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Canada and the States By Sir E. W. Watkin Characters: 81978

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:04

1851.-First Visit to America: a Reason for it.

My first visit to America was mainly induced by a misfortune which happened to me in the spring of 1846. The year 1845 had been one of excitement, and my hands had been very full at that time. I was to a great extent a water drinker. I had the habit of sticking to my work, various and complicated as much of it was, day by day, until that day's work was done. It often happened that I forgot to eat the modest lunch carefully put in my pocket by my wife on my leaving home, in early morning. And often and often I did not get home till nine o'clock at night, so tired that occasionally I fell asleep over my dinner; and my wife, seeing my condition of fatigue, got into the habit of carving our frugal joints, a habit which has become permanent. Thus, when I say, as a bit of pleasantry, that where the lady carves, you learn who is the master of the house, Lady Watkin will retort by mentioning this old story of past and anxious times.

Well, the Trent Valley Railway, of which I was Secretary and Manager, was sold, at a large profit-I think 438,000_l._-to the London and Birmingham and Grand Junction Companies, then about to amalgamate under the name of the "London and North Western." In the spring of 1846 it became necessary to close our accounts, and balance our books, with a view to give each shareholder his share of principal and profit. It was arranged that the shareholders should call at the office in Norfolk Street, in Manchester, for their cheques on and after a day in April, 1846. Two days before this date, my Scotch book-keeper came to me to report that in balancing the books he was out the small sum of 1_s_. 10_d_. (I think it was), and he proposed to carry that to profit and loss ("Profeet and Loasse," he said). To which I, of course, replied, "My good friend, a failure to balance of even a penny may conceal errors on the two sides of the account by the hundred. Set all hands to work to call over every item." We set to work, and I was up the best part of one, and the whole of another, night. I was so anxious that I did not feel to want food; and drink I was unused to. A beefsteak and a pint of stout would have saved me from ten years, more or less, of suffering, weakness, and all kinds of misery. In the early morning of the day on which we were to begin paying off our shareholders, the books balanced. We had discovered errors, both to debit and credit, probably a hundred at least in number.

It was a clear, cold morning. I went out to a little barber's shop and got shaved. I did not feel in want of food-and took none. At ten o'clock shareholders began to arrive: got their cheques, and went away satisfied. One of them, who would gain about 30,000_l._, actually gave me a 5_l._ note for the clerks, which was the only expression of gratitude of a practical character, so far as I remember, now. About noon Mr. Henry Houldsworth, the father of the present member for Manchester, called for his cheque; and, chatting with him at the time, as I was making the upstroke of the letter H in "Houldsworth," I felt as if my whole body was forced up into my head, and that was ready to burst. I raised my head, and this strange feeling went away. I thought, how strange! I tried again, the same feeling came again and again, till, with a face white as paper, that alarmed those about me, I fell forward on the desk. Water was given me; but I could not swallow it. I never lost entire consciousness; but I thought I was going to die. I never can forget all that in those moments passed through my brain. They put me into a carriage, and took me to the consulting room, in Mosley Street, of my old friend William Smith, the celebrated Manchester surgeon, nephew of the great Mr. Turner, the surgeon. He placed me on a sofa, and asked me what it was,-feeling, or trying to find, my pulse the while. I whispered, "Up all night-over-anxious-no food." He gave me brandy and soda water, and a biscuit, and told me to lie still. I had never tasted this popular drink before. In about a quarter of an hour I felt better, got up, and said, "Oh! I am all right now." But Mr. Smith, nevertheless, ordered me to go home at once, go to bed, take a pill-I assume, a narcotic-which he gave me, and not to get up till he had seen me in the morning. I insisted on calling at the office. I felt able to go on with my work. But at the office, something in my looks induced them to send a faithful clerk with me in the cab to our house, Woodland Cottage, Higher Broughton. So he and I went away. I found afterwards, that some of the clerks said, "We shall never see him again." But they did-shaky and seedy, as he was, for many a long day.

Well, just as our cab mounted the small hill on which our house stood, the faithful clerk, with more zeal than discretion, said, "You look awful ill, sir; why your face is as white as my shirt." I looked at his shirt, seemingly guiltless, for days past, of the washerwoman.

But I was within three minutes of home: and I was distressed at the thought of alarming my wife, who was not in a condition to be alarmed. So, with what little strength I had left, I rubbed my forehead, face, nose, lips, chin, with my clenched fist, to restore some slight colour. Entering our door, I said, "I am rather worn out, and will go to bed. Up all night. Work done. Now, please, I will go to bed."

So, after every affectionate care that a good wife could pay, I swallowed my narcotic pill-and slept, slept, slept-till, at eight in the morning, the sun was coming in, charmingly, through the windows. Nothing seemed to ail me. What weakness, what nonsense, said I. But I had promised to remain in bed till Mr. Smith came. But I sent down for my clerks, and at 11 a.m. I was in full activity, dictating to one man, listening to another, and giving orders to a third, in, as I thought, the fullest voice-when in came Mr. Smith. He looked round in doubt, and then went down stairs. I have only just forgiven him for that. For in a moment up came my wife. "Edward," she said, "Mr. Smith declares that if you do not give over at once, you will have brain fever." Oh! unwise Smith. The words were hardly out of my wife's mouth, when I felt I could do no more. Had the world been offered to me, I could have done no more.

Alas! my nerve was gone.

At that tune I was working for a livelihood. Fortunate that it was so, otherwise a lunatic asylum, or a permanent state of what the doctors call hypochondriasis, might have followed.

After some years of struggle with this nerve-demon, the child of overwork, I wrote, in 1850:-

"I am not fond of writing, and I know I must do it badly. Still I feel that the little narrative I am about to put together may do some good to some few people who may be suffering. I know that the roughest and dullest book ever written, had it contained a similar relation to this of mine, would have brought balm to my mind and hope to my heart not many years ago. And who knows but that other men (for the scenes of this world, and its good and evil, are very much alike), may be suffering as I did, and may therefore be influenced by my rude scribbling, as I might have been by some of theirs?

"There was a time, and not a very distant one either, when I was utterly ignorant of two things-first, the existence, in my particular case, of the thing called the human stomach; and secondly, the reality of those mysterious telegraphic wires-yclept NERVES. Often nave I sneered at 'bilious subjects,' 'dyspepsia,' and that long string of woes which one hears of, in such luxuriance of description, usually over breakfast, at Clifton, Tonbridge, or Harrogate. Like the old Duchess of Marlborough, too, I used 'to thank God I was born before nerves came into fashion.'

"But 'live and learn.' I have lived; and I have learnt the utter misery which a deranged digestion and jarring nerves, acting and reacting upon each other, can inflict upon their victims. To be laid up in bed for a month with a violent disease is nothing. You are killed or cured; made better, and your illness forgotten even by yourself; or quietly laid under the dust of your mother earth, to lie there in oblivion, the busy world moving on, unheeding, over your cold remains, till the great day of judgment. But to have, as it were, your whole 'mind, body, soul, and strength' turned, with a resistless fascination, into the frightened study of your own dreadful anatomy. To find your courage quail, not before real danger, but at phantoms and shadows-nay, actually at your own horrid self-to feel every act of life and every moment of business a task, an effort, a trial, and a pain. Sometimes to be unable to sleep for a week-sometimes to sleep, but, at the dead of night, to wake, your bed shaking under you from the violent palpitation of your heart, and your pillow drenched with cold sweat pouring from you in streams. But, worst of all, if you are of a stubborn, dogged, temper, and are blessed with a strong desire to 'get on'-to feel yourself unable to make some efforts at all, to find yourself breaking down before all the world in others, and to learn, at last, in consequence, almost to hate the half-dead and failing carcase tied to your still living will. This, not for months only, but for YEARS. Years, too, in what ought to be your prime of manhood. Ah! old age and incapacity at thirty is a bitter, bitter punishment. Better be dead than suffer it; for you must suffer it alone and in silence-you may not hope for sympathy-you dare not desire it-you see no prospect of relief-you wage a double warfare, with the world and with yourself. I do not, I dare not, exaggerate. Indeed, a lady of a certain age could hardly feel more abashed at the sudden production of her baptismal certificate than I-a man, a matter-of-fact man, a plain, hard-headed, unimaginative man of business-do, at this confession. Suffice it to say, that in the last four years I have lived the life of a soul in purgatory or an inhabitant of the 'Inferno,' and though I have worked like a horse, determined, if possible, to rout out my evil genii-the wave of health has gradually receded, till, at last, an internal voice has seemed solemnly to say, 'Thus far shalt thou go and no farther.'

