Henry T. (Henry Theodore) Tuckerman.

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Here the free spirit of mankind, at length
Throws its last fetter* off: and who shall place

A limit to the giant's unchained strength,
Or curb bis swiftness In the forward race T

For thou, ray country, thou shalt never fall,
Save with thy children:

Who shall then declare

The date of thy deep-founded strength, or tell
Bow happy, in thy lap, the son* of men sball dwell 7

BBYAHT: The A get.




ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1864, by

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District
of New York.



46, 48, & 50 Greene St., New York.



THE object d this work is twofold to present a gen-
eral view of the traits and transitions of our country, as
recorded at different periods and by writers of various
nationalities; and to afford those desirous of authentic
information in regard to the United States a guide to the
sources thereof. Incidental to and naturally growing out
of this purpose, is the discussion of the comparative value
and interest of the principal critics of our civilization.
The present seems a favorable time for such a retrospective
review ; and the need of popular enlightenment, both at
home and abroad, as to the past development and present
condition of this Republic, is universally acknowledged.
There are special and obvious advantages in reverting to
the past and examining the present, through the medium
of the literature of American Travel. It affords striking
contrasts, offers different points of view, and is the more
suggestive because modified by national tastes. "We can
thus trace physical and social development, normal and
casual traits, through personal impressions ; and are un-
consciously put on the track of honest investigation, made
to realize familiar tendencies under new aspects, and, from
the variety of evidence, infer true estimates. Moreover,
some of these raconteurs are interesting characters either


in an historical or literary point of view, and form an
attractive biographical study. In a work intended to
suggest rather than exhaust a subject so extensive, it has
been requisite to dismiss briefly many books which, in
themselves, deserve special consideration ; but whose
scope is too identical with other and similar volumes de-
scribed at length, to need the same full examination. It
is not always the specific merits of an author, but the
contrast he offers or the circumstances under which he
writes, that have induced what might otherwise seem too
elaborate a discussion of his claims. In a word, variety
of subject and rarity of material have been kept in view,
with reference both to the space awarded and the extracts
given. The design of the work might, indeed, have been
indefinitely extended ; but economy and suggestiveness
have been chiefly considered.

Many of the works discussed are inaccessible to the
general reader ; others are prolix, and would not reward
a consecutive perusal, though worthy a brief analysis ;
while not a few are too superficial, and yield amusement
only when the grains of wit or wisdom are separated
from the predominant chaif. It is for these reasons, and
in the hope of vindicating as well as illustrating the
claims and character of our outraged nationality, that I
have prepared this inadequate, but, I trust, not wholly
unsatisfactory critical sketch of Travel in the United
States. Those who desire to examine minutely the his-
torical aspects of the prolific theme, will find, in the
" Bibliotheca Americana " of Rich, a catalogue of an-
cient works full of interest to the philosophical student.
Another valuable list is contained in " Historical Nug-
gets," a descriptive account of rare books relating to
America, by Henry Stevens (2 vols., London, 1853)'; and
the proposed " American Bibliographer's Manual," a dic-
tionary of all works relating to America, by Joseph


Sabin, of Philadelphia, will, if executed with the care
and completeness promised, supersede all other manuals,
and prove of great utility. No fact is more indicative of.
the increased interest in all that relates to our t country,
than the demand for the earlier records of its life, prod-
ucts, and history ; * while the foreign bibliography of the
war for the Union, 'and the American record and discus-
sions thereof, have been already collected or are in process
of collection under Government auspices. f

* " If the price of old books anent America, whether native or foreign,
should continue to augment in value in the same ratio as they have done for
the last thirty years, their prices must become fabulous, or, rather, like the
books of the Sibyls, rise above all valuation. In the early part of the pres-
ent century, the " Bay Hymn Book " (the first book printed in North Amer-
ica), then an exceedingly rare book, no one would have supposed would bring
$100 ; now, a copy was lately sold for nearly $600, and a perfect copy, at this
time, would bring $1,000. Eliot's " Grammar of the Indian Tongues" was
lately sold for $160 a small tract. The same author's version of the Scriptures
into the Indian language could be purchased, fifty years ago, for $60 ; now it is
worth $500. For Cotton Mather's " Magnalia Christi Americana," $6 was then
thought a good price ; now, $50 is thought cheap for a good copy. Smith's
" History of Virginia," $30 ; now $75. Stith's " History of Virginia," then
$5, now $20. Smith's " History of New Jersey," then $2, now $20. Thomas's
" History of Printing," then $2, now $15. Denton's " History of New Neth-
erlands," $5, now $50. These are but a few out of many hundreds that
could be named, that have risen from trifling to extraordinary prices, in the
short space of half a century." Western Memorabilia.

