North America

Part 4 out of 7

that I know that of the Upper Mississippi is by far the finest and
the most continued. One thinks, of course, of the Rhine; but,
according to my idea of beauty, the Rhine is nothing to the Upper
Mississippi. For miles upon miles--for hundreds of miles--the
course of the river runs through low hills, which are there called
bluffs. These bluffs rise in every imaginable form, looking
sometimes like large, straggling, unwieldy castles, and then
throwing themselves into sloping lawns which stretch back away from
the river till the eye is lost in their twists and turnings.
Landscape beauty, as I take it, consists mainly in four attributes--
in water; in broken land; in scattered timber, timber scattered as
opposed to continuous forest timber; and in the accident of color.
In all these particulars the banks of the Upper Mississippi can
hardly be beaten. There are no high mountains; but high mountains
themselves are grand rather than beautiful. There are no high
mountains; but there is a succession of hills, which group
themselves forever without monotony. It is, perhaps, the ever-
variegated forms of these bluffs which chiefly constitute the
wonderful loveliness of this river. The idea constantly occurs
that some point on every hillside would form the most charming site
ever yet chosen for a noble residence. I have passed up and down
rivers clothed to the edge with continuous forest. This at first
is grand enough, but the eye and feeling soon become weary. Here
the trees are scattered so that the eye passes through them, and
ever and again a long lawn sweeps back into the country and up the
steep side of a hill, making the traveler long to stay there and
linger through the oaks, and climb the bluffs, and lay about on the
bold but easy summits. The boat, however, steams quickly up
against the current, and the happy valleys are left behind one
quickly after another. The river is very various in its breadth,
and is constantly divided by islands. It is never so broad that
the beauty of the banks is lost in the distance or injured by it.
It is rapid, but has not the beautifully bright color of some
European rivers--of the Rhine, for instance, and the Rhone. But
what is wanting in the color of the water is more than compensated
by the wonderful hues and luster of the shores. We visited the
river in October, and I must presume that they who seek it solely
for the sake of scenery should go there in that month. It was not
only that the foliage of the trees was bright with every imaginable
color, but that the grass was bronzed and that the rocks were
golden. And this beauty did not last only for awhile, and then
cease. On the Rhine there are lovely spots and special morsels of
scenery with which the traveler becomes duly enraptured. But on
the Upper Mississippi there are no special morsels. The position
of the sun in the heavens will, as it always does, make much
difference in the degree of beauty. The hour before and the half
hour after sunset are always the loveliest for such scenes. But of
the shores themselves one may declare that they are lovely
throughout those four hundred miles which run immediately south
from St. Paul.

About half way between La Crosse and St. Paul we came upon Lake
Pepin, and continued our course up the lake for perhaps fifty or
sixty miles. This expanse of water is narrow for a lake, and, by
those who know the lower courses of great rivers, would hardly be
dignified by that name. But, nevertheless, the breadth here
lessens the beauty. There are the same bluffs, the same scattered
woodlands, and the same colors. But they are either at a distance,
or else they are to be seen on one side only. The more that I see
of the beauty of scenery, and the more I consider its elements, the
stronger becomes my conviction that size has but little to do with
it, and rather detracts from it than adds to it. Distance gives
one of its greatest charms, but it does so by concealing rather
than displaying an expanse of surface. The beauty of distance
arises from the romance, the feeling of mystery which it creates.
It is like the beauty of woman, which allures the more the more
that it is vailed. But open, uncovered land and water, mountains
which simply rise to great heights, with long, unbroken slopes,
wide expanses of lake, and forests which are monotonous in their
continued thickness, are never lovely to me. A landscape should
always be partly vailed, and display only half its charms.

To my taste the finest stretch of the river was that immediately
above Lake Pepin; but then, at this point, we had all the glory of
the setting sun. It was like fairy-land, so bright were the golden
hues, so fantastic were the shapes of the hills, so broken and
twisted the course of the waters! But the noisy steamer went
groaning up the narrow passages with almost unabated speed, and
left the fairy land behind all too quickly. Then the bell would
ring for tea, and the children with the beef-steaks, the pickled
onions, and the light fixings would all come over again. The care-
laden mothers would tuck the bibs under the chins of their tyrant
children, and some embryo senator of four years old would listen
with concentrated attention while the negro servant recapitulated
to him the delicacies of the supper-table, in order that he might
make his choice with due consideration. "Beef-steak," the embryo
four-year old senator would lisp, "and stewed potato, and buttered
toast, and corn-cake, and coffee,--and--and--and--mother, mind you
get me the pickles."

St. Paul enjoys the double privilege of being the commercial and
political capital of Minnesota. The same is the case with Boston,
in Massachusetts, but I do not remember another instance in which
it is so. It is built on the eastern bank of the Mississippi,
though the bulk of the State lies to the west of the river. It is
noticeable as the spot up to which the river is navigable.
Immediately above St. Paul there are narrow rapids up which no boat
can pass. North of this continuous navigation does not go; but
from St. Paul down to New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico it is
uninterrupted. The distance to St. Louis in Missouri, a town built
below the confluence of the three rivers, Mississippi, Missouri,
and Illinois, is 900 miles and then the navigable waters down to
the Gulf wash a southern country of still greater extent. No river
on the face of the globe forms a highway for the produce of so wide
an extent of agricultural land. The Mississippi, with its
tributaries, carried to market, before the war, the produce of
Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky,
Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
This country is larger than England, Ireland, Scotland, Holland,
Belgium, France, Germany, and Spain together, and is undoubtedly
composed of much more fertile land. The States named comprise the
great center valley of the continent, and are the farming lands and
garden grounds of the Western World. He who has not seen corn on
the ground in Illinois or Minnesota, does not know to what extent
the fertility of land may go, or how great may be the weight of
cereal crops. And for all this the Mississippi was the high-road
to market. When the crop of 1861 was garnered, this high-road was
stopped by the war. What suffering this entailed on the South I
will not here stop to say, but on the West the effect was terrible.
Corn was in such plenty--Indian-corn, that is, or maize--that it
was not worth the farmer's while to prepare it for market. When I
was in Illinois, the second quality of Indian-corn, when shelled,
was not worth more than from eight to ten cents a bushel. But the
shelling and preparation is laborious, and in some instances it was
found better to burn it for fuel than to sell it. Respecting the
export of corn from the West, I must say a further word or two in
the next chapter; but it seemed to be indispensable that I should
point out here how great to the United States is the need of the
Mississippi. Nor is it for corn and wheat only that its waters are
needed. Timber, lead, iron, coal, pork--all find, or should find,
their exit to the world at large by this road. There are towns on
it, and on its tributaries, already holding more than one hundred
and fifty thousand inhabitants. The number of Cincinnati exceeds
that, as also does the number of St. Louis. Under these
circumstances it is not wonderful that the States should wish to
keep in their own hands the navigation of this river.

It is not wonderful. But it will not, I think, be admitted by the
politicians of the world that the navigation of the Mississippi
need be closed against the West, even though the Southern States
should succeed in raising themselves to the power and dignity of a
separate nationality. If the waters of the Danube be not open to
Austria, it is through the fault of Austria. That the subject will
be one of trouble, no man can doubt; and of course it would be well
for the North to avoid that, or any other trouble. In the mean
time the importance of this right of way must be admitted; and it
must be admitted, also, that whatever may be the ultimate resolve
of the North, it will be very difficult to reconcile the West to a
divided dominion of the Mississippi.

St. Paul contains about 14,000 inhabitants, and, like all other
American towns, is spread over a surface of ground adapted to the
accommodation of a very extended population. As it is belted on
one side by the river, and on the other by the bluffs which
accompany the course of the river, the site is pretty, and almost
romantic. Here also we found a great hotel, a huge, square
building, such as we in England might perhaps place near to a
railway terminus in such a city as Glasgow or Manchester, but on
which no living Englishman would expend his money in a town even
five times as big again as St. Paul. Everything was sufficiently
good, and much more than sufficiently plentiful. The whole thing
went on exactly as hotels do down in Massachusetts or the State of
New York. Look at the map and see where St. Paul is. Its distance
from all known civilization--all civilization that has succeeded in
obtaining acquaintance with the world at large--is very great.
Even American travelers do not go up there in great numbers,
excepting those who intend to settle there. A stray sportsman or
two, American or English, as the case may be, makes his way into
Minnesota for the sake of shooting, and pushes on up through St.
Paul to the Red River. Some few adventurous spirits visit the
Indian settlements, and pass over into the unsettled regions of
Dacotah and Washington Territory. But there is no throng of
traveling. Nevertheless, a hotel has been built there capable of
holding three hundred guests, and other hotels exist in the
neighborhood, one of which is even larger than that at St. Paul.
Who can come to them, and create even a hope that such an
enterprise may be remunerative? In America it is seldom more than
hope, for one always hears that such enterprises fail.

When I was there the war was in hand, and it was hardly to be
expected that any hotel should succeed. The landlord told me that
he held it at the present time for a very low rent, and that he
could just manage to keep it open without loss. The war which
hindered people from traveling, and in that way injured the
innkeepers, also hindered people from housekeeping, and reduced
them to the necessity of boarding out, by which the innkeepers were
of course benefited. At St. Paul I found that the majority of the
guests were inhabitants of the town, boarding at the hotel, and
thus dispensing with the cares of a separate establishment. I do
not know what was charged for such accommodation at St. Paul, but I
have come across large houses at which a single man could get all
that he required for a dollar a day. Now Americans are great
consumers, especially at hotels, and all that a man requires
includes three hot meals, with a choice from about two dozen dishes
at each.

From St. Paul there are two waterfalls to be seen, which we, of
course, visited. We crossed the river at Fort Snelling, a rickety,
ill-conditioned building standing at the confluence of the
Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, built there to repress the
Indians. It is, I take it, very necessary, especially at the
present moment, as the Indians seem to require repressing. They
have learned that the attention of the Federal government has been
called to the war, and have become bold in consequence. When I was
at St. Paul I heard of a party of Englishmen who had been robbed of
everything they possessed, and was informed that the farmers in the
distant parts of the State were by no means secure. The Indians
are more to be pitied than the farmers. They are turning against
enemies who will neither forgive nor forget any injuries done.
When the war is over they will be improved, and polished, and
annexed, till no Indian will hold an acre of land in Minnesota. At
present Fort Snelling is the nucleus of a recruiting camp. On the
point between the bluffs of the two rivers there is a plain,
immediately in front of the fort, and there we saw the newly-joined
Minnesota recruits going through their first military exercises.
They were in detachments of twenties, and were rude enough at their
goose step. The matter which struck me most in looking at them was
the difference of condition which I observed in the men. There
were the country lads, fresh from the farms, such as we see
following the recruiting sergeant through English towns; but there
were also men in black coats and black trowsers, with thin boots,
and trimmed beards--beards which had been trimmed till very lately;
and some of them with beards which showed that they were no longer
young. It was inexpressibly melancholy to see such men as these
twisting and turning about at the corporal's word, each handling
some stick in his hand in lieu of weapon. Of course, they were
more awkward than the boys, even though they were twice more
assiduous in their efforts. Of course, they were sad and wretched.
I saw men there that were very wretched--all but heart-broken, if
one might judge from their faces. They should not have been there
handling sticks, and moving their unaccustomed legs in cramped
paces. They were as razors, for which no better purpose could be
found than the cutting of blocks. When such attempts are made the
block is not cut, but the razor is spoiled. Most unfit for the
commencement of a soldier's life were some that I saw there, but I
do not doubt that they had been attracted to the work by the one
idea of doing something for their country in its trouble.

