North America

Part 3 out of 7

to their own legs to select their hotel at Niagara Falls town.

It has been said that it matters much from what point the falls are
first seen, but to this I demur. It matters, I think, very little,
or not at all. Let the visitor first see it all, and learn the
whereabouts of every point, so as to understand his own position
and that of the waters; and then, having done that in the way of
business, let him proceed to enjoyment. I doubt whether it be not
the best to do this with all sight-seeing. I am quite sure that it
is the way in which acquaintance may be best and most pleasantly
made with a new picture.

The falls, as I have said, are made by a sudden breach in the level
of the river. All cataracts are, I presume, made by such breaches;
but generally the waters do not fall precipitously as they do at
Niagara, and never elsewhere, as far as the world yet knows, has a
breach so sudden been made in a river carrying in its channel such
or any approach to such a body of water. Up above the falls for
more than a mile the waters leap and burst over rapids, as though
conscious of the destiny that awaits them. Here the river is very
broad and comparatively shallow; but from shore to shore it frets
itself into little torrents, and begins to assume the majesty of
its power. Looking at it even here, in the expanse which forms
itself over the greater fall, one feels sure that no strongest
swimmer could have a chance of saving himself if fate had cast him
in even among those petty whirlpools. The waters though so broken
in their descent, are deliciously green. This color, as seen early
in the morning or just as the sun has set, is so bright as to give
to the place one of its chiefest charms.

This will be best seen from the farther end of the island--Goat
Island as it is called--which, as the reader will understand,
divides the river immediately above the falls. Indeed, the island
is a part of that precipitously-broken ledge over which the river
tumbles, and no doubt in process of time will be worn away and
covered with water. The time, however, will be very long. In the
mean while, it is perhaps a mile round, and is covered thickly with
timber. At the upper end of the island the waters are divided,
and, coming down in two courses each over its own rapids, form two
separate falls. The bridge by which the island is entered is a
hundred yards or more above the smaller fall. The waters here have
been turned by the island, and make their leap into the body of the
river below at a right angle with it--about two hundred yards below
the greater fall. Taken alone, this smaller cataract would, I
imagine, be the heaviest fall of water known; but taken in
conjunction with the other, it is terribly shorn of its majesty.
The waters here are not green as they are at the larger cataract;
and, though the ledge has been hollowed and bowed by them so as to
form a curve, that curve does not deepen itself into a vast abyss
as it does at the horseshoe up above. This smaller fall is again
divided; and the visitor, passing down a flight of steps and over a
frail wooden bridge, finds himself on a smaller island in the midst
of it.

But we will go at once on to the glory, and the thunder, and the
majesty, and the wrath of that upper hell of waters. We are still,
let the reader remember, on Goat Island--still in the States--and
on what is called the American side of the main body of the river.
Advancing beyond the path leading down to the lesser fall, we come
to that point of the island at which the waters of the main river
begin to descend. From hence across to the Canadian side the
cataract continues itself in one unabated line. But the line is
very far from being direct or straight. After stretching for some
little way from the shore to a point in the river which is reached
by a wooden bridge at the end of which stands a tower upon the
rock,--after stretching to this, the line of the ledge bends inward
against the flood--in, and in, and in--till one is led to think
that the depth of that horseshoe is immeasurable. It has been cut
with no stinting hand. A monstrous cantle has been worn back out
of the center of the rock, so that the fury of the waters
converges; and the spectator, as he gazes into the hollow with
wishful eyes, fancies that he can hardly trace out the center of
the abyss.

Go down to the end of that wooden bridge, seat yourself on the
rail, and there sit till all the outer world is lost to you. There
is no grander spot about Niagara than this. The waters are
absolutely around you. If you have that power of eye-contrio which
is so necessary to the full enjoyment of scenery, you will see
nothing but the water. You will certainly hear nothing else; and
the sound, I beg you to remember, is not an ear-cracking, agonizing
crash and clang of noises, but is melodious and soft withal, though
loud as thunder. It fills your ears, and, as it were, envelops
them, but at the same time you can speak to your neighbor without
an effort. But at this place, and in these moments, the less of
speaking, I should say, the better. There is no grander spot than
this. Here, seated on the rail of the bridge, you will not see the
whole depth of the fall. In looking at the grandest works of
nature, and of art too, I fancy it is never well to see all. There
should be something left to the imagination, and much should be
half concealed in mystery. The greatest charm of a mountain range
is the wild feeling that there must be strange, unknown, desolate
worlds in those far-off valleys beyond. And so here, at Niagara,
that converging rush of waters may fall down, down at once into a
hell of rivers, for what the eye can see. It is glorious to watch
them in their first curve over the rocks. They come green as a
bank of emeralds, but with a fitful, flying color, as though
conscious that in one moment more they would be dashed into spray
and rise into air, pale as driven snow. The vapor rises high into
the air, and is gathered there, visible always as a permanent white
cloud over the cataract; but the bulk of the spray which fills the
lower hollow of that horseshoe is like a tumult of snow. This you
will not fully see from your seat on the rail. The head of it
rises ever and anon out of that caldron below, but the caldron
itself will be invisible. It is ever so far down--far as your own
imagination can sink it. But your eyes will rest full upon the
curve of the waters. The shape you will be looking at is that of a
horseshoe, but of a horseshoe miraculously deep from toe to heel;
and this depth becomes greater as you sit there. That which at
first was only great and beautiful becomes gigantic and sublime,
till the mind is at loss to find an epithet for its own use. To
realize Niagara, you must sit there till you see nothing else than
that which you have come to see. You will hear nothing else, and
think of nothing else. At length you will be at one with the
tumbling river before you. You will find yourself among the waters
as though you belonged to them. The cool, liquid green will run
through your veins, and the voice of the cataract will be the
expression of your own heart. You will fall as the bright waters
fall, rushing down into your new world with no hesitation and with
no dismay; and you will rise again as the spray rises, bright,
beautiful, and pure. Then you will flow away in your course to the
uncompassed, distant, and eternal ocean.

When this state has been reached and has passed away, you may get
off your rail and mount the tower. I do not quite approve of that
tower, seeing that it has about it a gingerbread air, and reminds
one of those well-arranged scenes of romance in which one is told
that on the left you turn to the lady's bower, price sixpence; and
on the right ascend to the knight's bed, price sixpence more, with
a view of the hermit's tomb thrown in. But nevertheless the tower
is worth mounting, and no money is charged for the use of it. It
is not very high, and there is a balcony at the top on which some
half dozen persons may stand at ease. Here the mystery is lost,
but the whole fall is seen. It is not even at this spot brought so
fully before your eye, made to show itself in so complete and
entire a shape, as it will do when you come to stand near to it on
the opposite or Canadian shore. But I think that it shows itself
more beautifully. And the form of the cataract is such that here,
on Goat Island, on the American side, no spray will reach you,
although you are absolutely over the waters. But on the Canadian
side, the road as it approaches the fall is wet and rotten with
spray, and you, as you stand close upon the edge, will be wet also.
The rainbows as they are seen through the rising cloud--for the
sun's rays as seen through these waters show themselves in a bow,
as they do when seen through rain--are pretty enough, and are
greatly loved. For myself, I do not care for this prettiness at
Niagara. It is there, but I forget it, and do not mind how soon it
is forgotten.

But we are still on the tower; and here I must declare that though
I forgive the tower, I cannot forgive the horrid obelisk which has
latterly been built opposite to it, on the Canadian side, up above
the fall; built apparently--for I did not go to it--with some
camera-obscura intention for which the projector deserves to be put
in Coventry by all good Christian men and women. At such a place
as Niagara tasteless buildings, run up in wrong places with a view
to money making, are perhaps necessary evils. It may be that they
are not evils at all; that they give more pleasure than pain,
seeing that they tend to the enjoyment of the multitude. But there
are edifices of this description which cry aloud to the gods by the
force of their own ugliness and malposition. As to such, it may be
said that there should somewhere exist a power capable of crushing
them in their birth. This new obelisk, or picture-building at
Niagara, is one of such.

And now we will cross the water, and with this object will return
by the bridge out of Goat Island, on the main land of the American
side. But as we do so, let me say that one of the great charms of
Niagara consists in this: that over and above that one great object
of wonder and beauty, there is so much little loveliness--
loveliness especially of water I mean. There are little rivulets
running here and there over little falls, with pendent boughs above
them, and stones shining under their shallow depths. As the
visitor stands and looks through the trees, the rapids glitter
before him, and then hide themselves behind islands. They glitter
and sparkle in far distances under the bright foliage, till the
remembrance is lost, and one knows not which way they run. And
then the river below, with its whirlpool,--but we shall come to
that by-and-by, and to the mad voyage which was made down the
rapids by that mad captain who ran the gantlet of the waters at the
risk of his own life, with fifty to one against him, in order that
he might save another man's property from the sheriff.

The readiest way across to Canada is by the ferry; and on the
American side this is very pleasantly done. You go into a little
house, pay twenty cents, take a seat on a wooden car of wonderful
shape, and on the touch of a spring find yourself traveling down an
inclined plane of terrible declivity, and at a very fast rate. You
catch a glance of the river below you, and recognize the fact that
if the rope by which you are held should break, you would go down
at a very fast rate indeed, and find your final resting-place in
the river. As I have gone down some dozen times, and have come to
no such grief, I will not presume that you will be less lucky.
Below there is a boat generally ready. If it be not there, the
place is not chosen amiss for a rest of ten minutes, for the lesser
fall is close at hand, and the larger one is in full view. Looking
at the rapidity of the river, you will think that the passage must
be dangerous and difficult. But no accidents ever happen, and the
lad who takes you over seems to do it with sufficient ease. The
walk up the hill on the other side is another thing. It is very
steep, and for those who have not good locomotive power of their
own, will be found to be disagreeable. In the full season,
however, carriages are generally waiting there. In so short a
distance I have always been ashamed to trust to other legs than my
own, but I have observed that Americans are always dragged up. I
have seen single young men of from eighteen to twenty-five, from
whose outward appearance no story of idle, luxurious life can be
read, carried about alone in carriages over distances which would
be counted as nothing by any healthy English lady of fifty. None
but the old invalids should require the assistance of carriages in
seeing Niagara, but the trade in carriages is to all appearance the
most brisk trade there.

Having mounted the hill on the Canada side, you will walk on toward
the falls. As I have said before, you will from this side look
directly into the full circle of the upper cataract, while you will
have before you, at your left hand, the whole expanse of the lesser
fall. For those who desire to see all at a glance, who wish to
comprise the whole with their eyes, and to leave nothing to be
guessed, nothing to be surmised, this no doubt is the best point of

You will be covered with spray as you walk up to the ledge of
rocks, but I do not think that the spray will hurt you. If a man
gets wet through going to his daily work, cold, catarrh, cough, and
all their attendant evils, may be expected; but these maladies
usually spare the tourist. Change of air, plenty of air,
excellence of air, and increased exercise, make these things
powerless. I should therefore bid you disregard the spray. If,
however, you are yourself of a different opinion, you may hire a
suit of oil-cloth clothes for, I believe, a quarter of a dollar.
They are nasty of course, and have this further disadvantage, that
you become much more wet having them on than you would be without

Here, on this side, you walk on to the very edge of the cataract,
and, if your tread be steady and your legs firm, you dip your foot
into the water exactly at the spot where the thin outside margin of
the current reaches the rocky edge and jumps to join the mass of
the fall. The bed of white foam beneath is certainly seen better
here than elsewhere, and the green curve of the water is as bright
here as when seen from the wooden rail across. But nevertheless I
say again that that wooden rail is the one point from whence
Niagara may be best seen aright.