\ u The importance of this subject has been more directly brought to our
notice in the examination of the foundation of a " Collection of European
Opinion upon the War," now before Congress for the use of the members, and
to be deposited in the Congress Library. This desirable collection is to com-
prise the various pamphlets, speeches, debates, and brochures of all kinds
that have appeared in reference to the war, from the attack on Fort Sumter to
the present day, and to be continued to the end of the struggle. We have
the leading editorials, arranged with great care in chronological order, from
the most -powerful representatives of the public press in England, France,
Germany, &c. ; also, the correspondence from both armies in the field, of the
special agents sent for that purpose. The various opinions expressed by emi-
nent military and naval writers upon our new inventions in the art of war will
well deserve study ; and the horoscope of the future, not only in our own
country, but in its influences upon the welfare of the Old World, should be
carefully pondered over by all political economists." National Intelligencer.


Numerous as are the books of travel in and commen-
taries on America ranging from the most shallow to the
most profound, from the crude to the artistic, from the
instructive to the impertinent so far is the subject from
being exhausted, that we seem but now to have a clear
view, of the materials for judgment, description, and
analysis. It required the genius of modern communica-
tion, the scientific progress, 'the humane enterprise, the
historical development, and the social inspiration of our
own day, to appreciate the problems which events will
solve on this continent ; to understand the tendencies,
record the phenomena, define the influences and traits,
and realize the natural, moral, and political character and
destiny of America.

YORK, March, 1864.







Hennepin; Menard; Allouez; Marquette; Charlevoix; Marest; etc.... 87


Chastellux ; L'Abbe Robin ; Duche ; Brissot de Warville ; Crevecoeur ;

La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt ; Yolney ; Raynal 68



Rochambeau; Talleyrand; Segur; Chateaubriand; Michaux; Murat;
Brillat-Savarin ; De Tocqueville ; De Beaumont; Ampere; Lafayette;
Fisch ; De Gasparin ; Officers ; Laboulaye, etc 110



Berkeley ; McSparran ; Mrs. Grant ; Burnaby ; Rogers ; Burke ; Doug-
lass; Henry; Eddis; Anbury; Smythe 156





Wansey; Cooper; Wilson; Davis; Ashe; Bristed; Kendall; Weld;
Cobbett ; Campbell ; Byron ; Moore ; Mrs. Wakefield ; Hodgson ;
Janson ; Caswell ; Holmes and others ; Hall ; Fearon ; Fiddler ;
Lyell ; Featherstonaugh ; Combe ; Female Writers ; Dickens ;
Faux ; Hamilton ; Parkinson ; Mrs. Trollope ; Grattan ; Lord
Carlisle ; Anthony Trollope ; Prentice ; Stirling 193




Kalm ; Miss Bremer ; Gurowski, and others ; German Writers : Saxe-
Weimar; Von Raumer; Prince Maximilian Von Wied; Lieber;
Schultz. Other German Writers: Grund; Ruppius; Seatsfield;
Kohl; Talvi; Schaff. 293



National Relations ; Verrazzano ; Castiglione ; D'AUessandro ; Capobian-

co ; Salvatore Abbate e Migliori ; Pisani 334



John and William Bartram ; Madame Knight ; Ledyard ; Carver ; Jef-
ferson ; Imlay ; Dwight ; Coxe ; Ingersoll ; Walsh ; Paulding ;
Flint; Clinton; Hall; Tudor; Wirt; Cooper; Hoffman; Olmsted;
Bryant ; Government Explorations ; Washington ; Mrs. Kirkland ;
Irving. American Illustrative Literature: Biography; History;
Manuals ; Oratory ; Romance ; Poetry. Local Pictures : Everett,
Hawthorne, Charming, etc 371



