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A Year's Residence in the United States of America: Vol. 1
Description of the Situation and Extent of Long Island, and also of the Face of the Country, and an account of the Climate, Seasons and Soil.
11. LONG ISLAND is situated in what may be called the middle climate of that part of the United States, which, coast wise, extends from Boston to the Bay of Chesapeake. Farther to the South the cultivation is chiefly by negroes, and farther to the north than Boston is too cold and arid to be worth much notice, though, doubtless, there are to be found in those parts good spots of land and good farmers. Boston is about 200 miles to the North of me, and the Bay of Chesapeake about the same distance to the South. In speaking of the climate and seasons, therefore, an allowance must be made, of hotter or colder, earlier or later, in a degree proportioned to those distances; be, cause I can speak positively only of the very spot, at which I have resided. But, this is a matter of very little consequence; seeing that every part has its seasons first or last. All the difference is, that, in some parts of the immense space of which I have spoken, there is a little more summer than in other parts. The same crops will, I believe, grow in them all.
12. The situation of Long Island is this: it is about 130 miles long, and, on an average about 8 miles broad. It extends in length from the Bay of the City of New York to within a short distance of the State of Rhode Island. One side of it is against the sea, the other side looks across an arm of the sea into a part of the State of New York (to which Long Island belongs) and into a part of the State of Connecticut. At the end nearest the city of New York it is separated from the site of that city by a channel so narrow as to be crossed by a Steam-Boat in a few minutes; and this boat, with another near it, impelled by a team of horses, which work in the boat, form the mode of conveyance from the Island to the city, for horses, waggons, and every thing else.
13. The Island is divided into three counties, King's county, Queen's county, and the county of Suffolk. King's county takes off the end next New York city for about 13 miles up the Island; Queen's county cuts off another slice about thirty miles further up; and all the rest is the county of Suffolk. These counties are divided into townships. And, the municipal government of Justices of the Peace, Sheriffs, Constables, &c. is in nearly the English way, with such differences as I shall notice in the second part of this work.
14. There is a ridge of hills, which runs from one end of the Island to the other. The two sides are flats, or, rather, very easy and imperceptible slopes towards the sea. There are no rivers, or rivulets, except here and there a little run into a bottom which lets in the sea water for a mile or two as it were to meet the springs. Dryness is, therefore, a great characteristic of this Island. At the place where I live, which is in Queen's county, and very nearly the middle of the Island, crosswise, we have no water, except in a well seventy feet deep, and from the clouds; yet, we never experience a want of water. A large rain water cistern to take the run from the house, and a duck pond to take, that from the barn, afford an ample supply; and, I can truly say, that, as to the article of water, I never was situated to please me so well in my life before. The rains come about once in fifteen days; they come in abundance for about twenty-four hours; and then ail is fair and all is dry again immediately. Yet here and there, especially on the hills, there are ponds, as they call them here; but in England, they would be called lakes from their extent as well as from their depth. These, with the various trees which surround them, are very beautiful indeed.
15. The farms are so many plots originally scooped out of woods; though in King's and Queen's counties the land is generally pretty much deprived of the woods, which, as in every other part of America that I have seen, are beautiful beyond all description. The Walnut of two or three sorts, the Plane; the Hickory, Chestnut, Tulip Tree, Cedar, Sassafras, Wild Cherry, (sometimes 60 feet high); more than fifty sorts of Oaks; and many other trees, but especially the Flowering Locust, or Accasia, which, in my opinion, surpasses all other trees, and some of which, in this Island, are of a very great height and girt. The Orchards constitute a feature of great beauty. Every farm has its orchard, and, in general, of cherries as well as of apples and pears. Of the cultivation and crops of these, I shall speak in another part of the work.
16. There is one great draw-back to all these beauties; namely, the fences; and, indeed, there is another with us South of England people; namely, the general (for there are many exceptions) slovenliness about the homesteads and particularly about the dwellings of labourers. Mr. BIRKBECK complains of this; and, indeed, what a contrast with the homesteads and cottages, which he left behind him near that exemplary spot, Guildford in Surrey! Both blots are, however, easily accounted for.
17. The fences are of post and rail. This arose, in the first place, from the abundance of timber that men knew not how to dispose of. It is now become an affair of great expense in the populous parts of the country; and, that it might, with great advantage and perfect ease, be got rid of, I shall clearly show in another part of my work.
18. The dwellings and gardens and little out houses of labourers, which form so striking a feature of beauty in England, and especially in Kent, Sussex, Surrey, and Hampshire, and which constitute a sort of fairy-land, when compared with those of the labourers in France, are what I, for my part, most feel the want of seeing upon Long Island. Instead of the neat and warm little cottage, the yard, cow-stall, pig-sty, hen-house, all in miniature, and the garden, nicely laid out and the paths bordered with flowers, while the cottage door is crowned with a garland of roses or honey-suckle; instead of these, we here see the labourer content with a shell of boards, while all around him lies as barren as the sea-beach; though the natural earth would send melons, the finest in the world, creeping round his door, and though there is no English shrub, or flower, which will not grow and flourish here. This want of attention in such cases is hereditary from the first settlers. They found land so plenty, that they treated small spots with contempt. Besides, the example of neatness was wanting. There was no gentlemen's gardens, kept as clean as drawing-rooms with grass as even as a carpet. From endeavouring to imitate perfection men arrive at mediocrity; and, those who never have seen, or heard of perfection, in these matters, will naturally be slovens.
19. Yet, notwithstanding these blots, as I deem them, the face of the country, in summer, is very fine. From December to May, there is not a speck of green. No green-grass and turnips and wheat and rye, and rape, as in England. The frost comes and sweeps all vegetation and verdant existence from the face of the earth. The wheat and rye live; but, they lose all their verdure. Yet the state of things in June, is, as to crops, and fruits, much about what it is in England; for, when things do begin to grow, they grow indeed; and the general harvest for grain (what we call corn) is a full month earlier that in the South of England!
20. Having now given a sketch of the face of the country, it only remains for me to speak in this place of the Climate and Seasons, because I shall sufficiently describe the Soil, when I come to treat of my own actual experience of it. I do not like, in these cases, general descriptions. Indeed, they must be very imperfect: and, therefore, I will just give a copy of a journal, kept by myself, from the 6th of May, 1817, to the 20th of April, 1818. This, it appears to me, is the best way of proceeding; for, then, there can be no deception; and, therefore, I insert it as follows:
May 5. Landed at New York.
6. Went over to Long Island. Very fine day, warm as May in England. The Peach trees going out of bloom. Plum trees in full bloom.
7. Cold, sharp. East wind, just like that which makes the old debauchees in London shiver and shake.
8. A little frost in the night, and a warm day.
9. Cold in the shade and hot in the sun.
10. The weather has been dry for some time. The grass is only beginning to grow a little.
11. Heavy thunder and rain in the night, and all this day.
12. Rain till noon. Then warm and beautiful.
13. Warm, fine day. Saw, in a garden, lettuces, onions, carrots and parsnips, just come up out of the ground.
14. Sharp, drying wind. People travel with great coats to be guarded against the morning and evening air.
15. Warm and fair. The farmers are beginning to plant their Indian Corn.
16. Dry wind. Warm in the sun. Cherry trees begin to come out in bloom. The Oaks show no green yet. The sassafras in flower: or whatever else it is called. It resembles the elder flower a good deal.
17. Dry wind. Warmer than yesterday. An English April morning, that is to say, a sharp April morning, and a June day.
18. Warm and fine. Grass pushes on. Saw some Lucern in a warm spot, 8 inches high.
19. Rain all day. Grass grows apace. People plant potatoes.
20. Fine and warm. A good cow sells, with a calf by her side, for 45 dollars. Steer, two years old, 20 dollars. A working ox, five years old, 40 dollars.
21. Fine and warm day; but the morning and evening coldish. The cherry trees in full bloom, aud the pear trees nearly the same. Oats, sown in April, up, and look extremely fine.
22. Fine and warm. — Apple trees fast coming into bloom. Oak buds breaking.
23. Fine and warm. — Things grow away. Saw kidney beans up and looking pretty well. Saw some beets coming up. Not a sprig of Parsley to be had for love or money. What improvidence! Saw some cabbage plants up and in the fourth leaf May 24. Rain at night and all day to-day. Apple trees in full bloom, and cherry bloom falling off.
25. Fine and warm.
26. Dry coldish wind, but hot sun. The grass has pushed on most furiously.
27. Dry wind. Spaded up a corner of ground and sowed (in the natural earth) cucumbers and melons. Just the time they tell me.
28. Warm and fair.
29. Cold wind; but the sun warm. No fires in parlours now, except now-and-then, in the mornings and evenings.
30. Fine and warm. — Apples have dropped their blossoms. And now the grass, the wheat, the rye and every thing, which has stood the year, or winter through, appear to have overtaken their like in Old England.
31. Coldish morning and evening.
June 1. Fine warm day; but saw a man, in the evening covering something in a garden. It was kidney-beans, and he feared a frost! To be sure they are very tender things. I have had them nearly killed in England, by June frosts.
