Henry Colman.

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breakfast. At half past nine you go in to family prayers,
if you find out the time. They are happy to have the
guests attend, but they are never asked. The servants
are all assembled in the room fitted for a chapel. -They
all kneel, and the master of the house, or a chaplain,
reads the morning service. As soon as it is over they
all wait until he and his guests retire, and then the
breakfast is served. At breakfast there is no ceremony
whatever. You are asked by the servant what you will
have, tea or coffee, or you get up and help yourself.
Dry toast, boiled eggs, and bread and butter are on tlu^
table, and on the side-table you will find cold ham,
tongue, beef, he, to which you carry your own plate
and help yourself, and come back to the breakfast-table
and sit as long as you please. All letters or notes ad-
dressed to you are laid by your plate, and letters to be
sent by mail are put in the post-box in the entry, and
are sure to go. The arrangements for the day are then
made, and parties are formed ; horses and carriages for
all the guests are found at the stables, and each one fol-
lows the bent of his inclination. When Ik^ returns, if sit


noon, he finds a side-table with an abundant lunch upon
it if he chooses, and when he goes to his chamber for
preparation for dinner, he finds his dress-clothes brushed
and folded in the nicest manner, and cold water, and
hot water, and clean napkins in the greatest abundance.
At Lord Spencer's, Lord Ashburton's, Earl Talbot's,
there was a good deal of gold plate on the table, and the
dishes and plates, excepting the dessert plates, were all
of silver ; at the Duke of Richmond's they were of porce-
lain, the dishes of silver. Servants are without number.
I have never dined out yet, even in a private untitled
family, with less than three or four, and at several places
eight or nine even, for a party hardly as numerous ; but
each knows his place ; all are in full dress, the liveried
servants in livery, and the upper servants in plain gen-
tlemanly dress, but all with white cravats, which are
likewise mostly worn by the gentlemen in dress. The
servants not in livery are a higher rank than those in
livery, never even associating with them. The livery is
of such a description as the master chooses ; the Duke of
Richmond's were all in black, on account of mourning
in the family ; the others various, of the most grotesque
description, sometimes with, and sometimes without wigs,
and always in shorts and white silk or white cotton
stockings. Many persons request you not to give any
gratuity to the servants. Others forbid them accepting
any under pain of dismissal ; and at the house of a noble-
man of high rank, I found a printed notice on my dress-
ing-table to this effect : " The guests are particularly
requested to give no gratuities to the servants."



London, 27lli June, 1S43.
My Deae M :

A FELLOW-PASSENGER, Mr. C , of Baltimore, lias

just called, and promises to deliver this in Boston. T
hope you will see him. I have nothing in particular to
inform you. Some person, whom I do not know, scnit
me a report of the meeting of fanners, at Northampton ;
so I send it to you. Every thing of that sort is here
taken down by reporters, and published, so that one
must be careful what he says. I am more than full of
engagements and occupation, and my great difficulty is
to find time for any thing. This is what is called the
season when London is full of people; it is always full,
but now I believe it runs over. Where all the peo-
ple get bread and lodging. Heaven only knows. No-
thing like the msh of human life which I see here, ever
before met my eyes, or even entered my imagination.
Li a few weeks Parliament adjourns, and tlien I am
told the West End of London, at least, is quite still.
It has been altogether important to remain here, with a
view of forming acquaintances, and getting instructions.
I leave to-morrow morning, in acceptance of several invi-
tations from country gentlemen, and shall be so constantly
cruising about until winter sets in, that I shall hardly
know how to communicate with you ; but I shall do it.
I go to-morrow to visit a gentleman in Horsham. Mr.
Dickens, to whom the Duke 'of Richmond introduced nic
as a private friend of his, and, as they say in England, a


