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A second visit to the United States of North America : in two volumes [volume 1] Lyell, Charles, Sir, 1797-1875 1850

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Lyell,   A   Second    Visit    to    the
United    States,    2    vols.,    1849,
6.00      CONTENTS
Voyage from Liverpool to Halifax.—Gale.
Stream.—Coast of Newfoundland,
versations on Coolies in the West Indies.—Halifax.
Story's Death.—Boston.—Success of the Mail Steam Packets
torn House Officers    ........
Iceberg.'—Drift Ice and Gulf
Engine room of Steamer.—Con-
News of Judge
-C US-
Boston.—Horticultural Show in Faneuil Hall.—Review of Militia.—
Peace Association.—Excursion to the White Mountains.—Railway
Traveling.—Portsmouth, New Hampshire.—Geology, Fossils in Drift.
—Submarine forest.—Wild Plants: Asters, Solidagos, Poison Ivy.—
Swallows.—Glacial Grooves.—Rocks transported by Antarctic Ice.—
Body of a Whale discovered by an American Trader in an Iceberg   .
Portland in Maine.—Kennebec River.—Timber Trade.—Fossil Shells at
Gardiner.—Augusta the Capital of Maine.—Legal Profession: Advocates and Attorneys.—Equality of Sects.—Religious Toleration.—Cal-
vhristic Theology.—Day of Doom       ... .       .    41 viu
Journey from Portland to the White Mountains.—Plants—Churches,
School-houses.—Temperance Hotel.—Intelligence of New-Englanders.
—Climate, Consumption.—Conway.—Division of Property.—Every
Man his own Tenant.—Autumnal Tints.—Bears hybernating.—Willey
Slide.—Theory of Scratches and Grooves on Rocks.—Scenery.—
Waterfalls and Ravines.—The Notch.—Forest Trees and Mountain
Plants.—Fabyan's Hotel.—Echo.       .......
Ascent of Mount Washington.
■Mr. Oakes.—Zones of distinct Vegeta
tion.—Belt of Dwarf Firs.—Bald Region and Arctic Flora on Summit.—View from Summit.—Migration of Plants from Arctic Regions.—Change of Climate since Glacial Period.—Granitic Rocks Ox
White Mountains.—Franconia Notch.—Revival at Bethlehem.—Miller-
ite Movement.—The Tabernacle at Boston.—Mormons.—Remarks on
New England Fanaticism   .........
Social Equality.—Position of Servants.—War with England.—Coalition
of Northern Democrats, and Southern Slave-owners.—Ostracism of
Wealth.—Legislators paid.—Envy in a Democracy.—Politics of the
Country and the City.—Pledges at Elections.—Universal Suffrage.—
Adventure in a Stage Coach.—Return from the White Mountains.—
Plymouth in New Hampshire.—Congregational and "Methodist
Churches.—Theological Discussions of Fellow Travelers.—Temperance Movement.—Post-Office Abuses.—Lowell Factories   .
Plymouth, Massachusetts.—Plymouth Beach.—Marine Shells.—Quicksand.—Names of Pilgrim Fathers.—Forefathers' Day.—Pilgrim Relics.—Their Authenticity considered.—Decoy Pond.—A Barn Traveling.—Excursion to Salem.—Museum.—Warrants for Execution of
Witches.—Causes of the Persecution.—Conversation with Colored
Abolitionists.—-Comparative Capacity of White and Negro Races.—
Kalf-Breeds and Hybrid Intellects .       .       „
yd ^jtm
Pretended Fossil Sea Serpent, or Zeuglodon, from Alabama.—Recent
Appearance of a Sea Serpent in Gulf of St. Lawrence.—In Norway in
1845*—Near Cape Ann, Massachusetts, 1817.—American Descriptions.-—Conjectures as to Nature of the Animal.—Sea Snake stranded
in the Orkneys proved to be a Shark.—Dr. Barclay's Memoir.—Sir
Everard Home's Opinion.—Sea Serpent of Hebrides, 1808.—Reasons
for concluding that Pontoppidan's Sea Snake was a Basking Shark.—
Captain M'Quhae's Sea Serpent 107
Boston.—No Private Lodgings.—Boardingr-houses.-
&*~&~. ^vu.v.^-nvuov^—Hotels.—Effects of
the Climate on Health.—Large Fortunes.—Style of Living.—Servants.—Carriages.—Education of Ladies.—Marriages.—Professional
Incomes.—Protectionist Doctrines.—Peculiarities of
Literary Tastes.—Cost of Living.—Alarms of Fire      .
Boston.—Blind Asylum and Laura Bridgeman.—Respect for Freedom
of Conscience.—Cemetery of Mount Auburn.—Channing's Cenotaph.—
Episcopal Churches.—Unitarian Congregations.—-Eminent Preachers.—Progress of Unitarians why slow.—Their works reprinted in
England.—Nothingarians.—Episcopalian Asceticism.—Separation of
Religion and Politics ..........
Boston.—Whig Caucus.—Speech of Mr. Webster.—Politics in Masachu-
setts.—Election of Governor and Representatives.—Thanksgiving Day
and Governor's Proclamation.—Absence of Pauperism.—Irish Repeal
•-'Meeting.—New England Sympathizer.—Visit to a Free School.—
State Education.—Pay and Social Rank of Teachers—Importance of
the Profession.—Rapid Progress and Effects of Educational Movement.—Popular Lectures.—Lending Libraries .....
Boston, Popular Education, continued.—Patronage of Universities and
Science.—Channing on Milton.—Milton's Scheme of teaching the
Natural Sciences.—New England Free Schools.—Their Origin.—First
Puritan Settlers not illiterate.—Sincerity of their Religious Faith.—
Schools founded in Seventeenth Century in Massachusetts.—Discouraged in Virginia.—Sir W. Berkeley's Letter.—Pastor Robinson's Views
of Progress in Religion.—Organization of Congregational Church-
es.—No Penalties for Dissent.—Provision made for future Variations
in Creeds.—Mode of working exemplified.—Impossibility of concealing Truths relating to Religion from an educated Population.—Gain
to the Higher Classes, especially the Clergy.—New Theological College.—The Lower Orders not rendered indolent, discontented, or irreligious by Education. Peculiar Stimulus to Popular Instruction in
the United States       .......... 155
Leaving Boston for the South.—Railway Stove.—Fall of Snow.—New
Haven, and Visit to Professor Silliman.—New York.—Improvements
in the City.—Croton Waterworks.—Fountains.—Recent Conflagration.—New Churches.—Trinity Church.—News from Europe of Converts to Rome.—Reaction against Tractarians.'—Electric Telegraph,
its Progres in America.—Morse and Wheatstone.—11,000 Schools in
New York for Secular instruction.—Absence of Smoke.—Irish Voters.
—Nativism............ 178
New York to Philadelphia.—Scenery in New Jersey.—War about Oregon.—Protectionist Theories.—Income Tax and Repudiation.—Recriminations against British Aggrandizement.—Irish Quarter and
fraudulent Votes.—Washington.—Congress and Annexation of Texas.
—General Cass for War.—Winthrop for Arbitration.—Inflated Eloquence.—Supreme Court.—Slavery in District of Columbia.—
Museum, Collection of Corals.—Sculpture from Palenque.—Conversations with Mr. Fox.—A Residence at Washington not favorable to a
just Estimate of the United States.—False Position of Foreign Diplomatists        191 CONTENTS.
Washington to Richmond.—Legislature of Virginia in Session.—Substitution of White for Slave Labor.—Progress of Negro Instruction.—
Slave-dealers.—-Kindness to Negroes.—Coal of Oolitic Period near
Richmond.—Visit to the Mines.—Upright Fossil Trees.—Deep Shafts,
and Thickness of Coal Seams.—Explosion of Gas.—Natural Coke.—
Resemblance of the more modern Coal-measures to old Carboniferous
Rocks.—Whites working with free Negroes in the Mines .
Journey through North Carolina.—Wilmington.—Recent Fire and Pass
ports for Slaves.—Cape Fear River and Smithfield.—Spanish Moss,
and Uses of.—Charleston.—Anti-Negro Feeling.—Passage from Mu-
lattoes to Whites.—Law against importing free Blacks.—Dispute with
Massachusetts.—Society in Charleston.—Governesses.—War-Panic.—
Anti-English Feeling caused by Newspaper Press.—National Arbitration Of the Americans.—Dr. Bachman's Zoology.—Geographical
Representation of Species.—Rattle-Snakes.—Turkey Buzzards .        . 218
Charleston to Savannah.—Beaufort River, or Inland Navigation in South
Carolina.—Slave Stealer.—Cockspur Island^-^Rapid growth of Oysters.
—Eagle caught by Oyster.—Excursion from Savannah to Skiddaway
Island.—Megatherium and Mylodon.—Cabbage Palms, or tree Palmettos.—Deceptive Appearance of Submarine Forest.—Alligators swallowing Flints.—Their Tenacity of Life when decapitated.—Grove
of Live Oaks.—Slaves taken to Free States 230
Savannah to Darien.—Anti-Slavery Meetings discussed.—War with
England.—Landing at Darien.—Crackers.—Scenery on Altamaha
River.—Negro Boatmen singing.—Marsh Blackbird in Rice Grounds.—
Hospitality, of Southern Planters.1—New Clearing and Natural Rotation
of Trees.—Birds.—Shrike and Kingfisher.—Excursion to St. Simon's
Island,—Butler's Island  and  Negroes.—Stumps  of Trees   in Salt xn
Marshes proving Subsidence of Land.—Alligator seen.—Their Nests
and Habits.—Their Fear of Porpoises.—Indian Shell Mound on St.
Simon's Island.—Date-palm, Orange, Lemon, and Olive Trees.—Hurricanes.—Visit to outermost Barrier Island.—Sea Shells on Beach.—
j    Negro Maid-Servants 240
Rivers made turbid by the Clearing of Forests.—Land rising in successive
Terraces.—Origin of these.—Bones of extinct Quadrupeds in Lower
Terrace.—Associated Marine Shells.—Digging of Brunswick Canal.—
Extinction of Megatherium and its Contempories.—Dying out of rare
Species —Gordonia Pubescens.—Life of Southern Planters.—Negroes
on a Rice Plantation.—Black Children.—Separate Negro Houses.—
Work exacted.—Hospital for Negroes.—Food and Dress.—Black
Driver.—Prevention of Crimes.—African Tom.—Progress of Negroes
in Civilization.—Conversions to Christianity.—Episcopalian, Baptist,
and Methodist Missionaries.—Amalgamation and Mixture of Races   .
Voyage from Liverpool to Halifax.—Gale.—Iceberg.—Drift Ice and Gulf
Stream.—Coast of Newfoundland.—Engine-room of Steamer.—Conversations on Coolies in the West Indies.—Halifax.—News of Judge Story's
Death.—Boston.—Success of the Mail Steam Packets.—Custom House
Sept. 4. 1845.—Embarked with my wife at Liverpool, in
the B^tannia, one of the Cunard line of steam-ships, bound for
Halifax and Boston. On leaving the wharf, we had first been
crammed, with a crowd of passengers and heaps of luggage, into
a diminutive steamer, which looked like a toy by the side of the
larger ship, of 1200 tons, in which we wer«!to cross the ocean.
I was reminded, however, by a friend, that this small craft was
more than three times as large as one of the open caravels of
Columbus, in his first voyage, which was only 15 tons burden,
and without a deck. It is, indeed, marvelous to reflect on the
daring of the early adventurers; for Frobisher, in 1576, made
his way from the Thames to the shores of Labrador with two
small barks of 20 and 25 tons each, not much surpassing in size
the barge of a man-of-war ; and Sir Humphry Gilbert crossed to
Newfoundland, in 1583, in a bark of 10 tons only, which was
lost in a tempest on the return voyage. 14
[Chap. I.
The morning after we set sail we found ourselves off Cork, in
the midst of the experimental squadron of steamers and ships of
the line, commanded by Sir Hyde Parker. They had been out
several weeks performing their nautical evolutions, and we had
the amusement of passing close to the largest ships of the fleet—
the St. Vincent and the Superb. Our captain fired a salute as
we went under the batteries of the last of these—the Admiral's
After sailing at the rate of more than 200 miles a day for
four days, our progress was retarded, Sept. 8, by an equinoctial
gale, which came in from the southwest, and, blowing for twelve
hours, raised such a sea, that we only made four miles an hour.
Another gale of still greater violence came on six days afterward, on the night of the 14th, when the ship was running at
the rate of ten and a half miles an hour, along the eastern edge
of the Great Bank. The wind had been N.E., when suddenly,
and in an instant, it blew from the N.W. I was in my berth
below when this squall struck the vessel, and supposed that we
had run upon some floating timber or an iceberg. We felt the
ship heel as if falling over. On inquiry next day of the captain,
and the only passenger who was on deck at the time of this concussion, I learnt that they saw a cloud of white foam advancing
toward them on the surface of the sea from the N.W., like a
line of surf on a beach. The captain had time to ge^fthe sails
hauled half up, all except the top-sail, which was torn to pieces,
when the advancing line of foam reached the ship, at which
moment there was some vivid lightning, which the passenger
thought was the cause of the blow resembling the stroke of a
solid body against the steamer. When the wind first filled the
sails in an opposite direction, it seemed as if the masts must give
way. All hands had been called on deck, and the men went
into the rigging to furl the sails with the utmost order and cool-
In a few minutes the wind had veered rapidly round the
compass, from N.W. to N.E., and then went on to blow from
thisfKthe old quarter again, a perfect hurricane for twenty-three
hours; the spray being carried mast high, so that there was a
complete mingling of sea and sky.   We could never tell whether Chap. L]
the cloud which enveloped us consisted chiefly of the foam blown
off the crests of the waves, or of the driving mist and rain which
were falling during the greater part of the day.
Among our passengers were some experienced American sea-
captains, who had commanded vessels of their own round Cape
Horn, and, being now for the first time in a steamer at sea, were
watching with professional interest the Britannia's behavior in
the storm. They came to the conclusion, that one of these vessels,
Well appointed, with a full crew, skilled officers, and good engineers, was safer than any sailing packet; being light in their
rigging, and having small sails, they run no danger of having
their masts carried away in a stiff breeze, and the power of steam
enables them always to make way, so as to steer and keep their
head to the wind, on which safety depends. It sometimes happens, when a wave strikes a sailing vessel in a squall, that before
she has time to work round and get her head to windward, another wave breaks over and swamps her, and to such an accident
the loss of several packets between the United States and Liverpool is attributed.
I observed that there was no lightning conductor in our ship ;
and it seems to be the prevailing belief that steam-boats are less
liable than other vessels to suffer from lightning, although the
steamers in the royal navy are fitted with copper-wire rope conductors.
My chief amusement, when the weather was moderate, was
to watch the porpoises (Delphinus plioccena) gamboling, rolling,
and tumbling in the water, and yet keeping up with our ship
when she was running eleven miles an hour. They were very
numerous, usually following each other in a line at short intervals,
each individual about four or five feet long, their backs of a blue-
ish-black color, swimming without effort, and seeming scarcely to
move either their fins or tail. Occasionally they dive, and then
re-appear to take breath at a. great distance, often leaping up out
of the water, so as to display their silvery white bodies. The
only other living creatures which attracted our attention, when
still far from land, were enormous flights of sea-birds, which filled
the air, or were seen swimming on the ocean near the shoal called 16
[Chap. I.
the Flemish Cap, lat. 47° 35' N. ; long. 44° 3.2' W. They
feed on fish peculiar to tliese comparatively shallow parts of the
But the event of chief interest to me on this voyage was beholding, for the first time in my life, a large iceberg. It came
in sight on the 13th Sept., a season when they are rarely met
with here. We were nearing the Great Bank, which was about
eight miles distant, the air foggy, so that I could only see it
dimly through the telescope, although it was as white as snow,
and supposed by the officers to be about 200 feet high. The
foggy and chilly state of the atmosphere had led the captain to
suspect the proximity of floating ice, and lialf-hourly observations
had been made on the temperature of the sea, but the water was
always at 49° F., as is usual in this month. We were then in
lat. 47° 37' N., long. 45° 39' W., our latitude corresponding to
that of the Loire in France.
To a geologist, accustomed to seek for the explanation of various phenomena in the British Isles and Northern Europe, especially the transportation of huge stones to great distances, and the
polishing and grooving of the surfaces of solid rocks, by referring
to the agency of icebergs at remote periods, when much of what
is now land in the northern hemisphere was still submerged, it is
no small gratification to see, for the first time, one of these icy
masses floating so far to the southward. I learnt from our captain that last year, June 1844, he fell in with an icebergr aground
at some distance from the land off Cape It ace, on the S.E. point
of Newfoundland, in lat. 46° 40' N. It was of a square shape,
100 feet high, and had stranded in a sea of some depth ; for its
sides were steep, and soundings of fifty fathoms were obtained
close to the ice. It was seen at the same spot ten days afterward by a brig. A military officer on board also tells me that
last year, when he was in garrison in Newfoundland, an iceberg
continued aground in the harbor of St. John's for a year, and
they used to fire cannon-balls at it from the battery. There are,
indeed, innumerable well-authenticated cases of these islands of
floating ice having stranded on the great oceanic shoals S.E. of
Newfoundland, even in places where the water is no less than Chap. I.]
100 fathoms deep, the average depth over the Great Bank being
from forty to fifty fathoms. That they should be arrested in
their course is not surprising, when we consider that the mass of
floating ice below water is eight times greater than that above ;
and Sir James Ross saw icebergs which had run aground in
Baffin's Bay, in water 1500 feet deep. If we reflect on the
weight of these enormous masses, and the momentum which
they acquire when impelled by winds and currents, and when
they are moving at the rate of several miles an hour, it seems
difficult to over-estimate the disturbance which they must create
on a sqft bottom of mud or loose sand, or the grinding power they
must exert when they grate along a shelf of solid rock overspread
with a layer of sand.
Mr. Bedfield of New York has lately published * a chart showing the positions of the icebergs observed in the North Atlantic
during the last fifteen years, and it will be remarked, that they
have been met with at various points between the 47 th and 36 th
parallels of latitude, the most southern being that which Captain
Couthuoy encountered, lat. 36° 10' N., long. 39° W., a mile
long and 100 feet high. This berg1 was on the extreme southern
boundary of the gulf stream, which it had crossed against the
direction of the superficial current, so as to get as far south as the
latitude of the Straits of Gibraltar. In fact, these great ice-
islands coming from the Greenland seas are not stopped by the
gulf-stream, which is a mere superficial current of warmer water
flowing in an opposite direction, but are borne along from N.E.
to S.W. by the force of the arctic under-current, consisting of
colder water, into which the icebergs descend to a great depth.
All the circumstances connected with the geographical outline
of the coast, the shape of the sea-bottom, the oceanic currents,
and the prevailing winds, although liable to be modified and
greatly altered in the course of time, may continue nearly the
same for the next ten thousand or twenty thousand years ; and
in that period thousands of bergs, occasionally charged with fragments of rock, and many of them running aground in a variety
of places, will be conveyed in every century over certain tracts
* Amer. Journ. Science, vol. xlviii. 1844. 18
[Chap. I.
of the Atlantic, and in given directions. The natural course of
oceanic currents transporting ice from polar regions is from N.E.
to S.W.; the westerly inclination being due to the influence of
the increased velocity of the diurnal rotation of the earth's sur-
face as we proceed southward. Now it is a well-known fact,
and one of great geological interest, which I had an opportunity
of verifying myself in 1842,^ that in Canada the polished surfaces
of hard rocks exhibit those striae and straight parallel grooves
(such as are .generally ascribed to glacial action) in a N.E. and
S.W. direction, and the blocks called erratic have also traveled
from N.E. to S.W. Their course, therefore, agrees, as Mr.
Bedfield has pointed out, with the normal direction of polar currents charged with ice, where no disturbing causes have intervened. In order to account for the phenomenon, we have to suppose that Canada was submerged at the time when the rocks
were polished and striated by the grating of the ice on the ancient
sea-bottom ; and that this was actually the case, is proved by independent evidence, namely, the occurrence of marine shells of
recent species at various heights above the level of the sea in
the region drained by the St. Lawrence.f Professor Hitchcock
has shown that, in Massachusetts, there is another system of
stria3 and grooves running from N.N.E. to S.S.W. ; the boulders and transported blocks of the same region having taken a corresponding course, doubtless, in consequence of the floating icebergs having, in that case, been made by winds or currents, or
the shape of the land and sea-bottom, to deviate from the normal
Many of the icebergs annually drifted into southern latitudes
in the Atlantic, are covered with seals, which are thus brought
into very uncongenial climates, and probably are never able to
make their way back again. They are often seen playing about
the rocks on the shores of Massachusetts in summer, so that they
seem able, for a time at least, to accommodate themselves to considerable heat.
Early on the morning of the 15th of September, the captain
* See "Lyell's Travels in North America," vol. ii. p. 135.
t Ibid. vol. ii. p, 143. Chap. I.]
got sight of land, consisting of the hills near St. John's, Newfoundland, about forty miles distant. When we came on deck,
we were running rapidly in smooth water along the shore, within
four miles of Trespassey Bay. The atmosphere was bright, and
we had a clear view of the rocky coast, which reminded me of
some of the most sterile, cold, and treeless parts of Scotland.
Not even a shrub appeared to vary the uniform covering of green
turf; yet we were in a latitude corresponding to the South of
In a large steam-ship like the Britannia, there are three very
distinct societies, whose employments during the voyage are singularly contrasted. There are the sailors, all of whom were
fully occupied under their officers, for a time at least, during the
gale, furling; the sails and attending to the ordinary duties of a
sailing ship. Then there is the saloon, where gentlemen and
well-dressed ladies are seen lounging* and reading books, or talk-
ing, or playing backgammon, and enjoying, except during a hurricane, the luxuries and expensive fare of a large hotel. Tn
another spacious room, which I had the cffiriosity to visit after
the storm, is a large corps of engihemen and firemen, with sooty
faces and sailed clothes, pale with heat, heaping up coals on the
great furnaces, or regffiating the machinery. On visiting the
large engine-room, we were filled with admiration at seeing the
complicated apparatus, and the ease with which it moved, having
never once stopped for a minute when traversing 3000 miles of
ocean, although the vessel had been pitching and rolling, and
sometimes quivering, as she was forced by the power of the steam
against the opposing waves, and although the ship had sometimes
heeled at a very high angle, especially when struck suddenly by
the squall of the 14th. The engine is so placed near the center
of the ship, that during a storm the piston is never inclined at a
higher angle than twelve degrees, which does not derange the
freedom of its motion. The Britannia, a ship of 1200 tons, has
four large boilers; the engines having a 440 horse, power.
When she left Liverpool she had 550 tons of coals in her, and
burned from thirty to forty tons a day, her speed* augmenting
sensibly toward the end of the voyage, as she grew lighter; REVOLUTIONS OF ENGINE.
[Chap. I.
; ii
but, on the other hand, the vibration caused by the machinery
increasing also, much to the discomfort of the passengers.
Among the wonders of the engine-room, no object made so
lively an impression on my mind as a small dial, called the
Indicator, where a hand, like that of a clock, moving round in a
circle, registers the number of revolutions made by the wheels of
the engine during the whole voyage ; this hand or index being
attached to one of the moving shafts, and made to advance
slightly by every stroke. We were going at the time at the
rate of ten and a half miles an hour, and the paddle-wheels
were revolving fifteen and a half times a minute; but during the
gale they had only made six or seven revolutions, the engineer,
to avoid too great a strain on the machinery, having then burned
much less coal, and going no more than half speed. Our shortest day's sail, during the whole voyage, was 114 miles. I
observed, on our arrival at Boston, that the number of revolutions registered by the Indicator was 275,122, the ship having
run 2946 miles in fourteen days and twenty-two hours ; the
distance from Liverpool to Halifax being 2550 miles, and from
thence to Boston 396. For the sake of comparing this result
with former voyages of the Britannia, I made the following
extract from the Log Book of the chief engineer :—
Outward Voyage, May.  1845
Homeward   do. June,     "
Outward       do. July,      "
Homeward   do. August, "
Number of
of the Engines.
Length of
Days. Hours
. 273,328 . . .
. 14    12
. 253,073 . . .
. 11      8
. 282,409 . . .
.18    13
. 292,122 . . .
. 14      2
It is remarkable how nearly the number of strokes made by
the engine in our present voyage agrees with those recorded in
the voyage of last May, which it will be seen was of the same
length, with the exception of a few hours, the longer voyage
exhibiting a slight excess in the number of revolutions. In all
the four trips, the difference between the highest and lowest
numbers, amounts to no more than a seventh or eighth of the
whole. It is like the regular pulsation of the heart, beating a
given number of times in a minute; the pulse quickening during Chap. I.]
excitement and more rapid motion, and being slower when in
comparative rest, yet on the whole preserving a remarkable
uniformity of action. Nor can any one in-full health and vigor
be more unconscious, of the rapid contractions and dilatations of
the heart, than are nearly all the inmates of the steam-ship of
the complicated works and movements of the machinery, on the
accuracy of which their progress and safety depends.
In the course of * the last twelve months, the steamers on this
line have sometimes taken as much as seventeen, and even
twenty-one days, to make their passage against head winds by
Halifax to Boston; but the comparative • advantage of steam
power is never more evident than at the period of the most
tedious voyages, the liners having required seventy days or more
to cross in corresponding seasons.
During the passage we had some animated discussions in the
saloon' on ike grand experiment now making by the British
government, of importing Coolies, or Hindoo emigrants, from the
Deccan into the West Indies, to make up for the deficiency of
Negro labor consequent on the emancipation of the slaves. We
had on board a Liverpool merchant, who had a large contract
for conveying these Coolies across the ocean, and who told us
that more than forty ships would be employed this year (1845)
in carrying each 300 Hindoo laborers to Jamaica, at the cost of
£16 per head, and that he should sell the casks, which contained the water for their drink, for the sugar trade in the West
Indies. The New Englanders on board wished to know how
far this proceeding differed from a new slave trade. It was
explained to them that the emigrants were starving in their own
country; that the act was a voluntary one on their part; and
that, after a short term of years, the government was bound to
give them a free passage back to their native country. Of this
privilege many, after saving a sum of money, had actually
availed themselves. It was also alleged that they made good
agricultural laborers in a tropical climate. The Americans
replied, that to introduce into any colony two distinct races,
having different languages and religions, such as Negroes and
Hindoos, is a curse of the greatest magnitude, and of the most 22
[CHAr. I.
lasting kind, as experience had proved throughout the American
A Barbadoes planter, who was present, declared his opinion
that in his island the emancipation of the negroes had been successful ; the population, about 120,000, being dense, and a large
proportion of them having white blood in their veins, with many
of the wants of civilized men, and a strong wish to educate their
children. The Americans, however, drew from him the admission, that in proportion as the colored people were rising in society, the whites, whose aristocratic feelings and tastes were
wounded by the increased importance of the inferior race, were
leaving Barbadoes, the richest of them retreating to England,
and the poor seeking their fortunes in the United States. It was
also conceded, that in the larger islands, such as Jamaica, which
the Americans compared to their Southern States, the negroes
have retreated to unoccupied lands and squatted, and could not
be induced to labor, and were therefore retrograding in civiliza^
tion; so that the experience of more than ten years would be
required before the Americans could feel warranted in imitating
the example of England, even if they had the means of indemnifying the southern planters.
We landed at Halifax on the 17th of September, and spent
some hours there very agreeably, much refreshed by a walk on
terra firma, and glad to call on some friends in the town. I
was surprised to find that some of our fellow passengers, bound
for Montreal, intended to go on with us to Boston, instead of
stopping here; so great are the facilities now enjoyed of traveling
from New England to Canada, passing via Boston by railway to
Albany, and thence by steam-boats through Lakes George and
Champlain to Montreal.
The chief subject of conversation, during the remaining two
days of our voyage, was the death of Judge Story, the eminent
jurist, whose works and decisions have been often cited as of high
authority by English judges. The news of this unexpected event
reached us at Halifax, and was evidently a matter of deep concern to his fellow citizens, by whom he had been much loved and
admired.    After retiring from the bench of the Supreme Court Chap. L]
at Washington, Story had been placed at the head of the Law
School in Harvard University, which he had soon raised to celebrity from small beginnings, drawing students to his lectures from
every state of the Union.
I afterward read, in the newspapers of Boston, several funeral
orations pronounced in his honor, some from the pulpit, by preachers of his own denomination (he was president of the Unitarian
Association), which praised him for his pure, scriptural, and liberal Christianity, and represented him -as an earnest defender of
the faith, one who had given to its evidences that accurate investigation which his reflecting mind and professional habits demanded, gj What he found to be true, he was never ashamed or afraid
to declare. He valued the Gospel and felt his own need of its
restraining and consoling power, alike in temptation and grief,"
But eloquent eulogies were not wanting from ministers of some
of the other churches, usually called in New England, by way
of distinction from the Unitarian, " orthodox," some of which
displayed at once the intensity and liberality of sectarian feeling
in this country. They did homage to his talents and the uprightness of his conduct, and they dealt with his theological opinions in
the spirit of Dryden's beautiful lines :—
" The soul of Arcite went where heathens go,
Who better live than we, though less they know."
I will extract, from one of the most favorable of these effusions,
the following passage :—
I Judge Story was a Christian who professed a firm belief in
the Bible as a revelation from God. He was a Unitarian; but
if he reposed in the divine mercy through the mediation of
Christ, and if he came with the temper of a child to the Scriptures,* I have no doubt he has been received of Him to whom, in
his last words, he committed himself dn prayer ; and, had he been
more orthodox in his creed without the Christian spirit and the
Christian life, his orthodoxy would not have saved him."
Sept. i9.—Early in the morning of the fifteenth day from
our leaving Liverpool, we came in sight of the lighthouse of Cape ■ \ h
[Chap. I.
Anne, and a small and gayly painted green schooner, in full sail,.
and scudding rapidly through the water, brought us a pilot. In
a few hours the long line of coast became more and more distinct,
till Salem, Nahant, Lynn, the harbor of Boston and its islands,
and at last the dome of the State House, crowning the highest
eminence, came full into view. To us the most novel feature in
the architectural aspect of the city, was the Bunker Hill Monument, which had been erected since 1842 ; the form of which,
as it resembles an Egyptian obelisk, and possibly because I had
seen that form imitated in some of our tall factory chimneys, gave
me no pleasure.
After the cloudy and stormy weather we had encountered in
the Atlantic, and the ice and fogs seen near the great banks, we
were delighted with the clear atmosphere and bright sunshine of
Boston, and heard with surprise of the intense heat of the summer, of which many persons had lately died, especially in New
York. The extremes, indeed, of heat and cold in this country,
are truly remarkable. Looking into the windows of a print
shop, I saw an engraving of our good ship, the Britannia, which
we had just quitted, represented as in the act of forcing her way
through the ice of Boston harbor in the winter of 1844—a truly
arctic scene. A fellow passenger, a merchant from New York,
where they are jealous of the monopoly hitherto enjoyed by their
New England rival, of a direct and regular steam communication with Europe, remarked to me that if the people of Boston
had been wise, they would never have encouraged the publication
of this print, as it was a clear proof that the British government
should rather have selected New York, where the sea never
freezes, as the fittest port for the mail packets. I had heard
much during the voyage of this strange adventure of the Britannia in the ice. Last winter it appears there had been a frost of
unusual intensity, such as had not been known for more than half
a century, which caused the sea to be frozen over in the harbor
of Boston, although the water is as salt there as in mid-ocean.
Moreover, the tide runs there at the rate of four or five miles an
hour, rising twelve feet, and causing the whole body of the ice to
be uplifted and let down again to that amount twice every twen- ty-four hours. Notwithstanding this movement, the surface remained even and unbroken, except along the shore, where it
Had the continuance of this frost been anticipated, it would
have been easy to keep open a passage ; but on the 1 st of February, when the Britannia was appointed to sail, it was found
that the ice was seven feet thick in the wharf, and two feet
thick for a distance' of seven miles out; so that wagons and carts
were conveying' cotton and other freights from the shore to the
edge of the ice, where ships were taking in their cargoes. No
sooner was it understood that the mail was imprisoned, than the
public spirit of the whole city was roused, and a large sum of
Dmoaey instantly subscribed for cutting a canal, seven miles long
and 100 feet wide, through the ice. They began the operation
by making two straight., furrows, seven inches deep, with an ice
plough drawn by horses, and then sawed the ice into square
sheets, each 100 feet in diameter. When these were detached,
they were made to slide, by* means of iron hooks and ropes fixed
to them, under the great body of the ice, one edge being first
depressed, and the ropes being pulled by a team of horses, and
occasionally by a body of fifty men. On the 3d of February,
only two days after her time, the steamer sailed out, breaking
through a newly-formed sheet of ice, two inches thick, her bows
being fortified with iron to protect her copper sheeting. She
burst through the ice at the rate of seven miles an hour without
much damage to her paddles ; but before she was in cleaf^water,
all her guard of iron had been torn off. An eye-witness of the
scene told me that tents had been pitched on the ice, then covered by a slight fall of snow, and a concourse of people followed
and cheered for the first mile, some in sleighs, others in sailing
Doats fitted up with long blades of iron, like skates, by means of
which they are urged rapidly along by their sails, not only before
the wind, but even with a side wind, tacking and beating to
windward as if they were in the water.
The Britannia, released from her bonds, reached Liverpool in
xfteen days, so that no alarm had been occasioned by the delay;
,nd when the British Post-Office department offered to defray
[Chap. 1.
the expense of the ice-channel, the citizens of Boston declined to
be reimbursed.
We were not detained more than an hour in the Customhouse, although the number of our packages was great. In that
hour the newspapers which had come out with us had been so
rapidly distributed, that our carriage was assailed in the streets
by a host of vociferous boys, calling out, " Fifteen days later
from Europe"—" The Times and Punch just received by the
Britannia." • In the course of my travels in the United States I
heard American politicians complaining of the frequent change
of officials, high and low, as often as a new party comes into
power. In spite of this practice, however, the Custom-house
officers, greatly to the comfort of the public, belong to a higher
grade of society than those at Liverpool and our principal ports.
I asked a New England friend, who was well acquainted with
the " Old Country," whether the subordinates here are more
highly paid ? " By no means," he replied. " The difference,
then," said I, " must be owing to the better education given to
all in your public schools ?" " Perhaps, in some degree," he
rejoined ; " but far more to the peculiarity of our institutions.
Becent examples are not wanting of men who have passed in a
few years from the chief place in one of our great Custom-houses
to a seat in the Cabinet or an appointment as embassador to a
first-rate European power; but, what is far more to the point,
men who are unsuccessful at the bar or the church, often accept
inferior stations in the Custonpishouse and other public offices
without loss of social position." This explanation led me to
reflect how much the British public might gain if a multitude
of the smaller places in the public service at home, now slighted
by aristocratic prejudices as ungenteel, were filled by those gentlemen who, after being highly educated at Eton and other public
schools, lead now a pastoral life in Australia, or spend their best
days in exile far from their kindred and native land, as soldiers
or sailors, within the tropics. CHAPTER II.
Boston.—Horticultural Show in Faneuil Hall.—Review of Militia.—Peace
Association.—Excursion to the White Mountains.—Railway Traveling.
—Portsmouth, New Hampshire.—Geology, Fossils in Drift.—Submarine
Forest.—Wild Plants : Asters, Solidagos, Poison Ivy. — Swallows.—
Glacial Grooves.—Rocks transported by Antarctic Ice.—Body of a Whale
discovered by an American Trader in an Iceberg.
Great progress has been made in beautifying the city of
Boston by new public buildings in the three years since we were
last here. Several of these are constructed of granite, in a handsome style of architecture. The site of the town is almost an
island* which has been united to the main land by long mounds,
which are beginning to radiate in all directions* except the east,
like the spokes of a wheel. Railway trains are seen continually
flying to and fro along these narrow causeways at all hours of
the day.
On the evening of our arrival we went to a horticultural show
of fruit and flowers in Faneuil Hall, where we found a large
assembly of both sexes enjoying a " temperance feast," a band of
music in the gallery, and the table spread with cakes j fruit, ices,
tea, milk, and whey. I was glad to observe, what I am told,
however, is an innovation here, that the ladies, instead of merely
looking on from a gallery to see the gentlemen eat, were sitting
at table in the body of the hall, and listening to some of the first
orators of the land, Daniel Webster, R. C. Winthrop, and our
friend and late fellow-voyager m the Britannia, Edward Everett,
whose reception, on his return from his embassy to England, was
most enthusiastic. He said, " he had been so lately rocking on
the Atlantic, whose lullaby was not always of the gentlest, that
he was hardly fit for a rocking in j the old cradle of Liberty;'
and felt almost unconsciously inclined to catch at the table to
steady himself, expecting to see the flowers and the fruit fetch
away in some lee-lurch.    Even the pillars of old Faneuil Hall, i : I
' it
[Chap. II.
which are not often found out of the true plumb-line, seemed to
reel over his head:"
Allusion was here made to this Hall having been the place of
large popular meetings before 1775, where American patriotism
was first roused to make a stand against the claims of the mother-
country to impose taxes without consent of the provincial legislature. In later days, the building being under the control of
the city authorities, and the Whigs being usually in the ascendant
here, the moderate party have almost always obtained possession
of the Hall.
Sept. 23.—From the windows of a friend's house, opening on
the Common, we have a full view of what is called the " Fall
Parade," or autumnal review of the Boston militia, cavalry and
infantry, which has lasted all day, ending with a sham fight and
much firing of cannon. Not that there is any excess of military
fervor in this State, as in some others at the present moment;
on the contrary, a numerous and increasing Peace Association is
distributing, gratis, many thousand copies of a recent Fourth-of-
July oration against war and military establishments, delivered
by Mr. Charles Sumner. I was asked by a young friend here,
in full uniform, whether I did not think " Independence-day" (an
anniversary when all who have a regimental costume are accustomed to wear it), a most inappropriate time for such an effusion,
in which non-resistance principles bordering on Quakerism had
been avowed; the orator asking, among other questions, "What
is the use of the militia of the United States ?" and going as far
as Channing in pronouncing war to be unchristian.
I remembered having once admired the present Bishop of St.
Asaph for choosing a certain day,  set apart  by the  English
Church for commemorating the " conspiracy, malicious practices,
and Popish tyranny of the Romanists," for preaching a sermon
on religious toleration; and I therefore felt some hesitation in
condemning the opportunity seized upon by an enthusiast of the
peace party for propagating his views.
" There is a soul of goodness in things evil
Would men observingly distill it out."
So long as the War of Independence lasted, I can understand Chap. II.]
the policy of annually reading out to the assembled multitude the
celebrated " Declaration," setting forth the injuries inflicted by
Great Britain, her usurpations previous to the year 1776, "her
design to reduce the Americans to a state of absolute dependence
by quartering armed troops upon the people—refusing to make
the judges independent, of the crown—imposing taxes without
consent of the colonies—depriving them of trial by jury—sometimes suspending their legislatures—waging war against the
colonies, and transporting to their shores large armies of foreign
mercenaries to complete the work of death, desolation, and
tyranny already begun, with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy
scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages——exciting domestic
insurrections-—bringing on the inhabitants of the frontiers the
merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is the
destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions," &c, &c.
