Samuel Manning.

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that the general court appropriated ^400 a large sum in those days for the
establishment of a college at Newtown, as Cambridge, was then called. As
this sum was equal to a whole year's tax of the entire colony, we may infer
in what estimation the earliest colonists held a liberal education. Two years
after, the institution received the bequest of ^800 from the estate of the
Rev. John Harvard. The court, in consequence of this legacy, changed the
name of the town to Cambridge, where the generous benefactor had been
educated in old England, and gave his name to the college itself. In the


two centuries and a half which have elaped since its foundation Harvard,
under the fostering care of the colony and the state, and by the generosity of
its alumni and friends, has maintained a leading position amonst the colleges
of the country, its only rival being Yale, in Connecticut, which has a history
little less noteworthy.! Walking amidst sequestered courts, under the cool
green shade of venerable trees, and surrounded by ancient buildings, it is

* Twenty years after this, Sir William Berkeley, Cavalier Governor of Virginia under Charles ir., wrote: "I
thank God there are no free schools or printing here, and I hope we shall not have them these hundred years. For
learning has brought heresy, and disobedience, and sects into the world, and printing has divulged them. God keep us
from both!"

t See Osgoocl's admirable guide-book, Boston Illustrated.


easy to forget that the feverish activity of American life lies all around us.
We seem borne back again across the Atlantic, and to have returned to our
own ancient seats of learning. Not even Oxford or Cambridge has an air
of more classic repose and philosophical calm than these universities of the
New World.

An hour's ride from Boston is Salem a name of evil omen amongst
the Puritans of New England. It was here that the worst side of their
character their intolerance and fanaticism came into greatest prominence.
Escaping from persecution, they had not learned to concede to others the
liberty they claimed for themselves. The founder of the settlement, John


Endicott (1628), called it Salem, from "the peace they had and hoped to
enjoy in it." The tiny meeting-house in which they assembled for worship,
not larger than a good-sized room, is still standing, and well deserves a
visit. Three years afterwards Philip Ratcliff was scourged, had his ears cut
off, and suffered banishment, with the confiscation of his property, "for
blaspheming against the church of Salem, the mother church of all this holy
land." A few years later the Quakers were stripped, whipped, imprisoned,
and banished from the colony. The Baptists were excommunicated and
expelled. Towards the close of the century the witch delusion broke out.
The names of one hundred and fifty persons are given, who were accused of



witchcraft, of whom twenty were hung, one was pressed to death with cir
cumstances of peculiar horror, and many others perished miserably from the
sufferings they endured. Amongst them were women of good repute, ministers
of the gospel, and little children from five to ten years of age. A contem
porary document which lies before me commences the narrative of these
troubles by saying that, " There was a prodigious descent of devils upon divers
places near the centre of this province." Similar phrases occur again and


again, showing that the whole population was in a condition of panic, under
which no man's life was safe. A single extract from a work published at the
time will suffice to show the credulity and terror which prevailed. Speaking
of parallel cases of witchcraft elsewhere, the writer says : " There were dis
covered no less than threescore and ten witches in one village ; ' three and
twenty of which, freely confessing their crimes, were condemned to die.
The rest (one pretending she was with child) were sent to Falhuma, where
most of them were afterwards executed. Fifteen children which confessed


themselves engaged in this witchery, died as the rest. Six and thirty of
them, between nine and sixteen Years of Age, who had been less guilty, were
forced to run the Gauntlet and be lashed on their Hands once a Week for a
Year together. Twenty more who had less inclination to these Infernal Enter
prises, were lashed with Rods upon their Hands for three Sundays together
at the Church door. The number of the Seduced Children was about Three
Hundred."* In the court-house of Salem the original reports of the proceed
ings, the pins and nails which were extracted from the bodies of those who
were possessed, and many other relics of this period of delusion and terror,
are preserved.


As we walk through the pleasant streets of Salem, past the stately
mansions which still remain from the old colonial days, when it and Nantucket
were the great commercial emporiums of the New \Vorld, it is difficult to
realise that such horrors were enacted here.

