clear church bells were ringing, and sedate people
in their best clothes enlivened the pathway near at
hand, and dotted the distant thread of road, there
was a pleasant Sabbath peacefulness on everything
which it was good to feel. It would have been the
better for an old church ; better still for some old
FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 103
graves ; but, as it was, a wholesome repose and tran-
quillity pervaded the scene, which, after the restless
ocean and the hurried city, had a doubly grateful
influence on the spirits.
We went on next morning, still by railroad, to
Springfield. From that place to Hartford, whither
we were bound, is a distance of only five and twenty
miles, but at that time of the year the roads were
so bad that the journey would probably have occu-
pied ten or twelve hours. Fortunately, however,
the winter having been unusually mild, the Connec-
ticut River was "open," or, in other words, not
frozen. The captain of a small steamboat was going
to make his first trip for the season that day (the
second February trip, I believe, within the memory
of man), and only waited for us to go on board.
Accordingly, we went on board with as little delay
as might be. He was as good as his word, and
It certainly was not called a small steamboat with-
out reason. I omitted to ask the question, but I
should think it must have been of about half a pony
power. Mr. Paap, the celebrated Dwarf, might have
lived and died happily in the cabin, which was fitted
with common sash-windows like an ordinary dwell-
ing-house. These windows had bright red curtains,
too, hung on slack strings across the lower panes ;
so that it looked like the parlor of a Lilliputian
public-house, which had got afloat in a flood or some
other water accident, and was drifting nobody knew
where. But even in this chamber there was a
rocking-chair. It would be impossible to get on
anywhere, in America, without a rocking-chair.
I am afraid to tell how many feet short this vessel
104 AMERICAN NOTES
was, or how many feet narrow ; to apply the words
length and width to such measurement would be a
contradiction in terms. But I may state that we all
kept the middle of the deck, lest the boat should
unexpectedly tip over : and that the machinery, by
some surprising process of condensation, worked
between it and the keel : the whole forming a
warm sandwich, about three feet thick.
It rained all day, as I once thought it never did
rain anywhere but in the Highlands of Scotland.
The river was full of floating blocks of ice, which
were constantly crunching and cracking under us ;
and the depth of water, in the course we took to
avoid the larger masses, carried down the middle of
the river by the current, did not exceed a few inches.
Nevertheless, we moved onward dexterously ; and,
being well wrapped up, bade defiance to the weather,
and enjoyed the journey. The Connecticut River
is a fine stream ; and the banks in summer-time
are, I have no doubt, beautiful : at all events, I was
told so by a young lady in the cabin ; and she should
be a judge of beauty, if the possession of a quality
include the appreciation of it, for a more beautiful
creature I never looked upon.
After two hours and a half of this odd travelling
(including a stoppage at a small town, where we
were saluted by a gun considerably bigger than our
own chimney), we reached Hartford, and straight-
way repaired to an extremely comfortable hotel :
except, as usual, in the article of bedrooms, which,
in almost every place we visited, were very condu-
cive to early rising.
We tarried here four days. The town is beauti-
fully situated in a basin of green hills ; the soil is
FOR GENERAL, CIRCULATION. 105
rich, well wooded, and carefully improved. It is the
seat of the local legislature of Connecticut, which
sage body enacted, in bygone times, the renowned
code of "Blue Laws," in virtue whereof, among
other enlightened provisions, any citizen who could
be proved to have kissed his wife on Sunday was
punishable, I believe, with the stocks. Too much
of the old Puritan spirit exists in these parts to the
present hour ; but its influence has not tended, that
I know, to make the people less hard in their bar-
gains, or more equal in their dealings. As I never
heard of its working that effect anywhere else, I
infer that it never will here. Indeed, I am accus-
tomed, with reference to great professions and severe
faces, to judge of the goods of the other world
pretty much as I judge of the goods of this ; and
whenever I see a dealer in such commodities with
too great a display of them in his window, I doubt
the quality of the article within.
In Hartford stands the famous oak in which the
charter of King Charles was hidden. It is now
enclosed in a gentleman's garden. In the State
House is the charter itself. I found the courts of
law here just the same as at Boston ; the public
Institutions almost as good. The Insane Asylum
is admirably conducted, and so is the Institution for
the Deaf and Dumb.