Close to the cataract, exactly at the spot from whence in former
days the Table Rock used to project from the land over the boiling
caldron below, there is now a shaft, down which you will descend to
the level of the river, and pass between the rock and the torrent.
This Table Rock broke away from the cliff and fell, as up the whole
course of the river the seceding rocks have split and fallen from
time to time through countless years, and will continue to do till
the bed of the upper lake is reached. You will descend this shaft,
taking to yourself or not taking to yourself a suit of oil-clothes
as you may think best. I have gone with and without the suit, and
again recommend that they be left behind. I am inclined to think
that the ordinary payment should be made for their use, as
otherwise it will appear to those whose trade it is to prepare them
that you are injuring them in their vested rights.

Some three years since I visited Niagara on my way back to England
from Bermuda, and in a volume of travels which I then published I
endeavored to explain the impression made upon me by this passage
between the rock and the waterfall. An author should not quote
himself; but as I feel myself bound, in writing a chapter specially
about Niagara, to give some account of this strange position, I
will venture to repeat my own words.

In the spot to which I allude the visitor stands on a broad, safe
path, made of shingles, between the rock over which the water
rushes and the rushing water. He will go in so far that the spray,
rising back from the bed of the torrent, does not incommode him.
With this exception, the farther he can go in the better; but
circumstances will clearly show him the spot to which he should
advance. Unless the water be driven in by a very strong wind, five
yards make the difference between a comparatively dry coat and an
absolutely wet one. And then let him stand with his back to the
entrance, thus hiding the last glimmer of the expiring day. So
standing, he will look up among the falling waters, or down into
the deep, misty pit, from which they re-ascend in almost as
palpable a bulk. The rock will be at his right hand, high and
hard, and dark and straight, like the wall of some huge cavern,
such as children enter in their dreams. For the first five minutes
he will be looking but at the waters of a cataract--at the waters,
indeed, of such a cataract as we know no other, and at their
interior curves which elsewhere we cannot see. But by-and-by all
this will change. He will no longer be on a shingly path beneath a
waterfall; but that feeling of a cavern wall will grow upon him, of
a cavern deep, below roaring seas, in which the waves are there,
though they do not enter in upon him; or rather, not the waves, but
the very bowels of the ocean. He will feel as though the floods
surrounded him, coming and going with their wild sounds, and he
will hardly recognize that though among them he is not in them.
And they, as they fall with a continual roar, not hurting the ear,
but musical withal, will seem to move as the vast ocean waters may
perhaps move in their internal currents. He will lose the sense of
one continued descent, and think that they are passing round him in
their appointed courses. The broken spray that rises from the
depths below, rises so strongly, so palpably, so rapidly that the
motion in every direction will seem equal. And, as he looks on,
strange colors will show themselves through the mist; the shades of
gray will become green or blue, with ever and anon a flash of
white; and then, when some gust of wind blows in with greater
violence, the sea-girt cavern will become all dark and black. Oh,
my friend, let there be no one there to speak to thee then; no, not
even a brother. As you stand there speak only to the waters.

Two miles below the falls the river is crossed by a suspension
bridge of marvelous construction. It affords two thoroughfares,
one above the other. The lower road is for carriages and horses,
and the upper one bears a railway belonging to the Great Western
Canada Line. The view from hence, both up and down the river, is
very beautiful, for the bridge is built immediately over the first
of a series of rapids. One mile below the bridge these rapids end
in a broad basin called the whirlpool, and, issuing out of this,
the current turns to the right through a narrow channel overhung by
cliffs and trees, and then makes its way down to Lake Ontario with
comparative tranquillity.

But I will beg you to take notice of those rapids from the bridge,
and to ask yourself what chance of life would remain to any ship,
craft, or boat required by destiny to undergo navigation beneath
the bridge and down into that whirlpool. Heretofore all men would
have said that no chance of life could remain to so ill-starred a
bark. The navigation, however, has been effected. But men used to
the river still say that the chances would be fifty to one against
any vessel which should attempt to repeat the experiment.

The story of that wondrous voyage was as follows: A small steamer,
called the Maid of the Mist, was built upon the river, between the
falls and the rapids, and was used for taking adventurous tourists
up amid the spray as near to the cataract as was possible. "The
Maid of the Mist plied in this way for a year or two, and was, I
believe, much patronized during the season. But in the early part
of last summer an evil time had come. Either the Maid got into
debt, or her owner had embarked in other and less profitable
speculations. At any rate, he became subject to the law, and
tidings reached him that the sheriff would seize the Maid. On most
occasions the sheriff is bound to keep such intentions secret,
seeing that property is movable, and that an insolvent debtor will
not always await the officers of justice. But with the poor Maid
there was no need of such secrecy. There was but a mile or so of
water on which she could ply, and she was forbidden by the nature
of her properties to make any way upon land, The sheriff's prey,
therefore, was easy, and the poor Maid was doomed.

In any country in the world but America such would have been the
case; but an American would steam down Phlegethon to save his
property from the sheriff--he would steam down Phlegethon, or get
some one else to do it for him. Whether or no, in this case, the
captain of the boat was the proprietor, or whether, as I was told,
he was paid for the job, I do not know. But he determined to run
the rapids, and he procured two others to accompany him in the
risk. He got up his steam, and took the Maid up amid the spray
according to his custom. Then, suddenly turning on his course, he,
with one of his companions, fixed himself at the wheel, while the
other remained at his engine. I wish I could look into the mind of
that man, and understand what his thoughts were at that moment--
what were his thoughts and what his beliefs. As to one of the men,
I was told that he was carried down not knowing what he was about
to do but I am inclined to believe that all the three were joined
together in the attempt.

I was told by a man who saw the boat pass under the bridge that she
made one long leap down, as she came thither; that her funnel was
at once knocked flat on the deck by the force of the blow; that the
waters covered her from stem to stern; and that then she rose
again, and skimmed into the whirlpool a mile below. When there she
rode with comparative ease upon the waters, and took the sharp turn
round into the river below without a struggle. The feat was done,
and the Maid was rescued from the sheriff. It is said that she was
sold below at the mouth of the river, and carried from thence over
Lake Ontario, and down the St. Lawrence to Quebec.



From Niagara we determined to proceed Northwest--as far to the
Northwest as we could go with any reasonable hope of finding
American citizens in a state of political civilization, and perhaps
guided also in some measure by our hopes as to hotel accommodation.
Looking to these two matters, we resolved to get across to the
Mississippi, and to go up that river as far as the town of St. Paul
and the Falls of St. Anthony, which are some twelve miles above the
town; then to descend the river as far as the States of Iowa on the
west and Illinois on the east; and to return eastward through
Chicago and the large cities on the southern shores of Lake Erie,
from whence we would go across to Albany, the capital of New York
state, and down the Hudson to New York, the capital of the Western
World. For such a journey, in which scenery was one great object,
we were rather late, as we did not leave Niagara till the 10th of
October; but though the winters are extremely cold through all this
portion of the American continent--fifteen, twenty, and even
twenty-five degrees below zero being an ordinary state of the
atmosphere in latitudes equal to those of Florence, Nice, and
Turin--nevertheless the autumns are mild, the noonday being always
warm, and the colors of the foliage are then in all their glory. I
was also very anxious to ascertain, if it might be in my power to
do so, with what spirit or true feeling as to the matter the work
of recruiting for the now enormous army of the States was going on
in those remote regions. That men should be on fire in Boston and
New York, in Philadelphia and along the borders of secession, I
could understand. I could understand also that they should be on
fire throughout the cotton, sugar, and rice plantations of the
South. But I could hardly understand that this political fervor
should have communicated itself to the far-off farmers who had
thinly spread themselves over the enormous wheat-growing districts
of the Northwest. St. Paul, the capital of Minnesota, is nine
hundred miles directly north of St. Louis, the most northern point
to which slavery extends in the Western States of the Union; and
the farming lands of Minnesota stretch away again for some hundreds
of miles north and west of St. Paul. Could it be that those scanty
and far-off pioneers of agriculture--those frontier farmers, who
are nearly one-half German and nearly the other half Irish, would
desert their clearings and ruin their chances of progress in the
world for distant wars of which the causes must, as I thought, be
to them unintelligible? I had been told that distance had but lent
enchantment to the view, and that the war was even more popular in
the remote and newly-settled States than in those which have been
longer known as great political bodies. So I resolved that I would
go and see.

It may be as well to explain here that that great political Union
hitherto called the United States of America may be more properly
divided into three than into two distinct interests, In England we
have long heard of North and South as pitted against each other,
and we have always understood that the Southern politicians, or
Democrats, have prevailed over the Northern politicians, or
Republicans, because they were assisted in their views by Northern
men of mark who have held Southern principles--that is, by Northern
men who have been willing to obtain political power by joining
themselves to the Southern party. That, as far as I can
understand, has been the general idea in England, and in a broad
way it has been true, But as years have advanced, and as the States
have extended themselves westward, a third large party has been
formed, which sometimes rejoices to call itself The Great West; and
though, at the present time, the West and the North are joined
together against the South, the interests of the North and West are
not, I think, more closely interwoven than are those of the West
and South; and when the final settlement of this question shall be
made, there will doubtless be great difficulty in satisfying the
different aspirations and feelings of two great free-soil
populations. The North, I think, will ultimately perceive that it
will gain much by the secession of the South; but it will be very
difficult to make the West believe that secession will suit its

I will attempt, in a rough way, to divide the States, as they seem
to divide themselves, into these three parties. As to the majority
of them, there is no difficulty in locating them; but this cannot
be done with absolute certainty as to some few that lie on the

New England consists of six States, of which all of course belong
to the North. They are Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont,
Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut--the six States which
should be most dear to England, and in which the political success
of the United States as a nation is to my eyes the most apparent.
But even in them there was till quite of late a strong section so
opposed to the Republican party as to give a material aid to the
South. This, I think, was particularly so in New Hampshire, from
whence President Pierce came. He had been one of the Senators from
New Hampshire; and yet to him, as President, is affixed the
disgrace--whether truly affixed or not I do not say--of having
first used his power in secretly organizing those arrangements
which led to secession and assisted at its birth. In Massachusetts
itself, also, there was a strong Democratic party, of which
Massachusetts now seems to be somewhat ashamed. Then, to make up
the North, must be added the two great States of New York and
Pennsylvania and the small State of New Jersey. The West will not
agree even to this absolutely, seeing that they claim all territory
west of the Alleghanies, and that a portion of Pennsylvania and
some part also of New York lie westward of that range; but, in
endeavoring to make these divisions ordinarily intelligible, I may
say that the North consists of the nine States above named. But
the North will also claim Maryland and Delaware, and the eastern
half of Virginia. The North will claim them, though they are
attached to the South by joint participation in the great social
institution of slavery--for Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia are
slave States--and I think that the North will ultimately make good
its claim. Maryland and Delaware lie, as it were, behind the
capital, and Eastern Virginia is close upon the capital. And these
regions are not tropical in their climate or influences. They are
and have been slave States, but will probably rid themselves of
that taint, and become a portion of the free North.

