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was very pleasant to watch the kindly faces of those
men as we passed them on deck, and to feel their
hearty grasp when we parted.

Land, land, land ! on the starboard bow, about four
miles off. Cape Race was seen through the haze.
We passed many fishing-smacks on the "Banks."

20 The Ocean Broadway.

The captain was very vigilant on the bridge, guiding
us amidst the little vessels. We have "made " 1800
miles from land to land in six days, and are three
hours behind Liverpool time.

Judge Wilmot conducted evening worship. He told
me he had been a Sunday-school teacher 25 years,
and that his work with the children was his rest and
refreshment after his judicial toils. He said, " My
heart leaps within me at the thought of meeting my
children in the school : how pleased they will be with
the box of books I have got for them !" Speaking of
the Bible as suited for children, he said : " There are
mysteries ; but the great truths are on the surface. A
man may not be able to calculate the distance of the
sun, but he may enjoy the light of it; so without
understanding the science of theology, little children
may enjoy the truths of the science, and often pick up
the substance which others neglect."

Sunday, 2$th. — Morning and evening service as
before ; clergymen of different Churches taking part.
Also visited the sailors. Hymn-singing on deck late
at night.

Monday, 26th. — Land ! It is the main coast of
America. It looks low, with white houses here and

The Ocean Broadway. 21

there on the shore, and forests beyond. By a narrow
opening we enter the capacious harbour of Halifax.
It is a straggling, dull-looking town, with several
church-spires, and a turf-covered citadel above. We
fired two guns, and were . soon alongside. A crowd
awaited us. Here several of our passengers left. We
walked to the citadel, and had a fine view of the ocean,
bay, town, and surrounding hills covered with forests.
Most of the houses are wooden, the streets irregularly
paved, the shops bad. As Ave walked, the land reeled !
Accustomed to the ship, we felt firm when on board,
and now, on shore, seemed as if we should fall. In
three hours, having delivered and received the mails,
and taken on board some fresh passengers, we were
again under weigh. Among the new arrivals was my
friend, Mr. Cyrus Field, of Atlantic Telegraph fame,
with Mrs. Field. He had just come from Newfound-
land. Thence he had sent a message to Ireland.
" Three cheers for Mrs. Field." The answer was in-
stantaneous : " Not three, but three times three ; and
here goes." At New York he had received a telegram
•of a speech delivered one evening by Mr. Gladstone,
who got Mr. Field's message of thanks on his break-
fast-table next morning. No angry message had yet

22 The Ocean Broadway.

been sent across. This telegraph is also a " Broad-
way " between the nations. Along it may myriads of
messages yearly pass, all tending to promote " Peace
on earth and good-will towards men ! "

Tuesday, 27///. — On deck before it was light. Saw
a glorious sunrise — the last before landing. There
was a state dinner on occasion of the termination of
our voyage. I was asked to give thanks to God for
our safety. Then toasts were given to the Captain, to
Mr. Field, and others, which were duly acknowledged.
British and American songs were sung : " God save
the Queen," "Hail ! Columbia," "John Brown," &c,
&c. The Americans were full of enthusiasm, and dis-
played several small banners of the Stars and Stripes.
My friend and I had a farewell meeting with the
sailors, several of whom shed tears at parting. It was
now dusk, and we were entering the narrow channel of
Boston Harbour. We fired rockets and signal-guns,
and then the anchor was let go. We saw indistinct
glimpses of a great city, with its many lights. But it
was too late to land.

Wednesday, 2W1. — Boston. Nothing particular to
notice. We might have been in an English sea-port.
There was a great bustle, getting up luggage, and pas-

The Ocean Broadway. 23

sengers saying farewell. We were glad to have
arrived, but were sorry to break up the happy associa-
tions we had formed. The Broadway from England
had been traversed very easily, swiftly, safely, and
pleasantly. There had been very little sickness, no
quarrelling, much rest and reinvigoration, a great deal
of delightful intercourse, and friendships formed which
might tend to gladden the remainder of life's longer
voyage. I venture to say, in conclusion, to all who
want health, instruction, pleasure, Try the Broadway !