very clever man. After that, I go into Hertfordshire, to
visit a Mr. Antony ; then I go to Barton, to visit Mr.
Birch ; then to the great Derby Cattle-Show ; then with
Lord Spencer to Mr. Childer's in Yorkshire ; then to the
North of England, to Edinburgh, and farther on ; then in
Staffordshire a week with Lord Hatherton ; then into
Cornwall with Mr. Pendarves, M. P., and lady, among the
most agreeable and kindest people I ever saw ; then into
Cambridgeshire, to see Lord Hardwicke's property and
family ; then into Norfolk and Wiltshire, to fulfil engage-
ments ; then into Ireland, to be at the Belfast agricultural
show, and so, and so on, engagement after engagement,
with gentlemen who have invited me, whose names I do
not remember, but who have promised to settle the
arrangements at the Derby Cattle-Show, where I expect
to meet the largest assembly of the kind ever held in
England. They provide for more than fifteen hundred
at the public dinner. My objects continually occupy
me, but what success will follow the execution of them,
remains to be seen. I shall try to do my best.

I made yesterday some visits which were quite unex-
pected. Mrs. P made me promise to go with her,

and called for me in her carriage, at 2 o'clock, with a
young lady, to show me the most fashionable millinery
and fancy store, and the largest jewelry store in the
world. The capital in one of the stores is £200,000
sterling, or one million of dollars ; in the other, £300,000
sterling, or a million and a half of dollars. I saw a
mere envelope case, price sixty-five guineas ; a blotting
book for a lady's table, ninety guineas ; and one single
set of jewels, necklace, broach and earrings, £37,000
sterling, or ^'185,000. We sober people in America


can have no idea of such extravagance, and yet here,
they say they will soon find a purchaser for these thinnjs.
I concluded, after considerable self-restraint, not to buy

the earrings to send to S , as I believe she does not

wear them.

I have talked so much of writing in haste, that I will
make no apology. I fear I shall have no time to
write to any other person. I depend on hearing from
you by every steamer while I am in England. I shall
become homesick presently, I know ; but there is nothing
to be said. I have nothing in the world to complain of
but my separation from my family and friends. God
bless you, and pray for me.

P. S. I forgot to mention that Mrs. P took me,

yesterday, to see the wedding gown of the Princess
Augusta, the Queen's cousin, who is to be married
to-morrow. The gown alone, cost only 200 guineas, or
more than a thousand dollars. It is of silver and silk,
interwoven and covered with Brussels lace.


London, 2d July, 1843.
My Deae M :

The post-office arrangements here are capital. Your
letters are brought to you six times a day, and you can
send to any part of the city six times a day, a letter less
than half an ounce, for one penny. There are post-offices
in every principal street. Invitations are sometimes


received and answered by post ; but it is not considered
quite polite, unless you arc on a footing of great intimacy.

I have such a variety of adventures that I hardly know
where to begin, and do not feel certain that I shall not
tell my story over more than once.

I believe I gave you in former letters an account of
the style in which they live in the best houses, and of
some jewelry shops I had seen, and likewise the wedding
dress of the Princess Augusta. These I know are very
small matters, but I dare say such little details have an
interest with you. I am, you see, again in London, having
returned here last evening, from a delightful visit in the

country. M may set down what she pleases to my

enthusiasm, but I assure you I color nothing, and things
are really as beautiful, as tasteful and charming, and the
people as intelligent and polite, and agreeable and kind,
as I describe them to be ; only I feel I cannot do the
things or the people half justice.

I went on a visit to Mr. Dickens, whom I met at the
Duke of Richmond's. He married the sister of the Mar-
quis of Northampton, and occupies a family seat of Lady
N., the wife of the former Marquis. He has a large for-
tune, gives himself to agriculture, horticulture, literature,
the fine arts, and all that constitutes the highest and most
refined delights of life. There were eight or ten persons,
gentlemen, lords and ladies, staying in the house at the
same time. The courts were in session, in the village,
and we had the lawyers to dine one day, and I dined
with the court and bar another day ; and you may be
sure all that could be done, to make my visit agreeable
and instmctive, was done.

The ride between Horsham, the village near his resi-


dence, about thirty-three miles from London, wliich I
took on the outside of a stage coach, was but a succession,
for the whole distance, of fine gardens, magnificent parks,
neat villages, beautiful villas, and country houses, in the
irrimediate vicinity of each other, with trees scattered
around them in the most tasteful manner, with gardens
as pretty as they could be made, with porticos, windows,
and fences and yards, filled and adorned to overflowing
with flowering shrubs, and geraniums, kalmias, rhodo-
dendrons, roses perfuming the air almost to satiety and
filling the eye with delight.

