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Charles Wentworth Dilke.

Greater Britain: a record of travel in English-speaking countries during 1866 and 1867 online

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GREATER BRITAIN,



A RECORD OF TRAVEL



ENGLISH-SPEAKING COUNTRIES



DURING 1866-7.



CHARLES WENT WORTH DILKE.



TWO VOLUMES IN ONE.

WITH MAPS AND ILLUSTRATIONS.







PHILADELPHIA :

J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO.

LONDON: MACMILLAN & CO.
1869.



TO



MY FA T.HE R



THIS BOOK.

C. W D.



PREFACE.



IN 1866 and 1867, I followed England round the world:
everywhere I was in English-speaking, or in English-gov-
erned lands. If I remarked that climate, soil, manners of
life, that mixture with other peoples had modified the blood,
I saw, too, that in essentials the race was always one.

The idea which in all the length of my travels has been
at once my fellow and my guide a key wherewith to un-
lock the hidden things of strange new lands is a concep-
tion, however imperfect, of the grandeur of our race, already
girding the earth, which it is destined, perhaps, eventually
to overspread.

In America, the peoples of the world are being fused
together, but they are run into an English mould : Alfred's
laws and Chaucer's tongue are theirs whether they would
or no. There are men who say that Britain in her age will
claim the glory of having planted greater Englands across
the seas. They fail to perceive that she has done more
than found plantations of her own that she has imposed
her institutions upon the offshoots of Germany, of Ireland,
of Scandinavia, and of Spain. Through America, England
is speaking to the world.

1* (v)



vi PREFACE.

Sketches of Saxondom may be of interest even upon hum-
bler grounds : the development of the England of Elizabeth
is to be found, not in the Britain of Victoria, but in half the
habitable globe. If two small islands are by courtesy styled
''Great," America, Australia, India, must form a Greater
Britain.

C. W. D.

76 SLOANE STREET, S. W.
1st November, 1868.



CONTENTS



OF



THE FIRST VOLUME.



PART I.

CHAPTER PAGE

I. VIRGINIA 3

II. THE NEGRO 16

III. THE SOUTH .21

IV. THE EMPIRE STATE 33

V. CAMBRIDGE COMMENCEMENT . . . .43

VI. CANADA ....... 55

VII. UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN . . . . .69

VIII. THE PACIFIC RAILROAD . . . . . 78

IX. OMPHALISM 86

X. LETTER PROM DENVER 91

XL RED INDIA 102

XII. COLORADO 110

XIII. ROCKY MOUNTAINS 115

XIV. BRIGHAM YOUNG 122

XV. MORMONDOM 121

XVI. WESTERN EDITORS 131

XVII. UTAH . . .....'. 144

XVIII. NAMELESS ALPS 152

XIX. VIRGINIA CITY . 166

XX. EL DORADO . . . . . . .119

(Vii)



viii CONTENTS.

CHAPTER PAGE

XXI. LYNCH LAW . . . . . . .190

XXII. GOLDEN CITY ...... 207

XXIII. LITTLE CHINA '. 218

XXIV. CALIFORNIA ....... 227

XXV. MEXICO 233

XXVI. REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT .... 239

XXVII. BROTHERS 249

XXVIII. AMERICA . ... 258

PART II.

I. PITCAIRN ISLAND . . . . . . .271

II. HOKITIKA 278

III. POLYNESIANS 293

IV. PAREWANUI PAH ...... 299

V. THE MAORIES 319

VI. THE TWO FLIES 328

VII. THE PACIFIC .... ... 334

APPENDIX.

A MAORI DINNER . . 339



CONTENTS



OF



THE SECOND VOLUME.



^ PART III.

CHAPTEE PAGE

I. SYDNEY ........ *l

II. RIVAL COLONIES . . . . . . 15

III. VICTORIA 22

IV. SQUATTER ARISTOCRACY 38

V. COLONIAL DEMOCRACY 44

VI. PROTECTION ....... 55

VII. LABOR 65

VIII. WOMAN 75

IX. VICTORIAN PORTS 79

X. TASMANIA 83

XI. CONFEDERATION .94

XII. ADELAIDE ....... 98

XIII. TRANSPORTATION . . . . . . .109

XIV. AUSTRALIA 123

XV. COLONIES 130

PART IY.