From Fort Snelling we went on to the Falls of Minnehaha.
Minnehaha, laughing water. Such, I believe, is the interpretation.
The name in this case is more imposing than the fall. It is a
pretty little cascade, and might do for a picnic in fine weather,
but it is not a waterfall of which a man can make much when found
so far away from home. Going on from Minnehaha we came to
Minneapolis, at which place there is a fine suspension bridge
across the river, just above the falls of St. Anthony and leading
to the town of that name. Till I got there I could hardly believe
that in these days there should be a living village called
Minneapolis by living men. I presume I should describe it as a
town, for it has a municipality, and a post-office, and, of course,
a large hotel. The interest of the place, however, is in the saw-
mills. On the opposite side of the water, at St. Anthony, is
another very large hotel--and also a smaller one. The smaller one
may be about the size of the first-class hotels at Cheltenham or
Leamington. They were both closed, and there seemed to be but
little prospect that either would be opened till the war should be
over. The saw-mills, however, were at full work, and to my eyes
were extremely picturesque. I had been told that the beauty of the
falls had been destroyed by the mills. Indeed, all who had spoken
to me about St. Anthony had said so. But I did not agree with
them. Here, as at Ottawa, the charm in fact consists, not in an
uninterrupted shoot of water, but in a succession of rapids over a
bed of broken rocks. Among these rocks logs of loose timber are
caught, which have escaped from their proper courses, and here they
lie, heaped up in some places, and constructing themselves into
bridges in others, till the freshets of the spring carry them off.
The timber is generally brought down in logs to St. Anthony, is
sawn there, and then sent down the Mississippi in large rafts.
These rafts on other rivers are, I think, generally made of unsawn
timber. Such logs as have escaped in the manner above described
are recognized on their passage down the river by their marks, and
are made up separately, the original owners receiving the value--or
not receiving it as the case may be. "There is quite a trade going
on with the loose lumber," my informant told me. And from his tone
I was led to suppose that he regarded the trade as sufficiently
lucrative, if not peculiarly honest.

There is very much in the mode of life adopted by the settlers in
these regions which creates admiration. The people are all
intelligent. They are energetic and speculative, conceiving grand
ideas, and carrying them out almost with the rapidity of magic. A
suspension bridge half a mile long is erected, while in England we
should be fastening together a few planks for a foot passage.
Progress, mental as well as material, is the demand of the people
generally. Everybody understands everything, and everybody intends
sooner or later to do everything. All this is very grand; but then
there is a terrible drawback. One hears on every side of
intelligence, but one hears also on every side of dishonesty. Talk
to whom you will, of whom you will, and you will hear some tale of
successful or unsuccessful swindling. It seems to be the
recognized rule of commerce in the far West that men shall go into
the world's markets prepared to cheat and to be cheated. It may be
said that as long as this is acknowledged and understood on all
sides, no harm will be done. It is equally fair for all. When I
was a child there used to be certain games at which it was agreed
in beginning either that there should be cheating or that there
should not. It may be said that out there in the Western States,
men agree to play the cheating game; and that the cheating game has
more of interest in it than the other. Unfortunately, however,
they who agree to play this game on a large scale do not keep
outsiders altogether out of the playground. Indeed, outsiders
become very welcome to them; and then it is not pleasant to hear
the tone in which such outsiders speak of the peculiarities of the
sport to which they have been introduced. When a beginner in trade
finds himself furnished with a barrel of wooden nutmegs, the joke
is not so good to him as to the experienced merchant who supplies
him. This dealing in wooden nutmegs, this selling of things which
do not exist, and buying of goods for which no price is ever to be
given, is an institution which is much honored in the West. We
call it swindling--and so do they. But it seemed to me that in the
Western States the word hardly seemed to leave the same impress on
the mind that it does elsewhere.

On our return down the river we passed La Crosse, at which we had
embarked, and went down as far as Dubuque in Iowa. On our way down
we came to grief and broke one of our paddle-wheels to pieces. We
had no special accident. We struck against nothing above or below
water. But the wheel went to pieces, and we laid to on the river
side for the greater part of a day while the necessary repairs were
being made. Delay in traveling is usually an annoyance, because it
causes the unsettlement of a settled purpose. But the loss of the
day did us no harm, and our accident had happened at a very pretty
spot. I climbed up to the top of the nearest bluff, and walked
back till I came to the open country, and also went up and down the
river banks, visiting the cabins of two settlers who live there by
supplying wood to the river steamers. One of these was close to
the spot at which we were lying; and yet though most of our
passengers came on shore, I was the only one who spoke to the
inmates of the cabin. These people must live there almost in
desolation from one year's end to another. Once in a fortnight or
so they go up to a market town in their small boats, but beyond
that they can have little intercourse with their fellow-creatures.
Nevertheless none of these dwellers by the river side came out to
speak to the men and women who were lounging about from eleven in
the morning till four in the afternoon; nor did one of the
passengers, except myself, knock at the door or enter the cabin, or
exchange a word with those who lived there.

I spoke to the master of the house, whom I met outside, and he at
once asked me to come in and sit down. I found his father there
and his mother, his wife, his brother, and two young children. The
wife, who was cooking, was a very pretty, pale young woman, who,
however, could have circulated round her stove more conveniently
had her crinoline been of less dimensions. She bade me welcome
very prettily, and went on with her cooking, talking the while, as
though she were in the habit of entertaining guests in that way
daily. The old woman sat in a corner knitting--as old women always
do. The old man lounged with a grandchild on his knee, and the
master of the house threw himself on the floor while the other
child crawled over him. There was no stiffness or uneasiness in
their manners, nor was there anything approaching to that
republican roughness which so often operates upon a poor, well-
intending Englishman like a slap on the cheek. I sat there for
about an hour, and when I had discussed with them English politics
and the bearing of English politics upon the American war, they
told me of their own affairs. Food was very plenty, but life was
very hard. Take the year through, each man could not earn above
half a dollar a day by cutting wood. This, however, they owned,
did not take up all their time. Working on favorable wood on
favorable days they could each earn two dollars a day; but these
favorable circumstances did not come together very often. They did
not deal with the boats themselves, and the profits were eaten up
by the middleman. He, the middleman, had a good thing of it,
because he could cheat the captains of the boats in the measurement
of the wood. The chopper was obliged to supply a genuine cord of
logs--true measure. But the man who took it off in the barge to
the steamer could so pack it that fifteen true cords would make
twenty-two false cords. "It cuts up into a fine trade, you see,
sir," said the young man, as he stroked back the little girl's hair
from her forehead. "But the captains of course must find it out,"
said I. This he acknowledged, but argued that the captains on this
account insisted on buying the wood so much cheaper, and that the
loss all came upon the chopper. I tried to teach him that the
remedy lay in his own hands, and the three men listened to me quite
patiently while I explained to them how they should carry on their
own trade. But the young father had the last word. "I guess we
don't get above the fifty cents a day any way." He knew at least
where the shoe pinched him. He was a handsome, manly, noble-
looking fellow, tall and thin, with black hair and bright eyes.
But he had the hollow look about his jaws, and so had his wife, and
so had his brother. They all owned to fever and ague. They had a
touch of it most years, and sometimes pretty sharply. "It was a
coarse place to live in," the old woman said, "but there was no one
to meddle with them, and she guessed that it suited." They had
books and newspapers, tidy delf, and clean glass upon their
shelves, and undoubtedly provisions in plenty. Whether fever and
ague yearly, and cords of wood stretched from fifteen to twenty-two
are more than a set-off for these good things, I will leave every
one to decide according to his own taste.

In another cabin I found women and children only, and one of the
children was in the last stage of illness. But nevertheless the
woman of the house seemed glad to see me, and talked cheerfully as
long as I would remain. She inquired what had happened to the
vessel, but it had never occurred to her to go out and see. Her
cabin was neat and well furnished, and there also I saw newspapers
and Harper's everlasting magazine. She said it was a coarse,
desolate place for living, but that she could raise almost anything
in her garden.

I could not then understand, nor can I now understand, why none of
the numerous passengers out of the boat should have entered those
cabins except myself, and why the inmates of the cabins should not
have come out to speak to any one. Had they been surly, morose
people, made silent by the specialties of their life, it would have
been explicable; but they were delighted to talk and to listen.
The fact, I take it, is that the people are all harsh to each
other. They do not care to go out of their way to speak to any one
unless something is to be gained. They say that two Englishmen
meeting in the desert would not speak unless they were introduced.
The farther I travel the less true do I find this of Englishmen,
and the more true of other people.



We stopped at the Julien House, Dubuque. Dubuque is a city in
Iowa, on the western shore of the Mississippi, and as the names
both of the town and of the hotel sounded French in my ears, I
asked for an explanation. I was then told that Julien Dubuque, a
Canadian Frenchman, had been buried on one of the bluffs of the
river within the precincts of the present town; that he had been
the first white settler in Iowa, and had been the only man who had
ever prevailed upon the Indians to work. Among them he had become
a great "Medicine," and seems for awhile to have had absolute power
over them. He died, I think, in 1800, and was buried on one of the
hills over the river. "He was a bold, bad man," my informant told
me, "and committed every sin under heaven. But he made the Indians

Lead mines are the glory of Dubuque, and very large sums of money
have been made from them. I was taken out to see one of them, and
to go down it; but we found, not altogether to my sorrow, that the
works had been stopped on account of the water. No effort has been
made in any of these mines to subdue the water, nor has steam been
applied to the working of them. The lodes have been so rich with
lead that the speculators have been content to take out the metal
that was easily reached, and to go off in search of fresh ground
when disturbed by water. "And are wages here paid pretty
punctually?" I asked. "Well, a man has to be smart, you know."
And then my friend went on to acknowledge that it would be better
for the country if smartness were not so essential.

Iowa has a population of 674,000 souls, and in October, 1861, had
already mustered eighteen regiments of one thousand men each. Such
a population would give probably 170,000 men capable of bearing
arms, and therefore the number of soldiers sent had already
amounted to more than a decimation of the available strength of the
State. When we were at Dubuque, nothing was talked of but the
army. It seemed that mines, coal-pits, and corn-fields were all of
no account in comparison with the war. How many regiments could be
squeezed out of the State, was the one question which filled all
minds; and the general desire was that such regiments should be
sent to the Western army, to swell the triumph which was still
expected for General Fremont, and to assist in sweeping slavery out
into the Gulf of Mexico. The patriotism of the West has been quite
as keen as that of the North, and has produced results as
memorable; but it has sprung from a different source, and been
conducted and animated by a different sentiment. National
greatness and support of the law have been the idea of the North;
national greatness and abolition of slavery have been those of the
West. How they are to agree as to terms when between them they
have crushed the South--that is the difficulty.

At Dubuque in Iowa, I ate the best apple that I ever encountered.
I make that statement with the purpose of doing justice to the
Americans on a matter which is to them one of considerable
importance. Americans, as rule, do not believe in English apples.
They declare that there are none, and receive accounts of
Devonshire cider with manifest incredulity. "But at any rate there
are no apples in England equal to ours." That is an assertion to
which an Englishman is called upon to give an absolute assent; and
I hereby give it. Apples so excellent as some which were given to
us at Dubuque I have never eaten in England. There is a great
jealousy respecting all the fruits of the earth. "Your peaches are
fine to look at," was said to me, "but they have no flavor." This
was the assertion of a lady, and I made no answer. My idea had
been that American peaches had no flavor; that French peaches had
none; that those of Italy had none; that little as there might be
of which England could boast with truth, she might at any rate
boast of her peaches without fear of contradiction. Indeed, my
idea had been that good peaches were to be got in England only. I
am beginning to doubt whether my belief on the matter has not been
the product of insular ignorance and idolatrous self-worship. It
may be that a peach should be a combination of an apple and a
turnip. "My great objection to your country, sir," said another,
"is that you have got no vegetables." Had he told me that we had
got no sea-board, or no coals, he would not have surprised me more.
No vegetables in England! I could not restrain myself altogether,
and replied by a confession "that we 'raised' no squash." Squash
is the pulp of the pumpkin, and is much used in the States, both as
a vegetable and for pies. No vegetables in England! Did my
surprise arise from the insular ignorance and idolatrous self-
worship of a Britisher, or was my American friend laboring under a
delusion? Is Covent Garden well supplied with vegetables, or is it
not? Do we cultivate our kitchen-gardens with success, or am I
under a delusion on that subject? Do I dream, or is it true that
out of my own little patches at home I have enough, for all
domestic purposes, of peas, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, celery,
beet-root, onions, carrots, parsnips, turnips, sea-kale, asparagus,
French beans, artichokes, vegetable marrow, cucumbers, tomatoes,
endive, lettuce, as well as herbs of many kinds, cabbages
throughout the year, and potatoes? No vegetables! Had the
gentleman told me that England did not suit him because we had
nothing but vegetables, I should have been less surprised.