Now you may think how beautiful they are, and how
much pains is taken to adorn even the humblest cottage
of the humblest laborer.

We had some ladies staying in the house, though the
lady of the house was too much indisposed to go out, who
invited me to accompany them to lunch at a gentleman's
seat a few miles off. Here my imagination would be
widely at fault, to conceive of grounds laid out with more
taste and beauty, a house better filled with the most
elegant books, the most exquisite drawings, more striking
pieces of sculpture, and prettier gems of souvenirs and
bijouterie, or a lady more fitted to adorn all this by the
cultivation of her mind and the elegance of her manners.

From this, after an agreeable visit at Mr. Dickens's, I
returned to London, and to-day has been passed in a
most interesting manner. The Duke of Richmond, who
has been most kind in his attentions, took me to visit
Pentonville model prison, three miles out of town, and
of which he is one of the principal governors. The great
object of this prison is to see what can be done for the
reformation of the unfortunate persons who are subjected


to its penalties. There are about three hundred of them.
We attended service in the chapel where they were all
assembled and were arranged so that not one of them
could see another, though they could all see and hear
the minister. The sermon was upon Lying, was full of
practical good sense, and given in the most affectionate
manner. Being so situated that I could see every pris-
oner, I was much stnack with, as I thought, the evident
emotion discovered when the prayer of the litany was
offered that God would have mercy upon " all prisoners
and captives." I could not help observing the starting
tear in several eyes. Most of them are young men, and
are to be transported to Australia, after being confined
here a year or eighteen months in learning some profit-
able trade.


Doncaster, 30th July, 1843. Cantley Hall, Yorkshire.
D^AR J :

I CAME here yesterday to visit Mr. Childers, M. P. He
is largely engaged in agriculture. He is a man of wealth,
and his establishment quite princely. Several noblemen
and gentlemen, members of parliament, are here, and
others are expected to-morrow. We are to remain here
until Thursday, to attend the cattle-show and agricul-
tural fair, which lasts from Tuesday until Thursday night.
To-morrow a party of a dozen gentlemen are to go on
horseback to visit some extensive agricultural improve-
ments about twenty miles off. Mr. Childers mounts us
all. It is difficult to exceed the luxury and elegant


comfort in which these people live, at the same time
leaving their guests to adopt their own arrangements,
which are generally fixed at breakfast for the day, or if
those do not suit, to make their own. There are horses
for those who choose to ride ; pleasure-grounds for those
who choose to walk ; books for those who like to
read ; ladies for such as prefer the luxury of agree-
able manners and elegant conversation, and your own
chamber always furnished with writing apparatus and
books for such as, like me, prefer to spend to-day, as nearly
as I can, with my own friends over the watej . I have felt
that keeping house to-day, — as to-morrow is the last
mail, — was more of a duty than going to church ; so
here I am in as much quiet and solitude as if I were on
an island in Lake Superior.

I got your letter by Mr. Snyder. It was of an early
date, and much shorter than I like, but very welcome.
I have seen many things, of which I wish I could
communicate the impressions that I have had while
fresh ; but I have not looked upon a charming landscape,
a fine picture, and an exquisite piece of sculpture, without
having you in my mind and thinking that I would even
cheerfully resign all the delight which they have given me,
to you, if I could by any possibility put you in my place.

The picture galleries at Hampton Court, but above
all, at Chatsworth, the seat of the Duke of Devonshire,
and still more the sculpture gallery at the latter place,
so much transcend my humble notions as to leave me
without words to express my admiration. Indeed,
I might string together all the superlatives in my vocab-
ulary, and they would do no more than justice to
the beautiful sculpture. The sculptured wainscoting,


made of cedar, and the paintings on the walls and ceil-
ings, are most splendid. One or two statues of Venus
and some Cupids, with others which I cannot particular-
ize, and the painting of the Capuchin Chapel, a copy of
which I believe you saw in Boston, are triumphs of
human genius and taste. I had only a half day,
whereas a month would hardly afford sufficient time to
examine all. I saw the place under some disadvan-
tages, but with admiration and delight.