All this recital may have been expedient when the great
struggle for liberty and national existence was still pending; but
what effect can it have now, but to keep alive bad feelings, and
perpetuate the memory of what should nearly be forgotten ? In
many of the newer States the majority of the entire population
have either themselves come out from the British Isles as new
settlers, or are the children or grandchildren of men who emigrated since the " Declaration" was drawn up. If, therefore,
they pour out in schools, or at Fourth-of-July meetings, declamatory and warlike speeches against the English oppressors of
America, their words are uttered by parricidal lips, for they are
the hereditary representatives, not of the aggrieved party, but of
the aggressors.
/To many the Peace Associations appear to aim at objects as
Utopian and hopeless as did the Temperance Societies to the
generation which is now passing away. The cessation of war
seems as unattainable as did the total abstinence from intoxicating
liquors. But we have seen a great moral reform brought about,
in many populous districts, mainly by combined efforts of well-
organized societies to discourage intemperance, and we may hope
that the hostilities of civilized nations may be mitigated at least
by similar exertions.    " In the harbor of Boston," says Mr. m
\ L
Sumner, " the Ohio, a ship of the line, of ninety guns, is now
swinging idly at her moorings. She costs as much annually* to
maintain her in service, in salaries, wages, and provisions, aer-feur
Harvard Universities." He might have gone on to calculate
how many primary schools might be maintained by the disbanding of single regiments, or the paying off of single ships, of mbse
vast standing armies and navies now kept up in so many countries in Europe. How much ignorance, bigotry, and savage
bftrbarism in the lower classes might be prevented by employing
in education a small part of the revenues required to maintain
this state of armed peace !
Sept. 22.—At this season the wealthier inhabitants of Boston
are absent at watering-places in the hills, where there are mineral springs, or at the sea-side. Some of them in their country
villas, where we visited several friends in the neighborhood. The
environs of Boston are very agreeable ; woods and hills, and bare
rocks, and small lakes, and estuaries running far into the land,
and lanes with hedges, and abundance of wild flowers. The
extreme heat of summer does not allow of the green meadows
and verdant lawns of England, but there are some well-kept
gardens here—a costly luxury where the wages of labor are si
Sept. 24.—I had determined before the autumn was over to
make an excursion to the White Mountains of New Hampshire,
which, with the exception of those in part of the Alleghany
range in North Carolina, are the loftiest east of the Mississippi.
Accordingly, I set off* with my wife on the railway for Ports*
mouth, fifty-four miles north of Boston, which we reached in two
hours and three quarters, having stopped at several intervening
places, and going usually at the rate of twenty miles an hour.
There were about eighty passengers in the train, forty of whom
were in the same carriage as ourjelves. " The car," in shape
like a long omnibus, has a passage down the middle, sometimes
called " the aisle," on the back part of which the seats are ranged
transversely to the length of the apartment, which is high enough
to allow a tall man to walk in it with his hat on. Each seat
holds two persons, and is well-cushioned and furnished with a Chap. II.]
wooden back ingeniously contrived, so as to turn and permit the
traveler to face either way, as he may choose to converse with
any acquaintance who may be sitting before or behind him.
The long row of windows on each side affords a good view of
the country, of which more is thus seen than on our English
railroads. The trains, moreover, pass frequently through the
streets of villages and towns, many of which have sprung up
since the construction of the railway. The conductor passes
freely through the passage in the center, and from one car to
another, examining tickets and receiving payment, so as to prevent any delay at the stations.
If we desire to form an estimate of the relative accommodation, advantages, comforts, and cost of the journey in one of these
railways as compared with those of England, we must begin by
supposing all our first, second, and third-class passengers thrown
into one set of carriages, and we shall then be astonished at the
ease and style with which the millions travel in the United
States. The charge for the distance of fifty-four miles, from
Boston to Portsmouth, was 1J dollar each, or 6s. Ad. English,
which was just half what we had paid three weeks before for
first-class places on our journey from London to Liverpool
(2l. 1 Os. for 210 miles), the speed being in both cases the same.
Here there is the want of privacy enjoyed in an English first-
class carriage, and the seats, though excellent, are less luxurious.
On the other hand, the power of standing upright when tired of
the sitting posture is not to be despised, especially on a long
journey, and the open view right and left from a whole line of
windows is no small gain. But when we come to the British
second and third-class vehicles, cushionless, dark, and if it happen
to rain, sometimes closed up with wooden shutters, and contrast
them with the cars of Massachusetts, and still more the average
appearance, dress, and manners of the inmates, the wide difference is indeed remarkable; at the same time, the price which
the humblest class here can afford to pay proves how much
higher must be the standard of wages than with us.
On starting, we had first to cross the harbor of Boston in a
large ferry-boat, where, to economize time, there is a bar with 32
[Chap. II.
refreshments, so that you may breakfast; or, if you please, buy
newspapers, or pamphlets, or novels. We then flew over rails,
supported on long lines of wooden piles, following the coast, and
having often the sea on one side, and fresh-water lakes, several
miles long, or salt marshes, on the other. In some of the
marshes we saw large haycocks on piles, waiting till the winter,
when, the mud and water being firmly frozen, the crop can be
carried in. We were soon at Lynn, a village of shoemakers,
exporting shoes to distant parts of the Union; and next went
through the center of the town of Salem, partly in a tunnel in
the main street; then proceeded to Ipswich, leaving on our left
Wenham Lake, and seeing from the road the wooden houses in
which great stores of ice are presei^ed. In some of the low
grounds I saw peat cut, and laid out to dry for fuel. We
crossed the river Merrimack near its mouth, on a bridge of great
length, supported by piles, and then entered New Hampshire,
soon coming to the first town of that state, called Portsmouth,
which has a population of 8000 souls, and was once the residence of the colonial governor. Here I made a short stay, passing the evening at the house of Mr. J. L. Hayes, to whom we
had letters of introduction, where we found a gay party assembled, and dancing.
Next morning I set out on an excursion with Mr. Hayes, to
explore the geological features of the neighborhood, which agree
with those of the eastern coast generally throughout Massachusetts, and a great part of Maine—a low region of granitic rocks,
overspread with heaps of sand and gravel, or with clay, and
here and there an erratic or huge block of stone, transported
from a distance, and always from the north. Lakes and ponds
numerous, as in the country of similar geological composition in
theisouth of Norway and Sweden. Here, also, as in Scandinavia, %e overlying patches of clay and gravel often contain marine
fossil shells of species still living in the Arcttc Seas, and belong- \
ing to the genera Saxicava, Astarte, Cardium, Nucula, an&v
others, the same which occur in what we call the northern drift
of Ireland and Scotland. Some of the concretions of fine clay,
more or less calcareous, met with in New Hampshire, in this
mk Chap. II.]
" drift" on the Saco river, thirty miles to the north of Portsmouth, contain the entire skeletons of a fossil fish of the same
species as one now living in the Northern Seas, called the cape-
Ian (Mattoius viUosus), about the size of a sprat, and sold abundantly in the London markets, salted and dried like herrings. I
obtained some of these fossils, which, like the associated shells,
show that a colder climate than that now prevailing in this region was established in what is termed "the glacial period."
Mr. Hayes took me to Kittery, and other localities, where these
marine organic remains abound in the superficial deposits. Some
of the shells are met with in the town of Portsmouth itself, in
digging the foundation of houses on the south bank of the river
Piscataqua. This was the most southern spot (lat. 43° 6' N.)
to Which I yet had traced the fossil fauna of the boulder period,
retaining here, as in Canada, its peculiar northern characters,
consisting of a profusion of individuals, but a small number of
species; and a great many of those now abounding in the neighboring sea being entirely absent. It is only farther to the south,
and near the extreme southern limit of the drift, or boulder clay,
as at Brooklyn, in Long Island, for example, that a mixture of
more southern species of shells begin to appear, just as Professor
E. Forbes has detected, in the drift of the south of Ireland, the
meeting of a Mediterranean and Arctic fauna.
Every where around Portsmouth I observed that superficial
polish in the rocks, and tbose long, straight grooves or furrows,
which I before alluded to (p. 18), as having been imprinted by
icebergs on the ancient floor of the ocean. By the inland position of these fossil shells of recent species, the geologist can prove
that, at times comparatively modern in the earth's history, the
larger part of New England and Canada lay for ages beneath
the waters of the sea, Lake Champlain and the valley of the
St. Lawrence being then gulfs, and the White Mountains an
island.* But it is a curious fact that we also discover along this
same eastern coast signs no less unequivocal of partial subsidence
of land at a period still more recent. The evidence consists of
swamps, now submerged at low water, containing the roots and
* See my "Travels in N. America, 1841—2?y vol. ii. p. 142.
B* 34
[Chap. II.
upright stools of the white cedar (Cupressus thyoides), showing
that an ancient forest must once have extended farther seaward.
One of these swamps we passed yesterday at Hampton, on the
way from Boston to Portsmouth; and Mr. Hayes gave me specimens of the submarine wood in as fresh a state as any occurring
a few yards deep in a British peat-bog.
That some of these repositories of buried trees, though geologically of the most modern date, may really be of high antiquity,
considered with reference to the history of man, I have no doubt;
and geologists may, by repeated observations, ascertain the minimum of time required for their formation previously to their submergence. Some extensive cedar-swamps, for example, of the
same class occur on the coast near Cape May, in the southern
extremity of the State of New Jersey, on the east side of Delaware Bay, filled with trees to an unknown depth ; and it is a
constant business to probe the soft mud of the swamp with poles
for the purpose of discovering the timber. When a log is found,
the. mud is cleared off, and the log sawed up into proper lengths
for shingles or boards. The stumps of trees, from four to five
feet, and occasionally six feet in diameter, are found standing
with their roots in the place in which they grew, and the trunks
of aged cedars are met with in every possible position, some of
them lying horizontally under the roots of the upright stumps.
Dr. Bresley, of Dennis Creek, counted 1080 rings of annual
growth between the center and outside of a large stump six feet
in diameter, and under it lay a prostrate tree, which had fallen
and been buried before the tree to which the stump belonged first
sprouted. This lower trunk was five hundred years old, so that
upward of fifteen centuries were thus determined, beyond the
shadow of a doubt, as the age of one small portion of a bog, the
depth of which is as yet unknown.
Mr. Hayes drove me in his carriage through woods of fir on
both banks of the Piseataqua, where the ground .was covered
with that fragrant shrub, the candleberry (Myrica cerifera), the
wax of which, derived from its shining black berries, is used for
malting candles. The odor of its leaves resembles that of our
bog-myrtle (Myrica gale).    The barberry, also (Berbens vul- Chap. II.]
gar is), although not an indigenous plant, is very abundant and
ornamental in the woods here. It has overrun, in modern times,
the eastern shores of New England,, and made its way many
miles inland, to the great annoyance of the agrieulturists. %Some
naturalists wonder how it can spread so fast, as the American
birds refuse, like the European ones, to feed on its red berries :
but if it be true that cattle,.sheep, and goats occasionally browse
on this shrub, there is no mystery about the mode of its migration,
for the seeds may be sown in their dung. The aromatic shrub
called sweet fern (Comptonia asplenifolia), forms nearly as large
a proportion of the undergrowth here as does the real fern (Pteris)
in some of our English forests. I have seen this part of North
America laid down in some botanical maps as the region of asters
and solidagos ; and certainly the variety and abundance of golden
rods and asters is at this season very striking, although a white
everlasting (Gnafaliuni) is almost equally conspicuous. Among
other shrubs, I saw the poison-ivy (Rhus radicans), a species of
sumach, growing on rocks and walls. It has no effect on some
people, but the slightest touch causes an eruption on the skin of
others. A New England botanist once told me that, by way
of experiment, he rubbed his arm with the leaves, and they gave
rise to a painful swelling, which Was long in subsiding.
In Mr. Hayes's garden at Portsmouth were some of the smaller
white-bodied swallows or martins (Hirundo mridis), protected
from their enemy, "the larger martin (Hirundo purpurea), by
having small holes made for them in flower-pots, which the
others could not pass,through. The larger kind, or house-martin,
is encouraged every where, small wooden boxes being made for
them on roofs or on the tops of poles, resembling pigeon-houses,
which may often be seen on the top of a sign-post before a New
England inn. They are useful in chasing away birds of prey
from the poultry-yard ; and I once saw a few of them attacking
a large hawk. But I suspect they are chiefly favored for mere
amusement sake, and welcomed, like our swallows, as the messengers of spring, on their annual return from the south. It is
pleasing to hear them chattering with each other, and to mark
their elegant forms and bluish-black plumage, or to watch them
ft 36
[Chap. II
F !<m
'    14
it   I
on the wing, floating gently in the air, or darting rapidly after
insects. Thousands of these birds, with their young, died in
their nests in the spring of 1836, during a storm of cold rain>
which lasted two weeks, and destroyed the insects throughout
the states of New York and New England. The smaller species
(Hirundo viridis) then regained possession of their old haunts,
occupying the deserted houses of the more powerful species, which,
like the house-sparrow in Europe, has followed the residence of
The sun was very powerful at noon ; but the severity of the
cold here in winter is so great, that a singular effect is produced
in the Piscataqua when the thermometer sinks to 15° below zero.
The tide pours into the estuary a large body of salt water partaking of the warmer temperature of the gulf stream, and this
water, coming into the colder atmosphere, smokes like a thermal
spring, giving rise to dense fogs.
I had been desirous of making the acquaintance of Mr. Hayes,
in consequence of having read, before I left England, an excellent
paper published by him in the Boston Journal of Natural History,
for 1844, on the Antarctic Icebergs, considered as explanatory
of the transportation of rocky masses, and of those polished rocks
and glacial grooves and striae before alluded to. He had derived
his information from experienced men engaged in the southern
whale fisheries, principally merchants of New Bedford, Massachusetts, and Stonington, Rhode Island. On looking over his
original MS. notes, I found he had omitted to print some particulars of the evidence, which I consider of no small interest as
throwing light on a class of geological appearances hitherto
thought least reconcilable with the ordinary course of nature.
As to the carriage of huge fragments of rock for many hundreds
of miles, from one region to another, such transportation was
formerly appealed to by writers now living as among the marvels
of the olden time, resembling the feats of the fabulous ages,, and
as much transcending the powers of nature in these degenerate
days, as the stone hurled by Hector against the Grecian gate,
exceeded in weight and size what could now be raised from the
ground by two of the strongest of living men (oloi vvv flporoi). Chap. II.]
But after reading the accounts given by Sir James Boss and Captain
Wilkes, of the transfer of erratics by ice, from one point to another
of the southern seas, these traveled boulders begin to be regarded
quite as vulgar phenomena, or matters of every-day occurrence.
There still remain, however, among the wonders of the polar
regions, some geological monuments which appear sufficiently
anomalous when we seek to explain them by modern analogies.
I refer to the preservation in ice of the carcasses of extinct species
of quadrupeds in Siberia; not only the rhinoceros originally discovered, with part of its flesh, by Pallas, and the mammoth
afterward met with on the Lena by Adams, but still more
recently the elephant dug up by Middendorf, September, 1846,
which retained even the bulb of the eye in a perfect state, and
which is now to be seen in the museum at Moscow.*
In part of the unpublished evidence collected by Mr. Hayes,
are statements which may perhaps aid us in elucidating this obscure subject; at all events they are not undeserving of notice,
were it only to prove that nature is stall at work in the icy regions
enveloping a store of organic bodies in ice, which, after a series
of geographical and climatal changes, and the extermination of
some of the existing cetacea, might strike the investigator at some
remote period of the future as being fully as marvelous as any
monuments of the past hitherto discovered. The first extract,
which I make, with Mr. Hayes' permission, is from the evidence
of Captain Benjamin Pendleton, of Stonington, who, from his
knowledge of the South Shetland fisheries, was chosen by the
American government to accompany the late exploring expedition to
the Antarctic seas. He had cruised in 1820 and 1822 for 600
miles along the lofty ice cliffs bounding the great southern continent. He says, that in 1821, when he wished to bury a seaman
in one of the South Shetland islands, several parties of twelve
men each, were set to dig a grave in the blue sand and gravel;
but after penetrating in nearly a hundred places through six or
eight inches of sand, they came down every where upon solid
blue ice. At last he determined to have a hole cut in the ice,
of which the island principally consisted, and the body of the man
* See "Principles of Geology," by the Author, 7th ed. 1847, p. 83. 38
was placed in it. In 1822, Captain Barnham dug out the body
from the ice, and found the clothes and flesh perfectly fresh as
when they were buried.
So far this narrative may be said merely to confirm and to
bear out another published by Captain Kendall, of our navy, in
the London Geographical Journal, 1830 (pp. 65, 66), where he
relates that the' soil of Deception Island, one of the South Shet-
lands, consists of ice and volcanic ashes interstratified, and he
discovered there the body of a foreign sailor, which had long
been buried, with the flesh and all the features perfectly preserved. Mr. Darwin, commenting on that fact, has observed,
that as the icy soil of Deception Island is situated between lat.
62° and 63° S., it is nearer the equator by about 100 miles than
the locality where Pallas first found the frozen rhinoceros of Siberia, in lat. 64° N.#
But Captain Pendleton goes on to relate, that while he was
in Deception Island an iceberg was detached from a cliff of ice
800 feet high. The piece which fell off* was from 60 to 100 feet
deep, and from 1500 to 3000 feet in length. At an elevation of
about 280 feet above the level of the sea, part of a whale was
seen remaining inclosed in the ice-cliflv the head and anterior
parts having broken off about the flippers and fallen down with
the detached mass of ice. The species was what the whalers
call the I Sulphur-bottom," resembling the fin-back. Captain
Pendleton contrived to get out the portion which had fallen, and
obtained from it eight or ten barrels of oil. The birds for a long
time fed upon the entrails. This fact was known to Captain
Beck and others. Captain William Pendleton, another whaler
of experience, also informs Mr. Hayes, that skeletons of whales
had been met with in the South Shetlands, when he visited
them, 300 feet above the level of the sea. Thomas Ash also
saw, on "Bagged Island" beach, the skeleton and some of the
soft parts of a whale many feet above the reach of the highest
tides. Captain William Beck, master of a whaling ship, has
seen whales' bones and carcasses sixty or seventy feet above the
sea-level, and a mile and a half from the water.
* Darwin's Journal, 2d ed. p. 249. Chap. II.]
To explain how the bodies and skeletons of these inhabitants
of the deep, whether found entombed or not in ice, were carried
up to considerable heights above the level of the sea, appeared to
me at first more difficult than to account for their having been
included in solid ice. A few months after my visit to Portsmouth I saw Captain Wilkes, of the United States Exploring
Expedition, and called his attention to the problem. He
remarked, that the open sea sometimes freezes round the Sandwich Islands, so that ships can not approach within 100 miles
of the shore. Jfo like manner, in Antarctic regions, the ocean
often freezes over the base of a cliff formed of barrier ice. In
all these cases, the sheet of ice, however continuous, does not
adhere to the land or the barrier, because the rise and fall of the
tide, however slight, causes a rent, permitting the whole mass to
move up and down. The snow, drifting off* the land in vast
quantities during winter, falls #over the cliffs upon the frozen
surface of the sea, until its weight is such that it causes the
whole mass to sink; and unless the winds and currents happen
to float it off, it may go on subsiding till it acquires a great
thickness, and may at last touch the bottom. Before this happens, however, it usually gets adrift, and, before it has done
melting, tumbles over or capsizes more than once.
On my return to England, in 1846, I described the same
phenomena to my friend Dr. Joseph Hooker, and subsequently
to Sir James Boss, and they both of them, without hearing
Captain Wilkes's theory, suggested the same explanation, having
observed that a great sheet of ice had formed in the sea by the
freezing of melted snow on the southern or polar side of every
Antarctic island. If the carcass of a dead whale be thrown up
on this ice, it must soon be buried under other snow drifted from
the land, anxl will at length be inclosed in the lower part of an
iceberg, formed in the manner before described. The frequent
overturning or reversal of position of these great masses, arises
from the temperature of the water at the depth of 1000 or 1500
feet, to which they frequently descend, being much warmer than
the incumbent air or more superficial water. When the inferior
or submerged portions melt, the center of gravity is soon changed j 40
[Chap. II.
and a magnificent example is recorded by Sir James Ross of the
capsizing of a great island of ice near Possession Island, in lat.
71° 56' S. What had previously been the bottom came up
and rose 100 feet above the surface of the sea, and the whole of
the new top and eastern side were seen to be covered with earth
and stones. A party landed on it, and a slight jocking motion
was still perceptible, such as no waves or swell of the sea, even
in a storm, are ever capable of imparting to such large icebergs.*
The lower down the carcass of the whale is buried in the original
berg, the higher up will it be raised above the level of the.sea
when the same berg has turned over.
* Sir J. Ross's Voyage to Southern "Seas, vol. i. pp. 195, 196. CHAPTER III.
Portland in Maine.—Kennebec River.—'limber Trade.—Fossil Shells at
Gardiner.—Augusta, the Capital of Maine.—Legal Profession : Advocates and Attorneys.—Equality of Sects.—Religious Toleration.—Cal-
vinistic Theology.—Day of Doom.
Sept. 25, 1845.—Here we are at mid-day flying along at
the rate of twenty-five and occasionally thirty miles an hour, on
our way to Portland, the chief city of Maine. It was only yesterday afternoon that we left Boston, and in less than three
hours we performed what would have been formerly reckoned a
good day's journey of forty-five miles, had seen at Portsmouth
some collections of natural history, and afterward gone to a ball.
In the forenoon of this day I have made geological excursions on
both banks of the Piscataqua, and before dark shall have sailed
far up the Kennebec. It is an agreeable novelty to a naturalist
to combine the speed of a railway and the luxury of good inns
with the sight of the native forest—the advantages of civilization
with the beauty of unreclaimed nature—no hedges, few plowed
fields, the wild plants, trees, birds, and aninials undisturbed.
Cheap as are the fares, these railroads, I am told, yield high
profits, because the land through which they run costs nothing.
When we had traversed a distance of about sixty miles, the cars
glided along some rails over the wharf at Portland, and we almost
stepped from our seats on to the deck of the Huntress steamer,
which was ready to convey us to the mouth of the Kennebec river.
After threading a cluster of rocky islands adorned with fir and
birch in the beautiful Bay of Casco, we came to the Sound, and
for a short space were in the open sea, with no view but that of
a distant coast. As there was nothing to see, we were glad to
be invited to dinner, and were conducted to the gentlemen's
cabin, a sort of sunk story, to which the ladies, or the women of
every degree, were, according to the usual etiquette, taken down
first, and carefully seated at the table by the captain, before the 42
[Chap. III.
1 i II
■ gentlemen were admitted. Above this apartment where we
dined was the ladies' cabin, and above that the upper deck,
where we sat to enjoy the prospect as we approached the mouth
of the Kennebec. In the forepart of the vessel, on this upper
deck, is a small room, having windows on all sides, where the
man at the helm is stationed ; not at the stern, as in our boats,
which is considered by the Americans as a great improvement
on the old system, as the steersman's view can not be intercepted,
and the passengers are never requested to step on one side to
enable him to see his way. Directions to the engineer, instead
of being transmitted by voice through an intermediate messenger,
are given directly by one or more loud strokes on a bellT. The
fuel used is anthracite, the absence of oxygen being compensated
by a strong current of air kept up by what resembles a winnow-
ing-machine, and does the work of a pair of bellows, j ■
After sailing up the Kennebec about fifteen miles we came to
Bath, a town of 5000 souls, chiefly engaged in ship-building, a
branch of industry in which the State of Maine ranks first in
the Union; the materials consisting of white oak and pine, the
growth of native forests. Large logs of timber squared, and
each marked with the owner's name, are often cast into the
river, sometimes far above Augusta, and come floating down 100
miles to this place. In winter many of them get frozen into the
ice and imprisoned for six or seven months, until the late spring
releases them, and then not a few of them are carried far out
into the Atlantic, where they have been picked up, with the
owner's name still telling the place of their origin. The water
is salt as far as Bath, above which it is fresh and freezes over, so
as to allow sleighs and skaters to cross it in winter, although the
influence of the tide extends as far up as Augusta, about forty
miles above Bath. I am informed that the whole body of the
tee rises and falls, cracking along the edges where it is weakest.
Over the fissures planks are placed to serve as a bridge, or snow
is thrown in, which freezes, and affords a passage to the central
ice. The Kennebec, besides being enlivened by the << lumber
trade," is at this season whitened with the sails of vessels laden
with hay, which has been compressed into small bulk by the Chap. III.]
power of steam. Many of these merchantmen are destined for
New York, where the unusual heat and drought of the summer
has caused a scanty crop of grass, but hundreds are bound to the
distant ports of Mobile and New Orleans ; so |($at the horses of
Alabama and Louisiana'are made to graze on the sweet pastures
of Maine, instead of the coarser and ranker herbage of the southern prairies. In a few months these northern-built ships will
bring back bales of cotton for factories newly established by Boston capitalists, and worked on this river both by water power
and steam. Such are the happy consequences of the annexation
of Louisiana to the United States. But for that event, the favorite theories of political economy in New England, and the duty
of protecting native industry, would have interposed many a
custom-house and high tariff between Maine and the valley of
the Mississippi.
As we passed Bath a large eagle, with black wings and a
white body, was seen soaring over our heads; and, a few miles
above, where the salt and fresh water meet, seals were seen
sporting close to the steamer. The Kennebec is said to abound
in salmon. We admired the great variety of '\Ja»ees on its banks ;
two kinds of birch with larger leaves than our British species,
several oaks and pines, the hemlock with foliage like a yew-tree,
and the silver-fir, and two species of maple, the sugar or rock
maple (Acer saccharinum), and the white (^4. dasycarpum),
both of which yield sugar. To these two trees the beauty and
brilliancy of the autumnal tints of the American forests are due,
the rock maple turning red, purple and scarlet, and the white,
first yellow, and then red.
We were conveyed in the Huntress to Gardiner, the head of
steam-boat navigation here, sixty-eight miles distant from Portland, where we visited the country house of Mr. Gardiner, whose
family gave its name to the settlement. It is built in the style
of an English country seat, and snrrounded by a park. At Mr.
Allen's I examined, with much interest, a collection of fossil
shells and Crustacea, made by Mrs. Allen from the drift or " glacial" deposits of the same age as those of Portsmouth, already
described.    Among other remains I recognised the tooth of a 44
[Chap. III.
walrus, similar to one procured by me in Martha's Vineyard,*
and other teeth, since determined for me by Professor Owen as
belonging to the buffalo or American bison. These are, I believe, the first examples of land quadrupeds discovered in beds of
this age in the United States. The accompanying shells consisted of the common mussel (Mytilus edulis), Saxciava rugosa,
Mya-arenaria, Pecten Isla?idicus, and species of the genera
Astarte, Nucula, See. The horizontal beds of clay and sand
which contain these remains of northern species, and which
imply that the whole region was beneath the sea at no distant
period, impart to the scenery of the country bordering the Kennebec its leading features. The deposit of clay and sand is 170
feet thick in some places, and numerous valleys 70 feet deep are
hollowed out of it by every small stream. At Augusta I saw
this modern tertiary formation, 100 feet thick, resting on a ledge
of mica schist, the shells being easily obtained from an undermined cliff of clay. In some places, as at Gardiner, conical hillocks, chiefly of gravel, about fifty feet high, and compared here,
on account of the regularity of their, form, to Indian mounds*
stand isolated near the river. I conceive them to owe theit
shape to what the geologists term " denudation," or the action
of waves and currents, which, as the country was rising gradually out of the sea, removed the surrounding softer clay and left
these masses undestroyed. They would offer resistance to the
force of moving water by the great weight and size of their component materials ; for in them we find not only pebbles, but
many large boulders of granite and other rocks.
Mr. Allen drove us in his carriage to Augusta, six miles from
Gardiner, and 200 miles N.E. of Boston, where we visited the
State House, handsomely built in the Grecian style, with a portico and large columns, the stone used being the white granite of
this country. The rooms for the two houses of the legislature
are very convenient. I was shown the library by the governor,
who called my attention to some books and maps on geology, and
talked of a plan for resuming the geological survey of the State,
not yet completed.
* See | Travels," vol. i. p. 256. Chap. III.]
Sept. 27.—Returned by the Huntress steamer to Portland,
after sailing at the rate of fourteen miles an hour. On board
were some lawyers, to one of whom, a judge in the State of
Maine, Mr. Gardiner had introduced me; The profession of the
law is, of all others in the United States, that which attracts to
it the greatest number of able and highly educated men, not only
for its.own sake, but because it is a great school for the training
up of. politicians. The competition of so many practitioners
cheapens fees, and, although this is said to promote litigation, it
has at least.the great advantage of placing the poor man on a
more equal footing with the rich, as none but the latter can
attempt to assert their rights in countries where the cost of a
successful law-suit may be ruinous. Practically, there is much
the same subdivision of labor in the legal profession here as in
England; for a man of eminence enters into partnership with
some one or more of the younger or less talented lawyers, who
play the part assigned with us to junior counsel and attorneys.
There are, however, no two grades here corresponding to barrister and attorney, from the inferior of whigh alone practitioners
can pass in the regular course of promotion to the higher. Every
lawyer in the United States may plead in court, and address a
jury; and, if he is successful, may be raised to the bench : but
he must qualify as counselor, in order to be entitled to plead in
the,Supreme Courts, where cases are heard involving points at
issue between the tribunals of independent states. The line
drawn between barrister and attorney in Great Britain, which
never existed even in colonial times in Massachusetts, could only
be tolerated in a country where the aristocratic element is exceedingly predominant. In the English Church, where seats in
the House of Lords are held by the bishops, we see how the rank
of a whole profession may be elevated by making high distinctions conferred only on a few, open to all. That, in like manner, the highest honors of the bar and bench might be open
without detriment to the most numerous class of legal practitioners in Great Britain, seems to be proved by the fact, that occasionally some attorneys of talent, by quitting their original line
of practice and starting anew, can attain, like the present Chief 46
[Chap. III.
1 t
Justice of the Common Pleas, to places of the first dignity. In
Canada, under British rule, it is the custom to grant licenses to
the same individual to practice indifferently in all the courts as
advocate, solicitor, attorney, and proctor. When we consider
the confidential nature of the business transacted by English attorneys, the extent of property committed to their charge, the
manner in which they are consulted in family affairs of the utmost delicacy, as in the framing of marriage contracts and wills,
and observe, moreover, how the management of elections falls
into their hands, we may well question the policy of creating an
artificial line of demarkation between them and the advocates,
marked enough to depress their social rank, and to deter many
young men of good families, who can best afford to obtain a liberal education, from entering the most profitable, and, in reality,
the most important branch of the profession.
I have mentioned the Supreme Courts; in these, in each state,
cases are heard involving points at issue between two independent
jurisdictions ; and in order to preserve uniformity in the interpretation of many different codes, as in the statutes passed from time
to time by state legislatures, the previous decisions of courts of
law are referred to, and the authority of judges of high repute in
any part of the Union, and even in Great Britain, frequently
cited. As points of international law are perpetually arising
between so many jurisdictions, the Supreme Courts afford a fins
field for the exercise of legal talent, and for forming jurists of
enlarged views.
Portland, with 15,000 inhabitants, is the principal city of
Maine; gay and cheerful, with neat white houses, shaded by
avenues of trees on each side of the wide streets, the bright sunny
air unsullied, as usual in New England, by coal smoke. There
are churches here of every religious denomination: Congregation-
alists, Baptists, Methodists, Free-will Baptists, Universalists, j
Unitarians, Episcopalians, Roman Catholics, and Quakers, all
living harmoniously together. The late governor of the state
was a Unitarian; and, as if to prove the perfect toleration of
churches the most opposed to each other, they have recently had
a Roman Catholic governor Chap. III.]
On Sunday we accompanied the family of a lawyer, to whom
we had brought letters, to a Unitarian church. There was
nothing doctrinal in the sermon, and, among other indications of
the altered and softened feelings of the sects which have sprung
from the old Puritan stock, I remarked a gilt cross placed over
the altar. The officiating minister told me that this step had
been taken with the consent of the congregation, though not without the opposition of some of his elders. The early Puritans regarded this symbol as they did pictures and images, as the badges
of superstition, the relics of the idolatrous religion so lately renounced by them; and it is curious to read, in the annals of the
first colonists at Salem, how, in 1634, the followers of Roger
Williams, the Brownifit, went so far as to cut that " popish emblem," the red cross, out of the royal standard, as one which the
train bands ought no longer to follow.*
During my first visit to the New England States, I was
greatly at a loss to comprehend by What means so large a population had been brought to unite great earnestness of religious
feeling with so much real toleration. In seeking for the cause, we
must go fatther back than the common schools, or at least the
present improved state of popular education ; "for we are still met
with the question, How could such schools be ma&itained by the
state, or by compulsory assessments, on so liberal a footing, in
spite of the fanaticism and sectarian prejudices of the vulgar ?
When we call to mind the religious enthusiasm of the early Puritans, and how at first they merely exchanged a servile obedience
to tradition, and the authority of the Church, for an equally blind
scripturalism, or implicit faith in the letter of every part of the
Bible, acting as if they believed that God, by some miraculous
process, had dictated all the Hebrew words of the Old, and all
the Greek of the New Testament; nay, the illiterate among
them cherishing the same superstitious veneration for every syllable of the English translation—how these religionists, who did
not hesitate to condemn several citizens to be publicly whipped
for denying that the Jewish code was obligatory on Christians as
a rule of life, and who were fully persuaded that they alone were the
* Graham's History of United States, vol. i. p. 227. 48
[Chap. III.
chosen people of God, should bequeath to their immediate posterity
such a philosophical spirit as must precede the organization by the
whole people of a system of secular education acceptable to all,
and accompanied by the social and political equality of religious
sects such as no other civilized community has yet achieved—
this certainly is a problem well worthy of the study of every
reflecting mind. To attribute this national characteristic to the
voluntary system, would be an anachronism, as that is of comparatively modern date in New England ; besides that the dependence of the mftiisters on their flocks, by transferring ecclesiastical power to the multitude, only gives to their bigotry, if they *
be ignorant, a more dangerous sway. So, also, of universal suffrage ; by investing the million with political power, it renders
the average amount of their enlightenment the measure of the
liberty enjoyed by those who entertain religious opinions disapproved of by the majority. Of the natural effects of such power,
and the homage paid to it by ^cie higher classes, even where the
political institutions are only partially democratic, we have
abundant exemplification in Europe, where the educated of the
laity and clergy, in spite of their comparative independence of
the popular will, defer outwardly to many theological notions of
the vulgar with which they have often no real sympathy.
To account for the toleration prevailing in New England and
the states chiefly peopled from thence, we must refer to a combination of many favorable circumstances, some of them of ancient
date, and derived from the times of the first Puritan settlers. To
these I shall have many opportunities of alluding in the sequel ;
but I shall mention now a more modern cause, the effect of which
was brought vividly before my mind, in conversations with several lawyers of Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts,
whom I fell in with on this tour. I mean the reaction against
the extreme Calvinism of the church first established in this part
of America, a movement which has had a powerful tendency to
subdue and mitigate sectarian bitterness. In order to give me
some idea of the length to which the old Calvinistic doctrines
were instilled into the infant mind, one of my companions presented me with a curious poem, called the " Day of Doom," Chap. III.]
formerly used as a school book in New England, and which
elderly persons known to him had been required, some seventy
years ago, to get by rote as children. This task must have occupied no small portion of their time, as this string of doggrel
rhymes makes up no less than 224 stanzas of eight lines each.
They were written by Michael Wigglesworth, A.M., teacher of
the church of Maiden, New England, and profess to give a poetical description of the Last Judgment. A great array of Scripture texts, from the Old and New Testament, is cited throughout
in the margin as warranty for the orthodoxy of every dogma.
Were such a composition now submitted to any committee of
school managers or teachers in New England, they would not
only reject it, but the most orthodox among them would shrewdly
suspect it to be a " weak invention of the enemy," designed to
caricature, or give undue prominence to, precisely those tenets of
the dominant Calvinism which the moderate party object to, as
outraging human reason and as derogatory to the moral attributes of the Supreme Being. Such, however, were not the feelings of the celebrated Cotton Mather, in the year 1705, when he
preached a funeral sermon on the author, which I find prefixed
to my copy of the sixth edition, printed in 1715. On this occasion he not only eulogizes Wigglesworth, but affirms that the
poem itself contains " plain truths drest up in a plain meter;"
and further prophesies, that " as the ■ Day of Doom' had been
often reprinted in both Englands, it will last till the Day itself
shall arrive." Some extracts from this document will aid the
reader to estimate the wonderful revolution in popular opinion
brought about in one or two generations, by which the harsher
and sterner features of the old Calvinistic creed have been nearly
eradicated. Its professors, indeed, may still contend as stoutly
as ever for the old formularies of their hereditary faith, as they
might fight for any other party banner; but their fanatical devotion to its dogmas, and their contempt for all other Christian
churches, has happily softened down or disappeared.
The poem opens with the arraignment of all " the quick and
dead," who are summoned before the throne of-God, and, having
each pleaded at the bar, are answered by their Judge.    Some
VOL. I. C 50
[Chap. III.
of them declare that the Scriptures are " so dark, that they have
puzzled the wisest men;" others that, being " heathens," and
having never had " the written Word preached to them," they
are entitled to pardon; in reply to which, the metaphysical subtleties of the doctrines of election and grace are fully propounded. . The next class of offenders might awaken the sympathies
of any heart not protected by a breastplate of theological dogmatism :—
" Then to the bar all tfctey drew near
Who died ta. infancy,
And never had, or good or bad,
Effected personally," &c.
These  infants remonstrate  against the  hardship of hgaving
Adam's guilt laid to their charge :—
"Not we, blithe, ate of the tree
Whose fruit was interdicted j
Yet on us all, of his sad fall,
The punishment's inflicted."
The Judge replies, that none can suffer " for what they never
did:"— 'k ]%■
(171.)      " But what you call old Adam's fall,
And only his trespass,
You call amiss to call it his,
Both his and yours it was.
(172.)      " He was designed, of all mankind,
To be a pubtfe head;
A common root, whence all should shoot,
And stood in, all their stead.
" He stood and fell, did ill and well
Not for himself alone,
^p^ * But for you all, who now his fall
And trespass would ttisown.
(173.)      " If he he had stood, then all his brood
Had been established," &c.
(174.)      "Would you have grieved to have received
Though Adam so much good?" &e.
" Since then to share in his welfare
.You would have been content, ■$%
You may with reason, share in his treason,
And in his punishment." Chap. III.]
A great body of Scripture texts are here introduced in confirmation ; but the children are told, even including those " who from
the womb unto the tomb were straightway carried," that they
are to have " the easiest room in hell:"—\
(181.)      "The glorious King, thus answering,
They cease, and plead no longer,
Their consciences must needs confess
His reasons are the stronger."
