Text: Nathaniel Wheeler Coffin (as “Quarles Quickens”), English Notes; Intended for Very General Circulation, 1842


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DEDICATION. This work, composed chiefly since my return, during such intervals of leisure as my various other important avocations allowed me, I dedicate to those friends of mine in England, who, giving me a welcome I shall never forget, were so kind and courteous as not to restrain my judgment; and who, loving their country very much as a Jew loves pork, can bear, nay, even take delight in whatever of abuse and detraction it may give me pleasure to indulge in respecting it — provided that it is done in my usual vein of kindness and good humor.


It was with very pleasureable sensations that I awoke on the morning of the third of January, eighteen hundred and forty-two; and having succeeded by degrees in making out the different objects in the room, one by one — an indefinite number of bed-posts, by some unaccountable cohesive attraction, becoming resolved into only two — the canopy over my head, of living serpents, ceaselessly twining, crinkling, and swelling, assuming upon the ground of a chintz bed-curtain, the shapes and colors of a greater number of robins than were ever seen together before, each perched upon a twig and pecking at a cherry which it never succeeds in reaching; the elfin shadows flitting about, like dolphins with wings and owl’s eyes, slinking away through the crevices of the doors and up the chimney, until at last, having satisfied myself that I was QUARLES QUICKENS, Esquire, and that the lady reposing beside me, in a gentle and undisturbed sleep, was Mrs. Quickens, I forthwith rose, wakened Mrs. Q., when we together proceeded to discharge those last duties which remained before leaving home — and among them, that of leave-taking was the saddest and most disagreeable of all.

Towards the close of the day, we found ourselves on board Her Majesty’s steam-packet the Britannia — twelve hundred tons burthen per register, bound for Liverpool, and carrying Her Majesty’s mails. Our surprise on finding ourselves safely on board, may be imagined, but cannot be described. Nor was this feeling at all lessened, when we reached the state-room — which a slip of white paper, pinned to a quilt in one of the berths, bearing a strong resemblance to a pitch plaster, proclaimed in a round legible hand to have been engaged by Quarles Quickens, Esquire, and Lady.

Now this same little room, which we beheld for the first time, had been made during full four months previous, the topic of conversation by day and by night, between Mrs. Q. and myself, until a large and capacious drawing-room, in which all the comforts of home might be enjoyed, had grown up in our minds, and become as real [column 2:] and substantial as the little closet in which we were then sitting. But being of a sanguine temperament, and strongly possessed of a desire to be comfortable and happy, and this being the last apartment on board the ship, we were glad to look upon it as a very pleasant joke, that it wasn’t as big as we had imagined it; that it hadn’t long windows with Venetian blinds; that the floor was not covered with that description of carpeting, the pattern of which Mrs. Quickens so much admired; that it was not furnished with couches, ottomans, mirrors, an eight day clock, and a fourteen day shower bath. Indeed, the longer we sat in it, the more cozy did it seem to grow, and we got to be quite merry when we thought how large a party might be squeezed into it without much risk of splitting out the sides — how admirably the process of shaving and hair-cutting might be carried on with the aid of the bull’s eye over head; how airy it was and what a fine large port-hole it had; how pleasant it would be, when far out at sea, to lie in bed and watch the motion of the waves; and lastly, what a fine relish mulled claret would have down there! In this agreeable state of mind, we went upon deck. The whole scene now presented to us was one of active preparation: a fleet of gallant ships was riding slowly up and down, little boats were splashing noisily in the water, little knots of people were standing upon the wharf, gazing with a dread delight upon the far-famed British steamer. One party was taking in the cow — in other words the milk; another, quantities of provisions, among which I noticed particularly pale sucking pigs, calves’ heads in scores, and poultry out of all proportion. In due time the first bell is sounded, the paddle-wheels are moved backwards and forwards, passengers are hurried at the peril of their lives over the chasm between the ship and the wharf, trunks, valises, chests, hat-boxes of every imaginable fashion, size and color, are thrown pell-mell into the gang-way; the steward is seen bareheaded rushing madly across the deck — porters swear at two ambitious spectators, who are observed tumbling about in the lee-scuppers. At length the second [column 3:] bell strikes; the bow lines are let go; she backs slowly out of the dock; in the haste farewells are forgotten, but many a good-bye is sent from the ship to the pier, and from the pier to the ship. She gains the channel; the engines move more rapidly; and now with her head pointed to the sea she bears us swiftly away from the friends we have left behind us in the city, whose dull and heavy outlines the increasing darkness of the evening entirely shuts from our view.



So! we are at sea. A strong wind is blowing from the northward and eastward, bearing upon its wings the promise of an uncomfortable night for landsmen. The hour for tea arrives, and the passengers assemble together for the first time to look into each others’ faces, and ask each other questions. What with the noise made by the working of the ship, the incessant rattle of the dishes and the loud conversation of some ten or a dozen persons who have made the passage fifteen times each, we are scarcely able to hear each other speak. I ask a weazenfaced little gentleman opposite me, “Are you a good sailor, sir?” “Yes,” he answers in a very decided tone; “what do you see about me that leads you to suspect that I am not?” I am chilled by the severity of his reply. Scarcely a moment elapses, when his face becomes perfectly white, he disengages himself from his seat, and reels into the air. Our tea occupies an hour and a half, and generally passes very agreeably. On this occasion, after the conclusion of the meal, I went upon deck, and the wind having somewhat abated, I employed myself walking, smoking, and drinking brandy and water; until about twelve o’clock, my usual “turning-in’‘ hour — for no sailor of a dozen hours’ experience ever goes to bed without saying to somebody about him — and if there is nobody near — to himself, that he is going to turn in.

On going below, I found the air uncomfortably close. A perfume which goes in at every pore of the body, and is frequently [page 4:] heard to whisper of the hold, fills the ship. Two passengers’ wives, one of them my own, lay in silent agonies on the sofa; and one lady’s maid — my lady’s maid — had turned into a bundle of stray curl papers, and rolling fore and aft with every lurch of the ship, was heard to execrate its destiny. Every thing sloped the wrong way. I had opened the door a moment before in the bosom of a gentle declivity, through which a little whimpering stream answered pleasantly to the songs of birds; and when I turned to shut it, it was on a lofty eminence thickly bestudded with tall trees, from the midst of which an eagle sprang screaming into the air. It was pretty much the same for the next few days; the same interesting diversity of hill and valley were continually present to our vision. I read in bed, but I don’t know what, for one of the best reasons in the world. I drank brandy and water with unutterable disgust — reeled a good deal upon deck, and ate hard biscuit, it being a matter of necessity, with exemplary perseverance. Not ill — going to be.

It is the tenth morning. I am sea-sick, but not in the ordinary acceptation of the term. I lay in my bed all day long, with no sense of weariness, no desire to move. I think I must have looked and felt very much as Mr. Pickwick looked and felt, when that distinguished gentleman was, to use a nautical phrase, three sheets in the wind. The days pass rapidly away, for all days are alike to me. I have forgotten to say that we stopped at Halifax, and a dreadfully dirty and disagreeable place it would have been, if I had not found there several American friends. We were detained several hours, took in additional mails, and got to sea without accident.

I have said that all days were alike to me. A description of one will serve for all. We read, doze, and talk in the mornings, alternately. The bell rings at one, when the stewardess (God bless her) comes down with steaming dishes of roast apples, cold ham, salt beef, &c. We fall upon these viands like half-famished wolves; — for our brandyand-water and hard biscuit diet has given us great appetites; after which, if the fire burns, we are tolerably cheerful, and if it don’t, we read, doze, and talk as aforesaid until dinner time. At five another bell rings, and the stewardess (God bless her and her piously fraudulent stories of January voyages) comes down again, with various dishes of baked potatoes &c. We sit down more cheerfully than before, prolong the meal with a mouldy dessert of apples, grapes, &c., and drink our wine and brandy-and-water. The bottles and glasses are still upon the table, and those oranges that are not eaten roll about pretty much as they please. We play whist, and put the tricks in our pockets when we take them. By and bye, the Captain comes down, in a sou’wester hat, and makes the floor wet all about him. About this time [column 2:] the card-playing is over, and the bottles and glasses are again upon the table, when we proceed to drink our wine and brandy-andwater. As to news, there is plenty of it. This passenger is said to have lost twenty pound at dice during the voyage; that passenger drinks fifteen tumblers of brandy-and-water in the course of a day, exclusive of his nightcap, and everybody wonders how he is able to do it, and keep sober; occasionally a lady’s maid is taken ill, in a most unexpected manner, and engrosses the sympathy of the whole ship’s company for a couple of days.

Divided between our rubber of whist and such topics as these, we were running into the harbor of Liverpool — it was quite dark when we first received this agreeable information. During the night, we had taken a pilot, and in the morning when I went upon deck, the city lay stretched out before me, a long line of dingy houses, smoking chimneys, and heavily sparred shipping; while all around us the water was alive with boats of all conceivable dimensions, moving to and fro, and tall ships passing by us, bound upon distant voyages.

Well, this is England! I involuntarily said te [[to]] myself — England! the home of my ancestors; the birth-place of mighty kings, warriors, statesmen, historians, and poets; the seat of learning and the arts; the great central market of the world; the mistress of nations; the queen of the ocean; and I don’t know how much more I said to myself, all pretty much to the same effect.

The ship made her way slowly through the fleet of vessels lying across her track, and by eleven o’clock we were safely in dock and beside the wharf — and after a short interval, consumed in parting compliments with those few friends with whom we had been familiar during the passage, we took a carriage and were soon set down at the Adelphi.

The Adelphi is the best public establishment in Liverpool — is conducted most admirably — and what is better than all to travellers with lean purses, is moderate in its charges. I had only just alighted, when I thought I felt some one at work upon my back. I however took little notice of it, supposing that some person had brushed by me; but when I had reached the middle of the principal hall, feeling this same sensation, I turned around abruptly, when I was relieved by the discovery that a waiter had been using his brush upon my clothes from the time I entered until I reached my present position; and now as I looked upon him, he bent his body into an acute angle, and regarding me with an expression of countenance I shall not soon forget, to my extreme misery and horror, he remained in this situation for about one minute and a half, and then using his arms with his broom extended in his right hand, for paddles, he worked himself, stern foremost, out of the room. [column 3:]

I was now shown into a comfortable room, in a pleasant part of the house. It was well furnished in every respect, with the exception, perhaps, that it was not provided with an upright wardrobe — an indispensable article to a traveller who takes any pride in keeping a second suit. The bed had curtains, which I found were drawn up to let the daylight in at seven o’clock precisely, by lads who are employed for this purpose only. Being very much pleased with our room and its accommodations, we determined to dine in it with two or three other friends whom 1 had invited, and so I rang the bell. A waiter appeared, when the following dialogue ensued:

“I wish dinner laid in this room for four, very shortly.”

“Shortly, sir?” (interrogatively).

“Yes, shortly.” (I found that I was not distinctly understood.) “I wish dinner immediately — right away.”

‘’ Oh! right away? yes, sir.’‘

And off he hurried. Having nearly an hour’s space of time, we occupied ourselves in trying to walk off our sea-legs on the balconies and in the passages, of which there are an infinite number in the house and around it. This filled up the time pleasantly until our friends arrived, when we sat down to a feast as sumptuous as ever graced the board of a king.