"If any one, who has not suffered similarly, has patience to read thus far (which is doubtful), before now he has said, with Mr. Burchell in the 'Vicar of Wakefield'-'FUDGE.' No matter-I should have so exclaimed once; and I now envy him his healthy ignorance. The history of my derangements is told above in one word: that word is-OVERWORK.

"If any one who may not just like an actual dissection, will look at one of Quain's 'Plates of the Bones, Muscles, and Nerves of the Human Body,' he will see that, growing as it were out of the walls of the stomach, there are, in our wonderful human machine, great bunches of nerves, called, by the medicals, the 'great ganglionic system,' and he will observe that these nerves are in intimate and inseparable connection with the spinal cord, and the brain. Then, if he recollects that a perpetual series of conversations and signals goes on by those agents between the stomach and the brain-that, in fact, the two are talking together every moment (without even the delay of that inappreciable interval for which the electric current lingers on the wires in its wondrous progress of intelligence)-he will see that he cannot abuse either great organ without a 'combination of parties' against his administration.

"My unfortunate mistake, therefore, was this: I overworked my brain. It rebelled. Stomach joined the outbreak. Heart beat to the rescue; and all the other corporal powers sympathised in the attempt to put me down. They would not stand ten days' work a week, and no Sunday,-relieved though the labour might be by the amusement of speeches and leading articles.

"The first explosion of the conspiracy laid me fainting at the desk. A sort of truce followed this. I consented for a few days to the terms of the belligerents.

I rested. But resting, I was restless. Unfit to work, I was tormented by an unnatural desire for action. Thus I roused myself early-rode to the office (for I was too weak to walk), buried myself amidst my letters, reports and accounts-and rushed on with the day's duties as if all the work of the world had to be done in that one day, and that one day was the last. But an hour or two usually settled the contest. Head swam, heart beat, fluttered, stopped, struggled,-knees knocked together,-and out oozed that cold clammy sweat which reminds one of weakness and the grave. So with a pale face, anxious eye, and hollow cheek, I had to quit the desk again and ride mournfully home, the remainder of the day being consumed in a rest, which only increased my melancholy feelings, because it made me more than ever conscious of my feebleness and excitability.

"But by great care and management of myself, by desperate strivings to get a little health, I did improve. Two hours a day at work, two or three times a week, became two or three hours every working day of the week. Then, as a wonderful achievement, at last I managed to endure half a day's business at a time. And at the end of some months (one beautiful day in August, bless the sunlight) I actually did a whole day's work! And so, at last, I got before the wind sufficiently to engage again in the competition of business life, with some credit and success. None of those, however, with whom I had to compete, and to whom work (as it should be to every man in health) was easy and pleasant, knew the cost of many of my weary days and nights of labour, or the nervous suffering and physical weakness; in spite of which I endeavoured always to meet my compeers in the working world with pleasantry, or at least with a smile.

"I had many relapses-but I hardly ever laid up for more than an hour or two. In these cases a loll, or rather a recumbent pant, upon the sofa, and a dose of some bitter tonic, or a strong glass of brandy, usually brought down the palpitation, and enabled me to set to work again as if nothing had happened. Indeed, as the eels get accustomed to skinning, so I got used to all this; and it became at last an old habit, and bearable.

"Thus I went on from 1846 until 1850. Four years of incessant and various labour, relieved only by the confidence and appreciation of those who directed, and the good feeling of those who were engaged, like me, in the executive management of the great corporation with which, during this (to me) memorable period of my life, I was connected. I need not repeat how thoroughly I was sustained and comforted by the assiduity of one of the best of women. I tried to thank her by making light of my many miseries.

"This sort of life was, however, too great and continued a strain for a rickety machine to last. And at times, when I gave way to those strange thoughts about the use and end of human existence, which crowd upon the mind in nervous disease-it seemed to me as if I could weigh and measure the particles of vitality from my daily diminishing store- expended in each unnatural effort of labour-as if every stroke of my business craft represented so much of that daily shortening distance which lay between me and the end. I felt the price I was paying for the privilege of labour, and for its remuneration. But I thought, ever, of my wife and little babies, and the thought roused me to a kind of desperation, and made me feel for the time as if I could trample weakness under foot, and tear out, break in pieces, and cast away those miserable, oversensitive organs, which chained, cramped, and hindered me. I like work, too. And I had a sort of shame of confessing myself incapable. I morbidly derided the sympathising regret likely to be shown by my friends, and I pictured the moribund predictions likely to follow a temporary desertion of my post.

"But the estates of my mortal realm stepped in again.

"At the end of a time of hard, anxious, and difficult labours, I went down into the country on business, and was seized, in the streets of a little town, with violent palpitation, and with faintness. I had to take refuge in a shop; to resort to brandy, physic, and a doctor; and, at the close of a day's confinement to my room, to sneak back to London, as miserable as any poor dog, who, having run about all day with a tin kettle at his tail, is, at last, released, to go limping and exhausted home.

"I struggled with this, too, and for some time would not 'give in.' But my face, now, would not answer to my will. It would look pale and miserable. My friends began to commiserate me. This was dreadful. So I at last yielded to the combined movement, of my own convictions of necessity, the wishes of my friends, the orders of my physician, and, most effective of all, the kind commands of one whom I deem it an honour, as it is a necessity, to obey in most things-I went away from business. I went away without hope. I did not expect cure. I believed functional derangement had become, at last, organic disease-and that my days were numbered. I tried the water cure, homoeopathy, allopathy- everything. Some day, I must recount my consultations, on the same Sunday, with Sir James Clarke, Her Majesty's physician, and Dr. Quin, homoeopathist, jester, and, as some said, quack."

At the end of five years of my suffering, I went to America. The trip did me good. It did not cure me. I wrote a book-a very little one. Half-a-crown was its price. The present First Lord of the Treasury, Mr. W. H. Smith, published it. All the edition was sold. I did not venture another. I will quote some portions of it, as a preface to what is to follow.

When this book was just out of the press, I received the following letters from Mr. Cobden:-


"6th January, 1852.


"When lately in Manchester I heard from S. P. Robinson that you had been to the United States; that you had been much struck with what you saw there; that we were being fast distanced by our young rival, &c. Since then I have seen an extract in a paper from a work published by you; but being in an outlying place here, have no means of informing myself further about it. Now, if the book be not large, and can be sent through the post, I wish you would let me have a copy. I know how unreasonable it is to ask an author to give away his works; for, as Dr. Johnson said to Thrale, the brewer, in vindication of his own rule never to make a present of his writings, 'You do not give away your porter, Sir;' but I feel very anxious to know what you think of the United States.

"I have long had my notions about what was coming from the West, and recorded my prophecy on my return from America in 1835. People in England are determined to shut their eyes as long as they can; but they will be startled out of their wilful blindness some day by some gigantic facts proving the indisputable superiority of that country in all that constitutes the power, wealth, and real greatness of a people.

"Hoping that you are quite well after your holiday, which you would not allow to be a holiday.

"I remain, very truly yours,



In reference to a paragraph in the following, I should mention that in

my letter transmitting the book, I had written about my meetings with

Kossuth, the Hungarian patriot, and had referred to his visit to the

United States.


"8th January, 1852.


"Many thanks for your kindness in sending me a copy of your work, which, so far as I have gone, pleases me much. You could not have done a wiser and more patriotic service than to make the people of this country better acquainted with what is going on in the United States. It is from that quarter, and not from barbarous Russia, or fickle France, that we have to expect a formidable rivalry-and yet that country is less studied or understood in England than is the history of ancient Egypt or Greece. I should like to go once more to America, if only to see Niagara again. But I am a bad sailor, and should dread the turmoil of public meetings when I arrived there.