The Southern or slave States, properly so called, are easily
defined. They are Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi,
Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. The
South will also claim Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Virginia,
Delaware, and Maryland, and will endeavor to prove its right to the
claim by the fact of the social institution being the law of the
land in those States. Of Delaware, Maryland, and Eastern Virginia,
I have already spoken. Western Virginia is, I think, so little
tainted with slavery that, as she stands even at present, she
properly belongs to the West. As I now write, the struggle is
going on in Kentucky and Missouri. In Missouri the slave
population is barely more than a tenth of the whole, while in South
Carolina and Mississippi it is more than half. And, therefore, I
venture to count Missouri among the Western States, although
slavery is still the law of the land within its borders. It is
surrounded on three sides by free States of the West, and its soil,
let us hope, must become free. Kentucky I must leave as doubtful,
though I am inclined to believe that slavery will be abolished
there also. Kentucky, at any rate, will never throw in its lot
with the Southern States. As to Tennessee, it seceded heart and
soul, and I fear that it must be accounted as Southern, although
the Northern army has now, in May, 1862, possessed itself of the
greater part of the State.

To the great West remains an enormous territory, of which, however,
the population is as yet but scanty; though perhaps no portion of
the world has increased so fast in population as have these Western
States. The list is as follows: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan,
Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas to which I would add Missouri,
and probably the Western half of Virginia. We have then to account
for the two already admitted States on the Pacific, California and
Oregon, and also for the unadmitted Territories, Dacotah, Nebraska,
Washington, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada. I should be
refining too much for my present very general purpose, if I were to
attempt to marshal these huge but thinly-populated regions in
either rank. Of California and Oregon it may probably be said that
it is their ambition to form themselves into a separate division--a
division which may be called the farther West.

I know that all statistical statements are tedious, and I believe
that but few readers believe them. I will, however, venture to
give the populations of these States in the order I have named
them, seeing that power in America depends almost entirely on
population. The census of 1860 gave the following results:--

In the North:

Maine 619,000
New Hampshire 326,872
Vermont 325,827
Massachusetts 1,231,494
Rhode Island 174,621
Connecticut 460,670
New York 3,851,563
Pennsylvania 2,916,018
New Jersey 676,034
Total 10,582,099

In the South, the population of which must be divided into free and

Free. Slave. Total.

Texas 415,999 184,956 600,955
Louisiana 354,245 312,186 666,431
Arkansas 331,710 109,065 440,775
Mississippi 407,051 479,607 886,658
Alabama 520,444 435,473 955,917
Florida 81,885 63,809 145,694
Georgia 615,366 467,461 1,082,827
South Carolina 308,186 407,185 715,371
North Carolina 679,965 328,377 1,008,342
Tennessee 859,578 287,112 1,146,690
--------- --------- ---------
Total 4,574,429 3,075,231 7,649,660

in the doubtful States:

Free. Slave. Total.

Maryland 646,183 85,382 731,565
Delaware 110,548 1,805 112,353
Virginia 1,097,373 495,826 1,593,199
Kentucky 920,077 225,490 1,145,567
--------- ------- ---------
Total 2,774,181 808,503 3,582,684

In the West:

Ohio 2,377,917
Indiana 1,350,802
Illinois 1,691,238
Michigan 754,291
Wisconsin 763,485
Minnesota 172,796
Iowa 682,002
Kansas 143,645
Missouri 1,204,214*
Total 9,140,390

* Of which number, in Missouri, 115,619 are slaves.

To these must be added, to make up the population of the United
States as it stood in 1860,--

The separate District of Columbia, in which is
included Washington, the seat of the Federal
Government 75,321
California 384,770
Oregon 52,566
The Territories of--
Dacotah 4,839
Nebraska 28,892
Washington 11,624
Utah 49,000
New Mexico 98,024
Colorado 34,197
Nevada 6,857
Total 741,090

And thus the total population may be given as follows:--

North 10,582,099
South 7,649,660
Doubtful 3,582,684
West 9,140,390
Outlying States and Territories 741,090
Total 31,695,923

Each of the three interests would consider itself wronged by the
division above made, but the South would probably be the loudest in
asserting its grievance. The South claims all the slave States,
and would point to secession in Virginia to justify such claim, and
would point also to Maryland and Baltimore, declaring that
secession would be as strong there as at New Orleans, if secession
were practicable. Maryland and Baltimore lie behind Washington,
and are under the heels of the Northern troops, so that secession
is not practicable; but the South would say that they have seceded
in heart. In this the South would have some show of reason for its
assertion; but nevertheless I shall best convey a true idea of the
position of these States by classing them as doubtful. When
secession shall have been accomplished--if ever it be accomplished--
it will hardly be possible that they should adhere to the South.

It will be seen by the foregoing tables that the population of the
West is nearly equal to that of the North, and that therefore
Western power is almost as great as Northern. It is almost as
great already, and as population in the West increases faster than
it does in the North, the two will soon be equalized. They are
already sufficiently on a par to enable them to fight on equal
terms, and they will be prepared for fighting--political fighting,
if no other--as soon as they have established their supremacy over
a common enemy.

While I am on the subject of population I should explain--though
the point is not one which concerns the present argument--that the
numbers given, as they regard the South, include both the whites
and the blacks, the free men and the slaves. The political power
of the South is of course in the hands of the white race only, and
the total white population should therefore be taken as the number
indicating the Southern power. The political power of the South,
however, as contrasted with that of the North, has, since the
commencement of the Union, been much increased by the slave
population. The slaves have been taken into account in determining
the number of representatives which should be sent to Congress by
each State. That number depends on the population but it was
decided in 1787 that in counting up the number of representatives
to which each State should be held to be entitled, five slaves
should represent three white men. A Southern population,
therefore, of five thousand free men and five thousand slaves would
claim as many representatives as a Northern population of eight
thousand free men, although the voting would be confined to the
free population. This has ever since been the law of the United

The Western power is nearly equal to that of the North, and this
fact, somewhat exaggerated in terms, is a frequent boast in the
mouths of Western men. "We ran Fremont for President," they say,
"and had it not been for Northern men with Southern principles, we
should have put him in the White House instead of the traitor
Buchanan. If that had been done there would have been no
secession." How things might have gone had Fremont been elected in
lieu of Buchanan, I will not pretend to say; but the nature of the
argument shows the difference that exists between Northern and
Western feeling. At the time that I was in the West, General
Fremont was the great topic of public interest. Every newspaper
was discussing his conduct, his ability as a soldier, his energy,
and his fate. At that time General McClellan was in command at
Washington on the Potomac, it being understood that he held his
power directly under the President, free from the exercise of
control on the part of the veteran General Scott, though at that
time General Scott had not actually resigned his position as head
of the army. And General Fremont, who some five years before had
been "run" for President by the Western States, held another
command of nearly equal independence in Missouri. He had been put
over General Lyon in the Western command, and directly after this
General Lyon had fallen in battle at Springfield, in the first
action in which the opposing armies were engaged in the West.
General Fremont at once proceeded to carry matters with a very high
hand, On the 30th of August, 1861, he issued a proclamation by
which he declared martial law at St. Louis, the city at which he
held his headquarters, and indeed throughout the State of Missouri
generally. In this proclamation he declared his intention of
exercising a severity beyond that ever threatened, as I believe, in
modern warfare. He defines the region presumed to be held by his
army of occupation, drawing his lines across the State, and then
declares "that all persons who shall be taken with arms in their
hands within those lines shall be tried by court-martial, and if
found guilty will be shot." He then goes on to say that he will
confiscate all the property of persons in the State who shall have
taken up arms against the Union, or shall have taken part with the
enemies of the Union, and that he will make free all slaves
belonging to such persons. This proclamation was not approved at
Washington, and was modified by the order of the President. It was
understood also that he issued orders for military expenditure
which were not recognized at Washington, and men began to
understand that the army in the West was gradually assuming that
irresponsible military position which, in disturbed countries and
in times of civil war, has so frequently resulted in a military
dictatorship. Then there arose a clamor for the removal of General
Fremont. A semi-official account of his proceedings, which had
reached Washington from an officer under his command, was made
public, and also the correspondence which took place on the subject
between the President and General Fremont's wife. The officer in
question was thereupon placed under arrest, but immediately
released by orders from Washington. He then made official
complaint of his general, sending forward a list of charges, in
which Fremont was accused of rashness, incompetency, want of
fidelity of the interests of the government, and disobedience to
orders from headquarters. After awhile the Secretary of War
himself proceeded from Washington to the quarters of General
Fremont at St. Louis, and remained there for a day or two making,
or pretending to make, inquiry into the matter. But when he
returned he left the General still in command. During the whole
month of October the papers were occupied in declaring in the
morning that General Fremont had been recalled from his command,
and in the evening that he was to remain. In the mean time they
who befriended his cause, and this included the whole West, were
hoping from day to day that he would settle the matter for himself
and silence his accusers, by some great military success. General
Price held the command opposed to him, and men said that Fremont
would sweep General Price and his army down the valley of the
Mississippi into the sea. But General Price would not be so swept,
and it began to appear that a guerrilla warfare would prevail; that
General Price, if driven southward, would reappear behind the backs
of his pursuers, and that General Fremont would not accomplish all
that was expected of him with that rapidity for which his friends
had given him credit. So the newspapers still went on waging the
war, and every morning General Fremont was recalled, and every
evening they who had recalled him were shown up as having known
nothing of the matter.

"Never mind; he is a pioneer man, and will do a'most anything he
puts his hand to," his friends in the West still said. "He
understands the frontier." Understanding the frontier is a great
thing in Western America, across which the vanguard of civilization
continues to march on in advance from year to year. "And it's he
that is bound to sweep slavery from off the face of this continent.
He's the man, and he's about the only man." I am not qualified to
write the life of General Fremont, and can at present only make
this slight reference to the details of his romantic career. That
it has been full of romance, and that the man himself is endued
with a singular energy, and a high, romantic idea of what may be
done by power and will, there is no doubt. Five times he has
crossed the Continent of North America from Missouri to Oregon and
California, enduring great hardships in the service of advancing
civilization and knowledge. That he has considerable talent,
immense energy, and strong self-confidence, I believe. He is a
frontier man--one of those who care nothing for danger, and who
would dare anything with the hope of accomplishing a great career.
But I have never heard that he has shown any practical knowledge of
high military matters. It may be doubted whether a man of this
stamp is well fitted to hold the command of a nation's army for
great national purposes. May it not even be presumed that a man of
this class is of all men the least fitted for such a work? The
officer required should be a man with two specialties--a specialty
for military tactics and a specialty for national duty. The army
in the West was far removed from headquarters in Washington, and it
was peculiarly desirable that the general commanding it should be
one possessing a strong idea of obedience to the control of his own
government. Those frontier capabilities--that self-dependent
energy for which his friends gave Fremont, and probably justly gave
him, such unlimited credit--are exactly the qualities which are
most dangerous in such a position.