On the morning after my arrival I walked out into the streets of this city, famous as the great shipping port of England. — They are mostly very narrow, badly paved and dirty, and present a most disgusting appearance to the eye of an American, accustomed to the beauty and cleanliness of American cities. The dwelling houses and stores show indications of age and rust, and are constructed to suit a variety of tastes. They are generally massive, heavy structures, and appear to be furnished without much pretension to taste. I had proceeded half the length of one of the principal streets without meeting a beggar and was just on the point of congratulating myself and the country upon so uncommon and unexpected a circumstance, when as I turned a corner I was accosted by one of the most miserable looking beings that my eyes ever fell upon. She sat upon a rude box in one of the most fashionable streets, her hands were extended towards me, and in tones the most piteous and heart-rending she begged, “A few pennies, your honor, for the love of God, to save my poor little boy from starvation; not a bit of bread has he put into his mouth this blessed day.’‘ I was chilled with horror, and scarcely knew what to say or do, the spectacle made such an impression upon me. I however soon rallied, and, putting into the hands of the poor woman such a pittance as I thought would satisfy her necessities, [page 5:] I questioned her as to her place of residence and the history of her sufferings, and having signified my desire to go with her, she rose from her box and hobbled on before me.

We had not walked far before she turned into a narrow, dirty alley, and, going up a short distance she entered at a low door, of a worm eaten, crazy looking, old wooden house and requested me to follow. The passage was so dark that I was obliged to feel my way along by the wall. A side door opened into a small room in the rear of the house. At this door we entered — in the room was a young boy almost in a state of nudity, sitting or rather reclining on a bed, in a starving condition. The approach of his mother seemed scarcely to move him, indeed he turned his eyes upon her imploringly and made a slight effort to reach forward. The woman brought me an old box for a seat, when, begging permission to run to get some food for her starving child, she left me and soon returned with a plentiful supply of bread and broken meats. Of these she gave to him in small quantities, and before I left I had the pleasure of seeing the little boy restored to something like animation. This is only one example of the wretched condition of the poor in England, and having come to the country as much to observe the habits and condition of its people as to add to my present popularity among them I propose to give here, as I have a whole chapter which I cannot well fill in any other way, the history of this family. This narrative will be quite new to American readers, which will be my best apology for occupying so much space with it. I give the mother’s own words as nearly as I recollect them. “My parents were decent, honest people. I was married when very young to a sailor. When he went to sea he assigned me part of his wages every month. I had some trouble soon after he left, for work began to get scarce and my little child fell ill. I went to the agents to ask for my husband’s pay, for I was sore distressed from grief and fatigue. They told me the ship was lost off China — all hands were saved, but, as was the custom in such cases, the wages were stopped. I bore up for some time, trying to get work however trifling, but there was no work to be had for me and hundreds more. I had heard of a House of Refuge for females in —— and I determined to seek food and shelter there. 1 took my little boy (who is about seven years of age) by the hand and walked to ——. When I got to the House I showed them my marriage lines, that they might see I was a douce decent body — the matron was very kind to me and said she grieved for me, but that the house was not for such as me, but for poor misguided women, prostitutes and the like. When I heard this my heart was ready to break and I said to myself that I maun be wicked before I could get a morsel of bread. The matron took pity on me and let me stay [column 2:] one night, and gave me a supper, and breakfast the next morning. We walked back here again the long and toilsome way; I had nothing to buy food or shelter with — my boy was weakly, although seven years old, and I had carried him many times on my back when he complained of his feet, I sat down on the grass and cried bitterly — but my child who is aye a douce lad and had been well instructed in the Sunday School, little as he was, was my comfort. When he heard me say, ‘We shall die of want,’ ‘Well mother,’ said he, ‘we shall go to granny in heaven, and will want no food there.’ He took off his jacket and said, I should pawn his shirt, for that would bring something, and so it did, and we got a night’s shelter for that time.”

This was the history of the poor woman up to the time when she found, by the aid of some charitably disposed person, the miserable lodgings where she then was. — She had been employed occasionally and had been enabled until lately to earn bread for herself and boy — but he having been taken violently ill, and it being impossible to leave him in this situation, without a friend in the world, they had come very near to starvation and death.

Leaving this abode of misery I retraced my steps to the Hotel. The next day was on Sunday, and I should like to have the reader guess how many invitations we received to occupy seats in the different churches in the city. We counted them and I think there were several hundred. — We, however, having no change of linen, as our trunks were not yet received from the Custom House, were obliged to decline them all. This I much regretted as the eloquent Dr. —— was to preach and as I had the pleasure to make his acquaintance, I cannot help recording here my admiration for his splendid talents and the noble and philanthropic efforts he has made to wipe out that most hideous blot and foul disgrace, British slavery.

The tone of society in Liverpol is characterized by perfect politeness and good breeding — the ladies have generally good feet and ankles, but further deponent saith not. I have heard it hinted that they sometimes wear blue stockings. I do not believe it.

There are those who have an absolute horror of every thing evangelical, and who spend their lives in dissipation, in attendance upon theatrical performances — and they make by far the largest class — and who resort to every means of excitement but such as are calculated to improve them — therefore it is that public lectures have never been popularized in Liverpool.

There is a set of men here called chancendentalists. In answer to my inquiries as to what were the particular tenets of their faith, I was told that a very comfortable definition could not be given. I however afterwards learned that they were chiefly held together by the belief that [column 3:] Cant, an eccentric philosopher of some celebrity, could be conquered, nay annihilated, if it were possible to acquire the art of using his own weapons with consummate skill. If I lived in Liverpool I think I should be a chancendentalist: firstly, because some of the best minds here are among them, and secondly because there is something dreamy and incomprehensible about it. Having spent my time here in making these observations and this chapter having become respectable in size, it will be a waste of time and money to prolong it. — Some of the local customs may be told in a few words. The dinner hour is 5 o’clock. You will always see on the table any quantity of roast beef, and at supper, beside stewed oysters, two monstrous bowls of whiskey punch, in which a Duke of Clarence is soused two or three times; this practice I understood to be very old. — There are no smoking or drinking rooms in any of the hotels — boarders generally take their drinks cross-legged, in the bar, of which there are many varieties such as sherry coblers, cocktails, timber doodles, wood-cocks, &c.



Our time being limited by the desire we had to get forward to London as soon as possible, Monday morning was fixed upon for our departure. Accordingly when the period arrived for the starting of the earliest train, we took a conveyance and proceeded to the depot or rather station. This building compared with the best American structures of the same character was extremely contracted and inconvenient. — When we arrived, it was crowded with persons in every imaginable costume, porters, newsmen, boys, and baggage; by good fortune we succeeded in obtaining as comfortable seats as the cars afforded. Now an English railway car is one of the most dirty, foolish and unchristian conveyances that ever disgraced any civilized age or country; instead of being large, open and airy as are ours, it is in fact but a long succession of Yankee stage coaches, (I mean the first class) opening at the side, the interior space divided by partitions with little cells, wherein when you have thrust yourself into its seclusion, you feel very much like a convict in one of our State Prisons, only not half as comfortable. The people in the car with us consisted of one elderly gentleman in a white neckcloth, with the outside look of a man of business; another, in appearance a yeoman of the better sort, and two ladies; the latter were in charge of the elderly gentleman before mentioned and might have been his daughters. Now this person was of large size and wore a pair of heavy watch seals of bright yellowish color, dangling at the end of a long gold chain — his face which was very full and red, he made still redder by [page 6:] a habit of puffing and blowing, which he practiced incessantly. This I found exceedingly annoying, as he sat directly opposite to me, and the discharges which he blew into my face, had the odour of a rum distillery. These circumstances improved a little as we gained upon the distance. — During the first part of our ride nothing had been said by either of my companions; the red faced gentleman however, opened in the course of the second halfhour, by observing in a loud tone of voice, nodding to me, and letting off one of his puffs, “Fine country, sir.” Now to me the country did not seem to be in such fine condition as to warrant so positive an assertion; I however determined to be civil, and so replied,

“Very fine.”

“Native, sir?”

“Oh, no! I am an American.”

“An American! An American! Eh! (repeating this in three different tones of voice, and with considerable emphasis — with an incredible number of puffs and blows interspersed). “An American, eh! first time in the country?”


“Pon my soul, glad to see you here — hearty welcome to you, finest country in the world, sir.’‘ Here I was shaken by the hand in a most hearty and boisterous manner, while the old man went on talking and puffing himself into a perfect fever, and frequently interlarding his discourse with “you know and you know,” at the end of every sentence, until having completely exhausted himself, he sunk back into his box, muttering to himself between his puffs a half articulate soliloquy. “An American! Oh! dear me how fortunate! What would Mrs. Brown say if she was here!” I had now become an object of interest to my other fellow travellers, who stared boldly at me, and, as I thought imagined me an American Indian, or at least a descendant of one. I hoped that the red faced man had so completely fatigued himself as not to be able to resume the attack. I was disappointed — for having recovered a little breath he carried a violently red silk handkerchief to his face, and blew his nose three times with a sound like that of a trumpet — which certainly would have frightened the horses if they had not been made of iron; and then replacing that immense scarlet piece of Spitalfield stuff in his coat pocket, he looked at me as though he wished me to renew the conversation by making the first observation. This I at first felt little disposition to do, having already suffered sufficiently from the coarse vulgarity of his manner, but on a second thought I came to a determination to affect a little familiarity with him, as I knew from outward indications about him that he was a fair specimen of English character, and might serve to assist me in getting an insight into his peculiarities. And so I observed that my countrymen generally came to England with a very favorable impression [column 2:] as it regards its institutions and the manners and customs, as well as the social virtues of its people, and all American travellers with whose observations the public were acquainted, had in the great majority of details given a united verdict in their favor, and as far as I was concerned individually, I wished very much that this coloring which had been given to my own opinions of England and the English, by what had been said and written, might not be neutralized or destroyed by the results of actual experience.

“Oh! bless your soul, not a bit, not a bit. You’ll find John Bull exactly what he looks to be, and what every body said of him — rich, fat, and plump, a lover of good spirits, cheerful and happy in the enjoyment of substantial comforts, a good Christian, citizen and subject, as loyal to his Queen as bark to trees, and an inveterate hater of the French. Then as for our natural scenery, there’s nothing like it in the world — it is sometimes enchantingly rural, magnificent and stupendous. Only wait until you have seen the Thames, that father of rivers — so broad and deep and flowing on such an immense distance to the sea.”

“But we have a great many noble rivers in America.”

“Nothing to be compared to it; depend upon it you have nothing like it.”

“Our Mississippi contains water enough in its channel at this very moment to float your whole island.”

“Nonsense, nonsense, my dear sir, it is all prejudice. Don’t, I implore you, don’t make up your mind so hastily, and before seeing it. You have no idea sir, what a magnificent country this is. Such wealth, such power, such fine scenery, so many noble palaces and churches, and the greatest men that ever lived sprung from her soil.”

“Great men! why, my friend, we had a Washington and a Franklin.”

“Washington, who was he? Ah, now I remember; he was the first President of Massachusetts, and Franklin, Franklin, wasn’t he the inventor of the steam engine?”

“Stop a moment, my dear sir, you are confounding men and things in the most singular manner. It is very natural however you should make frequent mistakes of that sort, when we consider the great distance of the U. States from you, and the manner in which your English bookmakers have enlightened you upon all subjects relating to their geographical divisions, their history, and their public men. George Washington was the first President of the U. States and Benjamin Franklin was a statesman and philosopher.”

“Very well, very well, that’s all true I dare say, but that’s not to the point.

‘’That’s not to the point. Ah! here we are at Nantwich, and bless my soul, there’s Mrs. Brown in the phæton.” The Englishman’s exclamation and the stoppage of the [column 3:] cars came pat upon each other. I looked out and there was Nantwich indeed, and at a little distance from us there was a fat lady sitting in a vehicle which was probably called a phaeton, and the lady looked the character of Mrs. Brown most admirably — any doubt which I might have had as to her identity was silenced, when my fat friend, rolling himself out of the cars and his two fat daughters, seized me by the collar, and dragged me to the ground, and then insisted that I should go up to the carriage and be introduced to Mrs. Brown; making a merit of necessity I followed after.

“Mrs. Brown, my dear, this is Mr. Quickens of America in the United States. Mr. Quickens, Mrs. Brown.”