I. MARITIME CEYLON . . . . . . 141

II. KANDY 154

III. MADRAS TO CALCUTTA 161

IV. BENARES . . . . 171

(ix)



CONTENTS.



PAGE

V. CASTE . . . . . . . .178

VI. MOHAMMEDAN CITIES . . .. . . 191

VII. SIMLA 202

VIII. COLONIZATION . . . . . . .21*7

ix. THE " GAZETTE" . . . . . . 224

x. UMRITSUR ........ 233

XI. LAHORE 245

XII. OUR INDIAN ARMY . . . . . .249

xiii. RUSSIA 255

XIV. NATIVE STATES 267

XV. SCINDE . . ... . . . . 280

XVI. OVERLAND ROUTES 289

XVII. BOMBAY ........ 298

XVIII. THE MOHURRUM . . . . . , .305

XIX. ENGLISH LEARNING 312

XX. INDIA 320

XXI. DEPENDENCIES 333

XXII. FRANCE IN THE EAST 339

XXIII. THE ENGLISH . . 346



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



PAGE

VIEW FROM THE BULLER . . . Frontispiece.

A CINGHALESE GENTLEMAN . . Frontispiece.

PROFILE OF "JOE SMITH" . \ ^^

FULL FACE OF " JOE SMITH" .... )

PORTER ROCKWELL 154

FRIDAY'S STATION VALLEY OF LAKE TAHOE . . 176

TEAMING UP THE GRADE AT SLIPPERY FORD, IN THE

SIERRA 178

VIEW ON THE AMERICAN RIVER THE PLACE WHERE

GOLD WAS FIRST FOUND . . . . 180

THE BRIDAL VEIL FALL, YOSEMITE VALLEY .

EL CAPITAN, YOSEMITE VALLEY

MAPS.

ATLANTIC AND PACIFIC RAILROAD . . . .78

LEAVEN WORTH TO SALT LAKE CITY . . . 92

SALT LAKE CITY TO SAN FRANCISCO . . . .158

NEW ZEALAND . 278



THE OLD AND THE NEW: BUSH SCENERY COLLINS

STREET EAST, MELBOURNE 24

GOVERNOR DAVEY'S PROCLAMATION .... 86

MAPS.

AUSTRALIA AND TASMANIA ... . 16

OVERLAND ROUTES 290

(xi)



I.

AMERICA.



GREATER BRITAIN.



CHAPTER I.

VIRGINIA.

FROM the bows of the steamer Saratoga, on the 20th
June, 1866, 1 caught sight of the low works of Fort
Monroe, as, threading her way between the sand-
banks of Capes Charles and Henry, the ship pressed
on, under sail and steam, to enter Chesapeake Bay.

Our sudden arrival amid shoals of sharks and king-
fish, the keeping watch for flocks of canvas-back
ducks, gave us enough and to spare of idle work. till
we fully sighted the Yorktown peninsula, overgrown
with ancient memories ancient for America. Three
towns of lost grandeur, or their ruins, stand there still.
Williamsburg, the former capital, graced even to our
time by the palaces where once the royal governors
held more than regal state; Yorktown, where Corn-
wallis surrendered to the continental troops; James-
town, the earliest settlement, founded in 1607, thirteen
years before old Governor Winthrop fixed the site of
Plymouth, Massachusetts.

A bump against the pier of Fort Monroe soon
roused us from our musings, and we found ourselves
invaded by a swarm of stalwart negro troopers, clothed
in the cavalry uniform of the United States, who

(3)



4 GREATER BRITAIN.

boarded us for the mails. ISTot a white man save those
we brought was to be seen upon the pier, and the blaz-
ing sun made me thankful that I had declined an of-
fered letter to Jeff. Davis.

