Travels in the United States of America
William Priest

Part 1 out of 2

Produced by John R. Bilderback and PG Distributed Proofreaders

[Illustration: PETER BROWN'S ARMS.]


Commencing in the Year 1793, and Ending in 1797. With The Author's
Journals of his Two Voyages Across the Atlantic

* * * * *

Late of the Theatres Philadelphia, Baltimore and Boston.

* * * * *


* * * * *

Printed for J. Johnson, No. 72, St. Paul's Church-Yard

* * * * *


Bryer, Printer, Bridewell Hospital, Bridge Street.


An elegant writer observes that a preface may be dispensed with in any
work, if the author (either from his humility of justice) think that his
style be calculated only to put his readers to sleep. Though I do not
think the publication of the following sheets will _materially_ affect the
price of opium, I cannot intrude this volume on the public without
informing them, what all my friends will vouch for the truth of, viz.--
that on my return from America, in 1797, I wrote the work in its present
form _for their_ perusal; and, that conscious of my want of talent as a
writer, I resisted all their entreaties for its publication, till within
these three months.

The public, I presume, will not be _wholly_ disappointed; the _extracts_ I
have made from _Jefferson_, _Belknap_, and other american writers, are
worthy their attention: _I_ have no other merit than having placed them in
a tolerable point of view.

"The God of Truth, and all who know
me, will bear testimony that, from my
whole soul, I despise deceit, as I do all
silly claims to superior wisdom, and
infallibility, which so many writers, by
a thousand artifices, endeavour to make
their readers imagine they possess."



JOURNAL--Gravesend--why so called--Deal--Falmouth--Pendennis castle--a
gale--a hymn--the gulph weed--sun set at sea--dolphins and flying fish--
first account of the yellow fever--arrival in the Delaware--on shore in
the Jerseys--Woodbury--melancholy visit to Philadelphia--arrival at

ANNAPOLIS--why so called--extract from the charter--situation--loss of the
trade--accounted for--Annapolitans partial to theatrical amusements--
produce of Maryland--tobacco--wheat--new species of manure

JOURNEY TO THE CAPITAL--filial affection of the negroes--fried squirrels
and coffee--Baltimore--the mighty Susquana--intrepidity of a slave--how
rewarded--Wilmington--Brandywine--grist mills--the battle--Chester--
arrival at Philadelphia

TWO ANECDOTES--a gentleman blacksmith not ashamed of his origin--a high
sheriff doing his duty

PHILADELPHIA--state of, in 1681--Penn's arrival in 1701--intended plan of
the city--not observed--situation--advantages of exports--entries in 1793--
buildings how constructed--houses removed intire--new theatre--pleasure
carriages--removal of the state government to Lancaster

MANNER OF LIVING OF THE PHILADELPHIANS--breakfast--dinner--supper--bad
effects of such diet--relishes in stile at an American tea-garden

BACK SETTLER--arrives at his purchase--builds his huts--manner of clearing
the land--Indian corn--advantages of--the black and grey squirrels--
attacked by the Indians--extract--he escapes the scalping knife--more
comfortably situated--an idle back settler--his manner of life--what he
calls liberty--joins the Indians at war with the states--the demisavage
copies only the black side of the Indian character

PENNSYLVANIA PLANTER--enjoys a happy state of mediocrity between riches
and poverty--the children how disposed of--the boys--effect of the
religious education given to the girls not intirely eradicated even by a
brothel--a country sleighing match--another in Philadelphia in stile--a
fiddler a necessary apendage

FROGS--two extracts--they sit croaking to the wonderment of strangers--
land of enchantment--frog concert--how supported--treble--counter tenor--
tenor--bass--fire-flies--night-hawks--probable effects on an enthusiastic

JOURNEY TO LANCASTER--the Pioli--Wayne's surprise--appointed to the
command of the western army--Indian war--shocking effects of--
misunderstanding between the Canadians and American citizens--accounted
for--French agents--the British government vindicated--Proceed on the
journey--charming prospects--beauties of the Susquana destroys the
navigation--arrival at Lancaster--rifle manufactory--uncommon shot of two
back woodsmen--Dutch schools--three concerts--two German sans culottes--
extracts from the regulations of the Hanover dancing assembly--German and
Irish emigrants

FEDERAL COINAGE not approved of by the people--the new scheme contrasted
with the old one--advantages of an even division by the decimal

DELAWARE SHAD FISHERY--stupidity of the Anglo-Americans in giving English
names to animals peculiar to the new continent--length of the siens--
greatest haul of shad on record--fanatical law of the Quakers injurious to
the fishery--sturgeon--extract from general Lincoln on the migration of

JOURNEY TO BALTIMORE--water-stage--Newcastle--Glasgow--the Elk--bay of
Chesapeake--arrival at Baltimore--yellow fever

BALTIMORE--situation--disadvantages of--the Dutch plan of canals not
adapted to a southern latitude--the former race-course in the centre of
the town--anecdote

MANUFACTORIES--not the interest of the Americans to engage in them--why--
American iron--its malleability--two patents granted by Congress--

SHOOTING AND FISHING--partridges--no game laws--woodcocks in August--the
American ortolan--back woodsmen--their game--wild turkey--squirrel
shooting--American fishing parties--how conducted

INDIANS--genius for oratory, painting, and sculpture--their continence--
extract--the Indian student--the splenetic Indian--his remedy--seen in
another point of view--the Indian orator--verses on an Indian burial-ground

SCHEME OF A RIFLE CORPS--of forming the corps--rifles--powder--
accoutrements and dress--exercise

SPECULATION--the United States--the land of--100 acres of land for a
dollar--flour--the mines--description of a coal-bank

CLIMATE--Cooper on this subject not to be depended upon--quotation
from Jefferson--the N.W. wind not accounted for--Volney--his intended

WHITE SLAVE TRADE--mortality on board a white Guineaman from Ireland--
Hibernian and German societies--the trade not allowed in New England--a
German flesh-butcher sells his countrymen at Philadelphia during the fatal
yellow fever of 1793

JOURNEY TO BOSTON--Pennsylvania the garden of the United States--
Bristol--Trentown--New Brunswick--New York--arrival in Yankee Land--land
speculators harangue--interrupted--arrival at Boston--P.S.--dramatic
mania--detestation of the primitive Bostonians to theatricals--are first
introduced as moral lectures--the theatrical opposition

BATTLE OF BUNKER'S HILL--inscription from a monument on the scene of
action--anecdotes of Cox, the celebrated bridge-architect--connects Boston
with the Continent--goes to Ireland, where he builds seven bridges

BOSTON--situation--West Boston--advantages of the harbour--the long
wharf--new theatre--university of Cambridge--new bridge a mile in length--
Irish market

BOSTONIAN FIRE ALARM--amateur firemen--negro incendiaries--good effects of
their villainy

FANATICISM--Brownists--intolerance proved from their own writers--
rebellion against parents made a capital crime--smoaking tobacco and
drinking healths forbidden--proclamation against wearing long hair--
persecution of the Quakers--Penn's retaliation--poetry

NEGRO SLAVERY--state of in the Southern, Middle, and New England Slates--
abolition society--extract from Jefferson's Virginia

YELLOW FEVER--a new disorder--first imported from the coast of Guinea to
the West Indies in 1792--extract from Dr. Rush--a disorder fatal only to
one race of men not new--plague among the red men--how accounted for by
the fanatics--not to the satisfaction of a philosopher--age of the world
proved to be 36,960 years from the falls of Niagara

dumb fish--how cured--merchantable--Jamaica fish--former and present state
of the fishery

accounted for--general knowledge of the inhabitants--free schools--how
supported--difference of climate

VOYAGE TO ENGLAND--journal--severe gale at N.E.--the vessel encrusted with
ice--stand to the southward--the gulph stream--another gale--misfortunes--
arrival at Dover--conclusion


P. 11, 1.8, for _plantation_, read _plantations_.

32, 1.5 and 6, are a note having reference to p. 28, 1.11.

71, 1.5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12, are a note having reference to
p. 68, 1.4.

131, 1.6, for _freeing_, read _treeing_.

146, the asterisk placed at the word _vessel_ in the 13th line,
should be placed at the word _Newcastle_ in the 15th line.


* * * * *

_London, May 7th, 1797._


Since my return, my friends have made a thousand inquiries respecting the
state of America. I do not know how I can inform them of my sentiments on
that subject better, than by having the rough draught I preserved of the
letters I wrote to you from that country fairly copied for their use. If,
like you, they are _really_ my friends, they will take the will for the
deed. The _truth_ of my information, and my _wish_ to contribute to their
amusement, will be a sufficient apology for the many imperfections they
will meet with, in the desultory epistles of

Yours very sincerely.

_Annapolis, December 1st, 1793._


The enclosed extracts from my journal will I hope convince you, I have not
_entirely_ forgot my promise at parting. When at Philadelphia I delivered
your letters to----. Believe me

Yours very sincerely.

* * * * *


_Gravesend, on board the George Barclay,_

_31st of July, 1793._

Arrived onboard at 2 this afternoon, with an intention of sailing to
Philadelphia: Gravesend is so called from it's being _the end of a
sailors grave_, as those who die on a voyage after passing the fort are
thrown over board.

_August 1st._

Got under weigh with a light breeze at S.W., which not being sufficient to
stem the returning tide, we dropped out anchor again off the Nore light.

_Aug. 2nd_.--Weighed anchor with the wind at S.E., and on the morning
of the 3rd; off Deal, sent a boat on shore, which soon returned with a
supply of meat, water, sheep, poultry gin, and gingerbread; dismissed our
pilot, and soon after doubted the South Foreland; the prospect of Dover
and the adjacent coast delightful.

_Aug 8th_.--Beating to windward with a fresh breeze off the Lizard;
finding it impossible to clear the land, put about, and by three in the
afternoon were safe moored in Falmouth harbour. Went on shore; the lower
order of the inhabitants chaunt, or rather speak in recitative, a strange
dialect, in which I could distinguish several English words.

Took a walk to Pendennis castle, which protects the West entrance of the
harbour; found it garrisoned by a party of invalides, who informed me they
had not two nights in bed to one up; hard duty after twenty years

_Aug. 9th_.--Dined on john dory, which I cannot think equal either to
turbot or sole. Falmouth has the best fish market in England: I am
informed, in the course of the year, they have upward of fifty different
species for sale, on very moderate terms.