"My impression of Kossuth's phrenology was that there was not power or animal energy sufficient to account for the ascendancy he acquired over a turbulent aristocracy and a rude uncivilized democracy. The secret lies evidently in his eloquence, in which he certainly surpasses any modern orator; and, taking all things into account, he is in that respect probably a phenomenon without equal in past or present times. I fear when the French news reaches America, it will damp the ardour of his friends there, and make them more than ever resolved to 'stand upon their own ground' rather than venture into the quagmire of European politics. It has confirmed me in my non-intervention policy. It is evident that we know nothing about the political state of even our next neighbours, and how are we likely to be better informed about Germany or Italy? Their ways are not our ways. Let us not attempt to judge them by our standard. Let us endeavour to set them a good example. If 36 millions of Frenchmen, or 46 millions of Germans, submit to a despotic Government, it is because they do not really desire anything better.

"If they wished for a different form of Government they could have it. What presumption in us to think that our interference in the matter can be necessary!

"Believe me, faithfully yours,



I venture here a few extracts from my little book of 1851, as detailing my views, new and fresh as they were, on American questions.

* * * * *

"I have presumed to think that these hasty Letters, destitute as they are of all literary merit, written during a visit to the 'New World,' may be, just now, worth presenting to 'every-day sort of people,' like myself, who have little time to travel; and, unable to do both, would rather watch the free growth of a new country, than observe the decadence and decrepitude of old ones. For just now, when a large part of our labouring population is strangely awakening to the impression, that a dollar a-day and a vote at elections in the United States are better than eightpence a-day in Ireland; the New Home to which our fellow-countrymen are thus flocking-and in which, somehow or other, they prosper and are independent-is especially interesting.

"Steam navigation and railways have so far reduced the difficulties and uncertainties of Western travel, that it is now as easy and as cheap to spend one's autumn holidays, as I have done, in a trip to America of some eleven thousand miles out-and-home, as fifteen years ago it was to get to John o' Groats and back by land conveyance, or to go a-shooting in Sutherlandshire-which, by-the-bye, is an out of the way and dismal sort of county even yet.

"Every one ought to know how easy it is, and how pleasant and instructive, to travel in the States. But, though many people do know this, the plague of English travellers which annually overspreads Europe, from July to December, and disturbs even the quiet of the Nile, has hardly touched America. And while one cannot enter the drawing-room of any decent house without hearing descriptions of scenery and manners in Germany, Italy, or Russia,-to have visited America almost involves the suspicion of some commercial connection with that country. Yet no other land in the world has so close an alliance with our own; and, while we are culpably ignorant of almost everything but its peculiarities and its vices, no other country studies our history, and watches our progress, with greater interest or more solicitude. Any English youngster will tell you that Americans speak through their noses, spit, and hold slaves; but how few, even of the most intelligent, know that better English is spoken by the mass of Americans, than by the majority of English citizens, and that education is practically an institution of the United States, and universal; though at home it hardly exists as a system, and can never be extended in any truly national direction without exciting a war of parties! Be the reason what it may, we have been in the habit of looking down on America. We shall soon perhaps have to look up to it.

"It is but sixty-two years since the foundation of the Republic. It then consisted of thirteen small States. It now comprises twenty-nine States; without reckoning the new dominions of Oregon, California, New, Mexico, and Texas. Ten years ago its area was 2,000,000 square miles, or more than 1,300,000,000 acres. That area has become, in 1850, 3,252,689 square miles, or 2,081,717,760 acres. It is thus nearly thirty times the size of Great Britain and Ireland.

"The Republic now possesses an ocean coast of 5,140 miles, viz.,-l,920 on the Atlantic, 1,620 on the Pacific, and 1,600 on the Gulf of Mexico.

"Its population in 1790 was less than 4,000,000; in 1840 it stood at 17,000,000; it is now 25,000,000. And if its vast territory, with a more productive soil, and greater resources of all kinds, should some day become as thickly peopled as our own island, it will then contain a population of 800,000,000 of souls speaking the English tongue. If the Federation hold together in peace, why should this result, though distant, be doubtful? For it now comprises almost every variety of soil, climate, vegetable productions, and mineral wealth.

Its 20,000 miles of river and lake navigation-its 10,000 miles of railway-its 4,000 miles of canal-and its 11,000 miles of telegraphic wire-connect every part of its vast territory together, and give to an interminable continent the compactness of a small island. The facilities of communication, too, place at the command of the people of one part of the country the climate of every other. When the thermometer is below zero at New York, a journey of three days will bring the traveller to Savannah, where a genial temperature of 60 degrees, clear skies, and verdant nature, await him. And when a scorching sun is filling New Orleans with fever, the cool weather of the North, and upon the great lakes, is healthy and delightful. The apple bloomed at Natchez, in 1850, as early as the 24th March; while at Montpelier, in Vermont, it bloomed on the 10th June. The distance between the two places is but three or four days' travel.

"One can hardly name a staple article of production which some part or other of the States will not grow-not as a mere garden curiosity, but as an article of profitable cultivation. The champagne of Cincinnati is beginning to be noted, and tea is under experimental cultivation in South Carolina.

"The mineral resources of the country are enormous; and their development is only limited by the present want of capital to work them more efficiently. The coal of Pennsylvania-the iron in various parts of the Union-the copper of Lake Superior-the lead about Galena on the Mississippi; and lastly, the gold of California, which has already put in circulation a coinage of 15,000,000_l_. sterling-all these are but the first tapping of almost boundless resources.

"In 1791, the public debt of the United States was $75,000,000. It is now, with six times the population, only $64,000,000; and in the same period, the imports of the country have increased from a value of $52,000,000 to $147,000,000; the exports from $19,000,000 to $145,000,000; and the tonnage of shipping from 500,000 tons to 3,300,000 tons.

"The post-office statistics show how the transmission of intelligence has outstripped even the march of population. In 1790, the number of post-offices in the entire States was 75; in 1850, the number was 16,789. In 1790, there were 4,875 miles of post routes; in 1850, there were 167,703. In 1790, the whole post-office revenue was 37,905 dollars; in 1850, it was 4,905,176 dollars; which sum consisted of 4,082,762 dollars for letters, and 819,016 dollars for newspapers and pamphlets. The mileage run in transportation of letters in 1850, was 42,544,069 miles, at a cost, for transportation only, of a little more than twopence-halfpenny per mile. And the total number of letters conveyed was 67,500,000; 62,000,000 of which were paid, and 5,500,000 free and franked.

"To come from letters to arms; it is a curious fact, as exhibiting the real military strength of this great country, that the militia force of the States amounts to 1,960,265 men, or as many as the whole population of Canada, or two-thirds of that of Scotland, who could be called out and in the field in less than a month.

"The school funds belonging to the respective States, swelled by the constant addition of every sixteenth section of government land sold, are very large. Those belonging to seventeen free States amounted, in 1850, in fixed value, to 21,400,000 dollars. Popular education is the condition on which all new States are admitted into the Union.

"There are 121 colleges in the States; with a total of 950 instructors; 50,115 alumni; 9,028 ministers; and 11,565 students; and having 769,079 volumes in their libraries.

"And without a farthing from the State, or from any source beyond the free-will offerings of the people, to support them, there are in this country of yesterday, 30,217 churches (exclusive of those belonging to the Wesleyans) connected with the various sects of Christians: 26,588 ministers; and 4,558,168 communicants, or 1 in 5 1/2 of the population.

"This country, then, possesses all the elements which are usually considered as contributing to civilization and to power. It has far outstripped us in the rate of its progress; and it becomes every day, more and more, the refuge for the industrious poverty, not only of Great Britain, but of Europe.

"Those who wish to gaze at ruins need not go to it. Those who only yearn for the sight of crown jewels, or ancient armour, had better stay away. But to all who would see the realm which Nature has spread out, in her largest features, for the development of the Anglo-Saxon race, under institutions once deemed Utopian, and even yet wondered at as experimental-to all who would see how a people can GROW-North America is the country of irresistible attraction."

* * * * *

As to slavery, I wrote:-

"Maryland is a slave State, and Baltimore exhibits traces of the existence of the 'Institution.' At the railway stations-the one belonging to the line which connects Baltimore with Philadelphia, for instance-are notices, stating 'that coloured persons desiring to go by the cars, must be at the depot two hours before the starting of the train, to have their names registered and their papers examined, or they will not be allowed to travel.'

