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[The letter-bag of the Great Western, or, Life in a steamer] Haliburton, Thomas Chandler, 1796-1865 1840

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THE
LETTER-BAG
OP
THE GREAT WESTERN;
OR,
LIFE IN A STEAMER.
Dulce est desippere in Loco.
a
BY THE AUTHOR OF
THE SAYINGS   AND DOINGS OF SAM SLICK," &c. &c.
NEW  YORK:
WILLIAM   H.   COLYER,
104 BEEKMAN STREET.
1840.  DEDICATION.
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
LORD   JOHN   RUSSELL.
My Lord :
Your Lordship will, no doubt, be at a loss to understand how .it Is,
tbat you have had the honour of this dedication conferred upon you, which
you had so little reason to expect; and, as you have never seen, and probably never heard^f, the author, must be conscious you have done so little to
him to deserve ; and it is but reasonable and just that I should explain the
motives that actuated me. Dedications are mendacious effusions, we all
know ; and honest men begin to be ashamed of them, as reflecting but little
honour on the author, or tbe patron ; but in a work of humour, an avowal of
the truth may well find a place, and be classed among the best jokes it coar
tains'I have selected your Lordship, then, as myMecaenas; not on account of your quick perception of the ridiculous, or your powers of humour,
but solely on account of the very extensive patronage at your dispos^,
Your Lordship is a colonial minister, and I am a colonial author; the connexion between us, therefore^in this relation, is so natural, that this work
has not only a claim to your protection, but a right to your support. All the
world will say |hat it is in vain for the whig ministry to make protestations
of regard for the colonies, when the author of that lively book, " The Letter-Bag of the Great Western," remains in obscurity in Nova Scotia, languishing for want of patronage ; and posterity, that invariably does justice,
(although it is, unfortunately, rather too late, always) w^Lpronounce that
you failed in your first duty, as protector of colonial literature, if you do
not do the pretty upon this occasion. Great men are apt to have short memories ; and it is a common subject of complaint with authors, that they
are mataftally injured by this defect in their organization. Literary men,
however, may ascribe much of the disappointment they experiendfe, to their
own disingenuousness. They usually begin by expressing great diffidence
of their own talents, and disparaging their own performances, and end by
extolling the acquirements, the liberality, and the discernment of their pa-
Irons ; and the latter generally admit the truth of both these propositions,
-which is all that is required of them, and there the matter ends. 1 prefer
the more straight-forward course of telling the truth ; and so far from detracting from the merits of this work, and undervaluing myself, I am bold
to say, it is quite as good a book, and as safe in its tendencies, as those of "a
certain fashionable author, who found favour at the hands of your party, and
is°therefore eminently entitled to your special regard.
I have inscribed it to you, accordingly, not for the purpose of paying a compliment to your Lordship, but that /ou may have an opportunity of paying a
very substantial compliment to me. Like an eastern present, it is expected
that it should be acknowledged by one of still greater value ; and in order that
there may be no mistake, I beg your Lordship to understand di^nctly, that
its merits are very great, and that the return should be one suitaoie for your
Lordship to give, and me to receive ; and not such a one (as the Canadian
rebels said to Lord Durham) " as shall be unworthy of us both." Now, my
Lord, I had the pleasure of being in England during the coronation, and the
high honour of being present at it. I will not say I crossed the A%mtic on
purpose, because that would not be true ; but I can safely say. not that I
would go twice as far to see another, because that would be treasonable
as well as false, but that that magnificent spectacle was well worthy ofthe toil
&( going twiise as far for the express and sole purpose of witnessing jt. Th©
181 DEDICATION.
enthusiasm and unanimity of feeling that pervaded all classes of the assembled multitudes, gave a charm and an influenceto that gorgeous ceremony, that neither rank, nor riches, nor numbers can ever bestow.
Upon that occasion, the customary honours, promotkms, medals, ribands,
and royal favours, were distributed among those of Her Majesty's subjects
who were supposed to be distinguished for their loyalty and devotion
Few of them, however, have since shown by their conduct, tbat they
were worthy of it. Instead of being overwhelmed with gratitude, as I
should have been, had my merits been duly appreciated, these people have
filled the country with their lamentations. The army complains that its
rewards are by no means adequate to its deserfe^^The navy proclaims
with a noise resembling that of a speaking-trumpet, that it has not been
honoured in an equal manner with the army ; and the East India legions
say that the navy and Queen's troops ha,ve monopolized everything that was
valuable, and left for them only enough to mark their inferiority. All this is
very amusing, but very ungrateful. Pets are always troublesome. I wish
them all to understand, and you, too, my Lord, that the colonies not only
did not obtain their due share of notice, but were forgotten altogether, notwithstanding the thousands of - brave and loyal people they contain. They
were either overlooked, amid the numerous preparations for that great
event, or the cornucopia was exhausted, before the hand that held it out had
j:eaeheanalf-way across the Atlantic.
Your Lordship was a strenuous advocate, in days gone by, for extending
■representation ; and, therefore, though no whig myself, I beg leave to extend
this representation to you, because you were not then in the colonial office ;
and I know of no man there who wSl inform you of the-mission. To show
you the want of liberality in those who, for years past, have made the selection of names for royal favour, it is only necessary to point to the case
of certain persons of colonial extraction. Now these very impartial
judges of merit appear to have forgotten that they were advanced before,
and already covered with honours. How much more just, then, as well as
courteous, would it have been in them,' to have waited for their last step,
until we had effected our first! But this is not all; some of them were appointed to govern a distant province; then Ireland ; afterward to preside
over all the colonies ; and subsequently to direct the Internal affairs of the
nation in the Home Office. In your humid climate, it never rains but it
pours ; but in the colonies, as in Egypt, it never rains at all; even the dew
is wanting. How many of these honours, my Lord, would these persons
have repeated, had their predecessors remained colonists; and not show
their sense and foresight, by a timely removal to a country in which the lot-
teryitf life contains all these brilliant prizes, instead of a mass of blanks,
as with us ! What is the necessary qualification for advancement ? Is it
talent and industry ? Try the paces and bottom of the colonists, my Lord,
and you will find they are not wanting. Is it humbug? There are,
some most accomplished and precious humbugs in all the provinces;
men who could do credit to any government, and understand every
popular pulsation, and accelerate or retard its motion at will,
it agitation? The state of Canada shows how successful we are in
the exercise of that laudable vocation. Is it maintaining the hondors of
the national flag ? The most brilliant naval achievement of the American
war; the first that occurred after a series of defeats; and the last of the
same gaitot style, was the act of a colonist; and the Chesapeake was conducted into the harbour of Halifax by a native of the town. Has he ever
been rewarded by any of those special marks of favour that distinguish
those peculiarly happy men—the sons of the freemen of a little English
corporation ?
We afford a wide field for the patronage of our more fortunate brethren
at home *and Governors, Admirals, Commissioners, and Secretaries, are
first, promoted over us, and then rewarded with farther promotion for the
j- meritorious endurance Of a five years' exile among the barbarians.
Life a good shepherd, my Lord, open the gates, and let down the bars, DEDICATION. V
and permit us to crop some of our own pastures, that good food may thicken
onr fleeces and cover our ribs; for the moanings and bleating of the flock,
as they stretch their heads over the fence that excludes them, and regard
with longing looks the rich herbage, is very touching, I assure you. It does
not become me, my Lord, to say what I do expect for .myself; but if the office
of distributor of honours and promotions among colonists, is vacant, as there
are no duties to perform, and the place is a sinecure, it would suit me uncommonly well, and afford me leisure to cultivate talents that are extremely
rare among the race of officials.
Such a step would confer great honour on your Lordship, and do me justice. Having committed so great an error as to omit the colonists, on that
joyous occasion, as if we were aliens, it would show great magnanimity to
acknowledge it now, and make reparation.
i This, my Lord, is the object of this dedication ; and if that object be attained, it will then be in my power, should I ever again make my appearance
before the public, to have something to extol besides my own book, and another person to laud besides.
Your Lordship's most obedient
Humble servant
THE AUTHOR.
Nova Scotia, Nov. 15, 1839.  PREFACE.
Whoever may condescend to read these elegant epistles will naturally
inquire how they came into my possession, and by what authority they are
now given to the world. The question is certainly an important one, because if it shalfappear that the secresy of the Post-Office has been violated,
there will be a " corresponding" diminution of the. confidence of the public
in this department. The obvious inference is, 1 confess, either that the
Post-master General has been guilty of unpardonable neglect, or that I have
taken a most unwarrantable liberty with his letter-bag. Under these circumstances I regret that I do not feel myself authorized even in my own justification to satisfy the curious reader, and that the only reply I can give at
present is—Ask Spring Rice—He is a ** frank" man and no one that has
ever listened to his serious refutation of the absurd story about his colleagues'
whiskers, can doubt that he will give the necessary explanation. He is
devoted to the cause of men " of Letters" and delights in " forwarding" their
views. Whatever his consistency may be, few men aim at " uniformity" so
much as he does. He has reduced the postage, and though many persons
accuse him of being " penny-wise" in this matter, the result will show that
it is not he but the public that will be " pound-foolish" in the end. This
must remain therefore in an " enyelope" of mystery unless he chooses to
remove the " seal" of secresy. To the American reader it may not be alto^
gather unnecessary to state that " Spring Rice," like many other words and
terms, has a different meaning on different sides of the Atlantic. In America
it signifies a small grain raised in low land amid much irrigation, in Ireland
a small man reared in boggy land amid great irritation : and the name of
" Paddy" is common to both. In the former country it assumes the shape
of " arrack liquor," in the latter " arack" rent. In both there is an adhesiveness that is valuable, and they are prized on that account by a class of
persons called " Cabinet makers."
The Spring Rice I allude to is the man, not the grain, and as an Irishman
it is " in the grain of the man" to have his attention directed to " transportation." It is a national and natural trait in his character. Former Governments tranquillised Ireland by transporting men, he more humanely by transporting Letters. He has therefore wisely connected national education
with national postage, for it is obvious there will be few letters where only
a few can write and read. Indeed it is natural to suppose that a people who
deal" in " Letters" and supply the English market will become " literary"
men, and an Irishman will be at no loss to comprehend how " less fare" is
fairer than more, or how a whole population that are often in a state of starvation can rejoice in a '* reduced fare." It is unkind to call this enlightened
plan a " catchpenny,** Or to stigmatize a man who is in advance of the age
as a post man. Equally unhandsome is it to attempt to deprive him of the
honour of the invention, by saying the idea is borrowed from the Penny Magazine, Penny Encyclopedia, and other similar works ; for it is truly Irish
in its conception. If he received a hint from any one, it was from O'Connell
and his penny rint. Justice to Ireland requires there should be no *' Dublin5'
of postage, and that he whose care is our " ways and means," should himself
be careful hot to be " mean in his ways." It is absurd to say that because
the postage is rendered uniform, and one letter pays no more than another,
the salaries of the officers should be rendered uniform also, and the Postmaster General be paid no more than his clerk. It is true the poor write few
letters now," because the postage is too high, and that they will be induced
to write extensively as soon as the penny system is adopted, and thereby to
11 forge" their own chains ; but they will have no right to com pi aim of this
increased expense, because it is optional with them, whether they incur it
or not: the only question is whether we have not " poor writers" enough
already.   We shall gain in quantity by this improved plan in proportion as Vlll
PREFACE.
we lose in quality, and requite a new " Letter press." Instead of a condensed style wre shall have condensed letters, and in place of diffuse composition, composition diffused. My Patron, tired of screwing the public
will screw epistles, and become King of the Penny-a line tribe.
It cannot be denied that there is ground to fear that writing letters (or, as
a Lord Mlnto would say, to prove his knowledge oJ.naval matters, \ sheeting
it home,') will soon become the business of life. It is easy.to say of yourself that you are not at home, but not so easy to say so of your finders,
which are always domestic in their habits; and yon cannot avoid writing
now that the excuse of waiting for a frank is removed. Lovers must expect
" frank" incense by mail no longer. It is said there will be seven times as
many letters written under the new system, as there are now.vfPvVhat a
prospect for a man who, like me, is dying of an epistolary plethora, or, like
the tailor in the play, whose correspondence extends even to Constantinople ! Universal "suffrage," I fear, will be the inevitable result. But he is
a courteous man, is my Patron; nay, a polished man; whence a certain
paper, with similar qualities, is usually called " Rice paper," to denote its
peculiarities. He will doubtless give every explanation that is required,
and if you persist, gentle reader, in your desire to be farther informed on
this subject, I can only repeat what I have already said,—Ask Spring Rice.
Sir Robert Peel has enlarged upon the loss of revenue likely to accrue
from this measure, and says he objects to it " on principle." Now, I approve of it, I on interest." It may do very well for him who has all his
correspondence franked, to talk in this style ; but what are poor Colonists
to do, who never saw a member of parliament, or a frank either ? Although
no whig, I desire an extension of the ' Frank'-chise. The only objection I
make to the measure is, that there is any postage at all; and I bold that
while the " schoolmaster i3 abroad," a good government should carry our
letters for nothing. It is idle for the administration to talk of encouraging
emigration, while they impose a tax on the transmission of every " mail."
High postage precludes all correspondence. It is, as a lady of my acquaintance most delicately calls it, a " preventive check" to what Joseph Hume,
with his usual accuracy of language, terms " pen-urism."
It has puzzled some people most amazingly to know, if all the pennies go
for postage, where the " rint" is to come from ; but that is their affair and
not mine, and I give notice that unless my letters are carried " free," I shall
agitate for a repeal of the Union •' with Nova Scotia." It is no answer to
me that " single" letters are to be rated only at one penny. What are to
become of "double entendres?" and what reason is there that wit should
be taxed ? Nor am I better satisfied to find that there is to be an increase
in the scale, proportioned to the weight of the lettenfr This will fall particularly heavy on me, whose letters have always great weight in them. I am
forgoing the hog—the whole hog—and nothing but the hog.
In justice to my friend Captain Claxton, and the Board of Directors at
Bristol (from whom, upon a recent occasion, when personally suggesting the
propriety and discussing the feasibility of establishing a steam communication with Nova Scotia, I received the most friendly and courteous treatment), I ought to state that I was myself one of the passengers on board of
the Great Western during the voyage when this letter-bag was made up ;
indeed, as a corpulent man, I may add, with more truth than vanity, " quorum magna pars fuL" From my personal experience-, therefptS. 1 can say
that the writers of several of these letters have drawn largely upon their
imagination, and that I should feel that I neither did justice to its enterprising and meritorious owners, nor to my own feelings, if I did not avail myself of this opportunity to express my unqualified approbation of this noble
ship, the liberal provision for the comfort of the passengers, and my admiration of the skill, unremitting attention and urbanity of its commander. Cap*
tain Hoskins will doubtless feel much astonished to account for the mode by
which I tflcame possessed of these letters ; but I trust he knows me too
well to require any other explanation than what I have already gi*Wp*-Ask
Spring Rice. THE
LETTER-BAG
OF
THE GREAT WESTERN.
No. I.
THE JOURNAL OF AN ACTRESS.
Dear Laura—Instead of writing you a letter, I send you the leave*
of my Atlantic Journal.
22d March. Evety actress that visits America, plays her part in a
Journal: why shouldn't poor little me 1 How I loathe that word actress J
it is heartless, made up, artificial, imitative, a thing without a soul; but
such is life. We call a fool a natural, the more fools we for doing s.o»
My Journal shall at least be mine own—not the utterance of the thoughts
of others.
Bonneted—band-boxed—packed up—and packed off. Steamed down
the river (what an unpoetical word is that steam !) in a small crazy craft,
to where our most (read spacious for gracious! queen of the seas, the
Great Western, lay to receive us. Nothing can exceed the beauty of
the scenery on the river. Prodigious walls of carboniferous lime-rock
(what a beautiful Bridge water-treatise-word that carboniferous is ! how
Greenough and Buckland and geological-like it sounds! had it been
manufactured at Birmingham it would have been carbony,) rise in pre-
cipitous boldness and majestic grandeur, to a height of three hundred feet
above the water-mark; after which, the country, gradually laying aside
its armour and emerging from its embattlements, assumes the more
pleasing and gentle forms of sloping hills, verdant glades, and arable
fields. 'Tis the estate surrounding the Keep, the watchtower, and the
castle ; the warrior within—the peasant and the shepherd without.
At one point we passed the site of the intended aerial bridge, a bold
conception—too bold and too grand ever to have sprung from the muddy
heads of the Cranes and Bitterns of Bristol. A rope waved gracefully
across the yawning chasm, so slender and so small as to resemble the
silken thread of the spider, who is the first and best of Nature's architects
•fid bridge builders. It was almost an ideal line, it was so tiny. It
would have passed for a mathematical one if it had been straight, it was
so imaginary ; but slight as it was, it afforded a secure support for a basket
containing two passengers, who were thus conveyed with the rapidity of
birds from one of the precipitous banks to the other. It was Ariel and
his companion descending on a sunbeam. It was a pretty idea, and I
couldn't help saying so, when an American observed—I once hailed a
C wua
THE LETTER-SAG 0jf
steamboat on the Mississippi and asked the usual question—H Where are
you from ?" to which the skipper replied—" from Heaven." I How did
you come from there?" "I greased the seat of my trowsers and slid
down on a rainbow !" " What a barbarian !" I cried with vexation—it
dashed away at one rude blow all the creations of my fancy. How I hate
those Republicans, they are so gross, so unimaginative, so barbarous!
If a ray of light, a spark of divinity ever penetrates their cavernous minds,
it is like applying the lamp to the fire-damps of the subterraneous excavations, it explodes and destroys both. Still my attention was riveted, (I
fear' that word is shoppy—I think it is blunting the end of a nail after it
is driven in, to prevent its extraction—I like etymology, and will ask my
brother to-morrow ; if it is so, I " transport him for life") my attention
was attracted, I should rather say, by the sudden stoppage of this little
mimic balloon in midway, when a cheer was given from this wincred
chariot of the sky, and a musket was discharged, the quick, sharp report
of which was echoed and reverberated for some minutes among the rocks
and caverns of this stupendous gorge. When the last sounds faded on
our ears, a-deafening cheer was returned from our steamer with hearty
good will, and we passed on. How animating is this cheer, so different
from the vile clapping of hands of the odious theatre ! oh that my ears
may never again be profaned by that gas light, heartless, unmeaning welcome ! .... Came on board ... a crowd—a mob—how I hate them—
descended into the—what!—Gracious Heavens, into the saloon .'-—must
we carry with us the very phraseology of the house? Shall Drury persecute me here ? Shall the vision of the theatre be always present ? oh
spare me, I see the spectress of the real saloon of that vile house rise up
before me—the gentlemen blackguards—the lady courtezans. I rushed
into my cabin, coffeed, wined, and went to bed sobbing.
23d. Bedded all day . . . that word saloon has haunted me ever since
.... rose in the evening—petticoated, shawled, gloved, and went and
took a last look on dear old England, the land of " the brave and free"—
oh that word last—the last look, last sigh, last farewell, how it sinks into
the heart, how it speaks of death, of disembodied spirits-f^o/ the yawning
grave. It lets down the strings ; it untunes the mind: I was mourning
over it to my brother, I was comparing notes with him, getting at his «e*t-»
sations on that dreadful word, last; when that odious American broke in,
unasked, with his " sentiment"—" Yes, female," said he, beast that he
is, why did he not say " she one" at once ? It is more animal like, more
beautiful even than his expression—" Yes, female, I say damn the last
too, as the shoemaker did when he,tried to straighten himself up, after
having worked upon it all day." I thought of dear Lord B., how he
would have expired, exhaled, evaporated at such an illustration, and then
I sighed that I had seen him too for the last time.
24th. Furious gale—the spirit of the great deep is unchained, and is
ramng in furious strides over the world of waters. The mountains rise
up to impede him, and the valleys yawn at his feet to receive him. The
ocean heaves beneath his footsteps, and the clouds fly in terror from his
presence, the lightning gleams with demoniac flashes to illumine his terrific visage, and the thunder is the intonation of his voice. Sheeted,
blanketed, and quilted, I remain enveloped in the drapery of my bed, my
thoughts looking back into the past, and timidly adventuring to peep into
the future, for some green spot (oh that dreadful theatre, I had nearly
written Green Room) to pitch its tent upon, to stretch itself out by the
oool fountain and—luxuriate. THE GREAT WESTERN.
37
25th. The tempest is past, but we heave and pitch and roll like a drunken
thing, groaning, straining, creaking.    The paroxysm is past, but the palpitations have not subsided; the fit is over, but the muscular contrae-
ll|ms still continue.    It is the heaving chest, the convulsed breath, the
pulsations that remain aftejf the storm of the passions has passed away.
26th. Rose, toileted, and went on deck: what a lovely sight! The
sea lay like a mirror, reflecting the heavens on its smooth and polished
surfaceS^Light cloudeiar away in the horizon look like the snow-capt
summits ofithe everlasting hills, placed there to confine this sea of molten
glass within its own dominion, while distant vessels, with their spiral
masts and silvery drapery, rise from its surface, like spirits of the deep,
come to look upon and woo the gentle Zephyrs. Sea-nymphs spreading
their wings and disporting on their liquid meadows after their recent terror and affright. They seem like ideal beings—thoughts traversing the
mind—shadows or rather bright lights—emanations perhaps, rather than
s^f-existence—immaterialities—essences—spirits in the moonlight —*
Wrote journal—mended a pair of silk stockings, hemmed a pocket-hand'
kerchief, night-capped and went to bed—to dream—to idealize—to build
aerial castles, to get the hysterics, and to sleep.
27th. Altered my petticoats, added two inches for Boston puritans and
Philadelphia quakers, took off two for the fashionables of New York,
three for Baltimore, and made kilts of them for New Orleans. Asked
Steward for books: he brought me " the life of corporal Jabesh Fish, if
hero of the American revolution, in five volumes," put it in my journal,
a good story for Lord W , who is a hero—chattered—sung and ger-
manized with General T , (not conversed, for no American converses,
he proses, sermonises, or pamphleteers).    Toddy'd, poor dear Sir A	
taught me that, and I wish he were here to " hrew " for me now, as he
used to call it. There certainly is inspiration in whiskey, and when temperance opened the door, poetry took flight, and winged its way to hea-
ven^Jt is no longer an inhabitant of earth—ah me, we shall hold high
converse with angel spirits no more. It is all Brummagem now—all
cheap and dirty like its coaches—Bah 1
28th. General T . says, he i3 glad I did not marry before I left
England, for Vestris doing so was taken as a quiz on the starched Yankees.    Mem, won't marry on board, and if I take a republican may the
devil take me without salt, as the Marquis of W  says—I wish I
were a man, an Englishman though, for men choose, women are chosen
—to select is better than to be selected, which is bazaar-like. What's
the price of that pretty bauble 1—Ah, I like it, send it home, play with
it, get tired, throw it aside, no harm in that, to be scorned is nothing, it
is pleasant to scorn back again, but to be supplanted, ah, there is the rub.
I have a headache; the billow for my pillow, I will be a child again anti
be rocked to sleep.
89th. A shout on deck, all hands rushed up, what a strange perversion of terms is this. It is a waterspout: how awful! The thirsty
cloud stooping to invigorate itself with a draught of the sea; opening its
huge mouth and drinking, yet not even deigning to wait for it, but gulping it as it goes—we fired into it and it vanishes, its watery load is re-
turned, and " like the baseless fabric of a vision, it leaves no wreck be-
f0tSJr~ It is one of " the wonders of the great deep." That rude shock
has dispelled it. Thus is it in life. The sensitive mind releases its
grasp of the ideal, when it comes in contact with grossness. It shrinks
within itself.   It, retreats in terror.   Yet what a wonderful sight it is ! THE LETTER-BAG 07
how nearly were we engulphed, swallowed up, and carried into tbe sky
to be broken to pieces in our fall, as the sea-mew feeds on the shell-fish
by dashing it to pieces on a rock. Oh that vile American ! he too has
imitated the scene : he has broken my train of thought by his literal and
grovelling remark. " Well, I vow, female, what an everlastin' noise it
lets off its water with !" I wonder if they hiss in America: surely not,
for if they did such fellows as this would learn better manners—wrote
journal—frenchified my frock to please the New Yorkers—nnbooted—
unstay'd, and snuggled upjike a kitten in bed.
30th. Sat on the deck, sad and musing. Dropt some pieces of paper
overboard—wondered whither they went. Will they wander many days
on the water, and then sink 1 Thought of my journal; it would be like
them, a little scrap on the great sea of literature, floating its brief day;
and then, alas ! sinking to rise no more. Saturated, its light pages will
float no longer, but be consigned, like them, to an early grave; but I
have had my day, which is more than every *' female," as the Americans
call us, has had; and who knows but my book may be as well received 1
Bah ! how I loathe that theatrical expression! as popular—that, too,
smells of the shop ; ah! I have it—as much the ton—howsoever.
31st. Pottered on deck all day, with General T. and my brother. The
former talked of the prairies, till I dreamed all night of the fat bulls of
Bashan, and the buffaloes of the plain.
let April. General T. advises me not to take my servant to the table,
as it is said Mrs. Matthews did at Saratoga ; for so far from these republicans liking equality, they are the most aristocratic people in the world.
What a puzzle is man ! Poor dear Lord Czar, with all his radical notions, is the proudest " of his order " of any peer of the realm- Indeed,
pride is the root of all democracy. Show me a tory, and I will show yon
a.national lover of freedom; show me a radical, and I will-show you a
tyrant. If the Americans boast so much of their equality, as to exclude
from their vocabulary the word " servant," and substitute that of " hej.p,"
why should they objeet to those " helps" helping them to eat their dinners ? It passes the understanding of poor little me—how I wish soma
one would explain all things to me ] Wm
2d. My brother was so-so to day, after dinner; but wine makes him
brilliant and witty—and why should I be ashamed to note it 1 It was
the sons, and not the sisters of Noah (merry old soul) that walked backward and covered him, when he was too oblivious with the juice of the
grape, to recollect such vulgar things as clothes. Read, Italianed—
stitched a new chemisette.
3d. How this glorious steamer wallops, and gallops, and flounders
along! she goes it like mad. Its motion is unlike that of any living thing
I know; puffing like a porpoise, breasting the waves like a sea-horse,
and at times skimming the surface like a bird. It possesses the joint
powers of the tenants of the air, land, and water, and is superior to them
all. All night we had a glorious, splendent, silvery moon. The stars
were bright, though feeble, hiding their diminished heads before their
queen, enthroned in all her majesty. Wtt&t an assemblage of the heavenly
hosts !—how grand—how sublime ! It is a chaste beauty is the moon,
beautiful, but cold ; inspiring respect, admiration, and so on, but not
love—not breathing of passion. It is a melancholy feeling that it raises
in the beholder; like a pale Grecian face, that calls up emotions of tenderness, butno ardour ; and excites interest, but not transport- Which
is. the -best," the imflammatory sun, or the chilly moon \—midway, per- THE GREAT WESTERN.
haps, " in medio tutissimus ibis," as dear Lord B. used to say, whenever
he threaded my needle for me. I will potter with General T. about it.
He looks moonstruck himself. Tead, suppered, champained, tidied myself for bed, and, I fear, snored.
4th. How I hate the saloon! I will join the Yankees, and spit upon
it. How vulgar are all these gaudy decorations of a steamer! Why
should we pander to the bad taste of a mob for filthy lucre—why not lead
instead of following—dictate, instead of submitting 1 Are we, too, become democratic ; and must the voice of the majority rule. Oh for an
hour of that dear little villa of Lord B.'s! what taste, what fitness of
things to purposes, what refinement, what delicacy—oh for a snuff of its
classic air—for half a yard of its Parnassian sky ! How he would be
annihilated by a voyage in this boat—howsoever.
5th. A dies non, as the new judge used to call it when non se ipse.
6th and 7th. Ditto, as the shop-keepers say.
8th and 9th. The same as yesterday, as the doctors say.
10th and 11th. No better, as the bulletins say.
12th and 13th. As well as can be expected, as the nurses say.
14th. I was asked to-day if ever I had been in love—I know not—
what is Love 1 The attraction of two ethereal spirits—sympathy—but
these spirits are only seen through mortal coil. The worm feeds and
battens where love has revelled. Can we love what corruption claims
as its own 1 Do we not mistake natural impulses for this divine feeling 1
"What a pity^Love clogs his wings with sweets, becomes sated—tired—
soured. Platonic love is nearer perfection—it has more reason and less
passion, more sentiment and less grossness. To love is to worship—
with my body I thee worship—but that is not love, it is desire—with my
soul I thee worship—but that is idolatry. If we worship with neither
body nor soul^ what is love 1 Lips ! can it reside in them 1 the breath
may be bad—the teeth unsound—the skin erysipelatous. Bah ! Love a
leper 1 What is Love then 1 It usja phantom of the mind—an hallucination—an ignis fatuus, Will-of-the-Wisp. Touch it, and it dissolves—
embrace it, and a shadow fills your arms—speak, and it vanishes. Alas,
Love is not! Howsoever—went to bed—wept for vexation like a child,
and when wearied with sobbing, slept.
15th. Land ahead—a strange land too—yes, though they speak English, a foreign land—the domain of the rebellious Son who mutinied and
fought his parentJ|| Can, I ask myself, can a blessing attend such an unnatural attempt—nous verrons. The pilot is on board: what are the
first questions *? the price of cotton and toba6co. They are traders—
are the Yankees ; and I hate trade, its contracted notions and petty details. I think I see Lord B. turn in scorn from the colloquy, his fine
aristocratic face expressive of intellectual contempt at such sordid calculations. Would that he were here, that we might retire to the cabin
and have a reading of Shakspeare together, drink at the inspired fount,
and philosophize on men and things ; but alas, he is gone where all must
go! and I have gone where none would wish to go! Poor little me !
Thus endeth the last day of the steamer.
Yours always,
Mart Cooke.
C2
I THE   LETTER-BAG OP
No. II.
LETTER
FROM CATO MIGNIONETTE (THE COLOURED STEWARD)
TO MR, LAVENDER.
My dear Labender	
Since I ab de pleasure to see you on board de Lady Jackson liner, I
leave de line myself, and now is on board de Great Western steamboat,
ob which I ab de command. You ab seen Fourth-July-day, Mr. La-
bender ; well, he no touch to it: and you ab seen de great New York
mob to pull down coloured people's housen ; well, dat not noting to it
needer.: and you ab seen de great fire ; well, de crowd dere not fit to
hold a candle to it.    Oh ! you neber I but I tell you more by and by.
We hab one hunder and ten passenger, big and leetle, and some damn
big ones dere is too, which is more dan one steward can provide forgin-
teelly ; and my servants do gib me werry great trouble so dey do. First
I hab all English ; well, de English werry stupid, werry sarcy, and lazy
as de debil; you can't beat noting into dere dam tick heads, and deyJs
is too eavy heeled for servants; so I jist discharge em all; I wouldn't
ab dem if dey work for noting, de great good for noting lubbers; and I
ire coloured people in dere place. Dey werry much more better den de
ferash ob whites; but still dey no please me, for I neber like to see de
grass grow under de feet ob de waiters, and dere is too many for me to
look arter all alone myself.
De Captain he man-o'-war buccra, and dey is all cussed stiff, and most
too big men for dere breeches ; a£nd when he walky de deck, he only see
de stars and de sun ; he no see de ship an de passenger, but leab all to
me, which give me an everlastin sight ob trouble. He ought to come
and help me at de bar hissef, so he had ought; but he too proud for dat,
and so is all dem what has de swab on de shoulder,—and proper hard
bargain de queen hab of some of dem too, I tell you, .Mr. Labender.
By Golly ! but I most wore out, and dat is de truth. Steward here, and
steward dere, and steward ebery where I Well, I say, - coming, sar !'
bnt I takes care neber to come to none at all, and when dey is tired ob
calling dey come ob demselves to me, and find out to de last it would be
ebery bit as good for em to hab com at first and sabe dere wind to cool
dere soup wid. But I make sception ob de Ladies, de dear critturs : I
do lub em, and likes to tend on em, dey is so helpless, poor tings. But
one ting I must say, and dat is, de white ladies do lub werry stiff grog,
werry stiff, indeed, Mr. Labender: you ab no notion ob it, no more den
a child. \ Steward, a leetle weak, werry leetle weak brandy and water ;
but mind^and let him be werry weak.' Yes, marm, I say, and away I
goes to mix it. Poor leetle tings, I knows werry well what werry weak
means; it means half and half, jist as I likes him myself. Well, when
I takes it to de lady, she makes a face like de cabbage-leaf, all puckery,
puckery, wrinkley, wrinkley; and arter eber so leetle ob a swig^t it, she
gibs him back agin to me : \ Oh ! steward !' she say, \ how could yaw i
dat is too trong ; put in a leetle drop more water, dat is a good steward.'
Well, I knows what dat means, too; so I goes back and puts in one
glass brandy more, and two lumps ob de sugar more, and stir him up well
wid de spoon, and gib him leetle nutmeg for de flavour: try dat, marm,,
I say; see how* you like him; I most fear he too weak now. * No,
steward,' she say, and she smile werry sweet, de leetle dear; \ dat will the great western.
31
do werry well, now ; dat jist right, now. Always take care to mix my
brandy and water weak, for I isn't used to him trong, and he get into
my head.' Yes, marm, I say ; now I knows your gauge, I fit you exactly to a T, marm. De dear leetle critturs, de grog he do warm em
hearts, and brighten de eye, and make him werry good natured. I
knows dat by mysef; I always feels better for de stiff glass ob grog.
Poor leetle .rings, but dey do hke him werry stiff, werry stiff indeed ; it
is actilly astonishin how stiff dey do takes him.
As to de men passengers, I always let him shift for demselves, for dere
isn't werry few ob dem is real superfine gentlemen, but ymt refidge a
leetle warnished ober de surface, like all pretence. Dey all make him
believe dat dey know wine ; when, dam em, dere isn't hardly none ob
em know him by name even. One buccra says, ' Steward, I can't drink
dis wine ; it is werry poor stuff. What de debil do you mean by gibbin
me sich trash as dis 1 he not fit to drink at all: change him directly, and
gib me some dat is fit for a gentleman.' Well, I takes up de wine, and
looks at him werry knowin, and den whisper in his ear, not to speak so
loud, lest ebery body hear; and I put de finger on my nose, and nods ;
and I goes and brings him anoder bottle ob de werry identical same
wine, and he taste him, smack his lip, and say, ' Ah! dat is de wine,
steward! Always bring me dat wine, and I remember you when I leab
de ship.' Hush ! I say, massa; not so loud, sir, if you please, for dere
is only a werry few bottles ob dat are wine, and I keep him for you ; for
I sees you knows de good wine when you sees him, which is more nor
most gentlemen does. Dey is cussed stupid, is dem whites, and werry
conceited, too, Mr. Labender; but dere is noting like lettin him hab his
own way. Den dey all speak different language. One man is Frenchman : well, he calls steamboat, "bad toe:" de German, he call him,
" dam-shift-fard." One calls a plate, " as yet;" anoder name him,
"skelp eye ;" and de tird man call him, " taller ;" and de fort say "platter ;" and ebery one amost hab a different word for him. Dere is no
makin head or tail ob em, no how : I don't try no more now at all—I
only gib de head a shake, and pass on.
We hab got too many masters, here,Jfr. Labender, a great deal too
many. Now, whan I was been in de line packet, sir, and want um pitcher,
I go to captain, and say, Captain, I want um pitcher, and he say werry well,
Mr. Mignionetle, (he neber call me steward, like de sarcy, proud, man-
o-war buccras do) werry well, Mr. Mignionette, den buy um ; and I buys
nm for one dollar, and charge him one dollar and half—de half dollar for
de trouble, and leetle enough it is, too ; for crockery he werry brittle—
so far, so good. Now when I has occasion, I go to captain, and say, I want
nm pitcher, sir. Werry well, steward, he say, make a report in writing.