The pains of hell and the constant renovation of strength to
enable the " sinful wight" to bear an eternity of torment, are
then dilated upon at such length, and so minutely, and a picture
so harrowing to the soul is drawn, as to remind us of the excellent observations on this head of a modern New England divine.
" It is not wonderful," he says, " that this means of subjugating
the mind should be freely used and dreadfully perverted, when
we consider that ho talent" is required to inspire fear, and that
coarse minds and hard hearts are signally gifted for this work of
torture." "It is an instrument of tremendous power," he adds,
" enabling a Protestant minister, whilst disclaiming papal pretensions, to build up a spiritual despotism, and to beget in those
committed to his guidance a passive, servile state of mind, too
agitated for deliberate and vigorous thought."*
That the pious minister of Maiden, however, had no desire to
usurp any undue influence over his panic-stricken hearers, is very
probable, and that he was only indulging in the usual strain of
the preachers of his time, when he told of the " yelling of the
damned, as they were burnt eternally in the company of devils,'L
and went on to describe how—
" God's vengeance feeds the flame
With piles of wood and brimstone flood,
That none can quench the same."
We next learn that the peace and calm blessedness of the
saints elect, who are received into heaven, is not permitted to be
disturbed by compassion for the damned; mothers and fathers
feeling no pity for their lost children :—
* Channing's Works, London, vol. hi. p. 263. 1   ij
K^-i -
1 1
[Chap. III.
" The godly wife conceives no grief,
Nor can she shed a tear.
For the sad fate of her dear mate
When she his doom doth hear."
The great distinction between the spirit of the times when
these verses were written and the present age, appears to be this,
that a paramount importance was then attached to those dootrinal
points in which the leading sects differed from each other, whereas
now Christianity is more generally considered to consist essentially in believing and obeying those scriptural precepts on which
all churches aerree. CHAPTER IV.
Jeurney from Portland to the White Mountains.— Plants.— Churches,
School-houses:-—Temperance Hotel.—Intelligence of New Englanders.
—Climate, Consumption.—Conway.—Division of Property.—Every Man
his own Tenant.—Autumnal Tints.—Bears hybernating.—Willey Slide.
—Theory of Scratches and Grooves on Rocks.—Scenery.—Waterfalls
and Ravines>—-The Notch.—Forest Trees and Mountain Plants.—
Fabyan's Hotel.—Echo.
Sept. 28, 1845.—Leaving Portland and the sea-coast, we
now struck inland in a westerly direction toward the White
Mountains, having hired a carriage which carried us to Standish.
We passed at first over a low, featureless country, but enlivened
by the brilliant autumnal coloring of the foliage, especially the
bright red, purple, and yellow tints of the maple. The leaves
of these trees and of the scrub oak had been made to chanare
color by the late frost of the 1 Oth of this month. On the borders
of the road, on each side, mixed with the fragrant " sweet fern,"
we saw abundance of the Spircea tomentosa, its spike of purplish
flowers now nearly faded. The name of " hard hack" was given
to it by the first settlers, because the stalk turned the edge of
the mower's scythe. There were also golden rods, everlastings,
and asters in profusion; one of the asters being called I frost
blow," because flowering after the first frost. We also gathered
on the ground the red fruit of the checkerberry (Gaulteria pro-
cumbens), used in New England to flavor sweetmeats. By the
side of these indigenous plants was the common English self-heal
(Prunella vulgaris), the mullein (Verbascum thapsus), and other
flowers, reminding me of the remark of an American botanist,
that New England has hecome the garden of European weeds;
so that in some agricultural counties near the coast, such as Essex
in Massachusetts, the exotics almost outnumber the native plants.
It is, however, found, that the farther we travel northward,
toward the region where North America and Europe approach 54
[Chap. IV
each other, the proportion of plants specifically common to the
two continents is constantly on the increase ; whereas in passing
to the more southern states of the Union, we find almost every
indigenous species to be distinct from European plants.
Although the nights are cold, the sun at mid-day is very hot,
the contrast of temperature in the course of each twenty-four
hours being great, like that of tjie summer and winter of this
We journeyed on over very tolerable roads without paying
turnpikes, one only, I am toLJ, being established in all Maine.
The expenses of making and repairing the highways are defrayed
by local taxes, a surveyor being appointed for each district. We
went through the villages of Gorham, Standish, Baldwin, Hiram,
and Bloomfield, to Conway, and then began to enter the mountains, the scenery constantly improving as we proceeded. Here
and there we saw Indian com cultivated, but the summer* of
Maine and New Hampshire is often too sh$r$ to bring this grain
to maturity.
Usually, in a single village, we saw thj?ee, four, or five
churches, each representing a different denomination ; the Con-
gregationalists, Baptists, Methodists, and npw and then, though
more rarely, the Unitarians. Occasionally, in some quiet spot
where two village roads cross, we saw a small? simple building,
and learned that it was the free or common school provided by
law, open to all, not accepted as a bounty, but claimed as a right,
where the children of rich and poor, high anj. low, and of every
sect, meet upon perfect equality. It is a received political maxim
here, that society is bound to pujyide education, as well as security
of life and proper^, for all its members.
One evening, as we were drawing near to a straggling village,
in the twilight, we were recornraended by a traveler, whom we
had met on the road, to take up our quarters at a temperance
hotel, where, he said, " there would be no loafers lounging and
drinking drams in the bar-room." We looked out for the siern,
and soon saw it, surmounted by a martin-house of four stories,
each diminishing in size from the bottom to the top, but all the
apartments now empty, the birds having taken flight, warned by Chap. IV.]
the late frost. Tffe had, indeed, been struck with the dearth of
the feathered tribe in Maine at this season, the greater number
of birds being migratory* As soon as our carriage stopped at
|he door, we were ushered by the host and his wife into a small
parlor, where we found a blazing wood fire. It was their private
sitting-room at times^ when they had no guests, and on the table
were books on a variety of subjects, but most of them of a religious or serious character, as Bishop Watson's Apology in reply
to Tom Paine. We saw, also, a treatise on Phrenology, styled
" The only True FJulosophy," and Shakspeare, and the poems
of Cowper and Walter Scott. In each window were placed two
Iphairs, not ready to be occuojed, as they would be in most counties, but placed face to face, or with their fronts touching each
other, the usual fasjiion in New England.
On one of the walls was seen, jjn a gilt frame, the Declaration
of Independence, with all the signatures of the subscribers, surrounded by vignettes or portraits of all the ten presidents of the
United States, from General Washington to Mr. Tyler. On
another side of the room was a most formidable likeness of
Daniel Webster, being an engraving published in Connecticut.
Leaning over the portrait of the great statesman, is represented
an aged man holding a lantern in his hand, and, lest the meaning of so classical an allusion should be lost, we read below—
".Diogenes his lantern needs no more,
Ah honest man is found, the search is o'er."
While supper was preparing, I turned over a heap of newspapers, of various shades of politics. One of them contained a
spirited reply to the leading article of an extreme democratic
journal, which had enlarged on a favorite text of the popular
party, " The whole of Oregon is ours." In another I saw, in
large type, " The continent, the whole continent down to the
isthmus;" so that, before Texas is yet fairly annexed, the
imagination of the "more territory" zealots has incorporated all
Mexico, if not Central America, into the Union. In the obituaries were recorded, as usual, the names of several " revolutionary
soldiers," aged eighty-five and ninety, and I spent some minutes 56
[Chap. IV.
in wondering why they who fought for republican independence
had been so frequently rewarded with longevity, till it occurred
to me that, he who took the field before 1776 could not die a
juvenile in 1845. Among other electioneering addresses, I read
the following: " Fellow democrats, the Pliilistines are upon us,
the whiars are striving to sow dissension in our ranks, but our
object must be to place in the senate a sterling democrat," &c.
Such an appeal to electors who are to fill up a vacancy in the
more conservative branch of the Congress at Washington, is sufficiently startling to an Englishman. Another article, headed,
"Henry Clay, President for 1848," seemed a most premature
anticipation of a future and distant contest, Mr. Polk having just
been chosen for the next four years as first magistrate, after many
months of excitement and political turmoil. Yet, upon the whole,
the provincial newspapers appear to me to abound in useful and
instructive matter, with many well-selected extracts from modern
publications, especially travels, abstracts of lectures on temperance
or literary and scientific subjects, letters on agriculture, or some
point of political economy or commercial legislation. Even in
party politics, the cheapness of the innumerable daily and weekly
papers enables every villager to read what is said on more than
one side of each question, and this has a tendency to make the
multitude think for themselves, and become well informed on
public affairs.
We happened to be the only strangers in the tavern, and,
when supper was brought in by the landlord and his wife, they
sat down beside us, begged us to feel at home, pressed us to eat,
and evidently considered us more in the light of guests whom
they must entertain hospitably, than as customers. Our hostess,
in particular, who had a number of young children.and no nurse
to help her, was willing to put herself to some inconvenience
rather than run the risk of our feeling lonely. Their manners
were pleasing, and, when they learned that we were from England, they asked many questions about the free-kirk movement
in Scotland, and how far the system of national education there
differed from that in Prussia, on which the landlord had been
reading an article in a magazine.    They were greatly amused Chap. IV.]    INTELLIGENCE OF NEW ENGLANDERS.
when I told them that some of the patriots of their State had
betrayed to me no slight sensitiveness and indignation about an
expression imputed to Lord Palmerston in a recent debate on the
Canadian border-feud, when he spoke of " the wild people of
They were most curious to learn the names of the rocks and
plants we had collected, and told us that at the free-school they
had been taught the elements of geology and botany. They informed us that in these rural districts, many who teach in the
winter months spend the money they receive for their salary m
educating themselves in some college during the remainder of
the year ; so that a clever youth may in this way rise from the
humblest station to the bar or pulpit, or become a teacher in a
large town. Farm laborers in the State, besides being boarded
and found in clothes, receive ten dollars, or two guineas, a month
wages, out of which they may save and " go west," an expression
every where equivalent to bettering one's condition. " The prospect of heaven itself," says Cooper, in one of his novels, " would
have no charms for an American of the back-woods, if he
thought there was any place farther west."
I remarked that*most of the farmers and laborers had pale
complexions and a care-worn look. " This was owing partly,"
said the landlord, " to the climate, for many were consumptive,
and the changes from intense heat to great cold are excessive
here; and partly to the ambitious, striving character of the
natives, who are not content to avoid poverty, but expect, and
not without reason, to end their days in a station far aboye that
from whieh they start." We were struck with the almost entire absence of the negro race in Maine, the winter of this State
being ill suited to them. The free blacks are in great part
paupers, and supported by the poor laws. We fell in with a
few parties of itinerant Indians, roaming about the country like
our gipsies,
Resuming our journey, we stopped at an inn where a great
many mechanics boarded, taking three meals a day at the ordinary. They were well dressed, but their coarse (though clean)
hands announced their ordinary occupation.    After dinner several
c* 58
[Chap. IV.
of them went into the drawing-room, where some " ladies" of
their own class were playing on a piano-forte ; other mechanics
were reading newspapers and books, but after a short stay they
all returned to their work. On looking at the books they had
laid down, I found that one was D'Israeli's " Coningsby," another Burns' Poems, and a third an article just reprinted from
Frazer's Magazine, on "the Policy of Sir Robert Peel."
As we passej through Conway, seeing there was but one
meeting-lionse, I asked to what denomination it belonged. The
reply was, "Orthodox." I went on to say that the place seemed
to be thriving. My informant replied, with evident satisfaction,
"Yes, and every man here is his own tenant," meaning that they
all owned the houses and lands they occupied. To be a lessee, indeed, of a farm, where acres may be bought so cheap, is a rare
exception to the general rule throughout the United States.
The approach to an equal subdivision of property among children,
is not the result here of a compulsory law, as in France, but of
custom; and I was surprised to find how much the partition is
modified, according to the individual views of the testator. I was
assured, indeed, by persons on whose authority I could depend,
that in nine cases out of ten the small working farmers in New
England do not leave their property in equal shares to their
children, as the law would distribute it if they died intestate.
It is very common, for example, to leave the sons twice as mu&h
as the daughters, and frequently to give the eldest son the land,
requiring him to pay small legacies to the others. In the case
of one of my acquaintances, where the sons had larger shares
than the daughters, it was provided, that if one of the two
brothers died, the other should take all his share. As a general
rule, the larger the estate the greater is the inequality of partition
among the children. When I inquired into the manner in which
the twelve or fourteen largest fortunes, such as would rank as
considerable in England, had been bequeathed in Boston and its
vicinity, and in New York, I was astonished to learn that none
of them had been left in equal shares among the children by men
of English descent, the one and only exception being that of a
Frenchman.    In the more newly settled states, there is less in- Chap. IV.]
equality in the distribution both of real and personal property;
but this is doubtless in no small degree connected with the more
moderate size of the fortunes there. The ideas entertained in
some of these ruder parts of the country, of the extreme destitution of the younger children of aristocratic families in Great
Britain, are often most mistaken and absur<|; though particular
instances in Scotland, springing out of the old system of entails,
may have naturally given rise to erroneous generalizations. It
was evident to me that few, if any, of these critics, had ever regarded primogeniture as an integral portion of a great political
system, wholly different from their own, the merits of which can
not fairly be tried by a republican standard.
Both in New England and in the State of New York, I heard
many complaints of the inadequacy of the capital belonging to
small landed proprietors to make their acres yield the greatest
amount of produce with the least expenditure of means. They
are often so crippled with debt and mortgages, paying high interest, that jthey can not introduce many improvements in agriculture, of which they are by no means ignorant. Nevertheless,
the farmers here constitute a body of resident yeomen, industrious
and intelbgent; absenteeism being almost unknown, owing to the
great difficulty of letting farm?, and the owners being spread
equally over the whole country, to look after the roads and
village-schools, and to see that there is a post-office even in each
remote mountain hamlet. The pride and satisfaction felt by men
who till the land which is their own, is, moreover, no small advantage, although one which a political economist, treating solely
of the production of wealth, may regard as lying out of his prov-
vince. As a make-weight, however, in our estimate of the amount
of national happiness derived from landed property, it is not to be
despised; and where "every man is his own tenant," as at Conway, the evils of short leases, of ejectments on political grounds,
or disputes about poaching and cjjmes connected with the game-
laws are unknown.
After passing Conway, we had fairly entered the mountains
of New Hampshire, and enjoyed some rambles over the hills,
delighted with the sound of rushing torrents and the wildness of 60
[Chap. TV.
the scenery. I had sometimes remarked in Norway that the
birch trees are so equally intermixed with dark pines, as to impart, by the contrast of colors, a spotted appearance to the woods,
not always picturesque ; but here I saw the dark green hemlock
in one place, and the maples, with their brilliant autumnal foliage
in another, grouped in such masses on the steep slopes of the hills,
*as to produce a most agreeable effect. There were many birch
trees, with their white bark, and oaks, with red autumnal tints,
and an undergrowth of kalmia out of flower, but still conspicuous
by its shining leaves. The sweet fern (Comptonia) no longer
appeared on this high ground, and was replaced by the true fern,
called here " brake," being our common English species (Pteris
aquilina). On the low hills of granite were many huge angular
fragments of that rock, fifteen, and some of them twenty feet in
diameter, resting on heaps of sand. They were of a light gray
color, with large crystals of felspar, and reminded me of the
granite of Arran in Scotland. As we followed the windings of
the river Saco, I observed, in the bottom of the valley, alluvial
terraces, composed of clay, sand, gravel, and boulders, forming
flats at different elevations, as we see in many parts of Scotland,
and other mountain valleys in Europe.
Although we heard much talk of the late frost, there werejtiil
abundant signs of the sun's power, such as large grasshoppers,
with red wings, called here shakers, and tortoises (Testudo picta)
wandering from one pond to another. In the retired paths many
squirrels allowed us to pass very near to them without being
alarmed. The bear once extended, like the beaver, over the
whole of New England ; but the beaver has been every whore
extirpated, and the bear driven into the mountains. From these
retreats they still make annual depredations on the fields of Indian
corn, and the farmers retaliate, not only by thinning them with
their rifles, but by taking what some sportsmen would consider
a very unfair advantage over them. On the first spring-like day,
Bruin, who has been hybernating for several months in a cave,
ventures out, before the snow has quite melted, to take a look at
the country; then retires again to his hiding place, which the
hunter discovers by following his foot tracks on the snow, and Chap.
digs him out of his hole. Near Bartlett I was taken to see the
skeleton of a bear that had been lately killed. The farmers told
me that the racoons do much damage here, by devouring the Indian corn, but the opossum does not extend so far to the north.
On the second day after leaving Conway we entered a wild
and narrow mountain pass, with steep declivities on both sides,
where the hills can not be less than 1000 or 1500 feet in vertical
height. Here the famous landslip, called the Willey Slide, occurred in August, 1826. The avalanche of earth, stones, and
trees occurring after heavy rains, was so sudden, that it overwhelmed all the Willey family, nine in number, who would have
escaped had they remained in their humble dwelling; for, just
above it, the muddy torrent was divided into two branches by a
projecting rock. The day after the catastrophe a candle was
found on the table of their deserted room, burnt down to the
socket, and the Bible lying open beside it. ^l||
I was curious to examine the effects of this and other slides
of the same date in the White Mountains, to ascertain what effect
the passage of mud and heavy stones might have had in furrowing the hard surfaces of bared rocks over which they had passed ;
it having been a matter of controversy among geologists, how far
those straight rectilinear grooves and scratches before alluded to,^
might have been the result of glacial action, or whether they can
be accounted for by assuming that deluges of mud and heavy
stones have swept over the dry land. A finer opportunity of
testing the adequacy of the cause last mentioned can not be conceived than is afforded by these hills ; for, in consequence, apparently, of the jointed structure of the rocks and their decomposition
produced by great variations of temperature (for they are subjected
to intense summer heat and winter's cold in the course of the
year), there is always a considerable mass of Superficial detritus
ready to be detached during very heavy rains, even where the
steep slopes are covered with timber. Such avalanches begin
from small points, and, after descending a few hundred yards, cut
into the mountain side a deep trench, which becomes rapidly
broader and deeper, and they bear down before them the loftiest
* Ante, p. 18. 62
trees, and the soil in which they are rooted. Some of these
Hisses have slid two or three miles, with an average breadth of
a quarter of a mile ; and so large are the rocky fragments, that I
found some of them, which came down in the Willey Slide, to
measure from fourteen to twenty feet in diameter. I also ascertained that the steep slopes of bare rock over which they had
passed, were inclined, in some instances, at angles pf twenty to
thirty degrees with the horizon. After clambering up more than
400 feet above the level of the Saco, on its right bank, I reached
a space of naked rock, fifteen feet square, over which my guide,
the elder Crawford, told me that the whole contents of the Willey
Slide had swept in 1826 ; which was indeed evident, for it lay
in the direct line of the great trench cut through the forest above
and below.
There is a small cataract at the spot, where a dyke of basalt
and greenstone, four or five feet wide, traverses the granite, all
the rocks being smoothed on the surface, and marked with some
irregular and short scratches and grooves ; but not such <ajS resemble in continuity, straightness, or parallelism, those produced
by a glacier, where hard stones, which grate along the bottom,
have been firmly fixed in a heavy mass of ice; so that they can
not be deflected from a rectilinear course.
I am aware that glaciers and icebergs are not the only means
by which the grooving and polishing of the faces of rocks may
be caused ; for similar effects may arise on the sides of fissures
where stony masses have been rent asunder, and moved upward
and downward, or made to vibrate during earthquakes, so that
the opposite walls are rubbed against each other. But we can
not attribute to this cause the superficial markings now commonly
referred to glacial action in Europe and North America; and
what I saw at the Willey Slide, and other places in the White
Mountains, convinced me that a semi-fluid mass of mud and
stones must always have too much freedom of motion, and is too
easily turned aside by every obstacle and inequality in the shape
of the rocky floor, to enable it to sculpture out long and straight
From the Willey Slide we continued our way along the bot- Chap. IV.]
torn of the farrow valley of the Saco, listening with pleasure to
the river as it foamed and roamed over its stony bed, and admiring two water^aljs, broken into sheets of whije foam in their descent. The scene became more grand as we entered the defile
©ailed the Notcfo where, although the sun was high, the lofty
crags threw 4ark shadows across our path. On either hand were
wild and nearly perpendicular precipices, the ?oad, on the side
overhanging the Saco, being usually protected by parapets of
stone or timber. A steep ascent led us up to a kind of pass or
water-shed, where there was an inn kept by one of the Crawford
family, well know^i in this region, which reminded me of some
of those hotels perched in similar wijkl situations in the Alps, as
on the Simploa and Grimsel. We learned that snow had fallen
here in the second week of September, and the higher hills had
been whitened for a time ; but they are now again uncovered.
Already the elevation has produced a marked change in the vegetation—the hemlock, the spruce, the balm of Gilead fir (Pinus
bals#mea), and the white pine, beginning to form, with the birch,
a large proportion of the forest trees. The white pine, called in
England the Weymouth pine (Pinus strobus), is the most magnificent in siae. It sometimes attains a diameter of five feet, and
a height of 150 £eet, both hflfe and in other par$s of New Hampshire and Maine; but it is very rare to meet with such trees
now, the finest having been burnt down in the great fires which
have every where devastated the woods, I observed the boughs
of the spruce hung witfe a graceful white Mchen, called Old
Man's J3eard (Usnea barbata), a European species. The common fern (Pteris aquiMna), now covers the moist ground under
the dark shade of the woods, and all the rotting trunks of fallen
trees are matted over with a beautiful green carpet of moss,
formed almost entirely of the feathery leaves of one of the most
elegant of the tribe, also occujiring in Scotland (Hypnum Crista
castrensis). Several kinds of club moss (I/ycopodium), which,
like the Hypnum, were in full fructification, form also a conspicuous part of the herbage ; especially one species, standing
erect like a miniature tree, whence its name, L. dendroideum,
from six to eight inches high. Hi
[Chap. IV.
ih   iiii'^i
Oct. 5.—Penetrating still further into the mountains, we established ourselves in pleasant quarters for several days at Fa-
byan's Hotel, thirty-two miles from Conway, waiting for fine
weather to ascend Mount Washington. Whenever the rain
ceased for a few hours we explored the lower hills, and were fortunate enough to have, as a companion in our walks, one of the
ablest botanists in America, Mr. William Oakes,* of Ipswich,
Massachusetts, who is preparing for publication a fine work on
the Flora of the White Mountains. In one of our excursions
with him to see the fails of the river Amoonosuc, he showed us
several places where the Linncea borealis was growing, now in
fruit. I had seen this plant in flower in Nova Scotia in July,
1842, but was not prepared to find it extending so much farther
southward, having first known it as characteristic of Norway,
and of great Alpine heights in Europe. But I was still more
surprised when I learned, from Mr. Oakes, that it descends even
into the wooded plains of New Hampshire, under favor of a long
winter and of summer fogs, near the sea. What is most singular, between Manchester and Cape Anne, lat 42° 30' N., it inhabits the same swamp with the Magnolia glauca. The arctic
Linncea, trailing along the ground and protected from the sun
by a magnolia, affords a curious example of the meeting of two
plants of genera characteristic of very different latitudes, each on
the extreme limits of its northern or southern range.
One evening, during our stay here, we enjoyed listening to the
finest mountain echo I ever heard. Our host, Fabyan, played a
few clear notes on a horn, which were distinctly repeated five
times by the echo, in softened and melodious tones. The third
repetition, although coming of course from a greater distance,
was louder than the two first, which had a beautiful effect, and
may be caused either by the concave form of the rocks being
more favorable to the reflection of sound, or from the place where
we stood being, in reference to that distant spot, more exactly in
the focus of the ellipse.
In the elevated plain at the foot of the mountains at Fabyan's
* Since writing the above, I have heard, with deep regret, of the death
of this amiable and accomplished naturalist. Chap. IV#]
there is a long superficial ridge of gravel, sand, and boulders,
having the same appearance as those mounds which are termed
" osar" in Sweden. It is a conspicuous object on the plain, and
is called the Giant's Grave; but in general such geological appearances as are usually referred to the glacial or " drift" period
are rare in these mountains ; and I looked in vain for glacial
furrows and striae on a broad surface of smooth granite recently
exposed on the banks of the Saco, in a pit where gravel had been
taken out for the repair of the road. How far the rapid decomposition of the granite rocks, owing to the vast range of annual
temperature, may have destroyed, in this high region, any markings originally imprinted on their surface, deserves consideration. r
W   v
Ascent of Mount Washington.—Mr. Oakes.—Zones of Distinct Vegetation.
—Belt of Dwarf Firs.—Bald Region and Arctic Flora on Summit.—View
from Summit.—Migration of Plants from Arctic Regions.—Change of
Climate since Glacial Period.—^Granitic Rocks of White Mountains.—
Franconia Notch.—Revival at Bethlehem.—Millerite Movement.—The
Tabernacle at Boston.—Mormons.—Remarks on New England Fanaticism.
Oct. 7, 1845.—At length, with a fair promise of brighter
weather, we started at eight o'clock in the morning for the summit of Mount Washington. Its oH Indian name of Agiocochook
has been dropped, as too difficult for Anglo-Saxon ears or memories. Its summit is 6225 feet above the level of the sea; and
we were congratulated on the prospect of finding it, at so late a
season, entirely free from snow. Our party consisted of nine, all
mounted on well-trained horses—Mr. Oakes, a gentleman and
his wife, tourists from Maine, a*young New England artist, myself, my wife, and three guides.
A ride of seven miles brought us to the foot of the mountain,
and we then began to thread the dark mazes of the forest, through
narrow winding paths, often crossing and re-crossing the bed of
the same torrent, and fording its waters, which occupied, in spite
of the late rains, a small part of their channel.
The first, or lowest zone of the mountain, extending from its
base to the height of about 2000 feet, and 4000 feet above the
level of the sea, is clothed with a great variety of wood. Besides
the hemlock, spruce, Weymouth, and other pines before mentioned, there. is the beech (Fagus ferruginea), three kinds of
birch, the black, the yellow, and the white (Betula lenta, B.
lutea, and B. papyracea); also the rock or sugar-maple (Acer sac-
chari?ium), and the red maple (A. rubrum), exhibiting autumnal
tints of every color, from orange to pale yellow, and from scarlet
to purple.    The undergrowth was composed in part of a Guelder* Chap  V.]
rose (Vibu?'num lantanoides), the Mexican laurustinus, and the
service-tree (Sorbus americana), with Acer montanum and Acer
striatum. On the ground we saw the beautiful dwarf dogwood
(Cornus canadensis), sjill in flower, also the fruit of the averin,
or cloud-berry, here called mulberry (Rubus chq/mcemorus), well
known on the Grampians, and the wood-sorrel (Oxalis acetosella),
in great quantity, with Gaultheria hispidula. There were
many large prostrate trees in various stages of decay, and out of
their trunks young fir-sapjjings, which \pA taken root on the bart
were seen growing erect.
We. put up very few birds as we rode along, for the woods
are much deserted at this season. A small lapwing, with a
note resembling the English species, flew up from some marshy
ground; and we saw a blue jay and a brown woodpecker among
the trees, and occasionally a small bird like a tomtit (Parus
atrocapillus). I picked up one land-shell only (Helix thyoides),
and was surprised at the scarcity of air-breathing testacea here
and elsewhere in New England, where there is so vigorous a
vegetation and so much summer heat. The absence of lime in
the granitic rocks is the chief cause; but even in the calcareous
districts these shells are by no means as. plentiful as in corresponds
ing latitude^ in Europe.
When we had passed through this lowest belt of wood the
glouds cleared away, so that, on looking back to the westward,
we Jiad a fine view of the mountains of Vermont and the Camel's
Hump, and were the more struck with the magnificent extent of
the prospect, as it had not opened upon us gradually during pur
ascent^ We then began to enter the second region, or zone of
^yergreens, consisting of the black spruce and the Pinus balsa-
meqL which were at first mixed with ojjjer forest trees, all
dwarfed in height, |£11 at length, after we had ascended a few
hundred feet, these two kinds of firs monopolized the entire
ground. They are extremely dense, rising to about the height
of a man's head, having evidently been prevented by the cold
•grinds from continuing their upward growth beyond the level at
which they are protected by the snow. All their vigor seems
to have been exerted in throwing out numerous strong horizontal 68
[Chap. V.
or pendent branches, each tree covering a considerable area, and
being closely interwoven with others, so that they surround the
mountain with a formidable hedge about a quarter of a mile
Jfroad. The innumerable dead boughs, which, after growing fox
a time, during a series of milder seasons, to a greater height,
have then been killed by the keen blast, present a singular appearance. They are forked and leafless, and look like the antlers
of an enormous herd of deer or elk. This thicket opposed a
serious obstacle to those who first ascended the mountain thirty
years ago. Dr. Francis Boott, among others, whose description
of his ascent in 1816, given to me in London several years
before, made me resolve one day to visit the scene, was compelled, with his companion, Dr. Bigelow, to climb over the tops
and walk on the<branches of these trees, until they came to the-
bald region. A traveler now passes so rapidly through the open
pathway cut through this belt of firs, that he is in danger, while
admiring the distant view, of overlooking its peculiarities. The
trees become gradually lower and lower as you ascend, till at
length they trail along the ground only two or three inches high ;
and I actually observed, at the. upper margin of this zone, that
the spruce was topped in its average height by the common reindeer moss (Lichen rangeferinus). According to Dr. Bigelow,^
the upper edge of the belt of dwarf firs is at the height of 4443
feet above the sea. After crossing it we emerged into the bald
region, devoid of wood, and had still to climb 1800 feet higher,
before arriving at the summit. Here our long cavalcade was
seen zigzagging its way in single file up a steep declivity of
naked rock, consisting of gneiss and mica schist, but principally
the latter rock intermixed with much white quartz. The masses
of quartz are so generally overgrown with that bright-colored
yellowish-green lichen, so common on the Scotch mountains
(Lichen geographicus), that the whole surface acquires a cor
responding tint, visible from a great distance. This highest
region is characterized by an assemblage of Alpine or Arctic
plants, now no longer in flower, and by a variety of mosses and
* See his excellent account of an ascent of Mount Washington in 1816,
Boston Medical Journal, vol. v. p. 321. Chap. V.]
lichens specifically identical with those of Northern Europe-.
Among these, we saw on the rocks the Parmelia centrifuga, a
lichen common in Sweden, but not yet met with in Great Britain,
of a greenish-white colgr, which, commencing its growth from a
point, gradually spreads on all sides, and deserts Ihe central space.
It then assumes an annular form, and its reddish-brown shields
of fructification, scattered over the margin, remind one, though
on a miniature scale, of those " fairy rings" on our English lawns,
whidh appear to be unknown in America, and where fungi, or
mushrooms are seen growing in a circle.
The flora of the uppermost region of Mount Washington consists of species which are natives of the cold climate of Labrador,
Lapland, Greenland, and Siberia, and are impatient, says Bige-
low, of drought, as well as of both extremes of heat and cold;
they are therefore not at all fitted to flourish in the ordinary
climate of New England. But they are preserved here, during
winter, from injury, by a great depth of snow, and the air in
summer never attains, at this elevation, too high a temperature,
while the ground below is always cool. When the snow melts,
they shoot up instantly with vigor proportioned to the length of
time they have been dormant, rapidly unfold their flowers, and
mature their fruits, and run through the whole course of their
vegetation in a few weeks, irrigated by clouds and mist.
Among other Alpine plants, we gathered on the summit
Menziesia cerulea, and Rhododendron laponicum, both out of
flower; and not far below, Azalea procumbens. Mr. Oakes
pointed out to me, in a rent several hundred feet above the lower
margin of the bald region, a spruce fir growing in the cleft of a
rock, where it was sheltered from the winds, clearly showing
that the sudden cessation of the trees does not arise from mere
intensity of cold. We found no snow on the summit, but the
air was piercing, and for a time we were enveloped in a cloud
of dense white fog, which, sailing past us, suddenly disclosed a
most brilliant picture. On the slope of the mountain below us,
were seen woods warmly colored with their autumnal tints, and
lighted up by a bright sun; and in the distance a vast 'plain,
stretching eastward to Portland, with many silver lakes, and PI  hi
• nil
1 ill
[Chap. V
beyond these the ocean and blue sky. It was like a vision seen in
the clouds, and we were occasionally reminded of " the dissolving
views," when the landscape slowly faded away, and then, in a
few nlinutes, as the fog dispersed, regained its strength as gradually, till every feature became again clear and well defined.
We at length returned to the hotel in the dttsk of the evening,
much delighted with ©for excursion, although too fatiguing for a
lady, my wife having been twelve hours on horseback. If an
inn should be built at the foot of the mountain* the exploit will
be comparatively an easy one, and in a few years a f ailway from
Boston, only 150 miles distant (100 miles of it being already
completed), will enable any citizen to escape from the summer
heat, and, having slept the first night ait this" inn, enjoy, the ne^t
morning, if he is a lover of botanj^ the sight of a variety $f fMe
and beautiful Arctie plants in full flower, besides beholding a succession of distinct zones of vegetation, scarcely surpassed on the
flanks of Mount Etna or the Pyrenees.
If we attempt to speculate on the manner in which the pectin
liar species of plants now established on the highest summits of
the White Mountains, were enabled to reach those isolated spots,
while none of them are met with in the lower lands around, oir
for a great distance to the north, we shall find ourselves engaged
in trying to solve a philosophical problem, which requires the
aid, not of botanjp alone, but of geology, or a knowledge of the
geographical changes which immediately preceded the present
state of the earth's surface. We have to explain how an Acetic
flora, consisting of plants specifically identical with those which
now inhabit lands bordering the sea in the extreme north of j
America, Europe, and Asia, could get to the top ol* Moulitj
Washington* Now geology teaches us that the species living
at preseilt on the earth are older than fnany parts of our existing
continents; that is to say, they were created before a large part
of the eiisting moitntains, valteys* plains, lakes, fivers, and seas
were formed. That such must be the case in regard to the
island of Sicily, I announced my convidtlon in 1833, after first
returning from that country.* And a similar conclusion is no:
# Principles of Gedogyj f it edition, vol. 15. chap. 9. Chap. V.]
less obvious to any naturalist who hasastudied the structure of
North America^ and observed the wide area occupied by the
modern or glacial deposits before alluded to,* m which marine
fossil shells of Mying but northern species are entombed. It is
clear that a great portion of Canada, and the country surrounding the great lakes, was submerged beneath the ocean wlieft
recent species of mollusea flourished, of which the fossil remains
occur more than 500 feet above the level of the sea neair Montreal. J have already stated that Lake Champlain was a gulf
of the sea at that period, that large areas in Maine were unde'f
water, and, I may add, that the White Mountains must tlleii
have constituted an island, or group of island; Yet, as this
period is so modern in the earth's history as to belong to the
epoch of the existing marine fauna, it is fair to infer that the
Arctic flora now contemporary lUtfe man was then also established on the globe. $%;■}
A careful study of the present distribution of animals and
plants over the globe, has led nearly all the best naturalists to
the opinion that each species had its origin in a single birth-place,
and spread gradually from its original center, to all accessible
spots fit for its habitation, by means of the powers of migration
pven to it from the first. If we adopt tUs view, or the doctrine
of "specific centers," there is no difficulty in comprehending how
the cryptogamous plants of Siberia, Lapland, Greenland, andj
Labrador scaled the heights of Mount Washington, because the
sporules of the fungi, lichens, and mosses may Be wafted through
the air for indefinite distances, like smoke; and, in fact, heavier
particles are actually known to hav% been carried for thousands
of miles by the wind. But the cause of the occurrence of Arctic
plants of the phcenogamous class on the lop of tfie New Hampshire mountains, specifically identical with those of remote Polar
regions, is by no means so obvious. They could not, in the
present condition of the earth, effect a passage over the intervening low lands, because the extreme heat of summer and cold
of winter would be fatal to them. Even if they were brought
from the northern parts of Asia, Europe,  and America, and
IP * Ante, p. 33. rs
[Chap. V.
thousands of them planted round the foot of Mount Washington,
they would never be able, in any number of years, to make their
way to its summit. We must suppose, therefore, that originally
they extended their range in the same way as the flowering
plants now inhabiting Arctic and Antarctic lands disseminate
themselves. The innumerable islands in the Polar seas are
tenanted by the same species of plants, some of which are conveyed as seeds by animals over the ice when the sea is frozen in
winter, or by birds ; while a still larger number are transported
by floating icebergs, on which soil containing the seeds of plants
may be carried in a single year for hundreds of miles. A great
body of geological evidence has now been brought together, to
some of which I have adverted in a former chapter,* to show
that this machinery for scattering plants, as well, as for carrying
erratic blocks southward, and polishing and grooving the floor of
the ancient ocean, extended in the western hemisphere to lower
latitudes than the White Mountains. When these last still
constituted islands, in a sea chilled by the melting of floating ice,
we may assume that they were covered entirely by a flora like
Ithat now confined to the uppermost or treeless region of the
mountains. | As" the continent grew by the slow upheaval of the
land, and the islands gained in height, and the climate around
their base grew milder, the Arctic plants would retreat to higher
and higher zones, and finally occupy an elevated area, which
probably had been at first, or in the glacial period, always covered
with perpetual snow. Meanwhile the newly-formed plains around
the base of the mountain, to which northern species of plants
could not spread, would be occupied by others migrating from the
south, a d perhaps by many trees, shrubs, and plants then first
created, "and remaining to this day peculiar to North America.!
The period when the White Mountains ceased to be a group
of islands, or when, by the emergence of the surrounding low
* Ante, p. 17.
t For speculations on analogous botanical and geographical changes in
Europe, the reader may refer with advantage to ah excellent essay by
Professor Edward Forbes, on the Origin of the British Fauna and Flora,
Memoirs of Geol. Survey of Great Britain, vol. i. p. 336. 1846. Chap. V.]
lands, they first became connected with the continent, is, as we
have seen, of very modem date, geologically speaking. It is,
in fact, so recent as to belong to the epoch when species now
contemporaneous with man already inhabited this planet; But
if we attempt to carry our retrospect still farther into the past,
and to go back to the date when the rocks themselves of the
White Mountains originated, we are lost in times of extreme
antiquity. No light is thrown on this m^uiry by embedded
organic remains, of which the strata of gneiss, mica schist, clay-
slate, and quartaite are wholly devoid. These masses are
traversed by numerous veins of granite and greenstone, which
are therefore newer than the stratified crystalline rocks which
$ltey intersect; and the abrupt manner in which these veins
terminate at the surface attests how much denudation or removal
by water of solid matter has taken place. Another question of
a chronological kind may yet deserve attention, namely, the epoch
of the movements which threw the beds of gneiss and the associated rocks into their present beat, disturbed, and vertical positions.
This subject is also involved in considerable obscurity, although
it seems highly probable that the crystalline strata of New Hampshire acquired their internal arrangement at the same time as the
fossiliferous beds of the Appalachian or Alleghany chain : and
we know that they assumed their actual strike and dip subsequently to the origin of the coal measures, which enter so largely
into the structure of that chain.