"The following announcements in the 'Baltimore Clipper,' were amongst similar advertisements:-

"'SLAVES WANTED.-We are at all times purchasing Slaves, paying the highest cash prices. Persons wishing to sell, will please call at 242, Pratt-street. (Slatter's Old Stand.) Communications attended to.'

"'NEGROES WANTED.-I will pay the highest prices, in cash, for any number of Negroes with good titles, slaves for life, or for a term of years, in large or small families, or single Negroes. I will also purchase Negroes restricted to remain in the State, that sustain good characters. Families never separated. Persons having Slaves for sale, will please call and see me, as I am always in the market with the cash. Communications promptly attended to, and liberal commissions paid, by John D. Denning, No. 18, South Frederick-street, between Market and Second-streets, with trees in front of the house.'

"Maryland has 89,000 slaves, and the number is decreasing. Virginia, its neighbour State, has 448,000-the total number in the Union being 2,487,000.

"I have found throughout my tour, what all English travellers must find-that slavery is a question which it is better not to go out of one's way to discuss. For, although I have had many friendly conversations with its most ardent supporters and most violent opponents, I soon discovered, on the one hand, that the question is practically compromised by the great political parties in the Free States, from time to time, in order to conciliate Southern votes; and, on the other, that the slave-owners consider the word 'abolition' as synonymous with confiscation and civil war. The latter meet you at the outset of the argument by stating that their whole property consists of land and slaves. That their lands of course derive their value from cultivation; and that, apart from the mere question of cost, that cultivation is impossible in the hands of the white man. They tell you, that while the negro endures the labour of the rice field mid-leg deep in water, and with a scorching sun above his head, without danger, and can withstand the miasma-hanging in the night air on the plantations- the white man is attacked with hopeless fever if he exposes himself to these influences. They declare that the unconditional abolition of slavery, in a country abounding in unappropriated lands, where men may squat without being disturbed, means simply the confiscation of three hundred millions sterling, the value of the slaves, in the first place, and the abandonment and destruction of the entire planting interest, in the second. To urge the morality of the question with these men, would be as successful as a similar appeal to our opium traders; to the maker of fire-arms certain to burst; or, to use an American free State illustration-to the successful manufacturer of wooden nutmegs.

"After hearing these statements, doubtless exaggerated, but which were made with earnestness, and are at least partially true, I was not surprised to learn, that since the forcible seizure of a slave at Boston, some months ago, by the abolitionists of that city, many of the Southern merchants have transferred their purchases of manufactured goods to New York, to an extent which, were it not stated on authority, would be beyond belief. Indeed I learn, that so strong is this anti- abolition feeling, that where any option exists, the avowed abolitionists are systematically avoided in business dealings. A first- class firm in New York, having a magnificent shop in the Broadway, see their old Southern customers pass by to a rival establishment in the same street, the only reason being that they are known to be earnest abolitionists, while their rival has never publicly expressed any opinion on the question.

"This feeling, showing itself in an endless variety of shapes, is just now most-fierce, owing to an outrage which has occurred in Pennsylvania, in which a Mr. Gorsuch has been shot down, and his son seriously wounded, in an attempt to seize a fugitive slave (under the provisions of the 'fugitive slave law'), which was resisted by a rising of the free black population, and of some white abettors.

"The 'fugitive slave law' is, indeed, simply a declaratory act. For it is unfortunately the fact, that the Southern States gave in their adhesion to the Federal Republic solely on condition that, while the slave trade should cease, the institution of slavery should be respected, and they should have the right to follow and seize fugitive slaves in any part of the Union. The 'fugitive slave law' was the work of the 'Union' party-a party composed of men of all shades of opinion, who wished, by conciliation, to prevent the threatened withdrawal of South Carolina and other slave States from the Union.

"Greatly as all just and dispassionate men must abhor slavery, every one must admit the difficulties with which its immediate abolition is here surrounded. The negro does not possess the cordial sympathy of the white man. For while a small, and, politically speaking, uninfluential, party are prepared to make every sacrifice and run all risks in order to blot out slavery on the instant, the influential and acting leaders of the majority, whatever their occasional language of denunciation, and affectation of horror, are not disposed to brave the rebellion of the South, and the possible disruption of the Republic, for the sake of shortening the thraldom of the negro some fifty years. They profess to rely upon the natural progress of events, which, by quiet change, has already banished slavery from the majority of the States originally parties to the Union; and has, within the last few years, forbidden the future existence of slave States north of latitude 36 degrees 3o'-for the gradual extinction of the system; and in the meantime they are prepared to alleviate the lot of the slave; to refuse any extension of slavery; and, as far as concession can obtain it, to narrow the area which it now occupies.

"Perhaps, should these cold political views still hold possession of the moving spirits of the country, the next practical step in advance may be to secure to the slave a personal right to some small portion of the day, and to the produce of his labour in that portion;-to say, in fact, that after a stipulated number of hours' labour for his master, the remainder of his time shall be his own. The effect of this would be to enable him legally to accumulate property. And if, in addition, a minimum price be fixed at which his master should be bound to allow him to redeem himself, and savings' banks were opened to receive the produce of his free earnings-some glimmering of daylight would dawn upon his lot, and his condition, as a 'chattel' to be bought and sold, would not be hopeless."

Referring to what I hereafter relate of the incident at Saratoga, I may, at this point, remind the reader that, as late as 1862, President Lincoln, a sincere abolitionist, could not see his way to declare the freedom of the slave. He told a deputation from Chicago that "a Pope once issued a Bull against an eclipse, but the eclipse came along nevertheless." The moment I saw black soldiers in Northern uniform, carrying Northern muskets, at the end of 1863, I made up my mind that the North had won. In 1865 Dr. Mackay, registrar, showed me the registry of the passage of John Brown's, corpse through New York. I quote from memory; but if I recollect rightly, it was this:-

---------------------------------- | Date. Name. Age. Occupation. Cause of Death. | | --- --- -- ------ -------- | | Nov., 1859. John Brown 59 Farmer Hanging | | | | Remarks. | | | | Tried and found guilty of treason and of inciting slaves to | | rebel against their masters. | ----------------------------------

* * * * *


"Thursday, September 4, 1851.

"Owing to the locomotive habits of the people, the hotels of America are more extensive and more systematized than ours. One of their features is the system of charging a fixed sum per day, which covers all the annoying extras of English hotel bills. On entering an hotel, you write your name and address in a book, have the number of your bedroom placed opposite your name, and receive a key, which, when you go out you leave in the office. The breakfast, lunch, dinner, and tea, take place at stated hours, and are managed with great precision and discipline.

"At the 'United States Hotel,' Saratoga, the waiters are blacks, and are commanded by a black maitre d'hotel. On dinner being served, the gong is sounded, and each guest takes his appointed place. All being seated, the maitre d'hotel claps his hands, and in an instant, at one coup, the covers are nipped away, as if with the same hand, by waiters stationed at regular distances around the tables. Then the serious work of eating commences. If any embarrassment arises, a clap of the hand calls attention to it, and a sign directs its immediate remedy. Then, as each course is finished, another clap stations the waiters again at their old places, and at a wave of the hand all the dishes skip off the table. Then, the table being cleared of dinner dishes, the whole posse of waiters march two and two round the tables, and leave the room by a side door. In a few seconds they return again in the same order, each man bearing three dishes, and fall again into their places. Then, all eyes being fixed upon the maitre d'hotel, clap one, and down goes one dish from the hands of each waiter all along the tables. Clap two brings down dish the second; and clap three drops the third. And at a table of nearly 400 persons all are thus served with dessert, as before they had been with each course, in about half a moment, and each at the same time. Even in changing knives, forks, and plates, a system is adopted. A portion of the waiters, obeying a sign, fall out of line, and divide into threes; one of each three bears the plates, one the knives, and one the forks; and each party goes round its allotted length of table. Black No. 1 dots down a plate opposite each person; No. 2 plants a

knife on one side of it; No. 3 puts down a fork on the other side. The men do this with an even regularity of movement, and a gravity which is quite amusing. All this rapid and regular action drives dinner on amazingly; indeed, it almost hurries you. In fifty minutes all is over, and the table cleared. The Americans, who seem to know the value of time, generally get up and decamp immediately after the last mouthful, which is perhaps a sensible plan.