From Dubuque, on the western shore of the river, we passed over to
Dunleath, in Illinois, and went on from thence by railway to Dixon.
I was induced to visit this not very flourishing town by a desire
to see the rolling prairie of Illinois, and to learn by eyesight
something of the crops of corn or Indian maize which are produced
upon the land. Had that gentleman told me that we knew nothing of
producing corn in England, he would have been nearer the mark; for
of corn, in the profusion in which it is grown here, we do not know
much. Better land than the prairies of Illinois for cereal crops
the world's surface probably cannot show. And here there has been
no necessity for the long previous labor of banishing the forest.
Enormous prairies stretch across the State, into which the plow can
be put at once. The earth is rich with the vegetation of thousands
of years, and the farmer's return is given to him without delay.
The land bursts with its own produce, and the plenty is such that
it creates wasteful carelessness in the gathering of the crop. It
is not worth a man's while to handle less than large quantities.
Up in Minnesota I had been grieved by the loose manner in which
wheat was treated. I have seen bags of it upset and left upon the
ground. The labor of collecting it was more than it was worth.
There wheat is the chief crop, and as the lands become cleared and
cultivation spreads itself, the amount coming down the Mississippi
will be increased almost to infinity. The price of wheat in Europe
will soon depend, not upon the value of the wheat in the country
which grows it, but on the power and cheapness of the modes which
may exist for transporting it. I have not been able to obtain the
exact prices with reference to the carriage of wheat from St. Paul
(the capital of Minnesota) to Liverpool, but I have done so as
regards Indian-corn from the State of Illinois. The following
statement will show what proportion the value of the article at the
place of its growth bears to the cost of the carriage; and it shows
also how enormous an effect on the price of corn in England would
follow any serious decrease in the cost of carriage:--

A bushel of Indian-corn at Bloomington, in Illinois,
cost, in October, 1861 10 cents.
Freight to Chicago 10 "
Storage 2 "
Freight from Chicago to Buffalo 22 "
Elevating, and canal freight to New York 19 "
Transfer in New York and insurance 3 "
Ocean freight 23 "
Cost of a bushel of Indian-corn at Liverpool 89 cents.

Thus corn which in Liverpool costs 3s. 10d. has been sold by the
farmer who produced it for 5d.! It is probable that no great
reduction can be expected in the cost of ocean transit; but it will
be seen by the above figures that out of the Liverpool price of 3s.
10d., or 89 cents, considerably more than half is paid for carriage
across the United States. All or nearly all this transit is by
water; and there can, I think, be no doubt but that a few years
will see it reduced by fifty per cent. In October last the
Mississippi was closed, the railways had not rolling stock
sufficient for their work, the crops of the two last years had been
excessive, and there existed the necessity of sending out the corn
before the internal navigation had been closed by frost. The
parties who had the transit in their hands put their heads
together, and were able to demand any prices that they pleased. It
will be seen that the cost of carrying a bushel of corn from
Chicago to Buffalo, by the lakes, was within one cent of the cost
of bringing it from New York to Liverpool. These temporary causes
for high prices of transit will cease; a more perfect system of
competition between the railways and the water transit will be
organized; and the result must necessarily be both an increase of
price to the producer and a decrease of price to the consumer. It
certainly seems that the produce of cereal crops in the valleys of
the Mississippi and its tributaries increases at a faster rate than
population increases. Wheat and corn are sown by the thousand
acres in a piece. I heard of one farmer who had 10,000 acres of
corn. Thirty years ago grain and flour were sent Westward out of
the State of New York to supply the wants of those who had
immigrated into the prairies; and now we find that it will be the
destiny of those prairies to feed the universe. Chicago is the
main point of exportation Northwestward from Illinois, and at the
present time sends out from its granaries more cereal produce than
any other town in the world. The bulk of this passes, in the shape
of grain or flour, from Chicago to Buffalo, which latter place is,
as it were, a gateway leading from the lakes, or big waters, to the
canals, or small waters. I give below the amount of grain and
flour in bushels received into Buffalo for transit in the month of
October during four consecutive years:--

October, 1858 4,429,055 bushels.
" 1859 5,523,448 "
" 1860 6,500,864 "
" 1861 12,483,797 "

In 1860, from the opening to the close of navigation, 30,837,632
bushels of grain and flour passed through Buffalo. In 1861, the
amount received up to the 31st of October was 51,969,142 bushels.
As the navigation would be closed during the month of November, the
above figures may be taken as representing not quite the whole
amount transported for the year. It may be presumed the 52,000,000
of bushels, as quoted above, will swell itself to 60,000,000. I
confess that to my own mind statistical amounts do not bring home
any enduring idea. Fifty million bushels of corn and flour simply
seems to mean a great deal. It is a powerful form of superlative,
and soon vanishes away, as do other superlatives in this age of
strong words. I was at Chicago and at Buffalo in October, 1861. I
went down to the granaries and climbed up into the elevators. I
saw the wheat running in rivers from one vessel into another, and
from the railroad vans up into the huge bins on the top stores of
the warehouses--for these rivers of food run up hill as easily as
they do down. I saw the corn measured by the forty-bushel measure
with as much ease as we measure an ounce of cheese and with greater
rapidity. I ascertained that the work went on, week day and
Sunday, day and night, incessantly--rivers of wheat and rivers of
maize ever running. I saw the men bathed in corn as they
distributed it in its flow. I saw bins by the score laden with
wheat, in each of which bins there was space for a comfortable
residence. I breathed the flour and drank the flour, and felt
myself to be enveloped in a world of breadstuff. And then I
believed, understood, and brought it home to myself as a fact that
here in the corn-lands of Michigan, and amid the bluffs of
Wisconsin, and on the high table plains of Minnesota, and the
prairies of Illinois had God prepared the food for the increasing
millions of the Eastern World, as also for the coming millions of
the Western.

I do not find many minds constituted like my own, and therefore I
venture to publish the above figures. I believe them to be true in
the main; and they will show, if credited, that the increase during
the last four years has gone on with more than fabulous rapidity.
For myself, I own that those figures would have done nothing unless
I had visited the spot myself. A man can not, perhaps count up the
results of such a work by a quick glance of his eye, nor
communicate with precision to another the conviction which his own
short experience has made so strong within himself; but to himself
seeing is believing. To me it was so at Chicago and at Buffalo. I
began then to know what it was for a country to overflow with milk
and honey, to burst with its own fruits and be smothered by its own
riches. From St. Paul down the Mississippi, by the shores of
Wisconsin and Iowa; by the ports on Lake Pepin; by La Crosse, from
which one railway runs Eastward; by Prairie du Chien, the terminus
of a second; by Dunleath, Fulton, and Rock Island, from whence
three other lines run Eastward; all through that wonderful State of
Illinois, the farmer's glory; along the ports of the Great Lakes;
through Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and further Pennsylvania, up to
Buffalo? the great gate of the Western Ceres, the loud cry was
this: "How shall we rid ourselves of our corn and wheat?" The
result has been the passage of 60,000,000 bushels of breadstuffs
through that gate in one year! Let those who are susceptible of
statistics ponder that. For them who are not I can only give this
advice: Let them go to Buffalo next October, and look for

In regarding the above figures, and the increase shown between the
years 1860 and 1861, it must of course be borne in mind that,
during the latter autumn, no corn or wheat was carried into the
Southern States, and that none was exported from New Orleans or the
mouth of the Mississippi. The States of Mississippi, Alabama, and
Louisiana have for some time past received much of their supplies
from the Northwestern lands; and the cutting off of this current of
consumption has tended to swell the amount of grain which has been
forced into the narrow channel of Buffalo. There has been no
Southern exit allowed, and the Southern appetite has been deprived
of its food. But taking this item for all that it is worth--or
taking it, as it generally will be taken, for much more than it can
be worth--the result left will be materially the same. The grand
markets to which the Western States look and have looked are those
of New England, New York, and Europe. Already corn and wheat are
not the common crops of New England. Boston, and Hartford, and
Lowell are fed from the great Western States. The State of New
York, which, thirty years ago, was famous chiefly for its cereal
produce, is now fed from these States. New York City would be
starved if it depended on its own State; and it will soon be as
true that England would be starved if it depended on itself. It
was but the other day that we were talking of free trade in corn as
a thing desirable, but as yet doubtful--but the other day that Lord
Derby, who may be Prime Minister to-morrow, and Mr. Disraeli, who
may be Chancellor of the Exchequer to-morrow, were stoutly of
opinion that the corn laws might be and should be maintained--but
the other day that the same opinion was held with confidence by Sir
Robert Peel, who, however, when the day for the change came, was
not ashamed to become the instrument used by the people for their
repeal. Events in these days march so quickly that they leave men
behind; and our dear old Protectionists at home will have grown
sleek upon American flour before they have realized the fact that
they are no longer fed from their own furrows.

I have given figures merely as regards the trade of Buffalo; but it
must not be presumed that Buffalo is the only outlet from the great
corn-lands of Northern America. In the first place, no grain of
the produce of Canada finds its way to Buffalo. Its exit is by the
St. Lawrence or by the Grand Trunk Railway as I have stated when
speaking of Canada. And then there is the passage for large
vessels from the upper lakes--Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake
Erie--through the Welland Canal, into Lake Ontario, and out by the
St. Lawrence. There is also the direct communication from Lake
Erie, by the New York and Erie Railway to New York. I have more
especially alluded to the trade of Buffalo, because I have been
enabled to obtain a reliable return of the quantity of grain and
flour which passes through that town, and because Buffalo and
Chicago are the two spots which are becoming most famous in the
cereal history of the Western States.

Everybody has a map of North America. A reference to such a map
will show the peculiar position of Chicago. It is at the south or
head of Lake Michigan, and to it converge railways from Wisconsin,
Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana. At Chicago is found the nearest water
carriage which can be obtained for the produce of a large portion
of these States. From Chicago there is direct water conveyance
round through the lakes to Buffalo, at the foot of Lake Erie. At
Milwaukee, higher up on the lake, certain lines of railway come in,
joining the lake to the Upper Mississippi, and to the wheat-lands
of Minnesota. Thence the passage is round by Detroit, which is the
port for the produce of the greatest part of Michigan, and still it
all goes on toward Buffalo. Then on Lake Erie there are the ports
of Toledo, Cleveland, and Erie. At the bottom of Lake Erie there
is this city of corn, at which the grain and flour are transhipped
into the canal-boats and into the railway cars for New York; and
there is also the Welland Canal, through which large vessels pass
from the upper lakes without transhipment of their cargo.