I have endeavored to explain the circumstances of the Western
command in Missouri as they existed at the time when I was in the
Northwestern States, in order that the double action of the North
and West may be understood. I, of course, was not in the secret of
any official persons; but I could not but feel sure that the
government in Washington would have been glad to have removed
Fremont at once from the command, had they not feared that by so
doing they would have created a schism, as it were, in their own
camp, and have done much to break up the integrity or oneness of
Northern loyalty. The Western people almost to a man desired
abolition. The States there were sending out their tens of
thousands of young men into the army with a prodigality as to their
only source of wealth which they hardly recognized themselves,
because this to them was a fight against slavery. The Western
population has been increased to a wonderful degree by a German
infusion--so much so that the Western towns appear to have been
peopled with Germans. I found regiments of volunteers consisting
wholly of Germans. And the Germans are all abolitionists. To all
the men of the West the name of Fremont is dear. He is their hero
and their Hercules. He is to cleanse the stables of the Southern
king, and turn the waters of emancipation through the foul stalls
of slavery. And therefore, though the Cabinet in Washington would
have been glad for many reasons to have removed Fremont in October
last, it was at first scared from committing itself to so strong a
measure. At last, however, the charges made against him were too
fully substantiated to allow of their being set on one side; and
early in November, 1861, he was superseded. I shall be obliged to
allude again to General Fremont's career as I go on with my

At this time the North was looking for a victory on the Potomac;
but they were no longer looking for it with that impatience which
in the summer had led to the disgrace at Bull's Run. They had
recognized the fact that their troops must be equipped, drilled,
and instructed; and they had also recognized the perhaps greater
fact that their enemies were neither weak, cowardly, nor badly
officered. I have always thought that the tone and manner with
which the North bore the defeat at Bull's Run was creditable to it.
It was never denied, never explained away, never set down as
trifling. "We have been whipped," was what all Northerners said;
"we've got an almighty whipping, and here we are." I have heard
many Englishmen complain of this--saying that the matter was taken
almost as a joke, that no disgrace was felt, and that the licking
was owned by a people who ought never to have allowed that they had
been licked. To all this, however, I demur. Their only chance of
speedy success consisted in their seeing and recognizing the truth.
Had they confessed the whipping, and then sat down with their hands
in their pockets--had they done as second-rate boys at school will
do, declare that they had been licked, and then feel that all the
trouble is over--they would indeed have been open to reproach. The
old mother across the water would in such case have disowned her
son. But they did the very reverse of this. "I have been
whipped," Jonathan said, and he immediately went into training
under a new system for another fight.

And so all through September and October the great armies on the
Potomac rested comparatively in quiet--the Northern forces drawing
to themselves immense levies. The general confidence in McClellan
was then very great; and the cautious measures by which he
endeavored to bring his vast untrained body of men under discipline
were such as did at that time recommend themselves to most military
critics. Early in September the Northern party obtained a
considerable advantage by taking the fort at Cape Hatteras, in
North Carolina, situated on one of those long banks which lie along
the shores of the Southern States; but, toward the end of October,
they experienced a considerable reverse in an attack which was made
on the secessionists by General Stone, and in which Colonel Baker
was killed. Colonel Baker had been Senator for Oregon, and was
well known as an orator. Taking all things together, however,
nothing material had been done up to the end of October; and at
that time Northern men were waiting--not perhaps impatiently,
considering the great hopes and perhaps great fears which filled
their hearts, but with eager expectation--for some event of which
they might talk with pride.

The man to whom they had trusted all their hopes was young for so
great a command. I think that, at this time, (October, 1861,)
General McClellan was not yet thirty-five. He had served, early in
life, in the Mexican war, having come originally from Pennsylvania,
and having been educated at the military college at West Point.
During our war with Russia he was sent to the Crimea by his own
government, in conjunction with two other officers of the United
States army, that they might learn all that was to be learned there
as to military tactics, and report especially as to the manner in
which fortifications were made and attacked. I have been informed
that a very able report was sent in by them to the government on
their return, and that this was drawn up by McClellan. But in
America a man is not only a soldier, or always a soldier, nor is he
always a clergyman if once a clergyman: he takes a spell at
anything suitable that may be going. And in this way McClellan
was, for some years, engaged on the Central Illinois Railway, and
was for a considerable time the head manager of that concern. We
all know with what suddenness he rose to the highest command in the
army immediately after the defeat at Bull's Run.

I have endeavored to describe what were the feelings of the West in
the autumn of 1861 with regard to the war. The excitement and
eagerness there were very great, and they were perhaps as great in
the North. But in the North the matter seemed to me to be regarded
from a different point of view. As a rule, the men of the North
are not abolitionists. It is quite certain that they were not so
before secession began. They hate slavery as we in England hate
it; but they are aware, as also are we, that the disposition of
four million of black men and women forms a question which cannot
be solved by the chivalry of any modern Orlando. The property
invested in these four million slaves forms the entire wealth of
the South. If they could be wafted by a philanthropic breeze back
to the shores of Africa--a breeze of which the philanthropy would
certainly not be appreciated by those so wafted--the South would be
a wilderness. The subject is one as full of difficulty as any with
which the politicians of these days are tormented. The Northerners
fully appreciate this, and, as a rule, are not abolitionists in the
Western sense of the word. To them the war is recommended by
precisely those feelings which animated us when we fought for our
colonies--when we strove to put down American independence.
Secession is rebellion against the government, and is all the more
bitter to the North because that rebellion broke out at the first
moment of Northern ascendency. "We submitted," the North says, "to
Southern Presidents, and Southern statesmen, and Southern councils,
because we obeyed the vote of the people. But as to you--the voice
of the people is nothing in your estimation! At the first moment
in which the popular vote places at Washington a President with
Northern feelings, you rebel. We submitted in your days; and, by
Heaven! you shall submit in ours. We submitted loyally, through
love of the law and the Constitution. You have disregarded the law
and thrown over the Constitution. But you shall be made to submit,
as a child is made to submit to its governor."

It must also be remembered that on commercial questions the North
and the West are divided. The Morrill tariff is as odious to the
West as it is to the South. The South and West are both
agricultural productive regions, desirous of sending cotton and
corn to foreign countries, and of receiving back foreign
manufactures on the best terms. But the North is a manufacturing
country--a poor manufacturing country as regards excellence of
manufacture--and therefore the more anxious to foster its own
growth by protective laws. The Morrill tariff is very injurious to
the West, and is odious there. I might add that its folly has
already been so far recognized even in the North as to make it very
generally odious there also.

So much I have said endeavoring to make it understood how far the
North and West were united in feeling against the South in the
autumn of 1861, and how far there existed between them a diversity
of interests.



From Niagara we went by the Canada Great Western Railway to
Detroit, the big city of Michigan. It is an American institution
that the States should have a commercial capital--or what I call
their big city--as well as a political capital, which may, as a
rule, be called the State's central city. The object in choosing
the political capital is average nearness of approach from the
various confines of the State but commerce submits to no such
Procrustean laws in selecting her capitals and consequently she has
placed Detroit on the borders of Michigan, on the shore of the neck
of water which joins Lake Huron to Lake Erie, through which all the
trade must flow which comes down from Lakes Michigan, Superior, and
Huron on its way to the Eastern States and to Europe. We had
thought of going from Buffalo across Lake Erie to Detroit; but we
found that the better class of steamers had been taken off the
waters for the winter. And we also found that navigation among
these lakes is a mistake whenever the necessary journey can be
taken by railway. Their waters are by no means smooth, and then
there is nothing to be seen. I do not know whether others may have
a feeling, almost instinctive, that lake navigation must be
pleasant--that lakes must of necessity be beautiful. I have such a
feeling, but not now so strongly as formerly. Such an idea should
be kept for use in Europe, and never brought over to America with
other traveling gear. The lakes in America are cold, cumbrous,
uncouth, and uninteresting--intended by nature for the conveyance
of cereal produce, but not for the comfort of traveling men and
women. So we gave up our plan of traversing the lake, and, passing
back into Canada by the suspension bridge at Niagara, we reached
the Detroit River at Windsor by the Great Western line, and passed
thence by the ferry into the City of Detroit.

In making this journey at night we introduced ourselves to the
thoroughly American institution of sleeping-cars--that is, of cars
in which beds are made up for travelers. The traveler may have a
whole bed, or half a bed, or no bed at all, as he pleases, paying a
dollar or half a dollar extra should he choose the partial or full
fruition of a couch. I confess I have always taken a delight in
seeing these beds made up, and consider that the operations of the
change are generally as well executed as the manoeuvres of any
pantomime at Drury Lane. The work is usually done by negroes or
colored men, and the domestic negroes of America are always light-
handed and adroit. The nature of an American car is no doubt known
to all men. It looks as far removed from all bed-room
accommodation as the baker's barrow does from the steam engine into
which it is to be converted by Harlequin's wand. But the negro
goes to work much more quietly than the Harlequin; and for every
four seats in the railway car he builds up four beds almost as
quickly as the hero of the pantomime goes through his performance.
The great glory of the Americans is in their wondrous contrivances--
in their patent remedies for the usually troublous operations of
life. In their huge hotels all the bell ropes of each house ring
on one bell only; but a patent indicator discloses a number, and
the whereabouts of the ringer is shown. One fire heats every room,
passage, hall, and cupboard, and does it so effectually that the
inhabitants are all but stifled. Soda-water bottles open
themselves without any trouble of wire or strings. Men and women
go up and down stairs without motive power of their own. Hot and
cold water are laid on to all the chambers; though it sometimes
happens that the water from both taps is boiling, and that, when
once turned on, it cannot be turned off again by any human energy.
Everything is done by a new and wonderful patent contrivance; and
of all their wonderful contrivances, that of their railroad beds is
by no means the least. For every four seats the negro builds up
four beds--that is, four half beds, or accommodation for four
persons. Two are supposed to be below, on the level of the
ordinary four seats, and two up above on shelves which are let down
from the roof. Mattresses slip out from one nook and pillows from
another. Blankets are added, and the bed is ready. Any over-
particular individual--an islander, for instance, who hugs his
chains--will generally prefer to pay the dollar for the double
accommodation. Looking at the bed in the light of a bed--taking,
as it were, an abstract view of it--or comparing it with some other
bed or beds with which the occupant may have acquaintance, I cannot
say that it is in all respects perfect. But distances are long in
America; and he who declines to travel by night will lose very much
time. He who does so travel will find the railway bed a great
relief. I must confess that the feeling of dirt, on the following
morning, is rather oppressive.