I made use of my best compliments — was very happy to make Mrs. Brown’s acquaintance. She was the first English lady to whom I had had a formal introduction, had heard the beauty of English ladies highly extolled, was rejoiced to find in Mrs. Brown a confirmation of all that had been said in their praise, and to this I added a few bows and scrapes.

“Lor me, Mr. Quickens, you Americans are not as barbarious as I thought you were. What tribe do you belong to?”

“Tribe! Madam, Tribe! I am not a Jew.”

“Well, but you’re an Indian aint you?”

“An Indian! Madam, what can you mean?”

“He looks very white I declare. But Jockey (that’s he Brown) you told me that all Americans were Indians.”

I began now to breathe a little freer. — Gracious heavens, to be taken for a Jew and an Indian.

“Well so I did — so I did — (in a soothing tone) and then Brown went into one of his hysterics. There was the same regular series of puffs and blows — the same swelling out of the cheeks, closing of the eyes, the same scarlet handkerchief, the same three blasts at the nose, and when Brown had finished, the commotion had been so great, and my apprehension that he would burst himself, so dreadful, that the last topic of conversation was blown entirely out of recollection — to my sensible relief; and the cars being about to start, I made a hasty adieu, and took my seat, and as the reader may well suppose, I laughed all the way up to London and for the next three days after my arrival. This Brown I afterwards learned was a wealthy merchant and a man of considerable repute in the city.

The country through which our course lay was in the highest degree interesting to strangers from the new world, and afforded us much pleasure in looking upon its beautiful scenery, constantly changing with every mile of progress we made. Now we were passing through a broad and fertile valley watered by a pleasant stream which wound its silver tide round many a graceful curve, until it was [page 7:] lost to the eye in the distance; its sloping sides, dotted here and there with beautiful villas and thrifty farm houses — the flocks and herds grazing upon the dry stubble of the fields — the church spires rising above the villages — and the strange and curious faces of men, women, and children staring at us as we rushed by them — again we cross the summit of a high hill and the scene is changed — the atmosphere is thick with the smoke of a dozen chimneys — the soil is dry and barren — factories and miserable dwelling houses are huddled together without regard to either taste, convenience, or comfort — it is a town — and the hum of its many voices, with the sounds of its implements of industry rise upon our ears — its half-clothed, half-fed and uneducated population are seen in its streets, wallowing in the same mire that their fathers and grandfathers wallowed in before them — their lean and haggard faces proclaiming in a language better than that of words, the abject misery to which they are reduced. On the summit of an imposing eminence, the mosscovered ruins of a stately old baronial castle overlooks the town; it is an eloquent memorial of the feudal times. Well would it have been if it had marked with a human eye all the various changes that have taken place under its walls during the wasting of ten centuries.

Well would it be, if, with the voice of Memnon, its shattered and hoary tower could speak to the hurrying crowds (of how brief a day!) that circulate through these streets, the long and melancholy story of human wrongs which it hath gathered from the experience of the past. Then methinks a new fire would fill the hearts and a nobler wisdom the minds of these abject men (in body and in soul) whom the great Juggernaut of British aristocracy now crushes under its iron wheels, leaving their bones to whiten upon the hills and in the valleys. How interesting the thought that these same walls which witnessed the iron serfdom of a time ten centuries past, now look down upon a condition of human suffering of which there is no parallel in all history! It is the condition of men, women and children, absolutely crushed into the earth by the tyranny, the insane rapacity, the inhuman selfishness of their lordly masters. The longer we contemplate the situation of affairs here, the more gloomy do they appear. — We find the country groaning under the load of an immense national debt, the penalty of her wickedness and ambition. This debt is of such a character as to preclude the possibility of its extinction. It is owed to the citizens of the country, and mostly to men in its middle and highest classes. Thus the wealth of the subject is involved in the permanency of her institutions. — This debt is also the great regulating wheel of her domestic policy, and is very frequently a subject of embarrassment in the management of her affairs; and thus the [column 2:] government being in the hands of the land holders, who represent the wealth and aristocracy of the country, the poorer classes, who have no interest in the maintenance of any particular system, are consequently without any representation, and are obliged to be satisfied with the little protection they get; in other words, to feed upon the crumbs that fall from their masters’ tables. The enormous expenses of her government, the iniquity of her corn laws, the burden of her taxes, the inequality of her representation, the defects of her social system, are considerations that will hereafter be referred to, when the judgment of heaven shall have overthrown her government. But why should I prose, when everything [[every thing]] without and beyond me begins to put on an air of comparative cheerfulness? We are rapidly approaching the great city. That dark overhanging cloud that stretches itself along the distant horizon, is the brooding spirit of London. — Sounds increase — houses thicken — there is a restlessness among the passengers in the car — there is a darkening of forms at the windows — there is a screaming of the boys without, and an anxious clattering of voices within — there is a general mustering of great coats and umbrellas — and we are in London!



When we awoke on the succeeding morning in the heart of this great metropolis, the transition had been so rapid from Boston to Liverpool, and from the latter place hither, that it was a long time before we could convince ourselves that we were actually in London. In our first attempt to reduce a vague impression into something like certainty, we resorted to the expedient of repeating over by turns such names of places and things in the city as occurred to us at the moment, in which my candor obliges me to confess that my wife had a decided advantage — she being able to remember about three to my one — this process was conducted slowly and with great deliberation and thoughtfulness, for the least haste or rapidity would have destroyed the effect. First I began with London, which I repeated in an audible voice three times, and in a tone of profound soliloquy. This not having satisfied my mind, Mrs. Quickens went on with the Tower, Westminster Abbey, St. James Palace, in the alto key, to which I responded in more dignified base, Horse guards, Tunnel, Bank of England. This practice got to be quite tedious beside making me very hoarse, and without producing the desired effect. We, however, hit upon this idea, which was to try to remember and recount the experiences of the thirteen days and nights of the voyage — the two days and one night at Liverpool, and the one day on the Rail-way. This we succeeded in doing to admiration, until I got down to [column 3:] our meeting with Mr. Brown, Mrs. Brown, and the Misses Brown in the car, and then the ludicrousness of that scene flashed upon my mind and I was obliged to laugh, which I did in the most boisterous manner. At any rate, I laughed so loudly and so heartily, that a waiter in one of the entries caught the infection — which was taken up again by the servant at the outer door, and thence communicated to a pot-boy passing along the street, from whom it passed to a cab-man, and he drove it away at top speed and glad was I to get it out of the neighborhood — for it began to be (as my wife afterwards informed me,) quite noisy and disagreeable. This last device came well nigh ending fatally — for I was exactly in that state of risibility, when (as our people say at home) I thought I should burst myself. These expedients failing as I had a presentiment they would, we determined to try ocular demonstration and so got out of bed, and pushing back the curtains, looked out of the window — Whew! I exclaimed, starting back, (and in doing this I attempted an imitation of Mr. Shales, our great tragedian in Richard 3d) — there’s no mistake here — there’s the milk woman just as she was in my picture books — and there’s the bread-man, the coalman, the sweep, the —— my enunciation was now getting dangerously rapid, which Mrs. Q. perceiving, she introduced the thumb of her right hand with considerable force and pungency just under my fifth rib, which made it absolutely necessary for me to stop — and I did so “with a windy suspiration of forced breath,” or in other words a long drawn sigh, carrying down with it a short ejaculation which expressed the conclusion to which I had arrived. — This is indeed London.

London, how shall I describe it? How convey to the reader any idea of its vastness and magnificence — its interminable winding of streets and lanes — its public squares, its gardens, its palaces, the residences of the noblity, the populousness of its streets, the beauty and strength of its bridges, the number of its ships and boats, the extent of its docks. It beggars all description, or in other words it reduces description to extreme penury. I will however try. I dare not hope for success. Take Boston for instance — multiply three-fourths of its population, taken indiscriminately, by twenty — a certain fat gentleman therein, who gives good dinners, by ten thousand — one dozen inimitable looking boys (in America at least) that sell newspapers in State street, by five thousand — all the pastry cooks, coal heavers, scissor grinders by five hundred, and you have the population of London. Take the shop on the corner of Ann and Union streets, the old State House, the Governor Phipps house, all the houses in Ann and Hanover streets, and Salutation Alley, Harris’s Polly, and Uncle Sam’s Madness, the towns of Salem, Newburyport and Hall, multiply them by fifteen, then shake [page 8:] them well together, and drop them anywhere between East Boston and Dedham; widen the back bay one hundred feet, multiply Cambridge and Cragie’s bridges by five, and place them across it at intervals of a quarter of a mile, carry the river southwesterly as far as your imagination pleases, take all the shipping over into it, take up the Bunker Hill monument and drop it somewhere near South Boston bridge for the Tower, bring all the omnibuses in the United States, multiply them by three and put them in motion in the streets — draw an immense canopy of black crape over the whole, at a suitable distance above the chimnies, and you have London itself.

It was early morning, the streets were cold and damp from a slight rain of the previous evening, stage coaches were passing rapidly in both directions; here and there a drunken man might be seen reeling home to his abode — shop boys, apprentices, and clerks were hurrying forward to their places of business — the shops were all open, and began to wear their usual holiday appearance — porters were swearing at each other on the sidewalk — the young woman who had been during the last half hour washing the steps of No. 9 opposite, had finished and gone in to prepare the breakfast — Mr. Chubb’s boy who had the reputation of being the laziest boy on the street had just taken down the last shutter, when the coach arrived which was to take us to Morley’s where we proposed to live during our stay in the metropolis.

There were so many objects of interest in London which we were desirous of seeing, that it became a matter of great difficulty for us to decide, where to begin, and what kind of apportionment to make of our time. A traveller who visits a foreign country for the avowed purpose of writing a book upon that country, will of course be anxious to make such a disposition of his time while there, as will enable him to observe those things most particularly which are known to excite the strongest interest in the minds of his countrymen.

Therefore it will be very proper that I should make some apology to the reader before proceeding further in this chapter, or the hasty manner in which I am necessarily obliged to pass over the observations and occurrences of this part of our travels. There will be, without doubt, when I shall have finished, many important things forgotten and omitted. I shall however hope to have noted such facts as possess a permanent importance in the view of the more moderate and sober thinking of my readers — and also, to have satisfied, as far as I might be able, that other more numerous and no less respectable portion, who take greater delight in the “humor of the thing” than in any matter-of-fact statements whatever. Of one thing I am sure, and it is that in all essential points of character, national policy, social conditions, manners and customs, I have judged the people of Great Brtain, with such justness [column 2:] of perception, such wise comprehensiveness, and such accuracy of analysis, that their results, in the deductions which I have made, and the conclusions which I have arrived at, cannot and I confidently predict will not, fail to receive the commendations of a discerning public. — While on this topic it may not be improper for me to add that in the collection and arrangement of my facts, I have been very sensibly assisted by a native of the country, in the correctness of whose opinions, I place a strong reliance. I have, moreover, had resort to all books which have ever been written upon its people, and institutions by my countrymen, who have preceded me, and to all articles in Magazines and Reviews, having any relation to these subjects, which I thought might throw any additional light upon them.

