Letters of a Traveller
William Cullen Bryant

Part 1 out of 6

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[Transcriber's Note: Footnotes have been numbered and moved to the end.]

Letters of a Traveller;

Or, Notes of Things Seen in Europe and America

By William Cullen Bryant.


To the Reader.

The letters composing this volume were written at various times, during
the last sixteen years, and during journeys made in different countries.
They contain, however, no regular account of any tour or journey made by
the writer, but are merely occasional sketches of what most attracted his
attention. The greater part of them have already appeared in print.

The author is sensible that the highest merit such a work can claim, if
ever so well executed, is but slight. He might have made these letters
more interesting to readers in general, if he had spoken of distinguished
men to whose society he was admitted; but the limits within which this may
be done, with propriety and without offense, are so narrow, and so easily
overstepped, that he has preferred to abstain altogether from that class
of topics. He offers his book to the public, with expectations which will
be satisfied by a very moderate success.

New York, _April_, 1850.


To the Reader

Letter I.--First Impressions of an American in France.--Tokens of
Antiquity: churches, old towns, cottages, colleges, costumes, donkeys,
shepherds and their flocks, magpies, chateaux, formal gardens, vineyards,
fig-trees.--First Sight of Paris; its Gothic churches, statues, triumphal
arches, monumental columns.--Parisian gaiety, public cemeteries, burial
places of the poor

Letter II.--Journey from Paris to Florence.--Serenity of the Italian
Climate.--Dreary country between Paris and Chalons on the Saone.--Autun.
--Chalons.--Lyons.--Valley of the Rhine.--Avignon.--Marseilles; its growth
and prosperity.--Banking in France.--Journey along the Mediterranean.--
American and European Institutions

Letter III.--Tuscan Scenery and Climate.--Florence in Autumn.--
Deformities of Cultivation.--Exhibition of the Academy of the Fine
Arts.--Respect of the Italians for Works of Art

Letter IV.--A Day in Florence.--Bustle and Animation of the Place.--Sights
seen on the Bridges.--Morning in Florence.--Brethren of Mercy.--Drive on
the Cascine.--Evening in Florence.--Anecdote of the Passport
System.--Mildness of the Climate of Pisa

Letter V.--Practices of the Italian Courts.--Mildness of the Penal Code in
Tuscany.--A Royal Murderer.--Ceremonies on the Birth of an Heir to the
Dukedom of Tuscany.--Wealth of the Grand Duke

Letter VI.--Venice.--Its peculiar Architecture.--Arsenal and Navy
Yard.--The Lagoons.--Ceneda.--Serravalle.--Lago Morto.--Alpine Scenery.--A
June Snow-Storm in the Tyrol.--Splendor of the Scenery in the
Sunshine.--Landro.--A Tyrolese Holiday.--Devotional Character of the
People.--Numerous Chapels.--Sterzing.--Bruneck.--The Brenner.--Innsbruck.
--Bronze Tomb of Maximilian I.--Entrance into Bavaria

Letter VII.--An Excursion to Rock River in Illinois.--Birds and Quadrupeds
of the Prairies.--Dad Joe's Grove.--Beautiful Landscape.--Traces of the
Indian Tribes.--Lost Rocks.--Dixon.--Rock River; beauty of its banks.--A
Horse-Thief.--An Association of Felons.--A Prairie Rattlesnake.--The
Prairie-Wolf; its habits.--The Wild Parsnip

Letter VIII.--Examples of Lynch Law.--Practices of Horse-Thieves in
Illinois.--Regulators.--A Murder.--Seizure of the Assassins, their trial
and execution.--One of the Accomplices lurking in the Woods.--Another
Horse-Thief shot

Letter IX.--An Example of Senatorial Decorum.--The National Museum at
Washington.--Mount Vernon.--Virginia Plantations.--Beauty of
Richmond.--Islands of James River.--An Old Church.--Inspection of
Tobacco.--Tobacco Factory.--Work and Psalmody.--Howden's Statue of

Letter X.--Journey from Richmond to Charleston.--Pine Forests of North
Carolina.--Collection of Turpentine.--Harbor of Charleston.--Aspect of the

Letter XI.--Interior of South Carolina.--Pine Woods.--Plantations.--Swamps.
--Birds.--A Corn-Shucking.--Negro Songs.--A Negro Military Parade.--
Character of the Blacks.--Winter Climate of South Carolina.

Letter XII.--Picolata.--Beauty of the Season.--The St. John's.--A
Hammock.--Voyage from Charleston to Savannah.--City of Savannah.--Quoit
Club.--A Negro Burial-Place.--Curious Epitaphs.--Bonaventure.--Majestic
Avenues of Live-Oaks.--Alligators.--Black Creek.

Letter XIII.--Woods of Florida.--Anecdotes of the Florida War.--Aspect of
St. Augustine.--Its Streets.--Former Appearance of the City.--Orange
Groves.--Fort of St. Mark.--Palm Sunday.--A Frenchman preaching in

Letter XIV.--Climate of St. Augustine.--Tampa Bay.--Melons in
January.--Insects in Southern Florida.--Healthfulness of East Florida.--A
Sugar Plantation.--Island of St. Anastasia.--Quarries of
Shell-Rock.--Customs of the Mahonese.--A Mahonese or Minorcan hymn.

Letter XV.--Florida the "Poor Man's Country."--Settlement of the
Peninsula.--The Indian War.--Its Causes.--Causes of the Peace.--The
Everglades.--St. Mary's in Georgia.--Plague of Sand-Flies.--Alligator
Shooting.--Tobacco Chewing.

Letter XVI.--The Champlain Canal.--Beauty of its Banks.--Whitehall.--
Canadian French.--A Family setting out for the West.--The Michigan Lay.--
Vermont Scenery.

Letter XVII.--Grasshoppers.--White Clover.--Domestic Arrangements of two
unmarried Ladies.--Canadian French Laborers.--Quakers.--A Pretty Mantua
Maker.--Anecdote told by a Quakeress.--Walpole.--Keene.--A Family of
healthy young Women.

Letter XVIII.--A Voyage to Liverpool.--Mountains of Wales.--Growth of
Liverpool.--Aspect of the Place.--Zoological Gardens.--Cemetery among the
Rocks.--Ornamental Cultivation.--Prince's Park.--Chester.--Manchester.
--Calico Printing.

Letter XIX.--Edale in Derbyshire.--A Commercial
Traveller.--Chapel-en-le-Frith.--The Winnets.--Mam Tor.--Heathy
Hills.--The Lark.--Caverns of the Peak of Derbyshire.--Castle of the
Peverils.--People of Derbyshire.--Matlock.--Derby.

Letter XX.--Works of Art.--Power's Greek Slave.--Exhibition of the Royal
Academy.--Turner's late Pictures.--Webster.--Thorburn.--New Houses of
Parliament.--Artists in Water-Colors.

Letter XXI.--The Parks of London.--Their Extent.--Want of Parks in New
York.--Sweeping of the Streets.--Safety from Housebreaking.--Beggars.--
Increase of Poverty.

Letter XXII.--Edinburg.--The Old Town.--The Castle.--Solid Architecture of
the New Town.--Views from the different Eminences.--Poverty in the Wynds
and Alleys.--Houses of Refuge for the Destitute.--Night Asylums for the
Houseless.--The Free Church.--The Maynooth Grant.--Effect of Endowments.

Letter XXIII.--Fishwomen of Newhaven.--Frith of Forth.--Stirling.--
Callander.--The Trosachs.--Loch Achray.--Loch Katrine.--Loch Lomond.
--Glenfalloch.--Dumbarton.--The Leven.

Letter XXIV.--Glasgow.--Its Annual Fair.--Its Public Statues.--The Free
Church.--Free Church College.--Odd Subject of a Sermon.--Alloway.--Burns's
Monument.--The Doon.--The Sea.--Burns's Birthplace.--The River Ayr.

Letter XXV.--Voyage to Ireland.--Ailsa Craig.--County of Down.--County of
Lowth.--Difference in the Appearance of the Inhabitants.--
Peat-Diggers.--A Park.--Samples of different Races of Men.--Round
Towers.--Valley of the Boyne.--Dublin.--Its Parks.--O'Connell.--The Repeal
Question.--Wall, the Artist.--Exhibition of the Royal Hibernian Society.

Letter XXVI.--Lunatic Asylum at Hanwell.--Humanity and Skill.--Quiet
Demeanor of the Patients.--Anecdotes of the Inmates.--The Corn-law
Question.--Coleman's Improvement on the Piano.

Letter XXVII.--Changes in Paris.--Asphaltum Pavements.--New and Showy
Buildings.--Suppression of Gaming-Houses.--Sunday Amusements.--Physical
Degeneracy.--Vanderlyn's Picture of the Landing of Columbus.

Letter XXVIII.--A Journey through the Netherlands.--Brussels.--Waterloo.
--Walloons and Flemings.--Antwerp.--Character of Flemish Art.--The
Scheldt.--Rotterdam.--Country of Holland.--The Hague.--Scheveling.--
Amsterdam.--Broek Saardam.--Utrecht.

Letter XXIX.--American Artists abroad.--Duesseldorf: Leutze.--German
Painters.--Florence: Greenough, Powers, Gray, G. L. Brown.--Rome: H. K.
Brown, Rossiter, Lang.

Letter XXX.--Buffalo.--The New Fort.--Leopold de Meyer.--Cleveland.--

Letter XXXI.--Trip from Detroit to Mackinaw.--The Chippewa Tribe.--The
River St. Clair.--Anecdote.--Chippewa Village.--Forts Huron and
Saranac.--Bob Low Island.--Mackinaw.

Letter XXXII.--Journey from Detroit to Princeton.--Sheboygan.--Milwaukie.
--Chicago.--A Plunge in the Canal.--Aspect of the Country.

Letter XXXIII.--Return to Chicago.--Prairie-Hens.--Prairie Lands of Lee
County.--Rock River District.

Letter XXXIV.--Voyage to Sault Ste. Marie.--Little Fort.--Indian Women
gathering Rice.--Southport.--Island of St. Joseph.--Muddy Lake.--Girdled

Letter XXXV.--Falls of the St. Mary.--Masses of Copper and
Silver.--Drunken Indians.--Descent of the Rapids.--Warehouses of the
Hudson Bay Company.--Canadian Half-breeds.--La Maison de Pierre.--Tanner
the Murderer.

Letter XXXVI.--Indians at the Sanlt.--Madeleine Island.--Indian
Dancing-girls.--Methodist Indians.--Indian Families.--Return to Mackinaw.

Letter XXXVII.--The Straits of Mackinaw.--American Fur Company.--Peculiar
Boats.--British Landing.--Battle-field.--Old Mission Church.--Arched Rock.

Letter XXXVIII.--Excursion to Southern New Jersey.--Easton.--The
Delaware.--The Water Gap.--Bite of a Copper-head snake.

Letter XXXIX.--The Banks of the Pocano.--Deer in the Laurel
Swamps.--Cherry Hollow.--The Wind Gap.--Nazareth.--Moravian Burying
Grounds.--A Pennsylvania German.

Letter XL.--Paint on Brick Houses.--The New City of Lawrence.--Oak Grove.

Letter XLI.--Islands of Casco Bay.--The Building of Ships.--A Seal in the
Kennebeck.--Augusta.--Multitude of Lakes.--Appearances of Thrift.

Letter XLII.--The Willey House.--Mount Washington.--Scenery of the White
Mountains.--A Hen Mother of Puppies.

Letter XLIII.--Passage to Savannah.--Passengers in the Steamer.--Old Times
in Connecticut.--Cape Hatteras.--Savannah.--Bonaventure.--Charleston.--

Letter XLIV.--Southern Cotton Mills.--Factory Girls.--Somerville.

Letter XLV.--The Florida Coast.--Key West.--Dangerous Navigation.--A
Hurricane and Flood.--Havana.

Letter XLVI.--Women of Cuba.--Airy Rooms.--Devotion of the Women.--Good
Friday.--Cascarilla.--Cemetery of Havana.--Funerals.--Cock-fighting.--
Valla de Gallos.--A Masked Ball.

Letter XLVII.--Scenery of Cuba.--Its Trees.--Sweet-Potato Plantation.--San
Antonio de los Barios.--Black and Red Soil of Cuba.--A Coffee Estate.--
Attire of the Cubans.