I very much questioned within myself, as I walked
through the Insane Asylum, whether I should have
known the attendants from the patients, but for the
few words which passed between the former and
the Doctor, in reference to the persons under their
charge. Of course I limit this remark merely to
their looks ; for the conversation of the mad people
was mad enough.
106 AMERICAN NOTES
There was one little prim old lady, of very smil-
ing and good-humored appearance, who came sidling
up to me from the end of a long passage, and,
with a courtesy of inexpressible condescension, pro-
pounded this unaccountable inquiry :
" Does Pontef ract still flourish, sir, upon the soil
of England ? "
" He does, ma'am," I rejoined.
" When you last saw him, sir, he was — "
"Well, ma'am," said I, "extremely well. He
begged me to present his compliments. I never
saw him looking better."
At this the old lady was very much delighted.
After glancing at me for a moment, as if to be quite
sure that I was serious in my respectful air, she
sidled back some paces ; sidled forward again ;
made a sudden skip (at which I precipitately re-
treated a step or two) ; and said, —
" I am an antediluvian, sir."
I thought the best thing to say was, that I had
suspected as much from the first. Therefore I
"It is an extremely proud and pleasant thing,
sir, to be an antediluvian," said the old lady.
"I should think it was, ma'am," I rejoined.
The old lady kissed her hand, gave another skip,
smirked, and sidled down the gallery in a most
extraordinary manner, and ambled gracefully into
her own bedchamber.
In another part of the building there was a male
patient in bed ; very much flushed and heated.
" Well ! " said he, starting up, and pulling off his
nightcap : " it's all settled at last. I have arranged
it with Queen Victoria."
FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 107
" Arranged what ? " asked the Doctor.
" Why, that business," passing his hand wearily
across his forehead, "about the siege of New York."
*' Oh ! " said I, like a man suddenly enlightened.
For he looked at me for an answer.
" Yes. Every house without a signal will be
fired upon by the British troops. No harm will be
done to the others. No harm at all. Those that
want to be safe must hoist flags. That's all they'll
have to do. They must hoist flags."
Even while he was speaking he seemed, I thought,
to have some faint idea that his talk was incoherent.
Directly he had said these words, he lay down
again ; gave a kind of groan ; and covered his hot
head with the blankets.
There was another : a young man whose madness
was love and music. After playing on the accordion
a march he had composed, he was very anxious that
I should walk into his chamber, which I immediately
By way of being very knowing, and humoring
him to the top of his bent, I went to the window,
which commanded a beautiful prospect, and re-
marked, with an address upon which I greatly
plumed myself, —
" What a delicious country you have about these
lodgings of yours !"
" Poh ! " said he, moving his fingers carelessly
over the notes of his instrument. "Well enough
for such an Institution as this ! "
I don't think I was ever so taken aback in all my
" I come here just for a whim," he said coolly.
108 AMERICAN NOTES
" Oh ! That's all ! " said I.
"Yes. That's all. The Doctor's a smart man.
He quite enters into it. It's a joke of mine. I
like it for a time. You needn't mention it, but I
think I shall go out next Tuesday ! "
I assured him that I would consider our interview
perfectly confidential : and rejoined the Doctor. As
we were passing through a gallery on our way out,
a well-dressed lady, of quiet and composed manners,
came up, and, proffering a slip of paper and a pen,
begged that I would oblige her with an autograph.
I complied, and we parted.
" I think I remember having had a few interviews
like that with ladies out of doors. I hope she is
not mad ? "
" On what subject ? Autographs ? "
" Ko. She hears voices in the air."
"Well!" thought I, "it would be well if we
could shut up a few false prophets of these later
times, who have professed to do the same ; and I
should like to try the experiment on a Mormonist
or two to begin with."
In this place there is the best Jail for untried
offenders in the world. There is also a very well-
ordered State prison, arranged upon the same plan
as that at Boston, except that here there is always
a sentry on the wall with a loaded gun. It con-
tained at that time about two hundred prisoners.
A spot was shown me in the sleeping ward, where a
watchman was murdered some years since in the
dead of night, in a desperate attempt to escape
made, by a prisoner who had broken from his cell.
A woman, too, was pointed out to me, who, for the
FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 109
murder of her husband, had been a close prisoner
for sixteen years.