The people of London are very peculiar in their appearance and habits; their average height falls very short of five feet six; in complexion they are sallow, with but little color; their bodies are long and full, legs short and elliptical, and are usually attached to a pair of feet which bear a stronger resembance to Canadian snow-shoes than any thing that occurs to me at this moment; they measure in length twelve inches, more or less, and the ancle is affixed to them between the seventh and tenth inch on the scale, leaving a projection of about two inches beyond it rearward for a heel. This conformation puts it out of the power of Londoners to wear imported French boots, and it is on this account (as I was told by an intelligent French gentleman) that this manufacture has never met with any sale in the English market. It is also worthy of remark in this connection, that the attention of Parliament was called to this subject a short time since, when it was wisely considered, that, whereas, there were not many French boots imported into the country, and whereas there was nobody to pay the duty upon them, if there had been any duty to pay, it was determined, that whenever it was decided to make a general reduction of the Tariff upon French products, a sense of public duty as well as a proper regard for the starving condition of the poorer classes in the country, demanded that a proportionate reduction should be made from the duties on this article. In general, the better part of the inhabitants dress very shabbily; that portion below them in the scale, may be said not to dress at all. The former manifest a decided partiality for scarlet waistcoats. In fact, I think I never knew an Englishman that did not own one at least. They have also a partiality for black stocks or cravats, which are drawn tightly around the neck, the ends tucked in under the scarlet vest and held together by an enormous brooch. By this arrangement, the place where a shirt should show itself being entirely concealed a new proof is afforded us that the tradition, current in many parts of America, that Englishmen [column 3:] have in some past time worn, and do now wear shirts, is extremely fabulous and unworthy the credence of a discerning traveller. As respects the other parts of the dress, they pay but little attention to them, and in consequence err on the side of nature; for the tailors upon whom the awful responsibility rests of forming the tastes in these matters, of millions of people, are always desirous that the garment which they cut and make, in the gracefulness of its proportions and outlines should be as it were the counterpart of that human body which it is intended to protect and adorn. Then as to habits — if they are men of leisure, men of respectable business, professional men, government officials, &c.; they rise at about eight in the morning, breakfast upon coffee, dry toast and a boiled egg. After which, allowing suitable time for the reading of a morning paper, the leader always coming in for the largest share of attention, for these people are violent in their political opinions and prejudices, without its doing them any more good than it does a convict in New South Wales; for they have just about as much freedom of thought and speech, and just about as little power of turning them to any personal or public advantage. It is customary to lunch at about twelve, dine at five, when a few choice friends are invited; for this love of social enjoyment which is the most strongly marked feature of English character of the better sort, I cannot refuse my cordial praise and admiration. The dinner always begins with boiled fish, which to my senses had the taste and smell of a dead kitten; whether this was owing to impurity in the fish or in the cooking I never could satisfactorily determine. The meat courses follow, when the wines begin to circulate freely — Port, Brown Sherry and Madeira are favorites. Champagne is but little used, excepting on public occasions, when froth, no matter from what extraordinary source it comes, is in great demand. An immense pudding succeeds to the meats, and after some length of time has been occupied in agreeable discourse, bandying pleasant compliments, and perpetrating bad jokes, the cloth is removed. Candles and cigars are then brought, they are both lit at their appropriate ends, when to make time pass lightly they generally make up matches between themselves to run on short heats, and a proper historic fidelity compels me to add, that cigars almost always come in second best, candles having the advantage as it regards wind and bottom; while cigars owing to shortness of breath are obliged to keep up a continual puffing, in order to keep within respectable distance. At about nine, some description of hot punch is brought in, usually Irish or Scotch Whiskey; cigars and candles are again renewed; this lasts until all the guests are under the table, when the master of the house takes upon himself the responsibility of finding coaches to carry them home. I have described the man, his dress, his habits. [page 9:]

The object of greatest interest and attraction to me in London was the Parliament, House of Lords and Commons; and so having a friend at my elbow, who offered to conduct me thither, we called a coach and were soon set down at the principal entrance. The hall in which the Peers assemble, is an oblong square; it is provided with a magnificent throne, consisting of an immense canopy of crimson velvet, surmounted by an imperial crown; the seats of the peers are fitted up with cushions of red cloth. Altogether the appearance of the hall was strikingly effective. It so happened that at the moment we arrived, the house was engaged upon some matter of very inconsiderable moment. A young member was speaking, if it was possible to speak in the midst of so many interruptions. I had not been in the house more than five minutes when my gravity was completely upset by a most excellent imitation of the crowing of a cock. The thing was inimitable, and throws the humble efforts of that small tailor’s boy in Boston, entirely into the shade. The sound proceeded, not from the gallery, as I had of course expected, but from a little knot of members in one corner of the room, and mixed up among them, I singled out men of mature years. They appeared to be endeavoring to defeat the speaker’s attempt to make himself heard. Scarcely time was afforded me to make these hasty observations, when the bray of an ass came upon my ears with horrible distinctness; it was certainly never better done out of the pit of the Tremont Theatre. These sounds appeared to me to be so absurd, so inconceivably ludicrous, for such a place and such an assembly of men, that I broke into an immoderate fit of laughter, which I was not able to check until I found myself in the open air.

These occurrences caused me to fall involuntarily into a train of reflection something like this. Can it be possible, I asked my friend, that this is the highest legislative branch of the government of Great Brtain, that these men, who are at this moment, and during the sitting of the house, indulging in a species of vulgarity that would disgrace a country town meeting in the United States? Are these law-makers, the men upon whom her people depend in war and peace for the protection and defence of their property and homes? Would any man that was not mad credit the fact that in the British House of Lords, in the midst of a grave discussion, and while a member was speaking, a noble Lord or a noble Earl, as the case might be, treated himself and his peers to the crow of a cock and the bray of an ass? Our entrance into the House of Commons broke in upon these reflections. This hall was not so gaudily decorated, and had more of an air of business than the other. The house was not in session when we entered; from the faces of some members, whom we saw writing at the desks, I prophesied better things [column 2:] of them, a better hope for the country in the results of their labors. Having satisfied myself with these observations and having an engagement which it was impossible for me to break over, I returned to my lodgings.

The next day we paid a visit to the British Museum. This building is situated in Great Russell street, Bloomsbury, and is an object worthy the attention of the stranger. It is a very large old fashioned structure, of no particular order of architecture, and was formerly a private mansion house. It began to be used for its present purpose sometime near the middle of the last century. Admittance is readily granted you by your leaving your signature in a book provided for that purpose. It contains beside the usual variety of Curiosities to be found at places of this description, a fine reading room, and an immense library of printed books; in one of the halls I saw in a glass case the Magna Charta, in other words, the great chart of the world, made by King John, which, as I was told by a very well informed person, was forced from him by his Barons at Runnymede, and placed for safe keeping in this hall. This chart may be said to have been the cause of all the maritime successes of the English people, by disclosing to them the relative positions of the different continents and islands upon the globe, and the most favorable points for the opening of a commercial intercourse. I saw also here a statue of Shakespeare, the great father of tragedy, by Praxiteles. It formerly adorned the Roman villa of one Garrick at Hampton; there is an excellent translation of this author’s plays extant by Dr. Boswell Johnson, the father of the Prince of Abyssinia. In the same room was a Burman idol which Captain Marryatt worshipped when he was in India. I was given to understand that it was in contemplation to represent another epoch in this gentleman’s life, and that a pedestal was being erecting, (as a learned friend of mine would have me say) for the support of a tub of Virginia tobacco, and a quarter cask of old Cogniac brandy; these being the two idols of his worship in the United States. Here was also a statue of Mrs. Dummer, the foundress of our Byfield Academy in Essex County. On the upper floor, we found the miscellaneous collections. The magnificent saloon first drew our notice; this room was painted by La Fosse, the landscapes and decorations by Jean Jacques Rousseau, an eminent French philsopher of the thirteenth century; over the chimney is a portrait of Geo. II by Shackleton, and on the walls I noticed portraits of John Paul Jones, the Pirate, Admiral Lord Kyd, and General Nelson. Several rooms were closed to casual visitors, and I was told were only accessible to the members of the Royal family, and the nobility of the kingdom; these rooms, among other things, are reported to contain the club with which Cain killed Abel, three pints of the wine from which Noah become drunken after coming [column 3:] out of the Ark, in a leather bottle in good preservation, the heart of Oliver Cromwell preserved in spirits, a pair of spectacles worn by King James 1st, the hatchet with which Charles 1st was beheaded, a manuscript history of the introduction of slavery into the Colonies of North America by Sir Walter Raleigh, fourteen pounds of the tea thrown overboard in Boston harbor, an accurate statement of the expenses of the American War, a copy of the Declaration of Independence, the kite by which Dr. Franklin drew down lightning into the streets of Philadelphia, the original of Junius’ letter to the King, the skeletons of twelve Chinese, who were killed in fair fight by one British soldier, a collection of books of travels in the United States by British authors, brought down to November first, eighteen hundred and forty two, the anatomy of a Spitalfield weaver, who was starved to death by act of Parliament, and a great variety of other things, mostly of a private nature, and which it would be inexpedient to submit to the gaze of the common people. We left the Museum, and in the course of the next half hour passed St. James Park, and had a fine view of the Horse Guards, which, as perhaps the reader is aware, is a noble body of cavalry, stationed near the Park. They are constantly drawn up, (and as I was informed never quartered) in military order; they are at present commanded by the Duke of Wellington, the late commander, Lord Hill, having retired; thence we passed over to Westminster and had a delightful ramble through Westminster Abbey. The external appearance of this ancient structure, is in the highest degree imposing. The date of its foundation goes as far back as the building of the tower of Babel, and the confusion of tongues. It has been repaired and enlarged at different periods since that time. Sir Christopher Wren, the famous originator of the gunpowder plot, was commissioned by Parliament in the reign of that Richard 3d — who is reported to have offered his whole kingdom for a horse — to make an investigation of the condition of the Abbey, with a view particularly to discover whether these walls exhibited any marks or signs about it which would go to establish the fact of its high antiquity. It is matter of history that this research proved fruitless and unsatisfactory. The interior of the building is beyond the reach of description. The Poet’s corner chiefly attracted my notice; it is so called from the monuments which have been erected there to celebrated English Poets. I had had the precaution to take Aiken’s British Poets under my arm, and found it very useful. It is probably unknown in America, that Dr. Aiken, a celebrated Englishman, sometime ago published a list of all the Poets who had monuments there, for the benefit of travellers and strangers. This work contains their lives and some specimens of their writings. I scarcely need add, that they are almost entirely obsolete, and Dr. Aiken deserves the thanks of his countrymen and the world for having taken the [page 10:] pains to preserve some record of them/ ‘Here I noticed the names of Jonson (Ben) Spencer, Milton, Prior, &c. and turning to the guide book above referred to, I read their histories with a powerful interest. Jonson I found was chiefly celebrated in an unrighteous calling, that of Playwright; Spencer was the author of a story for children, called “Fairy Queens,” and Milton of a book called “Paradise Lost and Regained,” in which angels and devils are mixed up in the most horrible confusion. Prior, I learned, was a very wicked man, and therefore I thought it wise not to go deeply into his history. We could have consumed a whole day in this employment had not the shortness of our time warned us to leave the spot. I have in my possession a single copy of this work of Dr. Aiken, which I shall be very happy to show to any persons desirous of seeing it, at my lodgings in the city of Boston. Leaving the Abbey, we returned into the city to visit some particular places which I had not yet seen. We began with the Tower, passed to St. James Palace, Buckingham Palace, the Bank of England, Eoyal Exchange, and the Docks; and by this time our day “was far spent.” We, however, had just time to go into Borough High street and there we saw the Talbot Inn, where Geoffrey Chaucer put up for a single night on his way to the Holy Land, in the tenth century. There is a fine portrait of the original landlord in the tap room, painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence. From this place we went into Fleet street to Bolt Court, where Dr. Johnson resided, to Grub street; thence to Ivy lane, and the site of Dolly’s Chop house, where the celebrated club of Spectators became Tattlers, and were some of them in the course of events put under Guardians; then to the house in which Oliver Goldsmith, who wrote the life of the Vicar of Wakefield, resided; thence home.



The observations which I have been able to make during my stay in this country, convince me that to the laboring classes among its population, the press is their only safeguard and protection, and in fact their only hope. They have no voice in the administration of its government, they carry no influence into its social system, they have no wealth to enjoy the fostering patronage of legislation, no means of improvement, no inducement to progress. — The condition of their existence would be that of slavery the most abject and unconditional, if it were not that the press, whose legion eyes glare upon the world by day and by night, with untiring watchfulness, interposed its ready and powerful arm between the avaricious and tyrannical master and the helpless victim of his rapacity and pride.