Hospitality of Americans— Boston — Newtown — American Elm
— Hotel Charges — Newport— Noah's Ark Steamers — Hudson
River — Washington Irving — West- Point — Use your Intellect
— Catskill Mountains — Bears and Wolves — John Brown —
Saratoga — Classic Nomenclature — Trenton — Rochester —

MY very first impression of America was one
which was constantly renewed during my
visit. I refer to its generous hospitality. Going on
deck very early in the morning of August 28th, a
letter was put into my hand from a gentleman who
was waiting to welcome us, and to convey us at once
to the house of his friend Mr. Claflin, the Lieut. -Go-
vernor of Massachusetts, who had invited us to make
his house at Newtown our home. The writer stated
that, as a stranger, he went one Sunday morning to
my church in the time of my predecessor ; that he
was at once accommodated with a seat, and after
service was introduced to the pastor, the Rev. James
Sherman, who entertained him at his house ; and that

First Impressions of America. 25

now, after nearly twenty years, the first opportunity
had occurred of returning the kindness which he had
then received. Thus I reaped what another had
sown. I was constantly being impressed with the
grateful feelings which Americans cherish for any act
of courtesy paid to them over here. They love the
Old Country, and rejoice to find themselves at home
in it ; and they are ready to repay, in double mea-
sure, any hospitality they may receive, as it is their
pleasure to offer it without any idea of recompense.

At the custom-house, the head-officer, quite a
young man, was accosted as " General." He politely
let our luggage pass without examination. A " hack-
ney-coach," like an old-fashioned state-carriage, on
big, high wheels, and with a third and central seat in-
side, conveyed us to the Tremont Hotel, where we had
breakfast, and deposited our luggage till next morning.
Then our new friend, " Deacon Kimbal," showed us
all Boston — libraries, schools, churches — in a couple
of hours. Our plan was to return and spend a week
here • but it would have been ungenerous and useless
to remonstrate. Bostonians are justly proud of their
city and its institutions, and naturally wish Old-Eng-
landers to admire the New-England metropolis. Then

26 First Impressions of America.

off by train to Newtown, a delightful suburban vil-
lage, composed of the summer residences of the Bos-
tonians. The country is very undulating, and is richly
wooded. The Lieut.-Governor was waiting for us at
the " Depot," as the railway station is called, and drove
us to his comfortable mansion, where Mrs. Claflin
gave us a most hearty welcome.

Our host took us a delightful drive, somewhat
marred by another " first impression " not so pleasant
as others. Some tipsy men were driving in front of
us, covering us with dust. When we tried to pass
them, they galloped their horse, to keep in front ;
when we walked, to allow them to get forward, they
walked also, by their jeers and laughter showing their
motive. The same cause produces the same effects all
over the world. I could not be severe, for I was
reminded of similar or worse scenes in the neighbour-
hood of London ; and I thought of the young Eng-
lish surgeon who had come across with us in the
Cuba, and who had been several days in delirium
tremens, and had been sent to a hospital in Boston,
with little hope that his life would be saved. We
need not cast reproaches on each other ; rather let
all good citizens combine in wise but zealous efforts

First Impressions of America. 27

to diminish a vice so opposed to national prosperity
and so productive of social misery.

All around us were villa-residences, each in its well-
timbered enclosure, conveying an idea of unostenta-
tious prosperity and home comfort. Here and there,
on the summit of the hills, we caught extensive views
of Boston Bay, the distant city, and a vast expanse of
foliage, from which peeped out, far and near, some
indication of pleasant New England homes. We
were specially interested in looking at a handsome
church, erected on the very spot where Elliot first
began to preach in the forest-wilds to the native

We spent a delightful evening. Several neighbours
came in, and talked of the Old Country and of the
New, the late war, emancipation, the state of religion,,
the progress of the Gospel. The household gathered
round the old family Bible. We read together the
dear familiar words; emphatically musical in America,
where so many modern alterations have been intro-
duced into the language. We sang hymns, and sang
them to tunes the common property of both sides.
We prayed for blessings on both sections of the one
great English family. We forgot that a broad ocean

28 First Impressions of America.

rolled between us. We could not feel that we were
strangers who, that day, had landed in the country for
the first time. New England was Old England over
again. We felt, more than ever, that war between us
would be specially unnatural and wicked.