2. Rain and warm. — The oaks and all the trees, except the Flowering Locusts, begin to look greenish.
3. Fine and warm. — The Indian Corn is generally come up; but looks yellow in consequence of the cold nights and little frosts. — N. B. I ought here to describe to my English Readers what this same Indian Corn is. — The Americans call it Corn, by way of eminence, and wheat, rye, barley and oats, which we confound under the name of corn, they confound under the name of grain. The Indian corn, in its ripe seed state, consists of an ear, which is in the shape of a spruce-fir apple. The grains, each of which is about the bulk of the largest marrow-fat pea, are placed all round a stalk, which goes up the middle, and this little stalk, to which the seeds adhere, is called the Corn Cob. Some of these ears (of which from 1 to 4 grow upon a plant) are more than a foot long; and I have seen many, each of which weighed more than eighteen ounces, avoirdupois weight. They are long or short, heavy or light, according to the land and the culture. I was at a Tavern, in the village of North Hempstead, last fall, (of 1817,) where I had just read, in the Courier, English newspaper, of a Noble Lord, who had been sent on his travels to France at ten years of age, and who, from his high-blooded ignorance of vulgar things, I suppose, had swallowed a whole ear of corn, which, as the newspaper told us, had well-nigh choaked the Noble Lord. The Landlord had just been showing me some of his fine ears of Corn; and I took the paper out of my pocket, and read the paragraph: "What!" said he, "swallow a whole ear of corn at once! No wonder that they have swallowed up poor Old John Bull's substance." After a hearty laugh, we explained to him, that it must have been wheat or barley. Then he said, and very justly, that the lord must have been a much greater fool than a hog is. — The plant of the Indian corn grows, upon an average, to about eight feet high, and sends forth the most beautiful leaves, resembling the broad leaf of the water flag. It is planted in hills, or rows, so that the plough can go between the standing crop. Its stalks and leaves are the best of fodder, if carefully stacked; and its grain is good for every thing. It is eaten by man and beast in all the various shapes of whole corn, meal, cracked, and every other way that can be imagined. It is tossed down to hogs, sheep, cattle, in the whole ear. The two former thresh for themselves, and the latter eat Cob and all. It is eaten, and is a very delicious thing, in its half-ripe, or milky state: and these were the "ears of corn,'' which the Pharisees complained of the Disciples for plucking off to eat on the Sabbath Day; for, how were they to eat wheat ears, unless after the manner of the "Noble Lord" above mentioned? Besides, the Indian corn is a native of Palestine. The French, who, doubtless, brought it originally from the Levant, call it Turkish Corn. The Locusts, that John the Baptist lived on, were not (as I used to wonder at when a boy) the noxious vermin that devoured the land of Egypt; but, the bean, which comes in the long pods borne by the three-thorned Locust-tree, and of which I have an abundance here. The wild honey was the honey of wild bees; and the hollow trees here contain swarms of them. The trees are cut, sometimes, in winter, and the part containing the swarm, brought and placed near the house, I saw this lately in Pennsylvania.
4. Fine rain. Began about ten o'clock.
5. Rain nearly all day.
6. Fine and warm. Things grow surprisingly.
7. Fine and warm. Rather cold at night.
9. Rain all day. The wood green, and so beautiful! The leaves look so fresh and delicate! But the Flowering Locust, only begins to show leaf. It will, by-and-by, make up, by its beauty, for its shiness at present.
10. Fine warm day. The cattle are up to their eyes in grass.
11. Fine warm day. Like the very, very finest days, in England in June.
12. Fine day. And, when I say fine, I mean really fine. Not a cloud in the sky.
13. Fine and hot. About as hot as the hottest of our English July weather in common years. Lucern 2 1/2 feet high.
14. Fine and hot; but we have always a breeze when it is hot, which I did not formerly find in Pennsylvania. This arises, I suppose, from our nearness to the sea.
15. Rain all day.
16. Fine, beautiful day. Never saw such fine weather. Not a morsel of dirt. The ground sucks up all. I walk about and work in the land in shoes made of deer-skin. They are dressed white, like breeches-leather. I began to leave off my coat to day, and do not expect to put it on again till October. My hat is a white chip, with broad brims. Never better health.
17. Fine day. The partridges (miscalled quails) begin to sit. The orchard full of birds' nests; and, amongst others, a dove is sitting on her eggs in an apple tree.
18. Fine day. — Green peas fit to gather in pretty early gardens, though only of the common Hotspur sort. — May Duke cherries begin to be ripe.
19. Fine day. — But, now comes my alarm! The musquitoes, and, still worse, the common horse-fly, which used to plague us so in Pennsylvania, and which were the only things I ever disliked belonging to the climate of America. Musquitoes are bred in stagnant water, of which here is none. Flies are bred in filth, of which none shall be near me, as long as I can use a shovel and a broom. They will follow fresh meat and fish. Have neither; or be very careful. I have this day put all these precautions in practice; and, now let us see the result.
20. Fine day. — Carrots and parsnips, sown on the 3d and 4th instant, all up, and in rough leaf! Onions up. The whole garden green in 18 days from the sowing.
21. Very hot. Thunder and heavy rain at night.
22. Fine day. May-duke Cherries ripe.
23. Hot and close. Distant thunder.
24. Fine day.
25. Fine day. White heart and Black heart cherries getting ripe.
26. Rain. Planted out cucumbers and melons. I find I am rather late.
27. Fine day.
28. Fine day. Gathered Cherries for drying for winter use.
29. Fine day.
30. Rain all night. People are planting out their cabbage for the winter crop.
July 1. Fine day. Bought 20 bushels of English salt for half a dollar a bushel.
2. Fine day.
3. Fine day.
4. Fine day. Carrots, sown 3d June, 3 inches high.
5. Very hot day. No flies yet.
6. Fine hot day. Currants ripe. Oats in haw. Rye nearly ripe. Indian corn two feet high. Hay-making nearly done.
7. Rain and thunder early in the morning.
8. Fine hot day. Wear no waistcoat now, except in the morning and evening.
9. Fine hot day. Apples to make puddings and pies; but our house-keeper does not know how to make an apple pudding. She puts the pieces of apple amongst the batter! She has not read Peter Pindar.
10. Fine hot day. — I work in the land morning and evening and write in the day, in a north room. — The dress is now become a very convenient, or, rather, a very little inconvenient, affair. Shoes, trowsers, shirt and hat. No plague of dressing and undressing!
11. Fine hot day in morning, but began to grow dark in the afternoon. A sort of haze came over.
12. Very hot day. The common black cherries, the little red honey-cherries, all ripe now, and falling and rotting by the thousands of pounds weight. But this place which I rent is remarkable for abundance of cherries. Some early peas, sown in the second week in June, fit for the table. This is thirty days from the time of sowing. No flies yet! No musquitoes!
13. Hot and heavy, like the pleading of a Quarter-Sessions lawyer. No breeze to-day, which is rarely the case.
14. Fine day. The Indian corn four feet high.
15. Fine day. We eat turnips, sown on the 2d of June. Early cabbages (a gift) sown in May.
16. Fine hot day. Fine young onions, sown on the 8th of June.
17. Fine hot day. Harvest of wheat, rye, oats and barley, half done. But, indeed, what is it to do, when the weather does so much!
18. Fine hot day.
19. Rain all day.
20. Fine hot day and some wind. All dry again as completely as if it had not rained for a year.
21 . Fine hot day; but heavy rain at night. Flies, a few. Not more than in England. My son John, who has just returned from Pennsylvania, says they are as great torments there as ever. At a friend's house (a farm-house) there, two quarts of flies were caught in one window in one day! I do not believe that there are two quarts in all my premises. But, then, I cause all mush and slops to be carried forty yards from the house. I suffer no peelings or greens or any rubbish to lie near the house. I suffer no fresh meat to remain more than one day fresh in the house. I proscribe all fish. Do not suffer a dog to enter the house. Keep all pigs at a distance of sixty yards. And sweep all round about once every week at least.
22. Fine hot day.
23. Fine hot day. Sowed Buck-wheat in a piece of very poor ground.
24. Fine hot day. Harvest (for grain) nearly over. The main part of the wheat, &c. is put into Barns, which are very large and commodious. Some they put into small ricks, or stacks, out in the fields, and there they stand, without any thatching, till they are wanted to be taken in during the winter, and, sometimes they remain out for a whole year. Nothing can prove more clearly than this fact the great difference between this climate and that of England, where, as every body knows, such stacks would be mere heaps of muck by January, if they were not, ]ong and long before that time, carried clean off the farm by the wind. The crop is sometimes threshed out in the field by the feet of horses, as in the South of France. It is sometimes carried into the barns'-floor, where three or four horses, or oxen, going a-breast tramples out the grain as the sheaves, or swarths are brought in. And this explains to us the humane precept of MOSES, "not to muzzle the ox as he treadeth out the grain,'' which we country people in England cannot make out. I used to be puzzled, too, in the story of RUTH, to imagine how BOAZ could be busy amongst his threshers in the height of harvest. — The weather is so fine, and the grain so dry, that, when the wheat and rye are threshed by the flail, the sheaves are barely untied, laid upon the floor, receive a few raps, and are then tied up, clean threshed, for straw, without the order of the straws being in the least changed! The ears and butts retain their places in the sheaf, and the band that tied the sheaf before ties it again. The straw is as bright as burnished gold. Not a speck in it. Those facts will speak volumes to an English farmer, who will see with what ease work must be done in such a country.
25. Fine hot day. Early pea, mentioned before, harvested, in forty days from the sowing. Not more flies than in England.
26. Fine broiling day. The Indian Corn grows away now, and has, each plant, at least a tumbler full of water standing in the sockets of its leaves, while the sun seems as if it would actually burn one. Yet we have a breeze; and, under these fine shady Walnuts and Locusts and Oaks, and on the fine grass beneath, it is very pleasant. Wood-cocks begin to come very thick about.