_Aug. 15th._--Weighed anchor, and having a good breeze at N.E., we
were soon clear of the land. On the evening of the 16th came on a smart
breeze at S.W.; at 2 A.M. the wind changed to W.N.W. and _blew a hard
gale_, which split our jib, and at last obliged us to lie too, under
our courses: shipped some very heavy seas over our quarter, which drowned
three parts of our stock of geese and other poultry; the baggage of near
fifty passengers, for want of being properly lashed, was dashing about the
steerage; which, with the shrieks of the women, heaving of the vessel,
rattling of the wind, and all the _et cetera_ of a storm, was
dreadful indeed.

_Aug. 18th_.--Wind N.W. moderate; the morning delightful; appeared
doubly so, contrasted with the horrours of the night.

_Aug. 31st_.--Fresh breeze at S.W. increasing to a hard gale, reduced
us once more to our courses: at 8 P.M. calm, with a very heavy swell.

_Sunday 1st September._

Pleasant breeze at N.N.E. The following hymn was written by Mr. Harwood,
for this morning's service.



Father of Heav'n, to thee we raise
(Mark'd by thy kind peculiar care,)
Our songs of thankfulness and praise,
To thee ascends the grateful pray'r.


Thou didst direct the gentlest breath,
That o'er the sleeping waters stole;
Thine is the dreadful voice of death,
In which thy angry thunders roll.


Father of all, 'tis thine to give,
Not what our erring pray'r demands;
With joy thy blessings we receive,
And bow submissive 'neath thy hand.

_Sept. 7th_.--First appearance of the gulf-weed. The trade wind, between
the Equator and the extent of the northern Tropic, setting from the
eastward, forces the water against the islands, and at length into the
gulf of Mexico where it meets with an uniform opposition from the
main, causing a strong current to the N.E., or points somewhat in that
direction. This stream is so violent as to tear up the sea weeds in the
gulf, and bear them as far to the north as latitude 44: the stream is soon
after absorbed in the Western ocean; but causes certain counter currents,
which, for want of being properly allowed for by mariners, have been the
causes of many shipwrecks.

_Sept. 8th_.--Fine morning; wind at W.S.W. A beautiful dolphin struck at
an artificial flying fish, hanging at our bow-sprit; the hook breaking, he
escaped;--continued playing round our bows for some time, and struck at
several flying fish; but we could not again tempt him with the artificial

_Mem_. To read this lesson once a month.

_Sept. 9th_.--Calm and fog, several flocks of wild fowl. Suppose ourselves
near the banks of Newfoundland. Thermometer sunk 18 degrees since

_Sept. 10th_.--Pleasant morning, having run to the S.W. during the
night: no sign of the banks. A land bird, of the thrush kind, came and
settled on our main yard; seemed quite exhausted; fell upon the deck, and
was taken up by the cabin boy. The poor creature must have been driven off
the coast of America in a violent gale at N.W., the distance from any land
being upwards of a thousand miles; no other circumstance could account for
it's flying so far.

_Sept. 19th_.--Wind at N.N.W. very moderate;--the afternoon calm. The
sun set this evening with uncommon beauty, that glorious luminary was
surrounded with clouds of a vivid yellow, green, and red; strongly shaded
with black half the extent of the horizon. The moon at the same time
rising to the east-ward, with a cool and faint sky, formed a strong and
beautiful contrast.

_Sept. 21st_.--Wind S. with rain. Caught four dolphins, which afforded us
a most delicious repast: in the paunch of one was found a dodon, or
globe-fish; the sailors call it a parrot-fish, from its having a beak
exactly resembling that bird.--At 9 A.M. spoke with the Queen Charlotte of
London, bound to Bristol, out ten days from Baltimore; the captain's
account of the longitude 67. Our joy in being so near the land was of
short continuance; for, in one hour after, we spoke with the Union, eight
days from Philadelphia. The captain informed us, there was a sort of
plague in that city, which carries off great numbers, and that ten
thousand of the inhabitants had fled to the country, to avoid the

_Sept. 24th_.--Soundings at 60 fathom: lay to all night.

_Sept. 25th_.--Woke with the cry of "Land." At 10 A.M. we took a
pilot on board: he informed us the disorder at Philadelphia is the yellow
fever, imported in a french schooner from the West Indies; some of the
passengers of this vessel died of this fatal disorder, at a lodging-house
in Water-street, and communicated the infection to the family. It is now
spreading rapidly through the city, in all directions. The faculty, so far
from being able to cure this disorder, have, in several instances, fallen
victims to it's fury. Within this few days, a Dr. Rush has discovered this
disorder is _not_ the yellow fever of the West Indies and has applied
an opposite mode of cure by copious bleedings, mercurial medicines, &c.
with some success. What is truly extraordinary, the infection does not
affect _people of colour!_

_Sept. 28th._--Came to an anchor off Glocester Point, five miles
below Philadelphia: the vessel proceeds no further at present, as all
intercourse with the city is cut off, and business at a stand.

_October 1st_.

Brought my baggage on shore, and arrived, at four in the afternoon, at
Woodbury, the county town of Glocester, in the state of West Jersey. With
some difficulty I procured a lodging within half a mile of the town.
Woodbury consists of about fifty well built houses, chiefly inhabited by
quakers, and other dissenters of the most rigid kind; so very primitive
are they in their appearance, that a barber cannot make a living among

_Oct. 13th_.--Spent the last ten days in shooting, and rambling about
the woods. The face of the country is exactly that of an immense forest,
entirely covered with wood, except the plantation cleared by the settlers.
The land sandy, and by no means of a good quality; the chief produce
maize, or indian corn. I counted the increase of _one_ stalk with
three ears; the amount of the grains were upward of _one thousand two

_Oct. 16th_.--I believe the Americans conceive their woods to be
inexhaustible. My landlord this day cut down thirty-two young cedars to
make a hog-pen. A settler informs me, he raised a gum tree from the seed,
which, in sixteen years, measured twenty inches diameter, three feet from
it's base. He tells, me they have ten species of oak; viz, white, black,
red, spanish, turkey, chesnut, ground, water, barren, and live oak. The
white, turkey, and chesnut are used for ship-timber; the acorn of the
latter very superiour in size to any other. Red oak is chiefly used for
pipe-staves, and exported to most parts of Europe, and the West Indies.
Black oak is a dry wood, and easily splits; is chiefly used for the rails
and fences of their enclosures. Ground oak is bushy, and seldom exceeds
six feet in height; it bears a small acorn of a very superiour flavour,
which is the chief food of the deer, and sheep, who run wild in the woods.
Water and barren oak are small and bushy, and only used for firing. Live
oak is _said_ to be very superiour to all the rest, and the best
_ship-timber_ in the world. I am informed it is a sort of evergreen,
seldom met with north of the Carolinas.

_Oct. 26th_.--Went to Philadelphia.--After crossing the Delaware, I found
the land very different from the Jersey shore; a fine stiff black soil,
the clover growing spontaneously. The city exhibited a most melancholy
spectacle; most of the houses and stores shut up, and grass growing in
many of the streets; what few _white_ inhabitants I met with had a most
dejected appearance. The disorder has been most favourable to the softer
sex; women with child, and those above and under a certain age, were in
general free from the infection: but so fatal has it proved to the other
sex, that, in Apple-tree-alley, which does not exceed fifty yards in
length, there are upwards of sixty widows within these two months. The
total loss on this melancholy occasion already exceeds four thousand,
nearly one tenth of the inhabitants! Returning to Woodbury, I met with a
quaker, who informed me of the _cause_ of the infectious disorder in the
Great City: "_It is_ a judgment on the inhabitants for their sins,
insomuch that they sent to England for a number of play-actors, singers,
and _musicians_, who were _actually arrived_; and as a just judgment on
the Philadelphians for encouraging these _children of iniquity_, they were
now afflicted with the yellow fever." I told him, that more likely the
sins of the _quakers_ had drawn down this judgment on the city _of
brotherly love_, and that it was now scourged for _their_ hypocrisy,
lying, canting, and other _manifold iniquities_.

_Oct. 27th_.--Very cold wind at N.W. In the evening snow.

_Oct. 29th_.--Favourable accounts from Philadelphia: the late cold
weather has entirely stopped the progress of the disorder.

_November 26th_.

Set out for Annapolis, and arrived there in health, the 29th, at five in
the afternoon.

* * * * *

_Annapolis, 17th December, 1793._


The bay of Chesapeak is one of the largest in the world. From it's
entrance, between capes Henry and Charles, to the mouth of the Susquana,
which forms the head of the bay, the distance is two hundred and eighty
miles, through which great extent of water the tide ebbs and flows. This
bay receives into it's bosom the following rivers; viz. the Patomac, the
Rappahanock, the Patapsico, the York, the James, the Severn, and the Elk,
beside innumerable creeks, and small streams. On an inlet from this bay,
about two hundred miles from it's entrance from the Atlantic, stands
Annapolis, the capital of the state of Maryland, so called in honour of
queen Anne, as appears from the following extract from their charter:--

"Anne, by the grace of God, queen of Great Britain, &c....

"To all, and singular, our faithful subjects within our province of
Maryland, greeting.... Whereas there is a pleasant and commodious place
for trade ... laid out for a town, and port, and called Annapolis, in
honour of us."

This city was intended for the emporium of the province; and surely no
spot ever _seemed_ better calculated for a town of trade and commerce. Far
to the south, and in one of the most pleasant and healthy situations in
America; as the seat of government, being the greatest, and indeed then
_only_ mercantile town in the province; the bay of Chesapeak, and adjacent
rivers, wafting the tobacco and other produce of the country to this mart
at a trifling expense; a harbour where ships might ride at anchor in
perfect security, and where wharfs, with sufficient depth of water for a
vessel of eight hundred tons, might be formed with very little trouble:
but unfortunately these advantages were rendered abortive by the bite of a
small insect; the worms are so troublesome in these waters, that a vessel
lying in this harbour during the summer months will be as full of holes as
a honey-comb. Baltimore, a town on a similar inlet from the bay, about
thirty miles hence, being free from this plague, (by having a great
proportion of fresh water from the Patapsico in it's harbour) has drawn
all the trade from the _capital_: the Annapolians have now but _one_
square-rigged vessel belonging to their port, while their rivals have many
hundreds, and drive a brisk trade to the four quarters of the globe.