How pleasant was the spacious white bed after the
narrow crib of the ship ! How delicious was the
quiet after the rumbling of machinery and the tossing
of waves ! While I was dressing, a squirrel climbed
up the trunk of an elm which grew close to the win-
dow, and looked in at me, nodding his welcome.

The American elm — what a grand and graceful tree
it is ! How beautifully its branches spring upwards,
and then bend over all around, and what a pleasant
shade it makes ! It is the glory, not alone of Ameri-
can, woods, but of American cities too. Who that
has seen the grand specimens of it round about Har-
vard University, at Cambridge, or walked beneath its
many avenues at New Haven, can ever forget it ? If
Americans may envy us our British oak, and the ivy
clinging to it, we may envy them their elm, which
some might think it almost worth the voyage to see,
study, and sketch.

After breakfast we left, with much regret, our hos-

First Impressions of America. 29

pitable friends, who kindly urged us to prolong our
stay. Returning to Boston, we went to the Tremont
Hotel for our luggage, and to pay for our dejeuner
of the preceding day. We put down two sove-
reigns, with some notion of doing the thing grandly,
but expecting more than half back again. To our
surprise we were told there was no balance. The
charge was thirteen dollars. We remonstrated, ex-
plaining that we had merely taken breakfast, washed,
and left our luggage, and that if this was the usual
style of charge, we were glad to be so soon aware of
it, as we should have to make some alteration in our
plans, so as not to exceed our resources. The manager
said, " Our charge is six dollars and a half a day,
for each person. You might have had all your meals
if you liked. You used a room, and you left your
luggage in it." We explained that we had asked
simply for breakfast, and for the use of a room to
wash in, with a request that the luggage might be
taken care of till next day. Then I thought I might
learn a lesson of Yankee 'cuteness, so I said, " You
have no right to charge for two persons : suppose I
came -for a day, and invited my friend to breakfast
with me ? " This view of the matter led to a consul-

30 First Impressions of America.

tation between the officials, which resulted in their
charging for one day's board, with an extra breakfast,
reducing the payment to twenty-six shillings. It was
an instructive and amusing incident. I had often
felt ashamed of the high rates sometimes levied on
Americans in English hotels ; and pride of country
made me glad that this vice of high charges was cha-
racteristic of a class, and not of a nation. Moreover,
I reflected that much of which we complain is the
result of our own ignorance ; for if I had better in-
formed myself of the customs of American hotels, I
should have paid for my breakfast at the time I
took it, and delivered the luggage to the bureau.
Have not many destructive wars with foreign nations
had such an origin — especially when the aggressors
vaunt their superior cultivation, and complain of
insult or injury on the part of the " barbarian " ?

We took the " cars " to Newport, a delightful sum-
mer watering-place, about two hours south of Boston.
All round the rocky shore, on which the Atlantic
grandly breaks, are large and handsome mansions of
the merchants of New York. These, in the " pride
of humility," are designated cottages. Expressing my
surprise at the small number of visitors at the hotel

First Impressions of America. 31

where we dined, the waiter replied, " Oh ! this year all
the gaiety's in the cottages:" meaning that all the
visitors were staying at private houses.

We took the night-steamer to New York. The
vessel resembled a floating hotel, or the Noah's Ark
familiar in the nursery, more than a ship. Imagine a
vast barge, with a house of two storeys built upon it,
and on the top of all the funnel and wheel for steer-
ing. The sleeping-berths are arranged down the sides
of the upper decks, the interiors being used as draw-
ing-rooms, reading-rooms, &c. The main deck is
occupied by luggage, engine-room, and stores. Below
this main deck, on which you enter from the pier, are
the dining and refreshment saloons. The fittings were
superb— polished mahogany, and gilding and painting,
and rich carpets and luxurious sofas. There were
sleeping-apartments for several hundred persons— not
narrow berths, but cozy little bedrooms. The chief
objection to me was a sense of imprisonment : for
there was no getting outside— no upper deck accessible
— the flat roof of the floating mansion being shut off
from the passenger. All the cabins were engaged, but
very comfortable truckle beds were made in one of the
saloons for the surplus passengers. When we awoke

32 First Impressions of America.

we were entering the North River, abounding in rocks
and islands. From below we noticed that the wheel
was at the head of the vessel, connected by chains
with the rudder. Six men were steering, the pilot
standing in front, and close to the wheel, so that he
was better able both to see what was ahead and at
once to give directions to the steersmen, than when
the wheel is astern. Very sudden twists and turns the
vessel had to make in order to avoid striking the
rocks. Now entering a wider channel, we had New
York on our right, and Brooklyn, its gigantic suburb
or rival, on our left.

