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Prebendary of St. Paul's.







NEW YORK: E. & J. B, YOUNG, & Co.




I. The Voyage Out 7

II. First Walk about New York 17

III. Niagara to Chicago 29

IV. From Chicago to San Francisco 38

V. The Great Kailroad 54

VI. San Francisco 73

VII. The Yo Semite Valley 90

VIII. To the Forest 105

IX. The Mormon City 118

X. The Salt Lake City 138

XI. Eeturn Journey 153

XII. Pauperism Negro Labour 161

XIII. Cincinnati and Philadelphia 166.

XIV. A Short Eun Southward ITS

XV. Beligion in the United States 196

XVI. Some account of the Landing and Treatment of

Emigrants in New York 211


THE difficulties felt in adapting the original form of
these letters to a state of things existing only a few
years after they were written might, of course, be
considered to be more obvious, as a third edition of
them is called for. And yet the main features of the
impression originally received by the writer are un-
changed. There is a hardly perceptible difference
even in many details. The stream of emigrants
which overflows upon the bank at Castle Garden is
much the same. The accommodation " on board "
the great trains is rather more widely spread by the
increased number of railways than altered or improved
on any particular line. Phases of social and govern-
ment life have undergone no organic change. The
army of the United States of America has, it is true,
become still smaller, while its navy has nearly dis-
appeared; but the great civic invasion, the process
of absorption whereby plains are being populated,
and districts moved onwards from the inchoate condi-


tion of territory to that of State, still continues ; only,
mere men are on the march, and more land is invaded.
Indeed, it is irr the extension of old conditions
that the America of the present day is altered from
that of a few years ago. Where one railroad, e.g.,
traversed Colorado, and the traveller who went into
the interior had to travel by a " Concord " coach,
some dozen have been laid about the region, and the
immigrant enters into its corners by a branch line.
The aspects of a frontier city have, meanwhile, not
been altered, though they have been enormously
multiplied and spread. The curiously mixed and
insistent human fringe which precedes the rising
human tide has onty widened itself and moved on-
wards. Before it, the plains and mountains are
what they were. Behind it, more canvas tents give
place to more brick walls, and the plain, instead of
being covered with useless coarse grass, bears its
precious crop of wheat. It is, indeed, this change
which is transforming America, though the trans-
formation is really growth. The prospects of central
agricultural failure have indeed hardly been conjec-
tured, except by some who, knowing little or nothing
of the soil, talk of its ultimate exhaustion as if it
were coming into sight. It is not the question of
failing fertility, however remote in the American
continent, but the first use of enormous virgin
regions which exercises the immigrant and the


governments of the United States and the British
possessions. It is true that the writer of these
letters has little to say about Canada. He might,
however, now remark that much of the energy shown
in the development of the States is at present seen
across the border, and that the resources of the
Dominion are year by year perceived to be much
vaster than was realised only a short time ago.

Meanwhile, along with the solid though rapid
growth seen over the whole northern continent, the
same procedure marks the progress of civilization as
has marked it ever since railways became a leading
factor in the human march. Thus, letters written
since the first great line was laid from the Atlantic
to the Pacific necessarily notice features which have
by no means become obliterated, but are only en-
larged and multiplied in the growing family of the
new world household.




THOUGH what forms an agreeable recollection to me
revives the memory of wearisome hours to not a few,
some of our readers may care to know the impression
which an ocean voyage made upon one who had never
crossed the Atlantic, or indeed any of the great seas,
before. Fortunately for me, I am in one respect a
good sailor, and entirely escaped the misery in which
the majority of my fellow-passengers passed the first
few days of our voyage.

By getting to Liverpool betimes, and immediately
going on board the " China " in her tender, which
happened to be leaving the landing-stage as I reached
it, I secured an early chance of a room to myself a
great luxury, for two berths in a cabin of about eight
feet square is close work, especially when shared for
some nine or ten days.