I must confess that I have scarcely taken up a paper since I have been in England [column 2:] that did not contain some passages in relation to the situation of the working poor, some sympathy for their distresses, some suggestions for their relief — that did not hold out some hope, barren and fruitless as it was, of ultimate improvement. Yet notwithstanding all the efforts of the press, all the prayers and remonstrances of the sufferers, all parliamentary debates, investigations and reports, all the horrible details of crime and misery that fill the columns of the Journals, the faces of their lordly masters are like faces of brass, their hearts like hearts of iron, and their ears like ears of leather. In the age of feudalism, the Lord shut himself within walls of stone and mortar; he built massive towers, dug ditches, and raised ponderous gates, to protect himself and family from the incursions and attacks of his powerful enemies, while his submissive serfs were thrust out into the open world exposed to all the dangers which he had dreaded and secured himself from; and compelled to labor and toil under the iron hand suspended over them for that bread which he was to eat, and that wealth which he was to squander. But now, a new and more humane feudalism has taken the place of the old. The world has put away chivalry, the Baron has hung up his mailed shirt in the hall of his ancestors, there is no longer need of tower, wall, moat and portcullis. The fighting days of these lords of the manor are over, at least among themselves, but they have made a league, a solemn league by which they have bound themselves to sustain each other under all circumstances, at whatever peril of body and soul, at whatever loss of blood and treasure. By this brotherhood they are enabled to keep up their ancient dignity, and to own and cultivate a larger tract of that soil, which before, owing to the difficulty of holding and defending it, they had abandoned to the serf. But now under the new system they require no walls or defences ; the ownership of every rod of the soil is in them; to be sure these poor slaves are allowed to tread upon it, to erect cabins upon it, but it is only as a matter of courtesy. If their aid is required in the cultivation of it, they are employed for a miserable pittance — if otherwise, a few square feet of ground is allotted to them to starve and die upon, and be buried in. But enough of this; let us proceed to more cheerful matters. The newspaper press of London is a mighty political engine and exercises without doubt a powerful influence over the affairs of the country. Among all the periodicals that came into my hand, I esteem most highly Punch and John Bull. In fact they may be said to represent the views of all the leading politicians of the day. Punch was the journal in which those celebrated letters of Junius first made their appearance among which the two famous letters to the King of the Fejee Islands and the Duke of Wellington will be particularly remembered. Notwithstanding its great age, it sustains all the piquancy, the hearty [column 3:] bouyancy of its juvenile years — the attic salt which was sprinkled over it, in those days of the olden time has remarkably preserved its freshness and flavor. The John Bull has a large circulation at the west end of the town. All acts of parliament are published in it “by authority.” Indeed, it may be said to be the Court journal. Its literary department is conducted in the most able and judicious manner. The other papers, such as the Times, the Morning Chronicle, Morning Post, &c. have a very contracted circulation. They stand about on a par with our times and political prints. The Times meddles a good deal in politics, but has no influence whatever. It is ambitious of a political leader, but almost always produces a most miserable abortion. It is said to be favorable to Chartism. Almost all the other prints, with the exception of Punch and John Bull, are hawked about the streets and sold for a penny. To those who have observed the stamps upon these English papers, it may be interesting to remark, that the Stamp Act, the enforcement of which was the cause of our Revolutionary war, is still in existence in England, and all these presses are subjected to pay this same stamp duty, which excited the patriotic and successful opposition of our forefathers. No person can have any definite idea of the amount of vituperation, scurrility, and abuse which these papers contain. Such as are disposed to question what I say, I invite to examine scattered numbers of them at my place in this city. They are filled with every kind of obscenity — take for instance the following:

“At Morton house, on the 8th inst. the Lady Holdworth was delivered of a daughter.”

“At 26 Fetter street, on 16th inst. Mrs. Parr of a pair of twins.”

Now I should like to ask the reader if he ever saw any such vulgarity in an American print? Such intermeddling with the private affairs of the citizens — announcements of such grossness and impropriety, as these which I have cited? It is true that the freest expression of opinion is allowed and encouraged. But this freedom is sometimes of very dangerous tendency. It degenerates into licentiousness — becomes obnoxious to public opinion, and defeats its own ends.

Before I sat down to write out these impressions, I had come to a fixed determination to make no allusions to any individuals with whom I had the honor and pleasure to become acquainted in England. To this resolution I have thus far adhered — any allusions to myself, my past history or successes, a proper modesty would of course forbid. I have, however, broken over this principle of my life, as I may call it, in this single instance, and I do it for the purpose of showing with what freedom a writer in the London Morning Post speaks of me and my movements in this country. I transcribe it here as it stands in the columns of that paper. [page 11:]


“DEAR QUARLES: For how shall I address you in other language than that of affectionate endearment — you, with whom under every variety of circumstance, I have for so many years held improving and delightful intercourse. I, enacting upon the stage of life the sensible and real, whether in the homely routine of domestic duties, in sojournings by land, and voyages by sea, and you by that power which genius alone can wield — although separated by a wide ocean, living within the circle of my pleasures, a spiritual existence in happy unison with my own, overshadowing my path with thy presence; now brightening to my eyes objects, which had hitherto been gloomy and sad, and again infusing into the beings with whom I am brought into daily contact, the glow of a humanity so transcendent that I am no longer willing to believe in the heartlessness and depravity of my species. And then again how harsh and dissonant does Mr. Quickens sound. Did you ever among young friends hear Charles Lamb, the beautiful-souled Charles, spoken of as Mr. Lamb? The very thought chills me. But enough of this. I know that my familiarity will not offend you; but I am, however, somewhat fearful that what I may have to say in the course of this letter will grate harshly upon your ears, and produce in your mind that feeling which of all things I deprecate most sincerely; for the spirit which impels me to write you, is more sorrowful than angry, and has no aim beyond that of administering a word of kind and wholesome reproof. It is the general opinion among your friends in this country, that no previous American or English writer has been able to gain that foothold in the affections and sympathies of this population, which you have, with so little apparent effort, succeeded in establishing, and which you undoubtedly held up to the period of your arrival in this country; and if any evidence should be thought necessary to prove the fact, it is certainly to be found in the almost unprecedented sale and circulation of your works, and in that tone of good feeling and propriety with which the press has generally spoken of them and of you. The question of your merits or demerits as an author, it is not my intention to touch. My own feelings toward you, however just and flattering they may have been, I must confess have been somewhat unfavorably influenced by the course you saw fit to pursue while receiving the hospitality of our people, and after your return home.

“Your career in this country began, as it seems to me, in misconception, and ended very naturally in a confirmed mistrust and suspicion; or else (which I cannot for a moment believe) you formed the deliberate intention of using every facility which your reputation afforded you, to cajole us into the bestowal of a grand patent right to a few American authors beside yourself, for the exclusive sale of whatever wares it [column 2:] might please you to send over to us poor deluded souls from the other side. Such an idea is too unworthy to be entertained, and I cannot find it in my heart to believe that that man whom I rejoiced to suppose the representative and personification of all those noble and humane virtues which he described and illustrated, should be justly charged with the guilt of so monstrous an offence. Many circumstances connected with your visit seem to favor the impression in some minds that its object was of a mercenary character. A steam voyage across the Atlantic in mid-winter presents but few attractions for even the most hearty and robust, to say nothing of its perils! The face of this portion of our country is known to wear a somewhat gloomy aspect in the seasons of winter and spring. Besides, it cannot be denied that there was a considerable flourish of trumpets attending your first appearance amongst us, although you modestly assert that the attentions which you received here were forced upon you. I cannot resist the feeling that you was desirous to make the best impression in your power, and was in this way the cause of all your troubles. The people were certainly desirous to see you, and this should have been expected. You had been able to excite a similar curiosity at home, why not abroad? And this should not only have been expected as a matter of course, but it should have been highly gratifying to you, as an eloquent proof of the power of your pen. You made one very great mistake, and I have no doubt you feel it to your sorrow. It was in accepting invitations to public dinners. Now, public dinners, as you may have learned, are in this country the most shallow pieces of humbuggery imaginable. They never accomplish their apparent purpose. They are always succeeded by mutual recriminations, backbitings, &c. They are promotive of bad speeches, bad toasts, and coarse jokes; and what is still more disagreeable, there is always a certain odor attached to them, and which it is impossible for any participator ever to lose; and therefore, I say, you was indiscreet in complying with those requests. The very men by whom you was fed and toasted, are ever on the watch for some new occasion of this kind.

“Another mistake you made, Quarles, was in submitting yourself to be painted. This vanity is scarcely pardonable in a man of your mind. It would do very well for a lady, who was desirous of exposing the beauties of a well developed form, or some exceedingly fanciful dress; but for you, who had nothing to show but a good face, it was too bad. I have seen it, and without charge, too, mind you, and I am forced to say that it does not look so much unlike you as I anticipated. It was, however, but a poor speculation, and was even at a heavier discount after you left than the dinner speeches and toasts.

‘’To return again to the point from whence I started, I repeat that you have been laboring under a fatal misconception. You set [column 3:] out on your voyage to this country with false impressions of the character of our institutions and the manners of our people. The whole army of American tourists in England, themselves at your elbow, and their books upon your shelves, had instilled into you the whole of that rancor and abuse which they had not dared but in part to express in their works. Those poor, miserable deluded beings, who, failing while here to impose upon the wisdom and discernment of a British public by their impudence and arrogance, or attract the least respect or attention to themselves, went home, and from their abodes of elegant leisure and retirement, sent out to the world such conglomerations of abuse and scurrility in regard to this country, as even to excite the anger and disgust of their own countrymen, must have been allowed to influence your mind in forming its opinions of us. — Else how could you have had the daring to begin and continue such a system of impositions as you practiced among us? If you had been sincere in all those fine speeches (and one could scarcely believe the contrary who heard or read them,) you never would have been induced to write a paper of such a character, as the circular which you have published. The expressions contained in it of themselves afford us conclusive evidence that you came with prejudiced views, and with a determination to avail yourself of our supposed weaknesses, in order to accomplish some favorite personal designs. Fortunately, or unfortunately, as you may consider it, you fell among the right men to foster and encourage these false opinions.

“I will not, however, push this matter further ; but before I close let me call your attention to a few considerations. First, when you visit this country again, consult the people who buy and read your books, and not the men who are possessed of this same itching to be read, which is the frailty of more blockheads than men of genius. Secondly, never make any allusions to the shop in your public addresses; this matter of international copyright has a strong odor. Thirdly, do not believe the proprietors and publishers of mammoth newspapers to be the only rightful representatives of the press in this country. Fourthly, if you should find time to write anything besides abuse of our hospitalities, send early proofs to some one of our respectable publishing houses some two or three weeks in advance of publication in America, so that in this way a large edition may be sold here, and you thereby reap some advantage from it. And lastly, never be ungrateful for civilities which you know are honestly meant, however awkwardly expressed. And now, Quarles, I give you my best wishes.”