27. Fine broiler again. Some friends from England here to-day. We spent a pleasant day; drank success to the Debt, and destruction to the Borough usurpers, in gallons of milk and water. — Not more flies than in England.
28. Very, very hot. The thermometer 85 degrees in the shade: but a breeze. Never slept better in all my life. No covering. A sheet under me, and a straw bed. And then, so happy to have no clothes to put on but shoes and trowsers! My window looks to the East. The moment the Aurora appears, I am in the orchard. It is impossible for any human being to lead a pleasanter life than this. How I pity those, who are compelled to endure the stench of cities; but, for those who remain there without being compelled, I have no pity.
29. Still the same degree of heat. I measured a water-melon runner, which grew eighteen inches in the last 48 hours. The dews now are equal to showers. I frequently, in the morning, wash hands, face, feet and legs in the dews on the high grass. The Indian Corn shoots up now so beautifully!
30. Still melting hot.
31. Same weather.
August 1. Same weather. I take off two shirts a day wringing wet. I have a clothes-horse to hang them on to dry. Drink about 20 good tumblers of milk and water every day. No ailments. Head always clear. Go to bed by day light very often. Just after the hens go to roost, and rise again with them.
2. Hotter and hotter, I think; but, in this weather we always have our friendly breeze. — Not a single musquito yet.
3. Cloudy and a little shattering of rain; but not enough to lay the dust.
4. Fine hot day.
5. A very little rain. Dried up in a minute. Planted Cabbages with dust running into the holes.
6. Fine hot day.
7. Appearances forbode rain. — I have observed that, when rain is approaching, the stones (which are the rock stone of the country), with which a piazza adjoining the house is paved, get wet. This wet appears, at first, at the top of each round stone, and, then, by degrees, goes all over it. Rain is sure to follow. It has never missed; and which is very curious, the rain lasts exactly as long as the stones take to get all over wet before it comes! The stones get dry again before the rain ceases. However, this foreknowledge of rain is of little use here; for, when it comes, it is sure to be soon gone; and to be succeeded by a sun, which restores all to rights. I wondered, at first, why I never saw any barometers in people's houses, as almost every farmer has them in England. But, I soon found, that they would be, if perfectly true, of no use. Early Pears ripe.
8. Fine Rain. It comes pouring down.
9. Rain still, which has now lasted 60 hours. — Killed a lamb, and, in order to keep it fresh, sunk it down into the well. — The wind makes the Indian corn bend.
10. Fine clear hot day. The grass, which was brown the day before yesterday, is already beautifully green. In one place, where there appeared no signs of vegetation, the grass is two inches high.
11. Heavy rains at night.
12. Hot and close.
13. Hot and close.
14. Hot and close. No breezes these three days.
15. Very hot indeed. 80 degrees in a north aspect at 9 in the evening. Three wet shirts to-day. Obliged to put on a dry shirt to go to bed in.
16. Very hot indeed. 86 degrees, the thermometer hanging under the Locust trees and swinging about with the breeze. The dews are now like heavy showers.
17. Fine hot day. Very hot. I fight the Borough-villains, stripped to my shirt, and with nothing on besides, but shoes and trowsers. Never ill; no head-aches; no muddled brains. The milk and water is a great cause of this. I live on Sallads, other garden vegetables, apple puddings and pies, butter, cheese (very good from Rhode Island), eggs, and bacon. Resolved to have no more fresh meat, till cooler weather comes. Those who have a mind to swallow, or be swallowed by, flies may eat fresh meat for me.
18. Fine and hot.
19. Very hot.
20. Very hot; but a breeze every day and
night. — Buckwheat, sown 23d July, 9 inches high, and, poor as the ground was, looks very well.
21. Fine hot day.
22. Fine hot day.
23. Fine hot day. I have now got an English woman servant, and she makes us famous apple puddings. She says she has never read Peter Pindar's account of the dialogue between the King and Cottage woman; and yet she knows very well how to get the apples within side of the paste. N. B. No man ought to come here, whose wife and daughters cannot make puddings and pies.
54. Fine hot day.
25. Fine hot day.
26. Fine hot day.
27. Fine hot day. Have not seen a cloud for many days.
28. Windy and rather coldish. Put on cotton stockings and a waistcoat with sleeves. Do not like this weather.
29. Same weather. Do not like it.
30. Fine and hot again. Give a great many apples to hogs. Got some hazelnuts in the wild grounds. Larger than the English: and much about the same taste.
31. Fine hot day. Prodigious dews.
Sept. 1. Fine and hot.
2. Fine and hot.
3. Famously hot. Fine breezes. Began imitating the Disciples, at least, in their diet; for, to-day, we began ''plucking the ears of corn'' in a patch planted in the garden on the second of June. But, we, in imitation of Pindar's pilgrim, take the liberty to boil our Corn. We shall not starve now.
4. Fine and hot. 83 degrees under the Locust-trees.
5. Very hot indeed, but fair, with our old breeze.
6. Same weather.
7. Same weather.
8. Same weather.
9. Rather hotter. We, amongst seven of us, eat about 25 ears of corn a day. With me it wholly supplies the place of bread. It is the choicest gift of God to man, in the way of food. I remember, that ARTHUR YOUNG observes, that the proof of a good climate is, that Indian Corn will come to perfection in it. Our Corn is very fine. I believe, that a wine-glassful of milk might be squeezed out of one ear. No wonder the Disciples were tempted to pluck it when they were hungry, though it was on the Sabbath day!
10. Appearances for rain; and, it is time; for my neighbours begin to cry out, and our rain-water cistern begins to shrink. The well is there, to be sure; but, to pull water up from 70 feet is no joke, while it requires nearly as much sweat to get it up as we get water.
11. No rain; but cloudy. 83 degrees in the shade.
12. Rain and very hot in the morning. Thunder and heavy rain at night.
13. Cloudy and cool. Only 55 degrees in shade.
14. Cloudy and cool.
15. Fair and cool. Made a fire to write by. Don't like this weather.
16. Rain, warm.
17. Beautiful day. Not very hot. Just like a fine day in July in England after a rain.
18. Same weather. Wear stockings now and a waistcoat and neck-handkerchief.
19. Same weather. Finished our Indian corn, which, on less than 4 rods, or perches of ground, produced 447 ears. It was singularly well cultivated. It was the long Yellow Corn. Seed given me by my excellent neighbour, Mr. John Tredwell.
20. Same weather.
21. Same weather.
22. Same weather.
23. Cloudy and hotter.
24. Fine rain all last night and until ten o'clock to-day.
25. Beautiful day.
26. Same weather. 70 degrees in shade. Hot as the hot days in August in England.
27. Rain all last night.
28. Very fine and warm. Left off the stockings again.
29. Very fine. 70 degrees in shade.
30. Same weather.
Oct. 1. Same weather. Fresh meat keeps pretty well now.
2. Very fine; but there was a little frost this morning, which did not, however, affect the late sown Kidney Beans, which are as tender as the cucumber plant.
3. Cloudy and warm.
4. Very tine and warm. 70 degrees in shade. The apples are very fine. We are now cutting them and quinces to dry for winter use. My neighbours give me quinces. We are also cutting up and drying peaches.
5. Very fine and warm. Dwarf Kidney Beans very fine.
6. Very fine and warm. Cutting Buck-wheat.
7. Very fine and warm. 65 degrees in shade at 7 o'clock this morning. — Windy in the afternoon. The wind is knocking down the fall-pippins for us. One picked up today weighed 12 1/4 ounces avoirdupois weight. The average weight is about 9 ounces, or, perhaps, 10 ounces. This is the finest of all apples. Hardly any core. Some none at all. The richness of the pine-apple without the roughness. If the King could have seen one of these in a dumpling! This is not the Newtown Pippin, which is sent to England in such quantities. That is a winter apple. Very fine at Christmas; but far inferior to this fall-pippin, taking them both in their state of perfection. It is useless to send the trees to England, unless the heat of the sun and the rains and dews could be sent along with the trees.
8. Very fine. 68 in shade.
9. Same weather.
10. Same weather. 59 degrees in shade. A little white frost this morning. It just touched the tips of the kidney bean leaves; but, not those of the cucumbers or melons, which are near fences.
11. Beautiful day. 61 degrees in shade. Have not put on coat yet. Wear thin stockings, or socks. Waistcoat with sleeves and neck cloth. In New York Market, Kidney Beans and Green peas.
12. Beautiful day. 70 degrees in shade.
13. Same weather.
14. Rain. 60 degrees in shade. Like a fine, warm June rain in England.
15. Beautiful day. 56 degrees in shade. Here is a month of October!
16. Same weather. 51 degrees in shade.
17. Same weather. But a little warmer in the day. A smart frost this morning. The Kidney Beans, Cucumber and Melon plants, pretty much cut by it.
18. A little rain in the night. A most beautiful day. 54 degrees in shade. A June day for England.
19. A very white frost this morning. Kidney Beans, Cucumbers, Melons, all demolished; but a beautiful day. 56 degrees in shade.
20. Another frost, and just such another day. — Threshing Buckwheat in field.
21. No frost. 58 degrees in shade.
22. Finest of English June days. 67 degrees in shade.
23. Beautiful day. 70 degrees in shade. Very few summers in England that have a day hotter than this. It is this fine sun that makes the fine apples!