Letter XLVIII.--Matanzas.--Valley of Yumuri.--Cumbre.--Sugar
Estate.--Process of its Manufacture.

Letter XLIX.--Negroes in Cuba.--Execution by the Garrote.--Slave
Market.--African, Indian, and Asiatic Slaves.--Free Blacks in
Cuba.--Annexation of Cuba to the United States.

Letter L.--English Exhibitions of Works of Art.--The Society of
Arts.--Royal Academy.--Jews in Parliament.

Letter LI.--A Visit to the Shetland Isles.--Highland Fishermen.--Lerwick.
--Church-goers in Shetland.--Habitations of the Islanders.--The Noup of
the Noss.--Sheep and Ponies.--Pictish Castle.--The Zetlanders.--A Gale in
the North Sea.--Cathedral of St. Magnus.--Wick.

Letter LII.--Europe under the Bayonet.--Uses of the State of Siege.--The
Hungarians.--Bavaria.--St. Gall.--Zurich.--Target-shooting.--France.--
French Expedition to Rome.

Letter LIII.--Volterra; its Desolation.--The Balza.--Etruscan
Remains.--Fortress of Volterra.

Letters of a Traveller.

Letter I.

First Impressions of an American in France.

Paris, _August_ 9, 1834.

Since we first landed in France, every step of our journey has reminded us
that we were in an old country. Every thing we saw spoke of the past, of
an antiquity without limit; everywhere our eyes rested on the handiwork of
those who had been dead for ages, and we were in the midst of customs
which they had bequeathed to their descendants. The churches were so vast,
so solid, so venerable, and time-eaten; the dwellings so gray, and of such
antique architecture, and in the large towns, like Rouen, rose so high,
and overhung with such quaint projections the narrow and cavernous
streets; the thatched cots were so mossy and so green with grass! The very
hills about them looked scarcely as old, for there was youth in their
vegetation--their shrubs and flowers. The countrywomen wore such high
caps, such long waists, and such short petticoats!--the fashion of
bonnets is an innovation of yesterday, which they regard with scorn. We
passed females riding on donkeys, the Old Testament beast of burden, with
panniers on each side, as was the custom hundreds of years since. We saw
ancient dames sitting at their doors with distaffs, twisting the thread by
twirling the spindle between the thumb and finger, as they did in the days
of Homer. A flock of sheep was grazing on the side of a hill; they were
attended by a shepherd, and a brace of prick-eared dogs, which kept them
from straying, as was done thousands of years ago. Speckled birds were
hopping by the sides of the road; it was the magpie, the bird of ancient
fable. Flocks of what I at first took for the crow of our country were
stalking in the fields, or sailing in the air over the old elms; it was
the rook, the bird made as classical by Addison as his cousin the raven by
the Latin poets.

Then there were the old chateaus on the hills, built with an appearance of
military strength, their towers and battlements telling of feudal times.
The groves by which they were surrounded were for the most part clipped
into regular walls, and pierced with regularly arched passages, leading in
various directions, and the trees compelled by the shears to take the
shape of obelisks and pyramids, or other fantastic figures, according to
the taste of the middle ages. As we drew nearer to Paris, we saw the plant
which Noah first committed to the earth after the deluge--you know what
that was I hope--trained on low stakes, and growing thickly and
luxuriantly on the slopes by the side of the highway. Here, too, was the
tree which was the subject of the first Christian miracle, the fig, its
branches heavy with the bursting fruit just beginning to ripen for the

But when we entered Paris, and passed the Barriere d'Etoile, with its
lofty triumphal arch; when we swept through the arch of Neuilly, and came
in front of the Hotel des Invalides, where the aged or maimed soldiers,
the living monuments of so many battles, were walking or sitting under the
elms of its broad esplanade; when we saw the colossal statues of statesmen
and warriors frowning from their pedestals on the bridges which bestride
the muddy and narrow channel of the Seine; when we came in sight of the
gray pinnacles of the Tuilleries, and the Gothic towers of Notre-Dame, and
the Roman ones of St. Sulpice, and the dome of the Pantheon, under which
lie the remains of so many of the great men of France, and the dark column
of Place Vendome, wrought with figures in relief, and the obelisk brought
from Egypt to ornament the Place Louis Quatorze, the associations with
antiquity which the country presents, from being general, became
particular and historical. They were recollections of power, and
magnificence, and extended empire; of valor and skill in war which had
held the world in fear; of dynasties that had risen and passed away; of
battles and victories which had left no other fruits than their monuments.

The solemnity of these recollections does not seem to press with much
weight upon the minds of the people. It has been said that the French have
become a graver nation than formerly; if so, what must have been their
gayety a hundred years ago? To me they seem as light-hearted and as easily
amused as if they had done nothing but make love and quiz their priests
since the days of Louis XIV.--as if their streets had never flowed with
the blood of Frenchmen shed by their brethren--as if they had never won
and lost a mighty empire. I can not imagine the present generation to be
less gay than that which listened to the comedies of Moliere at their
first representation; particularly when I perceive that even Moliere's
pieces are too much burdened with thought for a Frenchman of the present
day, and that he prefers the lighter and more frivolous vaudeville. The
Parisian has his amusements as regularly as his meals, the theatre, music,
the dance, a walk in the Tuilleries, a refection in the cafe, to which
ladies resort as commonly as the other sex. Perpetual business, perpetual
labor, is a thing of which he seems to have no idea. I wake in the middle
of the night, and I hear the fiddle going, and the sound of feet keeping
time, in some of the dependencies of the large building near the
Tuilleries, in which I have my lodgings.

When a generation of Frenchmen

"Have played, and laughed, and danced, and drank their fill"--

when they have seen their allotted number of vaudevilles and swallowed
their destined allowance of weak wine and bottled small-beer, they are
swept off to the cemetery of Montmartre, or of Pere la Chaise, or some
other of the great burial-places which lie just without the city. I went
to visit the latter of these the other day. You are reminded of your
approach to it by the rows of stone-cutters' shops on each side of the
street, with a glittering display of polished marble monuments. The place
of the dead is almost a gayer-looking spot than the ordinary haunts of
Parisian life. It is traversed with shady walks of elms and limes, and its
inmates lie amidst thickets of ornamental shrubs and plantations of the
most gaudy flowers. Their monuments are hung with wreaths of artificial
flowers, or of those natural ones which do not lose their color and shape
in drying, like the amaranth and the ever-lasting. Parts of the cemetery
seem like a city in miniature; the sepulchral chapels, through the windows
of which you see crucifixes and tapers, stand close to each other beside
the path, intermingled with statues and busts.

There is one part of this repository of the dead which is little visited,
that in which the poor are buried, where those who have dwelt apart from
their more fortunate fellow-creatures in life lie apart in death. Here are
no walks, no shade of trees, no planted shrubbery, but ridges of raw
earth, and tufts of coarse herbage show where the bodies are thrown
together under a thin covering of soil. I was about to walk over the spot,
but was repelled by the sickening exhalations that rose from it.

Letter II.

A Journey to Florence.

Florence, _Sept_ 27, 1834.

I have now been in this city a fortnight, and have established myself in a
suite of apartments lately occupied, as the landlord told me, in hopes I
presume of getting a higher rent, by a Russian prince. The Arno flows, or
rather stands still, under my windows, for the water is low, and near the
western wall of the city is frugally dammed up to preserve it for the
public baths. Beyond, this stream so renowned in history and poetry, is at
this season but a feeble rill, almost lost among the pebbles of its bed,
and scarcely sufficing to give drink to the pheasants and hares of the
Grand Duke's Cascine on its banks. Opposite my lodgings, at the south end
of the _Ponte alla Carraia_, is a little oratory, before the door of which
every good Catholic who passes takes off his hat with a gesture of homage;
and at this moment a swarthy, weasel-faced man, with a tin box in his
hand, is gathering contributions to pay for the services of the chapel,
rattling his coin to attract the attention of the pedestrians, and calling
out to those who seem disposed to pass without paying. To the north and
west, the peaks of the Appenines are in full sight, rising over the
spires of the city and the groves of the Cascine. Every evening I see them
through the soft, delicately-colored haze of an Italian sunset, looking as
if they had caught something of the transparency of the sky, and appearing
like mountains of fairy-land, instead of the bleak and barren ridges of
rock which they really are. The weather since my arrival in Tuscany has
been continually serene, the sky wholly cloudless, and the temperature
uniform--oppressively warm in the streets at noon, delightful at morning
and evening, with a long, beautiful, golden twilight, occasioned by the
reflection of light from the orange-colored haze which invests the
atmosphere. Every night I am reminded that I am in the land of song, for
until two o'clock in the morning I hear "all manner of tunes" chanted by
people in the streets in all manner of voices.

I believe I have given you no account of our journey from Paris to this
place. That part of it which lay between Paris and Chalons, on the Saone,
may be described in a very few words. Monotonous plains, covered with
vineyards and wheat-fields, with very few trees, and those spoiled by
being lopped for fuel--sunburnt women driving carts or at work in the
fields--gloomy, cheerless-looking towns, with narrow, filthy
streets--troops of beggars surrounding your carriage whenever you stop, or
whenever the nature of the roads obliges the horses to walk, and chanting
their requests in the most doleful whine imaginable--such are the sights
and sounds that meet you for the greater part of two hundred and fifty
miles. There are, however, some exceptions as to the aspect of the
country. Autun, one of the most ancient towns of France, and yet retaining
some remains of Roman architecture, lies in a beautiful and picturesque
region. A little beyond that town we ascended a hill by a road winding
along a glen, the rocky sides of which were clothed with an unpruned wood,
and a clear stream ran dashing over the stones, now on one side of the
road and then on the other--the first instance of a brook left to follow
its natural channel which I had seen in France. Two young Frenchmen, who
were our fellow-passengers, were wild with delight at this glimpse of
unspoiled nature. They followed the meanderings of the stream, leaping
from rock to rock, and shouting till the woods rang again.

Of Chalons I have nothing to tell you. Abelard died there, and his tomb
was erected with that of Eloise in the church of St. Marcel; but the
church is destroyed, and the monument has been transported to the cemetery
of Pere la Chaise, and with it all the poetry of the place is vanished.
But if you would make yourself supremely uncomfortable, travel as I did in
a steamboat down the Saone from Chalons to Lyons, on a rainy day. Crowded
into a narrow, dirty cabin, with benches on each side and a long table in
the middle, at which a set of Frenchmen with their hats on are playing
cards and eating _dejeuners a la fourchette_ all day long, and deafening
you with their noise, while waiters are running against your legs and
treading on your toes every moment, and the water is dropping on your head
through the cracks of the deck-floor, you would be forced to admit the
superlative misery of such a mode of travelling. The approach to Lyons,
however, made some amends for these inconveniences. The shores of the
river, hitherto low and level, began to rise into hills, broken with
precipices and crowned by castles, some in ruins and others entire, and
seemingly a part of the very rocks on which they stood, so old and mossy
and strong did they seem. What struck me most in Lyons was the superiority
of its people in looks and features to the inhabitants of Paris--the
clatter and jar of silk-looms with which its streets resounded--and the
picturesque beauty of its situation, placed as it is among steeps and
rocks, with the quiet Saone on one side, and the swiftly-running Rhone on
the other. In our journey from Lyons to Marseilles we travelled by land
instead of taking the steamboat, as is commonly done as far as Avignon.
The common books of travels will tell you how numerous are the ruins of
feudal times perched upon the heights all along the Rhone, remnants of
fortresses and castles, overlooking a vast extent of country and once
serving as places of refuge to the cultivators of the soil who dwelt in
their vicinity--how frequently also are to be met with the earlier yet
scarcely less fresh traces of Roman colonization and dominion, in
gateways, triumphal arches, walls, and monuments--how on entering
Provence you find yourself among a people of a different physiognomy from
those of the northern provinces, speaking a language which rather
resembles Italian than French--how the beauty of the women of Avignon
still does credit to the taste of the clergy, who made that city for more
than half a century the seat of the Papal power--and how, as you approach
the shores of the Mediterranean, the mountains which rise from the
fruitful valleys shoot up in wilder forms, until their summits become mere
pinnacles of rock wholly bare of vegetation.