Den I goes and makes a report for pitcher in writing for de skipper; and
elripper he makes anoder report to de great captain in Bristol; and dat
captain, he call togeder de great big directors—plaguy rich men they is,
too, I tell you, and he read my report to de skipper, and skipper report
to him, and dey all make speeches round de table, as they does in congress,
and if dey is in good humour it is voted—yes, I ab him. Den captain he
send for clerk, and clerk he issue order for pitcher to some dam white
feller or anoder, to Bristol, who send me one worth a dollar, and charge
nm boat two dollar for him. Well, company lose half dollar, I lose half
dollar, and all lose a great deal of time. Werry bad derangement dat, sir,
werry bad, indeed ; for dere is too much cheenery in it to work well.
By-and-by dey find out too many cooks spoil de broth, or else I knows
nothing—-dats aU. 32
the letter bag op
Den dey holds me sponsible for all de plate, which is not fair, by no
manner o means at all, is such a mood of scaly whites as we ab on board :
and where ebery man is taken what pays passage ; and sometimes dem
white fellers is no better nor him should be, I tell you. Toder day I sell.
some small ting to de outlandish Jew, who no speak werry good English ;
and I goes into his cabin, and I say, come, massa, I say, our voyage ober
now; him pilot on board, so you fork out, massa, if you please. Well,
he started like a shy horse—what dat you say 1 says he. You fork out,
now, massa, I say. Den he goes round, and he bolt de door ; and den
he say, I give you one sovereign, steward, if you no mention it. Oh ! I
say, I neber mention him, massa, neber fear, and I is werry much obliged
to you, sir, werry much indeed. Den he say, here is de forks, and he
gives me back three silver forks. I tookt um by mistake, he say, and I
hope you no mention him. Oh, ho ! says I to myself, is dat de way de
cat jumps now; I see how de land lay—I come jew over you, my boy
—my turn come now. Four sovereigns more, massa, and steward he
keep mum; and if you no pay de money, I go bring captain, passenger,
and ebery one. Well, him sovereign break his heart amost, but he shell
him out, for all dat, afore I go ; one—two—three—four—five sovereigns.
All's right now, massa, I say ; dat is what I call" forking out." Jist as
I turns for to go, he say, how you know I ab um,] steward—anybody tell
you 1 Oh, massa, I say, I know de tief, so far as I see him. When I
clap my eyes on you fust, by gosh 1 know you for one ob dem dam rascals
—no mistake, massa ; face neber tell um lie—he always speaky de truth.
I hab to keep my eyes about me all de time, Mr. Labender, I tell you ;
and de command o dis ship is too great fatigue for one man ; dey must
give me some officers under me, or I resign my place, and throw him up,
and return to de line again, which is more selecter and better company as
steamboats has.
Please to ab de goodness to make my respects to Miss Labender, and
to all de young ladies to home, who, I hopes to have de happiness to see-
in good health and spirits, livhen Thab opportunity to wisit dem, which appears werry long indeed since I hab—almost an age. 1 take de liberty
to send a pair of most superfine stockings, of de flesh-colour silk, of de
newest fashion, for each of de young ladies, which I hope dey will do me
de honour to wear in remembrance of me ; and now I be,
My dear Labender,
Your most obedient help,
Cato Mignionettb.
-REGIMENT OF
NO. III.
LETTER
PROM CAPT.AIN  HALTFRONT OF  THE-
FOOT, TO LT. FUGLEMAN.
My Dear Fugleman— \,
You will naturally inquire how I like the Great Western, the
speed and splendour of which has been the theme of every newspaper,
for the last year, and will, perhaps, be somewhat surprised to read the
account I am now about to give you. I own that I fear my narrative
will appear to you as the production of a disordered mind, the effusion"
of low spirits, and an irritable disposition ; and that you will regard me
as the voluntary victim of a morbid sensibility. I wish, for my own
sake, that this were the case, and that the day might arrive when I
could look back upon the degradation and misery I have recently en- the great western.
33
dured, as only imaginary. But, alas ! my dear fellow, it is no phantom
of the brain, but a sad reality—reality do I say, it falls far, very far
short of the reality whicJS no words can paint—no pen describe. There
are some things connected with the Great Western which, I am aware,
affect people differently, who are placed under different circumstances
from each other. For instance, steam navigation may be all very well
for those whose object is business; but mine happens to be pleasure;
or, for those who are in a hurry, which I am not; or, for such as considering time to be money, are desirous of economizing it; but I wish
to spend both, and to "spend them agreeably. To me, therefore, to
whom none of these considerations apply, it is an unmitigated evil.
My first disappointment, and one which gave me an early intimation
of much of the misfortune that was in store for me, was not enjoying aa
I had hoped, from the payment of forty-two sovereigns, the exclusive occupation of my state room. This is indispensable, I will not say to
comfort, but to common decency. I have the honour and pleasure of having a most delectable chum, who, besides many minor accomplishments,
chews tobacco, spits furiously, talks through his nose, and snores like a
Newfoundland dog. Many of his habits are too offensive even to mention, and you may therefore easily imagine what the endurance of them
for twenty-two days must have been. He constantly uses my towels
instead of his own. Whenever he brushes his hair (which I believe he
never dressed before) he uses my clothes-brush, and I am compelled to
refrain from that appropriated to my teeth, under an apprehension that it
has suffered a similar contamination. He is dreadfully sea-sick, and he
is either too indolent, or too ignorant to make use of the ordinary appliances. His boots are made of villanous leather, and actually poison
mo ; ^nd to add to my distress, he invariably draws back his curtain
that he may amuse himself by inspecting, at his leisure, the process of
my toilette. Bad as the air of my room is, I cannot venture at night to
open my cabin-door, for the purpose of ventilation; for the black servants sleep on the floor of the saloon, .and the effluvia is worse than
that of a slayer. Driven from my dormitory at daylight, I resort to the
poop-deck, to enjoy a little fresh air, but here I" am met by a host of
snobs and foreigners, who smoke incessantly. Stifled by the fumes of
tobacco, which I never could endure even when well and ashore, I am
soon compelled, in order to save my life, to dive again into the saloon.
In the descent, I find myself involved in the eddies and whirlpools of a
mob of some hundred and twenty passengers, hurrying to breakfast,
where cold tea, hard biscuits, greasy toast, stale eggs, and mountains
of cold meat, the intervening valleys of which are decorated with beefsteaks floating with grease, await me to tempt my delicate appetite.
Waiters, who never wait, and servants who order every thing, and
though deaf, are never dumb, fly from one end of the saloon to the other
in terrific haste, theatens to overturn every one that happens unfortunately
to be in their way. Vociferous claims for attendance that is never given,
and the still louder response of | coming sir," from him that never
comes, the clatter of many dishes, the confusion of many tongues, the
explosion of soda bottles, the rattle of knives and forks, the uproarous
laugh, the ferocious oath, the deep-toned voice of the steward, and the
shrill, discordant notes of the mulatto woman, create a confusion that no
head can stand and no pen describe. .Jt is absolutely appalling. The
onslaught, however, is soon over, the carnage ceases, and the hosts re-
tagre; but w-Uat^ rabble rout—blurry scurry, pell moll, helter shelter, to 34
THE letter-bag of
secure priority, to book yourself for—but I cannot go on—it cannot be
named.    Distressed, dejected, and ill, I return to the vacant saloon, when
Io ! two Africans, each bearing immense piles of plates, commence dealing them out like experienced whist players, and with a rapidity that is
perfectly astonishing.    These are followed by two others, who pitch, by
a sleight of hand, the knives and forks into their respective places, like
quoits, and with equal accuracy.    It is preparation for lunch—the gong
sounds, and the stream of passengers pours down the hatchway again,
with a rush similar to that of shipping a sea.    The wave rolls fore and
aft, and then surges heavily from one side to the other, and finding its
level, gradually subsides into something like a uniform surface.    All have
now found their places, save a lady immovably nailed to the wall by a
mulatto girl, in an unsuccessful attempt to pass in the narrow gangway.
The struggle to disengage themselves is desperate, but ineffectual, until
fifty people rise, and by displacing the table, give room for a passage.
What a nosegay for the bosom of an emancipating Jamaica Viceroy ! a
white rose budded on a black one—oh, the very odours exhaled by that sable beauty, suffocate me even at this distance of time'?   Now rise the mingled voices, the confused sounds, the din of corks, glasses, and plates^
but louder than before, for wine exhilarates ; and those who were unable
to rise to breakfast, have succeeded to join the party at lunch.    Again
the flock rises on the wing, and takes flight with a noise compounded of
the chattering of magpies and the cawing of rooks—the fragments are
gathered, and the ground cleared of the refuse of the repast.    I will enjoy this respite—I will while away the time with a book, and withdraw
my mind from the contemplation of my misery; but alas ! the same
earthenware gamblers appear again, to exhibit their tricks of plates, in
preparation for dinner.    I once more reluctantly mount the deck with
uneasy and unsteady steps, where*, after executing a variety of rapid evolutions on its greasy surface, rendered still more treacherous by fragments of orange-peel, I fall, heavily tripped by some kind protruding foot,
and am dreadfully cut in my face and hands by angular nutshells, which
are scattered about with the same liberality as the rind of the orange.
Shouts of laughter solace me for my misfortune, and coarse jokes in
English, German, French, and Yankee, assail me in all quarters.    There
is but one alternative—I will retire to my den, miscalled a state-room;
but alas !  my amiable chum has used my basin—my towel is floating on
it, as in pity to my sufferings  to hide its contents—and the ewer is
empty.    How are these evils to be remedied 1 the noise of the saloon is
too great for my feeble voice to be heard—the servants are too busy to
attend, and I am too weak to assist myself.    But what will not time, patience, and good nature effect 1    I have succeeded at last— my wounds
are covered with nlasters, my toilette effected—and lo !  the gong again
sounds—the harpies again assemble—and the same scene ensues that
was presented at breakfast and lunch.
But ah me! what a meal is the dinner! It is * scabies occupat ex-
tremum,' or the devil take the hindmost. I look around the table to see
if there is anything I can eat. There is a dish which I think I can try.
I cast an imploring look upon the steward and another upon the dish, or
rather on the spot where it stood, for it is gone, fled to another table and
returned no more. I must try again. There are fowls.—A wing with
a slice of ham, I think, I might venture upon, but alas ! he who carves
exclusively for himself and his party, has removed the wings and every
other delicate part, and sends me the dish and the skeletons to help •smmsm
THE GREAT WlSTERN.
35
myself.    I examine the table again, and again decide to make an effort
to eat, but the dinner is gone and the dessert has supplied its place.
Who are these fellow-passengers of mine 1 are they sportsmen 1 has
the word \ course' awakened the idea of a race, and do they eat for a
wager, or are they marketing and anxious to get the value of their money 1 Have they ever drunk wine before, that they call that port-wine
and water hock, or that sour gooseberry champaigne \ or do they ever
expect to drink again, that they call for it so often and so eagerly \ I
will now enjoy a little quiet—I will„enter into a conversation with my
neighbours ; but who shall I talk to 1 That old married couple annoy
me by showing their yellow teeth and snarling, and that new married
couple disgust me by their toying. I cannot speak Spanish, and that
German understands neither English nor French. There is no conversation ; the progress of the Ship—Niagara—machinery, and the price
of cotton and tobacco, are the only topics ; or if these standard tunes
admit of variation, it is an offer of a Pqhsh Jew to exchange a musical
snuff-box for your watch, or to cheat you in a bet on a subject that
admits of no doubt. I will follow Miss Martineau's advice, I will try'to
discover jj the way to observe,' I will study character.
What again, Mr. Dealer in delfts ! is there no respite for the teeth, no
time for digestion 1    Is eating and drinking the only business of life 1—
Clearing the table for tea, Sir—It is tea time—You will find it pleasanter
on deck.    Oh that deck, that treacherous deck ! the very thoughts of it,
and its orange-peel, pulverized glass, and broken nut-shells, make my
wounds bleed afresh.    But I will be more careful, I will take heed to my
ways, I will backslide no more, nor prostrate myself again before the
multitude : I will ascend and look that I fall not.    But hark !  who is
that unfortunate being, whose last agonizing shriek has thrilled me* with
horror, and who those hardened wretches that exult in his pain ? Whence
that deafening cheer, that clapping of hands, that uproarous stamping of
feet 1    Is death itself become a subject of merriment, and are the last
fearful moments of life a fitting occasion for laughter 1    It is a German,
who, merely because he is a German, must forsooth be able to sing, and
it is his screaming, that is delighting the mob and calling forth these
reiterated plaudits.—How brutal is ignorance, how disgusting is vulgar
pretension! but far above all these human voices rises that inhuman
sound of the gong, again, and summons this voracious multitude to their
fourth meal.    The herd is again possessed with the unclean spirit, and
i rushing violently down the precipitous descent, is soon lost in the vasty
depths below.    I will not follow them, but availing myself of the open
space they have deserted, avoid at the same time the tobacco and its
j^iicompaniments on deck, and the noise and gluttony of the cabin, and
enjoy for once the luxury of solitude.   My strength, however, is unequal
to the exposure—the night air is too cold, and the sea too rough for my
emaciated body.    Though revived, I am becoming chilled and suffer
from the spray, which now falls heavily.    The sound of the last plate
has died away, and I must retreat to avoid these repeated shower-baths.
Whist, loo, chess, drafts and back-gammon have fortunately produced a
comparative quiet; but how is this? I shall faint—the heat is dreadful	
the oppression perfectly intolerable. Fifty voices exclaim at once, the
skylight! open the skylight! death or the skylight!—It is opened, and
ere the cool breeze ventilates the tahtted atmosphere, sixty voices are
heard vociferating: it flares the candies ! it puts out the lights! the
draught on the head is insupportable, rfo two can agree in opinion, and
the confusion is indescribable.. S6
THE LETTEft-BAG Ot
I take no interest in the dispute ; fainting or freezing is alike to me*
I shall die, and die so soon, that the choice of mode is not worth conai»
dering. Heat or cold, or both in aguish succession—anything, in short,
is better than noise. I hope, Sow, at all events, that the eating for the
day is past.    Steward, come hither, steward—
Bring it directly, sir—
Nay—I called not for anything ; but come here, I wish to speak to you.
Have it in a moment, sir—I am waiting on a gentleman.
It is useless, I will inquire of my neighbour. Pray, sir, (and tremble
for his answer,) pray, sir, can yon inform me whether we are to have
supper 1
- Why, not exactly a regular supper, sir ; there should be, though; we
pay enough, and ought to have it : and, really, four meals a-day, at sea,
are not at all sufficient. It is too long to go from tea-time to breakfast,
without eating. But yon can have any thing you call for ; and I think
it is high time to begin, for they close the bar at ten o'clock—steward,
brandy and water. It is the signal; voice rises above voice, shout above
shout. Whiskey, rum, cider, soda, ham, oysters, and herrings—the demand is greater than the supply. Damn them, they don't hear! Why
the devil don't you come 1 Bear-a-hand, will yon ! Curse that six-foot,
he is as deaf as a post! You most particular, everlastin, almighty snail,
do you calculate to convene me with them are chicken fixings, or notl^
I hope I may be shot, if I don't reciprocate your inattention, by a sub-
s tract ion from the amount of your constitntional fees—that's a fact*
Blood-and-ounds, man, are you going to be all night!—Hoi dich der
Teufel! what for you come not 1 Diable!—Depeehez done bete.
The bar is shut, the day is past, the scene closes, the raging of the
elements is over, and a lull once more prevails. Not a sound is heard,
but the solitary tinkling of a spoon on the glass, as it stirs up the dregs
of the toddy, which is supped with miserly lips, that hang fondly and
eagerly over the last drop. I will read, now ; I will lose in the pathetic
story of Oliver Twist, a sense of my own miseries. It is one of the
few novels I can read. There are some touches of deep feeling in it.
Oh ! that horrid perfume; it is a negro—his shadow is now over me ; I
feel his very breath; my candle is rudely blown out, without either notice
or apology ; and the long, smoking wick, reeking of tallow, is left under
my nose, to counteract by its poison, the noxious effluvia of the African.
How dare you, sir 1 Orders, sir—ten o'clock—lights out in the saloon.
I have no objection to the order, it is a proper one ; and whether proper
or not, it is sufficient for me that it is an order; but it should be executed,
if not with civility, at least with decency. But I submit; I crawl off to
my den again, thankful that I shall be left alone, and can commune with
myself, in my own chamber, and be still. But no ! my chum is there ;
he is in the joint act of expectorating and undressing. It is a small place
for two to stand in; a dirty place to be in at alL But time presses, my
head swims in dizziness, and I must try. My coat is half off, and my
arms pinioned by it behind me ; and in this defenceless state, a sudden
roll of the ship brings my companion upon me, with the weight of an
elephant; and in the fall, he grasps ana carries with him the basin. We
slide from side ; we mop the floor with our clothes—but I cannot proceed. Niagara would not purify me ; the perfumes of Arabia wonld not
sweeten me. Oh, death ! where is now thy sting 1 Why didst thou
re spect me in the battle-field, to desert me in the hour of my need !
Why was I reserved for a fate like this ; to die like a dog ; to be pinioned
in a steamer. THE GREAT WESTERN.
57
If I should still survive, dear Fugleman, which I do not expect and cannot wish, I return not by a steamer. I shall go to Halifax and take passage in a Falmouth packet, where there is more society and less of a
mob, where there is more cleanliness and less splendour, where eating is
not the sole business of life, but time is given you to eat, where the company is so agreeable you seldom wish to be alone, but where you can be
alone if you wish ; in short, where you can be among Gentlemen.
Believe me, my dear Fugleman,
Yours always,
John Haltpront.
No. IV.
LETTER
-FROM  A MIDSHIPMAN   OF H.  M. SHIP LAPWING TO AN
OFffCER OF THE INCOIf&TANT.
Dear Jack— ||j|
Land ahead my boy, and to-morrow we come down withJHhe dust,
not coal dust, please the pigs, nor gold dust, for I never could raise the
wind to raisfethat kind of duslpSut real right down genuine Yankee dust
md no mistake.—What **Iost thon think of that, Jack 1 Oh it blew tilt
all was blue again, the whole voyage, but our smoking steed, the charm-
fr% Cinderclea, behaved nobly. She flew thro' the water like the stream
thro' the fine, she never broke a bucket, carried away a coal-skuttle, or
sprung a poker, but behaved like a dear little scullion as she is. She
paddled like a duck, and hissed like a swan. She ran a race with mother
Carets chickens, and beat them by a neck. Oh, she is a dear love of a
smoke, Jack. If we haven't had any distinguished ttring characters on
board, we have had the honour of carrying the " ashes of the grate" (old
pun that, Jack, but we always wear old clothes and fire old puns at sea,
you know) and although we have been accused of ' poking' our way
across the Atlantic,< t don't know how that applies to us, for we kept a
" straight course," ran like the devil, and cleared " all the bars." It was
a " stirring" time on board, every countenance was * lighted' up, and
though there was much* heat,' there was no . quarrelling.' * Falling out*
howevorwould be much less dangerous than I falling m,' and there is
some little difference between a " blow up" and a "blow ont," as you and
I happen to know to our cost.—We have lots of land-lubbers on board,
young agitators, fond of " intestine commotions," who are constantly
" spouting if**maidens, whose bosoms f heave;" young clerks, who " cast
up accounts;" custom-house officers, who " clear out;" sharpers given
to "over reaching," Jews, who at the taffrail "keep a pass over;" lawyers, who " take nothing by their motion;" doctors, who have " sick
visit*';" choleric people, who cannot "keep do#n their bill ^bankrupts,
who "give up all they have ;" spendthrifts, who "keep nothing long;"
idlers, who do nothing all day but " go up and down ;" men of business
exhibiting "bills of lading;" swindlers, who "cut and run ;" military
men, who " surrender at discretion;" boys, that quarrel and " throw up
at cards;" servants, that cannot " keep their places ;" auctioneers with
their going*—going—gone ; preachers, who say " they want but little here
belownor want that little long ;" hypocrites, that make "long faces ;"
grumblers, that are " open mouthed;" babblers, that " keep nothing in ;"
painters ever reluctant " to show their palette ;" authors, that^ cannot
conceal "their effusionsV* printers, that never leave "their sheets;"
Mia BHP5"
$S
THE   LETTER-BAG   OF
and publishers, that first 5 puff and then " bring forth their trashfff in
short, men of all sorts in " one common mess." Lord ! what fun it is,
clear Jack, to see these creatures. Good christians they are too, for they
* give and take.' They return all Jrihdness with interest. Charitable to
a degree, for they give all they have and " strain" a point to do their utmost. Candid souls ! they " keep nothing back," but " bring everything
forward" without any consideration for themselves ; although there is no
danger of death, they are resigned to die. Their pride is so humbled,
-that they no longer " carry their heads high" or are burthened with a
"proud stomach," but are contea|£o remain in the place they occupy.—
The vanities of dress they wholly discard, and would be disgusted at the
sight of new cloths or of finery.—They are abstemious at table, and taste
of the bitters of this world on principle.-JtWhat can be more edifying,
Jack 1 It is as good as a sermon, is it not 1 Then when they stand on
t'other tack, it is as good as a play.—Hallo ! what's this 1 Oh dear !
I beg your pardon, sir, I do indeed, but when it comes on so sudden, it
blinds me so I can't see; I am so sorry I mistook your hat for the basin
—-Don't mention it, madam, but oh Lord ! my stool is loose behind, and
away we both roll together into the lee-scuppers, and are washed first forward and then aft. Hope you are not hurt, madam, but I could not hold
on behind, it came so sudden, we shipped a sea—I hope I shall neVer see
a ship again. It's a wonder she did not go down that time, for she was
pooped-—Oh gir ! did you ever 1 do call the steward, please, do take me
below, I shall never survive this, I am wet through—if ever I reach land,
nobody will catch me afloat again. I am so ashamed I shall die, I hope
I didn't—certainly not, madam, the long cloak prevented any thing of that
kind. Well, I am so glad of that, pray, take me down while I can go,
for I have swallowed so muqh of that horrid salt water.—Pretty dialogue
that, is it not 1~
, Qh! my dear fellow ! you may go round the world in a king's ship
(Qu.een's ship, I mean, God bless her ! and raise up a host of enemies to '
fljer, that we may lick them and get our promotion); you may go round
ii|J)ut you npver go into itmlf you want to see life, take a trip in an
Atlantic steam packet. That's the place where people \ show up' what
they are. But stop! Just look at that poor wretch near the wheel:
how white he looks about the gills ! sitting wrapped up in his cloak, like
patience at a monument, waiting for his turn to turn in next, and not
caring how soon it comes, either. He is too ill to talk and hates to be
spoken to, and for that very reason I will address him. How do you find
ypurself now, sir 1 I hope you are better. He dreads to open hb mouth,
for fear be should give vent to more than he wishes. He shakes his
head only. Can I give you anything 1 Another shake is the only reply«4
A little sago 1 Jle is in despair, and gives two shakes. A little arrow-root,
with brandy in it 1 it is very good. He is angry ; he has lost his caution,
and attempts to answer; l)j<lt suddenhf placing both hands to his mouth,
runs to the tafrail. Poofefellpw ! he is very i)l, yery Ul, indeed. He returns and takes his seat, and his head falls on his bosom ; but he must
be rough-ridden before he will be well-trained, so here is at him again ;
Pray let me send you a little soup with Cayenne. He gives half a dozen
angry shakes of the head. But the only thmg to be relied upon is a
slice of fat pork fried with garlic ; it is a specific. He makes a horrible
mouth, as if the very idea would kill him ; shuts his eyes close, as if it
would prevent his hearing ; and folding his cloak over his head, turns
j-pund and lies down on the deck in despair.    The officers .of the watch TatfE   GREAT'  WESTERN.
S§
ancfXexchange winks, and I pass on to the saloon, for a glass of (what
the navy has gone to the devil without, since it has become too fashion3
able to use it as Nelson did), for a glass of grog.
But, Oh ! my eyes ! look here, Jack ! bear a hand this way, my boy !
Down the companion-way with you, as quick as you can, and look at that
poor devil pinned to the state-room door, with a fork through the palm
of his hand, which the steward struck there in a lee lurch.    Hear him,
how he swears and roars ; and see the steward  standing looking at him,
and hoping he hasnt hurt him : as if it could do anything else but hurt
him.    See what faces he makes, as if he was grinning through a horse-
collar at Saddler's Wells.    What a subject for Cruikshanks !    I must
not suffer him to be released till I sketch him.    Where the devil is my
pencil ? a guinea for a pencil!    Oh ! here it is, and the paper too.    I
must have this~living caricature.    Stop, steward, don't touch that fork
Tdryour life ; call the doctor ; perhaps you have struck &n artery, (I have
him)—the blood might flow too freely, (I wish he would  hold  still)—or
yon might wound a nerve, (he twists about so there is no sketching him}
—in which case lockjaw might perhaps ensue, (how he roars ( there is nor
catching that mouth)—rustly iron is very dangerous to wounds, (I have
him now, by Jove !)—especially to wounds in the hand and feet, (that
will do now ; let us see what he will do).    ".Steward, why don't youi
' fork out,' you rascal?    'Draw,' you  scoundrel, or Pl| mustier you.
That * fork' has spoiled the carving of the door.    * Palmy' times, these !
That ' tine' is not * tiny,' sir.    It is a * great bore' to be bored through the
hand in that ' unhandsome' manner." I beg pardon, sir, says the steward,
it was not my fault; but this  ship is so * unhandy,' it is, indeed, sir.
Excuse me, my good fellow, I say (for I cannot lose this  opportunity)
—excuse me; but you have put a stopper on your whist playing. " How
so, sir?"   Your adversary can see into your hand.    " Humph !    Don't
thank you for your joke."    It would be a devilish good joke if you did*
So now, Jack, you see what a " trip of pleasure" means among thesg
land lubbers : and that is better than " pinning your faith to my sleeve,'*
as die steward did to that sea-calf s of a passenger.
But here comes a great vulgar conceited ass of a Cockney, who thinks
we are bound to talk of nothing, during the voyage, but steam machinery,
two subjects which I detest above all others ; they are so technical, so
shoppy, so snobbish.    Hear him.
Pray, Mr. Piston (who the devil told him my nane was Piston ? It's
one I hate, it sounds so Brummagem-like, and I hate a fellow that uses
it unceremoniously)—Pray, sir, do you know the principle of this
boat?
I have that honour, sir; he is Captain Claxton, of Bristol.
No*, no; I beg pardon; not who, but what is the principle ?
Oh \ exactly; now I take. The principal, sirris 80,000 pounds, and it
pays 9 per cent, interest.
See how he flushes ; his choler is rising; he is establishing a raw; if
he gets through this examination, he will eschew me for the future, as he
would the devil. Take my word for it, he will never put me into the
-witness-box again.
You don't comprehend me» sir. I merely wished to ask yon if it were
on the high or the low principle.
) On the high, decidedly, sir ; for they charge .£43 10*. for a passage,
which is high, yery high, indeed. The object, sir, is to exclude low
people, although it does not effectually answer even that purpose (and X 40
THE LETTER-BAG Of
gave him a significant look). You observe they take no steerage passengers, though it might perhaps be an improvement if they did (another
significant look, which the insignificant lubber appears to take). Odi pro-
fanum vulgus et arceo (I like that last word, it is so expressive of the
cold shoulder) is the very proper motto of the very exclusive Board of
Directors at Bristol.
I am sorry I have not been so fortunate as to render myself intelligible,
(says my scientific friend, his ire visibly getting the steam up): I desired to know if it were on the high pressure or low pressure principle.
Oh ! that is quite another thing, sir ; I conceive it is on the low-pressure ; for the lower a thing is pressed, the greater the compression—do
you take ? the greater the power. For instance, there is the screw, invented by Hyder Aulu, or Hyder Alley, I forget which, is—he bites his
lips, his eyes dialate, but it won't do—it's no go. I am afraid I am
troublesome, he says, with some confusion. We bow, and touch our hats
with much formality, and part, I hope, to meet no more. Poor fun, this,
after all; gray hairs ought to be respected, particularly when supported
by a large stomach. Seniores priores ; or the old hands to the bow oars ?
but, still, they should mind their stops, and not be putting in their oars on
all occasions. Nemo omnibus horis sapit, it is not every one with hoary
hairs that is wise. How I should like to make love, if it was only for
the fun of the thing, just to keep one's hand in ; but, alas ! all the young
girls are sick—devilish sick ; and, I trust, I need not tell you that a lovesick girl is one thing, and a sea-sick girl is another. I like to have my
love returned; but not my dinner. Balmy sighs, and sour ones;
heaving bosoms, and heaving stomachs, are not compatible. Dear
Jack, say what you will, and love will fly out of the window, when
—but, in mercy to the dear creatures, whom * I really do love,' I will
drop the subject, or rather throw it up at once. Now, I wiH take a rise
out of that cross old spinster on the camp-stool. I hate an old maid, and
never lose an opportunity of showing them up. It may be savage, I admit : but man is an animal, bipes implumis, risibilis, as Aldrich has it.
What a definition of a man, implumis ; and yet I have seen fellows with
feathers in their caps, too, and hope to have one in mine before I die ;
but, still, I must have my lark, let who will pay the piper. Here, boy,
run forward, and tell that young scrape-grace, George, that if he does not
do what I order him, he may " look-out for squalls." Oh, dear*r*Mr.
Piston, says the lady, pricking up her ears, like a cat a listening, do you
really think there is any danger of " squalls 1" Oh, very much so, indeed,
madam ! but don't be alarmed, there is no danger, if—no,, no, there is
no danger, none at all, if—j
If what, sir 1 do, pray, tell me f
Why, no danger-, madam, if there aint a blow-up ; but, pray donl be
frightened, it can't reach you.
Reach me,, ot! why it will reach us alL A blow-up ! oh how shocking!^ Do be so good, sir, as to sit down and tell me—how is it, si*^
Don't be alarmed, madam ; I am sorry you overheard me; there is no
danger—not the least in the world, nothing but a little blow-up, it will be
over in a minute ;
Over in a minute, sir ! but where shall we all be ? we shall all be over
in a minute, too—allvverboard !
I assure you, madam, there is no danger. Do be composed ; they are
very common.
I know it, sir; they are always blowing-up, are steamboats ; three
hundred lives lost on the Mississippi the other day. THE GREAT WESTERN.
41
Three hundred and eighty, said 1. '.^m
iTes, three hundred and eighty, said s&e ; and every day, almost, the;f
are blowing-up. There was the Santa Anna, and the Martha, and the
Three Sisters, and the Two Brothers, and I don't know how many more,
blown up.
Steamboats, madam ?
Yes, steamboats, sir ! they are very dangerous; never again will I
put my foot on board of one of them. Oh, dear, I wish I was out of this
horrid steamer!
But I said nothing of steamboats, madam.
Do you call blowing-up, nothing, sir? scalding to death, sir, nothing,
sir; drowning, nothing, sir; being sent out of the world in that awful
manner, nothing, sir ?
But, madam, pray don't be excited; I wasn't talking of steamers at all.
Then, what were you talking of, sir T Oh, dear f I am so frightened,
so dreadfully frightened ; I feel so shockingly nervous ; I am all of a
tremour ; what were yout talking of, then, sir?
I was merely saying, madam, that, if boy George did not clean my
boots, he might look out for squalls, for I would give him a blowing-up,
which means-	
' Jjffes, yes, sir, I know what it means ; and then drawing herself up as
stately as a queen, I'll not trouble you any farther, sir.
Not the least trouble in the world, madam, said I, rising, and smiling,
not the least trouble in the world, madam; rather a pleasure, I assure
you.
Yes, my dear fellow, if you want to see the world, take a trip in the
Great Western, or some of those wacking large Atlantic steamers, and
you will see more fun, and more of human nature, in a week, than yon
will see in the " Inconstant" in a twelve-month; but whether you follow
this advice or not, recollect that, fair weather or foul weather, by land or
by sea, by day or by night, you have a fast friend in old
ToBlPlSTON. ■
No. V.
LETTER
FROM JOHN SKINNER, BUTCHER, TO MARY HYDE.
Dear Mary—
You wouldn't believe me when I told you I was off in the Great
Western, to see a little of the other side of the world ; but it's cum true,
for all that, like many a more unlikelier thing has cum afore now ; and
here I am, half-seas Over, as the teetotallers call something else, and may
be a little m<$re. I likes it very much indeed, all but being wet all the
time r but it's the nature of the sea to be wet, and for a new recruit, I
stands it ndbly, only I can't keep my feet, for Pve been floffed oftener
thanany man in the ship. My heels has a great inclination' to rise in the
World, shoeing what the sole of a butcher is; and I shall soon walk as
well on my head as my feet. It is lucky you aint here, dear Mary, this
sort of work wouldn't suit you ; you was always giddy-Readed.
The sailors undertook to pass tfieir jokes upon me, when I first came
on board, calling me old Skinner* and butcher, and you with the smock-
frock and breeches, and so on. Itrs a way they have with landsmen; but
it isn't every landsman that's green, for all that. They are a set of lubberly, unmannerly rascals as ever I see. Whenever I asked one of them
1 D2 42
THE  LETTER-BAG OT
fh
to help me, he said it's my turn below, or its my turn on deck, and who
was your lackey last year, or does your mother know you are out. Today, when I fell on the broad of my back, they began running their rigs as
usual, saying, pull down your smock-frock, John Skinner, or you w3S
show your legs, come to me and I'll help you up, and, how does it feel,
butcher. Try it, says I, alwtyou'll know; and I knocked two of them
down like bullocks. It made them very civil afterward, calling me sir*
and Mr. Skinner. It improved their manners vastly. The steward and
me is great friends, and I get my grog in his room.
When I takes down the milk, I gets a glassof brandy ; and when I pufll
my hand on his side to steady me while I drink it, and feel five inches of
good clear fat on his ribs, it makes me feel wicked, to think if I had the
dressing of him, how beautiful he would eut-up. My fingers get on the
handle of my knife inwoluntary, like, as if they would long to be into
him. He is stall-fed, like a prize ox; his fat is quite won^ful, which
is more than I can say of our stock. One ©f my cows has gone dry,
which comes of her being wet all the time, and net having room to lie
down in The salt-water has made corn-beef of her, already. She is of
pole breed, and the crossest, contrairiest beast I ever see. She have
rubbed off her tail, at last—a rubhin so, the whole time. The other cow
is a nice little bullock; but she had a calf too early, so she had ; her
mouth is as young as a babby's—tho' in another year she will be a good
beast enough. The poultry, poo* things,, are very sickly, and would all
^ie if I didn't kill the weakliest, for the eabin, to save their lives—and, so
is the pigs, so much swimming don't agree with them ; and when they
stagger, and won't eat, I serve them the same way ; for it stands t©>
reason, they can't thjfive when they gives over eating, that way.
We travels day and night here all at the same pace, up.hill and down
dale, and this I will say, the Cornwall hills are foois to some of the seas
we see from the ship; but it's here goes—who's afraid—and down we
dashes as hard as we can lay legs te» il.    They carries the light ©n the
top instead of each side of the box, as we db ashore, which makes passing
other lines in the night very awkward, for there is no hedge to mark the
road, and show you the distance of the drains ; but it's hke Saulsberry
plain in a snow storm, all white as far as yeu can see, and no mile-stones
or lamp-posts; and you can't reign up short, for it takes some time to
put the drags on the wheel to bring her to a stand still     How they finds
their way in the dark is a puzzle to me, but I suppose they have travelled
it so often, they have got it by heart like.    I often think if the lynch pin
was to cum out, and they to lose a wheel, or the two to cum off, or the
axle-tree break, what a pretty mess they'd be mr and yet arter all, as for
speed, big as she is, I'd trot her for a treat with master's pony, and not
be a bit afeard.    But what under the sun could make the Bristol people
call her a boat, for I'm positive she is the biggest ship I ever see ! They
have to hang up two bells in her, one aft, and one in the forepart, for one^
aint enough to be heard all over her.    The bow, they call " far we£tf*v
it is so far off—the starn, " down east," and the sentre, where diem black
negro-looking fellows, the stokers live, " Africa."  The engines is wonderful, that's sartain.    They work like a baker needing do for bred, and the
digs it gives is surprising.   The boilers is big enough to scald at one dip, ail
the pigs in an Irish steamer, and would be a fortune to a butcher:    The
fire-places is large enough to roast a whole hog at once, and if there is a
thing I love, it's roast pork.    The hard, red, crisp, cronchy skin is beautiful, as much as to say, come, stick it into me afore I am cold.    It puts THE GREAT WESTERN.