Any comment upon this communication I am sure my American readers will not expect. In this way, private individuals are attacked, their motives impugned, and their actions shown up in the worst possible light. From the decisions of these tribunals there is no appeal. [page 12:]



Under this general head have appeared in various English and American Journals at different periods, many communications devoted to a vindication of the course pursued by Great Britain in her attempts to check the Slave Trade, and also of those seizures of American vessels sailing under their national flag, which have been made by the cruisers of the British government, undoubtedly by the consent and under the sanction of its ministry; and upon matters relating to the abolition of slavery in the United States and elsewhere. These letters I have read attentively — not simply because they evince in their sources a degree of information upon this subject which I confess myself not to have possessed, but also because they have been eminently suggestive to my mind, touching as they do upon subjects so important in their bearing upon the interests of our commerce, and in fact upon the peace of the two countries, and the world. The authors of these communications seem to have entered upon their labors without for a moment admitting the possibility that these seizures and searches may be proved to be unjustifiable outrages upon our commerce and treaty stipulations. To me, the evidence is conclusive; and I think it must be so to all reflecting persons, who are not warped by unworthy prejudices, or who do not look to the abolition of the Slave Trade as a consummation superior to all considerations of national honor — treaties solemnly ratified — or of that protection which it is the duty of our government to afford to its commerce. I know that it has become the fashion of late, for even American writers to take sides with England, and to defend the course of policy pursued by her in the settlement of her difficulties with China, (which, by the blessing of heaven are as far removed from satisfactory adjustment now as they were at the beginning) and in the discussion of questions connected with our mutual relations, and affecting the honor of our country, it is not rare to see the press in different sections of the Union, leaning to the side of that country. In such cases, when an honest expression of opinion is simply meant, or where the ground assumed by her on any matter is considered a just and tenable one, and such expression of preference but a vindication of an undoubted principle of justice and right, no objection on the score of want of patriotism can be urged. But in the present instances, it seems to me that the authors of these letters — many of them Americans — never would have taken the ground of defence so utterly at variance with the general sentiments of the people of our country, or have arrived at conclusions unwarranted and unsustained by any facts previously stated, so injurious to the character of a portion of our citizens, and prejudicial to the honor and integrity of our government, [column 2:] if an unnatural bias in favor of England had not moved and influenced them. But let us proceed to inquire whether the government of Great Britain is sincere in its endeavors to annihilate the Slave Trade and Slavery. In answer to this inquiry, it does appear from the evidence of facts within the knowledge of, probably, all my readers, that this movement was originally started by a few individuals among her people, the genuineness of whose philanthropy cannot for a moment be doubted. By them it was urged upon the government, and to them solely, with that portion of the English people whom they represented, is humanity indebted for that measure of success which has attended the undertaking. With this belief, I maintain, that the government, or rather its then administrators, never contemplated such an act of disinterestedness, and never was capable, as its whole history proves, of any feeling or exertion for the general benefit of mankind. This measure having been matured and carried into effect, the noble and generous intentions of the originators were in a measure lost sight of; for how foolish and inconsistent with all its previous acts, did it seem to the ministers to waste time and money in the furtherance of any design which had not for its aim the wealth and aggrandizement of the country! The proper vessels necessary for the service were sent on to the coast of Africa, in obedience to the requisition of Parliament, and were found not only efficient in checking the traffic in slaves, but what was of higher consideration with the government, to subserve signally its designs upon the commercial liberties of other nations. Inducements were held out to officers to embark in this service, in the shape of bounties and prize moneys — until at last it became an exceedingly profitable occupation, and very considerable sums were realized by those engaged in it. It has been asserted, and I believe satisfactorily proved, that the trade was openly connived at and encouraged by these agents of the British government. At any rate, the seizure and shipment of slaves, in order that these same slaves might be retaken, and the bounty, by this treachery and fraud, obtained. For this conduct of these servants of the crown, the government is not responsible, excepting in so far as it had granted to these men immunities and privileges, and an authority which are in their operations unjustifiable encroachments, and opposed to the general consent of nations. I allude to these discussions in this place, because, at the time I was in England, they filled the largest space in conversations, in the columns of newspapers, and in Parliamentary debates, and were the occasions of a great deal of excitement in public meetings and private circles; and of an inconceivable amount of bombast and boasting on the part of the men who were engaged in them. — And besides, at this period, Lord Ashburton [column 3:] and Mr. Webster, or, I should rather have said, Mr. Webster and Lord Ashburton, were negotiating the terms of a treaty which, it was expected, would include this momentous question. That treaty has been confirmed and ratified, and by one of its stipulations, this matter of espionage upon the coast of Africa is arranged to the mutual satisfaction of both governments. But I repeat the question again, is Great Britain honest and sincere in her endeavors to annihilate the Slave Trade and Slavery? The answer rushes to my tongue, and would find utterance in a thunder-tone. No, no! this pretence is a more cursed hypocrisy than ever disgraced the policy of any nation that ever existed. It bears the lie on its own face, in lines the most horrible and disgusting. Could any man, who heard as I did, in the British Parliament, the recital of what atrocities were practiced upon men, and women, and tender children, in the coal mines; how men were obliged to labor, up to their knees in the mire, in a state of entire nakedness, day after day and week after week, in shafts where it was impossible to erect the form; how delicate women, but half clad, were reduced to the same hardships, and dangers, and forced to submit to every species of debasement; how tender children, in the earliest years of infancy, were taken into those pits of darkness and there made to witness the vice and infamy practiced in them — doomed by a hard necessity to toil and labor, until some dreadful deformity should unfit them for further service. I say, could any rational man listen to these recitals, and yet be willing to believe in the sincerity of British efforts for the extinction of slavery? And then if he should hear Lord Brougham rise in his place and say that he did not think legislation necessary or expedient in these cases, and that the interference of Parliament would be unwise and impolitic — it would seem as though any argument to prove the contrary would be a waste of time and words. The conviction would thrill through him as it did through me, like an electric shock. Or would it be necessary for me to go among the people who are moving about me, and make inquiries, or take depositions? Must I visit the manufacturing districts, poor-houses, the thousands of abodes of sorrow and distress in the city of London? Must I question every beggar I meet in the street? Must I pore over police reports, or statistics of crime; ransack prisons, hospitals, and other charitable institutions? I could do all these — I will not say that I have done all these — and the evidences which I should be able to accumulate by such means, would do more than convince your judgment; they would excite your deepest sympathies, if you had any bowels of compassion for suffering humanity — any respect for that nature which every being enjoys as the common boon of heaven — any anxiety for that soul which is destined to fill a larger or lesser space in another [page 13:] existence, as the proportion of advancement in this shall determine; and urge you on to a noble effort, not only for the annihilation of all slavery everywhere, but particularly for the amelioration of the condition of the poor in England. They, unlike our slaves of the south, are unprovided with the means of existence. They want bread, and cannot get it. Can it for a moment be believed that we should tolerate a condition of servitude where the slaves could not find sustenance, and would be obliged to starve in the streets? Perish the thought! In every place where I have been in this country, I have observed among the highest classes a blindness and heartlessness in view of the facts I have here set forth, which astonished me. — Whether it is the blindness of stupidity, I am not able to determine. It is certainly the heartlessness of guilt.

The papers were always filled with the usual quantity of intelligence relating to these subjects, but they were rarely ever made the topic of remark. In order to give the reader some idea of the actual condition of the poor in England, and of slavery in India, I have taken a few extracts from some of her highest authorities, to which I beg particular attention:

IGNORANCE AND CRIME. On looking over the list of prisoners tried this week at the Knutsford petty sessions, we find that out of 114, onehalf can neither read nor write; 32 can read and write imperfectly; 24 can read; and only one can read and write well. Such statistical facts as these ought particularly to be held before the public mind, in order that the influential classes may be stimulated to exert themselves for the promotion of popular instruction. In the late disturbances, we have seen the effect of ignorance upon a scale of fearful magnitude, and it would be well if a timely lesson could be learned from it by those who have it in their power to apply the remedy. The magistrates of Knutsford were very properly engaged on Monday morning in discovering the best means of lessening the enormous expense of prosecutions to the county. If one-half of the large sum thus expended, were to be applied for a few years to the education of the neglected portion of the population, might it not be expected to yield good interest in the way of pecuniary saving? [Macclesfield Chronicle

NORTHLEACH PRISON. The great fault is a deficiency of food. The mother of Beal deposed that he was in good health before he went to Northleach. “On the Saturday before he died, when he was quite sensible, he said, ‘Mother, when I was in the potato-bury, I felt my blood run cold. My hair stood on end upon my head. I pulled off my cap and kneeled upon it. I think that caused my death. The starvation of the prison that I suffered, mother, no tongue can tell.’ The father of the deceased said he told him on the Saturday evening before his death, that he was down in the bury ‘chitting potatoes’ with Churin, when he ate some raw potatoes. He did not eat so many as Churin. It was hunger which induced him to eat them. He saw the prison caused his death. His being put into the potato-bury caused his illness. He said he made no complaint because he was afraid of being served worse. My son said he would sooner saw for several years than work at the mill for a month.” [Lincoln Examiner [column 2:]

NEW SYSTEM OF DIET. The poor people are coming in hundreds here, to see if anything will be done for them. I was present this day when an application was made to ——, stating that they were existing by bleeding the cattle, and boiling the blood until it became thick, when they eat it; and also eating sea-weed and small shell-fish. I know cases myself, where children resorted to weeds in the fields, to allay their hunger. [Letter from Ireland

Others are known to have by night taken away the carrion of a cow drowned by chance, and unskinned for two days, and picked the bones that the dogs had feasted on. [Letter from Ireland

DEATH FROM STARVATION. The case I allude to is that of a poor widow, named Ellen North, sixty years old, who resided in the Leadyard, Middle Hillgate, and who was found starved to death on Sunday morning last, without either sheet, blanket, or anything worthy to be called clothing, in a room for which she paid 8d. per week. She had had no work for the last three weeks, and was supposed to have been dead about a week, when the door of her miserable room was broken open by the neighbors.

Thus by stagnation of trade, the continuance of which is undoubtedly occasioned by the corn laws, are the old left to die neglected, while many of our young women, reckless from want, abandon themselves to prostitution. [Bolton Free Press

In one case, seventeen persons were found in a dwelling less than five yards square; in another, eight persons were found in a cellar six feet under ground, and measuring about four yards by five. [Manchester Times

Although death, directly produced by hunger, may be rare, there can be no doubt that a very large proportion of the mortality among the laboring classes is attributable to a deficiency of food as a main cause, aided by too long continued toil and exertion, without adequate repose, insufficient clothing, exposure to cold, and other privations to which the poor are subjected. [Dr. Henard

In England, those who till the earth and make it lovely and fruitful by their labors, are only allowed the slave’s share of the many blessings they produce. [Sheffield Address

Why is it that so many laboring parents in England become as it were slave dealers in their own flesh and blood, and sell the bones and muscles of their offspring to that premature toil which withers and cripples human beings, body and soul together? Is this spontaneous? Is it natural? I think too well of my race to believe it. The corn law makes the poor hungry — hunger makes men wolves.

Sir Robert Peel said that they (the corn laws) were upheld because it was “the constitutional policy of England to maintain the aristocracy and magistracy, as an essential part of the community.” [Parliamentary Reports

Sir — I was summoned to Bristol a few days ago, and on the Stapleton road I met a long covered truck drawn by three men and four boys, harnessed together in rope tackle, exactly as you may have seen bullocks at a plough, or dogs in a cart. On inquiring what this could mean, I was told that they belonged to the Great Union House, and had been to the city for provisions. I expressed my horror at seeing human beings submit to such degradation, when the man assured me with the utmost unconcern, that this was nothing of a load; that they went for oakum and various other things, among which he mentioned rod-iron to make nails, on which occasions he [column 3:] said you might see ten, twelve, or even fifteen in the harness! So on almost every public road in England, and in the towns, the traveller sees women scraping up manure with their hands, to sell for bread. [Letter in Lincoln Times

Coarse and insolent Britain! raze from your country’s shield the noble Lion, and place in its stead a squalid and starving wretch, vainly imploring a morsel of bread! [English paper

He had 25,000 of his flock living within half mile of his chapel. Scarcely a single Catholic, excepting in cases of sudden death, breathed his last without sending for the priest; and of these — he spoke from personal observation — at least one half died from starvation. [Rev. Mr. Hearne


The government permit parents and relatives, in times of scarcity, to sell their children. The number of slaves continually diminishing, a demand constantly exists for the purchase of them, which is supplied chiefly by parents selling their own children in seasons of scarcity or famine, or in circumstances of individual and pecuniary distress. [Parliamentary papers

Before I can believe that the slaves here are treated humanely, I must cast from my mind the remembrance of the cries which I have heard, and the mental degradation, the rags, the wretchedness, the bruises, the contused eyes and bones which I have witnessed; I must blot out adultery from the calendar of vices; I must disbelieve the numerous proofs which I have had of obstacles opposed to regular marriages and the general humiliation of females. I must put away every idea of the modes of punishment of which eye witnesses have given me account, and the short jacket must be no longer a badge of slavery. In addition to the domestic discipline to which slaves are subject, we find such punishments as the following ordered by the police magistrates. “Chimpu, twelve lashes with the ratan, and to work on the road in irons for a period of fourteen weeks, thereafter to be placed at his master’s disposal; offence, false accusation. Tulep being a notoriously bad character, and not having yet the wounds healed of the punishment last inflicted upon him, is sentenced to be flogged in the posteriors with eighteen lashes of a ratan: offence, stealing from his brother. [Mr. Gosling

I have seen it stated that there are in India fifty thousand persons whom we call Anglo Indians. I can only say that I believe there are five times that number. Why, sir, you can have no conception of the extent of these evils, and it is insufferable that the Company’s officers should sanction such things. The truth is, they have too little objection to the system themselves. An army cannot move in India without working the destruction of virtue and the degradation of woman. [Letter from a Gentleman in India

It is certainly a political anomaly that, while England has at such heavy sacrifices attempted to assert the rights of the African race, the voice of humanity should not have reached her from the East.