Marseilles is seated in the midst of a semicircle of mountains of whitish
rock, the steep and naked sides of which scarce afford "a footing for the
goat." Stretching into the Mediterranean they inclose a commodious harbor,
in front of which are two or three rocky islands anchored in a sea of more
vivid blue than any water I had ever before seen. The country immediately
surrounding the city is an arid and dusty valley, intersected here and
there with the bed of a brook or torrent, dry during the summer. It is
carefully cultivated, however, and planted with vineyards, and orchards of
olive, fig, and pomegranate trees. The trees being small and low, the
foliage of the olive thin and pale, the leaves of the fig broad and few,
and the soil appearing everywhere at their roots, as well as between the
rows of vines, the vegetation, when viewed from a little distance, has a
meagre and ragged appearance. The whiteness of the hills, which the eye
can hardly bear to rest upon at noon, the intense blue of the sea, the
peculiar forms of the foliage, and the deficiency of shade and verdure,
made me almost fancy myself in a tropical region.

The Greeks judged well of the commercial advantages of Marseilles when
they made it the seat of one of their early colonies. I found its streets
animated with a bustle which I had not seen since I left New York, and its
port thronged with vessels from all the nations whose coasts border upon
the great midland sea of Europe. Marseilles is the most flourishing
seaport in France; it has already become to the Mediterranean what New
York is to the United States, and its trade is regularly increasing. The
old town is ugly, but the lower or new part is nobly built of the
light-colored stone so commonly used in France, and so easily
wrought--with broad streets and, what is rare in French towns, convenient
sidewalks. New streets are laid out, gardens are converted into
building-lots, the process of leveling hills and filling up hollows is
going on as in New York, the city is extending itself on every side, and
large fortunes have been made by the rise in the value of landed property.

In a conversation with an intelligent gentleman resident at Marseilles and
largely engaged in commercial and moneyed transactions, the subject of the
United States Bank was mentioned. Opinions in France, on this question of
our domestic politics, differ according as the opportunities of
information possessed by the individual are more or less ample, or as he
is more or less in favor of chartered banks. The gentleman remarked that
without any reference to the question of the United States Bank, he hoped
the day would never come when such an institution would be established in
France. The project he said had some advocates, but they had not yet
succeeded, and he hoped never would succeed in the introduction of that
system of paper currency which prevailed in the United States. He
deprecated the dangerous and uncertain facilities of obtaining credit
which are the fruit of that system, which produce the most ruinous
fluctuations in commerce, encourage speculation and extravagance of all
kinds, and involve the prudent and laborious in the ruin which falls upon
the rash and reckless. He declared himself satisfied with the state of the
currency of France, with which, if fortunes were not suddenly built up
they were not suddenly overthrown, and periods of apparent prosperity were
not followed by seasons of real distress.

I made the journey from Marseilles to Florence by land. How grand and wild
are the mountains that overlook the Mediterranean; how intense was the
heat as we wound our way along the galleries of rock cut to form a road;
how excellent are the fruits, and how thick the mosquitoes at Nice; how
sumptuous are the palaces, how narrow and dark the streets, and how pallid
the dames of Genoa; and how beautiful we found our path among the trees
overrun with vines as we approached southern Italy, are matters which I
will take some other opportunity of relating. On the 12th of September
our _vetturino_ set us down safe at the _Hotel de l'Europe_ in Florence.

I think I shall return to America even a better patriot than when I left
it. A citizen of the United States travelling on the continent of Europe,
finds the contrast between a government of power and a government of
opinion forced upon him at every step. He finds himself delayed at every
large town and at every frontier of a kingdom or principality, to submit
to a strict examination of the passport with which the jealousy of the
rulers of these countries has compelled him to furnish himself. He sees
everywhere guards and sentinels armed to the teeth, stationed in the midst
of a population engaged in their ordinary occupations in a time of
profound peace; and to supply the place of the young and robust thus
withdrawn from the labors of agriculture he beholds women performing the
work of the fields. He sees the many retained in a state of hopeless
dependence and poverty, the effect of institutions forged by the ruling
class to accumulate wealth in their own hands. The want of self-respect in
the inferior class engendered by this state of things, shows itself in the
acts of rapacity and fraud which the traveller meets with throughout
France and Italy, and, worse still, in the shameless corruption of the
Italian custom-houses, the officers of which regularly solicit a paltry
bribe from every passenger as the consideration of leaving his baggage
unexamined. I am told that in this place the custom of giving presents
extends even to the courts of justice, the officers of which, from the
highest to the lowest, are in the constant practice of receiving them. No
American can see how much jealousy and force on the one hand, and
necessity and fear on the other, have to do with keeping up the existing
governments of Europe, without thanking heaven that such is not the
condition of his own country.

Letter III.

Tuscan Scenery and Climate.

Florence, _October_ 11, 1834.

The bridge over the Arno, immediately under my window, is the spot from
which Cole's fine landscape, which you perhaps remember seeing in the
exhibition of our Academy, was taken. It gives, you may recollect, a view
of the Arno travelling off towards the west, its banks overhung with
trees, the mountain-ridges rising in the distance, and above them the sky
flushed with the colors of sunset. The same rich hues I behold every
evening in the quarter where they were seen by the artist when he made
them permanent on his canvas.

There is a great deal of prattle about Italian skies: the skies and clouds
of Italy, so far as I have had an opportunity of judging, do not present
so great a variety of beautiful appearances as our own; but the Italian
atmosphere is far more uniformly fine than ours. Not to speak of its
astonishing clearness, it is pervaded by a certain warmth of color which
enriches every object. This is more remarkable about the time of sunset,
when the mountains put on an aerial aspect, as if they belonged to another
and fairer world; and a little after the sun has gone down, the air is
flushed with a glory which seems to transfigure all that it incloses. Many
of the fine old palaces of Florence, you know, are built in a gloomy
though grand style of architecture, of a dark-colored stone, massive and
lofty, and overlooking narrow streets that lie in almost perpetual shade.
But at the hour of which I am speaking, the bright warm radiance reflected
from the sky to the earth, fills the darkest lanes, streams into the most
shadowy nooks, and makes the prison-like structures glitter as with a
brightness of their own.

It is now nearly the middle of October, and we have had no frost. The
strong summer heats which prevailed when I came hither, have by the
slowest gradations subsided into an agreeable autumnal temperature. The
trees keep their verdure, but I perceive their foliage growing thinner,
and when I walk in the Cascine on the other side of the Arno, the rustling
of the lizards, as they run among the heaps of crisp leaves, reminds me
that the autumn is wearing away, though the ivy which clothes the old elms
has put forth a profuse array of blossoms, and the walks murmur with bees
like our orchards in spring. As I look along the declivities of the
Appenines, I see the raw earth every day more visible between the ranks of
olive-trees and the well-pruned maples which support the vines.

If I have found my expectations of Italian scenery, in some respects,
below the reality, in other respects they have been disappointed. The
forms of the mountains are wonderfully picturesque, and their effect is
heightened by the rich atmosphere through which they are seen, and by the
buildings, imposing from their architecture or venerable from time, which
crown the eminences. But if the hand of man has done something to
embellish this region, it has done more to deform it. Not a tree is
suffered to retain its natural shape, not a brook to flow in its natural
channel. An exterminating war is carried on against the natural herbage of
the soil. The country is without woods and green fields; and to him who
views the vale of the Arno "from the top of Fiesole," or any of the
neighboring heights, grand as he will allow the circle of the mountains to
be, and magnificent the edifices with which the region is adorned, it
appears, at any time after midsummer, a huge valley of dust, planted with
low rows of the pallid and thin-leaved olive, or the more dwarfish maple
on which the vines are trained. The simplicity of nature, so far as can be
done, is destroyed; there is no fine sweep of forest, no broad expanse of
meadow or pasture ground, no ancient and towering trees clustered about
the villas, no rows of natural shrubbery following the course of the
brooks and rivers. The streams, which are often but the beds of torrents
dry during the summer, are confined in straight channels by stone walls
and embankments; the slopes are broken up and disfigured by terraces; and
the trees are kept down by constant pruning and lopping, until half way up
the sides of the Appenines, where the limit of cultivation is reached,
and thence to the summit is a barren steep of rock, without herbage or
soil. The grander features of the landscape, however, are fortunately
beyond the power of man to injure; the lofty mountain-summits, bare
precipices cleft with chasms, and pinnacles of rock piercing the sky,
betokening, far more than any thing I have seen elsewhere, a breaking up
of the crust of the globe in some early period of its existence. I am told
that in May and June the country is much more beautiful than at present,
and that owing to a drought it now appears under a particular

The Academy of the Fine Arts has had its exhibition since I arrived. In
its rooms, which were gratuitously open to the public, I found a large
crowd of gazers at the pictures and statues. Many had come to look at some
work ordered by an acquaintance; others made the place a morning lounge.
In the collection were some landscapes by Morghen, the son of the
celebrated engraver, very fresh and clear; a few pieces sent by Bezzoli,
one of the most eminent Italian painters of his time; a statue of Galileo,
not without merit, by Costoli, for there is always a Galileo or two, I
believe, at every exhibition of the kind in Florence; portraits good, bad,
and indifferent, in great abundance, and many square feet of canvas
spoiled by attempts at historical painting.

Let me remark, by the way, that a work of art is a sacred thing in the
eyes of Italians of all classes, never to be defaced, never to be
touched, a thing to be looked at merely. A statue may stand for ages in a
public square, within the reach of any one who passes, and with no
sentinel to guard it, and yet it shall not only be safe from mutilation,
but the surface of the marble shall never be scratched, or even
irreverently scored with a lead pencil. So general is this reverence for
art, that the most perfect confidence is reposed in it. I remember that in
Paris, as I was looking at a colossal plaster cast of Napoleon at the
Hotel des Invalides, a fellow armed with a musket who stood by it bolt
upright, in the stiff attitude to which the soldier is drilled, gruffly
reminded me that I was too near, though I was not within four feet of it.
In Florence it is taken for granted that you will do no mischief, and
therefore you are not watched.

Letter IV.

A Day in Florence.

Pisa, _December_ 11, 1834.

It is gratifying to be able to communicate a piece of political
intelligence from so quiet a nook of the world as this. Don Miguel arrived
here the other day from Genoa, where you know there was a story that he
and the Duchess of Berri, a hopeful couple, were laying their heads
together. He went to pay his respects to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, who is
now at Pisa, and it was said by the gossips of the place that he was
coldly received, and was given to understand that he could not be allowed
to remain in the Tuscan territory. There was probably nothing in all this.
Don Miguel has now departed for Rome, and the talk of to-day is that he
will return before the end of the winter. He is doubtless wandering about
to observe in what manner he is received at the petty courts which are
influenced by the Austrian policy, and in the mean time lying in wait for
some favorable opportunity of renewing his pretensions to the crown of