24. Same weather precisely. Finished Buckwheat threshing and winnowing. The men have been away at a horse-race; so that it has laid out in the field, partly threshed and partly not, for five days. If rain had come, it would have been of no consequence. All would have been dry again directly afterwards. What a stew a man would be in, in England, if he had his grain lying about out of doors in this way! The cost of threshing and winnowing 60 bushels was 7 dollars, 1l. 11s. 6d. English money, that is to say, 4s. a quarter, or 8 Winchester bushels. But, then, the carting was next to nothing. Therefore, though the labourers had a dollar a day each, the expense, upon the whole was not so great as it would have been in England. So much does the climate do!
25. Rain. A warm rain, like a fine June rain in England. 57 degrees in shade. The late frosts have killed, or, at least, pinched, the leaves of the trees; and they are now red, yellow, russet, brown, or of a dying green. Never was any thing so beautiful as the bright sun, shining through these fine lofty trees upon the gay verdure beneath.
26. Rain. Warm. 58 degrees in shade. This is the general Indian Corn harvest.
27. Rain. Warm. 58 degrees in shade. Put on coat, black hat and black shoes.
28. Fine day. 56 degrees in shade. Pulled up a Radish that weighed 12 pounds! I say twelve, and measured 2 feet 5 inches round. From common English seed.
29. Very fine indeed.
30. Very fine and warm.
31. Very fine. 54 degrees in shade. Gathered our last lot of winter apples.
Nov. 1. Rain all the last night and all this day.
2. Rain still. 54 degrees in shade. Warm. Things grow well. The grass very fine and luxuriant.
3. Very fine indeed, 56 in shade. Were it not for the colour of the leaves of the trees, it would look like June in England.
4. Very, very fine. Never saw such pleasant weather. Digging Potatoes.
5. Same weather precisely.
6. A little cloudy but warm.
7. Most beautiful weather! 63 degrees in shade. N. B. This is November.
8. A little cloudy at night fall. 68 degrees in shade; that is to say, English Summer heat all but 7 degrees.
9. Very fine.
10. Very fine.
11. Very fine. When I got up this morning, I found the thermometer hanging on the Locust trees, dripping with dew, at 62 degrees. Left off my coat again.
12. Same weather. 69 degrees in shade.
13. Beautiful day, but cooler.
14. Same weather. 60 degrees in shade. The highways and paths as clean as a boarded floor; that is to say, from dirt or mud.
15. Gentle rain. 63 in shade. Like a gentle rain in May in England.
16. Gentle rain. Warm. 66 in shade. What a November for an Englishman to see! My white turnips have grown almost the whole of their growth in this month. The Swedish, planted late, grow surprising now, and have a luxuriancy of appearance exceeding any thing of the kind I ever saw. We have fine loaved lettuces; endive, young onions, young radishes, cauliflowers with heads five inches over. The rye fields grow beautifully. They have been food for cattle for a month, or six weeks past.
17. Cloudy. Warm.
18. Same weather. 55 degrees in shade.
19 Frost, and the ground pretty hard.
20. Very fine indeed. Warm. 55 degrees in shade.
21. Same weather.
22. Cold, damp air, and cloudy.
23. Smart frost at night.
24., 25., 26., 27. Same. Warm in the day time.
28., 29 Same; but more warm in the day.
30. Fine warm and beautiful day; no frost at night. 57 degrees in shade.
Dec. 1. Same weather precisely; but, we begin to fear the setting in of winter, and I am very busy in covering up cabbages, mangle wurzle, turnips, beets, carrots, parsnips, parsley, &c. the mode of doing which (not less useful in England than here, though not so indispensably necessary) shall be described when I come to speak of the management of these several plants.
2. Fine warm rain. 56 in shade.
3., 4., 5., 6., 7., 8. Very fair and pleasant, but frost sufficiently hard to put a stop to our getting up and stacking Turnips. Still, however, the cattle and sheep do pretty well upon the grass, which is long and dead. Fatting oxen we feed with the greens of Ruta Baga, with some Corn, (Indian, mind) tossed down to them in the ear. Sheep (Ewes that had lambs in spring) we kill very fat from the grass. No dirt. What a clean and convenient soil.
9. Thaw. No rain. We get on with our work again.
10. Open mild weather.
11. Same weather. Very pleasant.
12. Rain began last night.
13. Rain all day.
14. Rain all day. The old Indian remark is, that the winter does not set in, till the ponds be full. It is coming, then.
15. Rain till 2 o'clock. We kill mutton now. Ewes, brought from Connecticut, and sold to me here at two dollars each in July, just after shearing. I sell them now alive at three dollars each from the grass. Killed and sent to market, they leave me the loose fat for candles and fetch about 3 dollars and a quarter besides.
16. Sharp North West wind. This is the cold American Wind. "A North Wester" means all that can be imagined of clear in summer and cold in winter. I remember hearing from that venerable and excellent man, Mr. BARON MASERES, a very elegant eulogium on the Summer North Wester in England. This is the only public servant that I ever heard of, who refused a proffered augmentation of salary!
17. A hardish frost.
18. Open weather again.
19. Fine mild day; but began freezing at night-fall.
20. Hard frost.
21. Very sharp indeed. Thermometer down to 10 degrees; that is to say, 22 degrees colder than barely freezing.
22. Same weather. Makes us run, where we used to walk in the fall, and to saunter in the summer. It is no new thing to me; but it makes our other English people shrug up their shoulders.
23. Frost greatly abated. Stones show for wet. It will come in spite of the fine, serene sky, which we now see.
24. A thaw. — Servants made a lot of candles from mutton and beef fat, reserving the coarser parts to make soap.
25. Rain. Had some English friends. Surloin of own beef. Spent the evening in the light of own candles, as handsome as I ever saw, and, I think, the very best I ever saw. The reason is, that the tallow is fresh, and that it is unmixed with grease, which, and staleness, is the cause, I believe, of candles running, and plagueing us while we are using them. What an injury is it to the farmers in England, that they dare not, in this way, use their own produce! Is it not a mockery to call a man free, who no more dares turn his tallow into candles for his own use, than he dares rob upon the highway? Yet it is only by means of tyranny and extortion like this, that the hellish system of funding and of Seat-Selling can be upheld.
26. Fine warm day. 52 degrees in shade.
27. Cold, but little frost.
28. Same weather. Fair and pleasant. The late sharp frost has changed to a complete yellow every leaf of some Swedish Turnips (Ruta Baga,) left to take their chance. It is a poor chance, I believe!
29. Same weather.
30. Rain all day.
31. Mild and clear. No frost. 1818.
Jan. 1. Same weather.
2. Same weather.
3. Heavy Rain.
4. A frost that makes us jump and skip about like larks. Very seasonable for a sluggish fellow. Prepared for winter. Patched up a boarded building which was formerly a coach-house; but which is not so necessary to me, in that capacity, as in that of a fowl-house. The neighbours tell me, that the poultry will roost out on the trees all the winter, which, the weather being so dry in winter, is very likely; and, indeed, they must, if they have no house, which is almost universally the case. However, I mean to give the poor things a choice. I have lined the old coach-house with corn-stalks and leaves of trees, and have tacked up cedar-boughs to hold the lining to the boards, and have laid a bed of leaves a foot thick all over the floor. I have secured all against dogs, and have made ladders for the fowls to go in at holes six feet from the ground. I have made pig-styes, lined round with Cedar boughs and well covered. A sheep yard, for a score of ewes to have lambs in spring, surrounded with a hedge of cedar-boughs, and with a shed for the ewes to lie under, if they like. The oxen and cow are tied up in a stall. The dogs have a place, well covered, and lined with corn stalks and leaves. And now, I can, without anxiety, sit by the fire, or lie in bed, and hear the North-Wester whistle.
5. Frost. Like what we call "a hard frost" in England.
6. Such another frost at night, but a thaw in the middle of the day.
7. Little frost. Fine warm day. The sun seems loath to quit us.
8. Same weather.
9. A harder frost, and snow at night. The fowls, which have been peeping at my ladders for two or three evenings, and partially roosting in their house, made their general entry this evening! They are the best judges of what is best for them. The turkeys boldly set the weather at defiance, and still roost on the top, the ridge, of the roof, of the house. Their feathers prevent their legs from being frozen, and so it is with all poultry: but, still, a house must, one would think, be better than the open air at this season.
10. Snow, but sloppy. I am now at New York on my way to Pennsylvania. N. B. This journey into Pennsylvania had, for its principal object, an appeal to the justice of the Legislature of that state for redress for great loss and injury sustained by me, nearly twenty years ago, in consequence of the tyranny of one McKEAN, who was then Chief Justice of that State. The appeal has not yet been successful; but, as I confidently expect, that it finally will, I shall not, at present, say any thing more on the subject. — My journey was productive of much and various observation, and, I trust, of useful knowledge. But, in this place, I shall do little more than give an account of the weather; reserving for the SECOND PART, accounts of prices of land, &c. which will there come under their proper heads.
11. Frost, but not hard. Now at New York,
12 Very sharp frost. Set off for Philadelphia. Broke down on the road in New Jersey.
13. Very hard frost still. Found the Delaware, which divides New Jersey from Pennsylvania, frozen over. Good roads now. Arrived at Philadelphia in the evening.