From Windsor, on the Canada side, we passed over to Detroit, in the
State of Michigan, by a steam ferry. But ferries in England and
ferries in America are very different. Here, on this Detroit
ferry, some hundred of passengers, who were going forward from the
other side without delay, at once sat down to breakfast. I may as
well explain the way in which disposition is made of one's luggage
as one takes these long journeys. The traveler, when he starts,
has his baggage checked. He abandons his trunk--generally a box,
studded with nails, as long as a coffin and as high as a linen
chest--and, in return for this, he receives an iron ticket with a
number on it. As he approaches the end of his first installment of
travel and while the engine is still working its hardest, a man
comes up to him, bearing with him, suspended on a circular bar, an
infinite variety of other checks. The traveler confides to this
man his wishes, and, if he be going farther without delay,
surrenders his check and receives a counter-check in return. Then,
while the train is still in motion, the new destiny of the trunk is
imparted to it. But another man, with another set of checks, also
comes the way, walking leisurely through the train as he performs
his work. This is the minister of the hotel-omnibus institution.
His business is with those who do not travel beyond the next
terminus. To him, if such be your intention, you make your
confidence, giving up your tallies, and taking other tallies by way
of receipt; and your luggage is afterward found by you in the hall
of your hotel. There is undoubtedly very much of comfort in this;
and the mind of the traveler is lost in amazement as he thinks of
the futile efforts with which he would struggle to regain his
luggage were there no such arrangement. Enormous piles of boxes
are disclosed on the platform at all the larger stations, the
numbers of which are roared forth with quick voice by some two or
three railway denizens at once. A modest English voyager, with six
or seven small packages, would stand no chance of getting anything
if he were left to his own devices. As it is, I am bound to say
that the thing is well done. I have had my desk with all my money
in it lost for a day, and my black leather bag was on one occasion
sent back over the line. They, however, were recovered; and, on
the whole, I feel grateful to the check system of the American
railways. And then, too, one never hears of extra luggage. Of
weight they are quite regardless. On two or three occasions an
overwrought official has muttered between his teeth that ten
packages were a great many, and that some of those "light fixings"
might have been made up into one. And when I came to understand
that the number of every check was entered in a book, and re-
entered at every change, I did whisper to my wife that she ought to
do without a bonnet box. The ten, however, went on, and were
always duly protected. I must add, however, that articles
requiring tender treatment will sometimes reappear a little the
worse from the hardships of their journey.

I have not much to say of Detroit--not much, that is, beyond what I
have to say of all the North. It is a large, well-built, half-
finished city lying on a convenient waterway, and spreading itself
out with promises of a wide and still wider prosperity. It has
about it perhaps as little of intrinsic interest as any of those
large Western towns which I visited. It is not so pleasant as
Milwaukee, nor so picturesque as St. Paul, nor so grand as Chicago,
nor so civilized as Cleveland, nor so busy as Buffalo. Indeed,
Detroit is neither pleasant nor picturesque at all. I will not say
that it is uncivilized; but it has a harsh, crude, unprepossessing
appearance. It has some 70,000 inhabitants, and good accommodation
for shipping. It was doing an enormous business before the war
began, and, when these troublous times are over, will no doubt
again go ahead. I do not, however, think it well to recommend any
Englishman to make a special visit to Detroit who may be wholly
uncommercial in his views, and travel in search of that which is
either beautiful or interesting.

From Detroit we continued our course westward across the State of
Michigan, through a country that was absolutely wild till the
railway pierced it, Very much of it is still absolutely wild. For
miles upon miles the road passes the untouched forest, showing that
even in Michigan the great work of civilization has hardly more
than been commenced. One thinks of the all but countless
population which is, before long, to be fed from these regions--of
the cities which will grow here, and of the amount of government
which in due time will be required--one can hardly fail to feel
that the division of the United States into separate nationalities
is merely a part of the ordained work of creation as arranged for
the well-being of mankind. The States already boast of thirty
millions of inhabitants--not of unnoticed and unnoticeable beings
requiring little, knowing little, and doing little, such as are the
Eastern hordes, which may be counted by tens of millions, but of
men and women who talk loudly and are ambitious, who eat beef, who
read and write, and understand the dignity of manhood. But these
thirty millions are as nothing to the crowds which will grow sleek,
and talk loudly, and become aggressive on these wheat and meat
producing levels. The country is as yet but touched by the
pioneering hand of population. In the old countries, agriculture,
following on the heels of pastoral, patriarchal life, preceded the
birth of cities. But in this young world the cities have come
first. The new Jasons, blessed with the experience of the Old-
World adventurers, have gone forth in search of their golden
fleeces, armed with all that the science and skill of the East had
as yet produced, and, in settling up their new Colchis, have begun
by the erection of first class hotels and the fabrication of
railroads. Let the Old World bid them God speed in their work.
Only it would be well if they could be brought to acknowledge from
whence they have learned all that they know.

Our route lay right across the State to a place called Grand Haven,
on Lake Michigan, from whence we were to take boat for Milwaukee, a
town in Wisconsin, on the opposite or western shore of the lake.
Michigan is sometimes called the Peninsular State, from the fact
that the main part of its territory is surrounded by Lakes Michigan
and Huron, by the little Lake St. Clair and by Lake Erie. It juts
out to the northward from the main land of Indiana and Ohio, and is
circumnavigable on the east, north, and west. These particulars,
however, refer to a part of the State only; for a portion of it
lies on the other side of Lake Michigan, between that and Lake
Superior. I doubt whether any large inland territory in the world
is blessed with such facilities of water carriage.

On arriving at Grand Haven we found that there had been a storm on
the lake, and that the passengers from the trains of the preceding
day were still remaining there, waiting to be carried over to
Milwaukee. The water however--or the sea, as they all call it--was
still very high, and the captain declared his intention of
remaining there that night; whereupon all our fellow-travelers
huddled themselves into the great lake steamboat, and proceeded to
carry on life there as though they were quite at home. The men
took themselves to the bar-room, and smoked cigars and talked about
the war with their feet upon the counter; and the women got
themselves into rocking-chairs in the saloon, and sat there
listless and silent, but not more listless and silent than they
usually are in the big drawing-rooms of the big hotels. There was
supper there precisely at six o'clock--beef-steaks, and tea, and
apple jam, and hot cakes, and light fixings, to all which luxuries
an American deems himself entitled, let him have to seek his meal
where he may. And I was soon informed, with considerable energy,
that let the boat be kept there as long as it might by stress of
weather, the beef-steaks and apple jam, light fixings and heavy
fixings, must be supplied at the cost of the owners of the ship.
"Your first supper you pay for," my informant told me, "because you
eat that on your own account. What you consume after that comes of
their doing, because they don't start; and if it's three meals a
day for a week, it's their look out." It occurred to me that,
under such circumstances, a captain would be very apt to sail
either in foul weather or in fair.

It was a bright moonlight night--moonlight such as we rarely have
in England--and I started off by myself for a walk, that I might
see of what nature were the environs of Grand Haven. A more
melancholy place I never beheld. The town of Grand Haven itself is
placed on the opposite side of a creek, and was to be reached by a
ferry. On our side, to which the railway came and from which the
boat was to sail, there was nothing to be seen but sand hills,
which stretched away for miles along the shore of the lake. There
were great sand mountains and sand valleys, on the surface of which
were scattered the debris of dead trees, scattered logs white with
age, and boughs half buried beneath the sand. Grand Haven itself
is but a poor place, not having succeeded in catching much of the
commerce which comes across the lake from Wisconsin, and which
takes itself on Eastward by the railway. Altogether, it is a
dreary place, such as might break a man's heart should he find that
inexorable fate required him there to pitch his tent.

On my return I went down into the bar-room of the steamer, put my
feet upon the counter, lit my cigar, and struck into the debate
then proceeding on the subject of the war. I was getting West, and
General Fremont was the hero of the hour. "He's a frontier man,
and that's what we want. I guess he'll about go through. Yes,
sir." "As for relieving General Fre-mont," (with the accent always
strongly on the "mont,") "I guess you may as well talk of relieving
the whole West. They won't meddle with Fre-mont. They are
beginning to know in Washington what stuff he's made of." "Why,
sir, there are 50,000 men in these States who will follow Fre-mont,
who would not stir a foot after any other man." From which, and
the like of it in many other places, I began to understand how
difficult was the task which the statesmen in Washington had in

I received no pecuniary advantage whatever from that law as to the
steamboat meals which my new friend had revealed to me. For my one
supper of course I paid, looking forward to any amount of
subsequent gratuitous provisions. But in the course of the night
the ship sailed, and we found ourselves at Milwaukee in time for
breakfast on the following morning.

Milwaukee is a pleasant town, a very pleasant town, containing
45,000 inhabitants. How many of my readers can boast that they
know anything of Milwaukee, or even have heard of it? To me its
name was unknown until I saw it on huge railway placards stuck up
in the smoking-rooms and lounging halls of all American hotels. It
is the big town of Wisconsin, whereas Madison is the capital. It
stands immediately on the western shore of Lake Michigan, and is
very pleasant. Why it should be so, and why Detroit should be the
contrary, I can hardly tell; only I think that the same verdict
would be given by any English tourist. It must be always borne in
mind that 10,000 or 40,000 inhabitants in an American town, and
especially in any new Western town, is a number which means much
more than would be implied by any similar number as to an old town
in Europe. Such a population in America consumes double the amount
of beef which it would in England, wears double the amount of
clothes, and demands double as much of the comforts of life. If a
census could be taken of the watches, it would be found, I take it,
that the American population possessed among them nearly double as
many as would the English; and I fear also that it would be found
that many more of the Americans were readers and writers by habit.
In any large town in England it is probable that a higher
excellence of education would be found than in Milwaukee, and also
a style of life into which more of refinement and more of luxury
had found its way. But the general level of these things, of
material and intellectual well-being--of beef, that is, and book
learning--is no doubt infinitely higher in a new American than in
an old European town. Such an animal as a beggar is as much
unknown as a mastodon. Men out of work and in want are almost
unknown. I do not say that there are none of the hardships of
life--and to them I will come by-and-by--but want is not known as a
hardship in these towns, nor is that dense ignorance in which so
large a proportion of our town populations is still steeped. And
then the town of 40,000 inhabitants is spread over a surface which
would suffice in England for a city of four times the size. Our
towns in England--and the towns, indeed, of Europe generally--have
been built as they have been wanted. No aspiring ambition as to
hundreds of thousands of people warmed the bosoms of their first
founders. Two or three dozen men required habitations in the same
locality, and clustered them together closely. Many such have
failed and died out of the world's notice. Others have thriven,
and houses have been packed on to houses, till London and
Manchester, Dublin and Glasgow have been produced. Poor men have
built, or have had built for them, wretched lanes, and rich men
have erected grand palaces. From the nature of their beginnings
such has, of necessity, been the manner of their creation. But in
America, and especially in Western America, there has been no such
necessity and there is no such result. The founders of cities have
had the experience of the world before them. They have known of
sanitary laws as they began. That sewerage, and water, and gas,
and good air would be needed for a thriving community has been to
them as much a matter of fact as are the well-understood
combinations between timber and nails, and bricks and mortar. They
have known that water carriage is almost a necessity for commercial
success, and have chosen their sites accordingly. Broad streets
cost as little, while land by the foot is not as yet of value to be
regarded, as those which are narrow; and therefore the sites of
towns have been prepared with noble avenues and imposing streets.
A city at its commencement is laid out with an intention that it
shall be populous. The houses are not all built at once, but there
are the places allocated for them. The streets are not made, but
there are the spaces. Many an abortive attempt at municipal
greatness has so been made and then all but abandoned. There are
wretched villages, with huge, straggling parallel ways, which will
never grow into towns. They are the failures--failures in which
the pioneers of civilization, frontier men as they call themselves,
have lost their tens of thousands of dollars. But when the success
comes, when the happy hit has been made, and the ways of commerce
have been truly foreseen with a cunning eye, then a great and
prosperous city springs up, ready made as it were, from the earth.
Such a town is Milwaukee, now containing 45,000 inhabitants, but
with room apparently for double that number; with room for four
times that number, were men packed as closely there as they are
with us.