Pisa offers a greater contrast to Florence than I had imagined could exist
between two Italian cities. This is the very seat of idleness and
slumber; while Florence, from being the residence of the Court, and from
the vast number of foreigners who throng to it, presents during several
months of the year an appearance of great bustle and animation. Four
thousand English, an American friend tells me, visit Florence every
winter, to say nothing of the occasional residents from France, Germany,
and Russia. The number of visitors from the latter country is every year
increasing, and the echoes of the Florence gallery have been taught to
repeat the strange accents of the Sclavonic. Let me give you the history
of a fine day in October, passed at the window of my lodgings on the Lung'
Arno, close to the bridge _Alla Carraja_. Waked by the jangling of all the
bells in Florence and by the noise of carriages departing loaded with
travellers, for Rome and other places in the south of Italy, I rise, dress
myself, and take my place at the window. I see crowds of men and women
from the country, the former in brown velvet jackets, and the latter in
broad-brimmed straw hats, driving donkeys loaded with panniers or
trundling hand-carts before them, heaped with grapes, figs, and all the
fruits of the orchard, the garden, and the field. They have hardly passed,
when large flocks of sheep and goats make their appearance, attended by
shepherds and their families, driven by the approach of winter from the
Appenines, and seeking the pastures of the Maremma, a rich, but, in the
summer, an unhealthy tract on the coast; The men and boys are dressed in
knee-breeches, the women in bodices, and both sexes wear capotes with
pointed hoods, and felt hats with conical crowns; they carry long staves
in their hands, and their arms are loaded with kids and lambs too young to
keep pace with their mothers. After the long procession of sheep and goats
and dogs and men and women and children, come horses loaded with cloths
and poles for tents, kitchen utensils, and the rest of the younglings of
the flock. A little after sunrise I see well-fed donkeys, in coverings of
red cloth, driven over the bridge to be milked for invalids.
Maid-servants, bareheaded, with huge high carved combs in their hair,
waiters of coffee-houses carrying the morning cup of coffee or chocolate
to their customers, baker's boys with a dozen loaves on a board balanced
on their heads, milkmen with rush baskets filled with flasks of milk, are
crossing the streets in all directions. A little later the bell of the
small chapel opposite to my window rings furiously for a quarter of an
hour, and then I hear mass chanted in a deep strong nasal tone. As the day
advances, the English, in white hats and white pantaloons, come out of
their lodgings, accompanied sometimes by their hale and square-built
spouses, and saunter stiffly along the Arno, or take their way to the
public galleries and museums. Their massive, clean, and brightly-polished
carriages also begin to rattle through the streets, setting out on
excursions to some part of the environs of Florence--to Fiesole, to the
Pratolino, to the Bello Sguardo, to the Poggio Imperiale. Sights of a
different kind now present themselves. Sometimes it is a troop of stout
Franciscan friars, in sandals and brown robes, each carrying his staff and
wearing a brown broad-brimmed hat with a hemispherical crown. Sometimes it
is a band of young theological students, in purple cassocks with red
collars and cuffs, let out on a holiday, attended by their clerical
instructors, to ramble in the Cascine. There is a priest coming over the
bridge, a man of venerable age and great reputation for sanctity--the
common people crowd around him to kiss his hand, and obtain a kind word
from him as he passes. But what is that procession of men in black gowns,
black gaiters, and black masks, moving swiftly along, and bearing on their
shoulders a litter covered with black cloth? These are the _Brethren of
Mercy_, who have assembled at the sound of the cathedral bell, and are
conveying some sick or wounded person to the hospital. As the day begins
to decline, the numbers of carriages in the streets, filled with
gaily-dressed people attended by servants in livery, increases. The Grand
Duke's equipage, an elegant carriage drawn by six horses, with coachmen,
footmen, and outriders in drab-colored livery, comes from the Pitti
Palace, and crosses the Arno, either by the bridge close to my lodgings,
or by that called _Alla Santa Trinita_, which is in full sight from the
windows. The Florentine nobility, with their families, and the English
residents, now throng to the Cascine, to drive at a slow pace through its
thickly-planted walks of elms, oaks, and ilexes. As the sun is sinking I
perceive the Quay, on the other side of the Arno, filled with a moving
crowd of well-dressed people, walking to and fro, and enjoying the beauty
of the evening. Travellers now arrive from all quarters, in cabriolets, in
calashes, in the shabby _vettura_, and in the elegant private carriage
drawn by post-horses, and driven by postillions in the tightest possible
deer-skin breeches, the smallest red coats, and the hugest jack-boots. The
streets about the doors of the hotels resound with the cracking of whips
and the stamping of horses, and are encumbered with carriages, heaps of
baggage, porters, postillions, couriers, and travellers. Night at length
arrives--the time of spectacles and funerals. The carriages rattle towards
the opera-houses. Trains of people, sometimes in white robes and sometimes
in black, carrying blazing torches and a cross elevated on a high pole
before a coffin, pass through the streets chanting the service for the
dead. The Brethren of Mercy may also be seen engaged in their office. The
rapidity of their pace, the flare of their torches, the gleam of their
eyes through their masks, and their sable garb, give them a kind of
supernatural appearance. I return to bed, and fall asleep amidst the
shouts of people returning from the opera, singing as they go snatches of
the music with which they had been entertained during the evening.

Such is a picture of what passes every day at Florence--in Pisa, on the
contrary, all is stagnation and repose--even the presence of the
sovereign, who usually passes a part of the winter here, is incompetent
to give a momentary liveliness to the place. The city is nearly as large
as Florence, with not a third of its population; the number of strangers
is few; most of them are invalids, and the rest are the quietest people in
the world. The rattle of carriages is rarely heard in the streets; in some
of which there prevails a stillness so complete that you might imagine
them deserted of their inhabitants. I have now been here three weeks, and
on one occasion only have I seen the people of the place awakened to
something like animation. It was the feast of the Conception of the
Blessed Virgin; the Lung' Arno was strewn with boughs of laurel and
myrtle, and the Pisan gentry promenaded for an hour under my window.

On my leaving Florence an incident occurred, which will illustrate the
manner of doing public business in this country. I had obtained my
passport from the Police Office, _vised_ for Pisa. It was then Friday, and
I was told that it would answer until ten o'clock on Tuesday morning.
Unluckily I did not present myself at the Leghorn gate of Florence until
eleven o'clock on that day. A young man in a military hat, sword, and blue
uniform, came to the carriage and asked for my passport, which I handed
him. In a short time he appeared again and desired me to get out and go
with him to the apartment in the side of the gate. I went and saw a
middle-aged man dressed in the same manner, sitting at the table with my
passport before him. "I am sorry," said he, "to say that your passport is
not regular, and that my duty compels me to detain you." "What is the
matter with the passport?" "The _vise_ is of more than three days
standing." I exerted all my eloquence to persuade him that an hour was of
no consequence, and that the public welfare would not suffer by letting me
pass, but he remained firm. "The law," he said, "is positive; I am
compelled to execute it. If I were to suffer you to depart, and my
superiors were to know it, I should lose my office and incur the penalty
of five days' imprisonment."

I happened to have a few coins in my pocket, and putting in my hand, I
caused them to jingle a little against each other. "Your case is a hard
one," said the officer, "I suppose you are desirous to get on." "Yes--my
preparations are all made, and it will be a great inconvenience for me to
remain." "What say you," he called out to his companion who stood in the
door looking into the street, "shall we let them pass? They seem to be
decent people." The young man mumbled some sort of answer. "Here," said
the officer, holding out to me my passport, but still keeping it between
his thumb and finger, "I give you back your passport, and consent to your
leaving Florence, but I wish you particularly to consider that in so
doing, I risk the loss of my place and an imprisonment of five days." He
then put the paper into my hand, and I put into his the expected gratuity.
As I went to the carriage, he followed and begged me to say nothing of the
matter to any one. I was admitted into Pisa with less difficulty. It was
already dark; I expected that my baggage would undergo a long examination
as usual; and I knew that I had some dutiable articles. To my
astonishment, however, my trunks were allowed to pass without being
opened, or even the payment of the customary gratuity. I was told
afterwards that my Italian servant had effected this by telling the
custom-house officers some lie about my being the American Minister.

Pisa has a delightful winter climate, though Madame de Stael has left on
record a condemnation of it, having passed here a season of unusually bad
weather. Orange and lemon trees grow in the open air, and are now loaded
with ripe fruit. The fields in the environs are green with grass nourished
by abundant rains, and are spotted with daisies in blossom. Crops of flax
and various kinds of pulse are showing themselves above the ground, a
circumstance sufficient to show that the cultivators expect nothing like
what we call winter.

Letter V.

Practices of the Italian Courts.

Florence, _May_ 12, 1835.

Night before last, a man-child was born to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and
yesterday was a day of great rejoicing in consequence. The five hundred
bells of Florence kept up a horrid ringing through the day, and in the
evening the public edifices and many private houses were illuminated.
To-day and to-morrow the rejoicings continue, and in the mean time the
galleries and museums are closed, lest idle people should amuse themselves
rationally. The Tuscans are pleased with the birth of an heir to the
Dukedom, first because the succession is likely to be kept in a good sort
of a family, and secondly because for want of male children it would have
reverted to the House of Austria, and the province would have been
governed by a foreigner. I am glad of it, also, for the sake of the poor
Tuscans, who are a mild people, and if they must be under a despotism,
deserve to live under a good-natured one.

An Austrian Prince, if he were to govern Tuscany as the Emperor governs
the Lombardo-Venetian territory, would introduce a more just and efficient
system of administering the laws between man and man, but at the same
time a more barbarous severity to political offenders. I saw at Volterra,
last spring, four persons who were condemned at Florence for an alleged
conspiracy against the state. They were walking with instruments of music
in their hands, on the top of the fortress, which commands an extensive
view of mountain, vale, and sea, including the lower Val d'Arno, and
reaching to Leghorn, and even to Corsica. They were well-dressed, and I
was assured their personal comfort was attended to. A different treatment
is the fate of the state prisoners who languish in the dungeons of
Austria. In Tuscany no man's life is taken for any offense whatever, and
banishment is a common sentence against those who are deemed dangerous or
intractable subjects. In all the other provinces a harsher system
prevails. In Sardinia capital executions for political causes are
frequent, and long and mysterious detentions are resorted to, as in
Lombardy, with a view to strike terror into the minds of a discontented

The royal family of Naples kill people by way of amusement. Prince
Charles, a brother of the king, sometime in the month of April last, found
an old man cutting myrtle twigs on some of the royal hunting-grounds, of
which he has the superintendence. He directed his attendants to seize the
offender and tie him to a tree, and when they had done this ordered them
to shoot him. This they refused, upon which he took a loaded musket from
the hands of one of them, and with the greatest deliberation shot him
dead upon the spot. His Royal Highness soon after set out for Rome to
amuse himself with the ceremonies of the Holy Week, and to figure at the
balls given by Torlonia and other Roman nobles, where he signalized
himself by his attentions to the English ladies.

Of the truth of the story I have related I have been assured by several
respectable persons in Naples. About the middle of May I was at the spot
where the murder was said to have been committed. It was on the borders of
the lake of Agnano. We reached it by a hollow winding road, cut deep
through the hills and rocks thousands of years ago. It was a pretty and
solitary spot; a neat pavilion of the royal family stood on the shore, and
the air was fragrant with the blossoms of the white clover and the
innumerable flowers which the soil of Italy, for a short season before the
summer heats and drought, pours forth so profusely. The lake is evidently
the crater of an old volcano: it lies in a perfect bowl of hills, and the
perpetual escape of gas, bubbling up through the water, shows that the
process of chemical decomposition in the earth below has not yet ceased.
Close by, in the side of the circular hill that surrounds the lake, stands
the famous _Grotto del Cane_, closed with a door to enable the keeper to
get a little money from the foreigners who come to visit it. You may be
sure I was careful not to trim any of the myrtles with my penknife.

But to return to Tuscany--it is after all little better than an Austrian
province, like the other countries of Italy. The Grand Duke is a near
relative of the Emperor; he has the rank of colonel in the Austrian
service, and a treaty of offense and defense obliges him to take part in
the wars of Austria to the extent of furnishing ten thousand soldiers. It
is well understood that he is watched by the agents of the Austrian
Government here, who form a sort of high police, to which he and his
cabinet are subject, and that he would not venture upon any measure of
national policy, nor even displace or appoint a minister, without the
consent of Metternich.

The birth of a son to the Grand Duke has been signalized, I have just
learned, by a display of princely munificence. Five thousand crowns have
been presented to the Archbishop who performed the ceremony of christening
the child; the servants of the ducal household have received two months'
wages, in addition to their usual salary; five hundred young women have
received marriage portions of thirty crowns each; all the articles of
property at the great pawnbroking establishments managed by goverment,
pledged for a less sum than four livres, have been restored to the owners
without payment; and finally, all persons confined for larceny and other
offences of a less degree than homicide and other enormous crimes, have
been liberated and turned loose upon society again. The Grand Duke can
well afford to be generous, for from a million and three hundred thousand
people he draws, by taxation, four millions of crowns annually, of which a
million only is computed to be expended in the military and civil
expenses of his government. The remainder is of course applied to keeping
up the state of a prince and to the enriching of his family. He passes,
you know, for one of the richest potentates in Europe.

Letter VI.

Venice.--The Tyrol.

Munich, _August_ 6, 1835.