Annapolis is whimsically laid out, the streets verging from each other,
like rays from a centre. It is still the seat of government; and it's
state-house is by much the best building I have seen in America. This
little city is now the retreat of some of the best families in the
state. The inhabitants in general are passionately fond of theatrical
entertainments, and received us with a degree of kindness and hospitality
which claims our warmest acknowledgments. I spend my time here very
agreeably. The politeness, ease, and conviviality of the Annapolians form
a strong and pleasing contrast to the behaviour of the stiff, gloomy and
unsocial bigots I was lately surrounded with in the Jerseys. Next to
Virginia, this state was the most famous for tobacco-plantations; but the
people now find the culture of wheat more profitable, as well as less
injurious to the soil. No plant impoverishes the earth so much by it's
growth as tobacco; many plantations, owing to successive crops of this
_weed_, are what is here called _worn out_; formerly, when their land was
in this state, instead of endeavouring to bring it round by a few fallow
years and manure, as in England, they immediately cleared a fresh tract.
They now begin to use manure, and have discovered a very extraordinary
kind; viz. antediluvian oyster-shells, large beds of which are found
a few feet beneath the surface of the earth in several parts of the
state[Footnote: See Bartram's Account of a similar Bed in Georgia,
page 213.]: these being laid on the land, are, by the effect of the
air, crumbled into dust in a few days, and fertilize the earth in an
astonishing degree.--Farewell.--Conclude me

Yours very sincerely, &c.

_Philadelphia, 27th February, 1794._


On the fourth instant I left Annapolis on my way to this city. After
travelling eight miles, we passed through a long and dreary wood; here we
met two negroes conveying a coffin on a sort of sledge. On inquiry, one of
them informed us, the coffin contained the corpse of his mother; that on
the death of his old master, his parents were sold to different planters,
which his father took so much to heart, that he died soon after; his
mother only survived him about five months; and they were now complying
with her last request, which was, to be carried to a plantation about
eight miles thence, and there buried with her husband. There seemed a
great degree of dejection in the poor fellow's countenance; and I could
not help telling him, by way of consolation, that his father and mother
were gone to a better place, where there was no distinction of colour, and
where no white man would dare again to part them; but as _words_ are
_wind_, we agreed to administer some more _solid_ consolation, which the
black man received with a look of gratitude, then cast his eye towards his
mother's corpse, and shed a silent tear. Why was not _Sterne_ present at
this scene?

I slept at an inn, about twenty miles from Annapolis, where we supped in
the American fashion on fried squirrels and coffee, the former excellent.

_Feb. 5th_.--Arrived at Baltimore, and hired a caravan with four
horses, which is here called a stage: the same afternoon we arrived at the
Susquana. This noble river, which is here about a mile and a quarter wide,
was frozen hard. Our _advanced guard_ crossed the day before, in a
ferry boat: this circumstance will give you some idea of the severity of
the cold in this climate. A negro slave, belonging to the ferry, undertook
to drive our stage over the river for two dollars, which his _master put
into his pocket_, and ordered _Sambo_ to proceed; the fellow drove
boldly, and was across in a few minutes, the ice cracking most horribly
all the way. I suppose I need not inform you, we were _not_ in the

On the evening of the 7th we slept at Wilmington, a pleasantly situate
town on the banks of a creek, which joins the Delaware, about thirty miles
below Philadelphia. There are about thirty square-rigged vessels, beside
sloops, and schooners, belonging to this port, which was originally a
danish settlement.

The next morning I walked to Brandywine, to see the grist mills, which are
said to be the best in the United States. About five miles from this
village was fought the battle of Brandywine. This was Washington's last
effort to stop general Howe's progress, and save Philadelphia. The
royal army being victorious, they got possession of that city without
opposition. General Washington, after rallying his troops, took a very
advantageous situation on a chain of hills, a few miles west of the
British army.

We dined at Chester. This little town is situated on the Delaware, and is
the same to Philadelphia that Gravesend is to London. Ships outward bound
here receive their passengers, &c. &c.

At four the same day, arrived in this city, distant from Annapolis one
hundred and forty one miles, and from Baltimore one hundred and eleven.

Yours, &c.

* * * * *

_Philadelphia, March 1st, 1794._


I perfectly agree with you, that the form of government in a great measure
_affects_, or rather _forms_ the manners, and way of thinking of
the people; but must decline answering the queries in your last, at least
for the present. I have not been long enough in these states to draw any
fair conclusions on these subjects; but that you may not be wholly
disappointed, I send you two anecdotes, on which you may depend.

Peter Brown, a blacksmith of this city, having made his fortune, set up
his coach; but so far from being ashamed of the means by which he acquired
his riches, he caused a large _anvil_ to be painted on each pannel of
his carriage, with two naked arms in the act of striking. The motto,
"_By this I got ye_."

Benjamin Whitall, high sheriff for the county of Gloster, West Jersey,
being obliged soon after his appointment to attend an execution, not
approving of Jack Ketch's clumsy method of _finishing the law_,
fairly tucked up the next criminal _himself_. Such behaviour in
Germany would have branded him with eternal infamy, but is in this country
(I think justly) thought a spirited action of a man, who was above
receiving the emoluments of an office, without performing the most
essential duty annexed to it himself.

I have often heard it asserted, that a servant should be born under an
absolute monarchy: whether this observation is just or not, I cannot tell,
but I know, that a republic is _not_ the place to find good servants.
If you want to hire a maid servant in this city, she will not allow you
the title of _master_, or herself to be called a _servant_; and
you may think yourself favoured if she condescends to inform you when she
means to spend an evening abroad; if you grumble at all this, she will
leave you at a moment's warning; after which you will find it very
difficult to procure another on any terms. This is one of the natural
consequences of liberty and equality.

Farewell, &c.

_March 3d, 1794._

Dear friend,

Philadelphia, the present seat of government, both of the state of
Pensylvania, and of the whole federal union, consisted, in the year 1681,
of half a dozen miserable huts, inhabited by a few emigrants from Sweden;
when the celebrated William Penn obtained a charter from king Charles the
Second, for a certain tract of unsettled country in North America,
extending from twelve miles north of Newcastle, along the courses of the
Delaware, and a meridian line from its head, to the 43d degree of north
latitude, and westward, 5 degrees of longitude from its eastern bounds.

In the year following, he arrived, and in 1701 the city was finally laid
out from Cedar-street to Vine-street, forming an oblong square of two
miles in length, from the river Delaware to the Scuylkill; and about a
mile in width. It was the wish of the founder, that the fronts facing the
_two_ rivers should be _equally_ built upon; by which means the city would
naturally meet in the centre; but they have not only deviated from the
original plan, by running the city along the banks of the Delaware,
_beyond_ the aforesaid streets, which formed the bounds in that direction,
but have left the _Scuylkill_ front without a single street.

Philadelphia is situate in latitude 39 deg. 56 min. north, and long. 75
deg. 8 min. west from Greenwich, on a narrow neck of land, between the
rivers Delaware and Scuylkill, on the Pensylvania banks of the latter,
where this river is about one mile wide, and one hundred and twenty
(following it's course) from the Atlantic Ocean. This noble river affords
a safe navigation for vessels of a thousand tuns burden up to the wharfs
of the city. The Scuylkill (though by no means so wide) has nearly the
same depth of water.

Philadelphia is the first port in the Union. The total value of it's
exports in the year 1793, was 695736 dollars; the total of flower shipped
in the year 1792 was 420000 barrels, and in the spring only of 1793 it
exceeded 200000 barrels.

The total of inward entries at Philadelphia, in 1793, was 1414 vessels of
different sizes, of which 477 were ships or brigs.

It is foreign from the subject of this city, but I cannot help informing
you, that the imports of the _United States_ from _Great Britain_
alone, in the year 1791, were stated at 19502070 dollars, (chiefly of
_manufactured articles_) and have been considerably increasing every
year since.

By a slight inspection of the plan, you will perceive the great regularity
observed in laying out this city; the streets intersect each other at
right angles, the centre street, north and south, is 113 feet wide; that
east and west 100 feet; and the other principal streets 50 feet wide. Had
equal care been taken to build the houses uniformly, and their height in
proportion to the width of the streets, this city would have been
uncommonly beautiful; but except that the fronts of the buildings were not
permitted to extend beyond the line laid down in the plan, every man built
his house (to use the language of the first settlers,) "as it seemed good
in his own eyes."

The first object of an industrious emigrant, who means to settle in
Philadelphia, is to purchase a lot of ground in one of the vacant streets.
He erects a small building forty or fifty feet from the line laid out for
him by the city surveyor, and lives there till he can afford to build a
house; when his former habitation serves him for a kitchen and wash-house.
I have observed buildings in this state in the heart of the city; but they
are more common in the outskirts. Our friend Wright is exactly in this
situation; but I am afraid it will be many years before he will be able to
build in _front_.

The buildings in this city are about two thirds of brick, and the rest of
wood. The foundations of the former are in general of a species of marble;
the bricks are uncommonly well manufactured; and these buildings are more
firmly constructed than in Europe. Those of wood are the reverse, which
you will easily credit, when I inform you, that when a house of this
description is offered for sale, it is by no means understood, as in
England, that the _land_ on which it stands is included in the purchase.
They have a method of removing these buildings _entire_. A house
_travelling_ in this manner through the streets of the city is to a
European a truly grotesque and extraordinary sight.

During the time the British troops had possession of this city in the last
war, they were much distressed for fuel, and obliged to cut down all the
wood they could meet with; upwards of a thousand acres of peach and apple
orchard were destroyed, belonging to one family. This destruction of the
trees has materially hurt the prospects for three or four miles on the
Pensylvania side; the opposite Jersey shore (except the plantations) is
one entire forest.

Philadelphia is at present supplied with water from pumps, placed in
different parts of the city; but a company of adventurers are bringing
water from above the falls of Scuylkill, in the manner of the New River in
London: but mean to improve on sir Hugh Middleton's plan, by making their
aqueduct also serve the purposes of inland navigation.

The inhabitants are in general very fond of theatrical representations;
their new theatre is an elegant building, from a design the subscribers
obtained from London, where the principal scenes were painted by
Richardson and Rooker. The receipts of the house have exceeded one
thousand six hundred dollars.

The fair Philadelphians are by no means so fond of walking, as the English
ladies; not that they have any _great dislike_ to a _trip_ into the
_country_, but it is not fashionable even for a maid servant to make use
of her _legs_ on these occasions; the consequence is, that there are 806
two and four wheeled machines entered at the office, and pay duty, as
_pleasure carriages_, most of which are for hire; and yet the inhabitants
do not exceed 50000, of whom there are not three individuals but follow
some profession, trade, or employment. In a few days I shall have an
opportunity of sending you a publication, which will give you a more ample
account of this city than you now receive from

Yours, &c.

Since writing this letter, the seat of government of the state has been
removed to Lancaster, as being nearer the centre; for the same reason,
that of the general government of the United States, will, in the year
1800, be removed to the federal city, now building in the district of

Several _uniform_ and elegant rows of houses have _lately_ been built.