From Fabyan's Inn, at the foot of Mount Washington, we
traveled about twenty-five miles westward to Bethlehem, and
thence southward to the Franconia Notch, a deep and picturesque
ravine in the mountains of granite. On the way I Conversed
with the driver of our carriage about the village churches, and,
being very communicative, he told me he was a Free-will Baptist,
but had only become a Christian five years ago, when he was
awakened from a state of indifference by a revival which took
place near Bethlehem. Thjs meeting, he said, was got up and
managed by the Methodists; but some Baptists, and one orthodox (Independent or Congregationalist) minister had assisted, in
all sixteen ministers, and for twent/*one days in succession there
vol. i.—D 74
[Chap. V.
had been prayers and preaching incessantly from morning to
night. I had already seen in a New York paper the following
advertisement:  | A protracted meeting is now in progress at the
  church in   Street.     There have been a number of
conversions, and it is hoped the work of grace has but just commenced. Preaching every evening : seats free." I was surprised
to hear of the union of ministers of more than one denomination
on this occasion, and, on inquiry, was told by a Methodist, that
no Episcopalians would join, " because they do not sufficiently
rely on regeneration and the new man." It appears, indeed, to
be essential to the efficacy of this species of excitement, that there
should be a previous belief that each may hope at a particular
moment | to receive comfort," as they term it, or that their conversion may be as sudden as was that of St. Paul. A Boston
friend assured me that when he once attended a revival sermon,
he heard the preacher describe the symptoms which they might
expect to experience on the first, second, and third day previous
to their conversion, just as a medical lecturer might expatiate to
his pupils on the progress of a well-known disease ; and " the
complaint," he added, " is indeed a serious one, and very contagious, when the feelings have obtained an entire control over
the judgment, and the new convert is in the power of the
preacher. He himself is often worked up to such a pitch of
enthusiasm, as to have lost all command over his own heated
It is the great object of the ministers who officiate on these
occasions to keep up a perpetual excitement; but while they are
endeavoring by personal appeals to overcome the apathy of dull,
slow, and insensible minds, they run the risk of driving others, of
weaker nerves and a more sensitive temperament, who are sitting
on " the anxious benches," to the very verge of distraction.
My friend, the driver, was evidently one of a slow and unexcit-
able disposition, and had been led for the first time in his life to
think seriously on religious matters by what he heard at the
great preaching near Bethlehem ; but it is admitted, and deplored
by the advocates of revivals, that after the application of such
violent stimulants there is invariablv
reaction, and what tli
CT Chap. V.]
call a flat or dead season. The emotions are so strong as to
exhaust both the body and mind ; and it is creditable to the New
England clergy of all sects, that they haveHn general, of late
years, almost entirely discontinued such meetings.
At the Francohia hotel I first heard of the recent fanatical
movement of the MiUerites, or followers of one Miller, who taught
that the millennium, or final destruction of the world, would
come to pass last year, or on the 23d day of October, 1844. A
farmer from the village of Lisbon told me that, in the course of
the preceding autumn, many of his neighbors would neither reap
their. harvest of Indian corn and potatoes, nor let others take in
the crop, saying it was tempting Providence to store up grain for
a season that could never arrive, the great catastrophe being so
near at hand. These infatuated people, however, exerted themselves very diligently to save what remained of their property
when the non-fulfillment of the prophecy dispelled their delusion.
In several townships in this and the adjoining States, the parochial
officers, or " select men," interfered, harvesting the crops at the
public expense, and requiring the owners, after the 23d October,
to repay them for the outlay. •
I afterward heard many anecdotes respecting the Millerite
movement, not a few of my informants speaking with marked
indulgence of what they regarded simply as a miscalculation of
a prophecy which must be accomplished at no distant date. In
the township of Concord, New Hampshire, I was told of an old
woman, who, on paying her annual rent for a house, said, " I guess
this is the last rent you will get from me." Her landlord remarked, " If so, I hope you have got your robes ready;" alluding
to the common practice of the faithful to prepare white ascension
robes, g for going up into heaven." Hearing that there had been
advertisements from shops in Boston and elsewhere to furnish
any number of these robes on the shortest notice, I took for granted that they were meant as a hoax; but an English bookseller,
residing at New York, assured me that there was a brisk demand for such articles, even as far south as Philadelphia, and
that he knew two individuals in New York, who sat up all night
in their shrouds on the 22d of October. [   I
A caricature, published at Boston, represented Miller, the
originator of the movement, ascending to heaven in his robes ;
but his chaplain, who was suspected of not being an enthusiast,
but having an eye U&lfce dollars freely thrown into "the Lord's
Treasury," was weighed down by the money bags, and the devils
were drawing him in an opposite direction. To keep up the
excitement, several newspapers and periodicals were published in
the interest of this sect, and I was told of several Methodist
preachers who gave themselves up in full sincerity to the delusion. I asked an artisan who sat next me in a railway car in
Massachusetts, whether he had heard any talk of the millennium
in his district. " Certainly," he said ; "I remember a tonguey
jade coming down to* our town, and many women, and evetf-
some smart, likely men, were carried away by her preaching.
And, when the day was past, Miller explained how they-~fiadr
made a miscalculation, and that the end of the world would
come three days later; and after that it was declared it would
happen in the year 1847, which date was the more certain, because all the previous computations had failed, and that era alone
remained to satisfy the prophecy."
In a subsequent part of our tour, several houses were pointed
out to us, between Plymouth (Massachusetts) and Boston, the
owners of which had been reduced from ease to poverty by their
credulity, having sold their all toward building the Tabernacle,
in which they were to pray incessantly for six weeks previous to
their ascension. Among other stories which, whether true or
not, proved to me how much fraud was imputed to some of the
leaders, I was told of a young girl who, having no money, was
advised to sell her necklace, which had been presented to her by
her betrothed. The jeweler, seeing that she was much affected
at parting with her treasure, and discovering the object of the
sale, showed her some silver forks and spoons, on which he was
about to engrave the initials of the very minister whose dupe she
was, and those of the lady he was about to marry on a fixed day
after the fated 23d of October.
The Tabernacle, above alluded to, was planned for the accommodation of between 2000 and 3000 persons, who were to meet, Chap. V.]
pray, and " go up" at Boston; but, as it was; intended merely
for a temporary purpose, the fabric would have been very slight
and insecure, had not the magistrates, fearing that it might fall
into the street and kill some of the passers-by, interposed in
good time, and required the architect to erect a substantial edifice. When the society of the Milierites was bankrupt, this
Tabernacle was sold and fitted ,up as a theater ; and there, in the
course of the winter, we had the pleasure of seeing Mr. and Mrs.
Kean perform Macbeth. Although under no apprehensions that
the roof would fall in, yet, as all the seats were stuffed with hay,
and there was only one door, we had some conversation during
the performance as to what might be our chance of escape in the
event of a fire. Only a few months later the whole edifice was
actually burned to the ground, but fortunately no lives were lost.
In one of the scenes of Macbeth, where Hecate is represented as
going up to heaven, and singing, " Now I'm furnished for the
flight—Now I fly," &c, some of our party told us they were
reminded of the extraordinary sight they had witnessed in that
room on tike 234 of October of the previous year, when the walls
were all covered with Hebrew and Greek texts, and when a
crowd of devotees were praying in their ascension robes, in hourly
expectation of the consummation of all things.
I observed to one of my New England friends, that the number of Millerite proselytes, and also the fact that the prophet of
the nineteenth century, Joseph Smith, could reckon at the lowest
estimate 60,000 followers in the United States, and, according
to some accounts, 120,000, did not argue much in favor of the
working of their plan of national education. " As for the Mormons," he replied, "you must bear in mind that they were largely
recruited from the manufacturing districts of England and Wales,
and from European emigrants recently arrived. They were drawn
chiefly from an illiterate class in the western states, where society is in its rudest condition. The progress of the Millerites,
however, although confined to a fraction of the population, reflects undoubtedly much discredit on the educational and religious
training in New England; but since the year 1000, when all
Christendom believed that the world was to come to an end> 78
[Chap. V.
there have never been wanting interpreters of prophecy, who
have confidently assigned some exact date, and one near at hand,
for the millennium. Your Faber on the Prophecies, and the
writings of Croly, and even some articles in the Quarterly Review, helped for a time to keep up this spirit here, and make it
fashionable. But the Millerite movement, like the recent exhibition of the Holy Coat at Treves, has done much to open men's
minds ; and the exertions made of late to check this fanatical
movement, have advanced the cause of truth." He then went
on to describe to me a sermon preached in one of the northeastern townships of Massachusetts, which he named, against the Millerite opinions, by the minister of the parish, who explained the
doubts generally entertained by the learned in regard to some of the
dates of the.prophecies of Daniel, entered freely into modern controversies about the verbal inspiration of the Old and New Testament, and referred to several new works, both of German,
British, and New England authors, which his congregation had
never heard of till then. Not a few of them complained that
they had been so long kept in the dark, that their minister must
have entertained many of these opinions long before, and that he
had now revealed them in order to stem the current of a popular
delusion, and for expediency, rather than from the love of truth.
" Never," said they, " can we in future put the same confidence
in him again."
Other apologists observed to me, that so long as a part of the
population was very ignorant, even the well-educated would occasionally participate in fanatical movements ; "for religious enthusiasm, being very contagious, resembles a famine fever, which
first attacks those who are starving, but afterward infects some
of the healthiest and best-fed individuals in the whole community." This explanation, plausible and ingenious as it may appear, is, I believe, a fallacy. If they who have gone through
school and college, and have been for years in the habit of listening to preachers, become the victims of popular fanaticism, it
proves that, however accomplished and learned they may be,
^their reasoning powers have not been cultivated, their understandings have not been enlarged, they have not been trained in Chap. V.]
habits of judging and thinking for themselves ; in fact, they are
ill educated. Instead of being told that it is their duty carefully to investigate historical evidence for themselves, and to
cherish an independent frame of mind, they have probably been
brought up to think that a docile, submissive, and child-like deference to the authority of churchmen is the highest merit of a
Christian. They have perhaps heard much about the pride of
philosophy, and how all human learning is a snare. In matters connected with religion they have been accustomed blindly
to resign themselves to the guidance of others, and hence are
prepared to yield themselves up to the influence of any new pretender to superior sanctity who is a greater enthusiast than
themselves. CHAPTER VI.
Social Equality.—Position of Servants.—War with England.—Coalition of
Northern Democrats, and Southern Slave-owners.-—Ostracism of Wealth.
—Legislators paid.—Envy in a Democracy.—Politics of the Country
and the. City.—Pledges at Elections.—Universal Suffrage.—Adventure
in a Stage Coach.—Return from the Wliite Mountains.—Plymouth in
New Hampshire.—Congregational and Methodic Churches. — Theological Discussions of Fellow-Travelers*—Temperance Movement.—
Post-Office Abuses.—Lowell Factories.
Oct. 10, 1845,—During our stay in the White Mountains,
we were dining one day at the ordinary of the Franconia hotel,
when a lawyer from Massachusetts pointed out to me " a lady"
sitting opposite to us, whom he recognized as the chambermaid
of an inn in the State of Maine, and he supposed " that her
companion with whom she was talking might belong to the same
station." I asked if he thought the waiters, who were as respectful to these guests as to us, were aware of their true position in
society. " Probably they are so/' he replied ; " and, moreover,
as the season is now almost over in these mountains, I presume
that these gentlemen, who must have .saved money here, will
very soon indulge in some skniiar recreation, and make some excursion themselves." He then entered into conversation with
the two ladies on a variety of topics, for the sake of drawing
them out, treating them quite as equals; and certainly succeeded
in proving to me that they had been well taught at school, had
read good books, and could enjoy a tour and admire scenery as
well as ourselves. "It is no small gratification to them," said
he, "to sit on terms of equality with the silver fork gentry,
dressed in their best clothes, as if they were in an orthodox
meeting-house." I complimented him on carrying out in practice the American theory of social equality. As he had strong
anti-slavery feelings, and was somewhat of an abolitionist, he
said, " Yes, but you must not forget they have no dash of negro Chap. VI.]
blood in their veins." I remarked, that I had always inferred
from the books of English travelers in the United States, that
domestic service was held as somewhat of a degradation in New
England. " I remember the time," he answered, " when such
an idea was never entertained by any one here ; but servants
formerly used to live with their master and mistress, and have
their meals at the same table. Of late years, the custom of
boarding separately has gained ground, and work in factories is
now preferred. These are so managed, that the daughters of
farmers, and sometimes of our ministers, look upon them as most
respectable places, where in three or four years they may earn a
small sum toward their dowry, or which may help to pay off a
mortgage or family debt."
As, during our stay here, the tone of the newspapers from
Washington was somewhat (bellicose, and we were proposing to
make a tour of eight months in the southern states, I asked my
legal companion whether he was really apprehensive of a war
about Oregon. " No," He said, "^thcrejnay be big words and
much blustering, and perhaps, before thc«torm blows over, a
war panic ; but there will be no rupture with England, because
it is against the interest of the slave-owners; for you know, I
presume, that we are governed by the South, and our southern
chivalry will put their veto on a war of which they would have
to bear the brunt." " If," said I, "you are ruled by the slave-
owning States, you may thank yourselves for ii, the numerical,
physical, intellectual, and moral power being on the side of the
free states. Why do you knock under to them ?" " You may
well ask that question," he replied; " and, as a foreigner, may
not easily be made to comprehend the political thralldom in
which we, the majority of northerners, are still held, but which
can not, I think, last much longer. Hitherto the southern
planters have had more leisure to devote to politics than our
small farmers or merchants in the north. They are banded together as one man in defense of what they call their property
and institutions. They have a high bearing, which, in Congress, often imposes on northern men much superior to them in
real talent, knowledge,  and strength of character.     They are 82
[Chap. VI.
1 ill
often eloquent, and have much political tact, and have formed a
league with the unscrupulous demagogues here, and, by' uniting
with them, rule the country. For example, the mass of our
population were strongly opposed to the extension of slavery, and
voted at first against the annexation of Texas, yet they have
been cajoled into the adoption of that measure."
" Do the slave-owners,"- I asked, " give bribes to the chiefs of
your democratic party ?" " No, our electors have too much
self-respect and independence to accept of money bribes ; but, by
ioining with their southern allies, they get what one of their party
had recently the effrontery to call s the spoils of the victor.'
They are promoted to places in the custom-house or post-omee>
or sent on a foreign mission, or made district attorneys, or a
lawyer may now and then be raised even to the bench of the
Supreme Court; not one who is positively incompetent, but a
man who, but for political services, would never have been selected for the highest honors in his profession."
I next told my friend that, when traveling in Maine, I had
asked a gentleman why his neighbor, Mr. A., a rich and well-
informed man, was not a member of their Legislature, and he
had replied, " Because he is known to have so much wealth,
both in land and money, that, if he were to stand, the people
would not elect him." " Is it then," I inquired, " an avowed
principle of the democracy, that the Tich are to be ostracised ?"
and I went on to say that, in a club to which I belonged in
London, we had a servant who, though very poor, had a vote
as proprietor of a house, all the apartments of which he let out
to different lodgers. When he was questioned why, at two successive elections, he had voted for candidates of exactly opposite
opinions in politics, he explained by saying, " I make it a rule
always to vote with my first floor." " I presume that if he
migrated to New Hampshire or Maine, he would vote with his
garret, instead of his first floor ?"
"I have no doubt," said my companion, " that such an elector
would side with the powers that be; and as the democracy has
the upper hand here, as in Maine, he would have paid as servile
a homage to the dominant party on this side of the Atlantic as Chap. VI.]
he did to the aristocracy of wealth in your country. Do you
desire to see our people regard wealth as a leadings qualification
for their representatives ?"
" Surely," said I, " it is an evil that men of good abilities, of
leisure, and independent station, who have had the best means
of obtaining a superior education, should be excluded from public
life by that ehtvy which seems to have so rank a growth in a
democracy, owing to the vain efforts to realize a theory of equality. It must be a defect in your system, if there is no useful
career open to young men of fortune. They are often ruined, I
hear, for want of suitable employments."
" There are," he said, " comparatively few of them in the
United States, where the law of primogeniture no longer prevails ; and if we have good-for-nothing individuals among them,
it is no more than may be said of your own aristocracy." He
then named an example^or two of New Englanders, who, having
inherited considerable propertyjbad yet risen to political distinction, and several more (fbur^i^whoml myself knew), who,
having made large fortunes by their talehts^ad been members
either of the State Legislature of Massachusetts or of Congress.
He did not, however, deny that it is often good policy, in an
election, for a rich candidate to affect to be poorer than he is.
" Every one of our representatives," he added, " whether in the
State Legislatures or in Congress, receives a certain sum daily
when on duty, besides more than enough traveling money for
carrying him to his post and home again. In choosing a delegate, therefore, the people consider themselves as patrons who
are giving away a place; and if an opulent man offers himself,
they are disposed to say, ' You have enough already, let us help
some one as good as you who needs it.'
During my subsequent stay in New England, I often conversed with men of the working classes on the same subject, and
invariably found that they had made up their mind that it was
not desirable to choose representatives from the wealthiest class.
" The rich," they say, " have less sympathy with our opinions
and feelings; love their amusements, and go shooting, fishing,
and traveling ; keep hospitable houses, and are inaccessible when W I
[Chap. VI.
ill Bit
we want to talk with them, at all hours, and tell them hoio we
wish them to voter I once asked a party of New England
tradesmen whether, if Mr. B., already an eminent public man,
came into a large fortune through his wife, as might soon be expected, he would stand a worse chance than before of being sent
to Congress. The question gave rise to a discussion among
themselves, and at last they assured me that they did not think
his accession to a fortune would do him any harm. It clearly
never struck them as possible that it could do him any good, or
aid his chance of success.
The chief motive, I apprehend, of preferring a poorer candidate, is the desire of reducing the members of their Legislature
to mere delegates. A rich man would be apt to have "an opinion
of his own, to be unwilling to make a sacrifice of his free agency;
he would not always identify himself with the majority of his
electors, condescend to become, like the wires of the electric
telegraph, a mere piece of machinery for conveying to the Capitol
of his State, or to Washington, the behests of the multitude.
That there is, besides, a vulgar jealousy of supeg&or wealth,
especially in the less educated districts and newer states, I satisfied myself in the course of my tour ; but in regard to envy, we
must also bear in mind, on the other hand, that they who elevate
to distinction one of their own class in society, have sometimes
to achieve a greater victory over that passion than- when they
confer the same favor on one who occupies already, by virtue of
great riches, a higher position.
In reference also to pledges exacted from representatives at an
election, I am bound to mention some spirited letters which I saw
published by Whig candidates in Massachusetts, who carried their
election in spite of them. From one of these I quote the following words ; " I must decline giving a direct reply to your specific
questions ; my general conduct and character as a public man,
must be your guarantee. My votes are on record, my speeches
are in print; if they do not inspire -confidence, no pledges or declarations of purpose ought to do so."
It was part of General Jackson's policy, openly avowed by him
in several of his presidential addresses, to persuade the small Chap. VI.]
farmers, mechanics, and laborers that they constituted the people,
were the bone and sinew of the co&ntry, the real possessors of the
national wealth, although in their hands it is subdivided into
small shares; and he told them it was their business to make a
constant effort to maintain their rights against the rich capitalists
and moneyed corporations, who, by facilities of combining together,
could usually make their own class interests prevail against a
more numerous body, and ©ne possessed in the aggregate of greater
It seems that they were not slow in taking this advice, for
many merchants complained to me that the small farmers had
too great an ascendency. No feature, indeed, appeared to me
more contrasted in the political aspect of America and Great
Britain than this, that in the United States the democracy derives
its chief support from the landed interest, while the towns take
the more conservative side, and are often accused by the landed
proprietors of being too aristocratic. Every where the ambition
of accumulating riches withoutiimitjs so manifest, as to incline
me to adopt the opinion expressed to me by several rich Boston
friends, that wealth has in this country quite as many charms,
and confers as much distinction and influence, as it ought to do.
If a rich Englishman came to settle here, he wouM be disappointed
on finding that money gave him no facilities in taking a lead in
politics \ but the affluent natives do not pine for influence which
they never possessed or expected to derive from their riches.
The great evil of universal suffrage is the irresistible temptation
it affords to a needy set of adventurers to make politics a trade,
and to devote all their time to agitation, electioneering, and flattering the passions of the multitude. IPhe natural aristocracy
of a republic consists of the most eminent men in the liberal
professions—lawyers, divines, and physicians of note, merchants
in extensive business, literary and scaestific men of celebrity; and
men of all these classes are apt to set too high a value on their
time, to be willing to engage in the strife of elections perpetually
going on, and in which they expose themselves to much calumny
and accusations, which, however unfounded, are professionally
injurious to them.    The richer citizens, who might be more in- SI ill
1 111
[Chap. VI.
dependent of such attacks, love their ease or their books, and from
indolence often abandon the field to the more ignorant; but I
met with many optimists who declared that whenever the country
is threatened with any great danger or disgrace, there is a right-
minded majority whose energies can be roused effectively into
action. Nevertheless, the sacrifices required on such occasions
to work upon the popular mind are so great, that the field is in
danger of being left open, on all ordinary occasions, to the demagogue.
When I urged these and other objections against the working
of their republican institutions, I was sometimes told that every
political system has its inherent vices and defects, that the evil
will soon be mitigated by the removal of ignorance and the improved education of the many. Sometimes, instead of an argument, they would ask me whether any of the British colonies are
more prosperous in commerce, manufactures, or agriculture, or are
doing as much to promote good schools, as some even of their most
democratic states, such as New Hampshire and Maine ? " Let
our institutions," they said, "be judged of by their fruits." To
such an appeal, an Englishman as much struck as I had been
with the recent progress of things in those very districts, and
with the general happiness, activity, and contentment of all
classes, could only respond by echoing the sentiment of the Chancellor Oxenstiern, " Quam parva sapientia mundus gubernatur."
How great must be the amount of misgovernment in the world
in general, if a democracy like this can deserve to rank so high
in the comparative scale !
Oct. 10.—In the stage coach, between Franconia and Plymouth, iu New Hampshire, we were at first the only inside
passengers ; but about half way we met on the road two men
and two women, respectably dressed, who might, we thought, have
come from some of the sea-ports. They made a bargain with' the
driver to give them inside seats at a cheap rate. As we were
annoyed by the freedom of their manners and conversation, I told
the coachman, when we stopped to change horses, that we had
a right to protection against the admission of company at half
price, and, if they went on further, I must go on the outside with Chap. VI.]    RETURN FROM THE WHITE MOUNTAINS.
my wife. He immediately apologized, and went up to the two
young men and gave them their choice to take their seats behind
him or be left on the road. To my surprise, they quietly accepted
the former alternative. The ladies, for the first half mile, were
mute, then burst out into a fit of laughter, amused at the; ludicrous
position of their companions on the outside, who were sitting in a
pelting rain. They afterward behaved with decorum, and I
mention the incident because it was the only unpleasant adventure of the kind which we experienced in the course of all our
travels in the United States. In general, there is no country
where a woman could, with so much comfort and security, undertake a long journey alone.
As we receded from the mountains, following the banks of the
river Pemigewasset, the narrow valley widened gradually, till,
first, a small, grassy, alluvial flat, and, at length, some cultivated
fields, intervened between the stream and the boundary rocks of
mica schist and granite. Occasionally the low river-plain was
separated from the granite by a^terrace of sand and gravel.
Usually many boulders, with a few large^aetached blocks, some
of them nine feet in diameter, were strewed over the granite
rocks. These, as generally throughout. New England, break
out here and there, from beneath their covering of drift, in smooth
bosses, or rounded, dome-shaped forms, called in the Alps " roches
moutonnees." The contrast is very picturesque between the
level and fertile plain and the region of lichen-covered rock, or
sterile, quartzose sand, partially clothed with the native forest,
now in its autumnal beauty, and lighted up by a bright sun.
On the flat ground bordering the river, we passed many wagons
laden with yellow heads of Indian corn, over which were piled
many a huge pumpkin of a splendid reddish orange color. These
vehicles were drawn by oxen, with long horns spreading out
We stopped for the night in an inland village on which the
maritime name of Plymouth has been bestowed. Here we spent
a Sunday. There were two meeting-houses in the place, one
Congregational and the other Methodist, which shared between
them, in nearly equal proportions, the whole population of the 88
[Chap. VI
township. We went with our landlord first to one, and then,
in the afternoon, to the other. Each service lasted about seventy
minutes, and they were so arranged that the first began at half-
past ten, and the second ended at two o'clock, for the convenience
of the country people, who came in vehicles of all kinds, many
of them from great distances. The reading, singing, and preaching would certainly not suffer by comparison with the average
service in rural districts in churches of the Establishment in
England. The discourse of the Methodist, delivered fluently
without notes, and with much earnestness, kept hiB hearers
awake ; and once, when my own thoughts were wandering,
they were suddenly recalled to the pulpit by the startling question—whether, if some intimate friend, whom we had lost,
should return to us from the world of spirits, his message would
produce more effect on our minds than did the raising of Lazarus
on the Jews of old ? He boldly affirmed that it would not. I
began to think how small would be the sensation created by a
miracle performed in the present day in Syria and many Eastern
countries, especially in Persia, where they believe in the power
of their own holy men occasionally to raise persons from the dead,
in comparison to its effect in New England ; and how readily he
Jews of old believed in departures from the ordinary course of
nature, by the intervention of evil spirits or the power of magic.
But I presume the preacher merely meant to say, and no doubt
his doctrine was true, that a voice or sign from Heaven would
no more deter men from sinning, than do the clear dictates of
their consciences, in spite of which they yield to temptation.
In the evening I walked on a roofed wooden bridge, resembling many in Switzerland, which here spans the Pemigewasset,
and the keeper of it told me how the whole river is frozen over
in winter, but the ice being broken by the falls above, does not
carry away the bridge. He also related how his grandfather,
who had lived to be an old man, had gone up the river with an
exploring party among the Indians, and how there was a bloody
battle at the forks above, where the Indians were defeated, after
great slaughter on both sides.
On entering the stage coach the next morning, on our way Chap. VI.]
south, we had two inside fellow-travelers with us. One of
them was a blacksmith of Boston, and the other a glover of
Plymouth. After conversing on the price of agricultural implements, they fell into a keen controversy on several biblical questions. After mentioning instances of great longevity in New
Hampshire, the glover raised the question, whether the antediluvian patriarchs really lived seven or eight centuries, or whether, as he supposed, we were to take these passages in a " mythical sense." " For his part, he thought we might, perhaps, interpret them to mean that the family stock, or dynasty, of a particular patriarch, endured for those long periods." He also went
on to say, that the Deluge did not cover the highest mountains
literally, but only figuratively*•, Against these latitudinarian notions the blacksmith strongly protested, declaring his faith in the
literal and exact interpretation of the sacred record ; but at the
same time treating his antagonist as one who had a right to indulge his own opinions. As^soon as there was a pause in the
conversation, I asked them if they approved of a frequent change
of ministers, such as I found to prevail in New England—the
Methodists remaining only two years, and the Congregationalists
only four or six at the utmost, in one parish. They seemed
much surprised to learn from me, that in England we thought a
permanent relation between the pastor and his flock to be natural and desirable. Our people, they observed, are fond of variety, and there would always be danger, when they grew tired
of a preacher, of their running after others of a different sect.
" Besides," said the blacksmith, " how are they to keep up with
the reading of the day, and improve their minds, if they remain
forever in one town ? They have first their parish duties, then
they are expected to write two new sermons every week, usually
referring to some matters of interest of the day ; but if they have
a call to a new parish, they not only gain new ideas, but much
leisure, for they may then preach over again their old sermons."
He then told me that he had not visited New Hampshire for
ten years, and was much struck with the reform which, in that
interval, the temperance movement had worked in the hotels and
habits of the people.    Mr. Mason, an emaaent lawyer of Boston, 90
! ' ii
[Chap. VI
since dead, with whom I afterward spoke on the same subject,
informed me that much stronger measures had been taken in
Massachusetts, where the Legislature first passed a law, that no
rum or ardent spirits should be sold without a license, and then
the magistrates in many townships resolved that within their
limits no licenses should be granted. " A most arbitrary proceeding," he said, " and perhaps unconstitutional ; for the Federal Government levies a duty on the importation of spirits, and
this is a blow struck at their revenue. But you can have no
idea," he added, " how excess in drinking ruins the health in this
climate. I have just been reading the life of Lord Eldon, and
find that he was able, when in full work, to take with impunity
a bottle of port a day, which would kill any sedentary New
Englander in three years."
We left the stage when we reached the present terminus of
the Boston railway at Concord, and, anxious for letters from
England, went immediately to the post-office, where they told us
that the post-bag had been sent by mistake to Concord in Massachusetts, the letters of that township having been forwarded to
this place. Such blunders are attributable to two causes, for
both of which the practical good sense of the American people
will, it is hoped, soon find a cure. Synonymous appellations
might be modified by additions of north and south, east and west,
&c. ; and the General Post-office might publish a directory, and
prohibit the future multiplication of the same names in a country where not only new towns, but new states are every day starting into existence. The other evil is a political one ; the practice first, I am told, carried out unscrupulously during the presidentship of General Jackson, of regarding all placemen, down to
subordinate officials, such as the village post-master, as a body
of electioneering agents, who must support the Federal Government. They who happen, therefore, to be of opposite opinions,
must turn out as often as there is a change of ministry. On
more than one occasion I have known the stage make a circuit
of several miles in Massachusetts, to convey the mail to the
postmaster's residence, because, forsooth, in the said village, all
the houses which lay in the direct road belonging to trustworthy Chap. VI.]
men, were those of Whigs. In short, the mail, like the cabinet
at Washington, had to go out of its way to hunt up a respectable
democrat, and he, when found, has to learn a new craft. By
leaving such places to the patronage of each state, this Class of
abuses would be much lessened.
Oct. 14.—Next morning we received all our letters from
England, only a fortnight old, and had time to travel seventy-
five miles by railway to Boston before dark. When I took out
the tickets they told me we had no time to lose, saying, "Be as
spry as you can," meaning "quick," "active." From the cars
we saw the Merrimack at the rapids, foaming over the granite
rocks; and, when I reflected on the extent of barren country
all round us, and saw many spaces covered with loose, moving
sands, like the dunes on the coast, I could not help admiring the
enterprise and industry which has created so much wealth in
this wilderness. We were told of the sudden increase of the
new town of Manchester, ana^^passed Lowell, only twenty-five
years old, with its population of Str^^lQO inhabitants, and^ its
twenty-four churches and religious societies. Some of the manufacturing companies here have given notice that they will employ no one who does not attend divine worship, and whose character is not strictly moral. Most of the 9000 factory girls of
this place, concerning whom so much has been written, ought
not to be compared to those of England, as they only remain five
or six years in this occupation, and are taken in general from a
higher class in society. Bishop Potter, in his work entitled
" The School," tells us (p. 119) " that in the Boott factory there
were about 950 young women employed for five and a half years,
and that only one case was known of an illegitimate birth, and
then the mother was an Irish emigrant."
I was informed by a fellow-traveler that the joint-stock companies of Lowell have a capital of more than two millions sterling invested. " Such corporations," he said, " are too aristocratic for our ideas, and can combine to keep down the price of
wages." But one of the managers, in reply, assured me that
the competition of rival factories is great, and the work-people
pass freely from one company to another, being only required to 92
[Chap. VI.
sign an agreement to give a fortnight's notice to quit. He also
maintained that, on the contrary, they are truly democratic institutions, the shares being as low as 500 dollars, and often held
by the operatives, as some of them were by his own domestic
servants. By this system the work-people are prevented from
looking on the master manufacturers as belonging to a distinct
class, having different interests from their own. The holders of
small shares have all the advantages of partners, but are not
answerable for the debts of the establishment beyond their deposits. They can examine all the accounts annually, when there
is a public statement of their affairs.
An English overseer told me that he and other foremen were
receiving here, and in other New England mills, two dollars and
two and a half dollars a day (8s. 6d. and 10s. 6d.). CHAPTER VII.
Plymouth, Massachusetts.—Plymouth Beach.—Marine Shells.—Quicksand.
—Names of Pilgrim Fathers.—Forefathers' Day.—Pilgrim Relics.—
Their Authenticity considered.—Decoy Pond.—A Barn Traveling.—
Excursion to Salem.—Museum.—Warrants for Execution of Witches.—
Cjiuses of the Persecution.—Conversation with Colored Abolitionists.——
Comparative Capacity of White and Negro Races.—Half Breed|||ipd
Hybrid Intellects.
Oct. 15, 1845.—After spending a day in Boston, weffeet
out by stage for Plymouth, Massachusetts, thirty-eight miles in
a southwest direction, for I wished to see the spot where the
Pilgrim Fathers landed, and where the first colony was founded
in New England. In the suburbs of Boston we went through
some fine streets called the South Cove, the houses built on piles,
where I had seen a marsh only three-vears ago.« It was a bright
day, and, as we skirted the noble bay, moadeep blue sea was seen
enlivened with the white sails of vessels laden with granite from
the quarries of Quincy, a village through which we soon afterward passed.
When we had journeyed eighteen miles into the country I
was told we were in Adams-street, and afterward, when in a
winding lane with trees on each side, and without a house in
sight, that we were in Washington-street. But nothing could
surprise me again after having been told one day in New Hampshire, when seated on a rock in the midst of the wild woods, far
from any dwelling, that I was in the exact center of the town.
" God made the country, and man made the town,"
sang the poet Cowper : and I can well imagine how the village
pupils must be puzzled until the meaning of this verse has been
expounded to them by the schoolmaster.
On the whole, the scenery of the low granitic region bordering
the Atlantic in New England preserves a uniform character over
a wide space, and is without striking features; yet occasionally
the landscape is most agreeable.    At one time we  skirted  a 94
[Chap. VII.
B Illtf
swamp bordered by red cedars ; at another a small lake, then
hills of barren sand, then a wood where the sumach and oak,
with red and yellow fading leaves, were mixed with pines ; then
suddenly a bare rock of granite or gneiss rises up, with one side
quite perpendicular, fifteen or twenty-five feet high, and covered
on its summit with birch, fir, and oak.
We admired the fine avenues of drooping elms in the streets
of Plymouth as we entered, and went to a small old-fashioned
inn called the Pilgrim House, where I hired a carriage, in which
the landlord drove us at once to see the bay and visit Plymouth
beach. This singular bar of sand, three miles long, runs across
part of the bay directly opposite the town, and, two miles distant
from it, serving as a breakwater to the port; in spite of which the
sea has been making great inroads, and might have swept away all
the wharves but for this protection. As the bar was fast wasting
away, the Federal Government employed engineers to erect a wooden framework, secured with piles, a mile long, which has been filled
with stones, and which has caused an accumulation of sand to take
place. This beach reminded me of the bar of Hurst Castle, in Hampshire ; and in both cases a stream enters the bay where the beach
joins the land. It is well known that the Plymouth bar was a
narrow neck of land eighty years ago; and one of the inhabitants
told me that when a boy he had gathered nuts, wild grapes, and
plums there. Even fifty years ago some stumps of trees were
still remaining, whereas nothing now can be seen but a swamp,
a sea-beach, and some shoals adjoining them. Here I spent an
hour with my wife collecting shells, and we found eighteen species,
twelve peculiar to America, and six common to Europe; namely,
Buccinum undatum, Purpura lapillus, Wlya arenaria, Cyp-
ri?ta islandica, Modiola papuana, and Mytilus edulis, all species which have a high northern range, and which, the geologist
will remark, are found fossil in the drift or glacial deposits both
of North America and Europe, and have doubtless continued to
-inhabit both hemispheres from that era. South of Cape Cod the
mollusca are so different from the assemblage inhabiting the sea
north of that cape, that we may consider it as the limit of two
provinces of marine testacea. Chap. VII.]
The most conspicuous shell scattered over the smooth sands
was the large and ponderous Mactra solidissima, some specimens
of which were six inches and a half in their greatest length, and
much larger and heavier than any British bivalve. The broad
and deep muscular impression in the interior of each valve is
indicative of a great power of clasping; and I was assured by a
good zoologist of Boston that this mollusk has been known to
close upon the coot, or velvet duck (FuUgula fused), and the
blue-winged teal (Anas dim^s), when they have been feeding
on themx holding these feathered enemies so fast by the beak or
claw,, that the tide has come~\ip and drowned them.
After we had been some time engaged in collecting shells, we
turned round and saw the horses of our vehicle sinking in a
quicksand, plunging violently, and evidently in the greatest terror.
For a few minutes our landlord, the driver, expected that they
and the carriage and himself would have been swallowed up;
but he succeeded at last in quieting them, and after they had
rested for some time, though stixltrembling, they had strength
' enough to turn round, and by many plunges^to^ get back again to
a firm part of the beach. yXv
The wind was bitterly cold, and we learned that on the evening before the sea had been frozen over near the shore; yet it
was two months* later when, on the 22d of December, 1620,
now called Forefathers' Day, the Pilgrims, consisting of 101
souls, landed here from the Mayflower. No wonder that half \
of them perished from the severity of the first winter. They
who escaped seem, as if in compensation, to have been rewarded
with unusual longevity. We saw in the grave-yard the tombs
of not a few whose ages ranged from seventy-nine to ninety-nine
years. The names inscribed on their monuments are very char
acteristic of Puritan times, with a somewhat grotesque mixture
of other very familiar ones, as Jerusha, Sally, Adoniram, Consider,
Seth, Experience, Dorcas, Polly, Eunice, Eliphalet, Mercy, &c.
The New Englanders laugh at the people of the " Old Colony"
for remaining in a primitive state, and are hoping that the railroad from Boston, now nearly complete, may soon teach them to
go a-head.     But they who visit the town for the sake of old 96
[Chap. VII.
I 111
j 111
associations, will not complain of the antique style of many of
the buildings, and the low rooms with paneled walls, and huge
wooden beams projecting from the ceilings, such as I never saw
elsewhere in America. Some houses built of brick brought from
Holland, notwithstanding the abundance of brick-earth in the
neighborhood, were pointed out to us in Leyden-street, so called
from the last town in Europe where the pilgrims sojourned after
they had been driven out of their native country by religious
persecution. In some private houses we were interested in
many venerated heir-looms, kept as relics of the first settlers,
and among others an antique chair of carved wood, which came
over in the Mayflower, and still retains the marks of the staples
which fixed it to the floor of the cabin. This, together with a
seal of Governor Winslow, was shown me by an elderly lady,
Mrs. Haywood, daughter of a Winslow and a White, and who
received them from her grandmother. In a public building,
called Pilgrim Hall, we saw other memorials of the same kind ;
as, for example, a chest or cabinet, which had belonged to Peregrine White, the first child born in the colony, and which came
to him from his mother, and had been preserved to the fifth
generation in the same family, when it was presented by them
to the Museum. By the side of it was a pewter dish, also given
by the White family. In the same collection, they have a chair
brought over in the Mayflower, and the helmet of King Philip,
the Indian chief, with whom the first settlers had many a desperate fight.