Pushing off again into the stream, we ran the gant-
let of the Kip-Raps passage, and made for Norfolk,
having on our left the many exits of the Dismal
Swamp Canal. Crossing Hampton Roads a grand
bay with pleasant grassy shores, destined one day to
become the best known, as by nature it is the noblest,
of Atlantic ports we nearly ran upon the wrecks of
the Federal frigates Cumberland and Congress, sunk by
the rebel ram Merrimae in the first great naval action
of the war; but soon after, by a sort of poetic justice,
we almost drifted into the black hull of the Merrimae
herself. Great gangs of negroes were laboring laugh-
ingly at the removal, by blasting, of the sunken ships.

When we were securely moored at Norfolk pier, I
set off upon an inspection of the second city of Vir-
ginia. Again not a white man was to be seen, but
hundreds of negroes were working in the heat, build-
ing, repairing, road-making, and happily chattering
the while. At last, turning a corner, I came on a
hotel, and, as a consequence, on a bar and its crowd of
swaggering whites "Johnny Rebs" all, you might
see by the breadth of their brims, for across the Atlan-
tic a broad brim denotes less the man of peace than
the ex-member of a Southern guerrilla band, Morgan's,
Mosby's, or Stuart's. ]STo Southerner will wear the
Yankee "stove-pipe" hat; a Panama or Palmetto for
him, he says, though he keeps to the long black coat
that rules from Maine to the Rio Grande.

These Southerners were all alike all were upright,
tall, and heavily moustached ; all had long black hair
and glittering eyes, and I looked instinctively for the



VIRGINIA. 5

baldric and rapier. It needed no second glance to as-
sure me that as far as the men of Norfolk were con-
cerned, the saying of our Yankee skipper was not far
from the truth: "The last idea that enters the mind of
a Southerner is that of doing work."

Strangers are scarce in Norfolk, and it was not long
before I found an excuse for entering into conversa-
tion with the " citizens." My first question was not
received with much cordiality by my new acquaint-
ances. "How do the negroes work? Wall, we spells
nigger with two 4 g's,' I reckon." (Virginians, I must
explain, are used to "reckon" as much as are New Eng-
landers to "guess," while Western men " calculate" as
often as they cease to swear.) "How does the niggers
work ? Wall, niggers is darned fools, certain, but they
ain't quite sich fools as to work while the Yanks will
feed 'em. No, sir, not quite sich fools as that."
Hardly deeming it wise to point to the negroes work-
ing in the sun-blaze within a hundred yards, while
we sat rocking ourselves in the veranda of the inn, I
changed my tack, and asked whether things were set-
tling down in Norfolk. This query soon led my friends
upon the line I wanted them to take, and in five min-
utes we were well through politics, and plunging into
the very war. "You're a Britisher. Now,- all that
they tell you's darned lies. We're just as secesh as
we ever was, only so many's killed that we can't fight
that's all, I reckon." "We ain't going to fight the
North and West again," said an ex-colonel of rebel
infantry; "next time we fight, 'twill be us and the
West against the Yanks. We'll keep the old flag then,
and be darned to them." " If it hadn't been for the
politicians, we shouldn't have seceded at all, I reckon:
we should just have kept the old flag and the consti-
tution, and the Yanks would have seceded from us.

1*



6 GEE ATE R BRITAIN.

Eeckon we'd have let 'em go." "Wall, boys, s'pose
we liquor?" closed in the colonel, shooting out his old
quid, and filling in with another. "We'd have fought
for a lifetime if the cussed Southerners hadn't deserted
like they did." I asked who these "Southerners"
were to whom such disrespect was being shown.
"You didn't think Virginia was a Southern State over
in Britain, did you? 'cause Virginia is a border State,
sir. We didn't go to secede at all; it was them blasted
Southerners that brought it on us. First they wouldn't
give a command to General Robert E. Lee, then they
made us do all the fighting for 'em, and then, when
the pinch came, they left us in the lurch. Why, sir, I
saw three Mississippi regiments surrender without a
"bi ow yes, sir: that's right down good whisky; jess
you sample it." Here the steam-whistle of the Sara-
toga sounded with its deep bray. " Reckon you'll have
to hurry up to make connections," said one of my new
friends, and I hurried off, not without a fear lest some
of the group should shoot after me, to avenge the af-
front of my quitting them before the mixing of the
drinks. They were but a pack of " mean whites,"
" North Carolina crackers," but their views were those
which I found dominant in all ranks at Richmond, and
up the country in Virginia.