The scenery in many parts of this country, picturesque
and beautiful as it is, is, after all, inferior to a great deal
we have seen together in our own country ; but here you
see what art and taste, with the most ample wealth at
their control, are able to accomplish. The income of
the Duke of Devonshii-e is said to be two hundred
thousand pounds sterling, or one million dollars per year,
and he wishes to spend the whole. There were fourteen
hundred deer and four hundred head of cattle in the
open park round the house.


Doncaster, 30lh July, 1S43. Cantley Hall.
My Dear Friend:

I RECEIVED your letter of the 14th inst. this evening.
It is an exceedingly impudent letter, in your usual style,
and just like you, and as I know what it means, I sin-
cerely thank you for it.

I have not said of England any thing more than it
deserves. I like my own country and its institutions
better than England ; but I do not know, therefore, that


it is at all necessary to undervalue the institutions of this
country, to deny the excellent qualities of persons whom I
see here, or ungratefully to disdain the kindness and hos-
pitality with which I have been treated. There is here a
vast amount of poverty and vice and misery. Wherever
extreme poverty exists, vice is its natural concomitant,
and where vice is there must be misery. I do not at
present see the remedy. Would you recommend an
entire and bloody revolution ? This would be a fright-
ful prescription. I am not certain that that w^ould cure ;
it might kill the patient, or leave him in a much worse
condition than before. Most persons here are Malthusians,
and presume to say that the human race is propagated
too fast. I have no faith in these unnatural, miserable
doctrines, but I do most certainly wish and pray that
some means could be devised by which a more just divi-
sion of the products of industry could be made, and
that those who grow the bread could have their proper
share of it. I do not think they have it here, and
hardly in any other country. In the opinion of many
persons, there is little chance for the elevation of the
lower and laboring classes until the rights of entail are
broken up, and lands are brought freely into the market
as other property. On our side of the water we think
that the aristocracy should be abolished, and a new aris-
tocracy, not of rank or wealth, but of talent and virtue,
created. Tliis is a mere dream ; and until human nature
is greatly altered and improved, such a result is not tp
be hoped for, even under the most favorable circum-

The great consolation in the case is that philanthropy
is everywhere most active, and nowhere more active thai^


in some of the higher classes here to devise means for
improving the condition of the humble and friendless,
for educating them, and multiplying their comforts and
lessening the evils under which they suffer.

But I shall not undertake to give you a lesson on
political economy. It is very late, and, as you see, I am
very sleepy. I hope you will write me often. You
know how much pleasure you can give me if you will.
I am thankful for a while to be free from the political
squabbles which prevail in America, and the constant
excitements which leave no man at rest.


Doncaster, Yorkshire, 30lh July, 1843.
My Dear Sir:

I THANK you for your kind letter. In my letters to

A I have mentioned my visit to Chatsworth, the

seat of the Duke of Devonshire. I have a book which
gives prints and an account of the place, but I cannot
send it to you as I should be glad to do. The place
probably exceeds any other in the kingdom for its splen-
dors within, and above all, its beauties without. There
is a kitchen-garden of twelve acres, filled with fmits and
vegetables in the greatest abundance and perfection.
There is an arboretum of a great many acres in which it
is designed to place a sample of every tree which grows
and can be naturalized to this climate. Then there
is a conservatory of glass, with a passage large enough to
drive a carriage through, three hundred and eighty-seven


feet in length, one hundred and seventeen feet in breadth
and sixty-seven feet in height, with seventy-six thousand
square feet of glass covering, and seven miles of pipes for
water with which to heat it. There is an aquarium in it,
where water plants are raised in perfection, and there is a
gallery running round the building from which you get a fine
view of the whole. The plants are among the most rare and
beautiful which can be found, and the Duke has one
plant merely a flowering shnib, for which he sent a spe-
cial messenger to India, and which he values at £2000.
This value of course must be fictitious.

A peach tree in the green-house measures seventy feet
in extent, and produced this year eighty dozen peaches.
The vine Wisteria, on the back of the stable, extends
forty-four yards.