As we were to revisit New York, we merely went
from the wharf where we landed to the station of the
Hudson River boat, a few minutes' walk. I carried
my portmanteau in my hand, but parted with it — more
from benevolence than self-indulgence — to a boy who
evidently wanted to earn a penny. When we reached
the boat I felt I was doing the thing handsomely by
offering him what was equivalent to sixpence. He
indignantly tossed it back. My first impulse was to
pocket the insult ; but on second thoughts I deter-
mined not to let the lad suffer from his loftiness,
especially as I had been so short a time in the

First Impressions of America. 33

country ; so I turned back to give him what was
equivalent to a shilling. He just condescended to
take it, evidently thinking he had conferred the obli-
gation. I mentioned this to a person who kept a
" book-store " on deck, and he replied, " Quite right ;
we make no account of money in this country ; we
get it easy and spend it easy ; money's of no worth ;
everything is dear, and so every one must charge
dear. If you ask me to take care of that bag while
you go to dinner, I shall charge you half a dollar."

We had come round by New York solely for the
purpose of going to Niagara by way of the Hudson
River, one of the most remarkable streams in the
world for picturesque scenery. It is above three
hundred miles long, receiving above the city of Troy
the waters of the Mohawk, which at that spot is as
large as itself. It is a tidal river for one hundred and
sixty miles, and' is so far navigable by steam-boats and
large sailing-vessels. For about twenty-five miles the
river is a mile wide. Afterwards it contracts and
deepens, passing through a narrow defile in "the
Highlands." The rocky cliffs which rise abruptly
from the forest-clothed banks, the beautiful villas and
rich cultivation, the lofty hills springing more than a


34 First Impressions of America.

thousand feet from the water's edge, the continually
shifting scene as you turn the bends of the river, the
view occasionally presented of distant mountains and
the thriving cities, lovely solitudes and interesting
historic scenes you pass, render a sail up the Hudson
a pleasure never to be forgotten, and which no visitor
to America should miss.

The river was named from Henry Hudson, who
discovered it in 1609, or rather first ventured to ascend
and explore it. It is boasted that, on the Hudson,
steam was used for the first time as a propelling power
on the water. The vessel while building was called
" Fulton's Folly " ; crowds assembled to deride the
failure ; and when it really moved and went up as far
as Albany, men doubted if the thing could ever be
done again, or if so, whether it could ever become of
any great value. And this was only sixty years ago !
What may not be the developments of the next sixty
years at the same ratio ?

On the left we passed the " Pallisades "; rocks re-
sembling Salisbury crags, and extending several miles.
Twenty-six miles from New York, on our right, was
Tarrytown, where Andre was captured ; and about
two miles inland, on the stream which here enters the

First Impressions of America. 35

Hudson, is the scene of Washington Irving's " Legend
of Sleepy Hollow." Not far off, on the very brink
of the river, is " Sunnyside," the house where he re-
sided, and which remains in the same state as when
he died. I aftenvards visited it, and was very courte-
ously received by two Misses Irving, nieces of the
author. They showed me his study, his favourite re-
treat, some of his books, and original sketches illus-
trating various scenes in his writings. West Point is
about fifty miles from New York. Here the hills close
up on both sides, leaving but a narrow channel for the
river. This was the stronghold of the Americans dur-
ing the War of Independence. Remains of forts are
to be seen at different points, where severe struggles
took place. Arnold was in command here when he
turned traitor and arranged with Andre for the delivery
of the post to the British.