Since my last letter I have visited Venice, a city which realizes the old
mythological fable of beauty born of the sea. I must confess, however,
that my first feeling on entering it was that of disappointment. As we
passed in our gondola out of the lagoons, up one of the numerous canals,
which, permeate the city in every direction in such a manner that it seems
as if you could only pass your time either within doors or in a boat, the
place appeared to me a vast assemblage of prisons surrounded with their
moats, and I thought how weary I should soon grow of my island prison, and
how glad to escape again to the main-land. But this feeling quickly gave
way to delight and admiration, when I landed and surveyed the clean though
narrow streets, never incommoded by dust nor disturbed by the noise and
jostling of carriages and horses, by which you may pass to every part of
the city--when I looked again at the rows of superb buildings, with their
marble steps ascending out of the water of the canals, in which the
gondolas were shooting by each other--when I stood in the immense square
of St. Mark, surrounded by palaces resting on arcades, under which the
shops rival in splendor those of Paris, and crowds of the gay inhabitants
of both sexes assemble towards evening and sit in groups before the doors
of the coffee-houses--and when I gazed on the barbaric magnificence of the
church of St. Mark and the Doge's palace, surrounded by the old emblems of
the power of Venice, and overlooking the Adriatic, once the empire of the
republic. The architecture of Venice has to my eyes, something watery and
oceanic in its aspect. Under the hands of Palladio, the Grecian orders
seemed to borrow the lightness and airiness of the Gothic. As you look at
the numerous windows and the multitude of columns which give a striated
appearance to the fronts of the palaces, you think of stalactites and
icicles, such as you might imagine to ornament the abodes of the
water-gods and sea-nymphs. The only thing needed to complete the poetic
illusion is transparency or brilliancy of color, and this is wholly
wanting; for at Venice the whitest marble is soon clouded and blackened by
the corrosion of the sea-air.

It is not my intention, however, to do so hackneyed a thing as to give a
description of Venice. One thing, I must confess, seemed to me
extraordinary: how this city, deprived as it is of the commerce which
built it up from the shallows of the Adriatic, and upheld it so long and
so proudly, should not have decayed even more rapidly than it has done.
Trieste has drawn from it almost all its trade, and flourishes by its
decline. I walked through the arsenal of Venice, which comprehends the
Navy Yard, an enormous structure, with ranges of broad lofty roofs
supported by massive portions of wall, and spacious dock-yards; the whole
large enough to build and fit out a navy for the British empire. The
pleasure-boats of Napoleon and his empress, and that of the present
Viceroy, are there: but the ships of war belonging to the republic have
mouldered away with the Bucentaur. I saw, however, two Austrian vessels,
the same which had conveyed the Polish exiles to New York, lying under
shelter in the docks, as if placed there to show who were the present
masters of the place. It was melancholy to wander through the vast
unoccupied spaces of this noble edifice, and to think what must have been
the riches, the power, the prosperity, and the hopes of Venice at the time
it was built, and what they are at the present moment. It seems almost
impossible that any thing should take place to arrest the ruin which is
gradually consuming this renowned city. Some writers have asserted that
the lagoons around it are annually growing shallower by the depositions of
earth brought down by streams from the land, that they must finally become
marshes, and that their consequent insalubrity will drive the inhabitants
from Venice. I do not know how this may be; but the other causes I have
mentioned seem likely to produce nearly the same effect. I remembered, as
these ideas passed through my mind, a passage in which one of the sacred
poets foretells the desertion and desolation of Tyre, "the city that made
itself glorious in the midst of the seas,"

"Thy riches and thy fairs, thy merchandise, thy mariners and thy pilots,
thy calkers and the occupiers of thy merchandise, and all thy men of war
that are in thee, shall fall into the midst of the seas in the day of
thy ruin."

I left this most pleasing of the Italian cities which I had seen, on the
24th of June, and took the road for the Tyrol. We passed through a level
fertile country, formerly the territory of Venice, watered by the Piave,
which ran blood in one of Bonaparte's battles. At evening we arrived at
Ceneda, where our Italian poet Da Ponte was born, situated just at the
base of the Alps, the rocky peaks and irregular spires of which,
beautifully green with the showery season, rose in the background. Ceneda
seems to have something of German cleanliness about it, and the floors of
a very comfortable inn at which we stopped were of wood, the first we had
seen in Italy, though common throughout the Tyrol and the rest of Germany.
A troop of barelegged boys, just broke loose from school, whooping and
swinging their books and slates in the air, passed under my window. Such a
sight you will not see in southern Italy. The education of the people is
neglected, except in those provinces which are under the government of
Austria. It is a government severe and despotic enough in all conscience,
but by providing the means of education for all classes, it is doing more
than it is aware of to prepare them for the enjoyment of free
institutions. In the Lombardo-Venetian kingdom, as it is called, there are
few children who do not attend the public schools.

On leaving Ceneda, we entered a pass in the mountains, the gorge of which
was occupied by the ancient town of Serravalle, resting on arcades, the
architecture of which denoted that it was built during the middle ages.
Near it I remarked an old castle, which formerly commanded the pass, one
of the finest ruins of the kind I had ever seen. It had a considerable
extent of battlemented wall in perfect preservation, and both that and its
circular tower were so luxuriantly loaded with ivy that they seemed almost
to have been cut out of the living verdure. As we proceeded we became
aware how worthy this region was to be the birthplace of a poet. A rapid
stream, a branch of the Piave, tinged of a light and somewhat turbid blue
by the soil of the mountains, came tumbling and roaring down the narrow
valley; perpendicular precipices rose on each side; and beyond, the
gigantic brotherhood of the Alps, in two long files of steep pointed
summits, divided by deep ravines, stretched away in the sunshine to the
northeast. In the face of one the precipices by the way-side, a marble
slab is fixed, informing the traveller that the road was opened by the
late Emperor of Germany in the year 1830. We followed this romantic valley
for a considerable distance, passing several little blue lakes lying in
their granite basins, one of which is called the _Lago morto_ or Dead
Lake, from having no outlet for its waters. At length we began to ascend,
by a winding road, the steep sides of the Alps--the prospect enlarging as
we went, the mountain summits rising to sight around us, one behind
another, some of them white with snow, over which the wind blew with a
wintery keenness--deep valleys opening below us, and gulfs yawning between
rocks over which old bridges were thrown--and solemn fir forests clothing
the broad declivities. The farm-houses placed on these heights, instead of
being of brick or stone, as in the plains and valleys below, were
principally built of wood; the second story, which served for a barn,
being encircled by a long gallery, and covered with a projecting roof of
plank held down with large stones. We stopped at Venas, a wretched place
with a wretched inn, the hostess of which showed us a chin swollen with
the _goitre_, and ushered us into dirty comfortless rooms where we passed
the night. When we awoke the rain was beating against the windows, and, on
looking out, the forest and sides of the neighboring mountains, at a
little height above us, appeared hoary with snow. We set out in the rain,
but had not proceeded far before we heard the sleet striking against the
windows of the carriage, and soon came to where the snow covered the
ground to the depth of one or two inches. Continuing to ascend, we passed
out of Italy and entered the Tyrol. The storm had ceased before we went
through the first Tyrolese village, and we could not help being struck
with the change in the appearance of the inhabitants--the different
costume, the less erect figures, the awkward gait, the lighter
complexions, the neatly-kept habitations, and the absence of beggars. As
we advanced, the clouds began to roll off from the landscape, disclosing
here and there, through openings in their broad skirts as they swept
along, glimpses of the profound valleys below us, and of the white sides
and summits of mountains in the mid-sky above. At length the sun appeared,
and revealed a prospect of such wildness, grandeur, and splendor as I had
never before seen. Lofty peaks of the most fantastic shapes, with deep
clefts between, sharp needles of rocks, and overhanging crags, infinite in
multitude, shot up everywhere around us, glistening in the new-fallen
snow, with thin wreaths of mist creeping along their sides. At intervals,
swollen torrents, looking at a distance like long trains of foam, came
thundering down the mountains, and crossing the road, plunged into the
verdant valleys which winded beneath. Beside the highway were fields of
young grain, pressed to the ground with the snow; and in the meadows,
ranunculuses of the size of roses, large yellow violets, and a thousand
other Alpine flowers of the most brilliant hues, were peeping through
their white covering. We stopped to breakfast at a place called Landro, a
solitary inn, in the midst of this grand scenery, with a little chapel
beside it. The water from the dissolving snow was dropping merrily from
the roof in a bright June sun. We needed not to be told that we were in
Germany, for we saw it plainly enough in the nicely-washed floor of the
apartment into which we were shown, in the neat cupboard with the old
prayer-book lying upon it, and in the general appearance of housewifery, a
quality unknown in Italy; to say nothing of the evidence we had in the
beer and tobacco-smoke of the travellers' room, and the guttural dialect
and quiet tones of the guests.

From Landro we descended gradually into the beautiful valleys of the
Tyrol, leaving the snow behind, though the white peaks of the mountains
were continually in sight. At Bruneck, in an inn resplendent with
neatness--so at least it seemed to our eyes accustomed to the negligence
and dirt of Italian housekeeping--we had the first specimen of a German
bed. It is narrow and short, and made so high at the head, by a number of
huge square bolsters and pillows, that you rather sit than lie. The
principal covering is a bag of down, very properly denominated the upper
bed, and between this and the feather-bed below, the traveller is expected
to pass the night. An asthmatic patient on a cold winter night might
perhaps find such a couch tolerably comfortable, if he could prevent the
narrow covering from slipping off on one side or the other. The next day
we were afforded an opportunity of observing more closely the inhabitants
of this singular region, by a festival, or holiday of some sort, which
brought them into the roads in great numbers, arrayed in their best
dresses--the men in short jackets and small-clothes, with broad
gay-colored suspenders over their waistcoats, and leathern belts
ornamented with gold or silver leaf--the women in short petticoats
composed of horizontal bands of different colors--and both sexes, for the
most part, wearing broad-brimmed hats with hemispherical crowns, though
there was a sugar-loaf variety much affected by the men, adorned with a
band of lace and sometimes a knot of flowers. They are a robust,
healthy-looking race, though they have an awkward stoop in the shoulders.
But what struck me most forcibly was the devotional habits of the people.
The Tyrolese might be cited as an illustration of the remark, that
mountaineers are more habitually and profoundly religious than others.
Persons of all sexes, young and old, whom we meet in the road, were
repeating their prayers audibly. We passed a troop of old women, all in
broad-brimmed hats and short gray petticoats, carrying long staves, one of
whom held a bead-roll and gave out the prayers, to which the others made
the responses in chorus. They looked at us so solemnly from under their
broad brims, and marched along with so grave and deliberate a pace, that I
could hardly help fancying that the wicked Austrians had caught a dozen
elders of the respectable society of Friends, and put them in petticoats
to punish them for their heresy. We afterward saw persons going to the
labors of the day, or returning, telling their rosaries and saying their
prayers as they went, as if their devotions had been their favorite
amusement. At regular intervals of about half a mile, we saw wooden
crucifixes erected by the way-side, covered from the weather with little
sheds, bearing the image of the Saviour, crowned with thorns and
frightfully dashed with streaks and drops of red paint, to represent the
blood that flowed from his wounds. The outer walls of the better kind of
houses were ornamented with paintings in fresco, and the subjects of these
were mostly sacred, such as the Virgin and Child, the Crucifixion, and the
Ascension. The number of houses of worship was surprising; I do not mean
spacious or stately churches such as we meet with in Italy, but most
commonly little chapels dispersed so as best to accommodate the
population. Of these the smallest neighborhood has one for the morning
devotions of its inhabitants, and even the solitary inn has its little
consecrated building with its miniature spire, for the convenience of
pious wayfarers. At Sterzing, a little village beautifully situated at the
base of the mountain called the Brenner, and containing, as I should
judge, not more than two or three thousand inhabitants, we counted seven
churches and chapels within the compass of a square mile. The observances
of the Roman Catholic church are nowhere more rigidly complied with than
in the Tyrol. When we stopped at Bruneck on Friday evening, I happened to
drop a word about a little meat for dinner in a conversation with the
spruce-looking landlady, who appeared so shocked that I gave up the point,
on the promise of some excellent and remarkably well-flavored trout from
the stream that flowed through the village--a promise that was literally
fulfilled. At the post-house on the Brenner, where we stopped on Saturday
evening, we were absolutely refused any thing but soup-maigre and fish;
the postmaster telling us that the priest had positively forbidden meat to
be given to travellers. Think of that!--that we who had eaten wild-boar
and pheasants on Good Friday, at Rome, under the very nostrils of the Pope
himself and his whole conclave of Cardinals, should be refused a morsel of
flesh on an ordinary Saturday, at a tavern on a lonely mountain in the
Tyrol, by the orders of a parish priest! Before getting our soup-maigre,
we witnessed another example of Tyrolese devotion. Eight or ten
travellers, apparently laboring men, took possession of the entrance hall
of the inn, and kneeling, poured forth their orisons in the German
language for half an hour with no small appearance of fervency. In the
morning when we were ready to set out, we inquired for our coachman, an
Italian, and found that he too, although not remarkably religious, had
caught something of the spirit of the place, and was at the _Gotteshaus_,
as the waiter called the tavern chapel, offering his morning prayers.