I have said above that corn--meaning maize or Indian-corn--was to
be bought at Bloomington, in Illinois, for ten cents (or five
pence) a bushel. I found this also to be the case at Dixon, and
also that corn of inferior quality might be bought for four pence;
but I found also that it was not worth the farmer's while to shell
it and sell it at such prices. I was assured that farmers were
burning their Indian-corn in some places, finding it more available
to them as fuel than it was for the market. The labor of detaching
a bushel of corn from the hulls or cobs is considerable, as is also
the task of carrying it to market. I have known potatoes in
Ireland so cheap that they would not pay for digging and carrying
away for purposes of sale. There was then a glut of potatoes in
Ireland; and in the same way there was, in the autumn of 1861, a
glut of corn in the Western States. The best qualities would fetch
a price, though still a low price; but corn that was not of the
best quality was all but worthless. It did for fuel, and was
burned. The fact was that the produce had re-created itself
quicker than mankind had multiplied. The ingenuity of man had not
worked quick enough for its disposal. The earth had given forth
her increase so abundantly that the lap of created humanity could
not stretch itself to hold it. At Dixon, in 1861, corn cost four
pence a bushel. In Ireland, in 1848, it was sold for a penny a
pound, a pound being accounted sufficient to sustain life for a
day; and we all felt that at that price food was brought into the
country cheaper than it had ever been brought before.

Dixon is not a town of much apparent prosperity. It is one of
those places at which great beginnings have been made, but as to
which the deities presiding over new towns have not been
propitious. Much of it has been burned down, and more of it has
never been built up. It had a straggling, ill-conditioned,
uncommercial aspect, very different from the look of Detroit,
Milwaukee, or St. Paul. There was, however, a great hotel there,
as usual, and a grand bridge over the Rock River, a tributary of
the Mississippi, which runs by or through the town. I found that
life might be maintained on very cheap terms at Dixon. To me, as a
passing traveler, the charges at the hotel were, I take it, the
same as elsewhere. But I learned from an inmate there that he,
with his wife and horse, were fed and cared for and attended, for
two dollars (or eight shillings and four pence) a day. This
included a private sitting-room, coals, light, and all the wants of
life--as my informant told me--except tobacco and whisky. Feeding
at such a house means a succession of promiscuous hot meals, as
often as the digestion of the patient can face them. Now I do not
know any locality where a man can keep himself and his wife, with
all material comforts and the luxury of a horse and carriage, on
cheaper terms than that. Whether or no it might be worth a man's
while to live at all at such a place as Dixon, is altogether
another question.

We went there because it is surrounded by the prairie, and out into
the prairie we had ourselves driven. We found some difficulty in
getting away from the corn, though we had selected this spot as one
at which the open rolling prairie was specially attainable. As
long as I could see a corn-field or a tree I was not satisfied.
Nor, indeed, was I satisfied at last. To have been thoroughly on
the prairie, and in the prairie, I should have been a day's journey
from tilled land. But I doubt whether that could now be done in
the State of Illinois. I got out into various patches and brought
away specimens of corn--ears bearing sixteen rows of grain, with
forty grains in each row, each ear bearing a meal for a hungry man.

At last we did find ourselves on the prairie, amid the waving
grass, with the land rolling on before us in a succession of gentle
sweeps, never rising so as to impede the view, or apparently
changing in its general level, but yet without the monotony of
flatness. We were on the prairie, but still I felt no
satisfaction. It was private property, divided among holders and
pastured over by private cattle. Salisbury Plain is as wild, and
Dartmoor almost wilder. Deer, they told me, were to be had within
reach of Dixon, but for the buffalo one has to go much farther
afield than Illinois. The farmer may rejoice in Illinois, but the
hunter and the trapper must cross the big rivers and pass away into
the Western Territories before he can find lands wild enough for
his purposes. My visit to the corn-fields of Illinois was in its
way successful, but I felt, as I turned my face eastward toward
Chicago, that I had no right to boast that I had as yet made
acquaintance with a prairie.

All minds were turned to the war, at Dixon as elsewhere. In
Illinois the men boasted that, as regards the war, they were the
leading State of the union. But the same boast was made in
Indiana, and also in Massachusetts, and probably in half the States
of the North and West. They, the Illinoisians, call their country
the war-nest of the West. The population of the State is
1,700,000, and it had undertaken to furnish sixty volunteer
regiments of 1000 men each. And let it be borne in mind that these
regiments, when furnished, are really full--absolutely containing
the thousand men when they are sent away from the parent States.
The number of souls above named will give 420,000 working men, and
if, out of these, 60,000 are sent to the war, the State, which is
almost purely agricultural, will have given more than one man in
eight. When I was in Illinois, over forty regiments had already
been sent--forty-six, if I remember rightly--and there existed no
doubt whatever as to the remaining number. From the next State,
Indiana, with a population of 1,350,000, giving something less than
350,000 working men, thirty-six regiments had been sent. I fear
that I am mentioning these numbers usque ad nauseam; but I wish to
impress upon English readers the magnitude of the effort made by
the States in mustering and equipping an army within six or seven
months of the first acknowledgment that such an army would be
necessary. The Americans have complained bitterly of the want of
English sympathy, and I think they have been weak in making that
complaint. But I would not wish that they should hereafter have
the power of complaining of a want of English justice. There can
be no doubt that a genuine feeling of patriotism was aroused
throughout the North and West, and that men rushed into the ranks
actuated by that feeling, men for whom war and army life, a camp
and fifteen dollars a month; would not of themselves have had any
attraction. It came to that, that young men were ashamed not to go
into the army. This feeling of course produced coercion, and the
movement was in that way tyrannical. There is nothing more
tyrannical than a strong popular feeling among a democratic people.
During the period of enlistment this tyranny was very strong. But
the existence of such a tyranny proves the passion and patriotism
of the people. It got the better of the love of money, of the love
of children, and of the love of progress. Wives who with their
bairns were absolutely dependent on their husbands' labors, would
wish their husbands to be at the war. Not to conduce, in some
special way, toward the war; to have neither father there, nor
brother nor son; not to have lectured, or preached, or written for
the war; to have made no sacrifice for the war, to have had no
special and individual interest in the war, was disgraceful. One
sees at a glance the tyranny of all this in such a country as the
States. One can understand how quickly adverse stories would
spread themselves as to the opinion of any man who chose to remain
tranquil at such a time. One shudders at the absolute absence of
true liberty which such a passion throughout a democratic country
must engender. But he who has observed all this must acknowledge
that that passion did exist. Dollars, children, progress,
education, and political rivalry all gave way to the one strong
national desire for the thrashing and crushing of those who had
rebelled against the authority of the stars and stripes.

When we were at Dixon they were getting up the Dement regiment.
The attempt at the time did not seem to be prosperous, and the few
men who had been collected had about them a forlorn, ill-
conditioned look. But then, as I was told, Dixon had already been
decimated and redecimated by former recruiting colonels. Colonel
Dement, from whom the regiment was to be named, and whose military
career was only now about to commence, had come late into the
field. I did not afterward ascertain what had been his success,
but I hardly doubt that he did ultimately scrape together his
thousand men. "Why don't you go?" I said to a burly Irishman who
was driving me. "I'm not a sound man, yer honor," said the
Irishman; "I'm deficient in me liver." Taking the Irishmen,
however, throughout the Union, they had not been found deficient in
any of the necessaries for a career of war. I do not think that
any men have done better than the Irish in the American army.

From Dixon we went to Chicago. Chicago is in many respects the
most remarkable city among all the remarkable cities of the Union.
Its growth has been the fastest and its success the most assured.
Twenty-five years ago there was no Chicago, and now it contains
120,000 inhabitants. Cincinnati, on the Ohio, and St. Louis, at
the junction of the Missouri and Mississippi, are larger towns; but
they have not grown large so quickly nor do they now promise so
excessive a development of commerce. Chicago may be called the
metropolis of American corn--the favorite city haunt of the
American Ceres. The goddess seats herself there amid the dust of
her full barns, and proclaims herself a goddess ruling over things
political and philosophical as well as agricultural. Not furrows
only are in her thoughts, but free trade also and brotherly love.
And within her own bosom there is a boast that even yet she will be
stronger than Mars. In Chicago there are great streets, and rows
of houses fit to be the residences of a new Corn-Exchange nobility.
They look out on the wide lake which is now the highway for
breadstuffs, and the merchant, as he shaves at his window, sees his
rapid ventures as they pass away, one after the other, toward the

I went over one great grain store in Chicago possessed by gentlemen
of the name of Sturgess and Buckenham. It was a world in itself,
and the dustiest of all the worlds. It contained, when I was
there, half a million bushels of wheat--or a very great many, as I
might say in other language. But it was not as a storehouse that
this great building was so remarkable, but as a channel or a river-
course for the flooding freshets of corn. It is so built that both
railway vans and vessels come immediately under its claws, as I may
call the great trunks of the elevators. Out of the railway vans
the corn and wheat is clawed up into the building, and down similar
trunks it is at once again poured out into the vessels. I shall be
at Buffalo in a page or two, and then I will endeavor to explain
more minutely how this is done. At Chicago the corn is bought and
does change hands; and much of it, therefore, is stored there for
some space of time, shorter or longer as the case may be. When I
was at Chicago, the only limit to the rapidity of its transit was
set by the amount of boat accommodation. There were not bottoms
enough to take the corn away from Chicago, nor, indeed, on the
railway was there a sufficiency of rolling stock or locomotive
power to bring it into Chicago. As I said before, the country was
bursting with its own produce and smothered in its own fruits.

At Chicago the hotel was bigger than other hotels and grander.
There were pipes without end for cold water which ran hot, and for
hot water which would not run at all. The post-office also was
grander and bigger than other post-offices, though the postmaster
confessed to me that that matter of the delivery of letters was one
which could not be compassed. Just at that moment it was being
done as a private speculation; but it did not pay, and would be
discontinued. The theater, too, was large, handsome, and
convenient; but on the night of my attendance it seemed to lack an
audience. A good comic actor it did not lack, and I never laughed
more heartily in my life. There was something wrong, too, just at
that time--I could not make out what--in the Constitution of
Illinois, and the present moment had been selected for voting a new
Constitution. To us in England such a necessity would be
considered a matter of importance, but it did not seem to be much
thought of here, "Some slight alteration probably," I suggested.
"No," said my informant, one of the judges of their courts, "it is
to be a thorough, radical change of the whole Constitution. They
are voting the delegates to-day." I went to see them vote the
delegates, but, unfortunately, got into a wrong place--by
invitation--and was turned out, not without some slight tumult. I
trust that the new Constitution was carried through successfully.

From these little details it may, perhaps, be understood how a town
like Chicago goes on and prospers in spite of all the drawbacks
which are incident to newness. Men in those regions do not mind
failures, and, when they have failed, instantly begin again. They
make their plans on a large scale, and they who come after them
fill up what has been wanting at first. Those taps of hot and cold
water will be made to run by the next owner of the hotel, if not by
the present owner. In another ten years the letters, I do not
doubt, will all be delivered. Long before that time the theater
will probably be full. The new Constitution is no doubt already at
work, and, if found deficient, another will succeed to it without
any trouble to the State or any talk on the subject through the
Union. Chicago was intended as a town of export for corn, and
therefore the corn stores have received the first attention. When
I was there they were in perfect working order.

From Chicago we went on to Cleveland, a town in the State of Ohio,
on Lake Erie, again traveling by the sleeping-cars. I found that
these cars were universally mentioned with great horror and disgust
by Americans of the upper class. They always declared that they
would not travel in them on any account. Noise and dirt were the
two objections. They are very noisy, but to us belonged the happy
power of sleeping down noise. I invariably slept all through the
night, and knew nothing about the noise. They are also very dirty--
extremely dirty--dirty so as to cause much annoyance. But then
they are not quite so dirty as the day cars. If dirt is to be a
bar against traveling in America, men and women must stay at home.
For myself, I don't much care for dirt, having a strong reliance on
soap and water and scrubbing-brushes. No one regards poisons who
carries antidotes in which he has perfect faith.