* * * * *

_Philadelphia, March 7th, 1794._


It is a general observation with respect to the English, that they eat
more animal food than the people of any other nation. The following
statement of the manner of living of the Americans[Footnote: By the term
_American_ you must understand a white man descended from a native of
the Old Continent; and by the term _Indian_, or _Savage_, one of
the aborigines of the New World.] will convince you of the falsity of this

About eight or nine in the morning they breakfast on tea and coffee,
attended always with what they call _relishes_, such as salt fish,
beef-steaks, sausages, broiled-fowls, ham, bacon, &c. At two they dine on
what is usual in England, with a variety of american dishes, such as bear,
opossum, racoon, &c. At six or seven in the evening they have their
supper, which is exactly the same as their breakfast, with the addition of
what cold meat is left at dinner. I have often wondered how they acquired
this method of living, which is by no means calculated for the climate;
such stimulating food at breakfast and supper naturally causes thirst, and
there being no other beverage at these meals than tea, or coffee, they are
apt to drink too freely of them, particularly the female part of the
family; which, during the excessive heats in summer, is relaxing and
debilitating; and in winter, by opening the pores, exposes them to colds
of the most dangerous kind.

The manner of living I have been describing is that of people in moderate
circumstances; but this taste for _relishes_ with coffee and tea extends
to all ranks of people in these states. Soon after my arrival at
this city, I went on a party of pleasure to a sort of tea-garden and
_tavern_[Footnote: By the word _tavern,_ in America, is meant an inn or
public house of any description.], romantically situate on the bank of the
Scuylkill. At six in the evening we ordered coffee, which I was informed
they were here famous for serving _in style_. I took a memorandum of what
was on the table; viz. _coffee, cheese, sweet cakes, hung beef, sugar,
pickled salmon, butter, crackers, ham, cream_, and _bread_. The ladies all
declared, it was a most _charming relish_!

Yours sincerely, &c.

* * * * *

_Philadelphia, March 12th, 1794._

Dear Friend,

The price of labour in this country is very great, owing to the prospect
an industrious man has of procuring an independance by cultivating a tract
of the waste lands; many millions of acres of which are how on sale by
government; to say nothing of those held by individuals. The money arising
from the sale of the former is appropriated to the discharge of the
national debt.

During my residence in Jersey, I was at no little pains to inform myself
of the difficulties attending a back settler. We will suppose a person
making such an attempt to possess one hundred pounds, though many have
been successful with a much less sum: his first care is to purchase about
three hundred acres of land, which, if it is in a remote western
settlement, he will procure for about nineteen pounds sterling: he may
know the quality of the land by the trees, with which it is entirely
covered. The hickory and the walnut are an infallible sign of a rich, and
every species of fir, of a barren, sandy, and unprofitable soil. When his
land is properly registered, his next care is to provide himself with a
horse, a plough, and other implements of agriculture; a rifle, a fowling
piece, some ammunition, and a large dog of the blood-hound breed, to hunt
deer. We will suppose him arrived at the place of his destination in
spring, as soon as the ground is clear of frost. No sooner is the arrival
of a new settler circulated, than, for many miles round, his neighbours
flock to him: they all assist in erecting his hut; this is done with logs;
a bricklayer is only wanting to make his chimney and oven. He then clears
a few acres by cutting down the large trees about four feet from the
_ground_[Footnote: These stumps are many years rotting, and, when
completely rotted, afford an excellent manure.], grubs up the underwood,
splits some of the large timber for railing fences, and sets fire to the
rest upon the spot; ploughs round the stumps of the large timber, and in
May plants maize, or indian corn. In October he has a harvest of eight
hundred or a thousand fold. This is every thing to him and his family.
Indian corn, ground and made into cakes, answers the end of bread, and
when boiled with meat, and a small proportion of a sort of kidney-bean
(which it is usual to sow with this grain), it makes an excellent dish,
which they call _hominy_. They also coarsely pound the indian corn,
and boil it for five hours; this is by the Indians called _mush_;
and, when a proportion of milk is added, forms their breakfast. Indian
corn is also the best food for horses employed in agriculture in this
climate: black cattle, deer, and hogs are very fond of it, and fatten
better than on any other grain. It is also excellent food for turkies, and
other poultry.

When this harvest is in, he provides himself with a cow, and a few sheep
and hogs; the latter run wild in the woods. But for a few years he depends
chiefly on his _rifle_, and _faithful dog_; with these he provides his
family with deer, bear, racoon, &c.; but what he values most are the
black, and gray squirrels; these animals are large and numerous, are
excellent roasted, and make a soup exceedingly rich and nourishing.

He gradually clears his land, a few acres every year, and begins to plant
wheat, tobacco, &c. These, together with what hogs, and other increase of
his stock he can spare, as also the skins of deer, bear, and other animals
he shoots in the woods, he exchanges with the nearest storekeeper, for
clothing, sugar, coffee, &c.

In this state he suffers much for want of the comforts and even
_necessaries_ of life. Suppose him afflicted with a flux or fever,
attacked by a panther, bitten by a rattle-snake, or any other of the
dreadful circumstances peculiar to his situation: but, above all, suppose
a war to break out between the Indians, and him, and his whole family
scalped, and their plantations burnt!

The following extract from an American work very feelingly describes him
under these cruel apprehensions:--


"You know the position of our settlement; therefore I need not describe
it. To the west it is enclosed by a chain of mountains, reaching to----.
To the east, the country is yet but very thinly inhabited. We are almost
insulated, and the houses are at a considerable distance from each other.
From the mountains we have but too much reason to expect our dreadful
enemy, the Indians; and the wilderness is a harbour, where it is
impossible to find them. It is a door through which they can enter our
country at any time; and as they seem determined to destroy the whole
frontier, our fate cannot be far distant. From lake Champlain almost all
has been conflagrated, one after another. What renders these incursions
still more dreadful is, that they most commonly take place in the dead
of the night. We never go to our fields, but we are seized with an
involuntary fear, which lessens our strength, and weakens our labour. No
other subject of discourse intervenes between the different accounts,
which spread through the country, of successive acts of devastation; and
these, told in chimney corners, swell themselves in our affrighted
imaginations into the most terrific ideas. We never sit down, either to
dinner, or supper, but the least noise spreads a general alarm, and
prevents us from enjoying the comforts of our meals. The very appetite
proceeding from labour and peace of mind is gone! Our sleep is disturbed
by the most frightful dreams! Sometimes I start awake, as if the great
hour of danger was come; at other times the howling of our dogs seems to
announce the arrival of the enemy: we leap out of bed, and run to arms; my
poor wife, with panting bosom, and silent tears, takes leave of me, as if
we were to see each other no more. She snatches the youngest children from
their beds, who, suddenly awakened, increase by their innocent questions
the horrour of the dreadful moment! She tries to hide them in the cellar,
as if our cellar was inaccessible to the fire! I place all my servants at
the window, and myself at the door, where I am determined to perish. Fear
industriously increases every sound; we all listen; each communicates to
each other his fears and conjectures. We remain thus, sometimes for whole
hours, our hearts and our minds racked by the most anxious suspense! What
a dreadful situation! A thousand times worse than that of a soldier
engaged in the midst of a most severe conflict! Sometimes feeling the
spontaneous courage of a man, I seem to wish for the decisive minute; the
next instant a message from my wife, sent by one of the children, quite
unmans me. Away goes my courage, and I descend again into the deepest
despondency: at last, finding it was a false alarm, we return once more to
our beds; but what good can the sleep of nature do us, when interrupted
with _such_ scenes?"

* * * * *

But we will suppose our planter to have escaped the scalping knife and
tomahawk; and in the course of years situate in a thick, settled
neighbourhood of planters like himself, who have struggled through all the
foregoing difficulties: he is now a man of some consequence, builds a
house by the side of his former hut, which now serves him for a kitchen;
and as he is comfortably situate, we will leave him to the enjoyment of
the fruits of his industry.

Such a being has often ideas of liberty, and a contempt of vassalage and
slavery, which do honour to human nature.

The planter I have endeavoured to describe, I have supposed to be sober
and industrious: but when a man of an opposite description makes such an
attempt, he often degenerates into a demisavage; he cultivates no more
land than will barely supply the family with bread, or rather makes his
wife, and children perform that office. His whole employment is to procure
skins, and furs, to exchange for rum, brandy, and ammunition; for this
purpose he is often for several days together in the woods, without seeing
a human being. He is by no means at a loss; his rifle supplies him with
food, and at night he cuts down some boughs with his tomahawk, and
constructs a _wigwam_[Footnote: The Indian name for their huts so
constructed.], in which he spends the night, stretched on the skins of
those animals he has killed in the course of his excursion. This manner of
living he learned from his savage neighbours, the Indians, and like them
calls every other state of life _slavery_. It sometimes happens, that
an unsuccessful back settler joins the Indians at war with the states.
When this is the case, it is observed he is, if possible, more cruel than
his new allies; he eagerly imbibes all the vices of the savages, without a
single spark of their virtues. Farewell,

Yours &c.

_Philadelphia, March 18th, 1794_.

Dear Friend,

My present intention is to give you some conception of the family of a
planter, whose ancestors had in some degree gone through all the
difficulties I described in my last.

We will suppose them descended from the original english emigrants, who
came over with Penn; like them, to possess a high sense of religion; and
that this family are now in the quiet possession of about three hundred
acres of land, their own _property_[Footnote: There are very few _farms_
properly so called in the United States.], situate in Pennsylvania, about
seventy or eighty miles from Philadelphia. Whatever difficulties they, or
their ancestors, struggled formerly with, are now over; their lands are
cleared, and in the bosom of a fine country, with a sure market for every
article of produce they can possibly raise, and entirely out of the reach
of the most desperate predatory excursions of the savages.

They enjoy a happy state of mediocrity[Footnote: The quakers in
particular. I have seen at a meeting in West Jersey, in a very small town,
upwards of two hundred carriages, one horse chairs, and light waggons,
which are machines peculiar to this country, and well adapted to the sandy
soil of the state of New Jersey; they are covered like a caravan, and will
hold eight persons; the benches are removable at pleasure, and they are
also used to convey the produce of the country to market.], between riches
and poverty, perhaps the most enviable of all situations. When the boys of
this family are numerous, those the father cannot provide for at home, and
who prefer a planter's life to a trade, or profession, are, when married,
presented with two or three hundred acres of uncultivated land, which
their parents purchase for them as near home as possible. The young couple
are supplied with stock, and supported till they have a sufficient
quantity of land cleared to provide for themselves.