14. Same weather.
15. Same weather. The question eagerly put to me by every one in Philadelphia, is: "Don't you think the city greatly improved?" They seem to me to confound augmentation with improvement. It always was a fine city, since I first knew it; and it is very greatly augmented. It has, I believe, nearly doubled its extent and number of houses since the year 1799. But after being for so long a time familiar with London, every other place appears little. After living within a few hundreds of yards of Westminster Hall, and the Abbey Church, and the Bridge, and looking from my own windows into St. James's Park, all other buildings and spots appear mean and insignificant. I went to-day to see the house I formerly occupied. How small! It is always thus: the words large and small are carried about with us in our minds, and we forget real dimensions. The idea, such as it was received, remains during our absence from the object. When I returned to England, in 1800, after an absence from the country parts of it, of sixteen years, the trees, the hedges, even the parks and woods, seemed so small! It made me laugh to hear little gutters, that I could jump over, called Rivers! The Thames was but a "Creek!" But, when, in about a month after my arrival in London, I went to Farnham, the place of my birth, what was my surprise! Every thing was become so pitifully small! I had to cross, in my post-chaise, the long and dreary heath of Bagshot, Then, at the end of it, to mount a hill, called Hungry Hill; and from that hill I knew that J should look down into the beautiful and fertile vale of Farnham. My heart fluttered with impatience, mixed with a sort of fear, to see all the scenes of my childhood; for I had learnt before, the death of my father and mother. There is a hill, not far from the town, called Crooksbury Hill, which rises up out of a flat, in the form of a cone, and is planted with Scotch fir trees. Here I used to go to take the eggs and young ones of crows and magpies. This hill was a famous object in the neighbourhood. It served us as the superlative degree of height. "As high as Crooksbury Hill" meant, with us, the utmost degree of height. Therefore, the first object that my eyes sought was this hill. I could not believe my eyes! Literally speaking, I, for a moment, thought the famous hill removed, and a little heap put in its stead; for I had seen, in New Brunswick, a single rock, or hill of solid rock,, ten times as big and four or five times as high! The post-boy, going down hill and not a bad road, whisked me, in a few minutes, to the Bush Inn, from the garden of which I could see that prodigious sand hill, where I had begun my gardening works. What a nothing! But now came rushing into my mind, all at once, my pretty little garden, my little blue smock-frock, my little nailed shoes, my pretty pigeons that I used to feed out of my hands, and the last kind words and the tears of my gentle and tender-hearted and affectionate mother! I hastened back into the room. If I had looked a moment longer, I should have dropped. When I came to reflect, what a change! I looked down at my dress. What a change! What scenes I had gone through! How altered my state! I had dined the day before at a Secretary of State's, in company with Mr. Pitt, and had been waited on by men in gaudy liveries! I had had nobody to assist me in the world. No teachers of any sort. — Nobody to shelter me from the consequence of bad, and no one to counsel me to good, behaviour. I felt proud. The distinctions of rank, birth, and wealth all became nothing in my eyes; and, from that moment, (less than a month after my arrival in England) I resolved never to bend before them. Tan. 16. Same weather. Went to see my old Quaker-friends at Bustleton, and particularly my beloved friend JAMES PAUL, who is very ill.
17. Returned to Philadelphia. — Little frost and a little snow.
18., 19., 20., 21. Moderate frost. Fine clear sky. The Philadelphians are cleanly, a quality which they owe chiefly to the Quakers. But, after being long and recently familiar with the towns in Surrey and Hampshire, and especially with Guildford, Alton and Southampton, no other towns appear clean and neat, not even Bath or Salisbury, which last is much about upon a par, in point of cleanliness, with Philadelphia; and, Salisbury is deemed a very cleanly place. Blandford and Dorchester are clean; but, I have never yet seen any thing like the towns in Surrey and Hampshire. If a Frenchman, born and bred, could be taken up and carried blindfolded to Guildford, I wonder what his sensations would be, when he came to have the use of his sight! Every thing near Guildford seems to have received an influence from the town. Hedges, gates, stiles, gardens, houses inside and out, and the dresses of the people. The market day at Guildford is a perfect show of cleanliness. Not even a carter without a clean smock-frock and closely-shaven and clean-washed face. Well may Mr. Birkbeck, who came from this very spot, think the people dirty in the western country! I'll engage he finds more dirt upon the necks and faces of one family of his present neighbours, than he left behind him upon the skins of all the people in the three parishes of Guildford. However, he would not have found this to be the case in Pennsylvania, and especially in those parts where the Quakers abound; and, I am told, that, in the New-England States, the people are as cleanly and as neat as they are in England. The sweetest flowers, when they become putrid, stink the most; and, a nasty woman is the nastiest thing in nature.
22. Hard frost. — My business in Pennsylvania is with the Legislature. It is sitting at Harrisburgh. Set off to-day by the stage. Fine country; fine barns; fine farms. Must speak particularly of these in another place. Got to Lancaster. The largest inland town in the United States. A very clean and good town. No beggarly houses. All looks like ease and plenty.
23. Harder frost, but not very severe. About as cold as the weather was during the six-weeks' continuance of the snow, in 1814,. in England.
24. The same weather continues.
25. A sort of half-thaw. Sun warm. HARRISBURGH is a new town, close on the left bank of the River SUSQUEHANNAH, which is not frozen over, but has large quantities of ice floating on its waters. All vegetation, and all appearance of green, gone away.
26. Mild weather. Hardly any frost.
27. Thaw. Warm. Tired to death of the tavern at HARRISBURGH, though a very good one. The cloth spread three times a day. Fish, fowl, meat, cakes, eggs, sausages; all sorts of things in abundance. Board, lodging, civil but not servile waiting on, beer, tea, coffee, chocolate. Price a dollar and a quarter a day. Here we meet all together: senators, judges, lawyers, tradesmen, farmers and all. I am weary of the everlasting loads of meat. Weary of being idle. How few such days have I spent in my whole life!
28. Thaw and rain. — My business not coming on I went to a country tavern, hoping there to get a room to myself, in which to read my English papers, and sit down to writing. I am now at McAllister's tavern, situated at the foot of the first ridge of mountains; or rather, upon a little nook of land, close to the river, where the river has found a way through a break in the chain of mountains. Great enjoyment here. Sit and read and write. My mind is again in England. Mrs. McALLISTER just suits me. Does not pester me with questions. Does not cram me with meat. Lets me eat and drink what I like, and when I like, and gives mugs of nice milk. I find here, a very agreeable and instructive occasional companion, in Mr. McALLISTER the elder. But, of the various useful information that I received from him, I must speak in the second part of this work.
29. Very hard frost this morning. Change very sudden. All about the house a glare of ice.
30. Not so hard. Icicles on the trees on the neighbouring mountains like so many millions of sparkling stones, when the sun shines, which is all the day.
31. Same weather. Two farmers of Lycoming county had heard that William Cobbett was here. They modestly introduced themselves. What a contrast with the "yeomanry cavalry!"
Feb. 1. Same weather. About the same as a "hard frost" in England.
2. Same weather.
4. Little snow. Not much frost. This day, thirty-three years ago, I enlisted as a soldier. I always keep the day in recollection.
5. Having been to Harrisburgh on the 2d, returned to McAllister's to-day in a sleigh. The River begins to be frozen over. It is about a mile wide.
6. Little snow again, and hardish frost.
7. Now and then a little snow — Talk with some hop-growers. Prodigious crops in this neighbourhood; but, of them in the Second Part. What would a Farnham man think of thirty hundred weight of hops upon four hundred hills, ploughed between, and the ground vines fed off by sheep! This is a very curious and interesting matter.
8. A real Frost.
9. Sharper. They say that the thermometer is down to 10 degrees below nought.
10. A little milder; but very cold indeed. The River completely frozen over, and sleighs and foot-passengers crossing in all directions.
11. Went back again to Harrisburgh. Mild frost.
12. Not being able to bear the idea of dancing attendance, came to Lancaster, in order to see more of this pretty town. A very fine Tavern (Slaymaker's); room to myself; excellent accommodations. Warm fires. Good and clean beds. Civil but not servile, landlord. The eating still more over-done than at Harrisburgh. Never saw such profusion. I have made a bargain with the landlord: he is to give me a dish of chocolate a day, instead of dinner. Frost, but mild.
13. Rain. — A real rain, but rather cold.
14. A complete day of rain.
15. A hard frost; much about like a hard frost in the naked parts of Wiltshire. — Mr. HULME joined me on his way to Philadelphia from the city of Washington.