"At Saratoga we found a party of Indians. Eighteen of these children of the forest, who had been down to New York to sell toys and ornaments, which they manufacture in the winter, were on their return home, and were encamped outside the village during Sunday. They showed little of the costume of their tribe, or rather, I suppose I should say, want of costume; one man wearing a pair of red plush breeches, and some of the women having bonnets. Still there were the features, the attitudes, and the language of the aborigines. We visited their camp at night, a collection of gipsy-like tents, and conversed with one or two of them, which led others to steal out and listen. I say steal out, for it was only upon turning round, that I became aware that we were suddenly almost surrounded. One man spoke very good English. He said they were Oneidas, or as he pronounced it 'Onidehs,' and were going back to their country, where they would remain with their tribe, about two hundred and eighty of whom were left, till next year, and then come down again.

"On Sunday evening I witnessed another and a very different spectacle. A Methodist preacher came into the village in a little four-wheeled car, with a square black hood over it, and preached from his car, on what is termed by the common voice 'Nigger abolition.' He was accompanied by a young woman and a very pretty little child, who both sat behind him. He soon got an audience, amongst whom were several men from the Southern States. He denounced slavery in no very measured terms, and soon provoked the Southern men to interject-'Why don't you go into the South?' 'Why, Sir,' was the reply, 'you know, it would be as much as my life is worth.' 'Nonsense! we will give you five hundred dollars to go, and you shall be safe.' 'To what State, Sir?' 'Georgia,' replied one voice; 'Alabama,' another; 'North Carolina,' another. 'Why,' was the rejoinder, 'three of our preachers were expelled from those very States not a month ago.' 'Your niggers here are free, and they are worse off than ours; why don't you mend their condition first?' And so the attack and reply went on (this was Sunday evening) for half an hour, amidst laughter, jeers, and the occasional propulsion, by fellows behind, of some unlucky lad or other against the poor preacher's horse; a movement which endangered the woman and child especially, but which appeared to give great satisfaction to many, and which no one interfered in any manner to prevent. I left the spot in disgust. I have seen, however, as much petty intolerance at home. I returned from my walk in time to hear the preacher pronounce his benediction, in the midst of which there arose a hideous yell: three or four boys were shot against the horse, and the car was nearly overthrown; after which a shouting multitude followed the retreating abolitionist for some distance, to harass and annoy him, as he drove with difficulty away.

"On Monday morning, recruited by the previous day's rest, I left Saratoga, and travelled forty-one miles by railway through a partially cleared, and, in many parts, very beautiful country, to Whitehall, which is at the southern end of Lake Champlain, where we took a steamer, a nice, orderly, and comfortable boat, and steamed to Rouse's Point, 132 miles further. The scenery of the lake is very beautiful. The ruins of the old fortress of Ticonderoga rise upon it, standing upon a steep rocky headland, and commanding the lake, which narrows at this point; a wide expanse of water swelling out both above and below. Ticonderoga was taken from the French by the English, by the use of artillery fired down from the mountain above it. In the American war of independence it was taken from us by surprise by one Colonel Ethen Allen. It is reported that Allen awakened the commandant, who was in bed, and told him to surrender. 'By what authority?' said the half- awakened officer. 'By the authority of the Lord Jehovah and the Continental Congress,' replied Allen.

"About the middle of the lake is the thriving town of Burlington, the chief town of Vermont. Here we stopped to take in passengers, and were pleased with the bustle and activity of the place. The wharf was crowded; and, as the day was hot, straw hats and shirt-sleeves, also the mitigated form of comfort-viz., coat and trousers without waistcoat-were abundant.

"It was dusk when we arrived at Rouse's Point, and we had not so good a view as I could have wished of the extensive wharves and landings; the boat, 300 feet long, built to carry over whole trains; and the extensive station works of the Northern or Ogdensburgh Railroad, which is just opened. 'I had been introduced, at Saratoga, to the superintendent of this line, Colonel Schlatter, by Mr. Van Ransellaer, of the Saratoga and Washington line. Both these gentlemen were very polite, and gave me orders to pass over their railways when I pleased. The Ogdensburgh line extends from Rouse's Point to Ogdensburgh, near the head of Lake Ontario. It forms, with other lines, a complete system from Boston and New York to Lake Ontario, and has many difficult and extensive works in its course.

"From Rouse's Point we took the Champlain and St. Lawrence line, opened two days ago, and at Isle aux Noix passed into British-American territory, and heard the old French patois of the 'habitans' of that locality, from the mouths of a crowd of curious people awaiting the arrival of the train. At La Prairie we joined the ferry boat, an immense vessel as usual, and dropped down the St. Lawrence for nine miles, to Montreal, where I got to bed at Donnegana's hotel, at one o'clock on Tuesday morning, desperately tired.

"Montreal is a flourishing town of 50,000 inhabitants. It is built upon an island formed by the confluence of the St. Lawrence and the Ottawa. The 'island' belonged to the Catholic priesthood of the place, who still exercise rights over it similar to those of the 'lords' in cases of English copyholds, and who obtain an annual revenue of some 30,000_l_. or 40,000_l_. from it. The city was founded about 250 years ago, and has still many of the features of a French town, though the improvements of the last twenty years, by obliterating single story and wooden houses from the best quarters, have altered its character. In old times it was the depot for the great fur trades. Now, however, it receives its furs almost entirely back from England, to which country the Hudson's Bay Company send their whole supply, to be dressed and prepared for re-exportation. It is the commercial emporium of this district; and, though it has suffered from the equalization of duties, it is now recovering. The facilities for communication with the United States, by the systems of railroad made and making, which may bring it within twelve hours of Boston and New York, will doubtless urge forward its prosperity.

* * * * *

"Montreal has considerable general commerce, commanding, as it does, the St. Lawrence, now connected by railway directly with the United States, and being at the outlet of the Ottawa river district. The island upon which it stands is some thirty miles long, and contains much fine and valuable land, mostly under cultivation, and abounding in good farms and gardens, and fine orchards. From the 'Mountain' above Montreal, a splendid view is obtained of the St. Lawrence and its wooded shores; the dark forests of the Ottawa valley; the fine bright lands of the islands; the city, and its villaed suburbs. In the distances, north and south, the 'green mountains' of Vermont, and the distant summits which separate the cultivated parts of Lower Canada from those far-off and savage regions, in which the trappers of the Hudson's Bay Company and some scattered Indians are the sole monarchs of the woods-are visible. There can be no view more beautiful, few more extensive. It gives all the peculiarities of this North American scenery in its largest and finest features. And seen again from the high towers of the Catholic Cathedral (the cathedral will hold several thousand people, and is the largest church in Canada), to which I mounted, up 268 steps, it again delights the eye with its extent and beauty. From this latter point, too, the St. Lawrence is seen just below, and you may watch the rushing of the nearest rapids, and the struggles and windings of the boats and steamers, in passing on their upward voyages.

"Montreal and Quebec (more especially) have the distinctive features of French towns with many of the peculiarities of English ones. Here is the well-known countenance of the northern parts of France. Carts such as might have been seen, no doubt, hundreds of years ago in France. The Norman breed of horses: small, round, strong, and enduring. Every other signboard presents a French name; the blacksmith styling himself 'forgeron;' the baker, 'boulanger;' the ladies' attendant, 'sage- femme;'-and so on. The professional man generally has two plates upon his door:-one telling you that he is 'M. Charles Robert,' 'avocat;' and the other, that he is 'Mr. C. Robert,' 'attorney at law.' In the 'Cote des Neiges,' behind the mountain, at Montreal, and in the suburb or quarter 'St. Henry,' this French appearance is universal. 'Notre Dame des Neiges,' in the former, with its gaudily painted inside and unpretending outside, its wooden roof and tin-covered steeple, would recall to you the wooded districts of France; and the houses in both quarters, the people with their 'bonnets rouges' (as distinguished from the 'bonnets bleus' and 'bonnets gris' of the Quebec district), and innocence of English and English ways of living, working, farming, and thinking, are even more French than the French themselves. Indeed, so little have they changed since the settlement of the country two hundred years ago, that they speak the French of that time without the alloy since introduced into the language. Their old modes of farming are still in vogue; and they despise all change, satisfied to live in quiet and simple comfort, without the worry of improvements. In the Quebec district the farmers singe their pigs when they have killed them, and despise the use of hot water. Just as farmers do in Normandy, and in some parts of the south of England. This pig-singeing is a great event; and on one occasion during the Rebellion, the singeing of two or three pigs on a hill-side at night, caused the Quebec garrison and the country volunteers to turn out, under the belief that the light seen was that of a beacon fire, and that the enemy were at hand.