We went on board on a Saturday, in a small steamer,
another carrying the luggage. The mail came out
afterwards in a separate tender. We had a perfectly
smooth sail to Queenstown, where we were delayed
eleven hours for the last mail from London rid Holy-
head. The long ship lay out in Queenstown Harbour,
standing as steady as a pier in the flat water, while a
fringe of wailing gulls hung round us for scraps, and
showed into what clean and graceful shapes even the
garbage of a steamboat may be transformed. But we
sorely grudged the delay, as it drew heavily upon our
chances of fine weather. At last the mail came off in
a tender eighty-four sacks of letters and, as soon
as this vessel was made fast alongside, was run on
board by a train of men as fast as they could trot. We
began to move while this process was being carried
on. Then our pilot stepped on board the small
steamer, which left us. We had still one link left
to the Old World, in the shape of a shore boat.
This clung to us for some time, probably in hopes of
picking up a job in the shape of some forgotten mes-
sage or parcel.

At last the order came from deck, " Let go ! " and
though those of our readers who are familiar with the
passage to America may smile at my sentiment, it was
a touching moment when this last home tie was
loosened and the boat fell astern, dancing in the foam
of our screw.


" Full speed " was now marked by the indicator on
deck. Leaving the last lighthouse on the Irish coast,
our head was pointed for New York, and our engines
throbbed day and night like a great iron heart which
sent its pulse through every beam and plank and spar,
till it paused to pick up our pilot on the other side of
the Atlantic.

Our first experience of the ocean was so it looked
a boundless midnight plain of molten lead. There
was not the faintest whisper of a wind. The red
August moon came out and laid a track of gold upon
the water, while two bright lines of sapphire light
sprang from the ship's bows. We were passing
through a highly phosphorescent sea. The sight
was most beautiful.

Soon, however, the bright fabric of hope that we
should carry this weather with us was rudely dis-
sipated. The " China " is some 320 feet in length,
over all. Her upper deck is flush or unbroken for
about 300 feet. Next morning, as I stood by the taff-
rail, this long deck rose like a hill in a straight white
road, and then, as we topped the crests of the great
moving ranges of water, slid down as if the world were
sinking. It was our first experience of the Atlantic
" swell." At first we saw no ships. Though on the
high road between Europe and America, we passed
day after day without seeing a single sail. Of course
if the ocean were flat, and vessels made the straightest


run from point to point, we should have seen many.
The world, however, heing round, gives a choice of
courses from Liverpool to New York ahout equal in
distance. Some captains always take a southern one,
while others, when there is not much ice, go far
enough north to sight Cape Bace. The loneliness of
the ocean is most touching. Morning after morning
as I went on deck there was the same round horizon,
in which the great waves sometimes showed like
islands, and yet not a dot of a sail was to he seen.
Mother Carey's chickens kept us company, and now
and then a solitary gull visited us in mid-ocean.
But our chief external signs of life were whales, of
which we saw divers. One morning early I was
standing in the ship's bows, looking westward, when
a fine fellow heaved his long brown hack up, and
spouted, apparently not more than eighty yards before
us. He seemed so near that I thought I could have
thrown a stone upon him. His alarm, however, at
seeing the " China " under full steam rushing at him
at a rate of some fifteen miles an hour, was excusably
great. So he dived faster than he rose, and I have no
doubt has made a most exaggerated yarn out of the
fright he got among the whales of his society.

On board these fine Cunard ships everything is
carried on with the greatest regularity. The meals
provided for such passengers as can eat them are
numerous and excellent. Breakfast at half-past eight,


lunch at twelve, dinner at four, tea at seven, and
supper at nine are a mockery to some, but those who
do not suffer find the sea air wonderfully appetising.
The ship's company, all told, consisted of 120 men,
of whom 30 or 40 were stokers. There are seven
engineers, and the captain has four officers and a
purser and a surgeon under him. We found these
gentlemen very obliging.

I expected to be called upon to say the service on
Sundays ; but owing to some misunderstanding a
rule had recently, so I was told, been made or followed,
that the captain or surgeon should read the service.
The crew attended, but as there was no singing, and
the noise of the throbbing screw nearly drowned the
reader's voice, it was but a dreary act of worship.