In the principal business streets of all these towns one sees vast
buildings. They are usually called blocks, and are often so
denominated in large letters on their front, as Portland Block,
Devereux Block, Buel's Block. Such a block may face to two, three,
or even four streets, and, as I presume, has generally been a
matter of one special speculation. It may be divided into separate
houses, or kept for a single purpose, such as that of a hotel, or
grouped into shops below, and into various sets of chambers above.
I have had occasion in various towns to mount the stairs within
these blocks, and have generally found some portion of them vacant--
have sometimes found the greater portion of them vacant. Men
build on an enormous scale, three times, ten times as much as is
wanted. The only measure of size is an increase on what men have
built before. Monroe P. Jones, the speculator, is very probably
ruined, and then begins the world again nothing daunted. But
Jones's block remains, and gives to the city in its aggregate a
certain amount of wealth. Or the block becomes at once of service
and finds tenants. In which case Jones probably sells it, and
immediately builds two others twice as big. That Monroe P. Jones
will encounter ruin is almost a matter of course; but then he is
none the worse for being ruined. It hardly makes him unhappy. He
is greedy of dollars with a terrible covetousness; but he is greedy
in order that he may speculate more widely. He would sooner have
built Jones's tenth block, with a prospect of completing a
twentieth, than settle himself down at rest for life as the owner
of a Chatsworth or a Woburn. As for his children, he has no desire
of leaving them money. Let the girls marry. And for the boys--for
them it will be good to begin as he begun. If they cannot build
blocks for themselves, let them earn their bread in the blocks of
other men. So Monroe P. Jones, with his million of dollars
accomplished, advances on to a new frontier, goes to work again on
a new city, and loses it all. As an individual I differ very much
from Monroe P. Jones. The first block accomplished, with an
adequate rent accruing to me as the builder, I fancy that I should
never try a second. But Jones is undoubtedly the man for the West.
It is that love of money to come, joined to a strong disregard for
money made, which constitutes the vigorous frontier mind, the true
pioneering organization. Monroe P. Jones would be a great man to
all posterity if only he had a poet to sing of his valor.

It may be imagined how large in proportion to its inhabitants will
be a town which spreads itself in this way. There are great houses
left untenanted, and great gaps left unfilled. But if the place be
successful, if it promise success, it will be seen at once that
there is life all through it. Omnibuses, or street cars working on
rails, run hither and thither. The shops that have been opened are
well filled. The great hotels are thronged. The quays are crowded
with vessels, and a general feeling of progress pervades the place.
It is easy to perceive whether or no an American town is going
ahead. The days of my visit to Milwaukee were days of civil war
and national trouble, but in spite of civil war and national
trouble Milwaukee looked healthy.

I have said that there was but little poverty--little to be seen of
real want in these thriving towns--but that they who labored in
them had nevertheless their own hardships. This is so. I would
not have any man believe that he can take himself to the Western
States of America--to those States of which I am now speaking--
Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, or Illinois, and there by
industry escape the ills to which flesh is heir. The laboring
Irish in these towns eat meat seven days a week, but I have met
many a laboring Irishman among them who has wished himself back in
his old cabin. Industry is a good thing, and there is no bread so
sweet as that which is eaten in the sweat of a man's brow; but
labor carried to excess wearies the mind as well as body, and the
sweat that is ever running makes the bread bitter. There is, I
think, no task-master over free labor so exacting as an American.
He knows nothing of hours, and seems to have that idea of a man
which a lady always has of a horse. He thinks that he will go
forever. I wish those masons in London who strike for nine hours'
work with ten hours' pay could be driven to the labor market of
Western America for a spell. And moreover, which astonished me, I
have seen men driven and hurried, as it were forced forward at
their work, in a manner which, to an English workman, would be
intolerable. This surprised me much, as it was at variance with
our--or perhaps I should say with my--preconceived ideas as to
American freedom. I had fancied that an American citizen would not
submit to be driven; that the spirit of the country, if not the
spirit of the individual, would have made it impossible. I thought
that the shoe would have pinched quite on the other foot. But I
found that such driving did exist, and American masters in the West
with whom I had an opportunity of discussing the subject all
admitted it. "Those men'll never half move unless they're driven,"
a foreman said to me once as we stood together over some twenty men
who were at their work. "They kinder look for it, and don't well
know how to get along when they miss it." It was not his business
at this moment to drive--nor was he driving. He was standing at
some little distance from the scene with me, and speculating on the
sight before him. I thought the men were working at their best;
but their movements did not satisfy his practiced eye, and he saw
at a glance that there was no one immediately over them.

But there is worse even than this. Wages in these regions are what
we should call high. An agricultural laborer will earn perhaps
fifteen dollars a month and his board, and a town laborer will earn
a dollar a day. A dollar may be taken as representing four
shillings, though it is in fact more. Food in these parts is much
cheaper than in England, and therefore the wages must be considered
as very good. In making, however, a just calculation it must be
borne in mind that clothing is dearer than in England, and that
much more of it is necessary. The wages nevertheless are high, and
will enable the laborer to save money, if only he can get them
paid. The complaint that wages are held back, and not even
ultimately paid, is very common. There is no fixed rule for
satisfying all such claims once a week, and thus debts to laborers
are contracted, and when contracted are ignored. With us there is
a feeling that it is pitiful, mean almost beyond expression, to
wrong a laborer of his hire. We have men who go in debt to
tradesmen perhaps without a thought of paying them; but when we
speak of such a one who has descended into the lowest mire of
insolvency, we say that he has not paid his washerwoman. Out there
in the West the washerwoman is as fair game as the tailor, the
domestic servant as the wine merchant. If a man be honest he will
not willingly take either goods or labor without payment; and it
may be hard to prove that he who takes the latter is more dishonest
than he who takes the former; but with us there is a prejudice in
favor of one's washerwoman by which the Western mind is not
weakened. "They certainly have to be smart to get it," a gentleman
said to me whom I had taxed on the subject. "You see, on the
frontier a man is bound to be smart. If he aint smart, he'd better
go back East, perhaps as far as Europe; he'll do there." I had got
my answer, and my friend had turned the question; but the fact was
admitted by him, as it had been by many others.

Why this should be so is a question to answer which thoroughly
would require a volume in itself. As to the driving, why should
men submit to it, seeing that labor is abundant, and that in all
newly-settled countries the laborer is the true hero of the age?
In answer to this is to be alleged the fact that hired labor is
chiefly done by fresh comers, by Irish and Germans, who have not as
yet among them any combination sufficient to protect them from such
usage. The men over them are new as masters, masters who are rough
themselves, who themselves have been roughly driven, and who have
not learned to be gracious to those below them. It is a part of
their contract that very hard work shall be exacted, and the
driving resolves itself into this: that the master, looking after
his own interest, is constantly accusing his laborer of a breach of
his part of the contract. The men no doubt do become used to it,
and slacken probably in their endeavors when the tongue of the
master or foreman is not heard. But as to that matter of non-
payment of wages, the men must live; and here, as elsewhere, the
master who omits to pay once will hardly find laborers in future.
The matter would remedy itself elsewhere, and does it not do so
here? This of course is so, and it is not to be understood that
labor as a rule is defrauded of its hire. But the relation of the
master and the man admit of such fraud here much more frequently
than in England. In England the laborer who did not get his wages
on the Saturday, could not go on for the next week. To him, under
such circumstances, the world would be coming to an end. But in
the Western States the laborer does not live so completely from
hand to mouth. He is rarely paid by the week, is accustomed to
give some credit, and, till hard pressed by bad circumstances,
generally has something by him. They do save money, and are thus
fattened up to a state which admits of victimization. I cannot owe
money to the little village cobbler who mends my shoes, because he
demands and receives his payment when his job is done. But to my
friend in Regent Street I extend my custom on a different system;
and when I make my start for continental life I have with him a
matter of unsettled business to a considerable extent. The
American laborer is in the condition of the Regent Street
bootmaker, excepting in this respect, that he gives his credit
under compulsion. "But does not the law set him right? Is there
no law against debtors?" The laws against debtors are plain enough
as they are written down, but seem to be anything but plain when
called into action. They are perfectly understood, and operations
are carried on with the express purpose of evading them. If you
proceed against a man, you find that his property is in the hands
of some one else. You work in fact for Jones, who lives in the
street next to you; but when you quarrel with Jones about your
wages, you find that according to law you have been working for
Smith, in another State. In all countries such dodges are probably
practicable. But men will or will not have recourse to such dodges
according to the light in which they are regarded by the community.
In the Western States such dodges do not appear to be regarded as
disgraceful. "It behoves a frontier man to be smart, sir."

Honesty is the best policy. That is a doctrine which has been
widely preached, and which has recommended itself to many minds as
being one of absolute truth. It is not very ennobling in its
sentiment, seeing that it advocates a special virtue, not on the
ground that that virtue is in itself a thing beautiful, but on
account of the immediate reward which will be its consequence.
Smith is enjoined not to cheat Jones, because he will, in the long
run, make more money by dealing with Jones on the square. This is
not teaching of the highest order; but it is teaching well adapted
to human circumstances, and has obtained for itself a wide credit.
One is driven, however, to doubt whether even this teaching is not
too high for the frontier man. Is it possible that a frontier man
should be scrupulous and at the same time successful? Hitherto
those who have allowed scruples to stand in their way have not
succeeded; and they who have succeeded and made for themselves
great names, who have been the pioneers of civilization, have not
allowed ideas of exact honesty to stand in their way. From General
Jason down to General Fremont there have been men of great
aspirations but of slight scruples. They have been ambitious of
power and desirous of progress, but somewhat regardless how power
and progress shall be attained. Clive and Warren Hastings were
great frontier men, but we cannot imagine that they had ever
realized the doctrine that honesty is the best policy. Cortez, and
even Columbus, the prince of frontier men, are in the same
category. The names of such heroes is legion; but with none of
them has absolute honesty been a favorite virtue. "It behoves a
frontier man to be smart, sir." Such, in that or other language,
has been the prevailing idea. Such is the prevailing idea. And
one feels driven to ask one's self whether such must not be the
prevailing idea with those who leave the world and its rules behind
them, and go forth with the resolve that the world and its rules
shall follow them.

Of filibustering, annexation, and polishing savages off the face of
creation there has been a great deal, and who can deny that
humanity has been the gainer? It seems to those who look widely
back over history, that all such works have been carried on in
obedience to God's laws. When Jacob by Rebecca's aid cheated his
elder brother, he was very smart; but we cannot but suppose that a
better race was by this smartness put in possession of the
patriarchal scepter. Esau was polished off, and readers of
Scripture wonder why heaven, with its thunder, did not open over
the heads of Rebecca and her son. But Jacob, with all his fraud,
was the chosen one. Perhaps the day may come when scrupulous
honesty may be the best policy, even on the frontier. I can only
say that hitherto that day seems to be as distant as ever. I do
not pretend to solve the problem, but simply record my opinion that
under circumstances as they still exist I should not willingly
select a frontier life for my children.

I have said that all great frontier men have been unscrupulous.
There is, however, an exception in history which may perhaps serve
to prove the rule. The Puritans who colonized New England were
frontier men, and were, I think, in general scrupulously honest.
They had their faults. They were stern, austere men, tyrannical at
the backbone when power came in their way, as are all pioneers,
hard upon vices for which they who made the laws had themselves no
minds; but they were not dishonest.