"Montreal, and Quebec also, abound in fine Catholic churches, and the streets swarm with comfortable-looking priests, dressed in black cassocks and bands, and wearing big-buckled shoes and broad-brimmed hats.

"The difference in language, customs, and religion, divides the population into two distinct sections, and is a bar to united effort and to the improvement of the country; which nevertheless does improve in spite of this difficulty, though not as rapidly as it might and ought. I did not fully appreciate this until I visited the Superior Law Court, then sitting in Montreal. This court is held, during the erection of the new court-house, in the old, low-walled, high-roofed, building in which the French Government conducted their public affairs a hundred and fifty years ago. In this building, in 1839, the Privy Council decided to place the country under martial law, and the proclamation was issued from it.

"The judges sitting when I visited the court were Smith, Van Feloon, and Mondelet, the latter a French Canadian. The first case argued was a long-pending one between Sir John Stewart and an architect, who had superintended the erection of some buildings on one of Sir John's farms. The counsel were not over clever, but sufficiently verbose, and full enough of 'instances,' both ancient and modern. The counsel for Sir John laid great stress upon the erroneous manner in which the action had been laid, and contended that as the English form of' assumpsit' had been taken, in order to get both debt and damages, instead of a single action of damages being brought, all the consequences of the form adopted must be taken by the plaintiff, who, not having proved damages, or even stated them, must be held by the court to have made out no case, and be cast accordingly. The counsel quoted the old French law, and a French law-writer of 1700, Chardon, and also English and Canadian authorities. The French Canadian judge having, during the oration, thrown in an observation or two in English, which he did not speak over fluently, at length uttered in French a long comment upon the fallacy of the argument-which sounded strangely. The counsel for the architect went at the argument of his opponent with great vigour, stimulated by the expressed opinion of Judge Mondelet, and went back to the days of ancient Rome to show that forms of action had been difficult even in those days, having once caused a revolt. He declared that even in England they were as unsettled as ever; and wound up by propounding as a dogma, that the Canadian law was neither English, French, Roman, nor of any other precedent, but was founded upon common sense, which was the only guide and authority in the administration of it. In corroboration of this, the little black eye of Judge Mondelet brightly twinkled, and he nodded his head in dignified approbation. Judge Van Feloon, who seemed more phlegmatic, quietly settled the matter by saying, that he supposed if a man did work for another, and the other had agreed to pay him, he was entitled to the money, and that therefore the court would have to see that a bargain had been made, and the work duly performed, and then decide. The next case argued arose out of a fraudulent assignment; and in this, too, French authorities, in the old language of a hundred and fifty years since, were often appealed to-Chardon being apparently the standard book of reference. The mixture of custom evidently caused embarrassment, and it was clear that no fixed decisions could regulate disputes concerning property, while the precedents relied upon were based upon the differing laws of two separate countries-laws, perhaps, not now operating in those very countries themselves.

"The tenure of property in Lower Canada is still in part based upon the old French feudal system. There are still 'seigneurs' who hold lands, and have 'censitaires' or tenants, paying fee-rent in produce, services, and money. It is true that a law has been passed enabling a fixed commutation, in money, of these seigneurial rights; but I am told that the parties adhere in most cases to the old usage, and despise innovation.

"A singular custom, too, prevails. Parents, when old and tired of labour, assign their property to their children, or to one of them, in consideration of a string of conditions for their own maintenance and comfort, each one of which is recited in the deed with minute exactness. They stipulate usually for a house, so much meat, bread, sugar, tea, &c.; a caleche and horse to take them to church on Sundays and holidays; so much tobacco or snuff; so many gowns and bonnets, or suits of clothes and hats; and so on. These gifts lead to frequent law- suits; and one can quite understand how, in a country with large tracts of its land held upon tenures of the most complex character, under a system which has passed away even in the country from whence it came, and where to this mass of difficulty is added the cause of dispute just alluded to, the legal profession should flourish,-which I understand it does.

"Many of the public buildings of Montreal are excellent. The Bon Secours Market is a very fine building, and puts many of ours at home to shame. The Jesuits' College is large and sombre; and some of the convents and institutions are well worth a visit, both as buildings and as institutions of the place.

"In the country little progress appears; but you see no misery, and much comfort and joyfulness. Indeed, these French settlers seem happy upon their small properties, surrounded by their old customs, and in the enjoyment of the fetes and holidays which their religion allows. They look upon the rush of improvement with calmness, though often with a sort of incredulity as to the agency by which it is brought about, and the righteousness of its existence. 'Mais, croyez-vous que le bon Dieu permettra tout cela?' said one of them on seeing a train move along, dragged by no visible horseflesh, and propelled without birds' wings. They are quite a contrast to their American neighbours, who have often suggested that Lower Canada might go ahead if the French population were 'improved off the face of the earth.'

"The priests set a good example of taking matters enjoyably and peacefully: their country farm outside Montreal, at the foot of the mountain, for example. The house is situated so as to command a beautiful view of the basin of the St. Lawrence, which, on a fine day, shows its river gliding on with broad tranquil surface, peacefully towards the sea, and exhibits the gardens, woods, and orchards, which cover the country with a fertile and smiling landscape. The grounds are large and well planted; and the rude gaze of the multitude is shut out by a high wall, which extends half round the farm itself. Here the good fathers come for a few days at a time, and in turns, to recruit exhausted nature, and spend their hours in exercise and reading. Fine old fellows! we need not envy them; but rather hope that all men may some day have as many of the means of quiet and simple happiness to resort to.

"The short summer of Lower Canada causes great activity in business during the 'seasons.' The summer and autumn are therefore the times of business; the short interval between them the time for visits to the seaside, or to Saratoga, or the Caledonia Springs; while the winter, with its snow and ice and long endurance, brings round a continuous carnival of pleasant racket, and is really the season of society amongst all ranks of the people. I heard magnificent accounts of the balls, parties, sleighings, and country frolics, which take place; also of the walking expeditions far out into the wilds, with snow shoes, tents to sleep in, and Indian attendants; and of the wild sport in hunting the moose-deer, and other tenants of the wood-during this winter season. Some of the English agents spend five business months in Canada, and all the rest of the year in England, going home in November and returning in April.

"The residences in the suburbs of Montreal are usually well built, large, and beautifully situated. We drove through the suburbs to Monklands, which is on the western side of the mountain, and commands a fine view of the country. This house, which is capacious and handsome, is now used as an hotel. It was the seat of the Governor-General, Lord Elgin; and the landlord showed us a point at the end of the now dilapidated, but some time beautiful, garden, from whence, he said, his lordship viewed afar off the burning of the Parliament Houses at Montreal a year or two back. Lord Elgin shut himself up in Monklands for about three months after this outrage, and the Parliament and court were removed to Toronto, which, until the turn comes round to some other place, has the exclusive honour of hearing the rather strong oratory of the Upper Province. The country about Monklands is very beautiful, and there are still abundant openings on the mountain sides for villas, similar to the very handsome and tasteful erections with which they are at present pretty thickly studded.

"Leaving Montreal one evening by steamer, I dropped down to Quebec. The St. Lawrence below Montreal is broad, deep, and, in some places, winding. The principal population of Lower Canada is on its immediate shores; and the numerous cottages and houses, with cultivated fields around them, would lead to a belief that the whole population of the country, so thickly appearing on the margin of the river, was greater than it is. The sail by daylight must be beautiful, and as the hours of day, which going and returning allowed, enabled me to see a great part of the distance, I only regretted that I could not see more of so noble a river, and of the industry and the people settled on its banks.