The temperature of the air well out on the Atlantic
remains nearly the same, about 48 or 50, summer
and winter. " We know no seasons here," said the
first officer to me one day; "they are made for the
land. Whether I leave New York half frozen, or with
the thermometer at 120, it is all the same. When
we get 400 or 500 miles out the mercury stands at
about 50."

The winds are most capricious. They veer about
and shift from soft to strong, and back again, contin-
ually. The fact is that the sudden changes experi-
enced here often arise not so much from the wind
falling or rising as from the ship's passage from one


" belt " of weather to another. One morning we
would be tearing through the water under sail and
steam, with heavy plunging, but a dry deck. Then
we would pass into lumpy, windless water, " like a
boiling pot," as the mate said, and soon afterwards
have to face a head sea which sent waves tumbling in
over the ship's bows and rushing along the main deck
nearly to the stern. One carried off in its passage
great store of the cook's apparatus, and made a
sudden wreck of pans and potatoes.

The chief, indeed the ever seriously recognised
dangers, arise from fog, during which, in some seasons
of the year and in some places, the ship runs the risk
of encountering icebergs, especially on the banks of
Newfoundland, and, when shore is being reached, ships.
But when fog comes, they still drive on " full speed."
That brings the ship out of it sooner, and enables it
to answer the helm better if occasion should arise.
In fog a horrible whistle, if it may be called a whistle,
is kept going. But it sounds more like the scream of
a mad bull with a sore throat.

We had experience of this ; and there is something
awful in the sensation while you stand in the ship's
bows, seeing nothing, but rushing onwards with a
speed and force that would smash up the whole con-
cern if an iceberg were struck, or make a collision with
another vessel horrible.

At last we cleared the fog. When about 400 miles


from port there came dancing up from the horizon a
yacht-like schooner with large white sails. This held
our pilot. The mainsail of his boat had an enormous
black 1 marked upon it. The deciphering of the num-
ber of the pilot-boat was a matter of anxiety to twenty-
four of our passengers, who had made a sweepstake of
11. each, and drawn their numbers betimes. Curiously
enough two acquaintances of mine, fellow-travellers,
had drawn respectively Nos. 1 and 17. The one
who drew No. 17 bought an interest in No. 2, to be,
as he said, near his friend. The first pilot-boat was
No. 1 : it supplied us with a pilot. The next two
numbers we saw were 2 and 17. The chances against
this coincidence are almost incalculable. However, we
got our pilot betimes. He was a little man, in a lands-
man's dress, with a wide-awake hat, and one small
gray eye. As the first who comes is taken, the New-
Yorkers push out far for a chance. I was told that
the pilot got 150 dollars, or about 30L, for bringing
us in.

The first sign of land was the Fire Island Light-
house ; then came the low hills of Long Island ; and
at about four o'clock on Tuesday, August 31, we
steamed into the grand harbour of New York, alive
with great white steam ferries, whose engines worked
above deck.

The surgeon from the Quarantine, in a white straw
hat, boarded us, and brought news that Oxford had


won the boat-race. Every one seemed wholly pos-
sessed and penetrated with this event. The Custom-
house officer began talking about it directly he got on
deck ; the driver of the coach to the hotel brimmed
with the subject; and the waiters at supper found
time to have their say upon the matter.

I ought to mention how we mainly spent our time
on board. There were men of divers nations, but
most were Americans. Among the passengers were
a few of some distinction. We had a parcel of eager
Yankee children who incessantly played "sea quoits"
in which the quoit is a small ring of rope pitched
at a wooden peg, and not counted unless it is a ringer.
And as if the plunging of the ship were not enough,
they must needs have swings. But the quoits and
swings were in no request for the first three or four
days. Many of the passengers played at " shovel-
board." But pleasant conversation with fresh and
agreeable acquaintances was the business of the day.
It must do any man good, if not a settled misanthrope,
to be thus thrown into the company of utter strangers.
He is sure to meet some who look at facts from
another point of view than that to which he is accus-
tomed, and who put forward their opinions with in-
telligence. We had a world of talk, and nothing
could make an approach to America more wholesome
than the kindly sentiments of the Americans whom
an Englishman is sure to meet in his voyage to their