At Milwaukee I went up to see the Wisconsin volunteers, who were
then encamped on open ground in the close vicinity of the town. Of
Wisconsin I had heard before--and have heard the same opinion
repeated since--that it was more backward in its volunteering than
its neighbor States in the West. Wisconsin has 760,000
inhabitants, and its tenth thousand of volunteers was not then made
up; whereas Indiana, with less than double its number, had already
sent out thirty-six thousand. Iowa, with a hundred thousand less
of inhabitants, had then made up fifteen thousand. But neverthless
to me it seemed that Wisconsin was quite alive to its presumed duty
in that respect. Wisconsin, with its three-quarters of a million
of people, is as large as England. Every acre of it may be made
productive, but as yet it is not half cleared. Of such a country
its young men are its heart's blood. Ten thousand men, fit to bear
arms, carried away from such a land to the horrors of civil war, is
a sight as full of sadness as any on which the eye can rest. Ah
me, when will they return, and with what altered hopes! It is, I
fear, easier to turn the sickle into the sword than to recast the
sword back again into the sickle!

We found a completed regiment at Wisconsin consisting entirely of
Germans. A thousand Germans had been collected in that State and
brought together in one regiment, and I was informed by an officer
on the ground that there are many Germans in sundry other of the
Wisconsin regiments. It may be well to mention here that the
number of Germans through all these Western States is very great.
Their number and well-being were to me astonishing. That they form
a great portion of the population of New York, making the German
quarter of that city the third largest German town in the world, I
have long known; but I had no previous idea of their expansion
westward. In Detroit nearly every third shop bore a German name,
and the same remark was to be made at Milwaukee; and on all hands I
heard praises of their morals, of their thrift, and of their new
patriotism. I was continually told how far they exceeded the Irish
settlers. To me in all parts of the world an Irishman is dear.
When handled tenderly he becomes a creature most lovable. But with
all my judgment in the Irishman's favor, and with my prejudices
leaning the same way, I feel myself bound to state what I heard and
what I saw as to the Germans.

But this regiment of Germans, and another not completed regiment,
called from the State generally, were as yet without arms,
accouterments, or clothing. There was the raw material of the
regiment, but there was nothing else. Winter was coming on--winter
in which the mercury is commonly twenty degrees below zero--and the
men were in tents with no provision against the cold. These tents
held each two men, and were just large enough for two to lie. The
canvas of which they were made seemed to me to be thin, but was, I
think, always double. At this camp there was a house in which the
men took their meals, but I visited other camps in which there was
no such accommodation. I saw the German regiment called to its
supper by tuck of drum, and the men marched in gallantly, armed
each with a knife and spoon. I managed to make my way in at the
door after them, and can testify to the excellence of the
provisions of which their supper consisted. A poor diet never
enters into any combination of circumstances contemplated by an
American. Let him be where he will, animal food is with him the
first necessary of life, and he is always provided accordingly. As
to those Wisconsin men whom I saw, it was probable that they might
be marched off, down South to Washington, or to the doubtful
glories of the Western campaign under Fremont, before the winter
commenced. The same might have been said of any special regiment.
But taking the whole mass of men who were collected under canvas at
the end of the autumn of 1861, and who were so collected without
arms or military clothing, and without protection from the weather,
it did seem that the task taken in hand by the Commissariat of the
Northern army was one not devoid of difficulty.

The view from Milwaukee over Lake Michigan is very pleasing. One
looks upon a vast expanse of water to which the eye finds no
bounds, and therefore there are none of the common attributes of
lake beauty; but the color of the lake is bright, and within a walk
of the city the traveler comes to the bluffs or low round-topped
hills, from which we can look down upon the shores. These bluffs
form the beauty of Wisconsin and Minnesota, and relieve the eye
after the flat level of Michigan. Round Detroit there is no rising
ground, and therefore, perhaps, it is that Detroit is

I have said that those who are called on to labor in these States
have their own hardships, and I have endeavored to explain what are
the sufferings to which the town laborer is subject. To escape
from this is the laborer's great ambition, and his mode of doing so
consists almost universally in the purchase of land. He saves up
money in order that he may buy a section of an allotment, and thus
become his own master. All his savings are made with a view to
this independence. Seated on his own land he will have to work
probably harder than ever, but he will work for himself. No task-
master can then stand over him and wound his pride with harsh
words. He will be his own master; will eat the food which he
himself has grown, and live in the cabin which his own hands have
built. This is the object of his life; and to secure this position
he is content to work late and early and to undergo the indignities
of previous servitude. The government price for land is about five
shillings an acre--one dollar and a quarter--and the settler may
get it for this price if he be contented to take it not only
untouched as regards clearing, but also far removed from any
completed road. The traffic in these lands has been the great
speculating business of Western men. Five or six years ago, when
the rage for such purchases was at its height, land was becoming a
scarce article in the market. Individuals or companies bought it
up with the object of reselling it at a profit; and many, no doubt,
did make money. Railway companies were, in fact, companies
combined for the purchase of land. They purchased land, looking to
increase the value of it fivefold by the opening of a railroad. It
may easily be understood that a railway, which could not be in
itself remunerative, might in this way become a lucrative
speculation. No settler could dare to place himself absolutely at
a distance from any thoroughfare. At first the margins of nature's
highways, the navigable rivers and lakes, were cleared. But as the
railway system grew and expanded itself, it became manifest that
lands might be rendered quickly available which were not so
circumstanced by nature. A company which had purchased an enormous
territory from the United States government at five shillings an
acre might well repay itself all the cost of a railway through that
territory, even though the receipts of the railway should do no
more than maintain the current expenses. It is in this way that
the thousands of miles of American railroads have been opened; and
here again must be seen the immense advantages which the States as
a new country have enjoyed. With us the purchase of valuable land
for railways, together with the legal expenses which those
compulsory purchases entailed, have been so great that with all our
traffic railways are not remunerative. But in the States the
railways have created the value of the land. The States have been
able to begin at the right end, and to arrange that the districts
which are benefited shall themselves pay for the benefit they

The government price of land is 125 cents, or about five shillings
an acre; and even this need not be paid at once if the settler
purchase directly from the government. He must begin by making
certain improvements on the selected land--clearing and cultivating
some small portion, building a hut, and probably sinking a well.
When this has been done--when he has thus given a pledge of his
intentions by depositing on the land the value of a certain amount
of labor, he cannot be removed. He cannot be removed for a term of
years, and then if he pays the price of the land it becomes his own
with an indefeasible title. Many such settlements are made on the
purchase of warrants for land. Soldiers returning from the Mexican
wars were donated with warrants for land--the amount being 160
acres, or the quarter of a section. The localities of such lands
were not specified, but the privilege granted was that of occupying
any quarter-section not hitherto tenanted. It will, of course, be
understood that lands favorably situated would be tenanted. Those
contiguous to railways were of course so occupied, seeing that the
lines were not made till the lands were in the hands of the
companies. It may therefore be understood of what nature would be
the traffic in these warrants. The owner of a single warrant might
find it of no value to him. To go back utterly into the woods,
away from river or road, and there to commence with 160 acres of
forest, or even of prairie, would be a hopeless task even to an
American settler. Some mode of transport for his produce must be
found before his produce would be of value--before, indeed, he
could find the means of living. But a company buying up a large
aggregate of such warrants would possess the means of making such
allotments valuable and of reselling them at greatly increased

The primary settler, therefore--who, however, will not usually have
been the primary owner--goes to work upon his land amid all the
wildness of nature. He levels and burns the first trees, and
raises his first crop of corn amid stumps still standing four or
five feet above the soil; but he does not do so till some mode of
conveyance has been found for him. So much I have said hoping to
explain the mode in which the frontier speculator paves the way for
the frontier agriculturist. But the permanent farmer very
generally comes on the land as the third owner. The first settler
is a rough fellow, and seems to be so wedded to his rough life that
he leaves his land after his first wild work is done, and goes
again farther off to some untouched allotment. He finds that he
can sell his improvements at a profitable rate and takes the price.
He is a preparer of farms rather than a farmer. He has no love for
the soil which his hand has first turned. He regards it merely as
an investment; and when things about him are beginning to wear an
aspect of comfort, when his property has become valuable, he sells
it, packs up his wife and little ones, and goes again into the
woods. The Western American has no love for his own soil or his
own house. The matter with him is simply one of dollars. To keep
a farm which he could sell at an advantage from any feeling of
affection--from what we should call an association of ideas--would
be to him as ridiculous as the keeping of a family pig would be in
an English farmer's establishment. The pig is a part of the
farmer's stock in trade, and must go the way of all pigs. And so
is it with house and land in the life of the frontier man in the
Western States.

But yet this man has his romance, his high poetic feeling, and
above all his manly dignity. Visit him, and you will find him
without coat or waistcoat, unshorn, in ragged blue trowsers and old
flannel shirt, too often bearing on his lantern jaws the signs of
ague and sickness; but he will stand upright before you and speak
to you with all the ease of a lettered gentleman in his own
library. All the odious incivility of the republican servant has
been banished. He is his own master, standing on his own
threshold, and finds no need to assert his equality by rudeness.
He is delighted to see you, and bids you sit down on his battered
bench without dreaming of any such apology as an English cottier
offers to a Lady Bountiful when she calls. He has worked out his
independence, and shows it in every easy movement of his body. He
tells you of it unconsciously in every tone of his voice. You will
always find in his cabin some newspaper, some book, some token of
advance in education. When he questions you about the old country
he astonishes you by the extent of his knowledge. I defy you not
to feel that he is superior to the race from whence he has sprung
in England or in Ireland. To me I confess that the manliness of
such a man is very charming. He is dirty, and, perhaps, squalid.
His children are sick and he is without comforts. His wife is
pale, and you think you see shortness of life written in the faces
of all the family. But over and above it all there is an
independence which sits gracefully on their shoulders, and teaches
you at the first glance that the man has a right to assume himself
to be your equal. It is for this position that the laborer works,
bearing hard words and the indignity of tyranny; suffering also too
often the dishonest ill usage which his superior power enables the
master to inflict.

"I have lived very rough," I heard a poor woman say, whose husband
had ill used and deserted her. "I have known what it is to be
hungry and cold, and to work hard till my bones have ached. I only
wish that I might have the same chance again. If I could have ten
acres cleared two miles away from any living being, I could be
happy with my children. I find a kind of comfort when I am at work
from daybreak to sundown, and know that it is all my own." I
believe that life in the backwoods has an allurement to those who
have been used to it that dwellers in cities can hardly comprehend.

From Milwaukee we went across Wisconsin, and reached the
Mississippi at La Crosse. From hence, according to agreement, we
were to start by steamer at once up the river. But we were delayed
again, as had happened to us before on Lake Michigan at Grand



It had been promised to us that we should start from La Crosse by
the river steamer immediately on our arrival there; but, on
reaching La Crosse, we found that the vessel destined to take us up
the river had not yet come down. She was bringing a regiment from
Minnesota, and, under such circumstances, some pardon might be
extended to irregularities. This plea was made by one of the boat
clerks in a very humble tone, and was fully accepted by us. The
wonder was that, at such a period, all means of public conveyance
were not put absolutely out of gear. One might surmise that when
regiments were constantly being moved for the purposes of civil
war--when the whole North had but the one object of collecting
together a sufficient number of men to crush the South--ordinary
traveling for ordinary purposes would be difficult, slow, and
subject to sudden stoppages. Such, however, was not the case
either in the Northern or Western States. The trains ran much as
usual, and those connected with the boats and railways were just as
anxious as ever to secure passengers. The boat clerk at La Crosse
apologized amply for the delay; and we sat ourselves down with
patience to await the arrival of the second Minnesota Regiment on
its way to Washington.