INDEX . . . . 451


La Terre, says Fontenelle, est ume vieitte coquette. While
in so many branches of authorship the interest of books is
superseded by new discoveries in science and superior art and
knowledge, honest and intelligent books of travel preserve
their use and charm, because they describe places and people
as they were at distinct epochs, and confirm or dissipate sub-
sequent theories. The point of view adopted, the kind of
sympathy awakened, the time and the character of the writer
each or all give individuality to such works, when inspired
by genuine observation, which renders them attractive as a
reference and a memorial, and for purposes of comparison if
not of absolute interest. Moreover the early travellers, or
rather those who first record their personal experience of a
country, naturally describe it in detail, and put on record
their impressions with a candor rarely afterward imitated,
because of that desire to avoid a beaten path which later
writers feel. Hence, the most familiar traits and scenes are
apt to be less dwelt upon, the oftener they are described ;
and, for a complete and naive account, we must revert to'
primitive travels, whose quaintness and candor often atone
for any incongruities of style or old-fashioned prolixity.

A country that is at all suggestive, either through associa-
tion or intrinsic resources, makes a constant appeal to genius,
to science, and to sympathy ; and offers, under each of these


aspects, an infinite variety. Arthur Young's account of
France, just before the Revolution, cannot be superseded ;
Lady Montagu's account of Turkey is still one of the most
complete ; and Dr. Moore's Italy is a picture of manners and
morals of permanent interest, because of its contrast with the
existent state of things. Indeed, that beautiful and unfortu-
nate but regenerated land has long been so congenial a theme
for scholars, and so attractive a nucleus for sentiment, that
around its monuments and life the gifted and eager souls of
all nations, have delighted to throw the expression of their
conscious personality, from morbid and melancholy Byron to
intellectual and impassioned De Stael, from Hans Andersen,
the humane and fanciful Dane, to Hawthorne, the intro-
spective New Englander. What Italy has been and is to
the unappropriated sentiment of authors, America has been
and is to unorganized political aspirations : if the one country
has given birth to unlimited poetical, the other has suggest-
ed a vast amount of philosophical speculation. Brissot, Cob-
bett, and De Tocqueville found in the one country as genial
a subject as Goethe, Rogers, and Lady Morgan in the other ;
and while the latter offers a permanent background of art and
antiquity, which forever identifies the scene, however the light
and shade of the writer's experience may differ, so Nature, in
her wild, vast, and beautiful phases, offers in the former an in-
spiring and inexhaustible charm, and free institutions an ever-
suggestive theme, however variously considered.

The increase of books of this kind can, perhaps, be real-
ized in no more striking way than by comparing the long
catalogue of the present day with the materials available to
the inquirer half a century ago. When Winterbotham, in
1795, undertook to prepare an " Historical, Geographical, Com-
mercial, and Philosophical View of the United States " * to
meet an acknowledged want in Europe, where so many, con-
templating emigration to America, anxiously sought for ac-

* Four vols. 8vo., with a series of maps, plates, portraits, &c., London,
1795. "A valuable record of the state of this continent at the end of the
last century, selected from all accessible sources."