43
me in mind of your lips, dear Mary, both on 'em is so red, so plump, so
enticing, and both taken with a little sarce. Yes, I never see a pig, I
doesn't think of you, it's cheeks is so round and fat like youm. The rib,
too, means a wife everywhere ; hut I won't say no more, for fear I should
find I had gotten the wrong sow by the ear. We have a great deal of
company on board, consisting of two hundred men and women, two cows,
ten pigs, besides fowls and mulatto girls. One of these young women
Isn't a bad looking heifer neither; she is constantly casting sheep's eyes
at me, but I aint such a calf as she takes me to be, so don't be jealous,
Mary. She thinks I don't know she has a touch of the tar-brush—so
says she, Mr. Skinner, the water is very bad, aint it ? Very, I says—it's
keeping it in them nasty iron tanks, that makes it look so black, and taste
so foul. Exactly, sir, says she, the water has got so much iron in it, I
dreadful afraid of lightning, it will make me so attractive. You don't
need that, says I, miss, your hone attractions is so great of themselves.
Oh! says she, Mr. Skinner, how you do flatter—but really, it do affect
me dreadful, especially my memory, which is quite rusty, and then it
colours my skin and spoils my complexion, it comes thro' the pores and
iron-moulds my very Unnin, it do indeed. Wasn't that capital, Mary!
a mulatto wench, swearing it was the iron made her face copper-colour'd ;
let the women alone for tricks, there's few can match them in that line.
How civil she is with Mr. Skinner. Will you have a piece of pie—or,
Mr. Skinner, here's an orange—or, Mr. Skmner, lend me an arm, sir,
please. But soft words butter no parsnips—it won't do—it's no go that.
I'll lend her an arm, or anything else to oblige her, out of civility, but as
for my heart, that's for you, dear Mary—and tho' I say it, that shouldn't
say it, there aint arstouter nor a truer one in all Gloucestershire, as you
will find some o' these days.
My ambition is to be able to set up my own man, in my own shop,
afore I die, with prime beef and mutton in it, and you with your white
apron on—the prettiest peace of meat of them all; and to hear folks say,
as they pass, " Damn that fellow, Skinner ! he has the prettiest wife and
the best mutton in all Bristol:" that's what I am at, and no mistake. I
wouldn't like to follow buchering all my life in a ship, for it's too unsteady. Me and the half-dress sheep sometimes both comes down together by the run, all of a smash ; and tumbling about with a knife in
your hand, or atween your teeth, is not safe for your own hide or other
people's. No longer agone than yesterday I"cut across the canvass trousers of a sailor, and one inch more would a fixed him for life. Besides,
capsising the bucket, which will happen sometimes, makes a great fuss
among the sailors, who have to scrub up all clean with a great big stone
they call holy-stone, cause they swears over it so. After all, life in a
steamer ain't so pleasant as life in Bristol, especially when work is done,
seeing friends at the ale-house, or walking of a Sunday over to Clifton
with somebody as shall be nameless. One question more and I'me done :
"Who courts standing with their heads over it, at the stile, one on one side
of it, and t'other on the.other? Well, it arnte the donkeys, tho' they
comes there sometimes ; and it tante our cow and squire Maze's old blind
bull, tho' they do come there to rub noses across the bars sometimes,
too; but it's a pretty girl what wears a bonnet with blue ribbons, that do
cum to see a well-bipt young butcher in Bristol; and mind what I telly,
the next time he comes there, him and Blue Ribbons is both on one side
of the stile, in less time than wink, mind that, for I'me not joking no 44 THE LETTER-RAG 07
more than a parson.    Hopping that it may come soon, and that you will
be as true as I be,
I remain till death, Jj||
Your loving friend,
John Skinner,   j
No. VI. V
LETTER
FROM ONE OF THE SOCIETY OF FRIH9SM TO HER KINSWOMAN.
Esteemed Friend—
Thee will be pleased to hear that we are now in sight of America, to
which country the Lord has graciously vouchsafed to guide us in safety-
through many perils, giving us permission at times to see the light of the
sun by day, and sometimes the stars by* night, that we may steer our
lonely Way through the dreary waste and solitary expanse of tile pathless
ocean. Of a truth, he faithfully and beautifully expressed* the proper
feeling of a Christian, who said, " ThoUgh I walk through the valley of
the shadow of death, I will fear no' evil, for thou art with me ; thy rod
and thy staff comfort me." And now, esteemed and kind friend, my
heart yearneth toward thee, and my ffrst thought on approaching this
strange land, as my last on leaving that of my forefathers, resteth on thee,
my early companion, my good counsellor, my well-beloved sister. How
often, in the stillness of night, when alone in my bed, has thy image been
ealled up before me, by the fond recollections of the past! How often
have I longed for thee amid' the raging of the tempest, that my heart,
though resigned to meet whatever might betide it, might catch the power
of adding hope to fortitude, from the cheerful aspect of thy countenance !
And1 how often, amid the vain and frivolous scenes that I have daily min4*
gled in on board of this ship, have I wished for thy conversation, thy companionship and support! Strange sensations have affected me* by such
associations as I have had here. A maiden and her brother, from London, are fellow-passengers. She is very affable and kind, very condescending in her manners, humble-minded, though of high birth, and of a
great talent for conversation. She is beloved by all, and has won kind'
regards from every body. Her attire is what is called in the gay world
" fashionable." It is composed of the most* beautiful fabrics, and, though
rich, has much simplicity. I sometimes ask myself—Why do I call this
vain or idle ? If Providence decks the birds of the air with variegated
and brilliant plumage, and endows the flowers of the field with splendid
colours; if the rose boasts its delicate tints, the shrubs their fragrant
blossoms, and the vine its tendrils and its wreaths, can these things be
vain 1 The fflies toil- not, neither do they spin,;, and yet Solomon1 in all
his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If we who have dominion
over them are not euifeelves clothed by nature, was it not an intimation
that our toilet was left to ourselves, that itT might suit the seasons and
our tastes, that it might be renewed when old, and please the eye, and
do justice to the symmetry and beauty of our form ? When I look at this
lovely maiden, and see her in this vain attire, and observe that she is not
rendered vain thereby herself, forgive me, Martha; but I cannot help admitting the question does arise to my mind—" Can this be sinful ? Does
it not afford employment to the poor, profit to the mechanic and manufacturer, and diffuse wealth that avarice might otherwise hoard ?" To-day the great western.
45
she came into my cabin and asked me to walk the deck with her, and as
I sought my bonnet, said, " My dear, suffer me to see how you would
look in mine, my pretty friend," and then stood off and lifted up both
hands and exclaimed, " How beautiful! How well it becomes that innocent face! Do look at your sweet self in the glass, my love. How
handsome ! is it not 1 Nay, blush not; be candid now, and say whether
it is not more becoming than that little pasteboard Quaker bonnet of thine.
Such a face as yours is too lovely to be immured in that unpretending
piece of plainness, as you yourself would be to be imprisoned in a nunnery :
Full many a face with brightest eye serene
Those plain unfashionable bonnets bear; &£i
Full many a rose they doom to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness 'mong the ringlets there.
Nay, said I, dear lady, now thee convinces me that the Friends very
properly forbid the use of those vain and idle decorations, for thee
maketh me vain. Thee has summoned up more pride in my heart, in
those few brief minutes, than I knew before to have existed within me.
Pray take it back ere I am spoiled by thy praise or thy wordly attire.
" You would soon learn not to be vain of them, when you had been used
to them: am I vain ?" No, indeed, said I, by no means ; thee is not
vain, but far, very far from it; and I could not help thinking, neither
should I be vain, if, like her, I wore them daily.
Do not be alarmed, Martha, thee must not think I am going to adopt
the dress of these people ; I have no such thoughts ; but me thinks we
place more importance upon this subject than it deserves ; but, perhaps,
my understanding is too weak to penetrate the reasons wisdom assigns
for their exclusion. Her brother is a captain in the army—very tall,
very polite, and very handsome. His eyes are uncommonly intelligent,
and so bright, I cannot look at them when he speaks to me, for they
seem to see through mine into my heart, and read all that is there.
There is nothing there, thee knoweth, but what he or any one else might
read, except that I do not want him to know, what I should be ashamed
to tell him, that I think him so handsome, so very handsome. He
swears sometimes, which is such a pity. I heard him say, yesterday, to
another officer that is on board, how loyely that Quaker girl is, by G— I
She is the sweetest girl I ever saw ! She is a perfect beauty—what
eyes ! what a bust—what feet—and then he swore an oath, I must not
repeat-—she was an angel! How shocking to be spoken of in such language of profane praise, by a man whose business is war, and who is
familiar with swords, and guns, and weapons of destruction. That oath
made me shudder, especially, as I knew I was the innocent cause of it;
and yet he is so gentle, his manner so kind, and his conversation so intelligent, that I am sure, he is not aware of this habit, which he has
caught without knowing it, from others. He does not agree with his
sister about dress. He told me he thought there was great elegance in
the simplicity of the Quaker dress—that there was a modest beauty in it,
particularly becoming young maidens—that he considered the way fashionable ladies dressed, was disgusting, and that the muslin that half concealed, half revealed our charms, was uncommonly attractive. I do not
know how it is, I fear this man of war. I abhor his swearing, and never could
love him, no, never ; and yet I do like to hear him talk to me, his voice
is so musical, and his discourse so modest and suitable for female ear.
He has seen much of foreign parts, and has helped me to pass many a 46
THE   LETTER-BiG  6*
weary hour.    His anecdotes are both amusing and instructive.    How
strange a contradiction is man!    He swears, because I heard him swear
about me, and yet there is an air of piety that pervades his discourse,
that is very pleasing.    If thee had heard the terms of just indignation
with which he related the Polygamy of the Turks, and how they ought
to be hung, that had so many wives, thee could not believe it was the
same person who used profane oaths.    I think, if he was one of the
Friends, instead of Captain of the Queen's host, I should fear to be so
much with him, lest my affections should outstrip his.    Of the other passengers, I cannot say much; they play at cards and throw the dice, and
for money too, and drink a great deal of wine, and talk very loud.    It is
a discordant scene, and very noisy, for there are people of all nations
here.    Their prejudices and predilections are amusing.    The French
cannot eat sea biscuit, they are used to soup.    The Jews will not touch
pork.    The teetotals  abjure wine  and strong drink.    The Catholics,
every now and then, refuse meat, and eat only fish.    The English abhor
molasses, and the Yankees abuse French wines.    The foreigners detest
rum, and tobacco is a constant source of discussion; yet amid all this
there is no quarrelling.    I have not been sea-sick myself at all, though
the captain was for two days, and it was fortunate for him his sister was
on board to minister to his wants.    He is very courageous.    During the
dreadful gale we had, he asked me to go on deck, and see how beautiful
the ocean looked in such a tempest, and he supported me with his arm
in the kindest manner.    As we passed the cabin of the missionary passenger on deck, we heard music, and stopped to listen ; it was a hymn,
that he and several persons joined in singing.    As it rose and feU on the
blast, its melancholy tones of supplication had a striking effect, and
touched the heart with sadness.    What a fitting time this would have
been, to have appealed to him against the irreverent use of His name,
who was walking abroad on the waters! but my heart failed me, for
just as I looked at him to speak, I encountered those eyes, these beautiful, speaking, searching eyes, that so unaccountably compel me to withdraw mine, and cause a kind of confusion.    Perhaps such another opportunity may not occur again.    I felt interested in him on account of
his lovely sister, who is all gentleness and goodness, and although I abhor war, and fear warriors, and shall never forget his profaneness in calling an humble maiden hke me an angel; yet It is the only fauft he has,
and it would be cruel to regard him with averted looks, or frowns of indignation.
Indeed, one cannot harbour such thoughts at sea, where the heart is
impressed by its mystery, elevated by its sublimity, and awed by its
power—vast—restless, trackless, unfathomable and inscrutable, what
an emblem it is of the ubiquity and power of God ! How many ideas it
suggests, how it awakens the imagination, how it subdues and softens
the heart! How vast are the treasures of this great store-house of the
world ! How many kind, generous, and faithful beings has the sea folded in its bosom, and oh how many have gone down to its caverns,
amid the thunders of war, with the guilt of blood upon their hands, to
realize what man, sinful man, miscalls glory! Of vessels wrecked, or
burned, or foundered, the number must have been fearfully great, and
oh what aching hearts, agonizing shrieks, and lingering deaths has it
witnessed ! I know not how it is, I cannot look abroad upon this world
of waters, without being strongly impressed with a melancholy feeling
of interest in those untold tales ; those hidden annals; those secrets, of THE   GREAT WESTERN.
47
the vasty deep. If the captain thought as I did, he would not lightly—
but I forget, I only mention his name, because there is really so little to
write about, that is»worth a thought in this great floating caravansary^
When I arrive at New York, which I hope will be on the 3d morning of
the 2d week of this month, I shall write thee again.
Rebecca Fox.
P. S. I heard the weather in Philadelphia is excessively hot, and that
it is necessary to wear thin clothing, to avoid the yellow (ever. So thee
will please to send me the finest and thinest muslin thee can find, for my
neck ; and though I may not wear Leghorn or Palmetto, yet a gauze
bonnet would not be so heavy as mine, in this intense heat, nor intercept
so painfully all air. Delicate lace gloves, methinks, would confer similar
advantages.-r-The captain has just inquired of me, what route we take
on our arrival, and says, it is remarkable, that he and his sister had fixed
on the same tour, and leave New York by the same conveyance we do ;
I had wished for her company, and am much pleased to be favoured with
it. RSm
No. VII.
HIS FRIEND AT  FRED-
LETTER
FROM A NEW BRUNSW1CKER  TO
ERICTON.
My dear Carlton—
You will be surprised to hear I am already on my return, but my business having been all satisfactorily arranged, I had no inclination to remain
any longer away at a time when our commerce might possibly receive an
interruption from the mad proceedings of our neighbours. I am delightr
ed with England and the English," and feel proud that I participate in
the rights and privileges of a British subject; but I must reserve what I
have-to say on this subject unm we meet, for if I begin on this agreeable
theme, I shall never know when to leave off. I have been up the Rhine
since I saw you, and, notwithstanding that I am so familiar with, and so
attached to our own magnificent river, the St. John, I should have been
enraptured with it, if I had never heard of it before ; but Byron has bedeviled it as Scott has Lock Katrine. It is impossible to travel with
pleasure or with patience after a Poet. Their glasses magnify, and when
you come to use your own eyes, you no longer recognise the scene for
the same presented by thejrmagic lanterns. Disappointment constantly
awaits you at every step—you become angry in consequence, and instead
of looking for beauties, gratify your spleen by criticising for the pleasure
of finding fault. Viewing it in this temper, the lower part of the Rhine
is as flat and level as any democrat could wish, "and the upper part as high,
bold, and overbearing as any outocrat could desire. Then the ancient
ruins, the dilapidated castles, the picturesque and romantic towers ofthe
olden times, what are they ? Thieves' nests, like those of the hawk and
vulture, built on inaccessible crags, and about as interesting. The vine-
yards, about which my imagination had nm riot, the luxuriant, graceful,
and beautiful vine, the rich festoons, what are they ? and what do they
I resemble ? Hopgrounds ? I do injustice to the men of Kent, they are not
half so beautiful.—Indian corn fields of Virginia ? they are incomparably
inferior to them—oh! honest entrant bushes trained and tied to their
stakes, poor, tame, and unpoetical.—Then the stillness of death pervades
all.   It is one unceasing, never-ending flow of waters—the same to-day, 48
THE  LETTER-BAG  OF
to-morrow, and for ever—the eternal river: here and there a solitary
steamer labours and groans with its toil up the rapid stream. Occasionally a boat adventures, at the bidding of some impatient traveller, to cross
it. But where is the life and animation of our noble river; the busy
hum of commerce ; the varied, unceasing, restless groups of a hardy and
enterprising population ? I know not; but, certainly, not on the water.
Dilapidated towers frown on it; dismantled halls open upon it; the
spectres of lying legends haunt it; and affrighted commerce wings its
way to more congenial streams: It made me melancholy. May poetry
and poets never damn our magnificent river with their flattering strains,
as they have done this noble one, to the inheritance of perpetual disappointment. Who ever has sailed up the St. John's, without expressing
his delight at finding it so much more beautiful than he had anticipated ?
and why ? because" he had heard no exaggerated account of it. Who
ever ascended the Rhine without an undisguised expression of disappointment, if he dared to utter such treason against the romance of the world,
or a secret feeling of vexation, if he were afraid to commit himself—and
why 1 because he had heard too much of it. And yet the St. John is not
superior to the Rhine ; nay, as a whole, I doubt if it is quite equal to it;
but it gives more satisfaction, more pleasure, for the reason I here assign. Scenery cannot be described; whoever attemps it, either falls
short of its merits, or exceeds them. W7ords cannot convey a distinct
idea of it, any more than they can of colours to the blind. Pictures might,
if they were faithful; but painters are false, they either caricature or
flatter. But the poet is least to be trusted of all; he lives in an atmosphere of fiction, and when he sketches, he has mountains, skies and cataracts at command, and whatever is necessary to heighten the effect, is
obedient to his call. He converts all into fairy-land. Now, don't mistake me, old boy, I am neither undervaluing the Rhine, nojf the poets,
but that river needs no poets. Good wine requires no bush. Whether
we shall ever have a poet, I know not. Ship-building, lumbering, stockjobbing, and note-shaving, are not apt to kindle inspiration; but if we
shall ever be so fortunate, I most fervently hope he will spare—the river
—yes, par excellence—the river.
As I shall not be able to proceed immediately to New Brunswick, I
avail myself of a leisure moment, to give you the latest intelligence respecting the disputed territory, which engrosses but little attention, just
now, I am sorry to say, on the other side of the water. It has given
rise, however, to much fun, the substance of which is thfe :—They say
that Governor Fairfield has passed all bounds ; and that a Fairfield and
a fight have a natural connexion. Little interest is taken in Loudon, in
the matter. Few Englishmen know the difference between Madagascar
and Madawaska; and our agents says, the British minister sometimes
calls it one and sometimes the other. They don't know whether Maine
means the main land, in distinction from an island, or whether the main
question, in distinction from minor questions. Stephenson told them it
was a quiz ; and that Van Buren had his Main as well as O'Conneft had
his tail; both of them being lions, and queer devils, and both of them
great hands at roaring. They, certainly, are odd fish, at fish river, and,
like mackarel, jump like fools at red cloth. They talked big, and looked
big at the big lake, but that was from making too free with the biggons
of liquor. It was natural they should think, at last, they were J big-uns'
themselves. It's no wonder they have such difficulty in raising men,
when they were all officers; and that there was no subordination, when
ti TBS'GREAT  WESTERN.
49
stumps."
the head
whistling
they were all in command. Hiring substitutes is a poor way of a-prox
mating to an army; and marching in the month of March, is no fun,
where the snow is up to the middle. A friend in need is a friend indeed,
but not when he is in-kneed in snow. Such marching must cost them
many a jj bummy dear;' while wading through creeks in winter, it is apt
to give a crick in the neck; and camping out on the ice, to terminate m
a severecamp-pain. Indeed, the patriots of Main must have been joking when they said they intended to run a line, for every body knew they
couldn't stand to if. If they were in earnest, all I can say is, that it is
the first time a legislature ever seriously proposed ro run their country.
Too many of them, it is to be feared, are used to it; for not a few of
them have cut and run thither from the British provinces. Playing at
soldiers is as losing an affair, as playing at cards, especially when you
have nothing higher than knaves to play with, and the honours are against
you.
There has been great laughter at the spoil; the timber dealers seizing
a cargo of deals, and a hundred logs, a deal too large to carry. It was
in their line. It was characteristic. It has been called the odd trick of
the Deal. The General putting a Boom across the Aroustook river, hats
proved how shallow he was. He has been compared to that long-legged gentleman, the Bittern, " booming from his sedgy shallow.'* It was
" cutting his stick" with a vengeance ; not marching, but " stirring his
It was " King Log" driving his ox-team, like Coriolanus, at
of the main body of the troops of the state of Maine, and
as he went, " Go where glory waits thee." Marching with
fifty pounds of pork on their backs, was certainly going the whole hog,
and a ration-al way of establishing a provision-al government at Madawaska. It is said the troops cut their way, not through the enemy, with
swords, but through the woods, like true Yankees, by " axeing." They
first run and cut, and then cut and run. They kept up a brisk fire, day
and night—not on the borderers, but on the ice on the border; and
would have had a field-day, no doubt, if there had been a field within
fifty miles of them, to have had it in; but, alas ! the only thing worth a
dam that they saw, was a saw-mill. To read the general's speeches,
you would have supposed he was boding with rage at the Brunswickers ;
whereas, he was only thinking of boiling maple sugar by battalions. He
was making a speck—licking sugar-candy, and not licking the enemy.
Gallant man! he was but too fond of the " lasses." What right has this
patriot to complain of his shooting-pains, who would not be at the pains
to shoot. In place of raising 800,000 men, as 'he boasted, he raised
800,000 dollars. Sume animos nee te vesano trade dolor ! Instead of
charging the British, and breaking their ranks, it is whispered they made
a dreadful charge against the state, and broke the banks. Fie upon
them! this is the way they serve their country ; but marching on the ice
is slippery work, and a little backsliding is to be expected, even among
patriots and heroes. Talking of patriots, puts me in mind of Canada,
which, I hear, has sent delegates (or delicates, as they are more appropriately called in the fashionable world) to England, to Taise themselvee
by lowering others, as an empty bucket does a full one in a well. Their
bucket, however, proved to be a leaky one, for by the time they got
home, it was found to contain nothing. It reminded me of the Irishman's empty barrel full of feathers. The story of the mails was one
grievance, but they found on their arrival the postage had been reduced
one half without asking, and fifty-five thousand a year granted, to convey
E 60
THE   LETTER-SAG  Of
\
their " elegant epistles" by steamers, via Halifax. 11 give thee all I
can, no more." Alas ! for these knights errant, what has become of
their coats of - mail'—I suppose they will next ask to be paid for letting
the mails travel through the country; for the more people bother Government, the better they are liked and the more they get, like crying,
scolding children, who worry those they can't pursuade. This is reversing the order of things, not teaching the young idea how to shoot;
but teaching the old one how to make ready and present. A * Taught'
Government however is a good one, for it encourages no " slack," but
* recede' and * concede' is the order of the day now " Cedendo victor
abibis." Loosening the foundations is a new way of giving stability to
a Government, while reform means destroying all form and creating that
happy state, that is " without form and void."
Responsible government in a colony means the people being responsible to themselves, and not to England ; dutiful children who owe obedience, but unable or unwilling to pay it, want to take the benefit of the
act and swear out.    A majority without property, who want to play at
impeachments with their political opponents and lynch them.    It is a repeal of the Union, and justice to Canada requires it.   It is a government
responsible to demagogues, who are irresponsible.    What a happy condition to live in !    Ah, my good friend, you and I who have disported in the
vasty sea of the great world, amid the monsters of the briny deep,
know how to laugh at  the gambols- of these little tadpoles of a fresh
water puddle.    I abhor ultras of all parties.    Dum vitant stulti vitia in
contraria eurrunt.    Good specimens, if they could be procured, of full
grown whole-hog Tories and Radicals from that distant but turbulent
colony, would be a valuable addition to the British Museum, in its natural
history department.    I will describe them, that you may make no mistake in the selection.    A colonial super-ultra-high Tory is of the genus
blockhead, species ape.    It is psylodactilus or long-fingered, and the
largest animal of the kind yet known.    It has great powers of imitation,
a strong voice, and the most extravagant conceit.    It is a timid creature,
.slow in its movements, and somewhat inactive, and lives in perpetual
alarm of ambush.    It cannot see distinctly by day, and its eyes resemble
those of an owl.   It has two cutting teeth in front "of each jaw.    The
ears are large, round, and naked, and the coat is soft, silky and rich.    Its
proportions are not good, and its sagacity greatly inferior to the European
species.    It is voracious, and very savage when feeding.    The ultra-
low radical is of the species rari, its colours consisting of a patched distribution of black, dirty white, and gray, though its real or natural colour
is supposed to be black.    It is known to be of a fierce and almost un-
tameable nature.    It moves in large droves, when it is very mischievous,
exerting a voice so loud and powerfnl, as to strike astonishment and terror
into those who hear it, resembling in this respect, as well as in its habits,
the radical and chartist of England.    It is impatient of control, but exhibits a sullen submission under firm treatment, though upon the slightest
indulgence, or relaxatian of discipline, it turns on its keeper with great
fury.    Its habits are predatory, its appetites unclean and ravenous, and
its general appearance disgusting.    You may find some of each in New
Brunswick, though perhaps not so full grown as in that land of pseudo
patriots and sympathisers, Canada.    Pray, send a good specimen of both
varieties to the Trustees, for people in England ridicule the idea that
there is room or suitable food for either in British America, the climate
and soil of which, they maintain, is not congenial to them.
,0^^ THE  GREAT  WESTERN.
51
Alas! for poor human nature, man is the same on both sides of the
Atlantic. Paradise was not good enough for some people ; but they
were served jnst as they ought to have been—they were walked out of it.
The lumber duties will not be altered this year, and we shall obtain that
respite from the fears of the speculative writers of the present day, that
their sense of justice or knowledge of business would fail to obtain for
us. Afraid to refuse, yet unwilling to give, they get credit neither for
their firmness nor their liberality. The unsteady conduct of these fellows reminds me of a horse that is not way-wise. When he gets
snubbed in one gutter, he jumps over to the other, and is never in the
straight road at all; and when you give him the thong, he rears up, refuses to draw, and kicks the carriage to pieces; resolved, that as he cannot take the load himself, no one else shall do it for him. But more of
this when we meet. In the mean time, I have the pleasure to subscribe
myself,
Yours truly,
^P *lf| Oliver QnAco.f^
NO.  VIII.
LETTER
FROM AN ABOLITIONIST TO A MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT.
My Dear Sir—
Having brought the emancipation of our sable coloured brethren in the
West Indies to a happy termination, I have resolved to undertake a per-
egrination into the United States, for a similar purpose ; animated to
this philanthropic work by a feeling of inextinguishable hatred of that
remorseless, antichristian, and damnable trafic in human life—the slave
trade. Their day of liberty is just about to dawn in full splendour.
When I observed our friend Cassius receive at his levees and balls in
those Islands, the coloured, on an equal footing with their white bretli-
ren, and his amiable partner walking arm in arm with the sable female
(probably the descendant of a long line of AMcan princes), to the amazement and consternation of the whites, and in defiance of the odours
which must be admitted to emanate from them, not only by those who
espouse them, but by these who espouse their cause, I bless him, I congratulate the world, and, above all, I felicitate the nobflity, that the partition wall has been broken down, that colour and odour make no distinction, and that instead of a few black legs (the utmost advance that
has hitherto been made in the higher circles), we shall see numerous
black Peers among the new creations. And who shall pronounce that
they are not worthy of being the associates of at least some that are to
be found there 1 None, sir, none will dare to insinuate it, but those who
are themselves unworthy. Why should they spurn those to whom some
of their number owe their own elevation? Is it not to the agitftion of
this emancipation, to the appeals to the sympathy and religious prejudices, and (I hope I am not uncharitable) to the cant of the day, that
some people are indebted for their own station ? Why then reject those
equal in rights—equal in mental and superior in bodily powers 1
Jamaica presents a prospect that cannot fail to rejoice the heart of the
true philanthropist. Already have the exports of the island fallen more
than one half, and will shortly cease altogether. Is not this a proof that
these unfortunate beings, the blacks, must have been compelledto work
beyond what was necessary ? for now, when left to themselves, there i§ 52
THE   LETTER-BAG   OT
no inducement that either ambition or avarice can discover, sufficient to
make them work at all. From winch the inference is plain, that Providence never intended they should work. What an earthly elysium this
island will soon become, when, like St. Domingo, it is left to spontaneous production! When nature will supply their wants, and they can
roam at large like birds of the air, and the animals of the field, and the
voice of complaint shall be drowned in one universal chorus of song!
When hand in hand, the natives, like our first parents in Paradise, knowing not the artificial wants of clothes, shall have their couches of rose
leaves, their beverage of the cool streams, or still cooler fountain, and
gather their food from the limbs of trees that hang over them, inviting
and soliciting them to pluck and eat! Can imagination picture any
thing equal to such a scene of rural felicity as this ? Even the restraints
of our moral code will be wanting, for morals are artificial and conventional. Where there is no property there can be no theft, where there is
no traffic there can be no fraud, and where nature supplies freely and
abundantly all wants, there will be no restrictive matrimony, for marriage
is a civil obligation arising from the necessity of providing for a family.
Each one will follow the dictates of his own inclinations. Love will
have no fetters to impede his gambols, affection will alene be consulted.
The eye will choose, and the heart ratify all connubial contracts, and
when the eye is sated, and the heart cooled, both parties will separate
without a sigh, and without a straggle, each one free like the birds of the
air, to spend a succeeding season with a new mate, and no murmur and
no jealousy shall be heard. There will be no property in the heart, no
slavery in the affections, but there will be what many nations boast of,
but alas, what few possess, freedom! unlimited, unrestricted, absolute
freedom ! freedom of thought, freedom of action ! What a realization
of all our hopes, what a happy termination of all their wrongs and sufferings ! Succeeding ages will admire and applaud, and Heaven will
bless these noble designs.
Impressed with this view of it—happy in being the agent in promoting
such sublunary felicity, I propose visiting the States, for there, too, are
exalted spirits, true patriots, noble philanthropists, who, unshackled by
paltry considerations of property, would break down all distractions as we
have done, and as the beam has hitherto inclined to the whites, now give
it a counterpoise altogether in favour of the blacks. It is not a subject
for equalization, for studying balances, and for making nicely adjusted
scales. We must go the whole figure, as they express it. But, my good
friend, this is a dangerous country. The planters are a fierce and impetuous people, and will not bear tampering with as our colonists do.
We must unite the gentleness of the dove with the wiliness ofthe serpent. I propose commencing the Southern tour first, and, using West
India tactics, I shall mount the pulpit. Without a direct appeal to the
passions of the blacks, I will inflame their imagination. I will draw a
picture of their freedom in another world, that will excite them in this.
I will describe Sin as a task-master; I will paint that task-maste*|in a
way, that the analogy cannot be mistaken for their own masters, and in
colours that cannot fail to rouse their imaginations and passions, and advise them to throw off the yoke of the oppressor; in short, I will keep
within the law, and effect that which is without the pale of it. When I
reach the non-slaveholding states, where my person will be secure from
■v^jdence, I will speak openly. I will draw ideal pictures of distress from
the stores of fancy, and talk in touching terms of broken hearts, unwhole-
iffife TBE GREAT WESTERN.
53
Eome exhalations, burning suns, putrid food, unremitting toil, of remorseless masters, unfeeling mistresses, and licentious manners. I will then
put in practice the happy and successful ruse I adopted in England. I
will produce a prodigious whip with wire thong, and ponderous manacles,
and thumb-screws of iron, fabricated for the occasion, and exhibiting them
to the audience, appeal at once to their feelings as men and as Christians ! That I shall succeed, I make no doubt, and I shall have the pleasure, occasionally, of sending you an account of my deings. I have
availed myself of your kind permission, to draw upon the funds of the
society for five hundred pounds, to defray my necessary expenses in this
great and holy work—a work which, I must say, sanctifies the means.
What a glorious retrospect is the past! how full of hope and happiness
is the prospect of the future ! The West Indies are free. The East is
free. And America is soon to be liberated also. That we were to be
assailed by calumny, to be denounced as incendiaries, and persecuted as
felons, for our part in this great political regeneration, was to be expected.
Our enemies, and' the enemies of reform, have made a great handle of
the murder of Lord Norbury, which awkward affair has never been placed
in its proper light. It was a death, and nothing but a death; but what
is it more than that of any other individual ? Is the life of a peer of more
value than that of a peasant ? It is a life, a unit, not distinguished from
any other unit, but because there is a naught in its head. One of the
oppressors is gone—and gone suddenly : jso have many of the oppressed
gone, likewise; and yet the death of this aristocrat makes more noise
than them all. Rank toryism, this, which thinks of nothing but rank ;
and impiously asserts there is rank in heaven—for there are angels, and
archangels, there. To be free, is not to be oppressed ; to remove oppression, is an act of freedom ; but an act of freedom is not murder.—
Murder is of malice aforethought; but where principle, and nwrmalice,
removes a man, it is not murder, but the effect of political difference. I
do not approve of it in detail, for I doubt its policy and efficacy, so long
as the power of creating peers remains in the crown ; but still this is not
a case for pious horror, but rather for regret. There is no robbery, no
sordid motive, no mean, vulgar plunder attending it. It was the deliberate act of an exalted mind ; mistaken, perhaps, but of high feeling, intense patriotism, and of Roman virtue. It was Brutus preferring Rome
to Caesar. It was a noble deed, but rather philosophical, perhaps, than
religious. Sordid politicians cannot understand it, cowards dread it, and
bigots denounce it. Few of us, perhaps, are sufficiently devoted, or enlightened, publicly to applaud—to say that we sanction it, or would achieve
it ourselves ; but, whatever we may think of the act, abstractedly, we
cannot but admire the firmness, the nobleness, and the elevation of the
perpetrator. He was a true patriot. He was right—Heaven will reward
him; if he was in error, his motive will be respected, and he will be
pitied and forgiven. So, in Canada, the burning out of tbe vile conservative loyalist, is not arson, for it is not malicious; and the secret removal of them to another world, not murder, but constitutional amelioration. Great allowance must be made for the warmth of political excitement. A Lount may despatch those whom the press denounces. That
noble-minded man, Brougham, has thus considered it; the perpetrators
have been pardoned ; the jails have been thrown open, and the patriots
set at large, to commence anew their great moral and political reforma-
tiiSo. If this is right in Canada, how can it be wrong in Ireland? and if
right in Canada and^reland, how can it be wrong in the southern states
E 2 *m
P
54
THE LETTER-BAG OP
of America 1 The laws of justice are uniform and universal. What is
Lord Norbury more than Chartrand, or Lord Glenelg more than Shoultz
—unit for unit—tit for tat—a Rowland for an Oliver. Necessity has no
law; but even in the eye of the law, it is said, all men are equal. In
the eye of heaven we know they are. The peer and the peasant are both
equal, then, as far as killing goes; and killing, no murder, as far as the
absence of personal malice goes. Under these circumstances, let us persist in aiding, by all means, similar to those resorted to in Canada, our
devoted sable brethren of the south. Should a few of their masters be
removed, it is but the natural consequence of the system, and not of the
reform; and the roots, if traced, will be found to spring from the foetid
soil of slavery, and not from the virgin mould of freedom. In burning^off
the stubble, who ever doubted a few ears of grain would be consumed, or
in cutting down the weeds, that a few blades of grass were to be sacrificed?—none but fools or idiots.
In my next I shall give you a detail of my proceedings.    At present I
have left myself barely room enough to subscribe myself
Your much attached
and sincere friend,
Joseph Locke.