If unsuccessful through want of industry, &c., they often sell off, and
emigrate to Kentucky, or some other new country seven or eight hundred
miles to the S.W., and begin the world again as back settlers.

The daughters are brought up in habits of virtue and industry; the strict
notions of female delicacy, instilled into their minds from their earliest
infancy, never entirely forsake them. Even when one of these girls is
decoyed from the peaceful dwelling of her parents, and left by her
infamous seducer a prey to poverty and prostitution in a _brothel_ at
Philadelphia, her whole appearance is neat, and breathes an air of
modesty: you see nothing in her dress, language, or behaviour, that could
give you any reason to guess at her unfortunate situation; (how unlike her
unhappy sisters so circumstanced in England!) she by no means gives over
the idea of a husband, she is seldom disappointed: and, I am informed,
often makes an excellent wife.

The chief amusement of the country girls in winter is sleighing, of which
they are passionately fond, as indeed are the whole sex in this country. I
never heard a woman speak of this diversion but with rapture. You have
doubtless read a description of a _sleigh_, or sledge, as it is
common in all northern countries, and can only be used on the snow. In
British America this amusement may be followed nearly all the winter; but
so far to the south as Pennsylvania, the snow seldom lies on the ground
more than seven or eight days together. The consequence is, that every
moment that will admit of sleighing is seized on with avidity. The tavern
and inn-keepers are up all night; and the whole country is in motion. When
the snow begins to fall, our planter's daughters provide hot sand, which
at night they place in bags at the bottom of the sleigh. Their sweethearts
attend with a couple of horses, and away they glide with astonishing
velocity; visiting their friends for many miles round the country. But in
large towns, in order to have a sleighing frolic in _style_, it is
necessary to provide a _fiddler_ who is placed at the head of the
sleigh, and plays all the way. At every inn they meet with on the road,
the company alight and have a dance. But I perceive I am _dancing_
from my subject, which I suppose you are by this time heartily tired of; I
shall therefore conclude, by assuring you,

I am

Yours sincerely, &c.

* * * * *

"There be also store of frogs, which in the spring time will chirp, and
whistle like birds: there be also toads, that will creep to the top of
trees, and sit there croaking, to the wonderment of strangers!"

"To a stranger walking for the first time in these woods during the
summer, this appears the land of enchantment: he hears a thousand noises,
without being able to discern from whence or from what animal they
proceed, but which are, in fact, the discordant notes of five different
species of frogs!"

_Philadelphia, April 27th, 1794._


Previous to my coming to this country, I recollect reading the foregoing
passages, the first in a history of New England, published in London, in
the year 1671; and the other in a similar production of a later date.

Prepared as I was to hear something extraordinary from these animals, I
confess the first frog _concert_ I heard in America was so much beyond any
thing I could conceive of the _powers_ of these _musicians_, that I was
truly astonished. This _performance_ was _al fresco_, and took place on
the night of the 18th instant, in a large _swamp_, where there were at
least ten thousand _performers_; and I really believe not two _exactly_ in
the same pitch, if the octave can possibly admit of so many divisions or
shades of semitones. An hibernian musician, who, like myself, was present
for the first time at this _concert_ of _antimusic_, exclaimed, "By Jasus
but they stop out of tune to a _nicety!"_

I have been since informed by an _amateur_, who resided many years in this
country, and made this species of _music_ his peculiar study, that on
these occasions the _treble_ is performed by the tree-frogs, the smallest
and most _beautiful_ species; they are always of the same colour as the
bark of the tree they inhabit, and their note is not unlike the chirp of a
cricket: the next in size are our _counter tenors_; they have a note
resembling the _setting_ of a _saw_. A still larger species sing _tenor_;
and the _under part_ is supported by the bull-frogs; which are as large as
a man's foot, and _bellow_ out the _bass_ in a tone as loud and sonorous
as that of the animal from which they take their name.

To an Englishman lately arrived in this country there are other phenomena,
equally curious; as _fire-flies, night-hawks &c.;_ but, above all,
such tremendous peals of thunder and flashes of lightning, as can be
conceived only by those who have been in southern latitudes.

I have often thought, if an enthusiastic _cockney_, of weak nerves,
who had never been out of the sound of Bow bell, could suddenly be
conveyed from his bed, in the middle of the night, and laid, fast asleep,
in an american swamp, he would, on waking, fancy himself in the infernal
regions: his first sensation would be from the stings of a myriad of
mosquitoes; waking with the smart, his ears would be assailed with the
horrid noises of the frogs; on lifting up his eyes he would have a faint
view of the night-hawks, flapping their ominous wings over his devoted
head, visible only from the glimmering light of the fire-flies, which he
would naturally conclude were sparks from the bottomless pit. Nothing
would be wanting at this moment to complete the illusion, but one of those
dreadful explosions of thunder and lightning, so _extravagantly_
described by Lee, in Oedipus:--

"Call you these peals of thunder, but the yawn or bellowing clouds? by
Jove, they seem to me the world's last groans, and those large sheets of
flame it's last blaze!"

I have often traversed the woods by myself at night, and sometimes during
_such scenes_; and though I was conscious that all round me proceeded from
natural causes, I could not at these times entirely forget,

"All that the _priest_ and all the nurse had taught."

Farewell.--Believe me

Yours very sincerely, &c.,

* * * * *

_Philadelphia, August 10th, 1794._


Having a few weeks vacation at the theatre, we agreed upon a scheme to
give three concerts at Lancaster, a town in Pennsylvania, about seventy
miles west of this city. Our band was small, but select; and our singers
Darley, and miss Broadhurst. We crossed the Scuylkill about two miles
below the Falls.

The country, which, from the Atlantic to this spot, is nearly a level, now
abruptly swells into hills, and rises as you advance westerly, till you
reach the Allegany mountains, the great _back bone_ of America, as
the Indians call that chain of mountains. There is then a considerable
descent; but that the country rises afterward for many hundred miles is
certain from the course of the rivers. No traveller has penetrated so far
west, in these latitudes, as to find a river which did not ultimately run
into the Atlantic Ocean,

We slept about a mile from the _Pioli_. I took a walk to reconnoitre
the field of battle, with one who was present at that horrid affair.

General Wayne was here completely surprised, but had his revenge at Stoney

After St. Claire's defeat, he was appointed by Congress to the command of
the continental army in the present indian war. The fatal surprise at the
Pioli has been an excellent lesson for him; since his present appointment
he has established the most rigid discipline: this is of the utmost
consequence in any army; but particularly so in _that_ he commands,
as they have to contend with the most subtle and desperate foe on earth,
flushed with their late victory over St. Claire.--In a former indian war,
an army lay with it's rear and flanks well secured; a river three quarters
of a mile broad in its front, and no enemy within fifty miles. A body of
Indians, being informed by their scouts of the situation of this army,
made a forced march, crossed the river in the night, on rafts hastily
constructed, completely surprised the camp before sun-rise in the morning,
butchered all before them, and made their retreat good with their scalps
and plunder, before the enemy recovered from the general consternation.
The system of military tactics Wayne has introduced is admirably adapted
to the perilous service, in which he is engaged. He fights the Indians in
their own way, and scalps are now taken on both sides.--There is expected
to be warm work this campaign; and it is generally imagined Wayne will
meet with the fate of Braddock and St. Clare. A few military men I have
discoursed with, are of another opinion; they tell me the rifle-men of the
western army were recruited from Kentucky, and other remote settlements,
and are all experienced _back-woods-men_, who have been great part of
their lives in the habits of Indian fighting; that the general is forming
a body of cavalry, on principles entirely new, from which much is
expected; in short, that Wayne will oblige the Indians to _bury the
hatchet_ on his own terms. The Indian war is not popular. It has met
with much opposition both in the General Assemblies of the States, and in

The devastation that has (even within the present century) taken place
among the brave and independent aborigines of this continent, is really
shocking to humanity[Footnote: The Cherokees are by no means the
formidable body of warriors they were 40 years ago. The original
possessors of the vast tract of land which forms North Carolina, are
reduced to a single family; and several tribes of the eastern Indians
actually exterminated.].

I spent the evening at the Pioli, with a surgeon of the american army
lately from the scene of action; he gave me a disgusting account of the
misunderstanding that subsists between the american citizens on the
frontiers, and their neighbours in Upper Canada. It seems the Canadians
are accused of assisting the indians in the decisive action against St.

As many of the descendants of the original french settlers have indian
blood in their veins, the charge is not improbable, as far as relates to a
few _individuals_, but that they received either the connivance, or
protection of _government_, (as the Americans assert) is totally
without foundation.

I never take up a western newspaper that does not teem with the most
illiberal abuse of the british government. It would therefore be
impossible to exonorate certain american citizens from _their share of
provocation_, and a wish to blow up the hardly-extinguished embers of
the late war. This temper is kept alive by french agents, who use every
means of inflaming the public mind, by the most flagrant exaggerations of
the late captures, &c.: and so successful have they been in their
misrepresentations, that a war with England would at this time be very

_Aug. 30th_.--You can conceive nothing more beautifully romantic,
than the appearance of the country during the latter part of this day's
journey. The hills, bold, rounding, and lofty, are covered with wood to
their very summit. In the midst of this wild scenery is the mighty
_Susquana_, above a mile wide, dashing over rocks and precipices,
seventy or eighty miles distant from the flow of the tide. A similar body
of running water, perfectly clear and transparent, with so many hundred
cascades as beautify the Susquana, is perhaps no where else to be met
with. Unfortunately these very beauties render the navigation of this
noble river impracticable.

_Aug. 31st_.--Arrived at Lancaster, a prettily situate town, of about
nine hundred houses. It is reckoned the largest inland town south of New
England, and indeed the only large town without some kind of navigation;
to remedy this inconvenience as much as possible, a turnpike road (very
superiour to any thing of the kind in America, and which will cost three
thousand dollars per mile,) is forming from Philadelphia, through
Lancaster, to the Susquana. I before told you this river, owing to the
rocks and falls, was not navigable; but I forgot to inform you, that the
inhabitants of the back country contrive to waft the produce of their
plantations down the river on floats, during the floods, in spring and
fall; which will be conveyed by means of this new road to Philadelphia,
whence it will be exported to the west indian or european markets.