There are two oak trees, one planted by Victoria before
she came to the throne, and one by Prince Albert, which
are watched over with great care and are in a flourishing
condition, — a happy augury, I tmst, for a union so pro-
pitious to the best interests of England.

The water is thrown by the great fountain two hundred
and seventy-six feet, considered the highest jet d'eau in
the world.

Chatsworth embraces thirty -five hundred acres. The
Duke owns in the county of Derbyshire ninety-six thou-
sand acres.

The grounds are laid out with surpassing taste ; in one
part you see a Dutch garden, formed in square lines and
alleys, even the trees shorn and shaped to a particular
form ; in other places the natural form is adopted and
presents every variety. He is now bringing rocks from
a considerable distance, some of them said to weigh ten


or twelve tons, with a view to make an extensive fonnation
of grotto-work, having the appearance of nature, as an
entrance into his conservatory. The grounds round the
several houses embrace six or seven thousand acres, and
the park is as beautiful as can be imagined. There are
several fountains near the house, a river flowing in
front, some artificial ponds set like mirrors in frames of
living green, and besides these, some waterfalls, where the
water descends from a very high hill, first down a preci-
pice of perhaps twenty feet, then it is hidden in the trees
and you see it coming down another about thirty feet in
a different direction ; then it is seen pouring over the top
of a high tower, in a single large sheet of sixty feet descent ;
then it boils up over a grotto in several beautiful jets d'eau ;
then it comes down in a rushing cascade over a broken
inclined plane of two hundred or three hundred feet in
length, and sinks into the ground at your feet and dis-

The interior of the house is exceedingly splendid ; the
windows, (most of them of only two panes,) of perhaps
six feet in length by four in width. The glass is of such
perfect clearness and transparency, that you can scarcely
believe that there is any thing to intercept your sight until
you put your hand against it and find the resistance.
Indeed the long galleries of most beautiful designs in
painting and sculpture, the magnificent vases of the most
brilliant spar, the exquisite statues, which do every thing
but speak and breathe, and the various and superlatively
beautiful bijouterie and souvenirs, together with the
mosaic pavement, the carved wainscoting, the inlaid
oaken floors, and the splendidly-painted ceilings, form
altogether such a combination of the productions of genius.


taste and skill, as is quite overpowering. The library at
Chatsworth contains thirty-one thousand volumes.

I went after this to see Haddon Hall, an ancient castle,
once the seat of elegance and luxury, of revelry and ban-
queting, now in ruins, its halls empty, its tapestry defaced
and hanging in shreds, its turrets overhung with ivy, its
paved courts overgrown with weeds, and all its magnifi-
cence and glory departed, a most striking contrast to the
other scene. So human pride rises and sets and the
fashion of the world passes away. I dare say there is as
much happiness at Elfin Glen as ever was in these gay
halls, when illuminated with all the splendors of art and
honored even by the presence of majesty itself.

I shall not go into winter-quarters until November ;
although we have had but one warm night, more than
sixty days of rain since I have been in England, and
weather as sombre and cold as October. As to sun and
moon they have quite cut my acquaintance.


Doncaster, Yorlcshire, 30th July, 1843. Cantley Hall.
My Dear A :

I REACHED this place, about one hundred and seventy

miles from London, and had the delight of finding your

joint letter and others waiting my arrival. No one, who

has not been from home some time, can appreciate the

value of such documents for the intelligence which they

communicate, the assurance which they give us that we

are not forgotten by those by whom of all others in this


world we would most wish to be remembered, and for
the interchange of kind affections and sympathies, of
which they are the medium. While I am occupied in the
immediate observation of what is new and curious, I get
along well enough ; but there are some hours of solitude
and homesickness, which I confess in many cases more
than balance all the pleasure which one at other times
enjoys. However, there is no use in this sort of moral-
izing, and I should be most ungrateful if I gave in any
way an indication of disregard or indifference towards
the extraordinary hospitality and kindness which I have
received, and am constantly receiving. My last letters

to I think were dated about the 16th inst. at Barton,

where I remained until Monday last, bringing up my

Online LibraryHenry ColmanEuropean life and manners; in familiar letters to friends (Volume 1) → online text (page 4 of 25)