We descended the Brenner on the 28th of June in a snow-storm, the wind
whirling the light flakes in the air as it does with us in winter. It
changed to rain, however, as we approached the beautiful and picturesque
valley watered by the river Inn, on the banks of wrhich stands the fine
old town of Innsbruck, the capital of the Tyrol. Here we visited the
Church of the Holy Cross, in which is the bronze tomb of Maximilian I. and
twenty or thirty bronze statues ranged on each side of the nave,
representing fierce warrior chiefs, and gowned prelates, and stately
damsels of the middle ages. These are all curious for the costume; the
warriors are cased in various kinds of ancient armor, and brandish various
ancient weapons, and the robes of the females are flowing and by no means
ungraceful. Almost every one of the statues has its hands and fingers in
some constrained and awkward position; as if the artist knew as little
what to do with them as some awkward and bashful people know what to do
with their own. Such a crowd of figures in that ancient garb, occupying
the floor in the midst of the living worshipers of the present day, has an
effect which at first is startling. From Innsbruck we climbed and crossed
another mountain-ridge, scarcely less wild and majestic in its scenery
than those we had left behind. On descending, we observed that the
crucifixes had disappeared from the roads, and the broad-brimmed and
sugar-loaf hats from the heads of the peasantry; the men wore hats
contracted in the middle of the crown like an hour-glass, and the women
caps edged with a broad band of black fur, the frescoes on the outside of
the houses became less frequent; in short it was apparent that we had
entered a different region, even if the custom-house and police officers
on the frontier had not signified to us that we were now in the kingdom
of Bavaria. We passed through extensive forests of fir, here and there
checkered with farms, and finally came to the broad elevated plain bathed
by the Isar, in which Munich is situated.

Letter VII.

An Excursion to Rock River.

Princeton, Illinois, _June_ 21, 1841.

I have just returned from an excursion to Rock River, one of the most
beautiful of our western streams.

We left Princeton on the 17th of the month, and after passing a belt of
forest which conceals one of the branches of the Bureau River, found
ourselves upon the wide, unfenced prairie, spreading away on every side
until it met the horizon. Flocks of turtle-doves rose from our path scared
at our approach; quails and rabbits were seen running before us; the
prairie-squirrel, a little striped animal of the marmot kind, crossed the
road; we started plovers by the dozen, and now and then a prairie-hen,
which flew off heavily into the grassy wilderness. With these animals the
open country is populous, but they have their pursuers and destroyers; not
the settlers of the region, for they do not shoot often except at a deer
or a wild turkey, or a noxious animal; but the prairie-hawk, the
bald-eagle, the mink, and the prairie-wolf, which make merciless havoc
among them and their brood.

About fifteen miles we came to Dad Joe's Grove, in the shadow of which,
thirteen years ago, a settler named Joe Smith, who had fought in the
battle of the Thames, one of the first white inhabitants of this region,
seated himself, and planted his corn, and gathered his crops quietly,
through the whole Indian war, without being molested by the savages,
though he was careful to lead his wife and family to a place of security.
As Smith was a settler of such long standing, he was looked to as a kind
of patriarch in the county, and to distinguish him from other Joe Smiths,
he received the venerable appellation of Dad. He has since removed to
another part of the state, but his well-known, hospitable cabin, inhabited
by another inmate, is still there, and his grove of tall trees, standing
on a ridge amidst the immense savannahs, yet retains his name. As we
descended into the prairie we were struck with the novelty and beauty of
the prospect which lay before us. The ground sank gradually and gently
into a low but immense basin, in the midst of which lies the marshy tract
called the Winnebago Swamp. To the northeast the sight was intercepted by
a forest in the midst of the basin, but to the northwest the prairies were
seen swelling up again in the smoothest slopes to their usual height, and
stretching away to a distance so vast that it seemed boldness in the eye
to follow them.

The Winnebagoes and other Indian tribes which formerly possessed this
country have left few memorials of their existence, except the names of
places. Now and then, as at Indiantown, near Princeton, you are shown the
holes in the ground where they stored their maize, and sometimes on the
borders of the rivers you see the trunks of trees which they felled,
evidently hacked by their tomahawks, but perhaps the most remarkable of
their remains are the paths across the prairies or beside the large
streams, called Indian trails--narrow and well-beaten ways, sometimes a
foot in depth, and many of them doubtless trodden for hundreds of years.

As we went down the ridge upon which stands Dad Joe's Grove, we saw many
boulders of rock lying on the surface of the soil of the prairies. The
western people, naturally puzzled to tell how they came there, give them
the expressive name of "lost rocks." We entered a forest of scattered
oaks, and after travelling for half an hour reached the Winnebago Swamp, a
tract covered with tall and luxuriant water-grass, which we crossed on a
causey built by a settler who keeps a toll-gate, and at the end of the
causey we forded a small stream called Winnebago Inlet. Crossing another
vast prairie we reached the neighborhood of Dixon, the approach to which
was denoted by groves, farm-houses, herds of cattle, and inclosed corn
fields, checkering the broad green prairie.

Dixon, named after an ancient settler of the place still living, is a
country town situated on a high bank of Rock River. Five years ago two
log-cabins only stood on the solitary shore, and now it is a considerable
village, with many neat dwellings, a commodious court-house, several
places of worship for the good people, and a jail for the rogues, built
with a triple wall of massive logs, but I was glad to see that it had no

Rock River flows through high prairies, and not, like most streams of the
West, through an alluvial country. The current is rapid, and the pellucid
waters glide over a bottom of sand and pebbles. Its admirers declare that
its shores unite the beauties of the Hudson and of the Connecticut. The
banks on either side are high and bold; sometimes they are perpendicular
precipices, the base of which stands in the running water; sometimes they
are steep grassy or rocky bluffs, with a space of dry alluvial land
between them and the stream; sometimes they rise by a gradual and easy
ascent to the general level of the region, and sometimes this ascent is
interrupted by a broad natural terrace. Majestic trees grow solitary or in
clumps on the grassy acclivities, or scattered in natural parks along the
lower lands upon the river, or in thick groves along the edge of the high
country. Back of the bluffs, extends a fine agricultural region, rich
prairies with an undulating surface, interspersed with groves. At the foot
of the bluffs break forth copious springs of clear water, which hasten in
little brooks to the river. In a drive which I took up the left bank of
the river, I saw three of these in the space of as many miles. One of
these is the spring which supplies the town of Dixon with water; the next
is a beautiful fountain rushing out from the rocks in the midst of a
clump of trees, as merrily and in as great a hurry as a boy let out of
school; the third is so remarkable as to have received a name. It is a
little rivulet issuing from a cavern six or seven feet high, and about
twenty from the entrance to the further end, at the foot of a
perpendicular precipice covered with forest-trees and fringed with bushes.

In the neighborhood of Dixon, a class of emigrants have established
themselves, more opulent and more luxurious in their tastes than most of
the settlers of the western country. Some of these have built elegant
mansions on the left bank of the river, amidst the noble trees which seem
to have grown up for that very purpose. Indeed, when I looked at them, I
could hardly persuade myself that they had not been planted to overshadow
older habitations. From the door of one of these dwellings I surveyed a
prospect of exceeding beauty. The windings of the river allowed us a sight
of its waters and its beautifully diversified banks to a great distance
each way, and in one direction a high prairie region was seen above the
woods that fringed the course of this river, of a lighter green than they,
and touched with the golden light of the setting sun.

I am told that the character of Rock River is, throughout its course, much
as I have described it in the neighborhood of Dixon, that its banks are
high and free from marshes, and its waters rapid and clear, from its
source in Wisconsin to where it enters the Mississippi amidst rocky
islands. What should make its shores unhealthy I can not see, yet they
who inhabit them are much subject to intermittent fevers. They tell you
very quietly that every body who comes to live there must take a
seasoning. I suppose that when this country becomes settled this will no
longer be the case. Rock River is not much subject to inundations, nor do
its waters become very low in summer. A project is on foot, I am told, to
navigate it with steam-vessels of a light draught.

When I arrived at Dixon I was told that the day before a man named
Bridge, living at Washington Grove, in Ogle county, came into town and
complained that he had received notice from a certain association that he
must leave the county before the seventeenth of the month, or that he
would be looked upon as a proper subject for Lynch law. He asked for
assistance to defend his person and dwelling against the lawless violence
of these men. The people of Dixon county came together and passed a
resolution to the effect, that they approved fully of what the inhabitants
of Ogle county had done, and that they allowed Mr. Bridge the term of four
hours to depart from the town of Dixon. He went away immediately, and in
great trepidation. This Bridge is a notorious confederate and harborer of
horse-thieves and counterfeiters. The thinly-settled portions of Illinois
are much exposed to the depredations of horse-thieves, who have a kind of
centre of operations in Ogle county, where it is said that they have a
justice of the peace and a constable among their own associates, and
where they contrive to secure a friend on the jury whenever any one of
their number is tried. Trial after trial has taken place, and it has been
found impossible to obtain a conviction on the clearest evidence, until
last April, when two horse-thieves being on trial eleven of the jury
threatened the twelfth with a taste of the cowskin unless he would bring
in a verdict of guilty. He did so, and the men were condemned. Before they
were removed to the state-prison, the court-house was burnt down and the
jail was in flames, but luckily they were extinguished without the
liberation of the prisoners. Such at length became the general feeling of
insecurity, that three hundred citizens of Ogle county, as I understand,
have formed themselves into a company of volunteers for the purpose of
clearing the county of these men. Two horse-thieves have been seized and
flogged, and Bridge, their patron, has been ordered to remove or abide the

As we were returning from Dixon on the morning of the 19th, we heard a
kind of humming noise in the grass, which one of the company said
proceeded from a rattlesnake. We dismounted and found in fact it was made
by a prairie-rattlesnake, which lay coiled around a tuft of herbage, and
which we soon dispatched. The Indians call this small variety of the
rattlesnake, the Massasauger. Horses are frequently bitten by it and come
to the doors of their owners with their heads horribly swelled but they
are recovered by the application of hartshorn. A little further on, one
of the party raised the cry of wolf, and looking we saw a prairie-wolf in
the path before us, a prick-eared animal of a reddish-gray color, standing
and gazing at us with great composure. As we approached, he trotted off
into the grass, with his nose near the ground, not deigning to hasten his
pace for our shouts, and shortly afterward we saw two others running in a
different direction.

The prairie-wolf is not so formidable an animal as the name of wolf would
seem to denote; he is quite as great a coward as robber, but he is
exceedingly mischievous. He never takes full-grown sheep unless he goes
with a strong troop of his friends, but seizes young lambs, carries off
sucking-pigs, robs the henroost, devours sweet corn in the gardens, and
plunders the water-melon patch. A herd of prairie-wolves will enter a
field of melons and quarrel about the division of the spoils as fiercely
and noisily as so many politicians. It is their way to gnaw a hole
immediately into the first melon they lay hold of. If it happens to be
ripe, the inside is devoured at once, if not, it is dropped and another is
sought out, and a quarrel is picked with the discoverer of a ripe one, and
loud and shrill is the barking, and fierce the growling and snapping which
is heard on these occasions. It is surprising, I am told, with what
dexterity a wolf will make the most of a melon; absorbing every remnant of
the pulp, and hollowing it out as clean as it could be scraped by a spoon.
This is when the allowance of melons is scarce, but when they are
abundant he is as careless and wasteful as a government agent.

Enough of natural history. I will finish my letter another day.

_June 26th_.

Let me caution all emigrants to Illinois not to handle too familiarly the
"wild parsnip," as it is commonly called, an umbelliferous plant growing
in the moist prairies of this region. I have handled it and have paid
dearly for it, having such a swelled face that I could scarcely see for
several days.