A huge fragment of granite, a boulder which lay sunk in the
beach, has always been traditionally declared to have been the
exact spot which the feet of the Pilgrims first trod when they
landed here ; and part of this same rock still remains on the
wharf, while another portion has been removed to the center of
the town, and inclosed within an iron railing, on which the
names of forty-two of the Pilgrim Fathers are inscribed. They
who can not sympathize warmly with the New Englanders for
cherishing these precious relics, are not to be envied, and it is a
praiseworthy custom to celebrate an annual festival, not only
here, but in places several thousand miles distant.     Often at Chap. VII.]
New Orleans, and in other remote parts of the Union, we hear
of settlers from the North meeting on the 22d of December to
commemorate the birth-day of New England; and when they
speak fondly of their native hills and valleys, and recall their
early recollections, they are drawing closer the ties which bind
together a variety of independent States into one great confederation.
Colonel Perkins, of Boston, well known for his munificence,
especially in founding the Asylum for the Blind, informed me,
in 1846, that there was but one link wanting in the chain of
personal communication between him and Peregrine White, the
first white child born in Massachusetts, a few days after the
Pilgrims landed. White lived to an advanced age, and was
known to a man of the name of Cobb, whom Colonel Perkins
visited, in 1807, with some friends who yet survive. Cobb died
in 1808, the year after Colonel Perkins saw him. He was then
blind; but his memory fresh foi* every thing which had happened
in his manhood. He had servedaasa soldier at the taking of
Louisbourg in Cape Breton, in 17457^and-^emembered when
there were many Indians near Plymouth. The inhabitants
occasionally fired a cannon near the town to frighten them, and
to this cannon the Indians gave the name of " Old Speakum."
When we consider the grandeur of the results which have
been realized in the interval of 225 years, since the Mayflower
sailed into Plymouth harbor—how in that period a nation of
twenty millions of souls has sprung into existence and peopled a
vast continent, and covered it with cities, and churches, schools,
colleges, and railroads, and filled its rivers and ports with steamboats and shipping—we regard the Pilgrim relics with that kind
of veneration which trivial objects usually derive from high antiquity alone. For we measure time not by the number of arithmetical figures representing years or centuries, but by the importance of a long series of events, which strike the imagination.
When I expressed these sentiments to a Boston friend, he asked
me, " Why, then, may we not believe in the relics of the early
Christians displayed at Rome, which they say the mother of
Constantine brought home from the Holy Land only three cen-
vox. i.—E IHI i
[Chap. VII.
v fl IF i
turies after Christ—such, for example, as the true cross, the cradle
in which the infant Jesus lay, the clothes in which he was wrapped up, and the table on which the last Supper was laid ? The
Puritans also believed, as do their descendants, that they wer^
suffering in fhe cause of religious truth, and this feeling may have
imparted additional sanctity to all memorials of their exile and
adventures ; yet how incomparably greater must have been the
veneration felt by the early Christians for all that belonged to
their divine teacher !" These observations led me to dwell on
the relative authenticity of the relics in the two cases—the clearness of the historical evidence in the one, its worthlessness in the
other. It has been truly said that the strength of every chain
of historical testimony, like that of a chain of brass or iron, must
be measured by the force of its weakest link. The earliest links
in every traditional tale are usually the weakest; but in the case
of the sacred objects said to have been obtained by Queen Helena,
there are more links absolutely wanting, or a greater chasm of
years without any records whatever, than the whole period which
separates our times from those of the Pilgrim Fathers. The
credulity of Helena, the notorious impostures of the monks of her
age, the fact that three centuries elapsed before it was pretended
that the true cross had been preserved, and another century before it was proved to be genuine by miracles, and a still further
lapse Of time before all doubt was set at rest by the resuscitation
of a dead person—the extravagance of supposing that the Christians, when they escaped with difficulty from Jerusalem, just before the siege, should have carried with them in their flight so
cumbersome a piece of furniture as the table, have all been well
exposed.5^ But in regard to the genuineness of all the Pilgrim
treasures shown me at Plymouth and elsewhere I indulged entire
faith, until one day my confidence was disturbed in the Museum
at Salem. A piece of furniture which came over in the Mayflower was pointed out to me, and the antiquary who was my
guide remarked, that as the wood of the true cross, scattered over
Christendom, has been said to be plentiful enough to build a man-
of-war, so it might be doubted whether a ship of the line would
* Second Travels of an Irish Gentlemanj 1833, vol. ii. p. 186. Chap. VII.]
contain all the heavy articles which freighted the Mayflower in
her first voyage, although she was a vessel of only 180 tons. I
immediately recollected a large heavy table, which I had seen in
1842, in the rooms of the Historical Society at Bosten, which
they told me had come over in the Mayflower, and my attention
had been called to the marks of .the staples which fixed it to the
cabin floor. I accordingly returned to tfeat Museum, and found
there the sword of Elder Brewster, as well as that with which
Colonel Church cut off King Philip's ear, and the gun with which
that formidable Indian warrior was shot. The heavy table, too,
was there, measuring two feet six inches in height, six feet in
length, and five feet in breadth, and I asked Mr. Savage, the
President of the Society, how they obtained it. It had certainly
belonged, he said, to Governor Carver, but reasonable doubts
were entertained whether it had ever been brought to New England^ in the Mayflower, especially in the month of December,
162€ ; "dor you are aware,"s^e added, " that the Mayflower
made several voyages, and at eac^tripimported many valuables
of this kind." In an instant, more than^hlctf-my romance about
the Pilgrim relics was dispelled. They lost hfdbf the charms with
which my implicit faith had invested them, for I began to consider how many of the chairs and tables I had ^azed upon with
so much interest, might have been " made to order," by cabinet
makers, in the old country, and sent out to the new colonists.
Byron has said—£
" There's not a joy this world can give like that it takes away;"
and some may think the same of certain lines of historical research. I must, however, declare my firm belief that some of
the articles shown me at Plymouth are true and genuine relics
of the olden time—treasures which really accompanied the heroic
band who first landed on the beach of Plymouth Bay, and which
deserve to be landed down with reverential care to posterity.
On our way back from Plymouth to Boston, we passed near
the village of East Weymouth, by a djecoy pond, where eight
wild geese, called Canada geese, had been shot since the morning.    Swimming in the middle of a sheet of water'was a tame 100
[Chap. VII.
goose, having one leg tied by a string to a small leaden weight;
and near it were a row of wooden imitations of geese, the sight
of which, and the cries of the tame goose, attract the'wild birds.
As soon as they fly down they are shot by sportsmen of a true
New England stamp, not like the Indian hunters, impatient of
a sedentary life or steady labor, but industrious cobblers, each sitting all day at his own door, with his loaded gun lying by his
side, his hands occupied in stitching "russet brogans" or boots
for the southern negroes, to be sold at the rate of twenty cents, or
tenpence a pair. After working an hour or two, he seizes his
gun, and down comes a goose, which may fetch in the Boston
market, in full season, two and a half dollars—the value of a
dozen pair of brogans.
As we approached the capital, we met a large wooden barn
drawn by twenty-four oxen. It was placed on rollers, which
were continually shifted from behind forward, as fast as the barn
passed over them. The removal of this large building had become necessary, because it stood directly in the way of the new
railway from Boston to Plymouth, which is to be opened in a few
weeks. A fellow-traveler told us of a wooden meeting-house in
Hadley, which had been transferred in like manner to a more
populous part of the township. 1 In English steeple-chases,"
said he, " the church itself, I believe, does not take part ?"
Nov.^6.—Made an excursion to the seaport of Salem, about
fourteen miles to the N.E. of Boston, a place of 17,000 inhabitants.
Dr. Wheatland, a young physician, to whom I had gone
without letters of introduction, politely showed us over the
Museum of Natural History, of which he was curator; and
over another full of articles illustrative of the arts, manners, and
customs of the East Indies, China, and Japan ; for this city is a
great resort of retired merchants and sea-captains. In both collections there are a variety of objects which may appear, on a
hasty view, to form a heterogeneous and unmeaning jumble, but
which are really curious and valuable. Such repositories ought
to accompany public libraries in every large city, for they afford
a kind of instruction which can not be obtained from books.    To Chap. VII.]
public lectures, which are much encouraged here, and are effective
means of stimulating the minds of all classes, especially the middle and lower, they furnish essential aid. Among other specimens
of natural history, too large to be conveniently accommodated in
any private house, I was glad of an opportunity of examining the
great jaw-bones and teeth of the Squalus serridens, from the
South Seas, which reminded me, by their serrated outline, of the
teeth of the fossil Zeuglodon, hereafter to be mentioned. I was
well pleased to observe that the shells of the neighboring coast
had not been neglected, for people are often as ignorant of the
natural history of the region they inhabit, especially of the lakes,
rivers, and the sea, as of the flora and fauna of the antipodes.
Many curious log-books of the early sea-captains of this port, who
ventured in extreme ignorance of geography on distant voyages,
are preserved here, and attest the daring spirit of those hardy
navigators. Some of them sailed to India by the Cape, without
a single chart or map, except trnvtsmall one of the world, on
Mercator's projection, contained in Gulhrie^G-eography. They
used no sextants, but, working their dead-reckoning with chalk
on a plank, guessed at the sun's position with their hand at noon.
They had usually -no* capital, but started With a few beads and
trinkets, and in exchange for these trifles often obtained the skins
of sea-otters in the Oregon territory, each worth no less than 100
dollars. They also obtained sandal-wood in the Sandwich Islands,
and bartered these and other articles in China for tea. On such
slender means, and so lately as after the separation of the colonies
from England, at a time when there was not a single American
ship of war in the Indian or Chinese seas to protect their commerce, did many merchants of Boston and Salem lay the foundations of the princely fortunes they now enjoy.
In the course of the day we visited the court-house at Salem,
where they keep the warrants issued by the judges to the high-
sheriff in the years 1692 and 1693, for the execution of witches
condemned to death. Here we read the depositions of witnesses,
attesting such facts as that heifers and horses had died, and that
cats had been taken ill, and that a man had been pierced by a
knitting-needle to the depth of four inches, the wound healing 102
[Chap, t*
the instant the witch had been taken up. A bottle is preserved,
which had been handed in to the Court at the time of the trial,
full of pins, with which young women had been tormented. Some
of the girls, from whose bodies these pins had been extracted,
afterward confessed to a conspiracy. In the evening we walked
to the place called Gallows Hill, in the suburbs of the city, where
no less than nineteen persons were hanged as witches in the
course of fifteen months.
It is impossible not to shudder when we reflect that these
victims of a dark superstition were tried, so late as the year 1692,
by intelligent men, by judges who, though they may have been
less learned, are reputed to have been as upright as Sir Matthew
Hale, who, in England, condemned a witch to death in 1665.
The prisoners were also under the protection of a jury, and the
forms of law, copied from the British courts, so favorable to the
accused in capital offenses. We learn from history that an
epidemic resembling epilepsy raged at the time in Massachusetts,
and, being attributed to witchcraft, solemn fasts and meetings for
extraordinary prayers were appointed, to implore Heaven to avert
that evil, thereby consecrating and confirming the popular belief
in its alleged cause. As the punishment of the guilty was thought
to be a certain remedy for the disorder, the morbid imagination
of the patient prompted him to suspect some individual to be the
author of his sufferings, and his evidence that he had seen spectral
apparitions of witches inflicting torments on him was received as
conclusive. One hundred and fifty persons were in prison awaiting trial, and two hundred others had been presented to the
magistrate, when the delusion was dissipated by charges being
brought against the wife of the Governor Phipps, and some of
the nearest relatives of Mather, an influential divine. It was
then found that by far the greater number of atrocities had been
prompted by fear ; for during this short reign of terror the popular
mind was in so disordered a state, that almost every one had to
choose between being an accuser or a victim, and from this motive
many afterward confessed that they had brought charges against
the innocent.*    The last executions for witchcraft in England
* See " Graham's History," vol. i. ch. v. p. 392. Chap. VII.]
were as late as 1716 ; but still later, in 1766, the Seceders in
Scotland published an act of their associate Presbytery, denouncing that memorable act of the English parliament which repealed
all the penal statutes against witchcraft.
The equal reverence paid by the Puritans and Scotch Seceders
to the Jewish and Christian Scriptures (if, indeed, they did not
hold the Old Testament in greater veneration than the New),
was the chief cause of the superstition which led to these judicial
murders. They had, indeed, in common with other Protestant
sects, rejected the miracles ascribed to the Christian saints of the
middle ages, because they were not supported by sufficient historical testimony. They had stood forward in the face of cruel
persecutions courageously to vindicate the right of private judgment ; and they held it to be not only the privilege, but the duty,
of every Christian, layman or ecclesiastic, to exercise his reason,
and not yield himself up blindly to the authority of an earthly
teacher. Yet if any one daredVhi 1692, to call in question the
existence of the witchcraft, he wasstigrnatized as an infidel, and
refuted by the story of the Witch of Endor evoking the ghost of
the dead Samuel. Against the recurrence of such dreadful
crimes as those perpetrated in the years 1602—93, society is now
secured, not by judges and juries of a more conscientious character or deeper sense of religious responsibility, but by the general
spread of knowledge, or that more enlightened public opinion,
which can never exist in the same perfection in the minds of the
initiated few, so long as the multitude with whom they must be
in contact are kept in darkness.
On our return from Salem to Boston, we found the seats immediately before us in the railway car occupied by two colored
men, who were laughing and talking familiarly with two negro
women, apparently servant maids. The women left us at tho
first station, and we then entered into conversation with the
men who, perceiving by our accent, that we were foreigners, were curious to know what we thought of their country.
Hearing that it was our intention to winter in the south, the
elder traveler " hoped we should not be tainted there." My
wife, supposing he alluded to the yellow fever, said, | We sbfttll 104
[Chap. VII
be there in the cool season." He replied, "I was thinking of the
moral atmosphere of the southern states." His pronunciation and
expression were so entirely those of a well-educated white man, that
we were surprised, and, talking freely with him and his companion,
learnt that the elder, who was very black, but not quite a full negro,
was from Delaware, and had been educated at an " abolition college"
in Ohio. . The younger, who was still darker, had been a slave in
Kentucky, and had run away. They were traveling to collect
funds for a school for runaway negroes, near Detroit, and expressed
great satisfaction that at Salem they had found " the colored and
white children all taught together in the same school, this not
being the case in Boston." I told them that I had just seen a
white landholder from Barbadoes, who had assured me that
emancipation had answered well in that island ; that there was
a colored man in the legislature, another in the executive council,
and several in the magistracy, and that much progress had been
made in the general education of the blacks. The Delawarian
remarked that this was cheering news, because the recent bad
success of his race in Hayti had been used as an argument by
the southern planters against their natural capacity for civilization. He then descanted on the relative liberality of feeling toward colored men in the various free states, and was very severe
on Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio. I expressed surprise in regard to
Ohio; but the Kentuckian affirmed that the law there afforded no
real equality of protection to the black man, as he could not give
evidence in courts of law, but must procure a white man as a
witness. There had been a scuffle, he said, lately between a man
of color and a white at Dayton, and, on the white being killed,
the mob had risen and pulled down the houses of all the other
black people. He went on narrating stories of planters shooting
their slaves, and other tales of Kentucky, the accuracy of which
my subsequent visit to that state gave me good reason to question.
But I could not help being amused with the patriotism of this
man ; for, however unenviable he may have found his condition
as a slave, he was still a thorough Kentuckian, and ready to
maintain that in climate, soil, and every other quality, that state
was immeasurably superior to the rest of the Union, especially Chap. VII.]
to Ohio, emancipation alone being wanting to demonstrate this
fact to the world.
This adventure confirmed me in the opinion I had previously
formed, that if the colored men had fair play, and were carefully
educated, they might soon be safely intrusted with equality of
civil and political rights. Whatever may be their present inferiority as a race, some of them have already shown superior
abilities to a great many of the dominant whites." Whether, in
the course of many generations, after the intense prejudices indulged against them have abated, they would come up to the
intellectual standard of Europeans, is a question which time
alone can decide. It has been affirmed by some anatomists that
the brain of an adult negro resembles that of a white child ; and
Tiedemann, judging by the capacity of the cranium, found the
brains of some of our uncivilized British ancestors not more developed than the average sized negro's brain. He says, " there
is undoubtedly a very close connection between the absolute size
of the brain, and the intellectual pow^rs-~and^Junctions of the
mind." After a long series of observations and measurements,
he refutes the idea that the brain of a negro has more resemblance to that of the orang-outang than the European brain.*
Mr. Owen, having some years ago made a post-mortem examination at St. Bartholomew's Hospital of the brain of an adult
Irish laborer, found that it did not weigh more than the average
brain of a youth from the educated classes of the age of fourteen;
and he tells me, in a letter on this subject, that he is not aware
" of any modification of form or size in the negro's brain that
would support an inference that the Ethiopian race would not
profit by the same influences favoring mental and moral improvement, which have tended to elevate the primitively barbarous white races of men."
The separation of the colored children in the Boston schools,
before alluded to, arose, as I afterward learned, not from an indulgence in anti-negro feelings, but because they find they can
in this way bring on both races faster. Up to the age of fourteen the black children advance as fast as the whites; but after
* Phil. Trans. London, 1836, p. 497. 106
[Chap. VII.
that age, unless there be an admixture of white blood, it becomes
in most instances extremely difficult to carry them forward.
That the half breeds should be intermediate between the two
parent stocks, and that the colored race should therefore gain in
mental capacity in proportion as it approximates in physical
organization to the whites, seems natural; and yet it is a wonderful fact, psychologically considered, that we should be able to
trace the phenomena of hybridity even into the world of intellect
and reason.
Pretended Fossil Sea Serpent, or Zenglodon, from Alabama.—Recent
Appearance of a Sea Serpent in Gulf of St. Lawrence.—In Norway, in
1845.—Near Cape Ann, Massachusetts, 1817.—American Descriptions.
—Conjectures as to Nature of the Animal.—Sea Snake stranded in the
Orkneys proved to be a Shark.—Dr. Barclay's Memoir.—Sir Everard
Home's Opinion.—Sea Serpent of Hebrides, 18Q8.—Reasons for concluding that Pontopiddan's Sea Snake was a baskmg Shark.—Capt.
M'Quhae's Sea Serpent.
During the first part of my stay in Boston, October, 1845,
we one day saw the walls in the principal streets covered with
placards, in which the words sea serpent alive figured conspicuously. On approaching near enough to read the smaller
type of this advertisement, I found that Mr. Koch was about to
exhibit to the Bostonians the fossuskeleton of " that colossal and
terrible reptile the sea serpent, which, when alive, measured
thirty fee# in circumference." The public were also informed
that tips hydrarchos, or water king, was the leviathan of the
Book of Job, chapter xlL I shall have occasion in the sequel,
when describing my expedition in Alabama to the exact site
from whence these fossil remains were disinterred by Mr. Koch,
of showing that they belong to the zeuglodon, first made out by
Mr. Owen to be an extinct oetacean of truly vast dimensions,
and which I ascertained to be referable geologically to the
Eocene period.
In the opinion of the best comparative anatomists, there is no
reason to believe that th^ fossil whale bore any resemblance in
form, when alive, to a snake, although the bones of the vertebral
column, having beeji made to form a continuous series, more than
100 feet in length, by the union of vertebrae derived from more
than one individual, w^sre ingeniously arranged by Mr. Koch in
a serpentine form, so as to convey the impression that motion
Was produced by vertical flexures of the body.
At the very time when I had every day to give an answer to 108       SEA SERPENT IN  GULF OF ST. LAWRENCE.  [Chap. VIII.-
the question whether I really believed the great fossil skeleton
from Alabama to be that of the sea serpent formerly seen on the
coast near Boston, I received news of the reappearance of the
same serpent, in a letter from my friend Mr. J. W. Dawson, of
Pictou, in Nova Scotia. This geologist, with whom I explored
Nova Scotia in 1842, said he was collecting evidence for me of
the, appearance, in the month of August, 1845, at Merigomish,
in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, of a marine monster, about 100
feet long, seen by two intelligent observers, nearly aground in
calm water, within 200 feet of the beach, where it remained in
sight about half an hour, and then got off with difficulty. One
of the witnesses went up a bank in order to look down upon it.
They said it sometimes raised its head (which resembled that of
a seal) partially out of the water. Along its back were a number of humps or protuberances, which, in the opinion of the observer on the beach, were true humps, while the other thought
they were produced by vertical flexures*of the body. Between
the head and the first protuberance there was a straight part of
the back of considerable length, and this part was generally
above water. The color appeared black, and the skin had a
rough appearance. The animal was seen to bend its body
almost into a circle, and again to unbend it with rapidity. It
was slender in proportion to its length. After it had disappeared
in deep water, its wake was visible for some time. There were
no indications of paddles seen. Some other persons who saw it
compared the creature to a long string of fishing-net buoys
moving rapidly about. In the course of the summer, the fishermen on the eastern shore of Prince Edward's Island, in the Gulf
of St. Lawrence, had been terrified by this sea monster, and the
year before, October, 1844, a similar creature swam slowly past
the pier at Arisaig, near the east end of Nova Scotia, and, there
being only a slight breeze at the time, was attentively observed
by Mr. Barry, a millwright of Pictou, who told Mr. Dawson he
was within 120 feet of it, and estimated its length at sixty feet,
and the thickness of its body at three feet. It had. humps on
the back, which seemed too small and close together to be bends
of the body. ©HAP. VIII.]
The body appeared also to move in long undulations, including many of the smaller humps. .  In consequence of this motion
the head and tail were sometimes both out of sight and sometimes both above water, as represented in the annexed outline,
given from memory.
***■ ■*•*■ ■*•«- ■
Drawing from memory of a sea serpent seen at Arisaig, Nova Scotia, Oct. 1844.
The head, a, was rounded and obtuse in front, and was never
elevated more than a foot above the surface. The tail was
•pointed, appearing like half of a mackerel's tail. The color of
the part,seen was black..
It was suggested by Mr. Dawson that a swell in the sea
might give the deceptive appearance of an undulating movement,
as it is well known " that a stic^ hela^horizontally at the surface
of water when there is a ripple seems to have an uneven outline."
But Mr. Barry replied that he observed the animal very attentively, having read accounts of the sea serpent, and feels confident that the undulations were not those of the water.
This reappearance of the monster, commonly called the sea
serpent, was not confined to the Gulf of St. Lawrence ; for, two
months after I left Boston, a letter from one Captain Lawson
went the round of the American papers, dated February, 1846,
giving a description of a marine creature seen by him from his
schooner, when off the coast of Virginia, between Capes Henry
and Charles—body about 100 feet long, with pointed projections
(query, dorsal fins ?) on the back; head small in proportion to
its length.
Precisely in the same years, in July, 1845, and August, 1846,
contemporaneous, and evidently independent accounts were collected hi Norway, and published in their papers, of a marine
animal, of "a rare and singular kind," seen by fishermen and
others, the evidence being taken down by clergymen, surgeons,
and lawyers, whose names are given, and some of whom de- 110
[Chap. VIII.
clared. that ttbey can now no longer doubt- that there lives in
their seas some monster, which has given rise to the tales published by Pontopiddan, Bishop of Bergen, in his Natural History
of Norway (1752), who gave an engraving, which the living witnesses declare to be very like what they saw.
Pontopphlan's figure of the Norwegian sea serpent, published 1752.
These appearances were witnessed in 1845, near Christian-
sand, and at Molde, and in the parish of Sund, the animal entering fiords in hot weather, when the sea was calm. The length
of the creature was from sixty to one hundred feet; color dark,
body smooth, and in thickness, like that of a stout man ; swimming swiftly with serpentine movement, both horizontally and
up and down, raising its blunted head occasionally above the
water ; its eyes bright, but these not perceived by some witnesses ;
its undulating course like that of an eel; its body lay on the sea
like a number of " large kegs," the water much agitated by its
rapid movements, and the waves broke on the shore as when a
steam-boat is passing. From the back of the head a mane like
that of a horse commenced, which waved backward and forward
in the water. Archdeacon Deinboll says, that " the eye-witnesses,
whose testimony he collected, were not so seized with fear as to
impair their powers of observation; and one of them, when
within musket shot, had fired at the monster, and is certain the
shots hit him in the head, after which he dived, but came up
again immediately."
In reading over these recent statements, drawn up by observers
on both sides of the Atlantic, it is impossible not to be struck
with their numerous points of agreement, both with each other
and with those recorded by the New Englanders between the
years 1815 and 1825, when the sea serpent repeatedly visited
the coast of North America*    There is even a coincidence in Chap. VIII.]
most of the contradictions of those who have attempted to describe
what they saw of the color, form, and motion of the animal. At
each of these periods the creature was seen by some persons who
were on the shore, and who could take a leisurely survey of it,
without their imaginations being disturbed by apprehensions of
personal danger. On the other hand, the consternation of the
fishermen in Norway, the Hebrides, and America, who have
encountered this monster, is such, that we are entitled to ask the
question—Is it possible they can have seen nothing more than
an ordinary whale or shark, or a shoal of porpoises, or some other
known cetacean or fish ?
So great a sensation was created by the appearance of a huge
animal, in August, 1817, and for several successive years in the
harbor of Gloucester, Massachusetts, near Cape Ann, that the
Linnsean Society of Boston appointed a committee to collect
evidence on the subject. Jkam well acquainted with two of the
three gentlemen* Dr. Bigelow ^CndMr. F. C. Gray, who drew up
the report, which gwes in detail the^depositiojets of numerous witnesses who saw the creature on shore or at sea, some of them
from a distance of only ten yards. " The monster," they say,
*< was from eighty to ainety feet long, his head usually carried
about two feet above water ; of a dark brown color; the body
with thirty or more protuberances, compared by some to four-
gallon kegs, by others to a string of buoys, and called by several
persons' bunches on the back; motion very rapid, faster than
those of a whale, swimming a mile in three minutes, and sometimes more, leaving a wake behind him; chasing mackerel, herrings, and other fish, which were seen jumping out of the water,
fifty at a time, as he approached. He only came to the surface
of the sea in calm and bright weather. A skillful gunner fired
at him from a boat, and, having taken good aim, felt sure he
must have hit him on the head ; the creature turned toward him,
then dived under the boat, and reappeared a hundred yards on
the other side."
Just as they were concluding their report, an unlucky accident
raised a laugh at the expense of the Linnsean Committee, and
enabled the incredulous to turn the whole matter into ridicule. 112
[Chap. VIII.
1 il::'
It happened that a common New England species of land snake
(Coluber constrictor), full grown, and about three feet long, which
must have been swept out to sea, was cast ashore, and brought
to the committee. It had a series of humps on its back, caused
by the individual happening to have a diseased spine—a fact
which can no longer be disputed, for I have seen the identical
specimen, which is still preserved in spirits in the Museum of
New Haven. As many of the deponents declared this snake to
be an exact miniature of the great monster, the Committee concluded that it might be its young, and, giving a figure of it,
conferred upon it the high-sounding appellation of Scoliophys
Atlanticus, the generic name being derived from the Greek
GKoXcog, scolios, flexible, and o<bic, ophis, snake.
In addition to these published statements, Colonel Perkins, of
Boston, had the kindness to lay before me his notes, made in
July, 1817, when he saw the animal. He counted fourteen projections, six feet apart, on the back, which he imagined to be
vertical flexures of the body when in motion ; but he also saw
the body bent horizontally into the figure of the letter S. It
was of a chocolate brown color, the head flat, and about a foot
across. A friend of his took a pencil sketch of it, which was
found to resemble Pontoppidan's figure, jj Respecting the length,
Mr. Mansfield, a friend of the Colonel, was driving a one-horse
vehicle on a road skirting Gloucester Bay, along the edge of a
cliff, fifty or sixty feet in perpendicular height, when he saw the
sea-serpent at the base of the cliff on the white beach, where
there was not more than six or seven feet water, and, giving the
reins to his wife, looked down uponvthe creature, and made up
his mind that it was ninety feet long. He then took his wife to
the spot, and asked her to guess its length, and she said it was
as long as the wharf behind their house, and this measured about
100 feet. While they were looking down on it, the creature
appeared to be alarmed, and started off. I asked another Bos-
tonian, Mr. Cabot, who saw the monster in 1818, whether it
might not have been a shoal of porpoises following each other in
a line, at the distance of one or two yards, and tumbling over so
* See "Silliman's Journal," vol. ii. p. 156. Chaf. VIII.]
as to resemble a string of floating barrels in motion. He said
that after this explanation had been suggested to him, he was
one of thirty persons who ran along the beach at Nahant, near
Boston, when the sea serpent was swimming very near the shore.
They were all convinced that it was one animal, and they saw
it raise its head out of the water. He added that there were at
that time two sea serpents fishing in the Bay at once.
Among many American narratives of this phenomenon which
have been communicated to me, I shall select one given me by
my friend Mr. William M'llvaine of Philadelphia, because it
seems to attest the fact of the creature having wandered as far
south as Cape Hatteras, in North Carolina, lat. 35°. " Captain
Johnson, of New Jersey, was sailing, in the year 1806, from the
West Indies, on the inner edge of the gulf stream, in a deeply
laden brig, when they were becalmed, and the crew and passengers awe-struck by the sudden apparition of a creature having a
cylindrical body of great length,^and which lifted up its head
eight feet above the water. After gazing at them for several
minutes it retreated, making large undulations like a snake."
The story had been so much discredited that the captain would
only relate it to intimate friends.
After the year 1817, every marvelous tale was called in the
United States a snake story : and when Colonel Perkins went to
Washington twenty years ago, and was asked if he had ever
known a person who had seen the sea serpent, he answered that
he was one of the unfortunate individuals who saw it himself. I
confess that when I left America in 1846, I was in a still more
unfortunate predicament, for I believed in the sea serpent without having seen it. Not that I ever imagined the northern seas
to be now inhabited by a gigantic ophidian, for this hypothesis
has always seemed to me in the highest degree improbable, seeing
that, in the present state of the globe, there is no great development of reptile life in temperate or polar regions, whether in the
northern or southern hemisphere. When we enter high latitudes,
such as those in which the creature called a sea serpent most
frequently occurs, we find even the smaller reptilians, such as
frogs and newts, to grow rare or disappear; and there are no 114
[Chap. VIII.
representatives of the hydrophis or true water-snake, nor of tortoises, nor of the batrachian or lizard tribes.
In like manner, in the geological periods, immediately antecedent to that when the present molluscous fauna came into
existence, there was a similar absence of large reptiles, although
there were then, as now, in colder latitudes, many huge sharks,
seals, narwals, and whales. If, however, the creature observed
in North America and Norway, should really prove to be some
unknown species of any one of these last-mentioned families of
vertebrata, I see no impropriety in its retaining the English
name of sea serpent, just as one of the seals is now called a sea
elephant, and a small fish of the Mediterranean, a sea horse;
while other marine animals are named sea mice and urchins,
although they have only a fanciful resemblance to hedgehogs or
Some naturalists have argued that, if it were an undescribed
species, some of its bones must, ere this, have been washed ashore;
but I question whether we are as yet so well acquainted with all
the tenants of the great deep as to entitle us to attach much
weight to this argument from negative evidence ; and I learn
from good zoologists that there are whales so rare as never to
have been seen since Sibbald described them in Jhe middle of
the seventeenth century. There is also a great cetacean, about
thirty feet long, called Delphinorhyncus micropterus, of which
only three specimens have ever been met with. One of these
was thrown ashore forty years ago on the coast of Scotland, and
the other two stranded on the shores of Belgium and France, and
identified with the British species by Dr. Melville.
The doubts, however, which since my return from the United
States, I have been led to entertain respecting the distinct and
independent existence of the sea serpent, arise from a strong suspicion that it is a known species of sea animal which has actually been cast ashore in the Orkneys, #nd that some of its bones
are now preserved in our museums, showing it to be of the
squaline family, and no stranger to some of the zoologists whom
it has perplexed, nor to many of the seafaring people whom it
has frightened.    In the summer of the year 1808, the fishermen Chap. VIII.]
of the Hebrides were terrified by a monster of huge size and
unusual appearance, which created a great sensation in Scotland.
Three or four months after this apparition, the body of an enormous sea monster was washed ashore (Sept. 1808) on the outer
reefs at Rothesholm Head in Stronsa, one of the Orkneys, where
it was first observed while still entire, and its length measured
by two persons; after which, when somewhat decayed, it was
swept in by another storm, and stranded on the beach, and there
examined by others.     Mr. Neill, well known as a naturalist,
who had been on a visit to Stronsa the same year, but had left
before this occurrence, immediately corresponded with friends on
the spot, among others with Mr. Laing, the historian, and with
a lawyer and physioian, who collected evidence for him.     Their
affidavits, taken in 1808, respectingthe monster, were published
in the Transactions of the Wernerian Society,  of which Mr.
Neill was secretary, and were accompanied by a drawing of the
skeleton, obviously ideal and ver^4ncorrect, with six legs and a
long tail curving several times verticallya^Tlie^rnan who sketched
it reached the spot too late, and when scarcely any part of the
animal remained entire,, and the outline is admitted to have been
taken by him and altered from a figure chalked out upon a table
by another man who had seen it, while one witness denied its
resemblance to what  he had seen.     But a carpenter,  whose
veracity, I am informed by Mr. Neill (in a letter dated 1848),
may be trusted, had measured the carcass, when still whole, with
his foot-rule, and found it to be fifty-five long, while a person
who also measured it when entire, said it was nine fathoms long.
The bristles of the mane, each fourteen inches in length, and
described as having been luminous in the dark, were no doubt
portions of a dorsal fin in a state of decomposition.     One said
that this mane extended from the shoulders to within two feet
and a half of the tail, another that it reached to the tail :  a.
variance which may entitle us to call in question the alleged continuity of the mane down the whole back.     So strong was the
propensity in Scotland to believe that the Stronsa animal was the
sea serpent of the Norwegians, that Mr. Neill himself, after drawing up for the Werneiian Society his description of it from the H6
different accounts communicated to him, called it Halsydrus Pon-
Parts of the cranium, scapular arch, fin, and vertebral column
were sent to Dr. Barclay of Edinburgh, who had at that time
the finest museum of comparative anatomy north of the Tweed,
and he conceived them to belong to a new and entirely unknown
If the imagination of good zoologists could be so preoccupied
as to cause them at once to jump to the conclusion that the
Stronsa animal and the Norwegian sea serpent were one and the
same, we can not be surprised that the public in generai placed
the most implicit faith in that idea. That they did so, improved
by a passage recently published in Beattie's Life of Campbell,
where the poet writes thus, in a letter dated February 13 th,
1809 :—
I Of real life let me see what I have heard for the last fortnight : first, a snake—my friend Telford received a drawing of it,
—has been found thrown on the Orkney Isles ; a sea snake with
a mane like a horse, four feet thick, and fifty-five feet long. This
is seriously true. Malcolm Laing, the historian, saw it, and sent
a drawing of it to my friend."^
Now here we see the great inaccuracy of what may be styled
contemporaneous testimony of a highly educated man, who had
no motive or disposition to misrepresent facts. From the Wer%*
nerian Transactions and Mr. Neill's letter, I learn distinctly tha?
Malcolm Laing never went to the shore of Stronsa to see the
Fortunately, several of the vertebrae were forwarded, in 1809,
to Sir Everard Home, in London, who at once pronounced them
to belong to the Squalus maximus, or common basking shark.
Figures of other portions sent to Edinburgh to Dr. Barclay, were
also published by him in the Wernerian Transactions, and agree
very well with Home's decision, although it is clear, from Barclay's Memoir, tfiat he was very angry with the English anatomist for setting him right, and declaring it to be a shark. It
was indeed very difficult to believe on any but the most con-
* Campbell's Life, vol. ii. p. 169, 170. Chap. VIII.]
vincing evidence that a carcass which was fifty-five feet long
could be referable to a species, the largest known individual of
which has never exceeded thirty-five or forty feet. But there
seems no escape from Home's verdict; for the vertebrse are still
in the College of Surgeons, where I have seen them, quite entire,
and so identical with those of the Squalus Qnaximus, that Mr.
Owen is unwilling to imagine they can belong to any other species of the same genus.
Mr. Neill tells me, in his letter, that the basking shark is by
no means uncommon in the Orkneys, where it is called the hock-
mar, and a large one was killed in Stromness Harbor in 1804,
when he was there; yet it was agreed by all with whom he
spoke in 1808, that the Stronsa animal was double the length
of the largest hockmar ever stranded in their times in Orkney.
Unf<$$,unately, no one observed the habits and motions of the
monster before it was cast ashore ; but the Rev. Donald Maclean,
of-Small Isles in the Hebrides, was requested to draw up a statement of what he recollected of the^creature which had so much
alarmed the fishermen in the summer of tne^same year. Before
he penned his letter, which was printed as an appendix to Barclay's Memoir in 1809,^ he had clearly been questioned by persons who were under the full persuasion that what he had seen,
and; the Stronsa animal, were identical with Pontoppidan's sea
serpent. .Maclean informs us, that it was about the month of
June, 1808, when the huge creature in question, which looked
at a distance like a small rock in the sea, gave chase to his
boat, and he saw it first from the boat, and afterward from the
Its head was broad, of a form somewhat oval; its neck rather
smaller. It moved by undulations up and down. When the
head was above water, its motion was not so quick; when most
elevated, it appeared to take a view of distant objects. It directed its " monstrous head," which still continued above water,
toward the boat, and then plunged violently under water in pursuit of them. Afterward, when he saw it frornraie shore, " it
moved off with its head above water for about half a mile
* Wern. Trans, vol. i. p. 444. (sin
[Chap. VIII.
before he lost sight of it. Its length he believed to be from
seventy to eighty feet." | About the same time the crews of
thirteen fishing boats, off the island of Canna, were terrified by
this monster ; and the crew of one boat saw it coming toward
them, between Bum and Canna, with its head high above
water. "*
Mr. Maclean adds, evidently in answer to a question put by
his correspondent, thsft he saw nothing of the mane; and adds,
| when nearest to me it did not raise its head wholly above water,
so that the neck being under water, I could perceive no shining
filaments thereon, if it had any." And he also observes : "It
had no fin that I could perceive, and seemed to me to move
progressively by undulations up and down." Most of my readers are probably satisfied by this time, that if nothing had come
down to us but oral testimony, or even published accounts without figures respecting the creature seen in the Hebrides in 1808,
as well as that afterward stranded in Orkney, we should all of
us have felt sure that both of them were one and the same monster, and no other than the sea snake of Pontoppidan, or that so
often seen on the eastern coast of North America. How much
delusion in this case has been dispelled by the preservation of a
few bones ! May we not then presume that other sea serpents
were also sharks ? If so, how are we to reconcile recorded appearances with this hypothesis ? It was justly remarked by Dr.
Fleniiag, in his British Animals, 1828 (p. 174), that Maclean's
account of-a creature, which raised its head above the water .and
viewed distant objects, was opposed to the idea of its being referable to the class of cartilaginous fishes, for no shark lifts its head
out of the sea as it swims. I may also remark, that the descriptions commonly given, both by the Norwegians and North
Americans, would agree better with the appearance of a large
seal with a mane, chased by a shoal of porpoises, than with a shark.