country. We English had a good deal of pleasant
joking with our cousins at a very peremptory notice
stuck up in the ship that we should write our ages,
occupation, last legal residence, proposed domicile,
&c., on the hack of our tickets, hy order of the
Government of the United States. We told them it
reminded us of an entrance into Austria, whereas we
thought we had heen going to a land of freedom.
But the Americans are an eminently law -loving
people, and very fond of regulations. In my bedroom
at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, I found nailed inside the
door not only a card with the usual directions con-
cerning the conduct of the house, hut extracts from
Acts of Congress respecting the liabilities of inn-
keepers and hotel-keepers, and sections of an "Act to
prevent fraud or fraudulent practices upon or by "
them. At the Custom-house, too, we .had each to
enter in a printed form the number, nature, and
contents of our "pieces" of luggage, and sign it before
they were examined. All was most orderly and
precise. There were, on that occasion at least, no
screaming " touters" and hackney-coach drivers. We
went quietly enough to our vehicle, and the luggage
was put upon its roof by civil attendants of the hotel
without any hint of a "tip." The only fuss was a
little squeezing from some of the friends of the pas-
sengers who wanted to get to them in the Custom-
house. I happened to go back for a parcel, and the


way in which the officer at the gate said, "Passenger,
pass him in," showed the quickness with which those
who had just arrived were noticed. At this hotel all
went on with the regularity of clockwork. It is an
immense establishment, and eminently American.
Everything was beautifully clean, and I found the
attendants very civil. It holds 1,100 guests, and
appears to he quite full. Four of us English arrived
there together. When we sat down to dinner, an
official came with a request from the managers that
we would accept from them a bottle of excellent
champagne, as a compliment to us on our arrival.
We seemed to be almost the only Englishmen in tbe




LET me try to give you some of my impressions of
New York with the bloom on them. In visiting a
new country there are many surface details to which
the tourist soon becomes accustomed, but which at
first strike him with all the interesting freshness of
contrast. I do not pretend to provide statistics of
population and commerce, or to furnish grave political
intelligence, but simply to say what caught my eye in
two days' prowling about New York. I hoped to re-
turn to it on my way back from the West, and, using
introductions, to see something of its religious and
educational institutions. At first I merely prowled,
with curiosity alive to those little features of outside
life which it presented to one who had just landed in
America for the first time, and a pleasant sense of
the facility with which the English traveller is able to
take in at once by eye and ear foreign impressions
made in his own tongue. Thus I simply jot down
the impressions which come uppermost as I recall



The city struck me as having a Parisian air. The
bright sky, the trees in the streets, the abundance of
green shutters, the panes of bad glass in many of the
shop windows, the roomy white-painted saloons or
cafes, the white straw hats with black ribbons worn
by many of the men, the large-lettered, many-coloured
advertisements and notices, the loose harnessing of
the horses, had a French appearance.

The next thing which I found myself noticing was
the slowness of the pace at which the vehicles moved.
Contrary to my expectation, there was not that strife
and bustle which marks the outside of London life.
The omnibuses, here called stages, and all painted
white, do little more than creep. They have no con-
ductors, and no seats outside. You know the sharp-
ness with which in London you are invited to go to
the "Bank" or " Royal Oak," and the peremptory
smack, stamp, or ring with which the conductor stops
or starts the 'bus. Here the driver makes no sign,
but crawls along as if he had no interest in a fare.
You hail him, get in behind, pay him through a
hole in the roof with a bank-note for 10 cents, or 5d.
(the fixed fare for all courses), when you enter the
vehicle. Then you rumble and bump over, I should
think, the worst paving-stones in the world till you
want to alight, giving a signal for the purpose by
pulling a bell inside. There are no cabs, but, beside
the " stages," a large number of street cars, seating


about twenty-five persons inside and none out. These
run on tramways in the chief streets, and move some-
what faster than the 'buses. The fares of hackney-
coaches, mostly with two horses, are absurdly high,
and the drivers are the most extortionate rascals in
the world. I did not employ them ; but every one,
none more than Americans themselves, speaks ill of
the race. A Hansom cab company is being established
in New York.