The only manufactory in Lancaster is one of rifles; they have contracted
to supply the continental army with these _"mortal engines."_

I have heard a hundred improbable stories relative to what was done with
the rifle by famous marksmen in America, such as shooting an apple from a
child's head, &c; to which I could not give credit: but, I have no reason
to doubt the following feat: as it was actually performed before many
hundred inhabitants of this borough, and the adjacent country.--During the
late war, in the year 1775, a company of riflemen, formed from the back
woodsmen of Virginia, were quartered here for some time: two of them
_alternately_ held a board only nine inches square between his knees,
while his comrade fired a ball through it from a distance of one hundred
paces! The board is still preserved; and I am assured by several who were
present, that it was performed without any manner of deception.

Lancaster was originally a german settlement; the inhabitants were so
desirous of perpetuating their language, that they established german
schools for the education of the rising generation; but their descendants,
finding the inconvenience of being without a knowledge of English, now
send their children first to the german, and afterward to the english
schools; by which means they acquire a tolerable idea of both languages.
They still retain many characteristics of their ancestors; such as
frugality, plainness in dress, &c. At our first concert, three
clownish-looking fellows came into the room, and, after sitting a few
minutes, (the weather being _warm_, not to say _hot_) very composedly took
off their coats: they were in the usual summer dress of farmers servants
in this part of the country; that is to say, _without_ either stockings or
breeches, a loose pair of trowsers being the only succedaneum. As we fixed
our admission at a dollar each, (here seven shillings and sixpence,) we
expected this circumstance would be sufficient to exclude _such_
characters; but on inquiry, I found (to my very great surprise!) our three
_sans culottes_ were german _gentlemen_ of considerable property in the

They manage these matters better at Hanover; (a settlement of germans
about forty miles hence.) One of the articles of their dancing assembly
is in these words; "No gentleman to enter the ball-room without
_breeches_, or to be allowed to dance without his _coat_."

All the back parts of Pennsylvania were in general cleared, and settled by
german, and irish emigrants; but the former are commonly more prosperous
than their neighbours, whom they excel in sobriety and economy, and have
also a much better understanding amongst themselves.

An irish family often arrives, and purchases a plantation; which for some
years brings them good crops, but for want of manure will in time be worn
out (a very common case in America.) When in this situation they offer it
for sale, the adjacent german families club a sum of money, purchase the
land, plough it well, and let it remain in this state for three or four
years: they then place an emigrant family from their _own country_
upon the farm, who, by indefatigable industry and manure, soon bring the
land round, pay for the estate by installments, and live very comfortably.
Some of the best plantations in Pennsylvania were originally left in this
manner. The irish family go two or three hundred miles up the country,
where they can purchase as much land as they please, from sixpence to a
dollar per acre: here they literally _break fresh ground_, and begin
the world again. To some timorous people, their new situation would be
thought dangerous, as they are liable to a visit from the Indians, and
perishing by the scalping knife and tomahawk.--See a former letter on back

_Aug. 6th_.--We returned to Philadelphia, not _overloaded_ with _cash_,
but with more than was sufficient for our expenses, which, owing to
several excursions from Lancaster, were not trifling.--Farewel.--Believe

Yours very sincerely.

* * * * *

_Philadelphia, 14th August, 1794._


By captain H----, of the Betsy, who will deliver this letter, I have sent
you specimens of the federal coinage.

When that government was formed, a mint was established, and a coinage
issued on a new plan. This was much wanted, as scarcely three of the
states agreed as to the value currency of a dollar. Here it was seven
shillings and sixpence, in South Carolina four shillings and eight pence,
at New York eight shillings, and in the New England states six shillings.
According to the new regulations, all _nominal_ coins are exploded,
and the silver dollar, weighing 17 dwts. 6 grs.[Footnote: This is the
exact weight of the spanish milled dollar, which, as well as the
divisions, are allowed to pass current; they consist of the half, quarter,
eighth, and sixteenth, also the pistreen, or fifth, and the half pistreen,
or tenth.], is fixed as the standard, divided into one hundred decimal
parts; these are of copper, and called cents. All taxes, duties and
imposts, that extend to the _whole Union_, are levied in these coins
_only_. The other federal coins, like the english guineas and crowns,
never appear on the public accounts.

Those of _gold_ are eagles, half eagles, and quarter eagles, value ten,
five, and two and a half, dollars: of _silver_, the half, quarter, tenth,
and twentieth of the standard dollar; or fifty, twenty-five, ten, and five
cents: of _copper_, the half cent, or two hundredth part of a dollar. The
principle on which this coinage is formed is so very simple, that the
proportion they bear to each other, and the standard dollar may be found
with the utmost facility. Indeed little else is wanted than the adding or
cutting off figures or ciphers: for instance, the public accounts being
kept in two columns, dollars, and cents; suppose in adding up the latter,
you find they amount to 27621, you have only to cut off the two right hand
figures, and their value stands thus; 276 dollars, 21 cents. To reduce
eagles to dollars, add a cipher, and vice versa. To reduce half, and
quarter eagles to dollars, you have only to divide by 2 or 4 previous to
adding the cipher.

But though the federal government has succeeded in establishing it's
coinage, the _people_ cannot be persuaded (the wholesale merchants, and a
few enlightened citizens excepted,) to come into this scheme; _they_
obstinately insist on buying, selling, and keeping their accounts in the
_good old way of their fathers!_ that is to say, in _currency_, by pounds,
shillings, and pence; and nothing can be more complex, as they have not a
single _coin_ in circulation of the _real_ or _nominal_ value of any of
them. If you are to pay the sum of three shillings and fourpence
halfpenny, (without having recourse to the federal scheme) you must
provide yourself with three silver divisions of the Spanish dollar, viz.
the fourth, eighth, and sixteenth, three english halfpence, two of George
the Second, and one of his present majesty[Footnote: Owing to the quantity
of counterfeit english halfpence of the present reign now in circulation
in these states, those of king George the Third, whether counterfeit or
not, are depreciated to the 360th part of a dollar.]; the nominal value of
which, added together, make that sum within a very trifling fraction.

I am informed the federal government means to fix the weights and measures
by a standard, which, like the coinage, will admit of the same _even_
division by decimals. I am often asked why the English, after having
proved the great utility of this scheme in their chain of one hundred
links for land measuring, do not extend it to their coin, &c.? If you can
think of a good solution to this question, pray let me have it in your
next to

Yours sincerely, &c.

* * * * *

_Philadelphia, August 18th, 1794._


In a former letter I mentioned the relishes of salt fish usual at
breakfast and supper in this country; they are chiefly of shad, a name
given them by the first settlers, from their having _some resemblance_ to
that fish, though in fact they are very different; and indeed this is the
case with almost every fish, bird, and other animal these Anglo-Americans
took it into their heads to christen. It is a great pity they did not call
those peculiar to this continent by their _indian_ names; and this should
also have been the case with mountains, lakes, rivers, &c. What man of any
taste will not prefer the sonorous sounds of Susquana, Patapsico,
Allegany, Raphanock, Potomack, and other _indian_ titles, to such stupid
appellations as Cape Cod, Mud Island, cat-fish, sheep's head-fish, whip
poor will, &c.?

But to return to the _shad_, if it must be so called; it is an excellent
fish, and comes up the rivers in prodigious shoals, in the months of April
and May, to spawn. The largest nets used in this fishery are on the
Delaware, where that river is from one to two miles wide. These nets are
from one hundred and fifty to three hundred yards long. The greatest hawl
ever known was upwards of nine thousand, from four to nine pounds per

The revolution has not yet done away a fanatical law passed by the
quakers, prohibiting the catching of these fish on a sunday; which,
considering the short time they remain in the river, is highly impolitic.

There are thirteen fisheries within ten miles of Philadelphia; allowing
only eight sundays in the season, and ten thousand shads lost in each of
the twenty-four hours, a very moderate calculation, the aggregate loss to
Philadelphia, and the adjacent country, is eighty thousand fish, weighing
five pounds each, on an average. I say _loss_; for the return of the
fish is the same now as it was a hundred and thirty years ago, when only a
few dozen were taken in the season by the Indians.

There is also a small fish which comes up the rivers with the shad; the
shoals this year have been uncommonly large; upwards of ten thousand have
been taken at one hawl. Like the shad, it takes salt well; and, from it's
having some resemblance to a _herring_, they give it that name, though
very different from the herring which visits the shores of Europe. I
believe there is no instance of a herring running a hundred and fifty
miles up a fresh water river, or existing at all in water perfectly fresh.

The above particulars you may depend upon; they were communicated to me by
Mr. West, who is proprietor of the largest shad-fisheries on the Delaware.

This river also abounds in cat-fish, perch, jack, eels, and a great
variety of others; above all, in sturgeon; which are frequently caught by
accident in the shad-nets, and either boiled for their oil, or suffered to
rot on the, shores, being very seldom sent to market: when this is the
case, they are sold for a mere trifle, chiefly to emigrants. The Americans
have conceived a violent antipathy to this fish. I recollect no instance
of seeing it at their tables. They have every externals appearance of the
european sturgeon, but in other respects must be _very different_, or
the Americans lose one of the best fisheries in the world.

Enclosed is an extract from general Lincoln's letter on the migration of
fish. He endeavours to prove, that river fish, after their passage to the
sea, whatever time they remain there, always return to the original waters
in which they were spawned, unless some unnatural obstructions are thrown
in their way.

Yours, &c.

In an old History of Bermuda, published in the year 1661, is the following

"There is great store of fish, which being mostly unknown to the English,
they gave them such names as best _liked_ them, as _porgie-fish,
hog-fish, yellow-tails, cony-fish_, &c."


"Whilst I resided in Philadelphia, in 1782, and 1783, I discovered that
the shad brought to market from the Scuylkill were very superiour in
flavour and firmness to those taken in the Delaware, which must proceed
from their food in that river, previous to their going to the sea; as they
are taken by the nets of the fishermen, before they are six hours in that
river, on their return. I cannot think it a romantic idea, that the waters
are impregnated with certain particles, on which they have been accustomed
to feed; which is sufficient to allure them to where they were originally
spawned; or that they are piloted there by some of the old fry. This idea
will not appear improbable, when we consider the general laws which seem
to control the whole finny tribe; and what would be the consequence should
they be thrown down? The cod-fish which occupy the banks of Newfoundland,
between the latitudes of 41 and 45, are very different, and are kept so
distinct, and are so similar on the respective banks, that a man
acquainted with that fishery will separate those caught on one bank from
those of another, with as much ease as we separate the apple from the

"I am, &c.


_Baltimore, 14th October, 1794._


On the 7th of September I left the city of Brotherly Love, on my way to
this town.

