By acting up to the true spirit of this code he has reaped immense advantages from it. His advancement as a nation has been rapid beyond all calculation, and, young as he is, it may be remarked without any impropriety that he is now actually reading a salutary lesson to the rest of the civilised world.

It is but some forty years ago that he had the dispute with his nurse about a dish of tea. She wanted to force the boy to drink it according to her own receipt. He said he did not like it, and that it absolutely made him ill. After a good deal of sparring she took up the birch-rod and began to whip him with an uncommon degree of asperity. When the poor lad found that he must either drink the nauseous dish of tea or be flogged to death, he turned upon her in self-defence, showed her to the outside of the nursery- door, and never more allowed her to meddle with his affairs.

Since the Independence the population has increased from three to ten millions. A fine navy has been built, and everything attended to that could ensure prosperity at home and respect abroad.

The former wilds of North America bear ample testimony to the achievements of this enterprising people. Forests have been cleared away, swamps drained, canals dug and flourishing settlements established. From the shores of the Atlantic an immense column of knowledge has rolled into the interior. The Mississippi, the Ohio, the Missouri and their tributary streams have been wonderfully benefited by it. It now seems as if it were advancing towards the stony mountains, and probably will not become stationary till it reaches the Pacific Ocean. This almost immeasurable territory affords a shelter and a home to mankind in general: Jew or Gentile, king's-man or republican, he meets with a friendly reception in the United States. His opinions, his persecutions, his errors or mistakes, however they may have injured him in other countries, are dead and of no avail on his arrival here. Provided he keeps the peace he is sure to be at rest.

Politicians of other countries imagine that intestine feuds will cause a division in this commonwealth; at present there certainly appears to be no reason for such a conjecture. Heaven forbid that it should happen. The world at large would suffer by it. For ages yet to come may this great commonwealth continue to be the United States of North America.

The sun was now within a week or two of passing into the southern hemisphere, and the mornings and evenings were too cold to be comfortable. I embarked for the Island of Antigua with the intention of calling at the different islands in the Caribbean Sea on my way once more towards the wilds of Guiana.

▲Chapter 1, p. 9.


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