16. A hard frost. — Lancaster is a very pretty place. No fine buildings; but no mean ones. Nothing splendid and nothing beggarly. The people of this town seem to have had the prayer of HAGAR granted them: "Give me, O Lord, neither poverty nor riches." Here are none of those poor, wretched habitations, which sicken the sight at the outskirts of cities and towns in England; those abodes of the poor creatures, who have been reduced to beggary by the cruel extortions of the rich and powerful. And, this remark applies to all the towns of America that I have ever seen. This is a fine part of America. Big Barns, and modest dwelling houses. Barns of stone, a hundred feet long and forty wide, with two floors, and raised roads to go into them, so that the waggons go into the first floor upstairs. Below are stables, stalls, pens, and all sorts of conveniences. Up-stairs are rooms for threshed Corn and Grain; for tackle, for meal, for all sorts of things. In the front (South) of the barn is the cattle yard. These are very fine buildings. And then, all about them looks so comfortable, and gives such manifest proofs of ease, plenty and happiness! Such is the country of WILLIAM PENN'S settling! It is a curious thing to observe the farm-houses in this country. They consist, almost without exception, of a considerably large and very neat house, with sash windows, and of a small house, which seems to have been tacked on to the large one; and, the proportion they bear to each other, in point of dimensions, is as nearly as possible, the proportion of size between a Cow and her Calf, the latter a month old. But, as to the cause, the process has been the opposite of this instance of the works of nature; for it is the large house which has grown out of the small one. The father, or grand-father, while he was toiling for his children, lived in the small house, constructed chiefly by himself, and consisting of rude materials. The means, accumulated in the small house, enabled a son to rear the large one; and, though, when pride enters the door, the small house is sometimes demolished, few sons in America have the folly or want of feeling to commit such acts of filial ingratitude, and of real self-abasement. For, what inheritance so valuable and so honourable can a son enjoy as the proof of his father's industry and virtue? The progress of wealth and ease and enjoyment evinced by this regular increase of the size of the farmers' dwellings is a spectacle, at once, pleasing, in a very high degree, in itself, and, in the same degree, it speaks the praise of the system of government, under which it has taken place. What a contrast with the farmhouses in England! There the little farm-houses are falling into ruins, or, are actually become cattle-sheds, or, at best, cottages, as they are called, to contain a miserable labourer, who ought to have been a little farmer as his grand-father was. Five or six farms are there now levelled into one, in defiance of the law; for, there is a law to prevent it. The farmer has, indeed, a fine house; but, what a life do his labourers lead! The cause of this sad change is to be found in the crushing taxes; and the cause of them, in the Borough usurpation, which has robbed the people of their best right, and, indeed, without which right, they can enjoy no other. They talk of the augmented population of England; and, when it suits the purposes of the tyrants, they boast of this fact, as they are pleased to call it, as a proof of the fostering nature of their government; though, just now, they are preaching up the vile and foolish doctrine of PARSON MALTHUS, who thinks that there are too many people, and that they ought (those who labour, at least) to be restrained from breeding so fast. But, as to the fact, I do not believe it. There can be nothing in the shape of proof; for no actual enumeration was ever taken till the year 1800. We know well, that London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bath, Portsmouth, Plymouth, and all Lancashire and Yorkshire and some other counties have got a vast increase of miserable beings huddled together. But, look at Devonshire, Somersetshire, Dorsetshire, Wiltshire. Hampshire, and other counties. You will there see hundreds of thousands of acres of land, where the old marks of the plough are visible, but which have not been cultivated for, perhaps, half a century. You will there see places, that were once considerable towns and villages, now having, within their ancient limits, nothing but a few cottages, the Parsonage and a single Farm-house. It is a curious and a melancholy sight, where an ancient church, with its lofty spire or tower, the church sufficient to contain a thousand or two or three thousand of people conveniently, now stands surrounded by a score or half a score of miserable mud-houses, with floors of earth, and covered with thatch; and this sight strikes your eye in all parts of the five western counties of England. Surely these churches were not built without the existence of a population somewhat proportionate to their size! Certainly not; for the churches are of various sizes, and we sometimes see them very small indeed. Let any man look at the sides of the hills in these counties, and also in Hampshire, where downs, or open lands, prevail. He will there see, not only that these hills were formerly cultivated; but that banks, from distance to distance, were made by the spade, in order to form little flats for the plough to go without tumbling the earth down the hill; so that the side of a hill looks, in some sort, like the steps of a stairs. Was this done without hands, and without mouths to consume the grain raised on the sides of these hills? The Funding and Manufacturing and Commercial and Taxing system has, by drawing wealth into great masses, drawn men also into great masses. London, the Manufacturing Places, Bath, and other places of dissipation, have, indeed, wonderfully increased in population. Country seats, Parks, Pleasure gardens, have, in a like degree, increased in number and extent. And, in just the same proportion has been the increase of Poor-houses, Mad-houses and Jails. But, the people of England, such as FORTESCUE described them, have been swept away by the ruthless hand of the Aristocracy, who, making their approaches by slow degrees, have, at last, got into their grasp the substance of the whole country.
17. Frost, not very hard. Went back to Harrisburgh.
18. Same weather. Very fine. Warm in the middle of the day.
Feb. 19. Same weather. — Quitted Harrisburgh, very much displeased; but, on this subject, I shall, if possible, keep silence, till next year, and until the People of Pennsylvania have had time to reflect; to clearly understand my affair; and, when they do understand it, I am not at all afraid of receiving justice at their hands, whether I am present or absent. Slept at Lancaster. One night more in this very excellent Tavern.
20. Frost still. Arrived at Philadelphia along with my friend HULME. They are roasting an ox on the Delaware. The fooleries of England are copied here, and every where in this country, with wonderful avidity; and, I wish I could say, that some of the vices of our "higher orders,'' as they have the impudence to call themselves, were not also imitated. However, I look principally at the mass of farmers; the sensible and happy farmers of America.
21. Thaw and Rain. — The severe weather is over for this year.
22. Thaw and Rain. A solid day of rain.
23. Little frost at night. Fine market. Fine meat of all sorts. As fat mutton as I ever saw. How mistaken Mr. Birkbeck is about American mutton.
24. Same weather. Very fair days now.
25. Went to Bustleton with my old friend, Mr. John Morgan.
26. Returned to Philadelphia. Roads very dirty and heavy.
27. Complete thaw; but, it will be long before the frost be out of the ground.
28. Same weather. Very warm. I hate this weather. Hot upon my back, and melting ice under my feet. The people (those who have been lazy) are chopping away with axes, the ice which has grown out of the snows and rains, before their doors, during the winter. The hogs (best of scavengers) are very busy in the streets seeking out the bones and bits of meat, which have been flung out and frozen down amidst water and snow, during the two foregoing months. I mean including the present month. At New York (and, I think at Philadelphia also) they have corporation laws to prevent hogs from being in the streets. For what reason, I know not, except putrid meat be pleasant to the smell of the inhabitants. But Corporations are seldom the wisest of law-makers. It is argued, that, if there were no hogs in the streets, people would not throw out their orts of flesh and vegetables. Indeed! What would they do with those orts, then? Make their hired servants eat them? The very proposition would leave them to cook and wash for themselves. Where, then, are they to fling these effects of superabundance? Just before I left New York for Philadelphia, I saw a sow very comfortably dining upon a full quarter part of what appeared to have been a fine leg of mutton. How many a family in England would, if within reach, have seized this meat from the sow! And, are the tyrants, who have brought my industrious countrymen to that horrid state of misery, never to be called to account? Are they always to carry it as they now do! Every object almost, that strikes my view, sends my mind and heart back to England. In viewing the ease and happiness of this people, the contrast fills my soul with indignation, and makes it more and more the object of my life to assist in the destruction of the diabolical usurpation, which has trampled on king as well as people.
March 1. Rain. Dined with my old friend SEVERNE, an honest Norfolk man, who used to carry his milk about the streets, when I first knew him, but, who is now a man of considerable property, and, like a wise man, lives in the same modest house where he formerly lived. Excellent roast beef and plum pudding. At his house I found an Englishman, and, from Botley too! I had been told of such a man being in Philadelphia, and that the man said, that he had heard of me, "heard of such a gentleman, but did not know much of him.'' This was odd! I was desirous of seeing this man. Mr. SEVERNE got him to his house. His name is VERE. I knew him the moment I saw him; and, I wondered why it was that he knew so little of me. I found that he wanted work, and that he had been assisted by some society in Philadelphia. He said he was lame, and he might be a little, perhaps. I offered him work at once. No: he wanted to have the care of a farm! "Go," said I, "for shame, and ask some farmers for work. You will find it immediately and with good wages. What should the people in this country see in your face to induce them to keep you in idleness? They did not send for you. You are a young man, and you came from a country of able labourers. You may be rich if you will work. This gentleman who is now about to cram you with roast beef and plum pudding came to this city nearly as poor as you are; and, I first came to this country in no better plight. Work, and I wish you well; be idle, and you ought to starve." He told me, then, that he was a hoop-maker; and yet, observe, he wanted to have the care of a farm.
N. B. If this book should ever reach the hands of Mr. RICHARD HINXMAN, my excellent good friend of Chilling, I beg him to show this note to Mr. NICHOLAS FREEMANTLE, of Botley. He will know all about this VERE. Tell Mr. FREEMANTLE, that the Spaniels are beautiful, that Wood-cocks breed here in abundance; and tell him, above all, that I frequently think of him as a pattern of industry in business, of skill and perseverance and good humour as a sportsman, and of honesty and kindness as a neighbour. Indeed, I have pleasure in thinking of all my Botley neighbours, except the Parson, who, for their sakes, I wish, however, was my neighbour now; for here he might pursue his calling very quietly.
2. Open weather. Went to Bustleton, after having seen Messrs. STEVENS and PENDRILL, and advised them to forward to me affidavits of what they knew about OLIVER, the spy of the Boroughmongers.
3. Frost in the morning. Thaw in the day.
4. Same weather in the night. Rain all day.
5. Hard frost. Snow 3 inches deep.
6. Hard frost. About as cold as a hard frost in January in England.
7. Same weather.
8. Thaw. Dry and fine.
9. Same weather. Took leave, I fear for ever, of my old and kind friend, JAMES PAUL. His brother and son promise to come and see me here. I have pledged myself to transplant 10 acres of Indian Corn; and, if I write, in August, and say that it is good, THOMAS PAUL has promised that he will come; for, he thinks that the scheme is a mud one.