Extract from a Newspaper published at Vkkshurg, under date ef 22d
May, 1839.
We regret to state that this city was thrown into great confusion and
alarm yesterday, by the discovery of a plot for an insurrection of the negroes, the murder of the whites, and the destruction of the place by fire.
It was clearly traced to have originated with a fanatical English abolitionist, of the name of Joseph Locke, who expiated on the gallows, in the
summary manner prescribed by "Judge Lynch," this atrocious offence
against the laws of God and man. On his person was found the draft of
a letter addressed by him to a member of the British Parliament (whose
name for the present \ye withhold), not merely admitting the part he was
about to take in this infernal work, but actually justifying murder and
arson as laudable acts, when resorted to in the cause of reform. He had
an opportunity offered to him yesterday by our indignant citizens, of testing the truth of his principles and the soundness of his reasoning. It is
to be hoped, for his own sake, his views underwent no change in his last
moments.
No. IX.
LETTER
FROM A CADET OF THE GREAT WESTERN TO HIS MOTHER.
Dear Mother,
As I intend to get out as soon as we get into New York, and look for
a packet for England, I write this letter that I may pack it off to you as
soon as possible. Don't be afraid that I am going to spin a long yarn.
I shafhnerely send you a few matters I have entered in my log, on which
I intend to extend a protest against the owners, captain, ship, and all
persons concerned. Putting midshipmen on board a steamer to make
seamen of them, is about on the same ground tier with sending marines
to sea to teach them to march. Nobody but them landlubbers, the Directors, would ever think of such a thing; but you shall judge for yourself which way to steer in this affair, when you hear what I have to say
and see how the breakers look when laid down on the chart
■ -    ■    —-'-    —a^^fc	
■r-^j
wmm THE GREAT WESTERN.
55
We have had a long voyage of twenty-two days. Ever since we tripped our anchor at Bristol, my heels have been tripped instead, and I have
learned pretty well what a trip at sea means. Our mess is forward, and
a pretty mess we have made of it, not being much more forward ourselves
than when we started. The sea has washed off all our crockery. Broken dishes float about the floor, till the cabin looks like a river " Plate."
I.am nearly as bad off myself, for I sleep so wet I am all in " Shivers."
Our breakfast cups are tea-totally broke, though we have seen no breakers ; and our sugar, as the member of Parliament that used to dine with
Pa, said of the House, is either dissolved or pro-' rogued,' I don't know
which. Our decanters and tumblers are all in pieces and tumbled overboard, which happens so often that I suppose it is the reason why people
call it the glassy surface of the sea. My head is all covered with bumps,
not "to mention other places, and the older boys laugh when I complain,
and call me a country bumpkin, and the doctor says they are so well
developed that they would be a valuable study for bump-ology.
My messmates' buttons have G. W. on them, which means ' great
wags,' and when they don't know what game to play, they make game
of me and play the devil. We have black things on board with long
legs, through which we learn to take the sun, called, * making an observation,' though we are not allowed to speak. This instrument they call
a I sexton,' because we have to look sc^grave ; and when the appointed
time is come which comes alike to all, the sexton is useful, to tell us
how long we are from our long homes, that we may calculate the length
of our days, make our crooked ways straight, and never lose sight of the
latter end of our voyage. They have a chip tied to a string, which they
call a log, and throw it into the water to tell how fast the vessel goes :
my business is to haul it in. I begin at this work as soon as we leave
Chipstow, and I assure you it chops my hands before long, and if I cry
[as I do sometimes] with pain, the boatswain threatens to slap \ my chops'
for blubbering. The string has knots in it, and every mile she goes is
called a knot. The more she does not go, the faster she goes, which
would puzzle them that were not used ta such knotty things.
Every old thing almost has a new name on board of a ship. What do
you think they call watches, and how do you suppose they are made?
Why, four men and an officer make a watch, or, as they say, a watch
with four hands. It is a very hard case for a watch that has to turn up
in the night. They try every plan in the world to plague us : whenever
it is darkNand I can't see my hand before me, I am sent to the bow and
desired to " keep a sharp look-out." The sea breaks over me there and
wets me through, and when I complain of it the captain laughs and says
" you are a dry fellow." The short watches are called the dog watches,
because the hands are only " tarriers" for half the time the others are.
They are well named, for one leads the life of a dog here, and we become
growlers, every one of us.
As for me, I have charge of the captain's jolly-boat, which I am told
is quite an honour. My business is to set him ashore, and then to set
myself in the stern for two hours, whistling " by moonlight alone," till
he comes back. Very 'jolly' work, this. He calls us his 'jolly tars,'
out of fun.
I hope, dear mother, if you have any regard for me, you will take me
out of this Steamer. I look like a blackguard and feel like one. The
captain calls me a ' smutty rascal.' I don't like such names ; but every
one is smutty and can't help it.   The shrouds are smutty, the ropes are 56
THE LETTER-BAG OP
W-
smutty, and the sails are smutty, and, to have things of a piece, they
have a parcel of smutty molatto girls on board. I wipe more smut on
my face witS a towel, than I wash off with the water ; and smut my
shirt more in putting it on, than in wearing it. You will hardly believe
it, but my very talk is smutty. I look like a chimney-sweep, for though
I do not sweep flues, as he does, the flues sweep me, and both of us go
to pot. I am so covered with soot, I am afraid of a spark setting me a
fire, and then I should be a " suttee."
The steam ruins everything in the ship. Our store-room arid berths
are back of the boiler, and are so hot, our candles, that used sometimes
to walk off, now run before they are lit; our butter undertakes to spread
itself; my boots are dissolved into jelly—but it is bootless to complain.
The knives and forks which used to assist us in eating, are now eat up
themselves with rust. Not a single bit of our double Gloucester is left,
but has made its * whey' with itself. Our tea leaves us ; it has distilled
away, and the leaves are all that is left. The stewardess laments her
lost ' bo—he.' Keeping our eggs under hatches, has hatched our eggs;
and we have had to shell-eut our cash for nothing but shells. My new
coat, a moving ' tale,' reveals—even guilt, that was so glaring, is now
* guiltless,' and its - mould' buttons are themselves covered with
' mould.' The cape has become a * Cape de Verde ;' every one complains of my \ choler;' and th* sleeves is no longer a laughing matter.
My hat has \ felt* the change, and, as well as myself, would be none the
worse of a longer * nap ;' while my gloves are so shrunk, they have ceased to be * handy.' I have not been mortified by having * my feet in the
stocks,' but my shoes are so bad, I am often in my stock-in-feet—I am,
*upon my sole,' and there is no help for it. The clerk gives us lessons
that he calls lectures, so that all the spare time we have from working the
ship, is spent in working ' more,* which works us up so, we have become
'spare' ourselves. To give three hundred pounds for the privilege of
working like fun for nothing, for the Great Westerns, for three years,
was about as good a joke, dear ma, as was ever passed off upon an affectionate mother. Whoever put that into your head, put you into his pocket ; for, after all, it is only a kitchen on a large scale, with steam-cooking apparatus of great dimensions. A man can never risfe, whose work
is all below; and he who succeeds, and gets at the top of the pot, makes
but a pretty kettle of fish of it, at last. No, dear mother, remove me,
I beseech you, for I am tired of these trips, these parties of pleasure,
these Western tours. I shall want a new outfit when I return—an entire new kit, and a complete set of traps. My old ones, if wrung-out,
will give ' creosote' enough to buy new ones. The ship joggles so, I
can't write straight; and I have got so used to the trembles, that my
hand shakes like palsy—there aint a steady hand on board.
They say a rolling stone gathers no moss ; how that is, I don't know,
as I never saw one that kept rolling about; but I know that a rolling
limb loses a great deal of skial| My sea chest is growing fast into a
hair trunk. It is already covered with the skin of my shins, and, in this
hot, greasy place, the hair will, doubtless, soon begin to grow upon it.
We have " fresh rolls" every minute ; and a man may well be said to
urn his wages, who does nothing but boil water all day.
The sun has tanned all my skin, and the steamed oak has tanned all
my clothes ; the consequence is, my linen is all leather, and I am become
a shining character and a polished gentleman. I am a nigger; ' manci-
pate' me, dear ma, for you know not what I suffer.   All the water is so THE GREAT WESTSSN.
57
liot, it scalds; all the iron so heated, it burns; while the whole ship
■hisses at yon. The tar bubbles up through the seams, and your feet
stick fast to the planks ; and when you complain, they tell you you are
an upright man, steadfast and immoveable; but, being ' decked up,' is
not so pleasant as you'd think. I'd a thousand times rather be ' tricked
out,' which I intend to be, when I return. I have no objection to stick
to my profession, but I don't wish to stick in it; and its no use to talk
of promotion to a man who can't get a step.
Though I often get a wigging, I can no longer comb my hair, for it
has become a pitch plaster, and my head looks like a swab of oakum dipped in tar. It is humbling to think I should be so disgraced, as to make
it my whole study how to 'pick a lock.'_ Ward off this disgrace, dear
ma, for you can't judge of officers afloat, from what you see of them
ashore. They put on sea-manners with sea-clothes; and instead of
looking as bright as King of Hearts, as they do in harbour, they look as
black as the Ace of Spades at sea. When I first came alongside to
look at the ship, they steered for the cabin, hailed the steward, and hove-
to abreast of the table, where they broached the locker, and housed-out
Champagne and hock, which they overhauled in great style, and stowed
away with a ration of cake and negus. It was all as quiet as a calm,
and no cats-paw a moving on the wafer. The last thing a man would
dream of in such weather was a squall ahead. But when I came on
board with my traps, and was regularly entered in the ship's books, and
we fairly got under way, it was no longer 'what cheer, messmate?' but
luffing-«p, and hailing in a voice of thunder, " I say, youngster, what
the devil are you doing there 1 you land-lubber rascal you ; if you don't
go forward and attend to your duty, sir, I'm damned if I don't give you
a taste of the rope's end." So, dear mother, as soon as we heave in
sight of England, hang out a signal for a boat-ashore, and just as we
round-to at the dock, take your departure for home, and let me pull in
your wake after you-Tthat's a dear, good mother, is the constant prayer of
Your dutiful son,
VlLLlERS SCROGGINS.
I<o. X.
LETTER.
FROM A LAWYER'S CLERK.
Dear Saunders—
Notwithstanding father's having issued his ' ne exeat regno' when I
applied for ' leave to move' here, I am safe and sound " within the
limits" ofthe Great Western, and bound " beyond sea." I assure you,
this ship is no " clausum" frigid, but as regular a '* fiery facias" as you
would desire to see, a perfect hot-hell, as the Scotch call it, or, as they
might, with more propriety say, " an auld reeky;" but what we of the
temple, call an immense " flotsam." As our policy is to go straight,
and not " extra viam," there is little fear of a " deviation," and so I
presume we shall have a short, as well as a pleasant voyage. The " bar
I try" of the steward, being covered by the " Premium," I will probably endeavour to illustrate the meaning of that term ere long; at present, whatever I eat, is ' served' with an immediate ' ejectment,' and
although I am constantly in the act of drinking, and desirous of' taking
the benefit of the act,' yet I do not find it, as I fondly hoped and expected, ' an act for quieting possession | and I must say, that in my
m §8
THE LETTER-BAG 07
AA/
present situation, I much prefer a ] retainer' to a j refresher.' How
often, dear Saunders, have I been tempted in days by gone, to throw
" Coke" into the fire ! and I assure you, it is quite delightful to see
with how little ceremony they do it here. If the great text-writer were
on board with his bulky commentator, he would dislike ' Coke upon
Littleton' as much as others do, and stand quite as good a chance of
being floored, as his juniors. Although we have no 'jury box,'we
have a 'jury-mast,' and yet there is, I regret to say, no exemption from
being often " empannelled," as numerous g indentures' in my sides
and ' postea,' bear painful testimony. You take your place here opposite your berths, but as the ' benchers' have dropped off fast, there is
rapid promotion towards the head of the saloon. As I was late, I am
low down on the list, for they' forestalled' all the good places, by ' entering an appearance first,' and there is no changing the ' venue' allowed
here without consent, or in ease of ' non-residence.' This ' rule is
peremptory,' and, like poverty, brings you acquaintance with strange
company. There are many things I shall enter into my 'demurrer
book,' relative to the accommodation on board of this ship, so that if I
ever have a ' venire de novo' on board of her, I may be more comfortable. One of the first would be, to move a " repeal of the black act,"
for I protest against African servants, as strongly as a Quaker does
against slaves. They are excessively disagreeable, and I shall serve
Captain Claxton with a ' notice of inquiry' on this subject, and he may
' move to amend,' if he thinks proper. As things now stand, it is perfectly absurd for him to make declarations ' de bene esse,' and to state
to the public, that the committee are disposed to go ' any extent in aid'
of the passengers, when he suffers the cabin to be perfumed, and the
company poisoned by these oily, itchi-nous negroes. He ought to be
given to understand, and indeed, made ' scire facias,' that as we pay in
' a large sum of money,' there is ' no justification' that can be pleaded,
or any j exhonoretur entered' for any act of the steward or his partners;
in short, for nothing that happens on board, ' except under the Lord's
act.'
Another objection that I shall take, is the facility with which people
in the adjoining cabins and 'vicinage' have ' oyer' of all you say, and
by ' suggesting breaches' in the partition, may ' inspect' your ' proceedings' a ' recognoisance' that is not very pleasant, especially as the
object of all privacy is to avoid having " nul tiel record" of your sayings and doings.—Although no man is more reluctant than I am to
take exceptions, especially while " in transitu," or more disposed to
| take things as I find them, yet in justice to myself, I must have " a
certiorari to remove such causes" of complaint, as a ' teste' of my being
in earnest to prevent imposition. ' If the question can be put at all,' I
should like to ask, and I think I have ' a right to put it,' why the bread
is so badly baked ? When I complained of it to the steward, he had
the insolence to reply that it was made soft intentionally for the use of
the young " John Does" on board, but that he " would strike me off
the rolls" if I did not like them, and in case I preferred, what he understood, few lawyers did, ' a consolidated action,'my ' daily allowance
of bread' should be toasted. It is natural I should feel crusty at such
impertinence, and wish' a stay of proceedings' of this nature. Indeed,
I have grown so thin I feel entitled to bring an action on the case against
the captain. I shall have a ' devastavit' against the steward, for the
wine is flat, stale, and unprofitable, in consequence ofthe insufficiency the okEAT western.
59
of the " estopples," which are most inartificially drawn, and c absque
tali causa' would be better with the ' clerk ofthe pipes.'
There are several ladies on board ' feme seule' and ' feme couverte,'
but as I have no intention to be " ungues accouple" for at least " infra
sex annos," my master will have no occasion to be alarmed at it as an
act " per quod sefvitium amisit." They are however a very agreeable
" set off" of a ' dies non' on shipboard to the " prolixity" of our " proceedings." My " prochien ami" is a girl of eighteen years of age, beautiful as an houri; but alas ! she has not only " nulla bona" of which I
could have an immediate " habere facias possessionem," but unfortunately " nil habet in teneraentes," or I do not know that I would not
perpetrate marriage with her ' nunc protunc,' but really I have no idea
of committing an unprofessional, and I may add, ungentlemanlike " misjoinder" with poverty. If I "Cannot live in proper style when married,
and as becomes a person of my station in life, I prefer not having " an
attachment" at all, which in such case would be literally, as well as
figuratively, " a criminal proceeding."—Matrimony is a great " limitation of action ;" it is very apt to involve a man in that most disagreeable
and disreputable affair " a distress for rent," and what perhaps is more
fatal to his success in Kfe, to being freqUently^*overruled," and having
his " judgment reversed" without even the usual formalities of having
" cause shown"—but if I could find a girl (and I say this in the strictest
confidence of professional secresy,) who had never ' given a cognovit'
to any other practitioner, and who could convince me that " nil debit"
that she had in her own and not in " auter droit" a sufficiency of
" assets," and a respectable sum of money in hand arising from some
good and valid " last will and testament17 in addition to the " estate in
tail,?' why then, my dear fellow, let " me confess" at once that if this
were'the case, and " site fecit securum," I should make no objection to
a " procedendo," and bringing the suit to "issue" at once without waiting for leave of " principals.'.'—It is a way of getting into " the stocks"
at once legal and honourable, and of all money—I know of none so easy
to be obtained, or so pleasant to spend as matri-" money." The ' usual
costs' arising from marriage " mensa et thoro" are not easy to be conceived, and although I have reason to fear I shall begin life, I have no
wish to terminate it " in forma pauperis ;" for you must admit there is
iNfcride difference between having " bills taxed" (a species of amusement
to which you never I except") and being ' taxed with bills.' At preslnt^
therefore I am not disposed to give my fair one a " notice of trial," but
rather to insist on " a non pros."
Talking of pleading, puts me in mind of ' an issue' joined with a
shark which we " capiased" to-day. In the first attempt, he made " an
escape," but was ' re-taken' on a ' new trial.' He is one of that species
that sailors call " honest lawyers." He was dreadfully convulsed (though
not with laughter), and struggled to " rescue" himself for a long time,
nor ceased till he died ; but " actio personalis moritur cum persona."
It is my intention to visit Massachusetts (d. massa-dhoose-it) and
Connecticut (d. connexion-I-cut), and when there, to study their laws
and jurisprudence, for " non sum informatus" on this subject; and I
trast my father will approve of my not losing sight of my vocation while
thns employing my ' vacation.'
When I obtain answers to all my interrogatories | concerning these
matters, I will put you into possession" of them.   In the mean time, 60
the letter-bag op
" arrest your judgment."   The only point not necessary to " reserve,"
is the truth with which
I am, dear Saunders,
Yours always,
^ _ Richard Rob.
No. XI.
LE TTER
FROM A TRAVELLER BEFORE HE HAD TRAVELLED.
My dear Mac-*-
My Publisher has had the assurance to make an excuse of my never
having been in America, to offer me only half price for my travels, and
I have therefore concluded to make a flying visit to that country, so as
" to give a face" to them. It was in vain that I protested that people
who had never seen the Colonies, made capital speeches, wrote elegant
despatches, and framed Constitutions for them; that "one man who had
only seen Canada from a steamboat and the Castle windows, described
Nova Scotia and the United States, neither of which he had ever been
in, and drew a minute comparison of their general oppearance and the
habits and feelings of the people; that another was seized in bed in
Romney Marsh, and sent out to North America as a Governor; and-
in short, that personal knowledge and practical experience were aptenly
to engender prejudice and cloud the understanding. He admitted it all,
but said he wanted to have " incidents of travel," striking sketches and
living caricatures, to make the work take, to give it effect; in short,
something new, something that would cover untrodden ground.
I am therefore off in the Great Western, and I hope to scour the
country in eight weeks, by starting at once, after my arrival, for the
extreme points. I shall in a few days reach the prairies by means of
railroads and canals, from whence I will dash in among the Pawness,
and kill a buffalo, and from the hunters I will get all I want to fill up
the detail. I will then visit the scenes of recent disturbance in Canada, and obtain an interview with some of the rebel leaders, and by thus
dwelling on opposite points, give a magnificent idea of the extent of
ground I have gone over. I have had the book all ready written
for some months past, at least all the laborious parts of it, and
have nothing to fill in but the jests and the anecdotes. I have
avoided the rambling mode adopted by Hall, Hamilton, and Marryat,
and have given it an elaborate, scientific, and analytical division, as follows : 1st Book embraces the geographical position and natural resources, area and population. 2d. Political statistics, including government, revenue and expenditure, ci*ril, military, and naval affairs.
3d. Moral statistics, (that is a title will please the rads. vastly) including religion and education. 4th. Medical statistics, including comparative morality, &c. 5th. Economical statistics, including agriculture, manufactures, navigation, trade, &c. All this is done, and is, in
my opinion, devilish well done, for a man who knows nothing about it;
but the United States almanacs, road manuals, newspapers, and guide
books, have furnished abundant, and, I am inclined to think, authentic
information.
It is but to hash up the cold collations of my predecessors. The deductions and theories from these facts, I feel I can draw as well in London as in America.   In this the publishers agree, but they say they T"BE GREAT WESTERN.
61
wanfc*iife ; " verisimilitude" is their word, and | striking incidents."
The politics are on the safe side—ultra-radicals. I have applied a sledgehammer to the church in the colonies ; blown up the rectories, and
clergy reserves, sky-high ; gone the whole figure for responsible governments ; (though between you and me, and the post, I can't, for
the soul of me, •gjiderstand the difference between that, in the sense
demanded, and independence,) for ballot, universal suffrage, and short
parliaments ; and illustrated these things by their practical working in
the new states of America. As respects the house of Lords, that is a
delicate subject. My friend .... fell foul of it, and charged it with
legislating in ignorance and inattention. This course may do for him,
but, for obvious reasons, I think it imprudent in me. His section is
the most aristocratic of the parties at present, and I doubt if it would
serve my turn to follow him. The church is a different thing. That
is fair game ; and I am in this liberal age, backed by high authority, for
giving it no quarter. Besides, it is not a " church militant." I have
gone beyond Brougham in this, who swears it was the church which
was the cause of the rebellion in Canada. As respects the state of
slavery in the States, I have gathered anecdotes on board, from some
travellers, that are capital, especially of Jefferson selling his own children—flogging others, and playing the very devil; of a descendant of
Washington -being a slave and set up at auction ; and of a white wife
being compelled to wait upon the black mistress of her husband, and so
on. Talking of slaves, reminds me ofthe Barbadoes Globe* of the 15th
August, which I send you. Read the sermon of an abolition captain
Somebody. It is capital. I wish it served our views to insert it: if it
did, I would do so, for it would make an excellent article, particularly
where he points to one of their masters, and tells the negroes they must
not kill him-—must not hate him for his cruelties, and so on ; like the
old story of not ducking the pickpocket. It is magnificent! That fellow ought to head a commission—the Quakers should put him into parliament.
, Of lynching, I have got some choice stories ; and will endeavour to
pass through the state where they took place, to give them from the
spot. Of the bowie-knife—Arkansaw tooth-pick, and other stilettoes,
in use among the settlers on the Indian borders, I imported a specimen
when I began the work, and had drawings made in Londonf On waste
lands in the colonies, some people we wot of, have made capital speeches, I understand, as I have written my book from official returns, and
fancy. I hear they are right in part, and in part wrong; the right
part, every body knew—the wrong no body ever heard of before. I
will " discuss most learnedly" on this matter. I can boast, now, that I
am an eyewitness. Ego te intus et in cute novi; which is more than
either of them can say, at any rate. I have made out the following list
of subjects for anecdotes, which, like a cork jacket, will make the body
of the book float lightly. The appetite of the public is like -that of the
boa-constrictor, it is not satisfied with less than the whole hog. Lynching—spitting—gouging—steamboats blown up—slavery—sales and
breeding of slaves—licentious manners of the South—slang expressions
of the East and West—border doings in Canada—Clay—President—
Webster—ignorance of the fine arts—bank frauds—land frauds—stabbing with knives—dinner toasts—flogging in the United States -navy—
voluntary system—advantage of excluding clergymen from schools, instance, Girard's College, &c.—cruelty to Indians—ravenous eating—
F 02
THE LETTER-BAG OF
vulgar familiarity—boarding houses—list of names of drink—watering
places—legislative anomalies, and tricks of log-rolling bills—anecdotes
of Papineau—Sir John Colborne and Lord Durham—and some few of
woman, perhaps^the most attractive of all. These I can gather from
travellers, and from party-men, who, in all countries, never spare their
opponents ; and from country journals, and the speeches of mob orators.
It will spice the work, afford passages for newspaper puffs and paragraphs, and season the whole dish.
AH this can be accomplished in eight weeks, easily. The Americans
live in stearnboats, rail-cars, stage-coaches, and hotels, so that I shall
see them at home while travelling, and of their domestic manners, ask
freely of any one I meet. It is not necessary to give dates; no one
will know when I arrived, when I departed, or how long I was in the
country. Dates are awkward boys, they are constantly getting between
your legs and throwing you down. I will give the whole a dash of the
democracy of the new school, being both anti-church and anti-tory, in
my opinion. I will talk of general progression—of reform measures—
of th| folly of finality, and so on. It will take, my dear boy—it will do.
—I shall go down as well as any ultra-Liberal of the day. I think I
see tpe notices of it already :—
This is a great work.—Sun.
This work is eminently entitled to public favor.—Weekly Dispatch.
This is at once a profound and entertaining work. We never observed
any thing before so remarkably beautiful as the illustrations. The views
are distinguished for picturesque effect and importance of subject. The
drawings are accurate and exquisite.—The Town.
It has been said, that Hogarth's pictures are read, and the same may
be said of the prints in the volume before us.—Examiner.
Of Mr. Grant's work, it is impossible to speak in terms of sufficient
approbation. The enlarged views, varied and accurate information on aH
topics of general interest, and the liberal and enlightened tone of thinking,
that pervades this book, justly entitle him to rank among the most profound thinkers, and successful writers of the present day. We cordially
congratulate him on bis eminent success, and the public on so valuable
an addition to its literature.    More we cannot say.—Satirist.
This is decidedly the best book ever written on America.—Sunday
Times.
This work is entitled to a place by the side of Lord Durham's masterly
report: higher praise it is impossible to accord.—Morning Chronicle.
Then follow | The Beauties of Grant,"—how well it sounds ! Thi^k
of that, Master Mac. That—that—is fame. If you could get me made
a member of some of the London Societies, during my absence, it would
be of great service to me. An F. R. S., or M. L. S., or M. G. S., after one's name on the title-page, looks well, and what you say then,
comes ex cathedra as it were. You speak as a man having authority,
you are a " most potent, grave, and reverend signior," and entitled to be
heard among men. I would not mind the expense of the thing, could it
be managed, for the sake of the eclat it would give me andjny work, and
for the pleasure too of letting all the world know the fact, as my volume,
I hope, cannot fail to do.
Murray's book is dedicated to the Queen by special permission, and
that alone is a feather in the author's cap. A book that is inscribed in
this formal manner, is supposed to be read, at least, by its patron. Now,
although I have no pretensions to this honour, my views ought to make THE GREAT WESTERN.
63
flay book a favourite with the parties whose cause I so strongly advocate,
oarticularly that portion which demonstrates the necessity of conciliating
rival sects, by a total rejection of the Bible from the Common Schools of
he nation; and I confess, I shall entertain the hope that Lord B
Vill interest himself to obtain for me, the special permission of the Marquis of Locofoco, to dedicate my travels to him. His " imprimatur" is,
I admit, no great advantage in a literary point of view, but politically II
is of the first importance. It will give it " the Tower mark,"—it will
pass current then as coin. "And now, hurrah for the Pawnees—the Tex-
ans, and the Canadians—and Yankee town, and then for " Travels in
the United States of America, the Texas and British Provinces, with
minute and copious details of their geographical, political, moral, medical,
and economical statistics, including interesting anecdotes of distinguished
Hving characters, incidents of travel, and a description of the habits, feelings, and domestic life ofthe people. Illustrated with numerous drawings
and sketches taken on the spot by the author. By Gregory Grant, F. R.
S. and M. L. D. Dedicated, by special permission, to the Marquis of
Locofoco."
Here is the pilot on board. All is bustle and confusion. God bless
you ! dear Mac. Don't forget the F. R. S. or some other A. S. S. society.    Adieu.
Yours always,
Gregory Grant.
No. XII.
LETTER FROM A STOKER.
Dere An—
Last night as ever was in Bristul Captain Claxton ired me for to go
to Americka on board this steamer Big West un as a stoker, and them
as foliered me all along the rode from Lunnun may foller me there two
if they liks, and be dammed to em and much good may it do them two,
for prigging in England aint no sin in the U States where every man is
free to do as he pleseth and ax no uns lif neither, and where is no peleise,
nor constables, nor fleets, nor new gates, and no.need of reforms.
I couldnt sleep all nite for lafeing when I thort ou they'd stare wen
they eared i wass off and tuck the plate of Lord Springfield off with me
and they lookin all round Bristul and ad their panes for their trouble. I
haven't worked so ard sinse I rund away from farmer Dogc-ins the nite
he was nocked off his orse and made to stand, aad lost his purs of munfty
as he got fur bis corn, as I av since I listed for a stoker. Ime blest if
it aint cruel ard wurk ear. I wurks in the cole ole day and nite, a moving cole fur the furniss, which never goes out but burns foT ever and ever,
and there is no hair, it is so ot my mouth is eated so that wat I drinks
smox and isses as if it wur a ort iron, and my flesh is as dry as ung beef
and the only consholation I ave is Ide a been ung beef in ernest if they
ad a nabbed me afore I left Bristul, all owin to Bill Sawyer peachin on
me.
No one would no me now for I am as black as the ace of spades as
was and so is my shurt, and as for clene shetes how long wood they be
clene and me in them, and my skin is cracted like roasted pig, when there
be not fat enuf to baste it or yu to lazy to du it, which was often your
case and well you cort it for it two, when I was out-of sorts which was
enuf to vex a man as risked his hfe to get it, and then my eyes is soar 64
THE LETTER-BAG OF
AM
Et
with dust as comes from the cole, and so stiff I avent power to hute
them because they be so dry, and my mouth tastes sulfur always as bad as
them as goes to the devil in ernestas Sally Mander did. I have no pease
at all and will not be sorry when its over if I survive it, blow me if I will.
I smells like roste beaf and the rats comes smellin. round me as if they'd
like to have a cut and cum agin, but they will find it a tuf business and
bo gravy as the french man said who lived two hull weaks on his sbuse
and dide wen he cum to the heles, which he said was rather two much,
but I can't say I like there company a morsel more nor bill Sawyerses
and blast me if i donte be even with him if ever he comes to Americka
for that gud turn he did me in blowing on me for the silver wich if he
adnt done ide a been living at my ease at ome with you and may be mar-
rid you if you and the children ad behaved well and showed yourselvs
wurthy of it, as it is i cant say whether we are to meet agin or not, but
I will write to you when I lands the plate and let you know what my
prospect is in my line in New York. Then my shuse is baked so ard ;
they brake like py crust and my clothes wat with wat cum'd out of me
like the rain at fust, .and the steme that cums out likewise, which is on-
eredibill, and wat with the dust as cum out of the cole, is set like mor-
tur and as stiff as sement, and stand up of themselves as strate as a
Christian so they do, and if I ad your and in my and it wood melt like
butter, and you that is so soft wood run away like a candel with a thief
in it, so you are better off where you be than ere till I cool down agin
and come too for I'me blest if I woodnt set a bed on fire I'me so ort.
This is orrid wurk for him as has more silver in his bag than arf the passengers as, and is used to do as httle wurk as the best of them is.
I got urted in my cheek with a stone that horsted arter it got red
art in the grate, and flew out with an exploshun like a busted biler,
only I wish it had been water insted, for it would ave been softer nor
it was, for it was as ard as a cannon ball, it noked down to of my teeth,
and then noked me down, and made a smell like searin a orse's tail
with red ort iron, which is the cause of its not bleeding much, tho it
swelled as big as a turnip, which occashuns me to keep wun eye shut,
as its no use to open it, when its swelld all over it, for I cant sea, If
thats the way peopel was stoned to deth, as Ive eard, when I was a
boy, when there was profits in religion, it must have been a paneful
end, as I know to my cost, who was most drownded, holden my ed in
a tub of water to squench the red ort stone, which made the water two
ort to bear any longer, and wen I tuked it out, it was two much eated
to old in my and. My feet also looks like a tin cnllinder, or a sifter ail
full of small oles, were the red ort sinders have burned into the bone.
Them as node me wunce, wouldnt sware to me now, with a ole in my
face as big as my mouth, that I adn't afore, and too back teeth out, as
I adn't afore, and my skin as black as ink, and my flesh like dride cod
fish, and my air dried wite and frizzed with the eat like a neagurs, or
goose feathers in ort ashes to make quills; and I'me able to drink a
gallon of Porter without wunce taking breth, and not feel it for ewap-
oration, and my skin so kivered with dust and grit, you could sharpen
a knife on it, and my throte furred up like a ship's biler; and me, that
cood scarcely scrouge thro a winder, that can now pass out of a key
ole and not tare my clothes in the wards. Wun cumfit is, I was not
see-sick, unless being sick of sea, for I have no licked in me, for whatever I eat is baked into pot py, and no gravy, which cums off the grate
fat in the furniss1 and burns rases no blisters,, for they ant no watte? THE GREAT WESTERN.
65
inside to make wun, only leves a mark as the ort poker does on the
floor, and when my turns cums to sleap, its no longer a turning this
side and then that, and then rolling back again, a trying and not being
able, for thinking and talking, but sleep cums afore I can ly down, and
all the pellise at Bo Street woodnt wake me no more than a corpse
wen I am once down in ernest. If I wusent in a urry I'd stick them
up with working like a horse in the mail that runs day and nite and
never stops. It woodrft be long afore I'd nock off a bolt, or skru, or
nut or somethmk of that kind which ud caus them to let out steam and
repair, which would give half a days rest to wun, but as its the first
and the last of my stokering, why the sunner there is on end to it the
better. No man could identical me with a safe conshience and no per-
gury, so if the Yankees spend their money as I ar heard till since I
took passidge, on their backs instead of carrying it in their pockets,
i may return after a short alibi to you and the children, which will depend on ow you aul up in time and keeps out of Low company, that is
barring accidents or there is no noing what may appen, for them as
carry booy nives behind the capes of their coates, and pistuls in their
pockets insted of pistoles are ugly customers, and a feller may find himself delivered of a mistake afore he noeth where he is, for they are apt
to save the law a job, are them knives, so they are, and ide rather trust
to a jug missing fire or not hitting his man any time than to side arms,
for them big wigs oftener ang fire than ang a man. They are bad
things them cut and thrusts for both sides, as Tom Hodge used to say,
—He who stabbeth with his tung is in no danger of being ung, but
he who stabbeth with his nife is damd apt to lose his own life.
When you receive this letter, go to Blackfriars, to the Swimmers,
and in the four foot ofthe bed, in the left room, in the garrit, as I used
to use, when bisnis called, you will find the same oiler as in yours bedstead, and take the gold sneezer as is there, which will raise the wind ;
and be careful, as there is no noin when we may meet, or whether I
will av time to send you any blunt or no, which will depend on how
you conduct behind my back ; I don't mene this by way of discurage-
ment, but to int you are too fond of drink and keping company wlfti
needy mizlers, to kepe secrets for any wun without bringing him to
the crap. And, now that I'me in another wurld, I expect you will giv
luse to your own inwenshuns, which will be tbe ruin of you, yet,
as well as them as has the pleasure of your ackwaintance, in wich case
you don't ear agin from me ; and I will luk for some wun as nose how
to place a proper valy on adwice when they gets it, which wasn't your
case for sum tim gone. My present sitivashin as all cum of not noin
how to be silent, or bill Sawyers cudn't av ruined me in my bisnis—but
never mind, its a long lane that has no turn in it, as the chap sed to
conshole himself in the tredmill.
Remember me to Jim Sprig-gins, who is the primest ruffing cove I
ever shared a swag" with. Tell him I'me no transport, though I'me
bound over the water, for I'me just visitin furrin parts, as the gents do,
on account of having lived too free at home, and that I ope to nap many
a reader with him yet, if Providence blesses our undertakings. So, no
more at present time, from
Your loving friend,
Bill Holmes.
F2 €6
THE LETTER-BAG 0-?
""§;—
. No. XIII.
LETTER
FROM A STOCKHOLDER OF THE GREAT WESTERT TO THE
SECRETARY.
I duly received your favour, under date of the 30th ult. per Mr.
Scribe, the clerk, which came to hand at the time of sailing, and note
its contents. I notice your request that I should forward to you, per
first ship via New Yorkx that leaves after our arrival, touching at an
English port, such suggestions and alterations as occur in a careful review of the fixtures, stock in hand, and miscellaneous articles on
board, and have great pleasure in executing your order, and hope the
manner will prove satisfactory. The first remark on the catalogue I
would offer, is upon the alarming preponderance of Americans on
board, they being one moiety or half part ofthe assortment of passengers mentioned in the bills of lading of the line cargo, the balance
being made up of foreigners, provincials, and English.