I speak not of the China war; but I allude to the suffering millions in British India, trodden down and oppressed by British avarice; I allude to the oceans of blood which she has shed in that unhappy country; to the unjust and remorseless wars which she has urged against a weak and timid race; to the slave trade itself, as it exists where her influence is paramount. [London paper

THE MODE OF CONDUCTING THE SLAVE TRADE IN BRITISH INDIA. The following is part of a statement made by the [page 14:] leader of a gang of slaves on the coast of Malacca, as quoted in a late speech of Lord Brougham. It will be recollected that, if not actually subjected, British influence is paramount in that country, whose capital was taken in 1807, and is still retained by England.

“I left my home with a gang of forty Thugs, and proceeded to Husseeagunge, where Heera, Dass and Rockmunee went to the city of Mattra for the purpose of buying some clothes, and succeeded in winning the confidence of four travellers, two men and two women, with their three children, whom they brought with them to our encampment; after passing two days with us Teella Dass, Mudhoe Dass, Byragees, and Dewa Hookma, Teelake, Gungaram, Brinjarahs, Balluck Dass, Chutter Dass, Neput Dass, and Hunooman Dass, prevailed on the family to accompany them to the banks of the Jumna, and murdered the four elderly travellers in a garden near the village of Gokool. After throwing their bodies into the Jumna, they took their three children to the tanda, or encampment of Dewa, Brinjarah, near the village of Kheir, and sold the two female children for forty rupees and the male for five rupees.’‘ One of them, a woman, says: “We now went off to Thuneidier, where we encamped in a grove on the bank of a tank, and here several parties of travellers were inveigled by the wives of the leaders of our gangs to come and take up their lodgings with us. 1. A Chumar, with three daughters, one thirty years of age, and the others young. 2. The widow of a carpenter and her son, 10 years of age. 3. A Brahmin and his wife, with one beautiful daughter fourteen years old, another five, and a son six years of age. 4. A Brahmin and his wife, with one daughter about fourteen, another twelve, and a son three years of age. These travellers lodged for two or three days among the tents of the Naeks and Brinjarahs, after which we all went one morning to a village in the territory of the Toovooee Eajah; I forgot his name. Here very heavy rain fell at night, and deluged the country, and we got no rest. The next morning we went to a village on the bank of the canal, still in the same Eajah’s country. The next day we went to a village on the bank of the Jumna, and two hours after night, Kaner Dass proposed that we should go down to the sacred streams of the Jumna, say our prayers, and remain there. They all went down accordingly, leaving me, Roopla and his second wife (Eookmanee) at the village. They murdered the seven men and women, and threw their bodies into the river; but who killed them, or how they were killed, I know not. The Chumar and his eldest daughter, the two Brahmins and their wives, and the carpenter’s widow, were all murdered. They brought the nine children back to us a watch and a half before daylight. They were all crying a good deal after their parents, and we quieted them the best way we could with sweetmeats and playthings. We came to Beebeepore, and encamped in the grove. A daughter and son of the Brahmin’s were extremely beautiful, and these we left with Dhyan Sing for sale.’‘ Lord Brougham continued, but from the low tone in which he spoke, and from the excitement under which he labored, he was almost inaudible. We understood him to speak as follows: “I have no language — no power of speech wherewith to give utterance to the mixed feelings of pity and horror which must arise in the breast of every man at such atrocities as these. But it is not necessary for me to add one word to the account which I have read to your lordships. I defy the most powerful orator to paint these atrocities in colors more striking — to place them in a light more appalling, than they receive from the simple statement of the facts themselves. [column 2:] Steeped in blood, no nation of the earth — nay, not Africa herself — ever presented more appalling examples of the proneness to take away life — of the utter indifference as to the taking away of life — which distinguishes this cruel, this revolting traffic.” [Lord Brougham’s Speech on Slavery in India

These are only a few examples of the character of English slavery at home, and English slavery abroad. Let the reader now decide, with the evidences of such facts before him, whether the lawmakers of England can be honest and sincere in their contests against that slavery which exists out of their own dominions, and beyond their own jurisdiction. If the answer is, as it must be, adverse to this proposition, then I say let us no longer mince matters — let us use such language in speaking of it as cannot be misunderstood or evaded. The true test of any man’s character is to be found beside his own hearthstone. The same tests may be applied to governments. If England really possesses that genuine philanthropy which is her continual pride and boast, it will show itself in the pleasant faces of her own children; in the happiness of family firesides; in that impartiality with which she dispenses the never failing bounty of heaven; leaving the strong to lean on their own strength, and putting under the weak the prop of a kindly hand. Let her senseless lordlings cut up their extensive parks — their unimproved meadows and fields — into small plantations and farms, that nature, ever fruitful and never chiding, who yearns with almost the sensibility of a human soul to feed the beings that daily starve upon her bosom, may throw off the burden which rests like a heavy pall upon her, and do the bidding of her God!



Before leaving Boston for England in accordance with a previous determination, I procured a letter to Mr. Samuel Pickwick, a gentleman with whose life and adventures the public are well acquainted. This letter I obtained from a cousin of his, Mr. Frisby Pickwick, who was then and is now residing in the United States, as an agent for the sale of Birmingham Cutlery. I found on my arrival in London, after considerable fenquiry, that Mr. Pickwick still lived at Dulwich and came to town rarely — indeed only on occasions when it was absolutely necessary that he should be present at the meeting of his club, which I understood was renewed under very favorable auspices, after its dissolution at the time of his retirement and that of his fellow travellers into the quietude of private life. He usually stopped at the London Coffee House, Ludgate Hill. I sent my letter with my address there, and on the succeeding evening, at about six o’clock, as I was sitting in my room enjoying a tumbler of hot brandy and water, a servant entered and informed me that a gentleman was waiting in the hall to see me. [column 3:]

“What kind of looking gentleman is he,” I asked.

“Very fat like, sir.”

“Show him up!”

In a few moments, the veritable Mr. Pickwick was ushered into the room — he came in with a pleasant smile on his face, his hat in his hand and bowing very low.

“This is Mr. Quickens, is it?”

“It is — and this is Mr. Pickwick,” I presume.

“You are right, Mr. Quickens. I am very glad to make your acquaintance,” and here he shook me very heartily by the hand. —

“Your letter reached me yesterday, and as I was coming to town this afternoon to attend a meeting of our Club, I determined to call upon you.”

I expressed myself delighted to have been so much honored.

“Why, Mr. Quickens,” he resumed, “I am fond of America, I like her institutions, her people, and from the descriptions which my cousin has given me of it, I think I should like the country.”

I told him that he was held in high esteem in the United States, and that my countrymen were glad of any occasion which should recall him to their recollection — that I should take great pleasure, nay even make it a matter of duty to convey to them the sentiment of these flattering expressions which he had been so kind as to make use of in speaking of my country. Much more agreeable discourse passed between us, after which he rose and apologizing for the shortness of his visit, which he said he would gladly have extended, if his presence was not required at the meeting of his Club. He, however, with great politeness gave me an invitation to accompany him, which I of course accepted, and we soon set off for the London Coffee House, where the Club met. As my readers would be pleased to know something of his personal appearance, I will describe him as he appeared to me on the evening of this visit. Mr. Pickwick is about five feet ten in height, well proportioned, with a decided tendency to em-bon-point; his motions are graceful and easy, his head is now entirely bald — the greatest charm of Mr. P. ‘s person lies in his face, which is full of kindness, benignity, and intelligence; his eyes are gettng very bad, so as to make it necessary for him to wear spectacles — he was dressed at this time in a dark brown coat, with nethers to correspond, a high black stock and double breasted scarlet waistcoat, the weather being so cold as to require thick clothing. When we reached the Coffee House, the other members of the Club had arrived and the meeting was opened. The question before the Club that evening was upon “the expediency of introducing and popularizing a new order of poetical composition.” Mr. Pitzjones in the chair — present, Mr. Spicy, the Hon. Mr. Dowse, Cyril Horseacre, Esq., the Rev. Hugh Hound Hexameter, Dr. Daboll, and the talented Mr. Pickwick. The meeting was called to order by Mr. Fitzjones, [page 15:] and the proceedings of the last sitting were ordered to be read. This having been finished, Mr. Dowse rose and offered the following resolution, which was seconded by Dr. Daboll: “Resolved, That all Poetry is the effervescence of human nature, which generated within and driven iipward by an inward force to the head, thence passes through the natural medium, the mouth, to the world, and bears the same relation to the individual that the froth of the Champagne does to the bottle.” This resoluion was received with great applause. Indeed so great became the excitement, that Mr. Pickwick wiped his spectacles several times with apparent unconsciousness — not that this esteemed gentleman approved of the sentiment which it contained; it was far otherwise. — Mr. Dowse having seated himself, immensely flattered by the demonstrations which he had been so fortunate as to excite, Mr. Pickwick wiped his spectacles, and adjusting them very nicely, rose and said: “Mr. Chairman, I cannot repress the indignation which agitates me, that one whom I have been proud to call my friend, a gentleman whose literary acquirements have given himself a high place in the world, should have been instrumental in bringing forward a resolution so utterly at variance with all preconceived opinions upon the subject.” Mr. Pickwick’s face now became flushed, and it was apparent that his natural sensitiveness, a family complaint, had overcome him, and he sat down amid the groans of the Hon. Mr. Dowse and his friends. The Rev. Mr. Hexameter made a few observations in support of the resolution, which was ultimately passed — Mr. Fitzjones voting in the negative. The Chairman now stated that the next business of the meeting would be to attend to the consideration of such poetical compositions as might be presented. Dr. Daboll, an elderly person, wearing a queue and disporting himself in a pair of black tights with stockings to match, rose and stated to the Club, that he felt a degree of timidity, he might say delicacy, in laying before the Club such specimens of writing in this department as would be expected of him, under the resolution which had but just passed, believing as he did, that its sentiment was in accordance with nature, he had given it his hearty support, and had endeavored in the composition of these pieces to obey the rule which it implied, he would now proceed to recite a few of them. Here the gentleman’s voice lowered, so that I was unable to hear him. He was, however, soon interrupted. “Mr. Chairman, I protest against the further reading of any such specimens as the gentleman has just commenced, it is undignified, outrageous,” said Mr. Spicy. The Dr. now ceased reading, and regarded the last speaker over his spectacles with an expression so ludicrously savage, that the whole company on observing it, burst into an immoderate fit of laughter.