A more agreeable association with Salem is that it has been the birth
place of some of the most eminent men whom New England has produced ;
amongst them Nathaniel Hawthorne, Prescott the historian, and Peabody,
who is buried in a charming suburb of the city.

I have already spoken of the New England landscape. Much of it is

* Wonders of the Invisible World, by Cotton Mather, p. 445.


flat and uninteresting, and the want of tall timber deprives it of that richness
which makes even the least picturesque of our English counties so beautiful.
But it has many districts which may compare favourably with the finest
scenery of Europe the White Mountains of New Hampshire, for instance,
or the Green Mountains of Vermont, the Berkshire Hills, or the Housatonic
Valley. Bold mountain forms, cool, sequestered glens, gleaming lakes, foaming
waterfalls, and hanging woods, combine to form a landscape of rare beauty,
and warrant the somewhat pretentious title of the Switzerland of America.
There are many spots to which the words of Edward Everett will apply :


" I have been something ot
a traveller in my own country,
and in Europe. I have seen all
that is most attractive, from the
Highlands of Scotland to the Golden Horn of Constantinople, from the
summit of the Hartz Mountains to the Fountain of Vaucluse ; but my eye
has yet to rest on a lovelier scene than that which smiles around you as you
sail from Weir's Landing to Centre Harbour on Lake Winnepesaukee."

Notwithstanding the beauty of portions of the New England scenery, its
general aspect is stern and rugged, in harmony with its history. The men
who planted and settled the Old Granite State found a soil and climate
congenial with their character, and which have helped to preserve it amongst

N 185


their descendants. Habits of thrift and industry, of steadfast perseverance
and firm resolve, have been fostered by inclement skies and a barren soil.
The teachings of experience, like those of Scripture, associate "pride, fulness
of bread, and abundance of idleness." When Lot chose the "well-watered"
plain of Sodom, with its exuberant fertility, leaving to Abraham the bare
wind-swept hills of Palestine, he unconsciously carried out the Divine purpose,
which had prepared a nobler destiny for the covenant people than could be
attained in the lap of luxury. And so, in a lower sense, we may believe
that it was not without a providential guidance that the Mayflower, deviating
from her course, cast the Pilgrims upon Plymouth Rock. They thus escaped
the temptations to luxury and effeminacy to which they might have suc
cumbed, had they landed in what are now the Southern States of the
Union. Mrs. Sigourney, herself a descendant of the Puritans, has addressed
a stirring appeal to her fellow-countrymen, urging them to transmit to their
children the virtues of their ancestors :

" O ye, who proudly boast,

In your free veins, the blood of sires like those,
Look to their lineaments. Dread lest ye lose
Their likeness in your sons. Should Mammon cling
Too close around your heart, or wealth beget
That bloated luxury which eats the core
From manly virtue, or the tempting world
Make faint the Christian purpose in your soul,
Turn ye to Plymouth Rock, and where they knelt,
Kneel and renew the vow they breathed to God."

1 86

CHOUGH I had heard much, and seen something
of the splendid appointments of American
steamers, those running on the Fall River, between
Boston and New York, took me by surprise. To
speak of them as floating palaces is no exaggera
tion. They are of immense size, with six decks,
and three hundred state rooms, affording accom
modation for eight hundred persons. The grand
saloons, two hundred and seventy-five feet long, and twenty-one feet high,


are panelled
with the choicest
woods, and car
peted with the
richest velvet;
pile, into which
the foot sinks as
into a bed of
moss. Mirrors
and pictures
give them the
air of magnificent
drawing - rooms.
A band which
would do no
discredit to Sir
Michael Costa
plays through
the evening, and
a dinner which
would do no dis
credit to a Lon
don club, may
be obtained at
the restaurant on
board. It was
impossible not

to be struck by the contrast between the
superb accommodation thus afforded, and
the wretched tubs which still ply round our
coasts, or navigate the Channel.