In the event of any sudden breaking out of hostilities, while on the
passage between the two nations, as was recently feared* the provincials might sympathize with the Americans, who are troublesome customers ; and the Poles, I would stake my existence, as natural friends
of liberty, having served an apprenticeship to the business, would side
with them ; and the French, from their known antipathy to what they
call their antiquarian. enemiest the British, together with the steward
and his body-guard, who are all A-freco-Americans, and whose home, if
they can he said to have any, who are in bondage abroad, is the United
States, would be ditto, and not neutral. Reinforced by thus extensive
additional supply of auxiliaries against us, they would be enabled to
make a run upon the English captain and his brave countrymen, the
stokers, and, perhaps lynch them, and seize the steamer, which is too
fast to be overtaken, or too strong to be retaken, or else I am much mistaken. It is not easy to contemplate such a stoppage in our line, without
feelings of consternation and panic, and I submit it with all due deference to your honourable board, for some premonitory measure, that
shall obviate such an alarming occurrence, as a total loss. Yesterday,
when we thought of making a deviation, and putting into Halifax to
ascertain whether Maine and New Brunswick had declared war,, the
Americans put us all into bodily fear, that they would put us into confinement, and make prisoners of us without ransom ; and such fears
should be removed by removing the moving cause.
Another serious item, serious from the consequences as well as the
magnitude, is that of the number of lights on board, whereby not to
mention waste, the safety of the ship, comprising a very extensive assortment of valuable articles not necessary to enumerate, and of the
passengers, is endangered, as well as that of other vessels and passengers. We have now two actions pending against us at New York,
for the loss of two ships, that, mistaking our immense volume of light
for a light-house mentioned in the coast-book, steered accordingly, and
were wrecked on the rocky shore, which in their vainglorious and boasting language, they call ' iron-bound.'—I have suggested to Mr. Ogden,
who is tbe most eminent counsel in New York, whether we might not
plead or aver, that, if the coast is ' iron-bound,' it was magnetic attraction, and not excess of light, that caused them to be lost in the THE GREAT WESTERN.
67
darkness of the night. If this idea prevails, it will cure them of making a selection of such high-sounding words to denote ordinary things,
and teach them to substitute facts for poetic fiction of imagination, in
transacting business. I consider there is great danger of fire, and prospect of immense sacrifice of entire stock, if the strictest regard to economy in the distribution of it is not attended to; for although the fire
of the engine falls into water, it would not be so easy to make water
fall upon the fire; and fire, as you used to say, sir, very forcibly and
appropriately, is a bad master, though a good servant. I would, with
your kind indulgence, obviate the danger to the premises, by refusing
to supply the - passengers individually with a lamp or candle or
ignition of any kind, and order, that when they close the concern and
shut up for the night to go to bed, they should be accompanied by a
waiter, who should stand by thenfwith a dark lantern in his hand,
open for the men, but held behind him for the ladies. 1 Premium of insurance would be reduced by underwriters on the policy by this means,
and brokerage saved also, as well as the amount of petty average of
anxiety.
As to the stock of provisions on board, I would materially alter the
assortment of solids and fluids. In this line I would mention the article
of soda, fonr thousand bottles of which were drunk during the voyage,
which is an immense consumption, notwithstanding the price at which it
was laid in was unrivalled for cheapness, on account of the liberal discount allowed for prompt pay.^iSuch a quantity is injurious to health,
being a system of diet that lowers the system of body—occupies the time
of the waiters in drawing corks, and is very expensive. It is called for
chiefly among the Americans, who, I may say, are the only customers,
and they order it by wholesale; "their principal pleasure, I believe,
arising from the" explosion resembling that of a rifle; but this is only
another way of rifling your pockets as they would serve your bodies.
I would order the consignees at New York, not to lay in so heavy a
stock of the article, the very freight of which runs up to a considerable
sum. I would have fewer sorts of dishes and of a better sort, and fewer kinds of wines and of a better kind. A great deal of meat is now
wasted besides what is put under the waist, in trying which they give
a preference to. This makes the passengers sick, and keeps them with
empty stomachs ready to empty the dishes as well as the bottles. I
humbly conceive this want of apportionment is bad economy or rather
no economy. I should prefer a selection of heavy wines, as less would
do by 50 per cent. It takes avast deal of-light wines to make a man
light-headed, and weak wines a man may drink for a week and feel no
stronger for the stowage. One excellent expedient to prevent excessive drinking would be to engage a doctor on reasonable terms, who
could sing well—£ good song and a long song between the glasses
prevents wasting liquid by its lien on the decanters, and every turn of
the bottle among one hundred and ten passengers costs in exact computation one hundred and ten glasses of wine, which amounts to more
than seven bottles, a heavy item in the account. There is, it appears
to me, an advantageous opeaing here for an improvement. The article
too, should be imported direct, so as to save commissions and retail
profits, and laid in at costs and charges only, to do business to advantage. I would observe shipping charges at Bristol are too high, especially dockage, wharfage, lighterage, and primage, and therefore laying
in at New York is preferable: and, to save custom-house expenses,
everything should be included in one cockit. —s»
■MM
6a
THE LETTER-BAG OF
There should also be a lieutenant on board ; I do not mean tenants
that have left, for there are always enough of them ; but an officer Jfe
called, independent of the mates. This officer should have charge of the
cabin and the cabin charges^ and of the passengers and their baggages,
all of whom ought to be in his convoy. He should preside over the
table and relieve the captain of this department, who, never being brought
up to this line of business, is unacquainted with particulars, although
emulous to merit public approbation and patronage by assiduous attention. In addition to this, the captain is a ' Chartist,' and consequently
not so well fitted for large assemblies. As to the decorations of the
saloons, they are most costly, though the prime cost is not to be complained of; but they produce no return. The fabrics are elegant and
of durable materials, and warranted of first quality, especially the drapery, which is of the newest pattern and fashion. They are now much
damaged and stand at the reduced value of remnants, especiafly the
paintings. Now, although a mere daub can never become a good picture, yet a fine painting may easily become a mere daub, as is proved
on board of this vessel, for the servants are constantly rubbing their
dirty hands on them. A touchy servant is the most disagreeable of all
attendants, and, although I detest one that is thievish, I make no object
tion at all to one that is light fingered. I would intimate therefore as an
additioivto your orders, that theie should be no more black servants, for
it is obvious that a hand that is always black must be dirtier than one
that is only occasionally so. Although there is no supper laid, yet judging from the quantity drunk, there are some tolerable suppers on board;
and anchovies, sardines, and salt fish should be carefully excluded from
the invoice and considered contraband, as well as all provoking things.
He who thirsts after drink soon becomes bloody thirsty, and is a dangerous customer. This is the more unsafe, because in these premises we
are constantly kept in hot water, Another improvement would be to
remove the tube that runs the whole length of the cabin under the
table, and answers Tno purpose but steaming calves' feet into jelly,
and to place it on the table., where it might run counter to the
dishes and be useful in keeping the dinners warm, as well as to make
articles show to advantage. I have no objection to cold meat, but I
like hot soup ; and fish that comes to table not warmed is out of " place,"
—-and I like to hear young ladies' tongues chatter, but not their teeth.
Two saloons would be better than one, and give more satisfaction, on
an average, to those who favour us with their custom; for though I admire a mob cap, I detest a mob of caps. The side paths between the
tables and side walls being but an ell wide, are too narrow for two to pass
and repass without trespassing on each other's feet. A lady told me
to-day she never knew before the pain of being " Sir-passed," and though
she had no objection to the " freedom of the press," she had great repugnance to a " press gang," and had no idea of being " pressed on board
ship."
But the most beneficial alteration that has occurred to me to make on
board the ship, so as to make it yield a good dividend to proprietors and
command an extensive run of patronage, would be to subject the passengers to animal magnetism. As soon as they come on board they
should be put to sleep and disposed of by being packed carefully into
their respective beds, and left there as on shelves, until the steamer performs her voyage, when they could all be handed down, unanimal-magnetized, and sent ashore. It would save much that now swells up the account current for the table and attendants, spare them the pain and suffer- THE GREAT WESTERN.
69
ing of sea-sickness, and prevent all noise and confusion. You could then
afford to make a great reduction in the passage money by this means ;
for a long voyage would be no more expensive, as far as the cabin disbursements are concerned, than a short one ; and you book double the
number of insides and fill your way-bill up handsomely.
A magnetizer would have to.be employed of known skill, so as to
render advertising attractive and profitable. He should be a pupil of
Doctor Elliotson, or some such distinguished man, a person in well established business,* well known to tbe nobility and gentry generally of his
vicinity, and one in whom the public at large has great confidence.
Whether so strong an assemblage of magnetic influence would affect the
compass deserves consideration, and experimental trips should first be
tried on the Thames and other places. For this invention you might obtain a patent, and the Great Western would thereby have a monopoly in
her Une of business, and defy all rival competition by driving others out
of the field, or at least out of the sea.
What a sea of trouble it would save ! what an era it would form in
naval history ! what a blessing to mankind ! crying children put to sleep
—scolding wives set at rest—grumblers silenced—drunkards sobered—
hungry people quieted—agitators calmed.
The cabin would then be fitted up Hke a museum, every specimen
marked, numbered, parcelled, and shelved, and order and regularity restored, while economy and comfort (the you tilly dull sea) would pervade
the whole assortment. It is the best expedient I know of to remedy all
evils and ensure lasting custom and a safe investment for capital as well
as please principals. Trusting that this enumeration of items, I have
now the pleasure to forward in executing your commission, will arrive
safe to hand and give satisfaction,
I am, sir, respectfully,
Your obedient servant
William Wisdom.
NO. XIV.
LETTER FROM A SERVANT IN SEARCH OF A PLACE.
Dear Tummus—
Curnel,Rackilt having thort proper to stop Sherry in the servants
hall, and give porter in sted, I give him warning that such improper
conduct wouldnt do no longer, as I had been always used to live with
Gentlemen, and to be treated as a footman ort, and besides livery I wont
wear no longer, for no man breathing.—It art fit one man should toear
bondage clothes to another man, and so I go to Americka where there
is no such word as servant, but assistance and helps, and where talents
is rewarded as it deserves, and there is no distinctions to be found.
I av engaged with Captain Haltfront to help him during the voyage
and he is to pay my passage, but I didn't engage not to be sea sick
which of course I av thort proper to be, whenever he is on deck, which
is not often, and consequently av nothing to do, but eat and drink my
allowance which, thank God, I can do very well, and he av the Steward
and Ships servants to wait upon him, which is enuf in all conscience
without me. In Americka, as I hear, Servants is called Misters and
wine and wegetables being on the table and the company handing
dishes, helps has nothing to do but sit down on cheers and read the
papers, unless it he to change a plate now and agin, which is only per 70
THE LETTER-BAG OF
former like, and is often taken into business and marries into the
family ; and wearing no livery can dine at Hotels at public places, if
not on duty, and has mony to pay for it. Little offences aint thort
nothing of where public officers do the like as I hear, and where munny
is so plenty, people make a forten sometimes by failing in business,
which the Steward says is not uncommon by no manner of means.
Howsumever I must say I pities Miss R^ckilts Curnels dorter, poor
thing for she was unkimmen fond of me, that's a clear case, and would
have absconded as quick as wink with me, if I had bufthort proper to
av sed the wurd, but being dependant upon her father, couldn't keep an
establishment, which wouldn't do for me, as I couldn't afford to marry a
poor girl, let her beautiful charms be ever so conspikious—I wunder who
will tie on her clogs and squeeze her ankles now I am gone, and a prettier foot and ankle aint this day in all Lundun, though perhaps it dont
become me to boast of my no legs in this.pint. Her waiting wummun
Jane (you node Jane, she that had the fine black eyes) well, Jane was
always jealous of her, and I ad enuf to do, I can telly, to pacify her,
inting to her it was all her hone imagination, and that I wouldn't touch
her mistress with a pair of tongs, and that hartificial flowers like she
had no sweetness in them like the real roses of her lips and cheeks ;
but wummen do find things out astonishing, and it aint easy to deceive
them in matters of tbe art and eyes, though to my mind she aint no
more to be compared to Miss than Sider is to Shampane.
Indeed, missus herself wouldn't av had no objections to go off,
neither, I can tell you, if I ad consented to lift up my and, and whistled,
if it warnt for fear of the curnel; for she tuk great notis of me, and
was proper wexed when I gin her warning, and told me herself, I was
a fool, and didn't know how to valy my place, and complained bitterly
she was deceived in me, which she wouldn't av done, at no rate if she
warnt cross at losing me in such a sudden manner, for ever. But I
never did deceive her—never giv her no encouragement, on no occca-
sion whatsumever, for I perfered miss, by a great deal. Second-and
pieces of furniture isnt to my taste, by no manner of means ; and if
she ad persisted in saying much more, I should av told her so to her
face ; for I didnt like her, for she was old—wore false curls, and ad
some teeth that wasnt her hone, and wasnt at all fit for a fancy-wum-
mun for any young man like me.
If ever I marrys for muney, I must av good luks, too, or I am off the
bargain—thats flat.
They has the ballad and universal suffering, as I am informed, in
Americka, and I shall have a vote, in course; but its no use, as I hear,
for voting is considered low, where it is so common, and theres no thanks
when no one nose how you votes. So, reform, it seems, is no great
shakes, arter all Lord John's flams about it. Pnblic service I should
much prefer to private, as I understands they gets eight dollars a-day,
at a place they calls Washington, and great vails, too, besides rising of
your tail is large, like O'Conneil's, who has the biggest in all Ireland ;
for I hear, Stevenson, the Yankee minister, was only a public servant,
and no better, and rose by his tail, too, as our monkey osed to hold on
•by his tail, and help himself up. I shall try my luck there; and if I
gets up in the world, who knows but I may come back as a tatchy, /or
somethink of that sort, to England, some of these days, and show
Curnel Rackilt what service in Amerika is. One think I av seen, myself, an officer dine at our table, at master's, who ad seen service in his •HfE GREAT WESTER*. IffT
younger days, himself, and was made as much of, as if he had never
stood behind a cheer in his life ; and, so far from being ashamed of it,
as some people as I nose of would be, boasted of it, which showed his
sence. Poverty aint %io sin or disgrace, neither; and barbers' sons av
riz afore now to be pears ; whereas, my real father, as I av heard sai,
is a reform member, and high up in office, though my mother had the
misfortune to be a servant, which is more than sum can boast of,
whose parents was low people on fathers and mothers side, both. If I
was so fortunate, as to make a forten by marriage, or public service, or
become a curnel, myself, which, I hear, is quite common in Amerika,
for servants to rise to be-curnels, and even generals sometimes, I would
cum back, in course to London, to spend it, where life is certainly understood to be spent, andsumly and becoming a man of fortin ; and
theatres, and operas is open every nite ; and andsome girls and good
wine only wants the means ; and perfessmg reform opinions gives good
interest. Breaking lamps and driving over people on side-paths, and
nocking down policemen, is easy learned ; and so is not paying tradesmen's bills, and then running off with another man's wife, would be
worth while—it would make a person fashionable, and a great favourite
with the wimmen.
I av heard missus (or rather I should say Mrs. Rackilt.) often call
Markiss Blowhard, a villain behind his back, for his love affairs, and
that he ort to be shut out of families, for too bad, and be as civil to him
next day as if he was Archbishop of Canterberry ; but wimmen always
pertend to be shocked at what pleases them most—and carrying two
faces aint confined to no station. Half-seas over to Americka, makes me
feel more nor half free, already ; at all events I practises making free
when opportunity hoffers.
Says the skipper to me one day (he is a leftenant in the navy), says
he, 'are you Captain Haltfronts servant"?' Without getting up or
touching hats, but setting at ease, sais I, I didnt know he had a servant,
sir. ' Didnt know he had one, sir,' said he, ' pray what the devil do
you call yourself if you are not his servant V Why, sir, said I, cocking
my head a one side, and trying to come Yankee over him, he receives
the Queen's pay, sir, and wears her regimentals ; he has an allowance
for an assistant, which I receive and wear her majesty's cockade, too.
We serve her majesty, sir, and I am under the Captain's command—
do you take, sirl I Why you infernal conceited rascal!' said he, * if
you were under my command, sir, instead of his, Ide let you know dam
quick whose servant you were.' Ah ! very like, sir, said I, keeping my
seat, and crossing one leg over the other free and easy, and swinging
my foot, very like, sir, but you dont happen to have that honour, sir, and
my passage money is paid to your masters, the owners of this boat, at
Bristol, which happens to alter the case a bit,—you can go, sir. . ' Go,
mt,* said he, ' why dam your eyes, sir, what do you mean ] do you
want to be triced up, sirl' and he walked away in a devil of a hurry,
as if he was going to do something, but he didnt honour me again with
his company.
I have put up with a good deal in my time, Tummus, but I puts up
with no more. No man calls me servant again, unless at eight dollars
day, as a public one at Washington or Van Buren or Webster or some
of the wrge cities, where, as I here, no one lives, but every one passes
through, and dont no you again. If that dont do, some other line must.
Wine, wimmen and cigars is my motter, and she what bids for me, -«•■
72
THE LETTER-BAG OF
bids high, Tummus, or she dont av the honor of  belonging to the
establishment of
Your old companion and friend,
Robert Cooper.
P. S. When yov write to me write this way—A Mister Mister Gooper
Poste-restornte New-York, Americka.
I dont know as I av spelt poste-restornte rite or no, its the french for
let it stop in the office till called for. Curnel's letters, when he and
me was on the. Contenent traveling, had it on, and'it looks knowing.
The Governess will tell you how to spell it, and you-may kiss her for
thanks and get another kiss for change. Don't forget the two misters,
for these little things mark the gentleman, and it might do me good
such letters coming to me, especially among the females whose curiosity is always on the ksy-veave, and takes such forrin looking letters
for billy duxes or assassinations of some fair one or another. If the
governess would rite the back of the letter herself it would be better,
for then the hande-writing would be feminine gender, as Miss Rackitt
used to call the Spanish lap dog bitch.
Yours again,
R. C.
F^
i>
No. XV.
LETTER
FROM A FRENCH PASSENGER TO HIS FRIEND IN LONDON-
My-Dear Sare—
I have vary mush pleasure to you inform, I veakuate England on
bord de Great Western, on de 22d ultimo, wid vary little wind and
smooth watare, and next day it dropt astarne, and was lost to de view
altogedare. I cannot tell if I speak de truth, I was sorry to leave it behind me. De smooth watare did not long remain, but soon became on-
raged and terriflqe, and I grew vary sick, and was brought to bed with
nausea and de acke in de head, where I was confined myself, and could
not prevent for several days, my being delivered of all I eat. Whatever
I take I refuse, and what I swallow I throw away. De sweet is vary
sour, and noting good likes my stomach.
By and by I became round again, and get up, and den vate spectacles
for de eyes ; de cabin gives one hunder and ten passengare at de table at
one and de same time, and no confusione but de confusione of de tongs.
One ting on board of de steam boat I vary much do admire, you are not
troobled with wind. Blow which ever way he will, backward or fore-
ward, it is all same as one, you go right by de head all de time.
I find de English tonge varry tuff, and I am hard to understand. De
meaning of de words is so scattared, it is not easy for to gadare dem all
at de same time to chuse dat what fits de best to de right place. Dere
is " look out," which is put out your head and sea, and "lookout,"
which is to haul in your head and not for to sea, just contraire. To day,
steward^took hold of de sky light, and said " look out," well, I put up
my head for to " look out," and he shut down de sash on it, and gave
me a cut almost all over my face with pains of glass, and said dat is not
de way to " look out," you should have took your head in. Dat is pea-
ting de English into de head wid de devil to it likewise. It keeps me
in de boiling watare all de time.   When I make in de English Tong
* i THE GREAT WESTERN.
T3
mistake, de company all laugh in my countenance, which is vary disagreeable and barbare, but to avoid consequence hostile, I join in de laugh
meself, and bark out too at my own blundares so loud as the loudest of
dem all, but dere is no much pleasure in de practice, but when you shall
find yourself in a Rome, you must do as it is done in de Rome. Politeness cannot be hoped to have on shipboard, where dere of men are many
kinds, for you cannot look to make a silk purse out of de ear of one big
pig. De wedare has been very onfair, and de sea so tall as a mountain,
so dat de glasses no more cannot stand up, nor de soup sitstdl in de plate,
but slide about as on de ice when it is slippare, and roll over in one united
states of confusione, passengare, dinner, and all. We have one dreadful
flare up every night in de cabin, which fill me varry fulibrim of fear, all de
same as one light house. What would become of us, if we were to be
burned in de watare wid fire 1 I do not know, so many peoples, and so
few gigs and boots to get in, and so great way off is de land. Candles
and lamps, and ceegars, in every man's mouth widout nombre, and de
furnace in de belly ofthe shjp, all burning at de same instant time, make
it dangerouse everywhere, and tho the captain order one general blow
up of dem all at ten o'clock, yet I vary much fear some onderminded person, like de English lawyer, shall put de candle not under de bushel but
onder de bed. As de English shalj be vary fond of fires in de night,
burning barns, and stacks of hay, and of corn, to produce one grand effect politique of reform, sol would take de liberty to send you one
sketch imaginatif of dat horreable event, de burning of de Great Western in de sea, which will give you, I hope, much pleasure to see, as it do
me to prepare it for you wid pencil. When I was well, I spend my time
vary agreeable wid de ladies in de promenade on deck, when de wedare
.shall give leave, and in making game at cards with snatches of musich,
and in de evening in de sheets sketching de figures grotesque of de pas-
sengare estrangare, and in ventriloquism, which produce effect vary com-
ique, but de passage shall come over almost so fast as my illness was,
which no gave me mush time for company.
So soon as we will slip our cable at New-York, I was land, and come
visit de Yankee of New England—de Frenchman of Canada:—de savage
of de wood—de black of de sout—and backwoodsmans wat shoot wid de
rifle—in succession, and study de democracy of de government.    It is a
country, unique, I believe, with abundance of food.    Philosophique for
reflectione.    It is only no more as one-half so grand a conetry as de
Americans on board was boast, it will be de finest conetry in de whole
uhiverse globe, for to all tings dey say splendid—magnifique—suparbe.
Certain dey appear one people drole.    Niagra is, widout doubt, one grand
spectacle, but clumsy, wMout shape or elegance, and not to be compared
to de sublime water-works at Versailles, which is the  bouquet of all—
de first in de world.    But to estrangares, who was not visit France, and
been so good fortunate as to see that gaand artificial work pf de great
natione, Niagra may, perhaps, appear wonderful.     So it is with Vesuve,
in like manner.    In realita, it fall very far to de behind of de imaginatif,
in fire-works in de Champs de Mars, in de glorious days of July, at
Paris.    He who is not seen dat city, my good  sare, has seen just nothing at all where nature and art form one alliance, intimate, graceful,
and unique.    It is de one place only in de world, for a man vot has taste-
literaire, imaginatif, and gastronomique.    What dey can boast with truth,
goot right, in Amerique, if dey only had  de taste culinaire, which dey
are so misfortunate as not for to be, is de grand reservoirs, de great laltes,
and immense rivares of fresh watare, make for dat most delicate mor- ^**!r^5r
74
THE LETTBR-BAG OE
ceaux, de frog, which I hear are in great abundance dare, and very fine,
sporting demselves, and singing night and day, like veritable birds, though
de musich is not so good as dey eat, which is fit for a king. I make to
myself one promise, dey shall compensate for a great deal of de miser-
aire in de table, but at present, I hear it is so much throw away upon
dem, as pearls before de swine-pigs, dey are so ignorant, and barbare, as
not even to know de dish, but for make laugh.
In England, also, is one vary great ting wanted in de educatione of
de houses commons of de people, is to have de knowledge of de art to
cook de fare, so as to make it fit to eat for de palate and stommach—
and, what is more, to be pocketed, and to make de one-half food dan de
whole go fardare. Den you will hear of starving peoples again no more,
as before, which cannot be oderwise when more is consumed in waste,
in one day, by ignorance, den shall render for de whole week, entire, in
consumptione necessaife. It is more better, as cheaper, and let goot
cooking of de vitals last only for five years in de conetry, it shall wipe up
the nationale debt, till it shall be no more seen, and nothing remain.
Farte else have enabled France to support de army of Napoleon, or wate
is called of occupation, which was of Prusse and Russe, and Anglaix,
when combined in round Paris, but de art to cook! or farte now hold up
de grand militaire and navy, or defray de debt of de natione, which is
no!, commerciale, or manufacture, but de art to cook"?    It is de single
• • • ®
ting necessaire to general happiness, riches, and health, and widout it,
man is no more as a savage, who waste more as he eats, and eats more
as a pig, den human being. gpS
Lord Brougham (who is distinguished more for what goes out of his
mout, den what goes into it), have gone boast " de schoolmaster is
abroad." Veil ! farte of all that? de schoolmaster is not de right man,
aftare ail; but if he will say " de cook is abroad," den he shall speak
sense, for once, ondeniable. De cook is de gentleman dat shall make von
grand reform inde English natione, more better as ballot or universal suffrage, or de. Lord John Russell all in one pile, heap up togedare. De
John Bull vat is poor, is so savage as a blood-hound—for whyl because
he feeds on raw meet; the chartist is wicked, because his stomach is
out of de order ; and so is de radical very cross and sour, because he is
dispeptic, bilious, and troubled wid wind ; and de rish man, what you call
whig, go hang and drown himself for nothing at all, but because his digestion is bad. Ah ! my dear sare, my goot friend, de cook is de doc-
tare, de statesman, de true patriot. Speak of ^educatione nationale, mon
Dieu ! it is cooking nationale vat you shall vant; and dis do put mind in
me to go talk to de steward about de dinnair, so I must have take de.
honore to subscribe to you myself, with great respect, your obedient
servant, Frederic Frelin.
No. XVI.
LETTER FROM AN OLD HAND.
My dear James—
Just as I was embarking I received your letter requesting me to give
you a full account of my voyage, and such hints as might be useful to you
whenever you shall make the passage yourself. The first is unnecessary,
for there is nothing to tell. Every man is alike, every woman is alike.
They are more alike than the men, too much of the devil in all. Every
ship is alive, especially steam ships, and the incidents of one voyage are
common to all.    " Facias non omnibus una, nee tamen diversa."
The company usually consists of young officers joining regiments; THE GREAT WESTERN.
75
talk Gibralter—Cape—Halifax—Horse-guards—promotion and sporting : of naval men; talk—insults to flag—foreign stations—crack frigates
 round sterns—Old Admiral: of speculators ; talk—cotton—tobacco-
flour : of Provincials ; talk — Durham — Head — Colborne — Poulette
Thompson : of travellers ; talk—Mississippi—Niagara—Mahone bay : of
women ; talk—headache—amusements, and nonsense about Byron : of
Yankees ; talk—Locofocos—go-ahead—dollars : of manufacturers ; talk
 steam—factories—machinery : of blockheads, who chatter like monkeys, about everything. The incidents are common to all—fall on the
deck—wet through—very sick—bad wine—cold dinner—rough water—
shipped a sea, and a tureen of soup—spoke a ship, but couldn't hear—
saw a whale, but so far off, only a black line—feel sulky. There is nothing therefore to tell you, but what has been told a thousand times, and
never was worth telling once.   But there are a few maxims worth knowing.
1st. Call steward—inquire the number of your cabin; he will tell you
it is No. 1, perhaps, ah ! very well, steward, here is half a sovereign to
begin with, don't forget, it is No. I. This is the beginning of the voyage, I shall not forget the end of it. He never does lose sight of No. 1,
and you continue to be No. 1 ever after; best dish at dinner, by accident,
is always before you, best attendance behind you, and so on. You can
never say with the poor devil, that was hen-pecked, " the first of the tea,
the last of the coffee for poor Jemy."—i" always do this.
2d. If you are to have a chum, take a young one, and you can have
your own way by breaking hinf-in yourself.—I always do.
3d. If the berths are over each other, let the young fellow climb, and
do you take the lowest one; it is better he should break his neck than
you.—I always do.
4th. All the 'luggage not requried for immediate use, is marked
" below," don't mark yours so at all, and you have it all in your own
cabin, where you know where to find it when you want it. It is not then
squeezed to death by a hundred tons of trunks. If you have not room
in your cabin for it all? hint to your young chum, he has too much baggage, and some of it must go^below."—/ always do so.
5th. Don't talk French, it brings all those chattering, grimacery fellows
about you.—I never do.
6th. Make no acquaintance with women on two accounts; first, they have
no business on board, and secondly, they are too troublesome.—I never do.
7th. Never speak to a child, or you can't get clear of the nasty little
lapdog thing ever afterward.—I never do.
8th. Always judge your fellow-passengers to be the opposite of what
they strive to appear to be. For instance, a military man is not quarrelsome, for no man doubts his courage. A snob is. A clergyman is not
over strait-laced, for his piety is not questioned. But a cheat is. A
lawyer is not apt to be argumentative. But a doctor is. A woman that
is all smiles and graces is a vixen atlieart. Snakes fascinate. A stranger
that is obsequious and over-civil without apparent cause, is treacherous.
Cats that purr, are apt to bite and scratch like the devil. Pride is one
thing, assumption is another ; the latter must always get the cold shoulder,
for whoever shows it is no gentleman ; men never affect to be what they
are not. The only man who really is what he appears to be, is—a gentleman.—I always judge thus.
9th. Keep no money in your pockets—when your clothes are brushed
in the morning, it is apt—ahem—to fall out.—T never do.
10th. At table, see what wine the captain drinks ; it is not the worst.
I always do. ****
7e
THE LETTER-BAG OF
11th. Never be " at home" on any subject, to stupid fellows: they
wont " call again."—I never am.
12th. Never discuss reHgion or politics with those who hold opinions
opposite to yours ; they are subjects that heat in handling, until they burn
your fingers ; never talk learnedly on topics you know, it makes people
afraid of you ; never talk*" on subjects you don't know, it makes people
despise you ; never argue, no man is worth the trouble of convincing,
and the better you reason the more obstinate people become ; never pun
on a man's words ; it is as bad as spitting in his face. In short, whenever practicable, let others perform, and do you look on : a seat in the
dress-circle is preferable to a part in the play.—This is my rule.
13th. Be always civil, and no one will wish to be rude to you ; be ceremonious, and people cannot if they would ; impertinence seldom honours
you with a visit, without an invitation, at least.—I always find it so.
14th. Never sit opposite a carving-dish ; there is not time for doing
pretty.—1 never do.
15th. Never take a place opposite a newly married couple ; it is a great
many things, tiresome, tantalizing, disgusting, and so on.— I never do.
16th. Never sit near a subordinate officer of the ship, they are always
the worst served and are too much at home to be agreeable.—I never d&.
17th. Never play at cards ; some people know too little for your temper, and others too much for your pocket.—J never do.
18th. There is one person to whom you should be most attentive and
obliging, and even anticipate his" wants; his comfort should be made paramount to every other consideration, namely, yourself.—I always do.
There are many other corollaries from these maxims, which a little reflection will suggest to you, but it is a rule never to write a long letter.—
I never do.—Yours always, John Stager.
No. XVII.
LETTER
FROM AN AMERICAN CITIZEN TO HIS FRIEND AT BANGOR.
Dear Ichabod—
As I shall cut off to Harrisburg, Pa., to-morrow as soon as I land, and
then proceed to Pittsville, Ma., I write you these few lines to inform you
ofthe state of things in general, and the markets in particular. Rice is
rice, though the tobaccO-market looks black ; cotton is lighter, and some
brilliant specs have been made in oil. Pots hang heavy in hand, and
pearl is dull. Tampico fustic is moderate, and Campeachy a 37—80—4
mos. WhatSbone continues firm. Few transactions have taken place
in bar or pig, and iron generally is heavy. Hung-dried Chili remains
high, but Santa Marthas are flat. The banks and large houses look for
specie, but long paper still passes in the hands of individuals and little
houses in the city. This is all the news and last advices ; but, dea%Ich,
what on airth are we coming to, and how will our free and enlightened
country bear the inspection brand abroad 1 Will not our name decline
in foreign markets 1 The pilot has just come on board, and intimates
that the vice president, the second officer of this first of countries, was
not received with due honour at New York. He says that the common
council could not ask him to thread an agrarian band of Fanny-Wright
men, Offen men, Ming men, and all other sorts of men, but respectable
naen; for he would have had to encounter a slough of locofocoism, that
no decent man would wade through. It is scarcely credible that so discreditable an event should occur in this empire city; but it is the blessed THE   GREAT  WESTERN.
fruit of that cursed tree of Van Burenism, which is rotten before it is
ripe, and unlike other poisonous fruit is not even attractive in outward
appearance, but looks bad, tastes bad, and operates bad, and in short, is
bad altogether. But of all the most appalling information I have received
per this channel was that of the formation of twenty-four new hose companies.
What 1 said I, twenty-four new hose companies 1    Is the stocking business going ahead 1    Is it to cover the naked feet of the shoeless Irish,
and Scotch, and English paupers, that cover with uncovered legs, like
locusts,'this happy land—or is it for foreign markets'?    Where does the,
capital come from 1    Is it a spec, or has it a bottom ?    No, said he,
shaking his head ; it is a dark job of the new-lights, the locofocos.    To
carry the election of chief engineer of the firemen, they have created
twenty-four new companies of firemen, called hose companies, which has;
damped the fire and extinguished the last spark of hope of all true patriots.    It has thrown cold water upon the old fire companies, who will
sooner resign than thus be inundated.    This is the way the radicals of
England wanted to swamp the House of Lords, by creating a new batch
of peers, baked at once; though the persons for peers were only half-,
baked, or under-done—but they did not, and-were not allowed to glut
the market that way.
How is it that tins stale trick should become fresh, and succeed in this
enlightened land; this abode of freemen; this seat of purity, and pass
current without one solid, genuwine ingredient of true metal 1 It is a base
trick, a barefaced imposition, a high-handed and unconstitutional measure. It is a paltry manoeuvre to swindle the firemen out of their right
of election. Yes, leh, the firemen is swamped, and the sun of liberty
has gone down red and angry, extinguished in the waters of popular delusion. Then, for heaven's sake, look at Vicksburg ; every thing looks
worse and worse there; in several of the counties they have quashed
all the bonds, in some there are no courts, in others, the sherif!s<pocket
the money, and refuse to shell out to any one. In one instance, a man,
tried for the murder of his wife? escaped, because he was convicted of
manslaughter; and, in another, a person indicted for stealing a pig, got
off because it was a shote. They ring the noses of the judges instead of
the pigs. From cutting each other up in the papers with pens, they now
cut each other up in the streets with bowie-knives, and in my opinion,
will soon eat one another like savages, for back-biting has become quite
common. The constitution has received a pretty considerable tarnation
shock—that's a fact. Van Burenism and sub-treasuryism have triumphed;
the whig cause has gained nothing but funeral honours, and a hasty burial
below low-water mark. In England, Biddle retiring from the bank, has
affected the cotton trade, and shook it to its centre. They say, if it paid
well, why did he pay himself off] It was a losing concern, it was a loss
to lose him ; but all are at a loss to know the reason of his withdrawing.
I own, I fear he is playing the game of fast and loose. The breaking of
that bank would affect the banks of the Mississippi as well as the Ohio,
and the country would be inundated with bad paper, the natural result
of his paper war with Jackson, the undamming, by the administration, of
the specie dammed up by him for so long a period—damn them all, I say!