10. Same weather. — Mr. VAREE, a son-in-law of Mr. JAMES PAUL, brought me yesterday to another son-in-law's, Mr. EZRA TOWNSEND at BIBERY. Here I am amongst the thick of the Quakers, whose houses and families pleased me so much formerly, and which pleasure is all now revived. Here all is ease, plenty, and cheerfulness. These people are never giggling and never in low-spirits. Their minds, like their dress, are simple and strong. Their kindness is shown more in acts than in words. Let others say what they will, I have uniformly found those whom I have intimately known of this sect, sincere and upright men; and, I verily believe, that all those charges of hypocrisy and craft that we hear against Quakers arise from a feeling of envy; envy inspired by seeing them possessed of such abundance of all those things, which are the fair fruits of care, industry, economy, sobriety, and order, and which are justly forbidden to the drunkard, the glutton, the prodigal and the lazy. As the day of my coming to Mr. TOWNSHEND'S had been announced beforehand, several of the young men, who were babies when I used to be there formerly, came to see ''BILLY COBBETT," of whom they had heard and read so much. When I saw them and heard them, "What a contrast," said I to myself, "with the senseless, gaudy, upstart, hectoring, insolent and cruel Yeomanry Cavalry in England, who, while they grind their labourers into the revolt of starvation, gallantly sally forth with their sabres to chop them down at the command of a Secretary of State; and, who, the next moment, creep and fawn like spaniels before their Boroughmonger Landlords!" At Mr. TOWNSHEND'S I saw a man, in his service, lately from YORKSHIRE, but an Irishman by birth. He wished to have an opportunity to see me. He had read many of my "little books." I shook him by the hand, told him he had now got a good house over his head and a kind employer, and advised him not to move for one year, and to save his wages during that year.
11. Same open weather. — I am now at Trenton, in New Jersey, waiting for something to carry me on towards New York. — Yesterday Mr. Townshend sent me on, under an escort of Quakers, to Mr. ANTHONY TAYLOR'S. He was formerly a merchant in Philadelphia, and now lives in his very pretty country-house on a very beautiful farm. He has some as fine and fat oxen as we generally see at Smithfield market, in London. I think they will weigh sixty score each. Fine farm yard. Every thing belonging to the farm good; but, what a neglectful gardener! Saw some white thorns here (brought from England), which, if I had wanted any proof, would have clearly proved to me, that they would, with less care, make as good hedges here as they do at Farnham, in Surrey. But, in another PART, I shall give full information upon this head. Here my escort quitted me; but, luckily, Mr. NEWBOLD, who lives at about ten miles nearer Trenton than Mr. Taylor does, brought me on to his house. He is a much better gardener, or, rather, to speak the truth, has succeeded a better, whose example he has followed in part. But, his farm yard and buildings! This was a sight indeed! Forty head of horn-cattle in a yard, enclosed with a stone wall; and five hundred merino ewes, besides young lambs, in the finest, most spacious, best contrived, and most substantially built sheds I ever saw. The barn surpassed all that I had seen before. His house (large, commodious and handsome) stands about two hundred yards from the turnpike road, leading from Philadelphia to New York, looks on and over the Delaware, which runs parallel with the road, and has, surrounding it, and at the back of it, five hundred acres of land, level as a lawn, and two feet deep in loam, that never requires a water-furrow. This was the finest sight that I ever saw as to farm buildings and land. — I forgot to observe, that I saw, in Mr. TAYLOR'S service, another man recently arrived from England. A Yorkshire man. He, too, wished to see me. He had got some of my "little books,'' which he had preserved, and brought out with him. Mr. TAYLOR was much pleased with him. An active, smart man; and, if he follow my advice, to remain a year under one roof, and save his wages, he will, in a few years, be a rich man. These men must be brutes indeed not to be sensible of the great kindness and gentleness and liberality, with which they are treated. Mr. TAYLOR came this morning to Mr. NEWBOLD'S, and brought me on to TRENTON. I am at the Stage Tavern, where I have just dined upon cold ham, cold veal, butter, cheese, and a peach-pie: nice clean room, well furnished, waiter clean and attentive, plenty of milk; and charge, a quarter of a dollar! I thought that Mrs. JOSLIN at Princeton, (as I went on to Philadelphia,) Mrs. BENLER at Harrisburgh, Mr. SLAYMAKER at Lancaster, and Mrs. McALLISTER, were low enough in all conscience; but, really, this charge of Mrs. ANDERSON beats all. I have not had the face to pay the waiter a quarter of a dollar; but have given him half a dollar, and told him to keep the change. He is a Black man. He thanked me. But they never ask for any thing. But my vehicle is come, and now I bid adieu to Trenton, which I should have liked better, if I had not seen so many young fellows lounging about the streets and leaning against door posts, with quids of tobacco in their mouths, or segars stuck between their lips, and with dirty hands and faces. Mr. Birkbeck's complaint, on this score, is perfectly just.
Brunswick, New Jersey. Here I am after a ride of about 30 miles, since two o'clock, in what is called a Jersey-waggon, through such mud as I never saw before. Up to the stock of the wheel; and yet a pair of very little horses have dragged us through it in the space of five hours. The best horses and driver and the worst roads I ever set my eyes on. This part of Jersey is a sad spectacle after leaving the brightest of all the bright parts of Pennsylvania. My driver, who is a Tavern-keeper himself, would have been a very pleasant companion, if he had not drunk so much spirits on the road. This is the great misfortune of America! As we were going up a hill very slowly, I could perceive him looking very hard at my cheek for some time. At last, he said: " I am wondering. Sir, to see you look so fresh and so young, considering what you have gone through in the world;" for, though I cannot imagine how he had learnt who I was. "I'll tell you," said I, "how I have contrived the thing. I rise early, go to bed early, eat sparingly, never drink any thing stronger than small beer, shave once a day, and wash my hands and face clean three times a day at the very least." He said, that was too much to think of doing.
12. Warm and fair. Like an English first of May in point of warmth. I got to Elizabeth Town Point through beds of mud. Twenty minutes too late for the Steam-boat. Have to wait here at the Tavern till to-morrow. Great mortification. Supped with a Connecticut farmer, who was taking on his daughter to Little York in Pennsylvania. The rest of his family he took on in the fall. He has migrated. His reasons were these: He has five sons, the eldest 19 years of age, and several daughters. Connecticut is thickly settled. He has not the means to buy farms for the sons there. He therefore, goes and gets cheap land in Pennsylvania; his sons will assist him to clear it; and, thus, they will have a farm each. To a man in such circumstances, and "born with an axe in one hand and a gun in the other," the western countries are desirable; but not to English farmers, who have great skill in fine cultivation, and who can purchase near New York or Philadelphia. This YANKEE (the inhabitants of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, only are called Yankees) was about the age of Sir FRANCIS BURDETT, and, if he had been dressed in the usual clothes of Sir Francis, would have passed for him. Features, hair, eyes, height, make, manner, look, hasty utterance at times, musical voice, frank deportment, pleasant smile. All the very fac-simile of him. I had some early York cabbage seed and some cauliflower seed in my pocket, which had been sent me from London, in a letter, and which had reached me at Harrisburgh. I could not help giving him a little of each.
13. Same weather. A fine open day. Rather a cold May-day for England. Came to New York by the Steam-Boat. Over to this Island by another, took a little light waggon, that whisked me home over roads as dry and as smooth as gravel walks in an English Bishop's garden in the month of July. Great contrast with the bottomless muds of New Jersey! As I came along saw those fields of rye, which were so green in December, now white. Not a single sprig of green on the face of the earth. Found that my man had ploughed ten acres of ground. The frost not quite clean out of the ground. It has penetrated two feet eight inches. The weather here has been nearly about the same as in Pennsylvania; only less snow, and less rain.
14. Open weather. Very fine. Not quite so warm.
15. Same weather. Young chickens. I hear of no other in the neighbourhood. This the effect of my warm fowl-house! The house has been supplied with eggs all the winter, without any interruption. I am told, that this has been the case at no other house hereabouts. We have now an abundance of eggs. More than a large family can consume. We send some to market. The fowls, I find, have wanted no feeding except during snow, or, in the very, very cold days; when they did not come out of their house all the day. A certain proof, that they like the warmth.
16. Little frost in the morning. Very fine day.
17. Precisely same weather.
18. Same weather.
19. Same weather.
20. Same weather. Opened several pits, in which I had preserved all sorts of garden plants and roots, and apples. Valuable experiments. As useful in England as here, though not so absolutely necessary. I shall communicate these in another part of my work, under the head of gardening.
21. Same weather. The day like a fine Mayday in England. I am writing without fire, and in my waistcoat without coat.
22. Rain all last night, and all this day.
23. Mild and fine. A sow had a litter of pigs in the leaves under the trees. Judge of the weather by this. The wind blows cold; but she has drawn together great heaps of leaves, and protects her young with surprising sagacity and exemplary care and fondness.