Cleveland is another pleasant town--pleasant as Milwaukee and
Portland. The streets are handsome and are shaded by grand avenues
of trees. One of these streets is over a mile in length, and
throughout the whole of it there are trees on each side--not
little, paltry trees as are to be seen on the boulevards of Paris,
but spreading elms: the beautiful American elm, which not only
spreads, but droops also, and makes more of its foliage than any
other tree extant. And there is a square in Cleveland, well sized,
as large as Russell Square I should say, with open paths across it,
and containing one or two handsome buildings. I cannot but think
that all men and women in London would be great gainers if the iron
rails of the squares were thrown down and the grassy inclosures
thrown open to the public. Of course the edges of the turf would
be worn, and the paths would not keep their exact shapes. But the
prison look would be banished, and the somber sadness of the
squares would be relieved.

I was particularly struck by the size and comfort of the houses at
Cleveland. All down that street of which I have spoken they do not
stand continuously together, but are detached and separate--houses
which in England would require some fifteen or eighteen hundred a
year for their maintenance. In the States, however, men commonly
expend upon house rent a much greater proportion of their income
than they do in England. With us it is, I believe, thought that a
man should certainly not apportion more than a seventh of his
spending income to his house rent--some say not more than a tenth.
But in many cities of the States a man is thought to live well
within bounds if he so expends a fourth. There can be no doubt as
to Americans living in better houses than Englishmen, making the
comparison of course between men of equal incomes. But the
Englishman has many more incidental expenses than the American. He
spends more on wine, on entertainments, on horses, and on
amusements. He has a more numerous establishment, and keeps up the
adjuncts and outskirts of his residence with a more finished

These houses in Cleveland were very good, as, indeed, they are in
most Northern towns; but some of them have been erected with an
amount of bad taste that is almost incredible. It is not uncommon
to see in front of a square brick house a wooden quasi-Greek
portico, with a pediment and Ionic columns, equally high with the
house itself. Wooden columns with Greek capitals attached to the
doorways, and wooden pediments over the windows, are very frequent.
As a rule, these are attached to houses which, without such
ornamentation, would be simple, unpretentious, square, roomy
residences. An Ionic or Corinthian capital stuck on to a log of
wood called a column, and then fixed promiscuously to the outside
of an ordinary house, is to my eye the vilest of architectural
pretenses. Little turrets are better than this, or even brown
battlements made of mortar. Except in America I do not remember to
have seen these vicious bits of white timber--timber painted white--
plastered on to the fronts and sides of red brick houses.

Again we went on by rail to Buffalo. I have traveled some
thousands of miles by railway in the States, taking long journeys
by night and longer journeys by day; but I do not remember that
while doing so I ever made acquaintance with an American. To an
American lady in a railway car I should no more think of speaking
than I should to an unknown female in the next pew to me at a
London church. It is hard to understand from whence come the laws
which govern societies in this respect; but there are different
laws in different societies, which soon obtain recognition for
themselves. American ladies are much given to talking, and are
generally free from all mauvaise honte. They are collected in
manner, well instructed, and resolved to have their share of the
social advantages of the world. In this phase of life they come
out more strongly than English women. But on a railway journey, be
it ever so long, they are never seen speaking to a stranger.
English women, however, on English railways are generally willing
to converse: they will do so if they be on a journey; but will not
open their mouths if they be simply passing backward and forward
between their homes and some neighboring town. We soon learn the
rules on these subjects; but who make the rules? If you cross the
Atlantic with an American lady you invariably fall in love with her
before the journey is over. Travel with the same woman in a
railway car for twelve hours, and you will have written her down in
your own mind in quite other language than that of love.

And now for Buffalo, and the elevators. I trust I have made it
understood that corn comes into Buffalo, not only from Chicago, of
which I have spoken specially, but from all the ports round the
lakes: Racine, Milwaukee, Grand Haven, Port Sarnia, Detroit,
Toledo, Cleveland, and many others. At these ports the produce is
generally bought and sold; but at Buffalo it is merely passed
through a gateway. It is taken from vessels of a size fitted for
the lakes, and placed in other vessels fitted for the canal. This
is the Erie Canal, which connects the lakes with the Hudson River
and with New York. The produce which passes through the Welland
Canal--the canal which connects Lake Erie and the upper lakes with
Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence--is not transhipped, seeing that
the Welland Canal, which is less than thirty miles in length, gives
a passage to vessels of 500 tons. As I have before said,
60,000,000 bushels of breadstuff were thus pushed through Buffalo
in the open months of the year 1861. These open months run from
the middle of April to the middle of November; but the busy period
is that of the last two months--the time, that is, which intervenes
between the full ripening of the corn and the coming of the ice.

An elevator is as ugly a monster as has been yet produced. In
uncouthness of form it outdoes those obsolete old brutes who used
to roam about the semi-aqueous world, and live a most uncomfortable
life with their great hungering stomachs and huge unsatisfied maws.
The elevator itself consists of a big movable trunk--movable as is
that of an elephant, but not pliable, and less graceful even than
an elephant's. This is attached to a huge granary or barn; but in
order to give altitude within the barn for the necessary moving up
and down of this trunk--seeing that it cannot be curled gracefully
to its purposes as the elephant's is curled--there is an awkward
box erected on the roof of the barn, giving some twenty feet of
additional height, up into which the elevator can be thrust. It
will be understood, then, that this big movable trunk, the head of
which, when it is at rest, is thrust up into the box on the roof,
is made to slant down in an oblique direction from the building to
the river; for the elevator is an amphibious institution, and
flourishes only on the banks of navigable waters. When its head is
ensconced within its box, and the beast of prey is thus nearly
hidden within the building, the unsuspicious vessel is brought up
within reach of the creature's trunk, and down it comes, like a
musquito's proboscis, right through the deck, in at the open
aperture of the hole, and so into the very vitals and bowels of the
ship. When there, it goes to work upon its food with a greed and
an avidity that is disgusting to a beholder of any taste or
imagination. And now I must explain the anatomical arrangement by
which the elevator still devours and continues to devour, till the
corn within its reach has all been swallowed, masticated, and
digested. Its long trunk, as seen slanting down from out of the
building across the wharf and into the ship, is a mere wooden pipe;
but this pipe is divided within. It has two departments; and as
the grain-bearing troughs pass up the one on a pliable band, they
pass empty down the other. The system, therefore, is that of an
ordinary dredging machine only that corn and not mud is taken away,
and that the buckets or troughs are hidden from sight. Below,
within the stomach of the poor bark, three or four laborers are at
work, helping to feed the elevator. They shovel the corn up toward
its maw, so that at every swallow he should take in all that he can
hold. Thus the troughs, as they ascend, are kept full, and when
they reach the upper building they empty themselves into a shoot,
over which a porter stands guard, moderating the shoot by a door,
which the weight of his finger can open and close. Through this
doorway the corn runs into a measure, and is weighed. By measures
of forty bushels each, the tale is kept. There stands the
apparatus, with the figures plainly marked, over against the
porter's eye; and as the sum mounts nearly up to forty bushels he
closes the door till the grains run thinly through, hardly a
handful at a time, so that the balance is exactly struck. Then the
teller standing by marks down his figure, and the record is made.
The exact porter touches the string of another door, and the forty
bushels of corn run out at the bottom of the measure, disappear
down another shoot, slanting also toward the water, and deposit
themselves in the canal boat. The transit of the bushels of corn
from the larger vessel to the smaller will have taken less than a
minute, and the cost of that transit will have been--a farthing.

But I have spoken of the rivers of wheat, and I must explain what
are those rivers. In the working of the elevator, which I have
just attempted to describe, the two vessels were supposed to be
lying at the same wharf on the same side of the building, in the
same water, the smaller vessel inside the larger one. When this is
the case the corn runs direct from the weighing measure into the
shoot that communicates with the canal boat. But there is not room
or time for confining the work to one side of the building. There
is water on both sides, and the corn or wheat is elevated on the
one side, and reshipped on the other. To effect this the corn is
carried across the breadth of the building; but, nevertheless, it
is never handled or moved in its direction on trucks or carriages
requiring the use of men's muscles for its motion. Across the
floor of the building are two gutters, or channels, and through
these, small troughs on a pliable band circulate very quickly.
They which run one way, in one channel, are laden; they which
return by the other channel are empty. The corn pours itself into
these, and they again pour it into the shoot which commands the
other water. And thus rivers of corn are running through these
buildings night and day. The secret of all the motion and
arrangement consists, of course, in the elevation. The corn is
lifted up; and when lifted up can move itself and arrange itself,
and weigh itself, and load itself.

I should have stated that all this wheat which passes through
Buffalo comes loose, in bulk. Nothing is known of sacks or bags.
To any spectator at Buffalo this becomes immediately a matter of
course; but this should be explained, as we in England are not
accustomed to see wheat traveling in this open, unguarded, and
plebeian manner. Wheat with us is aristocratic, and travels always
in its private carriage.

Over and beyond the elevators there is nothing specially worthy of
remark at Buffalo. It is a fine city, like all other American
cities of its class. The streets are broad, the "blocks" are high,
and cars on tramways run all day, and nearly all night as well.



We had now before us only two points of interest before we should
reach New York--the Falls of Trenton, and West Point on the Hudson
River. We were too late in the year to get up to Lake George,
which lies in the State of New York north of Albany, and is, in
fact, the southern continuation of Lake Champlain. Lake George, I
know, is very lovely, and I would fain have seen it; but visitors
to it must have some hotel accommodation, and the hotel was closed
when we were near enough to visit it. I was in its close
neighborhood three years since, in June; but then the hotel was not
yet opened. A visitor to Lake George must be very exact in his
time. July and August are the months--with, perhaps, the grace of
a week in September.

The hotel at Trenton was also closed, as I was told. But even if
there were no hotel at Trenton, it can be visited without
difficulty. It is within a carriage drive of Utica, and there is,
moreover, a direct railway from Utica, with a station at the
Trenton Falls. Utica is a town on the line of railway from Buffalo
to New York via Albany, and is like all the other towns we had
visited. There are broad streets, and avenues of trees, and large
shops, and excellent houses. A general air of fat prosperity
pervades them all, and is strong at Utica as elsewhere.

I remember to have been told, thirty years ago, that a traveler
might go far and wide in search of the picturesque without finding
a spot more romantic in its loveliness than Trenton Falls. The
name of the river is Canada Creek West; but as that is hardly
euphonious, the course of the water which forms the falls has been
called after the town or parish. This course is nearly two miles
in length; and along the space of this two miles it is impossible
to say where the greatest beauty exists. To see Trenton aright,
one must be careful not to have too much water. A sufficiency is
no doubt desirable; and it may be that at the close of summer,
before any of the autumnal rains have fallen, there may
occasionally be an insufficiency. But if there be too much, the
passage up the rocks along the river is impossible. The way on
which the tourist should walk becomes the bed of the stream, and
the great charm of the place cannot be enjoyed. That charm
consists in descending into the ravine of the river, down amid the
rocks through which it has cut its channel, and in walking up the
bed against the stream, in climbing the sides of the various falls,
and sticking close to the river till an envious block is reached
which comes sheer down into the water and prevents farther
progress. This is nearly two miles above the steps by which the
descent is made; and not a foot of this distance but is wildly
beautiful. When the river is very low there is a pathway even
beyond that block; but when this is the case there can hardly be
enough of water to make the fall satisfactory.