However, Ich, if we have made a losing concern of it, the English have
got their per contra sheet, showing a balance against them too. They
are going to lose Canada, see if they aint, as sure as a gun ; and if they
do, I guess we know where to find it, without any great search alter it,
either.   I didn't think, myself, it was so far gone goose with them, or 7S
THE   LETTER-BAG  OF
m
the fat in the fire half so bad, until I read Lord Durham's report; but he
says, " my experience leaves no doubt on my mind, thatLan invading American army might rely upon the co-operation of almost the entire French
population of Lower Canada." Did you ever hear the like of that, Ich 1
By gosh, but it was worth while to publish that, wasn't it 1
Now after such an invitation as that coming from such a quarter too,
if our folks don't go in and take it they ought to be kicked clean away
to the other side of sundown, hang me if they hadn't ought. It's enough
to make a eat sick too, to hear them Goneys to Canada- talk about responsible government, cuss me if it aint. They don't know what they
are jawing about, them fellows, that's a fact. I should like to know
what's the use of mob responsibility when our most responsible treasurers
fobbed five millions of dollars lately of the public money, without winkle*. Where are they now1? Why some on 'em is in France going the
whole figure, and the other rascals at home snapping the fingers of one
hand at the people, and jingling their own specie at them with the fingers of the other as sarcy asthe devil. Only belong to the inajority, and
you are as safe as a thief in a mill. They'll carry you through the mire
at a round trot as stiff as a pedler's horse.
It's well enough to boast, Ich, of our Constitution afore stangers, and
particularly afore them colony chaps, because it may do good, but I hope
I may be most pittikilarly cussed, if I wouldn't undertake to drive a stage
coach and four horses through most any part of it at full gallop. Responsibility ! what infernal nonsense! Show me one of all our public
defaulters that deserved hanging, that ever got his due, and then I'll believe the-word has got some meaning in k; but the British are fools,
thaf s a fact—always was fools, and always will be fools to the eend of the
chapter—and them are colonists asn't much better, I hope I may be shot
if they are. The devil help them all, I say, till we are ready for them,
and then let them look out for squalls, that's all. Lord ! if they were to
invade us as our folks did them, and we was to catch them, weed serve
them as Old Hickory did Ambrister and Arbuthnot down there to Florida line, hang em up like onions, a dozen on a rope. I guess they won't
try them capers with us. They know a trick worth two of that, I'me a
thinking.
I suppose you've heard the French took a pilot out of a British gun-
brig : when called upon for explanation they said they took the man-of-
war for a merchantman-—no great of a compliment that, was it 1 but
John Batt swallowed it all, though he made awful wry faces in getting it
down. As our minister said, suppose they did make such a blunder,
what right had they to take him at all out of a merchantman, and if it
was a mistake why didn't they take him back again when they found out
their error 1 He was such an everlastin overbearrin crittur himself in
years past was John Bull, it does one good to see him humbled, and faith
he gets more kicks than coppers now. It appears to me they wouldn't
have dared to have done that to us, don't it to you 1 Then they took one
of their crack steam frigates for a Mexican. Lord ! that was another
compliment, and they let drive into her and played the,very devil. Nothing but another mistake agin, says Bullfrog, upon my vird and onare
vary soary, but I did not knew youjny goot friend—no,-1 did not indeed
—I took you for the miserable Mexican. You vary much altared from
de old time what went before—vary. It was lucky for Johnny Croppo
our Giniral Jackson hadn't the helm of state, or he'd a taught them a different guess manners, I'm a thinking. If they had dared to venture that
sort of work to us in Old Hickory's time, I hope I may be skinned alive THE   GREAT  WESTERN.
79
by wild cats if he wouldn't have bloWed every cussed craft they have out
of the water. Lord ! Ich, he'd a sneezed them out, cuss me if he wouldn't.
There is no mistake in Old Hick, I tell you. If he isn't clear grit—ginger to the back bone—tough as whip leather—and spunky as a bull-dog,
it's a pity, that's all. I must say, at present our citizens are treated with
great respect abroad.
His excellency the honourable the governor of the state of Quimbagog
lives at St. Jimses, and often dines at the palace. When they go to dinner, he carries the Queen and Melburne carries the Dutchess Kent.
Him and the queen were considerably shy at first, but they soon got sociable and are quite thick now. He told the company, there was a town
to home called Vixburg after (Melburne says ahem ! as a hint not to go
too far—governor winks, as much as to say, no fear, I take you, myjaoy),
so called from vix, scarcely, and burga, a city, which place had become
famous throughout America, for its respect for the laws, and that many
people, thought there was a growing resemblance between England and
it—melBurne seed the bam and looked proper vexed, and to turn the
conversation said : shall I have the honour to take wine with your excellency mister governor of the state of Quimbagog in America, but now a
guest of her most gracious majesty. They say, he always calls it an
honour when he asks him and pays him the respect to give him all his
titles, and when he asks other folks he says, pleasure, and just nods his
head. That's gratifying now, aint it 1 The truth is, we stand letter a,
No. l^abroad, and for no other reason than this, the British can whip all
the world, and we can whip the British. When you write to England if
you speak of this ship, you must call her the Great Western Steamer,
or it may lead to trouble, for there are two Great Westerns, this here
ship, and one of the great men, and they wont know which you mean.
Many mistakes have happened already, and parcels are constantly sent to
his address in that way that are intended for America. The fact is,
there is some truth in the resemblance : Both their trips cost more money
than they were worth; both raised greater expectations than they have fulfilled ; both returned a plaugy-sight quicker than they went out—and between you and me and the post, both are inconveniently big, and have
more smoke than power. As soon as I arrange my business at Pittsville
I shall streak it off for Maine like lightning, for I am in an everlasting
almighty hurry, I tell you, and hoping to see you well and stirring, and
as hearty as brandy, I am, dear Ich, yours faithfully,
Elnathan Card.
P. S.    Keep dark.
If you have a real right down clipper of a horse in your stable, a doing
of nothing, couldn't you jist whip over to Portland on the 20th to meet
me in your wagon 1 If you could I can put you up to a thing about
oils, in which, I think, we could make a considerable of a decent spec,
and work it so as to turn a few thousand dollars slick. General Corncob will accommodate me at the bank with what we want, for it was
me helped him over the fence, when he was non-plushed last election
for senator by the democratic republicans, and he must be a most superfine infernal rascal, if he turns stag on me now. Chew on it at any
rate, and if you have a mind to go snacks, why jist make an errand for
something or another to the bay, to draw the wool over folks' eyes, and
come on the sly, and you will go back heavier, I guess, than you come
by a plaguy long chalk, that's a fact.—Yours,
E. C. 80
THE  LETTER-BAG  0?
No. XVIII.
§§g LETTER If
• FROM ELIZABETH FIGG TO JOHN BUGGINS.
Dear John—
I never will believe nothing that I hear, till I see it—never.
We are now in sight of America, which riz out ofthe sea this morning
afore breakfast, and is nothing but a blue spec after all, and no bigger
than a common hill, and yet this is the land, they say, is so large, that
you have to travel through it by water. But this is the way strangers
are always deceived by travellers' stories, that you don't know how
much to set down fabulous, and how much to give credit to. I arrived
in due course by coach at Bristol the same day at night that I left London, and was picked up out of the bush by a cab-man who took me to
the stairs ; but he was a villain, like many more that I could Same, at
Bristol as well as other places. Sais he is it a single fair 1 no say^ I, I am
married to John Figg this seven years, says he, I mean is there any
more to be took in 1 no said I, I hope not, and I trust you are not agoing
for to take me in, are you 1 with that he shot too the door with a grin
and got up on the box, and I heard him say, she is a rum one, that's
certain. When we got to Clifton he made me pay ten shillings, I wish
you would see to it, he is a stout man with a red face, and you'll know
him by his waistcoat which is red too.
After that I took a voyage down the river to where the Great Western stood waiting for us, but Gracious Powers ! it was a floating sta-
tion for a railway. Such a confusion no one did ever see. I was told
when I came on board I should see a palace, all fit for the Queen, so
elegant and so clean, the wood all gilded and the moreens all silk, and
the rooms all state rooms, and as for liquor nothing but hoc and sham-
pain would go down, and every thing you could think of, besides ever
so much you never dreamed of all your life, all provided for your reception, and the only objection was the voyage was so short, you got
but little use of it for your money. Well I never! if it aint horred to
hoax people that way, I declare ; but let them Bristol Quakers alone
for sly ones I say—but I'll not get before my story—you shall see for
yourself how far things come up to the mark or not.
I have been wretched uncomfortable in this steamer, for what in the
world is the use of all the gilding and carving and pictures and splendour that ever was to you when you are sick at the stomack 7 Our
cabin has two boxes in it called births, though coffins would be nearer
the thing, for you think more of your other end at sea a great deal.
One of these is situated over the other like two shelves, and these two
together make what they call a state room. What would they think at
the real palace, ef such a state room as this, of just a closet and no
more, for the queen and her mother to sleep in, and no dressing-room
nor nothing 1 but you shall hear all. My birth is the uppermost one,
and I have to climb up to it putting one foot on the lower one, and the
other away out on the wash-hand stand, which is a great stretch and
makes it very straining; then I lift one knee on the birth, and roll in
side ways. This is very inconvenient to a woman of my size, and very
dangerous. Last night I put my foot on Mrs. Brown's face, as she laid
asleep close to the edge of the lower one, and nearly put out her eye,
and I have torn all the skin off my knees, and then I have a large black
spot where I have been hart, and my head is swelled.   To dismount is THE   GREAT   WESTERN. —| 81
another feat of horsemanship only fit for a sailor. You "can't sit up for
the floor over head, so you have to turn round and rpll your legs out
first, and then hold on till you touch bottom some where, and then let
yourself down upright. It is dreadful work, and not very decent for a
delicate female, if the steward happens to come in when you are in the
act this way. I don't know which is the hardest, to get in or get out a
birth ; both are the most difficultest things in the world, and I shall be
glad when I am done with it. I am obligated to dress in bed, afore I
leave it, and nobody that hasn't tried to put on their clothes lying
down can tell what a task it is. Lacing stays behind your back, and
you on your face nearly smothered in bed clothes, and feeling for the
eylet hole with one hand, and trying to put the tog in with the other,
while you are rolling about from side to side, is no laughing matter.
Yesterday I fastened on the pillow to my bustler by mistake, in the
hurry, and never knew it till the people laughed at me and said the sea
agreed with me and I had grown so fat. But putting on stockings is
the worst, for there aint room to stoop forward, so you have to bring
your foot to you, and stretching out on your back, lift up your leg till
you can reach it, and then drag it on. Corpulent people can't do this so
easy, I can tell you. It always gives me the cramp and takes away my
breath. You would pity me if you could conceive, John, but you can't—
nobody but a woman can tell what a female suffers being confined in a
berth at sea. Then I get nothing hardly to eat, for I sit between a German
and a Frenchman, and if I ask one to help me, he says, " neat for stain,"
which means, I am afraid to dirt my fingers ; and the other keeps saying, " Je non ton Pa," I aint your father ; and when I call the steward,
he says, " Yes mame, comeing directly," and he never comes at all.
Then the doctor says, Mrs. Figg, what will you take—is there any
thing I can give you 1 He says this every day at dinner, and it kills
me, the very idea. At last I said to him, Do pray, doctor, don't mention
it, I am sick enough already, and you really turn my stomach. Oh !
John, I suffer more than mortal can imagine. The biscuit is as hard as
a Dutch tile, and it is easier to crack a tooth than to crack that, but may
be it is only my weakness—and the vinegar tastes sweeter to me than
the wine, but perhaps that's all owing to the sourness of my stomach.
Indeed it's little that goes down my throat which seems to be turned upside down and acts the other way. If all the passengers is like me,
the Captain will have a profitable voyage of it, I am sure, for I can neither eat nor drink any thing—and what I live on, Gracious only knows,
for I don't.
We have had a terrific gale ever since we left, and the motion is dreadful.
You never see any thing like the sea, when its fairly up ; its like a galloping boil, it froths and rolls over, and carries on tremendous. Sometimes it pitches into the vessel, and sometimes the vessel pitches into it,
and sometimes they both pitch together, and, then, words is wanting to
paint it out in true colours At such times the trunks slide about the
floor, as if they was on the ice, and it is as much as your legs is worth
to be among them a minute. Every thing I have is either wet or torn ;
my new silk bonnet is all scruntched flat, by Mrs. Brown falling down on
it; and, what's worse is, to have my bum-be-seen looking no better than
the cook's, it has got all soiled, and a great spot on it that I can't get off,
do what I will. The place underneath is very hot, and the air so long
confined that comes from there, aint pleasant at all, it makes me feel
very frail. But that aint -the worst of it, the doors are all painted so
beautiful, and look so romantic that they didn't like to number them, 82
THE   LETTER-BAG   OF
Ff.
for fear of spoiling the pictures on them ; and it tante very easy to tell
which is which, or whose is whose ; and there is a great German officer
always opening my door, by mistake, and, sometimes, won't be convinced till he looks me in the face, and then its ho, I pegs porton, madam,
I, too, indeed, I mishtook it for my own, so I tid. It frightens me so,
I am afraid to do anything, a most, for fear of his great whisker'd face
come poping in upon me. It is a dreadful life, dear John; no one
knows what it is, but them that's tried it, and them too, that's sea-sick,
and is females. The partitions, too, are so very thin, you can hear all
kinds of noises, just as plain as if it was in the same room, which is very
inconvenient and disagreeable.- My next neighbour is a Frenchman, he
is very ill, and is always calling some jew or other that never comes.
It is pitiable to hear him crying all day, O men jew, mon jew ! Sometimes just as I feel exhausted and quiet from weakness, he begins reaching, so dreadful, that it sets me off again, and I think I shall never stop ;
and, as for the steward, as there is no bells, and he is a mile off, you
might as well .pall from Dover to Calais, and expect to be heard ; and if
you catch a glimpse of another servants-he says, yes, marm, and you
never see him again, or, if you do, you don't know him, they are so numerous, and being mulattoes, you can't tell them apart. The black
girls, or "jetdoes," as the French call them, are so busy, they do nothing at all, but chase each other round and round. You want a gentleman at sea very much more than anywhere else ; and, if poor Mr. Figg
hadn't unfortunately had to leave England rather unexpectedly, I
shouldn't have been in such a primminary as I am. You aint much
better off, on deck, for, when the ship pitches or rolls, you are apt to lose
your stool, and whatever happens at sea, either from a fall, or getting in
a spree, every one laughs. There is no sympathy here, for no one ; and
politeness is not the order of the day, when people are not invited for
company, but pay their way, and no thanks to any one. How times is
altered with me, since", I was a belle, and all Hackney rung with my
name and fortin, and it was whose arm I should take, and who should be
the happy man, and a smile was too much pay for any trouble ; or, rather, trouble was a pleasure. Bumpers didn't mean what bumpers does
now ; and running bump agin you, and most knocking you over, is a
very different thing from having your health drank in toast, the men all
standing unkivered, and having it done whenever opportunity offered.
But men aint what men was, and a steamer aint a corporation
ball, though they do call it a palace, nor nothing like it; and, although I
am no longer Betsey Buggins, that was, yet I am not much altered, unless it be I'me a little more " om bum point" than I was, which, some
people say, is more becoming. Besides, being married, looks is of no
more consequence than dress, unless it should be my fortune to marry
again, which Mr. Figg's declining health, I fear, renders not impossible,
if ever I could bring myself to think of another, which aint probable.
But, poor Mr. Figg is greatly changed, and enjoys very bad health ; he
aint the same man he was, and has fell away to nothing, until he is a
mere atomy. But, I trust in Providenee, if yellow fever don't do for
him, change of air will.
Hoping this will find you in good health and spirits, lam, dear brother,
Your faithful sister, Elizabeth Figg.
P. S. If you see Mrs. Hobbs, tell her I am much beholden to her,
for her kindness in saying Mr. Figg and me left England serruptitious,
on account of a derangement of affairs, but ill health of Mr. Figg, from the great western.
83
being kept at it from morning till night was the sole cause ; for thank
goodness, we can retire when we please at any moment and enjoy ourselves, if he was only as able as he once was in bodily strength. As
far as means goes, we have it, and enough to spare, to purchase her and
Mr. Hobbs out any day, and set them up again, and not miss it. I most
wonder some people aint ashamed to show their red faces, when it's well
known that water never causes red noses. But I scorn to retaliate on
people that's given to sich low habits, only some folks had better see the
brandy blossoms on their own faces, before they find beams in other people's characters. I hate such deceitful wretches as i& so civil to your
face, and the moment your back is turned find nothing too bad to say
of you, but this is not worth breath, and that's the truth.
E. Figg.
No. XIX.
LETTER
FROM THE SON OF A PASSENGER.
Dear Bob—
Guess where I am now, my boy. Do you give it up? Well, I'm on
board the Great Western, I am, upon my soul! Father has gone to
America to take Bill, the Ceylon Missionary boy, home to his friends,f
and I am off with him in this^teamer, and it's hurrah for Yankee town,
and the Lord knows where all! It's as good fun as a fair, and there is
such a crowd all the time, you can just do what you please, and no one
find yeu out. Sliding on the wet deck above the saloon, when the passengers are at dianer, makes it nice and slippery, and when they come up,
not thinking of slides er any thing of the kind, away they go head over
heels all in a heap; such scrambling among the gals a showing of their
legs, and such damning among the men about greasy deck, you never
heard. Then dropping a piece of orange peel before a Frenchman, when
he goes prancing about the deck, sends him flying a yard or so till he
comes on all fours, where he wallops about like a fish just caught. But
the best fun is putting shot under the feet ofthe camp stools, when nobody
is looking, it makes the women kick up their heels like donkeys. I have
to give my old Governor a wide berth, for he owes me a thrashing, but he
is lame and can't catch me. He is proper vexed. I stole a leaf out of
his sermon last Sunday, and when he came to the gap, he stopped, and
first looked ahead, and then back again, and at last had to take a running
leap over it; ray eyes, what a laugh there was! The last words were
" the beauty" and the next page began, of the devil and all his works.
He coughed, and stammered, and then blew his nose, and then coloured
up as red as a herring, and gave me a look, as much as to say, " you'll
catch it for this, my boy, I know ;" but there is one good thing about
the old man too, he dont carry a grudge long. When he came back to
his cabin, says he to the Ceylon boy, William, says he, these passengers
behave very ill, very ill, indeed: what made them laugh so when 1 was
going into the cabin and coming out again. They must be very loose
people, to behave in this unhandsome manner. It is very unbecoming.
What were they laughing at, do you know 1 At the white shirts of the
negroes, says I, winking to Bill, but confound him, he would not take a
hint. I believe it was this, sir, said Bill, who was always [a spooney,
taking up the back of his gown and showing.him a card, I took off one
of the boxes and stuck there," This side up, to be kept dry."
But the greatest fun I have had is with an old German named Lybolt, E&i
1
mm
^H
Ll -^am
THE   LETTER-BAG   OP
of Ehjladelphia, or Pennsylvania, or some such place in the States. He
sleeps next birth to us. Well, I goes and picks out a piece of putty in
the partition just near his head, and when he is fast asleep snoring, lets
drive a squirt full of water right into his face and mouth. Oh ! mine
Cot! mine Cot! the old fellow sings out, varte a leak dat is ! I am all
wet so I am, most trowned in my ped. Steward, do kome here, steward!
Well, the steward comes and he can't find the leak, for in the mean time
I claps back the putty as snug as a bug in a rug. May be you was sick
in your sleep and didn't know it, says the steward. Cot for tam ! I tell
you no—it's vater, don't you see ? Or perhaps you spilt it out of the
basin 1 Dunder and blitzen! you plack villain, do you mockey me, sir ?
what for you mean 1 and away goes the steward, and next day comes the
carpenter, and next night comes the squirt again. He'll go mad yet will
old ' Tousand Deyvils !' see if he don't.
After dinner I gets down to the other end of the table, where the old
Governor can't see me, and gets lots of wine and good things, especially
among the Jews. Them are the boys for champaign. I always understood they were close-fisted curmudgems that wouldn't spend a farthing,
but they tucks in the wine in great style. It would do you good to see
them turn up the whites of their eyes and taking an observation out of
the bottom of their glass. I wouldn't be a slice of ham in them fellows'
way for something. They eat and drink as if they never saw food before.
But coming out of the companion-way in a crowd in the dark, and giving
a pinch on the sly to the mulatto girl on the stairs, till she squeals again
like a stuck pig and abuses the passengers for no gentlemen, and every
one crying out shame, is great sport. There is a great big Irishman
from Giant's Causeway that has got the credit of it, and every American says it is just like an Irish blackguard that. If you'd see the coloured servants, what looks they give old Potato, it would do you good.
They'll murder him if they catch him in New York. I wouldn't be in
Pat's jacket for a shilling, I know.
Oh! Bob, I wish you was here ; we'd have a noble time of it if you
was. As it is, Bill is so cursed soft, and such a coward, he won't join
in a lark, and I am frightened out of my life for fear he will peach on me.
I have threatened to cut the liver out of him if he does. I am almost
afraid he has already, for the mate said to me to-day, ' Come here, you
young sucking parson, you. If you don't give over cutting those shines,
I'll make your breech acquainted with a bit of the haulyards before you
are many days older, I'm beggar'd if I don't—so mind your eye, my
hearty, or you'll catch it, I tell you.' You will, will you 1 says I—you
know a trick worth two of that, I'm thinking, and if you don't there's
them on board will teach it to yon. So none of your half-laughs to me.
I can't say I liked it though, for all that, for he looks like a fellow that
would be as good as his word, and if I do catch it I will pay master Bill
off for it when I get him ashore, I'm blowed if I don't. There is nothing
I hate so much as a tattler.
Board ship is a fine place for old clothes ; what with tar and grease
and tearing, you get rid of them all in no time. I have made all my Sunday clothes old, and worn all my old ones out, so that I shall come out
in a new rig at New York, as fine as examination day, and try for a long
coat and French boots, if I can come round the old man. Remem-
bering his texts and praising his sermons generally does that. I think I
am too big now for short jacket and trousers. Jim Brown warn't so tall
as me by half an inch when he give them upf though he was a year
older.    Besides in course a long coat has more pocket money than a THE GREAT  WESTERN.
85
coatee, and servants don^t treat you any longer as a child and aint afraid
to trast you with a horse. Now if I go to smoke, every one says, look
at that brat smoking, what a shame it is for the parson to let that boy
use a cigar ! just as if I hadn't as good a right as they have, the lubbers.
~Qh, I yes; dear Bob, I wish with all my heart you was here, it would make
you split your sides a laughing to see how putting broken glass into boots
makes fellows limp like beggars and sing out for boot-jacks, and how running pins into cushions makes the women race off screaming and scratching ; but there aint so much fun when you have to do it all yourself, and
no one besides to laugh with at the joke, it makes it dull sport after all.
I expect I shall be caught yet, but if I am, and had up for it afore the
old Governor, I wiH swear it was all Bill, for he deserves a hiding, the
coward, for not joining in it.
I am to have all holydays while I am gone except a lesson every day in
Latin grammar, but I have been all over it before, so it will take no time
at all to do it. When I get to New York I will write you again, and let
you know what sort of a place it is, and how the Yankee girls look, and
if I get my loifg coat out of father, I'll have fine fun among them. I
dont hke to speak to them now, for short coats looks foolish. Remember
me to all the boys and particularly to Betty, housemaid, and believe me,
dear Bob,—Your faithful friend, Tom Trotter.
No. XX.
LETTER
FROM   THE  PROFESSOR   OF  STEAM AND  ASTRONOMY,
OTHERWISE CALLED THE CLERK, TO THE DIRECTORS.
Gentlemen, /
A becoming consideration for my own character in Rterary attainments
which primarily procured for me the honor of an introduction to the unincorporated board of directors of the Great Western and their unanimous election to the situation I have the pleasure to fill of principal in
their academical school for scientific and nautical training of their junior
officers, compete me to announce most reluctantly but peremptorily and
decidedly that if it is intended to initiate those young gentlemen thoroughly in their profession, it must be effected on shore, and that this marine
seminary will inevitably sink in public estimation if kept afloat on board
ejfithe Steamer. It cannot be denied with a due regard to truth and veracity, that the young gentlemen whose minds are fitted naturally with
'expansive gear,' have their astronomical and mathematical problems at
what is vulgarly called their finger ends, because everything that is ap-
proached with tarry fingers usuallyadheres to them pertinaciously; but
that is not the sort of acquirements most to be desired, nor can the cal-
culations which are so abstruse and difficult be exeot&ed with accuracy
and precision, where the jarring of the boat converts O'ts into 6'ss and
l's into 3's, and se disfigures (if I may use the expression) every figure
that it is no longer to be recognised by the hand that traced its configuration. In the same manner a complex motion, compounded of pitching,
rolling, and vibrating, is utterly destructive and subversive of certainty in
taking meridian altitudes, especially when to these difficulties is added a
speed of twelve miles an hour with all steam on and 15 revolutions.
The damp and moist exhala#©ns evolved by water, heated to 419a,
pervading the interior of the lecture room, by insinuating itself through
the interstices and crenices of the ship, obliterates from the slates all
traces or distinctness of arithmetical and algebraical figures, and before
IK!   H go
the letter-bag of
calculations are terminated the primary part is obfuscated by the oCcul-
tations of steam, and by the time assiduous application has restored it,
we have the same mortification arising in vhe other extremity. Discouraging as these difficulties unquestionably are, they are altogether insignificant, when compared to the obstructions arising from the noises produced by the vociferous bleating of calves and sheep, the incessant lowing of cows, the acute intonations of swine, the cackling of poultry, the
discordant voices of two hundred people, the uproar of the elements, the
noise of the ponderous machinery, and the thunder of the ever-revolving
wheels ; amidst these numerous, complicated, and perplexing distractions,
to abstract the attention and apply it to abstruse studies, is an effort ifbt
to be expected from juvenile minds and exuberant spirits, more especially, when, to learn, implies an absence of knowledge ; and the very act
of resorting tof a professor, implies an insinuation of either overgrown
ignorance to young men, or of boyish age, incompatible with manly stature, either of which suppositions is repugnant to aspiring youth, desirous
to be classed among men, especially by women. There is no " indicator" that I know of, to the machinery of the mind ; and the only way of
ascertaining results is, to apply the " Camm" of seclusion " to cut off the
stroke," as it is called, and mark the advance made in relation to time
and study given. A manifestation of reluctance, or, rather, a resistance
to deferential respect, to the superior attainments and acquisitions of the
principal, is, therefore, to be expected, as much as it is to be deplored and
lamented, as well as for the young gentleman, on the one hand, as by
the professor on the other; for it is obvious to the most superficial understanding of the directors, that, where there is no obedience, there can
be no authority ; and where no progress is made in studies, there can
only be a corresponding absence of advancement in learning. Unless the
mind is well stored, and constantly kept in full employment, it is apt to
generate more " clinker" than any thing else. The valves require daily
overhauling, and the waste ones to be " disconnected," or it is impossible
to make any progress. Men, who come dripping wet from their duties,
are not in a fit state for dry sciences ; and, to be both officers and boys,
juvenesque senesque—commanding on deck one moment, and obeying
under deck the next, approximate as incompatible with human nature,
and the working of the machinery of the mind.
Steering in a straight line, by point of compass, as is done in a steamer, is apt to superinduce upon the vacuum of youthful understanding, a
belief, that navigation is, what those young gentlemen facetiously and
technically call, " all in my eye," and that a direction once given, has
only to be followed to attain the end of the voyage, by keeping the eye
fixed steadily on the compass, an opinion not more unfounded and irrelevant, than unsafe and precarious, whether it regards the attainment
of knowledge, or the discovery ofthe port or haven of ultimate destination. Female passengers, I may be permitted to observe, are too powerful magnets not to cause serious variations from duty, in the young men,
and occasion them to camber, or break down in life. Studying the
needle is not the most important pursuit in the whole compass of duty
that it forms one of its most prominent; and I am painfully convinced
that the cadets, who may be said to be in their summer solstice, are
more desirously solicitous about their own figures (which is the zenith
of their ambition,) than mathematical ones; and such conduct must,
inevitably, reduce them to the nadir of mere ciphers. This sort of distinction was so well known to the great lexicographer, that he has most
appropriately and politely added it, by way of insinuation to most words, THE great western.
87
implying youthful errors—mishap—mistake—misfortune—misunderstanding—mischief—misled—misery—and many others. Here they
are exposed more than any other place, I know of, to the blandishments
of the sex ; and, I know not how it is, but I have often observed there
is a natural, an alliterative, and, perhaps, a chemical affinity between
petty officers and pettycoats.—Dulce ridentum Lalagen amabo-^-Dulce
Loquentem |||f|
indeed, by the universal laws of motion, the amount of attraction is
directly as the quantity of matter, and inversely as the squares of the
distances, which shows how all pervading it must be on board of ship.
To attempt a course of study with young men under such noxious and
powerful influences as female eyes, is^as unwise and unsafe as for
white men to attempt field operations in the sun in the West Indies.
Nothing impinges more seriously oh studies ; it has a tendency to make
them romantic, which in asthetics is equally at variance with the antique and classic lore. Had the directors been younger men themselves,
and understood the rhabilomancy ofthe mind as well as they do of commerce, they would have felt the impropriety of exposing their cadets to
the potential miasmata of such an atmosphere of female allurements,
which may very appropriately be called " the milky way of Cupid." In
the descent down the inclined plane of character, induced by these
causes, if good instruction offer any resistance, that resistance ought
to increase in a high ratio with the speed. The motion of a train of
dissipation commonly continues to be accelerated until it obtains a ve-;
locity, which produces a resistance from good principles, such as combined with the friction of discipline, is equal to the gravitation down
the plane.
Adopting a semi-naval uniform for these youthful votaries of science,
and giving them the rank and title of cadets, the insignia of an office,
which the emulous and now awakened people of Bristol pronounce to
be superior to a similar grade in Her Majesty's service ; permitting
them to wear the gold lace band on the cap, and acceding to them the
seducing gilt button with the emblematical letters G. W. on them, has
infused too much caloric into their juvenile aspirations for female approbation, and they are unwilling that such graceful and elegant young
officers should be mistaken for disciples of a pedagogical establishment.
Their predilections are strong to draw a comparison in their own favour
with W. S.'s of Edinboro, and there is a supercilious daring in their
haughty carriage, as if, in the event of an action with the enemy, they
would stand by their boiler and keep up the steam unhesitatingly and
unremittingly, till they died. But this is not the only evil attending
the progress of science in this ship, as refers to my situation as principal. There is another joint out of place, to use a familiar expression
at " flange." The office of librarian, which has been unsolicited by me,
but conferred voluntarily and handsomely, as an honorary appointment
in consequence of there being no salary attached to it, is one which is
accompanied by a corresponding unsatisfactory result. So little attenr
tion is often paid to orthography in the written order ofthe passengers
for books, that it is approximate to impossible to comprehend what they
mean, added to which for want of catalogues the demands are invarir
ably for books not contained in the library, which leads to disappoint
ment in the first instance, renewed vexation in the second, and not unfrequently in the third to impatience, if not impertinence. It is m vaigi
that I deprecate explicitly, that I am answerable for the books only, St
THE  LETTER-BAG   OF
•M
I
which are placed here by the literary committee of the directors, and
not for those not ordered by them, which would involve an absurdity.
The blank page at the beginning and end of each volume is invariably
abstracted, which is a most singular selection, and proves the illiterate
condition ofthe passengers, for there is nothing of course to read upon
it, while the outside wrapping-cover shares the same fate. Yet forsooth,
these are the men who say the library is not varied and copious enough
to meet the increased advancement of the age. Were it not that my
anger is " blown off" occasionally upon the cadets, these passengers
would be in danger of" an explosion** that would astonish them, for
passion is 'generated faster" than is safe for them by their ignorance.
But gentlemen, there is another subject, which delicacy suggests to-
be passed over in silence, while a due sense ofthe value of science, the
inextinguishable debt of gratitude, owed to it by innumerable steam
companies, and an appreciation of self-respect, compels me to a reference ; I mean the assignment to me of some other duties, not necessary
to enumerate, but which are within the cognizance of the directors,
and reduce me to the situation of an humble clerk, a name, indeed,
which many people, and I am sorry to add, the captain himself sometimes applies to me, from the habit of absolute command, which he acquired in the navy. Among many, I would only notice one, namely,
to stand by and see the young gentlemen draw their water, which it
appears, by the Nero-like regulations of the board, emanated from your
honourable body, and is at once painful and degrading, more particularly, to see that water measured, and to keep cocks under locks and
keys, for fear of wasting the precious liquid. The water casks, I conceive, might more properly be under the charge of the culinary artist,
or cook, whose occupation is more connected with the hydroscope than
a learned professor. This is a subject, on which,, though it is a desideratum to be moderate, " the connecting rods, and inner plummer-
block brasses" of my temper, always " work hot," and my own reason
is insufficient to reduce.the temperature of them, or to "keep heavy
bearings cool." Such services are incompatible with the rank and station of a lecturer on astronomy and mathematics, inconsistent with the
duties of my proper office, and derogatory from the specific gravity and
dignity of the liberal sciences. Under these painful circumstances, I
would suggest a removal of the seminary to Clifton, where it could be
enlarged, to accommodate the students of other ships, and where practical navigation could be taught in all its branches, by the aid of a few
experimental trips on that sinuous and difficult, but most beautiful of
livers, the Severn. Nothing can be done without strict discipline.
Screwing up the nuts, detaching loose bolts, tightening the slide packings, drag-links, and other bearings of the mind or the waste valves,
will let off instruction as fast as it is supplied.^ Should this suggestion
not be acceptable, I beg leave to resign the commission I have the honour to hold from the board, after due consideration of the heavy responsibility of my position, and a full review of all the consequences immediate and ultimate. Should it involve any material want of confidence
in the public, in this great steamer, or detract from the pre-eminent
rank of this splendid ship in tbe scale of the European mercantile marine, I can only deplore so sad a result to the stockholders, which, that
they may avert by a timely application of preparatory measures, is the ardent aspiration of your most devoted humble servant, Peter Quadrant..
«M THE  GREAT  WESTERN. S9
NO. XXI.
LETTER
FROM MOSE§ LEVI TO LEVI MOSES,
My deersh Frent—
Veil, hear I am on pord te Crate Weshtern shet up liksh a tog, and so
shick to ma shtomac as a pompsh te live longsh tay. Vare it aj^ comsh
from I dont know, shelp me Cot, for I cant shwaller noting at all, and
have got noting in me dat I knowsh of, and yet it comsh and it comsh,
as if tere was no ent to it like a sphrink, dat runsh ofe): all te time, and
never shtophs for roneink. Ma trowsher ish too larsh for me, I have fell
away sho, and looksh as if tey washnt made for ma, vitch is true,, for I
bought dem from Bill Gubbinish, but den tey fitted me ash well as if
tey wash, and sho ma coat hanks ash loose ash a pursheres shirt on a
hantshpike, and ma tonke is all furred up vid nap, lonker den vat is on
ma hat, blow ma tight if it aint. Veil den, varte am I to do, I cant shet
no lonker to cards to play, den de teal, and den I am oblished to cut and
rhun, and so soon ash I gets pack and^aksh up te cartes, it comsh akain,
ant I have no more time den to trow town te cartsh and off and trow up
de shick. Oh, mine Cot! put tish too pad ash ever you did she, ant
worsher too, it would pe petter to die ash to live longh tish way.
But dat ish not de worsht, needer, for I looshes te monish, by tinking
more of maself dan de cartsh ; and comink 'and goink, up and town,
backwart and forwart te whole plessed time, and no resht for min tingk te
come and petterigk ven a hopportunita hoffers, vitch is goot and ote to
be sheesed upon; and I cant trusht ma memory no more ash to nopoty
elsh, for it is shick, too, I do peleeve, and wont holt nottink no more
as ma shtomac, and varte dey getsh dey cant keep, and yat dey kepslj, is
no coot, and would pe more petter if dey didn't keep.