After sailing down the Delaware about two hours, in the water stage, our
skipper run us on a sand bank. As there was no remedy but to wait
patiently for the flow of tide, a party of us borrowed a boat, and went a
shooting on the islands with which this part of the Delaware abounds. We
landed at Fort Miflin, which was the principal obstruction to general
Howe's progress up the river, in his way to Philadelphia, and obliged him
to go several hundred miles round; this fort also kept the whole british
fleet at bay, for some time after the army had taken possession of that

Fort Miflin, or Mud Fort (so called from it's low situation) is on an
island in the Delaware, about one third nearer the Pennsylvania, than the
Jersey shore.

During the first general attack of the british fleet the fort set fire to
the Augusta, of 64 guns, and she shortly after blew up; and the Merlin
sloop was so roughly handled, that she was hastily evacuated. The british
admiral then procured a pilot, who carried two men of war, cut down for
that purpose, on the Pennsylvania side of the island; a manoeuvre the
Americans deemed impracticable. The works of the fort were now completely
enfiladed, and on the 15th of November, the British began; a desperate
attack, both from their ships on each side the island, and from a battery
on the Pennsylvania shore.

The fort was supported by a battery on, the opposite side, and some

The british fire was heavy and well directed: they are supposed to have
fired 1030 shots, weighing from 12 to 32 pounds, every 20 minutes, which,
by the middle of the day, nearly levelled the works with the mud. This was
the moment to storm the fort, which being lost by the British, the remains
of the brave garrison made their retreat good to the Jersey shore the same

The British now having the complete command of the Delaware, totally
dismantled this fort: in which state it remained till last year, when a
french engineer was engaged to put it again into a state of defence. The
works are already in great forwardness: the parapets are, according to the
new french improvements, without embrasures, and the guns mounted on false

We also landed on several of, the other islands, and had tolerable sport.

At high water we proceeded on our voyage, and about twelve the next day
arrived at Newcastle; whence I walked to Glasgow, a small village within a
few miles of the river Elk, where general Howe landed his troops, after
sailing two hundred and fifty miles up the bay of Chesapeak. His head
quarters were at the house where I slept; the landlord also informed me,
that I lay on the same bed general Washington occupied four times a year,
in his way to his seat at Mount Vernon; an honour I did not _exactly_ know
the _value_ of till the next morning, when he brought in _his bill_; after
satisfying my conscientious landlord, I walked to French Town, which
consists of _two houses_. This _town_ is about 17 miles from the Delaware,
and has a communication with the Chesapeak by means of the river Elk. But
there is a nearer approximation of the Chesapeak to the Delaware, from a
creek running into the latter at Apoquiminick, where the distance is only
7 miles: over this neck of land, all the trade between Philadelphia and
Baltimore is conveyed in waggons. How soon would a canal be cut in such a
situation in England!

I embarked in the Baltimore pacquet; had a pleasant sail down the Elk; in
four hours entered the bay, and arrived here the same evening.

_September 12th._

The yellow fever is certainly in town. Is it not astonishing the example
of Philadelphia last year did not teach the inhabitants of Baltimore the
necessity of building a lazaretto, and establishing a strict quarantine on
all vessels from the infected islands in the West Indies? The first was
not even attempted, and the last so carelessly performed, that I am
mistaken if the fever has not been imported into more than _one_ part
of the town.

_Sept. 29th_.--The theatre closed at the request of the committee of
health, the fever gaining ground rapidly, and the inhabitants quitting the
town as fast as possible.

_October the 2d_.

The committee of health published their list of deaths, which they mean to
continue every 24 hours. Died since the 1st of August 344 persons. The
next day a violent cold and penetrating N.W. wind set in, with uncommon
severity, which has entirely stopped the infection.

_Oct. 14th_.--The late cold weather has completely destroyed the
yellow fever. The inhabitants are returned, and trade is restored to its
usual course.

Yours, sincerely, &c.

* * * * *

Baltimore and the Point[Footnote: Or Fell's Point, the name given to a
small but well-situated town about a mile lower down the bay.] may be
considered but as one town, as the interval that parts them is already
laid out for building.

There is not perhaps on the face of the earth so many excellent situations
for a sea-port as in this vicinity; and yet they have fixed on the very
spot where the town should _not_ be.

Baltimore, by being built so far from the bay of Chesapeak, has not depth
of water for a vessel of two hundred tons, nearer than the Point. The
lower part of the town is a dead flat, intersected with canals and docks,
filled with stagnated water from the Basin: owing to this circumstance the
town is unhealthy at certain seasons, and subject, in the fall, to
musquitoes: these inconveniences might have been avoided by building the
town a mile lower, on either side the bay.

But there is a much better situation for a town and port on an inlet from
the Patapsico, west of the town, round a point, which runs about W.N.W.
where I have marked No. 10.

On this spot is water for a vessel of eight hundred tons burden,
sufficiently fresh to exclude the worms, and at the same time a current
strong enough to prevent stagnation. A bay perfectly secure from the N.W.
and other dangerous winds, a gradual rise of ground consisting of a fine
dry gravel to build upon; in short, every natural advantage. This was the
original situation designed for the town; but the proprietor was concerned
in a wharf in this neighbourhood, and fearing the new town would injure
his business, positively refused his consent to the proposals made him on
this occasion, and by that means, lost one of the first estates perhaps
ever offered to an individual.

I was in this bay, on a fishing party, a few days ago, with one of his
descendants, who was lamenting the infatuation of his ancestor. This
gentleman was so kind as to point out and explain the foregoing

You will naturally inquire how the town came to be built in it's present
situation? The governor of the province was proprietor of most of the
land. Is not _that_ a sufficient reason.

About forty years ago the two towns of Baltimore, and the Point, contained
only _two_ brick houses, and a few wooden ones: in a late edition of
Salmon's Geography, I find Baltimore described as consisting of a few
straggling houses, scarcely deserving the _name_ of a _town_. Within these
fifteen years it has increased in size and population beyond all
precedent. It now contains nearly twenty thousand inhabitants; and, in
point of trade, Baltimore is the fourth town in America.

The following anecdote will give you some idea of the growth of the town,
and amazing increase in the value of land:--

An english gentleman, who emigrated to this country some years ago, built
a small _country seat_ on the side of the race ground; this house is
now in the possession of a colonel Rogers, and in the _centre street of
Baltimore_. The colonel has sold the wings for two thousand guineas to
build upon, and still retains the house.

But the improvements have not advanced in proportion to the buildings;
there is scarcely a dozen lamps in the whole town, which is badly paved,

All the inhabitants agree as to the necessity of establishing a powerful,
and energetic government, for the regulation of the town, _somewhere_; but
though frequent town meetings have been called, they cannot agree about
the _means_.

Something must soon be done, as the nuisances are every day increasing.

Yours sincerely, &c.

Since writing the above, the general assembly has ordered fifty thousand
dollars be raised by lottery, which are laid out in paving the town, and
clearing the Basin. Two enormous machines have been constructed on the
dutch plan, to work with oxen, which make such progress in clearing the
channel, that it is expected in a few years it will be sufficiently deep,
to admit the largest merchantmen to come up to the wharfs of the town. And
since my landing in England, my brother informs me, Baltimore is at last
incorporated; a vigorous police established; and improvements are going on
with spirit.

* * * * *

_Baltimore, November 27th, 1794._


Yours of the 21st of August I received.--So I find you fall into the
commonplace notion of the English, that manufactories are forming here,
which will in a short time render all importation of british goods
unnecessary. Take my word for it, you have nothing of that kind to fear,
whilst the United States have so few inhabitants, and so _much_ of
their best land uncultivated. It is not their _interest_ to engage in
manufactories; and when the country is sufficiently populous, it will be
easier to conquer South America, and procure thence the _means_ of
purchasing commodities, than to go through the _drudgery_ of their
_fabrication_: but at present such is the cheapness of land, and the high
price of wheat, and other produce, that it has raised the value of labour
beyond the profits of almost any manufacture. If they could be established
with effect in any part of America, it would be in the _New England
states_, where the population is more than double those of the south; and
provision much cheaper; but the New Englanders, when they fancy themselves
too populous, rather than engage in a laborious trade, prefer emigration
to the _Genasee_[Footnote: The Genasee is a rich tract of country, a
considerable distance west of New York, much resorted to by New England
emigrants since the peace with the Six Nations. Kentucky is at least one
thousand miles from the nearest of the New England states, two hundred of
which are through a wilderness, which cannot be passed during an indian
war, without great danger.], or even Kentucky. The same restless,
enterprising spirit, which brought their ancestors from Europe, carries
them to these remote western settlements; and I have no doubt their
descendants will continue the same in that direction; till the Pacific
Ocean[Footnote: A distance of more than two thousand miles from the most
remote western settlement.] stops their further progress; unless, as I
before observed, lured by a _golden bait_, they go to the _south_: let the
Spaniard look to that.--The manufactories in this country that have fallen
under my observation are one of rifles at Lancaster, another of musquets
at Connecticut, and at German Town, in Pennsylvania, a peculiar sort of
winter stockings. An American has lately procured a patent from Congress,
for cutting brads out of sheet iron with an engine. The american iron is
of an excellent quality, and possesses a great degree of malleability,
which perhaps suggested the first idea of this invention. The following
extract from the advertisement of the patentee will enable you, to form
some judgment of this singular undertaking: "He begs leave to observe
their superiority to english-wrought brads consists in their being quite
regular in their shape, so much so, that ten thousand may be drove through
the thinnest pine board, without using a brad-awl, or splitting the board.
They have the advantage also of being cut _with the grain_ of the iron;
others are cut _against_ it. He has already three engines at work, which
can turn out two hundred thousand per day."

Another patent has been granted for making the teeth of cotton and wool
cards by an engine, which is supposed to be a similar process.

There are also manufactories of cotton, sail cloth, gun-powder, glass,
&c., but of no great consequence.

Their sawing-mills are numerous, and well constructed; this circumstance,
and the great quantity of timber, mast, spars, &c., with which this
country abounds, enable them to build vessels considerably under what you
can afford in England, though the wages of a shipwright are now two
dollars and a quarter per day. Theirs ships, in point of model and
sailing, if not superiour, are at least equal to the best european-built
vessels, and when constructed of _live oak_, and _red cedar_, are equally
durable. Vessels of this description are scarce. Live oak is rarely met
with north of the Carolinas: that used in the Boston ship-yards is brought
from Georgia; a distance of more than a thousand miles,

Yours sincerely, &c.