During the four hours that we were kept waiting we were harbored on
board a small steamer; and at about eleven the terribly harsh
whistle that is made by the Mississippi boats informed us that the
regiment was arriving. It came up to the quay in two steamers--750
being brought in that which was to take us back, and 250 in a
smaller one. The moon was very bright, and great flaming torches
were lit on the vessel's side, so that all the operations of the
men were visible. The two steamers had run close up, thrusting us
away from the quay in their passage, but doing it so gently that we
did not even feel the motion. These large boats--and their size
may be understood from the fact that one of them had just brought
down 750 men--are moved so easily and so gently that they come
gliding in among each other without hesitation and without pause.
On English waters we do not willingly run ships against each other;
and when we do so unwillingly, they bump and crush and crash upon
each other, and timbers fly while men are swearing. But here there
was neither crashing nor swearing; and the boats noiselessly
pressed against each other as though they were cased in muslin and

I got out upon the quay and stood close by the plank, watching each
man as he left the vessel and walked across toward the railway.
Those whom I had previously seen in tents were not equipped; but
these men were in uniform, and each bore his musket. Taking them
altogether, they were as fine a set of men as I ever saw collected.
No man could doubt, on seeing them, that they bore on their
countenances the signs of higher breeding and better education than
would be seen in a thousand men enlisted in England. I do not mean
to argue from this that Americans are better than English. I do
not mean to argue here that they are even better educated. My
assertion goes to show that the men generally were taken from a
higher level in the community than that which fills our own ranks.
It was a matter of regret to me, here and on many subsequent
occasions, to see men bound for three years to serve as common
soldiers who were so manifestly fitted for a better and more useful
life. To me it is always a source of sorrow to see a man enlisted.
I feel that the individual recruit is doing badly with himself--
carrying himself, and the strength and intelligence which belong to
him, to a bad market. I know that there must be soldiers; but as
to every separate soldier I regret that he should be one of them.
And the higher is the class from which such soldiers are drawn, the
greater the intelligence of the men so to be employed, the deeper
with me is that feeling of regret. But this strikes one much less
in an old country than in a country that is new. In the old
countries population is thick and food sometimes scarce. Men can
be spared; and any employment may be serviceable, even though that
employment be in itself so unproductive as that of fighting battles
or preparing for them. But in the Western States of America every
arm that can guide a plow is of incalculable value. Minnesota was
admitted as a State about three years before this time, and its
whole population is not much above 150,000. Of this number perhaps
40,000 may be working men. And now this infant State, with its
huge territory and scanty population, is called upon to send its
heart's blood out to the war.

And it has sent its heart's best blood. Forth they came--fine,
stalwart, well-grown fellows--looking, to my eye, as though they
had as yet but faintly recognized the necessary severity of
military discipline. To them hitherto the war had seemed to be an
arena on which each might do something for his country which that
country would recognize. To themselves as yet--and to me also--
they were a band of heroes, to be reduced by the compressing power
of military discipline to the lower level, but more necessary
position, of a regiment of soldiers. Ah, me! how terrible to them
has been the breaking up of that delusion! When a poor yokel in
England is enlisted with a shilling and a promise of unlimited beer
and glory, one pities, and, if possible, would save him. But with
him the mode of life to which he goes may not be much inferior to
that he leaves. It may be that for him soldiering is the best
trade possible in his circumstances. It may keep him from the hen-
roosts, and perhaps from his neighbors' pantries; and discipline
may be good for him. Population is thick with us; and there are
many whom it may be well to collect and make available under the
strictest surveillance. But of these men whom I saw entering on
their career upon the banks of the Mississippi, many were fathers
of families, many were owners of lands, many were educated men
capable of high aspirations--all were serviceable members of their
State. There were probably there not three or four of whom it
would be well that the State should be rid. As soldiers, fit or
capable of being made fit for the duties they had undertaken, I
could find but one fault with them. Their average age was too
high. There were men among them with grizzled beards, and many who
had counted thirty, thirty-five, and forty years. They had, I
believe, devoted themselves with a true spirit of patriotism. No
doubt each had some ulterior hope as to himself, as has every
mortal patriot. Regulus, when he returned hopeless to Carthage,
trusted that some Horace would tell his story. Each of these men
from Minnesota looked probably forward to his reward; but the
reward desired was of a high class.

The first great misery to be endured by these regiments will be the
military lesson of obedience which they must learn before they can
be of any service. It always seemed to me, when I came near them,
that they had not as yet recognized the necessary austerity of an
officer's duty. Their idea of a captain was the stage idea of a
leader of dramatic banditti--a man to be followed and obeyed as a
leader, but to be obeyed with that free and easy obedience which is
accorded to the reigning chief of the forty thieves. "Waal,
captain," I have heard a private say to his officer, as he sat on
one seat in a railway car, with his feet upon the back of another.
And the captain has looked as though he did not like it. The
captain did not like it; but the poor private was being fast
carried to that destiny which he would like still less. From the
first I have had faith in the Northern army; but from the first I
have felt that the suffering to be endured by these free and
independent volunteers would be very great. A man, to be available
as a private soldier, must be compressed and belted in till he be a

As soon as the men had left the vessel we walked over the side of
it and took possession. "I am afraid your cabin won't be ready for
a quarter of an hour," said the clerk. "Such a body of men as that
will leave some dirt after them." I assured him, of course, that
our expectations under such circumstances were very limited, and
that I was fully aware that the boat and the boat's company were
taken up with matters of greater moment than the carriage of
ordinary passengers. But to this he demurred altogether. "The
regiments were very little to them, but occasioned much trouble.
Everything, however, should be square in fifteen minutes." At the
expiration of the time named the key of our state-room was given to
us, and we found the appurtenances as clean as though no soldier
had ever put his foot upon the vessel.

From La Crosse to St. Paul the distance up the river is something
over 200 miles; and from St. Paul down to Dubuque in Iowa, to which
we went on our return, the distance is 450 miles. We were,
therefore, for a considerable time on board these boats--more so
than such a journey may generally make necessary, as we were
delayed at first by the soldiers, and afterward by accidents, such
as the breaking of a paddle-wheel, and other causes, to which
navigation on the Upper Mississippi seems to be liable. On the
whole, we slept on board four nights, and lived on board as many
days. I cannot say that the life was comfortable, though I do not
know that it could be made more so by any care on the part of the
boat owners. My first complaint would be against the great heat of
the cabins. The Americans, as a rule, live in an atmosphere which
is almost unbearable by an Englishman. To this cause, I am
convinced, is to be attributed their thin faces, their pale skins,
their unenergetic temperament--unenergetic as regards physical
motion--and their early old age. The winters are long and cold in
America, and mechanical ingenuity is far extended. These two facts
together have created a system of stoves, hot-air pipes, steam
chambers, and heating apparatus so extensive that, from autumn till
the end of spring, all inhabited rooms are filled with the
atmosphere of a hot oven. An Englishman fancies that he is to be
baked, and for awhile finds it almost impossible to exist in the
air prepared for him. How the heat is engendered on board the
river steamers I do not know, but it is engendered to so great a
degree that the sitting-cabins are unendurable. The patient is
therefore driven out at all hours into the outside balconies of the
boat, or on to the top roof--for it is a roof rather than a deck--
and there, as he passes through the air at the rate of twenty miles
an hour, finds himself chilled to the very bones. That is my first
complaint. But as the boats are made for Americans, and as
Americans like hot air, I do not put it forward with any idea that
a change ought to be effected. My second complaint is equally
unreasonable, and is quite as incapable of a remedy as the first.
Nine-tenths of the travelers carry children with them. They are
not tourists engaged on pleasure excursions, but men and women
intent on the business of life. They are moving up and down
looking for fortune and in search of new homes. Of course they
carry with them all their household goods. Do not let any critic
say that I grudge these young travelers their right to locomotion.
Neither their right to locomotion is grudged by me, nor any of
those privileges which are accorded in America to the rising
generation. The habits of their country and the choice of their
parents give to them full dominion over all hours and over all
places, and it would ill become a foreigner to make such habits and
such choice a ground of serious complaint. But, nevertheless, the
uncontrolled energies of twenty children round one's legs do not
convey comfort or happiness, when the passing events are producing
noise and storm rather than peace and sunshine. I must protest
that American babies are an unhappy race. They eat and drink just
as they please; they are never punished; they are never banished,
snubbed, and kept in the background as children are kept with us,
and yet they are wretched and uncomfortable. My heart has bled for
them as I have heard them squalling by the hour together in agonies
of discontent and dyspepsia. Can it be, I wonder, that children
are happier when they are made to obey orders, and are sent to bed
at six o'clock, than when allowed to regulate their own conduct;
that bread and milk are more favorable to laughter and soft,
childish ways than beef-steaks and pickles three times a day; that
an occasional whipping, even, will conduce to rosy cheeks? It is
an idea which I should never dare to broach to an American mother;
but I must confess that, after my travels on the Western Continent,
my opinions have a tendency in that direction. Beef-steaks and
pickles certainly produce smart little men and women. Let that be
taken for granted. But rosy laughter and winning, childish ways
are, I fancy, the produce of bread and milk. But there was a third
reason why traveling on these boats was not so pleasant as I had
expected. I could not get my fellow-travelers to talk to me. It
must be understood that our fellow-travelers were not generally of
that class which we Englishmen, in our pride, designate as
gentlemen and ladies. They were people, as I have said, in search
of new homes and new fortunes. But I protest that as such they
would have been, in those parts, much more agreeable as companions
to me than any gentlemen or any ladies, if only they would have
talked to me. I do not accuse them of any incivility. If
addressed, they answered me. If application was made by me for any
special information, trouble was taken to give it me. But I found
no aptitude, no wish for conversation--nay, even a disinclination
to converse. In the Western States I do not think that I was ever
addressed first by an American sitting next to me at table.
Indeed, I never held any conversation at a public table in the
West. I have sat in the same room with men for hours, and have not
had a word spoken to me. I have done my very best to break through
this ice, and have always failed. A Western American man is not a
talking man. He will sit for hours over a stove, with a cigar in
his mouth and his hat over his eyes, chewing the cud of reflection.
A dozen will sit together in the same way, and there shall not be a
dozen words spoken between them in an hour. With the women one's
chance of conversation is still worse. It seemed as though the
cares of the world had been too much for them, and that all talking
excepting as to business--demands, for instance, on the servants
for pickles for their children--had gone by the board. They were
generally hard, dry, and melancholy. I am speaking, of course, of
aged females--from five and twenty, perhaps, to thirty--who had
long since given up the amusements and levities of life. I very
soon abandoned any attempt at drawing a word from these ancient
mothers of families; but not the less did I ponder in my mind over
the circumstances of their lives. Had things gone with them so
sadly--was the struggle for independence so hard--that all the
softness of existence had been trodden out of them? In the cities,
too, it was much the same. It seemed to me that a future mother of
a family, in those parts, had left all laughter behind her when she
put out her finger for the wedding ring.

For these reasons I must say that life on board these steamboats
was not as pleasant as I had hoped to find it; but for our
discomfort in this respect we found great atonement in the scenery
through which we passed. I protest that of all the river scenery


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