After all, the Southern planters are not "The South,"
which for political purposes is composed of the "mean
whites," of the Irish of the towns, and of the South-
western men Missourians, Kentuckians, and Texan s
fiercely anti-Northern, without being in sentiment
what we should call Southern, certainly not repre-
sentatives of the " Southern Chivalry." The " mean
whites," or " poor trash," are the whites who are not
planters members of the slaveholding race who never
held a slave white men looked down upon by the ne-



VIRGINIA. 7

groes. It is a necessary result of the despotic govern-
ment of one race by another that the poor members of
the dominant people are universally despised: the
"destitute Europeans" of Bombay, the "white loaf-
ers" of the Punjaub, are familiar cases. Where slavery
exists, the "poor trash" class must inevitably be both
large and wretched : primogeniture is necessary to keep
the plantations sufficiently great to allow for the pay-
ment of overseers and the supporting in luxury of the
planter family, and younger sons and their descendants
are not only left destitute, but debarred from earning
their bread by honest industry, for in a slave country
labor is degrading.

The Southern planters were gentlemen, possessed of
many aristocratic virtues, along with every aristocratic
vice ; but to each planter there were nine " mean
whites," who, though grossly ignorant, full of inso-
lence, given to the use of the knife and pistol upon the
slightest provocation, were, until the election of Lin-
coln to the presidency, as completely the rulers of
America as they were afterward the leaders of the
rebellion.

At sunset we started up the James on our way to
City Point and Eichmond, sailing almost between the
very masts of the famous rebel privateer the Florida,
and seeing her as she lay under the still, gray waters.
She was cut out from a Brizilian port, and when claimed
by the imperial government, was to have been at once
surrendered. While the dispatches were on their way
to Norfolk, she was run into at her moorings by a Fed-
eral gunboat, and filled and sank directly. Friends of
the Confederacy have hinted that the collision was
strangely opportune ; nevertheless, the fact remains
that the commander of the gunboat was dismissed the
navy for his carelessness.



8 GEE ATE R BRITAIN.

The twilight was beyond description lovely. The
change from the auks and ice-birds of the Atlantic to
the blue-birds and robins of Virginia was not more
sudden than that from winter to tropical warmth and
sensuous indolence ; but the scenery, too, of the river
is beautiful in its very changelessness. Those who can
see no beauty but in boldness might call the James as
monotonous as the lower Loire.

After weeks of bitter cold, warm evenings favor
meditation. The soft air, the antiquity of the forest,
the languor of the sunset breeze, all dispose to dream
and sleep. That oak has seen Powhatan ; the found-
ers of Jamestown may have pointed at that grand old
sycamore. In this drowsy humor, we sighted the far-
famed batteries of Newport News, and turning-in to
berth or hammock, lay all night at City Point, near
Petersburg.

A little before sunrise we weighed again, and sought
a passage through the tremendous Confederate " ob-
structions." Rows of iron skeletons, the frame-works
of the wheels of sunken steamers, showed above the
stream, casting gaunt shadows westward, and varied
only by here and there a battered smoke-stack or a
spar. The whole of the steamers that had plied upon
the James and the canals before the war were lying
here in rows, sunk lengthwise along the stream. Two
in the middle of each row had been raised to let the
government vessels pass, but in the heat-mist and faint
light the navigation was most difficult. For five and
twenty miles the rebel forts were as thick as the hills
and points allowed ; yet, in spite of booms and bars,
of sunken ships, of batteries and torpedoes, the Federal
monitors once forced their way to Fort Darling in the
outer works of Richmond. I remembered these things
a few weeks later, when General Grant's first words to



VIRGINIA. 9

me at Washington were : " Glad to meet you. What
have you seen ?" " The Capitol." " Go at once and
see the Monitors." He afterward said to me, in words
that photograph not only the Monitors, but Grant:
"You can batter away at those things fora month, and
do no good."