Vel, tish a pity, too—strikesh ma turn, if it, hishn't! for she ish a fary
expenshive sheep, is te Crate Weshte**n ; te passage cosht a crate teal of
monish—more ash forty-two shove reigns ; and tere ish a nople chansh,
amongsht sho many reshpectable and rish shentlemans to do business ;
playing and petting, and shelling and shanging, and pying and sho on, espe-
shially at night, ven de viskey kome jn and de cawshin go out. Oh, tear !
oh, tear ! put tis too pad, I am so tampt mishfortinate ash not for to pe
aple to do nothing no more ash a child, I am so shick te whole time, and
more tead ash alive, and more onelokey ash tead. De teyvii take te
she-sickness, I say; I woodn't take aneter voyage to shave ma life,
shelp ma Cot. I mosht afeart America is no conetry for te Jewish, no
more ash Scotland ish vitch has notink in ic all put pride ant poverty, ant
otmeal and vishkey. Te Yankee all knowish too mush for us, ant too
mush wide awake, ant sho sharp as a neetle at making von pargain,
vitch give no chansh at all to a poor jew to liff. Den dey have no
prinches, no noples, nor rish lorts, vat spend de monish before he
pecomes tu, ant runsh in debt, ant gives ponts ant mortgage, ant premium
for te loan, ant asksh no questions bout te casht, so long as he gets varte
monish he wantish. Den dere railroat stoksb, and pank stoksh, and
state stoksh, are just fete for to loshe all vot you putsh into dem, or elsh
dey would pay deinselves, if dere wash any tink at all to pe mate m
dem, vich dere aint, aad dey knowsh it so well as I do, ant more petter
too. gjg
Dish lettare vill be shent by a prifit hopportunita till Spring Rish
altare te postage to von penny.   He cot it too high pefore, and now he
Hi to
THE   LETTER-BAG   OF
cot it too low—but dat ish his look out, ant note mhine ; but ven a let-
tare cosht no more ash von penny, I will write you more regular ash I
to now, and not cosjit me so much monish, needer, ash at present time.
Your frient,
To Mr. Moses Levi. Levi Moses.
Post Schript.—Oh, mine Cot I if I haven't tun de pishness siush I
rote vat ish rhitten apove itsh a pity—dats all. I aint no more onwell,
put pet$Srash never ; ant I wund pack all my passage monish, ant two-
shovereigns more, ant a half-shovereign, and two shillings, three pence,
at carts, pesidge five pounds of a pet, and here he ish, all shafe ant
shound in mine pocket, and he dont go out vid my leaf, till he preeds
and hatches more, t© keep up de preed of young shovereigns. Oh ! put
1 liksh to put my hant in mine preeches pocked and feel himr and count
him ofer, ant she he ish shafe ant shound.
Ven I valk de teck, up ant town ant up ant town pack again, peeplish
shjay, Mishter Moses, dey shay, varte pleash you sho, make you look sos
tarnt good-natured to-day, and I shay, oh, he feelsh goot and mush petter
-ash he wash. I cot te medicine^here datJggure de she-shickness, ant
shet me right again, and den my hand vat is in my pocket, he pats de
shovereigns vat is in mine preeches, on de heat, and I tink to maself,
goot poys dem shovereigns—vary goot poys, ant has no more dutiful
subshects, nor lovingk frients vat ish font of tem dan me. Veil, den, I
shell my boxesh of shigars to the Stewart, when he gets out of shtock,
by reashon of te longk voyage, and hash no mere left, ant no plashe to
go to, to puy dem. I shell em, peeause I wash too ill to shmoke em,
maself, ant hadnt no more ush for em ; ant he knowed no: petter, for he
ish a fool, and dont know vat monish ishs, nor de shentlemans needer—
put I do, I hope, or elsh ray name ishnt Levi Moses.
No. XXII.
LETTER
FROM A SERVANT OF A FAMILY TRAVELLING TO ASTObJS,.
Dere Susan—
When I tuk leve of you the last sunday nite we spent at white condut,
fi had no high dear I was going so sun to take leve of dere old I&gland.
But so it is. Strange things do sum tims turn up, as Tummus saidwhen
Betty housemaid was found floating on the river.
Missus has married a clutchyman, who is sent out by the society to>
jaropergate in furrin parts, and they have a barth on board the Great
Western,, and s© have I. It looks hke a cell in New Gate, only clener,.
were poor George was lodged for putting lady Anns watch in'his pocket
by misteke, for his hone, but he was always an absent man before he
went to Bbttany was- George.. They call it a burth because its a new
Hfebn board ship, and is like beginning of the world agm, and takes
grate nussing before you can eat. It is the most inconvenientest place I
ever saw. The sealing is so low in places yeu cant walk upright, and
you get a stroke every now and then when you least expect it, across
your forhed, that you think will dash your brains out It is a hard thing
to leve dere old England, its halters and fares, and churches and theetres
for the wilderness, and the hethen,. but then Lundun is a poor place for
the likes of me as woold perfer sumthing better than mere sweet hart*
ing ; standing at Airy's and talking to the butler, or perhaps the young
master at the next number is verry pleasant, but then it seldom ends
mtmmtt, THE   GREAT  WESTERN.
91
satisfactory, for they dont often fulfil, and if you remind them of their
proter stations, the perfigjores wretches say they never ment nothing but
in the way of servility,, and if you do go for to take on why they take
themselves off directhf, and desart you and nothing is left but artburnings,
unless it is the surpentine to put it out. Going abroad gives wun an
opportunity to see the wurld and visit places where men isnt so hartifi-
cial as in Lundun, and promises aint made on purpus to be broke, and
harts go for nothing except to be trumpt in tricks as poor Tummus used
to say, at wist. But still it do give wun menny a sad" our thinking of
appy days past, and friends left behind besides them as left us, it brings
teres in my eyes when I am alone tn bed, and makes me think of throwing up at New York and returning, but I resorts to the good buck at
sitch times and'finds consolation in it. The deck of this vessel is as
crowded as Regent street arter lamplight—there are sum verry interrest-
ing men on bord, one of them they call a " pole," though why I am sure
I dont know ; for I think some of them as say so behind his back are poor
' sticks' themselves. He is a very pretty man with a beautiful curly
moustodchio, and black whiskers, and sings so sweet it is quite charming.
I dont know whether his christian name is North or not, but I overhear .
them talking a good dele about north pole, and that government offered
a large sum to any body as would get round him, ten thousand pounds I
believe. He dont speak much English, but he talks very perlite to me
and bows very handsum, and oh how brite his eyes are.
They affect one so, that people do say no needle was ever known to
wurk nere him, his attractions is so grate. I wunder if Lord Melburne
©r Normanboy would give mc the reward if I was to get round him, I'me
sure I could do it, for he squeezed my hand twise, and the last time
would a had his hone round me if missus hadnt a been comin. I dremed
©f the ten thousand pound all nite, oh dear, what a prize that must be for
poor mary.—We are too go to New York fust, and then in a to bote
dragged after orses hiles, and thru locks, and gates, and waist ways, and
summit of Mils and dales, and I dont know what all to a place they call
mont-tree-all—because it's all a forest. Then we are to be shoved for
twenty days by a Frenchman, up a stream with long poles, who sings
songs to keep time. This part they say is very pleasant only you get
tired of it, for too much of one thing is good for nothing, as poor dear
Tummus used to say, when he had anything to do* a£
Then we aTe to: cum amung saviges, horrid creatures, all naked except
a little very little clothing, Bie the nasty Scotcfe piper that used lo play in
©ur airy and wore no trousers only an apron, and that ridiculous short
too. They have long knifes that are dredful to look at, and things they
call tommy oxes, to cut hairy scalps with, and they are to guide us out
of the wudes, and hunt for us. Pretty guides them as master says to
show us the way we are to walk in.
Then comes the desert, and that lasts a month—only think of a hole
month of a desert f We must wait to lye in before we proseed, provision for the journey, and then we must sleep out of dores every nite, with
nothing over us but-sky, and neilfmg under us but earth, and nothing in
us but cold wittals. I am afraid I shall never survice them saviges.
When the sun goes down we are to camp together bundling, they call it,
the women m the middle, and then the men, and then the saviges to keep
©ff the wolves and bares and wild beasts. Its a dredfull undertaking,
Bn't it 1 How I shall make shift to get on I dont know—it terrifies me
to think of it. Last nite I dremed of it, for this part sleeping in pubhc
haunts me like a gost, and I dremed I saw a Hon with grete glaring eyesr
.
I THE   LETTER-BAG  OF
and felt his big heavy paw upon me, and I woke up with frite trembliug
all over like an asspin, and what do you think it was, Susan; it was
only the hand of the Stewart feeling if the light was out, for all lites are
extinguished at ten o'clock. He is a verry nise man the Stewart. Well,
than after all that cum sum grate mountings, the verry idea of which terrify me. They will take several months to get ever, on account of the
stones. They call them the rockey mountings. '^The trees are 2 hundred feet high and snow I dont know how high. Missus says if I pes-
ist in going thro the travail, and remain three years-with them, I shall
have a pinching from the Society for propagating in furrin parts of ten
pounds ayearr and be safe delivered in England, free of expense, when
my time is out. After going over the Rockey we descended together.
side to a place they call Astoria which is to be our home while we are
abroad. This place iss called a factory though nothing is made there but
munny a trading in furs, and they aint so plenty there as they used to be,
for the wild beast is getting ' up to trap' now and wont cum to be cort.
They keep I fur' off now. I'll get a muffor^tippet here of bare skin or
of otter, which smells so well. The oil of that animal is what you buy
so dere in Lundun in sent bottles ; but O dere I furgets, what the use
of smelling sweet if there is no one to smell you but yourself.
A. Who master is to preach to when he gets there I dont no xpect it is
to missus and me and the rest of the family, and if he goes to preach to
her she'll give him such a lectur as he has no notion of, thats sertain, for
she gave master that is dead and gone a dreadful time of it here below, and
as for me, my morals cant be no better—and besides, when we are out
of the wurld, as a body might say, what in the world is the danger of
temptation when there is nobody to tempt you 1 Them horrid Indgians
wont .understand him nor them frenchVoia jeers neither, and besides they
•are papists and wont cum. Thats just the way with these sailors; last
Sunday when they was ordered to prayers, they agreed to say they were
Catholics and had scribbles of conscience, for they cant force them tecum
now since O'ConneU is made pope and prime Minister, and the Captain
said, very well, they are excused then.
Three years away—oh! deary me, what a long time that is to be away,
aint it Susan, and me twenty-five years old already. How lonesum I
shall be, nobody but master and missus and the doctor and the two clarks
and me in the house. The governor and the other people that are our
next door neighbours live 500 miles off.
Mr. Campbell the clerk is a very handsnm young man. He is to
travail with us. He takes great notice of me when nobody is a noticing
of him, a slipping into the hole every chance he gets of the vessel, a pretending to study myslieenery. Says he the other day, Mary dear, I wish
I knew the rode to your hart. Well sir, said I, it lies through the church
door. Says he, I like you for that answer, my dear, for it shows you are
a gud gurl, such an uncommon pretty gurl as you (he said uncommon I
assure you, I am certain I cant be mistaken), such an uncommon pretty
gurl (it was verry sivil of him to say so, when after all I really do not
think I am so verry, verry pretty), such an uncommon pretty gurl as you
are must take care of yourself, and then putting his face close up, said,
never let any body whisper to you, or they cant help doing as I do, kiss
you—and before I could reprove him, he was off and into the cabin.
It quite flustered me. Yesterday, I overheard him tell Misses, the
governor had promised him " to hring him in a partner this year." Who
can she be 1 We have nobody on board a going there, but little me, and
I am poor and at sarvice, and nothing but my face for nry fortune ; but THK^REAT  WESTERN. 93
then havn't just as strange things happened 1 Didn't our Butler that
was, marry his young Missus that was, and didn't his young Missus
marry himl If they are to "bring him in a partner" this year, they must
do it now, or his partner will never get there. It will be too late in the
season. Oh, I wouldn't mind the mountaings, nor the rapids, nor the
desert, nor anything, if this was to be the end of all my travail! If so
be this should turn up—honour for trump card—don't fear, Susan,. I
shant beTproud, and pretend not to know you, orkeep company with you,
because nothing will ever make me forget you, and don't you for the
wurld, ever say a wurd about them earrings the Jew boy got blamed for,
or the worked collar the beggar woman took, as Missus thort ; but as for
Robert carrying his head so high after deserting me, and saying he
did so because leave-taking was painful, and me running such risks hiding
him in the laundry, I'll let him no his place, I can tell him, and never let
him go for to dare as much as for to luck at me again, the ard arted
retch, or I will call pellise to him, see if I don't. I shall turn over a new
leaf in America. It don't do to be too confiding with men. They think
only of their hone, and not other people's ends, and the next one as
threatens to drown himself as Robert did, may just do it for all I care, it
wont deceive me again. Lusing a "butler is no such grate matter as
lusing wuns pease and karacter. Tell him he is dispisable for a gay deceiver, and that if I ad him with me forty days and forty nights in
the desert, I'd leave him there for his parjury, a pray to the stings of sar-
pents and his hone conscience. Drinking satturn and mydearer wine of
his master, don't justify him to kiss and desert poor gurls as if he was a
gentleman born. Such airs are very misbecoming one in his station, and
he deserves a good kicking for his imperence, the retch. As sune as my
travail is over, and I reach at last, this distant country, Astoria, I will
rite you another letter by a mail that goes every six months chasing
whales, and tell you whether I am cumming on with Mr. Campbell, and
about the bare skin furs, and the sense of the otters, and so on ; and now
dear Susan, hopping that you and William Coachman continues to set
your horses well together, I remain your faithful friend,
Now and for ever, Mary Poole.
I
No. XXIII.
THE MISDIRECTED LETTER No. 1.
LETTER FROM A COLONIST TO HIS BROTHER. ff|
My  DEAR AND HONOURED FATHER	
I have the pleasure to acknowledge your letter of the first of February
last, giving me the gratifying intelligence of the health of my dear mother
and yourself, and upon receipt of it lost no time in complying with your
wishss for my return, by embarking at once for New York in. the Great
Western. Your indulgence to me on all occasions, requires, even if I
were not actuated by a higher motive, that I should implicitly follow your
instructions, which, I am aware, are only dictated by an anxious solicitude for my welfare, and I hope you will do me the justice to believe,
that the ready obedience I have shown in this case, even at a time when
an affection of the lungs^^pired medical treatment, is a proof of my desire to meet your wishes in all things, and upon all occasions. The
dampness of the climate in England-has operated rather unfavamably upon
my fangs, and a succession of colds has rendered it necessary for me to
consult an eminenfphysician, whose enormous and extravagant charges
(which I understand are always more so to strangers) have made me draw
largely upon mf letter of credit, but I know that I should not please you 94
THE  LETTER-BAG  OF
unless I took the best advice, let it cost what it would. Indeed, my
general expenses have been larger than I could have wished. London is
an excessively expensive place to live in, and although I have neither the
inclination nor I may add the means for extravagance, yet, I fear, my expenditure will appear large to you, for notwithstanding7the doctor's fees
(which is an unforseen and indispensable item), the result without that is
altogether too large for a person of my regular and retired habits. You
will be surprised to hear that young as I am, I have only been to the theatre once, but that was once too often, and indeed, I should not have felt
a desire to go at all, had it not been for your repeatedly-expressed wish,
that ff should see whatever was worth seeing in London, that my travels
might be productive of useful information as well as amusement. To tell
you the truth, I have some scruples as to the propriety of visiting such
places at all; on that occasion I had the misfortune to be run over in the
street by a cab, and was severely stunned and bruised; and when I came
to, I found that I had been relieved by some of the light fingered gentry
of this metropolis of the beautiful fifty guinea watch you were so kind as
to give me, and also a quarter's allowance which I had received that day
from my banker. I admit that I ought not to have carried that money
about me, but that I do not regret, for economy will easily replace it;
but this token of your regard I valued more than the money as a remembrancer of you, and had hoped to have kept it through life, to remind me
ofthe value of time, ofthe kind friend and monitor who gave it, and as a
pledge of parental affection. But providence has ordered it otherwise,
and I must submit to that which. I cannot control. Had I not been deprived of alLjsensation I would have parte 1 witj|mylife sooner than with
that little keepsake. The doctors, I am sorry to say, seem to think that
the affection of my lungs has been increased by the injury I have received.
I have made a valuable addition to my medical library, upon which I have
spent what/most young men of my age would have consumed upon their
pleasures.   I shall leave the books to follow, and hope they will arrive safe.
I look forward with the greatest pleasure and anxiety to see you all
again, and shall hurry home again as fast as possible to resume the study
of my profession in my native place, where with your powerful connexion
and valuable advice, I make no doubt, I shall fulfiRul your expectations.
To qualify myself for thus entering upon the duties of life, I have lost
no opportunity of attending the best lectures at the several hospitals.
It gives me the greatest pain to hear from you that my brother Tom is
inclined to dissipation and extravagance. I was always afraid that such
would be the result of your too indulgent allowance, which it is never
prudent to enlarge as you have done, for a young man of his gay temperament. If I find on my return that he persists in these courses, I shall
be under the necessity of withdrawing in a great measure from his society;
for evil communications, according to an old proverb, have unquestionably
a deleterious influencetJn the manners and principles. I have bought you
a very improved pair of patent spectacles, which, I think, you will find
very useful, and also a newly invented ear-trumpet for poor dear mother,
which, I hope, you and she will do me the favour to accept and wear for
the sake of, dear and honoured father,
Your most affectionate and dutiful son, Arthur Snob.
THE MISDIRECTED LETTER, No. 2.
A COLONIST TO HIS FATHER.
My dear Tom—
You will be surprised to hear I am on board the Great Western, in- THE  GREAT WESTERN.
95
stead of coming direct to Quebec ; but I intend to run the full length of
my tether, and have made up my mind to have a lark in the states before I
come back. What the old cove will say to this, I do not know ; but I have
written a letter to him by this packet, that will effectually hookwink him,
I hope.    Itm quite in his own style, and as good as be d d.    I have
had a glorious time of it, both in London and Paris, and have gone the
whole figure; but it fias cost so much money, that I am afraid to add it
aU up. How the devil to account for this expenditure to our old governor,
I don't know; for, besides ordinary expenses, I have had a job for the
doctor, my health having materially suffered by my dissipations. I have
wi§>ed out part of this, by swearing I was run over and robbed of a
quarter's allowance, and the gold watch he gave me, which I left in
pawn; and have accounted for the doctor's part, by an inflammation of
the lungs, from the damp climate, while another part I have set down to
books, which, of course, will never arrive.
For heaven's sake, look out for the name of some vessel that has
foundered at sea? or been wrecked and cargo lost, that I may fix on her
for having my library on board. What to say for the rest, I positively
do not know—can't you help me 1 Try and think it over, that's a good
fellow, for something must be done, or the old man will play the devil
with me, when I return. Lord ! I thought I should have died a laughing,
once, in Paris, dancing one Sunday afternoon with a Grizette, in the
Champ Ellisis, wheie there was a splendid hop, and thinking if my old
evangelical father was to see me, how it would make him stare with all
his eyes. He would have edified his saints for a month, by this instance
of backsliding, if he had seen it. Poor, dear, good old man, I must say
he has a little dash of the hypocrite about him, and I never can resist
laughing, when I look into that smooth, sly, canting visage of his.
What fun it would have been, if he had happened to have been in
Paris, then, to have inveigled him in there, and then quizzed him about
it afterward—wouldn't it T
I will tell you who I did see there, though, and it will astonish you to
hear it, as much as it did not me ; no less than Deaeon Closefist—I
did, upon my honour. The moment I saw him, I cut and run, for Igwas
dancing and he was not, and I didn't want him to see me any more
than he did, that I should come across his hawser. I have had a
very awkward affair in one of the gambling houses of London, before
I left town. It was at the Quadrant, with a young fellow of the Temple, and I was under the disagreeable necessity of 'calling him out.
We exchanged shots twice, and I was fortunate enough to pink him in
the hand, without endangering his life, and to escape being hit, myself,
which is very lucky, for he was a capital shot, f was in a dreadful
funk, for fear it would get wind, and find its way into the newspapers,
when some damned good-natured friend would have been sure to have
told father all about it, especidlly as the quarrel was about a fair friend
of mine. It's no use talking about it, Tom, but women are at the bottom
of all the mischief in the world. I wish the devil had the whole of them,
for they have led me into a pretty mess of expense and trouble since I
have been abroad ; but if old men will send young men to London, to see the old world, why they must just make up their minds
to pay the piper, and there is no help for it. I have sent the old boy a
pair of spectacles to improve his vision ; don't laugh at the joke when
you see them, there is no fear of his being up to it, for he never was up
te any thing in his life, but saving money.   I have some  capital stories* 96
THE   LETTER-BAG  OP
fl:
for you, when we meet, about my adventures, but it's not altogether safe
to commit them to paper, for fear of accidents.
Don't lisp a syllable of all this, and believe me, dear Tom,
Yours, always, Arthur Snob.
||NO. XXV.
LETTER
IHOM A LOCO FOCO OF NEW YORK, TO A SYMPATHIZER
IN VERMONT.
My
dear Johnston—
So many persons^iave lately travelled through North America,
of all whom have made most singular and valuable discoveries in the
theory of government, that I have made it my business, during my recent visit to Great Britian, to inquire into the state of the nation, the
condition of the people, and the causes of discontent, and have now the
pleasure of sending you on abstract of my obsewations, which I shall,
shortly, publish more at large. I feel satisfied I shall astonish the natives with the magnitude of the disclosures, and the importance of the
subjects contained in my work, and exhibit a state of misrule and mis-
govemment that is perfectly appalling. One of the most startling discoveries that I have made is," thai the people of the upper island, or England speak a different language, and hold a different religion from those
in the lower island of Ireland. Until my visit, this important truth was
never known ; and it bears a strong resemblance to the fact, recently
ascertained by a great linguist, that the French, of Canada, are not
Anglo-Saxons, and do not speak English. Indeed, I may say, that
nothing in my book is of more importance than this information ; for,
the conseqnence is, the Irish members of parliament usually vote one
way, and the English another. England, as might be expected, from*
the indolence and ignoranee of its rulers, for centuries past, is filled with
people dissatisfied witfe the government and the existing order of things,
These people are termed Chartists, and contain among them a great
body of respectable, well-informed, and able men, and constitute, it
seems, thevnajority of the people : I have, therefore, felt it my duty
to make their conciliation my chief study. They complain that the
higher orders—persons of property and standing in the kingdom, are
linked in a common interest for the support of monarchial institutions,
and they, therefore, very properly style them " the family compact," or
" official gang;" a very singular coincidence with what is now going on
in a distant part of the empire. The bench, the J*oagistrates, the high
offices ofthe episcopal church, and a great part of the legal profession,
as well as the army and navy, are filled by adherents of this party ; and,
until lately, shared among them, almost exclusively, all offices of trust
and profit.
They complain that this compact co-operates for the purpose of oppressing the poor, of tyrannizing over the weak, of suppressing instruction, or rather confining it to themselves, and of ruining the nation : and
from their wealth, station in life, and education,^ concejye it to be true,
more especially as so many of them belong to the established churches
of England and Scotland. They also allege that the upper branch of
the legislature, is composed altogether of people of this class, which, indeed its very name, " House of Lords," seems to prove, and that such
Ms been the favouritism of the " compact party," that no instance is THE great WESTERN.
ft?
known of a Chartist being made a Lord Chancellor, an Archbishop, a
Chief Justice, or a Peer of the realm, or filling any of the high offices
about the Palace or the person of the Queen, a case of partiality and
misrule unparalleled in the history of any country.    The object  of Tthe
Chartists is to render the House of Lords elective and responsible to
.them, which universal suffrage wdfmevitably produce ; and it is in vain
to conceal the fact, that they never will he content vvith anything short
of this reform, nor do t think they ought.    Despairing of constitutional
redress,  for these accumulated evils, they most imprudently took up
arms at Birmingham, before they were quite ready for the revolution,
and destroyed much property as well as  many lives.    I  think there
should be a general pardon of the offenders, the jails opened, and the
patriots set at large.    Politics are sacred, and opinions are not fit sub*
jects for legal inquiries.    They were evidently entrapped into rebellion,
as appears by the circumstance of the Dragoons being stationed'at  so
great a distance as London, an opinion which is strengthened by the fact,,
that the head of the county, though aware of the danger, relied upon the
constabulary force, for the preservation of the peace, instead of the military.    A general pardon of these respectable persons, whose feelings
I should be reluctant to see wounded, by their being sent to a penal sep*
tlement, is the most expedient course that occurs to me, for the scene
being at a distance, neither the bloodshed nor the destruction of property (dreadful as it must be admitted to have been) can ever reach us, and
besides, many of the objects they demand, I fully approve of    Another
subject of complaint is the large tracts of land, held by the members of
this family compact, who by purchase or inheritance* own nearly the
whole island, when so many thousands of people are anxious to get pos*
session of these estates, and are not permitted to do so.    This is a se*
rious evil, and it is my opinion, in all cases where the title is by grant,
tiie Crown should inquire into their origin, and resume them.    There
• are Jwoods, and parks, and uncultivated land in England, owned by a few
landholders of the clique, sufficiently large to support all the poor and idle
people of North America.    In France, during its revolution, which is
ever exciting the envy and admiration of these respectable and* intelligent people, the Chartists,  confiscation of the overgrown property of
their family compacts, formed a valuable source of public revenue and
private speculation,  and  they naturally regard the  examples of their
neighbours as one to be followed by them, an idea which I have done
my best to encourage.    With regard to the Church question, it is necessary to speak out plainly.    It has been endowed, from time to time, with,
grants of real estate; and the discontented party very properly claim to
have an equal division of this property among all those sects who have
none, and I am satisfied, it is the only rational way of appeasing their
clamours.    He that  gives may take away.    The Law gave it.    Alter
the Law and take it away—in either case it is the operation of Law.
Whatever apparent right,  law, and  usage may give   the  Established
Church to these lands, reason gives none, and in this enlightened age,
reason must prevail in all matters of religion ; and mysteries, the subject of faith, must be given up.    A stated resident clergy are unsuited to
a migratory people like the English, who live in rail-cars and steamboats,
and strolling preachers like strolling players-, are better adapted to their
tastes, habits, and amusements.    On all these points, I have recommended their leaders to cultivate a good  understanding with, and to copy
the excellent example of the French who have destroyed all their family 99
THE letter-bag of
. ' .
compacts, and by assimilating their institutions to those of their neighbours, to remove all occasions of heart-burnings and envy.
Scotland I have not seen, but my clerk took a ride into it of twelve
hours, and he informs me that more than half the houses are uninhabited,
the natural consequence of misrule and misgovernment. It is easy to
conceive how great must be the distress occasioned by the abandonment
of their houses, for as the population has more than doubled notwithstanding, within the last twenty years, it is evident the people must Hve
in the open air, with the beasts of the field, and will soon become as fe*
rocious and as savage as their companions, and like Nebuchadnezzar,
feed on the coarse herbage of the earth. This startling fact has I know
been doubted, but I am convinced of its truth, because one of their
most popular authors has endeavoured to stimulate his countrymen to
exertion, to induce them to make railroads, and to prevail upon them to
adopt the modern improvements in agriculture, which is to my mind a
convincing proof that he disapproves of the Government, though delicacy prevents his saying so ; or perhaps, being opposed to revolutionary
doctrines, he has thought proper to conceal what he thinks. Although
he bas notjsaid so, therefore, I conclude he thinks so, and boldly appeal
to his writings in support of my theory and facts, from the very circumstance of his having wholly omitted any such expressions of discontent.
One thing I certainly was not prepared to find, notwithstanding the
very low opinion I entertain of English institutions—namely, the debased
and degraded state of the mercantile marine.
The same exclusive and compact feeling exists here as elsewhere. It
will hardly be believed that the entire command of the ship is intrusted
to the Captain—that the seamen have no voice in the choice of this
officer, nor any control over him—that he has a council composed of
his lieutenants and mates, neither of whom are elected by the men, nor
amenable to them—and that the only responsibility that exists is to the
Directors, who do not live on board, seldom visit the ship, and actually
reside in Bristol! If any* seaman, says he, is dissatisfied with his
treatment, the Captain very coolly tells him he may leave the ship ;
and if he repeats his complaints, he does actually discharge him. Several meetings of the sailors have taken place at fhe forecastle, amounting
to a large majority on board, demanding an extension of suffrage, the
election of their own officers, and responsible government. They say
a knowledge of navigation is not necessary for command, and that a
familiarity with the names of the ropes is quite sufficient. They also
protest against the enormous salaries of the officers and the immense
disparity of the pay of the Captain, which is fifty pounds a month, and
theirs, which is the paltry sum of three pounds ; and although they
have repeatedly offered to do the Captain's work for ten pounds a
month, whereby a saving of four hundred and eighty pounds a year
would be effected, their offers have been met by indecent ridicule. Upon
one occasion they refused to work, and actually armed and drilled, and
the Captain, who is a member of the Church of England (and of course
has every bishop to back him,) and a son of a member of the compact
(which gives him the support of the whole official gang,) a nephew of
another, and has a daughter married to a Judge (which precludes every
one from any hope of justice in any case where he is concerned)—this
man had the assurance to talk of mutiny, and in an official letter called
them disaffected.? To show the gross corruption ofthe faction it is only
necessary to state, that instead of saying their own prayers, which as
Christians they are bound to do, the officers have a chaplain, at an over- THE   GREAT  WESTERN.
99
gfown salary, exceeding that of any three sailors ; and the boatswain,
who offered in the most disinterested manner to perform his duty for
the nominal remuneration of a fig of tobacco, and a glass of grog, was
reported in a private letter to the directors as a troublesome man; and
though the situation of the first lieutenant has been twice vacant since
this happened, he has been as often refused promotion.
I have conversed with the leading minds among the sailors, many of
whom are extremely well-informed, and exhibit great talent. They
repudiate, in the most loyal manner, the idea of mutinizing or seizing
the ship, with great scorn. All they require is to have the entire and
sole command of her; and are quite willing to concede to the directors
the privilege of protecting and defending her. They also disavow all
idea of dissolving British connexion; and promise to purchase their
cargoes in the United Kingdom, if a bankrupt law is adjusted on board,
to their satisfaction, so that they could continue to do business, and retain their property, if ever they should be so unfortunate as to become
bankrupt. These are reasonable-demands ; and a most numerous, influential, end highly respectable body of our enlightened citizens at New
York, called Sympathisers, (of which you are one,) are willing to assist
them in ever^egitimate mode to obtain redress for these grievances.
Responsibility is now the catch-word of the Chartist party ; and they
are already reaping the fruit of the seed sown by me ;—a quicker germination, and a more premature harvest has never been exhibited to
the world. To make the upper branch of the legislature elective, will
soon lead to making the throne elective, and universal suffrage, short
parliaments, and vote by ballot, naturally conduce to the great end.
The Chartists will then have the government in their own hands, and
everybody will be responsible but themselves. In short, nothing will
satisfy the able and intelligent reformers of the party, but an equalization of property. We are all born equally helpless, and we all repose
at last in one common receptacle. Life is ushered in, and the last scene
closes, without any distinction, to all alike ; and it is not fitting that,
during our transitory abode here, these artificial differences should
exist.
It is abundantly evident that everything which the Compacts call
respectable and estimable, in England, must be abolished, if they wish
to preserve tranquillity. Wliere there is nothing to respect, there will
be nothing to envy ; and where there are no fortunes, there can be no
inequality of condition. A man who is better off than his neighbour
should be held responsible for it, and he who carries his head higher
than his fellow-citizens, should suffer decapitation for his presumption.
In preparing my tour for publication, I have endeavoured to avoid all
partiality. During my residence in England, I had an ample opportunity of seeing the state of the country, for I sailed once up the
Thames in a steamboat, with nobody on board but my clerks and part-
liir, so that from the deck ofthe vessel I saw the condition of the people
uninterrupted. I crossed the channel in like manner, and spent
twenty-four hours in Ireland: and from the window of the inn I observed what was going on among the Ribandmen of that island, and
other secret societies of Patriots. Instead of conferring with the principal inhabitants, who all belong to the family compact party, and whose
whole souls are absorbed in contriving how to enslave the nation, I consulted only my own clerks, so that no one can say I have prejudices instilled into my mind, or that the important discoveries I have made, are
sot wholly and exclusively my own.   Of them I feel I have a right to
Eg THE  LETTER-BAG   OF
be proud, as both original and unique. As an appendix I shall add
several valuable dissertations, among which will be found an interesting one on bowel complaints, illustrated by beautiful drawings of the
modus operandi; and on hallucinations of the mind. I feel that it
would be criminal in me to withhold such valuable information as I have
collected, or to deprive the world of the use of my discoveries. You
must, therefore, not be surprised to see this first in print, before you
receive the original, as it is important the whole should be made public
as soon as possible.
I am, my dear Bill Johnson,
Yours truly,
-^Pf Timothy Noody.
No. XXVI.
LETTER
FROM A COACHMAN ON THE RAILROAD LINE.
Dear Friend—
Old England and I has parted for ever; I have thrown down the
reins, and here I am, on board the Great Western, old, tlnek in the wind,
stiff in the joints, and tender in the feet-—I am fairly done up—I couldn't
stand it no longer. When you and me first know'd each other, the
matter of a dozen years agone, I drove the Red Rover, in the Liverpool
line. You recollects the Red Rover, and a pretty turn-out it was, with
light green body, and wheels pricked out with white, four smart bays,
and did her ten miles an hour, easy, without ever breaking into a gallop,
and never turned a hair. Well, I was druv off of that by the rails, and a
sad blow that was, for I liked the road, and passengers liked me, and never a one that didn't tip his bob and a tizzy for the forty miles. Them
was happy days for old England, afore reformers and rails turned everything upside down, andjnen rode as natur' intended they should, on pikes
with coaches, and smart active cattle, and not by machinery like bags
of cotton and hardware. Then I takes the Highflyer, on the Southampton road ; well, she warnt equal to the -Red Rover—and it warnt likely
she could; but still, she did her best, and did her work well and comfortably, eight miles to fifty-five minutes, as true as a trivit.
People made no complaints, as ever I heard of, when, all of a sudden,
the rail fever broke out there, too; up goes the cars, and, in course,
down goes the coaches, and me along with them. One satisfaction
was, it warnt the Highflyer's fault—it warnt she broke down, it was the
road; and if people is so foolish as not to go by coaches, why coaches
can't go of the^nselves, as stands to common sense and reason. I warnt
out of employ long, and it warnt likely I should—I was too well known
for that; few men in my line was so well known ; and it arnt boasting,
or nothing of the sort, but no more nor truth to say, few men was better
liked on the road, in all England, nor 1 was; so I was engaged on the
Brighton line, and drew the Markiss of Huntley. You knowed the Mar-
kiss, in course, everybody knowed her, she was better hossed nor any
coach in England ; it was a pleasure to handle the ribands in one's new
toggery, where the cattle was all blood, and the turn-out all complete, in
all parts—'pointments and all. We had a fine run on that line—roads
good, coaches full, lots of lush, and travelled quick. But the rails got
an opposition there, too, and the pikes and coaches couldn't stand it no
more nor on the other lines. The coaches was took off, the hosses was
sold off, and there I was, the third time, off myself* on the stones again. .THE   GREAT   WESTERN.