" Do you think," I asked of my conductor, " that
after so very long an imprisonment, she has any
thought or hope of ever regaining her liberty ? "
" Oh dear yes ! " he answered. " To be sure
" She has no chance of obtaining it, I suppose ? "
" Well, I don't kno^y : " which, by the by, is a
national answer. ''Her friends mistrust her."
" What have they to do with it ? " I naturally
" Well, they won't petition."
"But if they did, they couldn't get her out, I
suppose ? "
"Well, not the first time, perhaps, nor yet the
second, but tiring and wearying for a few years
might do it."
" Does that ever do it ? "
"Why, yes, that'll do it sometimes. Political
friends '11 do it sometimes. It's pretty often done,
one way or another."
I shall always entertain a very pleasant and
grateful recollection of Hartford. It is a lovely
place, and I had many friends there, whom I never
can remember with indifference. We left it with
no little regret on the evening of Friday the 11th,
and travelled that night by railroad to New Haven.
Upon the way, the guard and I were formally in-
troduced to each other (as we usually were on such
occasions), and exchanged a variety of small talk.
We reached New Haven at about eight o'clock, after
a journey of three hours, and put up for the night
at the best inn.
110 AMERICAN NOTES
New Haven, known also as the City of Elms, is a
fine town. Many of its streets (as its alias suffi-
ciently imports) are planted with rows of grand old
elm-trees ; and the same natural ornaments surround
Yale College, an establishment of considerable emi-
nence and reputation. The various departments of
this Institution are erected in a kind of park or
common in the middle of the town, where they are
dimly visible among the shadowing trees. The
effect is very like that of an old cathedral yard in
England ; and, when their branches are in full leaf,
must be extremely picturesque. Even in the winter-
time, these groups of well-grown trees, clustering
among the busy streets and houses of a thriving
city, have a very quaint appearance : seeming to
bring about a kind of compromise between town
and country ; as if each had met the other half-way,
and shaken hands upon it ; which is at once novel
After a night's rest, we rose early, and in good
time went down to the wharf, and on board the
packet New York for New York. This was the
first American steamboat of any size that I had
seen : and certainly, to an English eye, it was in-
finitely less like a steamboat than a huge floating
bath. I could hardly persuade myself, indeed, but
that the bathing establishment of Westminster
Bridge, which I left a baby, had suddenly grown to
an enormous size ; run away from home ; and set up
in foreign parts as a steamer. Being in America,
too, which our vagabonds do so particularly favor,
it seemed the more probable.
The great difference in appearance between these
packets and ours is, that there is so much of them
FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. Ill
out of the water : the main deck being enclosed on
all sides, and filled with casks and goods, like any-
second or third floor in a stack of warehouses ; and
the promenade or hurricane deck being atop of that
again. A part of the machinery is always above
this deck; where the connecting-rod, in a strong
and lofty frame, is seen working away like an iron
top-sawyer. There is seldom any mast or tackle :
nothing aloft but two tall black chimneys. The
man at the helm is shut up in a little house in the
fore part of the boat (the wheel being connected
with the rudder by iron chains, working the whole
length of the deck) ; and the passengers, unless the
weather be very fine indeed, usually congregate
below. Directly you have left the wharf, all the
life, and stir, and bustle of a packet cease. You
wonder for a long time how she goes on, for there
seems to be nobody in charge of her; and when
another of these dull machines comes splashing by,
you feel quite indignant with it, as a sullen, cum-
brous, ungraceful, unshiplike leviathan : quite for-
getting that the vessel you are on board of is its
There is always a clerk's office on the lower deck,
where you pay your fare ; a ladies' cabin ; baggage
and stowage rooms ; engineer's room ; and, in short,
a great variety of perplexities which render the
discovery of the gentlemen's cabin a matter of
some difficulty. It often occupies the whole length
of the boat (as it did in this case), and has three or
four tiers of berths on each side. When I first
descended into the cabin of the New York, it looked,
in my unaccustomed eyes, about as long as the Bur-
112 AMERICAN NOTES
The Sound, which has to be crossed on this pass-
age, is not always a very safe or pleasant naviga-
tion, and has been the scene of some unfortunate
accidents. It was a wet morning, and very misty,
and we soon lost sight of land. The day was calm,
however, and brightened towards noon. After ex-
hausting (with good help from a friend) the larder,
and the stock of bottled beer, I lay down to sleep :
being very much tired with the fatigues of yester-
day. But I awoke from ray nap in time to hurry
up, and see Hell Gate, the Hog's Back, the Frying
Pan, and other notorious localities, attractive to all
readers of famous Diedrich Knickerbocker's His-
tory, We were now in a narrow channel, with slop-
ing banks on either side, besprinkled with pleasant
villas, and made refreshing to the sight by turf and
trees. Soon we shot, in quick succession, past a
lighthouse : a madhouse (how the lunatics flung up
their caps and roared in sympathy with the head-
long engine and the driving tide !) ; a jail ; and
other buildings : and so emerged into a noble bay,
whose waters sparkled in the now cloudless sunshine
like Nature's eyes turned up to Heaven.