But when we question the evidence more closely, we must
make great allowance for the incompetence of observers wholly
ignorant of zoology. In the first place, we must dismiss from
our minds the image of a shark as it appears when out of the
i Wern. Trans. Edinburgh, vol. i p. 444 Chap. VIII.]
water, or as stuffed in a museum. The annexed figure represents
the outline of the Squalus maximus, of which when immersed,
but swimming near the surface, three points only could be fceen
above water at the same time, namely, the prominence of the
back, with the first dorsal fin, a; secondly, the second dorsal fin,
b ; and thirdly, the upper lobe of the fail, c.
Fig. 3.
Squalus maximus, Basking Shark, or Hocktnar.
a. First dorsal fin ; h. Second dorsal-fin: c. Caudal fin.
Dr. Melville informed me that he once saw a large species of
shark, swimming at the rate of ten miles an hour, in Torres
Strait, off Australia ; and, besides the lateral flexures of the tail,
which are the principal propelling power, the creature described
as it advanced a series of vertical undulations, not by the actual
bending of the body itself, but by the whole animal first rising
near to the surface and then dipping down again, so that the
dorsal fin and part of the back were occasionally lifted up to a
considerable height. Now it strikes me, that if a very huge
shark was going at the rate of twenty miles an hour, as stated
by some of the observers, that portion of the back which emerged
in front might easily be taken for the head, and the dorsal fin
behind it for the mane ; and in this manner we may explain the
three projecting points, a, b, c, fig. 1, p. 109, given in the
drawing, sketched from memory, by Mr. Barry of Nova Scotia.
The smaller undulations seen by the same person, intervening between the three larger, may very well be referred to a series of
waves raised in the water by a rapid passage through it of so
bulky a body.    Indeed, some of the drawings which I have seen 120
[Chap. VIII.
of the northern sea snake, agree perfectly with the idea of the
projecting back of a shark followed by a succession of waves,
diminishing in size as they recede from the dorsal prominence.
The parts before mentioned as alone visible above water would
form so small a portion of the whole body, that they might easily
convey the notion of narrowness as compared to great length ;
and the assertion of a few witnesses that the dorsal projections
were pointed, may have arisen from their having taken a more
accurate look at the shape of the fins, and distinguished them
better from the intervening waves of the sea. But, according to
this view, the large eyes seen in the " blunt head" by several
observers, must have been imaginary, unless in.cases where they
may have really been looking at a seal. It can hardly be doubted
"that some good marksmen, both in Norway and New England,
who fired at the animal, sent bullets into what they took to be
the head, and the fact that the wound seems never to have produced serious injury, although in one case blood flowed freely,
accords perfectly with the hypothesis that they were firing at the
dorsal prominence, and not at the head of a shark. The opinion
of most of the observers that the undulations were coincident with
the rapid movements of the creature, agrees well with our theory,
which refers the greater number of the projections to waves of
the sea. On the other hand, as several of the protuberances are
real, consisting of three fins and a part of the back, the emergence
of these parts may explain what other witnesses beheld. Dr.
Melville has suggested to me, that if the speed were as great as
stated, and the progressive movement such as he has described,*
the three fins would be first submerged, and then re-emerge in
such rapid succession, that the image of one set would be retained
on the retina of the eve after another set had become visible, and
they might be counted over and over again, and multiplied indefinitely. Although I think this explanation unnecessary in
most cases, such a confusion of the images seems very possible,
when we recollect that the fins would be always mingled with
♦waves of the sea, which are said, in the Norwegian accounts of
1845, to have been so great, that they broke on the coast in
* Ante, p. 119. Chap. VIII.]       OAPT. M'QUHAE'S SEA SERPENT.
calm weather, when the serpent swam by, as if a steamer at full
speed was passing near the shore. f%>?*
I conclude, therefore, that the sea serpent of North America
and the German Ocean is a shark, probably the Squalus maxi-
mus, a species which seems, from the measurements taken in
Orkney in 1808, to attain sometimes, when Old, a much larger
size than had" ever been previously imagined. It may be objected
that this opinion is directly opposed to a great body of evidence
which has been accumulating for nearly a century, derived partly
from experienced sea-faring men, and partly from observers on the
land, some of whom were of the educated class. I answer that
most of them caught glimpses only of the creature when in rapid
motion and in its own element, four-fifths or more of the* body
being submerged; and when, at length, the whole carcass of a
monster mistaken for a sea snake was stranded, touched, and
measured, and parts of it sent to the ablest anatomists and zoologists in Scotland, we narrowly esi&ped having transmitted to
us, without power of refutation, a taSg^marvelous and fabulous
concerning its form and nature, as was^ver^criaTged against Pon-
toppidan by the most skeptical of his critics.*
* After the above was writtejn, a letter appeared in the English newspapers, by Captain M'Quhae, R.N., of the Deedalus frigate, dated Oct: 7,
1848, giving an account of "the sea serpent'^seen by him, Aug. 6, 1848,
lat. 24° 44' S. between the Cape and St. Helena, about 300 miles distant
from the western coast of Airica; the length estimated at sixty feet, head
held four feet above water, with something lifee^he mane of a horse on its
back which was straight and* inflexible. Professor Owen has declared his
opinion, after seeing the drawing of the animal, sent to the Admiralty by
Captain M'Quhae, " that it may have been the largest of the seal tribe, the
sea-elephant of the southern whalers, Phoca proboseidea, which sometimes
attains a length of thirty feet, and individuals of which have been known to
have been floated by icebergs toward the Cape. This species has coarse
hair on the upper part of its inflexible trunk which might appear like a mane.
The chief impelling force would be the deeply immersed terminal fins and
tail, which would create a long eddy, readily mistakable for an indefinite
prolongation of the body.''
Mr. Owen's conjecture appears to me very probable; but, before I heard
it, I had made up my mind that the creature seen by Captain M'Quhae differed from the sea serpent of the Norwegians and New Englanders^from
whose description it varies materially, especially in the absence, when at full
speed, of apparent undulations, or dor^fel prOn&nences.
VOL. 1.—F
Boston.—No Private Lodgings.—Boarding-houses.—Hotels.—Effects of the
Climate on Health.—Large Fortunes.—Style of Living.—Servants.—
Carriages.—Education of Ladies.—Marriages.—Professional Incomes.-—
Protectionist Doctrines.—Peculiarities of Language.—Literary Tastes.
—Cost of Living.—Alarms of Fire.
As we intended to pass nearly two months in Boston, we determined to look out for private lodgings, such as might be met
with in every large town in England, but which we found it
almost impossible to procure here. It does not answer to keep
houses, or even suites of apartments to let in a city where house-
rent is so dear, and well-trained servants so difficult to hire, even
at high wages. In this country, moreover, the mass of the people seem to set less value on the privilege of living in private than
we English do. Not only strangers and bachelors, but whole
families, reside in boarding-houses, usually kept by a widow who
has known better days, and is a good manager, and can teach and
discipline servants.
During a former tour, we had found it irksome to submit to
the rules of a boarding-house for any length of time; to take every
meal at a public table, where you are expected to play the agreeable to companions often uncongenial, and brought together on
no principle of selection ; to join them in the drawing-room a short
time before dinner; to call on them in their rooms, and to listen
to gossip and complaints about the petty quarrels which so often
arise among fellow-boarders, as in a ship during a long voyage.
The only alternative is to get private rooms in an hotel, which
I at length succeeded in procuring at the Tremont House, after
I had failed in negotiating a treaty with several landlords to
whom I had been recommended. One of these, after showing
me his apartments, and stating his terms, ended by saying, " Ours
is a temperance house—prayers orthodox." I presume that my
countenance betrayed the amusement which this last piece of in- Chapi IX.]
telligence afforded me, for he instantly added, in an under tone,
" But if you and your lady should not attend prayers, it will not
be noticed.'''
A Bostonian, who had returned from a tour in England and
Ireland, much struck with the poverty of the lower classes, and
with the difficulties experienced by those who are struggling to
rise in the world, remarked to me, " We ought to be happier
than the English, although we do not look so." There is, in
fact, a care-worn expression in the countenances of the New
Englanders, which arises partly from their striving and anxious
disposition, and their habits of hard work, mental and bodily,
and partly from the effects of the climate. Sej
One of their lawyers expressed to me his regret that the members of his profession, and their most eminent politicians, physicians,
and literary men, would not spare themselves, and give up some
time to relaxation. " They seem determined,'- he said, 1 to
realize the sentiment so finely expressed by Milton—
' To scorn delights, and live laborious^days.'
Our ancestors had to work fifteen hours out of every twenty-four,
in order not to starve* in the wilderness; but we persist in straining every nerve when that necessity has ceased." He then
reminded me how much more cheerful, plump, and merry the
young negro children looked in the South, than those of New
England, who had all the appearance of having been forced in
their education, and over-crammed at school.
I suspect, however, that the principal cause of the different
aspect of the Anglo-Saxon race in England and America is the
climate. During both our tours through the United States, my
wife and I enjoyed excellent health, and were delighted with the
clearness of the atmosphere, the bright sun, and the great number of cloudless days; but we were told that, if we staid a
second year, we should feel less vigorous. Many who have been
born in America, of families settled there for several generations,
find their health improved by a visit to England, just as if tjiey
had returned to their native air; and it may require several
centuries before a race becomes thoroughly acclimatized. 124
The great difference of the species of indigenous animals and
plants in North America, those of the middle and southern states
being almost all distinct from the European, points to a wide
diversity of climate, the atmosphere being drier, and there being
a much greater annual range of the thermometer than in corresponding latitudes on the eastern side of the Atlantic. Even
bo cosmopolite a being as man may demand more than two
centuries and a quarter before he can entirely accommodate his
constitution to such altered circumstances, and before the success
sive generations of parents can acquire themselves, and transmit
to their offspring, the new and requisite physiological peculiarities.
English travelers often ascribe the more delicate health of the
inhabitants here to their in-door habits and want of exercise.
But it is natural that they should shrink from exposing themselves to the severe frosts and long-continued snows of winter,
and to the intense heat of the summer's sun. An Englishman
is usually recognized at once in a party, by a more robust look,
and greater clearness and ruddiness of complexion; and it is
surprising how distinguishable he is even from persons born of
English parents in the United States. It is also a curious fact,
which seems generally admitted, that the *iative Anglo-Australians bear a considerable resemblance to the Anglo-Americans in
look and manner of speaking, which is a mystery, for there is
certainly in that case no analogy between the climates of the
two countries.
The number of persons in Boston who have earned in business,
or have inherited large fortunes, is very great. The Common,
a small park, which is by no means the only quarter frequented
by rich citizens, is surrounded by houses which might form two
fine squares in London, and the average value of which, in the
market, might bear a comparison with those in very fashionable
parts of our metropolis—sums of from 4000/. to 20,000/. sterling having been paid for them. The greater part of these
buildings are the property of the persons who reside in them;
and they are fitted up very elegantly, and often expensively.
Entertainments in a sumptuous style are not rare; but the small
number of servants in comparison with those kept in England by Chap. IX.]
persons of corresponding income, and the want of an equipage,
impart to their mode of life an appearance of simplicity which
is perhaps more the result of necessity than of deference to a
republican theory of equality. For to keep servants here for
mere show, would not only be thought absurd, but would be a
great sacrifice of comfort. To obtain a few efficient ones at any
price, and to put up with many inconveniences rather than part
with them—allowing them to continue in service after marriage,
is the practice of not a few of the richest people, Who often keep ]
no more than four domestics where there would be at least nine
in London. In consequence of this state of things, the ladies are
more independent of being waited on thlfcte those of similar fortune
in England; but we are sometimes amused when we hear them
express envy of the superior advantages enjoyed in Europe, for
they are under the delusion of supposing that large establishments give no trouble in " the old country." There are, indeed,
crowds of poor emigrants here, especially from Ireland, eager for
employment; but for the most part scaeoajtse, ignorant, and dirty
in their habits, that they can not gain admittance into genteel
houses, No mistress here ventures to interfere with the dress of
a servant maid, and^girls wait at table with braided hair, which
is certainly more becoming to them when young, and are never
required to conceal with a cap their neatly arranged locks,
according to the costume approved of by English disciplinarians.
When raising the dust at their work, in sweeping the floors,
they cover the head with a handkerchief. The New England
servants are generally provident, for, besides the intelligence they
derive from their early school education, they have a reasonable
hope of bettering their condition, are well paid, and not kept
down in the world by a number of poor relations.
Many of the wealthiest families keep no carriage, for, as I
before said, no one affects to live in style, and the trouble of
engaging a good coachman and groom would be considerable,
and also because the distances in Boston are small, and the
facilities of traveling by railway into the country in all directions
very great. But there are many livery stables, where excellent
carriages and horses are to be hired with well-dressed #ivers» !  ;«||
[Chap. IX.
Some of their vehicles are fitted up with India-rubber tubes, to
enable those inside to communicate with the coachman without
letting down the glass, which, during a severe New England
frost, or a snow storm, must be no unmeaning luxury.
They who can not afford to live in the metropolis, reside with
their families at places often twenty-five miles distant, such as
Ipswich, and go into their shops and counting-houses every morning, paying 100 dollars (or twenty guineas), for an annual ticket
on the railway, and being less than an hour at a time on the
The usual hours of breakfasting and dining here are much earlier
than in London; yet evening parties in the most fashionable
society do not begin till nine, and often ten o'clock, which appears
a senseless imitation of foreign manners, and calculated, if not
intended, to draw a line between those who can afford to turn
night into day, and those who can not.
In some houses the gentlemen go up after dinner with the
ladies, as in France, to the drawing-room; but it is more common, as in England, to stay a while and talk together. There
is very little drinking, and I scarcely ever heard any conversation
in which the women might not have joined with propriety.
Bachelor dinners are more frequent than in the highest circles
in London; but there is beginning to be a change in this respect,
and certainly the ladies are well able to play their part, for no
care or expense is spared to give them, not only every female
accomplishment, but a solid education. The incomes made by
some men of superior scholarship and general knowledge, who
devote themselves entirely to the teaching of young ladies, and,
still more, the station held by these teachers in society, is a characteristic of Boston highly deserving of praise and imitation.
The influence of cultivated women in elevating and refining
the tone of society and the national mind, may nowhere be rendered more effective than where a large proportion of the men
are engaged in mercantile business, and belong to a class who
have too truly been said " to live in counting-houses that they
may sleep in palaces." Their wives and daughters havej|bisure
to acquire literary and scientific tastes, and to  impure jfceir Chap. IX.]
understandings, while the fathers, husbands, and brothers are
summing up accounts, attending to the minute details of business,
or driving bargains.
The impress of the strict morals of the Puritan founders of the
New England commonwealths on the manners of their descendants, is still very marked. Swearing is seldom heard, and dueling has been successfully discountenanced, although they are in
constant communication with the southern states, where both
these practices are common, though much less so than formerly.
The facility of getting on in the world, and marrying young,
is, upon the whole, most favorable to the morals of the community, although it sometimes leads to uncongenial and unhappy
unions. But, as a set*off to this evil, it should be stated, that
nowhere is there so much free choice in forming matrimonial
connections without regard to equality of fortune. It is unavoidable that the aristocracy of taste, manners, and education
should create barriers, which can not be set at naught without
violence to the feelings ; but we had^good opportunities of knowing that parents would be thought far mofe~unreasonable here
than in England, and in some other states of the Union, if they
discouraged alliances on the mere ground of one of the parties
being without fortune.
The most eminent medical men in Boston make, I am told,
about 9500 dollars (2000Z.) a year, and their early career is one
of hard striving and small profits. The incomes made by the
first lawyers are much more considerable, and I hear that, when
a leading practitioner was invited to transfer his business from
Boston to New York, because he might be employed there by a
population of 400,000 souls, he declined, saying, that his clients
were drawn from a population nearly equal in numbers and average wealth, although not a fourth part of them were resident in
the city of Boston.
Bankruptcies are rarer than in any other mercantile community
in fhe Union of equal extent, and, when they do occur, larger
dividends are paid to the creditor. As most of the rich private
citizens live within their income, so the State is frugal, and although^ its credit stands so high that it could borrow largely, it 128
[Chap. IX
has contracted very little debt, it being thought advisable to
leave the execution of almost every kind of public work to private enterprise and capital.
In many of the southern and western states, the commercial
policy of Massachusetts was represented to me as eminently
selfish, the great capitalists wishing to monopolize the manufacturing trade, and by a high tariff to exclude foreign capitalists,
so as to grow rich at the expense of other parts of the Union.
In conversing with the New Englanders, I became satisfied that,
in spite of the writings of the first political economists in Europe
and America, and the opinion of Channing, and some other of
their own distinguished men (not excepting Daniel Webster himself in the early part of his career), they have persuaded themselves that the doctrines of free trade are not applicable to the
present state of their country. The facility with which every
people conscientiously accommodate their speculative opinions to
their local and individual interests, is sufficiently demonstrated
by the fact, that each of the other states, and sections of states,
as t&ey successively embark in the manufacture, whether of cotton, iron, or other articles, become immediately converts to protectionist views, against which they had previously declaimed.
There is a general feeling of self-respect pervading §11 classes
in the New England" states, which enables those who rise in the
world, whether in political life, or by suddenly making large fortunes in trade, if they have true gentility of feeling, to take their
place in good society easily and naturally. Their-power of accommodating themselves to their new position is greatly facilitated
by the instruction imparted in the free schools to all, however
humble in station, so that they are rarely in danger of betraying
their low origin by ungrammatical phrases and faulty pronun-.
English critics are in the habit of making no allowance for
the slightest variations in language, pronunciation, or manners,
in any people descended from the Anglican stock. In the Germans or French they may think a deviation from the British
standard odd or ridiculous, but in an American they set it down
at once as vulgar; whereas it may be one of those conventional- Chap. IX.]
isms, respecting which every nation has a right to enforce its own
arbitrary rules. The frequent use of the words, " sir" and
" ma'am," in the United States, like " oui, monsieur, oui, ma-
dame," in France, for the sake of softening the bald and abrupt
"yes" or "no," would sound to a Frenchman or Italian more
polite ; and if the Americans were to conform to the present
English model in such trifles, it mightahappen that in England
itself the fashion may soon change. There are also many genuine old classical phrases, which have grown obsolete in this
parent country, and which the Americans retain, and ought not
to allow themselves to be laughed out of.     The title of Madam
o  j
is sometimes given here, and generally in Charleston (S. Carolina),
and in the South, to a mother whose son has married, and the
daughter-in-law is then called Mrs. By this means they avoid
the inelegant phraseology of old Mrs. A., or the Scotch, Mrs. A.
senior. Madam, in short, very commonly serves as the equivalent of dowager, as used in English titled families. There are
also some antique provincialisms handelMown from the times of
the first settlers, which may well deserve to be^Eept up, although
they may be subjects of diversion to English tourists. In one
of Shirley's plays, written just before the middle of the seventeenth century, when the largest emigration took place from Old
to New England, we find the term, " I guess," for " I think," or
" I suppose," occurring frequently ; and if we look farther back,
it is met with in the " Miller's Tale" and in the " Monk" of
Chaucer :—
..." For little heavmfess
Is right enough for nraehel folk, I guess."
And in Spenser's 4 Faerie Queene"—
u It-seemed a second Paradise, I guesse."^
Among the most common singularities of expression are the
following :-—" I should admire to see him" for " I should like to
see him ;" "I want to' know," and " Do tell," both exclamations
of surprise, answering to our " Dear me." These last, however, are rarely heard in society above the middling class.    Occa*
* Canto x. 23. 130
[Chap. IX.
sionally I Was as much puzzled as if I was reading Tarn o'Shanter,
as, for example, " out of kittel" means " out of order." The word
I sick" is used in New England in the same sense as it was in
the time of Shakspeare, or when the liturgy of the Church of
England was composed. The word g ill," which in Great
Britain means " not well," signifies in America " very ill."
They often speak here of a " lovely man," using the adjective in
a moral sense ; and say of a plain, shriveled old woman, that
she is " a fine and lovely woman," meaning that her character
and disposition are amiable. " Clever" is applied to a good-
natured and good-hearted person who is without talent and
quickness. At first we had many a good laugh when we discovered that we had been at cross purposes, on comparing notes
as to our opinions of English and American friends. On one
occasion I admitted that Mrs. A. might be " a fine and lovely
woman," but it could only be said of her by candlelight.
In the literary circles here we meet with several writers who
are keeping up "an active correspondence with distinguished men
in all parts of Europe, but especially with English authors.
We are often amused to observe how much the conversation
turns on what is going on in London. One day I was asked
whether it were true that the committee for deciding on the
statues to be set up in the new House of Lords, had voted in
favor of Richardson, before they could make up their minds
whether they should honor Pope, Dryden, Swift, and Fielding;
and whether Milton was at first black-balled, and how they could
possibly be disputing about the rival claims of Hume and Robertson as historians, while a greater than either of them, Gibbon,
was left out of the question. They suggested that a tribunal of
literary Jews might soon be required to pronounce fairly on the
merits of Christian writers. " Do your countrymen," said one
of my friends to me, "mean to imitate the spirit of the king of
Bavaria, who excluded Luther from his Walhalla because he
was a Protestant, and instead of Shakspeare and Newton could
endure no representatives of British genius, save the orthodox
King Alfred and Roger Bacon ?" I was curious, when I got
home, to learn how much of this gossip about things in the old Chap. IX.]
country was founded on correct information, and was relieved to
find that the six poets- ultimately selected were Chaucer, Spenser,
Shakspeare, Milton, Dryden, and Pope; a result which, considering that a single black ball excluded, did credit to the umpires,
and would, I am sure, be approved of by a literary jury in
Massachusetts. I was also glad to learn that in Bavaria, as
soon as political parties changed, a royal order was issued to
admit the bust of Luther into the Walhalla.
The Americans, in general, have more self-possession and self-
confidence than Englishmen, although this characteristic belongs
perhaps less to the Bostonians than to the citizens of most of the
other parts of the Union. On the other hand, the members of
the great republic are sensitive and touchy about their country,
a point on which the English are imperturbably indifferent,
being proud of every thing British, even to a fault, since contempt for the opinion of oikex nations may be carried so far as to
diminish the prospect of national improvement. It might be
better if eaeh of the great branches of the Anglo-Saxon family
would borrow something froin the qualities of the other,—if
John Bull had less mauvais honte, so as to care less for what
others were thinking of himself individually, and if Jonathan
cared less for what others are thinking of his country.
The expense of living in the northern states is, upon the
whole, decidedly more reasonable than in England, although the
dress, both of men and women, is somewhat dearer. In Boston,
ulso, the rent of houses is very high, but not so in the country.
Traveling is much cheaper, and so are food, newspapers, and
books. On comparing the average price of bread during the present year with that in England, we find that it is about twenty-
five per cent, cheaper, beef and mutton ten per cent, cheaper, and
the price of poultry extremely moderate. Why, in so old a city
as Boston, the supply of seamstresses, milliners, and dressmakers,
should be as inadequate to the demand as in some of our newly-
founded colonies when most progressive, I leave to political
economists to explain. My wife was desirous of having a dress
and bonnet made up in a week, but one milliner after another
declined to undertake the task.    It would be a useful lesson to 132
[Chap. IX
those who are accustomed to consider themselves as patrons
whenever they engage others to do work for them, to learn
how in reality, if things are in a healthy state, the obligation is
mutual; but to discover that the usual relations of the employer
and employed are entirely reversed, and that the favor is by no
means conferred by the purchaser, would try the patience of most
travelers. Friends interceded, but in vain ; till, at last, a representation was made to one of these important personages, that my
wife was about to leave the city on a fixed day, and that being
a foreigner she ought, out of courtesy, to be assisted ; an appeal
which was successful, and the work was then undertaken and
sent home with strict punctuality, neatly made, and every spare
scrap of the material honestly returned, the charge being about
equal to that of the first London dressmakers.
We remarked in some of the country towns of Massachusetts,
where the income of the family was very moderate, that the
young ladies indulged in extravagant dressing—40Z., for example,
being paid for a shawl in one instance. Some of the richer class,
Who had returned from passing a year or two in Germany and
England, had been much struck with the economical habits, in
dress and in the luxuries of the table, of persons in easy circumstances there, and the example had not been lost on them.
Oct. 2 8.—Night after night the church bells have been tolling
the alarm of fire, followed by the rattling of the heavy engines
under the windows of our hotel. When I last resided here
(1842), I was told that half of these conflagrations were caused
by incendiaries, partly by boys for the mere love of mischief; but
no suspicions of this kind are now entertained. Most of the
buildings are of wood, and it is hoped that the increasing use of
brick in the private, and of granite in the public, buildings will
lessen the evil. The combustibility of the wood of the white or
Weymouth pine (Pinus strobus), largely employed in houses
here, is said to exceed that of other kinds of timber. CHAPTER X.
Boston.—-Blind Asylum and Laura Bridgeman.—Respect for Freedom of
Conscience.—Cemetery of Mount Auburn.—Channing's Cenotaph.—
Episcopal Churches.—Unitarian Congregations.—Eminent Preachers.—
Progress of Unitarians why slow.—Their Works reprinted in England.—
Notfiangarians.—Episcopalian Asceticism.—Separation of Religion and
During our stay at Boston we visited the Perkins' Institution, or
Asylum for the Blind, and found Laura Bridgman, the girl who
has been blind, deaf and dumb from infancy, much grown since
we saw her four years ago. She is now sixteen, and looks very
intelligent. She was reading when we entered, and we were
told that formerly, when so engaged and alone, she used to make
with one hand the signs of all the words which she felt out with
the other, j ust as an illiterate beginner speaks aloud each sentence
as he spells it. But the process of conveying the meaning of the
words to her mind is now far too rapid for such delay, and the
hand not occupied in reading remains motionless. We were
afterward delighted to watch her wMLe she was following1 the
conversation of two other dumb children who were using the
modern single-hand alphabet. She was able to comprehend all
the ideas they were exchanging, and to overhear, as it were,
every word they said, by making her fingers play, with fairy
lightness, over theirs, with so slight a touch, as not in the least
degree to interfere with the freedom of their motions. We saw
h^r afterward talk with Dr. Efowe, with great rapidity and
animation, pointing out accurately the places on a map while he
/gave a lesson in geography. She indulged her curiosity in examining my wife's dress, arid, taking her hand, told her which was
her wedding ring, and then began to teach her the deaf and dumb
alphabet. She is always aware whether it is a lady's hand she
touches, and is shy toward a stranger of the other sex. As she is
now in communication with no less than a hundred acquaintances^
she has gr§wn much more like other children than formerly. 134
[Chap. X.
We learnt from Dr. Howe that the task of carrying on her
education has become more and more arduous, for she is naturally
clever, and her reflective powers have unavoidably ripened much
faster than the perceptive ; so that at an age when other children
would be satisfied to accumulate facts by the use of their eyes,
her chief curiosity is directed to know the causes of things. In
reading history, for example, where there is usually a continued
description of wars and battles, she must be told the motives for
which men slaughter each other, and is so distressed at their
wickedness, that she can scarcely be induced to pursue the
To be able to appreciate justly the judicious treatment of those
to whose training she owes her wonderful progress, it would be
necessary to be practically acquainted with the disappointments
of persons who undertake to teach pupils who are simply blind,
and not suffering, like Laura, under the double privation of the
senses of sight and hearing.
Great pains had been taken to make one of the boys, whom
we saw, have a correct idea of a horse , he had got by rote a
long list of characteristics, and had felt the animal, and the
mortification of the master may be conceived on discovering that-
after all the child could not be sure whether the creature had
three, four, or five legs. After a few days' intercourse with the
blind, we no longer marvel that precocious children, who begin
to read early and get by heart and recite long poems, or become
knowing by keeping company with grown-up people, are so often
overtaken or left behind by those who have been neglected, and
have spent their time at play. For when the truants are supposed to be most idle, they may, in reality, be storing their minds
with a multitude of facts, to give a detailed description of which
to a student, in or out of a blind asylum, would fill volumes.
Dr. Howe told us of a blind Frenchman in the establishment,
who could guess the age of strangers, by hearing their voices,
much more accurately than he and others who could see as well
as talk with them.
On looking over the annual reports of the trustees, I observed
that- on Sunday the pupils, about a hundred in nur$fes§& and Chap. X.]
belonging to various sects, attend public worship in several
different churches, they themselves, or their parents, choosing
some particular church. " Many of them," says the report,
"attend Sabbath schools, and, as care is .taken to exclude sectarian doctrines from the regular course of instruction, the opinions
of the pupils respecting. doctrinal matters in religion are formed
upon the basis prescribed by the parents."
The assurance here given to the public is characteristic of a
settled purpose, every where displayed by the New Englanders,
to prevent their charitable bequests, as well as their great educational estabHshments, from becoming instruments of proselytizing,
or serving as bribes, to tempt parents, pupils, or the poor to
renounce any part of their hereditary creed for the sake of worldly advantages. Such conduct, implying great delicacy of feeling
in matters of conscience, and a profound respect for the sacredness
of religious obligations, is worthy of the descendants of men who
went into exile, and braved the wilderness and the Indian tomahawk, rather than conform outwardly to creeds and rituals of
which they disapproved.
Oct. 29.—Went to Cambridge to visit the cemetery of Mount
Auburn, where a large extent of wild, unreclaimed, hilly ground,
covered with oak and pine, has been inclosed for a public burial-
place. From the highest eminence there is a fine view of the
surrounding country. Since I was here in 1842, a chapel has
been erected of granite, in the Gothic style, and in good taste,
with painted glass from Edinburgh in the windows, and a handsome entrance gate. The chapel is to serve as a Westminster
Abbey, Pantheon, or Walhalla, to contain statues, busts, and
monuments of distinguished men. A cenotaph has been placed
in the grounds in honor of Dr. Channing, with an inscription
written by a friend, in a plain, unambitious style, such as Channing himself would have wished. I rejoiced to hear that as his
funeral procession was passing through the streets of Boston, the
bell of the Roman Catholic chapel was tolled among the rest,
and I recollected with pleasure the conversations I had had
with him in 1841. They who witness the impulse given by
him toithe cause of popular education, the increasing liberality of 136
[Chap. X
sentiment in New England on matters of religion, and the great
popularity of his works, might desire to inscribe on his tomb—
"E'en in his ashes live their wonted fires."
Some of the Episcopal churches in Boston are conducted on
the high, and others on the low church model jj and the Tracta-
rian movement has had the effect here, as in England, not of
establishing uniformity by a strict adherence to one rubric, but
of producing a much greater variety than formerly in the manner of performing public worship. If, besides striking out the
Athanasian Creed, the American Episcopal Church had omitted
the Nicene Creed, as they first proposed in 1785, and had condensed and abridged the Thirty-nine Articles to twenty, measures
from which they were dissuaded by the English hierarchy, from
whose hands their first bishops required consecration, a schism
might probably have taken place when the Tractarian movement
occurred, and they might have separated into two churches far
more distinct than that of the Drummondites and their opponents,
or the partisans of the Scotch and English rubric north of the Tweed.
In the Stone, or King's Chapel, the English liturgy is used,
with such omissions and alterations as are required to suit the
opinions of Unitarians, for that chapel was transferred from the
Anglican to the Unitarian Church by the conversion of the
minister and majority of the pew-holders. But in almost all the
other Unitarian churches, the service resembles in form that of
the established church of Scotland. Before my first visit to
Boston, I had been led to believe that the majority of the
citizens were Unitarians; whereas I found, on inquiry, that
although they may exceed in number any other single sect, and
comprise not a few of the richest citizens, they do not constitute
above one-fifth of the whole population, and scarcely more than
a tenth in Massachusetts generally. There is, however, another
sect, calling themselves Christians (pronounced Christians), prevailing largely in New England, which denies the doctrine of
the Trinity, and I am told that many who worship in other
"orthodox" congregations are heterodox on this point, although
they do not choose to become separatists.    One of them observed Chap. X.]
to me that he thought it nearly as presumptuous to acquiesce in
the negative as in the affirmative of the propositions laid down
on this subject in the Athanasian Creed. " We are," he said,
" like children born blind, disputing about colors."
The prominent position occupied by the Unitarians arises, not
from their number, nor their wealth, however considerable this^
may  be,  but   from  their  talent,   earnestness,   and   knowledge.
Many of the leading minds in the Union belong to this sect, and
among them, Channing, Sparks, Dewey, and other well-known^
authors, have been converts from the Congregationalists.
To. have no creed, no standard to rally round, no fixed canons
of interpretation of Scripture, is said to be fatal to their progress.
Yet one of their body remarked to me that they might be well
satisfied that they Were gaining ground, when it could be said
that in the last thirty years (since 1815) the number of their
ministers had increased in a tenfold ratio, or from fifty to five
hundred, whereas the population had only doubled in twenty-five
years. He also reminded me that their ranks are scarcely ever
recruited from foreign emigrants, from whom the Romanists,
Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, and Episcopalians annually
draw large accessions. A more kindly feeling has of late years
sprung up between the Unitarians and Congregationalists, because
some of the most eminent writers of both sects have joined in
defending themselves-against a common adversary, namely, those
rationalists who go so far as to deny the historical evidence of the
miracles related in the New Testament, and who, in some other
points, depart more widely from the Unitarian standard, than
does the latter from that of Borne itself. Norton, author of
" The Genuineness of the Gospels" may be mentioned, as one
of the celebrated Unitarian divines who has extorted from the
more liberal members of all " orthodox" denominations the praise
of being a defender of the faith.
In the course of my two visits to the United States, I enjoyed
opportunities of hearing sermons preached by many of the most
eminent Unitarians—among them were Channing, Henry Ware,
Dewey, Bellows, Putnam, and Gannett—and was much struck,
not only with their good sense and erudition, but with the fervor 138
of their eloquence. I had been given to understand that I
should find a want of warmth in their discourses, that they were
too cold and philosophical, and wanting in devotional feeling ;
but, on the contrary, there were many of them most impressive,
full of earnestness and zeal, as well as of original views and
instruction. One of the chief characteristics was the rare allusion made to the Old Testament, or to controverted points of
doctrine, or to the mysteries of the Christian religion, and the
frequency with which they dwelt on the moral precepts and
practical lessons of the Gospels, especially the preaching of
Christ himself. Occasional exhortations to the faithful, cheerfully to endure obloquy for the sake of truth, and to pay no court
to popularity, an undue craving for which was, they said, the
bane of a democracy, convinced me how much the idea of their
standing in a hostile position to a large numerical majority of the
community was present to their minds. On some occasions,
however, reference was naturally made to doctrinal points, particularly to the humanity of Christ, his kindred nature, and its
distinctness from that of the eternal, omnipotent, and incorporeal
Spirit which framed the universe; but chiefly on occasions when
the orator was desirous of awakening in the hearts of his hearers
emotions of tenderness, pity, gratitude, and love, by dwelling on
the bodily sufferings of the Redeemer on the cross. More than
once have I seen these appeals produce so deep a sensation, as to
move a highly educated audience to tears ; and I came away
assured that they who imagine this form of Christianity to be
essentially cold, lifeless, and incapable of reaching the heart, or
of powerfully influencing the conduct of men, can never have
enjoyed opportunities of listening to their most gifted preachers,
or had a large personal intercourse with the members of the sect.
When I wished to purchase a copy of the writings of Channing and of Dewey in Boston, I was told that I could obtain
more complete and cheaper editions in London than in the United States; a proof, not only how much they are read in England,
but that the pecuniary interests of British authors are not the
only ones which suffer by the want of an international copyright.
On inquiring of the publishers at Boston, as to the extent of the Chap.
sale of Channing's works in the United States, I was informed
that several of them, published separately, had gone through
many editions, and no less than 9000 copies of the whole, in six
volumes, had been sold already (1845), and the demand for them
was on the increase, many copies having been recently ordered
from distant places in the West, such as St. Louis and Chicago,
A reprint of the same edition at Glasgow, has circulated widely
in England, and the reading of it in America is by no means
confined to Unitarians, the divines of other denominations,
especially the Calvinists, being desirous to know what has been
written against them by their great antagonist.
Having been informed by one of my friends that about a fifth
of all the New Englanders were " Nothingarians," I tried, but
with little success, to discover the strict meaning of the term.
Nothing seems more vague and indefinite than the manner of its
application. I fancied at first that it might signify deists or infidels, or persons careless about any religious faith, or who were
not church-goers; but, although it may sometimes signify one or
all of these, I found it was usually quite otherwise. The term
latitudinarian, used in a, good sense, appeared most commonly to
convey the meaning; for a Nothingarian, I was informed, was
indifferent whether he attended a Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, or Congregationalist church, and was often equally inclined
to contribute money liberally to any one or all of them. A Methodist writer of some eminence remarked to me, that the range of
doctrines embraced by these denominations, was not greater, if so
great, as that which comprehended within the same pale a high
tractarian and a low churchman, and that he who would indifferently subscribe to these two forms of Episcopalianism, might with
equal propriety be styled a Nothingarian. In other cases I ascertained that the term Nothingarian was simply used for persons
who, though they attended worship regularly in some church, had
never been communicants. One of the latter, an Episcopalian,
once said to me, " I have never joined any church;" and then
in explanation added, | it would be hard at my age to renounce
society, dancing, and public amusements." I expostulated soon
afterward with an Episcopalian minister in Virginia, observing
if § jiff
[Chap. X.
that such ideas of austerity and asceticism were not consistent
with the spirit of the Anglican Church. This he admitted, but
pleaded the absolute necessity of extreme strictness to enable them
to efface the stigma transmitted to them from colonial times.; for
in the Southern states, particularly in Virginia, the patronage of
the mother country, in filling up livings, was for a century scandalously abused, and so many young men of profligate and immoral habits were sent out, as to create a strong prejudice against
the Established Church of England in the minds of the more
zealous and sincere religionists.
On one of my voyages home from America, an officer of rank
in the British army lamented that the governor of one of our colonies had lately appointed as Attorney-General one who was an
atheist. I told him I knew the lawyer in question to be a zealous Baptist. " Yes," he replied, " Baptist, Atheist, or something
of that sort." I have no doubt that if this gallant colonel should
visit New England, his estimate of the proportion of Nothingarians in the population would be very liberal.
Traveling as I did in 1845—6, through a large part of the
Union, immediately after the close of the protracted contest for
the Presidency, when the votes in favor of Mr. Clay and Mr.
Polk had been nearly balanced, I was surprised to find in the
north, south, and west, how few of the Americans with whom I
conversed as traveling companions, could tell me to what denorrr-t
ination of Christians these two gentlemen belonged. I at length
ascertained that one of them was an Episcopalian, and the other
a Presbyterian. This ignorance could by no means be set down
to indifferentism. Had one of the candidates been a man of immoral character, it would have materially affected his chance of
success, or probably if he had been suspected of indifference about
religion, and not a few of the politicians whom I questioned were
strongly imbued with sectarian feelings; but it was clear that in
the choice of a first magistrate their minds had been wholly occupied with other considerations, and the separation of religion
and politics, though far from being as complete as might be
wished, is certainly one of the healthy features of the working of
the American institutions CHAPTER  XI.