There is no one special cataract at Trenton which is in itself
either wonderful or pre-eminently beautiful. It is the position,
form, color, and rapidity of the river which gives the charm. It
runs through a deep ravine, at the bottom of which the water has
cut for itself a channel through the rocks, the sides of which rise
sometimes with the sharpness of the walls of a stone sarcophagus.
They are rounded, too, toward the bed as I have seen the bottom of
a sarcophagus. Along the side of the right bank of the river there
is a passage which, when the freshets come, is altogether covered.
This passage is sometimes very narrow; but in the narrowest parts
an iron chain is affixed into the rock. It is slippery and wet;
and it is well for ladies, when visiting the place, to be provided
with outside India-rubber shoes, which keep a hold upon the stone.
If I remember rightly, there are two actual cataracts--one not far
above the steps by which the descent is made into the channel, and
the other close under a summer-house, near to which the visitors
reascend into the wood. But these cataracts, though by no means
despicable as cataracts, leave comparatively a slight impression.
They tumble down with sufficient violence and the usual fantastic
disposition of their forces; but simply as cataracts within a day's
journey of Niagara, they would be nothing. Up beyond the summer-
house the passage along the river can be continued for another
mile; but it is rough, and the climbing in some places rather
difficult for ladies. Every man, however, who has the use of his
legs should do it; for the succession of rapids, and the twistings
of the channels, and the forms of the rocks are as wild and
beautiful as the imagination can desire. The banks of the river
are closely wooded on each side; and though this circumstance does
not at first seem to add much to the beauty, seeing that the ravine
is so deep that the absence of wood above would hardly be noticed,
still there are broken clefts ever and anon through which the
colors of the foliage show themselves, and straggling boughs and
rough roots break through the rocks here and there, and add to the
wildness and charm of the whole.

The walk back from the summer-house through the wood is very
lovely; but it would be a disappointing walk to visitors who had
been prevented by a flood in the river from coming up the channel,
for it indicates plainly how requisite it is that the river should
be seen from below and not from above. The best view of the larger
fall itself is that seen from the wood. And here again I would
point out that any male visitor should walk the channel of the
river up and down. The descent is too slippery and difficult for
bipeds laden with petticoats. We found a small hotel open at
Trenton, at which we got a comfortable dinner, and then in the
evening were driven back to Utica.

Albany is the capital of the State of New York, and our road from
Trenton to West Point lay through that town; but these political
State capitals have no interest in themselves. The State
legislature was not sitting; and we went on, merely remarking that
the manner in which the railway cars are made to run backward and
forward through the crowded streets of the town must cause a
frequent loss of human life. One is led to suppose that children
in Albany can hardly have a chance of coming to maturity. Such
accidents do not become the subject of long-continued and strong
comment in the States as they do with us; but nevertheless I should
have thought that such a state of things as we saw there would have
given rise to some remark on the part of the philanthropists. I
cannot myself say that I saw anybody killed, and therefore should
not be justified in making more than this passing remark on the

When first the Americans of the Northern States began to talk much
of their country, their claims as to fine scenery were confined to
Niagara and the Hudson River. Of Niagara I have spoken; and all
the world has acknowledged that no claim made on that head can be
regarded as exaggerated. As to the Hudson I am not prepared to say
so much generally, though there is one spot upon it which cannot be
beaten for sweetness. I have been up and down the Hudson by water,
and confess that the entire river is pretty. But there is much of
it that is not pre-eminently pretty among rivers. As a whole, it
cannot be named with the Upper Mississippi, with the Rhine, with
the Moselle, or with the Upper Rhone. The palisades just out of
New York are pretty, and the whole passage through the mountains
from West Point up to Catskill and Hudson is interesting. But the
glory of the Hudson is at West Point itself; and thither on this
occasion we went direct by railway, and there we remained for two
days. The Catskill Mountains should be seen by a detour from off
the river. We did not visit them, because here again the hotel was
closed. I will leave them, therefore, for the new hand book which
Mr. Murray will soon bring out.

Of West Point there is something to be said independently of its
scenery. It is the Sandhurst of the States. Here is their
military school, from which officers are drafted to their
regiments, and the tuition for military purposes is, I imagine, of
a high order. It must of course be borne in mind that West Point,
even as at present arranged, is fitted to the wants of the old
army, and not to that of the army now required. It can go but a
little way to supply officers for 500,000 men; but would do much
toward supplying them for 40,000. At the time of my visit to West
Point the regular army of the Northern States had not even then
swelled itself to the latter number.

I found that there were 220 students at West Point; that about
forty graduate every year, each of whom receives a commission in
the army; that about 120 pupils are admitted every year; and that
in the course of every year about eighty either resign, or are
called upon to leave on account of some deficiency, or fail in
their final examination. The result is simply this, that one-third
of those who enter succeeds, and that two-thirds fail. The number
of failures seemed to me to be terribly large--so large as to give
great ground of hesitation to a parent in accepting a nomination
for the college. I especially inquired into the particulars of
these dismissals and resignations, and was assured that the
majority of them take place in the first year of the pupilage. It
is soon seen whether or no a lad has the mental and physical
capacities necessary for the education and future life required of
him, and care is taken that those shall be removed early as to whom
it may be determined that the necessary capacity is clearly
wanting. If this is done--and I do not doubt it--the evil is much
mitigated. The effect otherwise would be very injurious. The lads
remain till they are perhaps one and twenty, and have then acquired
aptitudes for military life, but no other aptitudes. At that age
the education cannot be commenced anew, and, moreover, at that age
the disgrace of failure is very injurious. The period of education
used to be five years, but has now been reduced to four. This was
done in order that a double class might be graduated in 1861 to
supply the wants of the war. I believe it is considered that but
for such necessity as that, the fifth year of education can be ill

The discipline, to our English ideas, is very strict. In the first
place no kind of beer, wine, or spirits is allowed at West Point.
The law upon this point may be said to be very vehement, for it
debars even the visitors at the hotel from the solace of a glass of
beer. The hotel is within the bounds of the college, and as the
lads might become purchasers at the bar, there is no bar allowed.
Any breach of this law leads to instant expulsion; or, I should say
rather, any detection of such breach. The officer who showed us
over the college assured me that the presence of a glass of wine in
a young man's room would secure his exclusion, even though there
should be no evidence that he had tasted it. He was very firm as
to this; but a little bird of West Point, whose information, though
not official or probably accurate in words, seemed to me to be
worthy of reliance in general, told me that eyes were wont to wink
when such glasses of wine made themselves unnecessarily visible.
Let us fancy an English mess of young men from seventeen to twenty-
one, at which a mug of beer would be felony and a glass of wine
high treason! But the whole management of the young with the
Americans differs much from that in vogue with us. We do not
require so much at so early an age, either in knowledge, in morals,
or even in manliness. In America, if a lad be under control, as at
West Point, he is called upon for an amount of labor and a degree
of conduct which would be considered quite transcendental and out
of the question in England. But if he be not under control, if at
the age of eighteen he be living at home, or be from his
circumstances exempt from professorial power, he is a full-fledged
man, with his pipe apparatus and his bar acquaintances.

And then I was told, at West Point, how needful and yet how painful
it was that all should be removed who were in any way deficient in
credit to the establishment. "Our rules are very exact," my
informant told me; "but the carrying out of our rules is a task not
always very easy." As to this also I had already heard something
from that little bird of West Point; but of course I wisely
assented to my informant, remarking that discipline in such an
establishment was essentially necessary. The little bird had told
me that discipline at West Point had been rendered terribly
difficult by political interference. "A young man will be
dismissed by the unanimous voice of the board, and will be sent
away. And then, after a week or two, he will be sent back, with an
order from Washington that another trial shall be given him. The
lad will march back into the college with all the honors of a
victory, and will be conscious of a triumph over the superintendent
and his officers." "And is that common?" I asked. "Not at the
present moment," I was told. "But it was common before the war.
While Mr. Buchanan, and Mr. Pierce, and Mr. Polk were Presidents,
no officer or board of officers then at West Point was able to
dismiss a lad whose father was a Southerner, and who had friends
among the government."

Not only was this true of West Point, but the same allegation is
true as to all matters of patronage throughout the United States.
During the three or four last presidencies, and I believe back to
the time of Jackson, there has been an organized system of
dishonesty in the management of all beneficial places under the
control of the government. I doubt whether any despotic court of
Europe has been so corrupt in the distribution of places--that is,
in the selection of public officers--as has been the assemblage of
statesmen at Washington. And this is the evil which the country is
now expiating with its blood and treasure. It has allowed its
knaves to stand in the high places; and now it finds that knavish
works have brought about evil results. But of this I shall be
constrained to say something further hereafter.

We went into all the schools of the college, and made ourselves
fully aware that the amount of learning imparted was far above our
comprehension. It always occurs to me, in looking through the new
schools of the present day, that I ought to be thankful to persons
who know so much for condescending to speak to me at all in plain
English. I said a word to the gentleman who was with me about
horses, seeing a lot of lads going to their riding lesson. But he
was down upon me, and crushed me instantly beneath the weight of my
own ignorance. He walked me up to the image of a horse, which he
took to pieces, bit by bit, taking off skin, muscle, flesh, nerves,
and bones, till the animal was a heap of atoms, and assured me that
the anatomy of the horse throughout was one of the necessary
studies of the place. We afterward went to see the riding. The
horses themselves were poor enough. This was accounted for by the
fact that such of them as had been found fit for military service
had been taken for the use of the army.

There is a gallery in the college in which are hung sketches and
pictures by former students. I was greatly struck with the merit
of many of these. There were some copies from well-known works of
art of very high excellence, when the age is taken into account of
those by whom they were done. I don't know how far the art of
drawing, as taught generally, and with no special tendency to
military instruction, may be necessary for military training; but
if it be necessary I should imagine that more is done in that
direction at West Point than at Sandhurst. I found, however, that
much of that in the gallery, which was good, had been done by lads
who had not obtained their degree, and who had shown an aptitude
for drawing, but had not shown any aptitude for other pursuits
necessary to their intended career.

And then we were taken to the chapel, and there saw, displayed as
trophies, two of our own dear old English flags. I have seen many
a banner hung up in token of past victory, and many a flag taken on
the field of battle mouldering by degrees into dust on some
chapel's wall--but they have not been the flags of England. Till
this day I had never seen our own colors in any position but one of
self-assertion and independent power. From the tone used by the
gentleman who showed them to me, I could gather that he would have
passed them by, had he not foreseen that he could not do so without
my notice. "I don't know that we are right to put them there," he
said. "Quite right," was my reply, "as long as the world does such
things." In private life it is vulgar to triumph over one's
friends, and malicious to triumph over one's enemies. We have not
got so far yet in public life, but I hope we are advancing toward
it. In the mean time I did not begrudge the Americans our two
flags. If we keep flags and cannons taken from our enemies, and
show them about as signs of our own prowess after those enemies
have become friends, why should not others do so as regards us? It
clearly would not be well for the world that we should always beat
other nations and never be beaten. I did not begrudge that chapel
our two flags. But, nevertheless, the sight of them made me sick
in the stomach and uncomfortable. As an Englishman I do not want
to be ascendant over any one. But it makes me very ill when any
one tries to be ascendant over me. I wish we could send back with
our compliments all the trophies that we hold, carriage paid, and
get back in return those two flags, and any other flag or two of
our own that may be doing similar duty about the world. I take it
that the parcel sent away would be somewhat more bulky than that
which would reach us in return.