"When within five miles of Quebec, coming down the river, there commences a succession of wharfs, to which the timber, which forms so great a trade here, is floated down stream, and from which it is loaded into vessels for Europe and other parts of the world. The stock of timber balks floating in the basins about these wharfs and landings is now so great, that for three miles the margin of the river looks like one great raft. We passed two immense rafts of timber, floating down the stream, to be stowed here, one of which was some 400 yards long, had eighteen sails set, and four wooden houses complete, erected upon it.

"Quebec is admirably placed as a fortified city, and also as a point for commerce. It stands on a high point of land opposite the Isle of Orleans, which here divides the St. Lawrence into two large streams. The citadel overlooks the Bay of Quebec, the Isle of Orleans, and the high banks of the St. Lawrence. The view from it is most extensive, in whichever direction the eye wanders. Forty miles of the St. Lawrence are seen from it. The white wooden houses on the hill-sides, and the broad fields of yellow grain, set off the dark wood; and the river-its bay, fronting the point of land on which the city is placed, covered with sails and glistening in the sun-mellows the landscape most exquisitely. Quebec, as seen from the river, too, has a fine commanding aspect. The Citadel crowning the height does not give so great an appearance of extent or strength as it possesses. In reality, Gibraltar preeminent over all, it is one of the most impregnable strongholds in the world; and its underground works, I am told, are so extensive that 5,000 men may be garrisoned and hidden within the bowels of the earth beneath it. Visitors are not allowed to walk on the west ramparts; and on complaining of this to a distinguished military officer, I was assured that the workmen, who are still employed in the excavations below, are taken in blindfold-that the engineer officer alone knows the form and shape of the works in progress, and that the plan of the remainder is kept sealed up in the hands of the commandant, to be opened only in case of actual need. This is mystery with a vengeance, and but for the authority from whence I received the statement, I should doubt the fact-most decidedly.

"The lower town of Quebec stands upon the river bank, beneath the almost perpendicular face of rock, surmounted by the Citadel. It is old, and the houses are principally of wood, and ultra-French in appearance. The streets are narrow and not over clean. To reach the upper town you drive up a very precipitous road, or walk up a long flight of timber steps, which shorten the steepest portion of the way. The upper town is built on the acclivity and on the slopes of the hill- side, which slide down to the river St. Charles, to the north. The fire of 1845 improved the town, by clearing out miserable old wooden dwellings; and the buildings erected on the site are of good brick or stone. Since these fires, too, it has been forbidden to build houses of wood, within the walls; and the use of shingles for roofing has been prohibited. The roofs are mostly covered with tin, which shines and glares in the sun at mid-day, but reflects the morning light very pleasantly.

"The Protestant and Catholic Cathedrals are fine buildings, as are the new Catholic church outside the suburbs, the Catholic seminary, and many other edifices. But the narrow streets, steep ascents, and ancient buildings, take away all beauty from the town itself, delightful as is its situation, and beautiful as are the vistas and views from various parts of it.

"A pilgrimage to the Plains of Abraham, about a mile from the Citadel, which consist of the high tableland between the St. Lawrence and the St. Foix road and St. Charles river, was to me a traveller's duty.

"It was on the night of the 12th of September, 1759, that Wolfe, checked by the French, at Montmorenci, two months before, dropped down the St. Lawrence with his army in boats, and succeeded in landing at a little bend of the river, still half hidden by trees, where the high and precipitous shores are most accessible, though yet most difficult of ascent. The troops scaled the heights, meeting little opposition, formed into line across the plains, and waited the attack of the French, who had marched that morning from Beauport, near to which the battle of Montmorenci had been fought. The French came on gallantly, and the English stood their fire until they approached within forty yards, and then delivered theirs. The French wavered, and Wolfe charged at the head of his men, Montcalm heading his. A desperate fight took place, and Wolfe fell, struck by the third ball, just as the French line broke in confusion, and the English cheer of victory burst from his conquering army. Montcalm was mortally wounded immediately afterwards.

"On the spot where Wolfe fell, on the extreme right of his line, a plain unpretending pillar is placed, bearing the simple inscription,-


Near the Citadel, and in the town, another monument has been erected, which bears the name of Wolfe on one side and that of Montcalm on the other.

"To see the country, I had a drive of twenty-five miles along the St. Charles river, through the Indian village of Lorette, and back through the fine open district to the westward of the town. Our road was good for a few miles, but then became such a collection of deep pits and heaps of mud, that, but for a rude fence and wheel-marks, it would hardly have been distinguished from the fields. The course of the St. Charles, however, at this point, is between precipitous and sometimes rocky banks, covered with trees and jungle: and in enjoyment of the scenery, the fresh pure air, cooled by the previous night's rain, and the sweet scents thrown out by the trees and wild-flowers, the slow progress of the vehicle and the bumping of one's sides, were forgotten.

"Lorette was originally a colony of Christianized Huron Indians, to whom lands were granted by the French. The village is now principally inhabited by whites and half-breeds, though there are some of the pure race left-the men wearing European dresses, the women adhering to the ancient costume. Their cottages are generally neat and clean. Andre Romain, the chief, resides in the centre of the village, a high pole denoting his residence and rank. I found him bending over his simple dinner of milk and coarse bread. He was dressed in old, and somewhat ragged, garments. He seemed so extremely old, that I did not trouble him with more than a very short conversation, in French. He showed me a portrait of George IV., given to him, he said, from the hands of that monarch, and a coloured engraving of the installation of one of the royal princes as chief of the Hurons. The poor old man, broken down with extreme age, had still the remains of a commanding presence, which even his miserable dress, unshaven beard, and bleared and misty eye, could not altogether extinguish.

"This village gives an example of the fate of all the Indian tribes. Here, once brought together to live after the manner of the whites, this tribe has been reduced in number, and finally all but absorbed; and in a few years not one of the unmixed race will remain, and the language of the tribe will be obliterated.

"At Lorette are the falls of the St. Charles, which are very interesting. After seeing them, I had some milk at the 'Billy Button,' a public-house kept by a Yankee, who deals in the Indian ornaments made in the village, and shows the falls, and then drove round to Quebec, through a fine and richly-tilled district; and, in passing, saw a hotly-contested heat run upon the course on the plains of Abraham-for it was Quebec races."

* * * * *

"TORONTO, "Saturday, September 6th, 1851.

"Returning to Montreal, I spent Thursday in visiting various institutions of that city, and drove out with Mr.-- to see the country residence of a friend of his, which is hidden in a sweet little glen, from whence, however, glimpses of the St. Lawrence river are obtained. This gentleman lives here in summer, and employs his leisure in the cultivation of the fruits and flowers, which a fine soil and a forcing climate produce in perfection. He complains of the destruction of the large trees in his vicinage, regretting that those who own the neighbouring woods should be impelled to bring down, first, the oldest and finest timber, and should be unable to preserve even so much of it as might illustrate hereafter the magnificent proportions of the native forest wood. This is truly one of the sad features of advancing civilization. The fine old forests, like the native Indians, lose their noblest chieftains, and, degenerating to a few dwarfed and scattered specimens, at last disappear and are forgotten.

"Mr.-- told us much of the happy and comfortable lives of the farmers and settlers hereabouts. All have land; food in abundance, including sugar from their own maple-bush; cattle; horses; light spring waggons, which serve as family coaches when not required for the week-day's work; good homely furniture and clothing: in short, an abundance of all the essentials of existence, and even wealth-but they possess little money. In many cases, and now that agricultural improvement has become a necessity, this want of money is found to be a great evil. The ordinary sized farms, of 100 acres of good land, all in cultivation, are worth from 500_l_., to 1,000_l_.; and very often an expenditure of 200_l_. or 300_l_. in improvements would double their value. The legal rate of interest here is 6 per cent.; and as high a rate as 7 or 8 per cent could be got for small loans on mortgages for these purposes were the money to be had. The banks, however, do not, as a rule, lend money on mortgage, and the monied men of the country have usually lands of their own requiring the same sort of development. Foreign capital is therefore looked to; and doubtless it will ultimately be procured in abundance, the security being undeniable, and the rate of interest so high.

