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affecting both the black and the white, must take place, before the condition of the negro can be completely ameliorated.
The churches of New York are fifty-three in number, and are occupied by seventeen religious sectaries. None of these are peculiarly privileged by law, and none denied the common protection of citizens.
August 4. Now when about to leave New York, I feel a pleasure in stating my conviction of the civilization and moral honesty of the people. In the former respect, they may exult in any comparison with the mass of many European cities. And in regard to the latter, I have heard of no recent instance of house-breaking or riot. In hot weather, people leave their windows open during the night, and street doors are seldom closed dur ing the whole of the evening; the inhabitants not thinking their hats and umbrellas in much danger. Such traits are perfectly unequivocal.
Journey from New York to Philadelphia-Remarks on the country passed through-Notices of companionsT'heir conversation by the way-Observations on Phil adelphia-Institutions-Manufactures-People.
Philadelphia, December 19, 1818, THIS letter will give you the details of my journey from New York to Philadelphia, and some particulars with regard to the latter city.
August 5. Got aboard of the Olive-Branch steam-boat for New Brunswick. This is a large vessel, wrought by an engine of forty-five horses' power. She may at once be pronounced elegant and commodious. The passengers dine on board.
In a company so large, the traveller has it in his power to select the person with whom he would enter into conversation. The individual I fell in with, on this occasion, was a mercantile gentleman from England. He seemed to me a man of a good disposition, and one who possessed considerable knowledge of the principal towns, and of the different ways of transacting business in the United States. The American character, according to his report, is by no means a good one. He expressed himself as completely tired of the country, and proposed returning to England. He told me that he had met with considerable losses by vil. lanous insolvencies. His account, instead of convincing me that the Americans were sinners above all others, just shewed me that he was a good-natured, credulous man, and that he had fallen into the hands of several artful rogues; a class, it would seem, not wanting in America.
The land on both sides of the strait, between Staten Island and the main land, is light and sandy, in some spots almost sterile. People in boats are busy with long wooden tongs, resembling forceps, taking up clams from the bottom, in six or seven feet of water.
The land on both margins of the Raritan is very low and flat, covered with a rank growth of reeds. These are cut for the cattle, and form a coarse but a very bulky crop. The swamps, being liable to inundation, are not made to yield any other herbage than their spontaneous produce.
About four miles below New Brunswick, the red sandstone is met with. It is the first rock toward the coast, the interval being high alluvial land, containing vegetables and the bones of marine animals of tribes still existing; facts that establish without a doubt that the ocean has receded.
From New Brunswick to Trenton, travellers are conveyed by four-horse coaches. Six of these wait the arrival of the steam-boat. In one of these I took my seat, and found that only two gentlemen were to be along with me; one of them an American who had travelled in Britain, and the other an Englishman, who had just been out on an extensive tour in the United States. Both appear men of talent and education; the one a Virginian lawyer, and the other a person well acquainted with the state of science and manufacture in his own country; they are equally devoted to the representative form of government. Their only difference of opinion arose from drawing a comparison between the national characters of the two countries. The American claimed the superiority, in toto, while the Englishman asserted the higher excellence of the literary, the scientific, and the mechanical attainments of Britain; but, at the same time admitted, with apparent candour, the superior dexterity of Americans in traffic, and that, taken in a body, they are without some of the ruder qualities of John Bull. Thus, in one day, I have heard two intelligent Englishmen discuss the character of the American people, and each draw opposite conclusions: a fact, which proves how cautious we ought to be in forming an estimate of a community; as we are in continual danger of judging of the great stock from the small, and it may happen that an unfair sample may come within the narrow limits of a single person's observation.
The land between New Brunswick and Princeton is chiefly of a poor sand. The road is composed of the same material, with plank bridges over ravines, where most of the streams are now dried up. The woods, to a Briton, seem more remarkable for their height, than for the diameter of the trees. The stems, even by the road side, where many are felled, stand closely together, and their tops form a continued canopy, that sheds a gloom over the surface of the ground. When proximity to the two greatest cities in the Union is considered, it seems surprising that the arm of man has effected so little. The farms by the road side are neither numerous, nor are the cleared patches large. The passenger has no way of knowing how the country is peopled or improved beyond the first clearing; and where no opening occurs, he cannot see the light more than about 200 yards into the woods. Rail fences, however, and cattle amongst the trees, indicate that the whole is appropriated.
The cows are small, and of little value; and the few sheep which I have seen, are long-legged and thin, perhaps the worst breed in existence.
Princeton College is a large brick house, situated in a grass field. The edifice has a retired, if not a gloomy appearance. It was here that Dr. Wotherspoon, the author of the "Characteristics of Scottish Clergy," found an asylum, and the means of prosecuting useful labours. By the way side stands a row of very large weeping willows, that are highly ornamental to this small town. Their long slender twigs hang down almost perpendicularly, and wave with every wind, displaying, as it were, a sort of vegetable drapery.
From Princeton onward, the land is much better than that observed to the north, and the
surface is finely diversified, but dusk prevented me from seeing a part of the country next to Trenton. The arrival of six four-horse coaches produced considerable stir in the Inn at Trenton. No sooner had the passengers entered, than a pile of trunks and portmanteaus was reared in the bar-room, that would make a good figure in the warehouse of a wholesale merchant. The party at supper was very large. There There being three lines of conveyance between New York and Philadelphia, the aggregate of the intercourse must be great. Betwixt New Brunswick and this place, a distance of twenty-five miles, we have not seen a single pedestrian. The heat of the weather may in some measure account for this.
Trenton is beautifully situated at the head of the tide water of the river Delaware. The orchards are luxuriant, and the pasture grounds richer than any that I have hitherto seen in the country.
August 6. Trenton is celebrated by one of the most dexterous feats of generalship on record. I shall take the liberty of stating some particulars of the affair. On the 1st of January, 1777, the term of enlistment amongst the American troops expired, and that day brought on a dissolution of the best part of the army. General Howe, aware of the occurrence, pressed forward on the 2d, with an army vastly superior. The head of their column arrived at Trenton about four o'clock, and attempted to cross Sanpink creek, which runs through the town, but finding the fords guarded, halted and kindled their fires. The American army was drawn up on the other side of the creek. In this situation the latter remained till dark, cannonading the enemy, and receiving the fire of their field pieces.