101
As long as there was any chance, I stood up under it like a man—it aint
a trifle makes me give in; but there is no chance, coaches is done in
England, and so is gentlemen ; sending to the station for parcels and
papers is a different thing from having them dropt at the gate, and so
they'll find when its too late. Mind what I tellye, Joe, the rails will do
for the gents, only give 'em time for it, as well as for the coaches. That
thief s whistle of a car is no more to be compared to the music of a
guard's horn, than chork is to cheese ; its very low, that. It always sets
my teeth on edge. They'll find, some of those days, what all this levelling will come to in England—I'm blest if they don't ; levelling coachmen down to stokers, is the first step, the next is levelling the gents
down to the Brummagin tradesmen. They are booked for a fall, when
they'll find no return carriages, or I'm mistaken; but it serves 'em
right, where people will be so obstinate as not to see how much better
dust is than smoke, and they needn't even have dust, if they choses to
water the roads, as they ort. There is no stopping, now, to take up or
put down a passenger. That day is gone by, and returns by a different
road. Accidents, too, is more common on the rails than on the pikes,
and when the rails begins, they always kills—there is no hopes of having
the good luck to lose a limb, as there is with coaches. You can't pull
them up, as you can hosses, they haint got no sense, and it don't stand
to reason they can stop themselves, or turn out. I never run over but
©ne man all the time I was on the road, and that was his own fault, for
he was deaf and didn't hear us in time; and one woman, and she run
the wrong way, though the lamps was lit, and it served her right for
being so stupid. I have alwa^ observed women and pigs run the wrong
way, it's nateral to them, and they hadn't ort to suffer them to run at
large on the same road with coaches, for they cum to be run over
of themselves, and is very dangerous, frightening hosses, and upsetting
coaches, by getting under the wheels.
But it is no use guarding now against accidents, Joe, for coaches is
done in England and done for ever, and a heavy blow it is. They was
the pride of the country, there wasn't anything like them as I've heard
gemmen say from forrin parts, to be found nowhere, nor never will be
again. Them as has seed coaches afore rails come in fashion, has seed
something worth remembring, and telling of agin, and all they are fit
for now is to ^Nick up for watch-houses along the rails, for poleesemen
to go to sleep in, when they gets moppy. It's a sad thing to think of,
and quite art breaking to them as know'd their valy and speed and safety, by day or by night, and could drive them to a sixteenth part of an
inch of one another and never touch. That was wat I call seeing life
was travelling in a coach, but travelling by rails is like being stowed
away in a parcel in the boot; you can't see nothink nor hear nothink,
but coaches is done, Joe, yes they are done, and it's pity too—I couldn't
stand it no longer, first one line knocked and then another, and nothing
seen but hosses going to the ammer, and coachmen thrown out of employ. I couldn't stand it no loDger, so I am off to Americka, to a place
they calls Nover Scotia, where they have more sense and wont have a
rail, tho natur has done one half, and English money is ready to do the
other. They prefers coaches and they shows their sense, as time will
prove—-I am engaged on the line from Halifax to Windsor, that the
new steamers will make a busy one, and where rails, as I hear, are never
likely to be interduced, as they have seed the mischief they av done in
England. I only wish I ad the old Highflyer or Red Rover or Markiss
•fcHuntly there with their cattle, if I ad Ide show the savages what a
II 12 «*«
THE  LETTER-BAG  OP
coach and hosses, complete, and fit for the Queen to travel in was, but
I havn't, nor can't, nor nobody can't, nor never will again, for coaches,
such coaches as them I mean, which was coaches and deserved the
name of coaches is done—nobody wont see the like of them again.
Arter all, Joe, it is a ard think for the like of me as has druv the first coach
and best team in all England, and the first gemmen ofthe land, to go out
to that orrid savage country Nover Scotia, to end my days among bad hosses, bad coaches, and bad arness, and among a people too whose, noses
is all blue, as I hear, with the cold there. I never expected to live to
see this come to pass, or the day when coaches was done in England,
but coaches is done for all that, and here I am broken down in health
and spirits, groggy in both feet, and obliged to be transported to Ameri-
ka, all on account of the rails. But if I go on so fast, talking of travelling, I shall be apt to be shying from the main object of my letter, so
I must clap the skid on the off wheel of my heart and go gently. I
shall have to shorten up my wheel reins preciously to come down to
terms. My eyes, what would our old friend the Barynet say to my driving a team without saddles and without breeching, and take a steady
drag of seventeen miles—with leather springs and linch pins instead of
patent axles and liptics—no sign board, no mile stones. No Tom and
Jerrys, no gin and bitters, coachmen and no guards. Hills and dales
no levels ; no bar-maids, post-boys, nor seven mile stages, and what is
wus and wus wages and no tip. Oh Joe ! my heart sinks to the axel
when I thinks of the past, but fate drives me with a heavy hand and a
desprate hard curb, and I shall wait with a sharp pull upon my patience, till I gets your next letter, and hereafter sets in my place with
melancholy as a passenger on the box-seat for ever. I dont much like
sending this by the Great Western, for steam has ruined me, Joe, but
I've had a copy made to go by the old coach, as I calls the liner, and if
she gets the start of leaders heads past westerns swingle trees, you'll
get tother one first never fear.—I have no hart to write more at present,
though the thorts ofthe ribbins do Tevive me a bit, and when J mount
the box once more I will write you agam.—So no more at present from
Your old friend,
Jerry Drag.
P. S. Send me a good upper Benjamin of the old cut, and a broad
Sirsingle, for my lines is getting rumatiz in them, and it will draw me
up a bit, for I was always a good feeder, and stayin in the stall here,
and no walking exercise, am getting clumsy. Also' a decent whip. I
always likes to see a Jemmy whip/and so does bosses,.for they can tell
by the sound of it whether a man knows his business or not, as well as
a christian could, and better than one half of them can. I hear blue
nose whips is like schoolboys' fiskmg-rods, all wood and stiff as the pole
of a coach ; I couldn't handle-such a thing as that, and more nor that
I wont, for I couldn't submit to the disgrace of it. Also a flask for the
side pocket, for I'm informed them as keeps inns on that road is tea-to-
tallors, and a drop of gin arnt to be had for love or money. Now that
gammon wont do for me—I'm not agoing for to freze to death on th©
box, to pleas any such Esquimo Indgian Cangaroos as them, and they
needn't expect no such think. A glass of gin I must have as a thing
in course, so dont forget it. Direct " Royal blue nose mail coach office*
Halifax* Nover Scotia—care of Mr. Craig—letter department." the great western.
103
NO. XXVII. m
LETTER
FROM THE WIFE OF A SETTLER WHO CANNOT SETTLE,
Dear Elizabeth—
My dear Simson has concluded to settle in America, and we are
now on our way thither, on board of the Great Western, and I must
say nothing can exceed the delight of going to sea in a ship so splendidly fitted up, and filled with such agreeable Company as this, the only
drawback being that of sea-sickness, having been more dead than alive
ever since I carne on board. Simson, dear fellow, is fnli of plans and
rural felicity, and we clear a farm, erect our buildings and grow rich
every day, sometimes in one place and sometimes in another, but have
not yet made up our minds where. Building castles in the air this way
is delightful, if they would only stay there when you finish them.
Among so many charming countries as there are in America, the choice
is rather difficult, as your life is scarcely safe in any of them.—The
valley of the Mississippi is said to exceed in beauty and fertility most
parts of the world, and we had thoughts of purchasing a plantation
there, but they say it is full of alligators and rattlesnakes, and the people every now and then burn down a town, as they recently did at Mobile, on speculation, so we have given up that, although it is a great
disappointment.—We then thought of Florida, but the Seminole Indians, it seems, scalp all the men, run off with the women, and murder
the dear little chidren, so I have succeeded in dissuading him from going there—Texas, they say, is a perfect paradise, and land so uncommonly cheap that you can buy a farm for the price of a new bonnet,
fbat earthquakes are very common, and the people so very cruel they
kill each other with bowie-knives in the streets in open day, and so
reckless that they keep singing "welcome to your gory bed," as if it
was fine sport; so we have had to abandon all idea of it, as it would be
mere madness to go there.
The southern states wes hould like very much, for the society is very
good and very genteel, and the cfimate excellent, only a little too hot,
which causes the yellow fever to rage so in summer to that degree, that
the white people have to abandon it tiU winter, so that it can hardly be
said to be a desirable residence, added to which is the constant alarm
of insurrection ofthe negroes and being hanged, by mistake for an abolitionist.
New England is a well regulated country, and free from all those objections, having more educated men and accomplished women in it than
any other place ; but they all talk gibberish, and I hardly feel equal to
learning a foreign language, now that I have this angel to watch over
and take care of, and do not like to live among a people whom I do not
understand. Besides, I couldn't think of poor little Bob giving up his
English altogether, and talking nothing but Yankee Doodle.
Canada we have had a very favourable account of, all people agreeing in saying it is a beautiful country and very eligible to settle in, but
tbey are not only at war among themselves and with their neighbours,
bat their practices are so barbarous it does not deserve the name of
** a civil war " at all. A poor unfortunate wretch of the name of
^* Caroline," (I didn't hear her surname, but I am certain I am right
in" her christian one) was lately seized on the American shoTe by
a compact band from Canada, dragged out of her bed at night unrigged THE  LETTER-RAG OF
as they call it, and just a bare pole, and carried into the middle of the
and^'set fire to, and then set over the falls in a steamboat, screeching and screaming in the most awful manner. To retaliate this, those
who sympathised with their sufferings, her friends and relations came
over in their turn to Canada, and seized the great Sir Robert Peel, and
served him the same way, by making him take a flying jib over the rapids. His visit was cut so short, they call it a " Bobstay " in derision,
and to mock him they said as he was a -stem man, they would treat him
to a spanker, and cut him with lashings dreadfully, and chasing him
about, asked him how he liked rigging. He couldn't have been many
days in the country, poor man, for Simson says he is positive he saw him
in the House of Commons not a month before he sailed. Then dear
Simson is a member of the Church of England, and he would have no
chance there, for it is considered a great crime in Canada to belong to
that denomination, all of whom are called " family compacts " {on account of bringing up their children to the same religion as themselves, as
nothing will go down there, but every individual of a family going to a
different place of worship from the other. They say it looks liberal. All
those who take up arms against Government are called Patriots, and all
those who stand up for the Queen and Parliament, are called every bad
name you can think of. The loyal people frequently get their houses
burnt in the night over their heads, and when the Patriots are caught do-
ing it, the hypocrite villains say, it is a christian duty to heap coals of
fire on ike heads of their enemies. $JM
Then we thought seriously of New Brunswick, but that is " too near
the line," they say, to live in, though how a country that is so cold, can
be "on the line " I dont know. It borders on the states, the nearest
one of which is Passa-my-quiddy,8 so named from the people passing
to each other quids of tobacco, which nasty stuff they eat all day.
One fellow points to another man's mouth, and says, " Quid est
hoc 1" and the other replies in the same Yankee lingo, " Hoc est quid,"
and gives it to him. The New Brunswickers, who are a very loyal
people, and very civil to strangers—have a great deal of trouble
with these neighbours, who are all mad from living "on the line"
always, and all the people of the state are called " Maine-iacs." Last
winter five thousand of these unfortunate wretches caught the " Line-
ophobia," as it is called, and armed themselves, and ran away howling
and screaming into the midst of the woods, in the month of March,
though the snow was two feet deep, and fancying themselves soldiem*
made a target, with the figure of our Gracious Sovereign on it, which
they took for an English army, and fired at; and then they drew up a
despatch, and said they had conquered the country and gained a great
battle; and Webster, who is supposed to have caught the infection, declared ancient and modern history had nothing equal to this short but
brilliant campaign.
The poor creatures staid out a month in the wilderness in this horrid
manner, and were badly frost-bitten, most of them having lost a toe or a
nose, or some prominent part or another, with the intense cold. They
could hear them yelling and blaspheming all the way to Fredericton, for
they never slept in the night, but made great fires and .danced the war-
dance round them, like Indians,—firing off, every now and then, a great
wooden gun hooped with iron, and making dreadful faces at the Brunswickers, and calling them bad names. One poor ma% took a horse with
him into the forest, and put some yellow fringe on his coat which was
made of a flannel sh^t^ and stuck a goose's feather in his hat, and took THE  GREAT WESTERN.
105
it into his head he was a general, and carried a naked sword in his hand,
with which he cut and slashed away at the limbs of trees in a most furious manner, thinking they were British soldiers, and swore most awful
oaths—that would make your hair stand on end—that he would give them
no quarter. Then he led his men up against a saw-mill, which he took
for a fort, and stormed it,—and as there was no one living in it, he fancied the garrison had fought till they had died. Webster, in his great
war speech, said it was stronger than Gibraltar ; and compared this poor
Maine-iac to Alexander, who, he said, had an unsoldier-like trick of carrying his head one side ; and to Julius Csesar, who got licked and Bowie-
knifed at last, like any other man; and to Napoleon, who lost in one
day all he ever conquered ; and to Wellington, who just left off fighting
in time to save his character. People say they hardly know which'waa
most to be pitied, Webster or General Conrad Corncob, both were so
mad. The New Brunswickers were quite alarmed for fear some of these
poor unfortunate creatures should escape from Passamy-quiddy, and get
into the Province and bite some of the inhabitants, and the " line-ophobia"
should spread among them. So they had to send a regiment of soldiers
out to look after them, but before the troops came to where they had encamped, the paroxysm had passed, they had eaten up all their pork and
molasses, punkin pies and apple sarce, and got out of tobacco, and, worn
out with excitement, cold, hunger and fatigue, had gone home.
They say if all Bedlam and the. other insane institutions in England
were opened and the inmates let loose, they wouldn't number half as many
as these " poor Maine-iacs," and that they were in such a rage and so
rabid, while the fit was on, the bushes were all covered with slaver and
tobacco-spittle for miles. I never heard anything half so horrid in all
my life—and nothing would tempt me to live " on the line," if the climate operates that way on the brain and makes people act as if they were
possessed of a devil. The Lord preserve dear Simson and me from
" Line-ophobia!"    It is worse than cholera morbus.
We now think of Nova Scotia, which some people call the happy
valley, the natives are such a primitive people, and blessed with every
thing that can render life agreeable, and have no taxes, and borrow Eng-»
lish regiments and men-of-war to fight for nothing ; but they are subject ^to that same, disease, the " Lineophobia" too. When they heard
these poor wretches, the Maine-iacs, howling in the wilderness last winter, for they could hear them quite plainly, they began to foam at the
mouth and to howl too—and voted an army and supplies of Blue-nose
potatoes and Digby herrings for them, to go and fight those unfortunate
people ; and they talked so big and looked so big, the Governor was quite
alarmed about them, for they talked of having no officers unless they
were native heroes, to lead them to death or victory. So he humoured
them; he told them they were valiant men—everybody knew ; their
zeal being only equalled by the chance there was of its being wanted;
but that it was not generous for so strong and brave a people as the Blue
noses to roar so loud, as the Americans would either die of fright, or
never wait to be beaten, but fly their country ; for, like all ether people
of such huge stature and strength, the Nova Scotians were not aware
of their own power, and that their voice was loud enough to-be heard
across the Alleghanies on one side and the Atlantic on the other, and
strike terror into ail within its reach.
Thisepeech pacified them by tickling their vanity, and the disease was
kept off for a time, though the very word Passa-my-quiddy sets their
teeth on  edge, and makes them gnash and grit most hideously.   AB 106
THE LETTER-BAG OP
this is very alarming, and I hear too the coal mines every now and then
get on fire, which is very dangerous, and has a tendency to make them
warm tempered, and keep them in hot water all the time. Newfoundland has heen named as a place of residence, but that smells so strong of
dried codfish and seal-oil, that I should die in a week; and besides, I
hear it whispered some of the people eat their eggs out of wine-glasses,
which I never could stand I am sure—the very sight of such a nasty trick
would throw me into fits as it did Captain Hamilton, who, I hear, has
never recovered the shock his nerves received in America. Prince Edward's Island has been suggested ; but there, they say, the more land
you have, the poorer you are ; and that though the rent is only two shillings a hundred acres, the tenants threaten to turn Patriots and Durham-
ites if it is exacted. One proprietor who came all the way from England
to collect his rents, only got seven shillings and six pence and^a thrashing
for his trouble.
It seems to me all the world is hunting after reform, which dear Simson
says is a locomotive government, that will go of itself, and cost nothing,
and everybody is their own master, and can do as they please, and that
majority law is a law of the strong over the weak ; but it is above my comprehension altogether ; all I know is, I will be mistress in my own house,
and the dear fellow makes no objection. Astoria is a fine country, but it
takes nine months' travel to get there, and that is a serious objection, as
there is but few things in life worth that; and you can carry nothing so
far, and get nothing when you arrive there but the fever and ague, and
that I would rather be excused from. Cape Breton is also well spoken of,
only you are like to be froze up in your passage there, at a place called
Gut of Canso, and nothing goes up or down until Spring thaws it out
The whole country is covered with snow for several months, up to your
hips, so that when the melancholy season comes, they say, they are
" hipt;" fand the people are so savage they make " slaying" parties on
the ice, and call this barbarous cruel work, quite a diversion. They say
the reason it is so cold is that it is so far east, it is a little beyond where
the sun rises : an American gentleman told me so, who once went there
to see it: for my part I am not so fond of ice-creams as to desire to live on
an iceberg, like a seal, all winter, and should prefer a warmer country.
Bermuda seems, after all, a delightful place, where people have almost
perpetual summer, only the roofs blow off like straw-hats, and makes
house-keeping very difficult; and trees fly about in hurricanes like leaves,
which must scatter families dreadfully, and must make separations that
are are so sudden quite painful. The governor's name is Reid ; and he
has seen so many storms there, he has written a book about them. Dear
Simson, who is very witty, says he is " the Reid shaked by the wind."
I wish you knew dear Simson, he is full of fun. He says that the new
theory of storms is, that instead of an " avancer," it takes a " pirouette,"
and that the whole story of it is this :
Here we go up up up,
And there we go down down downy;
Here we go backward and forward,
And there we go round round roundy.
The West Indies is the same, only rather too hot for clothes, and as
flatulent as Bermuda ; besides which white-servants cant live there, and
black ones wont work, so that you must now be slaves to yourselves,
for which being your own masters is no compensation. Dear Simson
says, emancipation means making black white, and white black.    Then THE GREAtf WESTEltN.
107
they suffer from crawling things dreadfully, having to stop their ears at
night with cotton wool to keep them out, as they are always on the lookout for the least opening to hide in and breed. Isn't it shocking ? So
that at present we haven't made up our minds where to settle, as every
place has its objections to counterbalance its advantages.
It is the same with this steamer, nothing can exceed its splendour,'its
luxury, and its comfort, but you are always in a fright about blowing up,
and expect to be set out of bed some time or another, without time to
put your clothes on, into another world. The company too is very genteel, having some real nobility on board, and some imitation ones, called
Honourables, from the Colonies; though the great lords are not tall men
at all, and the little ones from the Provinces look and talk the biggest of
the two. All this is very pleasant, and there are so many foreigners on
board, it is as amusing and instructive as travelling into strange countries,
only you can't understand a word they say, foi they speak as many different
languages as they did in the tower of Babel.
Dear Simson is very kind and attentive to me, especially before company, which is very agreeable and looks well; only I wish he could bear
the crying of children a little—very little better; but at night he sometimes gets out of patience, and swears he don't know what they were
made for, but to break one's sleep, and destroy one's comfort. Take it
altogether, it is certainly very agreeable here, and a sort of I-pity-m^ of
the world, and amusing and instructive ; and, I must say, I enjoy myself
very much, and would be quite happy, if it wasn't for fear dear Bob
would tumble into those horrid boilers, which would make soup and
Bouillie of him, as dear Simson says, before you could count ten. The
very idea is shocking, I never could taste soup since. So are our plans
for emigrating, very tempting ; and the idea of being extensive landowners, and having an estate as large us the Duke of Sutherland's, all
your own, with herds of cattle, and sheep, and horses, and buffaloes, and
all sorts of things, and vineyard, and wine of your own "making, and
wild deer that cost nothing to keep, and only the trouble of catching
them, and beautiful prairies, (that's the name they give to meadows,) so
large that it takes you a week to ride across them ; all this is delightful,
and makes me think myself a most fortunate woman indeed, if I only
knew when it was to come true, or in what part of the globe, for in none
•f the places I have mentioned, would I settle upon any consideration in
the world. Dear Simson may, if he pleases, but I wont go ballooning
in a hurry-cane, or be scalped by Indians, or be bowie-knifed by lynchers,
or frighted out of my wits by maniacs, or frozen into a pillar of ice, like
Lot's wife was into salt, or be stifled by codfish smells, for all the estates
that ever was, or ever will be.
Simson is a dear, good fellow, and I am the most fortunate of my
sex, and as happy as the day is long, and will follow him with pleasure
ill the world over; only, I wish he thought as I did, that England, after
all, is preferable to any of these outlandish places, if people would only
think so; and them that are discontented had better leave it, if they
don't like it, and not try to make it like anything else , for the reason
I prefer, and love d.ear old England is, because there is no such place
in the world, for if there were many such places, then it wouldn't be
England any longer. One thing, however, I wish to assure you, and
that is, I am quite happy in the possession of dear Simson, who is an
angel of a man, only a little home-sick and heart-sick, when I think of
those I left behind, never, perhaps, to see again in this world.
Ever your faithfully and tenderly attached, Emma Simson. 108
THE LETTER-BAG Ot
P. S. If my next child should be born in the States, will it be a Yankee, and speak that foreign language, or will it be English 1 I don't
like to ask dear Simson, for he is the most feeling man in the world,
and would go crazy at the very mention of another child. Poor dear
fellow, I love him so, I wouldn't do anything to worry him for the universe ; but some things you can't help, and this, in the midst of all my
happiness, makes me miserable.
NO. XXVIII.
LETTER FROM THE AUTHOR.
Gentle Reaoer—
I cannot, bring myself to pay so poor a compliment to your taste,
or my own performance, as to entertain a doubt that you had no sooner taken up this book, than you became so interested in it, as not to lay
it down until you had read it through; nor am I less assured that you
felt great regret that there was not more of it. Understanding, tolerably well, the working of your mind, from a long study ofthe operations
of my own, I venture to anticipate a very natural question you will
ask, as soon as you have perused it, namely, " whether the author had
any other object in view, in writing it, than merely the amusement of
a leisure hour," and hasten to gratify your curiosity, by assuring you
that I was most undoubtedly actuated by another, and, as you will presently see, a better motive.
Had you had an opportunity of lifting the anonymous veil under
which my diffidence finds a shelter, and circumstances had permitted
me to have the honour and pleasure of your acquaintance, during my
recent visit to Europe, you would have found that, although I am one
of the merriest fellows of my age, to be found in any country, yet I am
a great approver of the old maxim, of being " merry and wise," being,
after my own fashion, a sort of laughing philosopher, and that I most
indulge in that species of humour that has a moral in it. " Life in a
Steamer," is fraught with it, as I shall proceed to show you ; but before I point it out, I must tell you a story, (more meo) for I find I grow
somewhat rigmarolly as I advance in years, and am more and more addicted to the narrative. While making the tour of Scotland, I spent a
few days at Kelso, for the purpose of exploring the ruins of an ancient
abbey, wherein are deposited the remains of the old chieftains—the
Slicks of Slickvilleb.augh, whose name I have the honour to bear. I don't
mention this little circumstance out of personal vanity, for I am too old
for that; and, besides, between you and me, I see nothing in an ancient Scottish descent from any rational man, to be prond of. I never
read of a Scot of the olden time, notwithstanding all that Sir Walter has
collected, or written on the subject, without the idea suggesting itself
to my mind of a huge raw-boned, hard-featured unbreeched savage, vejry,
poor, very proud, and very hairy. Indeed, there are good authorities
at variance with him on this subject.
A vest Prince Vortiger had on,
Which from a naked Scot his grandsire won.
Now, the obvious meaning of this passage is, that one ofthe prince's
predecessors ran down one of these boors in the chase, skinned him, and
made a garment of his hide, which he wore as a trophy of his skill and
valour, in the same manner that a North American Indian decorates his
person with the skin of the bear.   This, however, is merely a matter of THE GREAT WESTERN.
109
opinion, as well as a digression, and I only mention the circumstance
at all, to gratify my American readers, who, though staunch republicans, are great admirers of old names, and are all in a neuter or-mote
remote degree, allied to the first families in the peerage of Great Britain.^ While thus employed in enacting the part of Old Mortality, on
the banks of the Tweed, I observed one morning a more than usual large
assemblage of the yeomanry ofthe country, and upon inquiry, found it
was the day of the great corn market. Ah! says I to myself, now I
shall have an opportunity of judging of the fertility of this beautiful
agricultural district, by seeing its accumulated prodpcts ; but you may
easily imagine my surprise, when, after having several times perambulated the market, I could not find a single, solitary sack of grain. I
speered at the first good-natured, idle-looking fellow I saw, (I like that
word, speered, it is so appropriate an expression among the cattle-stealers of a border country, where a stranger was always saluted with a
spear, and relieved ofthe care of his goods and chattels,) I speered at
him the question, where have the farmers put their coruJ After a long
pause, and a broad stare of astonishment as the gross ignorance implied
to the query, the fellow replied, where ! why.- in their pouch, sure.
Pouch! the word was new to my American ear, as new as an | almighty, everlastin friszle of a fiz " would have been to his. Pouch 1
said I—what the devil is that? Here, said he, and putting his hand
into his pocket, he produced a very small parcel of beautiful wheat, and
added, we sell by sample, sir. The grower goes to his granary, and
thrusting his hand promiscuously into the heap of corn, takes up as
much as it can contain, which is called a " sample ;" and this is supposed so well to represent the average quality of the entire mass, that
the sale ofthe whole lot is effected upon the inspection of this sample.
Ah ! said I, my friend, and stretching out the fingers of my right hand,
until they represented the radii of a circle, I applied the thumb to the
extremity of my nose, in a horizontal position, (an odd, old-fashioned
custom I acquired when a boy, at Slickville, whenever I had caught a
valuable hint,) ah ! said I, my friend—notch !
Did yon ever see the like o' that, said the puzzled Scot, to himself
and wha is he I A wrinkle on the horn, said I, again applying the thumb
to its old signal staff*, the nose, and I thank you for the hint. A wrinkle
on the horn, slowly repeated my astonished companion ; puir body, he
is daft, as sure as the world. No, my man, said I, not daft, but wiser.
In America, for you must know I come from that far-off country, we
ascertain the ages of our cattle by examining their horns, at the root of
which, at the end of three years, there appears a small ring or wrinkle,
and each succeeding year is marked by another. This has given rise
to a saying when a man acquires a new idea, that he has got " another
wrinkle on his horn "—do you take 1
Puir thing, said he, with a look of great pity, he has gone clean daft
—-and he so far from home too ; has he nae friend to se© till him 1 and
he turned away and left me.
But, gentle reader, it was he, and not I, that was daft. He was a
clown, and even a Scottish clown, as far as I could observe, is no way
superior to a clown of any other country—and he did not understand
me. It was a wrinkle 041 my horn, and I have since availed myself of
it. I judge,of mankind by sample. One hundred and ten passengers,
taken indiscriminately from the mass of their fellow beings, are a fair
" average sample " of their species : the vessel that carries them is a
little world, and life in a steamer is a good sample of life in " the great
IC 110
THE LETTER-BAG OF
world." This little community is agitated by the same passions, impelled by the same feelh|jgs, and actuated by the same prejudices as a
larger one. Poor human nature is the same everywhere. Here are
the same complaints, the same restlessness, and the same air of perverse dissatisfaction in their letters, as we meet with on land. The
analogy that these Atlantic trips display to the great voyage of life, is
very striking. We are no sooner embarked, such is the speed with
which we advance, than we arrive at our point of destination. Our
course is soon run. It is the power of steam in both, and although the
scene is varied, by calms, fair breezes, and storms, still the great machine is in continual progress.
Of those with whom we set out in the voyage of life, how few do we
encounter in our subsequent wanderings ! The intimacy that common
hopes and common dangers generate, gradually subsides, and if we meet,
we meet, alas ! coldly, formally, and as strangers. Life in a steamer is
actually teeming with a moral. Are you a politician *! you may confirm
or rectify your notions by observing how essential a good, effective, vigorous, businesslike administration is to the safety of the ship and the*
comfort of the passengers. Are you a Christian 1 you will not fail to
observe that in consequence of its being requested by the directors that
every passenger should attend public worship, every one does so; from
which you may perceive the advantages resulting from a union of church
and state—and when the whole community thus meets together to unite
in their supplications, you cannot but see what a blessed thing it is for
brethren to dwell together in unity—how immeasurably superior this
union is to dissent—and must admit that they who laid the foundation of
your established National Church, were both wise and good men. Are
you a moralist 1 then—but I TTtrjH not pursue it. The analogies and inferences are too obvious to render it necessary for me to trace them;
but nevertheless, it is a useful and an edifying task, and I recommend
you to reflect for yourself. From these remarks y©u will observe that
$JLife in a Steamer " is " a leaf of" the great Book of the World, and
may well be applied—" to point a moral and adorn a tale."
So much for the general reader ; and now a few words at parting, to
my good friends, the Nova Scotians. I am desirous of availing myself
of this opportunity to call the attention of my countrymen, the " blue-
noses," to the importance of steam, of which they unfortunately know
but little from their own experience ; of entreating them to direct their
energies rather to internal improvement than political change ; to the
developement of the resources of their beautiful, fertile, and happy colony,
rather than to speculative theories of government; and also to urge upon
them, that the " responsibility" we require, is  the responsibility of
steam.
Since the discovery of America by Columbus, nothing has occurred
of stf. much importance to the New World, as navigating the Atlantic by
steamers ; and no point of the continent is likely to be benefited by it in;
an equal degree with Nova Scotia, which is the n©§rest point of land to
Europe, and must always possess the earliest intelligence from the Old
World. Whichever party is in power in England, Tories or Wliigs, th©
Government is always distinguished by the same earnest desire to patronize, as it is to protect the colonies, who have experienced nothing at
tite hands of the English, but unexampled kindness, untiring forbearance,
and unbounded liberality. The recent grant of ftfty-five thousand pounds
a year, for the purpose of affording us the advantage of a communication
by steam with the mother country, which was not made grudgingly, or THE GREAT WESTERN.
Ill
boastmgly, or as an experiment, but as early as it was proper or safe for it
to be done, and as freely as it was kindly bestowed, leaves us in doubt
whether most to admire the munificence of the gift, or the power and
wealth of the donors. No country, that is kept in a continual state of
agitation, can sfther be a happy or a flourishing one ; and it is our peculiar
good fortune that with us agitation is unnecessary. If there should be
any little changes required from time to time, in our limited political
sphere, and such occasions sometimes do, and always will occur in the
progress of our growth, a temperate and proper representation will
always produce them, from the predominant party of the day, whatever it
may be, if it can only be demonstrated that they are wise or necessary
changes. It is the inclination as well as the interest of Great Britain so
to do-; and whoever holds out any doubts on this subject, or proclaims
the mild, conciliatory, and parental sway of the imperial government, " a
baneful domination," is no friend to Nova Scotia, or British connexion,
and should be considered as either an ignorant or a designing man.
Canada has become so burthensome an appendage of the British empire,
from the intrigues of discontented men, that many of our friends on the
other side of the water, doubt whether it is worth holding at such an enormous expense. Oppressed we never have been—coerced we never will,
be. Everything has been done, that is either just or reasonable, or
liberal, for us. We always have been, and still continue to be, the most
favoured people in the British empire. Let us show ourselves worthy of
such treatment, by exhibiting our gratitude, and sustain the reputation
we have hitherto borne, of being the most tranquil and loyal Colony in
North America. Let us not be too importunate for change, or we may
receive the very proper, but to many, the very unexpected answer—
" Govern yourselves : you appear to be so difficult to please, so determined not to be satisfied, that we give up the attempt in despair. You
are independent." This is no improbable event—no ideal danger—no
idle fear. I regret to say, that such a course has already numerous and
powerful advocates in England, and is daily gaining ground even among
our best friends, and staunchest supporters. They are wearied out with
unfounded complaints, with restless, unceasing cravings for change, and
their own repeated, but ineffectual attempts to give satisfaction. They
say, they see no alternative left but coercion, which they will not resort
to, or " catting the tow-rope," and casting us adrift. No true friend to
his country can contemplate such an event as a dissolution of British connexion, without the severest regret, the deepest remorse, the most painful
apprehensions.
The withdrawal of the army and navy from Halifax ; the striking of
the flag of Old England on the Citadel Kill; and the last parting salute
of her old friends, as they left our shores for ever, would be the most
mournful spectacle, and the severest infliction, that an avenging Providence has in store for us. It would be a day of general gloom and universal lamentation. All men of property and reputation—all persons of
true British fettling—every man in a situation to do so, would leave us;
and capital, credit and character would follow in the train. We should
be inundated with needy adventurers, unprinicipled speculators, loafers,
symphathisers, and Lynchers, the refuse of Europe and America; and
this once happy, too happy country wonld become an easy pray to civil"
dissension, like the petty states of South America, or to the rapacity of
foreign adventurers like the Texans.
That such a measure of retributive justice is in store for ns should the
infectious agitation of Canada unhappily reach us, no man who has visit- 112
THE LETTER-BAG OF THE GREAT WESTERN.
Ii
ed Great Britain, and mingled freely and extensively with its neor.le as
I have done, can entertain a doubt. Wherever I went and with whomsoever I conversed, the opinion constantly met me : " It would be better
for us if we were separated > you never will be contented to remain as
colonists, you Jure causing us #^greater expenditure than we can afford ;
we cannot support two Irelands; it is time to give you your independence A" This book, whatever its reception may be, will at least circulate
among all my personal friends in England, which is the best evidence I
can give you of my conviction of the existence of this feeling; for my proclaiming it in the presence of those by whom I assert that it is entertained, I afford them an opportnnity of repudiating it, if unfounded. Let us
not, therefore, be led astray by any of those theories, however plausible
and captivating they may appear to be, that are now advocated with
such intemperate heat in Canada. Nova Scotia never was in so
flourishing a condition as it is at present. Its trade is enlarging, its
agriculture improving, and its population increasing most rapidly, whHe
the character pf its merchants for honourable and upright dealing stands
higher than that of any other community on the whole American continent. Politics unfortunately engrosses too much attention everywhere
to the exclusion of many indispensable duties. Party-men are apt to
magnify its importance for their own purposes, and to extol it as a panacea for all the ills of life ; but experience teaches us that the happiness
of every country depends upon the character of its people, rather than
the form of its government. Why'? asks the philosophical,Goldsmith,
after an attentive examination of many of the European states,
" Why have I stray'd from pleasure and repose,
To seek a good each government bestows !
How small of all that human hearts endure,
That part which laws and kings can cause or cure !"
Let us keep out of the vortex of political excitement, learn how to
value the blessings we enjoy, and study how we can best promote the internal communications and develope the resources of our native land.
The times has now come when the great American and colonial route
of travelling must commence or terminate at Halifax. On the importance
of this to Nova Scotia it is unnecessary for me to expatiate, as it speaks
for itself, in a language too plain and intelligible to be misunderstood ;
but these advantages we can neitli^r fliifly enjoy, nor long retain, without a "rail-road" from Halifax to Windsor. It is now no longer a
matter of doubt or of choice, circumstances have forced it upon ns. We
owe it to the liberality of the British government, to make all those
arrangements that shall give full effect to the noble scale upon which they
have undertaken the Atlantic^ steam-navigation. We owe it to New-
Brunswick and Canada to complete our portion of the great intercolonial
line, and above all we owe it to ourselves not to be behind every other
country in appreciating and adopting those great improvements, which
distinguish the present age.
And now, gentle reader, it is time for me to make my bow as well as
ray sea-legs will allow me, and retire. In doing so, permit me to express
a wish that your voyage of life may be the very opposite of that of a
steamer, in a point of duration, and resemble it as nearly as possible ha
the one grand essential, namely in making the best use of your time.
I have the honour, to be, Your most obedient servant,
The Author.
THE END.  -; «  ft
^ai**BMB«"  

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