"Mr.-- does not consider the long winter any impediment to farming, but rather the contrary, as the sudden burst of spring, and the rapid growths of summer, make up for it; while in a country like this, where roads are so scanty, many of the farmers' operations are performed more easily during the snow and hard frosts which prevail.

"Leaving Montreal, by a short railroad of nine miles in length, constructed to avoid the rapids of a bend of the St. Lawrence, I came to Lachine. Here are the head-quarters of the Hudson's Bay Company, and the house of Sir George Simpson, the Governor; and hence, annually, towards the end of April, proceed the 'maitre-canots,' or large canoes, of the company, manned by its officers and hardy 'voyageurs,' up the waters of the Ottawa to Lake Nipissing, and down the Riviere des Francais into Lake Huron.

"At Lachine I took the 'Champion,' a fine new steamer, built and equipped at Montreal, and worked up the St. Lawrence, along Lake Ontario, to Toronto, a journey of 450 miles, and occupying about forty hours in the performance.

"The navigation of the St. Lawrence is impeded by several large 'rapids,' formed by the action of the suddenly descending current upon sunken rocks deep below the surface of the water. On the upward voyage these are impassable for merchandize vessels; and, though the large steamers struggle through many of them, there are others which no force can cope with. To remedy these impediments, several fine canals, equal to any similar works in the world, have been constructed. The first of these, the Beauharnois Canal, connects, by a cut eleven miles long, the broad embayment called 'Lake St. Louis,' above Montreal, with the similar reach called 'Lake St. Francis;' and in the narrow passage between these unruffled waters are the principal rapids-the 'Coteau du Lac,' the 'Cedars,' and the 'Cascades.' The passage through this 'sixteen miles' declivity of boiling waters' is exciting. The large steamers rush down with the rapidity of the wind, through waves lashed into foam-sweeping close past the rocks and islets in the stream, and only kept in safety in their course by the united exertions of six or seven 'voyageurs,' and a pilot, at the wheel.

"The upper shores of the St. Lawrence are populous and well cultivated. In stopping to take in our supply of wood, which we had to do several times during the day and night, usually at quiet secluded nooks along shore, or on some little island, I had many opportunities of seeing the comfort of the people, and the progress of the country. The houses, usually of wood, painted white, or of some showy colour, and having verandas covered with climbers, looked both commodious and gay. It might be mistake, but I fancied that improvement was more perceptible when, passing the point where line 45 degrees 'strikes' the river, we came into the American territory. I was particularly struck with one farm near Warrington, over which I had half-an-hour's walk, upon the best fields of which were still protruding the heavy stumps of the forest trees, cut down ten or twenty years ago. The owner told us he had 160 acres, which he bought, partly cleared, seventeen years ago, for ten dollars an acre. He had, a year ago, refused twenty dollars an acre for it, intending to make it worth fifty; and during his occupation he had brought up a large family in comfort and independence upon it, and saved money. The crop of oats he was now clearing was a poor one, he said,-only forty-five bushels per acre.

"Arrived at Ogdensburgh, on the American side of the river, I spent some time, while waiting the arrival of the train bearing Boston and other eastern passengers, in going through the extensive and commodious depot of the Northern Railway. The works are not quite completed. They will cover an area of some forty acres, and comprise warehouses for the stowage of corn and other produce, a fine passenger shed, and large engine-houses and sheds for cars. The quantity of corn and flour stored here in the fall is very large. Last year it was 80,000 barrels. Unfortunately, however, for the railways, the rate for conveyance of these staples is brought down by the competition of the steamers to a very low point; the charge from Toronto to Montreal being but one shilling per barrel of 218 lbs., or a farthing per ton per mile.

"Opposite Ogdensburgh is the village of Prescott, remarkable as the scene of a deadly conflict during the rebellion, the traces of which it still exhibits, in dismantled houses, and a windmill in ruins.

"On the evening of this day we entered a part of the river, called, from the unceasing abundance of islets which gem its surface, the 'Lake of the Thousand Isles.' These islets, above fifteen hundred in number, vary in size from tiny things, little bigger than an upturned boat, to areas of many hundred acres. They are a succession of rocky excrescences, mostly covered with wood, which grows, or overhangs, down to the water's edge. Some of them are cultivated, but the mass are just as nature left them, when-their broken and jutting strata having settled into bearings far down below the stream, on the morrow of some vast convulsion and upheaving of nature-the forest era was at last established. How long a time elapsed before the action of the weather had produced, from the hard face of the stone itself, soil enough for the lichen and the moss, or for these, in their turns, to become the receptacle of the seeds of forest trees, blown from some distant region-is a problem. In threading these islands, sometimes our vessel passed through tortuous passages apparently blocked up at the end, and within a few yards of land, but by a sudden turn emerged into fine large basins, and so wound and twined its way along. As the sun declined, every island made a full, clear reflection in the glassy surface of the water; and the boughs and branches, the flowers by the water's edge, the very marks upon the rocks, were repeated upside down, as if in a perfect mirror. The whole scene bore an air of such complete seclusion, that our noisy passage through it appeared like a rude intrusion into some fairy realm, before time uninvaded by mortal visits. The birds were disturbed from amongst the trees, and the wild ducks and other water-fowl skimmed away, scared at the splashing of our paddles and the panting of our engine.

"At sunset we stopped to take in wood at Gannanoque, a village sweetly placed on a swelling hillock above the river. Here I entered some of the houses, and found considerable comfort, plenty of dirt, and a good many pigs, who seemed on the best possible terms with the children. An Irishwoman, standing at her door, her eldest son in her arms, a fine bright-eyed urchin, told me, in return for my compliments on the healthy appearance of the child, that she 'had been afther bathing him; for sure he had made himself dirty with playing with the pig.'

"The full moon had risen high when we left the last of the isles behind us; and late at night we emerged from the St. Lawrence, and arrived at Kingston, the tin roofs of which shone brightly in the moonlight.

"Kingston is an important town, and is the port of the Rideau Canal, which connects Bytown and the Ottawa with Lake Ontario. A walk through the streets by moonlight enabled us to see the market-house, a stone building, considered to be the finest in Upper Canada.

"Keeping along the north shore of Lake Ontario, we stopped at several thriving little ports, and arrived in Toronto early on the afternoon of Saturday.

"Toronto is the chief city of Upper Canada, and is evidently a highly prosperous place. It has a thoroughly Anglo-Saxon cast about it, and looks new and bright. The streets are long and wide, the houses generally of brick, high and regular; and everywhere is the appearance of vigorous trade and rapid extension. The houses of the richer classes are fully equal to those in the suburbs of Montreal; while no old dilapidated dwellings, like those which appear in that city, are here visible. There are many fine public buildings-St. Lawrence Hall, the Banks, the Parliament House, and many others. The grounds of King's College are well worth a visit. Toronto is at present the seat of Government, and the Governor-General resides here.

"This city, and its people, present many points of favourable contrast with the older cities and population of Lower Canada. The soil and climate may perhaps be more favourable, and the vicinity of American energy may have some effect; but the secret of the greater growth of this province may be traced to its settlement by American Loyalists in 1783. These men, driven away from their country by their adherence to the British Crown, here found a refuge and new home. The whole land along the St. Lawrence, above the French settlements, was formed into townships, and farms were allotted to these, the 'United Empire Loyalists,' who thus became the fathers of Upper Canada. The population of Upper Canada was not more than 210,000 in 1830, now it is nearly 1,000,000. Much of the land in the Province is equal to any in the world; and nature seems to have given every aid to the formation of a great country. All that is wanting would seem to be that independence, which, with all its reputed vices, would appear to be the condition of Anglo-Saxon progress. Canada has been hitherto the resort of British settlers only, while the United States have become a home for all the world."

What precedes was written nearly thirty-six years ago. I need not apologise for its crudeness, for I only represent, in plain words, the impressions of the time. And I think I have troubled the reader quite enough about my "first visit to America, and the reason for it." I may say, however, that my trip induced many other visits to the growing countries of North America. I was, to some extent, a pioneer traveller to the other side of the Atlantic.

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