The discipline at West Point seemed, as I have said, to be very
severe; but it seemed also that that severity could not in all
cases be maintained. The hours of study also were long, being
nearly continuous throughout the day. "English lads of that age
could not do it," I said; thus confessing that English lads must
have in them less power of sustained work than those of America.
"They must do it here," said my informant, "or else leave us." And
then he took us off to one of the young gentlemen's quarters, in
order that we might see the nature of their rooms. We found the
young gentleman fast asleep on his bed, and felt uncommonly grieved
that we should have thus intruded on him. As the hour was one of
those allocated by my informant in the distribution of the day to
private study, I could not but take the present occupation of the
embryo warrior as an indication that the amount of labor required
might be occasionally too much even for an American youth. "The
heat makes one so uncommonly drowsy," said the young man. I was
not the least surprised at the exclamation. The air of the
apartment had been warmed up to such a pitch by the hot-pipe
apparatus of the building that prolonged life to me would, I should
have thought, be out of the question in such an atmosphere. "Do
you always have it as hot as this?" I asked. The young man swore
that it was so, and with considerable energy expressed his opinion
that all his health, and spirits, and vitality were being baked out
of him. He seemed to have a strong opinion on the matter, for
which I respected him; but it had never occurred to him, and did
not then occur to him, that anything could be done to moderate that
deathly flow of hot air which came up to him from the neighboring
infernal regions. He was pale in the face, and all the lads there
were pale. American lads and lasses are all pale. Men at thirty
and women at twenty-five have had all semblance of youth baked out
of them. Infants even are not rosy, and the only shades known on
the cheeks of children are those composed of brown, yellow, and
white. All this comes of those damnable hot-air pipes with which
every tenement in America is infested. "We cannot do without
them," they say. "Our cold is so intense that we must heat our
houses throughout. Open fire-places in a few rooms would not keep
our toes and fingers from the frost." There is much in this. The
assertion is no doubt true, and thereby a great difficulty is
created. It is no doubt quite within the power of American
ingenuity to moderate the heat of these stoves, and to produce such
an atmosphere as may be most conducive to health. In hospitals no
doubt this will be done; perhaps is done at present--though even in
hospitals I have thought the air hotter than it should be. But
hot-air drinking is like dram-drinking. There is the machine
within the house capable of supplying any quantity, and those who
consume it unconsciously increase their draughts, and take their
drains stronger and stronger, till a breath of fresh air is felt to
be a blast direct from Boreas.

West Point is at all points a military colony, and, as such,
belongs exclusively to the Federal government as separate from the
government of any individual State. It is the purchased property
of the United States as a whole, and is devoted to the necessities
of a military college. No man could take a house there, or succeed
in getting even permanent lodgings, unless he belonged to or were
employed by the establishment. There is no intercourse by road
between West Point and other towns or villages on the river side,
and any such intercourse even by water is looked upon with jealousy
by the authorities. The wish is that West Point should be isolated
and kept apart for military instruction to the exclusion of all
other purposes whatever--especially love-making purposes. The
coming over from the other side of the water of young ladies by the
ferry is regarded as a great hinderance. They will come, and then
the military students will talk to them. We all know to what such
talking leads! A lad when I was there had been tempted to get out
of barracks in plain clothes, in order that he might call on a
young lady at the hotel; and was in consequence obliged to abandon
his commission and retire from the Academy. Will that young lady
ever again sleep quietly in her bed? I should hope not. An
opinion was expressed to me that there should be no hotel in such a
place--that there should be no ferry, no roads, no means by which
the attention of the students should be distracted--that these
military Rasselases should live in a happy military valley from
which might be excluded both strong drinks and female charms--those
two poisons from which youthful military ardor is supposed to
suffer so much.

It always seems to me that such training begins at the wrong end.
I will not say that nothing should be done to keep lads of eighteen
from strong drinks. I will not even say that there should not be
some line of moderation with reference to feminine allurements.
But, as a rule, the restraint should come from the sense, good
feeling, and education of him who is restrained. There is no
embargo on the beer-shops either at Harrow or at Oxford--and
certainly none upon the young ladies. Occasional damage may accrue
from habits early depraved, or a heart too early and too easily
susceptible; but the injury so done is not, I think, equal to that
inflicted by a Draconian code of morals, which will probably be
evaded, and will certainly create a desire for its evasion.

Nevertheless, I feel assured that West Point, taken as a whole, is
an excellent military academy, and that young men have gone forth
from it, and will go forth from it, fit for officers as far as
training can make men fit. The fault, if fault there be, is that
which is to be found in so many of the institutions of the United
States, and is one so allied to a virtue, that no foreigner has a
right to wonder that it is regarded in the light of a virtue by all
Americans. There has been an attempt to make the place too
perfect. In the desire to have the establishment self-sufficient
at all points, more has been attempted than human nature can
achieve. The lad is taken to West Point, and it is presumed that
from the moment of his reception he shall expend every energy of
his mind and body in making himself a soldier. At fifteen he is
not to be a boy, at twenty he is not to be a young man. He is to
be a gentleman, a soldier, and an officer. I believe that those
who leave the college for the army are gentlemen, soldiers, and
officers, and, therefore, the result is good. But they are also
young men; and it seems that they have become so, not in accordance
with their training, but in spite of it.

But I have another complaint to make against the authorities of
West Point, which they will not be able to answer so easily as that
already preferred. What right can they have to take the very
prettiest spot on the Hudson--the prettiest spot on the continent--
one of the prettiest spots which Nature, with all her vagaries,
ever formed--and shut it up from all the world for purposes of war?
Would not any plain, however ugly, do for military exercises?
Cannot broadsword, goose-step, and double-quick time be instilled
into young hands and legs in any field of thirty, forty, or fifty
acres? I wonder whether these lads appreciate the fact that they
are studying fourteen hours a day amid the sweetest river, rock,
and mountain scenery that the imagination can conceive. Of course
it will be said, that the world at large is not excluded from West
Point, that the ferry to the place is open, and that there is even
a hotel there, closed against no man or woman who will consent to
become a teetotaller for the period of his visit. I must admit
that this is so; but still one feels that one is only admitted as a
guest. I want to go and live at West Point, and why should I be
prevented? The government had a right to buy it of course, but
government should not buy up the prettiest spots on a country's
surface. If I were an American, I should make a grievance of this;
but Americans will suffer things from their government which no
Englishmen would endure.

It is one of the peculiarities of West Point that everything there
is in good taste. The point itself consists of a bluff of land so
formed that the River Hudson is forced to run round three sides of
it. It is consequently a peninsula; and as the surrounding country
is mountainous on both sides of the river, it may be imagined that
the site is good. The views both up and down the river are lovely,
and the mountains behind break themselves so as to make the
landscape perfect. But this is not all. At West Point there is
much of buildings, much of military arrangement in the way of
cannons, forts, and artillery yards. All these things are so
contrived as to group themselves well into pictures. There is no
picture of architectural grandeur; but everything stands well and
where it should stand, and the eye is not hurt at any spot. I
regard West Point as a delightful place, and was much gratified by
the kindness I received there.

From West Point we went direct to new York.



I think it may be received as a fact that the Northern States,
taken together, sent a full tenth of their able-bodied men into the
ranks of the army in the course of the summer and autumn of 1861.
The South, no doubt, sent a much larger proportion; but the effect
of such a drain upon the South would not be the same, because the
slaves were left at home to perform the agricultural work of the
country. I very much doubt whether any other nation ever made such
an effort in so short a time. To a people who can do this it may
well be granted that they are in earnest; and I do not think it
should be lightly decided by any foreigner that they are wrong.
The strong and unanimous impulse of a great people is seldom wrong.
And let it be borne in mind that in this case both people may be
right--the people both of North and South. Each may have been
guided by a just and noble feeling, though each was brought to its
present condition by bad government and dishonest statesmen.

There can be no doubt that, since the commencement of the war the
American feeling against England has been very bitter. All
Americans to whom I spoke on the subject admitted that it was so.
I, as an Englishman, felt strongly the injustice of this feeling,
and lost no opportunity of showing, or endeavoring to show, that
the line of conduct pursued by England toward the States was the
only line which was compatible with her own policy and just
interests and also with the dignity of the States government. I
heard much of the tender sympathy of Russia. Russia sent a
flourishing general message, saying that she wished the North might
win, and ending with some good general advice proposing peace. It
was such a message as strong nations send to those which are
weaker. Had England ventured on such counsel, the diplomatic paper
would probably have been returned to her. It is, I think, manifest
that an absolute and disinterested neutrality has been the only
course which could preserve England from deserved rebuke--a
neutrality on which her commercial necessity for importing cotton
or exporting her own manufactures should have no effect. That our
government would preserve such a neutrality I have always insisted;
and I believe it has been done with a pure and strict disregard to
any selfish views on the part of Great Britain. So far I think
England may feel that she has done well in this matter. But I must
confess that I have not been so proud of the tone of all our people
at home as I have been of the decisions of our statesmen. It seems
to me that some of us never tire in abusing the Americans, and
calling them names for having allowed themselves to be driven into
this civil war. We tell them that they are fools and idiots; we
speak of their doings as though there had been some plain course by
which the war might have been avoided; and we throw it in their
teeth that they have no capability for war. We tell them of the
debt which they are creating, and point out to them that they can
never pay it. We laugh at their attempt to sustain loyalty, and
speak of them as a steady father of a family is wont to speak of
some unthrifty prodigal who is throwing away his estate and
hurrying from one ruinous debauchery to another. And, alas! we too
frequently allow to escape from us some expression of that
satisfaction which one rival tradesman has in the downfall of
another. "Here you are with all your boasting," is what we say.
"You were going to whip all creation the other day; and it has come
to this! Brag is a good dog, but Holdfast is a better. Pray
remember that, if ever you find yourselves on your legs again."
That little advice about the two dogs is very well, and was not
altogether inapplicable. But this is not the time in which it
should be given. Putting aside slight asperities, we will all own
that the people of the States have been and are our friends, and
that as friends we cannot spare them. For one Englishman who
brings home to his own heart a feeling of cordiality for France--a
belief in the affection of our French alliance--there are ten who
do so with reference to the States. Now, in these days of their
trouble, I think that we might have borne with them more tenderly.

And how was it possible that they should have avoided this war? I
will not now go into the cause of it, or discuss the course which
it has taken, but will simply take up the fact of the rebellion.
The South rebelled against the North; and such being the case, was
it possible that the North should yield without a war? It may very
likely be well that Hungary should be severed from Austria, or
Poland from Russia, or Venice from Austria. Taking Englishmen in a
lump, they think that such separation would be well. The subject
people do not speak the language of those that govern them or enjoy
kindred interests. But yet when military efforts are made by those
who govern Hungary, Poland, and Venice to prevent such separation,
we do not say that Russia and Austria are fools. We are not
surprised that they should take up arms against the rebels, but
would be very much surprised indeed if they did not do so. We know
that nothing but weakness would prevent their doing so. But if
Austria and Russia insist on tying to themselves a people who do
not speak their language or live in accordance with their habits,
and are not considered unreasonable in so insisting, how much more
thoroughly would they carry with them the sympathy of their
neighbors in preventing any secession by integral parts of their
own nationalities! Would England let Ireland walk off by herself,
if she wished it? In 1843 she did wish it. Three-fourths of the
Irish population would have voted for such a separation; but
England would have prevented such a secession vi et armis, had
Ireland driven her to the necessity of such prevention.

I will put it to any reader of history whether, since government
commenced, it has not been regarded as the first duty of government
to prevent a separation of the territories governed; and whether,
also, it has not been regarded as a point of honor with all
nationalities to preserve uninjured each its own greatness and its
own power? I trust that I may not be thought to argue that all
governments, or even all nationalities, should succeed in such
endeavors. Few kings have fallen, in my day, in whose fate I have
not rejoiced--none, I take it, except that poor citizen King of the
French. And I can rejoice that England lost her American colonies,
and shall rejoice when Spain has been deprived of Cuba. But I hold
that citizen King of the French in small esteem, seeing that he
made no fight; and I know that England was bound to struggle when
the Boston people threw her tea into the water. Spain keeps a
tighter hand on Cuba than we thought she would some ten years
since, and therefore she stands higher in the world's respect.