The regulators of Ogle county removed Bridge's family on Monday last and
demolished his house. He made preparations to defend himself, and kept
twenty armed men about him for two days, but thinking, at last, that the
regulators did not mean to carry their threats into effect, he dismissed
them. He has taken refuge with his friends, the Aikin family, who live, I
believe, in Jefferson Grove, in the same county, and who, it is said, have
also received notice to quit.

Letter VIII.

Examples of Lynch Law.

Princeton, Illinois, _July 2, 1841._

In my last letter I mentioned that the regulators in Ogle county, on Rock
River, in this state, had pulled down the house of one Bridge, living at
Washington Grove, a well-known confederate of the horse-thieves and
coiners with which this region is infested.

Horse-thieves are numerous in this part of the country. A great number of
horses are bred here; you see large herds of them feeding in the open
prairies, and at this season of the year every full-grown mare has a colt
running by her side. Most of the thefts are committed early in the spring,
when the grass begins to shoot, and the horses are turned out on the
prairie, and the thieves, having had little or no employment during the
winter, are needy; or else in the autumn, when the animals are kept near
the dwellings of their owners to be fed with Indian corn and are in
excellent order. The thieves select the best from the drove, and these are
passed from one station to another till they arrive at some distant market
where they are sold. It is said that they have their regular lines of
communication from Wisconsin to St. Louis, and from the Wabash to the
Mississippi. In Ogle county they seem to have been bolder than elsewhere,
and more successful, notwithstanding the notoriety of their crimes, in
avoiding punishment. The impossibility of punishing them by process of
law, the burning of the court-house at Oregon City last April, and the
threats of deadly vengeance thrown out by them against such as should
attempt to bring them to justice, led to the formation of a company of
citizens, "regulators" they call themselves, who resolved to take the law
into their own hands and drive the felons from the neighborhood. This is
not the first instance of the kind which has happened in Illinois. Some
twenty years since the southern counties contained a gang of
horse-thieves, so numerous and well-organized as to defy punishment by
legal means, and they were expelled by the same method which is now
adopted in Ogle county.

I have just learned, since I wrote the last sentence, that the society of
regulators includes, not only the county of Ogle, but those of De Kalb and
Winnebago, where the depredations of the horse-thieves and the perfect
impunity with which they manage to exercise their calling, have exhausted
the patience of the inhabitants. In those counties, as well as in Ogle,
their patrons live at some of the finest groves, where they own large
farms. Ten or twenty stolen horses will be brought to one of these places
of a night, and before sunrise the desperadoes employed to take them are
again mounted and on their way to some other station. In breaking up
these haunts, the regulators, I understand, have proceeded with some of
the formalities commonly used in administering justice. The accused party
has been allowed to make his defense, and witnesses have been examined,
both for and against him.

These proceedings, however, have lately suffered a most tragical
interruption. Not long after Bridge's house was pulled down, two men,
mounted and carrying rifles, called at the dwelling of a Mr Campbell,
living at Whiterock Grove, in Ogle county, who belonged to the company of
regulators, and who had acted as the messenger to convey to Bridge the
order to leave the county. Meeting Mrs. Campbell without the house, they
told her that they wished to speak to her husband. Campbell made his
appearance at the door and immediately both the men fired. He fell
mortally wounded and lived but a few minutes. "You have killed my
husband," said Mrs. Campbell to one of the murderers whose name was
Driscoll. Upon this they rode off at full speed.

As soon as the event was known the whole country was roused, and every man
who was not an associate of the horse-thieves, shouldered his rifle to go
in pursuit of the murderers. They apprehended the father of Driscoll, a
man nearly seventy years of age, and one of his sons, William Driscoll,
the former a reputed horse-thief, and the latter, a man who had hitherto
borne a tolerably fair character, and subjected them to a separate
examination. The father was wary in his answers, and put on the appearance
of perfect innocence, but William Driscoll was greatly agitated, and
confessed that he, with his father and others, had planned the murder of
Campbell, and that David Driscoll, his brother, together with another
associate, was employed to execute it. The father and son were then
sentenced to death; they were bound and made to kneel; about fifty men
took aim at each, and, in three hours from the time they were taken, they
were dead men. A pit was dug on the spot where they fell, in the midst of
a prairie near their dwelling; their corpses, pierced with bullet-holes in
every part, were thrown in, and the earth was heaped over them.

The pursuit of David Driscoll and the fellow who was with him when
Campbell was killed, is still going on with great activity. More than a
hundred men are traversing the country in different directions, determined
that no lurking-place shall hide them. In the mean time various persons
who have the reputation of being confederates of horse-thieves, not only
in Ogle county, but in the adjoining ones, even in this, have received
notice from the regulators that they cannot be allowed to remain in this
part of the state. Several suspicious-looking men, supposed to be
fugitives from Ogle county, have been seen, within a few days past,
lurking in the woods not far from this place. One of them who was seen the
day before yesterday evidently thought himself pursued and slunk from
sight; he was followed, but escaped in the thickets leaving a bundle of
clothing behind him.

Samonok, Kane County, Illinois, _July 5th._

I have just heard that another of the Driscolls has been shot by the
regulators. Whether it was David, who fired at Campbell, or one of his
brothers, I can not learn.

Letter IX.

Richmond in Virginia.

Richmond, Virginia, _March 2, 1843._

I arrived at this place last night from Washington, where I had observed
little worth describing. The statue of our first President, by Greenough,
was, of course, one of the things which I took an early opportunity of
looking at, and although the bad light in which it is placed prevents the
spectator from properly appreciating the features, I could not help seeing
with satisfaction, that no position, however unfavorable, could impair the
majesty of that noble work, or, at all events, destroy its grand general

The House of Representatives I had not seen since 1832, and I perceived
that the proceedings were conducted with less apparent decorum than
formerly, and that the members no longer sat with their hats on. Whether
they had come to the conclusion that it was well to sit uncovered, in
order to make up, by this token of mutual respect, for the too frequent
want of decorum in their proceedings, or whether the change has been made
because it so often happens that all the members are talking together, the
rule being that the person speaking must be bareheaded, or whether,
finally, it was found, during the late long summer sessions, that a hat
made the wearer really uncomfortable, are questions which I asked on the
spot, but to which I got no satisfactory answer. I visited the Senate
Chamber, and saw a member of that dignified body, as somebody calls it, in
preparing to make a speech, blow his nose with his thumb and finger
without the intervention of a pocket-handkerchief. The speech, after this
graceful preliminary, did not, I confess, disappoint me.

Whoever goes to Washington should by all means see the Museum at the
Patent Office, enriched by the collections lately brought back by the
expedition sent out to explore the Pacific. I was surprised at the extent
and variety of these collections. Dresses, weapons, and domestic
implements of savage nations, in such abundance as to leave, one would
almost think, their little tribes disfurnished; birds of strange shape and
plumage; fishes of remote waters; whole groves of different kinds of
coral; sea-shells of rare form and singular beauty from the most distant
shores; mummies from the caves of Peru; curious minerals and plants:
whoever is interested by such objects as these should give the museum a
more leisurely examination than I had time to do. The persons engaged in
arranging and putting up these collections were still at their task when I
was at Washington, and I learned that what I saw was by no means the

The night before we set out, snow fell to the depth of three inches, and
as the steamboat passed down the Potomac, we saw, at sunrise, the grounds
of Mount Vernon lying in a covering of the purest white, the snow,
scattered in patches on the thick foliage of cedars that skirt the river,
looking like clusters of blossoms. About twelve, the steamboat came to
land, and the railway took us through a gorge of the woody hills that
skirt the Potomac. In about an hour, we were at Fredericksburg, on the
Rappahannock. The day was bright and cold, and the wind keen and cutting.
A crowd of negroes came about the cars, with cakes, fruit, and other
refreshments. The poor fellows seemed collapsed with the unusual cold;
their faces and lips were of the color which drapers call blue-black.

As we proceeded southward in Virginia, the snow gradually became thinner
and finally disappeared altogether. It was impossible to mistake the
region in which we were. Broad inclosures were around us, with signs of
extensive and superficial cultivation; large dwellings were seen at a
distance from each other, and each with its group of smaller buildings,
looking as solitary and chilly as French chateaus; and, now and then, we
saw a gang of negroes at work in the fields, though oftener we passed
miles without the sight of a living creature. At six in the afternoon, we
arrived at Richmond.

A beautiful city is Richmond, seated on the hills that overlook the James
River. The dwellings have a pleasant appearance, often standing by
themselves in the midst of gardens. In front of several, I saw large
magnolias, their dark, glazed leaves glittering in the March sunshine. The
river, as yellow as the Tiber, its waters now stained with the earth of
the upper country, runs by the upper part of the town in noisy rapids,
embracing several islands, shaded with the plane-tree, the hackberry, and
the elm, and prolific, in spring and summer, of wild-flowers. I went upon
one of these islands, by means of a foot-bridge, and was pointed to
another, the resort of a quoit-club comprising some of the most
distinguished men of Richmond, among whom in his lifetime was Judge
Marshall, who sometimes joined in this athletic sport. We descended one of
the hills on which the town is built, and went up another to the east,
where stands an ancient house of religious worship, the oldest Episcopal
church in the state. It is in the midst of a burying-ground, where sleep
some of the founders of the colony, whose old graves are greenly overgrown
with the trailing and matted periwinkle. In this church, Patrick Henry, at
the commencement of the American Revolution, made that celebrated speech,
which so vehemently moved all who heard him, ending with the sentence:
"Give me liberty or give me death." We looked in at one of the windows; it
is a low, plain room, with small, square pews, and a sounding board over
the little pulpit. From the hill on which this church stands, you have a
beautiful view of the surrounding country, a gently undulating surface,
closed in by hills on the west; and the James River is seen wandering
through it, by distant plantations, and between borders of trees. A place
was pointed out to us, a little way down the river, which bears the name
of Powhatan; and here, I was told, a flat rock is still shown as the one
on which Captain Smith was placed by his captors, in order to be put to
death, when the intercession of Pocahontas saved his life.

I went with an acquaintance to see the inspection and sale of tobacco.
Huge, upright columns of dried leaves, firmly packed and of a greenish
hue, stood in rows, under the roof of a broad, low building, open on all
sides--these were the hogsheads of tobacco, stripped of the staves. The
inspector, a portly man, with a Bourbon face, his white hair gathered in a
tie behind, went very quietly and expeditiously through his task of
determining the quality, after which the vast bulks were disposed of, in a
very short time, with surprisingly little noise, to the tobacco merchants.
Tobacco, to the value of three millions of dollars annually, is sent by
the planters to Richmond, and thence distributed to different nations,
whose merchants frequent this mart. In the sales it is always sure to
bring cash, which, to those who detest the weed, is a little difficult to

I went afterwards to a tobacco factory, the sight of which amused me,
though the narcotic fumes made me cough. In one room a black man was
taking apart the small bundles of leaves of which a hogshead of tobacco is
composed, and carefully separating leaf from leaf; others were assorting
the leaves according to the quality, and others again were arranging the
leaves in layers and sprinkling each layer with the extract of liquorice.
In another room were about eighty negroes, boys they are called, from the
age of twelve years up to manhood, who received the leaves thus prepared,
rolled them into long even rolls, and then cut them into plugs of about
four inches in length, which were afterwards passed through a press, and
thus became ready for market. As we entered the room we heard a murmur of
psalmody running through the sable assembly, which now and then swelled
into a strain of very tolerable music.

"Verse sweetens toil--"

says the stanza which Dr. Johnson was so fond of quoting, and really it is
so good that I will transcribe the whole of it--

"Verse sweetens toil, however rude the sound--
All at her work the village maiden sings,
Nor, while she turns the giddy wheel around,
Revolves the sad vicissitudes of things."

Verse it seems can sweeten the toil of slaves in a tobacco factory.

"We encourage their singing as much as we can," said the brother of the
proprietor, himself a diligent masticator of the weed, who attended us,
and politely explained to us the process of making plug tobacco; "we
encourage it as much as we can, for the boys work better while singing.
Sometimes they will sing all day long with great spirit; at other times
you will not hear a single note. They must sing wholly of their own
accord, it is of no use to bid them do it."