The approach to New York by sea is
very fine. It bears a certain resemblance
to the approach to Constantinople, to which it is sometimes compared. The
shores of Long Island, Staten Island, and New Jersey may stand for those
which border and inclose the Sea of Marmora. The Battery at the end of
Manhattan Island projects into the bay like the Golden Horn. Brooklyn,
divided from New York by the East River, is the Western representative of
Pera and Galata. But there the comparison must cease. The characteristic
features of an Eastern city its minarets and domes, its glow of colour and
luxuriant foliage, its air of mystery, of venerable antiquity and of repose-
are wanting here. Everything is new and raw, and the details of the picture
are for the most part unattractive. The villas, indeed, which line the shores,


the gardens bright with flowers, and the verdant lawns sloping down to the
sea, are not wanting in picturesqueness. The broad expanse of the bay is
alive with vessels varying in size from ocean steamers to coasting or fishing
craft. But it would be difficult to imagine anything more unsightly than the
ferry-boats, which are plying in every direction, except it be the grain ele
vators, which are absolutely hideous. Everywhere we see an eager, intense
activity, and exuberance of vitality, reminding us that we are approaching the
commercial capital of "the smartest nation in creation."

The State of New York the Empire State, as the Americans call it
is three hundred and thirty-five miles in length, by three hundred in breadth.
We on this side the Atlantic seldom think of New York except as a great
commercial centre. With a feeling of surprise we find that its northern
frontier is formed by Niagara, Lake Ontario, and the Upper St. Lawrence
with its Bay of a Thousand Islands, and that in the upper portion of the


state are lofty mountains, tracts of primeval forest, and unreclaimed wilderness,
equal in extent to the whole of Wales or Palestine. We thus, on arriving
from the Old World, gain our first practical lesson as to the vastness of the
country we are about to traverse, and begin to understand the feeling of the
typical American tourist in England, who professed that "he dared not take
a walk before breakfast lest he should slip over the side."

It was in the year 1609 that Hendrik Hudson explored the bay, and
sailed up the river which bears his name, for a distance of one hundred and
fifty miles, to where the city of Albany now stands. Five years later a
Dutch settlement was formed, consisting of four houses and a fort. It stood
on what is now known as the Bowling Green, and was called New
Amsterdam. In fifty years the population had increased to one thousand
eight hundred. In 1664, Charles n. having made a grant of all the land
between the Connecticut and the Delaware Rivers to his brother, the Duke


of York, the English dispossessed the original settlers, and changed the
name of the city to New York, in honour of the new proprietor. Very few
relics of the old Dutch town now remain. The names of many of the
localities indeed are handed down from the times of the infant colony, whose
fortunes have been so amusingly narrated by Washington Irving in his


burlesque History of New York, by Dicdrich Knickerbocker. Here and there
in the back slums leading towards the Castle Garden, an old edifice may be
found which recalls the days of Peter Stuyvesant. But the inexorable
requirements of modern progress have improved New Amsterdam off the
face of the earth.

Manhattan Island, on which the city stands, is about fourteen miles in



length by two in
breadth. About half
this space is already
covered with buildings,
and, in 1870, contained
a population of nearly
a million. If the in
habitants of Brooklyn,
Williamsburg, Jersey,
and other suburbs be
added, it would take
its place amongst the
largest cities in the
world. Along the central ridge of Manhattan Island runs Broadway, for a
distance of nearly five miles, from the Battery to the Central Park, and con
tinues in a nearly direct line for four and a half miles farther to i54th Street.
The roadways parallel with it are called avenues, those intersecting it running
down to the Hudson River on one side, and the East River on the other
are streets. Being numbered in consecutive order from north to south


and from east to west, it is impossible for the most inexperienced visitor to
lose his way. A similar rule, with needful modifications, is observed in most
American cities. The historical associations connected with our street nom
enclature are lost, but the method is not without its convenience. If I receive
an address in 23rd Street, between 8th and Qth Avenues, I can go straight
to the place without doubt or hesitation, though a total stranger in the city.