Boston.-T-Whig Caucus.—Speech of Mr. Webster.—Politics in Massachusetts.—Election of Governor and Representatives..—Thanksgiving Day
and Governor's Proclamation.—Absence of Pauperism.—Irish Repeal
Meeting.—New England Sympathizer.—Visit to a Free School.—State
Education.—Pay and Social Rank of Teachers.—Importance of the Profession.—Rapid Progress and Effects of Educational Movement.—Popular Lectures.—Lending Libraries.
Nov. 10, 1845.—Went to a great meeting of about 3500
people in Faneuil Hall, where they were discussing the election
of the governor and executive officers of the State. It was called
a Whig caucus, being only attended by persons of one political
party, or if others were present, they were there only by courtesy,
and expected to be silent, and not interrupt the harmony of the
proceedings. When I entered, I found Mr. Daniel Webster on
his legs. Since the arrival of the last mail steamer from Liverpool fears had been entertained that the pretensions of the Cabinet of Washington to the whole, or greater part of Oregon, must
end in a war between England and the United States. This
topic was therefore naturally uppermost in the minds of a peace-
loving and commercial community,. The cautious and measured
expressions of the Whig statesman when out of office, and his
evident sense of the serious responsibility incurred by one who
should involve two great nations in war, formed a striking contrast to the unguarded tone of the late inaugural address of the
President of the Union on the same subject. I was amused to
hear frequent references made to the recent debate in the British
House of Commons, the exact words of Sir Robert Peel and
others being quoted and commented upon, just as if the discussion
had been simply adjourned from Westminster to Boston. The
orator rebuked the blustering tone of defiance, in which demagogues and newspapers in some parts*of the Union were indulging against England.    He then condemned the new constitution 142
[Chap. XI.
of Texas, which prohibits the Legislature from ever setting the
bondman free, and deprecated the diversion made from the ranks
of the Whigs by the Abolitionists, who, by setting up a candidate of their own for the Presidentship, had enabled their opponents to carry a man pledged to the annexation of Texas. At
the same time he gave this party the credit of being as conscientious as they were impracticable. He then alluded to another
" separate organization," as it is here called, namely, that of the
" Native Americans," which had in like manner defeated the
objeet they had in view, by dividing the Whigs, the majority of
whom agreed in thinking the present naturalization laws very
defective, and that a stop should be put to fraudulent voting.
The introduction of a long^Latin quotation from Cicero showed
that the speaker reckoned on having a considerable number at
least of well-educated men in his large audience. The frequent
mention of the name of Governor George N. Briggs, the initial
letter only of the second appellative being pronounced, grated
strangely on my English ear ; for though we do not trouble ourselves to learn all the Christian names of our best actors, as Mr.
T. P. Cooke and Miss M. Tree, we are never so laconic and
unceremonious in dealing with eminent public men. I had asked
several persons what K. signified in the name of the President,
James K. Polk, before I ascertained that it meant Knox ; but,
in the United States, it might have no other signification than
the letter K. ; for, when first in Boston, I requested a friend to
tell me what B. stood for in his name, and he replied, " For
nothing ; my surname was so common a one, that letters addressed to me were often mis-sent, so I got the Post-Office to
allow me to adopt the letter B."
I came away from this and other public meetings convinced
that the style of speaking of Mr. Webster, Mr. Everett, Mr. Win-
throp, and some others, would take greatly in England, both in
and out of parliament. It was also satisfactory to reflect, that
in Massachusetts, where the whole population is more educated
'than elsewhere, and more Anglo-American, having less of recent
foreign admixture, whether European or African, the dominant
party is against the extension of slavery to new regions like Texas, Chap. XL]
against territorial aggrandizement, whether in the north or south,
and against war. They are in a minority it is true : but each
state in the Union has such a separate and independent position,
that, like a distinct nation, it can continue to cherish its own
principles and institutions, and set an example to the rest, which
they may in time learn to imitate. The Whigs were originally
in favor of more centralization, or of giving increased power to
the federal executive, while the democratic party did all they
could to weaken the central power, and successfully contended for
the sovereign rights and privileges of each member of the confederation. In so doing they have perhaps inadvertently, and without seeing the bearing of their policy, guarded the older and more
advanced commonwealths from being too much controlled and
kept down by the ascendency of newer and ruder states.
A few days later, I went to see the electors give their votes.
Perfect order and good-humor prevailed, although the contest
was a keen one. As I approached the poll, the agents of different committees, supposing that I might be an elector, put into
my hands printed lists, containing the names of all the candidates
for the offices of Governor, Lieutenant-governor, five senators,
and thirty-five representatives. Every registered voter is entitled
to put one of these " tickets" into the balloting box. The real
struggle was between the Whigs and Democrats, the former of
whom carried the day ; but, besides their tickets, two others were
presented to me, one called the Native American, and the other
the Working Man's ticket. The latter had for its emblem a
naked arm, wielding a hammer, and for its motto, " The strong
right arm of labor." The five senators proposed in this list,
consisted of two printers, a carpenter, a blacksmith, and a surveyor, and among the representatives were four shoemakers, one
tailor, eight carpenters, four printers, an engineer, &c.
I heard Americans regret, that besides caucuses there are no
public meetings here where matters are debated by persons of
opposite parties and opinions, such as are sometimes held in England. I was surprised to hear that such experiments were of
rare occurrence in a country where men opposed in politics
frequently argue with so much good temper, and where, in so 144
[Chap. XI.
many hotels and taverns, newspapers of all shades of opinion are
taken in just as in our great club-houses in London, affording
opportunities of knowing what can be said on all sides of every
question. I have since learnt from correspondents, that, in a
period of political excitement, the people in many parts of Massachusetts have begun to engage different lecturers to explain to
them the opposite facts, views, and arguments adduced for and
against the chief subjects under discussion.
Nov. 27.—This day, Thanksgiving Day, and the 4th of July,
Independence Day, are the only two holidays in the American
calendar. The Governor has, they say, as usual, made a bad
guess in regard to weather, for there is a pelting rain. It was
indeed ascertained by actual measurement at Cambridge, that in
nineteen hours between yesterday evening and to-day, at four
o'clock, there has fallen no less than four and a half inches of
rain, or one-eighth part of the average of the whole year, which
amounts to thirty-six inches at Boston. By this unlucky accident
many a family gathering has been interrupted, and relatives have
been unable to come in from the country to join a merry meeting,
corresponding to that of an English Christmas Day. Many a
sermon, also, carefully prepared for the occasion, has been preached
to empty pews ; but the newspapers inform us, that some of
these effusions will be repeated on Sunday next. Sixteen states
have now adopted this New England custom of appointing a day
for thanksgiving, and it is spreading fast, having already reached
South Carolina, and even Louisiana. A montji before, I had
heard with interest the Governor's proclamation, read in all the
churches, full of good feeling and good sense. He called on the
people of the state, now that the harvest w&s gathered in, to
praise the God of Heaven for his bounties, and in their cheerful
family circles to render to Him a tribute of thanksgiving: for His
" Let us praise Him, that, under His protecting Providence, the institutions of state,  of religion, of learning and education,  established by the/
prudence and wisdom of our fathers, under which their children have been
prosperous and happy,  have come down to us unimpaired and in full
"That the various classes of our citizens, under the mild and equal Chap. XL]
government of laws made by themselves, pursue, unmolested, upon the
land and upon the sea, their peaceful occupations :
" That although we have heard the distant rumor, and seen the preparations for war our common country is yet at peace with the world.
In no part of the address was any claim set up to the peculiar
favor of God, or his special intervention in chastising the nation
for particular transgressions ; nothing to imply that He does not
govern the world by fixed and general laws, moral and physical,
which it is our duty to study and obey, and which, if we disobey,
whether from ignorance or willfulness, will often be made the
instruments of our punishment even in this world. The proclamation concluded thus, in the good old style :
" Given at the Council Chamber, in Boston, this 1st day of October, in the
year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-five, and of the
Independence of the United States the seventieth.
" George N. Briggs.
:<By his Excellency the Governor, with the advice and consent of the
" John G. Palfrey, Secretary.
" God save the Commonwealth of Massachusetts."
^Dhe almost entire absence of pauperism even in the large
towns, except among the old and infirm, forms a striking point of
contrast between the state of things in New England and in
Europe. One of my friends, who is serving on a committee in
Boston to see that the poor who are too old to work have all
necessary comforts, has just ordered, as one of the indispensables,
a carpet for the bed-side of an old woman. .Yet, within five
miles of Boston, some of the newly arrived emigrants of the lower
class of Irish, may now be seen living in mud huts by the side
of railway cuttings, which they are employed to dig, who are
regarded by many of the native-born laborers with no small disgust, not only as the most ignorant and superstitious of mortals,
but as likely, by their competition, to bring down the general
standard of wages. The rich capitalists, on the other hand,
confess to me, that they know not how they could get on with
the construction of public works, and dbtain good interest for their
money, were they deprived of this constant influx of foreign labo .
vol. r.—G
'" 146
[Chap. XL
They speak also with kindness of the Irish, saying they are
most willing to work hard, keep their temperance vows, and, in
spite of the considerable sums drawn from them by the Catholic
priests, are putting by largely out of their earnings into the
Savings Banks. It is also agreed that they are most generous to
their poor relations in Ireland, remitting money to them annually,,
and sometimes enough to enable them to pay their passage across
the Atlantic. At the same time they confess, with much concern, that the efforts now making by the people at large, aided
by the wealthiest class, to establish a good system of state
instruction, and to raise the moral and intellectual character of
the millions, must be retarded by the intrusion of so many rude
and ignorant settlers. Among other mischiefs, the political
passions and party feelings of a foreign country are intruded into
the political arena, and a tempting field laid open to demagogues
of the lowest order.
Returning home one night after dark from a party, I heard
music in a large public building, and, being told it was a repeal
meeting held by the Irish, had the curiosity to look in. After a
pieee of instrumental music had been performed, an orator, with
an Irish accent, addressed the crowd on the sufferings of the
Irish people precisely as if he had forgotten on which side of the
Atlantic he then was. He dwelt on the tyranny of the Saxons,
and spoke of repeal as the only means of emancipating their
country from British domination, and solicited money in aid of
the great cause. Seeing, with no small surprise, an industrious
native-born artisan of Boston, whom I knew, in the crowd, I
asked him, as we went out together, whether he approved of the
objects of the meeting. He belonged to the extreme democratic
party, and answered, very coolly and quite seriously, " We hope
that we may one day be able to do for Ireland what France did
for the United States in our great struggle for independence."
On my return home, I found that my pocket had been picked
of a purse containing fortunately a few dollars only, an accident
for which I got no commiseration, as my friends hoped it would
be- a lesson to me to keep better company in future.
That a humble mechanic of Boston should be found who Chap. XL]
indulged in wild projects for redressing the wrongs of the Hibernian race, ought not to create wonder, when I state that before
the end of the year 1845, a resolution was moved in Congress,
by Mr. M'Connell, one of the members for Alabama, after he
had been talking much about the spirit of Christian love and
peaceful brotherhood which distinguished the American-republic,
to the following effect:—" That the Irish, ground down by
British misrule, have for centuries groaned under a foreign
monarchical yoke, and are now entitled to share the blessings of
our free institutions." I am happy to say, however, that this
absurd motion was not even seconded.
The population of Boston, exclusive of Charlestown, Roxbury,
and Cambridge (which may be regarded as suburbs), is at present
about 115,000, of which 8000 are Roman Catholics, chiefly of
Irish extraction; but there are besides many Scotch and English
emigrants in the city. In order to prove to me how much may
be done to advance them in civilization in a single generation, I
was taken to a school where nine-tenths of all the children were
of parents who had come out from England or Ireland. It was
not an examination day, and our visit was wholly unexpected.
We entered a suite of three well-aired rooms, containing 550
girls. There were nine teachers in the room. The pupils were
all between the ages of nine and thirteen, the greater portion of
them the daughters of poor laborers, but some of them of parents
in good circumstances. Each scholar was seated on a separate
chair with a back to it, the chair being immovably fixed to the
ground to prevent noise. There was no uniformity of costume,
but evidently much attention to personal neatness, nearly all of
them more' dressed than would be thought in good taste in children of a corresponding class in England. They had begun their
studies at nine o'clock in the morning, and are to be six hours at
school, studying fifty minutes at a time, and then being allowed
ten minutes for play in a yard adjoining. I observed some of the
girls very intent on their task, leaning on their elbows and in
other careless attitudes, and we were told by the masters that
they avoid as much as possible finding fault with them on minor
points when they are studying.    The only punishments are a VJP"
[Chap. XL
reprimand before the class, and keeping them back after school
hours. The look of intelligence in the countenances of the greater
number of them was a most pleasing sight. In one of the upper
classes they were reading, when we went in, a passage from Paley
" On Sleep," and I was asked to select at random from the school-
books some poem which the girls might read each in their turn.
I chose Gray's Elegy in a Churchyard, as being none of the
simplest for young persons to understand. They each read a
verse distinctly, and many of them most gracefully, and explained
correctly the meaning of nearly all the words and allusions on
which I questioned them.
We afterward heard the girls of the arithmetic class examined
in algebra, and their answers showed that much pairis had been
taken to make them comprehend the principles on which the
methods of calculation depended. We then visited a boy's grammar school, and found there 420 Protestant and 100 Catholic
boys educated together. We remarked that they had a less refined appearance and .were less forward in their education than
the girls whom we had just seen, of the same age, and taken
from the same class in society. In explanation I was. told that
it is impossible to give the boys as much schooling, because they
can earn money for their parents at an earlier age.
The number of public or free schools in Massachusetts in
1845—6, for a population of 800,000 souls, was about 3500,
and the number of male teachers 2585, and of female 5000,
which would allow a teacher for each twenty-five or thirty children, as many as tjiey can well attend to. The sum raised by
direct taxation for the wages and board of the tutors, and for
fuel for the schools, is upward of 600,000 dollars, or 120,000
guineas ; but this is exclusive of all expenditure for school-houses,
libraries, and apparatus* for which other funds are appropriated,
and every year a great number of newer and finer buildings are
Upon the whole about one million of dollars is spent in teaching a population of 800,000 souls, independently of the sums
expended on private instruction, which in the city of Boston is
supposed to be equal to the money levied by taxes for the free
# Chap. XL]
schools, or 260,000 dollars (55,0001.). If we were to enforce a
school-rate in Great Britain, bearing the same proportion to our
population of twenty-eight millions, the tax would amount annually to more than seven millions sterling, and would then be far
less effective, owing to the higher cost of living, and the comparative average standard of incomes among professionaLand
official men.
In Boston the master of the Latin School, where boys are fitted
for college, and the master of the High School, where they are
taught French, mathematics, and other branches preparatory to
a mercantile career, receive each 2400 dollars (500Z.), the governor of the state having only 2500 dollars. Their assistants
are paid from 1800 to 700 dollars (370Z. to 150Z.). The
masters of the grammar schools, where boys and girls are taught
in separate school-houses English literature, general history, and
algebra, have salaries of 1500 dollars (315/.), their male assistants 600 (125Z.), and their female 300 (65Z.). The mistresses
of schools, where children from four to seven years old are taught
to read, receive 325 dollars (70Z.). In Salem, Roxbury, Lowell,
and other JLarge towns, where living is more moderate, the salaries
are about one-third less ; and in rural districts, where the schools
are not kept open for the whole year, the wages of the teachers
are still smaller.
The county of Worcester, Massachusetts, for example, has a
population of about 100,000, and the number of schools in it is
about 543, the schools being kept open some four, others twelve
months, and on an average six months in the year. The male
teachers, of whom there are about 500, receive 30 dollars (6/.
6s.) a month; the women teachers, of whom there are 700,
about 13 dollars a month (21. 15s.).
Among other changes, we are told, in the State Reports, that
the number of female teachers has been augmented more rapidly
than that of the males, especially in schools where the youngest
pupils are taught, because the services of women cost less, and
are found to be equally, if not more, efficient. But my informants in general were desirous that I should understand that the
success of their plan of national education does not depend so much 150
[Chap. XT.
on the number and pay of the teachers as on the interest taken
in it by the entire population, who faithfully d vote more time
and thought to the management of the schools than to any other
public duty.
The cost of living in New England may, on the whole, be
taken to be at least one-third less than in Great Britain; and
the spirit of the political institutions, the frugal manner of conducting the government, the habits of society, and a greater general
equality of fortunes, where the custom of primogeniture does not
prevail, causes the relative value of incomes such as those above
enumerated, to confer a more respectable social position than
they would do with us. I was assured that in the country
towns the schoolmasters associate with the upper class of citizens,
holding as good a place in society as the clergy and medical
men, but not ranking so high as the lawyers.
On this point, however (the relative position of the teachers),
I found great differences of opinion among my informants ; but
a general agreement that their pay and social rank ought, to be
raised, so as to enable the state to command the services of men
and women of the best abilities and accomplishments.
Channing had, for many years before his death, insisted on
the want of institutions to teach the art of teaching. There are
now several of these normal schools in full activity, where a course
of three years' instruction is given. As yet, however, few can
afford to attend more than one year ; but even this short training
has greatly raised the general standard of efficacy, and the beneficial influence has extended even to schoolmasters who have not
yet availed themselves of the new training. The people have,
in fact, responded generously to the eloquent exhortations of
Channing, not to economize, for the sake of leaving a fortune to
the rising generation, at the expense of starving their intellects
and impoverishing their hearts. It was a common prejudice, he
said, and a fatal error to imagine that the most ordinary abilities,
are competent to the office of teaching the young. " Their vocation, on the contrary, is more noble even than that of the statesman, and demands higher powers, great judgment, and a capacity
of comprehending the laws of thought and moral action, and the Chap. XL]
various springs and motives by which the child may be roused to
the most vigorous use of all its faculties."^
Nevertheless, some of his most enthusiastic admirers confessed
to me that they could not assent to his doctrine, that "to teach,
whether by word or action, is the highest function on earth,"
taxless young men and women, between the ages of seventeen and
twenty-two, are the pupils, instead of children between four ahcT
sixteen. They expressed their misgivings and fears that the
business of the schoolmaster, who is to teach reading and writing
and the elements of knowledge, must check the development of
the mind, if not tend to narrow its powers. As the real friends
of progress, they had come reluctantly to this conclusion ; but
they admitted that to despond at present would be premature.
The experiment of promoting the teacher of every school to
that rank in society which the importance of his duties entitles
him to hold, and of training him in his art, has never yet been
We have yet to learn what may be the effect of encouraging
men of superior energy and talent, who have a natural taste for
the calling, to fit themselves for the profession. It must doubtless entail, like every other liberal calling, such as the legal,
medical, clerical, military, or mercantile, a certain amount of
drudgery and routine of business ; but, like all these departments, it may afford a field for the enlargement of the mind, if
they who exercise it enjoy, in a like degree, access to the best
society, can exchange thoughts with the most cultivated minds
in their district, and have leisure allowed them for self-culture,
together with a reasonable hope, if they distinguish themselves,
of being promoted to posts of honor and emolument, not in other
professions, such as the clerical, but in their own. The high
schools of Boston, supported by the state, are now so well managed, that some of my friends, who would grudge no expense to
engage for their sons the best instructors, send their boys to them
as superior to any of the private establishments supported by the
rich at great cost. The idea has been recently agitated of providing similar free-schools  and  colleges for girls, because they
* Glasgow Ed., vol i. p. 391. 152
[Chap. XL
could more easily be induced to stay until the age of sixteen.
Young men, it is said, would hate nothing so much as to find
themselves inferior in education to the women of their own age
and station* k0.
Of late years the improvement of the schools has been so
rapid, that objects which were thought Utopian even when
Channing began his career, have been realized ; and the more
sanguine spirits, among whom Mr. Horace Mann, Secretary of
the Public Board of Education, stands pre-eminent, continue to
set before the eyes of the public an ideal standard so much more
elevated, as to make all that has hitherto been accomplished
appear as nothing. The taxes self-imposed by the people for
educational purposes are still annually on the increase, and the
beneficial effects of the system are very perceptible. In all the
large towns Lyceums have been established, where courses of
lectures are given every winter, and the qualifications of the
teachers who deliver them are much higher than formerly. Both
the intellectual and social feelings of every class are cultivated
by these evening meetings, and it is acknowledged that with the
increased taste for reading, cherished by such instruction, habits
of greater temperance and order, and higher ideas of comfort,'
have steadily kept pace.
Eight years ago (1838) Channing observed that "millions,
wearied by their day's work, have been chained to the pages of
Walter Scott, and have owed some bright evening hours and
balmier sleep to his magical creations;" and he pointed out how
many of the laboring classes took delight in history and biography, descriptions of nature, in travels and in poetry, as well as
graver works. In his Franklin Lecture, addressed, in 1838, to
a large body of mechanics and men earning their livelihood " by
manual labor," he says, "Books are the true levelers, giving to
all who will faithfully use them the society and spiritual presence of the best and greatest of our race ; so that an individual
may be excluded from what is called good society, and yet not
pine for want of intellectual companionship."^
When I asked how it happened that in so populous and rich
* Channing, vol. ii. p. 378. ' Chap. XL]
a city as Boston there was at present (October, 1845) no regular
theater, I was told, among other reasons, that if I went into the
houses of persons of the middle and even humblest class, I should
often find the father of a family, instead of seeking excitement in
a shilling gallery, reading to his wife and four or five children
one of the best modern novels* which he has purchased for twenty-
five cents; whereas, if they could all have left home, he could
not for many times that sum have taken them to the play. They
often buy, in two or three successive numbers of a penny newspaper, entire reprints of the tales of Dickens, Bulwer, or other
popular writers.
I>ana, now a lawyer in Boston, and whose acquaintance I
bad the pleasure of making there, has, in his singularly interesting and original work, entitled " Two Years before the Mast,"
not only disclosed to us a lively picture of life in the forecastle,
but has shown incidentally how much a crew, composed of the
most unpromising materials, rough and illiterate, and recruited
at random from the merchant service of different nations, could
be improved by associating with a single well-educated messmate.
He was able, on one of the few holidays which were granted to
them in California by the most tyrannical of captains, to keep
them from going ashore, where they would have indulged in dissipation, by reading to them for hours Scott's historical tale of
" Woodstock." We ought scarcely, then, to wonder, after what
I have said of the common schools of this city, that crowded
audiences should be drawn night after night, through the whole
winter, in spite of frost and snow, from the class of laborers and
mechanics, mingled with those of higher station, to listen with
deep interest to lectures on natural theology, zoology, geology,
the writings of Shakspeare, the beauties of " Paradise Lost,"
the peculiar excellencies of " Comus" and " Lycidas," treated in
an elevated style by men who would be heard with pleasure by
• the most refined audiences in London.
Still, however, I hear many complaints that there is a want
of public amusements to give relief to the minds of the multitude,
whose daily employments are so monotonous that they require,
far more than the rich, opportunities of innocent recreation, such
£Chap. XI.
as concerts, dancing, and the theater might give, under proper
regulations; for these are now usually discouraged by religionists, who can find no other substitute for them but sermons and
reiterated church services.
Among the signs of the times, and of the increasing taste for
reading, the great number of lending libraries in every district
must not be forgotten. Toward the purchase of these the State
grants a certain sum, if an equal amount be subscribed by the
inhabitants. They-.are left to their own choice in the purchase
of books; and the best English poets and novelists are almost
always to be met with in each collection, and works of biography,
history, travels, natural history,* and science. The selection is
carefully made with reference to what the people will read, and
not what men of higher education and station think they ought
to read. CHAPTER XII.
Boston, Popular Education, continued. — Patronage of Universities and
Science.—Channing on Milton.—Miltoa's Scheme of teaching the Natural Sciences. — New England Free Schools. — Their Origin. — First
Puritan Settlers not illiterate.—Sincerity of their Religious Faith!—
Schools founded in Seventeenth Century in "Massachusetts.—Discouraged
in Virginia^—Sir W„ Berkeley's Letter.—Pastor Robinson's Views of
Progress in Religion.—Organization of Congregational Churches.—No
Penalties for Dissent.—Provision made for future Variations in Creeds.
—Mode of Working exemplified.—Impossibility of concealing Truths
relating to Religion from an educated Population.—Gain to the Higher
Classes, especially the Clergy.—New Theological Colleges.—The Lower
Orders not rendered indolent, discontented, or irreligious by Education.
—Peculiar Stimulus to Popular Instruction, in the United States.
It was naturally to be apprehended that, in a pure democracy,
or where the suffrage is nearly universal, the patronage of the
state would be almost entirely confined to providing means for
■mere primary education, such as reading, writing, and ciphering.
But such is not the case in Massachusetts, although the annual
grants made to the three universities of Harvard, Amherst, and
Williams, are now becoming inadequate to the growing wants
of a more advanced community, and strenuous exertions are
making to enlarge them. In the mean time, private bequests
and donations have of late years poured in upon Harvard University from year to year, some of them on a truly munificent
scale. Since my first visit to Cambridge, professorships of botany, comparative anatomy, and chemistry have been founded.
There was previously a considerable staff for the teaching of
literature, law, and medicine ; and lately an entire new department for engineering, natural philosophy, chemistry, geology,
mineralogy, and natural history, in their application to the arts,
has been instituted. One individual, Mr. Abbott Lawrence, a
gentleman still in the prime of fife, has contributed no less a
sum than 100,000 dollars '20,000 guineas) toward the support
■1. ^1
[Chap. XII.
of this department. One of the new chairs is now filled by a
zoologist of the highest European reputation, Professor Agassiz.
A splendid bequest also, of equal amount (100,000 dollars), has
recently been made to the Cambridge Observatory, for which the
country had already obtained, at great cost, a large telescope,
which has resolved the great nebula in Orion, and has enabled
the astronomer, Mr. Bond, simultaneously with an English observer, Mr. Lassell, to discover a new satellite of Saturn.
That the State, however, will not be checked by any narrow
utilitarian views in its patronage of the university and the higher
departments of literature and science, we may confidently infer
from the grants made so long ago as March, 1830, by the frugal
Legislature of Massachusetts, for a trigonometrical survey, and
for geological, botanical, and zoological explorations of the country, executed by men whose published reports prove them to have
been worthy of the trust. It was to be expected that some demagogues would attempt to persuade the people that such an expenditure of public money was profligate in the extreme, and that
as the universities have a dangerous aristocratic tendency, so these
liberal appropriations of funds for scientific objects were an evidence that the Whig party were wiping to indulge the fancies
of the few at the charge of the many. Accordingly, one orator
harangued the fishermen of Cape Cod on this topic, saying that
the government had paid 1500 dollars out of the Treasury to
remunerate Dr. Storer—for what ? for giving Latin names to
some of the best known fish; for christening the common cod
Morrhua americana, the shad Alosa vulgaris, and the fall herring Clupea vulgaris. aHis electioneering tactics did not succeed ; but might they not have gained him many votes in certain
English constituencies? Year after year, subsequently to 1837,
the columns of " the leading journal" of Great Britain were filled
with attacks in precisely the same style of low and ignorant ridicule against the British Association, and the memoirs of some of
the ablest writers in Europe on natural history and science, who:
were assailed with vulgar abuse. Such articles would not have
been repeated so perseveringly, nor have found an echo in the
" British Critic" and several magazines, had they not found sym- Chap. XII.]
pathy in the minds of a large class of readers, who ought, by their
station, to have been*less prejudiced, and who, in reality, have
no bigoted aversion to science itself, but simply dread the effects
of its dissemkration among the people at large.
It is remarkable that a writer of such genius and so enlarged
a mind as Channing, who was always aiming to furnish the multitude with sources of improvement and recreation, should have
dwelt so little on the important part which natural history and
the physical sciences might play, if once the tastes of the million
were turned to their study and cultivation. From several passages in his works, it is evident that he had never been imbued
with the slightest knowledge or feeling for such pursuits ; and
this is apparent even in his splendid essay on Milton, one of the
most profound, brilliant, and philosophical dissertations in the
English language. Dr. Johnson, while he had paid a just homage to the transcendent genius of the great poet and the charms of
his verse, had allowed his party feelings and bigotry to blind him
to all that was pure and exalted in Milton's character. Channing, in his vindication, pointed out how Johnson, with all his
strength of thought and reverence for virtue and religion, his Yig-
orous logic, and practical wisdom, wanted enthusiasm and lofty
sentiment. Hence, his passions engaged him in the unworthy
task of obscuring the brighter glory of one of the best and most
virtuous of men. But the American champion of the illustrious
bard fails to remark that Milton was also two centuries in advance of the age in which he lived, in his appreciation of the
share which the study of nature ought to hold in the training of
the youthful mind. Of Milton's scheme for enlarging the ordinary system of teaching, proposed after he had himself been practically engaged in the task as a schoolmaster, the lexicographer
spoke, as might have been anticipated, in terms of disparagement
bordering on contempt. He treated Milton, in fact, as a mere
empiric and visionary projector, observing that " it was his purpose to teach boys something more solid than the common literature of schools, by reading those authors that treat of physical
subjects."—" The poet Cowley had formed a similar plan in his
imaginary college ; but the knowledge of external nature, and the
torn- 158
[Chap. XII.
sciences which that knowledge requires, are not the great or the
frequent business of the human mind : and we ought not" he
adds, " to turn off attention from life to nature, as if we Were
placed here to watch the growth of plants, or the motions of the
That a violent shock had been given in the sixteenth century
to certain time-honored dogmas, by what is here slightingly called
" watching the motions of the stars," was an historical fact with
which Johnson was of course familiar ; but if it had been adduced
to prove that they who exercise their reasoning powers, in interpreting the great book of nature, are constantly arriving at new
truths, and occasionally required to modify preconceived opinions,
or that when habitually engaged in such discipline, they often acquire independent habits of thought, applicable to other departments of human learning, such arguments would by no means
have propitiated the critic, or have induced him to moderate his
disapprobation of the proposed innovations. In the mind of Johnson there was a leaning to superstition, and no one was more content to leave the pupil to tread forever in beaten paths, and to
cherish extreme reverence for authority, for which end the whole
system then in vogue in the English schools and colleges was admirably conceived. For it confined the studies of young men, up
to the age of twenty-two, as far as possible to the non-progressive
departments of knowledge, to the ancient models of classical excellence, whether in poetry or prose, to theological treatises, to
the history and philosophy of the ancients rather than the moderns, and to pure mathematics rather than their application to
physics. No modern writer was more free from fear of inquiry,
more anxious to teach the millions to think and reason for themselves, no one ever looked forward more enthusiastically to the
future growth and development of the human mind, than Channing. If his own education had not been cast in an antique
mold, he would have held up Milton as a model for imitation,
not only for his love of classical lore and poetry, but for his wish
to cultivate a knowledge of the works of nature.
Certainly no people ever started with brighter prospects of
uniting the promotion of both these departments, than the people? Chap. XII.]
of New England at this moment. Of the free schools which
they have founded, and the plan of education adopted by them
for children of all sects and stations in society, they feel justly
proud, for it is the most original thing which America, has yet
produced. The causes of their extraordinary success and recent
progress, well deserve more- attention than they have usually
received from foreigners; especially as it seems singular at first
sight, and almost paradoxical, that a commonwealth founded by
the Puritans, whom we are accustomed to regard as the enemies
of polite literature and science, should now take so prominent a
lead .as the patrons of both; or that a sect which was so prone
to bibliolatry that they took their pattern and model of civil
government, and even their judicial code, from the Old Testament,
who carried their theory of the union of Church and State so far
as to refuse the civil franchise to all who were not in full communion with their Church, and who persecuted for a time some
non-conformists, even to the death, should nevertheless have set
an example to the world of religious toleration, and have been
the first to establish schools for popular education open to the
children of all denominations—Romanist, Protestant, and Jew.
If any one entertains a doubt that the peculiar character
stamped upon the present generation of New Englanders, in
relation to religious and political affairs, is derived directly and
indisputably from their Puritan ancestors, let them refer to the
history of Massachusetts. According to the calculation of Bancroft, the first Puritan settlers of New England are the parents
of one-third of the whole white population of the United States.
Within the first fifteen years (and there never was afterward any
considerable increase from England) there came over 21,200
persons, or 4000 families. Their descendants, he says, are now
(1840) not far from 4,000,000. Each family has multiplied
on the average to 1000 souls, and they have carried to New
York and Ohio, where they constitute half the population, the
Puritan system of free schools, which they established from the
beginning. When we recollect that the population of all England
is computed to have scarcely exceeded five millions when the
chief body of the Puritans first emigrated to the New World, we 160
[Chap. XII.
may look upon the present descendants of the first colonists as
constituting a nation hardly inferior in numbers to what England
itself was only two centuries before our times. The development,
therefore, of the present inhabitants from a small original stock
has been so rapid, and the intermediate generations so few, that
we must be quite prepared to discover in the founders of the colony
of the seventeenth century, the germ of all the wonderful results
which have since so rapidly unfolded themselves.
Nor is this difficult. In the first place, before the great civil
war broke out in England, when the principal emigration took
place to Massachusetts, the Puritans were by no means an illiterate or uncultivated sect. They reckoned in their ranlgs a
considerable number of men of good station and family, who had
received the best education which the schools and universities
then afforded. Some of the most influential of the early New
England divines, such as Cotton Mather, were good scholars, and
have left writings which display much reading and an acquaintance with the Greek and Latin languages. Milton's " Paradise
Lost" usually accompanied the Bible into the log-houses of the
early settlers, and with the " Paradise Lost" the minor poems
of the same author were commonly associated.
The Puritans who first went into exile, after enduring much
oppression in their native country, were men who were ready to
brave the wilderness rather than profess doctrines or conform to
a ritual which they abhorred. They were a pure and conscien
tious body. They might be ignorant or fanatical, but they were
at least sincere, and no hypocrites had as yet been tempted to
join them for the sake of worldly promotion, as happened at a
later period, when Puritanism in the mother country had become
dominant in the state. Full of faith, and believing that their
religious tenets must be strengthened by free investigation, they
held that the study and interpretation of the Scriptures should
not be the monopoly of a particular order of men, but that every
layman was bound to search them for himself. Hence they were
anxious to have all their children taught to read. So early as
the year 1647, they instituted common schools, the law declaring
| that all the brethren shall teach their children and apprentices Chap. XII.]
to read, and that every township of fifty householders shall appoint one to teach all the children."^
Very different was the state of things in the contemporary
colony of Virginia, to which the Cavaliers and the members of
the Established Church were thronging. Even fifteen or twenty
years later, Sir William Berkeley, who was governor of Virginia
for nearly forty years, and was one of the best of the colonial
rulers, spoke thus, in the full sincerity of his heart, of his own
province, in a letter written after the restoration of Charles II. :
—"I thank God there are no free schools or printing, and I hope
we shall not have them these hundred years. For learning has
brought heresy and disobedience and sects into the world, and
printing has divulged them, and libels against the best government.     God keep us from both."f
Sir William Berkeley was simply expressing here, in plain
terms, the chief motives which still continue to defeat or retard
the cause of popular education in some parts of the United States
and in many countries of Europe, England not excepted—a
dread of political change while the people remain in ignorance,
and a fear of removing that ignorance, lest it should bring on
changes of religious opinion. The New Englanders were from
the beginning so republican in spirit, that they were not likely to
share Governor Berkeley's apprehensions of a growing dislike to
" the best of governments," as he termed the political maxims of
the Stuarts; and if, for a time, they cherished hopes of preserving uniformity of religious opinion, and even persecuted some who
would not conform to their views, their intolerance was of short
duration, and soon gave way to those enlightened views of civil
and religious freedom which they had always professed, even
when they failed to carry them into practice.
If we contrast the principles before alluded to of the leading
men in Massachusetts with those of the more southern settlers,
in the early part of the seventeenth century, we learn without
surprise that at a time when there was not one bookseller's shop
in Virginia and no printing presses, there were several in Boston,
* Bancroft, vol. i. p. 458.
t Chalmers, cited by Graham, Hist, of U. S'., vol. i. p. 103.
WMi 162
[Chap. XII.
with no less than five printing-offices, a fact which reflects the
more credit on the Puritans, because at the same period (1724)
there were no less than thirty-four counties in the mother country,
Lancashire being one of the number, in whieh there was no
When the Pilgrim Fathers were about to sail in the Mayflower from Leyden, a solemn fast was held before they embarked,
and their pastor, Robinson, gave them a farewell address, in
which these memorable words are recorded :—
" I charge you, before God and his blessed angels, that you
follow me no further than you have seen me follow the Lord
Jesus Christ. The Lord has more truth yet to break forth out
of his holy word. For my part, I can not sufficiently bewail
the condition of the reformed churches, who are come to a period
in religion, and will go at present no further than the instruments^
of their first reformation. The Lutherans can not be drawn to
go beyond what Luther saw. Whatever part of His will our
good God has imparted and revealed unto Calvin, they will die
rather than embrace it. And the Calvinists, you see, stick fast
where they were left by that great man of God, who yet saw not
all things. This is a misery much to be lamented ; for, though
they were burning and shining lights in their times, yet they
penetrated not into the whole counsel of God : but, were they
now living, they would be as willing to embrace further light as
that which they first received. I beseech you to remember it;
it is an article of your church-covenant, that you will be ready to
receive whatever truth shall be made known unto you from the
written word of God. Remember that and every other article
of your most sacred covenant."
It may be said that the spirit of progress, the belief in the
future discovery of new truths, and the expansion of Christianity,
which breathes through every passage of this memorable discourse, did not characterize the New England Independents any
more than the members of other sects. Like the rest, thev had
embodied their interpretations of Scripture in certain fixed and
definite propositions, and were but little disposed to cherish the
* Macaulay, History of England, vol. i. p. 392, who cites Nichols. Chap. XII.]
f a a!,
doctrine of the gradual development of Christianity. The Romanists had stopped short at the council of Trent, when the decrees
of a general council were canonized by the sanction of an infallible Pope. In like manner, almost every Protestant church has
acted as if religion ceased to be progressive at the precise moment
of time when their own articles of belief were drawn up, after
much dispute and difference of opinion.
But the precepts inculcated by Pastor Robinson were delivered
to a body of men whose form of ecclesiastical polity was very
peculiar ; who held that each congregation, each separate society
of fellow-worshipers, constituted within themselves a perfect and
independent church, whose duty it was to compose for itself and
modify at pleasure its rules of scriptural interpretation. In conformity with these ideas, the common law of New England had
ruled, that the majority of the pew-holders in each church should
retain their property in a meeting-house, and any endowment
belonging to it, whatever new opinions they might, in the course
of time, choose to adopt. In other words, if, in the lapse of ages,
they should deviate from the original standard of faith, they
should not suffer the usual penalties of dissent, by being dispossessed of the edifice in which they were accustomed to worship,
or of any endowments given or bequeathed for a school-house or
the support of a pastor, but should continue to hold them; the
minority who still held fast to the original tenets of the sect,
having to seek a new place of worship, but being allowed to
dispose of their pews, as of every other freehold, if purchasers
could be found.