At Dutch Gap we came suddenly upon a curious
scene. The river flowed toward us down a long, straight
reach, bounded by a lofty hill crowned with tremen-
dous earthworks ; but through a deep trench or cleft,
hardly fifty yards in length, upon our right, we could
see the stream running with violence in a direction
parallel with our course. The hills about the gully
were hollowed out into caves and bomb-proofs, evi-
dently meant as shelters from vertical fire, but the
rough graves of a vast cemetery showed that the pro-
tection was sought in vain. Forests of crosses of un-
painted wood rose upon every acre of flat ground. On
the peninsula, all but made an island by the cleft, was
a grove of giant trees, leafless, barkless, dead, and
blanched by a double change in the level of the stream.
There is no sight so sad as that of a drowned forest,
with a turkey-buzzard on each bough. On the bank
upon our left was an iron scaffold, eight or ten stories
high, "Butler's Lookout," as the cleft was "Butler's
Dutch Gap Canal." The canal, unfinished in war, is
now to be completed at State expense for purposes of
trade.

As we rounded the extremity of the peninsula an
eagle was seen to light upon a tree. From every por-
tion of the ship main deck, hurricane deck, lower
deck ports revolvers, ready capped and loaded, were
brought to bear upon the bird, which sheered off un-
harmed amid a storm of bullets. After this incident,
I was careful in my political discussions with my ship-



10 GREATER BRITAIN.

mates; disarmament in the Confederacy had clearly
not been extended to private weapons.

The outer and inner lines of fortifications passed, we
came in view of a many-steepled town, with domes
and spires recalling Oxford, hanging on a bank above
a crimson-colored foaming stream. In ten minutes we
were alongside the wharf at Richmond, and in half an
hour safely housed in the "Exchange Hotel," kept by
the Messrs. Carrington, of whom the father was a pri-
vate, the son a colonel, in the rebel volunteers.

The next day, while the works and obstructions on
the James were still fresh in my mind, I took train to
Petersburg, the city the capture of which by Grant
was the last blow struck by the North at the melting
forces of the Confederacy.

The line showed the war: here and there the track,
torn up in Northern raids, had barely been repaired ; the
bridges were burnt and broken ; the rails worn down
to an iron thread. The joke u on board," as they say
here for "in the train/ 7 was that the engine-drivers
down the line are tolerably cute men, who, when the
rails are altogether worn away, understand how to a go
it on the bare wood," and who at all times "know
where to jump."

From the window of the car we could see that in
the country there were left no mules, no horses, no
roads, no men. The solitude is not all owing to the
war: in the whole five and twenty miles from Rich-
mond to Petersburg there was before the war but a
single station ; in New England your passage-card often
gives a station in every two miles. A careful look at
the underwood on either side the line showed that this
forest is not primeval, that all this country had once
been plowed.

Virginia stands first among the States for natural



VIRGINIA. 11

advantages: in climate she is un equaled; her soil is
fertile ; her mineral wealth in coal, copper, gold, and
iron enormous, and well placed; her rivers good, and
her great harbor one of the best in the world. Virginia
has been planted more than two hundred and fifty
years, and is as large as England, yet has a free popu-
lation of only a million. In every kind of production
she is miserably inferior to Missouri or Ohio, in most,
inferior also to the infant States of Michigan and Illi-
nois. Only a quarter of her soil is under cultivation,
to half that of poor, starved New England, and the
mines are deserted which were worked by the very
Indians who were driven from the land as savages a
hundred years ago.

There is no surer test of the condition of a country
than the state of its highways. In driving on the main
roads round Richmond, in visiting the scene of Mc-
Clellan's great defeat on the Chickahominy at Mechan-
icsville and Malvern Hill, I myself, and an American
gentleman who was with me, had to get out and lay
the planks upon the bridges, and then sit upon them,
to keep them down while the black coachman drove
across. The best roads in Virginia are but ill kept
"corduroys;" but, bad as are these, "plank roads"
over which artillery have passed, knocking out every
other plank, are worse by far; yet such is the main
road from Richmond toward the west.