Broadway is, perhaps the longest street in the world, if we include its
extension beyond Central Park. It combines in itself what a Londoner
would understand by East End, City, and West End Regent Street, Cheap-
side and Poplar all in one. Starting from the Battery and Castle Garden,
we pass shipping offices, emigration agencies and sailors' homes. The zone of


wholesale stores, banks, insurance offices, and stock exchange succeeds. Then
come "the happy hunting grounds " of fashionable ladies out shopping, where
the Swan and Edgars, the Howell and James's, the Storr and Mortimers
of America display their tempting wares. The business part of the city now
gives place to the "brown stone" and marble mansions of the millionaires,
who have gone "up town," as the Court end of New York is called. The



outer fringe of the city consists of clusters of wretched shanties run up by
squatters who hang on to the skirts of civilisation like the line of filth which
marks the limit of the tide.

Dickens, in his American
Notes, has given a description
of Broadway and its purlieus
so vivid and life-like, that I
cannot do better than quote
it, with a few omissions :

"Was there ever such a
sunny street as this Broad
way ! The pavement stones
are polished with the tread of
feet until they shine again ;
the red bricks of the houses
might be yet in the dry hot

kilns ; and the roofs of those A SQUATTER VILLAGE, IN THE OUTSKIRTS.

omnibuses look as though, if water were poured on them, they would hiss
and smoke, and smell like half quenched fires. No stint of omnibuses here !

Half-a-dozen have gone by

within as many minutes.
Plenty of hackney cabs and
coaches too ; gigs, phae-
tons, large-wheeled til
buries, and private car
riages rather of a clumsy
make, and not very dif
ferent from the public ve
hicles, but built for the
heavy roads beyond the
city pavement. Negro
coachmen and white ; in
straw hats, black hats, white
hats, glazed caps, fur caps,

in coats of drab, black,
brown, green, blue, nan
keen, striped jean and
linen ; and there, in that
one instance (look while it
passes, or it will be too
late), in suits of livery.
Yonder, where that phaeton with the well-clipped pair of greys has stopped
standing at their heads now is a Yorkshire groom, who has not been



very long in these parts, and looks sorrowfully round for a companion
pair of top-boots, which he may traverse the city half a year without
meeting. The ladies, how they dress ! We have seen more colour in these
ten minutes than we should have seen elsewhere in as many days.
What various parasols ! what rainbow silks and satins ! \yhat pinking of
thin stockings, and pinching of thin shoes, and fluttering of ribbons and
silk tassels, and display of rich cloaks with gaudy hoods and linings ! The
young gentlemen are fond, you see, of turning down their shirt-collars and

__ cultivating their whiskers,

especially under the chin ;
but they cannot approach
the ladies in their dress or
bearing, being, to say the
truth, humanity of quite
another sort. Byrons of the
desk and counter, pass on,
and let us see what kind
of men those are behind ye :
those two labourers in holi
day clothes, of whom one
carries in his hand a
crumpled scrap of paper
from which he tries to spell
out a hard name, while the
other looks about for it on
all the doors and windows.
" Irishmen both ! You
might know them, if they
were masked. It would be
hard to keep your model
republics going, without the
countrymen and country
women of those two la
bourers. For who else
would dig, and delve, and drudge, and do domestic work, and make canals
and roads, and execute great lines of Internal Improvement! Irishmen both,
and sorely puzzled too, to find out what they seek. Let us go down, and
help them, for the love of home, and that spirit of liberty which admits of
honest service to honest men, and honest work for honest bread no matter
what it be.

" That's well ! We have got at the right address at last, though it is
written in strange characters truly, and might have been scrawled with the

blunt handle of the spade the writer better knows the use of, than a pen.



Their way lies yonder, but what business takes
them there ? They carry savings : to hoard up ?
No. They are brothers, those men. One crossed
the sea alone, and working very hard for one
half-year, and living harder, saved funds enough
to bring the other out. That done, they worked
together side by side, contentedly sharing hard
labour and hard living for another term, and
then their sisters came, and then another brother,
and lastly, their old mother. And what now ?

Why, the poor old crone is restless
in a strange land, and yearns to lay
her bones, she says, among her people
in the old graveyard at home, and so
they go to pay her passage back.