curate knowledge, and often for local and political details, and
where there existed so much misconception and such vision-
ary ideas in regard to this country he cited the following
writers as his chief resource for facts and principles of his-
tory, government, social conditions, and statistics : the Abbe
Raynal, Dr. Franklin, Robertson, Clavigero, Jefferson, Bel-
knap, Adams, Catesby, Morse, Buffon, Gordon, Ramsay, Bar-
tram, Cox, Rush, Mitchill, Cutler, Imlay, Filson, Barlow,
Brissot, and Edwards. The authenticity of most of these
writers made them, indeed, most desirable authorities ; but
the reader who recalls their respective works will readily per-
ceive how limited was the scope of such, considered as illus-
trating the entire country. Dr. Belknap wrote of New
Hampshire, Jefferson of Virginia, Bartram of Florida and a
few other States ; Ramsay, Gordon, Adams, and Franklin fur-
nished excellent political information ; but Morse's Geography
was quite crude and limited, and Brissot's account of America
was tinctured with his party views. We need not lose sight
of the benefits which our early historical authors and natural-
ists conferred, while we fully recognize the superior complete-
ness and scientific insight of later and better-equipped authors.
Dr. Belknap, it will ever be conceded, stands foremost as a
primitive local historian, and benign is his memory as the
indefatigable student of venerable records when the steeple
of the Old South Church, in Boston, was his study ; while, as
the founder of the Massachusetts Historical Society, every
explorer of New England annals owes him a debt of grati-
tude : yet his description of the White Mountains is more
valuable for its early date than for those scientific and pic-
turesque details which give such interest to the botanical
researches of contemporary authors. The data furnished by
Catesby and Bartram have still a charm and use for the
savant who examines the flora and ichthyology of Florida
and the Carolinas notwithstanding the splendid work of
Agassiz ; and there are temporary aspects of life at the South
noted by Paulding, which give emphasis to the more thorough
statistics of Olmsted.


To a philosophical reader, indeed, there are few more
striking illustrations of character than the diverse trains of
thought, sources of interest, and modes of viewing the same
subject, which books of travel incidentally reveal : from
Herodotus to Humboldt, the disposition and idiosyncrasies
of the writers are as apparent as their comparative ability.
There is, undoubtedly, great sameness in the numerous jour-
nals, letters, and treatises of travellers on America ; only a few
of them have any claim to originality, or seem animated by vital
relations to the subject ; a specimen here and there represents
an entire class ; and to analyze the whole would be wearisome ;
yet, in all that bear the impress of discrimination and moral sen-
sibility, there is evident the individuality of taste and purpose
that belongs to all genuine human work ; and in this point of
view these writings boast no common variety : each author
looks at his theme through the lens to which his vision is
habituated ; and hence we have results as diverse as the
medium and the motive of the respective writers. It accords
with Talleyrand's political tastes that the sight of Alexander
Hamilton one of th.e wisest of the republican legislators
should have been the most memorable incident of his exile in
America : equally accordant with Ampere's literary sentiment
was it that he should find a Dutch gable as attractive as
Broadway, because it revived the genial humor of Irving's
facetious History : Wilson and Charles Bonaparte found the
birds, French officers the fair Quakers, English commercial
travellers the manufactures and tariffs, English farmers the
agriculture, Continental economists the prison and educational
systems, Lyell the rocks and mines, Michaux the trees, sports-
men the Western plains, and clerical visitors the sects and
missions the chief attraction ; and while one pilgrim be-
stows his most heartfelt reflections upon the associations of
Mount Vernon, another has no sympathy for any scene or
subject but those connected with slavery : this one is amus-
ing in humorous exaggeration of the Connecticut Blue Laws,
and that one extravagant in his republican zeal ; tobacco and
maple sugar, intemperance and prairie hunting, reptiles and


elections, the whale fishery and the Indians, manners and
morals, occupy, in most unequal proportions, the attention of
different writers ; an engineer praises the ingenuity and hardi-
hood, while he deprecates the fragility of the " remarkable
wooden bridges in America ; " an editor discourses of the in-
fluence and abuse of the Press ; a horticulturist speculates on
the prospects of the vine culture, and an economist on the
destruction of the forests and the desultory system of farm-
ing. Chambers, accustomed to cater for useful knowledge
for the people, describes public establishments and schools ;
while Kossuth's companion Pulskzy looks sharply at the
" white, red, and black " races of the land, and speculates
therefrom upon democracy and its results ; Lady Stuart
Wortley enters into the sentiment of the scenery, and Miss
Bremer into the details of domestic economy ; the Earl of
Carlisle asks first for Allston's studio on landing, and, with the
liberality of a scholar and a gentleman, elucidates the country
he has partially but candidly observed, in a popular lecture ;
while the Honorable Augustus Murray had too much rare
sport in the West, and formed too happy a conjugal tie in
America, not to have his recollections thereof, bright and
kindly in the record. In a word, every degree of sympathy
and antipathy, of refinement and vulgarity, of philosophi-
cal insight and shallow impertinence is to be traced in these
books of American travel from coarse malice to dull good
nature, and from genial sense to repulsive bigotry. And
while the field may appear to have been well reaped as re-
gards the discussion of manners, government, and industrial
resources recondite inquirers, especially the ethnologists,
regard America as still ripe for the harvest.