24. Same weather.
25. Still mild and fair.
26. Very cold wind. We try to get the sow and pigs into the buildings. But the pigs do not follow, and we cannot, with all our temptations of corn, and all our caresses, get the sow to move without them by her side. She must remain till they choose to travel. How does nature, through the conduct of this animal, reproach those mothers, who cast off their new-born infants to depend on a hireling's breast! Let every young man, before he marry, read, upon this subject, the pretty poem of Mr. ROSCOE, called "the NURSE;" and, let him also read, on the same subject, the eloquent, beautiful, and soul-affecting passage, in Rousseau's "Emile."
27. Fine warm day. Then high wind, rain, snow, and hard frost before morning.
28. Hard frost. Snow 3 inches deep.
29. Frost in the night; but all thawed in the day, and very warm.
30. Frost in night. Fine warm day.
31. Fine warm day. — As the winter is now gone, let us take a look back at its inconveniences compared with those of an English Winter. — We have had three months of it; for, if we had a few days sharp in December, we have had many very fine and without fire in March. In England winter really begins in November, and does not end till mid-March. Here we have greater cold; there four times as much wet. I have had my great coat on only twice, except when sitting in a stage, travelling. I have had gloves on no oftener; for, I do not, like the Clerks of the Houses of Boroughmongers, write in gloves. I seldom meet a waggoner with gloves or great coat on. It is generally so dry. This is the great friend of man and beast. Last summer I wrote home for nails, to nail my shoes for winter. I could find none here. What a foolish people not to have shoe-nails! I forgot, that it was likely, that the absence of shoe-nails argued an absence of the want of them. The nails are not come; and I have not wanted them. There is no dirt, except for about ten days at the breaking up of the frost. The dress of a labourer does not cost half so much as in England. This dryness is singularly favourable to all animals. They are hurt far less by dry cold, than by warm drip, drip, drip, as it is in England. — There has been nothing green in the garden, that is to say, above ground, since December; but we have had, all winter, and have now, white cabbages, green savoys, parsnips, carrots, beets, young onions, radishes, white turnips, Swedish turnips, and potatoes; and all these in the greatest abundance (except radishes, which were a few to try), and always at hand at a minute's warning. The modes of preserving will be given in another part of the work. What can any body want more than these things in the garden way? However, it would be very easy to add to the catalogue. Apples, quinces, cherries, currants, peaches, dried in the summer, and excellent for tarts, and pies. Apples in their raw state as many as we please. My own stock being gone, I have trucked turnips for apples; and shall thus have them, if I please, till apples come again on the trees. I give two bushels and a half of Swedish turnips for one of apples; and, mind, this is on the last day of March. — I have here stated facts, whereby to judge of the winter: and I leave the English reader to judge for himself, I myself decidedly preferring the American winter.
April 1. Very fine and warm.
2. Same weather.
3. Same weather.
4. Rain all day.
5. Rain all day. Our cistern and pool full.
6. Warm, but no sun. — Turkeys begin to lay.
7. Same weather. My first spring operations in gardening are now going on; but I must reserve an account of them for another Part of my work.
8. Warm and fair.
9. Rain and rather cold.
10. Fair but cold. It rained but yesterday, and we are, to-day, feeding sheep and lambs with grain of corn, and with oats, upon the ground in the orchard. Judge, then, of the cleanness and convenience of this soil!
11. Fine and warm.
12. Warm and fair.
13. Warm and fair.
14. Drying wind and miserably cold. Fires again in daytime, winch I have not had for some days past.
15. Warm, like a fine May-day in England. We are planting out selected roots for seed.
16. Rain all last night. — Warm. Very fine indeed.
17. Fine warm day. Heavy thunder and rain at night. The Martins (not swallows) are come into the barn, and are looking out sites for the habitations of their future young ones.
18. Cold and raw. Damp, too, which is extremely rare. The worst day I have yet seen during the year. Stops the grass, stops the swelling of the buds. The young chickens hardly peep out from under the wings of the hens. The lambs don't play, but stand knit up. The pigs growl and squeak; and the birds are gone away to the woods again.
19. Same weather, with an Easterly wind. Just such a wind as that, which, in March, brushes round the corners of the streets of London, and makes the old, muffled-up debauchees hurry home with aching joints. Some hail to-day.
20. Same weather. Just the weather to give drunkards the "blue devils."
21. Frost this morning. Ice as thick as a dollar. — Snow three times. Once to cover the ground. Went off again directly.
22. Frost and ice in the morning. A very fine day, but not warm. Dandelions in bloom.
23. Sharp white frost in morning. Warm and fine day.
24. Warm night, warm and fair day. And here I close my Journal; for I am in haste to get my manuscript away; and there now wants only ten days to complete the year. — I resume, now, the Numbering of my Paragraphs, having begun my Journal at the close of PARAGRAPH No. 20.
21. Let us, now, take a survey, or rather glance, at the face which nature now wears. The grass begins to afford a good deal for sheep and for my grazing English pigs, and the cow and oxen get a little food from it. The pears, apples, and other fruit trees have not made much progress in the swelling or bursting of their buds. The buds of the Weeping willow have bursted (for, in spite of that conceited ass, Mr. JAMES PERRY, to burst is a regular verb, and vulgar pedants only make it irregular,) and those of a Lilac, in a warm place, are almost bursted, which is a great deal better than to say, "almost burst." Oh, the coxcomb! As if an obsolete pedagogue like him could injure me by his criticisms! And, as if an error like this, even if it had been one, could have any thing to do with my capacity for developing principles, and for simplifying things, which, in their nature, are of great complexity! — The oaks, which, in England, have now their sap in full flow, are here quite unmoved as yet. In the gardens in general there is nothing green, while in England, they have broccoli to eat, early cabbages planted out, coleworts to eat, peas four or six inches high. Yet, we shall have green peas and loaved cabbage as soon as they will. We have sprouts from the cabbage stems preserved under cover; the Swedish turnip is giving me greens from bulbs planted out in March; and I have some broccoli too, just coming on for use. How I have got this broccoli I must explain in my Gardener's Guide; for write one I must. I never can leave this country without an attempt to make every farmer a gardener. — In the meat way, we have beef, mutton, bacon, fowls, a calf to kill in a fortnight's time, sucking pigs when we choose, lamb nearly fit to kill; and all of our own breeding or our own feeding. We kill an ox, send three quarters and the bide to market and keep one quarter. Then a sheep, which we dispose of in the same way. The bacon is always ready. Some fowls always fatting. Young ducks are just coming out to meet the green peas, — Chickens (the earliest) as big as American Partridges (misnamed quails), and ready for the asparagus, which is just coming out of the ground. Eggs, at all times more than we can consume. And, if there be any one, who wants better fare than this, let the grumbling glutton come to that poverty, which Solomon has said shall be his lot. And, the great thing of all, is, that here, every man, even every labourer, may live as well as this, if he will be sober and industrious.
22. There are two things, which I have not yet mentioned, and which are almost wholly wanting here, while they are so amply enjoyed in England. The singing birds and the flowers. Here are many birds in summer, and some of very beautiful plumage. There are some wild flowers, and some English flowers in the best gardens. But, generally speaking, they are birds without song, and flowers without smell. The linnet (more than a thousand of which I have heard warbling upon one scrubbed oak on the sand hills in Surrey), the sky-lark, the gold-finch, the wood-lark, the nightingale, the bull-finch, the black-bird, the thrush, and all the rest of the singing tribe are wanting in these beautiful woods, and orchards of garlands. — When these latter have dropt their bloom, all is gone in the flowery way. No shepherd's rose, no honey-suckle, none of that endless variety of beauties that decorate the hedges and the meadows in England. No daisies, no primroses, no cowslips, no blue-bells, no daffodils, which, as if it were not enough for them to charm the sight and the smell, must have names, too, to delight the ear. All these are wanting in America. Here are, indeed, birds which bear the name of robin, black-bird, thrush and gold-finch; but, alas! the thing at Westminster has, in like manner, the name of parliament, which speaks the voice of the people, whom it pretends to represent, in much about the same degree that the black-bird here speaks the voice of its name-sake in England.
23. Of health, I have not yet spoken, and, though it will be a subject of remark in another part of my work, it is a matter of too deep interest to be wholly passed over here. In the first place, as to myself, I have always had excellent health; but, during a year, in England, I used to have a cold or two; a trifling sore throat; or something in that way. Here, I have neither, though I was more than two months of the winter travelling about, and sleeping in different beds. My family have been more healthy than in England, though, indeed, there has seldom been any serious illness in it. We have had but one visit from any doctor. Thus much, for the present, on this subject. I said, in the second Register I sent home, that this climate was not so good as that of England. Experience, observation, a careful attention to real facts, have convinced me that it is, upon the whole, a better climate; though I tremble lest the tools of the Boroughmongers should cite this as a new and most flagrant proof of my inconsistency. England is my country, and to England I shall return. I like it best, and small always like it best; but, then, in the word England, many things are included besides climate and soil and seasons and eating and drinking.
24. In the Second Part of this work, which will follow the First Part, in the course of two months, I shall take particular pains to detail all that is within my knowledge, which I think likely to be useful to persons who intend coming to this country from England. I shall state every particular of the expense of supporting a family, and show what are the means to be obtained for that purpose, and how they are to be obtained. My intending to return to England ought to deter no one from coming hither; because, I was resolved, if I had life, to return, and I expressed that resolution before I came away. But, if there are good and virtuous men, who can do no good there, and who, by coming hither can withdraw the fruits of their honest labour from the grasp of the Borough tyrants, I am bound, if I speak of this country at all, to tell them the real truth; and this, as far as I have gone, I have now done.