" This narrow thoroughfare, bak
ing and blistering in the sun, is Wall
Street : the Stock Exchange and
Lombard Street of New York. Many
a rapid fortune has been made in this
street, and many a no less rapid ruin.
Some of these very merchants whom
you see hanging about here now, have
locked up money in their strong boxes,
like the man in the Arabian Nights,
and opening them again, have found


but withered leaves. Below, here by the waterside, where the bowsprits
of ships stretch across the footway, and almost thrust themselves into the
windows, lie the noble vessels which have brought hither the foreigners who
abound in all the streets: not, perhaps, that there are more here than in


other commercial cities ; but elsewhere they have particular haunts, and you
must find them out ; here, they pervade the town.

" We must cross Broadway again ; gaining some refreshment from the
heat, in the sight of the great blocks of clean ice which are being carried


into shops and bar rooms ; and
the pine-apples and water
melons profusely displayed for
sale. Fine streets of spacious
houses here, you see ! Wall
Street has furnished and dis
mantled many of them very
often and here a deep green
leafy square. Be sure that is a
hospitable house with inmates
to be affectionately remem
bered always, where they have
the open door and pretty show
of plants within, and where
the child with laughing eyes
is peeping out of window at
the little dog below. You
wonder what may be the use
of this tall flagstaff in the by
street, with something like
Liberty's head-dress on its
top: so do I. But there is a
passion for tall flagstaffs here
about, and you may see its
twin brother in five minutes, if you


have a mind.

"Again cross Broadway,
andso passingfrom the many-
coloured crowd and glitter
ing shops into another long
main street, the Bowery. A
railroad yonder, see, where
two stout horses trot along,
drawing a score or two of
people and a great wooden
ark, with ease. The stores
are poorer here ; the passen
gers less gay. Clothes ready-
made, and meat ready-cooked,
are to be bought in these
parts ; and the lively whirl of
carriages is exchanged for the
deep rumble of carts and
waggons. These signs which



are so plentiful, in shape
like river buoys, or small
balloons, hoisted by cords
to poles, and dangling
there, announce, as you
may see by looking up,
STYLE." They tempt
the hungry most at night,
for then dull candles
glimmering inside, illu
minate these dainty
words, and make the
mouths of idlers water
as they read and linger."
The great boast of
New Yorkers is the
Central Park, and they
may well be proud of
it. It contains, indeed,
some tasteless buildings
and execrable statuary.
The site chosen had no
natural beauty to recom
mend it, and yet the gene
ral effect is unquestion
ably good. Landscape
gardening has done its
best in improving eight
hundred and sixty-three
acres of swamp and rock
into an ornamental ear-


den, certainly not inferior
to the Bois de Boulogne
of Paris. The quality
of the turf and the size
of the timber cannot,
of course, compare with
those of our English


parks, nor, from the
thinness and poverty of
the soil, can the trees
ever attain a consider-


able size. But a brighter, more varied, more picturesque sweep of artificial
landscape I do not know. The lakes, which cover one hundred and
eighty-five acres, are supplied by the Croton waterworks. A flotilla of
gaily painted pleasure boats in summer, and crowds of skaters in winter, add
to the vivacity of the scene. The deficiency of fine timber is supplied,
as far as possible, by an endless succession of walks winding in and out
amongst copses and thickets, the shade of which is delightfully refreshing
under the
fierce sun
of an
The cost
of the
whole has
been up
wards of
ten mil
lion dol
lars (two
m il lions
and New
de cl ar e
that the
whole of
this a-

mount has been honestly expended, it
being the only public work in the city which
has been kept free from jobbery and corruption.

Brooklyn is to New York what the " Surrey
side" is to London, or Birkenhead to Liverpool.
It is of itself an important city, containing upwards
of half a million inhabitants. A large proportion of these have their places
of business in New York, and pass to and fro daily. The great number^ of
ecclesiastical edifices more than two hundred and fifty which it contains
has gained for it the name of the " City of Churches."

The East River, which divides New York and Brooklyn, is not as yet
spanned by a bridge, though one is in course of construction. The ferry
boats which ply incessantly make communication easy, and the two cities are
for all practical purposes but one integral whole.

Much is said and with justice on both sides the Atlantic as to the

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Online LibrarySamuel ManningAmerican pictures drawn with pen and pencil → online text (page 10 of 12)