Years ago, Le Comte Carli * wrote to his cousin : " Je me
propose de vous developper mes idees, ou, si vous le voulez,

* " Lettres Americaines," 2 vols. 8vo., Paris, 1788. "In the first part,
the author describes the manners and customs of the Americans before their
country was discovered by Europeans. He also believes that traces of the
religious rites of the Church of Rome were found among them, which resem-
bled baptism and the communion of bread and wine."


mes songes, concernant les anciens peuples de 1'Amerique que
je crois descendus de ces antiques Atlantides si fameux dans
1'histoire des premiers temps." And, within a few months, a
London critical journal has mercilessly ridiculed the Abbe Em.
Domenech, who published his " Seven Years' Residence in the
Great American Deserts ; " in the introduction to which he
remarks : " America is not solely an El Dorado for free-
booters and fortune seekers ; though few persons have gone
thither to gather the fruits of science." He refers to the
origin of the Indian tribes and the various theories on the
subject, and alludes to the undoubted fact that " numerous
emigrations took place at very remote periods ; " and adds :
" Africa has become known to us, but America has still a
vast desert to which missionaries, merchants, and some rare
scientific expeditions have alone penetrated. Its history, its
geography, and its geology are still wrapped in swaddling
clothes. America is now, comparatively speaking, a new
country, a virgin land, which contains numerous secrets.
The Government of the United States, to its praise be it,
have, of .late years, sent scientific expeditions into the Amer-
ican Deserts ; " and he notes the publications of Schoolcraft,
Catlin, and the Smithsonian Institute.

We have first the old voyageurs in the collection of
De Bry and his English prototype Ogilby the quaint, often
meagre, but original and authentic records of the first explor-
ers and navigators ; then, the diaries, travels, and memoirs of
the early Jesuit missionaries ; next, the colonial pamphlets
and reports, official, speculative, and incidental, including the
series of controversial tracts and descriptions relating to New
England and Virginia and other settlements ; the reports of
the Quaker missionaries, the travels of French officers who
took part in the Revolutionary War, and the long catalogue
of English books from the colonial to the cockney era ;
while the lives of the Spanish explorers, of the pioneers, the
military adventurers, and the founders of colonies fill up and
amplify the versatile chronicle. From Roger Williams's Key
to the Indian Languages, to Sir Henry Clinton's annotations


of Grahame's History of the American War, from De Vries to
De Tocqueville, from Cotton Mather * to Mrs. Trollope, from
Harmon's " Free Estate of Virginia," published in 1614, to
Dr. Russell's fresh letters thence to the London Times ; from
Champlain's voyage to Dickens's Notes, from Zenger's Trial f to
the last report of the Patent Office the catalogue raisonnee
of books of American travel, history, and criticism would
include every phase of life, manners, creed, custom, develop-
ment, and character, from the imperfect chart of unknown
waters to the glowing photograph of manners in the analyt-
ical nineteenth century. We find, in examining the library
of American travels, that toleration is the charm that invests
her to the heart yet bleeding from the wounds of relentless
persecution ; and, in the elation of freedom, the page glows
with eloquent gratitude even amid the plaints of exile.
Mountains, rivers, cataracts, and caves make the child of
romance pause and plead ; while gigantic fossil or exquisite
coral reefs or a superb tree or rare flower win and warm the
naturalist : one lingers in the Baltimore cathedral, another at
the Moravian settlement at Bethlehem, and a third in a Uni-
tarian chapel at Boston, according to their respective views ;
while " equality of condition," small taxes, cheap land, or
plentiful labor secures the advocacy of the practical; and
solecisms in manners or language provoke the sarcasms of the

We derive from each and all of these commentators on our
country, information, not otherwise obtainable, of the aspect
of nature and the condition of the people, at different eras and

Online LibraryHenry T. (Henry Theodore) TuckermanAmerica and her commentators → online text (page 1 of 44)