* * * * *

_Philadelphia, February 21st 1795._


You know one motive for my coming to this country was, that I might have
an unlimited range in my two favourite amusements, shooting, and fishing,
and in both I have had tolerable sport. But as few except emigrants,
follow the european method of shooting, I cannot purchase a pointer for
any sum: pray send me one by an early fall ship, and if possible smuggle
me half a dozen pounds of Battel powder; for since you have begun to cut
one another's throats in Europe, I find it impossible to procure any but
dutch, and that unglazed, at the _moderate_ price of two dollars a

We have two kinds of partridges; one larger, and the other smaller, than
those of Europe: the former reside chiefly in the woods, and is in the
southern states called a pheasant; but it is in fact neither one nor the
other: the latter is called a quail in the northern states. The flesh of
these birds is perfectly rich, white, and juicy, and though it has not a
game flavour, is a very great delicacy. In other respects (except their
size, and that they occasionally perch on the branches of a tree,) they
differ very little in their plumage, call, manner of keeping in coveys,
&c., from the partridge of England. They are amazingly prolific; I have
often found twelve or fourteen coveys in the course of a few hours
shooting; this will appear extraordinary, when you are informed there are
no game laws in America, and that all ranks of citizens, or even a negro,
may destroy them in any manner he pleases. When the snow is on the ground,
whole coveys are taken in traps, and brought alive to market. They fly
swiftly, and afford an excellent shot; but if the same covey be shot at a
second time, they will often seek a refuge in the woods, whence it is
difficult to dislodge them. They are very hardy, and will bear almost any
degree of heat and cold; this circumstance, and their being so prolific, I
should think would make a breed of them in England a very desirable
acquisition. I am determined to bring over a few couples, by way of

We are visited by a sort of woodcock in July and August; we have also a
kind of grouse, plover, dove, and wild pigeon, snipe, wild fowl,
and a wonderful variety of small birds; among which, the _reed-bird_
[Footnote: So called from their note resembling the word _reed_.], or
american ortolan, justly holds the first place: they visit us from the
south, and are found at certain seasons as far as the West Indies in that

The back woodsmen, and indeed all western settlers, affect to despise our
mode of shooting; they all use rifles, and throw a single ball to a great
degree of certainty. The riflemen in the last war were all of this
description, _Their_ game are deer, bear, beaver, and other animals.
The only _bird_ they think worthy their attention is the wild turkey.
An american naturalist (Bartram) says, "Our turkey of America is a very
different species from the meleagris of Asia and Europe. I have seen
several that have weighed between twenty and thirty pounds, and some have
been killed that have weighed nearly forty pounds."

Why do not the Americans domesticate this noble bird? They are much better
adapted to bear this climate than the puny breed their ancestors imported
from England. The few that are shot so far to the eastward as to be
brought to our markets bear a great price.

The shooting of the back settlers is rather _business_ than _sport_. When
they are inclined for a frolic of the latter sort, they meet in large
parties to shoot the gray squirrel: the devastation made on these
occasions is incredible; the following is from the Kentucky Gazette; and I
have no doubt, that it is strictly true:--

"_Lexington, July 13th._

"At a squirrel-hunt in Madison county, on the 29th and 30th ult., the
hunters rendezvoused at captain Archibald Wood's, and upon counting the
_scalps_[Footnote: By scalp is here meant skin, which is an excellent
fur.] taken, it was found they amounted to 5589!"

This sport is not confined to the back woods, but is in such general
estimation, as to be preferred to all other shooting. They find this game
by means of a mongrel breed of dogs, trained for that purpose; the
squirrel, on being pursued, immediately ascends one of the most lofty
trees he can find; the dog follows, and makes a point under the tree,
looking up for his game. The squirrel hides himself behind the branches,
and practises a thousand manoeuvres to avoid the shot; sometimes springing
from one tree to another, with astonishing agility. Nature has given him a
thick fur; this circumstance, and the height of the trees, make a long
barrel, and large shot, indispensable in this kind of shooting. The best
method of cooking the squirrel is in a ragout; this I learnt of a french
epicure, who always speaks with rapture of this _bonne bouche_: it
has a high game flavour, and is justly thought by the Americans to be an
excellent dish; but we have many English, who, through mere prejudice,
never tasted this animal; their antipathy also extends to bear, opossum,
racoon, and cat-fish:--"Oh!" say the english ladies, "the _sight_ of
such frightful creatures is quite enough for me!"'

Fishing parties among the farmers, and in small towns in some parts of
America, are very agreeably arranged: twelve or fourteen neighbours form
themselves into a sort of club, and agree to fish one day in the week
during the summer; previous: to which they fix on a romantic situation on
the side of a wood commanding the intended scene of action. Under some of
the large trees they erect a sort of hut, forming a dining-room and

When the time is fixed to begin fishing, the steward for the day sends
down a negro cook, with bread, butter, wine, liquors, culinary utensils,
etc. About ten in the morning the fishermen arrive, and follow the sport
in boats, canoes, or from the shore, either with angles or nets; but they
seldom make use of the latter, except when they are disappointed in
angling: they are then determined the fish, though not in a humour to
bite, shall not deprive them of their dinner. At one they all meet at the
place of general rendezvous, where all hands are employed in preparing the
fish for the cook; by which means the dinner is soon on the table.--When
over, and a few glasses have circulated, those who do not choose to remain
drinking, take a nap during the heat of the day, which in this country is
from two to four in the afternoon. At five the ladies arrive, and the
company amuse themselves in catching fish for supper, walking in the
woods, swinging, singing, playing on some musical instrument, &c. I
have often been on these parties, and never spent my time more to my
satisfaction; which is more than you will be able to say of that spent in
reading this scrawl from

Yours, &c.

_Philadelphia, May 7th, 1795._


In answer so your last, respecting the aborigines of this continent, I am
almost ashamed to inform you, I have scarcely any particulars on the
subject worth troubling you with. Ever since my arrival in America, I have
made up my mind to take the first opportunity of going to the westward on
a shooting party, for a month or two, among the Indians; for which purpose
I procured an introduction to the young _corn-planter_, son to a
chief of the six nations, who is here for his education. He was no sooner
informed of my intention, than he gave me a cordial invitation to attend
him on his return in the fall; or, if I could not then make it convenient,
at any other time; but the distance is so great, that, to confess the
truth, I have never yet been able to raise the _necessary supplies_,
and am likely to leave America without seeing a single wigwam.

The Indians have a fine natural genius for oratory, painting, and
sculpture: I have a specimen of the latter cut with a knife on a piece of
hickory, which is destitute neither of elegance of design, nor neatness of
execution. But the most extraordinary trait in the character of these _red
men_ is their _continence_. We have every year fourteen or fifteen of
their chiefs in this city, to form treaties, and other public business.
They are often attended with well-made young men in the prime of life,
and yet I never heard but of _one_ instance of their engaging in a
love-intrigue of _any kind_. They frequently tomahawk and scalp the most
beautiful women, who are so unfortunate as to fall into their hands in
time of war.--Each warrior cuts the number of scalps he has taken on his
war club, and distinguishes the sex by certain marks. Several of these
clubs, and other indian trophies taken from famous chiefs in former wars,
are deposited in the Philadelphia Museum. On one war club I counted _five_
fatal proofs of the savage who owned the weapon having butchered as many

But whatever cruelties they practise on their female captives, they are
never known to take the slightest liberty with them _bordering on
indecency_. Mary Rowlandson, a fanatic, who was captured in 1765, has
the following passage in her narrative:

"I have been in the midst of these roaring lions, and savage bears, that
neither fear God, man, nor devil, by day and night, _alone_, and in
company, _sleeping all sorts together_, and yet not one of them offered me
the least abuse of unchastity, in word or action!"

Charlevoix, in his account of the Canadian Indians, says, there is no
example of their having taken the least liberty with any of the french
women, even when their prisoners. In short, all accounts allow them this
extraordinary male virtue, but differ whether it proceeds from education,
or what the french call temperament.

But as they do not look upon chastity as a necessary requisite in the
character of the squaws _before_ marriage, these ladies are said by
the white traders to be _less eminent_ for this virtue than their

The works of F---- being little known in England, I send you some
specimens of his writing on _indian_ subjects; and, however uncouth,
his language may appear, you may rely on the truth and accuracy of his



Virg. Georg. 2d. v. 483.

* * * * *

From Susquehanna's utmost springs,
Where savage tribes pursue their game,
His blanket tied with yellow strings,
A shepherd of the forest came.

Not long before, a wandering priest
Express'd his wish with visage sad--
'Ah, why,' he cry'd, 'in Satan's waste,
'Ah, why detain so fine a lad?

'In Yanky land there stands a town
'Where learning may be purchas'd low--
'Exchange his blanket for a gown,
'And let the lad to college go.'

From long debate the council rose,
And viewing Shalum's tricks with joy,
To _Harvard hall_[1], o'er wastes of snows,
They sent the copper-colour'd boy.
[Footnote 1: Harvard college, at Cambridge, near Boston.]

One generous chief a bow supply'd,
This gave a shaft, and that a skin;
The feathers, in vermilion dy'd,
Himself did from a turkey win:

Thus dress'd so gay, he took his way
O'er barren hills, alone, alone!
His guide a star, he wander'd far,
His pillow every night a stone.

At last he came, with leg so lame,
Where learned men talk heathen Greek,
And hebrew lore is gabbled o'er,
To please the muses, twice a week.

A while he writ, a while he read,
A while he learn'd the grammar rules.--
An indian savage, so well bred,
Great credit promis'd to their schools.

Some thought, he would in law excel,
Some said, in physic he would shine;
And one, that knew him passing well,
Beheld in him a sound divine.

But those of more discerning eye,
E'en then could _other_ prospects show,
And saw him lay his Virgil by,
To wander with his dearer _bow_.

The tedious hours of study spent,
The heavy-moulded lecture done,
He to the woods a hunting went,
But sigh'd to see the setting sun.

No mystic wonders fir'd his mind;
He sought to gain no learn'd degree,
But only sense enough to find
The _squirrel in the hollow tree_.

The shady bank, the purling stream,
The woody wild his heart possess'd;
The dewy lawn his morning dream
_In fancy's gayest colours dress'd._

'And why,' he cried, 'did I forsake
My native wood for gloomy walls?
The silver stream, the limpid lake,
For musty books and college halls?

'A little could my wants supply--
Can wealth and honour give me more?
Or, will the sylvan god deny
The humble treat he gave before?

'Let seraphs reach the bright abode,
And Heav'n's sublimest mansions see:--
I only bow to Nature's God--
_The land of shades_, will do for _me_.

'These dreadful secrets of the sky
'Alarm my soul with chilling fear:--
'Do planets in their orbits fly?
'And is the Earth, indeed, a sphere?

'Let planets still their aim pursue,


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