The police wear blue cloth sacks, with a metal
badge on the breast, and, in summer, wide-brimmed
white straw hats. They are all thin, and seem chosen
for their inches, which are many.

There are at least I saw no street beggars,
wandering organ-grinders, or Punches. Everybody
seems bent upon an errand, though he does not bustle.
I missed at once the tattered men who loaf about
London ; also the blear-eyed, sodden groups outside
public houses, and the street Arabs.

There is, no doubt, plenty of vice and debauchery
in New York, but in strolling by night about its
streets I can only say that I did not detect that class
which pollutes the great arteries of London. This
sui prised me, for some of the papers in the hotel
reading-room contain many advertisements which a
respectable English journal would not publish. But
I must say what I saw.

With regard to other street features, I was much


struck with the condition of the upper part of Broad-
way, which is the chief thoroughfare of the city,
nearly parallel to the Fifth Avenue. This latter is
full of grand, mostly chocolate-coloured and detached,
private residences. In starting from my hotel in the
morning towards the " Central Park " the Hyde
Park and Kensington Gardens of the place I walked
tip Broadway, which is traversed by numbers of
omnibuses, and in this part by cars. I soon noticed
grass growing in the gutters and between the stones
of the pavement. The patches of this became larger,
till at last I came to three geese, a cow, and a calf,
contentedly grazing in the Oxford Street of this great
city. The houses die down to wretched whitewashed
wooden cabins, set anyhow, and inhabited by Irish,
before the most fashionable resort of the citizens is
reached. The park itself not " central " as yet,
though called such is admirably laid out with walks,
drives, shrubberies, and ornamental pieces of water ;
but the city is not built up to it. At the other end
of Broadway, "down town/' every inch of ground
seems precious ; but the " West-end," as it were, be-
fore you get to the park, is strikingly incomplete. The
New-Yorkers are, I suppose, too busy to smarten it
up till they want it in earnest. Thus a portion is
left to an irregular settlement of hovels and their poor
tenants. Yet, as I said, the poorest people have all
apparently work to do. Some of the cars are driven


by as uncombed Irish as you may see in the Seven
Dials ; and when later in the day I crossed the ferry
to Jersey City to recover a rather cumbrous article left
on board the " China," which lay there, I had to
carry it myself through the streets to a parcels' de-
livery office, that it might be sent to my hotel. Not
one of the " poor " people in the streets applied for
the job. I saw plenty passing by, but there was not
a soul "hanging about." In London, by the wharves,
I should have found too many idlers glad to earn a
sixpence. Here I could not get a spare hand, though
I looked and asked for one.

Everything is dear, as well as labour. Wages are
high, but so are prices. I paid at a little shop 5d. for
a box of matches I should have given Id. for in
London. A gentleman with me had a " soda and
brandy " at the bar of our hotel, for which we found
he had to pay 2s. The common necessaries of life
are dear, as well as its small luxuries. I am afraid
to say what my companion paid for an ordinary
chimney-pot hat. Locomotion is cheap, but living
is terribly expensive.

The shops are not showy, but large and good when
you get inside them. The people in the streets are
generally thin many are tall. The men are better-
looking than the women. Few wear full beards,
most shaving off all but the moustache.

New York, as our readers know, is an island, with


a population about one-fourth that of London. Par-
allel avenues traverse it lengthways ; these are cut at
right angles by streets. The traffic between the city
and its suburbs Jersey City and Brooklyn is carried
on by immense and numerous white ferry-boats,
which can take some fifteen or twenty vehicles, horses
and all, under cover, besides a large number of foot-

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Online LibraryHarry JonesTo San Francisco and back → online text (page 1 of 12)