Then there lay stretched out before us, to the
right, confused heaps of buildings, with here and
there a spire or steeple, looking down upon the
herd below ; and here and there, again, a cloud of
lazy smoke ; and in the foreground a forest of ships'
masts, cheery with flapping sails and waving flags.
Crossing from among them to the opposite shore,
were steam ferry-boats laden with people, coaches,
horses, wagons, baskets, boxes : crossed and recrossed
by other ferry-boats : all travelling to and fro : and
never idle. Stately among these restless Insects
FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 113
were two or three large ships, moving with slow
majestic pace, as creatures of a prouder kind, dis-
dainful of their puny journeys, and making for
the broad sea. Beyond were shining heights, and
islands in the glancing river, and a distance scarcely
less blue and bright than the sky it seemed to meet.
The city's hum and buzz, the clinking of capstans,
the ringing of bells, the barking of dogs, the clat-
tering of wheels, tingled in the listening ear. All
of which life and stir, coming across the stirring
water, caught new life and animation from its free
companionship ; and, sympathizing with its buoyant
spirits, glistened as it seemed in sport upon its sur-
face, and hemmed the vessel round, and plashed the
water high about her sides, and, floating her gal-
lantly into the dock, flew off again to welcome other
comers, and speed before them to the busy port.
The beautiful metropolis of America is by no
means so clean a city as Boston, but many of its
streets have the same characteristics ; except that
the houses are not quite so fresh-colored, the sign-
boards are not quite so gaudy, the gilded letters not
quite so golden, the bricks not quite so red, the
stone not quite so white, the blinds and area rail-
ings not quite so green, the knobs and plates upon
the street-doors not quite so bright and twinkling.
There are many by -streets, almost as neutral in
clean colors, and positive in dirty ones, as by-streets
in London ; and there is one quarter, commonly
called the Five Points, which, in respect of filth
and wretchedness, may be safely backed against
Seven Dials, or any other part of famed St. Giles's.
The great promenade and thoroughfare, as most
people know, is Broadway ; a wide and bustling
street, which, from the Battery Gardens to its oppo-
site termination in a country road, may be four
miles long. Shall we sit down in an upper floor of
the Carlton House Hotel (situated in the best part
of this main artery of New York), and, when we
are tired of looking down upon the life below, sally
forth arm in arm, and mingle with the stream ?
AMERICAN NOTES. 115
"Warm weather ! The sun strikes upon our heads,
at this open window, as though its rays were con-
centrated through a burning-glass ; but the day is
in its zenith, and the season an unusual one. Was
there ever such a sunny street as this Broadway ?
The pavement stones are polished with the tread of
feet until they shine again ; the red bricks of the
houses might be yet in the dry, hot kilns ; and the
roofs of those omnibuses look as though, if water
were poured on them, they would hiss and smoke,
and smell like half-quenched fires. No stint of
omnibuses here ! Half a dozen have gone by within
as many minutes. Plenty of hackney cabs and
coaches, too ; gigs, phaetons, large-wheeled tilburies,
and private carriages — rather of a clumsy make,
and not very different from the public vehicles, but
built for the heavy roads beyond the city pavement.