"What is remarkable," he continued, "their tunes are all psalm tunes, and
the words are from hymn-books; their taste is exclusively for sacred
music; they will sing nothing else. Almost all these persons are
church-members; we have not a dozen about the factory who are not so. Most
of them are of the Baptist persuasion; a few are Methodists."

I saw in the course of the day the Baptist church in which these people
worship, a low, plain, but spacious brick building, the same in which the
sages of Virginia, a generation of great men, debated the provisions of
the constitution. It has a congregation of twenty-seven hundred persons,
and the best choir, I heard somebody say, in all Richmond. Near it is the
Monumental church, erected on the site of the Richmond theatre, after the
terrible fire which carried mourning into so many families.

In passing through an old part of Main-street, I was shown an ancient
stone cottage of rude architecture and humble dimensions, which was once
the best hotel in Richmond. Here, I was told, there are those in Richmond
who remember dining with General Washington, Judge Marshall, and their
cotemporaries. I could not help comparing it with the palace-like
building put up at Richmond within two or three years past, named the
Exchange Hotel, with its spacious parlors, its long dining-rooms, its airy
dormitories, and its ample halls and passages, echoing to the steps of
busy waiters, and guests coming and departing. The Exchange Hotel is one
of the finest buildings for its purpose in the United States, and is
extremely well-kept.

I paid a visit to the capitol, nobly situated on an eminence which
overlooks the city, and is planted with trees. The statue of Washington,
executed by Houdon for the state of Virginia, in 1788, is here. It is of
the size of life, representing Gen. Washington in the costume of his day,
and in an ordinary standing posture. It gratifies curiosity, but raises no
particular moral emotion. Compared with the statue by Greenough, it
presents a good example of the difference between the work of a mere
sculptor--skillful indeed, but still a mere sculptor--and the work of a
man of genius.

I shall shortly set out for Charleston, South Carolina.

Letter X.

A Journey from Richmond to Charleston.

Charleston, _March_ 6, 1843.

I left Richmond, on the afternoon of a keen March day, in the railway
train for Petersburg, where we arrived after dark, and, therefore, could
form no judgment of the appearance of the town. Here we were transferred
to another train of cars. Among the passengers was a lecturer on Mesmerism
with his wife, and a young woman who accompanied them as a mesmeric
subject. The young woman, accustomed to be easily put to sleep, seemed to
get through the night very comfortably; but the spouse of the operator
appeared to be much disturbed by the frequent and capricious opening of
the door by the other passengers, which let in torrents of intensely cold
air from without, and chid the offenders with a wholesome sharpness.

About two o'clock in the morning, we reached Blakely on the Roanoke, where
we were made to get out of the cars, and were marched in long procession
for about a quarter of a mile down to the river. A negro walked before us
to light our way, bearing a blazing pine torch, which scattered sparks
like a steam-engine, and a crowd of negroes followed us, bearing our
baggage. We went down a steep path to the Roanoke, where we found a little
old steamboat ready for us, and in about fifteen minutes were struggling
upward against the muddy and rapid current. In little more than an hour,
we had proceeded two miles and a half up the river, and were landed at a
place called Weldon. Here we took the cars for Wilmington, in North
Carolina, and shabby vehicles they were, denoting our arrival in a milder
climate, by being extremely uncomfortable for cold weather. As morning
dawned, we saw ourselves in the midst of the pine forests of North
Carolina. Vast tracts of level sand, overgrown with the long-leaved pine,
a tall, stately tree, with sparse and thick twigs, ending in long brushes
of leaves, murmuring in the strong cold wind, extended everywhere around
us. At great distances from each other, we passed log-houses, and
sometimes a dwelling of more pretensions, with a piazza, and here and
there fields in which cotton or maize had been planted last year, or an
orchard with a few small mossy trees. The pools beside the roads were
covered with ice just formed, and the negroes, who like a good fire at
almost any season of the year, and who find an abundant supply of the
finest fuel in these forests, had made blazing fires of the resinous wood
of the pine, wherever they were at work. The tracts of sandy soil, we
perceived, were interspersed with marshes, crowded with cypress-trees, and
verdant at their borders with a growth of evergreens, such as the
swamp-bay, the gallberry, the holly, and various kinds of evergreen
creepers, which are unknown to our northern climate, and which became more
frequent as we proceeded.

We passed through extensive forests of pine, which had been _boxed_, as it
is called, for the collection of turpentine. Every tree had been scored by
the axe upon one of its sides, some of them as high as the arm could reach
down to the roots, and the broad wound was covered with the turpentine,
which seems to saturate every fibre of the long-leaved pine. Sometimes we
saw large flakes or crusts of the turpentine of a light-yellow color,
which had fallen, and lay beside the tree on the ground. The collection of
turpentine is a work of destruction; it strips acre after acre of these
noble trees, and, if it goes on, the time is not far distant when the
long-leaved pine will become nearly extinct in this region, which is so
sterile as hardly to be fitted for producing any thing else. We saw large
tracts covered with the standing trunks of trees already killed by it; and
other tracts beside them had been freshly attacked by the spoiler. I am
told that the tree which grows up when the long-leaved pine is destroyed,
is the loblolly pine, or, as it is sometimes called, the short-leaved
pine, a tree of very inferior quality and in little esteem.

About half-past two in the afternoon, we came to Wilmington, a little town
built upon the white sands of Cape Fear, some of the houses standing where
not a blade of grass or other plant can grow. A few evergreen oaks, in
places, pleasantly overhang the water. Here we took the steamer for

I may as well mention here a fraud which is sometimes practiced upon those
who go by this route to Charleston. Advertisements are distributed at New
York and elsewhere, informing the public that the fare from Baltimore to
Charleston, by the railway through Washington and Richmond, is but
twenty-two dollars. I took the railway, paying from place to place as I
went, and found that this was a falsehood; I was made to pay seven or
eight dollars more. In the course of my journey, I was told that, to
protect myself from this imposition, I should have purchased at Baltimore
a "through ticket," as it is called; that is, should have paid in advance
for the whole distance; but the advertisement did not inform me that this
was necessary. No wonder that "tricks upon travellers" should have become
a proverbial expression, for they are a much-enduring race, more or less
plundered in every part of the world.

The next morning, at eight o'clock, we found ourselves entering Charleston
harbor; Sullivan's Island, with Fort Moultrie, breathing recollections of
the revolution, on our right; James Island on our left; in front, the
stately dwellings of the town, and all around, on the land side, the
horizon bounded by an apparent belt of evergreens--the live-oak, the
water-oak, the palmetto, the pine, and, planted about the dwellings, the
magnolia and the wild orange--giving to the scene a summer aspect. The
city of Charleston strikes the visitor from the north most agreeably. He
perceives at once that he is in a different climate. The spacious houses
are surrounded with broad piazzas, often a piazza to each story, for the
sake of shade and coolness, and each house generally stands by itself in a
garden planted with trees and shrubs, many of which preserve their verdure
through the winter. We saw early flowers already opening; the peach and
plum-tree were in full bloom; and the wild orange, as they call the
cherry-laurel, was just putting forth its blossoms. The buildings--some
with stuccoed walls, some built of large dark-red bricks, and some of
wood--are not kept fresh with paint like ours, but are allowed to become
weather-stained by the humid climate, like those of the European towns.
The streets are broad and quiet, unpaved in some parts, but in none, as
with us, offensive both to sight and smell. The public buildings are
numerous for the size of the city, and well-built in general, with
sufficient space about them to give them a noble aspect, and all the
advantage which they could derive from their architecture. The
inhabitants, judging from what I have seen of them, which is not much, I
confess, do not appear undeserving of the character which has been given
them, of possessing the most polished and agreeable manners of all the
American cities.

I may shortly write you again from the interior of South Carolina.

Letter XI.

The Interior of South Carolina. A Corn-Shucking.

Barnwell District, South Carolina, _March 29, 1843._

Since I last wrote, I have passed three weeks in the interior of South
Carolina; visited Columbia, the capital of the state, a pretty town;
roamed over a considerable part of Barnwell district, with some part of
the neighboring one of Orangeburg; enjoyed the hospitality of the
planters--very agreeable and intelligent men; been out in a racoon hunt;
been present at a corn-shucking; listened to negro ballads, negro jokes,
and the banjo; witnessed negro dances; seen two alligators at least, and
eaten bushels of hominy.

Whoever comes out on the railroad to this district, a distance of seventy
miles or more, if he were to judge only by what he sees in his passage,
might naturally take South Carolina for a vast pine-forest, with here and
there a clearing made by some enterprising settler, and would wonder where
the cotton which clothes so many millions of the human race, is produced.
The railway keeps on a tract of sterile sand, overgrown with pines;
passing, here and there, along the edge of a morass, or crossing a stream
of yellow water. A lonely log-house under these old trees, is a sight for
sore eyes; and only two or three plantations, properly so called, meet the
eye in the whole distance. The cultivated and more productive lands lie
apart from this tract, near streams, and interspersed with more frequent
ponds and marshes. Here you find plantations comprising several thousands
of acres, a considerable part of which always lies in forest; cotton and
corn fields of vast extent, and a negro village on every plantation, at a
respectful distance from the habitation of the proprietor. Evergreen trees
of the oak family and others, which I mentioned in my last letter, are
generally planted about the mansions. Some of them are surrounded with
dreary clearings, full of the standing trunks of dead pines; others are
pleasantly situated in the edge of woods, intersected by winding paths. A
ramble, or a ride--a ride on a hand-gallop it should be--in these pine
woods, on a fine March day, when the weather has all the spirit of our
March days without its severity, is one of the most delightful recreations
in the world. The paths are upon a white sand, which, when not frequently
travelled, is very firm under foot; on all sides you are surrounded by
noble stems of trees, towering to an immense height, from whose summits,
far above you, the wind is drawing deep and grand harmonies; and often
your way is beside a marsh, verdant with magnolias, where the yellow
jessamine, now in flower, fills the air with fragrance, and the
bamboo-briar, an evergreen creeper, twines itself with various other
plants, which never shed their leaves in winter. These woods abound in
game, which, you will believe me when I say, I had rather start than
shoot,--flocks of turtle-doves, rabbits rising and scudding before you;
bevies of quails, partridges they call them here, chirping almost under
your horse's feet; wild ducks swimming in the pools, and wild turkeys,
which are frequently shot by the practiced sportsman.

But you must hear of the corn-shucking. The one at which I was present was
given on purpose that I might witness the humors of the Carolina negroes.
A huge fire of _light-wood_ was made near the corn-house. Light-wood is
the wood of the long-leaved pine, and is so called, not because it is
light, for it is almost the heaviest wood in the world, but because it
gives more light than any other fuel. In clearing land, the pines are
girdled and suffered to stand; the outer portion of the wood decays and
falls off; the inner part, which is saturated with turpentine, remains
upright for years, and constitutes the planter's provision of fuel. When a
supply is wanted, one of these dead trunks is felled by the axe. The
abundance of light-wood is one of the boasts of South Carolina. Wherever
you are, if you happen to be chilly, you may have a fire extempore; a bit
of light-wood and a coal give you a bright blaze and a strong heat in an
instant. The negroes make fires of it in the fields where they work; and,
when the mornings are wet and chilly, in the pens where they are milking
the cows. At a plantation, where I passed a frosty night, I saw fires in
a small inclosure, and was told by the lady of the house that she had
ordered them to be made to warm the cattle.

The light-wood fire was made, and the negroes dropped in from the
neighboring plantations, singing as they came. The driver of the
plantation, a colored man, brought out baskets of corn in the husk, and
piled it in a heap; and the negroes began to strip the husks from the
ears, singing with great glee as they worked, keeping time to the music,
and now and then throwing in a joke and an extravagant burst of laughter.
The songs were generally of a comic character; but one of them was set to
a singularly wild and plaintive air, which some of our musicians would do
well to reduce to notation. These are the words:

Johnny come down de hollow.
Oh hollow!
Johnny come down de hollow.
Oh hollow!
De nigger-trader got me.
Oh hollow!
De speculator bought me.
Oh hollow!
I'm sold for silver dollars.
Oh hollow!
Boys, go catch de pony.
Oh hollow!
Bring him round de corner.
Oh hollow!
I'm goin' away to Georgia.
Oh hollow!
Boys, good-by forever!
Oh hollow!

The song of "Jenny gone away," was also given, and another, called the


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