We landed at West Point, and at once climbed the
hill to the ruins of Fort Putnam, about 600 feet above
the water. We were well repaid by the charming
view of the river flowing down through the richly
wooded crags. The United States Government have
their military college at West Point. Once a year the
cadets live in camp, and on occasion of striking the

2)6 First Impressions of A merica.

tents there is an illumination, with various sports. It
was to take place that very evening ; so we resolved
to stay and witness it. We found very pleasant
quarters at Cozen's Hotel, situated about 200 feet
immediately over the river, and close to a pretty cas-
cade called the " Buttermilk Falls," visible from the

In connection with this camp-illumination I received
another first " impression," and a very useful lesson.
The distance from the hotel was about two miles. I
walked forward alone. The road was wide and well
frequented, but the overshadowing trees and the ab-
sence of the moon rendered it very dark. Not wishing
to be run over by the numerous vehicles driving to the
camp, I took the footpath by the side, equally well de-
fined and well frequented. I could not suspect any
danger, or any need of caution in so public a tho-
roughfare. But suddenly I trod on nothing, and
was falling forwards into space. Happily, I was soon
arrested, and found myself in a deep narrow trench.
There was a rock which my forehead had brushed,
and which might have brought my tour in America to
a sudden termination. I was thankful to find no limb
broken, though my right wrist gave me considerable

First Impressions of America. 37

pain. I scrambled up, and discovered that a trench
was being made for laying down pipes, and though cut
along the public path, the workmen had gone away
without taking any precaution whatever to prevent
passengers falling in. Within a few yards I came
to a sentry on duty, and told him of my mishap.
" Umph ! " " But should not a lamp be put there, or
a railing ? " " Umph ! " " But others may tumble too,
and may possibly be killed ? " " Umph ! " I felt I
had discharged my duty, and went forward to the
camp, where I was amused by the innocent frolics
of the youths, and their lamps and bonfires. Next
morning I found my wrist swollen, and I had to carry
my arm in a sling for a week. At breakfast I men-
tioned the circumstance to an American who inquired
what ailed me. His remark was peculiar : " Oh, you
Britishers — you've no intellects ! " " Indeed ! " said
I ; " pray sir, what do you mean ? " " Why, in your
country there would have been a lamp and a rail."
" Just so," I answered, " and that I think is a proof
that we have intellects." " You don't see what I
mean : you don't use your intellects. Why, if such a
thing were to happen in your country, I guess you'd
brinsr an action against the man who left the road like

3 8 First Impressions of America.

that. You'll get no damages in this country, I tell
you. In your country, if a man asks me to go down
a mine with him, I go at once without question. But
if asked to do so here, I first look at the basket, and
the rope, and the engine, and see that all's right before
I trust my life to him. In your country they take care
of you without your having to take care of yourself.
In this country you must use your intellect, sir ! Take
my advice — use your intellect ! "

I was often reminded of this caution. The railways
cross the common roads on a level, but there are no
signal men to warn of danger. The engine-driver has
a great bell, which he is expected to ring when he
approaches a crossing, and a board is put up at the
spot with this notice — " When the bell rings, look out
for the cars ! " Travellers are expected to use their
intellects — nevertheless accidents are of constant oc-
currence. At Chicago the pavement is in many places
raised several feet above the roadway, and at night it
might often happen that strangers would have an awk-
ward tumble through fancying they might step easily
over to a shop on the other side, if they did not use
their intellect. I saw many notices to passengers stuck
up in railway cars and on steamboats, but I saw no

First Impressions of America. 39

attempt to enforce the warning regulations, all people
being supposed to have intellects and use them, or
take the consequences. In a comparatively new
country the same precautions can scarcely be looked
for as in an old one. Certainly if life is not regarded
as less valuable in America, it is guarded with less

Saturday, August 31. — We had a delightful ramble
by the side of the waterfall, and then took the boat up-
river, and after winding through beautiful scenery, and
passing many thriving towns and villages, landed at
Catskill, for the purpose of spending Sunday at the
Catskill Mountain House, a favourite summer resort.
On the coach which was to drag us up I had some in-
teresting conversation. A " Copperhead " complained
that they had not as much liberty under their republic
as the Britishers had under a monarchy ; spoke spite-
fully of the " Nigger-lovers," and was angry that the
South was not being received back again at once. A
young man was going to the mountain who had been
born and had lived almost all his life within seven miles
of it, yet had never been there before. He had served
in the artillery during the war \ his brigade entered

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Online LibraryNewman HallFrom Liverpool to St. Louis → online text (page 3 of 16)