Negro coachmen and white ; in straw hats, black
hats, white hats, glazed caps, fur caps ; in coats of
drab, black, brown, green, blue, nankeen, striped
jean and linen ; and there, in that one instance (look
while it passes, or it will be too late), in suits of
livery. Some Southern republican that, who puts
his blacks in uniform, and swells with Sultan pomp
and power. Yonder, where that phaeton with the
well-clipped pair of grays has stopped — standing
at their heads now — is a Yorkshire groom, who
has not been very long in these parts, and looks sor-
rowfully round for a companion pair of top-boots,
which he may traverse the city half a year without
meeting. Heaven save the ladies, how they dress !
We have seen more colors in these ten minutes than
we should have seen elsewhere in as many days.
What various parasols ! what rainbow silks and
116 A]V1EIIICAN NOTES
satins ! what pinking of thin stockings, and pinch-
ing of thin shoes, and fluttering of ribbons and silk
tassels, and display of rich cloaks with gaudy hoods
and linings ! The young gentlemen are fond, you
see, of turning down their shirt collars and culti-
vating their whiskers, especially under the chin;
but they cannot approach the ladies in their dress
or bearing, being, to say the truth, humanity of
quite another sort. Byrons of the desk and counter,
pass on, and let us see what kind of men those are
behind ye : those two laborers in holiday clothes, of
whom one carries in his hand a crumpled scrap of
paper from which he tries to spell out a hard name,
while the other looks about for it on all the doors
Irishmen both ! You might know them, if they
were masked, by their long-tailed blue coats and
bright buttons, and their drab trousers, which they
wear like men well used to working dresses, who are
easy in no others. It would be hard to keep your
model republics going without the countrymen and
countrywomen of those two laborers. For who else
would dig, and delve, and drudge, and do domestic
work, and make canals and roads, and execute great
lines of Internal Improvement ? Irishmen both,
and sorely puzzled, too, to find out what they seek.
Let us go down, and help them, for the love of home,
and that spirit of liberty which admits of honest
service to honest men, and honest work for honest
bread, no matter what it be.
That's well ! We have got at the right address
at last, though it is written in strange characters
truly, and might have been scrawled with the blunt
handle of the spade the writer better knows the
FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 117
use of than a pen. Their way lies yonder, but what
business takes them there ? They carry savings :
to hoard up ? No. They are brothers, those men.
One crossed the sea alone, and working very hard
for one half year, and living harder, saved funds
enough to bring the other out. That done, they
worked together side by side, contentedly sharing
hard labor and hard living for another term, and then
their sisters came, and then another brother, and
lastly, their old mother. And what now ? Why,
the poor old crone is restless in a strange land, and
yearns to lay her bones, she says, among her people
in the old graveyard at home : and so they go to pay
her passage back : and God help her and them, and
every simple heart, and all who turn to the Jerusa-
lem of their younger days, and have an altar-fire
upon the cold hearth of their fathers !
This narrow thoroughfare, baking and blistering
in the sun, is Wall Street : the Stock Exchange and
Lombard Street of New York. Many a rapid for-
tune has been made in this street, and many a no
less rapid ruin. Some of these very merchants
whom you see hanging about here now, have locked
up money in their strong-boxes, like the man in the
Arabian Nights, and opening them again, have found
but withered leaves. Below, here by the water-side,
where the bowsprits of ships stretch across the foot-
way, and almost thrust themselves into the windows,
lie the noble American vessels which have made
their Packet Service the finest in the world. They
have brought hither the foreigners who abound in
all the streets : not, perhaps, that there are more
here than in other commercial cities ; but elsewhere
they have particular haunts, and you must find them
out ; here they pervade the town.
118 AMERICAN NOTES
We must cross Broadway again ; gaining some
refreshment from the heat in the sight of the great
blocks of clean ice which are being carried into
shops and bar-rooms ; and the pine-apples and water-
melons profusely displayed for sale. Fine streets
of spacious houses here, you see ! — Wall Street has
furnished and dismantled many of them very often
— and here a deep green leafy square. Be sure that
is a hospitable house, with inmates to be affection-
ately remembered always, where they have the open
door and pretty show of plants within, and where
the child with laughing eyes is peeping out of win-
dow at the little dog below. You wonder what may
be the use of this tall flagstaff in the by-street,
with something like Liberty's head-dress on its top :
so do I. But there is a passion for tall flagstaffs