There is not only a scarcity of roads, but of railroads.
A comparison of the railway system of Illinois and
Indiana with the two lines of Kentucky or the one of
"Western Virginia or Louisiana, is a comparison of the
South with the North, of slavery with freedom. Vir
ginia shows already the decay of age, but is blasted by
slavery rather than by war.

Passing through Petersburg, the streets of which



12 GREATER BRITAIN.

were gay with the feathery-brown blooms of the Vene-
tian sumach, but almost deserted by human beings,
who have not returned to the city since they were
driven out by the shot and shell of which their houses
show the scars, we were soon in the rebel works.
There are sixty miles of these works in all, line within
line, three deep: alternations of sand-pits and sand-
heaps, with here and there a tree-trunk pierced for
riflemen, and everywhere a double row of chevaux de
/rise. The forts nearest this point were named by their
rebel occupants Fort Hell and Fort Damnation. Tre-
mendous works, but it needed no long interview with
Grant to understand their capture. I had not been ten
minutes in his office at Washington before I saw that
the secret of his unvarying success lay in his unflinch-
ing determination : there is pith in the American con-
ceit which reads in his initials, "TJ. S. G.," "uncondi-
tional-surrender Grant."

The works defending Richmond, hardly so strong as
those of Petersburg, were attacked in a novel manner
in the third year of the war. A strong body of Fed-
eral cavalry on a raid, unsupported by infantry or guns,
came suddenly by night upon the outer lines of Rich-
mond on the west. Something had led them to be-
lieve that the rebels were not in force, and with the
strange aimless daring that animated both parties
during the rebellion, they rode straight in along the
winding road, unchallenged, and came up to the inner
lines. There they were met by a volley which emptied
a few saddles, and they retired, without even stopping
to spike the guns in the outer works. Had they known
enough of the troops opposed to them to have con-
tinued to advance, they might have taken Richmond,
and held it long enough to have captured the rebel
president and senate, and burned the great iron-works



VIRGINIA. 13

and ships. The whole of the rebel army had gone
north, and even the home guard was camped out on
the Chickahominy. The troops who fired the volley
were a company of the "iron-works battalion," boys
employed at the founderies, not one of whom had ever
fired a rifle before this night. They confessed them-
selves that "one minute more, and they'd have run;"
but the volley just stopped the enemy in time.

The spot where we first struck the rebel lines was
that known as the Crater the funnel-shaped cavity
formed when Grant sprang his famous mine: 1500
men are buried in the hollow itself, and the bones of
those smothered by the falling earth are working
through the soil: 5000 negro troops were killed in
this attack, and are buried round the hollow where
they died, fighting as gallantly as they fought every-
where throughout the war. It is a singular testimony
to the continuousness of the fire, that the still remain-
ing subterranean passages show that in countermining
the rebels came once within three feet of the mine, yet
failed to hear the working parties. Thousands of old
army shoes were lying on the earth, and negro boys
were digging up bullets for old lead.

Within eighty yards of the Crater are the Federal
investing lines, on which the trumpet-flower of our
gardens was growing wild in deep rich masses. The
negroes told me not to gather it, because they believe
it scalds the hand. They call it " poison plant," or
"blister weed." The blue-birds and scarlet tannagers
were playing about the horn-shaped flowers.

Just within Grant's earthworks are the ruins of an
ancient church, built, it is said, with bricks that were
brought by the first colonists from England in 1614.
About Norfolk, about Petersburg, and in the Shenan-
doah Valley, you cannot ride twenty miles through the



14 GREATER BRITAIN.

Virginian forest without bursting in upon some glade
containing a quaint old church, or a creeper-covered
roofless palace of the Culpeppers, the Randolphs, or the



Online LibraryCharles Wentworth DilkeGreater Britain: a record of travel in English-speaking countries during 1866 and 1867 → online text (page 1 of 50)