Every year in some parts of New England, where the population is on the increase, the manner in which some one of these
new congregations starts into existence may be seen. A few
individuals, twenty perhaps, are in the habit of meeting together
on the Sabbath in a private dwelling, or in the school-house
already built for the children of all denominations in the new
village. One of the number offers a prayer, another reads a
chapter in the Bible, another a printed sermon, and perhaps a
fourth offers remarks, by way of exhortation, to his neighbors.
As the population increases, they begin to think of forming them- 1
. ':i|ti|:
ri .'til 1
i II"    ; ■
IP: .
•'1 ar
[Chap. XII.
selves into a church, and settling a minister. But first they
have to agree upon some creed or covenant which is to be the
basis of their union. In drawing up this creed they are usually
assisted by some neighboring minister, and it is then submitted
for approbation to a meeting of all the church members, and
is thoroughly discussed and altered till it suits the peculiar and
prevailing shades of opinion of the assembly. When at length
it is assented to, it is submitted to a council of neighboring
ministers, who examine into its scriptural basis, and who, according as they approve or disapprove of it, give or withhold " the
hand of fellowship."
The next step is to elect a pastor. After hearing several
candidates preach, they invite one to remain with them ; and,
after he has been ordained by the neighboring ministers, agree
on the salary to be insured to him, for the collection of which
certain members become responsible. It rarely exceeds 700
dollars, and more usually amounts in rural districts to 500 dollars, or 100 guineas annually.
By the Congregationalists, a church is defined to be a company of pious persons, who voluntarily unite together for the
worship of God. Each company being self-created, is entirely
independent of every other, has the power to elect its own officers, and to admit or exclude members. Each professes to regard
creeds and confessions of faith simply as convenient guides in the
examination of candidates, not standards of religious truth. They
may be the opinions of good and wise men, venerable by their
antiquity, but of no binding authority, and are to be measured
in each separate church by their conformity with Scripture. As
to the union of different churches, it is purely voluntary, and has
been compared to a congress of sovereign states, having certain
general interests in common, but entirely independent of each
other. There are no articles of union ; but if any old or new
society is thought to depart so widely from the other churches
that they can no longer be recognized as Christians, the rest
withhold or withdraw their fellowship.
Upon the whole, the separate congregational churches, both
in Old and New England, in all above 3000 in number, have Chap. XII.]
held together more firmly for two centuries, and have deviated
far less from the original standard of faith, than might have
been expected; although in Massachusetts and some neighboring
States, more than a hundred meeting-houses, some of them having endowments belonging to them, have in the course of the
last forty years been quietly transferred, by the majority of the
pew-holders, to what may be said to constitute new denominations. The change usually takes place when a new minister is
inducted. This system of ecclesiastical polity is peculiarly repugnant to the ideas entertained by churchmen in general, whose
efforts are almost invariably directed, whether in Protestant or
Romanist communities, to inculcate a deep sense of the guilt of
schism, and to visit that guilt as far as possible with pecuniary
penalties and spiritual outlawry. The original contract is usually
based on a tacit assumption that religion is not, like other branches of knowledge, progressive in its nature; and, therefore, instead
of leaving the mind unfettered and free to embrace and profess
new interpretations, as would be thought desirable where the
works of God are the subjects of investigation, every precaution is
taken to prevent doubt, fluctuation, and change. It is even
deemed justifiable to exact early vows and pledges against the
teaching of any new doctrines; and if the zealous inquirer should,
in the course of years and much reading, catch glimpses of truths
not embodied in his creed, nay, the very grounds of which could
not be known to him when he entered the church, nor to the
original framers of his articles of religion, no provision is made
for enabling him to break silence, or openly to declare that he
has modified his views. On the contrary, such a step mujjt,
usually be attended with disgrace, and often with destitution.
Nor does the intensity of this feeling seem by any means to
diminish in modern times with the multiplication of new sects.
It is even exhibited as strongly in bodies which dissent from old
establishments as in those establishments themselves. Wesley,
for example, took the utmost care that every Methodist chapel
should be so vested in the " General Conference," as to insure
the forfeiture of the building to the trustees, if any particular
congregation should deviate from his standard of faith, or even
« 166
should return to the Church of England, whose doctrines they
had never renounced. But the most signal instance of a fixed
determination to prevent any one congregation from changing its
mind in regard to any dogma or rite, until all the others associated with it are ready to move on in the same direction, has been
exemplified in our times by the Free Kirk of Scotland. More
than a million of the population suddenly deserted the old estab
lishment, and were compelled to abandon hundreds of ecclesiastical buildings, in which they had worshiped from their childhood.
Some of these edifices remained useless for a time, locked up,
and no service performed in them, because' the minister and
nearly all the parishioners Had joined in the secession. It was
necessary for the separatists to erect 700 or 800 new edifices
and school-houses, on which they expended several hundred
thousand pounds, having often no small difficulty to obtain new
sites for churches, so that their ministers preached for a time,
like the Covenanters of old, in the open air. It was under these
circumstances, and at the moment of submitting to such sacrifices,
that their new ecclesiastical organization was completed, providing that if any one of several hundred congregations should hereafter deviate, in ever so slight a degree, from any one of the
numerous articles of faith drawn up nearly three centuries ago,
under the sanction of John Knox, or from any one of the rules and
forms of church government then enacted, they should be dispossessed of the newly erected building, and all funds thereunto
belonging. Had any other contract been proposed, implying the
possibility of any future change or improvement in doctrine or
ceremony, not a farthing would have been contributed by these
zealous Presbyterians ; nor have they acted inconsistently, inasmuch as they are fully persuaded that they neither participate in
an onward or backward movement, but are simply reverting to
that pure and perfect standard of orthodoxy of the middle of the
sixteenth century, from which others have so sinfully ^departed.
Jt is only in times comparatively modern, that the opinion has
gained ground in Europe, and very recently in Scotland, that in
the settlement of landed property there should be some limitation
of the power of the dead over the living, and that a testator can Chap. XII.]        FUTURE VARIATIONS IN CREEDS.
not be gifted with such foresight as to enable him to know
beforehand in what manner, and subject to what conditions, his
wealth may be best distributed among his descendants, several
generations hence, for their own benefit or that of the community
at large. Whether, in ecclesiastical matters, also, there should
not be some means provided of breaking the entail without resorting to what is termed in Scotland " a disruption," so that deviations from theological formularies many centuries old, should not
be visited with pecuniary losses or disgrace—whether it be expedient to allow the Romanist or Calvinist, the Swedenborgian
or Socinian, and every other sectary to enforce, by the whole
power of the wealth he may bequeath to posterity, the teaching
of his own favorite dogmas for an indefinite time, and when a
large part of the population on whom he originally bestowed his
riches have altered their minds, are points on which a gradual
change has been taking place in the opinions of not a few of the
higher classes at least. Of this no one will doubt who remem-
bers or will refer to the debates in both Houses of the British
Parliament in 1844,^ and the speeches of eminent statesmen of
opposite politics when the Dissenters' Chapel Bill was discussed.
But whatever variety of views there may still be on this subject in Europe, it is now the settled opinion of many of the most
thoughtful of the New Englanders, that the assertion of the
independence of each separate congregation, was as great a step
toward freedom of conscience as all that had been previously
gained by Luther's Reformation; and it constitutes one of those
characteristics of church government in New England, which,
whether approved of or not, can not with propriety be lost sight
of, when we endeavor to trace out the sources of the love of progress, which has taken so strong a hold of the public mind in New
England, and which has so much facilitated their plan of national
education. To show how widely the spirit of their peculiar
ecclesiastical system has spread, I may state that even the
Roman Catholics have, in different states, and in three or foui
cases (one of which is still pending, in 1848—9), made an appeal
to the courts of law, and endeavored to avail themselves of the
| See the Debates on 7 & 8 Vict., ch, xlv, a d. 1844.
mi 168
[Chap. XII.
principle of the Independents, so that the majority of a separate
congregation should be entitled to resist the appointment by their
bishop of a priest to whom they had strong objections. The
courts seem hitherto to have determined that, as the building
belonged to the majority of the pew-holders, they might deal
with it as they pleased; but they have declined to pronounce
any opinion on points of ecclesiastical discipline, leaving the
members of each sect free, in this respect, to obey the dictates
of their own conscience.
But to exemplify the more regular working of the congregational polity within its own legitimate sphere, I will mention a
recent case which came more home to my own scientific pursuits.
A young man of superior talent, with whom I was acquainted,
who was employed as a geologist in the state survey of Pennsylvania, was desirous of becoming a minister of the Presbyterian
Church in that state ; but, when examined, previous to ordination, he was unable to give satisfactory answers to questions
respecting the plenary inspiration of Scripture, because he considered such a tenet, when applied to the first book of Genesis, inconsistent with discoveries now universally admitted, respecting the high antiquity of the earth, and the existence of
living beings on the globe long anterior to man. The rejected
candidate, whose orthodoxy on all other points was fully admitted,
was then invited by an Independent congregation in New England, to become their pastor; and when he accepted the offer,
the other associated churches were called upon to decide whether
they would assist in ordaining one who claimed the right to teach
freely his own views on the question at issue. The right of the
congregation to elect him, whether the other churches approved
of the doctrine or not, was conceded ; and a strong inclination is
always evinced, by the affiliated societies, to come, if possible, to
an amicable understanding". Accordingly, a discussion ensued,
and is perhaps still going on, whether, consistently with a fair
interpretation of Scripture, or with what is essential to the faith
of a Christian, the doctrine of complete and immediate inspiration
may or may not be left as an open question.
Some of my readers may perhaps exclaim that this incident Chap. XII. ]    CHURCHMEN ON PHYSICAL SCIENCE.
proves that the Congregationalists of New England are far behind
many orthodox divines of the Church of England, or even the
Church of Rome, as shown by Dr. Wiseman's lectures, in the
liberality of their opinions on this head, and that the establishment of the true theory of astronomy satisfied the Protestant
world, at least, that the Bible was never intended as a revelation
of physical science. No doubt it is most true, that within the
last forty years many distinguished writers and dignitaries of the
English Church have expressed their belief very openly in regard
to the earth's antiquity, and the leading truths established by
geology. " The Records of Creation," published in 1818, by the
present Archbishop of Canterbury (Dr. Sumner), the writings of
the present Dean of Westminster (Dr. Buckland), those of the
Dean of Llandaff (Dr. Conybeare), and of the Woodwardian Professor of Cambridge (The Rev. A. Sedgwick), and others, might
be adduced in confirmation. All of these, indeed, have been
cited by the first teachers of geology in America, especially in the
" orthodox universities" of New England, as countenancing the
adoption of their new theories ; and I have often heard scientific
men in America express their gratitude to the English Churchmen for the protection which their high authority afforded them
against popular prejudices at a critical moment, when many of
the State Legislatures were deliberating whether they should or
should not appropriate large sums of the public money to the promotion of geological surveys. The point, however, under discussion in the Congregationalist Church, to which I have alluded,
is in reality a different one, and of the utmost importance ; for it
is no less than to determine, not whether a minister may publish
books or essays declaratory of his own individual views, respecting the bearing of physical science on certain portions of Scripture, but whether he may, without reproach or charge of indiscretion, freely and candidly expound to all whom he addresses,
rich and poor, from the pulpit, those truths on which few well-
informed men now any longer entertain a doubt. Until such
permission be fairly granted, the initiated may, as we well know,
go on for ages embracing one creed, while the multitude holds
fast to another, and looks with suspicion and distrust on the phi-
VOL. I.—H lil
ffwl J70
[Chap. XII.
losopher who unreservedly makes known the mostjegitimate deductions from facts. Such, in truth, is the present condition of
^things throughout Christendom, the millions being left in the
same darkness respecting the antiquity of the globe, and the successive races of animals and plants which inhabited it before the
creation of man, as they were in the middle ages; or, rather,
each new generation being allowed to grow up with, or derive
from Genesis, ideas directly hostile to the conclusions universally
received by all who have studied the earth's autobiography. Not
merely the multitude, but many of those who are called learned,
still continue, while beholding with delight the external beauty
of the rocks and mountains, to gaze on them as Virgil's hero admired his shield of divine workmanship, without dreaming of its
historical import:—
Dona parentis
Miratur, rerumque ignarus imagine gaudet,
The extent to which, in Protestant countries, and where there
is a free press, opinions universally entertained by the higher
classes, may circulate among them in print and may yet remain
a sealed book to the million as completely as if they were still in
sacerdotal keeping, is such as no one antecedently to experience
would have believed possible. The discoveries alluded to are by
no means confined to the domain of physical science. I may cite
as one remarkable example the detection of the spurious nature
of the celebrated verse in the First Epistle of John, chap. v. verse
7, commonly called " the Three Heavenly Witnesses." Luther,
in the last edition which he published of the Bible, had expunged
this passage as spurious; but, shortly after his death, it was restored by his followers, in deference to popular prepossessions and
Trinitarian opinions. Erasmus omitted it in his editions of the
New Testament in the years 1516 and 1519; and after it had
been excluded by several other eminent critics, Sir Isaac Newton
wrote his celebrated dissertation on the subject between the years
1690 and 1700, strengthening the arguments previously adduced
against the genuineness of the verse. Finally, Porson published,
in 1788 and 1790, his famous letters, by which the question was
wamm Chap. XII.}
forever set at rest. It was admitted that in all the Greek MSS.
of the highest antiquity, the disputed passages were wanting, and
Porson enumerated a long list of Greek and Latin authors, including the names of many fathers of the Church, who, in their
controversies with Arians and Socinians, had not availed themselves of the text in question, although they had cited some of
the verses which immediately precede and follow, which lend a
comparatively feeble support to their argument.
All who took the lead against the genuineness of the passage,
except Sir Isaac Newton, were Trinitarians; but doubtless felt
with Porson, that " he does the best service to truth who hinders
it from being supported by falsehood." Throughout the controversy, many eminent divines of the Anglican church have
distinguished themselves by their scholarship and candor, and it
is well known by those who have of late years frequented the
literary circles of Rome, that the learned Cardinal Mai was
prevented, in 1838, from publishing his edition of the Codex
Yaticanus, because he could not obtain leave from the late Pope
(Gregory XVI.) to omit the interpolated passages, and had
satisfied himself that they were wanting in all the most ancient
MSS. at Rome and Paris. The Pontiff refused, because he was
bound by the decrees of the Council of Trent, and of a Church
pretending to infallibility, which had solemnly sanctioned the
Vulgate, and the Cardinal had too much good faith to give the
authority of his name to what he regarded as a forgery. In Oxford, in 1819, the verse was not admitted, by the examiners in
Divinity, as Scripture warranty for the doctrine of the Trinity;
yet, not only is it retained in the English Prayer-Book, in the
epistle selected for the first Sunday after Easter, but the Protestant Episcopal Church in America, when finally revising their
version of the English Liturgy in 1801, several years after
Porson's letters had been published, did not omit the passage,
although they had the pruning knife in their hand, and were lopping off several entire services, such as the Commination, Gunpowder Treason, King Charles the Martyr, the Restoration of
Charles II., and last, not least, the Athanasian Creed. What
is still more remarkable, Protestants of every denomination have IT
[Chap. XII.
gone on year after year distributing hundreds of thousands of
Bibles, not only without striking out this repudiated verse, but
without even affixing to it any mark or annotation to show the
multitude that it is given up by every one who has the least
pretension to scholarship and candor.
li Let Truth, stern arbifaress of all,
Interpret that original,
And for presumptuous wrongs atone;—-
M Authentic words be given, or none!"
It is from no want of entire sympathy with the sentiment
expressed in these lines of Wordsworth, and written by him on
a blank leaf of Macpherson's Ossian, that literary or scientific
men, whether Protestant or Cathofic, European or American,
clergy or laity, abstain in general from communicating the results
of their scientific or biblical researches to the million, still less
from any apprehension that the essential truths of Christianity
would suffer the slightest injury, were the new views to be
universally known. They hesitate, partly from false notions of
expediency, and partly through fear of the prejudices of the vulgar.
They dare not speak out, for the same reason that the cifil and
ecclesiastical rulers of England halted for one hundred and
seventy years before they had courage to adopt the reform in the
Julian calendar, which Gregory XIII.,-in accordance with astronomical observations, had effected in 1582.
Hogarth, in his picture of the Election Feast, has introduced
a banner carried by one of the crowd, on which was inscribed
the motto, " Give us back our eleven days," for he remembered
when the angry mob, irritated by the innovation of the new
style, went screaming these words through the streets of London.
In like manner, the acknowledged antiquity of Egyptian civilization, or of the solid framework of the globe, with its monuments of many extinct races of living beings, might, if suddenly
disclosed to an ignorant people, raise as angry a demand to give
them back their old chronology. Hence arises a -habit of concealing from the unlettered public discoveries which might, it is
thought, perplex them, and unsettle their old opinions. This
method of dealing with the most sacred of subjects, may thus be Chap. XII.]
illustrated :—A few tares have grown up among the wheat;
you must not pull them up, or you will loosen the soil and expose
the roots of the good grain, and then all may wither : moreover,
you must go on sowing the seeds of the same tares in the mind
of the rising generation, for you can not open the eyes of the
children without undeceiving and alarming their parents. Now
the perpetuation of error among the many, is only one part of
the mischief of this want of good faith, for it is also an abandonment by the few of the high ground on which their religion
ought to stand, namely, its truth. It accustoms the teacher to
regard his religion in its relation to the millions as a mere piece
of machinery, Mke a police, for preserving order, or enabling one
class of men to govern another.
If such a state of things be unsound and unsatisfactory, it is
not so much the clergy who are to blame as the laity; for laymen have more freedom of action, and can with less sacrifice of
personal interests take the initiative in a reform* The cure of
the evil is obvious; it consists in giving such instruction to the
people at large as would make concealment impossible. Whatever is known and intelligible to ordinary capacities in science,
especially if contrary to the first and natural impressions derivable from the literal meaning, or ordinary acceptation of the text
of Scripture, whether in astronomy, geology, or any other department of knowledge, should be freely communicated to all. Lay
teachers, not professionally devoted and pledged to propagate the
opinions of particular sects, will do this much more freely than
ecclesiastics, and, as a matter of course, in proportion as the
standard of public instruction is raised; and no order of men
would be such gainers by the measure as the clejgy, especially
the most able and upright among them. Every normal school,
every advance made in the social and intellectual position of the
lay teachers, tends to emancipate, not the masses alone, but still
more effectually their spiritual guides, and would increase their
usefulness in a tenfold degree. That a clergy may be well
informed for the age they five in, and may contain among them
many learned and good men, while the people remain in darkness, we know from history; for the spiritual instructors may 174
[Chap. XLL
wish to keep the multitude in ignorance, with a view of maintaining their own power. But no educated people will ever
tolerate an idle, illiterate, or stationary priesthood. That this is
impossible, the experience of the last quarter of a century in
New England has fully proved. In confirmation of this truth,
I may appeal to the progress made by the ministers of the Methodist and Baptist churches of late .years. Their missipnaries
found the Congregationalists slumbering in all the security of an
old establishment, and soon made numerous converts, besides
recruiting their ranks largely from newly arrived emigrants.
They were able to send more preachers into the vineyard, because they required at first scarcely any preparation or other
qualification than zeal. But no sooner had the children of the
first converts been taught in the free schools under an improved
system, than the clergy of these very denominations, who had
for a time gloried in their ignorance and spoken with contempt
of all human knowledge, found it necessary to study for some
years in theological seminaries, and attend courses of church
history, the Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and German languages, the
modern writings of German and other biblical scholars, and
every branch of divinity. The Baptist college at Newton has
greatly distinguished itself among others, and that of the Methodists at Middletown in Connecticut ; while the Independents
have their theological college at Andover in Massachusetts, which
has acquired much celebrity, and drawn to it pupils from great
distances, and of mantjr different denominations.
The large collections of books on divinity which, are now seen
in the libraries of New England clergy, were almost unknown
a quarter of a century ago.
The average pay, also, of the clergy in the rural districts of
New England has increased. About the middle of the last
century, it was not more than 200 dollars annually, so that they
were literally " passing rich with forty pounds a year ;" whereas
now they usually receive 500 at least, and some in the cities
2000 or 3000 dollars. Nor can there be a doubt that, in proportion as the lay teachers are more liberally remunerated, the
scale of income required to command the services of men of Chap. XII.]
first-rate talent in the clerical profession, must and will be
Already there are many indications in Massachusetts that a
demand for higher qualifications in men educated for the pulpit
is springing up. It is no bad augury to hear a minister exhort
his younger brethren at their ordination not to stand in awe of
their congregations, but to remember they have before them sinful men who are to be warned, not critics who are to be propitiated. I Formerly," said Channing, | Felix trembled before
Paul; it is now the successor of Paul who trembles :"—-a saying
which, coming as it did from a powerful and successful preacher,
implies that the people are awaking, not that they are growing
indifferent about religious matters, but that the day of soporific
discourses, full of empty declamation or unmeaning commonplaces, is drawing to a close.
It will be asked, however, even by some who are favorable to
popular education, whether the masses can have leisure to profit
in after life by such a style of teaching as the government of
Massachusetts is now ambitious of affording to the youth of the
country, between the ages of four and fourteen. To this I may
answer, that in nations less prosperous and progressive it is ascertained that men may provide for all their bodily wants, may feed
and clothe themselves, and yet give up one-seventh part of their
time, or every Sabbath, to their religious duties. That their religion should consist not merely in the cultivation of a devotional
spirit toward their Maker, but also in acquiring pure and lofty
conceptions of his attributes—a knowledge of the power and
wisdom displayed in his works—an acquaintance with his moral
laws a just sense of their own responsibility, and an exercise of
their understandings in appreciating the evidences of their faith,
few of my readers will deny. To insure the accomplishment of
these objects, a preparatory education in good schools is indispensable. It is not enough to build churches and cathedrals, to
endow universities or theological colleges, or to devote a large
portion of the national revenues to enable a body of spiritual instructors to discharge, among other ecclesiastical duties, that ol
preaching good sermons from the pulpit.     Their seed may fall
Ml;, 176
[Chap. XII.
on a soil naturally fertile, but will perish if there has been no
previous culture of the ground. At the end of seventy years
men of good natural abilities, who have been attentive to their
religious observances, have given up ten entire years of their life,
a period thrice as long as is required for an academical course
of study, and at the close of such a career may, as we know, be
ignorant, sensual, and ^superstitious, and have little love or taste
for things intellectual or spiritual.
But granting that time and leisure may be found, it will still
be asked whether, if men of the humblest condition be taught to
enjoy the poems of Milton and Gray, the romances of Scott, or
lectures on literature, astronomy, and botany, or if they read a
daily newspaper and often indulge in the stirring excitement of
party politics, they will be contented with their situation in life,
and submit to hard labor. All apprehension of such consequences
is rapidly disappearing in the more advanced states of the American Union. It is acknowledged by the rich that, where the free
schools have been most improved, the people are least addicted
to intemperance, are more provident, have more respect for property and the laws, are more conservative, and less led away by
socialist or other revolutionary doctrines. So far from indolence
being the characteristic of the laboring classes, where they are
best informed, the New Englanders are rather too much given to
overwork both body and brain. They make better pioneers,
when roughing it in a log-house in the backwoods, than the uneducated Highlander or Irishman; and the factory girls of
Lowell, who publish their " Offering," containing their own
original poems and essays, work twelve hours a day, and have
not yet petitioned for a ten-hour bill.
In speculating on the probability of the other states in the
north, south, and west, some of them differing greatly in the degree of their social advancement, and many of them retarded by
negro slavery, adopting readily the example set them by the
New Englanders, and establishing free and normal schools, I
find that American enthusiasts build their hopes chiefly on that
powerful stimulus which they say is offered by their institutions
for popular education—a stimulus such as was never experienced Chap. XIL]
before in any country in the world. This consists not so much
in the absence of pauperism, or in the individual liberty enjoyed
by every one in civil and religious rights, but in the absence of
the influence of family and fortune—the fair field of competition,
freely open to all who aspire, however humble, to rise one day
to high employments, especially to official or professional posts,
whether lay or ecclesiastical, civil or military, requiring early
cultivation. Few will realize their ambitious longings; but
every parent feels it a duty to provide that his child should not
be shut out from all chance of winning some one of the numerous
prizes, which are awarded solely on the ground of personal qualifications, not always to the most worthy, but -at least without
any regard to birth or hereditary wealth. It seems difficult to
foresee the limit of taxation which a population, usually very intolerant of direct taxes, will not impose on themselves to secure
an object in which they have all so great a stake, nor does any
serious obstacle or influence seem likely to oppose their will.
There is in no state, for example, any dominant ecclesiastical
body sufficiently powerful to thwart the maxims of those statesmen wdio maintain that, as the people are determined to govern
themselves, they must be carefully taught and fitted for self-
government, and receive secular instruction in common schools
open to all. The Roman Catholic priests, it is true, in the state
of New York, where there are now 11,000 schools in a population of two millions and a half, have made some vigorous efforts
to get the exclusive management of a portion of the school funds
into their own hands, and one, at least, of the Protestant sects
has openly avowed its sympathy in the movement. But they
have failed from the extreme difficulty of organizing a combined
effort, where the leaders of a great variety of rival denominations
are jealous of one another ; and, fortunately, the clergy are becoming more and more convinced that, where the education of
the million has been carried farthest, the people are most regular
in their attendance on public worship, most zealous in the defense of their theological opinions, and most liberal in contributing funds for the support of their pastors and the building of
Leaving Boston for the South.—Railway Stove.—Fall of Snow.—New Haven,
and Visit to Professor Silliman.—New York.—Improvements in the
City.—Croton Waterworks.—Fountains.—^Recent Conflagration.—New
Churches.—Trinity Church.—News from Europe of Converts to Rome.—
Reaction against Traqtarians.—Electric Telegraph, its Progress in
America.—Morse and Wheatstone.—11,000 Schools in New York for
Secular Instruction.—Absence of Smoke.—Irish Voters.—Nativism.
Dec. 3. 1845.—Having resolved to devote the next six months
of my stay in America to a geological exploration of those parts
of the country which I had not yet visited, I left Boston just as
the cold weather was setting in, to spend the winter in the south.
The thermometer had fallen to 23° F., and on our way to the
cars we saw skaters on the ice in the common. Soon after we
started, heavy snow began to fall, but in spite of the storm we
were carried to Springfield, 100 milesyin five hours. We passed
a luggage train with twenty-two loaded cars, rolling past us in
the opposite direction, on 10 0 wheels, including those of the engine
and tender. In the English railways, the passengers often suffer
much from cold in winter. Here, the stove in the center of the
long omnibus is a great luxury, and I saw one traveler after another leave his seat, walk up to it and warm his feet on the fender.
As I was standing there, a gentleman gave^ae the President's
speech to read, which, by means of a railway express, had, for
the first time, been brought from Washington to Boston, 470
miles, in one day. It was read with interest, as all were
speculating on the probability of a wijj with England about
Oregon. While I was indulging my thoughts on the rapid
communication of intelligence by newspapers and the speed and
safety of railway traveling, a fellow-passenger interrupted my
pleasing reveries by telling me I was standing too near the iron
stove, which had scorched my clothes and burnt a hole in my
great coat, and immediately afterward I learnt at Springfield, that Chap. XIII. ]       VISIT TO PROFESSOR SILLIMAN.
the cars on the line between that town and Albany, where there
is only one track, had run against a luggage train near Chester,
and many passengers were injured* Some say that two were
killed. According to others, one of the trains was five minutes
-before its time; but our informant took my thoughts back to
England, and English narratives of the like catastrophes by saying, " It has been ascertained that no one was to blame." We
had no reason to boast of our speed the next day, for we were
twelve hours in going sixty-two miles to New Haven. The delay
was caused by ice on the rail, and by our having to wait to let
the New York train pass us, there being only one line of rail.
A storm in the Sound had occasioned the New York cars to be
five hours behind their time. We saw many sleighs dashing
past and crossing our road. It was late before we reached the
hosffttable house of Professor Silliman, who with his son gave me
many valuable instructions for my southern tour. Their letters
of introduction, however, though most useful, were a small part
of the service they did me bot^ in this tour and during my former
visit to America. Every where, even in the states most remote
from New England, I met with men who, having been the pupils
of Professor Silliman, and having listened to his lectures when at
eojlege, had invariably imbibed a love for natural history and
physical fifeience.
In the morning, when we embarked in the steamer for New
York, I was amused at the different aspect of the New Haven
scenery from that which I remembered in the autumn of 1841.
The East Roek was now covered with snow, all but the bold
precipice of columnar basalt. The trees, several of which, espe-
cially the willows, still retained many of their leaves, were bent
down beneath a weight of ice. I never saw so brilliant a spectacle of the kind, for every bough of the large drooping elms and
the smallest twigs of every tree, and shrub were hung with transparent icicles, which, in the bright sunshine, reflected the prismatic colors like the cut-glass drops of a chandelier. As we sailed
out of the harbor, which was crowded with vessels, we saw all
the ropes of their riggings similarly adorned with crystals of ice.
A stormy voyage of nine hours carried us through Long Island 180
[Chap. XIII.
Sound, a distance of ninety miles, to New York. It is only three
years since we were last in this city, yet in this short interval we
see improvements equaling in importance the increase of the
population, which now amounts in round numbers to 440,000 ;
New York containing 361,000, and Brooklyn, which is connected with it by a ferry, together with Williamsburg 79,000.
Among other novelties since 1841, we observe with pleasure the
new fountains in the midst of the city supplied from the Croton
waterworks, finer than any which I remember to have seen in
the center of a city since I was last in Rome. Two of them
are now, in spite of an intense frost,. throwing up columns of water
more than thirty feet high, one opposite the City Hall, and another in Hudson Square ; but I am told that when we return in
the summer we shall see many others in action. A work more
akin in magnificence to the ancient and modern Roman aqueducts
has not been achieved in our times ; the water having been
brought from the Croton river, a distance of about forty miles,
at the expense of about three millions sterling. The health of
the city is said to have already gained by greater cleanliness and
more wholesome water for drinking ; and I hear from an eminent
physician that statistical tables show that cases of infantine cholera
and some other complaints have sensibly lessened. The water can
be carried to the attics of every house, and many are introducing
baths and indulging in ornamental fountains in private gardens.
The rate of insurance for fire has been lowered; and I could not
help reflecting as I looked at the moving water, at a season when
every pond is covered with ice, how much more security the city
must now enjoy than during the great conflagration in the winter
of 183£, when there was such a want of water to supply the
engines. Only five months ago (July 19th, 18415), another
destructive fire broke out near the battery, and when it was
nearly extinguished by the aid of the Croton water, a tremendous
explosion of saltpeter killed many of the firemen, and scattered
the burning materials to great distances, igniting houses in every
direction. A belief that more gunpowder still remained unex-
ploded checked for a time the approach of the firemen, so tnat a
large area was laid waste, and even now some of the ruins are Chap. XIII. ]
smoking, there being a smoldering heat in cellars filled with
" dry goods." When the citizens of London rejected the splendid
plan which Sir Christopher Wren proposed for its restoration, he
declared that they had not deserved a fire, but the New Yorkers
seem to have taken full advantage of the late catastrophe. As
it was the business part of the city which the flames laid in
ruins, we could not expect much display of ornamental architecture ; but already, before the ashes have done smoking, we see
entire streets of substantial houses which have risen to their full
height, and the ground has been raised five feet higher than
formerly above the river, so as to secure it from inundations,
which has so enhanced its value, that many of the sites alone
have sold for prices equal to the value of the buildings which
once cohered them. Among the new edifices, we were shown
gome which are fire-proof. Unfortunately, many a fine tree has
been burned, and they are still standing without their bark, but
the weeping willows bordering the river on the Battery have
escaped unsinged.
Among the new features of the cifV we see several fine churches, some built from their foundations, others finished since 1841.
The wooden spires of several are elegant, and so solid, as to have
all the outward effect of stone. The two most conspicuous of
the new edifices are Episcopalian, Trinity and Grace Church.
The cost of the former has been chiefly defrayed by funds derived
from the rent of houses in New York, bequeathed long since to
the Episcopal Church. The expense is said to have equaled
that of erecting any four other churches in the city. It is entirely of stone, a fine-grained sandstone of an agreeable ^light-brown
tint. The top of the steeple is 289 feet from the ground. The
effect of the Gothic architecture is very fine, and the Episcopalians may now boast that of all the ecclesiastical edifices of this
continent, they have erected the most beautifixl. Its position is
admirably chosen, as it forms a prominent feature in Broadway,
the principal street, and in another direction looks down Wall-
street, the great center of city business. It is therefore seen
from great distances in this atmosphere, so beautifully clear even
at this season," when every stove is lighted, and when the ther-
II ill I !
[Chap. XIII.
mometer has fallen twenty degrees below the freezing point.
Where there is so much bright sunshine and no smoke, an architect may well be inspired with ambiti«$a, conscious that the effect
of every pillar and other ornament will be fully brought out with
their true lights and shades. The style of the exterior of Trinity
Church reminds us of some of our old Gothic churches in Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire. The interior is in equally good
taste, the middle aisle sixty-five feet high, but the clustered
columns will not have so stately an appearance, nor display
their true proportions when the wooden pews have been introduced round their base. An attempt was made to dispense
with these; but the measure could not be capped; in fact, much
as we may admire the architectural beauty of such a cathedral,
one can not but feel that such edifices were plaspned by the
genius of other ages, and adapted to a differesjt i&m of worship.
When the forty-five windows of painted glass are finished, and
the white-robed choristers are sinariner the Cathedral service, to
be performed here daily, and when the noble organ peals forth
its swelling notes to the arched roof, the whole service will-
remind us of the days of Romanism, rather than seem suitable
to the wants of a Protestant congregation. It is not the form-
of building best fitted for instructing a large audience. To make
the whole in keeping, we ought to throw down the pews, and let
processions of priests in their robes of crimson, embroidered with
gold, preceded by boys swinging censers, and followed by a crowd
of admiring devotees, sweep through the spacious nave.
That the whole pomp and splendor of the ancient ceremonial
will gradually be restored, with no smail portion of its kindred
dogmas, is a speculation in which some are said to be actually
indulging their thoughts, and is by no means so visionary an idea
as half a century ago it might have been thought. In the diocese of New York, the party which has adopted the views commonly called Puseyite, appears to have gone greater lengths
than in any part of England. The newspapers published in
various parts of the Union bear testimony to a wide extension of
the like movement. We read, for example, a statement of a
bishop who has ordered the revolving reading-desk of a curate to Chap. XlHq
be nailed to the wall, that he might be unable to turn with it
toward the altar. The offending clergyman has sesigned for the
sake of peace, and part of his congregation sympathizing in his
views have raised for him a sum of 6000 dollars. In another
paper I see a letter of remonstrance from a bishop to an Episcopal clergyman, for attending vespers in a Romanist church, and
for crossing himself with holy water as he entered. The epistle
finishes with an inquify if it be true that he had purchased
several copies of the Ursnline Manual for young persons. The
clergyman, in reply, complains of this petty and annoying inquisition into his private affairs, openly avows;that he is earnestly
examining into the history, character, claims, doctrines, and
usages of the Church of Rome, and desirous of becoming practi-*
cally acquainted with thek forms of worship—that when present
lor this purpose he had thought it right to conform to the usage
of the congregation, &c.
It would be easy to multiply aneedotes, and advert to controversial pamphlets, "With which the press is teeming, in proof of
the lively" interest now taken in similar ecclesiastical questions,
so that the reader may conceive the sensation just created here
by a piece of intelligence which reached New York the very day
of our arrival, and is now going the round of the newspapers,
namely, the conversion to the Romish -Church of the Rev. Mr.
Newman, of Oxford. Some of Ms greatest admirers are put to
confusion; others are rejoicing in the hope that the event may
prove a warning to many who have departed from the spirit of
the Reformation ; and a third party, who gave no credit for sincerity to the leaders of a movement which they regarded as
retrograde, and who still suspect that they who have joined in it
here are actuated by worldly motives, are confessing that they
did injustice to the great Oxford tractarian. One of them remarked to me, " We are often told from the pulpit here that we
five in an age of skepticism, and that it is the tendency of our
times to believe too little rather than too much; and yet Protest
ants of superior talent are now ready to make these great sacrifices for the sake of jreturning to the faith of Rome !" I might
have replied, that reaction seems to be almost as much a princi- 184
[Chap. XIII.
pie of the moral as of the material world, and that we know,
from the posthumous writings of one who had lived on intimate
terms with the originators of the Tractarian movement in Oxford,
that a recoil from doubts derived from the study of the German
rationalists, led directly to their departure in an opposite direction. " They flung themselves," says Blanco White, writing in
1837, "on a phantom which they called Church. Their plan
was to stop all inquiry," and " to restore popery, excluding the
pope."^. Meanwhile, the,attempt to revive the credulity of the
middle ages, and to resuscitate a belief in all the miracles of
mediaeval saint% has produced, as might naturally have been
expected, another reaction, giving strength to a party called the
anti-supernaturalists, who entirely reject all the historical evidence in favor of the Scripture miracles. Their leader in New
England, Mr. Theodore Parker, is the author of a work of great
erudition, originality, and earnestness {lately reprinted in England),
in which, while retaining a belief in the Divine origin of Christianity, and the binding nature of its moral code, he abandons the
greater part of the evidences on which its truth has hitherto been
considered to repose. I heard this author, during my late stay
in Boston, preach to a congregation respectable for its numbers
and station.
Next to the new churches and fountains, the most striking
change observable in the streets of New York since 1841, is the
introduction of the electric telegraph, the posts of which, about
30 feet high and 100 yards apart, traverse Broadway, and are
certainly not ornamental. Occasionally, where the trees interfere,
the wires are made to cross the street diagonally. The success-*
ful exertions made to render this mode of communication popular,
and so to cheapen it as to bring the advantages of it within the
reach of the largest possible number of merchants, newspaper
editors, and private individuals, is characteristic of the country..
There is a general desire evinced of overcoming space, which?
seems to inspire all their exertions for extending and improving
railways, fines of steam navigation, and these telegraphs. Agriculturists and mercantile men in remote places, are eager to know
* Life of J. Blanco White, vol. ii. p. 355, and vol. iii. p. 106. Chap. XIIL]
every where, on the very day of the arrival of an Atlantic mail
steamer, the prices of grain, cotton, and other articles in the European markets, so that they may speculate on equal terms with the
eitizens of Boston and New York. The politician, who is ambitious, not only of retaining all the states of the Union in one
powerful confederation, but of comprising the whole continent
under one empire, hails the new invention with delight, and
foresees at once its important consequences; Mr. Winthrop well
faaew the temper of the people whom he addressed, when he
congratulated a large meeting, that they might now send intelligence from one end of the Union to the other with the rapidity
of thought, and-"that they had realized the promise of the King
of the Fairies, that he would "put a girdle round about the earth
in forty minutes." Already many paragraphs in the newspapers
are headed, &qu