It may be well that the South should be divided from the North. I
am inclined to think that it would be well--at any rate for the
North; but the South must have been aware that such division could
only be effected in two ways: either by agreement, in which case
the proposition must have been brought forward by the South and
discussed by the North, or by violence. They chose the latter way,
as being the readier and the surer, as most seceding nations have
done. O'Connell, when struggling for the secession of Ireland,
chose the other, and nothing came of it. The South chose violence,
and prepared for it secretly and with great adroitness. If that be
not rebellion, there never has been rebellion since history began;
and if civil war was ever justified in one portion of a nation by
turbulence in another, it has now been justified in the Northern
States of America.

What was the North to do; this foolish North, which has been so
liberally told by us that she has taken up arms for nothing, that
she is fighting for nothing, and will ruin herself for nothing?
When was she to take the first step toward peace? Surely every
Englishman will remember that when the earliest tidings of the
coming quarrel reached us on the election of Mr. Lincoln, we all
declared that any division was impossible; it was a mere madness to
speak of it. The States, which were so great in their unity, would
never consent to break up all their prestige and all their power by
a separation! Would it have been well for the North then to say,
"If the South wish it we will certainly separate?" After that,
when Mr. Lincoln assumed the power to which he had been elected,
and declared with sufficient manliness, and sufficient dignity
also, that he would make no war upon the South, but would collect
the customs and carry on the government, did we turn round and
advise him that he was wrong? No. The idea in England then was
that his message was, if anything, too mild. "If he means to be
President of the whole Union," England said, "he must come out with
something stronger than that." Then came Mr. Seward's speech,
which was, in truth, weak enough. Mr. Seward had ran Mr. Lincoln
very hard for the President's chair on the Republican interest, and
was, most unfortunately, as I think, made Secretary of State by Mr.
Lincoln, or by his party. The Secretary of State holds the highest
office in the United States government under the President. He
cannot be compared to our Prime Minister, seeing that the President
himself exercises political power, and is responsible for its
exercise. Mr. Seward's speech simply amounted to a declaration
that separation was a thing of which the Union would neither hear,
speak, nor, if possible, think. Things looked very like it; but
no, they could never come to that! The world was too good, and
especially the American world. Mr. Seward had no specific against
secession; but let every free man strike his breast, look up to
heaven, determine to be good, and all would go right. A great deal
had been expected from Mr. Seward, and when this speech came out,
we in England were a little disappointed, and nobody presumed even
then that the North would let the South go.

It will be argued by those who have gone into the details of
American politics that an acceptance of the Crittenden compromise
at this point would have saved the war. What is or was the
Crittenden compromise I will endeavor to explain hereafter; but the
terms and meaning of that compromise can have no bearing on the
subject. The Republican party who were in power disapproved of
that compromise, and could not model their course upon it. The
Republican party may have been right or may have been wrong; but
surely it will not be argued that any political party elected to
power by a majority should follow the policy of a minority, lest
that minority should rebel. I can conceive of no government more
lowly placed than one which deserts the policy of the majority
which supports it, fearing either the tongues or arms of a

As the next scene in the play, the State of South Carolina
bombarded Fort Sumter. Was that to be the moment for a peaceable
separation? Let us suppose that O'Connell had marched down to the
Pigeon House, at Dublin, and had taken it, in 1843, let us say,
would that have been an argument to us for allowing Ireland to set
up for herself? Is that the way of men's minds, or of the minds of
nations? The powers of the President were defined by law, as
agreed upon among all the States of the Union, and against that
power and against that law South Carolina raised her hand, and the
other States joined her in rebellion. When circumstances had come
to that, it was no longer possible that the North should shun the
war. To my thinking the rights of rebellion are holy. Where would
the world have been, or where would the world hope to be, without
rebellion? But let rebellion look the truth in the face, and not
blanch from its own consequences. She has to judge her own
opportunities and to decide on her own fitness. Success is the
test of her judgment. But rebellion can never be successful except
by overcoming the power against which she raises herself. She has
no right to expect bloodless triumphs; and if she be not the
stronger in the encounter which she creates, she must bear the
penalty of her rashness. Rebellion is justified by being better
served than constituted authority, but cannot be justified
otherwise. Now and again it may happen that rebellion's cause is
so good that constituted authority will fall to the ground at the
first glance of her sword. This was so the other day in Naples,
when Garibaldi blew away the king's armies with a breath. But this
is not so often. Rebellion knows that it must fight, and the
legalized power against which rebels rise must of necessity fight

I cannot see at what point the North first sinned; nor do I think
that had the North yielded, England would have honored her for her
meekness. Had she yielded without striking a blow, she would have
been told that she had suffered the Union to drop asunder by her
supineness. She would have been twitted with cowardice, and told
that she was no match for Southern energy. It would then have
seemed to those who sat in judgment on her that she might have
righted everything by that one blow from which she had abstained.
But having struck that one blow, and having found that it did not
suffice, could she then withdraw, give way, and own herself beaten?
Has it been so usually with Anglo-Saxon pluck? In such case as
that, would there have been no mention of those two dogs, Brag and
Holdfast? The man of the Northern States knows that he has
bragged--bragged as loudly as his English forefathers. In that
matter of bragging, the British lion and the star-spangled banner
may abstain from throwing mud at each other. And now the Northern
man wishes to show that he can hold fast also. Looking at all this
I cannot see that peace has been possible to the North.

As to the question of secession and rebellion being one and the
same thing, the point to me does not seem to bear an argument. The
confederation of States had a common army, a common policy, a
common capital, a common government, and a common debt. If one
might secede, any or all might secede, and where then would be
their property, their debt, and their servants? A confederation
with such a license attached to it would have been simply playing
at national power. If New York had seceded--a State which
stretches from the Atlantic to British North America--it would have
cut New England off from the rest of the Union. Was it legally
within the power of New York to place the six States of New England
in such a position? And why should it be assumed that so suicidal
a power of destroying a nationality should be inherent in every
portion of the nation? The Slates are bound together by a written
compact, but that compact gives each State no such power. Surely
such a power would have been specified had it been intended that it
should be given. But there are axioms in politics as in
mathematics, which recommend themselves to the mind at once, and
require no argument for their proof. Men who are not argumentative
perceive at once that they are true. A part cannot be greater than
the whole.

I think it is plain that the remnant of the Union was bound to take
up arms against those States which had illegally torn themselves
off from her; and if so, she could only do so with such weapons as
were at her hand. The United States army had never been numerous
or well appointed; and of such officers and equipments as it
possessed, the more valuable part was in the hands of the
Southerners. It was clear enough that she was ill provided, and
that in going to war she was undertaking a work as to which she had
still to learn many of the rudiments. But Englishmen should be the
last to twit her with such ignorance. It is not yet ten years
since we were all boasting that swords and guns were useless
things, and that military expenditure might be cut down to any
minimum figure that an economizing Chancellor of the Exchequer
could name. Since that we have extemporized two if not three
armies. There are our volunteers at home; and the army which holds
India can hardly be considered as one with that which is to
maintain our prestige in Europe and the West. We made some natural
blunders in the Crimea, but in making those blunders we taught
ourselves the trade. It is the misfortune of the Northern States
that they must learn these lessons in fighting their own
countrymen. In the course of our history we have suffered the same
calamity more than once. The Round-heads, who beat the Cavaliers
and created English liberty, made themselves soldiers on the bodies
of their countrymen. But England was not ruined by that civil war;
nor was she ruined by those which preceded it. From out of these
she came forth stronger than she entered them--stronger, better,
and more fit for a great destiny in the history of nations. The
Northern States had nearly five hundred thousand men under arms
when the winter of 1861 commenced, and for that enormous multitude
all commissariat requirements were well supplied. Camps and
barracks sprang up through the country as though by magic.
Clothing was obtained with a rapidity that has I think, never been
equaled. The country had not been prepared for the fabrication of
arms, and yet arms were put into the men's hands almost as quickly
as the regiments could be mustered. The eighteen millions of the
Northern States lent themselves to the effort as one man. Each
State gave the best it had to give. Newspapers were as rabid
against each other as ever, but no newspaper could live which did
not support the war. "The South has rebelled against the law, and
the law shall be supported." This has been the cry and the
heartfelt feeling of all men; and it is a feeling which cannot but
inspire respect.

We have heard much of the tyranny of the present government of the
United States, and of the tyranny also of the people. They have
both been very tyrannical. The "habeas corpus" has been suspended
by the word of one man. Arrests have been made on men who have
been hardly suspected of more than secession principles. Arrests
have, I believe, been made in cases which have been destitute even
of any fair ground for such suspicion. Newspapers have been
stopped for advocating views opposed to the feelings of the North,
as freely as newspapers were ever stopped in France for opposing
the Emperor. A man has not been safe in the streets who was known
to be a secessionist. It must be at once admitted that opinion in
the Northern States was not free when I was there. But has opinion
ever been free anywhere on all subjects? In the best built
strongholds of freedom, have there not always been questions on
which opinion has not been free; and must it not always be so?
When the decision of a people on any matter has become, so to say,
unanimous--when it has shown itself to be so general as to be
clearly the expression of the nation's voice as a single chorus,
that decision becomes holy, and may not be touched. Could any
newspaper be produced in England which advocated the overthrow of
the Queen? And why may not the passion for the Union be as strong
with the Northern States, as the passion for the Crown is strong
with us? The Crown with us is in no danger, and therefore the
matter is at rest. But I think we must admit that in any nation,
let it be ever so free, there may be points on which opinion must
be held under restraint. And as to those summary arrests, and the
suspension of the "habeas corpus," is there not something to be
said for the States government on that head also? Military arrests
are very dreadful, and the soul of a nation's liberty is that
personal freedom from arbitrary interference which is signified to
the world by those two unintelligible Latin words. A man's body
shalt not be kept in duress at any man's will, but shall be brought
up into open court, with uttermost speed, in order that the law may
say whether or no it should be kept in duress. That I take it is
the meaning of "habeas corpus," and it is easy to see that the
suspension of that privilege destroys all freedom, and places the
liberty of every individual at the mercy of him who has the power
to suspend it. Nothing can be worse than this: and such
suspension, if extended over any long period of years, will
certainly make a nation weak, mean spirited, and poor. But in a
period of civil war, or even of a widely-extended civil commotion,
things cannot work in their accustomed grooves. A lady does not
willingly get out of her bedroom-window with nothing on but her
nightgown; but when her house is on fire she is very thankful for
an opportunity of doing so. It is not long since the "habeas
corpus" was suspended in parts of Ireland, and absurd arrests were
made almost daily when that suspension first took effect. It was
grievous that there should be necessity for such a step; and it is
very grievous now that such necessity should be felt in the
Northern States. But I do not think that it becomes Englishmen to
bear hardly upon Americans generally for what has been done in that
matter. Mr. Seward, in an official letter to the British Minister
at Washington--which letter, through official dishonesty, found its
way to the press--claimed for the President the right of suspending
the "habeas corpus" in the States whenever it might seem good to
him to do so. If this be in accordance with the law of the land,
which I think must be doubted, the law of the land is not favorable
to freedom. For myself, I conceive that Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Seward
have been wrong in their law, and that no such right is given to
the President by the Constitution of the United States. This I
will attempt to prove in some subsequent chapter. But I think it
must be felt by all who have given any thought to the Constitution
of the States, that let what may be the letter of the law, the
Presidents of the United States have had no such power. It is
because the States have been no longer united, that Mr. Lincoln has
had the power, whether it be given to him by the law or no.

And then as to the debt; it seems to me very singular that we in
England should suppose that a great commercial people would be
ruined by a national debt. As regards ourselves, I have always
looked on our national debt as the ballast in our ship. We have a
great deal of ballast, but then the ship is very big. The States
also are taking in ballast at a rather rapid rate; and we too took
it in quickly when we were about it. But I cannot understand why
their ship should not carry, without shipwreck, that which our ship
has carried without damage, and, as I believe, with positive
advantage to its sailing. The ballast, if carried honestly, will
not, I think, bring the vessel to grief. The fear is lest the
ballast should be thrown overboard.


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