“Order, order,” exclaimed Fitzjones. “Order, gentlemen,” echoed Mr. Pickwick, [column 2:] who was holding on to his sides in a vain endeavor to reduce his theory to practice. — In the midst of the confusion, Dr. Daboll thrust his papers into an ancient portfolio, put his spectacles into his pocket, and seizing his hat and ivory-headed cane, rushed into the street. Something like quiet was now restored, when the Chairman requested that gentlemen would assist him in maintaining that order and decorum, which became a serious body. Met as we are (with particular stress upon the we) for the accomplishment of aims, nobler than any that have ever agitated the minds of men. The Chairman having seated himself, Mr. Horseacre rose. This individual was a retired veterinary surgeon, who had not only distinguished himself in his profession, but had amassed great wealth — he had in the practice of his profession been brought into contact with the elder Mr. Weller, who had spoken so highly of him in the presence of Mr. P. that this eminent person, as he afterwards informed me, became very desirous to make his acquaintance. An opportunity was soon afforded him, and they frequently sought each other’s society, so great a similarity of habits and opinions existed between them. Mr. Pickwick introduced him to the Club and he was found a very valuable member. He possessed a literary turn of mind, with which he had been imbued (as he was wont to say) in early life, when serving an apprenticeship in the shop of a song seller, where frequent opportunities were afforded him of storing his mind with that information which had been of essential service to him through life. It is proper to add, that Mr. Horseacre was a bachelor of forty years standing — but was at this time meditating matrimony. I said, some time ago, that this gentleman rose — he did rise, and said, “Mr. Chairman, I have a little effusion to offer, which I hope will be saved the misfortune which attached to the attempt of my learned friend, Dr. Daboll; here it is:


Dear friend, I’ve pondered much of late,

Upon the hapless lot of those,

Who having come to man’s estate,

Wear ragged shirts, and undarned hose.

When as a wise man would suppose,

Instead of living sad and lonely

Without a mate to share their woes;

They would assume a rib, if only

To wash and starch their Sunday linen.

There are some girls who for the winning

Would well repay their tender toil,

And then the rough points of their sinning

Will polish down with stone and oil.

Indeed, my dear good natured friend,

I count it one of nature’s laws,

That man and woman should be joined

In holy fetters matrimonial.

Although I am myself inclined

T’ esteem the dower, patrimonial

A sweetner of the sourest leaven,

The roughest form, the hardest face

It softens to a melting grace

And lends to earth a ray of heaven.

Yet ——

“Mr. Horseacre,” here the Chairman exclaimed, “I regret the necessity which obliges [column 3:] me to interrupt you; but in so doing I am justified by a standing regulation of our Club, which declares that no personalities between members shall be allowed. Now it is well known to gentlemen, that our respected friend, to whom this epistle is addressed, is a bachelor; he is single in the broadest sense of the term, and such being the case, I leave it to you to decide if he is not to be commiserated in his present forlorn situation, rather than ridiculed, as seems to have been the intention of the writer.’‘

“Mr. Chairman,” exclaimed the poet in a very heated manner, “you do me great injustice; it was never my desire to injure the feelings of Mr. Pickwick, and I appeal to that gentleman to relieve me from the embarrassment in which I am placed.”

Mr. P. now rose. “I am exceedingly grieved,” said he with considerable feeling, “that any difficulty should have arisen out of so trifling a circumstance. Mr. Horseacre, did you refer to me in a poetical or Pickwickian sense?’‘

“Poetical,” responded that individual.

“Ah! well. Now you will perceive, Mr. Chairman, that my friend was speaking of me poetically, and consequently he availed himself of a poet’s license. This I am confident will be satisfactory.”

“Very,” returned FitzJones, (quite chapfallen, for his defeat was signal), “Mr. Horseacre will now be allowed to proceed.”

“I regret to state, sir, that I had finished all that I intended to read when I was interrupted. The other portions are reserved for a private ear.”

Such was the state of affairs, when Mr. Pickwick himself rose, and reaching forth his right hand, while the other grasped the flaps of his coat behind him in his usual impressive and dignified manner, and said, that he would trouble the Club with a poem which had been prepared with great care, and which he believed embodied the spirit of the resolution, which had been so unanimously carried, early in the evening. He would then read,


Come thou to me my trusty cane

Companion dear through joy and pain,

Come let me see thee once again,

That old familiar look;

As when thy tapery zone unclasped,

The wanton winds thee rudely shook,

Or when with burning hand I grasped

Thy most unseemly crook.

I cut thee from the parent’s side,

When thou wast in thy virgin pride,

With a sweet grace thou couldst not hide,

All blooming fair and green;

Thou hadst a twin beside thee there

Slender and tall — a rival pair

So smooth and straight, so wondrous fair,

I scarce could choose between.

Oh! come to me my trusty cane,

Companion dear through joy and pain,

Come let us to the world again

To mingle with its throng;

Whose course down the tide of life,

Unmindful of its care and strife,

I as thy good-man, thou my wife,

We’ll gaily jog along. [page 16:]

Mr. Pickwick sat down amid the cheers and congratulations of his friends, and thereafter the Club adjourned, and we returned to our lodgings. The next morning I received a polite note from him, inviting me in very cordial terms to spend a few days with him at Dulwich; but this invitation I was obliged to decline, owing to the pressure of other engagements.



It will perhaps be expected that, in bringing this narrative of my travels and observations to a close, I should give my sober and deliberate judgment upon the main features of the English character. Unwilling as I am to thrust any opinions of my own upon any one, the consideration that my work will not be complete without stating the conclusions which I have arrived at, induces me to do that for the reader which I should much prefer he would do for himself.

The people are in general frank, hospitable, and eminently social. I scarcely remember to have met an Englishman who did not possess all these qualities, and who did not seem to take delight in their exercise. In matters of opinion, they are conceited, obstinate, and prejudiced — violent partisans in politics and religion, and holding to their hereditary notions respecting national and church government with the most astonishing inveteracy.

The greatest defect in their character consists in this — that they have such an overweening partiality for every thing English, and such a contempt for every thing foreign that you never can rely upon their judgment even in matters of the most trivial moment, where they have a personal interest.

Of the peculiar traits of the lower orders, I cannot speak with any confidence. I am of opinion, however, that in intelligence, general rectitude, and physical energy, they are in the social scale infinitely below the lowest class of persons in the United States. They have no independence, no self-reliance, no trust, and are, in consequence of this want of mental and physical stamina, the mere machines of their masters. It is indeed, curious to observe the grinning, cringing obsequiousness of their manners. I have looked upon the humbler classes with whom I have chanced to meet, with deep commiseration and pity, that the hard necessities of their condition, should oblige them to resort to such practices. The reader will not be surprised to learn that they are treacherous and deceitful.

As to the political condition of the country, it is entirely out of my power to say anything favorable. It is the great misfortune of the English people to be burdened with the maintenance of Government the most expensive and extravagant of any in the world. I really believe, that if they were not so hedged in by habit, so cramped by [column 2:] circumstances, and had not that traditionary respect for the present state of things, this great farce of royalty, which they are obliged to support, and the great aristocratic element of their constitution, would both be swept into that oblivion which they richly deserve — and then the sleeping energies of the people being once aroused into something like thoughtfulness and activity, it would require no superior sagacity, no sublime spirit of prophecy to predict what would be the happy condition of their posterity.

America has set them a noble example. She has been the first to plan and carry into operation, such a system of government as is best suited to the wants of men. They have in them the same inherent qualities, that her sons possessed, the same love of liberty, and hatred of oppression, which led them into all the perils and uncertainties of a civil war; but the truth is, tyranny and oppression are so disguised, so ingeniously concealed from the observation and scrutiny of the reader, and their severe and unrelenting task-masters have so many blandishments, that they are seduced into a belief that all the evils they suffer are owing to circumstances of a temporary nature, to depressions of trade, over-production, shortness of crops, imperfect arrangement of tariffs, &c. rather than to any inherent defects of their system.

The greatest moral evil existing at this time in England, that does not require the aid of arms, nor the action of a political revolution for its annihilation, is intemperance. No one who has not resided in that country can have any just idea of its extent and effects upon individuals and society. The quantity of liquors imported into England and consumed yearly, exclusive of home distillations, has already been made the subject of serious consideration by philanthropists in both hemispheres. The evils resulting from this practice, are aggravated by the fact, that it is openly indulged in and encouraged by the higher classes; and thus the sanction in high places of a pernicious example is added to the other inducements which are constantly thrown in the way of those humbler persons, who are least able to pay the price of intoxication, and who can least afford to be under its influence. The English are great eaters, and as I have already hinted, great drinkers. Unlike my countrymen, who are charged, perhaps with some justice, of stuffing and crowding their food into the stomach, with all that characteristic precipitancy for which they are celebrated. They proceed slowly, with great deliberation and care — with them the process of dining has become a well regulated system, and makes the’ highest enjoyment of their lives. They begin with small quantities, which are gradually but almost invariably increased as they proceed along, until at last by easy and quiet stages they reach the goal of satiety, where they are contented to rest until the light of a new day breaks upon them. It is exceedingly dangerous to disturb an Englishman [column 3:] during dinner. This remark I make as a caution to Americans to avoid approaching them on matters of business during dinner, or even at any time after it. I remember that I had some little business to transact with a merchant in Liverpool, to whom I had letters of credit from home, and I was so situated as to make it absolutely necessary that I should see him, after he had left his counting room, and while he was engaged upon his dinner, and so making a merit of my necessities, I walked to his house, rang at the door, which was opened by a surly looking porter, who seemed to partake of some of his master’s acerbity. I handed him my card. “Can I see Mr. Dodsley for a moment?” I whispered, predicting to a positive certainty what kind of an answer I should receive.

“No sir, it is impossible. He has just sat down to dinner.”

“But my business is urgent.”

“I cannot help it. I have the most positive command not to admit any one during dinner.”

“Take in my card, sir, and I will wait for an answer,” I said sternly.

“It’s no use. Indeed I dare not do it. I should be afraid of my head, and besides he has some friends dining with him today, and he will not like to be interrupted.”

“But, sirrah, I must and will see him. I shall wait here until I do see him — so now take your time about it.” The porter saw that I was determined and making up the worst face of which his meagre visage was capable, he disappeared. In a few moments he came out, and motioning me into a side room which seemed to communicate with the dining hall, he left me. Presently, in came Mr. Dodsley, with an immense white napkin tied up close under his chin, his mouth and face covered with crumbs and his hands in as bad a plight.

“Why really, Mr. Quickens, what can have happened? Is any body dead? How d’ye do? Really has anything serious occurred1? I had just sat down to dinner.’‘ I explained to the old gentleman in few words that I was about leaving town immediately and could not do so without concluding my arrangements with him, otherwise I should not have troubled him at so unseasonable an hour — he was, however, very short and crusty, and I was glad to leave him; as the door closed upon me I heard him abusing the porter in good set terms.

In conclusion, I cannot but remark that, from the intimations I have had from various sources, I am convinced that these sheets, which I am now about to consign into the hands of the impartial reader, will not meet with a favorable reception in England. The observations and facts which I have stated, and the conclusions which I have drawn from them, I am sure will not be palatable to English tastes; and as I have expressed the truth, without any effort or extrinsic ornament, without any hope of popular applause or desire for gain, the gratification which I shall derive from the consciousness of having discharged a high moral duty, will be the amplest recompense. If I shall lose a single friend on the other side of the Atlantic, by what I have set down in these pages I shall esteem him to have been unworthy of my friendship. It must also be apparent to every one, that I have not been influenced by the reception which I met with in England; on the contrary, I think, it will be found that I have rather leaned to the other side.


This article was attributed to Poe by Joseph Jackson, but has since been rejected from the canon.


[S:0 - ENIFVEC, 1842] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Rejected - English Notes [Text-02]